The Global Warming They Fear is NOT Based upon Physical First Principles

September 30th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Prof. Lindzen critiques climate model calculations.

Prof. Lindzen critiques climate model calculations.

We are expected to swoon over the fact that climate models, which are run on supercomputers, are state-of-the-art achievements in science. But “state-of-the-art” does not always mean accurate, or even useful, if the art is still in its infancy.

It is sometimes said that climate models are built upon physical first principles, as immutable as the force of gravity or conservation of energy (which are, indeed, included in the models). But this is a half-truth, at best, spoken by people who either don’t know any better or are outright lying.

The most physically sound portion of global warming predictions is that adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes about a 1% energy imbalance in the system (energy imbalances are what cause temperature to change), and if nothing else but the temperature changes, there would only be about a 1 deg. C warming response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 (we aren’t even 50% of the way to doubling).

But this is where the reasonably sound, physical first principles end (if you can even call them that since the 1 deg estimate is a theoretical calculation, anyway).

Most of the model-predicted warming people are worried about is not due to this 1 deg., which would likely be benign or even beneficial. It’s the additional 2 deg. or more of warming many models produce, which originates from highly uncertain positive feedbacks: how clouds, water vapor, and other features of the climate system change with warming, which then further amplify the warming.

Cloud Feedback

These positive feedbacks, if they even exist, are in effect what scare the wits out of people. You could “dial in” positive feedback just by (for example) making the average amount of low cloud in a model decrease slightly as the average temperature warms.

It’s not this simple, of course, but my point is that ‘worrisome warming’ is caused in the models by highly parameterized (i.e. simplified) and uncertain components buried deep amongst the models’ real physical principles. The physics involved in cloud formation are, for the most part, not included in climate models. Even cloud resolving models, which do “grow” clouds, depend upon uncertain parameterizations (e.g. the autoconversion threshhold).

So, what are the feedbacks in the real climate system? Unfortunately, they are notoriously hard to measure.

The main reason, I believe, is related to cause and effect. When we observe that natural warming events (say from El Nino) are typically associated with (say) fewer clouds, we don’t know whether the fewer clouds were caused by the warming (positive cloud feedback), or whether the fewer clouds are the cause of some of the warming, and negative feedback actually exists.

We have demonstrated that if fewer clouds cause warming, and then the warming causes more clouds (negative feedback), the net result still “looks like” positive cloud feedback. Dick Lindzen and co-authors have also published various results substantiating this view. Evidence for this is revealed by phase space analysis of the data, which goes beyond simple scatter plots which typically reveal very low correlations.

This is important because it shows that what climate modelers think is observational evidence for positive cloud feedback in the real climate system (which they then program into their climate models) is simply the result of sloppy and overly simplistic data analysis techniques.

Water Vapor Feedback

The other major feedback is water vapor, which approximately doubles the 1 deg of first principles warming in the models. Here the modelers believe they are on firmer ground than for cloud feedbacks, since there is plenty of observational evidence that warming is associated with more atmospheric water vapor, on average, in the lower troposphere, due to increased surface evaporation caused by warmer temperatures.

But even in the case of water vapor feedback, the situation might not be as simple as they believe. By far the biggest impact of water vapor on the Earth’s ability to cool itself is in the middle and upper troposphere, where it is precipitation processes – not surface evaporation — that determine the water vapor content.

Most of the air at these altitudes was detrained out of precipitation systems, which removed most of the vapor as precipitation. This is why the water vapor content at those altitudes is so low.

So, what determines the efficiency of precipitation systems? If warming increases their efficiency at removing vapor, there could be a slight drying of the middle and upper troposphere at the same time that the lower troposphere becomes more humid. The net result would be negative water vapor feedback, even though the total absolute amount of water vapor in the troposphere has increased (because a tiny decrease in upper tropospheric vapor causes more cooling than a large increase in lower tropospheric vapor causes warming).

This possibility is nothing new; it’s been known for decades (see an extended water vapor feedback discussion here). Long-term weather balloon data we have extending back to the 1950s actually shows lower tropospheric moistening and mid-tropospheric drying, at least suggesting the possibility that multi-decadal climate change involves negative, not positive, water vapor feedback. Miskolczi’s (2010) results of a constant greenhouse effect were basically due to the observed decrease in upper tropospheric water vapor exactly offsetting the greenhouse enhancement of increasing CO2 in the last 50 years.

The trouble is that we have very little knowledge of how the efficiency of precipitation systems changes with warming, and so climate models can’t even begin to address the physical principles involved.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the uncertainties involved in climate models’ predictions of non-trivial warming. Only the first 1 deg. of warming they produce can be considered to be from first principles, and even that is based upon a theoretical calculation.

Warming in excess of 1 deg., which is what people worry most about, is due to highly uncertain feedbacks. To the extent that the models agree on these feedbacks is probably more a reflection of group think on the part of the modelers, and the pressure they are under (political, financial, career, world-view, etc.) to produce results which support global warming as being a more than just a trivial concern for humanity.

One aspect of feedbacks I have been wondering about for years is related to their possible time-scale dependence. By way of analogy, we see positive feedbacks in the formation of weather systems, sometimes culminating in hurricanes or tornadoes. But these are ‘dissipational structures’, which concentrate energy only briefly as part of an overall process that ends up dissipating energy on longer time scales.

Might it be that some feedbacks in the climate system are indeed positive for short term (e.g. year-to-year) variability, but the long-term feedbacks end up being negative, as suggested (for example) by the decrease in upper tropospheric water vapor since the 1950s? If that is the case, the models should not be built to have long-term feedbacks based upon short-term data.

Ultimately, the question we have to answer is this: Do we really believe that nature amplifies any temperature influence humans have on the climate system, or minimizes it? For now, the IPCC is betting on amplification.

But when you are asked to believe the IPCC’s pronouncements about the serious threat of climate change, understand that the greater the model warming they point to, the more suspect is the underlying evidence. This ‘dubious’ component of model-predicted warming is caused by relative few lines of computer code –- the weak link in the chain — buried among thousands of lines of code which might otherwise be performing very realistically.

[NOTE for engineers: In climate parlance, positive feedbacks never overcome the climate stabilizing influence of the direct increase in infrared radiative cooling with temperature, called the Stefan-Boltzmann or Planck effect. So, in traditional engineering ‘feedback’ terms, even the IPCC’s climate models are stabilized by net negative feedback…the Planck effect just isn’t called a “feedback” by climate people. Sorry for the confusion…I didn’t make the rules.]


137 Responses to “The Global Warming They Fear is NOT Based upon Physical First Principles”

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  1. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    Interesting with that water vapor.
    If you assume more evaporation in a hotter world, then you need also more precipitation, else the evaporation would stop.
    As a handrule i use ~15W/m2 for 1mm rain a day, so even a small change in rain can balance the effect of more water vapor, and then i have not taken care of the clouds that is needed for the rain to fall.
    You could imagine more water vapor without higher evaporation, but then the movements of the atmosphere should change dramatic. Any movement includes also temperature changes that would condense some of the water vapor to rain out.

    I suspect the water vapor feedback was invented just to make the models resemble the warming from 1970 to 2000.
    I wonder if there are any good papers that explains the water vapor hypothesis?

  2. Bret says:

    If everyone involved with climate science could make as calm, measured, rational, and coherent statements while describing the uncertainties involved like Dr. Spencer does in this article, climate science would be in much better shape.

    • ren says:

      Most updated in the science of climate amuses me the word “trend”. What does it mean when a young child already knows that when winter comes the summer. In nature, there are no trends, there are only cycles, they only need to know.

  3. Jack says:

    Assuming water vapor positive feedback. How does the water vapor know that a very very small increase in temperature was caused by CO2? How about some small natural temperature fluctuation? Shouldn’t that cause the same positive feedback? Just maybe net positive water vapor feedback is BS?

    • It doesn’t know. The assumption is usually made that feedbacks in response to temperature are about the same no matter what caused the initial temperature change.

      • Joe Freeman says:

        Shouldn’t the atmosphere’s response to a strong El Niño (e.g., that of 1997-1998) give us an idea of what a warmer atmosphere would do, or is there a reason to believe that the atmosphere’s response to a (relatively) sudden El Niño warming would be somehow different from a more gradual warming?

  4. Scott Scarborough says:

    There have been no times in my life where I would have fealt under direct threat if my environment had been 2 or 3 degrees warmer. I would have just rested more or drank more fluids if it was already very warm out. And there are many many times it would have been a benefit. Same goes for any of my plants or pets. So what’s the big deal? When I retire I plan to move to Florida anyway. That will represent a bigger temperature change than most anything these climate scientists are talking about. Do they really think I’m that stupid?

    • Stan says:

      Facile and simplistic thinking at its worst.

      • Scott Scarborough says:

        That says alot.

        • Sleepalot says:

          Yes, he said he was able to understand it! I don’t see why he told you that though, nor why he would suggest your clarity was undesireable.

      • Scott Scarborough says:

        I guess I’m too stupid to realize that Climate scientist degrees are different than commoner degrees. They are hotter! Right Einstein? Your comments are of the type that are made by people who do not want to realize that they swallowed BS from climate morons for years. BS that anyone can clearly see is BS.

        • Stan says:

          Scott, I’ll take it easy on you since you seem to be a beginner.

          A few questions:
          1) What is the difference in average global temperature between recent glacial and interglacial periods?

          2) If average global temperature change by 3 C, what does that mean for
          a) average land temperatures?
          b) temperatures in the interior of continents?
          c) Arctic temperatures?

          3) People poorer than you who lack your technology and infrastructure?

          4) Species other than yours?

          • IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" says:

            Stan, I’ll take it easy on you since you appear to be a liberal —

            A few questions:
            }}} 1) What is the difference in average global temperature

            What the hell does “average global temperature” mean? Does it tell you more or less than the average shoe size of climate scientists? How does one calculate “average global temperature”? What is the sample size? Do we just add up a lot of numbers, then divide by the count of those numbers? Does this tell us anything at all about what is happening, or is it just climate BS?

            Are the temperature measurements uniformly distributed, or do they come from weather stations? Do the numbers in question get “adjusted” for the UHIE before the sum is made, or not? And, given the manner of weather stations over time, how do we deal with their increase in numbers and how that affects the current validity of the data vs. historical validity of the data? Comparing vague data from the past to more accurate current data is like using historically recorded climate scientist shoe sizes taken at shoe stores and written down only by OC engineering types vs. modern, laser-evaluated shoe sizes measured for all those using the appellation “Climate Scientist”. It seems a questionable behavior while dealing with a rather specious metric in the first place.

            }}} If average global temperature change by 3 C, what does that mean for… People poorer than you who lack your technology and infrastructure?

            You mean the ones much more likely than me to die of exposure to cold, the primary killer, temperature wise, around the world? Or did you have some other problem in mind?

            }}} …Species other than yours?

            Some would thrive. Others would have issues. There is certainly going to be a massive increase in overall biomass, since trees feed off CO2, and an increase in CO2 is going to make a huge difference in one of the primary limiting factors to their growth, much more significant than temperature for most plant species. So the bugs that live off plants are also going to explode. And the animals that eat those bugs will do quite well. And the predators that eat those animals ought to do well, too.

            Of course, you never considered any of that possibility, did you, any more than you considered the issue of exposure being a far more deadly thing than heat prostration….?

            Now a couple questions of my own:

            It seems blatantly obvious that increased global temperatures means the oceans, which MUST first suck up a lot of the heat energy, MUST be warming up. Water has a tremendous capacity to absorb heat. Anyone who has stuck a steak in a microwave for two minutes as opposed to sticking a pint of water in a microwave for two minutes ought to be able to grasp this. Yet it also seems obvious that the surface of the Atlantic is cooling. The fact that the entire eastern coast of the USA is currently in the midst of the longest time since being struck by a class 3,4,or 5 hurricane since reliable information on that matter has been kept. At this point, it’s over 30% longer than the longest previous such interregnum. AND counting…

            So how does one explain this? You can argue that the ocean itself is absorbing the excess heat… even though the last I heard the Argo probes were showing no sign of it. But the SURFACE can’t be losing MORE heat than it’s transmitting to the deeper oceans, offhand. That would be an… “interesting”… thing to have happening.

            Equally critically, the climate models can’t possibly be valid if they don’t consider this heat absorbing quality of the oceans, and in complex detail which I know for a fact is not well understood. There are a number of thermoclines involved and how the heat transfer works between all of them is going to have a truly massive effect on how they absorb heat and release heat back in the winters… So… what’s up there?

            Then there’s the effect of all this supposed fresh water that gets dumped in there from the glaciers and the ice caps, which, of course, has a substantial effect on the CO2 absorption capacity of the oceans. I’m sure these wonderful climate models already have a clear and well-defined means of dealing with this effect-countereffect element of the whole notion. Can you explain any of that for us?

            I anxiously await your answers.

          • Stan says:

            How does one calculate “average global temperature”?

            The same as for any function. Surface temperature is a scalar field of two variables (longitude and latitude). Over any surface S of area A its average is therefore

            = (1/A) integral_over_S T(long,lat) dA

            In practice the integral is replaced with a sum over discrete areas.

          • Stan says:

            Some would thrive. Others would have issues.

            And there, in essence, is the ugly part of your position — you don’t care. You’re happy to postulate that some bugs and trees might do well, without offering anything like proof of such a vast statement, and ignore everything else.

            This vast moral failure is the essence of your position and those who also hold it — you simply don’t care about anything but yourselves. Your position is grounded in selfishness, as was the Scott Scarborough’s: hey, I’ll be alright, what’s the problem dude?

          • John K says:

            Hi Stan,

            You claimed:

            “Some would thrive. Others would have issues.

            And there, in essence, is the ugly part of your position — you don’t care. You’re happy to postulate that some bugs and trees might do well, without offering anything like proof of such a vast statement, and ignore everything else.”

            Hmmh! As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, the geological record provides extensive evidence that the climate has been warmer in the past. Prior to the recent ice-age, tropical vegetation and large mammalian life forms (mammoths, rhinoceros, lions, wolves, etc.)existed in higher latitudes and polar regions far too cold to support such life now. Deserts as we understand them for the most part didn’t exist. However, the onset of COLDER periods like the ice-age witnessed MASS species EXTINCTIONS on a scale never observed since. The “permafrost” provides a frozen mass of evidence to support that fact. You for one have provided no evidence that a warmer period would not be in net beneficial. The mere fact that some species will find it difficult survive simply restates an obvious empirical claim that can be made about any period in earth’s history subsequent to the FALL of Adam and Eve.

            In addition, you should review the data. From what the records indicate CO2 levels have risen since the 19th century. To halt atmospheric CO2 growth would require the entire 7 billion people on the planet to reduce it’s carbon production to levels not seen since the century before last or ever earlier. Atmospheric CO2 levels measured in the 1880’s I believe fell around 280 ppm. In 1958 when Mona Loa measurements began the levels fell around 350 ppm. Today they’re around 400 ppm. Have you or anyone else suggested how you might induce the planet’s 7 billion human inhabitants to do that? Believe me the Chinese cannot build solar panels fast enough. Where their is no solution their is no problem. If you have a solution other than faux moral pretension and exhaling more of your own CO2 please let us see it.

            BTW, remember the Kyoto Protocol that ridiculous plan sought to limit signatory countries (a few European ones) to limit their CO2 contribution to 1985 levels. They failed to meet that simple goal. It would have been meaningless anyways since atmospheric CO2 growth levels in 1985 (2-3 ppm/yr) were almost identical to today’s. By all means instruct us with your feigned moral wisdom and clairvoyance what UN police state measures have you conjured up to reduce human CO2 production to levels not seen for centuries? We could all use the laugh. Many will rightly just cry.

            Keep in mind, CO2 levels may have risen prior to human industrial civilization. From the statement YOU made above, however, facts and evidence may not mean much to you.

          • Stan says:

            John K:

            OF COURSE it has been warmer in the past.

            So what?

            We don’t live in the past, we live now.

            A lot of species have gone extinct in past episodes of climate change. Why should I believe this episode will be any different, especially with all the non-climate stresses on nonhuman species?

          • John K says:

            Hello Stan,

            You need some training in reading comprehension. You claimed:

            “A lot of species have gone extinct in past episodes of climate change. Why should I believe this episode will be any different, especially with all the non-climate stresses on nonhuman species?”

            The only known example of climate change that resulted in MASS EXTINCTIONS as I pointed out earlier resulted from what many call the ICE AGE!!!! The warm period resulted in more and larger life forms living in regions far too cold to support such life now.
            If as you suggest this period is no different than the past then mass extinction will not occur. However, it might occur if the temperature should drop. As to the non-climate stresses on the human species I agree with you. Plenty man-made environmental stresses threaten life on the planet. At this point CO2 isn’t one of them.

    • Miles Michaels says:

      Scott,

      I think your plan to move to Florida is a good one. I hope you are thinking of
      living in Miami Beach and invest all your money in real estate there.

      See for example:
      http://www.wunderground.com/news/sea-level-rises-miami-doomed-20130625

      • Scott Scarborough says:

        No,

        I will probably move to northern Florida. Seems like a nice place.

        Any Change, any change at all, has good consequences and bad consequences. If I could make crime disapear tomorrow most police would be out of work. If Christ comes again tomorrow all those who have not been saved, but today still have a chance, will be lost. So to point out that there may be negative consequences to a change is a totalogy. It is not grounds to morally condem someone. Stan, I have another ugly truth…underneath our clothes we are all naked!

      • Stan says:

        Big deal. You are clearly ignoring the change’s impacts on anyone but yourself. That is the very defintion of selfishness….

  5. Alan says:

    log2(400 / 280) = .515 so I would say we are a little more than halfway to a doubling. No?

    • 400/280 = 1.43. When they say doubling of CO2, logarithms are not involved.

      • Alan says:

        log2(560/280) = 1 doubling giving 1 degree C increase.
        log2(840/280) = 1.585 doublings giving a 1.585 degree C increase.
        log2(1120/280) = 2 doublings giving a 2 degree C increase.

        To get a half degree of warming, you should increase the concentration of CO2 by the square root of two. Seems like a logarithmic relationship to me…

        This shows that I am an engineer and you are a scientist! 🙂

        • Chris Schoneveld says:

          You are obviously right. For me it is disturbing to note that you have to explain that to Roy. He is not even apologizing (or hasn’t had the time yet?) for his egregious error.

          • Alan says:

            Dr. Spencer is referring to the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, and by that measure, we haven’t yet reached half a doubling.

            On the other hand, by the arguably more important measure of how much warming is predicted due directly to CO2’s greenhouse effect, we are slightly passed the point of half a doubling.

          • Chris Schoneveld says:

            How dumb I was. 😳

  6. lemiere jacques says:

    despite what they say, i agree they “bet” on positive feedback..and they must feel very inconfortable.

  7. Arfur Bryant says:

    [“Only the first 1 deg. of warming they produce can be considered to be from first principles, and even that is based upon a theoretical calculation.”]

    Worse than that, the theoretical calculation is based on an assumption.

    The reality is simpler than the consensus would have you believe.

    The total increase in ‘global temperature’ (whatever that is) is 0.8C in 163 years as measured by the longest running IPCC accepted global dataset (HadCRUt3 then 4). This is an increase in so-called GHE of 2.5%.

    The temperature increase includes ALL feedbacks and ALL forcings. Any talk of ‘lag’ is unsupported either by logic or evidence.

    The total increase in CO2 in the atmosphere (from ALL sources) is 40%.

    The flattening since 1998 is now 15 years. This flattening includes ALL feedbacks and ALL forcings. The flattening is not necessarily a ‘pause’.

    There is no real-world evidence to support the IPCC assumed feedback.
    There is no real-world evidence to support the IPCC assumed projections.
    There is no real-world evidence to support the ASSUMED effect of CO2 increase.
    Nobody knows how much – if any – of the 0.8C rise is due to CO2.
    Therefore NOBODY can say that Climate Sensitivity (ECS or TCS) is anything other than a theoretical construct.

    It is all an assumption.

    The radiative theory of CO2 = cAGW is based on the assumption (that Arrhenius was correct).

    The models are based on assumption (theoretical warming forcing from CO2).

    Hence the model output (projection) is a guess, based on the assumptions made by the programmer. This can be seen by looking at the projection of the IPCC models compared to the observed temperature.

    [“For now, the IPCC is betting on amplification.”]

    Exactly, and what part of ‘betting’ is science?

    • IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" says:

      }}} Exactly, and what part of ‘betting’ is science?

      The “climate” part. It’s as much ‘science’ as ‘creation science’. Probably less, but I’ll not go that far.

      Feynman on Scientific Method
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw

      In 1964, he was even discussing modern Climate Science… listen carefully starting about 5:10, that’s modern Climate Science in a nutshell.

      • Arfur Bryant says:

        IGB,

        i couldn’t agree more. And I’ve used Feynman’s words many times in the debates over the years. Nobody in ‘consensus climate science’ seems to acknowledge the scientific method.

        Thanks for the vid.

  8. Fulco says:

    Jack,

    Miskolczi shows that the Earth tries to maintain an optical depth of 1,86. So if more CO2 or methane or any other dipole is added to the atmosphere it lowers the amount of watervapor. Since we have enough water and since most of the surface is water the earth is able to maintain this balans pretty good. Doubling the amount of CO2 will only cause a temperature rise of 0.48 degrees Celsius because of this.

    What would happen if watervapor could not form clouds.
    Do we end up with dry oceans and an atmosphere of watervapor ?

    PS In my opinion positive feedbacks leads to run away systems.

  9. Well, according to a lead author of the IPCC report, clouds were “a big unknown” before, but now they “believe” they are a positive feedback. So you must be wrong, Dr. S, lol

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24295-climate-report-how-the-science-has-moved-on.html#.UkmgPdLkuE9

    “Another key issue is the effect of clouds. “IPCC hasn’t done a good job on clouds before,” says clouds lead author Piers Forster of the University of Leeds, UK. “They were a big unknown in modelling warming.”

    In 2007, it was uncertain even whether clouds cooled or warmed the planet overall. “But we now believe that they are a positive feedback on temperature,” he says. “Their warming effect will intensify with global warming.””

    Based upon what? I haven’t seen any new papers finding clouds are a net positive feedback, but have found several showing clouds are an overall net negative feedback.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/search?q=clouds+%22negative+feedback%22

    As you mention above, the S-B or Planck “feedback” overwhelms any temperature increase by increasing outgoing longwave radiation to space exponentially to the fourth power.

    The Planck feedback also acts as a “positive feedback” to counteract cooling by decreasing outgoing longwave radiation to space exponentially to the fourth power.

    Thus, we have an automatic planetary homeostasis mechanism or thermostat to keep temperatures within a range compatible with life. The Planck effect along with the adiabatic lapse rate explains the so-called ‘greenhouse’ profile of the atmosphere.

    Conventional greenhouse theory proposes that increased GHGs cause a decrease of OLR to space, however, this is the opposite of observations.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/09/scientist-there-is-no-observational.html

    • Curt says:

      HS – As the terms are commonly understood, Planck radiation is a “negative feedback”, counteracting the tendency of a system to change temperature. As you heat a system, the increased Planck radiation from that system increases the heat loss from the system, creating an effect in the opposite direction (hence the term “negative”) of the heating.

      Since the Planck radiation is generally proportional to the 4th order of the (absolute) temperature, it is a very strong negative – restoring – feedback, and it acts “outside” all of the other “internal feedbacks”, like water vapor and clouds (of whatever sign they may be).

      To me, who has designed feedback control systems for 30 years now, the idea that a system with a logarithmic (less than 1st order) “forcing” and a dominant 4th-order negative feedback would tend toward high sensitivity or even instability is pretty hard to swallow.

    • Actually, the Planck response to cooling (by reducing IR lost) is also called negative feedback. Both increased OLR with warming, and decreased OLR with cooling, gives the same sign response.

      • Curt says:

        I almost added a sentence to that effect, then decided not to in the interests of brevity. You are, of course, correct.

        The key point is that negative feedbacks act in opposition to effects that would change the value of the state (such as temperature). In real-world systems, these are all bi-directional.

        • “The key point is that negative feedbacks act in opposition to effects that would change the value of the state (such as temperature). In real-world systems, these are all bi-directional.”

          This was the point I was trying to make as well, “Thus, we have an automatic planetary homeostasis mechanism or thermostat to keep temperatures within a range compatible with life,” that outgoing LWIR increases if temperatures warm [or decreases if temperatures cool] to the 4th power of absolute temperatures, a homeostatic mechanism.

          • “outgoing LWIR increases if temperatures warm [or decreases if temperatures cool] to the 4th power of absolute temperatures, a homeostatic mechanism.”

            Note that the negative system responses are tied to insolation at ToA over the long term otherwise no atmosphere could be retained.

            The need to match incoming with outgoing means that you cannot have a warmer surface after the negative system response has done its work.

            If there were to be residual warming of the surface from more GHGs then energy out at ToA would be more than energy in which cannot be maintained so the circulation changes until the surface is returned to the correct temperature for ToA balance.

            To keep ToA in balance the total system energy content cannot be permitted to change in the long term unless one also changes mass, gravity or insolation.

            Climate changes occur in the short term when the proportion of ToA insolation reaching the surface is changed and that is achieved by variable top down solar and bottom up oceanic influences on global cloudiness.

  10. Stan says:

    Everyone knows there are unknowns in modelling. The question is why do these unknowns and uncertainties mean we should nothing? That is your basic position, but no one ever makes decisions like that — they take steps to minimize the worst case scenarios. Why is this any different?

    • It wouldn’t be a big deal if one could actually afford such climate insurance. But how many real lives are you willing to sacrifice from massive global poverty resulting from forced reductions in fossil fuel use, to *possibly* save lives in the future? Poverty is THE biggest threat to humanity on a daily basis.

      • Bart says:

        They just don’t seem to get that. Everything has a cost. And, in this case, the cost of taking action is very high, in lives and well-being, and guaranteed, whereas the cost of doing nothing is highly uncertain and likely to be negligible.

        • Stan says:

          Poor logic: something that is “highly uncertain” is not “likely” to be anything. It is highly uncertain.

          • Bart says:

            Well, personally, I’m not uncertain at all. This is a damp squib.

            For the general population, it is no better than 50/50. That’s not worth doing something about, even if we could, which we can’t, compared to the certainty of misery, poverty, and death resulting from “doing something”.

          • African Mark says:

            But Stan, you entirely failed to address Dr. Spencer’s more poignant points. Why would we spend untold millions (and billions) now to possibly save future lives, when we can definitely save current lives and prepare for future adaptations as needed?

          • Stan says:

            More poor logic. You have no basis for the “50/50” argument — you just made it up. There is no substance to your replies at all.

          • Richard Vada says:

            Wrong answer, stupid. When simple two and three syllable words have lost their meaning

            you know it’s Magic GAiS, YaW!

            time.

            You’re the epitome of a grasping hick without recourse for the catastrophe of intellectual dead-ending.

            There never was any unusual warming.

            The projections your religion makes have been proven through 25 years’ desperate search for signs it was ever true.

            The atmosphere is a giant frigid fluid bath. It’s shot with a one percent phase change refrigerant water, which lies so cold on the surface of the earth the oceanic basins are thousands of feet deep in it: cold, liquified, water, the pressure-differential driven, convective phase change refrigerant cooling the lower atmosphere.

            You’re a magic gas billy whose been caught saying you thought refrigerant gases are a heater.

            CO2’s the upper atmosphere’s main coolant. The Federal Government site’s down now;

            “N.A.S.A. CO2 main coolant upper atmosphere”

            Google it stupid.

            Theres a stream of high energy infrared light from the sun that never stops.

            The CO2 and Water stop 40% of all the sun’s energy from reaching the earth EVER.

            The oceanic basins filled with liquified refrigerant, at about 4 or 5 degrees compared to the actual earth’s temp of about 18 or whatever,

            those oceanic basins reflect so much high energy BLUE light the planet’s CALLED “the BLUE planet.”

            That’s all COOLING when more than half the planet is reflecting so much high energy blue light the planet’s CALLED the blue planet, because it’s there.

            That’s AFTER water and co2 have blocked another 40% of the sun’s total energy from getting to the earth.

            Magic Gas Zombie.

            If the sun is on 24/7/365 and the stream of energy being deflected,

            is higher in energy value than the stream of energy being trapped IN by those gases, that makes those gases COOLANTS,

            even BEFORE the phase change refrigeration, and ‘blue planet’ due to liquid refrigerant on the ground.

            So you’re way, WAY lost, hillbilly and the best thing that’s going to happen to you, is to have your brains re-scrambled in an auto accident and have to be re-educated minus the

            Magic Gas.

      • Stan says:

        Because the poor cannot afford cleaner energy is no reason why YOU shouldn’t have to pay for it. You’re a rich Westerner in the richest country in history. You certainly can afford to pay for energy that does not carry so much risk.

        The poor can too, with subsidies. But you certainly can.

        • Milton Hathaway says:

          Stan – you are falling victim to a fundamental misunderstanding of the workings of a free market system. “Rich Westerners” get that way by providing value. This is called “productivity”. If you reduce that productivity by, say, crippling the use of the fossil fuels that enables it, that productivity by necessity drops. Guess who suffers first? Here’s a clue: search the web using the words “food riots” and “ethanol”.

          Personally, I believe this fundamental misunderstanding is motivated largely by guilt. Many “Rich Westerners” don’t contribute much to this productivity, or perhaps even detract from it, but by accident of geography they get to be relatively “Rich Westerners”, too.

          There’s been a lot of talk about negative feedback systems as it pertains to climate change. There is a closely related negative feedback system that doesn’t get talked about much – ‘clean energy’. The countries that lead the way in adopting ‘clean energy’ policies that go beyond lip service will damage their economies so severely that they will soon lack the financial resources to lead on anything. But long before that happens the population will revolt anyway.

          In other words, even if the worst of the global warming predictions are true, nothing can be done about it – the negative economic feedback is huge and insurmountable. Think about it – people who have the time and energy and inclination to get all worked up over global warming live comfortable lives. Take away that comfort, even a little bit of it, and watch what happens. Human nature is what it is.

          • Stan says:

            But we don’t have free market systems. We have a system where certain products are allowed to pollute the environment without any cost to them, retaining profits while forcing others to pay those costs.

            Surely you have heard of the concept of a negative externalitie. That’s why Stern called climate change the largest failure of the free market in history.

            Solving climate change is about correcting that free market failure.

          • Phil Neel says:

            What is “facile” is your illiteracy.
            I didn’t say anything about “free markets”, I simply mentioned your dependence on flawed analysis.

        • Phil Neel says:

          That would be “externality”. And the one you are referring to assumes things that are not so, just like the climate models that produce flawed predictions. Garbage in, garbage out.

          • Stan says:

            Facile. You assume there is no harm, so you get to dismiss the entire problem and hold on to your dear “free market” theories. But a lot of people a lot smarter, wiser, more experienced, more educated, and more serious than you say there is a problem. A big problem. And it is being caused by a failure of the (so-called) free market — like all pollution, it privatizes profits, and socializes costs. And that’s a socialism you all seem happy to have.

        • African Mark says:

          ok, forget my previous criticism Stan, I see that you did try to address it here. I live in a poor country (by American standards) and I assure you that your take is absurd in the real world I live in. Where i live, petrol prices are about $5,50 per gallon and that affects EVERYTHING. The poor must use taxis to get to work (group taxis) and pay about $0.60 for a taxi ride, only that just went up to $0.70. This is a 16% rise in their transportation costs and yet their wages are not rising at all. This is just one obvious example, but fuel prices also affect the price of clothes, food and everything else they need to live. So how are the rich going to pay for that? Africa has a billion people and MOST Africans are DIRT poor. How do you propose we pay for the price of “clean” fuels when it is 2 to 3 X as expensive as fossil fuels?

          • Stan says:

            I said: the poor need access to cheap energy. The rich do not. The rich can afford to pay for cleaner energy to avoid polluting. The R&D they will do to obtain that cleaner energy will carry over into cheaper, cleaner energy for the poor, too, who are also the ones who suffer most from pollution and from climate change.

        • Richard Vada says:

          You don’t know that. You’re talking as though you are a magical clairvoyant who knows who you’re speaking with on the internet,

          when you’ve been found already believing you can predict things you can’t. So we know just because you’re loud doesn’t mean you have anything worth saying.

          We’ve seen the predictive powers of the system you laid your reputation on. It’s the antithesis of predictive power, we know whatever the people of your religion say, it’ll be w.r.o.n.g.
          a.g.a.i.n.

          Like the past 20 years. The BBC asked your High Priesthood Holder Phil Jones if he agreed there had been no warming since 1995 that was statistically even significant.

          His answer is “That’s true.”

          You’re in here claiming you STILL didn’t get the news from Jones, and he’s YOUR RELIGIOUS leader.

          The poor this and the poor that: who are you to determine which of us is living on the edge of poverty?

          Who are you to determine which of us don’t deserve the lottery win we got?

          Who are you?

          You’re the CLOWN,

          CLAIMING the ATMOSPHERIC COOLANT CO2
          is a GIANT HEATER on, in the sky.

          Too big for you not to believe in,

          but too small for an infrared light sensor to detect.

          Here’s N.O.A.A. checking their story.
          This Magic Gais Ya’W, thing, isn’t your story.

          This is THEIR story and THEY CHECKED their OWN story for magical backerdistical rays coming from the magic gas,
          hick,
          and guess what they found out?

          They found that after they checked GROUND ZERO for your
          Magic Gais YaW
          r.e.l.i.g.i.o.n.

          of pseudo science claiming “thair’s light evurwhair ya’w jis cain’t see it!

          the North American Great Plains

          for FOURTEEN YEARS: FROM 95 or 96 to about 2010 or so

          there
          is
          less
          magical backerdistical radiation
          in the atmosphere at night

          than when your religion started checking the claims of your prophets FOURTEEN YEARS BEFORE.

          Here it’s YOUR CHURCH, and it’s YOUR RELIGION,
          YOU read THEIR name on it. It’s THEIR RELIGION they should
          KNOW what they’re CHECKING on.

          Obviously YOU didn’t get this notice in your in box either.

          http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2011JCLI4210.1?journalCode=clim

          That says there was LESS magical backerdistical rays than before, sciencebilly.

          That’s IMPOSSIBLE to be happening and your religion,
          be true.

          You and all Magic GAiS hicks are so easy to knock around just on the kind of things your OWN RELIGION says,

          it’s not even sporting to do things like ask you

          why you think the entire infrared astronomy field has managed to not roll out a new branch of their science: measuring the Magical Backerdistical Rays you keep screaming are

          “too bright not to believe in”

          but

          “too weak to be detected by an infrared light sensor”

          knowing the frequency light,
          knowing the location of light source,
          knowing the alleged intensity of the light that’s not there

          that just leaves you,

          yet another diptard claiming to be a messenger of light,

          but when we check for the light you claim’s on,

          there’s no light, stupid.

          So that means something’s wrong with your insides.

          It can’t be thermal sensing fields on the OUTSIDE of you
          so that means something’s wrong with you on the INSIDE.

          Between your BEFUDDLED EARS.
          Behind your BLINDED EYES

          that you claim are boiling out of your head,
          but when we turn the most sensitive array of infrared sensors scientific endeavor can deploy to your
          SCREAMS
          of
          ALARM

          The lights aren’t on up there hillbilly.

          Which means you’re lying.

          Not that you’re wrong.

          It means you’re lying.

          And we know you’re lying because everybody knows the claims of your religion.

          And, we all checked because everytime you people say something, that’s what we do: we check your bullshoot.

          And you’ve been found to be attempting to spread deceit: DARKNESS where you CLAIM
          there’s LIGHT.

          INFRARED light.
          In the sky,
          overhead.
          Now.

          And as you can see, YOUR OWN HIGH PRIESTHOOD CHECKED and PUBLISHED your CHURCHE’S CLAIM:

          MORE INFRARED LIGHT as HEAT
          accompanying MORE C02.

      • Stan says:

        It is very interesting that Dr Spencer has declined to address this point.

        And telling. Because, of course, it is the most important question of all.

        • Richard Vada says:

          To you, who’ve been caught on the internet believing refrigerants and coolants are a giant heater, turned on, in the sky.

          The other day I was over here or at A.W.’s place and I saw some hick claiming “We wuz awl gawnuh see thim backerdisms wuz reel!”

          It was Joel Shore or maybe that other projectile vomit gusher from Watt’s place;

          My wife was in the bathroom tweezing a hair along the side of her knee that was irritating her under her biking pants.

          I said to my wife “Here’s how bad these Magic Gassers are, babe,”

          I found on the floor, a sorta egg shaped hand creme jar, where it had somehow fallen and I walked over to the bathtub.

          I put the hand creme jar on the floor of the tub, and said, “That’s the earth.”

          I turned on the shower, and the warm water was cascading down onto the jar, and I said,

          “That’s the sun.”

          There was a milk crate sitting on the floor by the tub where she sits and bathes the dogs. I took the milk crate and put it down, upside down, over the hand creme jar, where the Xs and triangular bracings of the plastic crate, blocked oh, I dunno, 20% of the warm water, and I said,

          “That’s CO2 and the infrared resonant gases, blocking forty percent of the sun’s incoming energy. These hicks want to tell people in public,

          they think that crate blocking that hot water from hitting that hand creme jar, is the cause of THAT JAR getting WARMER

          than if it wasn’t there.”

          ======
          That’s who you find claiming they think infrared gases warm the earth.

          People who see that experiment and claim that everybody else doesn’t understand: when you BLOCK 40% of the incoming energy stream,

          you’re actually making the object warmer.

          Like if I took a microwave oven and put a roll into it,

          and turned it on for however long, and took the temperature of the roll.

          And then doing this to an identical roll, but placing a plate in the way of the microwaves that blocked 40% of the incoming energy,

          I have to listen to some twit with a dingle berry hung in his teeth – that giant dingle berry being all your OTHER wacked out proclamations about how “NUN’uhYA’W’ UNNERSTAYuND.. I got uh.. duGREE in.. FISICKS! YaW!”

          Like I have to listen to some twit claim because I blocked 40% of that incoming energy stream that second roll might actually be cooked MORE than the first one.

          I don’t have any respect for you or any other Magic Gasser and I’ll tell you here or wherever I see you pointing to the sky screaming “LOOK, YaW, a BRIGHT MAGICAL LIGHT!”

          I have the paperwork from your own High Priesthood: N.O.A.A. that proves they checked their own story and their story was wrong.

          I have the complete silence of the infrared astronomy field(s) and the various SENSING fields who, bizarrely if your GIANT MAGIC LIGHT BULB was on in the sky,

          have and do remain UTTERLY SILENT about it’s being on, and sensible with regular research and industry instruments.

          It’s an INFRARED LIGHT like the kind my TV remote uses.

          But nobody but the most bizarre of people claim to believe in it.

          You’re a socio-criminopath lying on the internet because you get a thrill from being anti whatever’s right,

          or because you simply like to play a game called “which of our religion can tell the biggest lie and not get laughed at?”

          …obviously you just got laughed at as do all of you whenever you start in with the “Ya’W caint see thuh big magic bright light!”

          No actually hillbilly YOU can’t see it.
          And you CLAIM you DO.

          That makes you, nothing more or less, whatever your motivations, than a bald faced liar.

          You lie and say the infrared astronomy field is lying.
          You lie and say Phil Jones is lying.
          You lie and say the optical astronomy field is lying – they can easily check your bulls** story, too; the giant growing light you ignorantly claim nobody is “special enough to know about” is also called “Atmospheric Scintillation.”

          That’s the twinkling of the stars and it’s the primary reason for the need for, space based optical and infrared astronomy.

          They have computer operated assemblies to flex the mirrors of larger telescopes today and only just invented one that makes observations through the atmosphere almost as clear as from space.

          The computer driven assemblies flex the mirrors to neutralize the nightly effect of thim magical backerdisms you told everybody you thunk wuz uh…gonna BOIL everybody’s eyes out.

          And they’re completely silent too, ever since the mid 1980s when they discovered how to flex telescope mirrors.

          In all those years not one student, not one professor, not one technician or engineer maintaining those optical mirror flex assemblies has said “Well LOOKIE HEEYUR thim BACKERDISMS
          is makin us have to FLEX thim MIRRURS more!”

          —-
          Is that what you think stupid?
          That everybody but you and about seventeen other hicks are unable to even make our instruments detect the giant heater in the sky?

          Well it’s about how many of you there are who believe in that crap, and your total iqs add up to about 17, too.

          I don’t know how many of you I’ve had to stop mid thread and point out are making magical claims of refrigerants being heaters,

          of giant energy screens being heaters,

          of ever more magical backerdisms being driven by magical forces – and I’ll quote straight from your RELIGIOUS LITERATURE: ‘Cain’t no metur deeteckt and cain’t nobody but whut gots pur siyuntifical hatrid fur mann kind, see.”

          You
          and the ignorant slugs who precede you in Super Stupid

          are among the MANY claimants of seeing “MAGICAL LIGHTS in thuh SKY, YA’W!”

          But like we all just saw, that claim can be ridiculed until coffee hits our keyboards

          with you basically standing there
          like the light came on

          and you were eating a booger.

          That GIANT booger on your face

          is your claim about “magical big bright lights, magic lights, thay’re boilin yaw’s eyes owt!”

          But we check your bullshoot and come to find out you’ve got the computational ability of a coke-addled Democrat.

          Which is, incidentally, most likely, what you are. Some addict who got a couple of years’ college, and had to drop out of the technical fields because of a personality disorder.

          WE CHECKED your MAGIC LIGHT in the SKY STORY.

          IT’S not THERE.
          IT never WAS.

          More SUN BLOCKED by adding more SUN BLOCKING GAS
          means more COOLING
          you ignorant hick.

          Have I mistakenly shown any respect for anything you’ve got to say?

          Because I’ll make another pass through here and have everybody laughing at you so long you’ll claim “family” responsibilities “took you away from blogging for awhile.”

          And I’ll do it with the offhand ease I just did.

          You’re not going to come around here and pretend there’s a giant light on in the atmosphere no detector can discover.

          You’re not going to come around here and pretend there’s a giant heater on in the atmosphere no sensor can sense.

          You’re not going to come in here and tell us the entire infrared sensing industry went blind,

          and that you’re a genius.

          Well you’ll try.

          And you’ll be laughed at to your befuddled face.

          And if people find out who you are in person, they’ll probably approach you personally and laugh at you LITERALLY to your befuddled face.

          While as I said,
          you stand there looking like you got caught sneaking a booger into your mouth.

          We don’t have to respect or regard you until what you say has some semblance of connection with reality.

          And everything you bark sounds like disordered personalities gone wild on the internet.

          Everybody else is dumb,
          you alone understand the nutritional genius
          of eating your own boogers.

          You represent crime, fraud, lying, greed, arrogance and evil stupid all in one package. In other words you’re a modern liberal.

  11. Christopher Game says:

    Some semantics.

    The dreaded “positive feedbacks” are, as Dr Spencer carefully says, only a component of the total secondary response to the primary radiative effect of added CO2. Stability is determined directly by the signs of the eigenvalues of a linearization of the dynamics. All agree here that the eigenvalues overall are all negative and that there is overall stability. “Positive feedbacks” can generate anti-compensatory secondary effects, in which the primary perturbation is magnified, to use a word that Dr Spencer has carefully used here in the past. It is clearly wrong to say that there is “amplification”, because amplification means that energy (supplied by the amplifier’s auxiliary power supply) is added to the signal. There is no auxiliary power supply here. The flowing energy all comes with the signal. Therefore there is no amplification strictly speaking. But it is a masterstroke of IPCC propaganda nevertheless to use the word “amplification”, and to use it so often that even our hero Dr Spencer is lured into using it at times, as for example this time. People see the term “positive feedback” and think they are very clever and understand what is happening, and are gulled into thinking that the effect of CO2 addition will be disastrous; that’s what the IPCC wants you to think.

    For engineers, ‘positive feedback’ is a component effect in a dynamical structure with a loop connected with the signal path. When the loop gain of the positive feedback is greater than 1, instability results; for us that would be “runaway” climate change; no one serious in the business thinks this will happen. What is being talked about here is positive feedback with a loop gain of less than 1. This may or may not lead to anti-compensatory effects but not to instability of the runaway kind.

    The occurrence of loopgain-less-than-one positive feedback seems to contradict the equilibrium theory of the Braun-LeChatelier principle. When there is flow, this is not ruled out by thermodynamics; this is considered carefully by Prigogine and Defay, (1954), translated by D.H. Everett, ‘Chemical Thermodynamics’, Longmans, Chapter XVII, ‘Theorems of Moderation’. They give an example of an anti-compensatory effect secondary to a primary perturbation, while the overall result is still stable.

  12. KR says:

    We have satellite measures of both water vapor and the spectrographic evidence of decreased IR at water vapor wavelengths (Harries 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007) – solid evidence for the increase in water vapor and GH effect with temperature as per the Clausius–Clapeyron relation and the associated doubling of CO2 driven warming.

    And the paleo evidence for temperatures and forcings (for example the Eemian era) indicate a climate sensitivity, ECS, of about 3C/doubling of CO2. That includes all cloud effects, and I have seen no evidence indicating that could feedback with temperature would be significantly different with CO2 rather than solar forcing changes. Which you would have to argue if you thought clouds would have significant negative feedback under anthropogenic greenhouse gas increases.

    Quite frankly, I don’t see complex climate models as necessary arguments for the reality of climate change, but rather as exploratory tools for the details thereof. Basic physics and evidence from history make the case for the large scale changes – and by that I include the ~3C/doubling climate sensitivity.

    • Bart says:

      Nature, apparently, disagrees.

      • nigel says:

        KR says:

        “And the paleo evidence for temperatures and forcings…
        indicate a climate sensitivity of , ECS, of about
        3 C/doubling of CO2…”

        Perhaps – but ONLY ever on a time scale which allows for the whole of the lower part of the Ocean to heat up first – and that is a time scale of thousands of years.

        Also – a slightly different point -I notice that many people, on blogs like these, are still blithely ignoring the obvious fact that there is little we “Westerners” can do now which will have a decisive effect on the future of the global climate.

        We don’t run the World anymore.

        By all means YOU buy an umbrella, if you see clouds in the distance. But don’t make ME build an Ark please.

        • KR says:

          Actually, nigel, the thousands of years sensitivity is the “Earth System Sensitivity” (ESS), perhaps twice the ECS.

          Transient climate sensitivity, equilibrium climate sensitivity (perhaps 1.5x TCS), and Earth system sensitivity (perhaps 2x ECS) are all different terms for different time frames.

          • nigel says:

            One cannot resolve those different responses you hypothesise
            in the paleo record – so perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

            Of course, a 3 C increase in all components of the Earth’s
            outer parts means an extra outpouring into space of some 8 Watts / M^2. Not quite sure where all that extra power is coming from.

          • nigel says:

            I will answer my own question, assuming a steady solar irradiance. It has to come from a change in the Albedo.

            The effective, equivalent blackbody temperature, of the Earth as a whole at heat budget balance, is absolutely, completely and exactly set by the average* Albedo.

            Clouds are important for the Albedo. So, less cloud would make things heat up, and more cloud would make things cool
            down. If somebody says they KNOW what will happen to cloud
            cover in the next few years, I would regard that somebody as a bit of a fool. There is a possibility that a less
            active sun will allow more cloud-seeding, since cosmic rays
            should come deeper into the atmosphere. It is a theory with support in the detailed paleo-records of the Holocene.
            BUT IT IS A GUESS.

            All the theories are GUESSES.

            * If the Albedo started to fluctuate noticeably, things would get complicated.

  13. pochas says:

    If adding CO2 to the upper atmosphere somehow makes the mixture a better radiator than pure water vapor, then the drying out of the upper troposphere makes sense. But I know of no theory that supports this (Greenhouse theory says the opposite). It’s an area that needs investigation.

  14. Christopher Game says:

    At any one time, most of the atmosphere is stably stratified against local large-scale convective circulation. That can be expressed by saying that the potential temperature is higher at higher altitudes. In this case, local large-scale dynamical feedbacks are predominantly negative.

    But that is only for the most part. For the rest, the minority, there are at any one time some thousands of localities where the atmosphere is not stably stratified. The potential temperature is lower at higher altitudes. There it can easily happen that local large-scale dynamics can exhibit positive feedback and set up a storm. Then there is mighty convective circulation that carries energy from the ground to the upper troposphere. This is what ensures that the rest, the most part mentioned above, can be stably stratified. Convective circulation is opposed by viscosity, and by turbulence. But at times and in places, the accumulation of internal energy at the ground and lowest troposphere is enough to set up a transient local large-scale positive feedback cycle that transports energy upwards with mighty effect, locally defeating the opposing efforts of viscosity and turbulence.

    This may be compared with boiling water in a pot on the stove. The main upward transport of energy is by the bubbles, which are what I mean here by local large-scale positive feedback effects. Once a little bubble near the bottom of the pot reaches a threshold size, it grows rather than being compressed out of existence. This idea is due to Laplace. As the bubble rises and carries energy upwards, some less hot water from near the surface is driven down to be exposed to the hotter bottom of the pot. And so the overall cycle is bubbly rather that smooth. When heat can pass to the surrounding atmosphere from the pot, not until all the water has been boiled away can the water be taken much hotter than 100 C.

    The ocean doesn’t get hotter than 30 C, and rarely that.

  15. Christopher Game says:

    The following argument is emphasized by Bob Carter and Bill Kininmonth. It is said that the law that determines the primary no-feedback effect of adding CO2 to the atmosphere on temperature is a logarithmic one. By this it is meant that each increment of CO2 level has a primary no-feedback effect proportional to the logarithm of the incremental ratio. It is said that CO2 has been rising for a significant time, so that the secondary effects have had time to manifest themselves. If this is so, then the sensitivity of the system to CO2 has already been shown by the course of events to be smaller than the IPCC would like us to accept. Why is this argument not more widely considered?

  16. Leonard Weinstein says:

    Roy,
    I spent most of my time at NASA (45 years) working on aerodynamic and basic fluid mechanic problems. Part of that time I was group leader of the Turbulent Flow and Modeling Group. I was not a theoretician or computational expert, my personal work was mainly experimental, but I worked with both. The simple fact is that there are no exact solutions to fully three dimensional time varying flows at sufficiently high Reynolds numbers. The so called exact equations and knowable initial and boundary conditions are not enough, at any possible resolution, to fully solve such flows. We do not even understand what turbulence is fully about. Approximations are always used, and in the end, experimental data is used to make approximations for the range of interest to fit the final data. This limitation would be valid for the atmosphere if there were no additional less well understood features such as clouds, aerosols, ocean currents/air interface, solar effects, etc. In other words, there is no way in #%*& that any long term projection will be close – ever (unless step 2 happens). Even if the direct effect of CO2 and approximate cloud feedback is correctly estimated, that still would not be enough for a long range projection to have a chance, especially since we may be close to the end of the Holocene.

  17. Nabil Swedan says:

    Climate models are missing the potential energy of the atmosphere in the calculations, which is 50% of the energy exchanged. They are simply wrong, period. The basic and fundamental energy equation is wrong. Had the climate project been an airplane project, it would not take off, and project team members would be fired by now.

    Climate projection back in 2007/2008 presented in in tables 1 and 5 of my book posted on global-heat.net showed surface water temperature trend of 0.05 to 0.07 degrees C/decade, which is observed. IPCC sea level projection has been revised to fall in line with my projection of 82 cm by 2100. Global warming has been on track, and the so called “pause” of surface temperature is on papers only, which were revised and surface temperature was reduced twice in 2005/2007 and 2010/2011. In the real world surface temperature ha not paused. Sea level has been steadily on the rise, in line with projection.

    A change in the average height of the atmosphere by only 10 meter is equal to 5.1 E20 Joules, equivalent to our total annual consumption of energy. We know that the geopotential heights of the atmosphere are decresing and this decrease cannot be ignored in the energy balance of the earth. The General Circulation Model ignores this large amount of potential energy in the energy balance of the climate, a mistake, that has yet to be corrected.

    • You better tell Trenberth right away that you found his “missing” heat, because he thinks it sank to the bottom of the ocean.

    • Dr. Strangelove says:

      The height of the atmosphere is not ignored in the energy balance of earth. Height is proportional to volume (V) of atmosphere. The whole atmosphere follows the ideal gas equation P V = n R T

      V is dependent on temperature (T) and pressure (P). Any change in T produces a change in V or P or both. So V does not cancel the effect of T to the whole atmosphere. The potential energy argument applies only to parcels of air changing temperature as it moves up and down within the atmosphere, not the whole atmosphere.

      • Nabil Swedan says:

        The potential energy of the atmospher is ignored in the General Circulation Model. They use d(m cp t)/dt= Solar energy in – radiated energy. The correct energy balance equation is d(m cp T)/dt + m g dz/dt= solar energy in -radiated energy.

        The first equation ignores the potential enrgy of the atmosphere. Only the effect of trace greenhouse gases are relevant in the energy balance, which is untrue. This incrorrect equation yields climate sensitivity as defined. This term, climate sensitivity, is a result of writing an incorrect energy balance of the earth. Climate sensitivity is a fiction that does not exist in the real world.

        The second and correct equation yields a differential equation that is completely different, where climate sensitivity as defined does not exist. Computer models are way too wrong and must be corrected. The potential enrgy of the atmosphere cannot be ignored in the energy balance; it is 50% of the energy exchanged.

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          Hi Nabil,
          for what it’s worth I agree with you about the atmospheric PE.
          For this reason I still can’t figure out a GHGs free isothermal atmosphere.

          Have a nice day.

          Massimo

        • Dr. Strangelove says:

          As I said, your equation applies to a parcel of air moving in the atmosphere, not to the whole atmosphere. The mathematical analysis is different when dealing with the whole atmosphere and average temperature and average pressure. Your equation applies to heat and energy transfers from one part of the atmosphere to another part.

          BTW your equation is also incomplete. You should include latent heat, kinetic energy, conductive and convective heat transfers. The complete energy equation is:

          H + m g z + 1/2 m v^2 = k

          where:
          H = enthalpy
          m = mass
          g = acceleration due to gravity
          z = elevation
          v = velocity
          k = constant (energy is conserved)

          Of course it doesn’t include electromagnetic, chemical and nuclear energy balance as it is not relevant in this case.

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Dr,

            No Sir. Your equation applies for a parcel of air in motion, such as meteorological events that occurs in short periods of time. For climate studies, a long term consderation in years and decades, the atmosphere is a motionless mass of air. Because at the conclusion of each year, air cycles complet. March conditions are about the same every year, and the resultant of kinetics of air cancels out.

            Regardless of our different approaches, the General Circulation Model (GCM) is used for the climate as well as for meteorological studies. It ignores the potential energy of the atmosphere. Presently, with climate change, the geopotential heights of the atmosphere are decreasing, or the potential energy of the atmosphere is decreasing, Where does this energy go? Is it accounted for by the GCM? Of course, not. A big mistake.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            Nabil,
            Yes that equation is for parcel of air in the atmosphere. The atmosphere has many layers with different temperature and pressure so this kind of analysis is useful rather than the average temperature and pressure of the whole atmosphere.

            If it is true the height of atmosphere is decreasing, that indicates decrease in volume due to cooling. Change in volume is a response to changes in temperature or pressure or both. The energy is already accounted for by the change in T or P or both.

            BTW increase in potential energy (increase in elevation) of a gas is not due to heat transfer. It is caused by buoyant force due to earth’s gravity. If you heat a small hot air balloon inside the International Space Station, the gas will expand but it will not rise because earth’s gravity is balanced by the centrifugal force of the ISS.

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Dr.

            The reason why it took me so many years to consider the potential enrgy of the atmosphere in the calculations is that I was thinking, just like everybody else, in laboratory terms or practical application at surface. In these cases, the change in potential energy of steam, air, or gas is negligible. This is not the case for the earth’s atmosphere. It cannot be neglecte. Half of surface warming is caused by potential energy realease as a result of the observed reduction of the geopotential heights of the atmosphere. If you wish to see the numbers, please read “Solving the mystery of stratospheric cooling” on my website.

            There is work exchanged with any buoyancy. And buoyancy is generated by burning fuel in balloons or exchanging heat with air. Of course bouancy is a form of energy that must be accouned for in the calculations.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            Nabil,
            You are reversing cause and effect. You think the cause is decrease in atmospheric volume (decrease in height) and the effect is increase in temperature. It’s wrong because it’s contrary to the general gas law PV/T = k where k is a constant. T is directly proportional to V. Increase T and V also increases, if P is constant. Also, it’s T (cause) that drives V (effect).

            V is not the cause because it cannot change by itself. T can change by itself depending on rate of heat transfer. Increase in T makes hot air balloon expand but the buoyant force is supplied by gravity via the hydrostatic pressure of the surrounding gas. This phenomenon is not easy to understand that’s why people get confused. Suggest you study Archimedes principle and Pascal’s law. These are the physical principles governing the phenomenon.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            As hot air rise, it cools. You can equate the cooling (change in T) to increase in potential energy (change in elevation). You see it’s T that’s driving V. The energy comes from cooling of gas (heat to potential energy).

  18. John Owens says:

    Hockey Schtick’s URL that he references in his post of Sept 30 at 5:05PM should be read by everyone. I agree strongly that the nature of climate modeling makes it impossible to actually predict the climate for more than a short time.

  19. Stan says:

    Stratospheric water vapor feedback,
    Dessler, A. E., et al, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2013
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler2013c.pdf

    Abstract:
    “We show here that stratospheric water vapor variations play an important role in the evolution of our climate. This comes from analysis of observations showing that stratospheric water vapor increases with tropospheric temperature, implying the existence of a stratospheric water vapor feedback. We estimate the strength of this feedback in a chemistry–climate model to be +0.3 W/(m2·K), which would be a significant contributor to the overall climate sensitivity. One-third of this feedback comes from increases in water vapor entering the stratosphere through the tropical tropopause layer, with the rest coming from increases in water vapor entering through the extratropical tropopause.”

    • Stan says:

      Amazing — no a single one of you has the chutzpah to take on this paper…. Not even Roy Spencer. He’d clearly rather pretend it doesn’t exist.

      • Richard Vada says:

        We checked your bullshit story and you’re lying.

        N.O.A.A. checked YOUR CLAIM of the connection between ATMOSPHERIC INFRARED
        and INFRARED RESONANT GASES.

        There was LESS after FOURTEEN YEARS than when they STARTED CHECKING.

        Amazingly you’re still in full denial N.O.A.A. PUBLISHED THE REPUDIATION of their OWN CLAIM of EVER RISING BACKERDISMS in the sky.

        Look on the paper hick. It’s N.O.A.A’s STORY, not YOURS.

        THEY CHECKED to see if you’re TELLING the TRUTH.
        THEY CHECKED to see if THEY were telling the TRUTH.

        THEY ADMIT THEY CHECKED THEIR STORY and THEIR STORY can’t POSSIBLY BE ACCURATE.

        That means YOUR STORY can’t possibly be real.
        That means YOUR STORY can’t possibly be accurate.

        You have BEEN MISLED. There IS no MAGICAL LIGHT on in the sky.

        Hick.

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2011JCLI4210.1?journalCode=clim

  20. M. Adeno says:

    It can be said, that even astrological predictions are built upon physical immutable first principles, and there are excellent models to predict the astronomical events for further astrological predictions. Only the further conclusions are doubtful.

    • Stan says:

      What physical first principles are astrological predictions based on?

      • M. Adeno says:

        position calculations of planets

        • Stan says:

          The positional calculation of planets is astronomy, not astrology. The latter assumes far more than the former — based on what first principles?

          • Sam Grove says:

            Read it more carefully Stan.

            He did not equate astrology with astronomy, only that they both would make the same calculations regarding planetary positions.

            Not much point to his comment though.

  21. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Roy,
    I believe Prof. Lindzen and Lord Monckton claim that satellite data of outgoing radiation show negative feedback, contrary to the positive feedback of climate models. Are you aware of their work?

      • Dr. Strangelove says:

        I hope this work is published in popular media. Many people are unaware of it and its significance.

        • Stan says:

          Monckton in the media? Surely you are joking… No one who cares about a serious discussion of the science would quote him on anything.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            The work was done by Prof. Lindzen. Monckton is promoting it in the media. It’s no joke but would you like to quote Al Gore instead?

          • Stan says:

            Yes — Gore has much more of a decent reputation than Monckton. I feel sorry for “skeptics”, having to accept the likes of him.

          • JohnK says:

            Stan does indeed appear to prefer the supposedly “decent” (?) but admittedly sketchy reputation of Al Gore. Al admitted his support for the scientifically, ecologically, and economically unsubstantiated and far too expensive government policy of ethanol (corn) subsidies arose from his desire to channel government revenues to farmers and friends in business. “Subsidies before science!” That may seem like a winning campaign slogan for Stan and others, but I’ll keep my cash. I recommend you all keep your’s as well. Thank you!

          • Sam Grove says:

            Stan, you are committing the genetic fallacy. Undermines your credibility.

  22. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Regarding Miskolczi’s paper, I believe his conclusions are doubtful and/or trivial. See this six-part series discussing this paper.

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2011/04/22/the-mystery-of-tau-miskolczi/

    • Fulco says:

      Science of Doom has doubts about the viral theorem and the Kirchhoff law and I think they are right about that but…
      Miskolczi later explains not to have mathematical proof but this behaviour follows from weather baloon measurements and spectral analysis.

      • Dr. Strangelove says:

        Miskolczi did not include changes in other greenhouse gases so his hypothesis that optical thickness is constant is wrong. His energy balance calculations are also wrong.

        • Fulco says:

          He shows that watervapor concentrations can be adjusted whether you add CO2 or some other dipole gas. Only in the case of CO2 he made a calculation. If you add another gases you get an other results.
          Can you explain why his energy balance calculations are wrong.

    • Richard Vada says:

      What’s doubtful or trivial is your understanding of the current research in the field. Magic Gas has been proven to not be magic after all. There’s no association with atmospheric CO2 and Backerd’s radiation.

      You’re just another one who got told the atmospheric coolants are a giant heater in the sky and when you flipped a coin and bit the wrong apple,

      your reputation joined that of Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Gavin Schmidt, and Stan.

      And Joel Shore.

      Magic Gas belief requires you telling yourself there’s no way for us to check your story.

      That there’s a giant infrared heater on, in the sky.

      LoL what a hick.

      We checked; you’re just another scammer.

  23. Quondam says:

    Roy,

    It was gratifying to read that someone else considers climate sensitivity to be a problem of dissipation. This introduces a direct thermodynamic connection and, indeed, in zeroth order climate sensitivity is no more than the ratio of a temperature difference to a dissipated energy flux. For the troposphere, use of your favorite parameters leads directly to a CO2 doubling of 1K without any reference to thermal radiation, convection, dimensionality or linearity.

    I also agree that the current models are not base upon Physical First Principles. Common to all models is the “convective adjustment” which has no physical basis. The concept of “Convective Equilibrium”, evidentally originated by Lord Kelvin was scuttled by Clerk Maxwell in his 1872 treatise on heat. (Given Kelvin’s status in British science at the time, J.C. chose his words a bit gently.)

    Over recent years, I’ve been exploring problems in steady-state thermodynamics and found that, viewing the troposphere as a simple dissipative heat engine leads to rather interesting results when the vector calculus is applied to basic thermodynamic expressions.

    http://pdquondam.webng.com/Files/PDQ_Notes.html

    This link is to some background prose for those who aren’t physical chemists. A link embedded therein gets to the hard-core stuff.

    Regards,
    quondam

    • your link doesn’t work.

    • Chris Schoneveld says:

      It does work for me.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Hi Quondam,
      I’m just an engineer, but what you wrote in your link and pdf about thermal dissipation, sounds good to me.

      Have a nice day.

      Massimo

    • Dr. Strangelove says:

      Viewing the troposphere as a simple dissipative heat engine is too simplistic. Earth is more complex than a steam engine or a light bulb. Surface temperature is affected by energy transfers between land, ocean and troposphere.

      I suggest you study the radiative-convective model of Ramathan and Coakley. And see if your model can make predictions better than their model.

      http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/02/10/co2-%e2%80%93-an-insignificant-trace-gas-part-five/

    • Dr. Strangelove says:

      You said:
      “The grand irony is “97%” of climate scientists seem unaware that thermal dissipation is the dominant mechanism determining tropospheric temperatures.”

      Atmospheric greenhouse effect theory recognize this. That’s why in the earth energy balance, almost all of incoming solar flux (342 W/m^2) are radiated back to space. The imbalance is less than 1 W/m^2. Earth’s surface is dissipating more energy (390 W/m^2) than the TOA flux. The GHE or “back radiation” is simply slowing down the rate of heat dissipation to space.

      “If climate sensitivity is no more than a rephrasing of Carnot’s equation, “Why have so many invested so much time, effort and passion attempting to find its value?”

      Because Carnot’s equation cannot solve the value of climate sensitivity. You need to solve the radiative transfer equations and make actual measurements to check if calculations match the observations.

      • Kristian says:

        “Earth’s surface is dissipating more energy (390 W/m^2) than the TOA flux.”

        Please stop promoting this nonsense view of the real world!

        Earth’s surface is not dissipating more energy than the TOA flux. That notion is simply absurd.

        What matters is the ‘free energy’ it dissipates, that is, energy free to do work or to make warmer. HEAT is (as always) the key word here. You even mention it yourself: “The GHE or “back radiation” is simply slowing down the rate of heat dissipation to space.”

        Eh, no. Nothing can dissipate more heat than what it receives. The Earth’s surface receives on average (evened out globally and across the diurnal cycle) a heat flux of ~165 W/m^2. By solar radiation. Only the Sun brings heat from above to the Earth’s surface.

        This 165 W/m^2 worth of heat absorbed is then setting the target for how much the surface can/needs to release back out to balance its budget. And it does. On average. 165 W/m^2 IN, 165 W/m^2 OUT.

        The radiative heat flux being dissipated from the Earth’s global surface is 50-60 W/m^2, of which about 30 W/m^2 is absorbed by the atmosphere on its way out. The rest (~110 W/m^2) is taken care of by convective heat transfer processes (conduction/convection and evaporation).

        Your ‘back radiation’ does not constitute free energy. It’s a ghost. Already lost (emitted from the surface) and spent (heating the atmosphere). After this it can do no more, thermodynamically. It is neither heat nor work. So stop pretending it is!

      • Ball4 says:

        Kristian 8:59am – It is your view that needs to be brought up to date; Dr. Strangelove’s view IS up to date.

        Heat doesn’t exist as a noun anywhere in the universe anymore, not in the ocean, not in the Earth’s surface or center, not in the atmosphere. Read up on the caloric theory’s demise. The sun doesn’t pour heat into Earth’s surface anymore after the confusing caloric theory was abandoned. NOW the sun does deposit thermal energy at Earth’s surface and in the atm. IOW the sun transfers thermal energy to earth’s surface and atm. (SW IR) as does the atmosphere to surface on its own (LW IR).

        Kristian writes: “Earth’s surface receives on average (evened out globally and across the diurnal cycle) a heat flux of ~165 W/m^2..”

        See, the misguided “heat” poured in (fluxed) view leads to Kristian’s inaccurate conclusion. Earth’s surface receives on average a thermal energy transfer in (SW IR bands) from the sun of 161 Joules/sec-m^2 (temporally and spatially avg.d from March 2000 to May 2004) plus Earth’s surface receives on average thermal energy transfer in (avg.d in LW IR bands) of 333 Joules/sec-m^2 from the mean column of air radiating bath above the surface. This atm. bath includes energy transfer that comes from surface thermals (conductive & convective transfer), surface evaporation (LH) returning.

        This view correctly resolves Kristian’s outdated caloric theory view & issue to Dr. Strangelove’s modern thermal energy transfer science. On avg., then to nearly balance the surface 161+333 = 494 in, Earth’s surface loses 396 Joules/sec-m^2 from radiative thermal energy transfer, 17 Joules/sec-m^2 from conductive convective thermals and 80 Joules/sec-m^2 from evaporation-transpiration.

        Earth’s March 2000 to May 2004 surface energy transfer balance is 161 LW + 333 SW energy transferred IN per sec per m^2 and transfers out LW 396 + 17 + 80 + 1 missing. Surface in 494 & out 493 with 1 out missing in action due to rounding, due to mis-measurement, due to CIs, due to near surface atm. avg. temperature increase, deep ocean temperature increase, et. al. call it what you will. See I did not use the dismissed caloric theory noun word “heat”.

        Once Kristian uses heat as a noun, anyone can become quickly confused as shown in Kristian’s post. Recommend delete “heat” word from postings and Kristian will clean up to more accurate modern thermal energy transfer science. If in the future, one reads a post using the word “heat” as a noun, just assume post will be confused until parsed in detail using thermal energy transfer science correctly as does Dr. Strangelove.

        • Kristian says:

          Sigh, we’ve been through this before, Ball4. There’s a clear thermodynamic definition of ‘heat’ and ‘work’. You can look it up anywhere. Heat/work is energy in transit between thermodynamic systems. It always goes one way only, from high potential to low potential. Concerning ‘heat’, that means from hot to cold. Heat/work is what changes the internal energy content of a system. You know, like in the pretty familiar 1st Law expression: ΔU = Q – W. Your passionate crusade against the concept of heat is absurd and a bit comical. You’re the one obfuscating things in trying your best to downplay its unique quality, actually, to ditch it altogether. But it’s clear you don’t see that at all.

          HEAT/WORK is always a transfer of energy. Energy is not always HEAT/WORK. Nothing contains heat or work. Heat is transferred from/to, work is done on/by, a system. Only a transfer of heat/work to/from a system can change that system’s internal energy content. And thus cool or warm it.

          I know you would like to invoke the concept of energy exchange between thermodynamic systems, like the surface of the Earth and the atmosphere above it, claiming this will end up making even the warmer of the two systems (the surface) warmer – as long as it’s already supplied with heat from some heat source, like the Sun.

          The flaw in this idea lies in HOW you accomplish this ‘extra’ warming of the already warmer system.

          # It is not accomplished by the incoming energy flux from its heat source (the Sun). That is what it is.

          # It is not accomplished by in any way restricting or reducing the outgoing radiative flux, being emitted as a result of the absorption of the energy from the heat source, from escaping the warmer system (the surface). That is what it is.

          # It is accomplished solely by adding the ‘extra’ radiative energy flux in from the cooler system (the atmosphere). Without a radiatively active atmosphere, apparently it wouldn’t be there. And hence its specific presence is what makes all the difference to the surface temperature.

          So, you’re not reducing the outgoing energy to create warming. You’re adding to the incoming energy. Thus increasing the outgoing.

          Knowing what a ‘heat’ flux is and what it does, it should be obvious to anyone that adding extra energy to create extra warming (that is, to increase the internal energy content of the receiving system) means adding HEAT (or work).

          And this heat is added from a cooler system to a warmer, from the atmosphere to the surface. Which is impossible in nature. The atmosphere acts as a second heat source to its own heat source. It’s just ridiculous.

        • Ball4 says:

          Kristian 12:36pm – “..energy exchange between thermodynamic systems……claiming this will end up making even the warmer of the two systems (the surface) warmer..”

          Energy exchange is correct science; macro heat transfer is correctly one way, the lapse rate normally ensures heat transfer is from Earth surface to atm. Note it is correct modern science to use “heat” term as adjective (heat transfer) but energy transfer is more precise and thus preferred.

          Kristian writes normally confused: “Nothing contains heat…. Heat is transferred from/to…”

          If nothing contains heat (as in modern science) then how can heat be located, “from” over there to be transferred “to” here? Confused Kristian is evidenced here. Just force yourself to drop “heat” term, use temperature and energy, learn how fast Kristian’s confusion of atm. thermal energy transfer diminishes.

          Kristian writes: “.. increase the internal energy content of the receiving system…” this is correct modern science; build on that thought Kristian. Energy is ok as a noun, plenty of energy in the ocean but no heat.

          “means adding HEAT…” No. Not anymore. Where WAS the heat fluid? Where IS it now? Exactly. No, this was the caloric theory where one could pour heat into an iron bar in those days past; i.e adding a colorless fluid “heat” poured (fluxed) into the bar. The notion of heat as a noun being some sort of fluid is no longer useful in any way; this “heat” term confuses Kristian et. al. as evidence shows. Just use energy transfer & temperature terms Kristian, you’ll be better communicator. In a weak moment, I would call that less wasted heat.

          “heat source” A source (the sun, or atm., or surface) with a colorless fluid pouring out of it? No, modern science views sun as a thermal energy source; thru radiative energy transfer, from fusion processes, using up H. Try:

          The atmosphere acts as a second energy source to its own energy source. It’s just ridiculous. Yes, see now? Less confusion Kristian, fast.

  24. Ken Gregory says:

    Might it be that some feedbacks in the climate system are indeed positive for short term (e.g. year-to-year) variability, but the long-term feedbacks end up being negative, as suggested (for example) by the decrease in upper tropospheric water vapor since the 1950s?

    Here is a phase-space diagram from NOAA ESRL radiosonde data from 1960 to 2012 at the 400 mb pressure level in the tropics:
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/SH400TropicsVsTemp.jpg

    The graph is a phase space plot of the data points connected in time sequence. Over short time periods an increase in temperature causes an increase in specific humidity. The annual data shows linear striations increasing from bottom left to top right, confirming that higher temperatures relate to higher specific humidity over short time intervals. But the overall trend is down, proving that specific humidity declines with increasing temperatures over longer time scales. The drying of the upper troposphere is a slow process.

    The declining upper atmosphere humidity is important because a change in humidity there has a huge effect on the radiation balance. Line-by-line radiative code calculations show that a water vapor change in the 500-300 mb layer has 29 times the effect on OLR than the same change in the 1013-850 mb near-surface layer. A water vapor change in the 300-200 mb layer has 81 times the effect on OLR than the same change in the 1013-850 mb near-surface layer. This is shown in this bar chart:
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/OLR_PWV_bar.jpg

    These graphs are discussed here:
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Climate_Change_Science.html#Water_vapour

    If the relative humidity stayed constant, the temperature in the mid-troposphere would have increased by at lease double the rate at the surface as a consequence of the moist adiabatic curves. Dr. Christy’s graph shows that the modeled temperature trend is more than 5 times the trend of the observations from 1979. The models predicts constant relative humidity and rising specific humidity. The low trend in the temperature observations imply that specific humidity has declined and is consistent with the radiosonde humidity measurements.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/spencer-models-epic-fail.jpg

    • pochas says:

      This effect needs to be understood before any credibility can be given to climate models. A good place to start would be the spectroscopy lab, where the radiative characteristics of mixtures of greenhouse gasses at the relevant temperatures and pressures needs to be examined in detail. If CO2 is indeed having a cooling effect (more outgoing IR from lower altitudes in the water bands) this is a game changer.

  25. ren says:

    I do not understand why so little attention is paid to the stratosphere. Meanwhile, the jet streams and ocean currents jointly decide on redistributing the energy in the troposphere. Winter is coming and we will see for yourself.

  26. Do I really believe that nature amplifies any temperature influence humans have on the climate system, or minimizes it?

    I think nature tends to minimize, not amplify, medium and long-term imbalances. This would explain the very long-term survival of the climate system. Short-term imbalances tend to run wild and grow till they reach a climax, then discharge and dissapear. Like a tropical storm or a tornado.

    Thanks, Dr. Spencer. Good article.

  27. Dan Pangburn says:

    The one significant driver of the average global temperature trend since 1610 is disclosed at http://conenssti.blogspot.com/

  28. quondam says:

    Thanks to all who took time to browse my notes. WRT to some points raised:

    1. The heat engines to which Carnot’s equation commonly applies contain radiation fields significantly stronger than those in troposphere, i.e. higher temperatures, and function in a 1G environment, although these parameters are not explicit in the equation. Energy flux includes all forms of energy which can change the temperature of a volume element.

    2. The Schwarzschild equations used for radiation calculations are not thermodynamically complete. If, for example, one uses MODTRAN to find the net upward radiant energy flux as a function of altitude, it roughly doubles on going from surface to tropopause. The rational explanation is that an ‘invisible’ flux of convective energy is being converted to radiant energy. But, this value depends on the assumed temperature profile. We can redo the radiant calculation to reflect greenhouse gas changes, but to find convection changes requires a knowledge of the change of the thermal profile. The “convective adjustment” assumes no lapse rate change, equivalent to no convective flux changes, in regions where dissipation is greatest.

    3. The current hassling over feedbacks concerns the “constitutive relationship” between flux and potential as influenced by clouds, aerosols, and what-have-you. The most important lesson from a thermodynamic analysis is that flux changes become less important to dissipation with increasing “positive feedback”. Even in the “constant current” limit, dissipation still increases with potential at a finite rate.

    4. For purposes of discussion, exact surface integrals been reduced to isothermal, two-terminal representations. For ‘global’ calculations one would have to integrate using functional representations for local fluxes and potentials, an exercise best left to students.

    • Dr. Strangelove says:

      I cannot see what your ‘theory’ adds, if any, to the current knowledge in climate science. Can you be more explicit if you’re saying anything new or unknown to climate scientists?

      • Richard Vada says:

        There’s nothing to add to thermodynamics:

        We checked for the giant light you claim you still think is on in the sky.

        It’s not there.

      • Richard Vada says:

        Seeing the stunning stupidity of someone claiming there’s something to be added about which way thermometers point,

        when speaking to people who haven’t been able to properly assess which direction one was going to go for the last 18 years

        and their followers whose sole blandishment amounts to “You’ll all see, the giant magic light/heater in the sky’s gonna YadaYadaYada…

        is what you’re going to have to get used to, if you’re going to put scientific discourse onto proper tracks where there’s accountability for claiming there’s a giant light on in the sky for 20+ years

        that’s “too big not to believe in, but too small to be detected on a sensor.”

        ====
        This was all because when Al Gore lost the election he had to do a comeback tour and pick up some money and some chicks.

        He knew Al Qaeda had the country’s attention so he went big, and he spammed some crap about some atmospheric chemistry he didn’t know anything about and revealed a pretty hefty sized, grants funding scam being run by high Federal and internationally, climate/meteorology/Academia officials.

        His dad had left him some oil stocks in Occidental Oil, U.S.s third largest oil company, but not oil shipper.
        Why?
        Because Al Gore’s daddy Senator Gore had left little Al Jr
        stocks in the one company in the world that was an oil company,
        but 40% of whose holdings, were in,
        go figure,
        Alternative Energy.

        So Al Jr still had those dusty old things and decided to do a little

        Energy markets manipulation,
        make back a buck or two,

        get relevant again,
        get sexy with the hippie chicks,
        get back into the shaking and moving groove,

        and guess what?
        When Al realized how much money there really was to be had, by simply doing exactly what Al Qaeda was doing:

        telling everybody to install his policies,
        in spite of any elections,
        or they’d be in terror for their lives or their children’s,

        just like Al Qaeda,

        and the simultaneous threat of economic destabilization of entire industries through his associates seizing power through refusal to ‘simply follow these same old programs we’ve been following, honoring the same failed systems we’ve been honoring,’

        in fact encouraging his followers to simply break the law to drag any institutions that resisted the terror to a dead standstill

        like Al Qaeda

        when Al saw he could make much, much more than just money for himself, but that his followers would literally break the law and drag civilization down like a dog killing it’s owner on command,

        he saw no reason to ever stop it.

        This is and was
        from the beginning

        a political crime wave instituted by a failed U.S. politician who saw how vulnerable civilization is to a terror campaign, when he watched how people responded, to a terror campaign by Al Qaeda.

        ====

        The good thing about these goofy pseudo science spammers is all you have to have,

        is THEIR story.

        You don’t NEED somebody to “give you the skeptics’ story.”

        You don’t need any more sense than whatever scientific understanding you have of more or less, hot or cold.

        These people are sociopath wackos.

        They insist that when you stand in a shower
        and say to yourself, “I’m the EARTH”

        and turn on the warm water and STAND in it saying to yourself, THAT is the intense stream of infrared energy from the SUN,

        and if you hold up a board having drilled sufficient holes in it that it blocked 40% of the ENERGY REACHING YOU,

        you are to refer to THAT, as WARMING.

        And that if you had LESS holes drilled, so LESS hot water hit you

        THEY THINK THEY CAN TELL YOU

        THAT leads to you being WARMER.

        ====

        That’s the depth of evil of these insidious clowns with their cries of “I tell you I see the magic light and it’s gonna affect yew tew! Yer gonna be duhSTROYED you ba***!

        But the thing is,

        this is about a GIANT INFRARED LIGHT BULB THEY CLAIM is ON in the SKY.

        That’s OBVIOUSLY not THERE.
        And OBVIOUSLY NEVER WAS.

        You’ve got them telling people IN FRONT of people, UNAFRAID you’ll CALL them on their BULL SHOOT and INTIMIDATE expedition,

        that “Here’s the CO2 in the box, and HERE’S the INFRARED LASER, and YOU’LL NOTICE that the MORE CO2 there is, the MORE light gets blocked, till finally, NONE gets through.

        These morons are daring you to point out to them that the SUN is the laser, and adding MORE and MORE CO2 would eventually culminate with MORE and MORE INFRARED being blocked before it got IN.

        ====

        Can you imagine someone in any other field trying to tell you they thought there is a giant INFRARED LIGHT ON in the sky 24/7/365 but that the REASON you won’t BELIEVE in it is because you don’t WANT to?

        With their leaders being AL GORE, MICHAEL MANN, JAMES HANSEN, and GAVIN SCHMIDT?

        The clowns who haven’t been able to tell which way a WHAT?

        Which way a THERMOMETER is gonna point, folks –

        their followers telling you,

        you’re obligated to do anything but mock them to political scorn for being delusionals whose believers think blocking the incoming stream of hot water from your shower,

        makes you WARMER.

        It’s political intimidation because people are too polite to call them pinheads and socio-criminopaths, is what it is.

        You go ahead and read what WARMERS say.

        THAT’S what you need to do,

        to break you of believing in the Magic Gas Effect.

  29. Dan Pangburn says:

    Who guessed that it could be so simple?

    All measurements point to the average global temperature TREND since 1610 (the start of regular recording of sunspot numbers) being driven by something(s) that are driven by the sunspot number time-integral and OSCILLATIONS above and below the trend are the net effect of ocean cycles. Since temperatures have been accurately measured world wide, the net effect of ocean cycles has been approximately +-1/5 K with a period of 64 years. Most recent peak was in approximately 2005.

    Aerosols, volcanos, change to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, etc. have had no significant effect on average global temperature.

    http://conenssti.blogspot.com/

  30. Greg Goodman says:

    But “state-of-the-art” does not always mean accurate, or even useful, if the art is still in its infancy.

    What a state to get into !

  31. aaron says:

    In addtion, the water vapor feedback is likely over estimated. Much of it is based on the pinatubo studies, which did account for the drying effects of cloud formation. However (I do not know if this is correct), they do not include the effect of less shortwave radiation reaching the surface.

    The temprature change lowers the capacity of the atmosphere, but lack of light may be a large factor in the decrease in water vapor.

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