Frostbite Falls

Temperature Inversion

Temperature Inversion

Original Image

The Event

We’ve recently had some very cold days in International Falls.

This posting:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/21/new-record-cold-tempertures-in-minnesota/

has a nice write up of the -46 F new record cold. ( That’s -43.33 C – still damn cold.) This is not just another “oh a record” posting. I’m asking “what does this mean about the magnitude and time scale of CO2 action?” and finding it means “not much” and “very short term”. But first, the data:

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
518 PM CST FRI JAN 21 2011

…RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE SET AT INTERNATIONAL FALLS MN…

A RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE OF -46 DEGREES WAS SET AT INTERNATIONAL
FALLS MN TODAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF -41 SET IN 1954.

Last night set a “daily record” too, but not a new “all time record”.

Here is a monthly chart so you can see if anything “interesting” happens on that scale:

Monthly Chart for International Falls January 2011

Monthly Chart for International Falls January 2011

And here is a ‘close up’ on that week in particular:

International Falls week ending 22 January 2011

International Falls week ending 22 January 2011

The Meaning

OK, so what does this mean? Typically it means that there was a temperature inversion on a cold clear night. (I was watching The Weather Channel when they reminded me of this with a brief coverage of how this particular cold record happened). Normally, temperature decreases with altitude, during an inversion the temperature is coldest at the surface and warmer at altitude. (The “D-C” segment in the diagram up top. It is showing how air from the ‘normal’ “A-B” segment, if descended, would result in an inversion).

General Inversion Wiki

Under certain conditions, the normal vertical temperature gradient is inverted such that the air is colder near the surface of the Earth. This can occur when, for example, a warmer, less dense air mass moves over a cooler, denser air mass. This type of inversion occurs in the vicinity of warm fronts, and also in areas of oceanic upwelling such as along the California coast. With sufficient humidity in the cooler layer, fog is typically present below the inversion cap. An inversion is also produced whenever radiation from the surface of the earth exceeds the amount of radiation received from the sun, which commonly occurs at night, or during the winter when the angle of the sun is very low in the sky. This effect is virtually confined to land regions as the ocean retains heat far longer. In the polar regions during winter, inversions are nearly always present over land.

That bit about relative IR rates is the key bit, from my point of view.

The Weather Channel also pointed out that the conditions needed were:

1) Clear sky. (i.e. no cloud layer blocking IR).

2) Still air. (i.e. no turbulent processes mixing the air and a lack of convective processes).

3) Dry air. (i.e. the water vapor content had to be taken out of the air for the IR to be free to leave).

So what does that LEAVE in the air? CO2.

Now think about this for a minute. If you have ANY of: Convection, barometric driven mixing, clouds, water vapor, water droplets; then IR does not dominate. With them all removed, and with the CO2 left in place, we have the full “CO2 Forcing” in effect (but unobscured by other drivers).

And what did we get? A New All Time Record Low.

I’d like to turn this into a whole lot more, but to me it’s clear and done at this point and any “more” is “less” clear.

CO2 is completely swamped by ANY of [ convection, wind, water vapor, clouds / water drops ] and when seen acting on its own can do nothing to prevent record lows from IR radiation from the surface.

There are sidebars and sidelights, but the crux of it is just that. CO2 is a wimp, and can be ignored. Water kicks sand in its face and clouds pee in its beer while the wind gives it a wedgie.

Sidebar on timing:

Look at the daily cycles. The IR cooling process happens in less than a day. From the 20th to the 21st things plunge. Why did it not happen on the 12th to 13th? Because IR was busy being beat up by the other processes. And when they are out of the way? Overnight a plunge to “way cold” that leaves CO2 “speechless”.

This means that the IR process is measured in HOURS, not days, weeks, months, and certainly not “30 year trends”. It’s over and done in HOURS. Trying to measure it with an annual average is folly of the worst sort. Trying to do so when there is clear evidence that it is irrelevant in the context of water and wind is lunacy. Doing it while completely ignoring clouds, humidity, and winds, as the “Annual Global Average Temperature” does is a bastard cross of folly with lunacy. “Just say no.”

Sidebar on Water and Wind

The Weather Channel put up two graphics. I don’t know if they were “typical” or actual data from the location, and I can only describe them here (i.e. I don’t have links… yet…)

One showed ‘normal conditions’ with it -40 F at altitude and something like -8 F at the surface, the other showed the inversion with it being -43 F at the surface (last night) and something like -15 F at 5000 feet. They then went into the above referenced discussion of the importance of ‘still air’ and low humidity to allow radiative cooling of the surface.

This made one thing very clear to me: Much of the “surface temperature” we measure is in fact measuring how much “vertical mixing” has happened (or not). We can get 30 F range based on how much vertical mix is going on? And nobody is taking that into account in the “Global Average Temperature”?

Where are the data on vertical mixing rates globally? Do we even have a clue how they change over time? Over 60 year PDO cycles? We’ve got 3 orders of magnitude “more there there” in the vertical mixing range than in the 1/100 C variations they are panicked over in “Global Warming” and it is being ignored?

Now look at that daily data again. Yes, there is wind moving things down from Canada, but it’s not the lateral displacement that is dominant here, it’s the vertical displacement. The lateral is taking several days to work, the vertical is much faster. There are “microbursts” that can down an airliner (over 2000 fpm downdrafts) and the distance we are talking about is 5000 feet. I make that 2.5 minutes time scale.

I’ve noted for a couple of years now that ever since the sun went quiet, the vertical atmospheric ‘thickness’ got compressed to thinner, and the PDO flipped: that the winds were more “bursty” and with more “vertical component” (in comments on various threads, many at WUWT). Now I think we have “why it matters”. Just ask the folks in Frostbite Falls…

Now, as that thinner colder layer gets colder (as has happened up North) we get more water vapor turned into ice crystals (all that snow on the ground as well as the ice in noctilucent clouds) and with more GCR (cosmic rays) making more condensation, if it’s more COLD condensation as ice, we get that “clear cold dry” air.

Conclusion

So, in the end, it’s all about what happens to the water, what happens to the wind, and what drives the clouds.

And even just ONE clear, dry, cold night with CO2 doing all it can but resulting in a record low EVER for that location pretty much says there is not a thing of importance being done by CO2. That even just one day away is drastically different says that the CO2 is not the “driver” here, it isn’t even in the passenger seat…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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42 Responses to Frostbite Falls

  1. John F. Hultquist says:

    This is a very nice posting. We have a common occurrence, well documented, and the outcome fits the suggested mechanisms or physical processes. It is clearly written and well constructed. The ending is good too!

    The basic science that you have here explained is taught in 100 level college geography and geology classes. Things such as: what is the troposphere, how does it work, why do we call it that; the so called “wet” and “dry” adiabatic lapse rates (saturated and unsaturated, please); buoyancy of and slow-mixing of air with different characteristics; a thermometer measures motion of particles; and so on.

    However, have you seen one of the cartoons where a person’s eyes roll, their head spins, and smoke comes out their ears. I’m thinking of one of those folks that while at Cancun signed the petition to ban water. Visit a college class room and document the poor preparation, inattention, and failure to follow the arguments. A student told me that a solid to liquid phase change was impossible – he learned that in high school.

    Soon it is the instructor’s head, out of which the smoke comes!

  2. Adrian Vance says:

    CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere, according to science and that means it is insignificant, but our “scientists” of today are so poorly trained in these matters they cannot understand them. Ever lecture in chemistry and physics at Stanford, for example, begins with a five to 15 minute indoctrination by someone like Albert Gore, Jr. who got a “D” in the one “dumbell” survey science course he took at Harvard the same semester he flunked out.

    Water vapor not only is seven times better at absorbing IR, if you can read the absorption charts our present day “scientists” cannot, but it has 80 times as many molecules and thus generates 560 times the air heating effect from the sun as CO2. Water vapor is responsible for 99.8% of all atmospheric heating. CO2 is nothing in the system, but carbon is responsible for 80% of all our energy and the elected ruling class wants to control and tax it. It is that simple.

    For ideas, science and humor see The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com for talk radio and TV hosts, opinion page editors and you. Also on Kindle.

  3. co2fan says:

    I feel your pain, E.M., CO2′s bit player status is so obvious on so many levels.

    And there is Hansen who thinks CO2 is killing his grandchildren.
    How can a science educated person (although Astronomy is only marginally scientific) have such an opinion?

    I just don’t understand, since I have a tough time envisioning evil conspiracy tactics.

    Love your work.

    Hal

  4. a jones says:

    Sorry to nitpick but you suggest downdraughts can reach speeds of 2000 fps and so two and a half seconds to cover 5000 feet. That speed is approximately Mach 2.

    Just No.

    It is generally thought that downdraughts can get to peak speeds of 200 fps or so.

    Although detailed knowledge of downdraughts is relatively recent the airship people of the 1920′s and 30′s did recognise powerful small area vertical displacements in the atmosphere which they termed line squalls. At that time it was generally thought velocities did not exceed 4000 fpm, about 60 fps, a matter of concern with a very large slow moving aircraft flying at low altitude, typically only a thousand feet or so.

    Kindest Regards

  5. George says:

    CO2 is supposed to be one of the reasons why the warmers claim Global Warming should be greatest at the poles in winter. In winter, the air a extremely dry at the poles so water vapor impact is at its minimum. CO2′s greenhouse impact should be most noticed there. But apparently it isn’t. Inland Antarctica has been getting colder, not warmer.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Thanks! Glad you liked it.

    I have an “understanding engine” built in. I think it’s an Aspe thing. I can’t shut it off. I can’t make it leave me alone. I can barely ignore it when it’s “On The Hunt”, and then only for short moments. It, like reality, “Just is”.

    So I see things. And all around me folks are saying “Look, it was very cold.” While I see “Look, it’s a clean IR case.” and then the “understanding engine” kicks in and says “LOOK at what it MEANS!!”. And I’m just along for the ride…

    Like the Aspe who sees a rainbow, and the colors, and the refraction, and the parti-wave character of light, and the wave function saying that it is all just ONE function and there is no particle, yet… the eye sees so how does it sample a particle that isn’t there as it’s a single wave function… and so the mind sees too… but can’t explain to the person next to them what they are seeing, and that’s not the same as “ooohh, pretty rainbow” and yet it is, just more so.

    So someone says “It MUST be CO2!”, and I see a cold night and all the CO2 doing nothing and the IR flux and the water as snow and what they said Just Doesn’t Fit and the virtical statification and… how do you put that into those horrid little straight jackets of linear single threaded words?

    But the inevitable carpers will come, and they will be wrong, and they can’t just see that they are wrong, and it will take OH so much work to figure out where they are wrong and lead them through the windey little passeges of their mind-error and try to get them to just SEE it, and they won’t.

    But with any luck at all, this set of little straight jacket linear single threaded things will be impossible to misunderstand… (Hope springs eternal…) but best to be more brief…

    It’s nice to know that every so often I manage to get the translation from thought to words done in a workman like way…

  7. ES says:

    The difference between the Arctic and locations further south is the Arctic can be cold and still have strong winds. Right now in Resolute it is –39C with SE wind at 35 gusting to 45 Km/hr (wind chill –56C), with heavy blowing snow and ¼ mile visibility.

    All this week there have been several places with wind chill in the minus 50,s and 60,s.

    I agree that moisture has a large effect on air temperature. The air temperature cannot get lower than the dew point temperature. Between these two temperatures you can determine the amount of moisture in the atmosphere

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @a jones:

    Thanks, my bad. It was 2000 fpm, not fps, that I’d been taught in ground school. I had a ‘units error’ of seconds for minutes (that I’ve fixed in the posting).

    At any rate, it’s still “Damn Fast” compared to the 30 years averages used by the ‘climate science’ folks.

  9. a jones says:

    Quite so it was obviously finger trouble or should we call it digital dysfunction these days? Sorry bad pun.

    Otherwise yes, your point is cogent and expressed lucidly.

    Which is more than ‘professional’ climatologists can manage. How they do tie themselves in knots, for example see Judith Curry’s blog: but at least she is prepared to do it in the open as it were instead of behind closed doors.

    Kindest Regards

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Um, I suspect it was a ‘merlot moment’ … I’ve been trying to dampen my “understanding engine” a bit so I can just watch TV without spotting every single non-sequitor and inconsistency… FWIW, the “Chuck the Chuck” Three Wishes $2 Merlot from Whole Foods is rather drinkable…

  11. Jeff Alberts says:

    Never acquired a taste for alcohol. Anything I’ve tried I’ve disliked, and had no desire to keep trying until I could tolerate it. Could be due to my Dad and Sister having been alcoholics at one time. Dunno.

    I consider myself fortunate ;)

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jeff Alberts:

    FWIW, most folks hate the taste at first (and second and third and…) try. So did I. I still find beer ‘over bitter’ and wine ‘sort of dry sour’ and we won’t talk about my first impression of whiskey…

    Frankly, were it not for one very valuable feature to me I’d likely be “dry” as well. It is an “irregularly descending depressant”. Like all anesthetics, it works by disolving into the lipid layer of the cell wall and changing the thickness. This causes nerve cells to change their sensitivity to firing. For neurotypicals, this causes insensitivity to pain and drunkenness. For Aspes, it first results in what I think is being a neurotypical. All the 1000 and 1 details yammering for attention go still. I can be at peace and with a quiet mind without a great (very great) deal of effort. It’s a very calming and focusing thing. Worries quiet and the being pulled in twenty directions at once stops.

    The only real problem is that the ‘best dose’ level is fairly narrow and hard to hold (in either direction).

    The “good thing” is that after a few the same nerve anesthesia results in a dulled palet and it starts to taste good ;-) (I suspect I’m a ‘supertaster’ as well. Strong flavors are just waaayy over the top and very minor subtlile things are very easy to detect; thus the ‘tastes like old varnish’ reaction to things like the first Gin and Tonic of the evening…. ) So, frankly, it takes me about 3 or 5 before they start to taste “good” as the volume gets turned down on the nerves to something less than 100,000,000 VDC into the tastebuds ;-)

    If I might ask: Does your family have “The Redhead Gene”?

    The reason is rather simple. Redheads have a reputation for being hard to “put under” with anesthetics. It also means that they tend to drink like fish to get “drunk” as it takes a lot more to ‘get there’. (Thus the Irish reputation for drinking… I can say this as I’m both possessed of the redhead gene and an Irish ancestry…)

    So if you are possesed of the Redhead Gene in your clan, that would explain some of the family history as well as the ‘tastes like old boot polish’ reaction on your part. IMHO, the three come together.

    FWIW, my goal is to chart the course that puts me between Aspe Moments and “What? It’s tomorrow already?” Despite the fact that it’s a very hard line to hold (again, in both directions). If there were another substance that had a wider theraputic dose and longer persistance ( so it didn’t take ‘one an hour’ to hold a state) I’d be on it in a heartbeat…

    FWIW, Nitrous Oxide is also an anesthetic. I’ve had it all of twice in my life. Wonderful stuff, but not nearly persistent enough. (And my dentist wonders why I like him ;-)

    Also FWIW, diphenhydramine (“Benadryl”) has some similar benefits but without the intoxicant side effects. I note in passing that ‘allergy problems’ and redheads are often found together …. There is a commonality here…

    But this is wandering a bit far afield from Frostbite Falls. We’ll just leave it at this: I always have a diphenhydramine on my person, 24 x 7, for a variety of uses. And I’ll sometimes get through the first 2 or 3 beers or whiskeys so that the 4 th or 5 th is pleasant and useful. That we have a DUI limit that make me a criminal because I’m then THE most focused and safe I can be ( I’ve had folks who have said they never felt so safe riding with me as when I’m about 0.1 BAC … I lose the ‘crazies’ and hyperfast movements…) because asian women are drunk off their asses (they have the lowest level of alcohol dehydrogenase of anyone) is simply a level of racism and sexism that I’ve accepted will be applied to me by the society at large.

    So “fortunate” is a relative thing…

    (Yes, both meanings of ‘relative”… 8-)

  13. Jeff Alberts says:

    No redhead gene that I’m aware of. Dad was adopted, so I can’t be sure.

    Liquors tend to taste like I imagine cologne would taste. And beers, like you said, bitter, totally unappealing.

    I have been drunk a couple times, while in the Army almost 30 years go, just to see what it was all about. I guess I never got “it”.

  14. Anthony Watts says:

    HI Mike,

    Care to make this a WUWT guest post?

  15. Mark T says:

    That would explain a few things… NO2 doesn’t do anything to me, btw, and Benadryl does little but help me sleep (though I get a tolerance after two or three days.) Drinking is awesome, and I can put it away. Not red, but Irish for sure.

    Kwinkidentally, the wife had an odd allergic reaction (no known allergies) and I had to run to the store for some Benadryl just a few hours ago. That, and I am hung over. :)

    Mark

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Anthony:

    I’ve given you ‘carte blanche’ to any posting here.

    You may make make any of them a ‘guest posting’ at any time you see fit. I would be honored.

    If there is anything you think needs to be added to make it reach standards for your site, let me know in email and I’ll “polish some more”…

    (And what are you doing up this late? Are we both night owls? ;-)

  17. Maxwell says:

    Mark T… NO2 doesn’t do anything to me…,

    I’m afraid Mark it’ll kill you PDQ, that’s what it’ll do. You were really referring to nitrous oxide, N2O of course.

  18. Alan Simpson says:

    The weak effect of Carbon Dioxide can be seen almost any night in a desert, Carbon Dioxide just does not seem to do much at all.

  19. Baa Humbug says:

    Thankyou E M, yet another thought provoking post.

    I wonder, wouldn’t there be these inversions in desert areas?
    Desert areas do meet the requirements (I think, still dry air, minimal cloud cover)

    Would there be some desert areas with good temperature and precipitation records? Maybe New Mexico or Arizona? I’m not sure the Sahara or Gobi would have good records.

    Comparisons would be informative IMHO

    I’m glad Anthony is going to post this at WUWT, it deserves wide distribution.

  20. BenAW says:

    Probably related is a well known phenomenon in aviation:
    Nocturnal Jets.
    They exist at low altitudes during clear nights, with hardly any wind at ground level, and amazingly strong winds just a few hundred meters higher up.
    Reason is a cold layer sticking to the ground (inversion), providing a low resistance platform for the gradient wind to reach it’s maximum potential.
    See link below for some interesting graphs etc:

    http://www.windwisdom.net/nllj.htm

  21. Baa Humbug says:

    Here is a paper called “A New Metric to Detect CO2 Greenhouse Effect Applied To Some New Mexico Weather Data”

    By Slade Barker

    (24 July 2002)

    Though a little dated, the relationship between temperature, CO2 and WV is studied from a different perspective, i.e. by looking at the rate of cooling instead of the rate of warming (The greenhouse effect reduces the rate of cooling rather than heating the surface) in a desert environment.

    http://www.john-daly.com/barker/index.htm

  22. Paul Hanlon says:

    Hi E.M,

    Wonderful posting. Another one of those that just makes sense, but only after one has seen it written down.

    Another thing that would concern me from reading this, is the accuracy of the satellite records when applied to the surface. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect for Drs Spencer and Christy, and maybe they compensate for this, but satellite measurements are at 14000ft from which they derive surface temps.

    It seems to me that with vertical winds up and down, it would mean that if only the adiabatic lapse rate (saturated or not) is used, the surface temps that are derived can only be an approximation of the actuality, which leaves us heading back to square one.

    On a side note, why did you strike out most of your comment at 11920. Your “departures” from the thread are always very interesting in their own right. Guns on the carping comments thread along with various other examples spring to mind.

    The first two paragraphs reminds me of Feynman’s recollection of a conversation he had with an artist about the beauty of a flower (I think), the artist stating that he can see the flower just for it’s beauty, and Feynman saying he can see that, but also so much more that is also beautiful.

  23. Shub says:

    A while back, I posted this question at Judith Curry’s blog. There was no answer.

    (http://judithcurry.com/2011/01/19/pierrehumbert-on-infrared-radiation-and-planetary-temperatures/#comment-33241)

    “What is the role of the greenhouse effect on the weather?

    I am looking for a more Trenberthian answer. I know the usual “it will result in warmer nights and increase the average minimums” kind of thing, but that doesn’t speak to what the ‘extra CO2 is going to do’ question.

    The greenhouse effect alone would raise the surface temperature to a greater degree that what is observed. This is because weather, occurs at the surface, distributing the heat and taking up and getting rid of it etc. In order to say what the climatic effects of increased CO2 are, we should be able to confidently say what its effects on the weather are.

    Therefore the question arises – what is the effect of CO2 on weather? ‘Natural variability’ is a nonsensical fig leaf because CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere, present everywhere and acts via radiative transfer mechanisms which are instantaneous. Therefore CO2 should have a measurable effect on the weather and therefore such an effect should be indentifiable independently (hopefully by clever instruments or experiments)”

    I have at least part of my answer now. :)

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    @Paul Hanlon:

    Thanks! The “strikeout” was for “poetic effect” (as it was left in and readable but showed how the ‘effect’ gets self edited or everything would be 20 pages of digressions…)

    I’ll have to do a Google on Feynman and Flowers ;-)

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Baa Humbug:

    Thanks for that link. A well done and thought provoking paper. I think “he’s on to something” with it.

    Per deserts: Yes, I suspect you could do the same thing with a desert on days when the wind is not blowing. They are subject to rather strong daily convective cycles, though.

    I could easily see a winter high latitude desert being a good ‘test case’ for CO2 impact (there is a desert in Western Canada, for example. No, really… with cactus and everything…

    http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/beautiful_bc/100074

    but even deserts have wet times, so you would need to control for that. Phoenix, for example, can have drenching tropical rains when a hurricane runs up the Gulf of California and dumps on them. I’ve been in one of those once. While it runs out of steam (literally) and stops being a hurricane before it gets there, it’s still a frog drowner…

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @Paul Hanlon:

    Wonderful clilp. Exactly how I see things most of the time, with those ‘other layers’. (Though sometimes a cigar is just a cigar ;-)

  27. Crashex says:

    Looking at the temperature traces for the week in this post made think of a question–

    How can someone make an accurate, fixed-offset time of observation correction when the direction of the temperature trends at any particular time of day can be either up, or down?

  28. George says:

    @ Baa Humbug

    Yes! Greenhouse impact should be seen in an increase in low temperatures, not an increase in high temperatures. It would reduce the amount of radiative cooling and it should cause a warming of the middle troposphere as the CO2 traps the heat and re-radiates it back to the ground.

    To date we have observed neither the mid-troposphere hot spot nor the increase in low temperatures.

  29. Mr Smith:
    My post did not survive moderation?

    [ I'm servicing the moderation queue now... after a night of friends over... there is only one of me. -E.M.Smith]

  30. Jerry says:

    40 below — when spit goes plunk :)

    http://xkcd.com/526/ ( contains a bit of profanity )

    or

    High and Dry and Cold – Alamosa, co. San Luis valley – elevation 7500 feet, record low was -50 in 1948, avg. annual precip a bit over 7 inches. May be too much wind for desert inversions though. This is just a thought that popped into my head so don’t think I am trying to give you an assignment! I read and paid attention to Carping Comments:)

  31. Pingback: La lección de un récord de frío « PlazaMoyua.org

  32. George says:

    Notice this:

    http://tinypic.com/r/2gumo9k/7

    Global temperatures are now at the 30-year average having dropped (and stayed) some 1F from what temperatures were in 2010.

  33. George says:

    Actually, this one is better:

    http://tinypic.com/r/2hmj346/7

    The orange is the average, the blue is 2010 and red is 2011.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @George:

    But that’s just weather ;-)

    Nice pictures… Source of the data?

  35. Brian H says:

    I’ve seen the contrast on individual winter nights. Starts out somewhat overcast, doesn’t cool much after sunset. Upper level wind clears out the clouds, and the temperature begins immediately to plunge. Where’s the back-radiation when you need it?
    ;)

  36. Viv Evans says:

    Thanks again for this excellent post!
    I shouldn’t be, but nevertheless still am amazed that people who call themselves scientists prefer their models to observations which are happening ‘for real’ out there.
    This is just such a brilliant example of how one would set up an experiment to show -or not – the influence of CO2: one just removes all the other stuff. or, in lab speak, one removes all parameters except the one one is studying.
    So Nature has done it here, for all to see.
    What more could one want?

    As for this: “I note in passing that ‘allergy problems’ and redheads are often found together …. There is a commonality here…” – heh. I’ve got the redhed gene – and I’ve acquired an allergy to alcohol … after having some excellent times with the stuff. Still – there are the memories … some good tipple out there, iirc!

  37. H.R. says:

    Shub
    A while back, I posted this question at Judith Curry’s blog. There was no answer.

    (http://judithcurry.com/2011/01/19/pierrehumbert-on-infrared-radiation-and-planetary-temperatures/#comment-33241)

    “What is the role of the greenhouse effect on the weather?

    [...]

    The greenhouse effect alone would raise the surface temperature to a greater degree that what is observed. This is because weather, occurs at the surface, distributing the heat and taking up and getting rid of it etc. In order to say what the climatic effects of increased CO2 are, we should be able to confidently say what its effects on the weather are.
    [...]“

    Excellent! I’ve not seen an answer to that. E.M.’s post is a step towards answering that (“not much”). There must be other examples, eh? Hurricanes? Himmicanes? Tropics? Antarctica?

    Good question!

  38. E.M.Smith says:

    I’m pretty sure everyone here is aware of it, but this article has been posted on WUWT as well. I’m putting a link here to that posting for future use in finding the discusion there:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/23/frostbite-falls/

  39. Bob Highland says:

    Once again, great work E.M. Your special brand of “tidy mind” thinking keeps coming up with not only the questions that need to be asked, but also the answers.

    I’m sure you’re onto something here. The warmist climate establishment gets all worked up about the forcing effect of supposed CO2-”trapped” heat during the daytime, while apparently overlooking the fact that at night, both black body surfaces and lower column air are extremely keen to radiatively send whatever heat they contain up to the dark, very cold sky; it’s only any water vapour and clouds present that stop it doing so to the max. And even when CO2 has its opportunity to take centre stage as the most significant greenhouse gas present rather than being a shy spear carrier, it squibs it, emitting IR like crazy rather than holding onto it like a selfish child. (H/T to Tom Vonk http://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/global-warming-does-co2-heat-the-atmpsphere-no A H/T too to “hotrod” Larry on the WUWT companion thread for his interesting insight on measured IR temperatures of various surfaces and the sky. And also to those who pointed out that the Martian atmosphere has 30x the concentration of CO2 compared to Earth, yet does not experience a greenhouse effect.)

    This all suggests that Kevin Trenberth’s concern about “missing” trapped heat is moot. There is no trapped heat – it all buggers off at the earliest possible opportunity, viz. every night. If they want to know how the climate really works, they should try to overcome their morbid obsession with plant food and spend a bit more time on the more germane subjects of relative humidity, cloud coverage, albedo, and wind strength/direction to see if they can find any cyclic patterns.

  40. George says:

    “Nice pictures… Source of the data?”

    E.M. Smith:

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/amsutemps.html

    The data shown is Channel 5, with Average, 2011, and 2010 selected for display.

  41. George says:

    And if all else fails you can always get some of these:

    http://everythingintheuniverse.com/StretchGraph

    Stretch it out halfway, draw your graph, and if you need to fudge it later you can let it in or stretch it out as required!

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