On Natural Climate Variability and Climate Models

February 27th, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The “pause” in global warming is becoming increasingly difficult for the climate establishment to ignore, which is a good thing. They are now coming up with reasons why there has been a “pause” (a term I dislike because it implies knowledge of future warming, which no one has), and spinning it as if it is bad new for us.

But when they assume that natural climate variations can cause a cooling influence, they are also admitting there can be natural sources of warming.

A natural change in ocean circulation is the leading potential explanation for the pause. Due to the huge temperature difference between surface waters and deep water, any small change in ocean overturning can result in either warming or cooling of surface temperatures. If the ocean was isothermal with depth, such a mechanism would not exist.

The point of this post is to remind people of what I have stated before: to the extent that a change in ocean circulation has negated anthropogenic warming in the last 15+ years, an opposite change likely enhanced warming during the 1970s to 1990s.

You can’t have one without the other. Natural fluctuations in ocean vertical circulation are cyclical. You can’t attribute the recent warming hiatus to natural forcings without also addressing the role of potential natural forcings in causing the previous warming period. At best, it betrays a bias in reasoning; at worst, it is logically inconsistent.

This is not just a minor detail that is irrelevant to long-term climate predictions because the models were mostly developed (and modelers’ opinions regarding sensitivity formed) during a period (the 1970s to 1990s) when substantial natural warming was occurring, yet they assumed it was entirely manmade. Correcting for the mistake would alter our understanding of climate change as well as any proposed energy policies to (supposedly) avert it.

This is why the paper we published in APJAS last year was so important. It demonstrated that El Ninos change the planetary radiation budget, allowing more solar heating of the system. The paper was rejected out of hand by many in the climate establishment simply because it did not support the IPCC party line. (Odd, since our results potentially explain why their models continue to produce, on average, twice as much warming as has been observed.)

Most of those who criticized it probably didn’t even read it, or try to understand it. (I’ve had reviewers of papers reject our paper without even reading it, because their objections were based upon what they assumed was in the paper, rather than what was actually in the paper!)

Before I go over some of the details of that paper (again), here’s a graph which conceptually explains the big-picture significance of it. Please read the informational boxes. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

90-CMIP5-models-vs-observations-with-pause-explanation

The simplicity of our 1D model (one vertical dimensional) is one of its strengths. Global average surface temperature changes (as James Hansen has also stated), can only be due to 3 processes: (1) radiative forcing, (2) radiative feedback, and (3) changes in ocean vertical circulation, all of which can be addressed with a 1D model like ours.

Contrary to straw-man criticisms of the model, it was not meant to replicate El Nino and La Nina (which even 3D coupled climate models cannot do), but instead to (1) take the observed radiative perturbation of the climate system associated with ENSO since we have had good CERES satellite radiative budget observations (since 2000), and then (2) extend that relationship back in time with the known history of El Nino and La Nina to see how much of recent ocean warming was due to ENSO.

Admittedly, the model we used was not perfect, just as no model is. Even complex 3D climate models include a myriad of assumptions and approximations, most of which can be improved upon. Our critics will use technical jargon to make it sound like our model is worthless even though their 3D models, after billions of dollars of investment, still do not produce demonstrably better forecasts of global warming than 1D models!

The central issue we addressed in Spencer & Braswell (2014) — which cannot be brushed aside by claiming there are imperfections of our model — is this:

1) satellite radiative budget observations show the Earth’s radiative balance changes with ENSO, with the radiative changes occurring before the actual temperature changes occur (implying causation). In particular, El Nino warmth (and La Nina coolness) is partly (about 1/3) radiatively-caused. We termed this “internal radiative forcing” of the climate system, probably due to a change in global average cloudiness associated with changes in atmospheric circulation.

2) Since there are periods when El Nino is stronger than La Nina (e.g. 1970s-1990s), this then causes periods of natural warming.

3) Models that ignore natural sources of warming must be tuned to be too sensitive, in order to explain the observed 1970s-1990s warming with increasing CO2 alone (or nearly alone). They then produce too much warming in future decades.

The basic idea of something like ENSO producing multi-decadal periods of warming or cooling was not original to us. We simply used observational data (satellite radiative budget measurements) to demonstrate the natural radiative warming (and cooling) mechanism exists, and then used an energy balance model to quantitatively estimate just how much of recent ocean warming could be explained by the mechanism.

No nitpicking over our finite differencing scheme, or our extension of the bottom of the ocean to only 2,000 m depth, changes this fact.

In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you call the ENSO radiative effect a “forcing” or a “feedback” (an argument I’ve had with Andy Dessler)…the model shows that when the effect is included in an energy balance model, with the observed time lag, it reduces the resulting model climate sensitivity by about 50%.

I know….I’ve said all of this before. But it needs to be repeated. Climate change issues are complex, and whenever we can find clarity and significance, it needs to be drilled into our heads so we don’t lose sight of real progress in our understanding.

Even our simple 1D model produced a higher climate sensitivity consistent with IPCC claims if we assumed all climate change was due to the same forcings they assume. The IPCC’s climate models are too sensitive (produce too much warming in response to increasing CO2) because they have basically assumed virtually all previous warming was due to increasing CO2, not due to Nature.

The models produce results consistent with whatever assumptions are programmed into them. We should always question our assumptions, which are usually wrong, and continually strive to make them less wrong.

I don’t have hopes that the IPCC will change their tune, however, because that organization was not formed to find out if anthropogenic global warming was a problem. It assumed that from the outset. And by the time their models are unequivocally proved wrong, all of the modelers will be retired — or dead.

But what our analysis also implies is that, when the current natural cooling effect goes away, some warming will resume. It just won’t be as strong as current models predict. Admittedly, we only addressed ENSO as a natural forcing mechanism. To the extent other mechanisms are at work, climate sensitivity might be even lower than we calculated, and future warming would be even more benign.

I wouldn’t even rule out future cooling. But for now, I sure wouldn’t bet on it.

At this point, no one really knows.


142 Responses to “On Natural Climate Variability and Climate Models”

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  1. Willywolfe says:

    One question I have about the latest “excuse” for not seeing more warming. If the oceans are absorbing the heat, why aren’t we seeing more sea level rise from expansion of the oceans? Another question I have is, should an accurate model of climate not have to account for the investment of energy in life-forms? If increased CO2 and warmth result in increased growth rates of plants, bacteria, fungus, etc., is a significant amount of the energy being locked up in these forms or is this insignificant?

    • Good questions. I am expert in neither. 🙂

      • alphgruis says:

        Energy is certainly stored in additional plant and algae growth; After all fossil fuel burning is just releasing energy that necessarily was not re-radiated to space in the form of IR and therefore implied an imbalance in former radiation budget of earth when the relevant organic matter was formed.

        Yet the relevant energy seems to be too small as is the energy we release from fossil fuel burning when compared to the supposed additional greenhouse effect.

        Indeed even if about half the CO2 from our fossil fuel burning were absorbed by the plants the energy involved would still be only about half the energy consumption from fossils by mankind, and there too small.

        Of course this suppose that the additional greenhouse effect is indeed a few W/m2, which remains to be firmly established.

      • Doug   Cotton says:

        Roy

        Thermal energy is stored in all planets by ordinary solid, liquid and gaseous molecules (like oxygen and nitrogen here, or helium and hydrogen in other planets) and that energy is quantifiable using the “area under the temperature plot” (or more strictly “volume under the thermal plane” wherein that curve (or plane) has a temperature gradient for one reason only – because that gradient represents the overall state of maximum entropy with no unbalanced energy potentials. It has nothing to do with wind or turbulence or expanding rising parcels of air in some non-adiabatic process.

        My paper (or the book) will help you understand the thermodynamics that is somewhat beyond your “A” at school, Roy.

    • MarkB says:

      If the oceans are absorbing the heat, why aren’t we seeing more sea level rise from expansion of the oceans?
      The oceans absorb about 93% of the energy imbalance with less than 3% going into the atmosphere. Steric sea level rise is about half the approximately 3 mm/yr total or about 1.5 mm/yr. If all the energy that might otherwise have gone into the atmosphere goes instead into the ocean, it would be about 1.54 mm/yr. This is probably too small to be resolved in the data over a short term given other confounding factors in measuring sea level rise.

    • Mike M. says:

      IPCC gives biosphere uptake from CO2 fertilization as 2.6 Pg per year. With a ballpark energy content of 500 kJ/mol, I make that to be about 7 mW per square meter. Insignificant.

      I think the ocean heat content data don’t support the idea that extra heat uptake is causing the pause. Roy’s suggestion of changes in cloudiness seems much more likely.

    • David Appell says:

      If you work out the numbers, you will find the extra sea level rise is very small, well within the error bars.

    • David Appell says:

      Here’s proof we shouldn’t be seeing any acceleration of sea level rise today:

      http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2015/02/should-we-see-sea-level-rise-to-be.html

  2. Lewis Guignard says:

    I remain of the opinion that it is better to be warmer than colder. These recent snow/ice storms in the southeast remind me of that belief.

    • David Appell says:

      What if you live in the tropics?

      What if you are a (nonhuman) animal who has adapted to the traditional climate, and now must scot ever northward at about 7 meters/day (1.7 miles/yr), through housing developments and interstate highways and Love’s truck stops?

      • donb says:

        It is the RATE of climate change that is most disruptive to plants & animals, not so much total change over time.
        Human destruction of and changes in the environment have been much more deleterious to plants and animals than increasing temperature.

        • Mike Maguire says:

          “It is the RATE of climate change that is most disruptive to plants & animals, not so much total change over time.
          Human destruction of and changes in the environment have been much more deleterious to plants and animals than increasing temperature”

          And we can tell this by the planet greening up?

          As an operational meteorologist, I can tell you that cyclone energy is down the past 2 decades, violent tornadoes down, coverage of drought down slightly the past 3 decades, heavy rain/down pours up slightly and global temperatures up slightly.
          Over the past 150 years, global temperatures are up close to 1 degree C.

          Is this the RATE of climate change which is so disruptive to plants and animals?

          Please don’t use busted model projections. We are talking actual climate change from increasing CO2, based on real world observations.
          100+ years worth of observations is plenty long enough and one side keeps avoiding reconciling that reality with projections.
          As a meteorologist, if I say it’s going to rain on Wednesday, if it doesn’t rain on Wednesday, I busted.
          I can adjust my forecast to say the rain is still coming but it won’t get here until Thursday……….then Friday, then Saturday but by that time, it’s clear that either my weather models, me or both have a problem with rain forecasting skill.

        • Physicist says:

          Nonsense donb. You cannot prove with correct physics that the most prolific greenhouse gas (water vapor) warms by about 15 degrees for each 1% as the IPCC implies. Empirical studies prove it cools the surface.

          Nor can you prove with correct physics that 0.04% of carbon dioxide warms either. Carbon dioxide is great for plants and improves agricultural production levels. Read this.

      • Chris Hanley says:

        What pray tell what is a “traditional climate”?
        Conventional wisdom has it that the planet in the current phase has been warming for over 250 years.
        The planet is always warming or cooling, always has and presumably always will.
        The tropics have been relatively stable:
        http://www.climate4you.com/images/MSU%20UAH%20TropicsAndExtratropicsMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

      • Mike Flynn says:

        David Appell,

        You wrote –

        “What if you live in the tropics?”

        Well, I do, and have done for the last 45 years. What is your point? I choose to stay warm.

        The globe’s been cooling for four and a half billion years. Sure, if you stand in the Sun, you’ll warm up. Put up your parasol, you get cooler. Night, day, winter, summer – warmer, colder – what’s the fuss?

        No heating due to CO2. None. Try it – you’ll see!

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

        • David Appell says:

          Mike Flynn says:
          “What if you live in the tropics?”
          Well, I do, and have done for the last 45 years. What is your point? I choose to stay warm.

          It’s not about you. You can easily move. What about all the species who can’t?

          Or is it just too bad for them?

          “The globe’s been cooling for four and a half billion years.”

          Ridiculous. That’s a scale that means absolutely nothing for life.

          • This assumes (rather ignorantly) that global warming will affect all areas equally across the globe. Anyone familiar with global climate model predictions will know that the vast bulk of the warming is expected at the poles and in the upper northern hemisphere. Of course, even this assumes climate model predictions are accurate, which they are not. For models to be on track they need to be warming the Arctic at the rate of nearly 1C per decade, which hasn’t happened for the last several decades. So given their track record, one should view these predictions skeptically.

            All of this is straight out of the IPCC reports, which Appell should spend more time reading instead of posing here as some kind of expert.

          • tonyM says:

            David,
            I would have thought that is a time scale that means everything for life; ever heard of evolution, adaptation, species extinction and the like.

            Whether it was primordial soup or some such it took a long time to get to the life forms of today.

            Adapt or perish; seems quite natural. In any case do you really believe climate can be changed with CO2 reduction? I believe pigs will evolve wings at the same time. Accept my belief and yours will surely come true as well.

            In any case what’s wrong with having wings? Angels seem to have them as well. Some people pray for more warmth.

            More deaths occur through cold T deviations rather than warm ones. So why would or should we fear it?

        • Physicist says:

          Actually neither the Earth nor any planet has necessarily been cooling if the Sun’s intensity has not been diminishing accordingly. That’s why it will blow your mind when you read the new paradigm <a href="http://climate-change-theory.com"<here. What really happens is just so different from all you have ever been told.

    • Frank Lovell says:

      Ramen to that [“I remain of the opinion that it is better to be warmer than colder.”]! If indeed global temperature must change (as it many times has in the prehuman past), the prospect of a truly green Greenland again strikes me as WAY better than the prospect of glaciers reaching back down into Tennessee again!

  3. We shall see just how far off these models and AGW will eventually be. My guess this is just the tip of the ice berg, if the data I have been viewing is correct when looking at the historical climatic record especially since the Holocene Optimum ,which I elaborated on yesterday.

    It is mind boggling to me how AGW theory is still having as much of a run as it has but then again money and politics can do this.

    In the end the truth will always prevail and that truth should be forthcoming very soon.

    • geran says:

      “It is mind boggling to me how AGW theory is still having as much of a run as it has but then again money and politics can do this.”
      ************

      Sal, it has been mind boggling to me also. I think maybe I have figured it out. The crux of AGW theory is the “greenhouse effect”. Most people can understand the “GHE”. Many actually own, or have seen, a real greenhouse. They know that it can “trap heat”. For example, a parked car, with the windows rolled up, becomes a “greenhouse”. It can trap heat. Such a vehicle, in full sunlight, can achieve temps 20-30 degrees ABOVE ambient. The promoters of AGW push the GHE for this reason, it is believable.

      The problem is that our atmosphere is not a greenhouse. It can NOT trap heat. Many folks cannot understand this. Their car, with the windows rolled up, traps heat. They can understand that, but they cannot understand Earth’s atmosphere.

      Our atmosphere has no “windows” or “roof”. Heat can NOT be trapped. The atmosphere is “connected” to space, which is an infinite heat sink. So, when one wants to cling to the “vehicle with the windows rolled up” scenario, they should consider then that the vehicle is connected to a huge air conditioning system. (And when I say “huge”, I mean “infinite”, as in space.) The thermostat of the air conditioning system is set at 59ºF (15 ºC, 288 K).

      So, as the interior of the vehicle warms, the infinite air conditioner kicks on. The more the car tries to heat up, the more the air conditioner works. The vehicle is parked on a city street in Dallas, in summer. Even though the temperature outside the vehicle is 113ºF ( 45 ºC), the temperature inside the vehicle remains 59 ºF. The “air conditioning system” can handle hundreds (thousands, millions, etc.) of times more heat than the vehicle can ever acquire.

      That’s a much more accurate analogy of our atmosphere than the “greenhouse effect”.

      • “The problem is that our atmosphere is not a greenhouse. It can NOT trap heat. Many folks cannot understand this. Their car, with the windows rolled up, traps heat. ”

        It isn’t a greenhouse as a result of the radiative characteristics of gases but it is a greenhouse as a result of its mass.

        Descending adiabatically warming air dissipates clouds and lets more sunshine reach the surface just as your car windows let sunshine in.

        Descending adiabatically warmed air supresses convection from the surface which can then heat up just like the effect of your car roof which also supresses convection.

        That is the true greenhouse effect and convection is your infinite air conditioner which prevents heating beyond that determined by atmospheric mass at a given strength of gravitational field (which sets surface density)and a given level of insolation.

        • geran says:

          Stephen, as usual, you are clueless, yet comical.

          It’s like you are your own TV sitcom–

          “The Wilde Hour”–False science you cannot believe!

          • Kristian says:

            geran,

            If the atmosphere cannot “trap heat”, then why isn’t it at 0 K? And why isn’t the global surface of the Earth at 255 K or (with temperature swings) even much colder? If it could not somehow “trap heat”, then it would make absolutely no difference whatsoever, energy-budgetwise, whether the atmosphere were there or not.

            Wilde is right about one thing. The atmosphere definitely insulates the solar-heated surface of the Earth with its mass, forcing its equilibrium temperature way up and beyond pure solar radiative equilibrium. The highest possible global mean temperature for the Moon would be 269 K, from receiving a mean solar flux of 295 W/m2 (global albedo ~13%). But because the temperature swings there are so large, both spatially and temporally, the actual mean global surface temp of the Moon is below 200 K. That’s around 70 K lower than the ideal (max) value, with no variation at all. The very same thing would be the case on Earth, only with different numbers, if the atmosphere could not somehow “trap heat”.

            It most certainly doesn’t insulate the surface in terms of radiation. But it is still undoubtedly the reason why our mean global surface is at a balmy 288 K and not at 200 K or thereabouts like the Moon.

            Because it has mass, thus a “heat capacity” and a “weight”.

          • geran says:

            Q: If the atmosphere cannot “trap heat”, then why isn’t it at 0 K?
            A: Heat transfer is not instantaneous.

            Q: And why isn’t the global surface of the Earth at 255 K or (with temperature swings) even much colder?
            A: The IPCC 255 K is bogus. They do not understand proper usage of S-B equation.

            Q: If it could not somehow “trap heat”, then it would make absolutely no difference whatsoever, energy-budgetwise, whether the atmosphere were there or not.
            A: WRONG. The atmosphere serves numerous functions. Cooling is just one of them.

            Rambling: Wilde is right about one thing. The atmosphere definitely insulates the solar-heated surface of the Earth with its mass, forcing its equilibrium temperature way up and beyond pure solar radiative equilibrium. The highest possible global mean temperature for the Moon would be 269 K, from receiving a mean solar flux of 295 W/m2 (global albedo ~13%). But because the temperature swings there are so large, both spatially and temporally, the actual mean global surface temp of the Moon is below 200 K. That’s around 70 K lower than the ideal (max) value, with no variation at all. The very same thing would be the case on Earth, only with different numbers, if the atmosphere could not somehow “trap heat”.

            It most certainly doesn’t insulate the surface in terms of radiation. But it is still undoubtedly the reason why our mean global surface is at a balmy 288 K and not at 200 K or thereabouts like the Moon.

            Comments: 1) A flat blackbody (no atmosphere) receiving same solar E/M as Earth would have temp of 360 K. That’s about 70ºC (129ºF) above the average. Life as we know it would not exist. 2) The Moon has no water. And, don’t even mention its rotation rate.

          • David Appell says:

            geran says:
            Q: And why isn’t the global surface of the Earth at 255 K or (with temperature swings) even much colder?
            A: The IPCC 255 K is bogus. They do not understand proper usage of S-B equation.

            Fascinating. What is about the SB equation you understand that climate scientists do not?

          • Adiabatic warming of descending air is established science.

          • You’ve now completely confused him.

          • Kristian says:

            geran says, February 27, 2015 at 7:22 PM:

            Let’s try and stay real here, geran. You appear to have been listening to Postma for too long.

            “Q: If the atmosphere cannot “trap heat”, then why isn’t it at 0 K?
            A: Heat transfer is not instantaneous.”

            If the atmosphere cannot “trap heat”, then it can only transmit it. Not absorb anything. No absorption, no heating. With an atmosphere that cannot “trap heat” there is no slowing down of heat transfer over that of a vacuum.

            “Q: And why isn’t the global surface of the Earth at 255 K or (with temperature swings) even much colder?
            A: The IPCC 255 K is bogus. They do not understand proper usage of S-B equation.”

            Why is it bogus? In what way? We can only understand it to be ‘bogus’, geran, by realising that the atmosphere can and does in fact “trap heat”.

            If we keep Earth’s global albedo (doesn’t concern the issue of whether the atmosphere can “trap heat” or not) to ~30%, then the global surface of the Earth absorbs a mean flux from the Sun at 240 W/m2. That would give a MAXIMUM (without ANY temperature differences whatsoever in space and time) mean global surface temperature of 255 K.

            That is, if the atmosphere is incapable of “trapping heat”.

            “Q: If it could not somehow “trap heat”, then it would make absolutely no difference whatsoever, energy-budgetwise, whether the atmosphere were there or not.
            A: WRONG. The atmosphere serves numerous functions. Cooling is just one of them.”

            What functions would that be, geran? That do not involve “trapping heat” in any way …

            “Comments: 1) A flat blackbody (no atmosphere) receiving same solar E/M as Earth would have temp of 360 K. That’s about 70ºC (129ºF) above the average. Life as we know it would not exist.”

            Er, no. Earth’s global surface does not as a whole absorb a constant solar flux of 952 W/m2. The Sun is not directly overhead at all times at every single point of the global surface. There are nights. There are autumns, winters and springs. And there is surface curvature.

            “2) The Moon has no water. And, don’t even mention its rotation rate.”

            No matter how much energy the surface absorbs and retains during irradiation by the Sun, the global mean surface temperature of Earth could never rise above 255 K in this particular situation (just like the global mean sfc temp of the Moon could never rise above 269 K; but being only at <200 K as a result of its massive spatio-temporal temperature gradients). Because at that point it would be in perfect radiative equilibrium with the Sun, and radiate from its global surface as a whole exactly to space what it gets IN from the Sun to its global surface as a whole, over a specified time cycle (diurnal, annual, or such).

            When you claim that the atmosphere cannot "trap heat", you are essentially disregarding its presence, geran.

            That's what it's there for. To "trap heat" going out from the solar-heated surface.

            The ONLY way to get the mean global sfc temp of the Earth to rise above 255 K (or, 232 K really, from an actual mean solar input to the global sfc of 165 W/m2), is for something to limit its heat output [Q_out] to below its heat input [Q_in] … AT THIS TEMPERATURE. Forcing it to rise to achieve heat balance.

            This ‘something’ is the atmosphere. It insulates the solar-heated surface by “trapping” its outgoing heat in and with its mass.

          • geran says:

            Kris, I took the time to answer your questions the first time. Your second set of questions just indicates you didn’t understand the answers, or didn’t want to!

            You’re wrong about the 255K, so that is the only thing worth addressing. Most agree that 956 W/m^2 is a good average figure of Earth’s TSI, after albedo. As I indicated above, a blackbody, receiving that flux, at equilibrium would achieve a temperature of about 360 K. Now, that’s an ideal situation, which we don’t have. The Earth is not a perfect blackbody, and it rotates rather rapidly. But, you MUST start with the 360 K, because it is valid for the ideal situation. That value can NOT be ignored.

            So, now, if you make adjustments for the curvature of Earth, realizing that the 956 varies sinusoidally over the hemisphere facing the Sun, you arrive at a temperature between 292 K and 305 K, depending on assumptions made. Now, you know you are getting close, because most agree, the average surface temp is about 288 K. Obviously there is additional cooling that is not being taken into account, or more high energy (visible) E/M gets reflected than we are aware.

            The point is that the 255 K is bogus. The IPCC gets that value by first dividing TSI by 4. That is, 956/4 = 239W/m^2. Then, they plug the 239 figure into the S-B equation to obtain the 255 K. They attempt to justify this gross mistake by stating that the divide-by-4 is necessary to account for the geography. That is, the area of the “disk” that the TSI “sees” versus the area of a sphere. They get the geography right, that ratio is indeed 4, but that is not how the S-B Law works.

            If you study the derivation of the Law, you will see it applies to the EXACT flux hitting a surface, not an “average”. And certainly not an “average” that is 1/4 of the EXACT value. They corrupt the science.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            @Kristian “If the atmosphere cannot “trap heat”….”

            There is a problem with the notion of “trapping heat” since heat is not an entity and does not travel anywhere, especially through space. We’ve had this discussion before and I get your point about heat being a macro phenomenon in that it is often calculated based on the amount of work it can produce externally. However, the source of the energy causing the work is still related to matter and the atoms/molecules comprising matter.

            Heat is also studied using statistical mechanics, which is focused on atoms and molecules, not external processes.

            Heat requires matter and the kinetic energy related to matter. Kinetic energy can be transferred from atom to atom as heat within matter or from the matter in one body to the matter in another body via contact of the two bodies.

            Radiation can’t heat anything unless there is matter to be heated.

            The only way heat can be transferred in a gas is through collisions between atoms or from the absorption of energy into covalent bonds or valence energy levels so as to raise the energy levels of electrons.

            Infrared energy radiated from the surface cools the surface and some of it can be briefly absorbed by so-called greenhouse gases. However, only 1% of atmospheric gases is comprised of GHGs and that is hardly enough to absorb enough surface IR to make a difference.

            Lindzen has claimed that radiative energy is not the most important agent for transferring heat from the surface to space. He claims that convective currents are just as important moving heat from the Tropics northward where it is emitted to space.

            Physicist/meteorologist Craig Bohren has described heat trapping in the atmosphere as a metaphor at best and at worst, plain silly.

            Heat cannot be trapped. Atoms/molecules that determine heat through their kinetic energy can be trapped, like in a greenhouse, where the glass traps the atoms/molecules. No such mechanism exists in the atmosphere.

            What Lindzen claims makes infinitely more sense. Since the atmosphere is 99% nitrogen and oxygen, it makes far more sense that they are the prime movers of heat through convection.

            We have become brainwashed by the radiative theories of climate modelers.

          • Physicist says:

             
            You are all partially wrong on this trapping issue because …

            The troposphere of any planet tends towards the state of maximum entropy which thus has a stable density gradient brought about by the force of gravity. Of course weather conditions bring about changes in density (and temperature and pressure) but the tendency in calm conditions is to restore the state of maximum entropy with its associated density and temperature gradients.

            Now, if you imagine a plot of that stable temperature gradient (at thermodynamic equilibrium) then, over the life of a planet, every troposphere has indeed trapped thermal energy corresponding to the area under that temperature plot. The overall level of the plot is determined by radiative balance with the Sun. Temporary extra energy that causes a hump in the plot is not trapped permanently like that under the graph.

            That’s why you’re all confused – there’s a bit of each as explained in detail here.

        • David Appell says:

          Is it your belief that CO2 doesn’t absord infrared radiation?

          • geran says:

            Is it your belief that your brain can absorb facts?

            (If you answer “yes”, we need to see evidence.)

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          @Stephen Wilde “It isn’t a greenhouse as a result of the radiative characteristics of gases but it is a greenhouse as a result of its mass”.

          A real greenhouse warms due to the prevention of convective currents. Same as a car with the window rolled up in hot weather. The atmosphere runs on convective currents. Also, temperatures vary wildly throughout the atmosphere. If you built a greenhouse based on the overall temperatures and conditions available in the atmosphere, nothing would grow, except maybe weeds.

          Referring to process in the atmosphere as mimicking a greenhouse is just plain wrong.

          Your adiabatic processes could not work in a greenhouse due to the glass, which traps atoms of air, not infrared energy.

          • Stephen Wilde says:

            Gordon Robertson said:

            “Your adiabatic processes could not work in a greenhouse due to the glass, which traps atoms of air, not infrared energy.”

            They do work outside a greenhouse though because adiabatically warming descending air prevents atoms of air beneath from rising upwards via convection.

            Adiabatic processes do indeed mimic an actual greenhouse.

        • Doug   Cotton says:

          No Stephen. The surface will not “heat up” (when you slow the rate of cooling) above the temperature to which the Sun’s radiation (less about 100W/m^2 for non-radiative surface cooling) can raise it. You have about 168-102=66W/m^2 to do the job.

          Go to this comment and read the website and linked paper written February 2013,

        • Doug   Cotton says:

          Why does the air descend, Stephen? How? When? Where? Why?

          What holds it together in “parcels” so we can even know that it is descending?

          Are you not aware that descending air above the South Pole does not get any warmer on the way down? Instead it carries cold air (at about -50°C) from the top of the troposphere down to the surface which thus also becomes about -50°C.

          Nothing goes anywhere unless there is something supplying energy to do the work involved, be it a force or unbalanced energy potentials.

          But, when the density gradient is stabilized (in the state of maximum entropy of course) then gravity does not cause any net advection up or down.

          If the process is adiabatic, then the air is just as likely to go up as down or sideways for that matter, or in all directions as molecules bounce around at about 1,800 kilometers per second.

          We know it goes up when there is a freshly warmed sunny solid surface just below it. So when, where and why does it go down somewhere else? What if there were somehow no clouds for the whole of the sunlit hemisphere? Wouldn’t it all go up? Then that night without Sun, won’t the still-warmer surface cause further upward convection?

          If the air is descending from cooler regions to warmer regions, how come you have a heat transfer from cooler to warmer? Why is there any net movement in any directions in an adiabatic isolated column of air in which molecules move randomly in all directions?

          Natural convective heat transfer (which includes diffusion and conduction in gases) happens only when (and because) molecules collide and transfer thermal energy in the process.

          I have supplied the answer to these questions and dilemmas. You haven’t.

      • David Appell says:

        <>

        Electrons also do not “orbit” the atomic nucleus.

        But it’s a good first-order approximation to what’s going on.

        It helps the public understand. Of course, all scientists realize the limitations of the metaphoreand so the don’t use anything like it in their science or calculations.

        So what’s the problem?

    • David Appell says:

      Salvatore, how long are you going to pretend that your own predictions not completely wrong?

      “…here is my prediction for climate going forward, this decade will be the decade of cooling.”
      – Salvatore del Prete, 11/23/10
      http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/andrew-dessler-debating-richard-lindzen/#comment-8875

    • David Appell says:

      “We shall see just how far off these models and AGW will eventually be.”

      How far off have your own predictions been, Salvatore?

      • David Johnson says:

        Doesn’t matter a bit if his predictions are wrong. It matters immensely when the global warming industry gets it wrong, as it always does,

  4. The some of the reasons why the models are off are because they neglect or assign wrong relative importance to the following items:

    Geo -Magnetic Field Strength

    Solar Variability and Associated Secondary Effects.

    CO2 ‘S ROLE- far to much importance.

    Initial State Of The Climate- probably wrong or incomplete.

    Lack Of Understanding Of Feedbacks.

    This is why even in hindsight the models can not get it right and why basic atmospheric predictions they made such as the hot spot in the lower troposphere in the tropics and a more zonal atmospheric circulation pattern in response to global warming have not come to pass.

  5. alphgruis says:

    Energy is certainly stored in additional plant and algae growth; After all fossil fuel burning is just releasing energy that necessarily was not re-radiated to space in the form of IR and therefore implied an imbalance in former radiation budget of earth when the relevant organic matter was formed.

    Yet the relevant energy seems to be too small as is the energy we release from fossil fuel burning when compared to the supposed additional greenhouse effect.

    Indeed even if about half the CO2 from our fossil fuel burning were absorbed by the plants the energy involved would still be only about half the energy consumption from fossils by mankind, and there too small.

    Of course this suppose that the additional greenhouse effect is indeed a few W/m2, which remains to be firmly established.

  6. Alan says:

    IMHO the real measure of whether there is a true understanding of the underlying science, is the ability to generate accurate forecasts (no credit for hindcasts since I can do a better curve fitting job based on baseball box scores or stock market closing prices).

    Given that the IPCC forecasts are an embarrassment and better predictions are possible from a monkey with a dartboard, it is clear that this group needs to admit that they have major problems with their theories and go back to the drawing board to find and fix some of their problems. This has happened before in many other areas.

    Instead, we see something that is not common in other areas, i.e. so called scientists in denial, sticking with theories that don’t jibe with measurements. The latest claims of ‘warmest year ever’ where the focus is placed on the direction of change rather than the magnitude (even if the claim is true), is a diversion from the obvious need to improve the models.

  7. Thanks, Dr. Spencer. Brilliant post.
    I will post about it.

  8. Phyte On says:

    “The models produce results consistent with whatever assumptions are programmed into them. We should always question our assumptions, which are usually wrong, and continually strive to make them less wrong. I don’t have hopes that the IPCC will change their tune, however, because that organization was not formed to find out if anthropogenic global warming was a problem. It assumed that from the outset. And by the time their models are unequivocally proved wrong, all of the modelers will be retired — or dead.

    But what our analysis also implies is that, when the current natural cooling effect goes away, some warming will resume. It just won’t be as strong as current models predict. Admittedly, we only addressed ENSO as a natural forcing mechanism. To the extent other mechanisms are at work, climate sensitivity might be even lower than we calculated, and future warming would be even more benign.

    I wouldn’t even rule out future cooling. But for now, I sure wouldn’t bet on it.

    At this point, no one really knows.”

    So, my question is this: WHY is the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, written to seven universities about seven researchers who harbor impure thoughts about climate change???

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/414526/shameful-climate-witch-hunt-rich-lowry

    I am not a scientist. Can some AGW scientist/advocate (defender of the average 90 CMIP5 climate models) please answer my question?

  9. “We termed this “internal radiative forcing” of the climate system, probably due to a change in global average cloudiness associated with changes in atmospheric circulation.”

    A change in global average cloudiness is not internal to the system if caused by solar variations as seems increasingly likely.

    As to the mechanism, see here:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2015/01/is-the-sun-driving-ozone-and-changing-the-climate/

  10. Rob J Mitchell says:

    Dr Spencer,
    Do you have access to up to date global cloud levels? I remember you picked up that there was a increase in cloud levels immediately prior to the last big La Nina. I am wondering if anyone is monitoring this.

  11. Ted Gilles, P.E. (retired) says:

    Dr. Roy: Another excellent discourse. I forwarded it to the Dallas Morning News recommending they publish it.

  12. Mike M. says:

    “the models were mostly developed (and modelers’ opinions regarding sensitivity formed) during a period (the 1970s to 1990s) when substantial natural warming was occurring, yet they assumed it was entirely manmade.”

    If my memory has not failed completely, the short “pause” in warming in the early 1990’s made it clear that the models were running too hot. So they added aerosol effects, managed to get good agreement, and declared victory. Of course, nature showed disdain for the modelers by soon diverging again from the models. Unfortunately, in the meantime the modelers became much more committed to the idea that they are saving the world.

  13. David Appell says:

    Dr Spencer: The 15-yr trend of your own LT data is +0.11 C/decade.

    The trend of all the data since Dec 1978 is +0.14 C/decade.

    What pause are you talking about?

    • Ross Handsaker says:

      “What pause are you talking about”?
      The IPCC referred to the “slow-down/pause/hiatus” in its most recent report. If it did not exist, why would scientists have issued numerous papers which have given more than 50 possible causes of the “slow-down/pause/hiatus”?

    • Jake says:

      David;

      What is the 15 year trend on the average climate model?

      How does that compare to your stat analysis of +0.11 C/dec? (I’ve seen a number of -0.01, so I wonder who [and maybe not you] is fudging the numbers)

      Should those models be used to drive policy? Is +0.11 bad? Is it causing these extinctions which continue to turn out to be false?

      Remember, Dr. Spencer is a lukewarmer. You do realize that your zealot attitude isn’t what is needed. He presents measured data, and has an opinion.

      Rush Limbaugh = Bad. Chris Matthews = bad.

      David Appell = _____________

      • The temperature was colder for a short period 15 years ago due to a very strong La Nina, which tends to depress global temperatures for a short period of time. That’s the only reason why the trend in UAH is higher at that point. In other words, he cherry picked his start point and ignored detrending for ENSO. It’s not that he is just ignorant of this. That’s not what it’s about in his head. Appell knows perfectly well that what he is doing is wrong. Keep in mind you are not going to have any rational sort of conversation with him. He perceives himself as some vast genius above the contemptible ‘deniers’ he is here to make fools of. So in his somewhat twisted mind, it’s perfectly OK for him to toss up bogus statistics and cheat. It’s all for the good of the greater cause–which is to save the planet, and he sees himself as a sort of global saviour. I suppose the only thing you can do is call him out on his games. But it doesn’t matter how many times he gets caught. He is back at it the following week here or somewhere else.

        • Kristian says:

          UAH clearly has an issue to resolve in a major (~0.3K) and very conspicuous upward step in the LAND portion of its tlt product occurring around mid 2005, which cannot be observed at all in the tlt OCEAN data:

          https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/uah-ocean.png

          https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/uah-land.png

          As you can see, the land curve is just as flat after as it is before the step in 2005.

          Normally the global land temp curve would follow the global ocean temp curve on a fairly tight leash, if you disregard interannual noise and amplitudes. So why did the global landmass so impressively defy the global ocean in 2005 in particular? And why and how has it managed to stay there – detached and elevated way above – ever since?

          What specifically happended? I wonder if Spencer/Christy have an explanation at hand …

          Did anything similar to what has happened in the Northeast Pacific over the last one-and-a-half years (which is a pretty unique development since the late 70s at least) occur also in mid-2005 somehow? If so, it has completely passed me by. I haven’t heard of anything. Nor seen anything being discussed anywhere about this apparent ‘event’. Might just be me, though …

          So what happened? Roy? Will this question be resolved with your upcoming version 6?

          • Mark Luhman says:

            Perhaps it problem you allude to is land data on represent the 3% of the earth surface we occupy? Ocean data, yes Argo is better than buckets but how much? The only thing that come close to Global is the satellite measurements and the problem with them it we been measuring temperature with them for such a short period of time and it if you believe the thermometer data time period is any better I would suggest the information we have on climate is about as useful at this point and time as the data collected years ago on the rectal temperature of sled dogs that was collected with a government grant years ago. My short answer to the AGW theory is we don’t have the data that will tell us much of anything and that the 21st century debate on it make about as much sense a s the 19th century debate about how many angles can resit on the head of a pin. The only problem is with angel debate cost no one anything but time but today debate is costing people money and lives. Energy proverty kills!

          • I suspect because RSS and UAH track each other fairly closely over time and that both are consistent with independent radiosonde measurements, in other words we have three independent means of cross-checking, those people who want to complain that something must be wrong (not enough warming as promised?) really have an uphill battle.

          • I look at the linked graphs, and I see the land TLT excess beginning at least as far back as 2002, and the excess of land TLT seems to me more like .15 rather than .3 degree K. This would mean the land TLT excess contributed about .045 degree K to overreporting of global UAH TLT warming trend since 2002, or about .035-.038 degree/decade of overreporting of the warming trend since 2002.

  14. Lasse says:

    Aerosols have an impact that is not adressed in this paper.
    Since the 1980 less aerosols in the air have caused solar brightening-and less global dimming at least in some areas.
    Clean air act has been proven successful.
    A lot of the warming might come from this.
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00074.1

  15. Norman says:

    Here is a counter argument to the validity of climate models.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-climate-models-overestimate-warming-unfounded.html

    One huge problem I see with climate models it this drastic range. Roy picked the average of all the models but regardless of what actually happens to global temperatures it looks like some model will predict it. This is not the type of uncertainty one would be comfortable making drastic changes to what is taking place.

    I think the worst thing climate scientists do is attribute AGW to a severe weather event (flood, tornado, drought, snowstorm) AFTER it takes place but NEVER before. This is absolutely NOT science in any way and should be challenged even by the likes of David Appell (a science writer). A theory can make predictions about a future event. The the theory is good at predictions is may become an established science. I think the 97% consensus of climate scientists is that CO2 causes some warming which even Roy Spencer and Anthony Watts agree on. That this will lead to CAGW is what is greatly questioned and is where science fails this group.

    I will start considering that AGW is responsible for severe weather events when the climate scientist running these models start making predictions that come true based upon their inputs in the climate models that are actually good enough mechanisms that really do start predicting severe events that can be attributed to global warming. Hindsight is 20/20 and not scientific!

  16. Chris says:

    Too many minds are already closed – no doubt due to money. It only takes a few minutes to see that the basic premise that the temperature changes in the in the late 20th century are unprecedented is false. This was not so obvious in the year 2000, but now we can see that the cycle in the early 20th century is just being repeated. If CAGW was proposed as as a brand new theory now, I don’t see it getting published.

    If we can’t predict AMO, El Nino, PDO how can we pretend to predict the climate?

  17. Jim says:

    Brilliant post Dr. Spencer. Plenty to ponder.

  18. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks for the recap, Roy. Well written, once again.

    Cheers.

  19. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

    Any comments about what follows?
    Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010
    “… These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance”.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14240.html

  20. PlanetaryPhysicsGroup says:

    Roy

    Contrary to your implications in the above post, radiation from the atmosphere cannot force climate either way.

    All it does is slow that portion of surface cooling which is due to radiation.

    Back radiation does not, and cannot, slow the predominant surface cooling which is not by radiation at all, but by conduction, diffusion, convection, advection, sensible heat transfers (call it what you like) and evaporative cooling. These rates merely accelerate to compensate for slower radiative cooling, which means they nullify the effect of back radiation.

    The whole paradigm is wrong, Roy. The IPCC, K-T, NASA energy diagrams add about 342W/m^2 of back radiation (supposedly transferring thermal energy into the oceans which it does not even penetrate) to 168W/m^2 of solar radiation, and then deduct over 100W/m^2 of sensible heat transfers to get a net figure of 390 fiddled watts per square meter. And what do you know? Their fiddled 324W/m^2 of back radiation is thus just right to use in S-B calculations to get, you guessed it, 288K. /sarc

    How it really works on all planets is explained on http://climate-change-theory.com and in the linked papers.

    While ever you cling to the “science” with which you were indoctrinated (indirectly) by the IPCC and scored your “A” in thermodynamics, Roy, you continue to lack complete understanding of the energy transfer mechanisms which explain all planet and moon temperatures. These are not primarily radiation transfers.

  21. PlanetaryPhysicsGroup says:

    Neither Roy nor any reader can explain how the 350Km high nominal troposphere of Uranus is hotter than Earth’s surface and yet receives no direct solar radiation. Nor is it kept warm by the small solid core (55% the mass of Earth) thousands of kilometers further down. Its temperature comes down to just the right level (59K) at just the right altitude (in the stratosphere) where a methane layer is absorbing and emitting nearly all the solar radiation, and is thus at about the effective radiating temperature of the planet.

    How does the region at the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus “know” to be 320K so that the temperature gradient (aka lapse rate) in the troposphere is very close to the expected quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases? Until you can answer this question (as has been done in a paper linked to our website) you understand nothing at all about the new 21st century paradigm shift in climate science that will shatter the greenhouse conjecture, because truth ultimately reigns in science, and this is truth.

  22. The graphic in this blog post seems to suggest a large divergence between models and observed temperature. However, the graphic is severely flawed methodologically for following reasons:

    The comparison between the models and the observations in the graphic doesn’t put the models on the same footing as the observations. The equivalents of the 5-year running mean of the observations would be the 5-year running means from each individual one of the 90 simulations, but not the ensemble average of all 90 simulations. Ensemble averaging acts like a filter in time. Assuming an ergodic system, the average of 90 ensemble members is the same as an average in time over 90 data points, but not only 5 data points. For a proper comparison, the observed data would have to be compared to the ensemble of the 5-year running averages of all simulations, i.e., the observation need to be compared to the whole distribution. What is done in the graphic instead is like taking the average value from 100 throws with a die and comparing it with the 101th throw. And then conclude that it was a different die because the value of 101th throw differs from the average.

    Another issue is that one needs to adjust for possible differences between the time variability of the forcing in the real world and the one that was used for the model simulations, if one wants to draw conclusions about the models. The climate response simulated with the models doesn’t only depend on the climate sensitivity of the models, it also depends on the strength of the forcing change, which is input. If one doesn’t take this into consideration one can’t conclude anything about the models. Even a perfect model wouldn’t be able to reproduce observed data, if the input is wrong.

    Then there is the issue with the proper alignment between models and observations. It looks like the ensemble average from the model simulations was aligned with an upward wobble of natural variability. This would introduce an artificial warm bias in the ensemble averaged temperature from the models right from the Zero point on.

    • Bart says:

      If your models are so malleable that they can predict anything, then they predict nothing. If the best you’ve got is “the models haven’t been falsified”, then you don’t have very much.

      Basically, what we’ve got is a long term trend, and a ~60 year cyclic phenomenon. These patterns were established well before human forcing could have been significant. Once they are removed from the mix, there is very little left that could be attributed to humans.

      I would be sorry for you fellows, if you hadn’t made such a spectacle of yourselves, and caused such real and tangible pain and suffering in you messianic quest. But, really, the jig is up. It’s time to face the music and admit you were wrong.

      • Brandon Gates says:

        Bart,

        “If your models are so malleable that they can predict anything, then they predict nothing.”

        As opposed to what … a one-trick pony model you buy pre-configured according to some universially obvious design specification?

        “Basically, what we’ve got is a long term trend, and a ~60 year cyclic phenomenon. Once they are removed from the mix, there is very little left that could be attributed to humans.”

        I’d dearly love for you to explain how you can so simply remove the non-anthro portion of the secular trend.

        “I would be sorry for you fellows, if you hadn’t made such a spectacle of yourselves, and caused such real and tangible pain and suffering in you messianic quest.”

        Irony.

        • Bart says:

          As opposed to a model which makes predictions and has them confirmed by observations. Like, say, that the orbit of Mercury will precess 43 arcsec per century, and starlight will bend 1.8 arcsec when grazing the Sun, and hey presto, both are observed.

          A trend which was laid in well before human inputs could have had any effect is not due to humans. A repeating cyclic phenomenon whose pattern was laid in similarly also is not due to humans. This is a simple consequence of causality in a universe in which time flows forward.

    • Unfortunately for all this mumbo jumbo and excuse making, the IPCC AR4 reports stated in writing that around 0.2C per decade of warming was expected and it didn’t happen for the last two decades. So we should be nearly 0.5C warmer by now. Where’s the heat? In AR5 they seem to have learnt their lesson by telling everyone they are even more confident than ever before in what they predicted which didn’t happen, but then were careful not to put down in writing what they predicted per decade moving forward.

      • Will,

        No, what you say is not true. The IPCC AR4 report was published in 2007. No near-term projection was made in the report, according to which the trend would be 0.2 deg. over the most recent two decades by the year 2015, or even 0.2 deg. C every decade. Instead, the actual “near-term” projection was an increase in the globally averaged surface temperature, averaged over the 20 years from 2011 to 2030, by about 0.64 to 0.69 deg. C (for the non-mitigation scenarios) relative to the 20 year average from 1980 to 1999. Thus, to know how much the 2007 report was on target with this projection, if no mitigation is done, we will have to wait for another 15 years (see http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-es-1-mean-temperature.html).

        If you think I am mistaken and you claim otherwise what about you show where exactly in the AR4 reprot it was said what you say was said.

        • Bart says:

          As stated above, if all you’ve got is that there is still wiggle room for the models to be correct, then you don’t have much.

          Everyone pretty much admits now that the “pause” is genuine, and that it is likely that natural processes unmodeled in the GCMs are causing it. It necessarily follows that the accelerated warming in the latter third of the 20th century is very likely natural, too. In fact, the ~60 year cyclic pattern causing both the previous uptick and the current downturn is readily apparent here.

          Take that away, and all that is significantly left is a modest long term trend which has been in existence for over a century, and therefore it is a stretch, to say the least, to attribute that to human activity.

          Combine these facts with the failure of the models to track the events of the past two decades, and one must conclude that the models are fundamentally flawed.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          @Jan “No near-term projection was made in the report [AR4]…”

          Didn’t need one. In AR4 they made the iconic statement that it is 90% likely humans are causing global warming. They had to know in 2007 that the warming trend was flat yet they made that statement with the full knowledge that atmospheric warming was not sensitive to CO2.

          BTW…the statement was made by 50 politically appointed lead authors for the Summary for Policymakers. The Summary was used to override the main report written by 2500 reviewers and their consensus was not the same as that of the 50. Many of the 2500 wanted to wait and see what developed, which would have been smart.

          What has developed is 17 years without a warming trend. We can now claim with a good degree of confidence that atmospheric CO2 has no effect on global warming. That in itself rules out any significant climate change with a global flavour.

          • Gordon Robertson,

            “They had to know in 2007 that the warming trend was flat yet they made that statement with the full knowledge that atmospheric warming was not sensitive to CO2”

            Surface warming trend for the 32 years between start of 1975 and end of 2006 (mean +/-2 sigma; deg.C/decade):

            GISTEMP: 0.189+/-0.051
            NOAA: 0.184+/-0.046
            HadCRUT4: 0.198+/-0.047
            Berkeley: 0.193+/-0.48

            Surface warming trend for the 15 years between start of 1992 and end of 2006 (mean +/- 2 sigma; deg.C/decade):

            GISTEMP: 0.284+/-0.153
            NOAA: 0.259+/-0.144
            HadCRUT4: 0.279+/-0.147
            Berkeley: 0.298+/-0.14

            Are the numbers you see above your “flat” trend up to 2007?

            “What has developed is 17 years without a warming trend.”

            Surface warming trend for the 17 years between start of 1998 and end of 2014 (mean +/- 2 sigma; deg.C/decade):

            GISTEMP: 0.077+/-0.117
            NOAA: 0.056+/-0.110
            HadCRUT4: 0.061+/-0.112
            Berkely: 0.098+/-0.111

            All four data sets show a global surface warming trend. The trends are just not statistically significant at a 95% significance level yet. Where is your “without warming trend”? Lack of statistical significance of a trend doesn’t refute the presence of the trend.

            “We can now claim with a good degree of confidence that atmospheric CO2 has no effect on global warming. That in itself rules out any significant climate change with a global flavour.”

            The climate scientist community doen’t seem to have got your memo. Or they have thrown it in the trash can, because of the lack of logic in your “conclusions”.

          • The 2-sigma for the first Berkeley number is supposed to be 0.048.

          • Kristian says:

            Perlwitz,

            The reason why we can tell it’s not CO2 or any kind of atmospheric “surface radiative forcing” (SRF) causing ‘global warming’ since 2000 is that the global SRF has declined considerably over the period:

            https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/lw-ned.png

            There is no ‘extra’ energy supplied to the global surface of the Earth between 2000 and 2014 that can cause any ‘extra’ warming. In fact, the global surface of the Earth has vastly strengthened its radiative cooling ability since 2000 (by 1.52 W/m2):

            https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/net-lw-flux-all-sky.png

            All the while, solar input to the global surface went up significantly …

            https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/sw-ned.png

            So much for the “enhanced greenhouse effect” as the driver of global temp trends.

  23. Gordon Robertson says:

    @Roy “Global average surface temperature changes (as James Hansen has also stated), can only be due to 3 processes: (1) radiative forcing, (2) radiative feedback, and (3) changes in ocean vertical circulation, all of which can be addressed with a 1D model like ours”.

    As Richard Lindzen claimed in his paper on the GHE, your model is far too simple with regard to radiative processes.

    From my own perspective, there are several problems with your claim. For one, radiative forcing is a term borrowed from climate model theory, which using differential equation theory. A forcing is a mathematical function applied to a differential equation. There is no such thing in physics as electromagnetic energy acting as a force. Nor gases like CO2 in the manner implied.

    For another, there is not enough CO2 in the atmosphere to supply an effective feedback radiation to which you refer. As the IPCC admits, anthropogenic CO2 is a mere fraction (~4%) of natural CO2 based on a density of 390 ppmv, and all CO2 accounts for about 0.04% of atmospheric gases.

    For another, IR from the surface warms the atmosphere and no one seems to have noticed how much so-called GHGs are warmed by incoming solar IR. Therefore, claiming radiative effects are a primary driver of surface temperature is nothing more than a fanciful theory.

    You have argued against the basic tenet of the 2nd law of thermodynamics that heat can only be transferred from a warmer body to a cooler body without compensation. You have agreed with alarmists who have claimed that the net energy flow of IR between bodies compensates for the 2nd law provided the net is positive.

    Absolute nonsense. IR and heat are not one and the same and you cannot calculate net heat transfer using net IR flow. IR can flow freely between bodies but only the IR from the warmer body to the cooler body can be involved in heat transfer.

    As much as I love you as a skeptic, Roy, you are seriously out of touch with thermodynamics and the 2nd law in particular. Nothing has changed since the days of Clausius circa 1850, heat can NOT be transferred from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface via infrared radiation.Ergo, no positive feedback leading to surface heating.

    I think you are thinking way too small Roy. Whereas I agree with you on the effect of the oceans you seem to be discounting the 99% of atmospheric gases made up of nitrogen and oxygen and focusing on the effect of 1% of gases that have the ability to absorb IR into their covalent bonds.

    N2 and O2 are responsible for receiving surface heat directly by conduction then moving it about through convection. Radiation is a minor player in the process, as claimed by Lindzen.

    • Bart says:

      When AGW comes crashing down, we will have craziness like this to contend with. And, they’ll be able to say to more learned folk, “What do you know? You swore AGW was upon us.”

      That’s the source of some of my greatest anger toward “climate science”. They borrowed their credibility from the account of science in general, and they’ve overdrawn it. We will all suffer for it.

      • AGW won’t come crashing down. Everyone will become bored with it over time, and move onto some other ‘hot’ topic. But the usual suspects will still be screaming about the climate apocalypse. They will just become a bit of an embarrassment and won’t be invited to the usual conferences. Certainly, they won’t make the talk show circuits any more.

        • threepwood says:

          Wishful thinking I fear

          Bad weather being caused by our bad behaviour is the oldest superstition known to mankind. Scary omens from dances or computer Sims, little has changed, every observation still supports the theory, sacrifice still the best ‘cure’

        • Bart says:

          That is the usual pattern. This time, however, they have gone so far overboard that I think they have surmounted the static friction, and the wagon is now free to roll off the cliff.

  24. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

    Nobody dare say something, please CONCRETE ARGUMENTS, ABOUT what I linked a couple of days ago?. It´s a thorough study by an actual group of physicists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Department of Earth and Planetary Science and Energy and Resources Group (both U. of California-Berkeley), Space Science and Engineering Center (U. of Wisconsin-Madison), Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Lexington (Massachusetts) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Fundamental and Computational Sciences, Richland (Washington):

    “Here we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing that is directly attributable to the increase, between 2000 and 2010, of 22 parts per million atmospheric CO2. The time series of this forcing at the two locations—the Southern Great Plains and the North Slope of Alaska—are derived from Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer spectra3 together with ancillary measurements and thoroughly corroborated radiative transfer calculations4. The time series both show statistically significant trends of 0.2 W m−2 per decade (with respective uncertainties of ±0.06 W m−2 per decade and ±0.07 W m−2 per decade) and have seasonal ranges of 0.1–0.2 W m−2. This is approximately ten per cent of the trend in downwelling longwave radiation5, 6, 7. These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance”.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14240.html

    • Physicist says:

      Yep. They are finding that the known increase in carbon dioxide leads to more radiation coming from carbon dioxide. Surprise, surprise.

      Is there anything else (equally as irrelevant) that they have proved?

      For my part, I’m only interested in effects on climate, so there should be a 0.0001 degree cooling effect it would seem based on this.

    • jerry l krause says:

      Hi Rafael,
      Nobody dare say something, please CONCRETE ARGUMENTS, ABOUT what I linked a couple of days ago?.

      It took me a moment to see the question mark. Very well stated. Very smart move to move on to a posting where your previous comment would be more likely seen and responded to. Yesterday, I went on a daytrip (5 AM to 11 PM) with my wife, daughter and grandson, so I did not check if you had responded to my latest comments. And I was disappointed to find you had not. So, purely to see who was responding to what might be considered an appropriate topic of the claimed purpose of Roy’s website and to see what their comments might be, I started scanning the comments and discovered yours.

      As I reread my latest comments I discovered I had done a very bad job of proofreading and given time to reflect upon its content am sure I can do better. For your reference to ‘Empirical Minds’ has really focused my thoughts. And evidently yours.

      So I have to compose a better (and shorter, I hope) response for you to consider.

      Have a good day, Jerry

  25. Norman says:

    Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid

    What I am trying to determine is how does it compare to this.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bb/Radiative-forcings.svg/600px-Radiative-forcings.svg.png

    The claim is CO2 forcing would be over 1.5 watts/meter but it is only 0.2 watts/meter per decade. Does this mean the sensitivity of doubling carbon dioxide has been too high? Or am I thinking incorrectly here. Thanks.

    • Physicist says:

      All the carbon dioxide (and all the greenhouse gas called water vapor) can do is cause the mean surface temperature to be lower, as explained here.

      • Norman says:

        Doug

        I thought your were done with with replies to my or Curt’s posts so why are you responding? Your physics is wrong. you understand very little, and add nothing to scientific thought. You are actually bad for science because you mesh crap which is not true at all and get a few untrained people to accept what you peddle.

        I looked at your reply to Stephen Wilde
        You state: “If the process is adiabatic, then the air is just as likely to go up as down or sideways for that matter, or in all directions as molecules bounce around at about 1,800 kilometers per second.”

        Really?? 1800 kilometers/sec?? That is like an Al Gore with his millions of degree temp for Earth’s core?

        You do not understand how parcels work. You do not understand why cold and warm air do not mix on large scales and create weather.

        You have no clue how radiation works. You cobble some Wikepdia articles together and act like you studied physics. Curt studied REAL physics at a real university. You look at some things on the internet and consider yourself some self proclaimed genius with only two people in the world that see what you see. Maybe only two people see it instead of millions of people that understand physics is because you are so wrong and incorrect on so many things that no one is able to follow your twisted distorted logic. Curt put up a very admirable attempt but you gonged him.

  26. Doug   Cotton says:

    I write as a world expert on the thermodynamics of planetary tropospheres. A bold claim? Not when you consider that, after years of research into the climate issue, and the application of correct physics, I appear to be one of only two such climate researchers in the world to have realized where the required energy comes from to support planetary surface temperatures. For example, the surface of Venus receives only about 10% as much solar radiation as Earth, yet that surface is maintained with a supply of thermal energy at temperatures around 460°C. In fact, the temperature of a fixed location on the equator rises by about 5 degrees during four months of sunlight. This is not due to any radiation absorbed by that surface.

    Carbon dioxide and water vapor cool Earth’s surface and empirical evidence in my published study proves such for water vapor, thus demolishing the greenhouse conjecture. The IPCC in effect claims water vapor warms by about 15 degrees for each 1% in the atmosphere, This would mean rain forests (with 4% WV) should be 45 degrees hotter than dry deserts with 1% WV.

    I have spoken to a meeting of the “Climate Realists of Five Dock” in Sydney last week wherein they realized that the physics I present is correct, and all radiative forcing paradigms are not.

    So please read http://climate-change-theory.com (as about 800 per week are doing) and my papers linked therein. I am happy to answer any questions and be involved in any discussion with any key scientists, especially those with an understanding of thermodynamics.

  27. Ulric Lyons says:

    “Global average surface temperature changes (as James Hansen has also stated), can only be due to 3 processes: (1) radiative forcing, (2) radiative feedback, and (3) changes in ocean vertical circulation,”

    Rates of poleward ocean transport cause large changes in the global mean surface temperature.

  28. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

    PHYSICIST says (March 4, 2015 at 5:23 AM):
    “They are finding that the known increase in carbon dioxide leads to more radiation coming from carbon dioxide. Surprise, surprise …
    … For my part, I’m only interested in effects on climate …”
    IT´S CLEAR you have not even read the first page of the study of your colleagues !!
    One can read there:
    “Specialized atmospheric observations at experimental sites in the
    mid-latitude continental Southern Great Plains (SGP) and the Arctic
    marine North Slope of Alaska (NSA) sites by the US Department of
    Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) programme17
    produce the integrated data sets required for an independent diagnosis
    of the surface radiative effects of CO2.We used spectroscopic measurements
    from the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI)
    instrument and atmospheric state data at these two sites to test whether
    the impact of rising CO2 on downwelling longwave radiation can be
    rigorously detected. By basing this analysis on sets of independent measurements
    at high temporal frequency over long duration, WE EMPIRICALLY
    ESTABLISHED HOW ANTHROPOGENIC EMISSIONS, mediated by variations
    in photosynthetic activity and respiration, ARE ALTERING THE EARTH´S SURFACE
    ENERGY BALANCE.
    However, AERI spectral measurements and trends are sensitive to
    many different components of the atmospheric state. To interpret these
    measurements and attribute specific signals to rising CO2 requires …”
    Does your theory also say that “altering the Earth´s surface energy balance” cannot have any effect on climate?
    If you ignore that way a Nature published study of colleagues of you, how can you expect others to take your theories seriosly?

    • Kristian says:

      I have commented on the study in question here.

    • Bart says:

      “…WE EMPIRICALLY ESTABLISHED HOW ANTHROPOGENIC EMISSIONS, mediated by variations in photosynthetic activity and respiration, ARE ALTERING THE EARTH´S SURFACE ENERGY BALANCE.”

      This is not rigorously true. What has been established is not a change in toto, but in a particular component. To establish an net increase in energy retention at the surface, you would, at the very least, need to establish that convective transport of heat away from the surface has decreased, stayed the same, or increased only up to the level of increase of radiative forcing.

      You would also have to establish that net cloud cover in response had decreased, stayed the same, or increased only up to the level of increase of radiative forcing.

      Additionally, the increased radiative input is not trapped. An incremental increase in surface temperature shifts the spectrum of radiation from the surface, possibly producing greater flux which bypasses the window of IR gases.

      There may be other mechanisms which also would have to be quantified – these are just off the top of my head. In the aggregate, sensitivity to this increased downflux could be quite negligible. There are reasons to expect, in fact, that this must be the case in the present climate state, but I do not want to get bogged down in that particular discussion right now.

      This is a very complicated system. The standard AGW plaint that this is standard physics established since the 19th century is far too simplistic. There is no actual requirement that increased IR gases must produce an increase in surface temperature in all climate states. And, so far, there is no compelling evidence that CO2, in particular, does.

      • Bart says:

        PS: I am not part of the clown posse which disbelieves in the “greenhouse effect” entirely. The sentiments expressed above by the likes of e.g., Doug Cotton, in any of his guises, I find abhorrent. There is a readily observable divot in the outgoing radiative spectrum of the Earth. The lack of outgoing radiation in that range means that surface temperatures must be hotter than they otherwise would be in order to reach equilibrium with solar forcing. Of this, there can be no question among serious minded folk.

        However, the fact that the contribution of IR gases to surface temperature must be positive does not establish that the relationship is monotonic. What matters for us in the AGW debate is whether, in the present climate state, an incremental increase in CO2 necessarily leads to an incremental increase in surface temperature.

        It has not, in fact, been established conclusively that the alteration in radiative patterns induced by increasing IR gases in the atmosphere must irresistibly lead to significant surface warming in all climate states. There are, IMO, too many links along that chain which have not been confirmed, and about which too much has been assumed. The fact that the Earth has failed to warm as projected indicates to me that some number of those assumptions were incorrect.

        • Kristian says:

          Bart says, March 5, 2015 at 12:38 PM:

          “PS: I am not part of the clown posse which disbelieves in the “greenhouse effect” entirely.”

          Bart, there is clearly an ‘atmospheric effect’, that is, the atmosphere sure insulates Earth’s solar-heated surface and forces it to reach its dynamic equilibrium between heat in and heat out at a much higher mean temperature than the Moon. But this effect is not a radiative effect. It is a ‘massive’ effect. The atmosphere has a ‘heat capacity’ (it is able to warm; space isn’t) and a ‘weight’ (it exerts a pressure on the surface and makes the moving air ‘heavy’; space doesn’t). Radiation is simply a mechanism to bring heat into and out of the system. It is the internal inertia that sets the internal temperatures.

          “There is a readily observable divot in the outgoing radiative spectrum of the Earth. The lack of outgoing radiation in that range means that surface temperatures must be hotter than they otherwise would be in order to reach equilibrium with solar forcing. Of this, there can be no question among serious minded folk.”

          There is no ‘lack’ of outgoing radiation in those divots, Bart. The Earth system as a whole simply doesn’t radiate as a one-surface blackbody. It radiates from a 3D volume, from many different temperatures, from the solid/liquid surface at the bottom to the ToA at the top and from all gassy layers in between. No energy is ‘missing’ anywhere. It is moved internally, from the heating end to the cooling end by convection/advection. This process is what causes delays. The energy stored in and moved through the atmospheric mass. Sun heating, convection/advection moving and the IR-active gases/substances cooling.

          • Kristian says:

            PS: Yes, I am one of those unfaithful ‘clowns’ 🙂 A true infidel!

          • Bart says:

            “The Earth system as a whole simply doesn’t radiate as a one-surface blackbody.”

            I am not sure where my reference is, but as you descend toward the surface, the divot disappears.

          • Kristian says:

            Bart,

            You (and all ‘believers’ in the imaginary rGHE) seem to interpret Earth’s emission spectrum to space as if it were somehow an absorption spectrum. If you just stop and think for a moment, you will quickly recognise this as what it is: a simple misunderstanding. But you don’t think. You choose not to think when it comes to the particular topic of the rGHE. Then all of a sudden it’s pure dogma. You listen. And swallow everything you’re being served. Uncritically. I’m sorry, but this is herd mentality, Bart. No more, no less.

            The emission spectrum from Earth to space, received and recorded by the satellites, is NOT the blackbody emission flux from the 288K surface MINUS what the atmosphere in between has absorbed. You have got to understand this. It’s key.

            I realise you think (because that’s what you’ve been told) that since the surface of the Earth is at 288K on average, it by necessity puts out an average radiative flux of 390 W/m2 and since only 240 W/m2 of this ever reaches space, then 150 W/m2 is somehow ‘lost’ or ‘trapped’ on the way through the atmosphere. That’s your ‘divots’, isn’t it, Bart?

            But the surface of the Earth is NOT in a purely radiative situation. It does NOT lose all its energy by way of radiation directly to a vacuum at 0 K. The solar-heated surface is first and foremost convectively coupled with the massive (and warm) atmosphere resting on top of it.

            You have enough of scepticism in you, Bart, to discard the silly idea of a ‘radiative greenhouse effect’ altogether, but it’s a comfortable thing to cling to, I know, I did it too for a long time, during which I never bothered to question it at all. I was simply sure it was correct. I trusted, but didn’t verify. It sounds plausible, after all.

            But once I finally started actually looking into it, to see what solid evidence I could find, I soon realised … there is no evidence to be found. A complete lack of actual, empirical/observational support. A chimaera. Nothing but a loose set of hypothetical ideas. There is no real science in there. Only assertions based on conjectures. A grand circular argument.

            – – –

            This:

            https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/fig1.png

            is not the absorption spectrum of the atmosphere on the background blackbody spectrum of the surface of the Earth. I understand one can easily be confused into thinking it is, seeing how the ‘Climate Establishment’ is always careful at putting up such a smooth background blackbody curve for comparison. That’s what it should’ve looked like, sort of.

            But a blackbody curve from a 2D solid surface can never compare to an emission curve from a 3D gaseous volume. There is no real connection, no real analog.

            The curve you see is the final EMISSION spectrum of the Earth system as a whole to space, with contributions of different sizes from the surface all the way up to the ToA.

            Only 20-40 W/m2 escape directly through the atmosphere from the solid surface to space. The rest is emitted by the atmosphere itself.

            The point is this, Bart, the atmosphere absorbs all the energy the surface can give it, not just the radiative part. In addition, it also absorbs a substantial part of the incoming energy from the Sun.

            340 W/m2 comes in from the Sun on average through the ToA. About 100 W/m2 is reflected straight back out by Earth’s global albedo (the atmosphere contributing three quarters of it).

            So 240 W/m2 is absorbed by the Earth system as a whole. This is the entire dynamic input of energy that the Earth system has at its disposal at any particular time. This is the input that must be matched by an equal output to space. For the Earth system to maintain its dynamic equilibrium.

            75 W/m2 (almost a third) of the actually entering solar flux is absorbed by the atmosphere on the way down towards the surface, so the surface in the end only gets to absorb the final 165 W/m2.

            165 W/m2, then, is what the global mean surface of the Earth needs to rid itself of. The Earth system as a whole needs to expel 240 W/m2, but the surface only 165 W/m2. Every subsystem simply needs to balance ITS heat input with ITS heat output. Across a certain cycle. Otherwise you get warming or cooling of the subsystem, out of balance with all the other ones …

            The surface does manage fine, at 288K, to shed its 165 W/m2. It does so through the heat transfer mechanisms of 1) evaporation (88 W/m2), 2) conduction (24 W/m2), and 3) LW radiation (53 W/m2). Of the radiative heat flux, 33 W/m2 are absorbed by the atmosphere, 20 W/m2 go directly to space through the atmospheric window. (Actually, I think it’s considerably more. K&T97 claimed 40 W/m2. I think that guess is much closer to reality. The 20 W/m2 figure, like all the figures I use here, is from ‘Stephens et al. 2012’.)

            In other words, the atmosphere absorbs a total heat flux of [88+24+33=] 145 W/m2 from the surface. It already absorbed the 75 W/m2 from the Sun on the way down, so all in all its total dynamic HEAT IN is [145+75=] 220 W/m2.

            The atmosphere thus needs to get rid of 220 W/m2. And there is only one direction in which it can do so – towards space, its ultimate heat sink. And it can only do it through ONE mechanism: by way of radiation.

            So, at any one time, the atmosphere absorbs a total heat flux of 220 W/m2. Of these 220 W/m2, 112 (51%) is transferred via evaporation/conduction from the surface, 33 (15%) is transferred via (LW) radiation from the surface, and 75 (34%) is transferred via (SW) radiation from the Sun.

            20 W/m2 go straight through from the surface. So in total, space receives an emission flux of [220+20=] 240 W/m2 from the Earth. Exactly what it’s supposed to receive.

            – – –

            You can basically split up the emission spectrum above like this:

            https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/fig2.png

            The central (brown) trunk is emitted partly by the solid/liquid surface and partly by clouds (the only real blackbody surfaces in the Earth system, and thus the only parts capable of radiating through the atmospheric window in any meaningful way).

            The narrow golden segment between the two thick brown columns is the ozone-emitted part of the flux, from the stratosphere, a rather small part of the whole (some of it is perhaps emitted by clouds). (Note, the coloured areas underneath the top red, uneven curve adds up to the total size of the flux (in W/m2), the total amount of energy carried away.)

            About 11-12% (or thereabouts) of the Earth’s total flux is seemingly emitted to space by CO2 (green column; some of what you see is very likely emitted rather by H2O (WV and clouds), though).

            The rest is basically H2O. All in all, about 80% of Earth’s total emission flux to space is emitted by atmospheric water in all its forms. (Less if the sfc flux through the atm window is 40 W/m2 rather than 20, of course. Then maybe around 70%.)

            – – –

            The total/final emission curve from Earth to space seems to fit neatly into the general outline of the blackbody curve of a 288K object, peak wavelength 10μm, so appears to be some kind of half-eaten version of it.

            But ALL blackbody curves from objects at that temperature or lower will fit into it. Again it’s the hypothetical, smoothly drawn blue BB curve that manages to fool your eyes into thinking they see something they don’t.

            The emission curve seen is rather the composite of hundreds and thousands of overlain blackbody curves. There is no ONE blackbody curve fitting for this flux, for there is no ONE blackbody surface at ONE blackbody emission temperature emitting it. Simple as that. The total flux is emitted piecemeal by layers spanning all the way in temperature from 195-200K to 288K.

            The only part of the actual flux here that coincide (partly) with the peak of the 288K blue outer curve is the one coming directly from the solid/liquid surface that is NOT absorbed by the atmosphere on its way out to space. This makes up part (maybe about half, the upper one) of the two central brown trunks. The rest of these (the other, lower half) is emitted by clouds at lower temperatures (lying along blackbody curves suppressed and with their peaks progressively moved to the right, compared to the 288K one).

  29. Norman says:

    Kristian,

    I like reading your material it is interesting. I am not at the state yet of full support of your ideas but I am learing them slowly.

    Question for you. What is your understanding of the cause of the recently observed warming of the globe (if you trust the readings)? Are you like Roy Spencer and attribute most to changes in cloud cover and albedo effects?

    • Kristian says:

      Hi Norman,

      That depends on what you mean by ‘recent’.

      If you mean ‘since 1997/98’, I can’t see there’s been any global warming at all, outside that caused by the surreal (and very regional) peak in SSTs of the NE Pacific occurring towards the very end of the period. I feel it’s still too early to say how that situation will turn out … But it is indeed intriguing.

      You can read about my take on this whole situation (you know, the “pause” and all) on my blog:

      https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/what-of-the-pause/

      If, however, you mean ‘since the 70s’, the scope widens. Again, though, the answer is to be found in the Pacific:

      https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/modern-global-warming-in-three-steps-the-fairly-short-version/

      • jerry l krause says:

        Hi Kristian,

        You have done quite detailed analysis of the earth-atmosphere radiation balance system and this analysis certainly is a step in the right direction.

        But your summary statement: “The emission curve seen is rather the composite of hundreds and thousands of overlain blackbody curves. There is no ONE blackbody curve fitting for this flux, for there is no ONE blackbody surface at ONE blackbody emission temperature emitting it. Simple as that. The total flux is emitted piecemeal by layers spanning all the way in temperature from 195-200K to 288K.” is almost the truth. It is not the truth because the temperature of the earth’s surface at various times and locations often exceeds 288K. Even the temperature of the Pacific Ocean at the equator is always nearer 300K then it is to 288K and temperatures of certain land surfaces during certain seasons can exceed 300K regularly.

        But the truth that your summary recognizes is that the earth-atmosphere is a very heterogeneous system and not a homogeneous system. What you and most others do not recognize is that when you begin to average anything (as your analysis does from time to time), you immediately change a heterogeneous system into a homogeneous system which does not exist. One could ask: How can we deal with this very heterogeneous system with simplifying by averaging? Consider the following.

        Norman asked: “Are you like Roy Spencer and attribute most to changes in cloud cover and albedo effects?” In your analysis you referred to various effects (influences) that clouds might have in the radiation balance system. Before going further I need to establish that the fundamental focus your and our consideration of this radiation balance system is the temperature observed a little (maybe between 1.5m and 2m) above the earth’s surface (be it solid or liquid). I am sure we can agree that the major factor influencing this temperature is the solar radiation and its absence. And, it seems I agree with Roy that the second major factor are the heterogeneous clouds in a heterogeneous atmosphere. And may I say that the atmosphere is mainly heterogeneous because the concentration of water vapor can be quite variable.

        So to clearly observe the extreme differences which I have observed that exist between clear skies and overcast skies, I need to observe the actual temperatures which a routinely observed hourly at many locations, during day when one of these two conditions exists for at least a 24 hour period. This so I can see what the difference between these two conditions might be. No, I am totally uninterested in what the average diurnal temperatures of these days might be. I not only want to see what the high and low temperatures might be; I want to see how rapidly the temperatures might increase when they are increasing and had rapidly they might decrease when they are decreasing, and how long the temperatures might not change when they are not changing. It is only by observing, not calculating, these possible differences between clear skies and overcast skies that I can observe the extreme influence that clouds can have upon the observed temperature, which is the sole focus of our study.

        Of course, I have to observe enough temperatures during clear skies and during overcast skies to become aware if there are other factors which might influence clear sky temperatures, etc. etc..

        Hopefully, you can see the need to begin such an observation program, which is already being done but it seems few are interested in the investing time and effort to review the data that is available.

        Have a good day, Jerry

  30. Norman says:

    Kristian,

    I was reading through your explanation of why the globe is warming. Step ups from energy released during El Nino cycles. The energy release could explain a short term warming but it does not seem to explain why the temperature remains elevated. The temperature is derived from energy in minus energy out. If the two are balanced the temperature is stable and does not move.

    The energy released from warm ocean water will then warm the Earth’s surface but why does it stay elevated? Since the surface is now warmer it will radiate more energy away but the temperature is not dropping. Something must either be restricting the outflow of the increased radiative energy flux (because of warmer surface) or allowing more radiation in.

    In Roy Spencer’s global temperature graphs, after 1998 the Earth will be radiating more energy from its surface. If conditions were the same as before 1998 then the higher radiant loss would cool the Earth back to the pre-1998 level. This is not happening so some new radiative balance must be in play to sustain the higher surface temperature.

    • Kristian says:

      Norman,

      “If conditions were the same as before 1998 then the higher radiant loss would cool the Earth back to the pre-1998 level. This is not happening so some new radiative balance must be in play to sustain the higher surface temperature.”

      That’s the whole point. Conditions were not the same before and after 1998, nor before and after 1988, nor before and after 1976/77. The Pacific climate state changed in all those cases.

      ENSO is not itself an energy generator. Only the Sun is. But the ENSO phenomenon as a whole (a large-scale coupling between oceanic and atmospheric processes) to a large extent determines both how much energy the Earth system will take in and how much it puts out. It does so through affecting cloud cover distribution, pressure systems/winds, thermoclines/ocean stratification, convection in the Hadley-Walker cells and atmospheric teleconnections to the extratropics.

      You should read some of what Bob Tisdale has written on the subject.

      The ocean is an active player in the climatic evolution of Earth, not just a passive receiver of the Sun’s energy. It can hold energy back (net storage) and push it out (net release). Depending on its state.

  31. Norman says:

    Kristian,

    I have read Bob Tisdale’s ideas. Interesting material. I am not convinced that IR absorption and emission by water vapor and carbon dioxide are not players in the global energy budget. There are intelligent people on that side with good theories. The sun provides the energy but the only way out is by radiation. If something limits how rapidly the radiation leaves and the incoming is the same you get warming effect. I keep an open mind and like to look at things from all angles. This area needs far more science and less emotion and hype. Like you have stated empirical experimentation and not thought experiments and models are what are needed.

    • Kristian says:

      Norman,

      Of course radiation plays a role in the global energy budget. As input and output. Input by the Sun, output by the IR-active constituents of the atmosphere (and the solid surface).

      But it is not the radiation that causes delays. It is the movement of bulk air from heating end to cooling end. Inside the system. Through the insulating layer. The atmosphere insulates the solar-heated surface by 1) weighing down on it, making the (convective) escape of energy harder, and by 2) being warm, also making the (convective) escape of energy harder. That is, it insulates through by its mass …

      The radiation budget only balances at the ToA. Not at the surface. The total heat budget balances at the surface, but not the strict radiation budget. Because the surface is not in a purely radiative situation. It is not a pure emitter.

      There is no necessary temperature connection from an imbalance at the ToA and down to the surface, as the ‘Climate Establishment’ wants us to believe. Because the ToA ‘surface’ borders the vacuum of space, while the real surface abuts the massive atmosphere resting on top of it. There’s a completely different set of mechanisms and processes at work.

      – – –

      What you seem to be forgetting, Norman, is that the whole thing about energy IN vs. energy OUT setting the system temperature would only be the case if the system mass density and specific heat capacity were uniform throughout. The ToA radiation balance (which we don’t know) does determine the total energy content of the Earth system as a whole. But there is no way we can deduce the temperature of a particular subsystem, like the surface, simply from knowing this quantity. Because the energy moves around, from subsystem to subsystem, by internal processes.

      If any internal process keeps relatively much energy down in the ocean and relatively little energy on the surface, this will cool the surface and warm the ocean. Without necessarily changing the total energy content of the Earth system as a whole.

      But in doing so, the surface would cool much more than the ocean would warm. I’m sure you understand why.

      Likewise, any internal process that moves relatively more energy from the tropics out to/towards the poles would lead to ‘global warming’, without necessarily increasing the total energy content of the Earth system as a whole.

      ‘Temperature’ is an intensive property, ‘energy content’ an extensive property.

  32. Norman says:

    Kristian I do like your posts. Intelligent and thoughtful.

    I would still like empirical information on radiation. I have an idea how an experiment could be run to test the outward flow of radiation. You create thermos type systems but layer them and only partially mirror each layer (50% mirror) so 50% of the radiation will get though each layer and the other 50% will reflect back into the hot fluid. I would like to see if a number of these type of layers will actually greatly slow the cooling of the liquid and by how much. This is the type of science I like the most, verification

    I do think there are very intelligent and even honest people on the AGW side who accept it as a valid theory.

    Here is a link to one. I can’t follow all the math but the general idea is that IR radiation will not be able to leave the atmosphere until the air gets thin enough to let it escape.

    http://www.stat.physik.uni-potsdam.de/~pikovsky/teaching/stud_seminar/Model_CO2.pdf

    As long as the energy is not leaving the Earth system it will in some way contribute to warming. It can warm the air more than it would be, it can make it back to the surface.

    So many continue to complain that the GHE violates the second law . I do not think this is the case for radiation moving back to the source. It is not heating anything it is just preventing the radiation from leaving. I already brought this idea up to another poster. What if you put a timed heater in a thermos. It loses very little heat (can stay near temperature for hours), the liquid would keep getting hotter during the warming cycles. The sun puts the energy into the system but if it can’t leave each day the system will get hotter (more joules added fewer removed).

    A thermos is a real system that works and it it works by reflecting IR from the source back into the source.

    Carbon Dioxide does not have to be warm to absorb or emit IR. It is based upon its bonding not its thermal velocity. It does not emit like a solid substance (black body curve based upon temperature). It will emit if it is warm but it can also absorb and emit when it is cold. If the right energy hits the bond it will absorb and then shortly after emit so it acts a lot like a mirror in that it does not have to warm to absorb and re-emit. It just acts like an energy re-director. The energy is moving one way and after encountering carbon dioxide it now moves in all directions in an energy fog smeared out with no direct source.

    I may be wrong on this but the theory is not all bad. I am still trying to figure out on my own how long IR radiation remains in the atmosphere before it leaves forever.

    • Doug  Cotton says:

      Norman wrote: “The energy is moving one way and after encountering carbon dioxide it now moves in all directions”

      Every one way pencil of radiation can only ever transfer thermal energy from a hotter source to a cooler target. The explanation of the physical process involved and the associated resonance was in my peer-reviewed March 2012 paper on radiated energy which is linked from the “Evidence” page at http://climate-change-theory.com

      • Norman says:

        No Doug,

        “Every one way pencil of radiation can only ever transfer thermal energy from a hotter source to a cooler target.” This is incorrect. We have a real world example of your poor thinking. Mirrors. A really good mirror can send nearly all the radiation from a hotter source (much hotter than the mirror itself) back to this source. Thermos bottles already do this. A curved mirror can actually increase the temperature on a smaller area of the emitting surface by concentrating the energy to a smaller area. The cold mirror can increase the temperature of the much warmer emitting surface. So you are not correct in your understanding.

    • Kristian says:

      Norman, I will have to split up my reply to you. It’s quite long. Hope you’ll find the time to read both parts of it.

      Here goes …

      – – –

      Norman says, March 8, 2015 at 9:26 PM:

      “I would still like empirical information on radiation. I have an idea how an experiment could be run to test the outward flow of radiation. You create thermos type systems but layer them and only partially mirror each layer (50% mirror) so 50% of the radiation will get though each layer and the other 50% will reflect back into the hot fluid. I would like to see if a number of these type of layers will actually greatly slow the cooling of the liquid and by how much. This is the type of science I like the most, verification

      I do think there are very intelligent and even honest people on the AGW side who accept it as a valid theory.”

      Radiative insulation works fine, just like any other kind of insulation. There’s no mystery there. You can read about my approach to this subject on my blog, if you care to:

      https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/to-heat-a-planetary-surface-for-dummies-part-2/

      “I can’t follow all the math but the general idea is that IR radiation will not be able to leave the atmosphere until the air gets thin enough to let it escape.

      http://www.stat.physik.uni-potsdam.de/~pikovsky/teaching/stud_seminar/Model_CO2.pdf

      As long as the energy is not leaving the Earth system it will in some way contribute to warming. It can warm the air more than it would be, it can make it back to the surface.”

      This, however, is nonsense. The paper uses the same argument as Bart does, a bit higher up on this very thread, that Earth’s emission spectrum to space is somehow rather the atmospheric absorption spectrum on the background blackbody spectrum of the solid/liquid surface.

      The idea is that the height from which Earth’s radiation is ‘able to’ escape the system into space somehow sets the temperature of the surface of the Earth, through the lapse rate working downwards from this altitude.

      But there is no connection whatsoever.

      I think you might appreciate this short paper by Robinson & Catling (2013-14) called “Common 0.1 bar tropopause in thick atmospheres set by pressure-dependent infrared transparency”.
      http://faculty.washington.edu/dcatling/Robinson2014_0.1bar_Tropopause.pdf

      It argues quite similarly to the condensed version of your linked paper above, that the IR opacity of an atmosphere determines the level from which the terrestrial radiation will finally escape freely to space. The air simply needs to be ‘thin’ enough (the pressure sufficiently low) for any further obstruction to become negligible.

      The IR opacity of a (relatively thick) atmosphere, Robinson and Catling argues, will simply set the ‘tropopause height’ of that atmosphere. Above any tropopause (convection top), radiation finally rules the roost as far as heat transfer mechanisms are concerned; there’s basically none left to contend with.

      I have no problem with this concept.

      What I do have a problem with, is the notion that this radiative check on tropopause height somehow sets the planetary surface temperature by somehow setting the planetary tropopause temperature through some kind of tropopause energy balance.

      And the Earth system appears to have a problem with this notion as well, as simple real-world observations will tell you.

      The mean global tropopause temperature on Earth is about 210K (220K at mid latitudes, 200K or even lower in the tropics). The mean global tropopause height is about 12 km (0.2 bar), 9-11 km (or even lower in winter) at high and mid-latitudes, 15-17 km in the tropics. (Note how Robinson and Catling’s 0.1 bar tropopause on Earth is only realised in the tropics (the Hadley cells); further out, the tropopause is to be found considerably lower, at the 0.2-0.3 bar level (or even lower in winter); this has all to do with differences in convective power.)

      So the mean global tropopause temperature on Earth is 210K. According to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, if the tropopause were in fact a solid-surface blackbody at this temperature, it would radiate a flux of 110 W/m2 into space. We, however, know that the real average flux emitted through the tropopause to space is about twice this (presuming that some of the entering solar flux (240 W/m2) is absorbed in and emitted back out already from the stratosphere, above the tropopause, mainly by ozone).

      There is no connection whatsoever between the physical temperature of any ONE layer of air (or solid/liquid surface) in the Earth system and the radiative flux that moves from this layer to space. Moving up the air column, the temp goes progressively down, but the flux keeps growing. This is because Earth’s final/total flux to space accumulates as it moves up from the actual surface at the bottom to the ToA at the top. All layers on the way make contributions to the final radiative flux to space. But ONLY at the ToA it has reached its full intensity of 240 W/m2 to balance the incoming flux from the Sun, which is also only at its full strength at the ToA.

      – – –

      Think about this, Norman: For the “elevated ‘effective radiating level’ (ERL)” explanation of the rGHE to work, you need to postulate the existence of a second blackbody surface additional to the real surface, and this second blackbody surface needs to represent the ‘atmospheric average’. This ‘atmospheric’ blackbody surface needs to hold a mean temperature of 255K and emit Earth’s entire radiative flux to space all by itself. Such a surface would be located 5.1 km up from the real surface, and the temperature difference between the two surfaces would be 33K, courtesy of the convective lapse rate.

      You can of course object and claim that this is but a simplified (one-layer) model of the real situation. True, but the basic premise, the fundamental assumption, remains: The Earth’s total average radiative flux to space (240 W/m2) could not be emitted from a blackbody at 288K. It would have to be emitted rather from a blackbody at 255K. And this is made possible by the atmosphere being cooler than the surface; apparently – on average – 33K cooler. In other words, the atmosphere is essentially assumed to be the 255K blackbody surface.

      It is this a priori assumption of a direct connection between a certain temperature inside the Earth system and the total flux emitted to space by the Earth system as a whole that reeks of failed logic. For it expects a dynamic 3D gaseous volume to radiate to its surroundings as if it were a solid 2D blackbody surface.

      The Earth system as a whole emits 240 W/m2 to space simply because it absorbs 240 W/m2 from the Sun. And that’s it. It doesn’t have anything to do with the temperatures of the various internal subsystems making up the total Earth system. The total system will simply arrange itself so that it – at dynamic equilibrium – manages to put out as much energy to space as it gets in from the Sun, over a certain cycle.

      It is the internal movement of energy that sets the internal temperatures. Radiation simply functions as input to and output from the system as a whole. Its ToA balance determines total ‘energy content’, NOT subsystem ‘temperatures’.

      What determines the tropopause temperature is the temperature of the surface underneath it, the environmental lapse rate plus the distance between the two. A lower tropopause is a warmer tropopause, not a warmer surface.

      In other words, the rGHE proposition turned exactly on its head.

      The surface temperature is of course set first, at the balance point between solar heating and convective cooling (limited by the mass of the atmosphere). And from this, the heat moves up through the air column via the lapse rate to set the temperature of each layer of air between the surface and the top of convection (tropopause).

      – – –

      continues below …

      • Kristian says:

        Upon rereading this part, I spotted this error:

        “A lower tropopause is a warmer tropopause, not a warmer surface.”

        I meant of course: “… not a tropopause of unchanged temperature and hence a cooler surface.”

        It is the cooling of the surface that makes for a lower (and hence warmer) tropopause, not a lower tropopause at the same temperature as before that makes for a cooler surface.

    • Kristian says:

      “So many continue to complain that the GHE violates the second law. I do not think this is the case for radiation moving back to the source. It is not heating anything it is just preventing the radiation from leaving.”

      You can’t have it both ways, Norman. You can’t both have energy being absorbed and not have it warm the absorber. How are you ‘preventing the radiation from leaving’ by adding MORE radiation coming IN? There is no radiation being prevented from leaving at all in the ‘bidirectional energy transfer’ model, Norman. There is more radiation coming IN. From a cooler place. You are not obstructing the cooling (loss of energy) of the warmer surface. You are enhancing its heating (gain of energy). From a cooler place.

      This is what the whole “back radiation” version of the rGHE hypothesis amounts to: The atmospheric “back radiation” HEATS the surface some more (adds to its ‘internal energy’ and hence makes its temperature rise in absolute terms) directly and all by itself, but still somehow without being ‘heat’ (?).

      The Sun cannot warm the surface any further than 232K (from an average input of 165 W/m2) according to this model. The rest of the heating (from 232 to 289K) can only be accomplished by an extra heat input (345 W/m2) from the cooler atmosphere …:

      https://okulaer.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/drivhuseffekten.png
      (Derived from Stephens et al. 2012.)

      Of course, they don’t CALL it ‘heat’ (that would be downright silly). But they expect the 345 W/m2 from the atmosphere to have an effect on surface temps as if it were EXACTLY equivalent to the solar flux, which we KNOW is a real heat flux.

      They want to have the cake and eat it.

      “The sun puts the energy into the system but if it can’t leave each day the system will get hotter (more joules added fewer removed).”

      The point is, at the ToA, you have a real ‘heat’ balance going on. The 240 W/m2 in from the Sun is the HEAT IN for the Earth system as a whole. The 240 W/m2 out from the Earth is, in turn, the planetary HEAT OUT. At dynamic equilibrium Q_out = Q_in and ‘net heat’ [Q] = 0 which means ΔU (further change in ‘internal energy’) is zero also. This, however, does NOT necessarily mean that T also could not change anywhere inside the total system. The Earth system is a highly heterogeneous one, so whenever energy is moved internally, from one place to another, temperatures change also, even when total ‘energy content’ [U] does not.

      When you do your energy budgeting like this, heat IN vs. heat OUT, it works. It makes sense. Thermodynamically. However, the rGHE promoters do not operate with a similar ‘heat’ balance at the surface. They want to include ‘radiative potentials’ in the mix. And this can only confuse the situation.

      The 165 W/m2 from the Sun to the global surface is a ‘radiative heat flux’.

      The 345 W/m2 from the atmosphere to the global surface is NOT a ‘radiative heat flux’. It is a ‘radiative potential’, the heat flux the atmosphere would radiate to a vacuum at 0 K, as per the Stefan-Boltzmann equation.

      But the promoters of the rGHE hypothesis act as if this doesn’t matter. They add the atmospheric 345 W/m2 as a second heat flux to the surface, as if completely equivalent to the 165 W/m2 solar heat flux. And expect it to have the exact same effect: Absolute warming of the surface.

      Only, the solar flux comes from a hotter place, the atmospheric ‘flux’ from a cooler one.

      If you use proper ‘heat fluxes’, your surface energy budget would look like this:

      IN (from the Sun) – 165 W/m2

      OUT (by evaporation) – 88 W/m2 +
      OUT (by conduction) – 24 W/m2 +
      OUT (by radiation) – 53 W/m2

      = total OUT – 165 W/m2

      You see, then, how the hot Sun heats the warm surface and the warm surface in turn heats the cool atmosphere. It all makes sense. No confusion whatsoever.

      This budget (the correct one with regards to basic thermodynamic principles) is a problem only for the rGHE promoters, in that their whole postulated mechanism for warming is gone, wiped out, nowhere to be seen.

      How can you get a surface temp of 289K from an energy (heat) balance of 165 W/m2 IN = 165 W/m2 OUT? That’s not possible! It has to comply with the Stefan-Boltzmann law! It demands, after all, that such a balance could only give a maximum mean temperature of 232K.

      Reason the ‘radiationers’ … Conveniently forgetting that the solar-heated surface of the Earth is NOT a pure emitter, that a massive atmosphere is resting on top of it.

      No, you have to add another 345 W/m2 to those 165 W/m2 (and then, of course, subtract the [88+24=] 112 W/m2 from the non-radiative heat losses) in order to get to the 398 W/m2 which is the blackbody emission of a 289K surface.

      They start out with the (known) surface temperature. They calculate its hypothetical BB radiant heat emission to a vacuum at 0 K. And then they work backwards from there. The postulated 398 W/m2 outward surface ’emission flux’ means the atmosphere will have to provide, let’s see, 345 W/m2 of extra downward energy for this budget to add up. And lo and behold – It is done!

      In other words, it is ONLY through the addition of the atmospheric 345 W/m2 that the surface is able to reach a temperature of 289K (from the purely ‘solar’ 232K) so as to emit its final BB flux of 398 W/m2.

      That is a HEAT transfer from cool atmosphere to warm surface if ever there was one.

      – – –

      “A thermos is a real system that works and it it works by reflecting IR from the source back into the source.”

      No, it works by not letting radiative energy escape the system as heat as fast as it could. Energy is reflected back TOWARDS the source, but is not transferred back to it for it to become absorbed a second time:

      https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/to-heat-a-planetary-surface-for-dummies-part-4/

      “It [carbon dioxide] just acts like an energy re-director. The energy is moving one way and after encountering carbon dioxide it now moves in all directions in an energy fog smeared out with no direct source.”

      Radiation does not matter when it comes to the transport of energy inside the troposphere, Norman. The same thing with conduction. It might try, and it sure does. But it does not matter in the end. It makes no difference. The internal temperature (end hence energy) distribution of the troposphere is fully determined (and maintained) by the movement of bulk air. Convection-advection simply and effortlessly trumps all radiative/conductive attempts at perturbing the net flow of energy through the troposphere from the heating end down low to the cooling end up high.

      Radiation thus only really functions as input to and output from the surface-troposphere system. In between, convection-advection reigns supreme. Proof? The environmental lapse rate, which is set at the balance point between solar heating at the surface (input) and IR cooling up towards the tropopause (output) (radiation thus always, on a global scale, working towards steepening the lapse rate) on one side, and convection (connecting the two ends by smoothing the lapse rate – moving excess heat from the surface up towards the tropopause) on the other. There is no way internal radiation can do anything about this setup.

  33. Doug  Cotton says:

    Norman and others:

    You could save yourselves a lot of mental agony if you just read about the new 21st Century Paradigm in Climate Science which explains all.

    Norman writes: “I am not convinced that IR absorption and emission by water vapor and carbon dioxide are not players in the global energy budget.”

    Yes, of course they are players – but coolers not warmers.

    You’ll find an explanation as to why increasing percentages of water vapor in a region cause lower surface temperatures. You’ll also find in the linked paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” a study confirming the above fact that water vapor cools the surface. Such cooling can occur without any need for changes in the effective radiating temperature of the planet – which is the only thing affected by solar radiation levels after adjusting for albedo, which itself may be affected by cosmic rays.

    You keep talking about the Earth’s temperature and yet you seem to imply you are talking about surface temperatures rather than the radiating temperature found well above the surface. I can assure you that, if water vapor levels were reduced (say by 25%) then the lapse rate would be steeper and so the mean surface temperature would rise, even though the mean temperature of the whole Earth+atmosphere system did not rise and there was no imbalance in net radiative flux at TOA.

  34. Norman says:

    Kristian,

    I am still reading through your material and checking up on your webpage. It usually takes me a while to digest and think about what a person is trying to say.

    I keep reading these thought experiments. Roy, you, Steel Greenhouse, etc. I would like some actual and real tests to go with these ideas. Too many various ideas but far too little actual testing done. I think I will have to come up with some experiments and start testing. If I am reading you correctly, your claim would be that back radiation does not exist and could not warm a surface above what it is radiating at. I am thinking of using an infrared lamp. Put a high temperature thermometer on its surface. Allow it to reach equilibrium temperature and then take a concave mirror put in front of the heat lamp and direct the focal point of this energy to the surface and see if the temperature will rise. When there is such different views and ideas it is time to do actual experiments to see which understanding is correct. It is how science and knowledge advance. Having rival camps of ideas and rejecting each side will not advance science. It is what I always ask Doug Cotton for. He wants to overturn established understanding of how physics of planets works. A nice goal but he is totally unwilling to put out any effort to test his ideas and verify them. I believe all experimentation will prove him wrong. The burden is on him since he is claiming Maxwell, Gibbs and Boltzmann (people who gave us the science of thermodynamics) are wrong he needs to come up with overwhelming experimental evidence to prove them wrong.

    I will keep trying to work through your ideas and come up with my take on it. Thanks for taking the time to enlighten me with your thoughts. It is a way to learn.