ICCC – Day Three

I must confess that after being up until after 4 AM, I didn’t make it to the 7 AM breakfast and even managed to miss a couple of the first session speakers I’d wanted to hear. For a “Night Owl” from California; travel to Chicago is more like a 4 hour time difference than a 2 hour difference ( I tend to live on Hawaii Time… must be an aspirational thing ;-) then add to this the “midwest breakfast at 7” thing. So it was like trying to make breakfast at 3 AM for me. Never had one bite. (though one day I got there in time to snag a pastry and what was being cleared from the tables looked great… Sigh…)

OK, I missed Helen Rose ( Queen’s Univ. North Ireland) on “Climate Oscillations During the Last 4500 Years; Insights From Irish Peatlands” and will just have to assume it showed something similar to what we’ve seen before ( at least until I can see the video and catch the more subtile bits):

Climate Cycles in History

Climate Cycles in History

and George Kukla “Interglacials Start with Global Cooling and End with Global Warming”. One I’d desperately wanted to see. It’s a frequent aspect of dynamic systems that there is a reverse nudge just before a large swing in the other direction and I’d wanted to see what he had found to support that notion for interglacials.

Oddly, all of us are familiar with this effect, but rarely think about it. From phrases like “It’s always darkest before the dawn” to the fact that every kid learning to ride a bike tends to fall over until they learn the little “trick” of slightly turning the handle bars the “wrong way” just a bit before entering the turn. (Most of us forget this when we get older, it’s just built in to ‘riding a bike’.) The initial offset the ‘wrong way’ tips the bike (the wheels move to the side but inertia keeps your body in about the same place) and that leaning motion then lets you enter a turn in the other direction, the handlebars are then brought into conformance with the turn just a hair later. This is explicitly taught in motorcycle safety classes where you need to tip a few hundred pounds of motorcycle and your riding a bike memory may not ‘nudge’ the bars enough ;-)

You also see it in stock markets where a ‘parabolic rise’ is inevitably followed by a downtrend.

So I’m very cross at myself for missing this one. All I can say is that after a week of mad preparation (had a closed room presentation to give – no, no details will be provided) with being “short slept” and then the travel, and more short sleep time, then with an “up late”, the best I could manage was cutting it to 4 hours sleep. Frankly; even that left me a bit physically uncoordinated and socially dull, bereft of my graces. Remind me next time to pack a jumbo bottle of “No Doz” for the days and something else to put me to bed…

At any rate, I’ll be very interested in catching that video…

I only made it to the Willis Eschenbach presentation on “How Clouds and Thunderstorms Control the Earth’s Temperature” for the Q&A portion. I suspect it was the same material he covered here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

Or perhaps here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/16/another-look-at-climate-sensitivity/

and while the Q&A was interesting, I’d wanted to hear Willis speaking.

Life has it’s limits, and they often lead to it’s disappointments. You must sleep sometime, and that limits what can be done in any one day, much as I’d like to try to think otherwise at times.

During the Q&A, one of the points made was that the “climate scientists” focus on temperature ignores how energy flows. It does NOT all flow to temperature. It flows both to temperature AND to entropy. You can melt ice, for example, with no change of temperature. To ignore this is to ignore 1/2 (or more) of the physics.

More heat flow in from the sun leads to more surface evaporation and convection, and at the top of those convective cells, to condensation (and even freezing as hail forms) dumping huge quantities of heat into the high upper atmosphere for it’s rapid exit to space. Old School Mets all knew this. The “climate scientists” seem to focus almost exclusively on radiative heat transport by infrared and ignore the mass transfer phase change system of the hydrological cycle. Simulating clouds properly is terribly compute intensive. IMHO, they need much more dynamic clouds in their models anyway…

There was a bit of discussion of why Glacials happen in that context. The usual planetary position mechanism was discussed. But… It got me thinking.

One of the things that always bothered me about that explanation is that there DOES look to be a strong hysteresis to the cold pattern. It’s like a “switch on” warm then a “switch off” to cold. We have a ‘hard lid’ on hot at about our present interglacial temperatures (probably from that 4th power of energy transport with radiative surface temperature, IMHO. When you have that many powers of increase of energy loss with temperature you are going to be rapidly dampened to the upside), but the downside also looks to be ‘throttled’ at a fairly close level. Why?…

Well, what if it’s just thunderstorms?

When we warm up, there is a wide tropical and temperate band with LOADS of thunderstorms with a lot of vertical heat transfer via that phase change and convection mechanism As the planet enters a glacial, we get far smaller bands with thunderstorms. Yes, arctic storms can be brutal, but they do not have the same convective structure as a hurricane moving incredible quantities of hot moist surface air rapidly to altitude for condensation.

So I’d postulate “Smith’s Ice Age Hysteresis Thesis” that the ‘switch’ part of the cycle, the thing that lets the gradual planetary changes of the Milankovitch cycle have sudden onset of interglacials and sudden ‘switch’ back to a glacial is the amplification factor on vertical heat transport from having larger and smaller thunderstorm / hurricane bands. When we get hot enough, the transport and the IR power function limits further heating. When we get cold enough, the reduction of both limit further cooling. In between, we have a hysteresis where at a threshold value, increasing rainfall melts more ice leading to more water to warm with more rain and more melting… or going the other way, more ice leads to less warm water leads to less thunderstorms dropping rain allowing more ice to form. But it takes a while for the warming phase to reach a ‘take off’ where enough excess sunshine is bouncing off ice so that melting that ice gives a positive coefficient of warming; and on the other side, it takes a while to overcome the regulatory portion of the thunderstorm regime and enter a cooling where more ice leads to more sun reflection and less warm water Basically, the ice albedo / sun interaction is the major driver, but the water phase change / hurricane and thunderstorm process is the regulator of extremes and provided the hysteresis between extremes.

Put more tersely: Perhaps thunderstorms / hurricanes limit the heating regime and the transition to ‘arctic storm’ types limits the cooling regime, with a hysteresis at the transition driven both by ice albedo and by rainfall vs snowfall. Perhaps both phase changes of water set the bounds and enable the hysteresis.

I know, probably been in the literature for years and I’m just reinventing what someone else did 100 years ago. I’m “good with that”. I love it when I find I’ve independently reinvented what someone else already did. It confirms that I’m thinking clearly and gives me a new source to ‘read ahead’. And who knows, some day I might find out it was not already “well attested” ;-)

(So if THAT is what you pick up from a comment, imagine how much is in the whole session. And now you know why I’m torqued at myself for missing it…)

After a sorely needed coffee break, the last session started.

William Kininmonth

“Natural Responses Limiting Anthropogenic Climate Forcing”

This was a very interesting presentation on how the climate models handle (badly) issues of evaporation and other aspects of the real world.

In particular, the models have a strong over response to temperature due to having the wrong evaporation response. As a surface has more energy hit it, there are 2 paths: get hotter or phase change water (to vapor, or from ice to liquid). If you set the water evaporation low, the surface must get hotter.

The ‘first principles’ theoretical physics says it ought to be 7% evaporation, but measured is only 6%. Yet despite both of those, the models use 2%. This disconnect between both theoretical and measured when compared to the models shows that the models MUST be overstating temperature rise by a very significant amount. ( And I seriously doubt that they allow for the very high rates of evaporation from plant cover. Trees will self regulate leaf temperature via evapotranspiration, so the whole notion of a direct temperature rise is completely broken once you have trees involved.)

Further this implies that the hydrological cycle dominates the climate, not CO2. And CO2 induced radiative warming will be rapidly swamped by evaporation (and tying back into WIllis) that evaporation will then transport that heat rapidly to the top of the hurricane or thunderstorm and dump it to space. Basically, while CO2 influences / reduces radiative cooling it is rapidly overwhelmed by hydrological cooling.

GCMS underestimate downdraft / updraft energy exchange and evaporation at the surface. They must overstate surface temperatures as a consequence.

Evaporation increases nearly exponentially with temperature. (And we all remember that CO2 is a log function impact). When an exponential limiter meets a log driver, the exponential wins.

Back radiation to the surface from increased water vapor in the air varies much less than the exponential increase in evaporation, so the net overall effect is not a positive feedback, but highly limited.

Victor Herrara

“The New Solar Minimum and The Mini-Ice Age of the Twenty First Century”

This was a wonderful presentation showing the incredibly strong correlation between solar activity and climate. Victor used wavelet analysis to show that high solar activity matches warm periods and low solar activity matches cold periods. He also identified the periodicity in this function and matched it to the Solar System Barycenter orbital changes of the sun.

There were several charts of correlation of fit between the solar output, long term weather changes, and the Maunder, Dalton, etc. solar minimums and cold periods. And the correlation with the solar system barycenter to sun position AND with cosmic ray intensity. A wavelet squared transform was used to predict the solar output going forward and found a roughly 120 year period.

The expectation, for a 120 year period, results in “solar secular minimums” in 2030-2040 and 2160-2170. The 2010 drop in solar output ought to continue for about 60 – 80 years. (though it was unclear to me if this meant the present ‘sleeping sun’ regime or just a return to normal cyclical values that were lower than the last 1/2 century of very high values).

This is remarkably similar in date to the predictions by Abdussamatov. When the theoretical runs to the same conclusion as the observational / correlational work, I think they have it right… FWIW, in the San Francisco bay Area, Silicon Valley right now, it’s completely overcast with a bit of wind and it is cold. That has now turned to a cold rain. This is NOT like a typical May. More like some Februarys or Novembers I can remember. It’s cold, and it’s getting colder. Be ready for it.

And yeah, I’m going to put in the obligatory springtime tomato reference. This time of year, typically, they have been in the ground for about a month and I’m eating the ‘first fruit’. This year, I still have 3 in pots and I’m questioning the sanity of planting them at all. Most tomatoes do not set fruit at less than 50 F at night. Today at 1:30 pm (the ‘hottest’ part of the day) it is 62 F on the patio 5 feet from a stucco wall.. Not good. Ought to be 80 F or so for the tomatoes.

IMHO, it would be far better to be preparing for a lot of cold than worrying about a tiny bit of warmth.

Ian Plimer

“The Forgotten Word of Climate Change: Time”

At one time I toyed with the idea of becoming a geologist. As a consequence, I have several geology courses on my transcript. The time scales used do tend to change your view on everything. (Mineralogy was my downfall. After staring through microscopes and loupes for days on end at an endless parade of very similar minerals with a bewildering set of names I decided maybe it wasn’t quite for me… Looking at a series of minerals with Granite on one end and Gneiss on the other and trying to decide where one ends and the next begins just did not spark my muse… Though I still have my rock hammer and often take it on visits to the hills.

But to a geologist mindset, 10,000 years is hardly of interest and 100,000 years is interesting. To really get a good viewpoint, though, you measure things in 1,000,000 year chunks to 1,000,000,000 year intervals. 100 years? Heck, you can barely see a meander in a river get wider or a cliff spall some chunks from ice cracking. The impatient geologists head into volcanology, IMHO, but even then they often wait decades for something to happen ;-)

So when you tell a geologist that you are going to make a 0.0001 (100 parts per million if I did it right) change in CO2 in 100 years and that will move the world, AND that it is unprecedented, well, prepare to expand your time horizons.

Ian has that wonderful Australian accent and the Aussie way of lampooning and being dead serious at the same time. Just delightful. Sort of a “That gator looks a might hungry, might want to mind your hands when you pet him …” way about him.

There was the story of the Curled Mallee tree and what it could teach us. It only grows in two small spots (on the map in the link) with very specific geology. Rich in dolomites from a time when the CO2 in the air was 10 times or more what it is now. Then we slowly transition from a wonderful outback picture of a curled mallee to the nearby rocks and a pond with their heavy carbonate rock bands to volcanoes and oceans and…

Before you know what has happened to you, that pond and Mallee have filled your mind with a dynamic picture of a planet critically dependent on CO2, but both producing vastly more of it than we can ever hope to produce AND consuming vastly more of it than we can consume. The consumption of CO2 in making carbonates of all sorts, the fact that there were vastly higher percentages of CO2 in the air in the past (and without our help) yet life was fine with it, and that the CO2 went to make gigantic rock fields (and we are, quite literally, living on a plant with large chunks of it made from CO2. Limestone, for instance, is one of the most common rock types and is 44% CO2. Made from CO2 taken from the air.) The ability of this planet to take CO2 from the air and make rocks from it dwarfs anything we could produce from fossil fuels. There is a long geologic history of massive CO2 based rock formation, and so massive CO2 volumes as well.

There are even gas exhaling granitic plutons (giant “balloons” of hot rock that eventually form things like Half Dome in Yosemite, an old pluton that has been ground in half by glaciers during past ice ages)

Half Dome

Half Dome

It’s not just volcanoes. It is the major rocks on the planet ( granites and basalts) that are involved in CO2 chemistry in some way or another. Submarine basalts can have an exothermic removal of CO2, for example.

And without volcanism, we can not hope to live. CO2 is essential to life, and it is volcanoes that set it free. Ian then went on to make a point I’ve made before: it is not possible to tell CO2 of “natural” origin from that which humans release. the dolomites and similar stones often come from biological sources and it is these that are recycled by volcanoes. Even the ‘hot pools’ and ‘hot springs’ and steam vents around the planet vent vast quantities of CO2, and of unknown compositions. The bulk of all volcanoes ( I think he said over 99%) are under the oceans and largely unstudied.

We live on a dynamic planet and it always has been. The very notion that we can somehow fix a single state at a single eye-blink of time and hold it static is laughable. We took a tour of volcanism under Antarctic ice and mountain building with lots of carbonate rocks and solutions of carbonates. Rifts and quakes release CO2, CO2 extraction from air via rock weathering, salt ponds and salt beds made of carbonates as CO2 extractors.

We are ‘as nothing’ to how this planet is made of, and circulates, CO2 and carbonates.

An interesting factoid was that all prior ice ages started with higher CO2 than at present. (There have been 6 major ice AGES in geologic terms – we live in one of them now, and the icy parts inside an ice age are properly called ‘glaciations’. Folks often talk about the last half dozen ‘ice ages’ including the one that just ended to give us this ‘interglacial’, when they really ought to say the last ‘glaciation’. Heck, I’ve even talked about the potential for a ‘new ice age’ even though I do know that we are, in fact, living in an ice age right now. But we live in an ‘interglacial’ between ‘glaciations’ in that much much longer Ice Age. I just get tired of trying to correct folks on that point and often ‘go with the common usage’… but for this context, you must use the geologists time scale. On that much more proper measure we are at present living in an ice age, but just during an interglacial; a very brief ‘nearly nothing’ of 10,000 ice free years. And it will NOT last.) CO2 is utterly unable to prevent the entry to an Ice Age and has been unable to prevent the entry into glacials within ice ages. CO2 is impotent against the ice.

We took a tour through Dolomite formation (it only forms at very high CO2 concentrations) and where it is found, that there has been 1.5 Kilometers of sea level change historically (both higher AND lower) and a few cm per century is nothing. All without human influence. There are beds of dolomite that are 7 km thick and hundreds of km long. The history of the CO2 on the planet are written in rocks, and they testify to how much of it has historically been in the air.

And life was around then… The Cambrian explosion of life was an explosion of carbonate shells! And at a time with more CO2 in the air than now. These creatures are not threatened by CO2, it is their very body. IIRC at this point there were slides shown of lobsters and crabs grown with CO2 enrichment, where in both cases the “with CO2” animals were much larger.

If we ignore TIME we get a very wrong view of CO2. CO2 is NOT a driver of climate change in the past. Most major sources and sinks of CO2 are either grossly underestimated or ignored by the ‘warmers’ and with that broken view of the real word and of the real scale of natural variation, they leap to broken conclusions.

Lunch and Wrap Up

At lunch I was rather too engaged in conversations to take many notes. The first speakers were interesting, but frankly I can’t do any justice at all to their text. It is best to watch it live.

I will note in passing that Anthony Watts had a devil of a time trying to get something other than fish to eat. While I love salmon, and that is what we had, salmon with a wonderful sauce, thin broccoli (rabe?), and a pasta I’ve seen several times here, small ‘pearls’ of pasta with mixed seasonings and such. Delightful. But back to Anthony…

I noticed that the staff all seemed to speak Spanish. No problem there (I AM from California… folks here speak about 3/4 English and 1/4 Spanish and I’m not real sure where the line is, comprende? Spanglish, meet Englañol ;-) but it is a problem if folks don’t do the “language dance” to find out what they have as a common vehicle… So I got to watch Anthony talk to 2 or 3 different staff, not one of which figured out that “don’t want fish bring something else” did not mean “I’m a vegetarian bring me the only other alternative of a small plate of vegetables and skimpy mound of pearl pasta…” nor did it mean “want fruit plate” But by the time I figure out what was going on, Anthony had given up and gone with melons and vegetables… Just wish I’d spoken up and said “Carne! Por Favor!” Oh well. Maybe if I wasn’t 1/2 way to zombie from a week of sleep deprivation…

So as a ‘polish point’ for the folks at Marriott, I’d suggest assuring that the staff includes a few folks who do speak English, and that there be an “alternate meal card” made with a red meat, a chicken, and a vegetarian option that could be shown to folks requesting a change (so then they can just point at one rather than playing 20 questions in 3 languages… ) and those be available to the non-English speakers on the waitstaff. For bonus points, put a line drawing of a cow, chicken and carrot next to each selection for non-English non-Spanish speaking guests…) For a stellar ranking, mark one of them that is Kosher and / or Halal (these two are close enough that Jews and Muslims can usually accept the others diet, if still at odds over politics…)

Me? I’m omnivorous. Loved it all. Even the vegetarian plate Anthony ended up with was not too bad; though it was mostly just the regular meal with the fish removed and presented a bit differently… could have used a hearty legume like lentil curry or baked beans and a seasoned bread / toast … I cook vegetarian a few times a week. It’s an interesting challenge and improves all your cooking. If you can make a meal of white beans, bread and rice interesting without meat, you can do anything ;-)

Lord Christopher Monckton

Gave the closing presentation. Watch the video. I can only give my opinion, not give a flavor of it. He is good. Very good. We were introduced to the Monckton Equation (but only after a sufficiently rousing lead in of political lampooning) that shows that we can shut down the entire global economy and achieve basically no cooling, even using the “warmers” figures. (I’ve seen the equation in one of his other presentations, but hearing it described was it’s own fun.)

The only rational behaviour is economic growth to mitigate impacts, not playing chicken little while destroying our capacity to adapt. Even if Global Warming is real, which it isn’t…

And with that, I think I’ll end. I’d love to try quoting some of his lines, but it would just be lame. It was as much the delivery as the line, so can only be experienced, not imitated in text.

Conclusion

I then ‘wrapped up’ and headed to the airport. Turns out Verity Jones of http://diggingintheclay.blogspot.com/ and I were headed out at the same time, so we shared a trip to the airport. Wonderful lady to talk with. Then headed to opposite ends of the airport for opposite ends of the continent and opposite sides of an ocean. That’s how these things work. Fast friendships that then separate for vast spaces and hopefully not vast times.

So now I’m home, sipping coffee and the occasional Irish Whiskey (from a gift – think of it as an Irish Coffee in 2 parts ;-) and waiting. Pondering, and thinking.

Until the next one.

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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12 Responses to ICCC – Day Three

  1. Mike Jonas says:

    re: “More heat flow in from the sun leads to more surface evaporation and convection, and at the top of those convective cells, to condensation (and even freezing as hail forms) dumping huge quantities of heat into the high upper atmosphere for it’s rapid exit to space. Old School Mets all knew this. The “climate scientists” seem to focus almost exclusively on radiative heat transport by infrared and ignore the mass transfer phase change system of the hydrological cycle.?

    I may have said this before, but it looks to me that with the convection goes CO2.

    I have read studies showing that it takes about 6 months for man-made CO2 released in the N hemisphere to reach the S hemisphere. I don’t doubt that. But the figures suggest that the opposite is [also] occurring. Much of the CO2 released by the oceans in and around the tropics takes 6 months to reach Mauna Loa, even though Mauna Loa is virtually ‘next door’.

    The figures also suggest that it takes 7 months (just 1 month more) to reach Barrow in the Arctic, and 9 months to reach the S Pole.

    I surmise that the CO2 is first going upwards.

    I think this may also explain why the effect of an El Nino on temperature is greater in the troposphere than at the surface. El Nino releases an unusual amount of warmer-than-usual air with a greater-than-usual concentration of CO2 [the CO2 is ‘bottled up’ in the water until it hits the surface where, because the water is warm, the CO2 is released]. The warm air rises, then spreads horizontally as usual. Thus heat isn’t flowing from one body of air (the surface) into another body of air (the troposphere), instead one body of air is replacing the other. So the effect is proportionately much greater at a fixed height than it is at the surface.

    Maybe I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know, or maybe this is just a load of twaddle, but if so I would like to know.

  2. Dave N says:

    In terms of earth-scale phenomena, geologists win, every time. Thanks for the post!

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @Mike Jonas: Interesting point. I’d like to know too.

    @Dave N: Yup! and you are most welcome!

  4. RuhRoh says:

    Hey Cheif;

    Another amazing overview, with a whole new theory of the meaning of life. Really nice…

    Sounds like the kind of insight that only comes from a trip to the edge of extreme sleep deprivation; i.e., probably spot on, but in need of translation into linear exposition.
    You wouldn’t have had the flash if you were doggedly attending all of the sessions. The good insights come out in the hall…

    So, does hysteresis always imply a non-linear element, or is it enough to just have enough lag in the feedback network to cause apparentswitching between 2 (limited) states? It seems like a heavy lag function would just give an attenuated response, with slew-rate limiting between states.

    What is the speed of the transition between states? I had the impression it was rather sudden.

    Anyway, I think time-domain analysis has applicability to your new hypothesis. I’m betting a cheap chinese lunch that you are onto something novel here, at least behaviourally. THe underlying mechanism is perhaps poorly elucidated, but you’ve identified some key traits causing a ~non-linear, ‘2-state’ response to a slow linear input.

    Nice work!

    RR.

  5. RuhRoh says:

    OK, here’s a wacky one;

    Let’s assume that Earth’s magnetic field is more stable when ~aligned with the poles than when it is not.

    But there is some mechanism causing (dare I say ‘forcing’ ) it to slowly drift away from alignment, and then flip from one to the other.

    So, there is an ~’over-center’ mechanism which has some non-linearity to it.

    Now, if the magnetic field has some influence on the degree of shielding we enjoy from energetic solar particles, which perhaps has a role in cloud formation, this might have the requisite behavioural parameters to modulate overall albedo in the way that you describe.

    All of this without any checking of timing or precedent. Probably this can all be dispatched summarily, but I offer it in the same vein as your original flash of insight, from th edges of unconsciousness.

    RR

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @RuhRoh: I was about to be dismissive of the mag field thing, but then you added the cosmic ray impacts and, well, it would allow the mag field to modulate clouds… the only missing bit is the magnitude numbers. As the mag field weakens, we get more “stuff” and so ought to get more clouds. And the mag field HAS been weakening…

    Most of the time hysteresis is just an energy hump. So a square dice has an energy rise as the edge is lifted until the center of mass crosses the center point, then the energy pushes the dice on over to rest on the next face. If there is enough energy in the dice, they will keep on rolling until the energy is dissipated and there is not enough left to raise the center of gravity over the edge. Then they settle on a face.

    For climate, I’d expect that the “hot face” is limited by thunderstorms and hurricanes with convection. The “cold face” is probably limited by the lack of such convection systems along with the lack of IR (due to both the “power of 4” reduction in radiation with temperature in K and the fact that a poor albedo for absorption is also poor for radiation: the same ice that does not absorb sunshine well does not radiate IR well). So then the question becomes “What provides the energy lift each way and what is the ‘energy hump’ in the middle?”

    I think the “hump” is the heat of fusion of water. A large block of ice (like, oh, 1 mile high over Chicago…) is going to take a lot of heat with no temperature change. Similarly, it took a lot of heat radiation cooling water to ice to make that glacier, again with no change of temperature. So the “ice bucket” is the energy hump.

    The lift each way is probably started by the Milankovitch process. But initially (from the hot phase) it just goes into reduction of thunderstorms and hurricanes and a little ice cap at the north pole. Not much climate change, just a slowdown of heat transport. At some point, the reduction hits a limit and the cooling on the ground reaches the freezing point of water. We start “climbing the energy hump” as snow sticks on the ground at the poles and ice forms there. Now we get the albedo feedback at about the same time we have insufficient thermal transport ‘buffer’ and we start the ‘switch’ to iceball. This continues (more ice, lower albedo, less transport, more ice…) until we’re over the hump and it’s just about mass transport to the new ice sheets.

    When enough ice has formed, the ‘temperate’ band is so compressed (and most likely the Tropical too) that it is not a very effective heat transport to space, and we can now start to warm up. But we must now wait for the sun to hit the frozen north again. So as the Milankovitch cycle tips to a bit more warm up north, we get a bit more rain on the margin of the snow fields, so a bit more dirt exposed, and a bit more sun absorbed, so a bit more convective transport, so more rain and more snow melt and…

    As this thunderstorm band expands, it consumes the ice, melting it with rain, exposing more wet dark dirt, to make more thunderstorms. I would also assert that the shallow seas like the Gulf of Mexico and a million melt water lakes would also be likely to contribute to this process as they form. The added humidity would contribute to more rain (when compared to the dry of a frozen arctic). This process continues until the 4th power IR function and the very expanded temperate zone of thunderstorms limits the warming phase on the other side of the melting hump.

    Ice as the energy hump albedo feedback, thunderstorms / hurricanes as the energy loss regulator both for the high and low ends providing the saturating hysteresis curve, Milankovitch as the trigger.

    FWIW, the difference between a lag driven oscillator and a hysteresis driven switch is the energy hump. Hysteresis is like an old “click” light switch. You must lift it over the energy hump to the other side, then it is stable. A lag driven oscillator is more like you adjusting the hot water in the shower. You wander back and forth from too hot to too cold based on the lag in the pipe from faucet to skin. No real energy barrier and it doesn’t ‘latch up’ on one side or the other. You can get to the ‘perfect middle’ and leave it alone ( or not, if a bit, er, “novice” at adjusting long lag time systems, like our money supply…)

    The prior assertion has just been of the ‘long term oscillator’ approach with Milankovitch turning the knob. I’m suggesting an energy hump of ice in the middle, and an energy valley on each side from thunderstorm transport moderation.

    The onset of ice is long and slow. It builds up more or less linearly over 100,000 years. The exit is much much faster. I think this is due to ice build up being evaporation limited on mass rate from the ocean, while the melting is not so mass rate limited. So we get cold fast, but the ice takes a long time to build. Then we melt fast, and the warmth follows apace. A small warming leading to an accelerating thunderstorm rain melt would explain the fast rise of temps and loss of ice.

    I could easily see it being a very long term oscillator with thunderstorms limiting the saturation and with the relative rates of evaporation/snow/ice formation and thunderstorm/rain/melt as setting the differential on the rise / fall parts of the curve of change.

    Or perhaps put another way:

    The arctic storm regime makes it’s own environment by being too cold for thunderstorms and accumulates more snow / ice so limiting the ability of convection cells to form and growing the arctic ice sheet at the same time.

    The hurricane / thunderstorm tropical and temperate regime makes it’s own environment by melting snow and ice and providing more warm wet places to drive that convective cell process.

    These two are in conflict and one will win. Then STAYS the winner. Until Milankovitch slightly shifts the energy at the margin of the ice, and starts a new oscillation once there is enough energy flow to climb over the ice energy hump.

    For now, the arctic is kept in check by the summer ‘near melt’. Once that does not happen, from the reduced heating of a Milankovitch change, the feedback begins…

    That will continue until the winter arctic regime is limited by the Tropical zone. We stabilize there (with fewer thunderstorms dumping the reduced heat) until “a bit more heat” shows up (thank you Milankovitch) and we start a thunderstorm / ice melt feedback. Repeat until interglacial…

    @Mike Jonas:

    I don’t get it either on the CO2 changes. Your explanation sounds right to me. For my part, I would expect the cold processes in thunderstorms to suck out CO2. It is more soluble in colder water, so here we have a nearly frozen water drop maker (or very frozen hail) in a natural ‘counter current stripper’. That cold water falling though a long air column ought to just suck it clean of CO2 (to the solubility limit of the water).

    So I would expect that CO2 was constantly coming out as carbonic acid.

    Now when I took geology, we were told that the natural carbonic acid was why limestone caves were formed. That the stripping out of CO2 to make carbonic was common. Further, I thought we’d been told that “Acid Rain” was a mix of sulphuric and nitric AND carbonic acids. So I’m having a bit of a problem seeing how it can both be “forming carbonic acid” and “not leaving the air” at the same time…

    The whole “CO2 percent in the air due to people” meme just does not fit my understanding of the physics…

    A quick google of “acid rain carbonic” gave a few thousand hits like this one:

    http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/190acidrain.html

    Natural Rain:

    “Normal” rainfall is slightly acidic because of the presence of dissolved carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is the same as that found in soda pop.

    The pH of “normal” rain has traditionally been given a value of 5.6. However scientists now believe that the pH of rain may vary from 5.6 to a low of 4.5 with the average value of 5.0.

    and:

    http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Water/FreshWater/acidrain.html

    Pure water has a pH of 7.0 (neutral); however, natural, unpolluted rainwater actually has a pH of about 5.6 (acidic).[Recall from Experiment 1 that pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration.] The acidity of rainwater comes from the natural presence of three substances (CO2, NO, and SO2) found in the troposphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere). As is seen in Table I, carbon dioxide (CO2) is present in the greatest concentration and therefore contributes the most to the natural acidity of rainwater.

    Carbon dioxide, produced in the decomposition of organic material, is the primary source of acidity in unpolluted rainwater.

    So I’m looking at this whole “We made the CO2 go higher” thing and thinking that if most of it comes from organic processes, and a boat load more comes from volcanism, and we’re a tiny little bit of the total, AND there is an effective removal system in rain… exactly how are we to “blame” for anything and exactly how can we be in “control” of it? And exactly HOW can it be ‘evenly distributed’ if loads of it come from unevenly distributed things like volcanoes and land plants and the strippers (thunderstorms and rain) are unevenly distributed and in different places?

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it just looks to me like a very dynamic and partly chaotic system where we have minimal influence.

  7. RuhRoh says:

    On another topic, just flipped through the slides of the geochemistry guy, who said that the atmospheric CO2 didn’t have the right amount of C14 to be of AGW origin.

    Segalstad;

    Wow, that talk seemed to be fairly fatal to many of the claims of the AGW crowd, in multiple ways.
    What was your impression?
    Perhaps this talk was not observed by you.

    RR

  8. Mike Jonas says:

    EMS – I would like to put all the numbers I have been working with out into a public arena such as this, for people to pick holes in or (hopefully) otherwise. Unfortunately I am off to the other side of the planet for 2 months and probably won’t have time to put them together properly before I go. I think that two months time will be early enough, because I think the rather significant event that can be predicted from the figures will not happen for several months. (Now there’s a teaser!).

    RR – I have seen a statement like this and find it highly credible, but would have to search my bookmarks for it (if it’s there at all). Pls can you post a link to “The Geochemistry Guy”?

  9. RuhRoh says:

    I’m curious what others think re; this guy.
    It seems pretty devastating on the face of it.
    What’s wrong with the picture he draws?
    TIA
    RR
    http://www.heartland.org/events/2010Chicago/PowerPoints/Tuesday%20-%20Session%204/Track%201%20-%20Science%201/Tom_Segalstad.pps

  10. P.G. Sharrow says:

    read the Tom Segalstad.pps;

    The parts that I can vouch for look correct.

    I invented a dynamic fume scrubber and I can attest to the ease of CO2 scrubability. CO2 in the air causes the creation of “concret” in my scrubbers from the light metal ions in the water. Dirty water (sea water) is the most effective.
    When the realitive speed of water to pollutants exceeds 4,000 feet per minuet, the pollutants will penatrate the
    surface tension and be trapped inside the water. The oceans of the world created and clean the atmosphere every day.

    The breaking down of all forms of rock must yield CO2 in many times the amount of human combustion products.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @RuhRoh: I’m almost back to “normal” after the trip…

    There are 4 tracks, so if you attend 100% of the hours you can get 25% of the content… I think I attended about 85% of the hours… And I did not make it to the “Geochemistry Guy”. In another day or two I ought to be “caught up” on the home stuff and able to start watching the archived videos….

    The market melt down has also had me “pushing” a bit beyond my normal level. So I’m getting a bit “burned out”… but that’s the life of a trader. No Mater What is happening in your life, you have to stay engaged in the market or it will eat you alive.

    @Mike Jonas: I consider myself teased ;-)

    @RuhRoh: Ok I’ve looked through the slides. Yup, agrees with everything I learned in geology and chemistry classes. Yup, tells the warmers to go stuff it. Yup, I think it’s right. We really are fleas on this Elephant Earth.

    FWIW, this also is in accord with what Ian Plimer was saying.

  12. RuhRoh says:

    OK, most of the videos are up now at

    http://www.heartland.org/environmentandclimate-news.org/ClimateConference4

    sadly not the guy I was curious about, but the Kukla one you expressed interest in is up.

    RR

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