American Thinker Publishes a Stinker

April 24th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I really dislike going down this road, but it’s articles like this (Global Warming and Settled Science, in American Thinker) from today that confuse the global warming science debate and end up wasting my time as I get e-mails asking for comment.

Now, those familiar with my views KNOW I’m a huge critic of the climate models used to predict global warming. I believe there are serious biases in them. But most of the physics they involve are pretty good. Yet, it only takes one component (e.g. a cloud parameterization) to change a model’s response to increasing CO2 from catastrophic warming to benign warming.

So, when author Andre Lofthus throws around some radiation physics concepts and claims that the atmosphere cannot warm from more CO2 because (basically) the CO2 absorption bands are already 100% saturated, well, I have to respond. I’ve already done that once by e-mail this morning, but I’m sure more requests are coming, so I’m going to try to nip it in the bud here. (Awhile back a NASA story about CO2 cooling [GASP! COOLING!] in the upper atmosphere led to a Slayer blog post that I was getting e-mails about for months after. As if we didn’t already know that CO2 strongly cools the upper atmosphere. Geez.)

So, here we go again…

It doesn’t matter even if the CO2 absorption bands are 100% opaque to the transmission of IR radiation from the surface to the top of the atmosphere…adding more CO2 still causes a warming tendency in the lower atmosphere (and cooling in the upper atmosphere).

There are two reasons for this. The first is that pressure broadening of the absorption lines leads to the absorption lines influencing much wider ranges of wavelengths, which are not “saturated”, that is, not 100% opaque.

The second reason is that, even if there is 100% opacity (which there cannot be for gaseous absorption), if you add more and more CO2, the effective radiating altitude to space goes ever higher, which is colder, which means less IR radiation, which means a warming tendency for the lower atmosphere.

In other words, 100% opacity of the atmosphere to IR in the CO2 absorption bands — even IF it existed — would not prevent a lower atmospheric warming tendency (and upper atmospheric cooling tendency) in response to further increases in CO2. This is why the surface of Venus is hot enough to melt lead…the atmosphere is so strongly radiatively insulated against loss of IR to space that the temperatures climb until radiative energy balance is achieved. Models have quite adequately explained the temperature profile on Venus with the known atmospheric composition, just as they explain the temperature profile here on Earth.

And until the Slayers and Mr. DC and Mr. JP come up with an alternative time-dependent model that converges to the observed temperature profile, they are doing little more than hand-waving.

The best direct observational evidence I have seen that increasing CO2 causes less IR to escape from the Earth to space is the NASA AIRS CO2 retrievals. These retrievals measure and quantify the IR “trapping” effect (a poor term, I admit) at various IR wavelengths from the AIRS satellite measurements, which as I understand it, agrees quite well with established theory:

The real question for global warming is, what are the feedback responses of the climate system to the resulting warming tendency? I believe it is relatively strong negative feedback, and little net warming. Maybe with some deep-ocean heat storage thrown in (it won’t matter to anyone or anything if the deep ocean warms from 40.2 deg. F to 40.3 deg. F in the next 50 years).

Not all of global warming theory has to be wrong…just one weak link in the chain can cause the whole house of cards to fall. Oops…I think I just mixed my metaphors again. Oh well, that’s the way the cookie bounces.


146 Responses to “American Thinker Publishes a Stinker”

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  1. Nabil Swedan says:

    “I believe there are serious biases in them. But most of the physics they involve are pretty good.”

    Absolutely not, their physics is incorrect and that’s why they are wrong. The large number of modelers cannot be wrong simultaneously unless the physics is wrong. Climate models need some fixing.

    • Nabil, “most of the physics” is the standard stuff, which is also contained in weather forecast models…radiative transfer, geostrophic flow in the atmosphere, the basic structure of baroclinic weather systems, etc. These are the components that allow the modelers to claim that their models are based upon “known physical principles”, which is *mostly* true.

      But the fact that so many of the models are wrong in the warming predictions is likely due to the “biases” I mentioned, such as in cloud parameterizations. These are a small part of the total model code (most of which I claim is pretty good) but exert a huge infleunce on climate sensitivity.

      This is why I say that most of the physics in the models is pretty good….that *doesn’t* mean it’s good enough to predict warming. Your knee-jerk reaction with a blanket statement that “their physics is incorrect” is unhelpful. I hope you see the distinction.

      • Nabil Swedan says:

        The climate standard stuff is wrong, period. For example, we all know that radiation is surface phenomenon. I have never seen in any engineering textbook that air mass radiates at all air layers. The lapse rate equation is an equality between air enthalpy and potential energy, there is no radiation terms in it. Then why is the climate textbooks are so different than engineering or atmospheric textbooks? Air is the same in all cases, is not so? Engineering books are based on successful applications, their physics is correct. Therefore, climate physics must be wrong.

        • So, despite thousands of laboratory measurements of air absorbing and emitting IR energy, you refuse to believe it. Sorry, I guess there is no reasoning with you then.

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Svante Arrhenius (1896) says clearly that the theory was not tested. So what measurements are you talking about? Also he himself did not say that his work is correct ” I lay this work before the public and critics.” So what are you talking about?

            —You’ve GOT to be joking. There are hundreds if not thousands of journal publications quantifying the CO2 absorption/emission effects as a function of temperature and pressure from laboratory spectroscopy. From space, IR measurements from a variety of satellite sensors since the 1970s show increasingly cold brightness temperatures the closer a channel frequency is to an absorption line, revealing the IR emission is from a higher level, also consistent with the theory. I don’t care what Arrhenius claimed or didn’t claim in 1896. A lot has happened since then in the relevant sciences. — Roy

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Dr. Spencer, Respectfully, you are going off on a tangent. All gases absorb IR and CO2 absorbs more than air, a fact. But there is no heat trapping gases, never been tested to this date, and no machine has ever been devised on the principle of IR heat trapping. Furthermore, there is no radiation between air layers, never been demonstrated experimentally.

            — (1) Both balloons and planes have been flown with up- and down-viewing radiometers showing how radiative fluxes change with height through different air layers. (2) You contradicted yourself my saying CO2 absorbs and emits, yet different air layers don’t exchange energy (??). (3) The IR radiometer that measure all of this ARE machines. They convert radiative fluxes to temperature difference and then to electricity. –Roy

        • Dr Roy and I have been crossing swords publicly and privately over basic science for over five years now, and as one of the besmirched “Slayers” mentioned above i feel the need to reply.

          Climate alchemy starts with the absurd simplification that a half lit, rotating sphere can be modeled as a fully lit, non rotating disc. The correct model is presented by Joe Postma at Principia Scientific in “Copernicus Meets the Greenhouse Model”. The fixed disc model then produces too low of a surface temperature based upon multiple radiation Laws discussed below. This hypothetical energy deficit is then ‘balanced’ by magic gas storage, redirection and amplification forces that do not exist. The Earth receives a wide spectrum of incoming radiation which the AGW hypothesis assumes has minimum absorption, but the narrow and smaller Earth radiation has 100% absorption. The ridiculous Kiehl-Trenberth chart shows 168 watts per meter on the surface and 332 watts per meter reflected from magic gas.

          In fact it has been known since at least the 1950 Thermodynamics texts by Hottel and Farag that “emissivity of a gas fall dramatically as pressure falls”. This reality has been proven by Dr Pierre-Marie Robitaille to be also a function of temperature. In Dr Robitaille video, “On the Validity of Kirchoff” he proves that not only is this “Law” in error, but by default so are the Laws of Planck, Stefan and Boltzman. Most of radiative Physics is therefore in error, including all those Laws that were erroneously cut-and-paste fig leaves for the Carbon endangerment frauds.

          youtube.com/watch?v=3Hstum3U2zw

          • I have no idea where you people think climate models treat the Earth like a “fully lit, non rotating disc”. They model a half-lit rotating sphere (with a diurnal cycle and Coriolis force).

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            “Radiative transfer is a really tricky business. The various surface radiation formulas that you find in engineering books, also physics books, pertain to surfaces radiating at each other in vacuum.”

            Not really, a lot of my engineering design work involved air at ambient temperature, pressure, and considerable concentration of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Radiative transfer does not exist in the engineering books. The greenhouse gas effect is not calculated in engineering, not because it is negligible; it simply does not exist.

        • Zdzislaw Meglicki says:

          Radiative transfer is a really tricky business. The various surface radiation formulas that you find in engineering books, also physics books, pertain to surfaces radiating at each other in vacuum. The insertion of air in between does not change much for relatively short distances, such as you encounter in engineering problems. But it makes a difference in, for example, stellar atmospheres. Hence, it was Chandrasekhar who was the first to work out how to compute this–but this is not common knowledge outside of astrophysics and planetary physics.

          Radiative transfer affects planetary atmospheres too. That this is so you can experience by comparing air temperature rise and fall at sea with what it would be like in the middle of a desert, where there’s little water vapor. Both the warming and the cooling are more gradual at sea, whereas in the desert temperature shoots up very rapidly in the morning and drops as rapidly in the evening.

          The question, which is not well answered at all is if this makes any *net* difference, over the full period of travel around the Sun, for a rotating planet such as Earth, with a companion, the Moon, with its own magnetosphere and with the Sun’s magnetosphere, and with 71% of its surface covered by the ocean, which implies clouds, which change everything, because they affect both the albedo of the planet, and the ability of the planet to radiate heat into space.

          Regarding climate models, I do not quite support Dr Spencer’s opinion that they are OK. This is because their physics is incomplete. For example, they make assumptions about the coupling between CO2 and water vapor, basically pulled out of thin air. Because of their insufficient resolution, also lack of genuine understanding of, for example, cloud physics and chemistry, they cannot do clouds, convection, etc. What they can’t do, they fudge, and this is where they become Mickey Mouse cartoons, not science.

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Not really, a lot of my engineering design work involved air at ambient temperature, pressure, and considerable concentration of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Radiative transfer does not exist in the engineering books. The greenhouse gas effect is not calculated in engineering, not because it is negligible; it simply does not exist.

      • Nabil Swedan says:

        The most ridiculous thing I have seen is how surface warming is calculated based on assuming positive and negative forcing of the various climate agents as presented in the IPCC reports. Take a look at the procedure. Is it of a quality or acceptable science to make major decisions to address global warming? The IPCC is not to be blamed, it is not a scientific panel in the first place. They base their conclusions on climate science related textbooks and publications.

        • Geoff wood says:

          Hi Roy,
          ” The IR radiometer that measure all of this ARE machines. They convert radiative fluxes to temperature difference and then to electricity. –Roy”

          That’s a bit of a sweeping statement. It implies that electricity and therefore energy is available from all ‘measured’ fluxes, irrespective of the thermal gradient sign. All such systems are active. The electrical energy is modified by the temperature change associated with the flux. It can be positive or negative to alter the electric circuit conditions.
          Surface radiometers regularly measure 300+W of downwhelling radiation. Do you believe this energy is available? If so, why do we not use it for power? It is, after all twice the total solar surface flux time averaged over the planet. Is it real or calculated relative to zero Kelvin?

          Also Roy, how do you view the derivation of the tropospheric lapse?
          It gives a believable tropospheric thermal gradient without reference to inter atmospheric radiation. To say that increasing GHG concentrations increases the tropospheric thermal gradient when we never used them to define it anyway (a consequence of gravitational containment and heat capacities), makes little sense. The presence of a gravitational potential gradient implies the evolution of a reverse kinetic gradient (ie thermal 1/2mv^2=1/2kT per degree of freedom) to provide equal total energy of adjacent layers. The total ‘radiative greenhouse effect’ doesn’t disturb this thermal gradient. All inter atmospheric and atmospheric to surface radiation is the result of this gradient unless the gradient evolves.

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Thank you Geoffwood for your elegant analysis.

          • Geoff, the answer is that there is too little energy available, and we have no economically viable way of converting a few tens of W/m2 (not hundreds, because any IR receiving surface is also an emitting surface) to collect a useful amount of energy. Nevertheless, solar hot water heating systems DO collect some of this IR energy, because part of their energy budget is indeed in the IR, and without the downwelling IR from the sky, they would run much cooler, and provide less hot water. I’m sure there are other examples.

            The tropospheric lapse rate refers to the temperature change due to adiabatic expansion or compression of an air parcel as it is moved vertically. It does NOT predict what the temperature will be…than is an energy budget issue. This is basic atmospheric thermodynamics, and taught in university atmospheric science departments, and which is covered in thermodynamics texts such as Iribarne and Godson, Atmospheric Thermodynamics.

          • Geoff wood says:

            Thanks for the reply Roy. I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree on the energy available from downwhelling radiation. The example of solar hot water heaters being helped by back radiation is nonsense. By ‘solar’ I’m assuming that this back radiation doesn’t work and provide heating during the night? Can we heat water from back radiation alone at night?

            No.

            The very same molecules that you believe are providing significant back radiative energy are reducing significantly the incident surface flux during the day to, on average 0.55 of the flux at the Earth’s distance in space.

            “Without the downwelling IR from the sky, they would run much cooler, and provide less hot water. I’m sure there are other examples.”

            During the day, when solar thermal is valid, the systems would be approaching double the power without GHG’s, scattering and absorbing the incoming solar flux!

            As of the lapse describing an air parcel, that may be so. It is something we can use to describe the vertical movement of air. However, it also is a thermodynamic rest profile for any hydrostatic atmosphere. Adjacent layers equilibrate to equal total energy. It is viewable through either conservation with exchangeable potential and kinetic energy or through the ratio of heat capacities in a thermodynamic model.

            From AMSU 7.5km today the mean global temperature is -36degC. With a PURELY MECHANICAL / THERMODYNAMIC lapse, ie no radiation considered, the surface temperature of ‘equivalent total energy’ is 12.75degC, with an average moist lapse of 6.5K/km. if we calculate the lapse rate required to give an equal energy surface temperature of 14.6degC over the entire globe we have 6.75K/km, achievable through slightly reduced global atmospheric water content. Where, in this do you see a massive forcing of lower tropospheric temperature at the expense of upper tropospheric temperature through the total of all GHG forcing. You have said that we have observed the surface warming with upper atmospheric cooling with minor changes to CO2. But the standard lapse was and is still valid. The troposphere is largely in isentropic equilibrium. Where is it radiatively swung towards a steeper than calculated lapse that the full ‘greenhouse effect’ would require?

  2. I challenge anyone to prove my assertions wrong which are these four factors either combined or in some combination are responsible for all the climate changes on earth.

    1. The initial state of the global climate.

    a. how close or far away is the global climate to glacial conditions if in inter- glacial, or how close is the earth to inter- glacial conditions if in a glacial condition.

    .

    2. Solar variability and the associated primary and secondary effects. Lag times, degree of magnitude change and duration of those changes must be taken into account. I have come up with criteria .

    a. solar irradiance changes

    b. cosmic ray changes

    c. volcanic activity

    d. UV light changes hence ozone /atmospheric circulation changes.

    e. ocean current changes due to atmospheric changes.

    f. ocean heat content changes.

    g. albedo changes due to snow cover, cloud cover ,precipitation changes.

    h. thermohaline circulation changes.

    3. Strength of the magnetic field of the earth. This can enhance or moderate changes associated with solar variability.

    a. weaker magnetic field can enhance cosmic rays and also cause them to be concentrated in lower latitudes where there is more moisture to work with to be more effective in cloud formation if magnetic poles wander south due to magnetic excursions in a weakening magnetic field overall.

    4. Milankovitch Cycles. Where the earth is at in relation to these cycles as far as how elliptic or not the orbit is, the tilt of the axis and precession.

    a. less elliptic, less tilt, earth furthest from sun during N.H. summer — favor cooling.

    THE PRESENT DAY CLIMATIC MODELS DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING I HAVE MENTIONED INTO ACCOUNT

  3. THE CRITERIA

    Solar Flux avg. sub 90

    Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec

    AP index avg. sub 5.0

    Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute

    Total Solar Irradiance off .015% or more

    EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.

    IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.

    The above solar parameter averages following several years of sub solar activity in general which commenced in year 2005..

    IF , these average solar parameters are the rule going forward for the remainder of this decade expect global average temperatures to fall by -.5C, with the largest global temperature declines occurring over the high latitudes of N.H. land areas.

    The decline in temperatures should begin to take place within six months after the ending of the maximum of solar cycle 24.

    NOTE 1- What mainstream science is missing in my opinion is two fold, in that solar variability is greater than thought, and that the climate system of the earth is more sensitive to that solar variability.

  4. I believe I am on the correct path and this is where the research in climate science should be concentrated.

    They are on the wrong path.

    In addition the GHG effect(although real) is in response to the total energy in the climatic system , it does not drive /lead it.

    AGW says it does.

    Evidence from data shows this NOT to be the case. If not why then does CO2 (GHG EFFECT ) follow temperature trends instead of leading them?

    • Fonzarelli says:

      Salvatore, I believe that the warmist argument is that BOTH are happening… Temperature drives carbon increases AND carbon drives temperature increases.

      • yes, even an old IPCC report showed a plot which demonstrated how atmospheric CO2 increases AFTER El Nino warming.

        • Mary Brown says:

          This should be easy statistics to calculate CO2 vs Temp correlations… with vaious lead and lag times. Somebody must have quantified this. Is there a link to such a study?

          • neddy says:

            “…this should be easy statistics…”

            No, not easy. Definite data with appropriate variability to enable resolution does not exist yet. Nor do we have earth-like planets in our laboratories to play with. Check back in 100,000 years.

            “Past data” (i.e. proxies and wild guesses) seems to show an association between benign climate and elevated CO2, but nothing which proves cause and effect in either direction.

  5. Dr. Spencer your example(and I know you are joking) does not due justice to my four sensible valid points.

    My points are just as valid , and real as the points AGW theory is based on and should have a place in the climate models but they do not , and this is why their forecast is proving to be wrong and will remain so.

    Incomplete, not valid or comprehensive enough data.

    How any one could leave out solar variability, earth magnetic field strength, initial state of the climate, Milkankovich Cycles in projecting a climate forecast is beyond me.

    But this is good because when the theory falls which will be later this decade maybe the points I have been stressing will start to receive some proper attention.

    They give a person like myself opportunity, because of their sole obsession with a trace gas with a trace increase , while we have 4 major factors which need to be looked at.

  6. Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:

    April 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    So, despite thousands of laboratory measurements of air absorbing and emitting IR energy, you refuse to believe it. Sorry, I guess there is no reasoning with you then.

    Dr, Spencer says(all true)in the above but it is in response to the climate it does not lead the climate.

    Again past history shows NO correlation no leading between co2 and temperatures. IT FOLLOWS TEMP/

    • Fonzarelli says:

      Salvatore, there is agreement all around that temperature leads CO2. It’s the amount of temperature increase caused by CO2 (and it’s forcing) that people are quibbling about…

  7. Noblesse Oblige says:

    The CO2 band (the only relevant one for GW is the 666 cm-1 band) is not 100% saturated, but it is nearly so. That is why it is critically important to get the shape of the tails of the various absorption bands right. And believe it or not, they have not been measured at the temperatures and pressures relent to the relevant altitudes in the atmosphere. It is a very tough measurement. They are calculated in the models, and they are done differently in different models, accounting for much of the variation between them. This is in addition to the variation in the feedback factors that everyone knows about.

    • Joe Born says:

      And what about optical-depth variations with surface location? (I’m just asking here, not implying any particular knowledge one way or the other.) Can we have confidence that, even if the spectral response of CO2 itself were exhausively and accurately known, account has properly been taken of the variations of atmospheric depth and infrared flux with, e.g., latitude?

  8. Roy,

    Why does CO2 create a GHE in the troposphere and anti-GHE in the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere?

    • Joe Born says:

      My non-scientist guess is that, to the extent your body warms your bedroom, it does so less when your blanket is thinner.

    • warming below and cooling above are hallmarks of any greenhouse atmosphere. Joe is correct…conceptually, based upon energy flows (but involving different TYPES of energy flows), it is for the same reason why a thicker blanket over your body in a cold room will make you warmer and the room colder.

      • Hold on…

        1. Here we go again – blankets make you warmer by limiting convection, not “back-radiation radiative forcing.” Same goes for home insulation, greenhouses, glass panes, etc.

        2. Besides, it does not answer the question, so I’ll restate it: Why does CO2 make the troposphere “warmer than it would otherwise be”, but makes the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere all “colder than they would otherwise be”?

        Or restated in the terminology you seem to prefer, why does CO2 act as a warming blanket in the troposphere and an anti-blanket, cooling agent in the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere?

        • Joe Born says:

          I think I see your point. Oh, not about convection. As to that a blanket’s suppressing convection, you’re no doubt correct, but there’s conduction going on in a blanket, too, and that’s what was intended to bear the analogy’s parallel to atmospheric radiative transfer.

          But you (reasonably, I suppose) want the stratosphere, etc., not just the troposphere as I had it, to be part of the blanket, and you want its portion of the total blanket to get thicker in proportion to the tropospheric portion’s thickness. Consequently, you conclude, it should bear a proportionate share of the increased temperature difference, which means it should get warmer, too.

          And I’m afraid my conduction analogy breaks down here, since the thermal gradient in my uniform blanket is uniform, whereas I suspect that’s not quite the case with radiative transfer. But in this I’ve strayed out of my depth, so I’ll shut up now and let more-knowledgeable folks respond.

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Joe Born,

            Do not think that the so called “distinguished” climate scientists are in a better position to answer the question; there is a violation of the laws of nature. They have been unable to respond for over 130 years. The difference is that you are a humble person, whereas the “distinguished” climatologists are arrogant. You cannot talk to them.

        • Geoff wood says:

          Hi HS. I’m sure you are aware that such sweeping comments made that you are addressing neglect the fact that the system we call weather is the environmental disturbance from the gravitationally set lapse. The very components that some claim to trap radiation from the surface, simultaneously increase albedo, increase the portion that doesn’t reach the surface through atmospheric absorption and radiate more to space through increasing the atmospheric emissivity. The transmission of the current atmosphere of solar energy due mainly to GHG’s is 0.55. The outgoing flux through non cloudy sky is? Well actually, surprisingly similar! We can see the surface from space in the IR between around 8 to 13um which constitutes around 0.35 of the energy band. With other non saturated lines this allows outgoing transmission to around 0.6. Thereby trashing high emissivity back radiation as a concept from the atmosphere without condensed or solid H2O. The physical processes that are required to fill the Planck continuum are simply not present.

          Unfortunately Roy, for pressure broadening, you require pressure. Increasing number density is not an equivalent of increased pressure.

    • Fulco says:

      It has all to do whith the free path of a photon.
      In the lower athmosphere this path is short compared to the height of the layer, so each photon is captured. In the higher athmosphere the free path is larger the the layer. So a photon can escape to free space.

  9. neddy says:

    BUT:

    Most concerned lay people (the ones who nod their head wisely, when told the Human Race must urgently mend its ways), whether they are conscious of it or not base their “understanding” of global warming on the PRECISE IDEA that

    CO2 absorption of outgoing IRR is not saturated.

    If they knew that their pet scientists have been forced to retreat from reliance on this simplistic rubbish, and instead must invoke vague and speculative “feedbacks” to rub-up a danger, they would be SHOCKED TO THE CORE.

    Of course, chance would be a fine thing if “the public” could ever be led to actual knowledge of anything. Seventy percent of women in the USA do not know there is nitrogen in the atmosphere. Presumably, they do not even recall what nitrogen is.

  10. Joe Born says:

    Dr. Spencer:

    Thank you for the review. I know repetition gets old for you, but some things bear repetition.

    As an aside, I’m assuming you knew that “most of the physics they involve are pretty good” would be a lightning rod. I know what you mean, and I’m fully prepared to agree with that meaning (although my agreement doesn’t mean much, since I haven’t looked at the models’ guts). But that statement is ambiguous enough that you could honestly either side, in accordance with different interpretations.

    • Understood. Actually, I didn’t expect it to be a lightning rod…really. The models contain a lot of different physics, and if they were THAT far off, the models wouldn’t produce simulations that look pretty much like the real climate system…on average. It’s the DEPARTURES from average they can’t capture.

      •  D o u g says:

        The models only produce “simulations that look pretty good” because they modified the original NASA net energy diagram by adding back radiation and wrongly assuming that additional back radiation could be added to solar radiation to then use the total in SBL calculations for the surface temperature.

        Not only is it wrong to increase the figure used in SBL calculations in this way, because standard physics tells us the source of all such radiation must be hotter than the target, but it is also wrong to assume that the Earth’s surface acts remotely like a gray body anyway. A black or gray body by definition is not transparent. Yet the thin surface layer of the oceans certainly is. That thin layer (say, 1 centimetre in depth) is hardly warmed at all by any radiation which obviously mostly passes through it.

        It is non-radiative processes which are the primary determinant of planetary atmospheric and surface temperatures, Roy. When will you and the Slayers get it?

  11. Nabil Swedan says:

    Water vapor and greenhouse gas concentration is greatest in the tropics. How come the observed surface warming is least in the tropics?

    • probably because of feedbacks, but no one knows for sure. We are working on a proposal to study the issue.

      •  D o u g says:

        I know, Roy. Water vapour reduces the thermal gradient by inter-molecular radiation. This causes the whole thermal profile in the troposphere to rotate about the pivoting altitude, that altitude being where the flux of outward radiation from below equals that from above. When the profile rotates the supported surface temperature becomes lower. But for water vapour the tropics would be quite a few degrees hotter, as empirical data for tropical regions show. The study in the Appendix of my book confirms that water vapour cools, not warms.

    • RW says:

      It would say probably for two reasons. The first is because the net negative feedback is strongest in the tropics, and the second is because energy is primarily distributed from the tropics to the poles.

      The data suggests the net negative feedback in the tropics is so strong because evaporative cooling is so strong and evaporation water is what drives cloud formation. The combination of evaporative caused and cloud caused cooling (from solar reflection) appears to completely overwhelm any increased IR opacity due to increased water vapor and/or increased CO2.

  12. Again Dr. Spencer address this question if CO2 is causing the earth to warm why does it not lead the temperature, why does it follow it?

    Dr. Spencer says

    But the fact that so many of the models are wrong in the warming predictions is likely due to the “biases” I mentioned, such as in cloud parameterizations. These are a small part of the total model code (most of which I claim is pretty good) but exert a huge influence on climate sensitivity.

    This is why I say that most of the physics in the models is pretty good….that *doesn’t* mean it’s good enough to predict warming

    Sal says, Let’s see the physics is good yet the most basic atmospheric assumptions the models have predicted would happen have not happened.

    They are
    1. An increasing positive Arctic Oscillation.

    2. A lower tropospheric hot spot near the equator.

    3. A continuous ever rising global temperature.

    4. Stratospheric cooling in higher latitudes relative to lower latitudes.

    The models have forecasted the basic atmospheric processes wrong.

    Dr. Spencer says

    The best direct observational evidence I have seen that increasing CO2 causes less IR to escape from the Earth to space is the NASA AIRS CO2 retrievals.

    But the question is what controls the amounts of CO2?

    It is not man made emissions that is for sure. In fact an argument can be made that present day CO2 concentrations are on the low side compared to earth’s geological history.

    • Salvatore, even if the ice ages and interglacials show that the temperature changes before carbon dioxide, that doesn’t mean that if WE start putting CO2 in the atmosphere, it won’t cause warming.

      Besides, the rates of change between then and now are vastly different. Get the ice core data (which I have done) and plot the changes on a 100-year time scale. There is no comparison. CO2 is increasing at a vastly greater rate than was occurring during the interglacials, and humans are producing twice as much CO2 as is needed to explain the increase. How can you ignore that evidence, and instead point to something different that happened long ago on much longer time scales?

      •  D o u g says:

        We are still in an ice age, Roy. The periodicity of the glacial periods within the current ice age is roughly 100,000 years and this is most likely determined by the variations (due to Jupiter’s gravity) in the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit which also has similar periodicity of about 100,000 years. These variations can be shown mathematically to cause differences in the annual mean distance between Earth and Sun, and this of course varies insolation levels based on the square of that distance.

        Are there any other questions you’d like answered, Roy?

      • John Olson says:

        Ice cores cannot be relied upon to provide accurate paleo-climate data for the planet — not even for the Antarctic archipelago — over long periods of time. Study how glaciers flow and how snow falls (observed patterns of precipitation) to appreciate why the various layers in ice cores are hopelessly confounded. Saying we have 800,000 years of climate record from ice cores is like saying I can analyze ocean salinity levels using layers of taffy. Also, consider the following fact: it often gets cold enough at the two poles to sublime CO2 directly from a gas to a solid. I suspect this is why the AIRS satellite data shows March, April, and May CO2 flooding down from the north pole, and September, October, and November CO2 flooding up from the south pole. Ice itself is not impermeable to gases over long, long periods of time. Therefore, the “science” that conjectures all CO2 was “trapped in air bubbles” at the time a layer of ice (originally snow) fell on the Antarctic ice sheet is misleading at best, false at worst. It may take time for the scientists involved in the study of the cryosphere to apply modern physics and chemistry to their analyses, but in the mean time, let’s not be too sure about what those Vostok records tell us, agreed?

  13. Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:

    warming below and cooling above are hallmarks of any greenhouse atmosphere.

    That is correct . In-fact everything you say about GHG is correct.

    Where I differ is I think the GHG effect is in response to the energy in the climate system, and the amounts of CO2 presently in the atmosphere pail to past geological history, not to mention past history shows NO correlation between CO2 concentrations versus temperature.

    Also when CO2 concentrations were high in the past what made the increase in CO2 stop increasing and or having an ever increasing positive feedback effect on the climate? What made it reverse if indeed it ever happened that way which is doubtful since CO2 follows the temperature change does not lead it.

    • I don’t think we understand the glacials, interglacials, the forcings that caused them, the feedbacks, or the carbon budgets. I don’t trust any of the science. There is no way to know whether it is correct. Hell, we can’t even understand TODAY’S climate, and we have thousands of ocean sensors and satellites covering the whole Earth every day!!!

      The only way to be sure about science seems to be to have very little evidence. The more measurements we have, the less sure we become. Apply THAT to ice age theories.

      • Chad Jessup says:

        I would say the tilt of the Earth is a good candidate to explain glacials and interglacials, as the amount of insolation reaching Earth at 65N during those periods is quite different.

        As far as the forcings for the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age – dunno.

        • coturnix says:

          Doesn’t sound right… it is easy to understand how tilt causes reglaciation, but how can it make the ice thaw? Especially considering that deglaciations happen order of magnitude faster than reglaciation.

      •  D o u g says:

        You may not understand, Roy, because you don’t realise that carbon dioxide does not warm, but only cools by less than 0.1 degree. All is natural climate change, Roy.

        Regarding glacial and interglacial periods see this comment.

      • coturnix says:

        What do you think about an idea that the glaciations never switched from 40k to 100k cycles, but rather started skipping 2 out of 3 interglacials, and also thus temperature lows got deeper?

        Also, what do you think of an idea (which is not mine but i like it) that I and others have already reiterated it here, that it is wrong to include cloud-albedo into the externally given sw flux, but rather as a part of a feedback, and that if included into the feedback (if i even understand it right) the total (not differential) ‘greenhouse+clouds’ effect amounts to anywhere between 8 to 13 C as opposed to 33C which is a gross overestimation.

      • Fulco says:

        Roy,
        It can also be an internal oscillation. Sea level rises and fall. during warmer periods there is much less land than during cold periods.

    • CC says:

      Salvatore states “CO2 follows … temperature change [and] does not lead it”. From the graphs that I have seen this is undeniably true. Dr. Spenser, seems to say that while this is true, man is putting more CO2 in the air in addition to what natural warming would and that this is very dangerous.

      Dr. Spenser, do you believe that humans and the CO2 that we emit are the cause of the increased warming experienced during the 1940 and 1980 warming period? If so, how do you account for the 17 year pause we have experienced?

  14. Nabil Swedan says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    I do not mean to get off topic, but am I correct that in April/May we hear less talk of jetstreams than in winter? If so what is the reason? Thanks.

    • jet streams will be weakest in summer, strongest in winter, since they form along the boundary between cold and warm airmasses. The coldest airmasses occur in winter, but warm airmasses are available year-round (from the tropics).

  15. So what you are saying is you think man’s contribution to CO2 is tipping the balance ,nevertheless the climate models show to much climate sensitivity to this hence they are to aggressive in their climate outlook.

    Besides, the rates of change between then and now are vastly different. Get the ice core data (which I have done) and plot the changes on a 100-year time scale

    QUSTION HOW FAR BACK IN TIME DID YOU GO?

    • yes.

      I looked at the Vostok data several years ago, it went back 300,000 years.

      •  D o u g says:

        Never-the-less, there’s no “hockey stick” in this data – just steady natural warming as part of 500 years of warming that will end in another 100 years or so and be followed by 500 years of natural cooling, possibly regulated by the angular momentum of planetary orbits shown here. This plot was calculated purely from planetary data, and yet there is obvious correlation with overlapping 60 year and 934 year natural climate cycles.

      • David L. Hagen says:

        Koutsoyiannis extend their model back to 500 million years!
        Markonis, Y., and D. Koutsoyiannis, Climatic variability over time scales spanning nine orders of magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch cycles with Hurst–Kolmogorov dynamics, Surveys in Geophysics, 34 (2), 181–207, 2013.

        We overview studies of the natural variability of past climate, as seen from available proxy information, and its attribution to deterministic or stochastic controls. Furthermore, we characterize this variability over the widest possible range of scales that the available information allows, and we try to connect the deterministic Milankovitch cycles with the Hurst–Kolmogorov (HK) stochastic dynamics. To this aim, we analyse two instrumental series of global temperature and eight proxy series with varying lengths from 2 thousand to 500 million years. In our analysis, we use a simple tool, the climacogram, which is the logarithmic plot of standard deviation versus time scale, and its slope can be used to identify the presence of HK dynamics. By superimposing the climacograms of the different series, we obtain an impressive overview of the variability for time scales spanning almost nine orders of magnitude—from 1 month to 50 million years. An overall climacogram slope of −0.08 supports the presence of HK dynamics with Hurst coefficient of at least 0.92. The orbital forcing (Milankovitch cycles) is also evident in the combined climacogram at time scales between 10 and 100 thousand years. While orbital forcing favours predictability at the scales it acts, the overview of climate variability at all scales suggests a big picture of irregular change and uncertainty of Earth’s climate.

        To be credible climate models must show that they include such climate persistence, natural drivers, and stochastic variations – besides the biggest issue of clouds and natural negative feedback.

    •  D o u g says:

      Salvatore and Roy:

      Rates of change can only be determined after removing the effect of the 60 year cycle. I did this two years ago in my paper where you can see (in the Appendix) that a hundred years ago the rate was 0.06C/decade but by this century had reduced to 0.05C/decade or possibly a little less with current data.

  16. pic.twitter.com/9orpx74ZMF

  17. Dr. Spencer says Besides, the rates of change between then and now are vastly different. Get the ice core data (which I have done) and plot the changes on a 100-year time scale. There is no comparison. CO2 is increasing at a vastly greater rate than was occurring during the inter glacials, and humans are producing twice as much CO2 as is needed to explain the increase. How can you ignore that evidence, and instead point to something different that happened long ago on much longer time scales.

    I SAY

    One explanation for the apparent rapid increase in CO2 is it started from extremely low levels.

    Look at the data I just sent in the previous two post ,it shows no Co2 temperature correlations no mater how fast/slow CO2 changed in concentrations, it shows temperatures in the past have been lower while CO2 concentrations have been higher. It shows rapid CO2 concentrations did occur in the past.

  18. Bart says:

    “The second reason is that, even if there is 100% opacity (which there cannot be for gaseous absorption), if you add more and more CO2, the effective radiating altitude to space goes ever higher, which is colder, which means less IR radiation, which means a warming tendency for the lower atmosphere. “

    But, the GHE is supposed to be about IR from the surface being intercepted, and partially re-emitted back down. If the same amount is being prevented from escaping, i.e., re-emitted back down, whether at lower or higher concentration levels, then how can there be an increased GHE?

    I.e., yes, that upper layer will radiate less energy per unit of area because there will be fewer collisions resulting in the emissions of photons from that activity. But, it is still getting the same number of photons from the ground, and emitting half or so of them back down, so the reduction in total radiation is not from impeding more surface IR.

    There is increased atmospheric heat capacity, due to the extra molecules with inhabitable degrees of freedom to be excited, but that should actually result in greater energy input needed to increase temperatures, shouldn’t it?

    Additionally, I know this is the standard answer, that “the effective radiating altitude to space goes ever higher, which is colder, which means less IR radiation,”, but it has a flavor of circular reasoning. The ERL doesn’t just spontaneously move higher. If the Sun stopped shining, the ERL would collapse to the surface. Something has to drive it higher, and that requires additional input of energy.

    “The best direct observational evidence I have seen that increasing CO2 causes less IR to escape from the Earth to space is the NASA AIRS CO2 retrievals.”

    OK, what does this show? I assume the color coding is blue for higher IR reception, tending to red for lower IR reception. It is the era 2002-2008, a time when global temperatures are fairly stable.

    So, from 2002 to 2008, we have less IR being received by the satellite. What else is going on in that time?

    SSN was falling from its peak to its nadir as was, naturally enough, <a href="http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/pmod/from:2000/to:2010"TSI.

    How do we know that the decrease in IR coming from the Earth is not due to decreased IR reaching the Earth, and what are the error bars in the calculation? I’m not challenging you, I’m just asking for information to consider any potential weaknesses in the argument.

  19. JUST MORE TO THINK ABOUT.

    One outstanding issue is the source of carbon responsible for the increase in middle Eocene atmospheric CO2. The rise in pCO2 by 2000 to 3000 ppmv emerging from our data requires a carbon source capable of injecting vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Moreover, the absence of a prominent negative carbon isotope excursion excludes reservoirs with δ13C signatures below that of marine DIC. One mechanism capable of emanating carbon with such a geochemical signature is the metamorphic alteration of carbonates (decarbonation). Massive decarbonation occurred until the late Eocene, with the subduction of vast amounts of Tethyan Ocean pelagic carbonates under Asia as India drifted northward. However, the flux of carbon required to increase pCO2 by 2000 to 3000 ppmv within ~400,000 years appears too high to invoke metamorphic (volcanic) outgassing as the sole mechanism.

    Note that the level of CO2 didn’t just rise by 3000 ppm, those levels were maintained for a prolonged period of time. The pulse of CO2 (or CH4) that caused the PETM was removed from the atmosphere quite rapidly, taking on the order of 20,000-40,000 years. In fact, a recent paper states that the ecosystem accelerated its rate of carbon sequestration in response to the PETM release (see “Rapid carbon sequestration at the termination of the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum”). The implication here is that, though a massive PETM like release of CO2/CH4 can cause a rise in global temperatures, such a rise is only a perturbation of the system. The system will correct itself over time by removing any “excess” carbon from the atmosphere

  20. “How do we know that the decrease in IR coming from the Earth is not due to decreased IR reaching the Earth…”

    Or, less general radiation reaching the Earth to heat it, that is.

    Bart excellent point.

    • Nabil Swedan says:

      Both are decreasing equally, the difference is zero as math shows. I will explain.

      The atmosphere is cooling and its radiation to space is decreasing, this is good physics and satellite observations confirm. Simultaneously and with cooling, the height of the atmosphere is decreasing. Therefore, the cross section of the earth facing the sun is getting smaller and the intercepted solar energy is decreasing. Do the math and you will find the reduction in the energy intercepted is equal to the reduction of the energy radiated. The total energy of the earth remains constant.

      What is going on is that the effect of carbon dioxide induces a thermodynamic transformation whose outcome is energy transfer (not IR radiation) from the colder atmosphere to surface. The atmosphere cools and surface warms as a result. The external work is available to transfer energy from the colder atmosphere to the warmer surface-It is gravity at the disposal of the earth’s atmosphere. That is why the geopotential heights of the atmosphere are decreasing. If you take the time and do the math, you’ll find this explanation is correct. There is enough observations and data to confirm this conclusion numerically.

  21. The million dollar questions are :

    First will the climate cool due to natural forces and secondly if the climate cools will this result in natural forces lowering CO2 concentrations despite man made emissions?

    Or will the climate cool even if CO2 concentrations continue to rise?

    I make the following arguments as to why chances are CO2 concentration changes may not equate to a temperature change.

    First for the past 17+ years temperatures have stopped increasing despite increasing CO2.

    Secondly Dr. Spencer says the rate of CO2 increase is the fastest over the last 300 million years over this past 100 years and yet the temperatures have not followed suit. In- fact one can argue the temperature change over the past 100 years is one of the smallest changes during that time span.

    Next looking at the historical record of CO2 concentrations versus temperature changes (I sent the graph earlier) CO2 has always followed the temperature. Now because of man made contributions this process is going to somehow reverse and temperatures will now follow CO2? Thus far it has not happened since temperatures have been on the increase since 1840 long before man made CO2 contributions became an issue.

    So even in this most recent warming period which ended around 1998, CO2 concentrations have followed temperature increases.

    No change from the past up to this point as far as I can tell.

  22.  D o u g says:

    You are still wrong, Roy.

    Isothermal conditions would not occur in the absence of radiating gases. You need to read what the Second Law of Thermodynamics is really all about …

    “The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases in the course of every spontaneous (natural) change. In other words: over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and density tend to even out in a horizontal plane, but not in a vertical plane due to the force of gravity. For example, density and pressure do not even out in a vertical plane, and nor does temperature because gravity acts on individual molecules, and this means molecular kinetic energy interchanges with gravitational potential energy in free path motion between collisions.”

    All the carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere does not warm one iota. It reduces the “lapse rate” in the same way as water vapour, by inter-molecular radiation. This leads to lower surface temperatures as are proven to be the case where water vapour levels are higher.

    It’s all in my book of course.

  23. Yet in the graph I just sent in the above the correlation between temperature versus the geomagnetic index is way stronger then the co2 /temp. correlation.

    Ignored by mainstream.

  24.  D o u g says:

    “But most of the physics they involve are pretty good.” That is garbage, Roy! How about you actually read this whole comment below and maybe, just maybe, my book?

    Radiation is not the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures. Neither you nor the Slayers seem to realise this, yet you have no valid explanation as to why the Uranus troposphere is hotter at its base than is Earth’s surface.

    It is the gravitationally induced thermal gradient (at thermodynamic equilibrium) which leads to warmer temperatures at the base of a planet’s troposphere (due to the “heat creep” process of downward diffusion and advection) and this warmer temperature determines the minimum “supported” surface temperature at night.

    Nitrogen and oxygen absorb 2,500 times as much thermal energy as does carbon dioxide. How else would these molecules be at the same temperature? Non-radiating molecules are the “blanket” and they transfer energy by diffusion to radiating molecules which radiate it only to cooler molecules above or direct to space. Radiation that strikes warmer molecules resonates with them and its energy is never converted to thermal energy in those warmer molecules which re-emit it immediately.

    I do have a hypothesis which explains all Solar System temperature data, Roy. You don’t.

    The very first assumption inherent in the models is that there would be isothermal conditions in the absence of GHG’s. This flies in the face of physics first put forward in the 19th century by the brilliant physicist who was first to estimate the size of air molecules. Do you think you’re smarter than Loschmidt, Roy? No one has proved him wrong with any valid argument, as I have clearly shown in my book.

    The second major error is the assumption that the Second Law works on some “net” basis – like as if water will flow uphill to a lake at the top of a mountain provided that it “knows” (somehow) that it will flow further downhill on the other side. It is just as absurd to assume that back radiation can warm a layer of water just below the surface from where there is no immediate reverse radiation.

    Only hotter sources can add thermal energy and raise temperatures of cooler targets by radiation. But the Sun’s direct radiation cannot be the cause of the Venus surface temperature rising by 5 degrees spread over the course of its 4 month long day.

    To you and the Slayers, Roy, and anyone else, I am offering $5,000 if you can produce a study similar to mine in the Appendix of the book but which, instead of showing water vapour cools, somehow shows it warms by about 10 degrees for every 1% in the atmosphere. To get the $5,000 you also need to explain the Venus and Uranus temperatures in some other way with valid physics.

  25. gbaikie says:

    –So, when author Andre Lofthus throws around some radiation physics concepts and claims that the atmosphere cannot warm from more CO2 because (basically) the CO2 absorption bands are already 100% saturated, well, I have to respond.–

    I think saturation argument is mostly about what is accepted
    in than to increase by 1 C one needs to double the ppm.

    So I would say saturation is mostly about CAGW rather than AGW.
    Or I would say the doubling of CO2 causing 5 C increase is wrong, and saturation is not a good against it, as much as 5 C warming is just the beginning of warming to come after this happening [which won’t happen].

    “This is why the surface of Venus is hot enough to melt lead…the atmosphere is so strongly radiatively insulated against loss of IR to space that the temperatures climb until radiative energy balance is achieved.”

    No reason Venus is hot has little to do with Earth CO2 levels. Venus has massive atmosphere and that is why Venus is so hot.
    Or venus with an atmosphere with nearly 100% CO2 but is one atm rather 94 atm is not so hot.

    Or the reason Earth is warm is related to it’s surface, the reason Venus is warm is related to it’s atmosphere.
    Or the direct sunlight does not warm the Venus surface- hardly any direct sunlight reaches the it’s rocky surface.

    •  D o u g says:

      Yes. Venus would actually be hotter without carbon dioxide and with (instead) other gases having the same weighted mean specific heat. We see this on Uranus, where it gets up around $5,000K near the boundary of its solid surface (55% the size of Earth) and its atmosphere. Yet Uranus is nearly 30 times further from the Sun than is Earth.

      The point about Venus is that any location on its Equator cools by 5 degrees during its 4-month-long night.

      During the Venus day that same location warms by 5 degrees. It is the warming which cannot be caused by either direct solar radiation or by radiation from the less-hot atmosphere.

      So the insulating effect Roy assumes on Venus is garbage. It could have cooled right down within a few hundred years but for the Sun warming it up again each day. That is what Roy needs to come to grips with.

      Gravity forms both a density gradient and a temperature gradient as the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics takes place. The pressure gradient is merely a corollary, because pressure is proportional to the product of density and temperature. High pressure does not maintain high temperatures by trapping energy – gravity does that.

      Do you understand yet, Roy?

    • gbaikie says:

      “Yes. Venus would actually be hotter without carbon dioxide and with (instead) other gases having the same weighted mean specific heat. ”

      Don’t know if presence of CO2 makes Venus cooler.
      More water, would remove the existence of nearly pure sulfuric clouds, therefore more water would make Venus cooler,
      as far I can guess.

      And it would seem removing 1/2 the CO2, would cool Venus, but not sure if you replace the 1/2 removed with some other gas whether it would make Venus hotter than it is today.
      But would guess, that perhaps denser gas, might. Not sure, but don’t think replacing with methane gas would make it hotter.

    •  D o u g says:

      All this business about saturation is irrelevant. The issue is that back radiation cannot do anything other than slow that portion of surface cooling which is itself by radiation. Water vapour does most of this slowing by far, but nitrogen and oxygen play a far greater role still in controlling surface temperatures by conduction and diffusion.

      Back radiation cannot raise temperatures, yet the surface temperature on Venus does rise. It is all about non-radiative processes which determine “supporting” temperatures due to gravity – as explained in my book. This is the 21st century new paradigm. The GH conjecture belongs to the 19th century, and there it should have stayed.

  26.  D o u g says:

    PS: Of course the $5,000 offer applies only to the first person to qualify.

    • gbaikie says:

      –To you and the Slayers, Roy, and anyone else, I am offering $5,000 if you can produce a study similar to mine in the Appendix of the book but which, instead of showing water vapour cools, somehow shows it warms by about 10 degrees for every 1% in the atmosphere. To get the $5,000 you also need to explain the Venus and Uranus temperatures in some other way with valid physics.–

      Well even if could do as ask, I have no delusion I would get the 5000 dollars, plus amount work you would demand would need more than 45000 of time.
      So we assume that is not on table.
      Now does water vapor cool a planet.
      Or does water as a gas molecule cool the planet?
      No, I don’t think any kind gas molecule cools a planet in any significant way.
      I think gases do reduce the amount of direct sunlight which can hit a surface. As does droplets or bits of solid matter.

      And generally to warm surface to higher temperature one needs
      directed sunlight. So lunar surface is 120 C in sunlight because the Moon has very little gases, droplets, bits of dust which the sun needs to pass thru.
      Whereas earth surface has sunlight which going thru about 10 tons of gas, droplets, and dust per square meter, before hit the surface, without considering the sunlight being blocked by ocean of droplets of water, that we call clouds. So this major part of why surfaces on earth do not generally get warmer than 70 C.
      And reason a surface does get a bit warmer than 70 C is because the surface loses some heat to the atmospheric gases- which generally never get much warmer than 50 C. If air is colder it would take more energy from the hot surface, and if windy it take more [almost regardless of how warm the air temperature, other than it’s colder than the surface]
      So a large amount sunlight does not shine directly on a surface because of the 10 tonnes of atmosphere, and what matters most is the 10 tons per square meter of any kind of atmosphere rather than exactly what kind of transparent gases the sun is shining thru.
      H20 [as gas,liquid, solid] in atmosphere does prevent large chunks of of solar spectrum from reach the earth surface, but if were to go to drier region which has less H2O between you and the sun one does not get a significant
      increase in direct sunlight- the mass of atmosphere is more significant than the H2O. Or you go wetter region, one does not get a significant decrease in direct sunlight.
      Not say there is no effect, but rather not particularly significant effect.
      Other than diffusing sunlight, the atmosphere [clear sky atmosphere] reflects a somewhat significant amount of sunlight before it reaches the surface.
      If want to say H20 stops some direct sunlight one also say the atmosphere reflect as much or more. But most of loss is diffusion of the 10 ton atmosphere.
      What H20 gas does in terms of warming earth is it transporting energy. Heat is added to water it becomes a gas, and no energy is lost in process. So water and gas phase is a battery. Batteries don’t make energy, they store energy.
      And everything thing about “greenhouse effect” or warming earth is about storing energy. Or if energy is stored it’s not being radiated in the Universe.
      So in terms of storing energy as with batteries [except batteries have heat loss- or inefficiency in storing electrical energy] one does not gain or lose energy.

      So generally the question regarding water is does cause more energy to radiated as compared to water not being there. And of course storing energy delays energy which would otherwise be radiated.
      And I would say the presence of lots of water means a lot of energy is stored [in what could call a safe storage system]. So it seems water makes the world warmer.

      • gbaikie says:

        Oh regarding Venus and Uranus.
        Well an atmosphere diffuses sunlight, it also diffuses other electromagnetic radiation. Such diffusion is delaying radiation from leaving.

        An analogy is if had purest glass sunlight wouldn’t get thru
        100 km of it. Or fiber optics has range of transmission thru best fiber optics one can make- it gets diffused over a certain amount of distance- lasers do, and lasers are better at this job than most light.

      •  D o u g says:

        I spent barely a day doing the study. Maybe you would get world acclaim if you could publish a study that actually confirms what the GH conjecture implies, namely that water vapour warms by about 10 degrees for every 1% in the atmosphere. Considering all the money that has been spent on research, don’t you think it strange that no such study of real world temperature and precipitation correlation appears to have been done. Of course they tried to do one somewhere, but it didn’t give the “right” (warming) results. It showed water vapour cooled, so it never got published. Roy could have done such a study, but he hasn’t either. All he keeps doing is hand waving, like in his explanation of Venus temperatures in this article.

        Likewise you “don’t think” water molecules and/or vapour cool Earth’s surface. Well they do.

        And speaking of the Moon, why is its core so much hotter than its surface ever is? I have explained why in my book.

        All your talk about sun shining on surfaces does not explain why the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere is 320K where there is no direct solar radiation or any surface. I can explain the exact temperature observed within 10 degrees, whereas you can’t with any radiation calculations.

        Sure energy is “stored” – but not by radiative processes.

        You think water makes the world warmer, do you? Then do a study, or confirm the data in my study in the Appendix of my book, and satisfy yourself that it cools.

        • gbaikie says:

          –I spent barely a day doing the study. Maybe you would get world acclaim if you could publish a study that actually confirms what the GH conjecture implies, namely that water vapour warms by about 10 degrees for every 1% in the atmosphere–

          So about 1/2 world about 3% water vapor and rest of world less than 1%, so is Earth suppose to be considered 3%, 2%, or 1% of this water vapor.
          According the greenhouse theory, according to wiki, water vapor suppose to warm by 36 to 70% of the total warming caused by greenhouse effect which is 33 K.
          Or 36 to 70% of 33 is +11.88 C to +23.1 C

          Now what I think what sort of matter is tropics, or the 1/2 of world which is about 3% or more.
          And I would guess no one imagines water vapor adds 30 C of the 33 C which is suppose to be solely caused by greenhouse gases.
          Or even less than this, say if one walled off the Tropics, I doubt anyone would think the water vapor would increasing the average temperature by 30 or more K in this wall off tropical region.
          Though the people who claim that without CO2 in atmosphere earth would be snowball planet, or as a wild guess a planet which gets colder than -18 C at the equator at sea level [I suppose at night], are sort of making this sort of claim.

          So I have less problem with idea of Earth having an average temperature of -18 C, then the idea of -18 C average temperature would mean all the tropical oceans would be completely frozen.
          And how world covered with oceans and at earth distance sun could not have significant amount water vapor in tropics at sea level, it true a wonder in twisted thinking.

          So one go out to Mars, and make duck pond which filled with water, and do this someplace somewhat flat and somewhere near the equator. What suppose to happen to the water in the pond?
          Now if one started with water which was 20 C, it going to cool rapidly due to that temperature and lack of pressure on Mars [it will boil], but once temperature cool to around 5 to 10 C it’s going to stop boiling. So in daylight water cooled, and say it’s 5 C. Ground near you maybe about 30 C in sunlight. Now night time comes, and ground might around -60 C, but does it mean the duck pond is -60 C.
          If go back to day, and measure the 30 C temperature of ground, if dig under the surface the temperature going to be less than 30 C, a few inches under ground it could 0 C.
          Not very strange, if ground on earth was 50 C it could 20 C cooler a couple inches under surface.
          So faced with essential vacuum with no sunlight it’s not strange for couple inches of dirt to cool off significantly,
          but that’s quite different than couple feet of water.
          Always say night over and one has some ice on pond, and day warms back up and ground is again 30 C.
          Would one expect to have ground which 30 C and water which frozen.
          Now on earth with solar pond the sunlight can warm the water near the bottom to temperature hotter than any land surface has ever be warmed to with sunlight [80 C or more].
          So it seems to follow one should be able to make solar pond on Mars warmer than 30 C temperature that the ground can reach on Mars. The only trick of solar pond is to reduce convection heat loss and evaporation loss. On Mars one has reduced convection loss due to lack of atmosphere, so all need to do is reduce evaporation loss. And water which is about 5 C does that trick.
          So why would earth which get far more solar energy ever have it’s ocean freeze in the tropics?

          •  D o u g says:

            Gbaikie, Roy and others:

            The reason the oceans on Earth are at the observed temperatures has very little to do with direct radiation striking the surface layer (say 1 centimetre in depth) because nearly all the solar radiation passes through that layer and none of the back radiation gets past the first layer of molecules.

            If you want to learn about what physics can explain about planetary temperatures then I suggest you read my book and you can even “look inside” free.

          • gbaikie says:

            — D o u g says:
            April 24, 2014 at 11:03 PM

            Gbaikie, Roy and others:

            The reason the oceans on Earth are at the observed temperatures has very little to do with direct radiation striking the surface layer (say 1 centimetre in depth) because nearly all the solar radiation passes through that layer and none of the back radiation gets past the first layer of molecules. —

            I agree.
            I would say the question is why are present ocean average temperatures so low.
            Obviously the polar ice caps provide cold water and this drives warmer water poleward.

            It seems possible that one could have water less cold, but have larger volume of flow of cooler water from poles, thereby have more warmer water going poleward.
            Or whatever.
            But I agree it’s not about the first couple inches of ocean water at surface, and therefore *at least* less about greenhouse gases doing any sort of warming [or cooling].

  27. Peter Garrone says:

    If there is cooling in the upper atmosphere from extra CO2, why is not this cooling transferred to the surface via convective lapse rate?

    • Joel Shore says:

      Because there isn’t a lapse rate (in the sense of decreasing temperature with height) in the stratosphere, hence its name. The stratosphere is not unstable to convection as the troposphere is. Hence, convection does not play a significant role in the stratosphere.

      • Nabil Swedan says:

        Lapse rate is an equality between enthalpy and potential energy of an air parcel. This equality is valid throughout the atmosphere, unless you can proof otherwise.

      • Nabil Swedan says:

        Excellent question. The reason is that the lower atmosphere is an adiabatic invariant and does not exchange energy with its surrounding surface and upper atmosphere. The thermodynamic proof is simple, and observation agrees. If the lower troposphere is warming and the upper troposphere is cooling, then there is a point in between where the temperature remains unchanged. This gives an idea of adiabatic invariance of the lower atmosphere.

    • Nabil Swedan says:

      Excellent question. The reason is that the lower atmosphere is an adiabatic invariant and does not exchange energy with its surrounding surface and upper atmosphere. The thermodynamic proof is simple, and observation agrees. Since the lower troposphere is warming and the upper troposphere is cooling, then there is a point in between where the temperature remains unchanged. This gives an idea of adiabatic invariance nature of the lower atmosphere.

  28.  D o u g says:

    “And until the Slayers and Mr. DC and Mr. JP come up with an alternative time-dependent model that converges to the observed temperature profile, they are doing little more than hand-waving.”

    The Slayers (including Postma) have not done so.

    I have produced a hypothesis which certainly does explain all known and estimated temperature data and profiles for all planets and satellite moons throughout the Solar System, Roy, even below any surface. It’s all in my book.

    When discussing the relatively slow process of diffusion, the “time dependency” explains why the gravito-thermal effect is not apparent in the stratosphere and ocean thermoclines where the rate of new absorption of solar energy is greater than that of dissipation of energy by diffusion and advection. Elsewhere, in calm conditions, it is obvious, just as is the gravito-thermal effect in a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube.

    What you don’t have Roy is a model which explains the observed fact that regions with higher precipitation are cooler than regions at similar altitudes and latitudes but with lower precipitation.

    If the GH conjecture were correct, then what would be the warming sensitivity for a 1% increase in water vapour, Roy? I understand that water vapour varies between about 1% and 4% near the surface, so are inland moist regions up to 30 degrees hotter than dry ones at similar altitudes and latitudes?

    Until Roy Spencer can prove water vapour warms a region by about 10 degrees for every 1% in the air above it, he is doing little more than hand-waving.

  29. geran says:

    Sometimes, learned, brilliant folks become fascinated with the “magical” CO2 in our atmosphere. Sometimes, these folks get so entrenched with photons, microns, absorption, and other highly technical details, that they miss the “big picture”.

    I have a kitchen table in my house. The kitchen table is emitting IR. Therefore, my kitchen table is heating the planet, right?

    No.

    If I put my kitchen table outside, in the sunlight, it gets hot. It then emits even more IR. Now, it is heating the planet even more, right?

    No.

    Hopefully, some folks will get my point.

  30. Ossqss says:

    Facinating thread.

    Thanks Doc.

    My brain hurts now however. Seems like the more we know, the less we really know. Perplexing >

  31.  D o u g says:

    You know water vapour leads to a less steep thermal gradient (aka wet adiabatic lapse rate) so how could the temperature be, say, 10 degrees hotter at the surface in a moist region than in a similar but dry region?

    Suppose the gradient is 6.5C/Km in the moist region, but 8C/Km in the dry one, and the troposphere is 12Km high. Then in the moist region there would be an extra 12(8-6.5) degrees (ie 18 degrees) at the top of the troposphere, so it would now be 28 degrees hotter at that altitude in the moist region than in the dry region.

    How the hell would you get radiative balance in both the dry region and the moist region?

  32.  D o u g says:

    (continued)

    Of course you don’t get radiative balance if water vapour were to warm the surface, because it doesn’t happen that way, and it’s just crazy that climatologists apparently can’t see that the surface end of the thermal profile has to be lower in the moist region, as of course empirical data shows that it is.

    Hence we deduce that the radiative greenhouse conjecture is not what explains planetary surface temperatures. Gravity forms the steeper “dry adiabatic lapse rate” and then inter-molecular radiation between water vapour molecules reduces the gradient because radiative equilibrium is a pre-requisite for the thermodynamic equilibrium which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will evolve spontaneously as entropy increases.

  33. KevinK says:

    “The second reason is that, even if there is 100% opacity (which there cannot be for gaseous absorption), if you add more and more CO2, the effective radiating altitude to space goes ever higher, which is colder, which means less IR radiation, which means a warming tendency for the lower atmosphere.”

    Very interesting conjecture, If I understand it correctly the exterior walls of my house are colder in the winter than in the summer (easily observable fact), so they radiate less IR (also an easily observable fact), so my interior should be warmer in the winter than in the summer ? Who knew, all these years I have used a furnace to keep it comfy inside, I should have just relied on less radiation leaving my house. Boy the dollars I could have saved all these years on fossil fuels, I feel like a real dummy.

    Sorry Dr. Spencer, but that’s just bunkum.

    If you could (a very big IF) put a perfectly reflective mirror in space that sent back 100% of the CO2 specific bands the energy would still exit the system at the speed of light. Once the energy is absorbed by the soil/water it does not have to be emitted again in exactly the same wavelength. Plank came up with a statistical distribution of wavelengths. Any packet of energy traveling through the system can make one pass at a CO2 specific wavelength (and return to the surface) and then make a second pass at a NON-CO2 specific wavelength and then go on it merry way into the universe, never to be seen again here at the surface. This simply delays the flow of energy through the system by a few milliseconds.

    But, you sure do believe in the “GHE”, so not much use in arguing is there?

    Still, don’t you ever wonder how the miniscule thermal capacity of the “GHGs” in the atmosphere can force the massive (thousands of times larger) thermal capacity of the oceans into compliance? It’s like throwing an ice cube into a bathtub full of room temperature water and arguing that the whole mass of water will freeze solid.

    Cheers, Kevin.

    •  D o u g says:

      “if you add more and more CO2, the effective radiating altitude to space goes ever higher, which is colder,”

      That statement is junk “science” which is not supported by any valid physics. You are just echoing the IPCC.

      I don’t dispute that carbon dioxide cools, but that is only by about 0.1 degree (in total) and it is a net effect of …

      (a) Its reduction of the thermal gradient by inter-molecular radiation

      (b) Its smaller increase of the thermal gradient due to its lower specific heat than that of air.

      (c) Its very slight slowing by back radiation of that portion of surface cooling which is itself by radiation as the supporting temperature at the base of the troposphere is approached at night. This effect is merely to delay the time that the surface takes to cool to the temperature that it would do anyway. This has no effect on the minimum daily temperature, and thus the delay of a few seconds or minutes does not show in climate records.

  34. Dr. Strangelove says:

    kevin

    “If I understand it correctly the exterior walls of my house are colder in the winter than in the summer (easily observable fact), so they radiate less IR (also an easily observable fact), so my interior should be warmer in the winter than in the summer?”

    You don’t understand. House interior is cooler than outside in summer so heat flows from outside to inside house. (Unless you close all windows and suppress air cooling) In winter the reverse is true.

    “Once the energy is absorbed by the soil/water it does not have to be emitted again in exactly the same wavelength. Plank came up with a statistical distribution of wavelengths.”

    CO2 can absorb those wavelengths in Planck distribution.

    “It’s like throwing an ice cube into a bathtub full of room temperature water and arguing that the whole mass of water will freeze solid.”

    The average ocean temperature is fairly constant at 3.5 C. Sea surface temperature varies with geographic location because of variation in incident solar radiation. But that is only 700 m deep.

  35.  D o u g says:

    Using Stefan-Boltzmann calculations for Earth’s surface temperature is garbage.

    Consider the oceans. Solar radiation penetrates quite a few metres warming the whole ocean thermocline. But the mean temperature of the thermocline is a few degrees below the global mean surface temperature estimates of 287K.

    Now, if the surface were acting like a gray body with absorptivity 0.95, say, then SBL for the estimated mean insolation of, say, 165W/m^2 gives only 235K.

    On Venus, the 20W/m^2 of direct solar radiation which its surface receives (at the most) could only raise its temperature to a very cold 139K.

    Back radiation does not penetrate the ocean thermocline even beyond the first molecule it strikes. So you can’t just add back radiation to solar radiation and use the total in SBL calculations.

    Obviously the mean temperature of the ocean thermoclines is well above 235K, being close to 280K or more. Why is it so?

    The surfaces of Venus and Earth get hotter during their daytime. This requires net energy input from a hotter source. It ain’t gettin’ there by radiation, mate!

  36.  D o u g says:

    When solar radiation penetrates the oceans its electromagnetic energy is indeed converted to thermal energy – all of it, including UV and visible that is not reflected at the surface. But there is no immediate corresponding radiation from deep in the thermocline going back into the atmosphere.

    If back radiation were to do the same thing as solar radiation (as the models implicitly assume it does) then how could it? There would be an obvious violation of the Second Law with radiation from a colder source supposedly raising the temperature of sub surface layers of water. In any event, we know back radiation does not penetrate even beyond the very first layer of molecules at the surface. But if its energy were all converted to thermal energy in that first layer of molecules then, since back radiation is shown as about twice the incident solar radiation (LOL), those molecules would be unimaginably hot. Of course they would escape as evaporation. But where do the models show as much evaporation as they do back radiation entering the surface?

    You won’t understand what is really happening unless you understand the hypothesis in my book and the explanation of “Radiated energy and the second law of thermodynamics” in my paper with that title published in March 2012 linked from my website
    http://climate-change-theory.com as is my book.

  37.  D o u g says:

    You can now see the results of my study (which shows inverse correlation between precipitation and temperature records) in the red and blue graphic here.

  38. observant says:

    Dr Spencer says:

    “…feedback responses…”

    We seem not to notice that every few months a huge experiment is carried out for us concerning this. It is called seasonal change.

    Water vapor is the main greenhouse gas; and whole hemispheres full of it it warm up and cool down by 10-20 degrees C.
    If the overall feedback were positive, I think we would be…dead.

  39. ray says:

    “…whole hemispheres…”

    Yes, and as (say) our Northern summer develops now, it is pretty well isolated from any adjusting effect from South of the Equator. So it is really just like heating the whole Globe up, so far as noticing destablising feedbacks is involved.

  40.  D o u g says:

    “CO2 can absorb those wavelengths in Planck distribution.”

    No, Strangelove

    CO2 can absorb a few of those wavelengths in the full spectrum Planck distribution for surface radiation.

    So what? That doesn’t make the far hotter surface any hotter. The absorbing molecules don’t send back more energy to the surface than the surface sent them. In fact they don’t even warm the surface at all, let alone warming it back to the temperature it was before it cooled by sending the radiation in the first place. You see, my friend, energy cannot be created that way, even though Hansen et al thought they had a perpetual radiation machine.

    Nitrogen and oxygen can absorb 2,500 times as much thermal energy (by conduction from the surface) as all the carbon dioxide can hold, it being one molecule in 2,500. If they didn’t they would be so cold that they would solidify.

    When they bump into colder water vapour and/or carbon dioxide molecules, those nice “pollutants” get warmer and transfer the thermal energy only ever to colder molecules in a kind of relay race to space.

    That’s the real world – the world in which water vapour cools rather than warms the surface, as empirical data confirms.

  41.  D o u g says:

    Roy writes “the temperatures climb until radiative energy balance is achieved.”

    Of course there is a propensity towards radiative energy balance. That propensity sets the overall mean level of temperatures in any planet’s troposphere. But what sets the temperature gradient, Roy? How does any surface (or the base of the Uranus troposphere which has no surface) get the energy it needs? With a sloping temperature plot in any troposphere, why isn’t there plenty of upward diffusion of thermal energy through molecular collisions?

    On Uranus radiative equilibrium happens at a temperature colder than 60K, which is close to TOA. So why is the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere (over 300Km below that) at a temperature of 320K, Roy? No, the solid core (at about 5,000K) is not still cooling off, or generating sufficient nuclear energy to maintain its 5,000K temperature. There’s no convincing evidence of significant net energy loss at TOA, such as would be expected if the hot 5,000K regions were cooling off by non-radiative and radiation processes.

    The Sun keeps it all as it is, Roy, but not by direct radiation deep down into the atmosphere.

    Likewise on Venus.

    Likewise on Earth, where almost all solar radiation passes straight through the thin surface layer of the oceans.

  42.  D o u g says:

    So Roy doesn’t think I have a time dependent model?

    What does he think I used to make the prediction below on my first website?

    “From 2003 the effect of El Niño had passed and a slightly declining trend has been observed. This is the net effect of the 60-year cycle starting to decline whilst the 934 year cycle is still rising. By 2014 the decline should be steeper and continue until at least 2027. (This statement was archived 22 August 2011 here)”

  43.  D o u g says:

    Roy and all readers:

    BigWaveDave considers the gravito-thermal effect (seen in the vortex tube) worth your time thinking about …

    “Because the import of the consequence of the radial temperature gradient created by pressurizing a spherical body of gas by gravity, from the inside only, is that it obviates the need for concern over GHG’s. And, because this is based on long established fundamental principles that were apparently forgotten or never learned by many PhD’s, it is not something that can be left as an acceptable disagreement.

    The greenhouse conjecture would violate the laws of physics. It is totally wrong.

  44. Dr. Spencer I hope you will be able to address this?

    MY COUNTER ARGUMENT

    If CO2 is to have a climate effect(LEAD IT) why would the rate in the rise of CO2 values have an effect on the climate while concentration levels

    of CO2 many times greater in the past then today had NO effect on leading the climate??

    Fact: Past history records (like the chart I sent yesterday) show that no matter how high CO2 concentrations are in the atmosphere they never LEAD the climate/temperature trend. It has always followed the temperature trend.

    The question is why would just a rapid rise in CO2 concentrations from very low levels (280 ppm) to still low levels (400ppm today versus past CO2

    concentrations levels of 2000 ppm or higher) somehow cause CO2 to lead the climate/temperature, when in the past CO2 concentration levels many times greater then today’s levels still could not exert enough forcing on the climate to LEAD it?

    How in the world could lower values of CO2 concentrations (today’s values) somehow exert enough forcing on the climate to lead it when in the past much higher values of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere still could not exert enough forcing on the climate to lead it ? It(CO2) always has followed the temperature regardless of it’s concentration in the atmosphere. Why is that going to change just because it is increasing at a fast rate?

    On another note maybe less convection activity on a global scale is causing OLR values to decrease, rather then an increase in CO2.

  45. Steve Ta says:

    Roy,

    as a failed physics undergrad from 40 years ago, I’d like to express my appreciation for your brave attempts to educate the uneducatable masses.

    Over the last ten years or so I’ve learned a lot about radiative physics and the greenhouse effect; sufficient to know that most of what Andre Lofthus wrote was true but irrelevant, and much of what I leaned was thanks to your efforts, for which I thank you.

    I’m afraid that the reaction to what should have been a fairly uncontroversial posting shows what an uphill struggle you have, which must be even more depressing when you are being attacked from all sides. Keep at it.

    Best wishes, Steve

  46. http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml

    This is the data. This supports what I am claiming which is CO2 and the rest of the GHG effect are a result of climate change not the cause.

    That is what the data shows. Just because CO2 is increasing at a fast rate does not mean this is going to somehow allow this gas to lead the climate.

    Even in this latest cycle of warming(1840-1998) temperatures have gone up first ,Co2 concentrations once again following the temperature trend.

    Since 1998 with CO2 trends still increasing, the temperature has failed to continue to increase. Again no correlation.

  47. Zdzislaw Meglicki says:

    Isn’t the temperature profile of the Venus atmosphere reproduced simply by the barometric equation? And isn’t the temperature profile of the upper part of the atmosphere down to the level where the pressure matches that of Earth at sea level, essentially the same as the Earth atmospheric temperature profile corrected for the closer distance to the sun?

  48. Ken Gregory says:

    The IPCC says the global CO2 forcing is 3.7 W/m2 per doubling at the tropopause. This is from Myhre 1998 which gives the simplified equation:
    F2xco2 = 5.35 ln(CO2/CO2orig), based on radiative transfer models. The fluxes were determined in three regions and the global weighted average was calculated.
    http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/others/myhre.1998.pdf

    We have easy access to the Modtran simulator to calculate the radiative effect of doubling CO2.
    http://forecast.uchicago.edu/Projects/modtran.orig.html

    I wanted to use Modtran to verify this global forcing. We have to calculate the net flux at the tropopause, up – down flux and compare it to Myhre’s 3.7 W/m2.

    Modtran calculates clear sky values in three regions; tropics, mid-latitudes and polar. I assumed the year average is the average of the summer and winter forcings for mid-latitudes and polar regions.

    The tropopause height and the net radiative flux for the three regions are:
    Region Tropopause Net Flux
    Tropics 17 km 5.60 W/m2
    Mid-Lat 14 km 4.93 W/m2
    SubArctic 10 km 4.27 W/m2

    Assuming for the northern hemisphere, Tropics is 0 – 30 N, Mid-Lat is 30 – 60 N, SubArctic is 60 – 90 N, the clear sky Earth is 5.14 W/m2, weighted by the surface area of each region.

    The ratio of all-sky to clear-sky forcing flux in the tropics is about 90%. Assuming a 65% cloud cover, this gives the all-sky Earth forcing of double CO2 to be 4.62 W/m2. These calculations are shown here:
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/files/Modtran.xls

    Myhre 1998 says solar short wave absorption reduces the net forcing by 4.2%. Modtran does not account for this effect. Therefore, my final forcing for double CO2 is 4.62X(1-0.042) = 4.43 W/m2. This Modtran result is significantly greater than the generally accepted value of 3.7 W/m2.

    I suspect the reason is because Modtran has too little water vapour included. Using too low water vapor would make the calculated CO2 forcings too high. Perhaps my all-sky to clear-sky forcing ratio is inaccurate. Why do you think my Modtran calculations for CO2 forcing is too high?

  49. Ken Gregory says:

    I do not think that is the answer to the discrepancy. The Modtran band model, for each band, is made to agree with the line-by-line models, so it should give very similar results. it is more likely that the estimate of cloud effects, or the water vapor profiles used is different than that used by Myhre.

  50. James Strom says:

    Dr. Spencer, do you also reject the claim that the climate response to increased CO2 is logarithmic? The reason I ask is that eventually the logarithmic curve gets pretty darn close to flat.

    • llew Jones says:

      This really is an equation viz Tb-Ta = k ln(CO2b/Co2a) that the IPCC mentions but then seems to conveniently forget.

      Those with some familiarity with junior High School maths know two things.

      1. The tangent to that curve asymptotes to zero.

      2. The tangent to that curve is the rate of change of temperature with respect to atmospheric concentration of CO2.

      Further any self respecting scientist back to Arrhenius knows that even at its most potent CO2 alone is a relatively innocuous planet warmer. That is why, from the beginning significant warming of Earth’s temperature, was always linked with positive water vapour feedback.

      The nature of that feedback surely then is the only relevant consideration in the amount of warming increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 will cause. The rest presumably is good fun for those with nothing better to do.

      • James Strom says:

        I don’t have a problem with a small quantity of some substance having a large effect, but I’m curious about the question of saturation. Spencer rejects saturation as put forward in the American Thinker article, and I’m wondering about his view on what appears to be the commonly accepted warming curve. When the derivative on that curve gets close to zero, as you note it does, the effect is very much like saturation. Admittedly we have further to go than implied by the “Thinker”, but there are also constraints on the amount of carbon available. So it appears that consensus science also leads us to expect saturation. I wonder whether I need to revise my thinking on this as well.

    • James Strom says:

      Clive Best has an essay on CO2 saturation, and presents a fairly technical account here:

      http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=1169

      From his comments it seems to be a new topic for him, so reader comments and references look helpful as well.

      And Spencer Weart has a pretty clear post on the topic at Real Climate:

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

      I should add that it is convincing as well.

  51. boredstiffbythisnonsense says:

    I believe that Dr Spencer does take the “logarithmic model” as appropriate, so that a doubling of C02 would produce an increase of just 0.8 C in his anomalies series. He then considers whether there are “feedbacks”.

    However, the effectiveness of any such SPECULATIVE feedbacks are subject to the over-riding importance of the DEFINITE stabilizing feedback implied by the fact that the 4th power of absolute temperature determines the amount of radiation from any black-body (-like) object. Either there has to be some mechanism for producing the massive amount of extra power that a sustained amplified increase in surface temperature would imply, or some way for holding a bigger store of energy low down in the atmosphere. The existence of huge “heat bridges” from the surface to the atmosphere (evaporation) and within the troposphere (convection) make radiative calculation alone fruitless.

  52. ray says:

    “…”heat bridges”…”

    And, on a time-scale of decades and centuries, a bridge from the surface to the chilled depths of the oceans.

  53. Bill Marsh says:

    The reason the GCMs are so far off is they are trying to model the impossible. If earth’s ocean-atmosphere system is, as even the IPCC says, a complex, non-linear, chaotic system, then it is impossible to model unless you have almost perfect knowledge of all the processes and the initial state of all the variables in the system. Our state of knowledge about the ocean-atmosphere system is nowhere near robust enough to build a skillful model. We’re trying (tho I suspect we will never achieve a skillful model), but we should not base any policy on the results of the current generation of these models.

  54. Fred the Fourth says:

    Roy,
    I’m truly amazed you hung on in this thread as long as you did. You are a braver man than I, Gunga Din.

  55. Skippy says:

    Roy,

    Maybe this is a dead thread, but I just noticed it. I’m bothered a bit by this statement,

    “The second reason is that, even if there is 100% opacity (which there cannot be for gaseous absorption), if you add more and more CO2, the effective radiating altitude to space goes ever higher, which is colder, which means less IR radiation, which means a warming tendency for the lower atmosphere.”

    In equilibrium the amount of IR has to be the same, which means for a black body (or a constant gray body) that the emitting temperature must be the same. So I certainly understand that a fixed boundary condition at the ERL of ~-18C combined with a higher ERL yields a higher temp profile below the ERL. What I don’t understand is the bit about it being, “…colder, which means less IR radiation…”