Water GHG Comparison

I got to wondering.

Is there a way to compare two different “Greenhouse Gas” levels in the air and see what the actual impact might be? We can’t fiddle with CO2, but nature regularly changes the H2O content of the air.

Has nature “run the experiment” for us? What do you find when you look at two places, at about the same latitude (so with about the same solar heat exposure) but with very different humidities?

As water is widely stated to be a “much more potent green house gas”, ought there not to be some visible impact from this stuff? I mean, if it can be “wobbled” back and forth from “near none” to “near 100%” humidity, that ought to show some effect if the GHG thesis “has legs”, no? If it is “trapping heat”, then there ought to be some heat trapped. And if it is not, then that argues for “other effects” being larger.

So I started looking at some places.

First up is Barstow California. It is at about the dead center of the Mohave Desert. It is a nice “test case” as it is not too far from the Pacific Ocean, yet is kept near bone dry by the mountain range between it, and the ocean. Barstow itself, however, is not all that high in elevation. The Wiki puts it at 2,178 ft (664 m) so not too much elevation impact. Here is the chart from Wunderground:

Barstow KDAG 2010

Barstow KDAG 2010

If we look off to the east, we can find a nice humid city in a similar latitude. Houston Texas.

Houston KHOU 2010

Houston KHOU 2010

And, if you look north, but still behind a mountain range from the ocean, you will find Bakersfield. It is more humid than Barstow, but still shielded from the ocean by a mountain range.

Bakersfield KBFL 2010

Bakersfield KBFL 2010

Now, looking at these, the GHG thesis says that the ones with the most Green House Gases ought to be racking up more heat. That’s how this whole GHG Global Warming thing is supposed to work. More GHG, more heat. More heat, higher temperatures. Higher temperatures, the sky is falling…

But when I look at that graphs, I see lower temperatures where it is more humid. It is hotter where there is LESS water. Now add to that the fact that Barstow is a couple of thousand feet HIGHER than Bakersfield and Houston, and we’re supposed to adjust for the “adiabatic lapse rate”. From the wiki:

The environmental lapse rate (ELR), is the rate of decrease of temperature with altitude in the stationary atmosphere at a given time and location. As an average, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines an international standard atmosphere (ISA) with a temperature lapse rate of 6.49 K(°C)/1,000 m (3.56 °F or 1.98 K(°C)/1,000 Ft) from sea level to 11 km (36,090 ft). From 11 km (36,090 ft or 6.8 mi) up to 20 km (65,620 ft or 12.4 mi), the constant temperature is −56.5 °C (−69.7 °F), which is the lowest assumed temperature in the ISA. The standard atmosphere contains no moisture. Unlike the idealized ISA, the temperature of the actual atmosphere does not always fall at a uniform rate with height. For example, there can be an inversion layer in which the temperature increases with height.

So, absent inversion layers, and for purposes of aviation safety (so it ought to be usable) the “lapse rate” is about 7 F over 2000 feet (or about 4 C). To make the temperatures “comparable” we ought to ADD that much to Barstow to make up for the cooling from the air rising as it is raised to 2000 feet.

Now, you can make the case that Houston is just too far away. It is influenced too much by the entirely different body of water that is the Gulf of Mexico. But… It is the closer match to Barstow in terms of temperatures. The “very close” city of Bakersfield is much much cooler.

Yahoo Maps makes it all of 130 miles, down slope, from Barstow to Bakersfield. In substantially a straight line West North West.

Oh, and that is the direction “the weather comes from” in that most of the time weather arrives from that 270 degree direction, as you can see in the wind section above.

So if the weather is coming in the same way, off the same ocean, and the adiabatic effects are cooling Barstow, and the GHG level is lower in Barstow, and GHG level is much higher in Bakersfield, why is Barstow hotter?

A Simpler Case

Ah, but there are complications, I hear someone thinking. Different elevations. Different distances from the ocean. Different number of mountains between city and sea. Bakersfield in The Great Valley, Barstow in a desert behind the mountains (though, to me, that’s the thing we are trying to measure, that ‘desert vs not’…)

Is there s simpler case? Can we find somewhere with high humidity in one place, yet low in another, at about the same level (sea level would be nice) and surrounded by the same water? THAT would be an almost pure GHG test. One with high GHG levels, the other low.

The Big Island of Hawaii provides just such a place. The “Kona Coast” has very little rain. About 95% of the time, the air is dry. It is in the “rain shadow” of the mountains, so air rising up them has had the water squeezed out. Hilo is is on the tropical side. Both are at sea level, and about the same latitude. The same Pacific Ocean surrounds them both.

If there is anything to this GHG thesis, then we ought to see much more “heat” trapped at Hilo and higher temperatures from all that “Green House Effect”.

Hawaii Hilo 2010 Wunder

Hawaii Hilo 2010 Wunder

Hawaii Kona PHKO 2010

Hawaii Kona PHKO 2010

It is a bit more subtile, but still pretty clear. Kona is warmer than Hilo. Oh Dear, those GHG effects are just not cutting it… Notice in particular that the scales chosen by Wunderground are even shifted. The scale is chosen based on the particular temperature ranges in the graphs. Also note that in winter, Kona is about 75 F while Hilo is running about 72 F. Much of the time Hilo is sitting with low excursions on the 70 F line in winter, while Kona barely touchs it with the major excursion dips. In summer, Hilo is about dead on the 75 F line, very rarely getting close to 80 F. Kona is running about 77 F (easier to see if you click on the graph for a bigger version) with peaks regularly hitting the 80 F (27C) line and occasionally passing above it.

Well.

In Conclusion

Whatever effect water as a “Green House Gas” might be having on the ground temperatures at these places is very clearly and very completely swamped by other atmospheric processes.

As there is much more water in the air than CO2, any effect from CO2 will be even more minor ( I’m tempted to say “completely irrelevant”…)

In the end, it is not “green house gasses” that matter to any recorded changes in the ground temperatures, as we have a couple of existence proofs here that other processes are driving those ground temps, and not GHG levels. For my money, this is a big “dig here”, and one where folks could find a lot of “matched cities” around the world for such comparisons. Cities by the Nile matched to those a bit away in the desert. Perhaps Sydney and Back-o-Burke?

At any rate, as a “first look”, there is little to zero evidence for GHG warming (one is tempted to say “negative”, as in “inverse correlation”).

This is, however, very much in keeping with the “Clouds” thesis. The notion that what is controlling surface temperatures is the hydrological cycle and cloud formation. Another “dig here”, IMHO.

Even if we can not run a CO2 GHG real world experiment, nature has run a real world GHG water vapor experiment for us, and does it every day all around the world. It says “Hydrological Cycle rules, GHG drools”…

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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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60 Responses to Water GHG Comparison

  1. Adrian Vance says:

    Dead wrong. While water may range from 1% to 4% in air or 0.0161 mole to 0.064 moles compared to CO2’s 0.00025 moles thus having from 64.4 to 256 times as many molecules with each absorbing seven times as much IR from sunlight as CO2 then carbon dioxide is insignificant to the point of being undetectable.

    Generally speaking, under normal conditions over North America CO2 is responsible for no more than 0.2% of all atmospheric heating. It is just that simple. See my site http://globalwarmingnotes.i8.com for a collection of definitive articles on this subject.

    For political analysis,physical science and humor see The Two Minute Conservative at: http://adrianvance.blogspot.com Now on Kindle.

  2. PhilJourdan says:

    About 13 years ago, someone introduced me to the term “Florida Sky”. In my Latitude (about San Jose I think), we get hot days (over 100), but they are relatively rare and they are also classified by the 3 Hs (Hazy, Hot & Humid). But when we get a “Florida Sky”, we lose an H – it is not hazy. And therein lies the governor.

    in dry areas, they do not get haze, so their temperatures tend to be hotter. Haze is a by product of Humidity. But it also has a blocking effect on the Sun’s rays. While it may FEEL like 110 out there (and shade is no help), the reality is it is only 100, with high humidity.

    (sidebar: what is the difference of 105 with 40% humidity that FEELS like 120 and 120 real degrees? – 120 real degrees makes your steering wheel 120! Not 105 and slimy).

    At least that is my simplistic view.

  3. Pascvaks says:

    I believe you forgot to apply the IPCC GHG Constant in your calculations between the respecive sites you selected, the CLI –as it is refered to in IPCC circles– must be included in all GHG calculations to arrive at the true answer for this very complicated mathamatical process. See the link below for this Constant Factor Determination Aid, this will save you a great deal of time. It is quite inexpensive, really –all things considered– and any profits will go to foster the IPCC Save the World from Mankind Campaign. Thank U!

    http://www.coli.org/

    ;-)(SarcOff)

  4. Serioso says:

    Wait a minute! Isn’t it very well established that without greenhouse gases the average temperature of our planet would be 30 C cooler. I thought this was pretty basic physics!

  5. Level_Head says:

    A catastrophist would note that the average energy, over the surface of the globe, is increased by greenhouse effects—and that local air movements and ground conditions provide too much variation to make the global picture clear. It’s true, I think, but the real question is the balance between the multiple effects of water.

    Water vapor increases the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere. Unquestionably; everyone knows this. Except when water vapor decreases the amount of heat by changing the albedo. Then there’s the dichotomy between the solid and liquid water effects.

    Considering how well this negative feedback loop has worked, for half a billion years of life on land, when for the great majority of this the CO2 was much higher than today.

    To propose that CO2 is suddenly a positive feedback (and includes a “tipping point”) requires an extraordinary leap, and is not supported by current evidence and the Earth’s actual history.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  6. Earle Williams says:

    E.M.,

    As of 9:48 am Alaska time, all your links on the right-hand column are showing with a “https://” at the beginning. Dunno if it’s something at my end or yours, but every time I click on one my browser asks if I want it to post secure and unsecure information.

  7. Doug Jones says:

    I work in Mojave, about 60 miles west of Barstow, and live in Tehachapi, 20 miles closer to Bakersfield. Mojave is MUCH hotter than Tehachapi, in large part due to the chinook or foehn wind effect, which essentially puts Mojave in the condenser side of a giant air conditioner cooling Tehachapi. Some of that foehn wind still affects Barstow, so your comparison is strongly skewed, as is the Hilo vs Kona comparison. The same effect makes the weather in Colorado Springs much warmer at the base of the mountains than it is on the plains east of the city.

    A useful ref:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foehn_wind

  8. George says:

    Greenhouse gasses raise the low temperature, they don’t increase the high temperature. It won’t make it “hotter”, it will make it “less cold”.

    Pick a day in August and look at the 5am temperature in Las Vegas and Richmond, VA on a day when the high temperatures were the same.

    In fact, greenhouse gasses block IR from the Sun just as they block IR from the Earth so they tend to moderate the high temperature. But when the sun sets, the atmosphere with the most GHG will hold more of that heat till morning.

    I remember nights “back home” where the temperature never got below 80 all night long and the daytime temperature might have got to 95. Only about a 15 degree difference between dawn and noon. Here in California, it is common to see 40 or even 50 degrees difference between high and low temperatures. In the desert North of Reno, 50 degree differences are routine but you will rarely see a 50 degree difference between high and low in Washington DC in the summer.

    Look at the range of high/low to see the impact of GHGs.

  9. R. Shearer says:

    I think Level_Head and the others who mentioned albedo, haze and other effects rightly point to complicating factors that make this so difficult to model. Serioso may be on to the possibility that the 30C GH effect is really not 30C and possibly overestimates the GH effect.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @Earl Williams:

    Nothing i’m doing. I get http: and I’ve not changed a thing in the config in weeks…

    @Level_Head:

    While what you say is true, they don’t get “solid phase” water in Hilo, Kona, Bakersfield, Barstow, and I’m pretty sure is very rare in Houston… (To quote Microsofts support web site when I was researching a very icky bug in their software “This behavior is by design”…)

    @Serioso:

    Some of us would assert “Pretty basic THESIS”… That it moderates the swings (A LOT) is pretty clear. Does it, net, do it via a “green house gas” effect on IR? Or is it just that due to the moderation we spend less time at Very High Temps so the 4th power on IR radiation cuts down the Peak IR outbound, resulting in the need for more average IR outbound…

    Not exactly a GHG function as much as a “swing moderation” function.

    At least, that’s my thesis (that fits with known very simple laws of physics without needing to invent anything new at all…)

    @Pascvaks:

    Oh Damn! You mean I forgot to apply “Finagles Variable Constant” A-GAIN!… Will I never learn ….

    ;-)

    @Doug:

    That is sort of my whole point: “Something ELSE dominates”.

    So if “Something else” is screwing up the theoretical here, and every other single place I’ve looked, how on God’s Earth, can we take those screwed up results, average them all together, and claim it shows ANYTHING about an even less effective gas?

    It is, in essence, claiming to find variations of wind direction and speed caused by butterflies flapping inside the hurricane… by averaging together all the hurricanes…

    There is ALWAYS a wind, a convection, a cloud, a snow, a rainfall, a… {all those other things that make up weather and climate and convective heat transfer to the stratosphere and…) THEY are what matter, not a gas even less potent that the water vapor, that clearly can do nothing to overcome them.

    @George:

    And, should you be proven true, that will mean fewer folks frozen to death, better crop growth, and NONE of the catastrophic effects predicted… Basically, we end up back in the notion of that 4th power function again. Raise the bottom “a little” you get a lot more heat dumped. TRY to raise the high end, you can’t, as it’s already dumping so much that any increase just damps back down.

    But even there, look at the winters. They are typically more different between the locations than the summers. The higher GHG level places are even MORE cold in the winter…

    Why? Not due to GHG effects… (I’d expect it’s all those tons of water acting as a heat pipe working fluid. Lifted as vapor, condensing dumping heat at altitude, falling as rain. Repeat until darned cold. Dry air can’t do that, so can’t effectively conduct the heat out of the desert in the winter as well. During the summer, both Barstow and Bakersfield are rain free.

    That thesis would need stronger testing using actual rainfall data, though. It could just as easily be that the much greater cloud cover keeps the land colder in winter in areas away from the desert. My experience in San Jose this spring has been exactly that. Cloudy days, we are darned cold. Sunny? Hey, almost normal temps! In other words, “It’s the clouds” likely via a sun moderator, first; THEN the rainfall comes in second; THEN {unidentified “other stuff” including winds and convection?}, THEN maybe a little bit, some GHG effect, if any.

    But what is very clear is that the GHG effects, if any, can’t even budge all the other things, even just 130 miles away. By somewhere near 10 F of variation. So, we’ve got a hypothetical fractional F vs. an observed 10 F. “I’ll take observations for $1000″…

    BTW, Kona is on the coast. Humidity right now is “Humidity 63%” per Wunderground. Hilo is “Humidity 78%”. So it’s not like the GHG difference is going to be immense all the time. What I think is more important about those two is that it is much more often cloudy in Hilo (and rains) vs Kona that’s almost always sunny / clear. (That’s part of why I chose the cities I did, to sort out some of the “coastal vs not” and “humidity vs clouds” and others. If I get time and inclination, I’ll find other “matched sets” that differ mostly in “cloud percentage” and, hopefully, with the same humidity. I suspect that this approach will be “fruitful” in allowing a gross characterization of “impact of delta cloud” vs “impact of delta latitude” vs “impact of delta elevation” vs “impact of delta humidity”…

    So far, it looks like a lot of “Elevation, wind, latitude and clouds”… humidity / GHG not so much…

    So again, once you are at that point, what use is all the averaging of temperatures that are then KNOWN to be changed much more by non-GHG things?

    I put milk in my coffe, and 2 spoons of sugar, then stirred. The temp dropped 15 degrees. What was the impact of the fly that flew past while it was sitting?…

    The “warmers” solution? “Well, if we average 1000 cups of coffee, The Fly Did It!”…

  11. Pascvaks says:

    @Earle Williams – Same thing happend to me yesterday, and has occasionally happened before, I’ve got an old 2004 Compaq running IE6 and Win98. I think Chiefio does it (who else?)–don’t know why, maybe a bunny bit him– but I have no proof to sue his pants off;-). Has not happened anywhere else. But, really, you can’t fault a guy that keeps ya comin’ back for more. Now I just drop the ‘s’ on ‘https’ and hit ‘Go’ and start readin.

    PS: Bet the bunny bit him;-) That would make me sore too.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pascvaks:

    Whats with the “sore” bit? I’m not sore at anyone…. Having rather a good streak the last few days. (Backstory to THAT in a couple of weeks when it’s all finished).

    Per bunnies: They don’t bite. They will try to jump or run away, or, if all else fails, they kick and scratch with their rear legs / nails. I’ve had bunnie scratches before, and they can be a pain, but the variety I’ve developed is a “dwarf” size. About 1.75 lbs or 3/4 kilo. They can’t really do much… Besides, when I’ve held them, they tend to “cuddle” more than anything else. (When fully supported, preferrably with a plush towel, and having a nice back scratch / ear rub, they are VERY happy ;-) IF you are really lucky, you can get a bit of ‘tooth chatter’ from them. A very gentile clicking of the teeth like someone shivering does with their teeth. It’s their “I am REALLY happy” sound.. Usually I can scratch their lower back (where they can’t quite reach) and get the “mutual grooming”: reflex going where they will lick me in return; gooming me for my grooming them.

    per the https:

    I have no idea why it happens, to whom, or when. I usually can’t reproduce it. I’ve done nothing to cause it, and I can’t make it go away even when I do change things. It then leaves with me doing nothing as well. OTOH, when I connect to sites with https, it just works for me anyway… (Mostly Opera, sometimes Firefox, occasionally Safari, only at the point of a weapon Microsoft Internet Exploder… mix of Macintosh and Dell / HP Wintel boxes, the sporadic Linux – though I usually don’t ‘browse’ using Linux).

    I’m on “Windows XP Professional” for most browsing, except when it’s Max OS/X 10.4 (or newer). Maybe it’s a Microsoft “Feature” to get you to buy a newer computer ;-)

  13. Serioso says:

    Sad to say your “thesis” is full of *&%^$. It really is a trivial matter to calculate the earth’s temperature in the absence of greenhouse gases, and the result of that calculation says our planet would be 30 C cooler. This is not hard or contested science: The facts just are.

  14. Pascvaks says:

    Chiefio – Can’t say who is doing it, but their initials very probably start with an n, end with an a, and have an s somewhere in the middle;-)

    @Serioso – I’ll bet ‘thesis’ and ‘theses’ came out of the same indo-european word pile as ‘fesis’ and ‘feces, faeces, or fæces ‘. Not only do they sound alike, they often have so many of the same ingredients. And you’re so right, the last I looked, the only thing difficult about taking the Earth’s temperature was finding a thermometer big enough and a hole deep enough to stick it in.

  15. Adrian Camp says:

    The facts just are? How warm is the moon? Isn’t that at the same mean distance form the sun as Earth? Oh, it has no greenhouse gases? It has a different rotation period? It has no weather? It has no oceans? No, it is not simple to calculate what the temp on Earth would be, it is only simple to measure it (how?) and then justify the result by hand-waving.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Seriouso:

    Please note: I’ve not said “There is no greenhouse effect”. That is what your reply implies is my “thesis”. To the extent I have one, the “thesis” is only that “Temperatures on the ground do not reflect the greenhouse gases in an area”. That, I think, has been demonstrated….

    Now, if the thermometers are not reflecting the GHG effects in (several) areas; just HOW can we use THEM to justify the AGW THESIS? We have massive variation in temps between places based on a host of other processes and those impacts are just IGNORED. The ASSUMPTION is that “they all just average out” and so any net change in the average must be the residue of GHG changes.

    That is an ASSUMPTION unsported by any data.

    So to the extent I have a “thesis” (I’d be more inclinded to call it a ‘topic’ as it’s not a full thesis) it is just this: “Given that GHG impacts of MUCH greater size are in the humidity changes, and we can’t even see a flicker of those in the temperatures, just WHY again is it that changes in CO2 are going to show up in the temperatures? Just how is it that you KNOW nothing else changed too?” And my “position” would be “you don’t know and you can’t know just from temperatures”. i.e. maybe the sun did it, maybe clouds matter, maybe x-ray levels chaning atmospheric thickness are pretty important, maybe long duration ocean cycles matter, maybe a whole lot of stuff is burried in that “residue” of over averaged temperature muck.

    And no, that “thesis” is not full of *&%^$. It is a valid observation on the *&%^$ being pushed at us by folks who claim they can see the GHG fingerprints in those temperatures. The fingerprints are burried under tons of “other stuff” and just not there to see, IMHO. (Note, that last sentence is an OPINION of mine, not a “thesis”).

    Do we even KNOW how much the net planetary humidity changes over a multi decadal cycle? If we don’t know THAT, how can we make any statement at all about human caused GHG changes. Do we know how the humidity DISTRIBUTION over the planet changes? No? Oh… So it gets warmer in Canada, humidity goes up, for a while. Then the PDO flips and things stay a lot colder longer. Now the humidity stays frozen out of the air longer. Total GHG impact swings massively. Yet… It is ignored (or worse, only treated as a positive feedback to the tail of CO2, not as the dog in the fight… and NEVER as a negative feedback when things go all cold and frozen…)

    Then we have the way the winds have gone all “blustery” again. Like they were back in the ’50s and ’60s. Now those places above where winds change the temps as they blow up and down the mountains suddenly have a new, and stronger, driver. Is the “warming” at the end of the warm phase of the PDO showing in the land thermometers just from a differential in the wind speeds in those areas? Is the residue just that of “global average wind speed?”. Now that winds have picked up, will that change the average temps? Not only does nobody know, as near as I can tell, they are not even looking.

    So my “thesis” is just that the temperature gages don’t tell you a damn thing about any of those processes, the processes ARE happening, where we can look at sample data, we see those processes dominant (by far) over a known variation in a much larger GHG, and that “puts the lie” to the notion that you can attribute ALL temp changes to human CO2. You just can’t. Too many moving parts that are way too large all being “assumed away” as “the averaging will just make it all better”, when averaging does no such thing…

    Finally, given the “we can calculate it easily” assertion: Let’s see, the earth has been an “Iceball Earth” frozen almost pole to pole, and it was incredibly dry and hot on other occasions, largely due to where the land masses ended up. Hmmm…. CO2 has wandered all over, often MUCH higher than now, sometimes just as the world was very cold and frozen. Hmmmm…. Looks to me like that calculation is more a “angels and pins” theoretical and less a “real world impact” as it is just not reflected in the facts on the ground. Please Note: That is NOT saying there is no GHG effect. It IS saying “it is crushed by other stuff”.

    So “other stuff matters”, and most likely matters a whole lot more. AND, it can not be just “assumed away”…

  17. Bob Highland says:

    When people crap on to me about CO2 being “a powerful greenhouse gas that traps heat”, I recommend they try a little experiment:

    “Go out into the desert (we have plenty here in Oz) on a clear day/night and sleep out under the stars. With no cloud and little humidity to skew the results, you will experience first-hand the heat trapping capacity of 390ppm of well-mixed atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

    Being a kind person at heart, I also offer to go and thaw them out in the morning

    It’s zilch, or such a small fraction of almost zilch that it doesn’t matter. A clear night sky has a radiant temperature that’s typically at least 20C below the air temperature at any point, so if any heat has been “trapped” it soon pisses off to where it belongs. I think all the averaging that gets done on temperatures by climate people obscures the point that for every day there is a night, and any excursions from the local equilibrium (if such a thing exists) are dealt with then.

    I’m with you, E.M. – it’s the clouds and RH what done it. Weather, and thus climate, which is little more than arithmetical abstraction of uncertain validity applied to cumulative weather, is so much more a matter of cloud cover, RH, hydrological cycles and wind direction than any effect a trivial trace gas can contribute.

    I can understand the warmists’ feeling that since CO2 is present in the atmosphere and has a known effect, more must have a greater effect. But if its supposed effect is to trap heat, that trapped heat must be somewhere, and they can’t find it. Even Kevin Trenberth admits that. If they really want to re-shape the world economy and drive us back into freezing caves, let them bloody well find the missing heat first!

    The following paper is an interesting and well-presented quantitative take (by an engineer) on the whole matter.

    http://vipclubmn.org/Documents/GlobalWarmingArticle.pdf

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Bob Highland:

    I think you would enjoy:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/ignore-the-day-at-your-peril/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/co2-cools-damp-air/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/perspective-on-rain-and-heat/

    The first one sites work that confirms your point that all the heat leaves the same day… The second is an interesting physics quirk that probably matters… And the last one tries to size the hyrological cycle just a tiny bit…

    @Adrian Vance:

    You didn’t say what you thought was “dead wrong”… Not very helpful…

    But since in the end, we both end up at the conclusion that CO2 isn’t doing much and other stuff dominates, I’m a bit at a loss for what part you didn’t like.

  19. Level_Head says:

    @E. M. Smith:

    They do indeed get “solid phase” water in Hilo. It’s common, and it is a major factor on the climate. Our catastrophist friends don’t think much about the ice crystals in clouds; perhaps it’s above their heads.

    I can imagine a “Harry Read Me” climate modeler in the Climategate musical’s ending:

    “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
    They trap some heat, but still somehow
    It’s clouds’ albedo that prevailed
    I really don’t know clouds … I failed.”

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Level_Head:

    Technically the solid phase water in clouds is not in Hilo ;-)

    Nor is that snow up the mountains from Hilo…

    Nice tune, BTW…

  21. kuhnkat says:

    Apparently these areas have reached the fabled tipping point and the positive feedback from water vapor has gone negative! 8>)

  22. kuhnkat says:

    Seriouso,

    As EM mentioned the earth has been close to an iceball. It has also been much hotter. Upon which state are you going to base your comparison?? It has been at both extremes for much longer than the current regime that alledgedly will not last much longer before dropping back into an ice age!! The brain dead computation that compares the CURRENT temp to a questionable computation of earth as a surface with no conductivity in depth and an artifical albedo is not very informative or useful.

  23. Serioso says:

    @kuhnkat
    My point was simply that the earth’s average temperature, whatever that means, should be 30C cooler (that’s -15 C — VERY cold) than now if it were not for the presence of greenhouse gases (or perhaps some other mystery factor). That’s a really simple and indisputable statement. And if the earth’s temperature was once warmer or cooler, it wasn’t 30 C warmer or cooler. So it doesn’t matter which state I’m using to base my comparison. It is clear that the earth’s surface is a LOT warmer than basic “no atmosphere” radiational heat balance dictates. The question is WHY, and the answer most of us scientists trained in physics give is greenhouse gases, particularly water vapor with some additional effects from carbon dioxide and other gases. Do you have a specific problem with this? It seems pretty simple to me.

  24. Level_Head says:

    @Serioso:”should be 30C colder…”

    It’s true qualitatively, but not to the level of accuracy you’re suggesting. The Earth was very warm in the past with high greenhouse gases, and very cold likewise. The span appears to approach the delta attributed to GHG effects. The effects are clearly there, but the Earth is not at all a perfect black-body object. It’s a complex system, and those complexities have important effects that apparently outweigh the simple GHG formulation.

    Even the albedo of blue water changes at low incidence angles, so the high-latitude absorption is not as modeled. Other things have large effects on temperature; the Earth’s atmosphere is a collection of various engines running in different interconnections.

    That’s what we’re talking about here.

    I was amused by the Wikipedia article suggesting that the “Snowball Earth” of 650 million years ago (and much higher CO2, of course) needed 350 times today’s CO2 to break out of the glacier cycle. It doesn’t seem to have happened that way.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  25. Level_Head says:

    A new article on the Snowball Earth theory — supporting it — just appeared:

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/snowball-earth-life-0615.html

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  26. Serioso says:

    @Level_Head
    When I said “30C colder” I certainly did not mean to imply 30.0! No level of accuracy implied. But I do mean that without greenhouse gases the earth’s climate would be dramatically colder. That’s all.

    Thanks for the pointer to the MIT article on snowball earth. But I wouldn’t be too hard on the Wikipedia article on this subject: It’s a long and well-considered piece on a very speculative subject, and the mention of 13% CO2 was clearly a speculation from a single reference. In any case much of the article has been tagged as lacking in references, which I find hardly surprising given the nature of the subject. To be fair-minded about it, I don’t think the article is likely to mislead a serious and critical reader.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @Serioso:

    It was only recently discovered that the surface of the moon had a significant impact on the temperatures. Heat soaks into the surface to some depth, and is relased slowly back in darkness. Basically, the moon is much warmer than it “ought to be”, even without an atmosphere.

    So now we look at the earth. Our surface is not solid rocks. It’s a bizzar mix of water as ice, some of it suspended in air, with vast pools of water that flow all over the place and have residency times for heat storage of unknown size. We have a giant “heat pipe” that uses that water to move heat rapidly between parts. Sometimes holding heat for hours, sometimes for 100,000 years. (Ice deposits). The specific heat of water makes air look pointless and makes surface IR emissions look like a bad joke.

    So, having not gotten it right for a simple “one kind of surface” ball of minerals with no atmosphere at all and with no liquids at all; why on earth ought I to think they have the IR balance issue right on a ball of dynamic liquids and gasses. One with a nuclear decay heated core, BTW, that dumps truely massive quantities of heat into the surface of the planet….

    IMHO, the whole GHG THESIS is completely unproven. It could simply be the same class of error they made about the lunar sufarce and failed estimates of total heat leakage from the moulten rocks beneath our feet.

    Is the GHG thesis possible? Yes. Probable? Um, I think that “has issues”…

    http://www.diviner.ucla.edu/docs/2012.pdf

    Methods: Lunar surface
    temperature measurements are
    highly sensitive to the physical
    properties of the upper ~1 m of
    the regolith
    due to the dependence
    of thermal conductivity on
    the bulk particle size of the material
    [e.g. 7-10]. In the lunar environment,
    temperatures are especially
    sensitive to rocks larger
    than ~1m in diameter as they can
    remain up to ~90 K warmer than
    the surrounding regolith throughout
    the Lunar night.

    And that lunar night is a couple of Earth WEEKS long…. So just spinning the sphere faster would make for a warmer average surface temperature. Perhaps even 30 C worth…

    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/Greenhouse_Effect_on_the_Moon.pdf

    As the chart and the study indicate, actual daytime lunar temperatures were lower than expected because the real moon also conducts heat to the inside rather than radiating all of it to space. Conversely, actual surface temperatures throughout its two-week night were higher than expected because the moon “feeds on” the heat it had previously absorbed. Thus (within the zone in question) the surface of the real moon is roughly 20° cooler than predicted by day and 60° warmer by night, the net result being a surface that is 40° warmer than predicted.

    To quote NASA’s analysis, During lunar day, the lunar regolith absorbs the radiation from the sun and transports it inward and is stored in a layer approximately 50cm thick. As the moon passes into night, the radiation from the sun quickly approaches zero (there is still a bit of radiation from the earth) and, in contrast with a precipitous drop in temperature if it was a simple black body, the regolith then proceeds to transport the stored heat back onto the surface, thus warming it up significantly over the black body approximation.

    All without greenhouse gases.

    In other words, the components of a planet’s mass itself, rather than an atmosphere, bring about an appreciable difference between its calculated temperature and its actual temperature. Three dimensions count.

    Not only do solid surfaces challenge the blackbody premise, however, but gases too. The atmosphere of every planet in our solar system is also ‘warmer than predicted’.

    So, IMHO, “Nice theory. Doesn’t match the facts. Why don’t you go work on it some more”…

    OH, and I’d certainly not try to apply it to a much more dynamic body with multiple phase changes in a few working fluids and a highly variable and changing surface “bulk particle size”, and certainly not to one with an internal nuclear heater that can melt rocks.

    Other than that, no problem…

  28. Serioso says:

    @E.M. Smith

    I read your moon reference, and looked carefully at the graphs therein. If I read them right, the moon’s monthly high temperature is about 370K, while the low is about 90K, giving an average of 230K, or -40 C. That’s amazingly close to the simplistic -30 C calculated for the earth, which is, after all, the same distance from the sun.

    Yes, of course, heat capacity and thermal conductivity must be accounted for in any model that is not simplistic. But the earth’s oceans, which cover most of the earth’s surface, provide virtually all the working heat capacity of our planet, and, because of tidal mixing, the surface stays pretty much at the same temperature day and night, which is unlike the moon.

    The fact remains that the average surface temperature of the moon is a lot colder than the earth’s. Even the monthly highs are colder. The presence of greenhouse gases is almost surely the reason; theory and observation are in agreement.

  29. kuhnkat says:

    Serioso,

    go back to where you found the computation showing the 30c and check the assumptions. Come back here and post them and we will discuss what is wrong with it.

  30. kuhnkat says:

    EM,

    I was rereading some old posts at other sites and the fact that it is claimed that there is about 330w/m2 of backradiation struck me as ridiculous all over again.

    We know that the emissions from gas is in all directions. For there to be 330 toward the ground there would also have to be 330 up, and in at least 4 horizontal directions. My ignorant math capability tells me that ALL GHG’s would have to be radiating 1980w/m2 to get 330 in the direction of the ground. Since the surface only puts out 390 alledgedly with the addition of the backradiation where does all that other radiation come from and why isn’t it a lot hotter here in SoCal right now???

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Yeah, I know that is an overestimate due to the geometry, but still we are probably looking at at least 1000w/m2 to get 330 coming back down. How the heck can they come up with this garbage??? Note that more horizontal angles that point to the surface have a much longer atmospheric traverse and will be reabsorbed rather than getting to the ground.

  31. David says:

    Serioso states. “The fact remains that the average surface temperature of the moon is a lot colder than the earth’s. Even the monthly highs are colder. The presence of greenhouse gases is almost surely the reason; theory and observation are in agreement.”

    Yet your paragraph previous to this acknowledges that there is a vast difference (beyond just greenhouse gases) between a 100% land world, the moon, and a 70% water world, the earth; “Yes, of course, heat capacity and thermal conductivity must be accounted for in any model that is not simplistic. But the earth’s oceans, which cover most of the earth’s surface, provide virtually all the working heat capacity of our planet, and, because of tidal mixing, the surface stays pretty much at the same temperature day and night, which is unlike the moon.”

    So acknowledging a vast difference between the earth and moon, ” …unlike the moon” you then prescribe a singular reason for the difference as greenhouse gases.
    It appears to me that you ignore your own statements, as well as E.Ms; “Our surface is not solid rocks. It’s a bizarre mix of water as ice, some of it suspended in air, with vast pools of water that flow all over the place and have RESIDENCY times for heat storage of unknown size. ”

    The last sentence to me, the one refering to RESIDENCE TIME, is most critical, and input from all commentators on the following is appreciated as I have received no answers, pro or con, on the following summation concerns and assertions. My own law, David’s law, if you will, (-; is as follows. “Only two things affect the energy content of a system, either a change in the input, or a change of the residency time of energy within the system.”

    It therefore possibly follows that any effect which increases the residence time of LW energy in the atmosphere, (green house gases) but reduces the input of SW energy entering the oceans, causes a net change in the earth’s energy balance, proportioned to the energy input change involved, relative to the residence time of the radiations involved.

    Each wavelength of incoming TSI has a different residence time within the atmosphere, land and ocean. (We do not know what this residence time is!!) This residence time is of course affected by it own inherent properties as well as all of the material it encounters. The longer the “residence time” the greater the energy sink capacity, the greater the capacity, the more potential there is for a small change to, over time, have a greater affect then a larger change with a short residence time. The greater the energy capacity, the longer it takes for any change to manifest, and in the case of OHC this involves years, possibly decades.

    SWR entering the oceans has a vastly longer residence time then LWIR in the atmosphere. For instance, from 660 to 3,000 feet (200 to 900 meters), only about 1 percent of sunlight penetrates. This layer is known as the dysphotic zone (meaning “bad light”). http://www.scienceclarified.com/ This SWR involves a portion of TSI which changes during solar cycles far more dramatically then total TSI. It is the long-term balance of these flows across the ocean surface that determines the oceanic (and therefore the atmospheric) temperature. As a result, small sustained imbalances can cause gradual temperature shifts of the entire system. I illustrate this as follows…

    1. On a highway if ten cars per hour enter the highway, and the cars are on the road for ten hours before exiting, there will be 100 cars on the road and as long as these factors remain the same, the system is in balance. If you change the INPUT to eleven cars per hour, then over a ten hour period the system will increase from 100 cars to 110 cars before a balance is restored and no further increase occurs. The same effect as the increase in INPUT achieves can be realized by either slowing the cars down 10% or by lengthening the road 10%. In either case you have increased the energy in the system by ten percent by either increasing the residence time or the input.

    2. Now lets us take the case of a very slow or long road with the same input. Ten cars per hour input, 1000 hours on the road, now you have ten thousand cars on the road. Now lets us increase the input to eleven cars per hour just as we did on the road with a ten hour residence time. Over a 1,000 hour period we have the same 10% increase in cars (energy) How ever, due to the greater capacity on that road, the cars (energy) have increased 100 times relative to the 10 hour road with a 10% increase in input. (1,000 car increase verses a 10 car increase.) Any change in the input or the residence time on this 1,000 hour road will have a 100 times greater effect then on the 10 hour road if the input change endures for 1,000 hours. The ocean of course is the 1000 hour road, the atmosphere is the 10 hour road.

    So, there are three clear ways a change in TSI can have a greater affect then the very small change in total TSI. These three areas happen to be areas where our understanding is poor. How and what LWR changes occur, can have a far greater affect then a change in total TSI, if all WL TSI changes were equal. This first change is independent of clouds.

    However clouds account for the other two primary changes which can multiply the effects of a small change in TSI. Both the change in the amount of cloud cover, and the location of clouds can have an effect which overwhelms the minor change in one GHG, CO2. In short we are ignorant of major players.

    Do you think climate models accurately capture and predict the seasonal flux in temperature, cloud cover, OHC, TOA incoming and outgoing radiation, ESNO cycles, etc, etc, caused by the earths seasonal perihelion and aphelion 7% TSI flux and seasonal switch from a mostly water southern hemisphere , to a almost 50/50 land /ocean Northern hemisphere? (I think not)

    ESNO cycles, Sun cycles, cosmic ray flux, albedo changes, Jet stream flux/cycles, etc, etc, all interact with disparate strengths at different times, sometimes in phase with each other, sometimes out of phase, sometimes canceling each other, sometimes reinforcing. CO2 is a bit player in a vast ocean of forces.

  32. Level_Head says:

    @David — I’d written most of this before I saw yours. Please forgive the redundancy in the approaches.

    “Residency time” is just the difference between input and output. It’s a good phrase for it.

    (I’ve used water rather than cars as an analogy; it doesn’t “jam.”) Picture the heat as water coming into a bucket with a hole in the bottom. If the hole is not large enough to drain the water as fast as it’s coming in, you get “residency time” — but as more water builds up in the bucket, you get greater rates of flow. And the depth of water is the “temperature” at that moment.

    With heat hitting the Earth and trapped for a period by oceans, etc., the ultimate hole is back out to space. The warmer it is, the greater the rate of outflow; “black body radiation.” (This is not a very good description of our planet.)

    But as you noted, the exit path is not simple. Instead of a “hole” in our bucket, we have a complicated set of tubes and sponges and membranes. And the cloud cover (and to a lesser extent, ice and snow) acts as an umbrella to reduce the flow in.

    But heat energy knocks around our complex system for a while before leaving, warming things up in the meantime. It’s throttled coming in by clouds — and the change in albedo from hour to hour can dwarf the effects of all of the carbon dioxide increase in the past 200 years.

    We measure temperature and think we’ve got it down to a thousandth of a degree, a very peculiar conceit as our host has shown. Albedo, which changes everywhere like temperature and is more dramatic than GHGs, is given only the most cursory of treatments. We think it sort of averages out, but we are afraid to look too closely at those values.

    And albedo is not simple, either. It is a spectrum that varies by wavelength, as well as by cloud type and altitude.

    While anyone will tell you that the Sun only varies by a tenth of a percent or so from sunspot minimum to maximum, this understates the change somewhat, and especially over the past fifty years or so (the “Modern Solar Maximum”). Moreover, it’s an average; UV varies by tens of percent from max to minimum in the cycle.

    Not to mention the cosmic ray interactions with clouds, which offer interesting suggestions of a sort of reverse-sunspot effect, since the Sun’s magnetic field at peak activity shields us from these cosmic rays to an extent. Less sunspots seems to mean, then, more cloud formation.

    Clouds are not greenhouse gases; they are not gas at all, but water or ice. And their formation, reflectivity, and heat trapping are probably the biggest “throttle-players” after the Sun itself.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  33. Adrian Camp says:

    Oh, we live on a ball of molten iron, radioactivity and behind a magnetic field. None of that applies to the moon. Do you think any of those factors would make a difference? No, to me the idea that there is some fixed calculable value for Earth’s ‘ought-to-be’ temperature, based only on insolation and albedo, is laughable, and the follow-up that it is only GHG which make it depart from that value is even more of a stretch.

  34. David says:

    Level Head, I appreciate the water analogy because of its reference to , “as more water builds up in the bucket, you get greater rates of flow. And the depth of water is the “temperature” at that moment.” I have been curious as my understanding is that the logarithmic decline in CO2 warming effectiveness per doubling, has primarily to do with the WL absorption saturation rate, rather then the increasing capacity to move energy to space with increasing temperature. it would appear logical to me that as the earth warmed, the residence time of energy within the earth’s atmosphere would decrease, further enhancing the decline in CO2 effectiveness.

    I still like the traffic analogy because of the mathematical certitude in illustrating how different residence times affect the energy content of a system. Your comment as well as Adrian’s illustrate how complicated the climate system is and how poor our understanding of climate is. Lindzen’s latest effort to actually do science (observations verse convoluted model assumptions) is great science. Lindzen and Choi admit the uncertainties, and instead try to just observe the energy flows, without assumptions of causation. (The proper science to do given our current level of understanding) Only the fact that this paper changes the sign of CO2 feedbacks to negative, delayed its proper publication.

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    @David:

    Per “David’s Law” …. and I’m thinking and I’m thinking and I’m thinking….

    Not found a problem yet… seems to “fit all the known facts”…. Simple. Direct….

    And I’m thinking…

  36. Serioso says:

    @Kuhnkat

    Back radiation is real. It can be measured experimentally. It is generally a mistake to assume that scientists who have done careful research and experimentation know less than you do.

    @David

    The albedo of the earth is more than twice that of the moon (and this is a factor that really matters in determining temperature). Think about what this means in terms of radiative heat flow and resulting surface temperature.

    Guys, the scientists who worked out radiative heat transfer theory are not ignorant fools. “Question authority,” sure, but you can’t just discard a solid body of work by saying you disagree with it.

  37. kuhnkat says:

    Serioso,

    waiting for the assumptions that your 30c is based on.

    As far as back radiation being real, where do you get the idea that I think it isn’t?? I believe my comments were specifically toward magnitude, although I have seen NO detailed studies of the efficacy of backradiation in the open atmosphere. I HAVE seen a number of comparisons of areas with high levels of GHG’s compared to similarly situated areas with much lower levels of GHG’s that show no noticeable difference. So, trot out that carefully done research that support the 330w/m2 the IPCC types are so sure of. I am willing to read a few more papers.

    By the way, I would also point out that water vapor pretty much masks CO2 at the lower altitudes where it MIGHT cause warming. So, the argument is really about our CO2 output and it isn’t even the actual issue in our climate in spite of all the smoke and mirrors!! (you might want to study positive feedbacks and stability of systems that exhibit positive feedback)

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  38. Level_Head says:

    @Serioso:

    No one is questioning the concept of “radiative heat transfer theory.” Just, in this case, the details of the application of it to the heat energy systems affecting the Earth’s surface.

    You’ve said that the result is 30°C. Not 28 or 31 degrees, or whatever, despite the complexity of the Earth’s energy transfer and storage processes and the current arguments over the lag time (and current levels) of the heat in the Earth’s oceans.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Lying on a dry riverbank in Brazil are a 100-kilo man, a 100-kilo crocodile, and a 100-kilo piece of timber. One would not have to deny the radiative heat transfer theory to note that these three objects of equal mass (and, by happy chance, equal volume, color, and albedo) are not the same internal temperature. The processes are more complex.

    One does not have to question the concepts of addition and subtraction to wonder if you have as much in the bank as you say you do.

    But, you made this statement:

    The albedo of the earth is more than twice that of the moon (and this is a factor that really matters in determining temperature). Think about what this means in terms of radiative heat flow and resulting surface temperature.

    Now you’re talking!

    Can you put up your chart showing the Earth’s albedo for last year? I think an aspect that we’ve been talking about will become obvious.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  39. Serioso says:

    I am not going to do other people’s homework. You can do your own research and calculations. But, just to clarify, when I said 30 C difference, I meant 30+-10, not 30.0. The point is simply that the earth is a lot warmer than the moon despite higher albedo. I think anyone who doubts the effects of greenhouse gases, or the importance of back radiation, needs to explain this (rather than just say “it’s complicated”). It is complicated. But clear-sky back-radiation can be calculated with reasonable accuracy using the MODTRAN program, and I don’t know of any climate scientist who thinks MODTRAN is wrong.

  40. Level_Head says:

    @Serioso:

    How important do you think albedo changes have been in the past year? Decade? Century? What do you base this on?

    Do you even know what the Earth’s albedo is, or was at any point in time? Note that it is given as “between 30% and 35%” — a broad range, which is not surprising considering how much it can change in minutes or hours. Other sources give it as 28%.

    So, ignoring that rather obvious Sun for the moment, there are two large factors that dominate the surface temperature based on equal solar radiation reaching Earth:

    — Albedo, the biggest, can change by whole percentage points during the course of a day, and varies dramatically from point to point over the Earth’s surface. Even the same albedo level, over dark land versus dark water, does not have the same effect because of how the energy is transported.

    — Water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas, also changes by whole percentage points during the course of a day. This, too, is not “well-mixed” — the level of water vapor can vary by orders of magnitude from one place on the Earth to another.

    — Carbon dioxide is a minor greenhouse gas, but is fairly well-mixed and dwarfed by the previous factors. Moreover, the change in the level of CO2 has a continually reducing effect even in an ideal model: the change from 400ppm to 500ppm would have only (roughly) half of the effect of the change from 150ppm to 250ppm.

    We measure — and adjust the measurements for — the surface and near-surface temperature of the Earth in considerable detail. We also track the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, noting that the Earth absorbs more than mankind and the rest of the planet can produce for about half of the year.

    What we don’t have is any sort of detailed measurement of global humidity day to day or hour to hour, nor the Earth’s albedo. Despite the fact that these changes are large, and are the major factors translating sunlight into surface temperature.

    Between now and an hour from now, the albedo can change so much that the instant subtraction of all of the CO2 in the air would not make prevent the rise. (It would, of course, kill the plants.)

    The humidity — not quite directly correlated to albedo, since both low-humidity ice plains and high humidity clouds have high albedos — also varies by so much that all other greenhouse gases are lost in the noise.

    We don’t really know how much they change, globally, as we track this only very crudely indeed. What’s the trend? What was last year like, or last week, versus a year or a decade or a day prior? Where were the hot spots for humidity and albedo last month?

    We don’t know. So the calculations of the “noise” based on CO2 changes (which we’re pretending is the dominant driver) are rather silly, since the other two factors and their various interactions and feedbacks are so very much larger in effect.

    The practical case is demonstrated simply enough. Temperature records show that the Earth’s surface air temperature is now about the same as in the 1930s, despite the very-nice-for-plants rise in CO2.

    It was also apparently warmer in the late 1800s, and at various points prior to that over the past several thousand years, most significantly during the Holocene Climate Optimum when humans were just getting going on the concept of civilization. (I note that the embarrassing Holocene Climate Optimum has been recently reinvented as being “likely colder than today” in lower latitudes despite the fact that the Arctic sea-ice was much less than we have now. Somehow the “tipping point” of runaway warming caused by the loss of sea ice and Greenland ice didn’t happen.)

    We don’t think that CO2 was as high during those periods. So, other effects have dominated. CO2 was much higher during the rise of the Age of Mammals, but temperatures did not track with this.

    Albedo seems to have played a large role during the past million years, though water vapor and biosphere would have been involved too:

    Of course, the combination of extra CO2 and slightly warmer temperatures would be very good indeed for humanity, but that is a different issue.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  41. David says:

    Serioso says;
    @David

    “The albedo of the earth is more than twice that of the moon (and this is a factor that really matters in determining temperature). Think about what this means in terms of radiative heat flow and resulting surface temperature.

    Guys, the scientists who worked out radiative heat transfer theory are not ignorant fools. “Question authority,” sure, but you can’t just discard a solid body of work by saying you disagree with it.”

    Dear Sir, I certainly hope I was not questioning radiative heat transfer theory. I was merely questioning your assertion that the only reason for a difference between the earth’s and moon temperature was GHG. “The presence of greenhouse gases is almost surely the reason; theory and observation are in agreement.” I say it is complicated, because it is.

    Answer a simple question. Pure unphsical hypothetical, If the earth had no oceans, but the same atmosphere, what would its temperature be? Before answering consider that the heat capacity of the oceans is 1,000 times that of the atmosphere due to the capacity of water to absorb heat. Consider how much heat the oceans hold relative to the land mass. Without oceans, that energy would be absent.

    SWR is the primary input in the ocean except at the surface Knudsen layer where the residence time is very short. Any change in SWR entering the ocean is going to have a far greater long term effect then an equivalent LWIR change in the atmosphere.
    Water vapor and clouds have a far larger effect on the SWR entering the ocean then CO2 has on the residence time of LWIR in the atmosphere. CO2 induced LWIR atmospheric warming, primarily increases evaporation at the ocean surface, which increases water vapor and clouds, which reduce SWR entering the oceans. CO2 backradiation operates on a well known small percentage of the LWR in the atmosphere riding on the shoulders of water vapor. Water vapor and clouds effect a much larger portion of the TSI then CO2, and effect it not only at the LW spectrum in the atmosphere, but where it matters the most, at the SW spectrum entering the oceans. I do not claim that it is complicated, it is. The critical fact is that the energy is CUMULATIVE for everyday of “residence” and some of this energy may increase DAILY for as many days, months, years or decades that a change in TSI or cloud cover continues. Hence my paraphrase of an old maxim, ” A SW photon in the ocean is worth two LWIR photons in the atmosphere,” What the real ratio is, I do not know, and neither do you, nor does Hansen, or Lindzen or any other mortal.

  42. David says:

    Regarding E.M.Smith
    @David:

    Per “David’s Law” …. and I’m thinking and I’m thinking and I’m thinking….

    Not found a problem yet… seems to “fit all the known facts”…. Simple. Direct….

    And I’m thinking…

    Thanks, you sound like Johnny Depp in Pirates responding to Orlando Bloom’s plan of attack, “simple, direct, eady to remember”

    I actually slightly mistated it, so here it is as bullet proof as I can make it. ““Only two things affect the energy content of a system IN RADIATIVE BALANCE, either a change in the input, or a change of the residency time of energy within the system.”

  43. Serioso says:

    I suppose no one is going to try to answer my question as to why the earth is warmer than the moon despite the moon’s lower albedo. Perhaps that’s because you all seem to agree that water vapor is THE important greenhouse gas that provides significant back radiation. If that’s the case we agree on the the big picture.

  44. Level_Head says:

    @Serioso:

    Perhaps that’s because you all seem to agree that water vapor is THE important greenhouse gas that provides significant back radiation.

    I think that many of us were trying to make this point, and no one has offered any objection to it.

    But we are trying to get past the qualitative to the quantitative: How much “back radiation”? What’s the Earth’s average water vapor content, and how is that distributed vertically and horizontally? How was the average determined? And modeled?

    The fairly deceptive formulas belie how difficult this actually is to model well. And albedo is itself an overly simplistic term: Bond or geometric? (That difference is nearly 50% for Earth) And over what spectra? Light reflected off the upper portion of a high cloud is radiating in different wavelengths from light reflected from light-colored sand of the same albedo, not to mention being above the bulk of the greenhouse gases.

    We readily quote global temperatures to the hundredth of a degree, but have only a vague notion of water vapor or albedo for any time, and not even to the closest percent. And since albedo ranges over an order of magnitude and water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere varies on the order of 500 to 1, that seems important.

    The Climategate files revealed (though I’ve not seen anyone talk about it yet) that the models weren’t providing the answers desired — so they arbitrarily upped the solar “constant” by ten watts per square meter. Apparently that worked better. It suggests that the models are not particularly good at properly simulating the real Earth’s energy budget.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  45. Serioso says:

    @Level_Head

    Bond. I think we are in agreement! But it remains to be seen whether others object…

  46. David says:

    Serioso, additionaly the simplest way I can express what I am try to bring to the discussion is that we do not even know the residence times of the range of TSI entering the earth’s water land, atmosphere system.
    I know of no quantitative experiments on this, just some general observations and many contrary assumtions. Also I am suggesting, in my unphysical thought experiment, that sans oceans, our climate would be very different, and far colder. GHG is one of many factors.

  47. kuhnkat says:

    Serioso,

    “I suppose no one is going to try to answer my question as to why the earth is warmer than the moon despite the moon’s lower albedo.”

    If you haven’t come to the conclusion that it is the oceans on your own I doubt if anyone can convince you. When are you bringing the assumptions over to discuss on the funky 30c number that doesn’t really mean anything?

  48. Serioso says:

    @kuhnkat

    Why do you think it is the oceans? What is your evidence? Of course, insofar as the oceans are the main reservoir and source of water vapor, you are right. But it is the greenhouse effect of water vapor that makes the difference.

  49. Level_Head says:

    @Serioso:

    I can see a potential confusion here: Will you agree that “oceans” for the purpose of this discussion are not part of the Earth’s atmosphere? (A colorable argument can be made either way, but you’re making an apparent distinction, and I think that others here are as well.)

    What is a greenhouse gas, literally? It is a collection of molecules that absorb energy from the Sun, becoming warmer, and that ultimately re-radiate that energy at different wavelengths such that the net effect is a retention of heat beyond the standard black-body model predictions.

    Let’s ignore the concept of the ocean being a source of water vapor. Let’s just treat it as molecules, densely packed, forming a liquid. Will you agree that it absorbs energy (note that the albedo is quite low compared to land surfaces in general) and the re-radiation limited and in different wavelengths results in a net increase in heat?

    The ocean also serves a distributive function, warming parts of the planet that receive less direct sunlight, and that are even completely in the dark. Being orders of magnitude more massive than the atmosphere, it is far more effective at this.

    To a certain extent, this causes more IR to radiate to space from areas that would otherwise be cooler, were it not for comparatively warm currents. So the ocean heat-engine system is not simple to model, nor is any other part of our complex climate. (The atmosphere’s convection is somewhat analogous.)

    These effects combine to create an ocean that is, in a sense, a very dense greenhouse “gas” — and its effect on climate is one of ameliorating temperature variations by storing and releasing heat with far greater “inertia” than the lightweight atmosphere can muster.

    To an extent, this effect is offset by the fact that only the upper hundred meters or so of the ocean is involved in direct heat absorption—but a far greater portion is part of the massive, slow-moving heat distribution engine.

    So the atmosphere cools in hours; the ocean in years — and we see this in interactions between solar cycles and climate.

    The ocean is not a “gas” — but its heat retaining “greenhouse” effects dramatically affect our climate. And long after dark, when the atmosphere has radiated its heat back to space, the ocean is still managing a large heat budget.

    In the middle of the night, even in the dark oceans surrounding the poles at wintertime, the ocean is the only greenhouse gas still open for business. And the atmosphere’s job, then, is to contribute its comparatively puny efforts to move that heat a little distance inland.

    The natural flow of convection would defeat this, of course, resulting in an “offshore breeze.” But happily, for many places, the Coriolis effect helps overcome the convection that happens in still air, displacing it sideways. This is enough to make nice climates onshore, even ignoring the hydrological cycle aspects of moist versus dry air.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  50. Serioso says:

    @Level_Head

    I’ve got a problem with your second paragraph above. Careless error? Greenhouse gases do not absorb the sun’s rays. They absorb the earth’s.

    Insofar as I understand what you are saying in the third paragraph, I disagree. The oceans radiate as a nearly perfect black body, and this is true of nearly any liquid or solid (but not gases!). They store heat on both a short term and long term basis, but nearly all of the heat absorbed during the day is re-radiated at night. Nearly all, not all. The small portion that is not re-radiated within 24 hours can lead to seasonal changes in local oceanic temperature as well as poleward heat transport. Thus, the main effect of oceans is to moderate daily and latitudinal temperature swings, not to change the total energy storage (although, as you say later, the swings in oceanic energy storage over a very narrow temperature band may last decades). Greenhouse gases, by contrast, raise the temperature and change the amount of energy stored.

    I’m not sure whether was disagree on anything else.

  51. kuhnkat says:

    Level_Head,

    he is all yours. He doesn’t even understand his side of the discussion. I hate to have to explain someone’s argument to them so I can argue with them.

  52. Level_Head says:

    I was sloppy in my use of the term “greenhouse gas.” The ocean, technically, is not. Nor is there a layer of atmosphere below it.

    But your phasing seems peculiar. I don’t think you intended to suggest that oceans store energy (even over “decades”), but don’t change the total energy storage. Any storage of energy — any delay of re-radiation — raises the heat content of the system. The oceans do this in a large way. Moreover, it is differences in ocean heat storage from year to year that push a fair amount of the atmosphere around and create significant changes in climate.

    You almost made it sound as though the atmosphere stores heat longer than the oceans do.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  53. Serioso says:

    @Level_Head

    No argument. Energy storage, long term or short, is due to the oceans. Everything else is relatively trivial.

    Shall we dump on kuhnkat instead?

  54. David says:

    Serioso
    @Level_Head

    “I’ve got a problem with your second paragraph above. Careless error? Greenhouse gases do not absorb the sun’s rays. They absorb the earth’s.”

    Serioso, this is not really true either. Any increase in water vapor is in and of itself a spectral modification of incoming TSI reducing SW radiation at the surface,
    98% of that energy lies between about 250 nm in the UV and 4.0 microns; with the remaining as 1% left over at each end. Such graphs often have superimposed on them the actual ground level (air Mass once) spectrum; that shows the amounts of that energy taken out by primarily O2, O3, and H2O, in the case of H2O which absorbs in the visible and near IR perhaps 20% of the total solar energy is capture by water VAPOR (clear sky) clouds are an additional loss over and above that.

    Sunlight radiating on the Earth when it’s about 3,000,000 miles closer to the sun in January, is about 7% more intense than in July. Because the Northern Hemisphere has more land, which heats easier, and far shallower then water, most people state that the Earth’s average temperature is about 4 degrees F higher in July than January, when in fact they should be stating that the ATMOSPHERE is 4 degrees higher in July. In January this extra SW energy is being pumped into the oceans where the “residence time” within the Earth’s ocean land and atmosphere is the longest. There is not only 7% more intense radiation, there is more ocean with reduced albedo to receive this radiation. Some of the energy increases the mean evaporation rate of the earth and is transmitted to latent heat before being released, but most of the extra energy is lost to the atmosphere for a time as it is contained within the ocean, but eventually it is radiated from the ocean as LWR and increased latent heat in water vapor.

    In actuality, due to the more intense southern sun’s SW radiation being trapped in the oceans, the earth is gaining energy in the southern hemisphere summers, and relatively losing energy in the northern hemisphere summer. The extra energy is just hidden in the oceans for a time while the northern hemisphere summer sun reacts on a more sensitive atmosphere, creating a rise in atmospheric heat, but a net loss to the planet relative to the southern hemisphere summer. (This is offset to a degree? by the fact that in the Northern Hemisphere summer the earths albedo decreased due to less snow on the greater percentage of land) is the earth gaining or losing energy in the SH summer??

    . Remember this law. At its most basic, “only two things can effect the heat content of any system in a radiative balance. Either a change in the input, or a change in the “residence time” of some aspect of those energies within the system.”

    It therefore follows that any effect which increases the residence time of LW energy in the atmosphere, but reduces the input of SW energy entering the oceans, causes a net reduction in the earth’s energy balance, proportioned to the energy change involved
    relative to the residence time of the radiations involved.

    And yes we are somewhat talking at cross terms here. Because energy does not always translate as heat and I tend to mix them together. I am well aware that GHG raise the temperature of the atmosphere, and do some degree the oceans. I just consider that SWR modification at the surface is more relevant then LWIR modefacations via a minor greenhouse gas, a far less effective warmer of the oceans then SWR. Try thinking in terms of residence time of energy here and see if we are not in greater agreement.

    Cheers
    David

  55. E.M.Smith says:

    @Level_Head:

    Add to your list of “things we want to know”: From what level of the atmosphere does this back radtion happen? From what level of the atmosphere does the outbound happen?

    As near as I can tell, the notion that the water (in massive tons of the stuff) is transported to great height and THEN dumps energy is largely ignored in the catastrophist models. There is much more heat being dumped near the stratosphere via water than is generally modeled. (Just look at the IR pictures of the tops of clouds…)

    It is all treated as a ‘uniform column’ and it just isn’t.

    @David:

    As a “partial answer” on your ‘thought experiment’, when Pangia existed, the inland temperatures where very much higher. A dry surface can get much hotter than a wet one (as the wet evaporates and transports the heat to altitude to dump it in condensing).

    So I would speculate that a ‘dry earth’ with the same atmosphere would be much hotter on the sunny side. Then, depending on “particle size” of the surface, would cool to some unknown degree on the shady side. Whatever it would take for the S-B 4th power IR function to net balance out to the same total as today, integrated over the whole planet.

    Net I’d expect the sunny side to be hotter by a modest amount ( 4th power bites hard) then the cold side to be colder (as that same 4th power causes a LARGE drop to consive heat through the night and keep the balance constant). Rather like your typical desert today.

  56. E.M.Smith says:

    @Serioso:

    IMHO, noone has ‘answered your question’ as we are of the opinion that it is not known in detail what causes the temperature difference. Jupiter radiates more heat than it gets for interior nuclear processes (so the theory goes). We have a nuclear driven molten core with molten rock spewing on to the surface and an ocean heated from tens of thousands of mile long volcanic cracks in the bottom. We have an ocean, and a convective water laden atmosphere. We have clouds.

    It’s just not possible to get a nice tidy answer out of that muck.

    Trying to get the nice tidy answer is what is a weakness, not the recognizing the complexity.

    @Level_Head:

    Also note that the interface between the “sun warmed” upper layer and the “not warmed” depths changes with lattitude and proximity to land. The depth can be anywhere from ‘near nothing’ to a couple of hundred meters. There can even be multiple thermoclines.

    Oh, and you get salinity gradients as well….

    So when you say “only the upper 100 m or so”, that’s a much shallower depth at the poles and much deeper mid-Pacific. As you get “algae blooms” the depth also changes. Then, in places like the California coast, where there are Kelp Forrests, it’s nearly dark just a 100 feet down… and the absorption is effectively complete even in the first 20 m.

    The bottom line being that one can’t even model the ocean correctly with a single depth of “absorbption band” of about 100 m. The interplay of the thermocline with the saline gradient at the Drakes Passage is just amazing, as one nearly trivial example:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/drakes-passage/

    this graph:

    That the modlers just ignore all that with a wave of the “average albedo” wand is the absurd bit.

    Otherwise, generally agree on the description.

    @Serioso:

    I’ve got a problem with your second paragraph above. Careless error? Greenhouse gases do not absorb the sun’s rays. They absorb the earth’s.

    Pot, meet kettle…

    Um, gasses absorb photons from ANY source if they are in an absorbtion band. They don’t care if it is inbound, outbound, or re-radiated sideways from a neighbor…. They absorb both earth and solar origin “rays”….

    It’s the swapping of frequencies and relative concentration from each direction that is supposed to result in some net increase. (All the while ignoring those tons of water vapor headed past to condense as rain, snow, and hail far above…)

    David has it right above.

    Oh, and don’t forget that the water vapor means that CO2 then becomes a net COOLING influence instead of a net heating one:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/co2-cools-damp-air/

    details details…

    (What? The IR models do not incorporate the impact of changing molecular species on the IR absorbtion / radiation? Simple “thought experiments” are not in line with the reality of “mixed gasses of changing composition”? Oh… )

    The oceans radiate as a nearly perfect black body, and this is true of nearly any liquid or solid (but not gases!). They store heat on both a short term and long term basis, but nearly all of the heat absorbed during the day is re-radiated at night. Nearly all, not all. The small portion that is not re-radiated within 24 hours can lead to seasonal changes in local oceanic temperature as well as poleward heat transport.

    Um, no. The light that went to 20 m and got absorbed does not have that energy liberated that night. Perhaps the direct IR that got soaked into the top 1 mm, but that was David’s point, IIRC. The SW is what matters, not the LWIR that gets stopped at the surface.

    It takes about 18 years for a “hot spike” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to work it’s way to Alaska and fade away. That has been measured. The oceans are a decadal scale absorber, and for the North Pacific in particular, I’ve seen a “movie” of the heat over decadal scales as temperature bands drift north with the bulk water flow up the middle. (I’ve also swum in the waters of the California Coast and can assure you that the southbound current is Darned Cold and stays that way, sunlight and all, until about Santa Barbara. By then it has absorbed enough solar heating to be “nice”, over the course of a few months and NOT radiating it away at night). By then, it starts to mix with some warmer waters from further south, then L.A. and San Diego get very nice temperatures…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Current

    Why the WIki calls it the “California Current” is beyond me. We called it the Humboldt Current up here (but the wiki asserts that is only in S. America). I presume there is some “Pluto Effect” here with some pontificating body having pontificated…. I presume we can keep our Humboldt County from where the current flows…

    If the processes were “over in hours”, then one would not expect such a current to take the length of South America to warm up… or going the other way, to cool down:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldt_Current

    this image:

    The ocean is big, slow, deep, complex, and takes decades to change it’s mind about things…. and the waters warm, and cool, over months of travel from polar to equatorial zones (not “nightly”). For every “cold upwelling” there is also a warm displacement. Heat flows in, to lurk for decades, before being released somewhere else. You can’t just “brush it off” with a “days are mostly in balance on IR and then climate happens” brush. Sorry. That’s a “no go”.

    (although, as you say later, the swings in oceanic energy storage over a very narrow temperature band may last decades). Greenhouse gases, by contrast, raise the temperature and change the amount of energy stored.

    That “very narrow temperature band” can be whole degrees C and in megatons of high specific heat water. Makes air look like less than an afterthought. (Because it is.) Then you have a bald faced assertion that “gas matters”. Ever thought that the gasses are a BYPRODUCT of that ocean? That the ocean MAKES the gasses? Both the water vapor, and the CO2? (And the O2, BTW). The activity on land is irrelevant in comparision to the activity in the oceans. You are confounding cause and effect…

    It is the oceans, being warmed, that put more CO2 into the air (or being cooled, that store more). It is the oceans, being warmed, that raise H2O vapor, or being frozen, that reduce it. It is the HEAT added to the oceans that drive these processes, not the gasses that make heat flow backwards…

    Sun changes clouds. Clouds change ocean heating input. Ocean changes CO2, H2O vapor, and temperature profiles. From highest mass to lowest. From highest energy content to lowest. In keeping with the heat flows. In keeping with the hydrological cycle.

    @Level_Head:

    Just call it “Greenhouse fluid” and include the ocean ;-)

    @David:

    Now there you go again…

    Making me think…

    The 7% variation, of NH to SH, changes over the precessional cycle. MIGHT it be that as the precessional cycle advances you get more / less lag time in the ocean heat storage, and so you ge more / less snows? Could this be that missing tiny bit of the Milankovitch Cycle? The theory is relatively well worked out, but has a tiny bit of ‘rough edge’ on such things as why it swapped from a 40,000 ish year cycle to a 100,000 ish year cycle. IFF you have land masses moving and IFF the ocean heat storage variation between hemispheres “matters” in terms of heat residency time / snowfall, that might be “the missing bit”….

    I think you could likely have something there…. (If proven to be the case, could I ask that it be called the “David and that other guy” theory? ;-)

    So as we move on our 25,000 year precession, the SH / NH heat ‘excess’ changes, and with it the degree to which hotter water is dumping more moisture into the air at the poles during longer colder winters… Hmmm….. add in a 40,000 year obliquity cycle, season with a 18.6 year nutation cycle and stir…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt#Obliquity

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutation

    I note in passing that the multiples of 18.6 are:

    37.2
    55.8
    74.4
    93
    111.6
    130.2
    148.8
    167.4
    186
    204.6

    WIth those second and third looking like they bracket the variations of the PDO flip / flop and the last two having remarkable similarity to some of the “solar cycles” hypothesized as being drivers of longer term cycles on the “near 200 year” range.

    So maybe some “harmonic” nutation action interacting with solar variation driving a long slow heat storage oscillation? (We will dodge the complication of “orbital resonance” and how that might be interacting with solar changes and / or moon orbit and the question of how the lunar / earth orbits might be in resonance with solar processes…)

    I think I need more coffee ;-)

  57. Level_Head says:

    The “hundred meters or so” was intended to be very broad indeed, and the range is from perhaps 3% or that to 300% of that number.

    I have personally been in a research submarine 850 feet down (about 250 meters), inspecting a wrecked vessel some 200 feet (60m) in length. The bright noon sun produces an effect at that depth rather like clear-sky starlight; a beautiful intense deep blue.With all the sub’s lights off (and a moment to let your eyes adapt) you can see the the entire 200 feet of the vessel.

    And this was in water that, further up, had a distinct “biological layer” where the visibility was only a fraction of this. In the central parts of the major oceans, the water is “clearer than distilled water” according to the link below, and the light penetration is better yet.

    But most of the photons are absorbed long before this, more than 90% of them in the first hundred meters under the best of circumstances. Hence my number.

    Here’s a link to a document discussing absorption wavelengths and depths:

    http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter06/chapter06_10.htm

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  58. kuhnkat says:

    Level_Head,

    thanks for the link. Both you and Chiefio seem to understand the great variability in nature. Why do the so-called experts think they can use models that leave out so much of this and still have valid output?? (rhetorical)

  59. E.M.Smith says:

    @Kuhnkat:

    Perhaps it comes from having spent a lot of time near, and some time under, very different parts of the oceans and lakes over a 1/2 century period of time…

    When you have hung on a thermocline, with your knees down fridgid, and your knees up ‘too warm’ and your head in 100 F air and bone dry, well, “it has a lasting impression”. And then some idiot wants to make a theoretical argument about ‘well mixed’ surface waters?

    About May, the water was as described. By August, it was “warm” down to about 6 feet, then “cool and comfortable” to about 10 to 15 feet, THEN you hit the fridgid thermocline. Jumping in off the rope swing put you in “fridged” then ;-)

    Also, FWIW, there is a place in Hilo where fridgid snow melt has run down a lava tube and is floating out to sea over warm tropical salt water. “Startling” doesn’t quite cover it… Had to wade about 30 feet from shore to get deep enough to get warm water under the surface sufficient to be comfortable. Even then the top foot or so was “distorting” from mixing salinities changing the index of refraction (and still a bit cool).

    All while under a tropical sun at mid day…

    Then someone will say that all the heat is in the “skin” of the water… Tell that to my skin, it was reporting “dead cold” in the top layers, warmer deeper.

    Then there was jumping into the waters of Vancouver BC. Pleasant. Not quite “warm” but livalble. Followed by several hundred miles of “booking it south” to Santa Cruz California and plunging into 45 F or so waters at their beach. (Due to a quirk, it’s much colder in that part of the California Current where the cold waters rise than near either Vancouver or San Diego…)

    And someone wants to talk about how “hot water rises” and “cold water sinks” …. and must be what makes everything the way it is…

    After a while the “exceptions” are much larger and more numerous than the “rules” and you start to think maybe the theoretical folks need to get out more often and put on some swimming trunks…

    (Similar experiences, BTW, in the Gulf of Mexico, as noted on my trip notes about the last Florida trip and the ‘warm mud’ under cold wind cooled surfaces waters. Hypotheticals are fine, but the real world is just SO much more interesting and complex…)

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/mud-mud-glorious-mud/

    Maybe as a kid they were never allowed to go play in the mud ;-0

  60. David says:

    Regarding E.M.Smith
    19 June 2011 at 5:07 pm

    E.M; “I think you could likely have something there…. (If proven to be the case, could I ask that it be called the “David and that other guy” theory? ;-)”

    Well Sir, you can call it whatever you wish, unless there is a financial reward involved (-;

    Seriously, the huge seasonal shift in TSI, alternating from mostly water Southern Hemisphere to far greater land mass in the Northern hemisphere, should provide great details and clues to where the energy goes. I would be as curious as hell to know if the infamous models accurately forecast the observations seen with this seasonal flux. I have also been curious if the climate records reflect the 24,000 year processional changes. (If the precession is the result of the solar system curving through space, then the absence of such a signal could be evidence for this unlikely but possible theory, discussed in another thread) We are talking about a tremendous flux in energy changing between a 81% water SH, and a 60% water NH This is further accentuated by the fact that the largest land mass in the SH is Antarctica, Therefore an even greater percentage of more intense sunlight is entering the southern oceans, and the NH pole is a water world, further reducing how much SWR enters the ocean there. The models should predict how the atmosphere and oceans respond to this flux.

    Thinking of the above, and in regard to my thought experiment, yes, your comments are very true, and having once lived 100 yards from the ocean, I well know its moderating affects, cooling the summers, warming the winters. How does this balance though, for certainly time is also a factor, not just the daily high, and daily low? The mean temperature could well be the same based on a single point high and single point low, but how long and when the gradient between the daily high and low changed, would reflect how much energy was actually expressed as temperature within a given system. Additionally, if the oceans are slowly cooling in the NH summer, despite the fact that the atmosphere is warmer, what would happen if the condition remained permanent? The atmosphere would have quickly established a radiative balance at the higher temperature, but eventually the cooling oceans would catch up or even overwhelm this? I did once ask on real climate if the earth was gaining or losing energy in the SH summer, and no one would answer.

    Regarding your discussion with Level head in regard to ocean absorption of SWR, did you guys see my link? From 660 to 3,000 feet (200 to 900 meters), only about 1 percent of sunlight penetrates. This layer is known as the dysphotic zone (meaning “bad light
    Read more: Ocean Zones – body, used, water, process, Earth, life, plants, chemical, form, energy, animals, carbon, oxygen, parts, primary, plant, surface http://www.scienceclarified.com/Mu-Oi/Ocean-Zones.html#ixzz1PnhC7feY Now if the spectrum of TSI that penetrates this deep is the spectrum that changes by up to ten percent or so over a solar cycle, and in a prolonged solar minimum this could be for decades, then my residence time analogy to car traffic goes into full effect for each and every day of the change. The potential 10 percent change in the one percent of TSI could have a daily cumulative affect that is additive or subtractive for decades. I most wished to communicate to Serioso the importance of residence time, and that it is not an excuse to say it is complicated and to admit our ignorance, it is a reality. Among many climate mysteries, I also assert that until we know the residence time of various spectrum TSI, we will fail to understand how such TSI flux affect us over different time periods.

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