Water Vapor Feedback and the Global Warming Pause

September 10th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

evaporation-precipitation1
Global warming is the predicted result of increasing atmospheric CO2 causing a very small (~1-2%) decrease in the rate at which the Earth cools to outer space though infrared radiation. And the since temperature change of anything is always the result of net gains and losses of energy, a decrease in energy lost leads to warming.

The direct effect of that warming is only about 1 deg. C in the next 100 years, though (theoretically calculated, in response to an eventual doubling of CO2 late in this century). Climate models instead project 2 to 3 times as much warming as that, due to “positive feedbacks” in the climate system.

But the Earth hasn’t warmed as much as expected by the global warming pundits and their positive feedbacks, especially in the tropics where deep moist convection dominates the atmosphere’s response to forcing.

Why?

We know that water vapor is the main atmospheric gas which reduces the Earth’s ability to radiatively cool in the infrared (IR). And, unlike CO2, water vapor varies tremendously due to a variety of processes.

Increasing surface temperatures cause more evaporation which by itself increases the water vapor content of the atmosphere. Water vapor at low altitudes has indeed increased with warming, as I have shown here (over the oceans):
Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but for SSM/I integrated water vapor.

So, the simple-minded assumption has been that warming caused by increasing CO2 would cause more water vapor, which will enhance the radiative warming. That’s called positive water vapor feedback, which roughly doubles the amount of warming from the CO2 increase alone in climate models.

[Yes, I know that more water vapor evaporated from the surface cools the surface…that’s taken into account by the climate models, too.]

But for many years I have advocated the view that water vapor feedback on the long time scales of climate change might not be positive. Clearly, something is causing the current “pause” in global warming. The three most likely causes of the pause (in my view, not prioritized) are: (1) increasing cloud reflection reducing the solar input, or (2) decreasing water vapor (and maybe cirrus clouds) in the upper troposphere increasing the infrared output, or (3) an increase in ocean mixing sequestering extra heat in the deep ocean. Or, some combination of the three. (I’m not a big fan of other theories, like more aerosol reflection of sunlight from dirty Chinese coal, or problems with the CO2 theory itself. Not that they are necessarily wrong.)

Our 1997 BAMS paper (Spencer & Braswell, 1997) discussed the importance of middle and upper tropospheric vapor to the IR cooling rate of the Earth. I also blogged about water vapor feedback four years ago. Basically, the bottom line is that it’s the processes controlling upper tropospheric water vapor which have the biggest impact on the IR cooling rate of the Earth.
atmos-hydro-cycle-small

As Spencer & Braswell (1997) showed, at low relative humidities often seen in the upper troposphere (below, say, 30%) a tiny change in water vapor content has a huge effect of the infrared cooling rate of the Earth. So you can have large increases in lower tropospheric vapor, but a small decrease in upper tropospheric vapor can completely negate the resulting water vapor feedback.

A recent paper which claims to have new satellite evidence of positive water vapor feedback uses highly uncertain infrared water vapor channel data (6.7 microns) which has unknown long-term instrument stability, and unknown diurnal drift effects (issues which we have spent 20 years on with the microwave temperature sounders), and unknown cloud contamination effects.

The important thing to understand is this: the largest control of water vapor feedback is the efficiency of precipitation systems, which controls how much water vapor is detrained into the upper troposphere. This process is what controls the humidity of the atmosphere on a clear day…that clear air is being forced to sink by rising air in precipitation systems, and its humidity (and thus its influence on the IR cooling rate of the clear air to space) can also be traced back to microphysical processes in precipitation systems. Clear air might seem boring, but it has a huge influence on the Earth’s temperature, through its humidity controlling the rate at which the Earth cools to space.

While climate models can be tuned to produce the average amount of water vapor in the upper troposphere reasonably realistically, we do not understand how precipitation efficiency changes with warming, and so the physics cannot currently be included in climate models for the purpose of predicting climate change.

On the subject of this uncertainty, a 20-year old paper by Renno, Emanuel, and Stone (1994) concluded:

The cumulus convection schemes currently in use in GCMs (general circulation models) bypass the microphysical processes by making arbitrary moistening assumptions. We suggest that they are inadequate for climate change studies.

That paper described from a theoretical point of view how high precipitation efficiency causes a cool and dry climate, while low precipitation efficiency causes a warm and moist climate.

While I’m sure that convective parameterizations are better today than they were 20 years ago, they really can’t address something this complex. Even much more sophisticated cloud resolving models (CRMs) still make rather arbitrary assumptions regarding the conversion of cloud to precipitation. And that which isn’t converted to precipitation re-evaporates and then changes the humidity of clear air.

It might well be that the limited radiosonde evidence we have of lower tropospheric moistening and upper tropospheric drying (e.g. Paltridge et al., 2009) is telling us that water vapor feedback is not positive, as is currently assumed in climate models. This is basically the reason why Miskolczi (2010) found a constant greenhouse effect…that the observed decrease in upper tropospheric humidity (which is controversial from an observational standpoint) just offset the warming caused by increasing CO2.

None of the above regarding water vapor feedback is new, and even our 1997 paper examined issues Dick Lindzen was advocating at least a decade before us. I’m presenting it again to remind ourselves of how little we really know about climate change.

And don’t even get me started on cloud feedback.


282 Responses to “Water Vapor Feedback and the Global Warming Pause”

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  1. Jim Curtis says:

    Rocket science is simpler.

    • Jim Curtis says:

      In a book I have by Singer and Avery (pp112f, 146f), they mention a study by Richard Lindzen and NASA of an observed “heat vent” over the western tropical Pacific (high clouds decrease when the water temperature increases). It also talks about high surface water temperatures making precipitation from high clouds more efficient. Similar?

      • That’s Lindzen’s “Infrared Iris” theory, which is is sort of a cloud version of the water vapor drying effect. They would probably occur together.

      • Doug says:

        But Roy, real world temperature data proves that more moist regions have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes.

        There’s a $5,000 reward awaiting you, Roy if you can

        (a) provide valid physics that shows why water vapour sensitivity should be of the order of 10 degrees of warming for each 1% in the atmosphere, and

        (b) then support this ridiculous contention (built into AGW ridiculous conjectures) with real world data.

  2. David L. Hagen says:

    Some of the modeling challenges are shown by Vitaly Khvorostyanov & Judith Curry addressing the challenges of modeling ice nucleation etc. in their new book Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Microphysics of Clouds.

    Unfortunately, despite almost 90 years of developments of CNT since 1920s, the values of parameters are still uncertain. This is especially true for the surface tension s. . . .But there is no hope that any reliable data will be available in the near future, because experiments are usually limited to -38 to -40 C and are difficult or impossible at lower T (“No Man’s Land”, see Chapter 4), and the available theories of water at low T are still incomplete, proceed slowly, and does not provide reliable values of s.

  3. I agree with what you have presented. This is quite good.

  4. The Pause is because ice stopped retreating and albedo stopped decreasing

    This is due to more snowfall with warm and open oceans

    • Jim Curtis says:

      Although I have no data or authority, I suspect that the influence of snow and ice on albedo is small compared to clouds. Snow and ice tend to occupy the parts of the planet that are not highly illuminated by sunlight (winter hemisphere and poles). Clouds are right up front where illumination is high.

      • Edim says:

        I agree. Even very small changes in latitudinal distribution of clouds should have big influnce on global climate.

  5. geran says:

    “I’m not a big fan of other theories, like … problems with the CO2 theory itself. Not that they are necessarily wrong.”
    >>>>>>

    Yes Dr. Roy, please keep that lifeboat easily available. We don’t want you to be the last one left on the CO2/AGW sinking ship!

  6. “that clear air is being forced to sink by rising air in precipitation systems,”

    That descending clear air then warms adiabatically at the dry adiabatic lapse rate which is faster than the moist adiabatic lapse rate on the earlier ascent.

    Yet no one seems to accept that as a means whereby the surface temperature is caused to rise above the S-B expectation.

    Very strange given that the relevant science is so well known.

    • Ball4 says:

      Stephen 11:13am: “Yet no one seems to accept (descending clear air then warms adiabatically) as a means whereby the surface temperature is caused to rise above the S-B expectation…very strange..”

      This would be because an adiabatic process by definition can’t warm the surface; what goes up must come down. The surface isn’t ever “above the S-B expectation”. The surface is in LT close balance with anomaly always AT the S-B expectation. This is not very strange. What would be strange is clear air NOT being forced to sink by rising air in precipitation systems.

      • Doug says:

        Of course an adiabatic process can’t warm anything. You are dead right on that, but neither you, Ball4 or Stephen Wilde understand the thermodynamics which is involved. On Venus, for example, the Sun can only raise the temperature of upper regions that are relatively cold – less than about 400K according to “S-B expectation” but the surface temperature (and that of the lower troposphere at any given altitude) rises by about 5 degrees over the course of the 4-month-long Venus surface, reaching about 737K. How does the required energy get into the Venus surface, either of you? And there are four other questions for you Ball4 on that other thread.

        • gbaikie says:

          –How does the required energy get into the Venus surface, either of you? And there are four other questions for you Ball4 on that other thread.–

          If the top of troposphere warms, so will the bottom of troposphere. Same as, if bottom of troposphere is warmed, so will the top of troposphere be warmed.
          Or on Earth the troposphere is dominated by evaporation and convection processes which transfer heat. And the temperature of gas gets colder with higher elevation, whenever stops cooling with elevation, one has left the troposphere. And heating above troposphere is not related to this particular issue.

      • Doug says:

        Sorry – that should read “over the course of the four-month-long Venus day.” (It’s too early in the morning here – but, by the way, the same process described in my book is working each morning here on Earth also.)

        And Ball4, the only radiation that can be used in S-B calculations is that from a hotter source, namely the Sun. The solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface has a mean intensity of about 161W/m^2.

        Now it is well known that temperature records have been higher due to urban crawl – you know – black asphalt roads etc. Do your bare feet get hotter on a sun-warmed road, or in the nearby surf or lake?

        Suppose the whole Earth surface were covered in asphalt paving. The emissivity of such has been measured as 0.93. So your “S-B expectation” Ball4 would be 235.066K – not particularly liveable.

      • Ball4 says:

        Doug 5:26pm: ”How does the required energy get into the Venus surface, either of you?”

        Same as in the top post. By convective, radiative, and conductive energy transfer. Like the rest of the universe. BTW, Doug states as fact there is a Venusian diurnal 5 degree rise then 5 degree lowering without citation. Cite please.

        Sleepy Doug 5:36pm: ”And Ball4, the only radiation that can be used in S-B calculations is that from a hotter source, namely the Sun.”

        There is no such limitation in S-B theory.

        S-B is the integral of the Planck distribution over any arbitrary frequency interval of interest. The two major limitations on S-B are only positive radii on the object of interest and negligible diffraction in the object of interest.

        • Doug says:

          Read my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” for an explanation of the resonating process which ensures that even one-way radiation obeys the second law of thermodynamics.

          I note that you say energy goes up the temperature gradient in the Venus troposphere by convection and conductive energy transfer. Explain the circumstances whereby this thermal energy transfers from colder to warmer regions. Is it an adiabatic process or otherwise?

          And no, thermal energy is not transferred by radiation from the colder atmosphere to the hotter Venus surface. The 5 degree increase is referred to in Jelbring’s peer-reviewed published paper over a decade ago. I really can’t be bothered linking you to it – you’ve wasted enough of my time already. And you still have five questions to answer on another thread here.

        • Ball4 says:

          Doug 8:43pm: “Explain the circumstances whereby this thermal energy transfers from colder to warmer regions….And you still have five questions to answer on another thread here.”

          Dr. Spencer has a fine explanation in the 1st two sentences of the top post. Read ’em. Then read Dr. Bohren’s 1998 book for the detailed calc.s for those & your 5 questions. Yes it was written last century, last millennium even, the theory is still good – that’s why they call ’em principles. Epiphany. I can’t be bothered to look up an incomplete cite so until Doug posts it, Doug has no support for a claimed 5 degree diurnal cycle on Venus.

          • Doug says:

            Roy is wrong, as he usually is, and so is Bohren on some points. And the questions are not discussed, and you can’t answer them with short cuts like that my friend. Sorry, no $5,000 reward for you that easily.

          • Doug says:

            Dr Hans Jelbring (climatologist) in “Energy and Environment” journal
            http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

          • Ball4 says:

            Doug 5:17am: Ok thanks. At 5:26pm et. al. Doug writes: “…the surface temperature (and that of the lower troposphere at any given altitude) rises by about 5 degrees over the course of the 4-month…”

            When asked for cite, Doug’s own citation shows Doug is incorrect since cite states: “The day and night temperature difference of Venus’ upper troposphere is only around 5K…”

            Perhaps Doug’s cited author also should get at least part of Doug’s $5,000.

            5:12am: “Roy is wrong, as he usually is, and so is Bohren on some points.”

            Exactly where, cite? Doug’s track record is established since if I bother to look them up – then it will be Doug that is proven incorrect.

          • Doug says:

            During the 4-month-long Venus day the temperature of any given location on the equator rises from about 732K to 737K. The reverse happens at night. So at the end of the day the temperature is about 5 degrees above that at the end of the night. It is not particularly important to know the magnitude of the rise and fall. We know the cooling at night will be the same as the warming by day. That’s because the whole system acts like a blackbody.

          • Ball4 says:

            Doug 9:10pm: “During the 4-month-long Venus day the temperature of any given location on the equator rises from about 732K to 737K.”

            This is not known. Doug cites a source that makes this assertion about Venus’ upper troposphere which itself provides no cite for the source. Doug needs to find the original source of the data to show it is more than simply made-up assertion.

            “That’s because the whole system acts like a blackbody.”

            No Doug. There are no blackbodies or whitebodies in nature; Venus system acts like a grey body, somewhere in between.

    • Kristian says:

      We don’t accept it because there’s nothing to accept. It’s all based on your continued misunderstanding of how, in this case, the real world works. It’s an imaginary effect. It exists only in your head.

      Subsiding air doesn’t move any energy that wasn’t already in the troposphere to begin with on its way down. It doesn’t introduce ‘new’ energy to the atmosphere. So it can’t contribute to any overall warming. Like rising air can and does.

      This is the whole point with a convective cell, Stephen. Take up energy at the heating end, move it through the fluid, release it at the cooling end, move back down to pick up more energy.

      The Sun heats the surface. The surface then heats (and moisten) the surface air which starts rising as a result, bringing this energy (originally brought in from the Sun) up into the troposphere. This energy is then used to warm the troposphere, before it’s radiated back to space. And it cools back.

      All the energy that enters the troposphere (from the surface from below, from the Sun from above) also exits at the end of each cycle (mostly diurnal). Or the next day always starts out warmer than the previous one. Perpetual warming.

      The adiabatic cycle doesn’t in itself warm or cool anything. The parcel of air cools when expanding (from doing work on its surroundings) and warms when compressed (from the surroundings doing work on it). It ends up being a zero-sum game.

      It is the introduction of external energy to this cycle that does the trick in Earth’s troposphere. Diabatic heating and cooling.

      • The energy tied up in convective overturning cannot be lost to the system whilst engaged in that overturning.

        The system thus must contain more total energy than it would if there were no convective overturning.

        That additional energy is what keeps the surface 33C higher than predicted by the S-B equation.

        Of course the energy that starts the process off is drawn from diabatic heating and cooling but whilst in the adiabatic exchange it is retained within the system longer which causes the 33C temperaturte rise.

        I know what you are trying to say and I have spent a lot of time considering alternative views but it keeps coming back to basic thermodynamics.

        • Kristian says:

          Yes, I know we agree on most relevant issues, Stephen. But on this we differ, because you seemingly keep insisting that the surface being warmer than pure solar radiative equilibrium has got something to do with descending air re-warming adiabatically. It doesn’t. It has all to do with the difficulty with which the solar-heated surface, overlain by a massive atmosphere, is trying to shed its absorbed energy from the Sun as fast as it comes in. It is only about the rising air, the one lifting away from the surface, bringing its absorbed energy with it, up, to be radiated back out to space from aloft in the atmosphere.

          • Doug says:

            No it’s not to do with surface cooling either Kristian. the temperature has to be raised by an energy input in the first place. If you consider Venus, solar radiation of less than 20W/m^2 cannot possibly cause its surface temperature to rise by 5 degrees over the course of its 4-month-long day. Even all the solar radiation reaching the top of the Venus atmosphere is far too little to supply the 14,000 to 16,000W/m^2 that would be required.

            The process whereby the necessary energy gets into the Venus surface is explained using valid physics for the first time in world literature in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.”

            And there’s a $5,000 reward for the first to prove the physics and the study therein to be substantially wrong. I’ve have already put my money ($3,000) where my mouth is in publishing the book which will never repay that in royalties. Now I’m offering a further $5,000. What have you done?

        • Doug says:

          No Stephen. The energy cannot be “tied up” just because convection is happening. Radiation still happens. Nor is the temperature difference only 33 degrees – see my comment below. Also, most solar radiation passes through the thin transparent surface layer of the ocean, so perhaps less than 10% of it should be used for S-B calculations for that 70% of Earth’s surface.

          Now there are pretty calm conditions in the nominal troposphere of the planet Uranus, and virtually no solar radiation reaching down through 350Km of hydrogen and helium to the base of that troposphere. There’s no surface there either to trigger convection, but it’s about 320K – hotter than Earth’s surface. Until you can explain that, Stephen, and how the required energy gets from the 400K region of Venus to warm the surface from 732K to 737K you remain well off track from reality.

          Of course you could get on track by reading my book, but you wouldn’t deign to do so, now would you?

        • geran says:

          Stephen says: “That additional energy is what keeps the surface 33C higher than predicted by the S-B equation.”
          >>>>>

          The S-B equation predicts no such thing. The IPCC does not apply the S-B equation correctly.

        • Ball4 says:

          Stephen 3:40pm: “That additional energy is what keeps the surface 33C higher than predicted by the S-B equation.”

          Again, and again: The surface temperature is always AT that predicted by S-B. Never higher. Never lower. Never means no exceptions. See the picture in the top post. Up & down arrows.

          Stephen gets this right: “I know what you are trying to say and I have spent a lot of time considering alternative views but it keeps coming back to basic thermodynamics.”

          Applause. Now if only Stephen would actually read a text on basic thermodynamics: Standing ovation.

          • Doug says:

            No Ball4. When you use S-B calculations you have to reduce the intensity to allow for, not only reflection, but also transmission. The thin nearly fully transparent surface layer of the ocean hardly absorbs any solar radiation. Furthermore, back radiation does not penetrate warmer water more than a few nanometres, as even Roy acknowledges. So it can’t warm the surface layer either. The only radiation which can warm the surface – mostly the solid surface at that – is direct solar radiation which averages 161W/m^2. Now let’s see your S-B calculations after you reduce that to less than 10W/m^2 for the thin surface layer of the oceans.

          • geran says:

            One of my favorites, Doug, says: “The only radiation which can warm the surface – mostly the solid surface at that – is direct solar radiation which averages 161W/m^2.”
            >>>>>

            Doug, “direct solar radiation” is about 956 W/m^2 (TSI, adjusted for albedo).

            Unless you are on another planet….

          • Doug says:

            Geran. That 956W/m^2 is not the mean over the whole of Earth’s surface. It may reach that in some tropical regions on a clear day when the Sun is directly overhead, but that’s not a 24 hour world wide mean. We have to divide by 4 because the surface area of a sphere is 4 times the area of the orthogonal circle with the same radius through which the radiation arrives at our planet. We also have to deduct about 21% for absorption in the atmosphere. You’ll find the figure 161W/m^2 in NASA energy diagrams and it is generally accepted. However, when such radiation strikes the thin surface layer of the oceans, most of it (like over 90%) passes through and down into the colder thermocline regions where its energy is used to raise those cold temperatures a little, but nowhere near enough to affect the air temperature above the surface. Hence you cannot even work with anything near as much as 161W/m^2 when trying to use S-B calculations to determine ocean surface temperatures over 70% of the globe.

             

            Radiation is not the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.

             

             
            1

          • geran says:

            Sorry Doug, you cannot use IPCC science. It is invalid. The topic is the S-B equation. You can NOT “divide by 4” before using the S-B equation. You may want to read my book….

          • Ball4 says:

            Doug 8:20pm “When you use S-B calculations you have to reduce the intensity to allow for, not only reflection, but also transmission.”

            No. Doug cannot possibly understand the top post demonstrating this much confusion so offers no constructive comments on it. S-B is the integral of the Planck distribution which is emission from any solid, liquid and gas object at any temperature, at all freq.s, all the time. It is the brightness temperature includes the reduction in S-B for reflection and any transmission.

            “Now let’s see your S-B calculations…”

            For my S-B calculations, including brightness temperature, see Dr. Bohren’s 2006 text p. 33. Epiphany.

          • Doug says:

            Garbage Geran

            I’m not copying IPCC. But I do agree with the NASA figure for radiation into the surface. I’m using the geometry I learnt in my teens. What is the area of a circle, Geran? What is the surface area of a sphere, Geran? Does the Sun shine on the dark hemisphere Geran? You display a serious lack of understanding of all this.

          • Doug says:

            You are just as pathetic in your lack of understanding of the physics of radiation, Ball4. Do you seriously think you are “teaching” me something about the Planck function and its integral? Go read my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites in March 2012.

            When I stand by a window with sun shining through it onto my arms, you know, the funny thing is I can still feel almost as much warmth as I would outside.

            When working out temperatures which radiation can bring about you have to consider absorption, Ball4. I would have thought that was pretty darn obvious. It takes net energy input to raise a temperature. It seems you want the energy in the Solar radiation to warm the transparent surface of the ocean (like that window pane) and also to warm the ocean depths (like my arm inside the house) so you want to double count its energy and assume it does both just as effectively as it would a black body.

            The emissivity of the ocean water has been measured as 0.984. That’s to do with what it emits, note. It has nothing to do with what it absorbs by way of radiation. How much does your kettle absorb by radiation when you are boiling the water inside? Is there some other energy going in? Of course there is. But anyway, let’s suppose the oceans are covered with black asphalt paving with emissivity 0.93. Go on. Bung that into your S-B calculator using the whole of the Sun’s mean radiation to the surface – 161W/m^2. What do you get, Ball4? I get 235.06608115215226K

          • Ball4 says:

            Doug 10:57pm “Do you seriously think you are “teaching” me something about the Planck function and its integral?”

            No, it is readily apparent I am not. That’s why I recommend you read both Dr. Bohren’s 1998 text and 2006 text especially p. 33. Let the real teacher do the teaching, then compare to your paper as I have, enjoy the epiphany. Work the problems, find the answers to your 5 questions. These are only intro. texts after all, not even the hard stuff.

            “It takes net energy input to raise a temperature.”

            Duh! This is what Dr. Spencer writes in the 1st two sentences of top post. And see below.

            “The emissivity of the ocean water has been measured as 0.984. That’s to do with what it emits, note.”

            Also to do with what ocean absorbs. Oceans turned to black asphalt at epsilon 0.93 gives 235+K? No. Apparently you already forgot what you learned above: It takes net energy input to raise a temperature. Hint: you include the outgoing but forget the incoming radiation as you do for Venus. See Dr. Bohren 2006 p. 33 for the correct net energy input raising the temperature as you stated above. Basics are pretty easy for him to teach.

          • Doug says:

            Ball4 says “Also to do with what ocean absorbs”

            Nope. The thin surface layer of an ocean is not acting like a black or grey body. It absorbs far less radiation than it emits. The rest goes down into the ocean thermocline, as I have explained.

            I’ve read well past p.33 and can prove your “teacher” wrong with both empirical data and valid physics – instead of the garbage “fissics” that he dishes up in his book, full of errors about the thermal energy transferred by radiation. As I have said, that matter is explained in my paper on radiated energy from which Craig could learn a lot that he does not know, and of course so could you.

            You cannot even explain in your own words anything at all it seems. You are just an echo of AGW propaganda with which you have indeed been well brain-washed. There’s not a single sign of an original thought in anything you write. Just perpetual calls upon authority. Well I have no respect for any “authority” that pumps out invalid physics which I can easily detect.

          • geran says:

            Doug, I am not questioning your geometry. You got that right. Where you are wrong is dividing the insolence by 4 and trying to say the resulting temperature is S-B. You get the elementary geometry right, but the quantum physics is wrong.

            Simple example: (“Perfect” scenario, no atmosphere, no albedo, nothing to interfere with the application of S-B.)

            Solar insolence strikes a flat blackbody surface, perpendicularly. The surface is in a perfect vacuum. Insolence is 1000 Watts/square meter. What is the temperature of the surface?

            Answer: 364.4K

            Now, divide the surface into four equal squares, each 0.25 square meters.

            What is the temperature of one of the squares?

            In IPCC “science”, they would say, “well, the geometry indicates that the area is 1/4 of the total, so the insolence is 1000/4 = 250 W/sq.m. So the answer is 257.7K.”

            Hopefully you can now see that that is incorrect. The temperature of each of the four squares would be 364.4K, since the insolence was not changed.

            Perhaps it is not too late to rewrite your book….

          • Ball4 says:

            Doug 5:29am: Says “nope” to Ball4 says ocean absorbs. Then Doug writes: “It absorbs…” by “it” Doug means ocean.

            What did I just write Doug? Try and keep your stories straight as I have no respect for any “authority” that pumps out invalid physics which I can easily detect.

            Doug’s book 2nd ed. can benefit from improved & valid physics correctly using Planck distribution, S-B, and Clausius writings as provably do Dr. Spencer and Dr. Bohren; concur with Geran 6:36am: “Perhaps it is not too late to rewrite your book….

          • Doug says:

            There’s a big difference between the thin surface layer of the ocean and “the ocean” which extends somewhat deeper.

          • Ball4 says:

            Doug – Yes there is a big difference, one is very thin and the other is very thick.

        • Jerry L Krause says:

          Hi Stephen Wilde:

          I hesitate to enter this discussion because if it seems people have difficulty in seeing my point. But if one doesn’t try, one can never succeed.

          ???

          When you refer to the S-B equation I assume you are referring to Stefan-Boltzmann equation. But when you mention 33°C and the earth‘s albedo, I assume you are referring the radiation balance calculation first done by Svante Arrhenius. For years (decades) I have been trying to convince every proponent of the greenhouse effect of certain atmospheric gases that Arrhenius’s calculation and any radiation balance calculation is totally without merit because the amount of solar radiation absorbed by earth and its atmosphere is reduced by its albedo (of which a significant contributing factor is due to clouds) and it was not and still is not commonly, considered that the same clouds do nothing to reduce the lost of IR radiation to space.

          In a comment to Roy’s blog of Sept 9th I quoted R. C. Sutcliffe and Richard Feynman (you can and should check these quotes out). Here, I will only quote a portion of what Sutcliffe wrote in Weather and Climate (1966). “Clouds which do not give rain, which never even threaten to give rain but which dissolve again into vapour before the precipitation stage is ever reached, have a profound effect on our climate. This is obvious enough if we only think of the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day in summer or between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter.”

          So from the beginning, most everyone had to have known about the difference between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter and thereby known about clouds (overcast) influence upon out going IR radiation and the lack of this influence upon the same IR radiation during a clear nighttime sky.

          To this comment Roy replied: “Clouds absorb and emit IR, reflect and slightly absorb visible. Don’t know what your point is. I have a long history of advocating that clouds are probably the biggest uncertainty in climate change forecasts.”

          My question to you is: Can you see what my point is?

          Have a good evening, Jerry

        • Jerry L Krause says:

          Hi Stephan Wilde:

          Discovered I misplaced my comment to you. I had intended to pass it here instead of at the end of Ball4’s, Doug’s, Geran’s many comments. Hope you can locate it.

          Have a good evening, Jerry

    • rick says:

      Australian Bureau of Meteorology, on 9th September, says:

      “ENSO is NEUTRAL”

      Also, New York Times has headline:

      “Hopes (sic) for a Strong El Nino Fade in California”

      and quotes David Pierce, “a climate researcher at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California”:

      “Usually the atmosphere starts responding to these temperature changes, but this year it didn’t.”

  7. http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/03/man-made-global-warming-theory-is.html

    The article above contradicts the premise below.

    Global warming is the predicted result of increasing atmospheric CO2 causing a very small (~1-2%) decrease in the rate at which the Earth cools to outer space though infrared radiation

  8. The three most likely causes of the pause (in my view, not prioritized) are: (1) increasing cloud reflection reducing the solar input, or (2) decreasing water vapor (and maybe cirrus clouds) in the upper troposphere increasing the infrared output, or (3) an increase in ocean mixing sequestering extra heat in the deep ocean.

    Dr. Spencer is ignoring the all important solar factor in regards to the warming effects or lack of warming effects it has on the oceans and should be the 4th possible cause for the pause.

    I will send a post done by Bob Weber which is very insightful on this approach.

  9. Bob Weber says:

    September 10, 2014 at 3:00 am

    JM – The cause of the pause was the cause before the pause.

    The higher solar activity during SC17-23 (overcoming lower SC20) caused the global warming phase that ended at least a decade ago. The Earth’s temperatures have on average leveled off as the ocean heat content accumulation from all those years of the Modern Maximum in solar activity, from 1936-2003 from my calculations, using both Svalgaard’s new GSN and the SIDC numbers (they give the exact same result!), has been mitigated by the cooling effect of lower solar activity periods during all the solar minimums since 1936, and the SC23 declining phase through SC24.

    The Sun warms and cools the Earth by emitting more or less photon flux. Earth cools off with insufficient incoming photon flux. A good proxy for the solar spectrum (total photon flux) is F10.7cm radio flux, a small slice of TSI on the sun’s frequency spectrum. The solar flux and sunspot number track very closely.

    When the Sun is hot, we’re hot, when it’s not, we’re not. Over the course of a single rotation, or over the course of a whole cycle or series of cycles. The warming/cooling effect works in short time frames and long time frames.

    For example, when we were in the “solar all-quiet” earlier this summer, the sunspot number dropped to zero for a day for the first time since the last solar minimum, with a corresponding drop in solar flux down to 89 sfu. That week was the coldest week all summer. The farside at that time had a lot of spots. In early July, SSN was 256, solar flux was 201, and it was hot. I have US temperature map data to back this up.

    Solar cycle #24 had a daily average solar flux of 100 sfu/day as of July 10 (when I last did the calculation), and will be slightly higher now after a more active summer of mostly over 120 sfu/day,

    Comparing cycles, in order of cycle, in sfu/day (F10.7cm measurements started in 1947):
    #[email protected]
    #[email protected]
    #[email protected]
    #[email protected]
    #[email protected]
    #[email protected]

    For cycles before #19, we rely on SSNs.

    This analysis, extended to both the Maunder Minimum and Dalton Minimum (among any others), explains the temperature drops experienced here on Earth result from deep, sustained solar slowdowns, especially during the Maunder, when the SSN was nonexistent quite a while, decades.

    During the Dalton Minimum, SSN was zero for the whole year of 1810, when the depth of cold measured in at an almost 2C drop over the previous 9 years. The average SSN didn’t rise high enough to raise temperatures back again to where they previously were for almost two decades after 1810.

    As long as solar flux is above 120, it’ll stay warm and very slightly build more heat into the system. When SC24 winds down, and daily SSNs are down and solar flux drops below 120 every day for the duration of the minimum and into the next cycle #25 (expected to be a low cycle), we will experience a noticable temperature drop (on average), as has happened during every solar minimum, whether it be between cycles as in 2008-10, as in 1810, or during a sequence of low cycles, as during the Maunder.

    To make a long story short, a hotter Sun from 1936-2003, when solar activity as measured by sunspot number was 31% higher for 68 years than the annual average SSN for the previous 183 years, caused global warming.

    A less hot Sun since then caused the “pause” – a misnomer – and in due time, an even cooler Sun, however small a variation in total magnitude, will cause global cooling.

    Works every time. Further analysis indicates the Sun causes extreme weather effects – but that’s for another day…

    The Sun causes warming, cooling, and extreme weather effects. The Sun did it – it always has, it always will – and it will do it again and again until the end of time.

    • ed says:

      Based on the comments made by Dr. Leif Svalgard on other sites your analysis is far from “robust” in explaining variations in long term climate.

  10. Dr. SPENCER makes this great point in this article which I also subscribe to.

    As Spencer & Braswell (1997) showed, at low relative humidities often seen in the upper troposphere (below, say, 30%) a tiny change in water vapor content has a huge effect of the infrared cooling rate of the Earth. So you can have large increases in lower tropospheric vapor, but a small decrease in upper tropospheric vapor can completely negate the resulting water vapor feedback

  11. The important thing to understand is this: the largest control of water vapor feedback is the efficiency of precipitation systems, which controls how much water vapor is detrained into the upper troposphere

    Another great learning point for me which I subscribe to from Dr. Spencer.

  12. Cees de Valk says:

    I tend to agree with you on this. Several years ago, out of curiosity, I analysed the relationship between CERES data and UAH LT data using my own method (not published), and found that the LW radiation feedback to warming of the lower troposphere is pretty close to that of a black body within a fairly small error band (the SW response is much more uncertain, within a wide band around zero). That LW response is inconsistent with a substantial positive water vapour feedback.

    So based on that, my first choice would be your hypothesis no. 2 (decreasing water vapor (and maybe cirrus clouds) in the upper troposphere increasing the infrared output). The other two hypotheses seem more speculative.

  13. Mark Bofill says:

    As Spencer & Braswell (1997) showed, at low relative humidities often seen in the upper troposphere (below, say, 30%) a tiny change in water vapor content has a huge effect of the infrared cooling rate of the Earth. So you can have large increases in lower tropospheric vapor, but a small decrease in upper tropospheric vapor can completely negate the resulting water vapor feedback.

    Dr Spencer,

    Would you mind elaborating enough to give me a basic idea of how this works? Why is the upper tropo water vapor so much more effective?

    If you have time and inclination at some point, I’d be grateful. 🙂

    Mark

  14. Jerry L Krause says:

    Dear Roy Spenser Ph.D.:

    Roy, you concluded your blog with the statement: “And don’t even get me started on cloud feedback.”

    In his book Weather and Climate (W. W. Norton, 1966) R. C. Sutcliffe wrote: “… one cannot explain the broad features of world climate if one does not know the actual mechanisms involved.” [pp 138], after he had written: “It would be difficult to overstress the importance of clouds as the necessary intermediary between invisible vapour and falling precipitation upon which all land-life depends, but their importance by no means ends here. Clouds which do not give rain, which never even threaten to give rain but which dissolve again into vapour before the precipitation stage is ever reached, have a profound effect on our climate. This is obvious enough if we only think of the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day in summer or between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter. Taking an overall average, about 50 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with cloud at any time whereas precipitation is falling over no more than say 3 per cent. Non-precipitating clouds are thus the common variety, rain clouds are the exception. The climatic importance of clouds lies in their effectiveness in reflecting, absorbing, transmitting, and emitting radiation, …” [pp 33,34]

    Several times now, I have attempted to draw your attention to the fact that Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, taught physics students at Caltech that clouds particles very effectively scatter electromagnetic radiation. To which you have replied: “Don’t know what your point is.”

    My point is that you and anybody else should not dismiss, seemingly without explanation, this scattering mechanism taught by Feynman (The Feynman Lectures On Physics, Addison-Wesley, 1963, pp 32-8,9) and the easily seen influence of clouds as stated by Sutcliffe.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  15. JohnKl says:

    Hi Jerry L Krause,

    Thank you for the post. You stated:

    “My point is that you and anybody else should not dismiss, seemingly without explanation, this scattering mechanism taught by Feynman (The Feynman Lectures On Physics, Addison-Wesley, 1963, pp 32-8,9) and the easily seen influence of clouds as stated by Sutcliffe.”

    Personally, I don’t dismiss it. Reflection of visible light back to space can and does greatly reduce the Earth’s solar absorption. If for whatever reason the Earth’s surface warms atmospheric water vapor will likely increase possibly increasing the total cloud mass/surface area that may in turn reflect light back to space. When has Roy dismissed it?

    Have a great day!

  16. JohnKl says:

    Hi Roy,

    You claimed:

    “Global warming is the predicted result of increasing atmospheric CO2 causing a very small (~1-2%) decrease in the rate at which the Earth cools to outer space though infrared radiation.”

    Increasing GHG’s should increase the RATE of cooling to space in the infrared since diatomic gas compounds like oxygen frequently emit in longer microwave lengths and therefore at a SLOWER rate. Or am I missing something?

    Have a great day!

  17. Kristian says:

    Roy, you say:

    “We know that water vapor is the main atmospheric gas which reduces the Earth’s ability to radiatively cool in the infrared (IR). And, unlike CO2, water vapor varies tremendously due to a variety of processes.

    Increasing surface temperatures cause more evaporation which by itself increases the water vapor content of the atmosphere.”

    Humid air and clouds per se actually DO end up radiating less to space per unit of time than dry air and clear skies. On average, across the diurnal cycle. (See last part.)

    But this is only half the truth. What one tends to forget, is how much more energy the former can and do hold compared to the latter. And how much warmer the troposphere tends to become with more H2O being injected into it from the surface. The troposphere is actually mainly warmed from the surface by the condensation of water vapour into droplets, clouds and precipitation:

    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/column-1/hatm_ANN.png
    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/surface-1/rain_ANN.png

    • Kristian says:

      Notice here how esteemed climate researchers Norman Loeb and Joel Susskind miss this point completely:

      “Atmospheric temperature and water vapor mixing ratio contributions to LW TOA flux variability are negatively correlated (…), with lower (drier) temperature (water vapor) changes during the cold phase of ENSO reducing (enhancing) LW TOA flux. Overall, atmospheric temperature variations have a greater impact on LW TOA flux variability than water vapor changes.”

      http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

      “OLR is very sensitive to the concentration of mid-upper tropospheric water vapor in very moist (i.e., most tropical) areas, in the sense that increasing water vapor concentration increases atmospheric absorption in some spectral bands and therefore lowers OLR, everything else being equal. OLR also decreases with increasing cloud cover, especially for high clouds.”

      “The paper (…) used anomaly time series of surface skin temperature, mid-tropospheric water vapor, and cloud amounts derived from analysis of AIRS sounder data over this time period to explain why global and tropical mean OLR anomaly time series are positively correlated with the El Nińo Index, which like global and tropical mean OLR, has decreased on the average over this time period as a result of phases of El Nińo/La Nińa oscillations.”

      http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20120012822.pdf

      How do they figure the troposphere (especially the tropical one) warms in the first place during a positive ENSO event (an El Nińo)?

      It is of course warmed by a pronounced increase in the release of ‘latent heat’ (diabatic heating) in the tropospheric column, originally brought up from the surface by deep moist convection. More water vapour is transferred to the troposphere than usual. What happens when this finally condenses? Warming.

      So the substantial tropospheric warming leading to the increased OLR through the ToA during positive ENSO events specifically results from more H2O brought up into the troposphere by strengthened convection, a direct response (negative feedback) to increased surface temps.

      In other words: More energy transferred from the surface to the air above and transported high up into the troposphere by enhanced convection will ultimately lead to MORE radiation leaving the Earth system to space.

      And what’s doing the radiation? H2O. No H2O, no radiation. That goes for most of the EM spectrum.

      So, more energy from surface > more tropospheric warming > more emission to space.

      The opposite happens during negative ENSO events: Less H2O from the surface > cooler troposphere > reduced OLR.

  18. Kristian says:

    From Trenberth et al. 2002:

    “ENSO events contribute to coherent interannual and even decadal fluctuations in the global mean temperature and, as we have shown, the nature of the ENSO contribution is quite complex. Part of it involves the recharge and discharge of heat in the tropical Pacific Ocean. During and following El Nińo events the heat from the ocean is redistributed within the tropical Pacific, and much of it is released to the atmosphere, creating local warming. However, a major part of the ocean heat loss is through evaporation, and the heat is realized in the atmosphere as latent heating in precipitation. This diabatic heating drives large-scale atmospheric overturning that influences the response throughout the tropics and subtropics as well as influencing other teleconnections within the extratropics.”

    “OLR is often used as a proxy for precipitation owing to the dominant changes that occur in cloudiness and high cloud tops. However, the algorithms for translating OLR to precipitation do not account for the real effects of surface temperature changes of OLR or of small changes associated with heating of the atmosphere. High SSTs are associated with the atmospheric convergence, deep convection, and thus low OLR, but also with a flux of latent energy into the atmosphere, condensation and heating of the atmosphere, and transport of heat to higher latitudes where it can be radiated to space. This increase in OLR, seen especially in the subtropics, may be interpreted erroneously by precipitation algorithms as less precipitation.”

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf

    – – –

    The reason humid air and clouds on average release less IR upwards per unit of time than dry air in clear conditions is quite obviously because of the larger ‘heat capacity’ of humid air and clouds than that of dry air. Humid air and clouds simply hold more energy per degree of temperature.

    Especially in the tropics during the day, humid air and clouds will transmit a lot less of the energy absorbed from the surface and from the Sun through to space as IR than dry air and clear skies, per unit of time. Simply because they are storing up on energy to a much greater extent – higher ‘heat capacity’ means higher total storage of energy. (At the same time, humid air and clouds will greatly reduce surface and atmosphere heating rates during the day compared to dry and clear conditions.)

    So during the day, humid air and clouds absorb more incoming energy and emit less, because they possess a higher ‘heat capacity’ than dry air and will consequently have to absorb more energy to be able to warm as much.

    During the night, there is no reason to assume that humid air and clouds will radiate less energy to space per unit of time than a dry/clear atmosphere. As long as the starting temps are equal (they most likely are not; the humid, cloudy conditions would normally start out a fair bit cooler and so would radiate less during the warmest half of the night simply from this fact).

    But the cloud fraction is most likely larger during daytime than during the night in the tropics. On average. Because of the tight coupling between surface heating and convection. Humidity probably doesn’t vary that much, at least not over the oceans.

    The point is, the overall effect – across the diurnal cycle – of more humid air and more clouds in the tropics/subtropics will clearly be less IR to space. Because of the substantial daytime effect, storing rather than releasing, and (most likely) generally more clouds during the bright hours of the day than during the dark.

    But this doesn’t mean that less OLR will be emitted from Earth to space if there is much H2O in the atmosphere than if there is little H2O in the atmosphere. Because the H2O is the main contributor to tropospheric heating. Compare El Nińos with La Nińas.

    The ‘slowed surface cooling’ effect during humid/cloudy nights is not necessarily related to less IR to space, but rather more energy needing to be released for the same amount of cooling. Plus the release of ‘latent heat’. This is all about temp gradients. If the atmosphere cools more slowly to space as a result of a relatively high ‘heat capacity’, then the surface will in turn cool more slowly to the atmosphere.

  19. Kristian says:

    It should be mentioned that CO2 would NOT increase the ‘heat capacity’ of air. It would somewhat reduce it. Meaning air containing more CO2 would cool a little bit faster.

    • The atmosphere is warmed by conduction from the surface whether it be land or water.

      GHGs such as CO2 and water vapour assist the conductively warmed atmosphere to radiate energy to space directly instead of first having to return it to the surface in adiabatic descent whereupon it would radiate to space from the surface instead.

      GHGs therefore enhance cooling from within the atmosphere which weakens convective overturning so that the surface radiation directly to space reduces by exactly the same amount for a zero net effect.

      That is why energy out to space always matches energy in from space subject to variations about the mean caused by internal system variations such as ocean cycles.

      For a non GHG atmosphere all radiation to space would be from the surface.

      For an atmosphere that is 100% radiatively efficient all the energy to space would be lost from within the atmosphere.

      The radiative efficiency of an atmosphere bears an inverse relationship to the proportion of energy lost to space directly from the surface.

      • michael hart says:

        “For a non GHG atmosphere all radiation to space would be from the surface.

        For an atmosphere that is 100% radiatively efficient all the energy to space would be lost from within the atmosphere.”

        That seems like a helpful reminder, Steven. I still wonder what is the effect of increased CO2 at cloud tops in the ITCZ (i.e. after the water vapour has ‘finished’ condensing).

        • The additional CO2 will radiate more to space from within the atmosphere which reduces the gravitational potential energy (not heat) available in each air molecule to return to kinetic energy (heat) on the subsequent adiabatic descent.

          The radiation from surface to space is reduced by exactly the same amount as the increase in radiation from that CO2 to space from within the atmosphere for a zero net thermal effect but instead a miniscule air circulation effect.

  20. Dr. Spencer I hope you look at the strong correlations from these various charts in my previous post. This can’t be a coincidence.

  21. Doug says:

     

    You are not correct Roy for the following reasons:

    (1) Radiation from a cooler object can only slow down that component of the cooling of a warmer object which is itself cooling due to radiation. Only about a third of the energy transferring from Earth’s surface to the atmosphere does so by radiation, according to the original NASA net energy diagrams. The rate of cooling by non-radiative processes cannot be slowed down by radiation. Sure, I know this is 21st century physics which you didn’t study when you got your “A” in thermodynamics, but it is fact none-the-less and is explained in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.”

    (2) You ignore the fact that water vapour reduces the thermal gradient in the troposphere. This causes the whole temperature plot to swivel (rotate) such that the surface end becomes cooler and the upper troposphere warmer.

    (3) If you introduce water vapour into the space between double glazed windows you reduce the insulating effect because you help the energy from the warmer side to transfer more quickly through the gap. The same happens in the troposphere. Molecules which absorb and radiate at those temperatures help energy to escape from the atmosphere, because radiation only ever transfers thermal energy from warmer to cooler regions. It helps energy to leap frog the far slower moving energy that moves by convection.

    (4) Empirical evidence based on real world temperature data in a study I did using 30 years of temperature records from three continents showed, with statistical significance, that moist inland tropical regions have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes. Where’s your contrary study Roy?

    (5) If water vapour really did warm Earth’s surface, then there must be a sensitivity for each 1% of water vapour. So perhaps regions with 4% water vapour would experience 40 degrees of warming and those with 1% would experience only 10 degrees, and thus be colder by 30 degrees out there in the deserts.

     

  22. Doug says:

     

    What is causing the pause, Roy, is the scalar sum of the angular momentum of nine planets and the Sun.

     

    Sorry, that’s such a mouthful, but the correlation is compelling.

    As I wrote three years ago …

    “From 2003 the effect of El Nińo 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)”

    Yes, that was archived on my earth-climate dot com website where you will also see the plot of that angular momentum showing the 934 year cycle and the superimposed 60 year cycles. It’s all in the stars – well the planets anyway. None of it is in the carbon dioxide.

    PS The plot of angular momentum is also in my Facebook group “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.”

     

  23. John Finn says:

    Roy

    You list, in you opinion, the 3 most likely causes for the ‘pause’ in warming.

    Could the CERES data provide any clue as to what might be happening, e.g. an increase in reflected solar or in outgoing LW. I know CERES didn’t begin operation until ~2003 so it wouldn’t capture the 1998 step change.

  24. Mike Flynn says:

    Dr Spencer,

    You wrote –

    “And the since temperature change of anything is always the result of net gains and losses of energy, a decrease in energy lost leads to warming.”

    Unfortunately, no.

    At night, the decrease in the rate at which energy is lost, does not result in warming, merely slower cooling. Conversely, during the day, the atmosphere reduces the rate at which the surface heats, by absorbing some of the energy from the Sun, with the inevitable result that a portion is radiated back into space, and fails to reach the surface. The energy absorbed by matter results in heating.

    Restricting the rate at which it is lost by radiation does not result in heating.

    In any case, it seems that the Earth continues to cool, as it has done since its creation. Neither the heat received from the Sun, the internal heat generated by mass conversion to energy as a result of the radioactive decay process, or man’s attempts to ensure warmth and comfort, have resulted in in other than localised and ephemeral temperature increases.

    I believe your remote sensing work should back up what I say. It should be more objective than the arbitrary data manipulation that may have occurred before the satellite era.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Doug says:

      Mike

      You said “In any case, it seems that the Earth continues to cool, as it has done since its creation.” There’s really no evidence that, even over thousands of years. the Earth or other planets are cooling, though they would be if the intensity of Solar radiation is in fact declining and/or the mean distance from the Sun increasing. The mean distance varies in a 100,000 year cycle due to variations in Earth’s eccentricity which depend upon the gravitational pull from Jupiter (mainly) that distorts the Earth’s orbit. The Sun keeps all planets (even down to their cores) at pretty constant temperatures in the long term. Planets cool on their dark side, but warm in their sunlit hemispheres. Over a complete rotation it all balances out because of radiation balance with the Sun.

       

      It is gravity which traps thermal energy under the thermal profile with its gravitationally induced temperature gradient.

       

  25. Doug says:

     
    Regarding upper troposphere WV versus lower WV, Roy:

    The standard two parallel plate discussion in physics leads to the mathematical “explanation” that we can deduce the thermal energy transfer from the difference in the S-B calculations for the warmer and the cooler plate. But when you separate the “bodies” by large distances, you have to remember that the intensity of the radiation falls off as the square of the distance. The effect is also a lot less for greater temperature differences.

    So, when you compare the effect of slowing that portion of surface cooling which is by radiation (about a third of all surface cooling) then the effect from upper troposphere WV radiation is far less than from lower troposphere WV radiation for three reasons …

    (1) The intensity is far lower because of the greater distance

    (2) The effect is far lower because of the greater temperature difference

    (3) The effect is also far lower simply because there are far fewer WV molecules up there in the upper troposphere.

    But, none of this is relevant to the net effect on the surface temperature because …

    (1) The rate of non-radiative cooling of the surface can and does accelerate to compensate for any slowing of radiative cooling, because the temperature gap would widen otherwise.

    (2) The cooling slows down anyway, as we all know, in the early pre-dawn hours. This is because the gravito-thermal effect establishes a supporting temperature at the base of the troposphere.

    (3) The over-riding effect of water vapour is due to the fact that it significantly reduces the temperature gradient. Hence the whole temperature profile becomes lower at the surface end (in order to maintain radiative balance with the Sun) and so the supporting temperature is lower.

    (4) Real world temperature data supports what I deduce from valid physics, namely that water vapour cools. The gravito-thermal effect would raise the surface temperature to a mean of about 300K but water vapour lowers it back to about 288K.

     

  26. Doug says:

    Ball4

    Regarding your S-B calculations I refer you to my reply to this comment above.

  27. Gordon Robertson says:

    The impression I get from climate scientists is that they are confused about basic physics, particularly thermodynamics. Rather than consult with physicists who specialize in thermodynamics, they have reinvented the principles of thermodynamics and gotten it wrong.

    The only way the Earth’s surface can warm beyond what it is warmed by solar energy is to absorb energy from the atmosphere. In fact, that is the argument of Stephan Rahmstorf, a blatant alarmist who hangs out at realclimate.

    Roy does not explain how increasing CO2 that comprises a fraction of a percent of atmospheric gases can warm the surface and allow more water vapour to enter the atmosphere. In fact, in previous comments involving thought experiments, Roy has failed to explain why there should be any transfer of heat from the atmosphere to the surface.

    Roy has taken shots at those of us who refer to the 2nd law of thermodynamics as proof that heat cannot be transferred from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface that warmed the ACO2. Fred Singer became outraged at us for making a fool of climate science even though his understanding of what was being claimed was wrong.

    There is a common thread running through the arguments of Rahmstorf, Spencer and Singer. They all confuse infrared energy with heat. They think that summing infrared energies is a measure of the 2nd law. However, Gerlich and Tscheuschner, both experienced in thermodynamics, have pointed out that the 2nd law is about heat, not IR. Therefore, adding IR energies has nothing to do with the 2nd law but a lot to do with the 1st law.

    Many modern climate scientists are so caught up in the effects of radiation that they think heat flow in the atmosphere is controlled by it. Dick Lindzen has written a paper in which he challenges that fallacy.

    Heat is a relative measure of the kinetic energy in atoms/molecules. Temperature is merely a proxy to indicate that energy. Temperature is dependent on the expansion of mercury, the torquing of a bimetallic strip, the effect on the current flow through certain metals, etc.

    Heat can only be transferred from a warmer body to a cooler body, whereas IR energy is free to flow both ways. That’s not my opinion, it comes from Clausius, who wrote the 2nd law.

    Summing IR energies has nothing to do with heat transfer. The only way to measure heat transfer is to measure the temperature at the source and the temperature at the destination.

    There is no way to do that in climate science and any explanation of heat transfer is nothing more than theory.

    It’s absurd to talk about positive feedbacks in the atmosphere because PF required a gain in heat and there is no amplifier.

    The AGW theory is a crock and Roy referring to the lack of a trend the past 17 years as a pause is nonsense.

    • Ball4 says:

      Gordon 9:50pm: “Roy does not explain…”

      Read the 1st two sentences in the top post. Reconsider your statement.

      “Roy has failed to explain why there should be any transfer of heat from the atmosphere to the surface…Heat is a relative measure of the kinetic energy in atoms/molecules.”

      Heat doesn’t exist in nature therefore heat cannot transfer. Energy exists and so: can transfer. Temperature is a relative measure of the kinetic energy in atoms/molecules.

      “Heat can only be transferred from a warmer body to a cooler body, whereas IR energy is free to flow both ways. That’s not my opinion, it comes from Clausius, who wrote the 2nd law.”

      No it IS your opinion. Heat doesn’t exist in nature only in your opinion causing you confusion. Clausius wrote the 2nd law as an entropy law & thru M-B distribution showed us energy can flow from cold to hot object in a real process as long as entropy of universe increases.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        Ball4…”Heat doesn’t exist in nature therefore heat cannot transfer”.

        You seem to be the one who is confused about heat. In thermodynamics, heat is treated as a macro quantity and as an atomic quantity. With heat as a macro quantity, you might claim that it has no existence for purposes of calculations but viewed using statistical mechanics it certainly has a reality. Heat is most definitely related to atoms and their energy levels.

        If that’s what you think, that heat is not real, you’d better not touch a hot ring on a stove while cooking. The ring gets hot because electrical energy traveling through it agitates the atoms in the ring, raising their kinetic energy levels.

        To demonstrate my point, if you touch a hot ring directly, your flesh will cook. That demonstrates heat transfer by conduction which agitates the atoms in your finger till they lose their structure.

        If you hold your finger close enough to the ring, your finger will still burn but that will be caused by infrared energy emitted by the ring agitating the atoms in your flesh. IR can tranfer heat but it is not heat. In the same way, light is electronmagnetic energy but it contains no colour.

        Another point made by Woods circa 1909. If you pull your finger back a few feet, your finger will not only not burn, you will be unable to feel the heat. That’s because the intensity of IR is subject to the square of the distance from the source. Woods claimed, based on that fact, that IR will not be effective anymore than a few feet above the Earth’s surface.

        Confirmation of Wood’s experiment on greenhouse effect by Nahle:

        http://www.biocab.org/Wood_Experiment_Repeated.html

      • Ball4 says:

        Gordon 12:46am: “Heat is most definitely related to atoms and their energy levels.”

        Again Gordon, temperature is most definitely related to atoms and their energy levels. It is well known temperature (in degrees) is not heat (in joules). Your stove ring gets hot as the temperature increases due to a process Dr. Spencer explains in the 1st two sentences top post.

        “..if you touch a hot ring directly, your flesh will cook. That demonstrates heat transfer…”

        There was no heat in the hot ring, there is no heat in my post touch cooked flesh, therefore it is illogical heat transferred. Energy existed in the hot ring, energy transferred to cook my flesh during the touch.

        “..caused by infrared energy emitted by the ring agitating the atoms in your flesh.”

        Concur, energy can transfer.

        “..IR can tranfer heat but it is not heat.”

        Good demonstration of Gordon’s confusion caused by using the heat term. Heat and energy have same units = joules in SI. Substitute energy for heat as they have same units, apples are apples:

        Find: IR can transfer energy but it is not energy. Now can see this makes no sense. See your confusion enter using the heat term Gordon?

        Gordon – please examine picture 7 in your linked experiment. In the box #4 on the right, a layer of white insulation appears vs. the other boxes. This is not mentioned in the experimental observations (search on wool – only 1 hit in materials). How do you explain that?

    • Doug says:

      Yes well the energy in radiation is electromagnetic energy. There are no molecules needed for the path of radiation. Hence there is no kinetic energy involved and so no thermal energy – just electromagnetic energy. That EM energy is only ever converted to thermal energy in a cooler target, and the amount converted is represented by the area between the respective Planck functions of the two bodies. That is the radiation which does not resonate. All else, including all radiation from cooler to warmer bodies does resonate, meaning it is immediately re-emitted without any of its energy being converted to thermal energy. It merely supplies some of the EM energy which becomes part of the target’s quota of radiation as per its Planck function. Hence the target uses less of its own thermal energy and thus cools more slowly by radiation, though not necessarily slower by non-radiative processes. All this is in my March 2012 paper.

    • Doug says:

      Your general comments are well expressed, Gordon, though strictly speaking heat is thermal energy in transit, not thermal energy itself. Also, physicists now have a better understanding of the Second Law than did Clausius (in the mid 19th century) who did not realise that the “hot to cold” is only strictly correct in a horizontal plane in a gravitational field.

      So you have no answer as to how the solar energy heating the upper troposphere of Venus, makes its way into the hotter surface and raises the surface temperature as it restores the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, which necessarily has a temperature gradient because it has no unbalanced energy potential. My detailed explanation is in the book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” and you won’t find it yet anywhere else.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        Doug…”….Clausius (in the mid 19th century) who did not realise that the “hot to cold” is only strictly correct in a horizontal plane in a gravitational field”.

        That’s not what Clausius said, and anyone who claims heat transfer is only true in a horizontal plane is sadly mistaken. Heat transfer can occur between two spheres at a distance due to radiation. Or any two bodies at a distance provided one is warmer.

        I pay no heed to many modern scientists when it comes to thermodynamics. Many of them are confused about what Clausius said and about what he meant by entropy.

        Statistical mechanics has added a vagueness to heat transfer and many scientists get lost in the math, making rash claims. Sometimes it is necessary to step back and view the context.

        • Doug says:

          I didn’t say what you quoted me as saying, Gordon. But what I do maintain is proven with solid, valid physics, supported by empirical evidence in abundance in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.” And in 6 months no one who’s read it has been able to demonstrate errors therein, even though I have offered a $5,000 reward for doing so.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @Doug….”…supported by empirical evidence in abundance in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.””

            Doug…I have always felt we were on the same page. I have read one of your papers and I don’t understand the finer details of the vertical connection in atmospheric layers so I can’t comment.

            All I can say about the 2nd law is that it was never intended to address the complexities of convective currents in the atmosphere. Clausius wrote it because Carnot had claimed no losses in a heat engine. To his credit, Carnot realized his mistake but it took the 2nd law to explain why.

            The 2nd law is about heat and it claims essentially that you can’t get something for nothing. That’s not a revelation in general physics since perpetual motion machines have been debunked due to the simple phenomenon of energy losses in a machine, even a heat engine.

            The anthropogenic warming theory, which is essentially the extended greenhouse theory, uses smoke and mirrors to infer that the 2nd law can be satisfied by summing EM energies (IR in this case) based on the 1st law. The 1st law is about conservation of energy and in some cases, before the 2nd law, the 1st law allowed perpetual motion. The 2nd law plugged that loophole but it appears many climate scientists are not aware of that.

            It’s plain wrong to claim that IR is related to the 2nd law. IR is EM and heat is not EM. EM originates in the energy shells of atoms as electrons change energy states and in other features of an atom as energy levels change. It can also be absorbed and emitted by bonds in molecules.

            Heat is a macro quantity related to the motion of the entire atom in space or in a solid. In a solid, atoms are confined to bonds but they can move to a degree. As they acquire more kinetic energy their motion increases and that is heat. If they are heated enough, the bonds will break and the substance will melt.

            Whereas IR can come into play, by affecting the KE of atoms, it can only act to raise KE levels. That’s why heat can only be transferred from a body in a higher energy state to one in a lower energy state, under normal means.

            In order to reverse that process so that heat is transferred from a lower energy state to a higher energy state an external source of energy is required.

            In a refrigerator, an electrical source is required to drive a motor which drives a compressor. The compressor changes the pressure in a gas in a coil which can extract heat from a cooler body.

            There is no such mechanism in the atmosphere that would allow a rare gas like anthropogenic CO2 to raise the planet’s surface temperature. In fact, it ludicrous to think that such a rare gas could have any more than a negligible effect on the humungous IR flux being radiated from the planet’s surface.

            It should be noted that the surface flux heats the ACO2 in the first place. Alarmists are claiming that the same heat can be returned to the surface to raise surface temperature. Neat trick.

            Roy is using the other version of AGW, that GHGs act like a blanket to slow surface IR emission. Physicist/ meteorologist Craig Bohren referred to that theory as a metaphor at best, and at worst plain silly. To think that a gas comprising 1/1000nds of 1% of atmospheric gases could slow the massive IR flux from the surface is plain silly.

            There certainly is no mechanism that could support positive feedback as it is defined in physics.

          • Ball4 says:

            Gordon 8:22pm: “Craig Bohren referred to (GHGs act like a blanket to slow surface IR emission) theory as a metaphor at best, and at worst plain silly.”

            No. Dr. Bohren agrees with Dr. Spencer in the top post 1st two sentences. Dr. Bohren’s actual words in 2006 text p34: “…the notion that the atmosphere traps radiation is at best a bad metaphor, at worst downright silly..”.

            See his eqn. 1.72 worth $5,000 from Doug: “..the basis for interpreting global warming as the result of increased emission….As the transmissivity of the… atmosphere decreases, the radiative equilibrium temperature Te increases.”

          • Doug says:

            No Gordon, you can’t say that about the Second Law. It applies everywhere, always has, always does and always will. It far more embracing than most people realise. It explains, for example why the core of the Moon is far hotter than the surface ever gets. It explains physical things such as the density gradient in the atmosphere, and it explains the temperature gradient likewise. These are states of thermodynamic equilibrium with no unbalanced energy potentials – exactly what the Second Law says will evolve. I wonder how many readers here could even quote the Second Law without looking it up in Wiki or wherever.

            To save you the trouble, it reads …

            The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium, a state with maximum entropy.”

        • Doug says:

          The Clausius statement reads:

          “Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time.” *

          The Clausius statement is correct for all radiated energy transfers. The electromagnetic energy in every one-way passage of spontaneous radiation is converted in part to thermal energy only in a target which is at a lower temperature than the source of radiation.

          However, with non-radiative transfers of thermal energy by convection (which includes diffusion in a gas) the Clausius statement is only strictly correct in a horizontal plane. In a force field (such as in a vertical plane in a planet’s gravitational field) there can be exchanges of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy, and this leads us to an understanding that the state with no unbalanced energy potentials (namely thermodynamic equilibrium) must have a temperature gradient. When such a state is disturbed by the absorption of new thermal energy, that energy will then spread out by diffusion in all directions so as to increase entropy and tend towards restoring thermodynamic equilibrium. Hence there can be thermal energy transfers in this process which do indeed transfer such energy from cooler to warmer regions.

          * Clausius, R. (1854). “Über eine veränderte Form des zweiten Hauptsatzes der mechanischen Wärmetheorie”. Annalen der Physik (Poggendoff). xciii: 481. doi:10.1002/andp.18541691202. Retrieved 24 March 2014. Translated into English: Clausius, R. (July 1856). “On a Modified Form of the Second Fundamental Theorem in the Mechanical Theory of Heat”. London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science. 4th 2: 86. Retrieved 24 March 2014. Reprinted in: Clausius, R. (1867). The Mechanical Theory of Heat – with its Applications to the Steam Engine and to Physical Properties of Bodies. London: John van Voorst. Retrieved 19 June 2012.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @Doug…”The Clausius statement is correct for all radiated energy transfers. The electromagnetic energy in every one-way passage of spontaneous radiation is converted in part to thermal energy only in a target which is at a lower temperature than the source of radiation”.

            The point is that IR, being energy from a specific part of the EM spectrum, carries no heat. It wont heat anything till it comes in contact with atoms or molecules in a substance. It produces heat by raising the kinetic energy in an atom, or atoms. The raised KE represent an increase in heat.

            Some people are claiming that heat applies only to the transfer of thermal energy. That is true only in equations and we need to be careful. If a butane torch is held to the end of a steel rod, thermal energy is transferred from the torch to rod. However, heat can also be the process by which atoms are excited when their kinetic energies are raised.

            We have no other term for that particular type of energy. We cam refer to it as simply internal energy but that could not be used to describe the process by which the atoms gained KE. We call it heating for a reason.

            The transfer of energy from a flame to a steel rod does not describe the rod and changes in the rod. When the KE of the atoms in the rod is raised we claim the rod has heated, or warmed. Therefore heat must describe that change in KE.

            There are rules for the absorption of IR into an atom or molecule and I am no expert on that. I would like to hear from someone who is an expert. I am theorizing that IR from a lower temperature source does not have the ability to raise the energy levels in an atom at a higher temperature.

            When you regard heat in a convective form, that can only apply to substances like air or water where atoms/molecules with a higher kinetic energy are free to move about. Convection does not apply in an iron rod heated by a torch.

            Therefore the Clausius statement is true for all heat transfer where mass is not being transported in and out of a system. It would be a stretch to relate the atmosphere to a system.

        • Ball4 says:

          Doug 5:55am: Good for you, looking up the original author’s words & cite. The “without some other change” carries the message of entropy increase.

          A couple paragraphs later Clausius writes: “On considering the results of such processes more closely, we find that in one and the same process heat may be carried from a colder to a warmer body…the variation demands consideration, then for each element of heat dQ we must employ that temperature which the body possessed at the time it received it, whereby an integration will be necessary…”

          So your conclusion “Hence there can be thermal energy transfers in this process which do indeed transfer such energy from cooler to warmer regions.” is inconsistent with Clausius writing “heat may be carried from colder to a warmer body”.

          How do you explain that? I suggest you owe Clausius’ estate $5,000 since he was 1st able to show errors in your book. Hint: In time, the M-B distribution became the accepted explanation. All leading up to Dr. Spencer’s correct first two sentences in top post.

    • Kristian says:

      Gordon Robertson says, September 10, 2014 at 9:50 PM:

      “The only way the Earth’s surface can warm beyond what it is warmed by solar energy is to absorb energy from the atmosphere. In fact, that is the argument of Stephan Rahmstorf, a blatant alarmist who hangs out at realclimate.”

      The Earth doesn’t warm beyond the solar input. It is simply not warmed by the instantaneous flux intensity of the input, but of the total amount of energy accumulated.
      http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/how-the-ipcc-turn-calculated-numbers-into-heat/

      “There is a common thread running through the arguments of Rahmstorf, Spencer and Singer. They all confuse infrared energy with heat. They think that summing infrared energies is a measure of the 2nd law. However, Gerlich and Tscheuschner, both experienced in thermodynamics, have pointed out that the 2nd law is about heat, not IR. Therefore, adding IR energies has nothing to do with the 2nd law but a lot to do with the 1st law.”

      It actually doesn’t have much to do with the 1st Law either. According to this, internal energy [U] (and hence the temperature) of a system is only changed if there’s a change in the sum of HEAT [Q] and WORK [W] to/from the system. U is the energy contained by the system at any given point, Q and W are energy transfers to/from the system. State vs. (thermodynamic) process.

      “Heat is a relative measure of the kinetic energy in atoms/molecules.”

      No, that’s internal energy, U, expressed by temperature. Heat, Q, according to thermodynamics is ONLY energy tranferred from hot to cold in a thermal exchange.

      • Doug says:

        Well Kristian, the Venus surface does cool at night (about 5 degrees, but the exact amount is not important) and energy from the Sun warms it back up during the day somehow. But by SBL the Sun’s radiation could not warm regions that are already above a temperature of approximately 400K. So the solar energy primarily raises the temperature of regions in the upper troposphere and above, initially anyway. So, as I have been asking for nearly two years, and have answered in my book, how does the thermal energy that is needed to raise the temperature of the surface (from 732K to 737K, say) get there from the colder regions below 400K? The same process operates on Uranus, other planets and Earth.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @Kristian…”No, that’s internal energy, U, expressed by temperature. Heat, Q, according to thermodynamics is ONLY energy tranferred from hot to cold in a thermal exchange”.

        I think we are in agreement. I agree that the kinetic energy in a substance is internal energy but you have to understand that I am not talking about doing heat transfer calculations involving Q.

        When electrical energy is converted to heat energy what is the difference in energy? We don’t know, but we do know that an equivalence exists. Merely referring to heat as just heat transfer is not entirely accurate. It is an energy on its own. It has to be.

        The pure definition of heat is still rather murky and it seems to vary from scientist to scientist. Maxwell described it as one form of energy.

        The quantity Q, if my memory serves me well, was derived from heat warming water. The number of degrees of heat increase for a given volume is related to Q. The math does not tell you what heat is but Clausius went into it at an atomic level.

        When the internal energy is changed so that the kinetic energy of the atoms is increased, that represents an increase in heat. It is measured by temperature based on how the change in heat affects the mercury in a thermometer. The substance actually gets warmer.

        Different substances are affected differently by heat and the Q factor would be different.

        As the KE increases, the mean free paths of atoms increase as well, causing the substance to expand. That expansion is due to heating.

        I agree that it is hard to separate heat from energy but we really don’t know what energy is. So we give names to energy depending on the context. Energy that drives electrical charges through a conductor or load is referred to as electrical energy. Energy within an atom is referred to as nuclear energy.

        If electrical charges pass through a resistor, energy is given off and it is called heat. There is no other name for it. It’s not EM, even though EM is generated by the moving atoms in the substance as they change energy levels. Heat has to be that distinct quality of a substance that changes when the internal KE changes.

        For example, if you hold a torch to the end of a steel rod, heat is transferred from the torch flame to the atoms in the steel. As they become agitated, which happens very quickly, heat is passed down the rod. If the torch is hot enough, the atoms will lose their covalent bonds and the steel will melt.

        I am not talking about the IR (EM) that causes us to feel it when we put a finger near a hot electrical load, I am referring to the conversion of electrical energy to heat energy and its subsequent transfer to air molecules via conduction.

        If a resistor heats up due to an electric current through it, the atoms in the resistor have an increased kinetic energy. That increase in KE produces a higher flux of IR which will affect the atoms in a finger held close enough to the resistor.

        If you touch the resistor, the KE in the resistor’s atoms cause the atoms in your finger to increase their KE.

        My entire point is that heat is not IR, which is electromagnetic energy. IR is a product of energy level changes within an atom but heat is due to the increasing KE which causes the atoms to become agitated and expand in their mean free paths. One is internal to the atom and the other is external to it.

        • Kristian says:

          Gordon, you should read this:
          http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/heat.html

          “To describe the energy that a high temperature object has, it is not a correct use of the word heat to say that the object “possesses heat” – it is better to say that it possesses internal energy as a result of its molecular motion. The word heat is better reserved to describe the process of transfer of energy from a high temperature object to a lower temperature one. Surely you can take an object at low internal energy and raise it to higher internal energy by heating it. But you can also increase its internal energy by doing work on it, and since the internal energy of a high temperature object resides in random motion of the molecules, you can’t tell which mechanism was used to give it that energy.”

          In thermodynamics, HEAT is Q, the energy spontaneously transferred from a hot body to a cold one as a result of the temperature difference.

          There is no such thing as ‘heat energy’, Gordon. The temperature rises when the molecules and atoms move faster. This can be accomplished in several ways, always including an input of energy. Actual heating, however, is but one such way.

          IR (EM radiation) can ALSO be heat. When it produces a transfer of energy from hot to cold by virtue of the temperature difference. When you hold your hand against a bonfire, you feel the EM energy tranferred from it to your hand AS HEAT. You feel warm. It is the transfer of (EM) energy that enables you to warm. It is the absorption of the transferred energy (as heat) by the molecules making up your hand tissue that actually makes you warmer, but without the transfer – the HEAT – no raised temperature.

          • Kristian says:

            Likewise, if you put your hand into hot water, you will feel its hotness against your skin. But why? How? What are you actually experiencing when you do so?

            You don’t feel the ‘heat energy’ contained INSIDE the water volume. You can’t feel anything before some of the internal energy making the water hot is transferred AS HEAT to your hand. That’s how and why you feel how hot the water is. The HEAT is the transfer of internal energy from the water to your hand because of a difference in temperature, nothing else. You feel hotness because of a transfer of energy AS HEAT.

            Heat is ALWAYS energy. Energy is NOT always heat.

            Heat in a radiative thermal exchange is ALWAYS EMR. EMR is NOT always heat. Not even inside this thermal exchange.

      • Doug says:

        Yes Roy. Sadly Kristian’s quote is correct:

        “There is a common thread running through the arguments of Rahmstorf, Spencer and Singer. They all confuse infrared energy with heat. They think that summing infrared energies is a measure of the 2nd law.”

        Sorry Roy, but I’d only score you a “B” for Thermodynamics – not that “A” you got. I managed to get first class honours myself in physics Roy, so let me be your teacher, for you sure need valid teaching.

    • Mike Flynn says:

      I can’t help pointing out that climate is merely the average of weather. Self proclaimed climate scientists appear fixated on just one aspect of weather – temperature.

      They have managed to spend billions of dollars investigating historical temperatures, with precisely no useful outcomes. Temperatures, whether on the surface, near the surface, high in the air, or deep in the crust, vary. Day, night, winter, summer, near cities, close to lava flows, ever changing.

      Ice comes and goes – Antarctica ice free, then ice covered, eventually ice free again – who knows?

      AGW is not only a crock, it is a poorly constructed and broken crock. As crocks go, it compares unfavourably with much finer crocks such as alchemy, phrenology or astrology.

      It aspires to new heights of crockishness, by proposing ever more bizarre explanations for an observed lack of Global Warming – anthropogenic or not. Surely any sane and rational person would accept that no rise in temperature indicates a lack of increase in temperature. Calling failure for temperature to rise a pause, hiatus, or some other word plucked from the Book of Warm, brings back recollections of some of the more bizarre Monty Python scripts. The dead Norwegian Blue Parrot sketch springs to mind.

      It is interesting to see us discussing something that has demonstrated such complete uselessness as endlessly peering at historical temperature records, and attempting to divine the future therefrom. Give me a good bowl of entrails any day.

      I’ll out prognosticate you by a country mile!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn

    • Joel Shore says:

      “The impression I get from climate scientists is that they are confused about basic physics, particularly thermodynamics. Rather than consult with physicists who specialize in thermodynamics, they have reinvented the principles of thermodynamics and gotten it wrong.”

      You get that impression because of wishful thinking and your own confusions about physics. Those of us who are physicists know that the climate scientists have the basic physics / thermodynamics absolutely correct (not particularly surprising since most of the early climate scientists, like Hansen, were in fact physicists).

      The American Physical Society is generally not in the habit of giving awards (http://www.aps.org/programs/honors/awards/szilard.cfm) to people who get basic physics wrong.

      • Joel Shore says:

        A better link: http://www.aps.org/programs/honors/prizes/prizerecipient.cfm?last_nm=Hansen&first_nm=James&year=2007

        2007 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award Recipient

        hansen
        James E. Hansen
        National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        Citation:

        “For his seminal contributions to climate physics, especially the incorporation of radiative transfer in climate models, and his tireless efforts to bring the results of climate science to the attention of policymakers and the public.”

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @Joel Shore “You get that impression because of wishful thinking…”

        I have read your opinions over the years Joel and I disagree with you. The fact that you mention Hansen, a Carl Sagan wannabee, who specialized in astronomy, then took some weird ideas from that field to climate modeling, tells me you are one of those physicists who does not quite get it.

        One of his ideas was the tipping point theory which depends on a non-existent positive feedback. Until he left NASA, he was still labouring under the notion that the atmosphere of Venus was created by a tipping point…a runaway greenhouse effect. He got that from Sagan.

        To get a degree in physics, you pretty well have to accept the current paradigms at a university. If you don’t, you wont get past grad school. I read a debate between Lindzen and Rahmstorf, a physicist who has some strange ideas about the universe, and Lindzen kicked his butt. Then Rahmstorf resorted to dubious arguments to get around that.

        http://motls.blogspot.ca/2008/03/lindzen-vs-rahmstorf-exchange.html

        It does not impress me in the least that you have a degree in physics, and, no, the degree does not give you immediate insight into thermodynamics.

        • Joel Shore says:

          “To get a degree in physics, you pretty well have to accept the current paradigms at a university. If you don’t, you wont get past grad school.”

          So, before you said that the problem is that the climate scientists did not consult with physicists…And now that it is demonstrated that the physicists do not agree with your wacky notions, you fall back upon some lame reactionary version of post-modernism whereby the entire field of physics has been corrupted.

          It is clear that you will just continue to believe what you want to believe, which has nothing to do with science and everything to do with ideology.

    • Doug says:

      So, Gordon, Gerlich and Tscheuschner, are not totally correct if they have pointed out that the 2nd law is about heat, not IR.

      The Second law is about entropy and the propensity for thermodynamic equilibrium to evolve. Thermodynamic equilibrium is not just about thermal energy – it is about all forms of energy and it requires no unbalanced energy potentials.

      If it were possible to have isothermal conditions in a vertical plane in a gravitational field, such a state certainly would have unbalanced energy potentials, with more gravitational potential energy at the top. So it would not be the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @Doug “So, Gordon, Gerlich and Tscheuschner, are not totally correct if they have pointed out that the 2nd law is about heat, not IR”.

        They both have degrees with specialization in thermodynamics.

        They did not state the situation as you have stated it. They claimed that the 2nd law is about heat and that you cannot arbitrarily add infrared energies between bodies and claim the 2nd law is satisfied. That’s what Rahmstorf and other AGW theorists claim.

        In essence, Rahmstorf claims that back-radiation from ACO2 can be added to solar energy to superheat the surface.

        The point of the G&T paper was that a greenhouse warms because convective currents are blocked by the glass, not because IR is blocked by it. To prove that, they repeated the Woods experiment of 1909 in which he used containers, one covered by glass and the other with rock salt, which passes IR, and found no different in the heating of the boxes.

        Of course, their paper went into the AGW problem to a great depth, using the principles of thermodynamics to disprove paper by paper those who support the AGW theory.

        They also attacked the theory that the Earth has warmed by 33 C due to greenhouse warming.

  28. Gordon Robertson says:

    @MikeFlynn “I can’t help pointing out that climate is merely the average of weather”.

    Agreed…it is a statistical entity which has no reality. It is the long-term weather average. Some people talk about climate as a driver, which is nonsense. Since it is a statistic of weather there can be no such thing as global climate, putting the boots to the theory of climate change in general.

    The IPCC admitted in the 2001 review (TAR) that future climate states cannot be predicted. Since then, they have mislead people by using probabilities from computer models to ‘project’ climate scenarios.

    Expert reviewer, Vincent Gray, caught them out on it. They had been claiming predictive values from models but Gray pointed out the obvious, that an unvalidated model can predict nothing. The poor old IPCC were forced to retract their ‘predictions’ and resort to ‘ projections’.

    It’s all smoke and mirrors.

    • Joel Shore says:

      The IPCC uses the term “projections” because what they talk about is based on emissions scenarios, i.e., choices that we as a society make regarding our future emissions of greenhouse gases.

  29. Fulco says:

    Roy,

    What do you mean by

    “which is controversial from an observational standpoint”

    as I read it Miskolczi based his assumtions on observations.

    Although not worked out accurately Miskolczi tries to find so called eigenvalues of the system. He found possible evidence for the thermostate hypothesis without the burden of the highly chaotic water cycles. He also calculated the shift in equlibrium temperature due to a rise in CO2 levels.

  30. Doug says:

    Mmmmmm. And still no one has an explanation (other than that in my book) as to why real world temperature data establishes that more moist regions do in fact have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes. All the data and its source is in my book. You can check it or do your own study in a few hours.

    Don’t you realise the huge significance of this fact which completely smashes the greenhouse?

    And the effect of water vapour is, after all, the topic here.

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Doug,

      It’s pretty simple. The greater the insulating effect of the atmosphere – gaseous H20, particulate matter, clouds, and so on, the less energy reaches the surface.

      Additionally, high atmospheric water levels tend to promote vegetation cover with the associated effects on daily maxima and minima.

      The Moon, having no atmosphere to speak of, will have a great difference between maxima and minima. Tropical deserts can have in excess of 50C temperature range, and so.

      No mystery here. I am surprised that you think that you are the only person to know the basic physics involved.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi Mike Flynn,

        You noted:

        “The Moon, having no atmosphere to speak of, will have a great difference between maxima and minima. Tropical deserts can have in excess of 50C temperature range, and so.”

        Keep in mind the moon’s great “difference between maxima and minima” results in large part from the fact that a lunar day is approximately equal to 28 earth days. The enormously longer day and night periods result in great temperature differentials.

        Have a great day!

        • Mike Flynn says:

          I am aware that the Lunar day is longer than that of Earth. However, equatorial temperatures from Diviner show the same physics as Earth. That is, an absorber exposed to the Sun cannot reach a higher temperature than that at which it is radiating as much energy as it is absorbing, and the temperature remains steady at this point.

          If this were not so, one could heat a giant block of iron, say, by exposing it to the heat of a candle, parts of whose flame exceed 1000 C, for a sufficient length of time.

          So yes, depending on the nature of the regolith, some parts will reach maximum temperature before others. The point is that no miraculous mechanism is required to explain why moist areas tend to show less diurnal surface temperature variations than arid ones, all else being equal.

          Thanks.

          Live well,and prosper,

          Mike Flynn.

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Mike Flynn,

            Thank you for the reply. You wrote:

            “That is, an absorber exposed to the Sun cannot reach a higher temperature than that at which it is radiating as much energy as it is absorbing, and the temperature remains steady at this point.”

            Absolutely correct. Nevertheless, I simply wanted to remind you of a fact you appeared to discount. Glad to know you didn’t.

            Have a great day!

          • Mike Flynn says:

            JohnKL,

            Thank you. I wasn’t trying to get up your nose. I do tend to ramble a bit, but I as an Unbeliever, I am used to the Believers misinterpreting and supposedly misunderstanding simple things that you and I might agree on.

            I have a fairly simplistic view of some things in practice. It seems that hot things cool, and cold things warm, until they are the same temperature. Much follows from this, without arguing about the minutiae of who authored which thermodynamic law, and what they meant, rather than what they wrote.

            Once again, apologies if I did not express myself sufficiently clearly. I best depart and return to my indolent, slothful, yet strangely content life.

            All the best,

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

      • Doug says:

        Nonsense JohnKl when you wrote about the Moon “The enormously longer day and night periods result in great temperature differentials.”

        The Venus day is 4-months-long, but the surface temperature only varies by about 5 degrees.

        It is the atmosphere (or the lack of one) which makes the difference.

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Doug,

          You seem to have a reading comprehension problem. You claimed:

          “It is the atmosphere (or the lack of one) which makes the difference.”

          FALSE DICHOTOMY DOUG! As Eugene Stoner exploited with the AR-10 rifle, expanding gasses do indeed transfer energy over a given surface area like the receiver of a rifle and an atmosphere will REDUCE the differential by transferring energy over the surface of the planet. However, the day night temperature differential does indeed derive from day-time and night-time intervals and longer intervals will result to an extent (re-read my post with Mike Flynn) in greater temperature differentials.

          Consider the Earth’s seasons. For example, during the winter solstice on the earth’s northern hemisphere temperatures typically reach their coldest point since the length of daytime is at a minimum and this happens despite the fact that solar irradiance at this point in the earth’s orbit ~1370 w/m2 is at a maximum! During the summer solstice when solar irradiance is at a minimum ~1360 w/m2 records the highest temperatures. This happens primarily due to the change in the length of day. NOTE: THE ATMOSPHERE CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR THE SEASONAL VARIATION IN TEMPERATURE BECAUSE IT’S THE SAME ATMOSPHERE!!!

          Further note: This temperature differential occurs in regions close to the equator where temp differentials due to surface angle/tilt from the sun would be minimal like Panama.

          “Panama City Beach experiences warm weather throughout the year, with an annual high of 78 degrees. Summer temperatures reach an average high of 91 degrees, while winter temperatures hover around a high of 64 degrees. Spring and fall are pleasant, with temperatures ranging between highs of 74 and 80 degrees. Hurricane season runs from early June through late November.”

          Have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi everyone,

            Minor correction my sentence above should read:

            “For example, during the winter solstice on the earth’s northern hemisphere temperatures typically reach their coldest point since the length of daytime is at a minimum and this happens despite the fact that solar irradiance at this point in the earth’s solar orbit ~1370 w/m2 is at a maximum!”

            Have a great day!

    • Doug says:

      No Mike, it’s not that simple. It’s explained correctly for the first time in world literature in my book, and supported by a wealth of physical evidence, on Earth and throughout the Solar System.

    • Doug says:

      You see Mike, the atmosphere of Venus is an excellent insulator, absorbing over 97% of the incoming solar radiation, nearly all of that in the upper troposphere and above. But the Venus surface is around 735K. Why Mike?

      • Mike Flynn says:

        It’s pretty simple. Venus, as you pointed out, is rather well insulated. It is also apparently free of tectonic plate movement, which limits the rate of heat loss of the initial heat of creation, so to speak.

        Without some reasonable idea of the initial radioactive content of the planet, and a couple of other not insignificant gaps in our knowledge of the planet, given its apparent composition and proximity to the Sun, its surface temperature is what would be expected, surely.

        But back to the Earth, I take the view that if something that has no good reason to exist – such as AGW – doesn’t exist, then I won’t lose a lot of sleep. Maybe I’m wrong, but the lack of AGW doesn’t seem to be causing me much inconvenience. How about you?

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Doug says:

        Mike – the radioactive content, or any nuclear reactions are not the primary determinant of planetary core temperatures. The cores would be just as hot with or without such. If there are nuclear reactions supplying some thermal energy, then the Sun supplies less, and it supplies more if there are no such reactions. Don’t expect to understand why until you’ve read my book.

    • Doug says:

      And Mike, if it’s so simple then you will no doubt be able to answer the question no one else can answer here …

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/09/sept-21-nyc-the-peoples-frozen-climate-march/#comment-132664

      • Mike Flynn says:

        I presume you refer to the following –

        “So Roy, here’s a question you can’t answer:

        In the afternoon of a warm sunny day the surface temperature at some location on Earth may well cool by, say, 2 degrees per hour. Let’s say the next three days have intense cloud cover all day long, so not a ray of sunshine strikes the surface for 72 hours. Does the surface cool by 72 x 2 degrees? Of course not. But, suppose the clouds are 3Km above at a temperature that is initially 20 degrees colder than the surface. No amount of radiation from the clouds is going to stop the surface cooling down to the same temperature as the clouds. But it doesn’t. The 20 degree temperature difference is maintained. But how does the surface receive an energy input to offset the energy losses which we know it could experience and cool by 2 degrees per hour? The answer is in my book.”

        It seems your question is this –

        “But how does the surface receive an energy input to offset the energy losses which we know it could experience and cool by 2 degrees per hour?”

        You are right. The answer is indeed simple. The Earth is over 12000 km in diameter, and is more than 99% molten ie in excess of 1000C.

        Any molten blob sitting in outer space will eventually end up with a solidified crust surrounding a still molten interior. The temperature gradient from the centre of the blob to outer space is from around 5800K to around 4K. The surface at any point in time must have a temperature between these two limits, and the colder the surface becomes, the greater the temperature differential becomes, and the greater the rate of energy loss. The Moon, for example, has a very thick crust and small molten core relative to the Earth, due to its greater surface to volume ratio, and lack of significant atmosphere.

        Around four and a half billions years later, the Earths range of surface temperatures varies between that of white hot magma, and around 180K at minimum.

        The influence of the Sun is imperceptible at more than 40 meters or so below the surface, at which point temperature commences to rise with depth, dependent on the transmissivity of surrounding rock, as the mantle is approached.

        Additionally, the majority of the Earths surface is covered by water, which does not generally cool at 2C per hour, so you are being somewhat misleading, possibly due to lack of knowledge.

        So yes, quite simple, no mystery. If you have particular questions, please feel free to ask.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

        • Doug says:

          It doesn’t work that way. The internal sub-surface energy flow is nowhere near enough to maintain a temperature difference of 20 degrees. That’s why I pointed out that the surface temperature can fall by 2 degrees per hour. Furthermore, the surface temperature over those 72 hours will in fact rise by a little during the day (as will the temperature of the cloud) and fall at night. How does the temperature rise when no solar radiation strikes the surface directly? We will assume the cloud cover is so extensive that no warm or cold air blows in from regions without clouds. The sub-surface energy flow knows nothing about whether it’s day or night. In calm conditions the temperature difference between the clouds and the surface will stay close to 20 degrees, with both rising and falling together. Otherwise the temperature gradient would vary too much, as that doesn’t happen because the Second Law comes into play and rectifies significant variation.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          Doug,

          I know I shouldn’t, but . . .

          First, the temperature of the majority of the Earths surface, (water), doesn’t fall by 2C per hour.

          Nor does the temperature 30cm below the solid surface. Of course, as we agree, in arid areas without cloud cover, temperatures can plummet after the Sun passes the zenith. Deserts can rapidly drop below freezing, from 50C daylight temperatures..

          As to temperatures rising when there is no solar radiation, they don’t. This situation is called the night, ie no direct solar radiation. If you perceive light during daylight hours, it is solar radiation – diffuse or direct.

          The temperature gradient is what it is, and is subject to the laws of physics. Otherwise, you would think that the gravity induced pressure at a depth of 10km in water would warm the water. It doesn’t. On the other hand,10km depth in the crust is around 200C depending on rock type.

          So, gravity – no effect, and luckily for us water is peculiar enough that the oceans cannot freeze solid. Whew, that’s a relief!

          I really must go, leaving you with the uplifting thought that I’m right, and you’re wrong – not that it makes any difference at all!

          Live well and prosper,

          Mike Flynn.

  31. ed says:

    Based on all of the comments above the only certainty about global warming is that no one can agree on even the fundamentals of the physics or the causality. It would seem that 97% of people dont agree on anything.

  32. Jameel Ahmad Khan says:

    Somehow solar activity does not picture in this?

    • Doug says:

      Of course it does, but solar activity appears to be very, very strongly correlated with the scalar sum of the angular momentum of the Sun and nine planets – as in the plot of such which clearly shows a 934 year cycle and superimposed 60 year cycles – all calculated from planetary orbits. See my first climate website earth-climate dot com.

  33. Doug says:

    So, Roy, I have proved that real world temperature data shows water vapour cools. So too does valid physics.

  34. Doug says:

     

     
     
     

     
    STOP your lying and hoaxing, Roy! Lives are at stake. You have absolutely no empirical evidence to back up any concept that water vapour raises Earth’s surface temperature. I am NOT just talking about positive feedback. I’m talking about warming in the first place. It doesn’t. Gravity raises the surface temperature to about 300K and then water vapour cools by about 12 degrees.

     

     

     

     

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Doug,

      Who cares? Why not just let people think what they like? For example, I might form an opinion that you are not hoaxing or lying, but might simply be deluded. Why should I then demand that you agree with me?

      It doesn’t really matter, does it? Nature doesn’t seem to pay any attention to what we think. I am content to take things as they come, and do my best to ensure a quiet life.

      I can’t really think of many harmful side effects to quiet enjoyment of life. There seem to be plenty of people prepared to get annoyed or irate about things they don’t like, without any assistance from me.

      I wish you well.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Doug says:

        Who cares? The people in developing countries who will die. The people who will pay too much for “green” energy while their corn crops are used for ethanol and their agricultural production is reduced because of lower carbon dioxide levels.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          Doug,

          Name one or two, and explain whether you have permission to be outraged on their behalf. That’s a joke, of course!

          The Warmists have wasted more billions to date than either you or I would want, I feel.

          The delusionalists are a fact of Nature, just like floods, droughts, famines, earthquakes and all the rest. I can’t work myself into a self righteous lather about any of them. I’ll probably feel the same about the next collective delusion or madness that the Universe sees fit to inflict upon us.

          Of course, assuming I survive whatever lunatic notion people choose to believe. Ah well, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I’m told. I’m still alive, and doing OK, so it seems.

          I’ll leave you in peace. Have fun.

          Live well and prosper,

          Mike Flynn.

    • geran says:

      Doug says: “STOP your lying and hoaxing, Roy!”
      >>>>>

      Dr. Roy is a TRUE scientist. He allows others to disagree with him. He does not censor. By attacking Dr. Roy, because you do not agree with him, is your own form of censorship. You wish to “put down” his science with insults. Dr. Roy does not censor you, but you attempt to censor him.

      He is the REAL scientist, you are the phony scientist.

      (I hereby authorize you to put this comment in your book.)

      • Doug says:

         

         

        Oh Yeah? A true scientist backs his theory with experiments and studies which support his hypothesis – as I have done.

        How the hell, Roy, could water vapour, which produces a lower temperature gradient as you know, lead to a warmer surface temperature. Would the thermal profile be higher at the surface and higher still at the tropopause? Whatever happened to radiative balance? The profile rotates, Roy, and becomes lower at the surface end. It’s not hard to understand.

        So, according to the hoax “fissics” Roy, what is the sensitivity to a 1% increase in water vapour? Is it about 10 degrees – maybe 15 degrees per 1%?

        Are dry regions with 1% about 30 degrees colder than moist regions with 4% water vapour?

        The whole GH thing is such a blatantly obvious politically motivated hoax it should make you angry.

         

      • GH says:

        geran says: “Dr. Roy is a TRUE scientist. He does not censor.”
        ===============================

        a)he does sensor and b)all his promotion of the “greenhouse effect” is not science, it is complete BS and propaganda.

      • Doug says:

         
         

        Yes GH.

        It is laughable that, in the above article, Roy overlooks the fact that the intensity of radiation falls off as the square of the distance. Radiation from 10Km up has only 1% of the intensity of radiation from 1Km up. But Roy makes out that the upper troposphere radiation has more effect on surface temperatures!!!!

        I have pointed out this and other errors in a comment above on 10th September, and Roy can’t respond with any valid counter arguments.

         

         

        • Joel Shore says:

          So, if I am 1 meter away from a big flat light source 1 km on a side and then I move 10 meters away, the intensity of the light will be 100 times less?

          Doug, you are a good demonstration of how a little knowledge of physics can make someone more wrong-headed than knowing no physics.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @geran…”By attacking Dr. Roy, because you do not agree with him, is your own form of censorship”.

        I have said some thing about Roy that may be regarded as unkind. However, I have a high regard for Roy and what he has done to bring us real science based on real data. I don’t agree with him politically nor do I agree with some of his science, but I still have a high regard for him both as a scientist and as a human being.

        I defend him and John Christy on blogs where alarmists take cheap shots at them. John tends to be more measured than Roy when it comes to offering opinions and it seems to me that if a person is willing to go out on a limb as a scientist and take shots at people like me who disagree with him on certain science, then it is fair for me to counter.

        I don’t for one minute think Roy reads anything I have to say. However, I keep in mind that this is Roy’s blog and that I am a guest. I hope he is big enough to accept my criticism for what it’s worth, which isn’t a lot.

        I know one thing. If this was realclimate I would have been banned long ago. That’s partly why I have a deep regard for Roy.

        With regard to being banned from RC, I would be in good company. Steve McIntyre from climateaudit was banned.

  35. Aaron S says:

    Wow great read. I intentionally have not read the comments yet so i say what i think rather than respond to others (sorry if redundant). The water vapor cycle is fasinating. If Svensmark’s theory is correct and cosmic rays cause ions that clouds nucleate with, then there is a link between solar activity and cloud character. Thus the recent decrease in solar activity could be the forcing mechanism for the decrease in inuslating high clouds. Of course, this is very tricky bc we are currently at a 11yr solar peak of a much less active sun when you remove the high frequency 11 yr trend. This is why i must wait another decade until we are exiting the 11yr solar cycle minimum phase to see what happens to global temperature.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      @Aaron S “If Svensmark’s theory is correct and cosmic rays cause ions that clouds nucleate with, then there is a link between solar activity and cloud character”.

      There may be other issues as well. Syun Akasofu, who pioneered in studies of the solar wind has claimed the interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field induces electrical currents in the atmosphere, the surface, and the oceans.

      Those currents alone could account for the ions of which you speak. The charged particles in the current could be causing effects of which we are not aware.

  36. Aaron S says:

    I had to copy this one and archive it bc i learned so much about how to think about the water vapor process. Roy at a minimum your legacy will be that of a great teacher and voice, and I think you likely will also be considered that of an innovative scientist. It obviously depends on the ultimate relationship between earth temp and CO2. My guess is that your claim that the sensitivity to CO2 is not nearly as high as the mainstream considers will be correct in the end. I guess i just want to say thanks for teaching me so much with your posts.

  37. Joel Shore says:

    Roy Spencer says: “It might well be that the limited radiosonde evidence we have of lower tropospheric moistening and upper tropospheric drying (e.g. Paltridge et al., 2009) is telling us that water vapor feedback is not positive, as is currently assumed in climate models.”

    You really think that Paltridge et al. is any sort of real evidence when the data set they use seems to be such an outlier…and I think even the ones who created the data set warn against using it for such long term trends?

    “A recent paper which claims to have new satellite evidence of positive water vapor feedback uses highly uncertain infrared water vapor channel data (6.7 microns) which has unknown long-term instrument stability, and unknown diurnal drift effects (issues which we have spent 20 years on with the microwave temperature sounders), and unknown cloud contamination effects.”

    But, why are you so skeptical of that paper and willing to cite Paltridge as providing serious evidence the other way? And, what about Soden et al. (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/310/5749/841.abstract?sid=8c0c3aea-6dec-4dfa-a907-8278fe76ef20) and other work that shows a positive water vapor feedback for shorter-time scale fluctuations (rather than multidecadal trends) where long-term instrument stability is a non-issue?

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Joel Shore,

      Your link posts:

      “Climate models predict that the concentration of water vapor in the upper troposphere could double by the end of the century as a result of increases in greenhouse gases. Such moistening plays a key role in amplifying the rate at which the climate warms in response to anthropogenic activities, but has been difficult to detect because of deficiencies in conventional observing systems. We use satellite measurements to highlight a distinct radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening over the period 1982 to 2004. The observed moistening is accurately captured by climate model simulations and lends further credence to model projections of future global warming.”

      Observed moistening also lends further credence to model projections of global cooling should increased atmospheric water vapor concentrations spawn increased cloud formation/cover and higher planetary albedo.

      Have a great day!

      • Joel Shore says:

        John: Actually, high clouds tend to cause more greenhouse warming than albedo cooling. (Low clouds are the opposite.)

        It is also far from straightforward how higher water concentrations translate into cloudiness since these higher concentrations are the result of higher temperatures…and the saturation pressure of water vapor increases with temperature.

        In other words, your notions are just wishful thinking on your part. Whereas, the actual observations are evidence supporting the water vapor feedback that Roy Spencer and others are trying to question.

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Joel,

          You seem to be a comedian. You wrote:

          “Actually, high clouds tend to cause more greenhouse warming than albedo cooling. (Low clouds are the opposite.)”

          Hmmh! IR emitted from the surface will only be a portion of the incident solar radiation. If clouds reflect back the visible spectrum to space before it ever impinges the surface, less remains to warm the surface and be re-emitted as IR. The visible spectrum exhibits much higher frequency & shorter wavelength than IR. You use the term “tend” which seems far from definitive. Please provide evidence of your claim.

          You go on:

          “It is also far from straightforward how higher water concentrations translate into cloudiness since these higher concentrations are the result of higher temperatures…and the saturation pressure of water vapor increases with temperature.”

          As water vapor rises it cools. To me it seems far from clear why the so called adiabatic lapse rate wouldn’t apply to water vapor. If it freezes in the upper atmosphere & forms chrystals some of which become suspended in the air you have as one might expect CLOUDS!

          You further state:

          “In other words, your notions are just wishful thinking on your part. Whereas, the actual observations are evidence supporting the water vapor feedback that Roy Spencer and others are trying to question.”

          Hmmh! You have yet to present any actual observations. It seems to me you engage in wishful thinking. Pretending that you have empirical evidence for your claims. In fact, in another post you cast doubt on the alarmism when you stated:

          “Another way that one could define it (probably more in line with how engineers use the term) is to consider the Planck response itself as a feedback, in which case everyone (or almost everyone) would agree that the net feedback for the Earth’s climate system is negative but the question becomes whether the net feedback is more negative or less negative than the Planck feedback alone.”

          Thanks, I think we have a point of agreement.

          Have a great day!

          P.S. – Since GHG’s (tri-atomic gas compounds) emit 10 to 100 times more energy as IR than the diatomic gas compounds like oxygen that emit in the microwave spectrum at similar temps, why don’t the GHG’s help cool the atmosphere?

          • Joel Shore says:

            “Please provide evidence of your claim.

            If it freezes in the upper atmosphere & forms chrystals some of which become suspended in the air you have as one might expect CLOUDS!”

            Look, it is so widely acknowledged that high clouds have a larger warming than cooling effect (they decrease outgoing IR more than they decrease incoming sunlight) that both Roy Spencer (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071102152636.htm) and Richard Lindzen (see “iris hypothesis”) have claimed exactly the opposite of what you are claiming…namely, that they think warming will…or is..producing less high clouds.

            So, why don’t you go debate them if you are so sure that more high clouds will be produced. You can blow their conjectures right out of the water!

            “Pretending that you have empirical evidence for your claims.”

            I cited the empirical evidence in that post: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/310/5749/841.abstract?sid=8c0c3aea-6dec-4dfa-a907-8278fe76ef20

            “In fact, in another post you cast doubt on the alarmism when you stated:

            Thanks, I think we have a point of agreement.”

            You have completely misconstrued what I said. Read the part where I said “This is a common issue in science that one has to deal with…There is often a certain arbitrariness in how one defines things, which does not affect the physical result but does affect the language used to talk about it.”

            In other words, whether you call it a net positive feedback (because you consider the Planck response to be your zeroth order effect, not a feedback) or call it a feedback that is negative, but less negative than the Planck response alone (because you consider the Planck response as a feedback), you get the same scientific result.

            To explain it a little more colorfully, one point of view says: “Wow…I double CO2 in the atmosphere but because there is a negative feedback whereby the Earth emits more back out into space as it warms, I will only get 3 K of warming rather than getting a runaway warming effect” while the other says, “If I double CO2 in the atmosphere, I only expect to get 1.2 K of warming because the Earth will emit more as it warms via the Planck formula but because of positive feedbacks, that 1.2 K is increased to 3 K.” As you can see, in both cases, you end up with the same result.

            “Since GHG’s (tri-atomic gas compounds) emit 10 to 100 times more energy as IR than the diatomic gas compounds like oxygen that emit in the microwave spectrum at similar temps, why don’t the GHG’s help cool the atmosphere?”

            The net effect of GHG’s on the Earth energy balance is warming because a compound that emits more also absorbs more. And, so the net radiative effect of GHG’s is to absorb radiation emitted by the Earth and then to re-emit it. However, because they are re-emitting it higher in the atmosphere where the temperature is colder, they emit less than was originally emitted by the Earth’s surface.

            And, since you want empirical evidence, look at this plot which makes it very clear what the net effect of GHG absorptions is on the Earth’s emission of radiation back out into space: http://beforeitsnews.com/mediadrop/uploads/2013/38/722d8552a9cbc163ecc372b97b57026d6b794ea6.png

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Joel Shore,

            Thank you for the reply. You stated:

            “I cited the empirical evidence in that post: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/310/5749/841.abstract?sid=8c0c3aea-6dec-4dfa-a907-8278fe76ef20

            It claims to provide evidence of increased moistening in the upper troposphere but doesn’t address your claim that:

            “Actually, high clouds tend to cause more greenhouse warming than albedo cooling. (Low clouds are the opposite.)”

            It may prove indicative, but not in and of itself definitive. As to being sure whether more clouds will or will not form as a result of increased water vapor, do you have recorded measurements? If so, by whom? Over what time period? Frankly, whether or not you, Roy or anyone else has a particular point of view on the subject matters little to me. If you can provide clear unchallenged evidence of your claims we’d all have something worth discussing.

            You state:

            “However, because they are re-emitting it higher in the atmosphere where the temperature is colder, they emit less than was originally emitted by the Earth’s surface.”

            Actually, emission and absorption occurs throughout the atmosphere, at any point in time by all gas components. What escapes to space and gets recorded by satellites will little doubt be measured as a cooler temperature, but nevertheless a higher emission than the neighboring diatomic gas compounds and the GHG’s should perform the process faster.

            Thanks and have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Joel Shore,

            Correction:

            My post should have stated:

            “What escapes to space and gets recorded by satellites will little doubt be measured as a cooler temperature than if measured at the surface. Nevertheless a GHG’s will provide higher emission than the neighboring diatomic gas compounds and the GHG’s should perform the process faster.”

            Thanks and have a great day!

          • Joel Shore says:

            JohnKl,

            I thought that your statement about empirical evidence was talking about empirical evidence for the water vapor feedback.

            I frankly do not have the time right now to provide you with the empirical evidence that supports the widely-understood fact that high clouds tend to have a net warming effect, i.e., that their greenhouse effect is larger than their albedo effect. I see little use to providing evidence for things that are widely agreed to be both skeptics and non-skeptics in the scientific literature.

            “What escapes to space and gets recorded by satellites will little doubt be measured as a cooler temperature than if measured at the surface. Nevertheless a GHG’s will provide higher emission than the neighboring diatomic gas compounds and the GHG’s should perform the process faster.”

            This makes no sense. What the satellites are measuring (i.e., what the graph that I presented shows) is the radiative intensity. A temperature is inferred from that intensity; it is not some sort of independent measurement. Therefore, your claim is simply incorrect: The empirical data show that the GHGs result in less power being emitted by the Earth back into space than if the GHGs were not present (and we had the same surface temperature). Or, the other way to look at this is that if we waved our magic wand and made the GHGs disappear, then the Earth would suddenly be emitting back out into space much more than it is absorbed from the sun and hence would rapidly start to cool down until such a point that radiative balance was achieved again. Hence, the GHGs are keeping the Earth warmer than in their absence.

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Joel Shore,

            You claimed:

            “I frankly do not have the time right now to provide you with the empirical evidence that supports the widely-understood fact that high clouds tend to have a net warming effect, i.e., that their greenhouse effect is larger than their albedo effect. I see little use to providing evidence for things that are widely agreed to be both skeptics and non-skeptics in the scientific literature.”

            Of course, I understand if you lack the information. You went on to assert:

            “This makes no sense. What the satellites are measuring (i.e., what the graph that I presented shows) is the radiative intensity. A temperature is inferred from that intensity; it is not some sort of independent measurement.”

            You’re kidding right?! Maxwell had to yield to Planck on this one. Emitted energy relates to wavelength/frequency not intensity. Temperature must be inferred from the wavelength/frequency. Even Wikipedia on occasion posts correctly:

            “Satellites do not measure temperature. They measure radiances in various wavelength bands, which must then be mathematically inverted to obtain indirect inferences of temperature.[1][2]”

            As to some sort of independent measurement, I apologize for the confusion I posted my comments hastily during my lunch hour. The statement should have read:

            “What emitted ENERGY escapes to space and gets recorded by satellites will little doubt be measured AND INTREPRETED as a cooler temperature than if measured at the surface. Nevertheless GHG’s will provide higher FREQUENCY emission than the neighboring diatomic gas compounds and the GHG’s should perform the process faster.”

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Joel Shore,

            “Or, the other way to look at this is that if we waved our magic wand and made the GHGs disappear, then the Earth would suddenly be emitting back out into space much more than it is absorbed from the sun and hence would rapidly start to cool down until such a point that radiative balance was achieved again.”

            We all understand the theory. Nevertheless, the quantity of energy emitted by ghg’s back to the surface, it’s effect on surface temperature and the rate at which the process occurs seems still open to debate.

            Have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Joel Shore,

            In regards to my last post. Intensity of radiation may be useful in estimating distance and perhaps other characteristics of emitting source but not temperature. Once again temperature relates to wavelength/frequency.

            Have a great day!

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      @Joel Shore….”…and other work that shows a positive water vapor feedback for shorter-time scale fluctuations…”

      Joel, you claim to be a physicist. Why are you using dubious terms like ‘positive water vapour feedback’ when you have not defined positive feedback or how that term may exist in reality?

      In physics, a positive feedback requires some kind of amplification as part of a system. Positive feedback does not exist independently of a system as Gavin Schmidt from realclimate seems to think.

      For example, in an electronics amplifier, positive feedback is created by taking a small portion of an amplifier output and feeding it back to the input so that the feedback signal is in phase with the input signal. The two signals add and the output after amplification is larger than before.

      On the next cycle, the output signal increases and in subsequent cycles it increases toward infinity. Of course, infinity cannot be reached because the amplifier depends on a power supply and the output is limited by that factor.

      How could anything like that ever happen in the atmosphere? Where is the amplifier?

      Gavin Schmidt fumbled the explanation of positive feedback and engineer Jeffrey Glassman took him apart on that. Even though Schmidt is a mathematician he explained the math incorrectly.

      I’d like to see your math for positive water vapour feedback, particularly how it exceeds a gain of 1. I am guessing that you are talking about a negative feedback that is not quite as negative.

      • Joel Shore says:

        “I am guessing that you are talking about a negative feedback that is not quite as negative.”

        Essentially, yes. Climate scientists have generally chosen to define the Planck response (the Earth emitting more infrared radiation as its temperature rises) as the zeroth order response, rather than as a feedback (although see Dennis Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology” as an exception). Hence, when they talk of positive feedback, they mean positive if you don’t include the Planck response as a feedback but rather as the zeroth-order response.

        Another way that one could define it (probably more in line with how engineers use the term) is to consider the Planck response itself as a feedback, in which case everyone (or almost everyone) would agree that the net feedback for the Earth’s climate system is negative but the question becomes whether the net feedback is more negative or less negative than the Planck feedback alone.

        This is a common issue in science that one has to deal with…There is often a certain arbitrariness in how one defines things, which does not affect the physical result but does affect the language used to talk about it. Get used to it.

  38. Doug says:

     
     

     

    ROY – YOU CAN”T ARGUE AGAINST THIS BECAUSE IT”S FACT.
     

    The whole discussion about feedback is irrelevant because carbon dioxide does not raise the Earth’s surface temperature – it cools it (by about 0.1 degree) for the same reason that water vapour cools it by about 12 degrees. We know this must be the case because the so-called wet adiabatic lapse rate (that is, the gradient of the plot of temperature against altitude) is less in magnitude than the dry rate.

    This lowering of the gradient is caused by all molecules of any gas which radiates at the relevant temperatures found in any planet’s troposphere – anywhere in the universe, because physics is universal.

    Radiation can only transfer thermal energy from warmer sources to cooler targets. Radiation from the cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface does not have its electro-magnetic energy converted to thermal energy in the target. In other words, any such one-way passage of radiation obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is an independent process, not dependent upon any radiation the other way. Often there is no such radiation. For example, the Sun’s radiation penetrates the water in a stream and heats the sand on the bottom. That sand may not be radiating back to the Sun.

    Now this means that, in the troposphere, the only transfers of thermal energy by radiation are from warmer to cooler molecules, in other words, usually upwards towards space. Radiating molecules act like holes in a blanket. They help thermal energy escape more quickly to space. Water vapour introduced between double glazed windows reduces the insulating effect as it helps energy leap frog the slower moving thermal energy moving by diffusion across the gap.

    So inter-molecular radiation always has a temperature levelling effect, and so it reduces in magnitude the gravitationally induced temperature gradient that occurs because of the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Hence, because water vapour reduces the thermal gradient, the whole thermal profile rotates and so it intersects the surface at a lower supporting temperature. This has been confirmed in my study of temperature records from three continents.

     

     

    • gbaikie says:

      –The whole discussion about feedback is irrelevant because carbon dioxide does not raise the Earth’s surface temperature – it cools it (by about 0.1 degree) for the same reason that water vapour cools it by about 12 degrees. We know this must be the case because the so-called wet adiabatic lapse rate (that is, the gradient of the plot of temperature against altitude) is less in magnitude than the dry rate.

      This lowering of the gradient is caused by all molecules of any gas which radiates at the relevant temperatures found in any planet’s troposphere – anywhere in the universe, because physics is universal.–

      So the so-called wet adiabatic lapse rate is about 5 C per 1000 meter elevation.
      And dry is about 9.8 C per elevation.

      So with wet, 2000 meter higher the air temperature 10 C cooler
      and if dry it is about 19.6 C cooler.

      It seems to me that wet lapse rate makes the air 2000 meter higher temperature because H20 gas can form into water droplets. And it has nothing to do with radiant transfer of heat. Or if the atmosphere pressure temperature allows any gas to become a liquid or solid, then that gas will affect the lapse rate.

      — …It is an independent process, not dependent upon any radiation the other way. Often there is no such radiation. For example, the Sun’s radiation penetrates the water in a stream and heats the sand on the bottom. That sand may not be radiating back to the Sun.

      Now this means that, in the troposphere, the only transfers of thermal energy by radiation are from warmer to cooler molecules, in other words, usually upwards towards space.—

      If sand under water is warmer than the water above it, it still will not radiate thru the water. And the temperature of the air has nothing to do with whether radiation will pass thru it, nor does temperature of air have any effect upon the direction it travels.

      • Doug says:

        The temperature plot (or profile) rotates about a pivoting altitude (roughly 4Km) where radiation to space from above that altitude = radiation to space from below that altitude. This is how radiative balance is maintained. Earth’s radiative balance rarely has a net inward or outward difference of more than 0.6%, so for all practical purposes we can assume that radiative balance is maintained because the whole system acts like a blackbody.

        The temperature of the air certainly does have an effect upon which way it travels, or more precisely in which directions diffusion of thermal energy occurs. Have you not understood the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

        • gbaikie says:

          “The temperature of the air certainly does have an effect upon which way it travels, or more precisely in which directions diffusion of thermal energy occurs. Have you not understood the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics?”

          Does it apply to other states of matter other than transparent gases? For instance if heat up glass does affect whether radiant energy can past thru it?
          If your answer is it does not apply to glass [or other transparent solids or liquids] then explain why gases are different in this regard as compared to other states of matter.

  39. Doug I am with Roy who has demonstrated through experimentation and observational data that he is correct.

  40. Jerry L Krause says:

    Roy and the others who have replied to his (this) blog:

    Roy properly focused attention to the atmosphere’s water vapor content. And even though your replies sometimes are to disagree with his comments and/or those of others, if one sorts out the chaff, each of you have at times contributed kernels of potential truth which deserve more serious consideration than it seems they have received. It would be wrong to forget what has been written by moving on to replies to Roy’s next blogs, no matter how good, interesting, etc. they might be.

    Many of today’s students do not like mathematics and in the USA many are quite concerned about too many of our students’ lack of demonstrated basic mathematical performance. And it is no secret that that the fundamental physical sciences—chemistry and physics—are not popular choices of many students. Why this lack of popularity? My answer is that in these science disciplines there are problems which have correct answers according to hard earned observations which are summarized in scientific laws. In mathematics there are always correct answers if the problems are properly defined. Environmental and life sciences are different in that there are fewer correct answers because most systems being studied cannot be isolated enough to reduce the number of variables involved. And these science courses are popular choices of many students. Why are they popular? My answer is that in these science disciplines there are almost no correct answers so what a student thinks can never be wrong. But a fact is that while science cannot prove anything to be the truth, it certainly can prove, at times, what is not the truth. How can scientists prove what is not the truth? By observation. Not by thinking or argument.

    My point here is common observations, like that the atmospheric temperature has never been observed to be less than that atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature, establishes the minimum possible atmospheric temperature to be the dewpoint temperature. So, since most commonly observed dewpoint temperatures of the surface atmospheric layer are well above the average effective radiative temperature which was the result of Arrhenius’s radiation balance calculation, the magnitude of the greenhouse effect, as defined by this calculation, is totally invalid.

    A scientific law is a consistent observation of something that has never been observed to be otherwise. Doug cites the Second Law of Thermodynamics frequently. And Doug frequently cites how the action of gravity upon the atmospheric atoms and molecules should create the adiabatic lapse rate according to an accepted mathematical principal (equation, law, or whatever it might be called). I do not know if Doug sees the conflict between the atmospheric temperature gradient predicted (and at times observed) by this adiabatic lapse rate and the Second Law which suggests that eventually there should be no temperature gradient. I see one possibility as a dynamic equilibrium and the other as a thermal equilibrium. And I see if there is to be any atmospheric convection, the dynamic equilibrium must win. And I observe this winner when I observe the very common cumulus clouds.

    Roy brought to our attention a graph of observed Water Vapor Departures From Average in the lower (undefined) atmosphere over oceans (area undefined). As I scanned the many replies his blog has generated, I did not see one (because I quickly scanned I could be wrong) which referred to these observations. So I wonder if anyone has seen the interesting fact (or almost fact) that the average is seldom actually observed. Now, when average values are referred to, one might commonly expect a bell shaped distribution of values with the most probable being near the average value. However, in this case, referred to us by Roy, there appear to be two most probable average values, a high one and a low one. If one considers common atmospheric (or climatic) observations, there are other examples of two most probable average values instead of a single most probable values. The most common is the daily temperature oscillation. There is a high average value which tends to persist within a narrow range for several hours and low average value which tends to persist within a narrow range for several hours. In between these two extremes the temperature rapidly changes so that the average temperature of the day actually exists for a short time relative to several hours. However, I must qualify this by stating a clear sky condition for a day or a sudden change in the lower atmosphere due to the observable movement of a considerably difference air mass into the vicinity of the observations.

    Now, relative to Roy’s graph, without going into detailed analysis, there appears to be a climatic oscillation, over several years, between the high average values and low average values. Because the time span (about 26 years) is too short to establish that what can be seen is the result of a oscillatory behavior or if it does represent an example of a sudden climatic change.

    But we are all familiar with what are termed El Nino and La Nina events and even though I rapidly scanned, I am quite certain that neither event has been referred by Roy or any replies. The abrupt extreme deviations from any average value coincide with the times of moderate to extreme such events. And since we do know such events have been occurring for centuries, it seems likely that such changes are likely oscillations and not abrupt changes of climate. However, while both types of events can be considered not periodic, because both types of events could be considered to occur in the longer term average high or low values, these longer term possible oscillations could be periodic.

    My point here is that any climatic modeling, to have any validity, must be able to predict observable oscillatory behavior because such is too commonly observed.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Jerry L Krause,

      You note:

      “My point here is that any climatic modeling, to have any validity, must be able to predict observable oscillatory behavior because such is too commonly observed.”

      Thank you, I agree. The question remains as to whether the purpose for the most part of those generating climate models is in fact the accurate projection of future climactic conditions or to create worse case scenarios to scare the public towards a particular theoretical framework compelling emergency political action absent any rational basis of success.

      “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
      H. L. Mencken

      Have a great day!

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi John Kl,

        Thank you for your comment. I do not necessarily disagree with your conclusions but I believe originally the modelers really believed they could contribute to a better understanding of climate and that probably many still do. Consider Roy Spencer Ph.D.. While he opposes the idea of man caused global warming of any significance, it seems he still embraces the idea of the greenhouse effect of certain atmospheric gases which have the ability to absorb IR radiation as being the reason that the earth’s average temperature is about 33C greater than the Arrhenius radiation balance calculation concludes it should be if these certain gases were not present in the atmosphere. It is a fact that Galileo chose to ignore the work of Brahe and Kepler by insisting that planetary orbits must be perfect circles. This apparently because he considered a circle such a perfect figure. And once one invests in an idea, it is very hard for some to let it go.

        Have a good tomorrow, Jerry

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Jerry L Krause,

          You stated:

          “This apparently because he considered a circle such a perfect figure. And once one invests in an idea, it is very hard for some to let it go.”

          Agreed! Of course if CAGW alarmism didn’t flood blog-sites with paranoid rants Dr. Spencer and others would have much less traffic from people taking one side or the other position.

          Indeed, Charles Mackay couldn’t have written his tome “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” without the existence of numerous mass delusions throughout history. While I don’t agree with all his examples, he wrote a great line:

          “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

          Thanks and have a great day!

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi John Kl,

            Mackay’s quote is very appropriate.

            Almost missed your response of 9/16 at 1;42 PM. Then I began to respond directly instead of going to my word processor and hit the wrong button and lost all my great thoughts. I placed the date and time because I have no idea where this might end up; as I have previously proven the I am not response literate.

            Response is a much better word than the words—reply and comment—that I have been using. As I begin this response the number was at 212 for the blog Water Vapor Feedback … . Which was an excellent blog which focused attention on things that matter about meteorology, climate, greenhouse effect, global warming, etc. And some very important things touched upon in the blog still have not been directly addressed. So hopefully those who really want to learn will continue to respond and ask questions and the alarmists will leave. Although the latter is not a good attitude because if they stick around, they might learn something from those who want to learn.

            A problem I have is I recognize the need to be brief but I find it difficult because the crowds have ignored so much during the past 100 or so years. There is no common background that one can assume. We do not know each other as friends.

            I like the quotes of the past giants and/or things about the past giants. Someone (probably Gleick but it does not matter who) wrote that Richard Feynman had a philosophy of ignorance. I have had a fair amount of formal education and I have a philosophy.

            The more I study,
            The more I learn,
            The more I know
            that which I don’t know!!!

            You wrote: “Of course, if CAGW alarmism didn’t flood blog-sites with paranoid rants, Dr. Spenser and others would have much less traffic from people taking one side or the other position.” First I cannot figure out what CAGW means. So help me, please. Relative to rest of this statement, it seems best to ask the questions: What do you believe the purpose of Dr. Spenser’s and others blog-sites to be? And, What do you believe the purpose of this blog-site and others should be? Are your answers the same? Whoops, that is three questions. I am not trying to hang you up (whatever that might mean). Or to seek opportunity to put you down.

            To show good faith, I will give you my answers to the second and third questions, but not the first. I believe a blog-site, such as this, is an opportunity to come together to discuss a particular topic in an effort to learn more about it. I believe it should be like a meeting of the Royal Philosophical Society where we are commoners, both in the sense that we are equals and that we have a common interest. Or, as I wrote a while ago, our responses are an actual dialogue instead of the fictional ones that Galileo used because he had no one with whom, because of his unique ideas which clearly challenged the status quo, to have a meaningful dialogue. Not quite accurate because there was Tycho Brahe and Robert Kepler. But it is accurate because these others did not live conveniently near him. No, my answer to the first question would not be the same as that of the second question.

            Hopefully each of you learners will keep responding with each other.

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Jerry L Krause,

            Thank you for a thoughtful reply. You asked:

            “First I cannot figure out what CAGW means. So help me, please. Relative to rest of this statement, it seems best to ask the questions: What do you believe the purpose of Dr. Spenser’s and others blog-sites to be? And, What do you believe the purpose of this blog-site and others should be? Are your answers the same? Whoops, that is three questions. I am not trying to hang you up (whatever that might mean). Or to seek opportunity to put you down.”

            Please accept my apology for using acronym’s. On this blog-site many use the acronym CAGW to refer to CATASTROPHIC ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING. In addition, I don’t wish to disparage Dr. Spencer’s blog-site. To the contrary, I believe he wishes to INCREASE everyone’s understanding of the climate by encouraging DIALOGUE. He should be honored for his efforts in this regard so long as he keeps the dialogue open, respectful and at least attempts to maintain some level of rationality. As to other web-sites I would need specific information to comment on them. A guy named David frequently posts here and has a site called ( if I remember correctly ) Quark Soup. The site contains useful information, links and opinions. While I don’t agree with much of their supposed analysis he does provide useful information. Perhaps the same can be said for most science web-sites to varying degrees. As to your last question:
            “Are your answers the same?” I’m not sure I understand fully the question. Certainly I rather doubt I’d give the same answers Roy does to any given question.

            You suggested that the more we learn the more we know we need to learn. I agree and thank you again for your post. I must run now due to time constraints and hope to converse with you again.

            Have a great day!

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi John Kl:

        It just dawned on me that I did not draw your attention to the observational evidence of scattering that Feynman demonstrated for his students. I sort of ignored it because I trusted Feynman and did not need to be convinced that it existed as described by him.

        But on page 32-9 he wrote (taught): “Now we can make an experiment that demonstrates this. We can make particles that are very small at first, and then gradually grow in size. We use a solution of sodium thiosulfate (hypo) with sulfuric acid, which precipitates very fine grains of sulphur. As the sulphur precipitates, the grains first start very small, and the scattering is a little bluish. As it precipitates more it gets more intense, and then it will get whitish as the particles get bigger. In addition, the light which goes straight through will have the blue taken out. That is why the sunset is red, of course, because the light that comes through a lot of air to the eye had a lot of blue light scattered out, so it is yellow-red.

        “Finally, there is one other important feature which really belongs in the next chapter, on polarization, but it is so interesting that we point it out now. This is that the electric field of the scattered light tends to vibrate in a particular direction. The electric field in the incoming light is oscillating in some way, and the driven oscillator goes in this same direction, and if we are situated about at right angles to the beam, we will see polarized light, that is to say, light in which the electric field is going only one way. In general, the atoms can vibrate in any direction at right angles to the beam, but if they are driven directly toward or away from us, we do not see it. So if the incoming light has an electric field which changes and oscillates in any direction, which we call unpolarized light, the the light which is coming out at 90° to the beam vibrates in only on direction.

        “There is a substance called Polaroid which has the property that when light goes through it, only the piece of the electric field which is along on particular axis can get through. We can use this to test for polarization, and indeed we find the light scattered by the hypo solution to be strongly polarized.”

        I do not know if this additional information will help you become a believer in the phenomenon of the light scattering as described by Feynman. But it is his information and not mine.

        Have a good day, Jerry

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Jerry L Krause,

          Thank you for the time and attention provided in your post. You quoted Feynman:

          “That is why the sunset is red, of course, because the light that comes through a lot of air to the eye had a lot of blue light scattered out, so it is yellow-red.”

          The observation suggests the atmosphere does indeed reflect some blue light which can be clearly seen at high altitudes or reflected in bodies of water like the ocean. However, it also suggests that instead of absorbing other frequencies the atmosphere proves largely transparent to them passing the red-yellow wavelengths through.

          Unfortunately, I must rush away due to time constraints but I will write more later.

          Thanks again and as usual…

          Have a great day!

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Jerry L Krause,

          You quoted a source to the effect:

          “There is a substance called Polaroid which has the property that when light goes through it, only the piece of the electric field which is along on particular axis can get through. We can use this to test for polarization, and indeed we find the light scattered by the hypo solution to be strongly polarized.”

          Thank you Jerry. Personally, I prefer the term REFLECTED to SCATTERED. If you view colors disbursed from a Polaroid film for example the light appears somewhat coherent. The colors appear together and not randomized. The term scattered seems inappropriate. In a fundamental sense believers in theoretical quantum particles like photons will always resolve internal conflicts by leaping from one concept to another, i.e. from the wave nature of matter ( incorporated in the concept of a photon ) to a particle one. The problem remains that the particle nature of such phenomenon cannot seemingly be observed. While wave characteristics have been. If OVER-WHELMING particle evidence comes along I’m open to it, but I haven’t observed any yet.

          Thanks and have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Jerry L Krause,

            In my post I stated:

            “Thank you Jerry. Personally, I prefer the term REFLECTED to SCATTERED.”

            If the light passes through some material, like a prism, the better term to use would be REFRACTED.

            Thanks again and have a great day!

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi John Kl,

            Thank you for your several responses. And yes, I am trying to give you reasons to reconsider what you think (or believe) about scattering. But I still very much respect your opinions and your continuing attempts to learn (understand). I began reviewing the 212 responses, when I began and are now more, and in the process discovered that I had not been specific enough in my (9/10/14 at 1:20PM) response to which you promptly responded. Hence, I have tried to correct this problem. For a reason referred to in this response to you,I am placing it at the end of all the responses. So, this is just a short heads-up to you.

            Have a good day, Jerry

    • gbaikie says:

      “Many of today’s students do not like mathematics and in the USA many are quite concerned about too many of our students’ lack of demonstrated basic mathematical performance. And it is no secret that that the fundamental physical sciences—chemistry and physics—are not popular choices of many students. Why this lack of popularity? My answer is that in these science disciplines there are problems which have correct answers according to hard earned observations which are summarized in scientific laws. In mathematics there are always correct answers if the problems are properly defined.”

      I think the answer to your question is the skill of education has become worse.
      Or in analogy of making cars, the educational system makes worse cars [students]. This due to teachers not being selected that teach well. Or poor teacher should be fired, and better teachers should be paid more.
      If one had market place where students and parent could selection their education than teaching would improve.

      That fact that there is actually a correct answer, provides an accurate test of how well student are being educated.

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi glaikie:

        At this late time I will only make one comment. You wrote: “This due to teachers not being selected that teach well.” It is said that Galileo stated: “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.” My question to you is: How can we help them discover it within themselves?

        Have a good tomorrow or today (if it is already day where you are), Jerry

        • gbaikie says:

          “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.” My question to you is: How can we help them discover it within themselves?”

          Well teaching students that there is no future, seems like it works in opposite direction.
          It seems people will discover “it within themselves” if they has desire to learn, one learns in order to do something.
          A motivational factor of children is they don’t want to remain a child forever, they want to grow up and be adults.
          So seems opportunities to be involved with adult type activity is generally good.
          It seems that if child can do stuff other adults can not do, is gratifying to the adults and children. There lots skills children can become proficient in- music and other arts. learning different languages, and being extraordinary in terms of math, are all things children could do. That children tend to be more familiar with computers, is example children being more proficient in an area than adults.
          Of course space exploration is also another area student could become involved in- if NASA was less a job program and regarded exploring space as important and something which is very important in terms of the future, this something more children could become involved with.

          Of course children also just need to be children and do lots of fun stuff and have many adventures.

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Gbaikie,

            Relative to “Of course children also just need to be children and do lots of fun stuff and have many adventures.” I call your attention to Richard Feynman’s description of how his father taught him in his book: “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” I have pondered and pondered how a teacher could copy what his father did in a classroom situation. Of curious you need a motivated learner but I think (think is code for I don’t really know)most children begin their formal educational experiences as motivated learners. But they quickly lose their motivation if they are challenged to do activities they are not developmentally prepared to do.

            Thank you responding to this educational issue so might say is unrelated to the topic of the blog. But any science is about learning. This I know. Have a good day, Jerry

  41. Shawn Torgerson says:

    Excellent post tonight. I’ve been reading these and most of the comments for years, even though I rarely comment. Salvatore and Roy I mostly agree with on many things. Doug is a bit out there, but I read through them all, because some of what he says seems to be onto something… another outside view into the whole system. I am posting today because through reading many different climate books I came across something that may seem to be important in the pause and why there is no positive feedback from water vapor. From what I have read (correct me if I’m wrong) long wave radiation from the sun is absorbed by the oceans up to 10 meters deep, and short wave radiation from GHG’s is only absorbed a couple millimeters. The amount of heat content in the ocean in the first 3 meters is as much as the atmosphere as a whole. Is it possible that the increased cloudiness from and increase in water vapor over the long term which may reflect more sunlight away cause the ocean to absorb less long wave radiation and heat, which in the long term will be a very negative feedback on the climate warming from CO2? If the oceans are unable (because of increase cloudiness) to absorb heat from long wave radiation (which they don’t seem to be able to from GHG reflected short wave radiation) over a period of time, would this not cool the oceans eventually, and therefore ultimately drive global temperature downward? Just a thought

    • Shawn Torgerson says:

      Basically, in my humble opinion from all that i’ve read and learned is that I believe that temperature in the very short term, 10 years or less has high variability because of many different factors including internal non radiative forcings, ENSO, matchups of solar/oceans cycles, cloud feedbacks, and medium term temperatures are mostly a product of long term ocean cycles, but the very long temperature cycles all go back to long term solar cycles. This is how we can have year to year large fluctuations, decade trends of 30+ years shifting gradually up and down, and very long term trends of 100+ years moving ever so slowly (think little ice age, medieval warming, roman warming etc). The other factor is the earth relative to the sun and possible wobble that may determine ice ages in a 10,000 (or so) year cycle. Not a very scientific comment, but a big picture view of how this has been playing out over history. I still say focus on growing prosperity around the world because a civilization that is more advanced is less damaged by a changing climate, which we will always have.

    • Jerry L Krause says:

      Hi Shawn,

      You should post more because you are very insightful and/or thoughtful. You call attention to the fact that the atmosphere is very diffuse matter since its total mass (approximately 15 lbs per square inch) is only equal to about 3 meters of the ocean surface. This is certainly something one should think about.

      And you refer the long wave (invisible) portion of the solar radiation which is seldom done. Have you noticed that the energy of this invisible portion is nearly equal to that of the visible portion? Because water molecules seem to strongly
      absorb portions of this invisible solar radiation, I have to question how much of this invisible portion even penetrates to a 3 meter depth. For I am sure the 30 meter depth is the average limiting depth to which the visible portion (which is not absorbed by water molecules) penetrates.

      So, it seems too much is not clearly defined (known) which should (must) be known if we are to begin to really understand weather and climate. For a fact is that climate is merely the average of weather.

      I have to run but hopefully we can have a conversation later.

      Keep up your good studies, Jerry

      • Shawn Torgerson says:

        Thanks for the kind reply Jerry. I agree that there is still too much unknown to make risky economic policy decisions on a large scale. It seems very strange for them to claim even more confidence in the theory with each new report, well at least in the summary. The actual science doesn’t make that argument with any real strength. I also wonder how much of this is even about the environment anymore, if it ever really was.

    • gbaikie says:

      What you talking about is related or similar to what called an
      iris effect.
      Wiki doesn’t do a very good job explaining it:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_hypothesis
      Whereas NASA does a better job at explaining it:
      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Iris/
      Some quote from NASA article:
      “Although carbon dioxide gets most of the bad publicity these days as the critical greenhouse gas, the warming effect of carbon dioxide is minuscule compared to that of water vapor. Water vapor is present in such abundance throughout the atmosphere that it acts like a blanket of insulation around our world, trapping heat and forcing surface temperatures higher than they would be otherwise.”
      And:
      ” “We wanted to see if the amount of cirrus associated with a given unit of cumulus varied systematically with changes in sea surface temperature,” he says. “The answer we found was, yes, the amount of cirrus associated with a given unit of cumulus goes down significantly with increases in sea surface temperature in a cloudy region.”

      This is the finding that led Lindzen’s team to propose that the Earth has an adaptive infrared iris—a built in “check-and-balance” mechanism that effectively counters global warming (Lindzen et al. 2001)”
      And:

      ” “This is a terrifically important feedback,” Lindzen concludes, “because if you double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but don’t have any feedback within the system, you only get about 1 degree of warming (averaged over the entire globe). But climate models predict a much greater global warming because of the positive feedback of water vapor. Yet these models are missing potentially another negative feedback (the infrared iris) which can be anywhere between a fraction of a degree and 1 degree—the same order of magnitude as the warming.” (The net result would then be that the Iris’ negative feedback cancels the water vapor’s positive feedback. The warming for a doubling of carbon dioxide would then return to the 1°C that scientists predict would occur if there were no feedbacks.)”

      I say it’s similar to this, but what you seem to be saying is something I think is true. Which briefly is, that the ocean is the main greenhouse effect.
      Or Linzen and our host [Roy Spencer] tend to believe the greenhouse effect causes earth to be 33 C warmer, and that this greenhouse effect is solely related to gases in the atmosphere. Whereas I believe the warming effect or greenhouse effect is largely due to the ocean- which does a much better job trapping heat than our atmosphere.
      So our oceans actually absorb most of the solar energy which reaches it, whereas the land does not actually absorb anywhere near as much solar energy.
      Or there is a simple rule, oceans warm land and land does not warm oceans. Or lands can have higher air temperature during the daylight, but this a little effect upon warmth of the planet.

      I will add another point, the amount vapor in the world could make the most effect is if it’s uniformly spread across the world. And most of water vapor is in the tropics [or most of water vapor is in about one half of the world surface area]. If you double the amount water vapor in the other half of the world, that might warm the world, but one can’t double the amount of water vapor in tropics. One could say the tropics is near it max. Or tropical surface ocean temperature is close to it’s max, and only way one could increase the surface temperature is by having higher amount of solar flux reaching the surface.
      Or any kind of greenhouse effect does little in terms of increasing ground surface or water surface temperature.
      Nor has the global warming increase surface air temperature- or highest surface air temperature recorded in the world was in July 10 1913 in Death Valley.
      Without changing the topography of region, it unlikely in millions of years of Death Valley history it ever got much warmer than this. If the world warmed or cooler by 10 C, it’s unlikely to have much effect upon highest temperature reachable in Death Valley. And similarly the highest temperature surface ever reached in the middle of tropical Pacific in last 100 years is probably the highest similar to highest temperature it has ever reached in last hundreds of millions of years. Or the sun has more or less maintained the same output and the Earth has more or less has stayed the same distance from it.

      Anyways, to increase water vapor in the other half of the world, requires a warmer ocean. Or our ocean is 3 to 4 C, and one needs a ocean to be say, 10 C. Or ocean temperature we had for most of last 400 million years- or not normal ocean temperature of the ice box climate, which we have been in for last several million of years [with polar ice caps, and etc].

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi gbaikie and Shawn,

        I have repeatedly tried to bring the following quotes to your, and others, attention. I do so again because I am not the author of them. You both have done good scholarship and gbaikie has brought to our attention what Lindzen thought about the role clouds might play in the atmospheric radiation balance system. Gbaikie wrote: “Lindzen and our host (Roy Spencer) tend to believe the greenhouse effects cause earth to be 33 C warmer and that this greenhouse effect is solely related to gases in the atmosphere.” Gbaikie disagreed with them for certain reasons. I disagree with them because I know there is a scientific law that an atmosphere’s temperature has never been observed to be less than that atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature. What I have not clearly stated is the atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature is directly related to the water vapor content of that atmosphere (the topic of this blog of Roy’s). If we keep working we might get Roy (and others) to see that he (they) must give up the greenhouse effect of gases. All I can do is present information, what you and others do with it is your problem. But I do hope you will respond in some way to what Sutcliffe and Feynman wrote.

        In his book Weather and Climate (W. W. Norton, 1966) R. C. Sutcliffe wrote: “… one cannot explain the broad features of world climate if one does not know the actual mechanisms involved.” [pp 138], after he had written: “It would be difficult to overstress the importance of clouds as the necessary intermediary between invisible vapour and falling precipitation upon which all land-life depends, but their importance by no means ends here. Clouds which do not give rain, which never even threaten to give rain but which dissolve again into vapour before the precipitation stage is ever reached, have a profound effect on our climate. This is obvious enough if we only think of the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day in summer or between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter. Taking an overall average, about 50 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with cloud at any time whereas precipitation is falling over no more than say 3 per cent. Non-precipitating clouds are thus the common variety, rain clouds are the exception. The climatic importance of clouds lies in their effectiveness in reflecting, absorbing, transmitting, and emitting radiation, …” [pp 33,34]

        The following are excerpts from pages 32-8,9 of The Feynman Lectures On Physics (Addison-Wesley, 1963). “One interesting question is, why do we ever see clouds? Where do clouds come from? Everybody knows it is the condensation of water vapor. But, of course, the water vapor is already in the atmosphere before it condenses, so why don’t we see it then? After it condenses it is perfectly obvious. It wasn’t there, now it is there. So the mystery of where clouds come from is not really such a childish mystery as “Where does the water come from, Daddy?,” but has to be explained. We have just explained that every atom scatters light, and of course the vapor will scatter light, too. The mystery is why, when the water is condensed into clouds, does it scatter such a tremendously greater amount of light.? … That is to say, the scattering of water in lumps of N molecules each is N times more intense than the scattering of the single atoms. So as the water agglomerates the scattering increases. Does it increase as infinitum? No! When does this analysis begin to fail? How many atoms can we put together before we cannot drive this argument further? Answer: If the water drop gets so big that from one end to the other is a wavelength or so, then the atoms are no longer all in phase because they are too far apart. So as we keep increasing the size of the droplets we get more and more scattering, until such a time that a drop gets about the size of a wavelength, and then the scattering does not increase anywhere nearly as rapidly as the drop gets bigger. Furthermore, the blue disappears, because for long wavelengths the drops can be bigger, before the limit is reached, than they can be for short wavelengths. Although the short waves scatter more per atom than the long waves, there is a bigger enhancement for the red end of the spectrum than for the blue end when all the drops are bigger than the wavelength, so the color is shifted from the blue toward the red.”

        Have a good day, Jerry

        • gbaikie says:

          –I disagree with them because I know there is a scientific law that an atmosphere’s temperature has never been observed to be less than that atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature. —

          What is this dewpoint temperature?

          [I would guess it’s well below -100 C but I am curious what you mean exactly. ]
          [[And do you mean earth in no regions has ever been less than atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature? Such as at poles or even higher in the atmosphere- such as Antarctic and/or say 10 miles up in the air above the Antarctica. Or do mean the tropics at sea level?]
          But generally it seems as long as one world like Earth which lots of water at the surface [not to mention volcanoes spewing out steam] one would have water vapor.
          Or I assume Europa has water vapor.
          Hmm. Check what google says:
          “NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter’s moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon’s surface.”
          http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-europa-water-vapor/#.VBU8N1eHPFw
          Oh yeah I remember something about spikes on Europa.
          Here it is:
          http://www.space.com/20356-jupiter-moon-europa-ice-spikes.html
          And so seems for this to be possible one needs water vapor, or people who imagine these “penitentes” could form must also assume there is some water vapor [at least at some times] at Europa surface.
          Now, how cold do they guess Europa is:
          “Temperature: Europa’s surface temperature at the equator never rises above minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 160 degrees Celsius). At the poles of the moon, the temperature never rises above minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 220 degrees Celsius).”
          http://www.space.com/15498-europa-sdcmp.html

          And generally, it seems to me, if it were get it cold enough to freeze out all water vapor, the temperature would need to be so cold that it also freezes out any and all CO2.]]
          Next bit:
          –What I have not clearly stated is the atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature is directly related to the water vapor content of that atmosphere (the topic of this blog of Roy’s). If we keep working we might get Roy (and others) to see that he (they) must give up the greenhouse effect of gases. All I can do is present information, what you and others do with it is your problem. But I do hope you will respond in some way to what Sutcliffe and Feynman wrote.–
          Hmm. I tend to think Greenhouse gases do warm the atmosphere by some amount. But generally tend to think in terms of what is upper range limit which is possible for such warming.
          I would say, that Svante Arrhenius idea about CO2 warming earth, does not cause me much confidence in the topic in general, as his whole basis for the idea was dead wrong. And idea that people are unwilling to accept that CO2 levels had nothing to do with causing glacial and interglacial periods, adds even more uncertainty in the entire enterprise.
          I tend to think that doubling of CO2 will cause 0 to 1 C of warming.
          I am always interested if there is any evidence that greenhouse gases do not cause any warming.
          I am more reluctant to to idea that CO2 has net effect of cooling, and so more on side it could be close to 0 C.

          I think one avenue toward greenhouse gases not causing any warming could be related to water droplet and ice crystals.
          I am not at all confident that bits of water in the air have been adequately quantified and analyzed in terms of cooling/warming effects.
          One reason I think bits of water could warm, is related to their reflective nature.
          Or, I am pretty certain that in term of radiant energy, that reflective material does insulate [or keep something warm].
          Also another related reason has to do with my opinion of why Venus is a warm as it is- said briefly, it’s related to the droplets of Venus clouds.

          And in terms of bits of water- I don’t just mean the clouds- billions or trillions of them in a clumps which are quite visibly noticeable.

          Anyhow, I just got, “Thermodynamics, Kinetics, and Microphysics” in the mail today.
          I plan to get around to checking out what Khvorostyanov and Curry have say on the topic.

      • Shawn Torgerson says:

        Thanks for the feedback, and yes, I do agree that the ocean warms or cools the land, and it doesn’t work the other way around. Whatever is happening in the oceans in my opinion drives the rest of the climate system. That seems to be why during different phases of ocean circulations we are apt to have more ENSO events which on decadal timelines have a huge impact on land temperatures. That and the fact that the oceans take a very long time to find equilibrium with any radiative changes from the sun or GHGs. The fault I mostly find with the IPCC is that they try to make too many conclusions off of data from too short a timespan to really understand what is all in play, and what is actually driving what. Too many unknown variables that have cycles much longer than any accurate data we have in hand. We have only had a decent comprehensive amount of data on global cloud cover only since 2001 (Around there I think?), so the knowledge seems to still be in infancy on what we are learning from that.

        • Shawn Torgerson says:

          And to Jerry (last post was a reply from the previous), I’ll have to try to wrap my head around your input on clouds and droplets. Another thing I always wonder about, if you can help me clarify my inquiry, is I have thought for quite awhile how much is there a chance that the PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere is very less influenced by the burning of fossil fuels and is more likely a product of natural exchange between the oceans and the atmosphere due to the ocean warming from the little ice age? My thought is that atmospheric temperature changes quite rapidly, but the oceans take much longer. Are the oceans still finding equilibrium in temperature to the atmospheric changes over the last 200 years? And, If they are, is it possible that as they warm, the equilibrium of CO2 in the atmosphere is changing because of getting closer to that balance? I’m not sure how off the wall this thought is, or if there is an explanation that would confirm or invalidate this thought. I’m open to whatever feedback you can provide. This is very enjoyable discussing ideas that I’ve wondered about. Thanks in advancement, Shawn

          • Shawn Torgerson says:

            What made me start thinking about some of this is the Ice Core records that seem to show an atmospheric temperature rise, followed by an Ocean temperature rise, then followed by a rise in PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere. These look like they play out over hundreds of years. Roy, if you have any input, or feedback to tell me if this idea is valid or not it would be appreciated. I’m still just learning. I’ve read much, but I want to know where my ideas have flaws that are easily exposed. Now that I’ve broken the ice more, you’ll likely see me insert my own thoughts into these discussions.

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Shawn,

            Just a short note to say that you and others, before and recently after, have said written so many things that deserve thought and comment. I do not think and write rapidly. Because I not only need to digest what you and others have written, but also what I am writing. For as I write I discover things that are not totally consistent with what I have discovered since I wrote it.

            Stephen Wilde at 9/15/14 4:49 AM asks so very good questions, relative to the recent discussion to think about.

            I am glad you have discovered that you, due to your study, have something of value to contribute to this discussion.

            Jerry

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Shawn and gbaikie,

            Fortunately I had not sent a composition I had worked on for several hours. So, I now edit it.

            Thank you for your replies. Cannot say I enjoyed reading everything that you each wrote for it is not my intent to be hurtfully critical of your ideas and beliefs. Shawn wrote: “I’ll have to try to wrap my head around your input on clouds and droplets.” Shawn, what you are referring to is not my input. It was the input of R. C. Sutcliffe, who thought it was important enough to include in his 1966 book about weather and climate. It was the input of Richard Feynman who thought it was important enough to teach to Caltech physics students during the academic year of 1961-62.

            There is a well known (by some) Newton quote—If I have seen further than other men, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.—or something similar if my memory is faulty. And it usually is. It is my observation that few scientists of today commonly follow the wisdom of this quote. Instead it seems they follow the quote (which when I first read it was attributed to anonymous): “The great arrogance of the present is to forget the intelligence of the past.”

            You comment implies that what Sutcliffe wrote and what Feynman taught is news to you. And because I too have read and thought about weather and climate, I know it is news because it is only be going to the source that I can learn about it. That is why I repeatedly wrote the same thing just as Doug tends to do about fundamentals of the Second Law and the influence of gravity upon the gases of the atmosphere. The difference between what Doug repeats and what I do is that the Second Law and the adiabatic lapse rate (influence of gravity) is well known, although not thoughtfully considered by many.

            Gbaikie, you stated you were going to read works authored by Khvorostyanov and Curry. Since I had never heard of these authors I googled who they might be. So I learned they were respected scientists who had authored a paper about the transition from water droplets to ice crystals which was published in a very respected scientific journal. Of course, this is not to imply that this one paper is the sum total of their scholarship. I find it hard to believe that I have found so many people who have no idea who Richard Feynman was and what were some of his accomplishments. I would not be surprised that many do not know who R. C. Sutcliffe was and what were some of his accomplishments. But anyone can google him to learn why he might be considered a giant and therefore someone whose wisdom should not be forgotten or ignored.

            Shawn, you wrote: “So the knowledge seems to still be in infancy on what we are learning from that [decent comprehensive amount of data on global clouds].” Both Sutcliffe and Feynman wrote about these clouds in the 60’s, about half a century ago. It is a observed that these clouds have a very observable impact upon the daily temperature cycle and this has been known (not thought or believed) for centuries. And Gbaikie, you wrote: “What is the dewpoint temperature? [I would guess its well below –100 C but I am curious what you mean exactly.]” It is this statement which I did not enjoy reading. For many who make comments on sites such as this are too willing to be very sarcastic about what others write. For given what you wrote, I could write: “Gbaikie, your ignorance is showing.” But, upon reflection, it is not your fault Gbaikie. I have just reread Roy Spencer’s blog which focus was the water vapor content of the atmosphere and I can state without a doubt he never used the word, or phrase—dewpoint temperature. You do not need to guess what its possible value might be, it is a fundamental variable of meterology, just as the atmospheric temperature is, which is observed on the hour at nearly every commercial airport in the world. At one time the dewpoint temperature of the atmosphere was calculated from the observed relative humidity and the observed atmospheric temperature. But now I read that an instrument has been designed and used which directly observes the dewpoint temperature at the now automated weather stations sited at these airports.

            But Gbaikie, your comment does establish the likely-hood that you have not seriously studied these hourly observations that are being made. Just as some of Doug’s comments have clearly indicated that he probably has never plotted the actual atmospheric temperatures versus altitudes that observed during the atmospheric soundings that are made at a few locations in every state and/or nation every 12 hours. Nor, had I until little more than a year ago. Modern science is based upon observation, not what someone thinks. Yes, scientists need to think and hypothesize, but any hypothesis must be tested by observation.

            This is enough for now. Learning take time, much time.

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • gbaikie says:

            –You do not need to guess what its possible value might be, it is a fundamental variable of meterology, just as the atmospheric temperature is, which is observed on the hour at nearly every commercial airport in the world. At one time the dewpoint temperature of the atmosphere was calculated from the observed relative humidity and the observed atmospheric temperature. —

            Yeah, ok, but had wondered what you meant by earth’s temperature never being below it. So what you saying is that whenever a temperature is recorded, the dewpoint listed will always be at lower temperature.
            Or whenever and wherever coldest temperature is recorded it will not be below the dew point.
            Or practical terms, one measures dew point by having wet cloth on thermometer and you spin it, this will give a cooler temperature than the dry cloth BUT if Earth **could** get cold enough, the “wet” thermometer would not be colder than the dry one [but Earth has never been this cold].
            But I had wondered whether you referring to fixed numerical temperature value- Ie, water boils at 100 C at 1 atmosphere.

            I seen it mentioned to that in space vacuum it is about -150 C. Or in space one can use water [ice] to cool to about -150 C. But on Earth one can’t use water to freeze to -150 C, you can only use water to cool down to whatever the environment’s dew point temperature is.

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Glaikie,

            Missed your most recent reply before I placed a comment at the end of all replies. This placement because I hoped more might notice it.

            Have a good day, Jerry

        • Jerry L Krause says:

          Shawn,

          I have only recently become involved here and learning how things work. One thing is have just proven that one can keep a particular conversation going by going upward to next available reply and the reply (this one) will be added at the end instead of being inserted after the comment immediately previous to the reply button. Jerry

          • Shawn Torgerson says:

            My comment on clouds was not the affect they have when present, but what are the causes and the odds that they form. Yes, I get the difference between low and high clouds and the feedbacks they present, but my inquiry was more in the conditions for formation, and what drives the average amount present. Currently reading The Neglected Sun. Written in Germany, and it is quite interesting because of the viewpoint from that side of the ocean and that country. Good Read so far

  42. Curious George says:

    [Yes, I know that more water vapor evaporated from the surface cools the surface…that’s taken into account by the climate models, too.]

    With a 3% error. CAM5 assumes that a latent heat of water evaporation is independent of temperature and uses a constant value for 0 degrees C. Most water evaporation happens in tropical regions where I estimate the surface temperature around 30 C.

    According to “Gavin”, this is a consequence of an assumption made in most models, that a heat contents of water in a given volume of air is negligible. I have not found any analysis of impacts of this approximation. Professionals should know, but they don’t bother.

  43. Frank says:

    Roy wrote: “The important thing to understand is this: the largest control of water vapor feedback is the efficiency of precipitation systems, which controls how much water vapor is detrained into the upper troposphere. This process is what controls the humidity of the atmosphere on a clear day…that clear air is being forced to sink by rising air in precipitation systems, and its humidity (and thus its influence on the IR cooling rate of the clear air to space) can also be traced back to microphysical processes in precipitation systems. Clear air might seem boring, but it has a huge influence on the Earth’s temperature, through its humidity controlling the rate at which the Earth cools to space.”

    Don’t ERBE and CERES observations of OLR passing through clear skies show that the changes in OLR associate with changes in surface temperature (seasonal warming of the whole globe, for example) are consistent with substantial water vapor plus lapse rate feedback?

  44. Water vapour just goes along for the ride. This is what is going on in the background:

    Rising air cools and descending air warms. Both without addition or removal of energy. Instead, the form of energy changes from kinetic (heat) to gravitational potential energy (not heat) and back again.

    The cause is gas density and weight variations in the horizontal plane which is in turn caused by uneven surface heating.

    What so many miss is that the warming of air on the descent phase helps to reduce the rate of surface cooling and so raises the average surface temperature above that expected from the purely radiative S-B expectation. In the case of Earth by 33C.

    That surface temperature rise is a consequence of mechanical adiabatic overturning and not downward IR.

    Some say that because the process nets out to zero there is no effect on surface temperature but that is wrong for a scenario where there is a constant flow of new (solar) energy through the system.

    What happens is that because solar energy arrives constantly the first ascent of the very first convective cycle fails to cool the surface. Instead it reduces the energy lost to space by converting it to gravitational potential energy during uplift. GPE does not radiate.

    Then, once one completes the first descent of the very first convective cycle the surface continues to receive ongoing insolation but in addition it is receiving energy from that descending air so the surface temperature must then rise.

    That additional surface energy is not availablre for radiation to space because it is immediately taken up in the next convective ascent.

    Meanwhile, new insolation continues at the same rate as before so the surface temperature cannot drop back again.

    The system equilibriates at a given strength of convective overturning and NOT at a given level of radiative flux though an increased radiative flux within the atmosphere is indeed an inevitable consequence of the mechanically enhanced surface temperature.

    GHGs then cause more radiation to space from within the atmosphere but that reduces the energy returning to the surface on descent so convective overturning is weakened by exactly as much as the GHGs radiate to space.

    The reduction in energy returning to the surface reduces radiation from the surface to space by exactly as much as the increase in radiation ftrom the atmosphere to space.

    It is a self cancelling process at the expense of a miniscule circulation change.

    • Joel Shore says:

      “What so many miss is that the warming of air on the descent phase helps to reduce the rate of surface cooling and so raises the average surface temperature above that expected from the purely radiative S-B expectation. In the case of Earth by 33C.”

      That’s because the “so many” whom you speak of find it necessary to be constrained by the known laws of physics. Since you are under no such constraints, you are free to come up with nonsensical explanations like this.

      • Do you not accept that descending air warms at the dry adiabatic lapse rate?

        Do you not accept that warm air reduces the rate of surface cooling?

        It is the radiative theory that appears to be unconstrained by other non radiative yet well known laws of physics.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Stephen,

          We’ve been over this all several times before. The point is that it is impossible for the Earth’s surface to be at the temperature that it is in the absence of greenhouse elements because at this temperature it is emitting more electromagnetic energy at rate larger the entire Earth-atmosphere system is absorbing it from the sun.

          The ONLY possible ways that this could happen would be:

          (1) If the Earth was generating the additional thermal energy through some mechanism such as radioactive decay. However, we know of no such mechanism that can generate thermal energy at this rate. And, we also know from the satellite data that the Earth is in fact emitting back out into space very nearly the same amount its absorbs from the sun, not a lot more.

          (2) If some of the electromagnetic energy emitted by the Earth’s surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so that energy escapes to space at a lower rate than it is emitted by the surface. The satellite data indeed shows this is what is happening and the reason it is happening is because the atmosphere is not transparent to the Earth’s emitted electromagnetic radiation, or in other words, there is a radiative greenhouse effect.

          No amount of talking about how energy gets transferred in the atmosphere (whether by physically possible mechanisms or mechanisms that violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, as yours seems to) will get you around this issue.

          It’s not just that you have the wrong answer. It is that it doesn’t even address the right question.

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Joel,

            Just a quick comment: Of course, clouds play no role in limiting the IR lost to space.

            Jerry

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Joel,

            9/15/14 at 3:13 PM you wrote: “The empirical data shows that the GHGs result in less power being emitted by Earth back into space than if GHGs were not present (ans we had the same surface temperature). There is no empirical data of the power being emitted by Earth back into space if the GHGs were not present. Therefore, there can be no empirical comparison.

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • gbaikie says:

            — Joel Shore says:
            September 15, 2014 at 3:01 PM

            Stephen,

            We’ve been over this all several times before. The point is that it is impossible for the Earth’s surface to be at the temperature that it is in the absence of greenhouse elements because at this temperature it is emitting more electromagnetic energy at rate larger the entire Earth-atmosphere system is absorbing it from the sun.

            The ONLY possible ways that this could happen would be:

            (1) If the Earth was generating the additional thermal energy through some mechanism such as radioactive decay. However, we know of no such mechanism that can generate thermal energy at this rate. And, we also know from the satellite data that the Earth is in fact emitting back out into space very nearly the same amount its absorbs from the sun, not a lot more.

            (2) If some of the electromagnetic energy emitted by the Earth’s surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so that energy escapes to space at a lower rate than it is emitted by the surface. The satellite data indeed shows this is what is happening and the reason it is happening is because the atmosphere is not transparent to the Earth’s emitted electromagnetic radiation, or in other words, there is a radiative greenhouse effect.

            No amount of talking about how energy gets transferred in the atmosphere (whether by physically possible mechanisms or mechanisms that violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, as yours seems to) will get you around this issue.

            It’s not just that you have the wrong answer. It is that it doesn’t even address the right question.–

            As general note you saying greenhouse gases are only way to warm earth, yet you obviously know other ways to warm earth other than greenhouse gases.
            Urban heat island effect obviously warms a region of earth, and it has nothing to do with greenhouse gases.
            So covered the world with urban areas, it would have global warming effect. Or UHI doesn’t add to global warming because urban areas are insignificant portion of Earth surface.
            You also know that an actual greenhouse, could warm the area in the greenhouse. And actual greenhouses are warmer due to inhibting convection. So like UHI effect, if world were covered with actual greenhouses, the temperatures within the greenhouse would be warmer.
            Now, I suppose one could wonder if one covered the earth with actual greenhouses, whether this would cool the air outside the greenhouses. I suppose it matters how one actually builds them.

            And let’s see, I suppose one could also believe the heat “lost” in the deep ocean could someday leap out of hiding and warm the world. So, again, such warming from the ocean sneak attack of warming has nothing to do with greenhouse gases.

            And then we have Earth’s topography. I suppose you believe the Antarctic location in the world is adding some cooling- or absence of the Antarctic would add warming.
            And Antarctic is but one example, of Earth relation of land areas, mountains, and ocean areas being responsible for the present Ice Box Climate. And removal of these elements would of course, add warming, and be nothing to do with greenhouse gases.

            So it seems one has already accepted that there other elements which can warm the world, other than greenhouse gases.

          • Joel,

            Please explain how you think adiabatic warming on descent and consequent reduction of the rate of surface cooling violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

            Your item 2 above is perfectly correct but the opacity of the atmosphere to the Earth’s emitted electromagnetic radiation is due to the mass of the atmosphere absorbing energy by conduction that would otherwise have radiated to space. GHGs not required.

            The observed radiative fluxes are consequence of that energy absorption by conduction and convection rather than a cause.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Stephen:

            “Please explain how you think adiabatic warming on descent and consequent reduction of the rate of surface cooling violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.”

            The net effect of any process that can be separated from other processes cannot be to cause energy to flow from colder regions to hotter regions. The net effect effect of convection is heat going from the lower (warmer) parts of the atmosphere to the upper (cooler) parts, not the other way around.

            “Your item 2 above is perfectly correct but the opacity of the atmosphere to the Earth’s emitted electromagnetic radiation is due to the mass of the atmosphere absorbing energy by conduction that would otherwise have radiated to space.”

            This sentence cannot be parsed within the context of physics. The only way that the atmosphere can be opaque to radiation is by having substances in it that absorb radiation. The surface of the Earth radiates to space by virtue of its temperature, regardless of what else is happening (e.g., conduction). [These other processes of heat transfer will help determine what the steady-state temperature is, but they will not change the rate at which an object emits energy at a given temperature.]

          • Joel Shore says:

            gbaikie: Your examples are not relevant.

            Your first example (UHI) was already covered under my point (1) about thermal generation on the Earth…and, at any rate, it is easy to calculate that our rate of generating thermal energy is too small to be of significance on a global scale.

            Your example of Antarctica (i.e., changing the albedo of the Earth is similarly irrelevant). The point of the exercise is to discuss how the Earth, given the current amount of energy it absorbs from the sun, can maintain the surface temperature that it does. Positing that it could change its albedo and hence absorb more is thus completely irrelevant to the issue.

            Your example of moving heat around (e.g., from the oceans) is also not relevant on the scale that we are talking about: You cannot maintain the sort of radiative imbalance that the current surface temperature would imply (absent greenhouse gases) for very long without a significant decrease in the Earth’s temperature. Furthermore, as I pointed out, we know from satellite measurements that the answer is indeed not that the Earth is significantly out of radiative balance but rather that the amount that the Earth emits as seen from space is far less than it would be if all the radiation that the surface emitted escaped to space.

          • gbaikie says:

            –gbaikie: Your examples are not relevant.

            Your first example (UHI) was already covered under my point (1) about thermal generation on the Earth…and, at any rate, it is easy to calculate that our rate of generating thermal energy is too small to be of significance on a global scale.–

            Your point [1] mentions radioactive decay.
            And UHI effect can add 10 C to average temperature over area the size of urban area. Obviously there is no comparison in terms of scale of the the thermal warming of radioactive decay and UHI, unless what you mean is man made radioactive material decaying on massive scale, such all fuel rods ever made scatter over tens of square km of land surface.
            And at such concentration [and if unshielded, killing everything] if spread over the earth [one city area would probably be more radioactive material then has yet been made. I will briefly check:
            “In 1997, in the 20 countries which account for most of the world’s nuclear power generation, spent fuel storage capacity at the reactors was 148,000 tonnes, with 59% of this utilized.”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-level_waste
            So let’s just pick a round number of 1 million tons ever made globally.
            And say say 1/10th million tonnes spread over a sq km should be enough.
            And 510 million square km of earth surface area. So one needs 50 million times more than humans have made.
            And that would warm earth.
            And unlike CO2, one could easily measure the amount warming- so say somewhere around 5 to 10 C.
            And cooled [solidified] lava covering the Earth would also work [obviously fresh flowing lava would incinerate everything, but say lava which had stopped flowing and been cooling for about a month].

            But as I said UHI can not add much global warming because urban area is tiny portion of earth surface. Or most of 300 million people in America are living urban areas and these urban areas are about 3% of total land of area of the US.
            Or if urban area are on average adding 5 C, 3% of 5C is
            .15 C. And on average probably, UHI does add as much as 5 C.
            But if one “improved” all the land area of US with the plan so as to maximize the UHI effect in the region, one could probably add 5 C to the US average temperature [and that massive project it would far cheaper than making and spreading around all the radioactive material one needs to add 5 C to US average temperature]- though the radioactive material would eliminate any build up of snow and ice during the winter. UHI would work better in summer, when there is more sunlight and radiative material would work best in the winter. Though neither will do much in terms of making the day hotter, and most of warming would be mostly in terms of increasing the night time temperatures.
            Continuing:
            –Your example of Antarctica (i.e., changing the albedo of the Earth is similarly irrelevant). —

            Oh good, we agree about something. Yes albedo regarding Antarctica is very insignificant. Globally it has to be adding much less than 1% of Earth in terms of the sunlight being reflected. So of the 400 of the 1360 watts, it would be probably be less 1 of the 400 watts.
            Albedo in regards to the surface can only matter if there would be a significant amount of sunlight reaching this surface. And in terms of Antarctica very little of the sun’s total energy reaches it.
            Or the antarctica is one of the places worse than Germany in terms of the amount sunlight reaching the surface.
            Plus another aspect is that the antarctica is small amount total land area compared to 510 million square km of the entire Earth surface. Antarctica is much bigger than Germany [it’s bigger than US or any country] but without doing the math, I would not be too surprised if more sunlight reached the surface of Germany than Antarctica. Though certainly the US has far more sunlight reaching the surface. And if US were covered with snow [all year around] this also have little effect upon global Albedo.
            Again because both Antarctica and US is small portion of the world. Or all land area is 30% of the world, and even if all land area were covered with snow, this would still have a small effect in terms of global albedo.
            Two main reasons this is true. First most of sunlight reaches the tropics as compared to rest of the world, and in tropics less than 20% is land area.
            And last reason [which is the most significant] is most of Earth’s global albedo is unrelated to the surface of earth, but rather it’s related the Earth’s atmosphere. Both the clouds and even in regards to a clear day.
            Or on clear day when sun is at zenith one gets about 1000 watts per square reaching reaching the surface, and above the clear atmosphere the sun has about 1360 watts per square. And on clear sky it’s far less sunlight reaching the surface when sun is low on the horizon.

            So atmosphere is constant, and in terms changing albedo of earth, what is important is clouds in the tropics.
            Clouds in temperate Zone trap heat, but this is unrelated to topic of global albedo.

            So Antarctic cools the planet for reasons other than unrelated to it’s albedo.

          • Kristian says:

            Joel Shore says, September 15, 2014 at 3:01 PM:

            “The point is that it is impossible for the Earth’s surface to be at the temperature that it is in the absence of greenhouse elements because at this temperature it is emitting more electromagnetic energy at rate larger the entire Earth-atmosphere system is absorbing it from the sun.”

            This scenario is no different from what you claim is happening on Earth today, Joel. The surface – according to you – is emitting as EMR alone almost twice as much energy at any one time (390-398 W/m^2) as the Earth system as a whole gets in from the Sun (239-240 W/m^2). It can only accomplish this – again according to you – by recycling its own emitted energy to create a larger flux of energy than what the Sun provides. This is of course an absurd claim and has no basis in reality whatsoever. In reality, the global surface of the Earth on average absorbs ~165 W/m^2 worth of heat from the Sun, its ONLY heat source (disregarding geothermal). And this is all that it’s got at its disposal. It cannot amplify this flux into something more than twice as intense by simply reabsorbing its own emitted energy, in effect heating itself some more. This is a ludicrous idea, a complete and utter violation of the principle of conservation of energy.

            A surface that absorbs 165 J/s/m^2 worth of external heat cannot under any circumstances emit more energy than is provided by this flux.

            A surface like Earth’s, beneath an atmosphere, is not in a purely radiative environment and so the purely radiative Stefan-Boltzmann equation does not apply. This surface is left with radiating away whatever energy is left after convective loss. Its temperature is set by gas dynamics, not by the radiation it emits as a part result of having a temperature (!).

            The real situation for Earth’s surface is like this:

            HEAT IN – 165 W/m^2 (from the Sun, its heat source)

            HEAT OUT – 112 W/m^2 (conduction/evaporation) + 53 W/m^2 (radiation)

            Only about 33 W/m^2 of the radiative heat flux from the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere. At the same time, 75 W/m^2 of the radiative heat flux coming IN from the Sun is absorbed by the atmosphere. That’s 2.3 times as much.

            http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/how-the-ipcc-turn-calculated-numbers-into-heat/

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian says: “It can only accomplish this – again according to you – by recycling its own emitted energy to create a larger flux of energy than what the Sun provides. This is of course an absurd claim and has no basis in reality whatsoever.”

            Not absurd at all. Energy behaves no differently than any other conserved quantity. For example, if we achieved 90% recycling rate for aluminum, then we could produce aluminum goods at a rate of 10 times the rate at which we produced aluminum from bauxite ore. It is actually absurd to think that energy obeys special Christian Conservation Laws that no other conserved quantity obeys because Christian does not like actual conservations laws when they lead to ideologically-undesirable conclusions.

            “This is a ludicrous idea, a complete and utter violation of the principle of conservation of energy.”

            No, all these pictures obey conservation of energy explicitly. What they don’t obey is Christian’s Fantasy Laws.

            “A surface like Earth’s, beneath an atmosphere, is not in a purely radiative environment and so the purely radiative Stefan-Boltzmann equation does not apply.”

            You better tell that to every physics textbook writer on the planet who applies the Stephan-Boltzmann Equation regularly to environments that are not purely radiative. Of course, if you could find one physicist…whether they are a “warmist” or a “skeptic”…who doesn’t laugh at the outright ludicrousness of your claims, that would be a start.

          • Kristian says:

            As usual, Djouel, you prove yourself a master of vacuous ‘retorts’, in letting on to be providing incisive comebacks which rather turn out to be meticulous in their evasiveness, studiously avoiding any particular issues raised perceived as ‘difficult’, only carefully skirting around them, completely devoid of any real content, any actual counter-arguments (which aren’t inherently logically flawed like strawman, bandwagon or authority arguments), only words to divert and make it seem you’re in control.

            The problem is, Djouel, for people who’ve witnessed your rhetorical tactics a thousand times before, replies like the one you produce here simply betray your lack of a case. They tell us all how you’re really at a loss and in fact concede the points made.

            Thank you for that.

            I already posted the link above where it’s thoroughly explained what you do wrong and exactly why and how it’s wrong. There’s nothing in your reply here that suggests you’ve even attempted to read it. Well, I didn’t expect you would – cognitive dissonance and all that …

            I put it out more for others to read, so that they can chuckle along with me at your sorry excuses for why we should all buy into your absurd nonsense (yes, Djouel, it is absurd, and highly un-physical) about the Earth’s surface making itself warmer by reabsorbing its own emitted energy, recycled from a cooler atmosphere.

            It is such a fairy tale concept, so completely out of touch with reality, that it could only have been thought up by mathematicians hunched over their notebooks in a windowless room. It does work mathematically, after all. There is no mathematical reason why the energy being emitted as heat loss from the warm surface should not be able to come back, after first having warmed the cool atmosphere, to warm the surface some more a second time.

            In the real world, however, we know this to be impossible, that this is something that simply doesn’t happen. Because of something called the Laws of Thermodynamics.

            Nothing can warm itself by absorbing its own emitted energy, Djouel. Even ‘common’ people know this.

            If you think that is somehow how insulation works, you really need to put down your pencil and step out of your academic bubble where unicorns, pink dragons and magical gases exist side by side.

            Smell the fresh air of the real world!

          • Ball4 says:

            Kristian 4:06am: “I already posted the link above where it’s thoroughly explained what you do wrong and exactly why and how it’s wrong…I put it out more for others to read…”

            The link supplied by Kristian is indeed good for a few chuckles. One can easily demonstrate the theory of radiation in the link provided by Kristian is incorrect simply by reading this foundational science link:

            http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40030/40030-pdf.pdf

            In modern times Max Planck’s use of the word “heat” can always and everywhere be replaced with the term “energy”. So wherever Dr. Planck uses “heat” term that was though to exist in nature in his time as a colorless, ordorless, massless caloric fluid simply insert reading his paper “energy” to reduce confusion as “heat” no longer exists in any object in science.

            For example Kristian’s 7:22am link tells us: “If the object in question is a pure black body radiating into a perfect vacuum at 0 K…”

            After inserting the modern term “energy” for “heat” Max Planck tells us right at the start his testing shows: “Radiation of energy, however, is in itself entirely independent of the temperature of the medium through which it passes.”

            There are some other terminology issues that have been improved in modern times to reduce confusion also where Dr. Planck writes: “It is possible, for example, to concentrate the solar rays at a focus by passing them through a converging lens of ice, the latter remaining at a constant temperature of 0 (degrees), and so to ignite an inflammable body.”

            In modern times “inflammable” is replaced by the less confusing “flammable” although the dictionary defines them the same.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian,

            First, I do apologize for misspelling your name in some places in my last post, which was not intentional.

            You state: “It does work mathematically, after all. There is no mathematical reason why the energy being emitted as heat loss from the warm surface should not be able to come back, after first having warmed the cool atmosphere, to warm the surface some more a second time.”

            Sorry, but since the physical laws of the universe are expressed in terms of mathematics, it is impossible for the mathematics to be correct, but it physically not to be the case, assuming you have correctly expressed the physical laws mathematically.

            “In the real world, however, we know this to be impossible, that this is something that simply doesn’t happen. Because of something called the Laws of Thermodynamics.”

            Then you need to actually demonstrate mathematically where what I have said violates the Laws of Thermodynamics.

            “Nothing can warm itself by absorbing its own emitted energy, Djouel. Even ‘common’ people know this.”

            This statement is the sort of silly sophistry that Joe Postma resorts to. It is pleasantly ambiguous enough as to confuse and conflate several issues. Yes, an object in isolation will never warm itself (in the sense of raise its temperature by absorbing its own emitted energy) because it will only absorb part of what it emits and hence the net heat flow will be away from it. However, that does not mean that you are free to ignore the energy that it absorbs, whether it be energy it originally emitted or energy that another object emitted. Energy does not come with little tags on it that say, “I am energy that you originally emitted, so I don’t count.”

            As for your long post on your blog, I am not going to go through a detailed critique, which Ball4 has already noted is good for some chuckles. I will just point out a couple things:

            (1) Climate scientists do not ignore other forms of heat transfer besides radiation. However, they do recognize the simple fact that radiation is the only significant form of heat transfer between the Earth system (earth + atmosphere) and the rest of the universe…and this places very important constraints on the average surface temperature of the Earth (really the average of T^4) in the absence of elements in the atmosphere that absorb this emitted radiation.

            (2) The amount of radiation that a surface emits is determined by its temperature (and the emissivity of the surface, but the Earth’s surface is generally very close to a blackbody in the wavelength range of interest). It is independent of such things as the amount that the surface is absorbing and the amount that it is losing from other forms of heat transfer. If you could magically “turn off” convection, then you would (once steady-state was re-established) get more radiation emitted from the Earth BUT THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE THE EARTH’S SURFACE WOULD BE AT A HIGHER TEMPERATURE.

          • Ball4 says:

            So Kristian 4:06am, 7:22am: since you brought up the balance math (incorrectly) – let’s use the correct Planck paper formulas instead of your demonstrated incorrect link. After Stephens et. al. Earth albedo is accounted for ~0.3 and leaving out effects of convection/conduction and evaporation/rain at first per correct Planck theory of radiation paper 1st law surface control volume accounting (rounded), all S-B integrated over the entire spectrum in a hemisphere of directions (vectors):

            SW solar in net of SW albedo – LW terrestrial out net of LW terrestrial atm. = solar in – (UWIR-DWIR) both less adiabatic cycles.

            +165 + 75 – (398 – 158) = 240 – 240 = 0 W/m^2 balanced.

            Given atm. emissivity measured between 0.7 dry arctic regions and about 0.9 emissivity humid tropics looking up use atm. global avg. of oh about 0.8 to compute Stephens 2000 to 2010 S-B surface Tmedian = 289.5K which is about what UAH measures including anomaly month by month, little changed over the decade.

            ******

            If you want to include the adiabatic convection/conduction 24 up/down and the 88 up/down evaporation/rain explicitly find (all rounded):

            +165+75+24+88 – (398+24+88 – 158) = 0 W/m^2 for same global Tmedian = 289.5K for which Stephens total LW down= +345=24+88+75+158

            Is there a reality check measured for these amounts? Yes. Check NOAA ESRL for Goodwin Creek latest info. today which had a little higher than the global Tmedian temperature at surface find temporal energy over the 24 hour period by Mark 1 eyeball:

            solar in = tough on the eyeball but few would argue with around 240 global temporal and spatial median adjusted for this latitude & season.

            terrestrial out (UWIR) = oh about say 475 W/m^2 vs. global 510 Stephens

            terrestrial in (DWIR) = oh about say 415 W/m^2 including convection & evapotranspiration vs. 345 Stephens.

            So the global Planck radiation numbers generally compare with ESRL single site measurement in ball park.

            QED: Planck paper formulae work out close enough for gov. work. More detail work would get them closer.

            NB: This shows the 24 and 88 in context of math as truly adiabatic processes, they neither increase nor decrease global Tmedian so concur with Joel Shore in part writing: ”….scientists do not ignore other forms of (strike out heat) energy transfer besides radiation. However, they do recognize the simple fact that radiation is the only significant form of (strike out heat) energy transfer between the Earth system (earth + atmosphere) and the rest of the universe.

          • Kristian says:

            Ball4, September 18, 2014 at 7:13 AM

            “One can easily demonstrate the theory of radiation in the link provided by Kristian is incorrect simply by reading this foundational science link:

            http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40030/40030-pdf.pdf

            In modern times Max Planck’s use of the word “heat” can always and everywhere be replaced with the term “energy”. So wherever Dr. Planck uses “heat” term that was though to exist in nature in his time as a colorless, ordorless, massless caloric fluid simply insert reading his paper “energy” to reduce confusion as “heat” no longer exists in any object in science.”

            I notice Mr. Quote-Cheater is out in force again with his strange private Crusade on the basic thermodynamic concept of Heat.

            FYI, Trick, Planck doesn’t deal with thermodynamics. His field is quantum mechanics. There is nothing about the thermodynamic concept of ‘heat’ in quantum mechanics. And nothing Plack discovered or conceptualised affected the Laws of Thermodynamics in the least. They still stand as absolute. EMR has to abide by them in the exact same way as conduction and convection have to. There are NO concessions granted, no exceptions made.

            In Planck’s world everything is of course just ‘energy’. He’s looking at things at an atomic level. There is no such thing as ‘heat’ or ‘heat transfer’ at an atomic level.

            In our world, however, there IS such a thing as ‘heat’ and ‘heat transfer’. It is described by … wait for it … THERMODYNAMICS. Still to this day we use the concept of ‘heat’ within the field of thermodynamics. It has never been used in the field of quantum mechanics.

            Got it, Trick?

            Your Crusade is a misguided one. It’s like if I were to say: “There are no such things as ‘hamburgers’ because all I ever deal with, as a butcher, is ‘meat’!”

          • Ball4 says:

            Kristian 9:18am: “Still to this day we use the concept of ‘heat’ within the field of thermodynamics.”

            Not as a concept, just a term. Heat doesn’t exist in an object; thus heat cannot transfer between objects.

            Caloric theory is no longer part of conceptual science theory Kristian, you are mistaken or very behind in your reading. Or find a modern paper or text using the concept of caloric theory in science not just the term “heat” as substitute for “energy”. I agree the term “heat” is still used for “energy”, many times unfortunately. The last paper using caloric theory was written in the early 1970s IIRC, the whole field has now died out. But maybe like the coelacanth, you can find a modern example. Give a try.

            My crusade, if any, is to improve understanding of thermodynamics – the science of dynamic temperature and energy where energy & temperature are often used as a coordinate (and “heat” never is) – albeit irreverently. The word “heat” is demonstrated to mislead many and especially misleads the writer of the link you supplied at 7:22am; there is no loss of any concept at dropping the term from your vocabulary – only improved communication results. “Heat” term did not mislead Dr. Max Planck or J.C. Maxwell; both use “heat” term for “energy” correctly as do many still today; none use the caloric theory anymore AFAIK. A good example of science progressing one funeral at a time.

            If you want to make progress in communication, drop the term “heat”. If not, I’ll still parse “heat” to “energy” to root out misunderstandings. I had to do that only once in the top post, and found the term used correctly by Dr. Spencer as is usual.

            BTW, yes, Max Planck helped start the drive toward foundation for quantum mechanics with his concept of individual resonators explaining the observations of “lines” – a very historic thought concept and contribution on Dr. Planck’s part.

            NB1: Some nonsense uses: heat rises, heat radiation, ocean heat content, specific heat (really specific enthalpy).

            NB2: In softball and baseball, the concept is still ok: “that pitcher throws heat” In literature: “the heat of the moment”. So the term won’t go out of other fields anytime soon nor is there any need. Heat as a concept is long gone from science.

            NB3: ”Planck doesn’t deal with thermodynamics.”

            Huh? Dr. Planck wrote the book on thermodynamics, thru the 5th edition! Interesting & fun to read thru the introduction again, parsing in modern term of “energy” for “heat”. Do for yourself:

            https://www3.nd.edu/~powers/ame.20231/planckdover.pdf

          • Kristian says:

            Joel Shore says, September 18, 2014 at 1:25 PM:

            “Then you need to actually demonstrate mathematically where what I have said violates the Laws of Thermodynamics.”

            *Sigh* I don’t have to demonstrate mathematically where what you’ve said violates the Laws of Thermodynamics. That’s only silly. It’s after all directly derived from what you say.

            The corollary of your argument is that by absorbing the ‘extra’ INPUT of energy from the cool atmosphere, the warm surface will become warmer than from only absorbing the INPUT of HEAT from the hot Sun.

            It is only by the ‘extra’ INPUT of energy from the cool atmosphere to the warm surface that the surface in your scenario can become even warmer. It is NOT because the Sun sends in more. And it is NOT because the surface has a harder time emitting energy back out. None of these change. It is ONLY because the surface gets MORE energy IN, from the cooler atmosphere. ONLY this energy is doing the extra (absolute) warming.

            You cannot in nature ADD energy from a cool place to a warm place and increase the internal energy [U] of that warmer place, making its temperature [T] higher in absolute terms, Joel. Because this would make this energy HEAT. And that’s the definitive violation of the Second Law.

            You obviously didn’t read what I wrote in my ‘long’ blog post which apparently is so ‘chuckleable’ about the two (three) heat transfers involved in the three-body system containing the Sun, the Earth’s surface and the Earth’s atmosphere. Or – as would be my guess – you simply ignore it.

            Your purely calculated DWLWIR potential flux is not part of the heat transfer process between Sun and surface. This involves an INPUT of energy to the surface. An energy GAIN. HEAT IN. Your calculated DWLWIR potential flux is conceptually (mathematically) part of the heat transfer process between surface and atmosphere. This involves an OUTPUT of energy from the surface. An energy LOSS. HEAT OUT.

            You cannot put the DWLWIR in with the solar HEAT flux as energy INPUT to the surface, raising its internal energy. The solar flux is HEAT. The DWLWIR is not. Only HEAT [Q] (or work [W]) increase the internal energy [U] of a system, thereby raising its temperature. If none of these two, no change in U.

            Any actual transfer of energy in a thermal process is strictly the HEAT (P/A, Q). That’s the only real (as in detectable) flux. The only one. Everything else, except the temperature of a determinable surface, is calculated backwards from that, based on the principle of ‘net energy’.

            You do not reduce the cooling rate of an object by adding MORE energy to it. Then you increase its heating rate. That’s a very different thing. In fact, the opposite thing. You reduce its cooling rate by letting LESS energy escape it. When the atmosphere insulates the surface to become warmer than at pure solar radiative equilibrium, it does so by impeding the release of energy per unit of time from the surface. It doesn’t do so by acting like a second sun, and twice as powerful on average as the real one at that …

            ““Nothing can warm itself by absorbing its own emitted energy, Djouel. Even ‘common’ people know this.”

            This statement is the sort of silly sophistry that Joe Postma resorts to. It is pleasantly ambiguous enough as to confuse and conflate several issues. Yes, an object in isolation will never warm itself (in the sense of raise its temperature by absorbing its own emitted energy) because it will only absorb part of what it emits and hence the net heat flow will be away from it. However, that does not mean that you are free to ignore the energy that it absorbs, whether it be energy it originally emitted or energy that another object emitted. Energy does not come with little tags on it that say, “I am energy that you originally emitted, so I don’t count.””

            See reply above.

            “As for your long post on your blog, I am not going to go through a detailed critique, which Ball4 has already noted is good for some chuckles.”

            It’s ‘pleasant’ – isn’t it, Joel? – to be able to just say ‘Your blog post is good for some chuckles’ and then leave it at that. That’s what you people do all the time. That’s your modus operandi. You simply derisively dismiss all troublesome counter-arguments without ever actually trying to counter them back … Again, so as to appear to be in control.

            “(1) Climate scientists do not ignore other forms of heat transfer besides radiation. However, they do recognize the simple fact that radiation is the only significant form of heat transfer between the Earth system (earth + atmosphere) and the rest of the universe…and this places very important constraints on the average surface temperature of the Earth (really the average of T^4) in the absence of elements in the atmosphere that absorb this emitted radiation.”

            Of course it doesn’t. The global surface gets on average 165 W/m^2 worth of heat in from the Sun, and this is also what it needs to rid itself of. No more, no less. And it does. Qin = 165 W/m^2; Qout = 165 W/m^2. Mean temp: 289K. No direct S-B relation. Why? Because the surface is overlain by a massive atmosphere. It’s not in a pure radiative setting. Its heat loss is facilitated primarily through convection. The actual energy transfer from surface to air above is through radiation, conduction and evaporation, but from the moment the energy thus enters (is absorbed by/in) the atmosphere, convective uplift takes over. Convection rules energy transport and distribution within the troposphere. It rules it completely and utterly. Somehow impede convection and you get warming. The presence of the atmosphere’s MASS in more ways than one impedes convection. It provides it with a ‘heat capacity’ which makes it able to warm. Space isn’t. It provides it with a ‘weight’ which presses down on the surface. Space doesn’t.

            “(2) The amount of radiation that a surface emits is determined by its temperature (and the emissivity of the surface, but the Earth’s surface is generally very close to a blackbody in the wavelength range of interest). It is independent of such things as the amount that the surface is absorbing and the amount that it is losing from other forms of heat transfer. If you could magically “turn off” convection, then you would (once steady-state was re-established) get more radiation emitted from the Earth BUT THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE THE EARTH’S SURFACE WOULD BE AT A HIGHER TEMPERATURE.”

            No, the amount of radiation that a surface emits depends on whether it’s surrounded by a vacuum or by a fluid, whether it’s relatively cool or if it’s hot.

            The Earth’s surface receives (absorbs) ONLY 165 W/m^2 worth of energy INPUT (that is, radiative HEAT from the Sun). There is no more energy dynamically provided, no ‘extra’ energy from anywhere (disregarding Earth’s interior). So it cannot possibly emit more than twice this. It doesn’t have that ‘extra’ energy at its disposal. Again, it can’t just reconsume its own emitted energy to amplify its energy release so as to become more than twice as intense as the input flux provided by its heat source. This is just an absurd notion.

            The Earth’s surface has on average 165 W/m^2 to shed. Because that’s what it gets in. Period. Most of this energy goes to the atmosphere through evaporation and conduction (112 W/m^2). Only 33 W/m^2 goes to the atmosphere through radiation. 20 W/m^2 escapes straight through the atmospheric window. The 112+33= 145 W/m^2 worth of energy transferred from the surface to the atmosphere all goes into convective uplift, bringing the energy up and away from the surface by mass movement, making room for more energy to be transferred from below. The convective process then brings the energy shed by the surface, plus the incoming solar energy absorbed by the air layers and clouds on the way down, up to where it can be radiated back to space. The more energy in the troposphere, the more is radiated to space. The less energy in the troposphere, the less is radiated to space. We see this clearly in the ToA OLR data.

            There is no delay in the radiation itself. The only delay is in the convective transfer. So the convective transfer needs to be of a certain strength. Which requires a certain average surface temperature. Which in turn determines, through the lapse rate, the tropospheric temperature profile, starting at the surface temp.

            This is all very easy to grasp, how the world really works, how the atmosphere really insulates the surface to become warmer. If you only manage to twist yourself out of your radiative mental block.

            Have a good weekend!

          • Kristian says:

            Ball4 says, September 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM:

            “Kristian 9:18am: “Still to this day we use the concept of ‘heat’ within the field of thermodynamics.”

            Not as a concept, just a term. Heat doesn’t exist in an object; thus heat cannot transfer between objects.”

            Heat by convention doesn’t exist within an object. Bravo, you’re absolutely correct, Trick! That’s internal energy [U], one of the two cardinal state functions of thermodynamics (the other being entropy [S]).

            Heat by convection is only that energy which is TRANSFERRED between systems or regions at different temperatures. That is what Q is all about. A dynamic (process) function. You know, as in thermodynamics. It is an energy TRANSFER. Able to CHANGE the internal energy of objects. Just like work [W].

            Internal energy of hot object [Uh] > energy transfer as heat [Qh-c] > internal energy of cold object [Uc]. This thermal transfer comes about spontaneously as a result of the temperature difference between the two objects. It reduces Uh and increases Uc.

            This is all VERY simple and basic and well-established, Trick. And all still VERY MUCH in use today. Live with it.

            “”Planck doesn’t deal with thermodynamics.”

            Huh? Dr. Planck wrote the book on thermodynamics, thru the 5th edition! Interesting & fun to read thru the introduction again, parsing in modern term of “energy” for “heat”. Do for yourself:

            https://www3.nd.edu/~powers/ame.20231/planckdover.pdf

            You know perfectly well what I meant, Trick. When Planck worked with quantum mechanics, he had no use for any concept of heat. Whenever Planck wrote something on thermodynamics, he did include the concept of heat. He speaks for instance at length about the 1st Law of Thermodynamics and how that involves ‘internal energy’ [U], ‘heat’ [Q] and ‘work’ [W]. It seems you haven’t even read what he says.

          • Ball4 says:

            Kristian 11:05am: “You cannot in nature ADD energy from a cool place to a warm place and increase the internal energy [U] of that warmer place, making its temperature [T] higher in absolute terms, Joel.”

            Yes I can. I did so today. Maybe Kristian did so also. At the coffee shop, I took a cooler lid than my coffee and snapped the lid on top of the cup. The coffee became warmer than with no cooler lid. No violation of 2nd law. Entropy of the universe increased in this process.

            Some would say I trapped the heat in the coffee. Me? I would say I trapped some Q = energy increasing its temperature in absolute terms with a cooler object.

            Or maybe Kristian doesn’t ever put on a coffee cup cover thinking it won’t work, is a violation of 2LOT.

            11:37am: “..in thermodynamics. (dynamic process) is an energy TRANSFER…This thermal transfer comes about spontaneously as a result of the temperature difference between the two objects.”

            Stick with that Kristian, you will go far. Coffee cup covers are effective. Heat can’t transfer if it doesn’t exist in an object; energy exists, can transfer.

          • Ball4 says:

            Kristian 11:37am: “(Planck) speaks for instance at length about the 1st Law of Thermodynamics and how that involves ‘internal energy’ [U], ‘heat’ [Q] and ‘work’ [W]. It seems you haven’t even read what he says.”

            Seems? Ok, check out Planck’s eqn. 17 p. 45 in the link I provided. Defines & writes “shall use Q…always in this sense”:

            “Q = the mechanical equivalent of the heat absorbed by the system” since he already knew that in Carnot’s theory of heat, heat did not exist in an object (p. 38, para. 52). The interesting proof of this nonexistence of heat in a body was by friction where no caloric fluid was poured in yet the cannon barrels immersed in water increased in temperature when being turned.

            Heat can’t transfer if it doesn’t exist in an object; energy exists, can transfer.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Life’s too short to argue with people like Kristian who blatantly misinterpret physics but are convinced that they understand it…and who have such an astounding cognitive block that they are unable to do basic sanity checks like looking to see if physics textbooks agree with them or if they can find support for their warped and nutty views amongst physicists (even among physicists who are their ideological breathren when it comes to not wanting to believe that AGW is a significant problem).

          • Kristian says:

            I said:

            “That’s what you people [like Joel Shore] do all the time. That’s your modus operandi. You simply derisively dismiss all troublesome counter-arguments without ever actually trying to counter them back … […] so as to appear to be in control.”

            And earlier:

            “As usual, [Joel], you prove yourself a master of vacuous ‘retorts’, in letting on to be providing incisive comebacks which rather turn out to be meticulous in their evasiveness, studiously avoiding any particular issues raised perceived as ‘difficult’, only carefully skirting around them, completely devoid of any real content, any actual counter-arguments (which aren’t inherently logically flawed like strawman, bandwagon or authority arguments), only words to divert and make it seem you’re in control.

            The problem is, [Joel], for people who’ve witnessed your rhetorical tactics a thousand times before, replies like the one you produce here simply betray your lack of a case. They tell us all how you’re really at a loss and in fact concede the points made.”

            And then comes Joel’s last response here:

            “Life’s too short to argue with people like Kristian who blatantly misinterpret physics but are convinced that they understand it…and who have such an astounding cognitive block that they are unable to do basic sanity checks like looking to see if physics textbooks agree with them or if they can find support for their warped and nutty views amongst physicists (even among physicists who are their ideological breathren when it comes to not wanting to believe that AGW is a significant problem).”

            Only one thing left to say, then, I guess: Q.E.D.!

          • Kristian says:

            Ball4 says, September 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM:

            “Kristian 11:05am: “You cannot in nature ADD energy from a cool place to a warm place and increase the internal energy [U] of that warmer place, making its temperature [T] higher in absolute terms, Joel.”

            Yes I can. I did so today. Maybe Kristian did so also. At the coffee shop, I took a cooler lid than my coffee and snapped the lid on top of the cup. The coffee became warmer than with no cooler lid. No violation of 2nd law. Entropy of the universe increased in this process.

            Some would say I trapped the heat in the coffee. Me? I would say I trapped some Q = energy increasing its temperature in absolute terms with a cooler object.

            Or maybe Kristian doesn’t ever put on a coffee cup cover thinking it won’t work, is a violation of 2LOT.”

            Trick, you know you’re talking BS here. So why do you do it?

            I specifically stated that you cannot increase the temperature of a warm object in absolute terms (meaning, the temperature gets higher as time goes by, not dropping more slowly, as with the coffee with lid on top) by supplying it with energy from a cooler place. This is a strict violation of the Second Law.

            Adding energy to increase the temperature is enhanced heating, not diminished cooling.

            Your coffee cup example is a fine demonstration of how insulation really works, namely by restricting the free flow of energy OUT FROM the warmer surface. It does so by 1) reducing the temperature gradient away from the hot surface, and 2) by suppressing convective/evaporative energy loss.

            The lid isn’t sending energy emitted by the coffee BACK to the coffee to heat it some more, Trick. That’s absurd. It’s denying the outgoing energy its free escape from the cup, thereby restricting the escape RATE of energy up for release from the hot coffee surface down below. You know, a bit like what clouds do on Earth …

            Look, there is nothing in the EFFECT of having a warm, heavy atmosphere resting on top of our Earth’s solar-heated global surface that violates the Second Law, Trick. The atmosphere INSULATES the surface by restricting the escape rate of energy from the solar-heated surface at a certain temperature. This lets energy from the Sun accumulate at/below the surface until it has reached a temperature where the energy (heat) LOSS of the surface manages to balance the energy (heat) GAIN from the Sun.

            The atmosphere does so by virtue of its MASS: 1) it has a ‘heat capacity’ and is thus able to warm (space isn’t) – temp gradient; and 2) it has a ‘weight’ and will therefore exert a pressure (a downward force) on the solar-heated surface (space won’t) – convective/evaporative efficiency along this gradient.

            It is not the insulation-EFFECT that violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is your (climate science’s) EXPLANATION of how it comes about that violates the 2LoT. It comes about by initially reducing the OUTGOING energy from the surface, not increasing the INCOMING. It is the energy from the SUN – the heat source – that accumulates at/below the surface, not energy from the atmosphere – the heat sink.

            If your description of an observed natural phenomenon violates the Laws of Thermodynamics, Trick, that that description is WRONG! It means you made a mistake somewhere, a mistaken assumption, a mistaken interpretation, overlooking something. It’s back to the drawing board …

          • Joel Shore says:

            When I teach students the Second Law, I have a slide entitled “The Second Law and Pseudoscientific Claims” in which I note that “The 2nd Law is a powerful tool with which to understand our physical universe. However, like all powerful tools, the 2nd Law is capable of being abused.” I then give the examples of the pseudoscientific claims made by creationists regarding evolution violating the 2nd Law and made by people and other global warming skeptics like Kristian regarding the greenhouse effect violating the 2nd Law. (I usually try to be fair and say that not all global warming skeptics are this ignorant…with many, if not most, accepting the reality of the greenhouse effect.)

          • Ball4 says:

            Kristian 2:52am: “I specifically stated that you cannot increase the temperature of a warm object in absolute terms…”

            Which remains specifically incorrect prose because I can do just that experimentally using a lid or foil. My coffee cup experiment stands to prove Kristian 7:22am link is incorrect on output side. In eqn. form this is what is missed by using “heat” term incorrectly:

            1) Invoke Newton’s law of cooling: coffee no lid measures T degrees K after 10 minutes with bulb thermometer in center
            2) Lower temperature lid than coffee snapped-in then after 10minutes coffee measures (T + x) degrees K.

            x is measured greater than zero K so (T + x) is greater than T in absolute K i.e in “absolute terms”. Same as increasing atmosphere optical depth output side effect on surface Tmean. Complies 1LOT, 2LOT.

            Kristian then goes on to different prose “meaning, the temperature gets higher as time goes by, not dropping more slowly..”

            Ok then for that different meaning Kristian switches to input side mid-sentence – now needs more fuel to be used up for the surface energy gain or albedo reduced to retain more SW. The atmosphere like my coffee cup uses up no fuel – is on the output side. Closely watch the pea in Kristian’s prose. Equations are easier to parse, use them Kristian as I did 5:33pm – find any fault there?

  45. Alcheson says:

    One would naturally expect that for a stable system, the net feedbacks would almost certainly be net negative. Earth appears to be a fairly stable system based on the data. Thus it seems the odds are much better than 50/50 that the earth has net negative feedbacks. Regarding evaporation, as more water evaporates from the ocean when the air is warmer and wind is higher, that said water re-condenses in the atmosphere depositing it’s heat into the air. This warmer air can now radiate heat, both by convection and by infrared, more readily to space. I would assume the models include the convection aspect of heat transfer of evaporated/condensed water and not just the IR absorption effects of increased water vapor.
    Based on the lack of warming this century… it certainly DOES appear that the feedback is negative, and thus net CO2 sensitivity is less than 1C.

    • Convection per se causes no loss of energy to space.

      What it does do is move GHGs, aerosols and condensate higher up so that they can radiate more easily to space.

      Convection just converts kinetic energy at the surface to gravitational potential energy higher up. That potential energy cannot radiate to space whilst in potential form.

      It can only be recovered as kinetic energy again on the subsequent descent.

      Much of the energy released on condensation within the convective column gets transferred to non radiative gases by conduction. Since those gases cannot radiate they rise higher instead which creates more potential energy which cannot be radiated to space in that form.

  46. Joe bastardi says:

    Bingo

    The downturn in global ace directly linked to drop in Mixing ratio above 700 mb since pdo flip… Coincides with NCEP 2 meter temp drops.. After current warm event, should see major flip in Pacific next 3-5 years back to cold pdo ( we are in mei/pdo spike similar to 57-58, one of our analog years)

    This is setting the stage for one last major high number year out of the main development regions also, as the “bounceback” from the warm enso that is increasing Mixing ratios now over the tropical pacific will work over the atlantic. It is really a beautiful cycle, and its too bad research money goes to other things besides studies on the total WV, which I think is the true metric for climate

  47. Jerry L Krause says:

    Hi Folks,

    Just checked out some weather history (wunderground.com) for Medford OR, North Bend OR, and Christ Church NZ to get a variety of comparisons of the past week’s graphical history of the atmospheric temperatures,dewpoint temperatures, average high temperatures, and average low temperatures.

    Please check out what is actually occurring daily. And while you are at it, check out actual data from regular atmospheric soundings at the University of Wyoming website. No, it is not graphed so neatly for you.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  48. Scientifically, making evaporation dependent on precipitation puts the cart before the horse.
    The global water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation) requires energy to transport huge masses of air up into the troposphere against the force of gravity. This energy is extracted from the air masses themselves by cooling them and by condensing water vapour to convert latent heat of vapourisation into sensible heat thus partially rewarming the air masses. As the surface warms, the amount of water vapour and hence latent energy in the air masses increases by around 7% per degree of surface warming.
    Over the tropical oceans where most evaporation takes place, latent heat provides more than half of the energy needed by the air masses to overcome the force of gravity.
    With more energy on board the air masses will rise faster and further. The subsequent reduction in the lapse rate is a consequential effect.
    With more warmer and moister air rising faster and delivering more water vapour into the troposphere, precipitation will increase as needed, notwithstanding any elegant theories that say otherwise.

    As we all know the earth’s surface is warmed by solar radiation. It is cooled by net upward thermal cooling radiation, convective cooling and evaporative cooling. (see NASA Schematic, page 3 @ http://dannavale.com/doc/131205-LBCtoIM.pdf)
    Predictions of dangerous global warming rely on the scientifically counter intuitive and unsubstantiated proposition that the global water cycle slows down substantially as the surface warms.
    This proposition is counter intuitive because as the surface warms more energy is fed into the global water cycle, and we confidently expect the additional energy to make the global water cycle speed up.
    This proposition is unsubstantiated because there is no credible published research based on observational data that shows the global water cycle in the real world did slow down during the recent global warming.
    Global evaporative cooling is so strong that it will limit global warming due to man-made emissions of CO2 to well under 1-degree, unless we accept the bizarre proposition that the global water cycle slows down as more energy is fed into it.

    There is much talk about the positive feedback from water vapour, because it is a greenhouse gas, but no mention is ever made about the major positive feedback in the climate models, being the slowing down of the virtual global water cycle. The slowing down of the virtual global water cycle more than triples the temperature increase predicted by the climate models from less than 1-degree (including the radiation effect of water vapour) to over 3-degrees.
    For those who would like to see some numbers they are set out under the heading ‘Analysis’ in this letter http://dannavale.com/doc/140903-LBCtoIM.pdf

    Andrews et al. (2009) “A Surface Energy Perspective on Climate Change” is an informative paper.
    In the abstract to their paper Andrews et al. tell us “On longer time scales, as ΔT increases, the net surface longwave and LH fluxes provide positive and negative feedbacks, respectively, while the net surface shortwave and sensible heat fluxes change little.”
    In plain English, this means that humanity is almost entirely dependent on evaporative cooling, referred to scientifically as the Latent Heat flux, to keep the surface from going into runaway global warming.

  49. darrylb says:

    Roy or anyone else who has authority on the subject, I have some questions

    1) A 100 years ago it was known that CO2 was saturated
    with respect to LWIR frequencies it can absorb. What is the CO2 concentration at which it reaches saturation?

    2) The largest absorption bands of CO2 are at frequencies around 20 and 75 Tera-Hz. I have determined that in the lower atmosphere the mean free path of photons is around one meter. Is that correct?

    3) Once a CO2 molecule absorbs a photon, that extra energy can be released as a photon or released as kinetic energy imparted to another molecule upon collision. Is that correct?

    4) The lifetime of a molecule of CO2 in the excited state is six or seven orders of magnitude higher than the mean time between collisions with other molecules. Most of the energy from excited molecules therefore is given by collision and known amounts of energy should be imparted to each molecule in proportion to their quantities, mostly to N2, O2 and AR. But,also to H20 in variable quantities in the higher pressure lower atmosphere, Considering the Lower Atmosphere alone (without downwelling from above) there should be little additional down-welling radiation from additional CO2.

    5) As the altitude increases, of course, there will be more emissions of photons because of greater distances traveled between collisions.
    However, as the altitude increases a greater portion of emissions will reach space, and the greater percentage which are down-welling have to go through the higher pressure lower atmosphere. Now the calculus begins.

    6) But, also, as the altitude decreases and the spectrum broadens, some of the photons (radiated from the earth) which are absorbed then emitted upward at the edges of the absorption bands will see a transparent atmosphere when traveling to space through narrower bands.—-

    7) So, do not some scientists model the atmosphere as a single layer model? That would seem very illogical!

    If you choose to respond, note that I am a retired high School AP chem/physics teacher. So, I am not at a level as some of the those who write here.
    However, as I keep contacting college/ university instructors in the United States and abroad I really get amazed that when they profess so much,
    they really are quite ignorant outside of their area of expertise.
    The obvious (correct scientific) answer to so much of climate studies is really——possible but uncertain. “The science is settled” is antithetical to science endeavors and the exact opposite of that which we all taught in high school.

    Jim D | September 6, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Reply

    • Jerry L Krause says:

      Hi Darylb:

      Should have responded to your comments long ago but the truth is when you asked for authorities, I never want to be called an authority. This because too many authorities do not understand they do not know everything there is to know.

      But when I finally got down to your experiences with college/university professors (often the above authorities) I knew we had something in common and could maybe understand each other.

      I will try to briefly describe an experience I had because in it I learned something which I have never considered. I taught chemistry at a small community college for a number of years and regularly an assistant dean of the school of science and technology at a state university regularly visited us to possibly recruit good students. On one occasion I had written an essay about meteorology maybe (I do not remember for sure) titled Weather Always Occurs Locally and I had shared it with him and he liked it and suggested that I might come to give a seminar at a regular seminar that the Earth Science Department had. And I told him they would never invite me and he was confident that they would. Well I was right. But the story does not end there. The head of this department was a physicist and we discussed the problem over the phone and because I had need to use their library (before google) he invited me to come and he would help me (passwords etc) to use the library. Relative to the specialization to which you referred, he told me that people like you and anyone with a general background scare the wee out of these specialists because they can understand nothing of what you say if it is outside their narrow field of study; no matter how fundamental and well known it is outside of their specialty.

      Because I hope you will respond to this and I want to keep this brief, I will not comment at this time about your questions. But will be happy to later if I conclude I have something worthwhile to offer.

      Have a good day, Jerry

    • gbaikie says:

      –1) A 100 years ago it was known that CO2 was saturated
      with respect to LWIR frequencies it can absorb. What is the CO2 concentration at which it reaches saturation?–
      It’s regarded that there isn’t saturation, and that the doubling of concentration is required for increase of about 1 C. So this doubling sort of “accounts for” a diminishing “return”

      –2) The largest absorption bands of CO2 are at frequencies around 20 and 75 Tera-Hz. I have determined that in the lower atmosphere the mean free path of photons is around one meter. Is that correct?–
      No idea, but it seems about right.
      I have read that within 20 feet above ground all this wavelength is absorbed.
      At about 8000 meter air density is less than 1/2 sea level,
      therefore it seems if it was 1 meter at sea level than it would 2 meters at 8000 meter elevation.
      I would suppose it could difficult to measure it, due to water sharing some of wavelength and difficulty removing all water and CO2 from any sample of air.

      –3) Once a CO2 molecule absorbs a photon, that extra energy can be released as a photon or released as kinetic energy imparted to another molecule upon collision. Is that correct?–
      People seem to assume this. I don’t assume that an excited CO2 molecule can convert that energy into kinetic energy of gases, but I have no problem with idea it could do this with a water droplet [or any liquid or solid]. And/or a excited CO2 molecule could travel thru a water droplet. And CO2 molecule can be converted into liquid acid. And older stuff about CO2 is usually instead talking about carbonic acid [rather the gas, CO2].
      So in some sense, since atmosphere is filled with H20 gas and liquid and vaguely like an ocean it’s constantly “breathing” CO2 [as well all other gases, it might not make much difference. And because it might not make much difference, could explanation for why the obvious is not discussed. Science is suppose to be precise as it does make a difference, what I mean is that Climate science is obviously very sloppy. As provided proof by lack of any authority on the subject [or any wank wanting to pretend they are] not simply giving precise and simple answers to questions.

  50. MikeN says:

    Phil Jones:

    The Earth’s atmosphere system is chaotic. Volcanoes alter
    circulation oscillations by cooling the surface and warming the stratosphere.
    The Sun does similar things through variations in cloud around the world.
    The Sun’s output needn’t change hardly at all.
    The various oscillations are know to change and have done since they were
    discovered. This could be internal dynamics of the climate system, but
    it is also likely that the major forcing factors are involved as well.

  51. Jerry L Krause says:

    Hi John Kl,

    I have tried to encourage you and the few others who have written 217 responses to this blog of Roy to continue to respond to each other instead of moving on to more recent blogs. But it is buried in the midst of 217 responses so you and the others may not have seen it. I have begun to review what has been written so far and thereby discovered I had missed a golden opportunity to respond to what you responded 9/10/14 at 1:20 PM. So this is an attempt to correct this and maybe keep the discussion going.

    In my response to Roy of 9/10/14 at 1:20 PM I had quoted R. C. Sutcliffe from his book, Weather and Climate. A portion of which was: “Clouds which do not give rain, which never even threaten to give rain but which dissolve again into vapour before the precipitation stage is ever reached, have a profound effect on our climate. This is obvious enough if we only think of the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day in summer or between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter.” And I had quoted what Richard Feynman had taught physics students at Caltech about the light scattering by cloud droplets.

    And I had concluded this response to Roy: “Several times now, I have attempted to draw your attention to the fact Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, taught physics students at Caltech that clouds particles very effectively scatter electromagnetic radiation. To which you have replied: “Don’t know what your point is.”

    “My point is that you and anybody else should not dismiss, seemingly without explanation, this scattering mechanism taught by Feynman (The Feynman Lectures On Physics, Addison-Wesley, 1963, pp 32-8,9) and the easily seen influence of clouds as stated by Sutcliffe.”

    To this you responded: “Personally I don’t dismiss it. Reflection of visible light back to space can and does greatly reduce the Earth’s solar absorption. If for whatever reason the Earth’s surface warms atmospheric water vapor will likely increase possibly increasing the total cloud mass/surface area that may in turn reflect light back to space. When has Roy dismissed it?”

    First, I did not clearly identify what the “easily seen influence of clouds as stated by Sutcliffe” to which I was referring. It specifically was the difference “between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter.” For during the night there is no solar radiation to either be reflected or scattered by the cloud droplets or crystals. For, clouds have a very observable influence upon the cooling of the earth surface during the night, as observed by the atmosphere temperature determined about 1.5 meters above the surface. And it does not matter whether it is winter, summer, spring, or fall.

    So relative to what is observed at night, it does not matter whether the droplets reflect electromagnet radiation or if they scatter it if the issue is the hypothesis known as the greenhouse effect. For as you, Roy, and most know that Arrhenius reduced the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the earth-atmosphere system by its albedo. But he and no one else to my knowledge, has reduced the amount of invisible (to the eye) IR radiation being transmitted to space because of the influence of clouds. And because of this failure to consider the known influence of clouds upon the invisible IR radiation, the result of his calculation was about 33°C less than the observed average temperature, measured by the atmospheric temperature about 1.5 meters above the earth’s surface.

    Roy concluded the blog to which we are responding: “And don’t even get me started on cloud feedback.” It was cloud feedback which you addressed in your response to what I had written. Whereas the fact seems that a major influence of clouds upon the earth’s temperature is being totally ignored. Why is the influence of clouds upon outgoing IR radiation being totally ignored?
    My polite answer is: It is too easy to overlook the obvious when you have a pet idea. My impolite answer is: Too many people would lose their employment because the quantitative influence of clouds upon the earth’s temperature is impossible to calculate with any computer. Or, what would we do with our time if we could not argue about something like the greenhouse effect? Just think of what a disservice that the founders modern science did by eliminating debate about whether the earth was flat or a sphere, about whether the geocentric model of the universe was correct or if the heliocentric model of our solar system was the better model, about whether things twice as heavy fell twice as fast or related, if things fell at a constant rate or if they continued to accelerate as they fell.

    Now, Newton wrote something to the effect that he did not know what was the cause of gravity, but that he saw so many things that he had to believe that it existed. Science can never prove ideas about nature to be absolutely true, but it can prove them to be false. There should be no debate as to the error involved in Arrhenius’s radiation balance calculation. But relative to the greenhouse effect, this fact cannot dismiss the greenhouse effect as existing. The error possibly could only changes its magnitude.

    But the scientific law (totally based upon observation), that an atmospheric temperature can not be greater than that atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature, places a minimum limit upon the atmospheric temperature, hence the earth’s average temperature, which has nothing to do with water vapor’s ability to absorb IR radiation.

    To be specific and accurate, I must acknowledge that if one averages the dewpoint temperature observed at the same time an atmospheric temperature (1.5 meters above the surface) is observed, the average of the dewpoint temperature will be considerably less than the average of the atmospheric temperatures. This is because many hours of most days the atmospheric temperature is significantly greater, due to solar heating, than the atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature, which is unrelated to the atmospheric temperature until the atmospheric temperature cools down to the dewpoint temperature.

    Finally, John, if you carefully read what I wrote, I clearly questioned how one could dismiss, without explanation, what Feynman had written (taught) about scattering by cloud droplets.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • Joel Shore says:

      Jerry,

      It is really hard to understand what you are going on about regarding Feynman and clouds. Feynman is discussing basic aspects of scattering that are understood by everyone in the field (although it is always nice to read Feynman’s very physical and intuitive way of explaining things). They are not ignored.

      Here’s a paper now over 40 years old from James Hansen talking about the scattering of radiation by clouds: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0469%281971%29028%3C1400:MSOPLI%3E2.0.CO%3B2 Hansen was probably one of the first people studying climate to write a code to do Mie scattering computations, which is the scattering of electromagnetic radiation by a spherical object such as a water droplet.

      Here’s a much more recent paper that gives a little bit of a foray into the literature of how climate models are currently handling scattering of electromagnetic radiation by clouds. I’m sure there are many more that you can find.

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi Joel,

        The title of Hansen’s paper to which you referred me is: Multiple Scattering by Polarized Light in Planetary Atmospheres Part II Sunlight Reflected by Terrestrial Water Clouds. I know someone who will be happy to learn that there is no difference between scattering and reflection.

        The reference to the following is http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Clouds/clouds3.php. Because it is relatively brief I will save you the effort in checking it out.

        “The high, thin cirrus clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere act in a way similar to clear air because they are highly transparent to shortwave radiation (their cloud albedo forcing is small), but they readily absorb the outgoing longwave radiation. Like clear air, cirrus absorb the Earth’s radiation and them emit longwave, infrared radiation both to space and back to the Earth’s surface. Because cirrus clouds are high, and therefore cold, the energy radiated to outer space is lower than it would be without the cloud (the cloud greenhouse forcing is large). The portion of the radiation thus trapped and sent back to the Earth’s surface adds to the shortwave energy from the sun and the longwave energy from the air already reaching the surface. The additional energy causes a warming of the surface and the atmosphere. The overall effect of the high thin cirrus clouds then is to enhance atmospheric greenhouse warming.”

        I am pretty sure you are comfortable with what NASA wrote, which is very similar to what R. C. Sutcliffe wrote in his 1966 book–Weather and Climate–except that he did not specifically limit the clouds to high, cold cirrus. First, because you stated Mie scattering applied to spherical droplets and I am aware that cirrus cloud crystals are likely not spherical droplets. I do not know if Mie scattering applies to cirrus crystals. All I know is that cirrus clouds appear white, when illuminated by sunshine, just as cumulus clouds, having spherical droplets, do. So I assume cirrus clouds scatter shortwave radiation just as cumulus clouds do. And I understand that in the case of the scattering phenomenon no energy is absorbed by the scattering particle.

        Now because NASA did not state what portion of the radiation thus trapped and sent back to the Earth’s surface, I quote Sutcliffe because he did (page 34). “Long-wave radiation from the earth, the invisible heat rays, is by contrast totally absorbed by quite a thin layer of clouds and, by the same token, the clouds themselves emit heat continuously according to their temperatures, almost as though they were back bodies.” And NASA did not state what might be the temperature of the cold cirrus ice crystals. But I am sure their temperatures might be as low as –40 or –50°C. The warmer is 233K. As the radiating Earth surface I assume a tropical ocean surface (because it has a great area and a relatively constant temperature). Especially if I assume an average temperature of 25°C, which is 298K.

        If I assume the ocean surface and the cloud emits as a near black body, the ratio of the 4th powers of these two temperatures is 0.373. So a cirrus cloud which totally absorbs the radiation being emitted by the Earth’s surface and its atmosphere beneath the cloud, can only emit this portion the radiation being emitted upward from the surface and atmosphere. And the same cloud which totally absorbs the radiation being emitted by the Earth’s atmosphere can only emit this same portion upward out to space. This leaves about 25% of the radiation totally absorbed by the cloud unaccounted for.

        I also object to the terminology of “The additional energy causes a warming of the surface and the atmosphere.” The downward longwave IR flux from the cloud and greenhouse gas can only slow the cooling of the surface during the night. But the dewpoint of the atmosphere in contact with the ocean surface must be close to the atmosphere’s temperature 1.5 meter above it. So when the radiation being emitted from the surface does cool the surface, the rate of cooling is reduced by the latent heat of condensation as water vapor condenses on the cooling surface. Of, course if the thin, cloud cirrus instead totally scatter the upward longwave IR radiation back downward to the surface, there would be no cooling of the surface and the previously formed equilibrium between evaporation and condensation maintained.

        But what about the cirrus cloud which is emitting downward and upward if it does not absorb electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength. It seems it must cool. But we must recognize that the cloud particles are surrounded by an atmosphere which should be saturated with water vapor. And water molecule can absorb a portion of longwave IR radiation and it is a little recognized fact that water vapor also absorbs a portion of the near IR solar radiation. If you question the latter, remember how often you have heard the weather forecaster predicting that the predicted morning fog or clouds will be burned away by the sun during the morning. So the same mechanisms which slow the cooling of the earth surface during the night should also slow the cooling of the cloud during the night.

        I have a final question: If clouds, both cumulus and cirrus, scatter electromagnetic solar radiation, why should the same clouds not scatter longwave IR electromagnet radiation?

        Have a good day, Jerry

        • Joel Shore says:

          “I also object to the terminology of “The additional energy causes a warming of the surface and the atmosphere.” The downward longwave IR flux from the cloud and greenhouse gas can only slow the cooling of the surface during the night.”

          That is a misconception that seems to arise because we point out that the effect of increased greenhouse gases is not to have the atmosphere warm the earth but decrease the rate of cooling, in the sense that the flow of heat is always from the warmer surface to the cooler atmosphere.

          However, the steady-state temperature of an object is determined by balancing the rate that it receives energy from a warmer object (or objects) and the rate that it emits it. By making it harder for the object to emit the energy, you do indeed increase its steady-state temperature. So, yes, increased greenhouse gases do cause the Earth to be warmer…and not necessarily just at night. It is really quite analogous to a poorly-insulated house whose furnace was running full time on a particularly cold day but was only able to keep the house at 65 F; if we added insulation to the house, the furnace might then be able to keep the house at 75 F, i.e., it would raise the steady-state temperature of the house.

          “I have a final question: If clouds, both cumulus and cirrus, scatter electromagnetic solar radiation, why should the same clouds not scatter longwave IR electromagnet radiation?”

          The absorption parameter k (technically the imaginary part of the complex refractive index) is very small in the visible but gets much larger in the infrared, so there is much more absorption and less scattering for longwave than for shortwave. (Another issue is the size of the droplets relative to the wavelength.) I don’t have a very good intuition for what the relative amounts that are scattered and absorbed are in the IR, but I do have a Mie scattering code that I could run with some data on the complex refractive index off the web if I get the chance.

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Joel,

            To begin I must say that I write to see what I know and what I don’t know. And this activity is easier when I am actually writing to someone. So thank you Joel for helping me.

            You wrote: “However, the steady-state temperature of an object is determined by balancing the rate that it receives energy from a warmer object (or objects) and the rate it emits it. By making it harder for the object to omit the energy, you do indeed increase the steady state temperature.” Now, I had thought that somewhere I had clearly written that I now accept what you have just stated, but I cannot find it. And I thought I had clearly written that the issue was the magnitude of the greenhouse effect when it is an observed fact that an atmosphere’s temperature cannot be less than its dewpoint temperature. But maybe I did not. But now I have.

            Relative to my question and your answer. I have just reviewed what Feynman taught about the refractive index and absorption and I am clueless as I expected to be. So I cannot comment upon the absorption issue except that the refraction of index seems to clearly involve the transmission of electromagnetic radiation through matter which is in the beginning transparent to the radiation.. Have said this I know that water is transparent to visible light and that water is not transparent to a certain portion of longwave IR radiation, because water molecules can absorb this radiation. What I can comment upon is your comment: “Another issue is the size of droplets relative to the wavelength.” It seems to be an afterthought about which you are not totally familiar. I know that Feynman made this size factor the central issue of his discussion of why we can see clouds. While he limited his discussion to the scattering of visible radiation, he summarized “So as the water agglomerates the scattering increases” and asked a couple rhetorical question “When does this analysis begin to fail?” and “How many atoms can we put together before we cannot drive this argument any further?” His answer: “If the water drop get so big that from one end to the other is a wavelength or so, then the atoms are no longer all in phase because they are too far apart. So as we keep increasing the size of the droplets we get more and more scattering, until such a time that a drop gets about the size of a wavelength, and then the scattering does not increase anywhere nearly as the drop get bigger.”

            He clearly knows what wavelength regions lie beyond visible light and droplets of water are the scattering particles, so I cannot understand why he clearly stated what he did state. It seems you clearly refute what he taught. I have to trust Feynman’s knowledge and not your knowledge in this case.

            And given NASA’s description of the absorption (without any mention of scattering) of longwave radiation by cirrus clouds, and these clouds emission properties, 25% of the absorbed radiation (excess) needs to be dealt with.

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • Joel Shore says:

            Jerry,

            I’m not sure what you mean when you say, “It seems you clearly refute what he taught.” I don’t think I disagreed with anything that Feynman said. The reason that I emphasized the absorptivity rather than the difference in droplet size relative to wavelength is just that I thought that might be the most important issue in this case because the absorptivity increases quite drastically between the visible and the infrared, whereas the droplet size is such that you are always in the regime where the droplet size is at least around, if not larger, than the wavelength…and, as Feynmann notes, the dependence of scattering on particle size is much less pronounced once you get to the point that the scatterers are on par with the wavelength.

            But, again, I would have to run the Mie scattering code with a realistic complex refractive index to be able to say more about the relative scattering in the two regimes.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Jerry,

            If you go to my website http://www.frontiernet.net/~jshore/ , I’ve put up a couple of plots of Mie scattering and absorption from a single spherical water droplet. I got the refractive index data for water from here: http://refractiveindex.info/?shelf=main&book=H2O&page=Hale (and one of my graphs just replots that data). Then I made plots of scattering and absorption efficiencies for two different droplet sizes (10 and 20 microns) as a function of wavelength (from 0.2 to 100 microns on a logarithmic scale). (Sources on the web suggested that 10-20 microns is a typical cloud droplet size.)

            In terms of interpretation, it does seem that the scattering efficiency drops off as you get toward the middle of the Earth’s spectrum (around 10 um), especially for the smaller droplet, although not THAT dramatically. But, what might be more important is the increase in the absorption efficiency, so that it becomes more and more likely that the radiation will be absorbed rather than scattered. And, note that these plots are for interaction with a single droplet; my guess is that multiple scattering may be very important in clouds and if indeed such multiple scatterings play an important role, an increase in the the absorption will really have a large effect on whether the radiation makes it back out of the cloud without being absorbed.

            [A more complete picture would look at the direction of the scattered light too. I haven’t done that, although I know the general behavior is that the scattering is more isotropic when the diameter is small compared to the wavelength and becomes more sharply-peaked in the forward direction as the diameter gets larger and larger in comparison to the wavelength. So, roughly speaking, the visible light will mainly be scattered forward whereas the infrared light may be scattered somewhat more isotropically (although still more forward than back).

            I imagine there is probably some detailed discussion of this in the scientific literature, but I haven’t really attempted to search.

            Cheers,
            Joel

          • Joel Shore says:

            I should add that I was just looking in Ray Pierrehumbert’s book “Physics of Planetary Atmospheres” and he says that because of the high absorption, “infrared scattering by water and water-ice clouds can be safely neglected, such clouds being treated as pure absorbers and emitters of infrared”. [This is not true, he notes, for clouds made of CO2 ice or liquid CH4.]

            My Mie scattering calculations don’t make it seem like such a “slam-dunk” as he suggests, but I guess when you combine the absorption with the asymmetry of the scattering (more scattered forward than back) so that it would be hard to send infrared back down to the Earth without having multiple scattering events, I can begin to see that only a small amount of light would successfully get scattered back as opposed to absorbed. Still, it would be nice to see a more detailed analysis of that.

          • gbaikie says:

            — Joel Shore says:
            September 20, 2014 at 4:59 PM

            I should add that I was just looking in Ray Pierrehumbert’s book “Physics of Planetary Atmospheres” and he says that because of the high absorption, “infrared scattering by water and water-ice clouds can be safely neglected, such clouds being treated as pure absorbers and emitters of infrared”. [This is not true, he notes, for clouds made of CO2 ice or liquid CH4.]–

            This doesn’t make much sense to me. I doubt there is much difference between H20 clouds and those made from CO2 or CH4- in terms of reflectivity or regarding radiant energy.
            There obvious difference in term of latent heat of water and that water has warmer melting point.

            Plus CO2 ice is heavier than water ice and CH4 is lighter,
            so would affect droplet size.

          • Joel Shore says:

            gbaikie: There is a considerable difference. The imaginary part (k) of the refractive index for water is between 0.01 and 1 for wavelengths above a few microns (http://refractiveindex.info/?shelf=main&book=H2O&page=Hale). For CO2, the refractive index is generally around 10^-4 except in relatively narrow regions around the absorption bands at around 4 and 15 um (see Figures 9 and 10 in the first reference for this search: http://www.google.com/#q=refractive+index+solid+co2+infrared ).

          • gbaikie says:

            — Joel Shore says:
            September 21, 2014 at 6:51 PM

            gbaikie: There is a considerable difference. The imaginary part (k) of the refractive index for water is between 0.01 and 1 for wavelengths above a few microns http://refractiveindex.info/?shelf=main&book=H2O&page=Hale

            That link defaults with liquid water at 1 cm deep.
            Longwave IR does not penetrate thru 1 cm of water.

            When set for 1 µm and it roughly corresponds what is happening in terms of refractive dips and extinction coefficient (k). So thin a film of water, droplets, or H2O
            gas adsorb these wavelengths.
            Or one can assume that if wavelengths are being absorbed then those wavelengths are also not being refracted.
            As for what you say:
            “The imaginary part (k) of the refractive index for water is between 0.01 and 1 for wavelengths above a few microns ”

            If select options of “k” and “log” in option boxes in top part [[the section, titled: Optical constants of H2O, D2O (Water, heavy water, ice)]], then I seem to get a result which you seem to be describing. It wasn’t the default setting of the link. So it was not immediately apparent what you were referring to [not sure even if that was what you were referring to].
            Anyhow, it might be useful if I could merely compared it to liquid methane and CO2. Though not certain it would be useful, as can’t say know what I am looking at.
            Perhaps you provide some explanation?

            — For CO2, the refractive index is generally around 10^-4 except in relatively narrow regions around the absorption bands at around 4 and 15 um (see Figures 9 and 10 in the first reference for this search: http://www.google.com/#q=refractive+index+solid+co2+infrared

            Or seems one could go to:
            http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~sgw/PAPERS/1986_CO2ice_mcx.pdf
            [the second Google entry]
            As I said above if one is looking at wavelength which is absorbed, then it not going to have refraction.
            I quote from it:
            “Ditteon and Kieffer14 (1979) (DK) used 4.2- and
            1.7-mm thick deposits of CO2 to measure transmission
            spectra in the weakly absorbing regions from 2.5- to 28-
            µm wavelength. Their principal difficulty was that
            the samples scattered light.”
            [I would say in general if dealing small bits of ice or small liquid droplets, scattering will tend to dominate]
            As for Figures 9 and 10, they line going off the graph at around 4 and 15 µm.
            Another quote:
            *IV. Near- and Middle-infrared, 1.4-25 µm
            The IR spectrum is characterized by very intense
            narrow absorption features separated by regions of
            very weak absorption. The laboratory experiments
            are readily separated into those which measured only
            the strong absorption bands and those which measured
            only the weakly absorbing regions. The same
            bands which are strongly absorbing in CO2 gas are also
            strong in the solid. These are the fundamental vibrational
            modes V2 at 15 µm and V3 at 4.3-µm wavelength as
            well as weaker bands at 1.4, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1, and 2.7 µm.*

            So not sure what to make of this reference. They talking in context of cometary material. So in general comets have very large atmospheres, of a size the dwarf the size of planet Earth, and can be as large as Jupiter or the Sun, but it’s a thin atmosphere- Mars atmosphere is thick in comparison. And atmosphere is not stable like a planet. Roughly it expand as it nears sun, would stay smaller if further from Sun, and presumably the weak gravity will cause some of it to contract as it goes back further from the sum. They objects which are boiling away swimming pools of water and other volatiles per second as they get nearer the sun. Though swimming pools as second is not much density for the volume of space it is evaporating into. Or Earth’s much smaller atmosphere is also constantly evaporating swimming pools of water a second.
            Another way to say it is if comets refracted as much per km depth as earth’s atmosphere that would a lot refraction considering how thin the comet’s “atmosphere” is.

            Or it seems the point is CO2 is not as refractive as water is to longwave IR [or any wavelength], water is more a absorbent to longwave IR, and CO2 is more transparent to the long wavelength other than the parts of the spectrum it’s absorbing, then I suppose we are on same page.

            Getting back to quote:
            “he says that because of the high absorption, “infrared scattering by water and water-ice clouds can be safely neglected, such clouds being treated as pure absorbers and emitters of infrared”. [This is not true, he notes, for clouds made of CO2 ice or liquid CH4.]”
            And what I said to it:
            “This doesn’t make much sense to me. I doubt there is much difference between H20 clouds and those made from CO2 or CH4- in terms of reflectivity or regarding radiant energy.”

            Regarding reflectivity the problem they were having measuring CO2 [in last article] was it scatters the longwave light. And though water is easier to manage, but if one tried to measure powdered snow or tiny droplets of water one would also have problem with it scattering the longwave light.
            Clouds of water or lakes of water will absorb all longwave IR, that is doesn’t reflect [within a 1 cm depth of water.
            A lake of liquid CO2 will apparently be more transparent than water to a large portion of the longwave spectrum, but a cloud of CO2 ice will scatter [reflect] this longwave light.
            So what Ray Pierrehumbert is saying does not make much sense.

          • Joel Shore says:

            “A lake of liquid CO2 will apparently be more transparent than water to a large portion of the longwave spectrum, but a cloud of CO2 ice will scatter [reflect] this longwave light.”

            Which is exactly Ray Pierrehumbert’s point: that for CO2 clouds, the scattering is important, whereas for H2O clouds almost all the longwave radiation ends up being absorbed (and subsequently emitted) with very little being scattered (or, more precisely, very little being reflected by multiple scattering events because most of the radiation will get absorbed during these multiple scattering events).

            “So what Ray Pierrehumbert is saying does not make much sense.”

            Sorry…but I don’t see where you have shown that.

          • gbaikie says:

            — Joel Shore says:
            September 23, 2014 at 6:19 PM

            “A lake of liquid CO2 will apparently be more transparent than water to a large portion of the longwave spectrum, but a cloud of CO2 ice will scatter [reflect] this longwave light.”

            Which is exactly Ray Pierrehumbert’s point: that for CO2 clouds, the scattering is important, whereas for H2O clouds almost all the longwave radiation ends up being absorbed (and subsequently emitted) with very little being scattered (or, more precisely, very little being reflected by multiple scattering events because most of the radiation will get absorbed during these multiple scattering events).

            “So what Ray Pierrehumbert is saying does not make much sense.”

            Sorry…but I don’t see where you have shown that.–

            So you say ” …very little being reflected by multiple scattering events because most of the radiation will get absorbed during these multiple scattering events”

            So you saying from all the longwave IR spectrum “very little being reflected”.

            Let’s start from a beginning of average IR per square meter- globally, this is about 240 watts at the top of the atmosphere.

            Then more specifically, in regards to clouds, how much reaches them? Like, say some clouds in New Jersey or any other particular place, rather than some globally averaged value.

            Next, what is most, what is the least and also what is globally average which reach clouds. And for good measure, what part of spectrum has the most watts per square meter which are reaching clouds?

            And finally, to the main event, what sort of small percent of reflection is so small, that it can be dismissed or one can safely neglect it?

          • Joel Shore says:

            gbaikie:

            I said –

            “My Mie scattering calculations don’t make it seem like such a “slam-dunk” as he suggests, but I guess when you combine the absorption with the asymmetry of the scattering (more scattered forward than back) so that it would be hard to send infrared back down to the Earth without having multiple scattering events, I can begin to see that only a small amount of light would successfully get scattered back as opposed to absorbed. Still, it would be nice to see a more detailed analysis of that.”

            You said –

            “So what Ray Pierrehumbert is saying does not make much sense.”

            So, I think it is you who have to provide us with something to back up your claim that Ray doesn’t make much sense (or at least explain coherently why you think that).

            I don’t have to provide you with all the things you asked me for to defend the statements that I made above. I provided a general qualitative picture of how it might play out but admitted it would be useful to see a more detailed analysis.

          • gbaikie says:

            — Joel Shore says:
            September 26, 2014 at 5:48 PM

            gbaikie:

            I said –

            “My Mie scattering calculations don’t make it seem like such a “slam-dunk” as he suggests, but I guess when you combine the absorption with the asymmetry of the scattering (more scattered forward than back) so that it would be hard to send infrared back down to the Earth without having multiple scattering events, I can begin to see that only a small amount of light would successfully get scattered back as opposed to absorbed. Still, it would be nice to see a more detailed analysis of that.”

            You said –

            “So what Ray Pierrehumbert is saying does not make much sense.”

            So, I think it is you who have to provide us with something to back up your claim that Ray doesn’t make much sense (or at least explain coherently why you think that).

            I don’t have to provide you with all the things you asked me for to defend the statements that I made above. I provided a general qualitative picture of how it might play out but admitted it would be useful to see a more detailed analysis.–

            Well, let’s start from the beginning. I don’t have any pet theory about clouds reflecting radiant energy.
            I know clouds kept a night warmer, and I have ideas about why this is the case, but they don’t happen to include cloud reflecting radiant energy.
            But I would not dismiss the possibility that clouds reflect radiant energy- and I also would find it useful for a more detailed analysis.
            In the general realm of radiant energy, any possibility of that longwave could be reflected, seems like it could be important, though it is possible that there is nothing in earth atmosphere which reflects IR.
            But we have been mostly talking about scattering IR, you seem to be focused on Mie scattering. Which I suppose is due to droplets and wavelength are of similar size.
            Or as wiki says:
            “Mie scattering occurs when the particles in the atmosphere are the same size as the wavelengths being scattered. Dust, pollen, smoke and microscopic water droplets are common causes of Mie scattering which tends to affect longer wavelengths. Mie scattering occurs mostly in the lower portions of the atmosphere where larger particles are more abundant, and dominates when cloud conditions are overcast.”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mie_scattering

            So most intense longwave from earth are around 10 um and cloud droplets are around 10 µm, and so this is reasonable.
            Or “so far as water vapor is concerned the major windows are in the 8-14 µm 3.7 to 4.5 µm”
            http://library.nrao.edu/public/memos/temp/Menon_Atmospheric_Absorption_0164.pdf
            So, 8-14 µm could almost 1/2 of radiant energy.
            And graphic from black body spectrum:
            http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/bbrc.html#c4
            and one for 300 K:
            http://astronomy.nju.edu.cn/~lixd/GA/AT4/AT403/HTML/AT40304.htm
            [quarter of way down page].
            And your concern is if 10 µm wavelength goes thru a 10 µm
            then only 1/2 of energy is transmitted and if requires multiple events it could diminish or become extinct and/or most of them just going further into the cloud.
            Of course one aspect about this is there no reason to assume all IR is going to come straight up from the ground.
            In terms of going upwards the least likely direction is straight up. Or you have two axis of 180 arc and 45 degrees off zenith will get far less than 1/2 the energy- about 1/3.
            So 2/3rd the radiant energy will coming at cloud at greater than 45 degrees [assuming cloud and ground is level- and there is enough distance apart. And of course it doesn’t have to come straight down either.

    • Joel Shore says:

      And, by the way, in response to some earlier queries you made to me in this thread: Clouds are the reason that I sometimes use the term “greenhouse elements” instead of “greenhouse gases” in talking about the greenhouse effect. Clouds do play an important role in the greenhouse effect. On the other hand, the particular empirical data that I showed of a spectrum of outgoing radiation from the Earth seen by satellites in space is, as I understand it, looking at an area where the sky is clear, so in those spectra you are seeing only the role of greenhouse gases, not of clouds.

      • gbaikie says:

        –And, by the way, in response to some earlier queries you made to me in this thread: Clouds are the reason that I sometimes use the term “greenhouse elements” instead of “greenhouse gases” in talking about the greenhouse effect. Clouds do play an important role in the greenhouse effect. On the other hand, the particular empirical data that I showed of a spectrum of outgoing radiation from the Earth seen by satellites in space is, as I understand it, looking at an area where the sky is clear, so in those spectra you are seeing only the role of greenhouse gases, not of clouds.–

        Even in clear sky there are water droplets in the atmosphere.

        I think large bodies of water and water droplets are “greenhouse elements” and are the most significant “greenhouse elements”.
        The effect of real greenhouse [as admitted by people who believe in the greenhouse effect] is caused by the inhibition of convection. So it’s not process of the trapping of radiant energy and is it “not about” radiant processes. And nor can one think of a window pane as acting like a greenhouse gas.
        But one think of gravity as acting like a window pane. Or one replace a window pane with the effects of gravity.

        One could make window panes which absorb the exact same wavelength as greenhouse gases and if one does it will not add much warming. One also design windows which do better job of inhibting convection losses. And these are the double or tripe pane windows. And this are commonly used to save money in terms of heating costs.
        Now if one wanted to limit radiant heat loss of windows what you would do is coat the window with a substance which reflected IR [rather than absorbed IR] but as I said main problem has to do with limiting convection losses, and radiant losses are minor factor.

        As mentioned one can make a roofless greenhouse- it doesn’t make much sense economically because one would need to build very high walls. And in addition earth atmosphere basically acts as roofless greenhouse. So one spend a much of money on high walls and it sort of acts like the atmosphere you getting for free.
        Therefore a roofless greenhouse could more economical if one did not already have an atmosphere for free- so for instance, if one is on the Moon or Mars. Granted it still costly to do, and of course in present economics building anything beyond earth is very expensive.
        Just point out something the reason the Moon or Mars is expensive, has to with Earth, rather than Moon or Mars.
        Or both Mars and the moon are fairly easy to leave, whereas leaving Earth is much harder. And landing on Earth is fairly easy. Or if Earth was as easy to leave as Mars, and one wanted to go to planet like Earth, this would cost far less the current situation of going from Earth to Mars.
        So some time in the future, building stuff on the Moon or Mars will be the same costs as building the same thing on Earth, and if one allows for this change in economics, than building a roofless greenhouse on the Moon will still be fairly costly but it could be economical. Or compared to large domes on the Moon, a roofless greenhouse could be cheaper and better in many ways.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Here is a breakdown of the contribution of the various elements, including clouds, to the total greenhouse effect: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/lacis_01/ As you can see, clouds are roughly 1/4 of the total greenhouse effect.

      • gbaikie says:

        “Radiative modeling analyses of the terrestrial greenhouse structure described in a parallel study in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Schmidt et al., 2010) found that water vapor accounts for about 50% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect, with clouds contributing 25%, carbon dioxide 20%, and the minor greenhouse gases (GHGs) and aerosols accounting for the remaining 5%”
        http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/lacis_01/
        Wiki says:
        “By their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect on Earth the four major gases are:
        water vapor, 36–70%
        carbon dioxide, 9–26%
        methane, 4–9%
        ozone, 3–7%”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

        In Wiki, if just include clouds as water vapor, it is quite
        similar. And so accordingly to that, Journal of Geophysical Research has decided upon wiki’s upper range of water vapor and added 5%.
        Or if clouds fits in vapor vapor classification, then 50 + 25 is 75%.
        In terms of CO2 it’s picked fairly close to wiki’s upper end of the range: 9-26% vs about 20%. Then it’s apparently picked lower end for other gases. Wiki: methane: 4–9%, ozone: 3-7, if added together is 7-16%, so downgraded to “about 5%”.
        Or one could say wiki range is “found” to be *wrong* in terms of water vapor [5% over highest part of the range and wrong about the about greenhouse gases, except CO2.

        Or in terms of numbers in C [or K]. Assuming greenhouse affect does cause 33 C [and this is not a given on if assume clouds have something to do with lowering the temperature by 33. One could choose add and subtract clouds giving a net sum and thereby get different number than 33 C- in accordance with a theory [that btw, I don’t believe is correct]]. But anyhow 25% of 33 C is 8.25 C for the clouds. And 6.6 C for CO2. And 1.65 C for other gases other than CO2. And 16.5 C for water vapor.

        Now, let’s go further. Let’s assume CO2 adds 1.2 C per doubling. 6.6 divided by 1.2 is 5 and 1/2 times it doubles.
        So, 400, 200, 100, 50, 25 ppm plus 1/2.
        So starting at 25 ppm [25,000 ppb], and doubles to 50 ppm one adds 1.2 C. Land plants can’t survive at below 150 ppm CO2, so could have plants on land and less than 150 ppm.
        So we instead could start at 150 ppm:
        150, 300, 600, 1200, 2400, 4800 ppm [and etc].
        In last say 20 million years, one could suppose the range of Co2 was within 150 to 600- some would say it’s never got much above 300 ppm except in recent time. So the before industry age to 20 million CO2 could increased or decrease temperature by 1.2 C. And global temperature range in terms of extremes in last few million years has be 10 C or more.
        Now, let’s ignore all the other gases, and look at water vapor.
        Is it possible for global water vapor to have halved or doubled within last 20 million years?
        Let’s split the world in half, is possible tropical zone water vapor to have doubled or halved. Is it possible that all other zones other than tropics have doubled or halved?

        And if either or both is possible, which half has biggest effect upon global temperature?
        Tropics has about 3% water vapor [30,000 ppm], can the tropics have 6% or 1 1/2 percentage.
        I would guess that Earth’s tropics has never had 6% or more water vapor. And therefore in terms last 20 million years, I don’t think it happened. But what increase in temperature would it cause if it did double. I also think in last 20 million years the tropics has not halved the amount of water vapor. But again how many degree would it cause if it did. I don’t think it has halved because tropic temperatures don’t change much during glacial period as far as I know. Or said differently, tropical plants die if they freeze, and we have tropical plants. Or tropics might shrunk a bit.
        So in terms of halving: 30,000, 15000, 7500, 3750, 1875, 937.5, 468.75, 234.375, 117, 58 and 29 ppm.
        So Mars has about 210 ppm of water vapor. So water above 10 C on Mars because of low amount of water vapor, will evaporates fairly quickly. So no where on Earth does coffee evaporate quickly [hot coffee on Mars would explode [the low pressure make that well above boiling- but I am talking about evaporating. Not in the tropics it’s fairly normal to have less than 1% [10,000 ppm] but as guess 500 ppm would be quite dry for anywhere on Earth.
        It seems according to the theory, 29 ppm of water vapor would cause more warming than 25 ppm of CO2. And doubling from 29 ppm to 58 ppm does more warming than CO2 doubling from 25 to 50 ppm.
        So if Co2 is 1.2 C, we can say water vapor is +1.2 C per doubling. So 29 to 30,000 ppm we have 10 doubling or +12 C.
        Or 16.5 C seems somewhere in the ballpark.
        So it seems to me not much warming or cooling in tropics in regard to water vapor changes.
        Leaving us the rest of the planet to look at.
        It seems to me as general impression, that halving or doubling the rest of the world is more plausible, but can you it again, can half then half again, or double and double again? That seems less likely.
        Or right now it swinging all over the place in terms daily and yearly. So main thing is we talking it is getting colder. So one on a mile high glacier, and yes it is cold and dry. But what about the pacific ocean at same latitude. Northern hemisphere has higher percentage of land vs ocean, but it’s still around 65% ocean. But if stick with just the land, US has average temperature of say 12 C. Let’s check that:
        “In 2012, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average annual temperature of 55.3°F” And
        “In 2013, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average temperature of 52.4°F”
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/16/ncdc-state-of-the-climate-report-contiguous-us-average-temperature-plummeted-2-9f-in-2013/
        And let’s assume during glacial US is like Canada- which somewhere around 0 C average temperature. The habitable where most Canadians live- which is about 100 or two miles north of the border- being closer to 5 C.
        So maybe Canada has 1/2 the water vapor of US [I have no numbers] but is it half again?
        And supposing it was, it seems it still does not account for the wide swings in global temperature.
        And 55 F is 12.7 C

      • Kristian says:

        Joel Shore says, September 18, 2014 at 7:24 PM:

        “Here is a breakdown of the contribution of the various elements, including clouds, to the total greenhouse effect: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/lacis_01/ As you can see, clouds are roughly 1/4 of the total greenhouse effect.”

        Yeah, that’s weird. According to Stephens et al. 2012, the presence of clouds globally reduces the outgoing LW from the Earth to space by ~26.7 W/m^2 (‘LW cloud effect’). At the same time they reflect ~47.5 W/m^2 of the incoming SW from the Sun (‘SW cloud effect’).

        IOW, clouds don’t contribute globally to any ‘greenhouse warming’ at all. Quite the opposite … You need to include both effects.

        http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/stephens2.gif

        The estimate from Stephens et al. 2012 of a -20.8 W/m^2 net ToA radiative cloud effect (global/annual), fits relatively well with the result arrived at by Henderson et al. 2013 (with Stephens as a contributor) who found a similar effect of -18.1 W/m^2 (compared with areosols -1.6 W/m^2).

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JAMC-D-12-025.1

        Compiled here (pp22-26):

        http://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/Jeremy.Schnittman/Oreopoulos.pdf

        “Overall clouds cool the planet [-21 W/m^2]. Almost all of this is realized at the surface.”

        Reduce cloud cover (globally/annually), get surface warming.

        • Kristian says:

          The ‘SW cloud effect’ would be much weaker while the ‘LW cloud effect’ would be only slightly weaker at high latitudes than in the tropics, simply because the incoming SW in the tropics is significantly higher than the outgoing LW, while at high latitudes it is the other way around, only at lower intensities in both.

          http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/images/rad_balance_ERBE_1987.jpg

          This means that the net radiative cloud effect at Earth’s high latitudes is most likely slightly positive (‘warming’), while in the tropics it is strongly negative (‘cooling’).

          • gbaikie says:

            –This means that the net radiative cloud effect at Earth’s high latitudes is most likely slightly positive (‘warming’), while in the tropics it is strongly negative (‘cooling’).–

            I think largest effect of less clouds in tropics in long term warming. Or it warms the entire ocean. Though if surface of ocean is warm, one will get clouds.
            Though in tropics if one has clouds mostly at night [or morning/ late afternoon] or clouds are drawn away from the ocean, then one have warm surface waters and not have clouds
            inhibit blocking direct sunlight in middle of the day.

            The best way to warm earth, would be for the warm water of tropics to rapidly travel poleward and be drawing up cooler water. This causes most clouds to form away from tropics and one can have cool surface water in tropics [causing less cloud formation in tropics].

            The average global temperature number of 15 C, is mostly brought about by tropics [which large portion of earth surface] and it having average temperature well about 15 C. Or if tropics is about 30 C and rest of world average is about 0 C, then one gets an average of about 15 C.

            A way to have cooler average temperature is warm water staying in tropics and more cloudiness in the tropics- which also makes less cloudiness beyond the tropics.
            A way to get something close to snowball earth, is have tropics in clouds, and no transport of tropical ocean water poleward.
            A way to have a fake snowball Earth is to have lots of high mountains in tropics, allowing there to be lots tropical glaciers which flow into the ocean. Plus if one has lots of land mass at equator, one has less ocean in tropics to absorb heat from the sun.

            So a recipe for glacier period is tropical water which stay in tropics and for a cloudy tropics, thereby keeping a fairly warm tropics: about 30 C and rest of world average temperature of about -10 C. And much of this cold temperature is very cold winters but more or less as almost as warm summers has we currently have [could have hotter summer days in places outside the tropics]. And there should be very violent storms.

            Anyhow mixing of ocean causes long term warming [thousands year] and in your ice box climate, mixing of tropical ocean causes short term cooling [decade – centuries].
            So we haven’t seen in modern times much in terms of mixing tropics ocean, the super El Nino of 1998 was largest example of this. The immediate result being warming, followed by cooling, but on longer term the result was a slight amount of warming [overlaying a long term trend of warming which started around 1850 [end of Little Ice Age]

        • Joel Shore says:

          Kristian,

          I was not talking about the NET radiative effect of clouds. I was talking about the contribution of clouds to the greenhouse effect.

          Yes, the net radiative effect of clouds is to cool the planet. However, it is still useful to think of this in terms of two separate effects, one being the albedo effect on shortwave that cools and the other being the greenhouse effect on longwave that warms.

          • Kristian says:

            Joel Shore says, September 21, 2014 at 7:12 AM:

            “I was not talking about the NET radiative effect of clouds. I was talking about the contribution of clouds to the greenhouse effect.

            Yes, the net radiative effect of clouds is to cool the planet. However, it is still useful to think of this in terms of two separate effects, one being the albedo effect on shortwave that cools and the other being the greenhouse effect on longwave that warms.”

            That makes no sense. And that’s exactly what I’m getting at. It makes no sense leaving out the (larger) cooling contribution.

            Because how is the ‘GHE’ defined? Isn’t it supposed to make the surface on average WARMER than without its presence? If clouds don’t do that, then how do they contribute to such a ‘GHE’?

            If they radiatively end up cooling the Earth’s surface on average, how are their presence ever going to make the surface on average any WARMER!?

            Clouds reducing surface cooling at night is NOT the GHE, Joel. Because it’s only one (the smaller) part of the whole story.

            You can’t just pick out single effects, point and say “This is the GHE!” You need to include the whole picture.

      • gbaikie says:

        In the beginning there was water.

        It seems to me, that most important and fundamental aspect
        of climate on Earth is the ocean. The Earth ocean stores a massive reserve of heat and it dictates global average temperature.
        The ocean stores years of sunlight, whereas the atmosphere stores days of heat and that is why the ocean dictates global average temperature. The average temperature of the ocean tell you whether there is a global cool or warm climate.
        And the circulation of ocean waters is critical aspect related to average ocean temperature, and therefore location
        of land masses is important aspect of global average temperature. And therefore the theory of plate tectonic is a necessary component in understanding the history of global climate. One should understand that theory of plate tectonic is relatively new scientifically accepted theory. Wiki:
        “…in 1912 the meteorologist Alfred Wegener amply described what he called continental drift, expanded in his 1915 book The Origin of Continents and Oceans and the scientific debate started that would end up fifty years later in the theory of plate tectonics.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics
        A btw, another and a newer accepted scientifically accepted idea is that earth in geologically recent times has had space rock impacting Earth and the acceptance of this fact
        will also have an effect upon our gaining more complete understanding of Earth’s climate. As example is findings that impactor could played a significant role in regards the beginning of present interglacial period- Younger Dryas.

        So ocean dictate global climate and I would say it’s the major greenhouse effect rather than atmosphere being the sole greenhouse effect. By which I mean there is atmospheric greenhouse effect, but it’s dwarfed by ocean “greenhouse effect”.

        Which finally brings to topic of clouds. In terms of atmospheric greenhouse effect, clouds a major part of this atmospheric greenhouse effect. So tend to find agreement with this part: “(Schmidt et al., 2010) found that water vapor accounts for about 50% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect, with clouds contributing 25%,…” in regards to the atmospheric greenhouse effect.

        • Jerry L Krause says:

          Hi Gbaikie:

          Good you are still responding. Seems like most others are on vacation. I wish someone would clearly and accurately define just what this greenhouse effect, to which the percentages you quote apply. Is it the 33C difference between the average effective radiative temperature calculated by Arrhenius and the actual average temperature determined from the data of the many weather sites, most on land surfaces, around the world?

          Have a good day, Jerry

          • gbaikie says:

            –I wish someone would clearly and accurately define just what this greenhouse effect, to which the percentages you quote apply. Is it the 33C difference between the average effective radiative temperature calculated by Arrhenius and the actual average temperature determined from the data of the many weather sites, most on land surfaces, around the world?–

            I also wish someone would clearly and accurately define just what this greenhouse effect is.
            But Wiki makes some attempt at doing this:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

            This teaching document from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does, in my opinion, a worse job than wiki:
            http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/infodata/lesson_plans/The%20Greenhouse%20Effect-%20Fact%20of%20Theory.pdf

            Arrhenius thought a doubling of CO2 would increase Earth’s average temperature by 5 C by doubling and thought human emission of CO2 would cause a doubling of CO2:
            http://www.lenntech.com/greenhouse-effect/global-warming-history.htm
            And in above article it says: “This was not actually verified until 1987.”
            Which is false. It is false that doubling of CO2 causes earth to warm by 5 C and false that any amount warming caused by CO2 has ever been verified.
            Instead what you have now, is many people of the belief that doubling CO2 causes warming and generally it’s regarded that somewhere around 1 C warming. And in addition to this CO2 warming, one could expect increase in global water vapor which adds some unknown amount of additional warming, and range of belief is about .5 to 5 C increase in global temperature due to this “sensitivity” to the about 1 C increase due to doubling of CO2.
            And one could say that 18 years of “the pause” in rising global temperature has muted the guesses of higher ranges of this climate sensitivity. Including the authoritative
            guesses of the UN’s IPCC.

            As far as I know Arrhenius was mainly interested in why earth had glacial and interglacial periods, and believed rising or declining levels of CO2 explained this.
            And this is now known not to be cause of glacial and interglacial periods. But what is known as was known by Arrhenius was that CO2 rises are associated or follow rising global temperatures.

            But back to your request. As far as I know, Wiki provides best definition. And it starts with:
            “If an ideal thermally conductive blackbody were the same distance from the Sun as the Earth is, it would have a temperature of about 5.3 °C. ”
            Roughly this is the same as sunlight at earth distance is
            1361 watts per square meter. Or 1361 watts is what is called the solar constant:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_constant
            Or if you absorb all the energy of sunlight at earth distance and you uniformly heat a spherical surface the blackbody temperature would be about 5 C. This is no different then sphere has 4 times the area as it’s diameter.
            It should be noted that by uniformly warming a surface, one is “sort of” maximizing the average temperature. And also by having a smooth surface [which can also absorb all the radiation of the sunlight] on is reducing the amount a smooth blackbody can radiate.
            So for a spherical surface this ideal thermally conductive blackbody “apparently” is making this sphere have the highest average temperature of “5.3 C”, which give one the question why does Earth have an average temperature about 10 C warmer then one could theoretically engineer for a body without an atmosphere.
            But then theory allows for the obvious that Earth is not blackbody [And in my opinion really goes off the rails]:
            “However, since the Earth reflects about 30% of the incoming sunlight, this idealized planet’s effective temperature (the temperature of a blackbody that would emit the same amount of radiation) would be about −18 °C.”

            So 1361 watts divided by 4 is 340 watts. An ideal thermally conductive blackbody would radiate 340 watts per square meter of entire spherical surface. And blackbody which radiate 340 watts per square meter has temperature of about 5 C [278 K]. [[If times 278 K by itself 4 times and times it by .0000000567, you get: 338.6 watts ]]
            So to convert ideal thermally conductive blackbody into a Earth, they reflect 30% of sunlight from reaching the thermally conductive blackbody. 1361 times .3 is 408 watts from the 1361. Or 1361 * .7 is 957.7 watts.
            So the disk area receives 957.7 watts per square meter, and divide it by 4 for the spherical surface. Gives 238 watts per square meter of spherically ideal thermally conductive blackbody. So -17 C is 256 K.
            [[ If times 256 K by itself 4 times and times it by .0000000567, you get: 243. 5 watts]]
            So ideal thermally conductive blackbody sphere which had 30% of the sunlight not reaching it, it’s uniform surface temperature would be about -17 to 18 C [or it radiates 243. 5 watts].
            So one say that it the atmosphere [and clouds] one adds which adding 33 C. -18 plus 33 is 15 C.

            Now, this is sheer idiocy [on multiple levels] but apparently it’s the best the human committee can manage and it can not see any other way forward [which not in the least surprising to me- as they have never been able to do this kind of stuff].
            In this situation the sky could not warm the ideal thermally conductive blackbody. Just as the sky does warm the ground. The ground absorbs energy from the sun and the ideal thermally conductive blackbody would also not be able to absorb radiant energy from the sky.
            What does warm the ground is kinetic energy of the air [average air temperature]- but ideal thermally conductive blackbody has no design specs for absorbing this kind of energy- rather it’s designed to absorb radiant energy.
            The only thing this ideal thermally conductive blackbody could do is function as pretty refrigerator. Or by putting atmosphere on top of it, you ruined a pretty good refrigerator for space environment. Though it would be good for committee tasked with keeping sidewalks cool in the summer.
            So ideal thermally conductive blackbody in space environment when sun is shining on surface would have temperature of 5 C, whereas something like the Moon has temperature of 120 C. And 5 C is good temperature for meats and beer.
            Thing which are “right” is Earth does radiate about 240 watts [which nothing to do with temperature other than regards to smooth black body surfaces]. And if we had ideal thermally conductive blackbody it would absorb roughly 70% of sunlight [and cool sunlit areas- also cool the entire planet- as it’s the best thing at radiating energy].
            So if we built an ideal thermally conductive blackbody and covered entire surface of planet with it, it would cool the planet. Problem is we do not have the technological skill to make such a thing, second it would be extremely costly to construct, third it cost a lot to maintain it [earth would rip it to pieces] not mention human vandalism- though great job program to keep everyone employed, and fourth it would block the ocean from absorbing energy, and tropics would not warm the world, and everyone would freezes to death [regardless of amount of CO2 in the atmosphere].

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            He Gbaikie:

            Too many words. If the greenhouse effect cannot be accurately and simply defined in a line or two, one cannot begin to evaluate whether it is valid or not. I have come to the conclusion that until this is done, any discussion about it is futile because people keep moving the goal posts. If you note in my response to Joel, I am only explaining that a mechanism proposed by NASA to explain an unstated, but common, observation, does not work and propose that a phenomenon (scattering) taught by Richard Feynman does work.

            Have a good day, Jerry

    • gbaikie says:

      –First, I did not clearly identify what the “easily seen influence of clouds as stated by Sutcliffe” to which I was referring. It specifically was the difference “between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter.” For during the night there is no solar radiation to either be reflected or scattered by the cloud droplets or crystals. For, clouds have a very observable influence upon the cooling of the earth surface during the night, as observed by the atmosphere temperature determined about 1.5 meters above the surface. And it does not matter whether it is winter, summer, spring, or fall.

      So relative to what is observed at night, it does not matter whether the droplets reflect electromagnet radiation or if they scatter it if the issue is the hypothesis known as the greenhouse effect. For as you, Roy, and most know that Arrhenius reduced the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the earth-atmosphere system by its albedo. But he and no one else to my knowledge, has reduced the amount of invisible (to the eye) IR radiation being transmitted to space because of the influence of clouds. And because of this failure to consider the known influence of clouds upon the invisible IR radiation, the result of his calculation was about 33°C less than the observed average temperature, measured by the atmospheric temperature about 1.5 meters above the earth’s surface. —

      In general this is on target.
      But as pointed out to Joel Shore, the atmosphere itself is large part of Earth’s albedo. Or clouds are part of Earth’s albedo, but so is clear skies.

      So if Earth was a black body. And it would not need to be a blackbody which had perfect conduction heat as what known a ideal blackbody, so any spherical black body including the magical ideal blackbody, would radiate on average, 1360 watts divided 4. Or 340 watts on average per square meter.

      So as has been measured, Earth radiant on average 240 watts. Which means on average each square meter reflects 100 watts. But your point is the sun is not shining at night, instead the only thing radiating is Earth, and same clouds blocking radiant energy of the sun, and blocking the radiant energy of the earth.
      Or the clouds don’t disappear at night, and the model say earth’s albedo would cause earth to be -33 C colder, are in a sense “imagining” the clouds pop into existence during the day, and disappear at night. Or if this were the case, then models would be closer to reality.

      I assume one could measure amount of clouds during the day, and compare this to amount of clouds at night. It might be interesting data point. But as said, clear skies also are part of Earth albedo.
      And another thing one could ponder, is if Earth had no clouds, what then would Earth’s albedo be.
      [Perhaps, better to replace the “albedo” [above] with bond albedo, as albedo is latin for “whiteness” which might cause some to only associate it with the clouds and snow.]

  52. sky says:

    Nothing controls the behavior of a physical system like the behavior of its power supply. In the case of climate, it should be clear that daytime clouds are the gatekeepers of insolation, regulating what fraction of TSI at TOA thermalizes the atmosphere and surface.

    Sadly, “climate science” has concentrated not on the fundamental physical forcing, but on the atmospheric impedance to terrestrial LWIR emissions–the misnomered “greenhouse effect”–under the mistaken premise that the forcing is effectively constant. That cloud cover can reduce local insolation by hundreds of W/M^2 has garnered far less serious attention than effects of trace GHGs, which are two orders of magnitude smaller. Under such circumstances, we can only talk about the present state of ignorance–not knowledge.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Sky,

      That’s quite a biased view to mix numbers for local insolation with values for global forcing…and also to look at only one side of the ledger as far as clouds are concerned.

      As I recall, the NET effect of clouds on the global scale is a radiative effect something on the order of 15-20 W/m^2. So, it would take rather significant fractional increases or decrease in this number on the global scale to, say, compare with the 4 W/m^2 that doubling CO2 produces.

      And, I don’t think there is much evidence of dramatic fractional changes for no reason…although there could certainly be ones as a feedback on, say, the forcing due to increased greenhouse gases. This is something that has in fact garnered lots of serious attention, although admittedly with a lot of uncertainty because it is a challenging problem.

  53. sky says:

    Global average values of solar forcing are simply the surface integral of local values. Inasmuch as GHGs produce no thermal energy of their own, there cannot be any “forcing due to increased greenhouse gases;” there’s only increased impedence to radiative cooling of the thermalized surface. Accounting for the two-orders-of magnitude difference between the LOCAL VARIATIONS of true forcing and that of GHG impedence is crucial to any serious attempt to understanding climatic variations, whether on a local or a global scale.

    The fact of the matter is that the actual “NET effect of clouds on a global scale” is far from reliably known. And compared to the effort expended in justifying model projections, the effort in determining that effect rigorously has been dismally minimal.

    • Jerry L Krause says:

      Hi Sky:

      Good words. I am just making this short response to ask you to keep checking back. I am preparing a response to Shawn Torgerson who asked some fundamental questions about cloud formation 9/16 and I would like to read your comments about it.

      Have a good day, Jerry

    • Joel Shore says:

      “Global average values of solar forcing are simply the surface integral of local values.”

      And, the integration results in much less variation in the global values, which is why it is deceptive to quote local variations.

      “Inasmuch as GHGs produce no thermal energy of their own, there cannot be any “forcing due to increased greenhouse gases;” there’s only increased impedence to radiative cooling of the thermalized surface.”

      What a bizarre statement. A “forcing” is defined as a change in the energy balance of the Earth + atmosphere system. If you reduce the outgoing radiation, you change that balance every bit as much as if you increase the incoming radiation.

      I think the term just offends your ideological biases more than anything else.

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi Joel:

        You like the idea of multiple scattering. Try the idea of multiple absorption. Radiation (emission) from solid or liquid matter at the earth’s surface can ultimately only be in the outward direction. But a cloud has two surfaces: top and bottom. In my response of 9/19 at 12:10 AM I reviewed what NASA had to say about the influence of a thin cirrus cloud upon the upward flux of longwave IR radiation. By thin I assumed for convenience, that it referred to the vertical depth and not to the density of cloud particles. The convenience was I could assume that this clouds was emitting downward toward the earth’s surface at the same temperature as it was emitting outward toward space. I will forget about the fact that 25% of energy that the cloud was reasoned to be absorbed from below could not be emitted from the cloud, given a reasonably assumed temperature for the cloud. I only what to consider that a higher temperature the cloud could emit exactly one-half of the energy being absorbed back toward the earth surface and exactly one-half of this energy toward space.

        Now, a gas has no surface. So when a gas molecule absorbs a certain amount of energy, it can emit it downward toward the earth’s surface or outward to space. My point is that only one-half of the energy absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules can be emitted back toward the earth’s surface while the other half is emitted outward toward space. My first point is that greenhouse gases or the high cirrus cloud (the real focus of NASA’s description) cannot emit more than one-half of the energy they absorb back toward space. Yet, they (we) are aware that the earth’s surface hardly cools during the night when the only clouds present in the atmosphere are the high, thin cirrus clouds. Suggesting that far more than one-half of the radiation being emitted from the earth surface is not being lost to space.

        But as yet I have not addressed the possibility of multiple absorption-emission. When the cirrus cloud emits one-half of the energy downward toward the earth’s surface, I have never seen or heard anyone questioning if this radiation ever reaches the earth’s surface. For consistent reasoning forces that if the greenhouse gases between the earth’s surface and the high cirrus base are limiting the amount of longwave IR radiation being emitted by the earth’s surface from reaching the cirrus base, the same greenhouse gases must be limiting the amount of the longwave IR radiation being emitted by the cloud base from reaching the earth’s surface.

        So the observed fact that high, thin cirrus clouds significantly slows the rate of cooling of the earth’s surface during the night not only establishes that the high, thin cirrus clouds must effectively scatter the longwave IR radiation back toward the earth surface but also establishes the fact that greenhouse gases do not significantly affect the transmission of longwave IR radiation through the atmosphere.

        Have a good day, Jerry

        • Jerry L Krause says:

          Hi Joel:

          Have a difficult proof-reading from a screen and even when I am reading hard copy I do not claim perfection. The serious mistake is in the second paragraph line 8 ‘space’ should be ‘the earth’. Of lesser importance, because I think a reader reason might know that first paragraph line 14 ‘what’should be ‘want’ and same line ‘at’ should be inserted between ‘that’ and ‘a’. The other errors I have found are only grammatical.

          Have a good day, Jerry

        • Joel Shore says:

          Jerry,

          I really don’t think you can refute modern radiative transfer calculations in the atmosphere (which is backed up by detailed comparisons between model predictions and empirical data AND by the field of remote sensing, which is in no small part based on the success of these calculations) by very qualitatively discussing what happens when cirrus clouds are present vs what you think ought to happen (by some very vague arguments) if greenhouse gases significantly affected the transmission of longwave IR radiation through the atmosphere.

          Radiative transfer in the atmosphere (at least in clear sky situations) is very settled science. While some scientists might be impressed with your confidence in believing yourself able to do such calculations in your head, I doubt they would be very convinced by your reasoning or conclusions.

          If your ideological views make you want to doubt AGW, better to question parts of the science where there is genuine uncertainty, such as cloud feedbacks (and, to a lesser extent, the magnitude of the water vapor feedback), rather than question the effect of greenhouse gases on radiative transfer in the atmosphere.

          Nobody with any scientific credibility still questions that the direct radiative effect of doubling CO2 levels is a forcing of about 4 W/m^2 (that includes our host here, as well as other AGW skeptics like Richard Lindzen).

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Joel:

            Thank you for your reply. The neat thing about qualitative reasoning based upon observation is that no calculation is required. So I do not need to do any calculation in my head. I doubt if you have ever stood out on the pitcher’s mound of a baseball field trying to do an experiment which required that water freeze and even though the sky appeared clear, I could see stars and the air temperature was 32F for hours before giving up at 1:00 AM because the water was not freezing at near the rate I expected. Then,the next day, when I called the weather service, at the airport a few miles away, I learned that a 10% cloud cover had been observed while I was trying to observe water freezing. This cloud cover was a cirrostratus cloud which Sutcliffe described as white or gray, possibly with a smooth appearance,sometimes totally covering the sky, and generally producing halo phenomena. Yes, the moon had a halo about it but at the time I did not know what it indicated.

            In their qualitative description of the influence of high, thin cirrus cloud upon the longwave IR radiation being emitted from the earth surface, the NASA people recognized the common observation the surface atmosphere does not cool at near rate, when high, thin cirrus are present, that is commonly observed when the atmosphere is apparently truly cloudless. So it is a forced (qualitative) conclusion much of upward radiation, commonly lost to space when there is no cloud, must be being replaced by downward radiation which originates at the cloud bottom. Its actually quite simple when you put the right pieces together.

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • Joel Shore says:

            Jerry,

            That much I don’t disagree with. Yes, high thin clouds have that effect (although apparently more be absorption and re-emission than be scattering).

            It’s when you then use it to conclude that well-established science regarding radiative transfer in the atmosphere (and the effect of greenhouse gases) is wrong that I think you go off the rails.

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Hi Joel:

            Thank you for seeing that at times I might have a point. And you drew attention to an important point, which needs to be openly discussed, when you wrote: “It is when you use it to conclude that well-established science regarding radiative transfer in the atmosphere (and the effect of greenhouse gases)is wrong that I think you go off the rail.”

            In 1973 I began teaching chemistry at a small community college. At that time chemistry teachers were expected to carry the water for the proponents of the greenhouse effect hypothesis which at that time had been generally agreed to be valid by a consensus of scientists. Thus, chemistry instructors and professors, most of whom had never taken an atmospheric science course, were expected to promote it as a valid hypothesis because of that was what the authors of chemistry textbooks were writing.

            So forty years ago I began a serious study of the greenhouse effect because from the beginning I was skeptical about it. I was skeptical about it because I did not have to read Sutcliffe’s Weather and Climate to learn that clouds, when present, seriously reduced the nighttime temperature cooling, relative how it had cooled the night before or after when the sky appeared to be cloudless, regardless of the season. At that time it was also not hard to find a description of Arrhenius’s radiation balance calculation in which he reduced the energy absorbed by the earth-atmosphere system of the incoming solar radiation by the best guess at the time of the earth’s albedo (certainly a valid factor to include in his calculation) at the same time he ignored any possible influence of the clouds upon the outgoing longwave IR radiations to space. Now, he knew, and everybody knows, that action of clouds upon the incoming solar radiation was and is a significant portion of this albedo factor. But you know and I knew and everybody should know, if they pay the least amount attention to the world they live in, that clouds, when present, must drastically (totally?) limit the transmission of the longwave IR radiation to space. So it was very obvious to me from the beginning that the 33°C or so difference between the calculated average effective radiation temperature and the actual average temperature observed was bogus.

            So, I would ask you to ask those, who have established the science regarding radiative transfer in the atmosphere (and the effect of greenhouse gases), why it is I still commonly read or hear about this 33°C difference.

            Relative to your conclusion that I go off the rail, I ask you: Are you familiar with the case involving Alfred Wegener and continental drift? If so, how familiar? I could ask the same about several more cases that also accorded during the 20th Century in which a scientific community behaved as a scientific community should never (idealistically) behave. To my knowledge the last bad odoriferous case of the past century involved Lewis Frank in which he became shunned by his colleagues because he dared to insist that his observations and explanation of them be published for all to read. Relative to Frank’s case, it has been said that a reason, given by one peer reviewer of his articles gave for recommending they not be published, was that if his observations were indeed fact, all the textbooks would need to be rewritten. Can you imagine how many textbooks would need to be rewritten if it were admitted that Arrhenius’s calculation results were bogus?

            Have a good day, Jerry

          • Joel Shore says:

            Jerry,

            People like Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer have all the motivations in the world to question the greenhouse effect. If you can’t even get these scientists on your side, how do you possibly expect to convince scientists who have not shown that their science is already guided by a strong affinity for your ideological point-of-view regarding AGW.

            As for Wegener, what I have read is that the whole story tends to be exaggerated, both the extent to which his views were ignored (some parts of the scientific community did, but not all) and the extent to which his views were simply presented prematurely, without sufficient scientific support, to win over the scientific community.

            At any rate, economist Paul Samuelson is credited with the saying that “Economists have correctly predicted nine of the last five recessions.” I would say that the similar statement in this context would be that people challenging the scientific consensus have correctly predicted 30000 out of the last 3 paradigm shifts.

  54. Jerry L Krause says:

    Hi Shawn,

    Have not heard from you lately. Hope I can elicit a response from you. You wrote (9/16): “My comment on clouds was not the affect they have when present, but what are the causes and the odds they form. … but my inquiry was more in the conditions for formation, and what drives the average amount present.” You pose some quite fundamental questions which need to be addressed more than they commonly are. A reason is that while there might be simple answers there are no really short answers of much benefit. For example: What are the odds that they (clouds) form? 100% But I am not sure if this was what you were actually asking. I feel qualified to respond because I have read R. C. Sutcliffe’s Weather and Climate (which I certainly recommend to you) several times and have thought about what he wrote for many years.

    Now after I have written six pages of response to your questions and I am not done, I look back at your questions and wonder if I have come close to what you were asking. While I would like to share these many pages, because they represent what I believe every scientist should be doing. Which is trying to understand qualitatively the system they are studying before they rush off to do some ill conceived quantitative calculations.

    You wrote: “My comment on clouds was not the affect they have when present,”. The affect that clouds have when present is the fundamental issue if we are trying to understand weather and climate. It is obvious enough that they exist and any conjecture about how they exist does not change the fact that they exist. At the same time I write this, I still think it is important to understand the mechanics of their formation because we know that weather, hence climate, is very variable so subtle changes in cloud formation, in the water vapor content of the atmosphere from which clouds form might be very informative. And as Sky recently wrote, if I understood what he wrote, the influence of greenhouse gases is terribly distracting because the only one which is variable is water vapor. And water vapor obviously has other functions than being a greenhouse gas and one of these other functions is the formation of clouds.

    So I am sending this brief response off to see if you or anyone else still might be interested in reading six or more pages.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  55. Jerry L Krause says:

    Hi Folks,

    Have just scanned the responses to a number of Spenser’s blogs and I am amazed to find the large number of unfamiliar names and the general lack of familiar names of respondents to this blog. So it seems quite evident that we have a common interest even if it is quite diverse.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  56. Joel Shore says:

    I guess I find it a little amusing when people from the Heritage Foundation all of a sudden find themselves worried about policies that are regressive. The Heritage Foundation has not exactly been on the front lines of fighting for more progressive taxation and other government policies…They only seem to get concerned about such things when it comes to environmental regulations.

    It is bad economics to price something like energy from fossil fuels artificially low in order to help the poor. Better to help them in other ways than to say that we should be effectively subsidizing dirty sources of energy that have costs associated with them which are externalized and hence prices that do not accurately reflect their full costs.

    It is also worthy to ask who the Texas Public Policy Foundation is: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Texas_Public_Policy_Foundation

    Look, this is not about people who are so concerned for the poor as much as it is about people who subscribe to an extreme political ideology (which I call “free market fundamentalism”) and believe in the market not in a scientific way (understanding both the power and limitations of markets) but in a religious way.