Sometimes you can learn things just by watching the world….
At my “Florida Friends” home, he has a very nice pool. Selling a California Bubble home let him buy a Very Nice Florida home with a very nice pool. Here is a view from the patio. The sun is just rising a bit to the right. It sets over the solar heater panels just behind and to the left from this perspective.
Yeah, sometimes “doing science” requires great sacrifice… but I’ve put in many hours the last few weeks, thinking hard and deep thoughts, pondering
The Lessons Of The Pool…
The Solar Panels:
During hot months (that is, now, during the summer) the pool filter runs during daylight hours ( a couple after sunrise to a couple before sunset). It is on a fixed length timer. The water is circulated through the solar panels and back to the pool via the spa in the center and the jets along the sides. During winter months, the “solar heater” is often left out of the loop as there is no heat to gather. No added heat is used (unless a special party in winter demands it).
Seasonal Heat Storage
The first Lesson Of The Pool is that there is no seasonal heat storage. When I was here last winter, the pool was cold. Just too cold to use. Depth in the middle is about 6 feet, at each end about 4 feet. The whole thing, cement and all, drops to quite cold in winter. ALL of the summer heat gain is gone as it approximates the daily average (i.e. quite cold and can even get minor ice forming if the temps stay below freezing for a few days, though I have not personally observed this, so it is “second hand hearsay”.)
The notion that “CO2 traps heat in a body of water over long duration” is just wrong. The heat is not trapped, it is in motion, and fairly fast too.
Day to Day Heat Storage
So, if ‘seasonal’ is a bit of a reach, surely it stores lots of heat for weeks? At least days?
Today was a ‘hot sunny day’ most of the day. The pool was ‘bathtub warm’. I’d guess near 90 F. (Buying a pool thermometer to better instrument my experiments on on the “todo list”…) Deep bone soothing warmth with a silky texture ( I added a bag of Epsom Salts to the pool a few days ago… it now has a bit of that silky feel ;-)
Two days ago was a cool, overcast, stormy day. The pool was decidedly cool. ALMOST a bit too cool. Nice for a dip, but not a long soothing soaker… (then again, even a ‘dip’ with lightning in the distance is pushing your luck…)
The pool rapidly matches the ambient temperatures.
Now, clearly, with that big ‘ol non-insulated panel on the roof, it can both absorb and radiate heat. But then again, so can a stream running down a hill, or even a lake sitting still in a valley. All that radiator does is give a more effective coupling of the body of water to the IR environment… And if CO2 is “trapping IR”, it ought to be doing a dandy job of keeping that pool warm.
But on overcast days, the pool is cold. “Back radiation” from the low clouds… “Enhanced Greenhouse effect”… “CO2 warming”… all of them accomplish exactly nothing. Overcast days that are warm result in a pool that is still not hot. The only thing that gives a nice hot pool is a day with a LOT of sunshine reaching the ground. That warms the pool. Overnight or under overcast the next day, and the pool cools.
CO2 doesn’t do a thing to keep the pool warm, even over a single night.
Furthermore, at the end of the afternoon heating surge, the top 6 inches to a foot are the warmest. Quite clearly warmer than the layers a bit lower down (even with the slow mixing of the pump). But on cold days, the pool is cool all the way through. Heat gain happens in the top layers, but heat loss rapidly spreads through the whole mass. (Heat rises and stratifies, cold sinks…)
So a larger body, like an ocean or a lake, ought to rapidly have the bottom levels become stable at the ‘average cold’ of the area, and the top layers will warm in direct proportion to the ambient solar heating in any given season and on any given day. Any ‘added heat’ shows up only in the depth of the thermocline during the hot season, then is rapidly gone as soon as cooling begins. ( I first noticed this at the “Dredger Ponds” out by the Feather River where we went swimming as kids. During late August, the thermocline would be 6 to 10 feet deep sometimes. VERY warm on top, then a deeper modestly warm layer about 3 feet down, then the Cold Thermocline and you were in ‘way cold’ land. In winter, the surface was ‘way cold’… Again, no heat ‘storage’ over the year. Barely any from week to week. Mostly just in equilibrium with the average daily sunshine level in the warm layers.)
So as a first conclusion, I’d have to say that any Global Warming thesis that puts heat ‘in the pipeline’ in bodies of water has a major issue. It can only be in a few feet of the surface layers for anything of modest size. For bodies in motion, such as rivers, it’s a flat out joke, and for the oceans, well, they are 4 C for the bulk of their volume. Only the surface gets warmed by all that sun, and even that is not warmed very deeply… or for very long.
Rate Of Heat Flux
Now think about the rate of heat flux. Several FEET deep get warmed or cooled by 10 F (or more) in a single day. Yes, the solar panel helps. But it is really just a ‘average albedo’ adjustment. I’ve seen a pool (two of them, actually) with dark tiles for part of the bottom. Just enough to be about the right temperature from solar heating without panels. (One was actually overly warm due to a bit too much tile). There isn’t much difference between dark tile in a pool and dark mud in a lake bottom or dark water in an ocean. It all absorbs the heat. And all of them cool too. (The tile lined pool required a gas heater in winter / fall / spring to be swimmable).
So we can warm or cool FEET of water in just a day or two. The 2 W/M^2 of the IPCC is just a bad joke when talking about TONS of water per square meter. (2 meters deep would be 2 metric tons). We are orders of magnitude off from the rest of the heating, and cooling, fluxes. It is just lost in the noise.
In places cooler than Florida Summers, you need a pool cover to keep the heat in over night. If not insulated, those tons of water rapidly lose heat to the air, and then on to the sky and stratosphere. Think of all those pool covers all over the world. Each one a small testimonial to the power of the pool at dumping heat back to space each night. (After all, if it could store the heat for days to weeks, there would be no need to try to store it over any single night… yet, leave the pool cover off and you must run that gas heater a very long time the next day to ‘make up for it’… CO2 is a lousy blanket…
pH and CO2
My first week, I was busy adjusting the chlorine and getting the total alkalinity right along with a couple of other minor things. The pH was reading ‘quite low’ at 6.2, but we didn’t have any “pH Up” chemicals. Finally, the day came to address the pH (as I’d got the rest where I wanted it). Finally I remembered that the ‘low reading’ on a test strip had no real “lower bound”, it just meant “this far OR MORE”… So I hit the pool store for an alkalinizing chemical.
What do they sell to make a pool more ALKALINE? To RAISE the pH from acid to basic?
Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate or Sodium Carbonate. Baking Soda and “Washing Soda”. This stuff is sodium with a carbonic acid group (i.e. CO2 hydrated) or two stuck on it.
To make the pool more alkaline, you dump in loads of CO2.
I put in about 8 pounds of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, and moved the pH to an indicated 7.3 or so on the dipper.
Clearly all that added carbon dioxide was unable to make the water acid… (In fact, it leaves the acid water, letting the sodium stay behind, to make it alkaline. So if an acidified river runs into the ocean, carrying it’s load of dissolved salts and CO2, the CO2 will leave the ocean to make it more alkaline. That is the Lesson Of The Pool for pH.
Anyone making their pool more alkaline has a dramatic example of the complete farce of thinking that CO2 can make a body of water acid in the presence of any metal ions. (And both land and ocean waters are full of metal ions. Manganese Nodules deposit by the mega ton on the bottoms of the oceans and are almost entirely metals.) Rainwater may be slightly acid, but once it washes rocks, acid forest floors, or even just mingles into the ocean, the CO2 will not stay in an acid solution.
(In fact, I’d speculate that causality may be ‘exactly wrong’ in the Warmers acidification narrative. CO2 stimulates plant growth in warm times. More plants from a greened world make more acid leaf litter and river runoff. That acidification BY LIFE, drives more CO2 from the ocean as the great rivers deliver it to the oceans. Which then further promotes life… It is life, booming in warm times, that causes the acidification (actually a reduction of alkalinity) that then causes more CO2 release from the oceans. CO2 is the product and result, not the cause.)
At any rate, such are the Lessons Of The Pool. Solar heat is fleeting. It is not stored for long times. The “greenhouse effect” is useless and trivial compared to the impact of seasonal sunshine variation and cloud changes. CO2 in solution is irrelevant to pH, it’s the metal ions in solution that control.
So pour a cold one, and watch as the CO2 leaves solution with gradual warming in the sun…
Pour two more, let them sit for a few minutes to warm to British Room Temperature. Poor another cold one. Compare acidity and ‘bite / fizz’. Notice that a fresh cold one will have more fizz than the one that’s set out in the sun for even just an hour (IFF you can stand to wait the long to do the test…) Repeat as needed to get enough data points to make a complete graph of CO2 vs time / temp.
Then dip a toe in the pool… Is it nice and warm on a sunny day? Or a bit cool on the overcast day?
Even if it’s cool, wade on in. Remember, you are doing this for Science and sacrifice is expected…
I’ve conducted this experiment dozens of times. Solar heated beer is flat. Sunny days the pool is warmer than cloudy days. Invariably, the CO2 in the air can not keep a pool hot over night, and it can’t make a flat beer fizzy and full of ‘bite’…
In honor of this simple demonstration, I propose that The Pool, be the banner emblem for the Skeptics. Wave that banner proudly. The Pool does not lie…
Confirmation and repeated experiments are encouraged… I might have gotten something wrong, and Lord knows (Monckton?) it takes a mountain of repeated evidence and results to convince a Warmer that they’ve got it wrong…
Wine Coolers may be substituted by those who find beer a difficult fluid to ‘evaluate’. Whiskey / Soda is suitable for those in regions ill suited to growing wine grapes. Gin / Tonic can be used for folks desperate to be prepared for Malarial risks. If all else fails, and health precludes other options, simple Club Soda can be used, though the CO2 is particularly fleeting without the “moderating” effects of the other working fluids and you will need to adjust the time constant scales of your graphs accordingly.
A similar effect can be seen in sugary sodas vs diet sodas, where the sugar organic component causes a better gas retention so perhaps a series of “sodas and sugars as analog to forest floor organic litter in CO2 retention” could be an area for future research… Though a prior experiment with Rum & Coke has left me unable to participate in that line of research due to “flashbacks”… I was an undergraduate then and, well, “the experiment did not end well” …
For me, my future direction will involve more closely monitoring the daily temperature excursions with appropriate instrumentation as my “day job” permits funding for thermal measuring devices. I’ve also been pondering the “Fizzy Margarita” as a test case, but have been unable to find my last notes….