Gives Us This Day Our Daily Enthalpy

It is somewhat odd how much the place influences where the mind wanders. Not unexpected, but the degree of it was a surprise. Florida makes it very clear that we live in a water dominated world. Sometimes in things as small as dew.

So every weekday I commute to work at about 7:ish AM. Most all mornings the car is covered in dew. In the parts of California where I’ve lived, in summer there is no dew. Summers are dry. Dew is a ‘winter thing’… (or occasionally Spring / Fall). California has winter monsoons and summer dry seasons. But the “Mediterranean Climate” of California is only found in a few places in the world. It is the odd case.

Florida is completely different.

Here it is humid in summer. (Winters not so much, I’m told.) Dew forms at much higher temperatures. In fact, the daily cycle of evaporation, condensation (as rain or dew) and repeat the next day is quite striking. You can almost set your watch by it.

Yes, there are variations. Sometimes the wind is from a dry direction and the afternoon rain doesn’t happen. Sometimes the air is dry enough that dew does not form. But those are the exception, not the norm.

This morning, on the way to work, I had to repeatedly run the windshield wipers. Was it raining? Nope. It was condensation forming on the windshield from the saturated air. Usually this just happens over the cool spot from the A/C on the windshield; today it was the whole thing. Yet at lunch, while it was a bit humid, there was no condensation. This evening (about 4 pm to 5 pm) as the sun starts to set and cooling begins, but the land is still warm, we have thunderstorms. Great rolling thunder, scattered rain showers all over. Later this will end (when the heat has been redistributed and the heat engine runs out of ‘fuel’) and the cycle will begin again. Sun evaporating water, that condenses in mass as rain, or more gently as dew. Soaking up the solar heat in the middle of the day, and giving it back again as the sun sets and into the morning.

The end result is a significantly stabilized temperature range. In desert regions there is no such water moderation and temperatures range far more broadly (both higher and lower).

But this means there are “issues” with averaging temperatures from two places (or two times) that differ in their ‘entropy profile’. Florida is more south than Phoenix Arizona, so gets more sun. Yet the temperature MAX in Florida is far lower. Often the MIN can be higher in Florida as well. The range is just narrower due to the water moderation. Same or more heat input, lower range of temperatures. The difference goes into enthalpy. Heat of vaporization / condensation. (And in colder places heat of fusion). How can you make a “global average temperature” when the enthalpy varies so madly around the world? The “heat meaning” of 85 F in Florida is far different from the meaning of 85 F in Phoenix.

No amount of anomalizing, interpolation, exterpolation, nor adjusting can fix that. You simply MUST know the masses and specific heats involved along with the heats of fusion and vaporization and do a proper heat flow calculation to have any meaning to the numbers you average. Intensive vs extensive (or intrinsic vs extrinsic) properties matter.

So can we see this impact of enthalpy in temperature patterns of a place? Well, yes! In an earlier posting I showed how there was a dramatic plunge of temperature when the thunderstorms formed. (Both the cloud shading and the large quantities of cold water falling from near the stratosphere. Having risen as vapor and dumped its heat of vaporization in forming that rain.) Now we’re going to look at the small heat involved in the ‘dew cycle’. Not an inch of rain, but that mm or so of dew on the cars and ground in the morning, that turns to vapor in the heat of the sun, and gives back that heat as the dew forms.

This is a graph of temperatures and dew point in Orlando. Notice how the dew point has a daily ripple, matching, in mirror image, the daily insolation (most visible in the middle of the month when thunderstorms were minimal). Note in particular when the dew point touches the bottom of the temperature. That is when dew forms and temperatures stop dropping as the heat of vaporization is returned to the air.

Orlando, Florida, September 2011

Orlando, Florida, September 2011

In the middle of the month there are some days with very clear ‘counter ripples’ of the dew point ( 12 to 18). Those were sunny days with no major rain to speak of. Toward the last weeks of the month, dew point holds much more flat near the lows of the temperatures. Those were days where clouds and rain were dominant features. (20 to 27 ) Notice how on sunny days, the temperature is a neat saw tooth or triangle wave. Now look at the days with more water and a higher average dew point. Notice that the low going excursions get clipped by the dew point. With effectively constant solar input, and with hundreds or thousands of miles of water moderating temperatures on both sides of the peninsula: the daily enthalpy change can bias the imputed heat that temperatures are held to represent.

Temperature is a lousy proxy for heat flux. Surface temperatures are a worse proxy for heat flows out the top of the atmosphere. Ignoring enthalpy introduces ‘noise’ into these bad proxies. Noise which we do not measure and can not remove.

Something very similar happens in cold places. Anyone who has tried “spring skiing” can tell you that mid-day the snow is slushy with water. Then the sun sets and the ‘slush’ sets up to rock hard ice. If you spring ski, you know about hitting those ice patches and having a hard time not falling. Usually the same flattish places that were slush the prior day. The temperature cycles about the freezing point, but the heat flows in and out in much larger swings.

In the limit cases where all the water is evaporated, or frozen, and the temperature doesn’t range far enough to change that, we can exit from an enthalpy moderated regime. Alaska in winter. Phoenix in the dry season. Places known for extreme temperatures. So how can you blend a frozen extreme with an enthalpy moderated one? How can you blend a desiccated extreme with a water moderated one? If you do not measure the enthalpy change, you have a meaningless average of different things.

We don’t even have the needed data to know what the “global enthalpy change” might have been. Dew point captures a bit of it, but not enough. Precipitation a bit more, but also not enough. The data are sparse and of poor historical quality with way too little history to say anything about climate. Add in the daily cycling that isn’t captured (both in dew and in slushy ice) and the surface evaporation and plant transpiration that is substantially unknown. What can we really say about the meaning of a temperature in any one place? And if that link from temperature to heat flow and storage is broken in one place, how can it be made any better by averaging it in with temperatures from other places?

For anyone who might think that Florida, Phoenix and such are just limited extreme cases; that snow on a few mountain tops can’t mater that much: Realize that there are many other times and places where the same enthalpy problem exists. Any place that has irrigation, for example.

As a college kid, I’d ride a motorcycle in the summer. It was a hot central valley California August that I remember most. Headed out without much ‘gear’ on, as it was still a warm night. Until I reached the peach orchards. They were flood irrigating at night. Suddenly the air was quite cold and humid. Not even sprinklers involved. Just water on the ground. In winter we would get “pea soup fog”. Couldn’t see the front of the car from the driver’s seat some times. That fog would then ‘burn off’ late in the day (only to reform that night). Water changing from vapor to liquid and back. So exactly how good is the world data on irrigation and fog? Quantity of frost?

In Conclusion

There is just so much wrong with the idea that you can average temperatures from different places. Yet it makes up the core of the Global Warming mindset, and argument. It doesn’t matter if you make temperatures into anomalies or not. They simply must be adjusted for things like enthalpy change to have meaning relative to heat flow, and they are not. It is NOT sufficient to simply assume the quantity of water, and the impact of enthalpy, does not change. That it can be assumed static. We know it isn’t. Total precipitation varies dramatically from year to year and decade to decade. Fog, snow, melt dates, dew and irrigation levels too. We know that assumption is wrong; yet rests at the heart of a “Global AVERAGE Temperature”.

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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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31 Responses to Gives Us This Day Our Daily Enthalpy

  1. H.R. says:

    You know what they say in Climate Science, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it.”

  2. Jason Calley says:

    @E.M. I am constantly impressed by the quality of your analysis and by your ability to clearly explain. Thank you! Your site is worth MANY peer reviewed papers!

  3. Pingback: AGW – How meaningful is “Global Average Temperature”? | The GOLDEN RULE

  4. The global climate scam apparently came from a 1971 agreement of world leaders to avoid the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation [1,2] by

    a.) Adopting the 1967 Bilderberg* model of the Sun as a stable H-fusion reactor (in equilibrium);

    b.) Uniting nations against man-made global climate change;

    c.) Ending the Apollo space program; and

    d.) Building world peace.

    1. “A video summary of my research career (1961-2011)”

    Click to access Summary_of_Career.pdf

    2. “Deep roots of the Climategate scandal (1971-2011)”

    Click to access 20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    *PS – The absurdity of this model is illustrated by Sunspot 1302

  5. I have only been living in Florida since January 2007 but I have the impression that there is a wet season from (roughly) May through October and a dry season for the other six months.

    You can pretty well guarantee pre-dawn condensation on your car at present. During the dry season it is less common. I look forward to your analysis of the entire year to find out if my wet finger is telling the truth.

  6. A K Haart says:

    Superb post. As an environmental scientist, I’ve known for years that temperature is not a sound measure of the global heat engine. A lucid analysis like this really hammers it home though – particularly for anyone with their eyes open to the beautiful complexities of the natural world.

  7. Owen Hughes says:

    Chiefio: you nail it. The (so to speak) “dry” science concepts are brought to life in your word imagery, and the physical intuitions which most of us share are given some rigor by your command of the scientific concept. Increasingly I’ve felt the notion of a global average is wrongheaded (maybe for any parameter; but certainly for “temperature”). And increasingly I’ve felt that T is the wrong thing for us to be talking about, that (heat) energy is the real deal. But I haven’t been able to articulate my objections very well. You’ve given me new and better lines of argument. Insofar as we want to discuss what the climate is doing, we have to understand it as a heat engine (in which T is a human artifact and a sorry one at that: even we know its limitations, by focusing on the “heat/humidity index” which is where the rubber really meets the road or, better, where the sweat meets the shirt). And if we are to understand it as a heat engine, we must measure heat content.

    Once we do that, the warmists are in serious trouble, because the big heat container is water. CO2 becomes a flea on the flea of the big dog.

    Again, thanks. Enjoy Florida, it sounds quite lovely.

  8. P.G. Sharrow says:

    This problem has been known for near 200 years. Weather station recording has included wet/dry bulb for relative humidity along with the max/min temperatures. The needed information is there in the raw information, just not in the public data. pg

  9. kuhnkat says:

    OT. Chiefio, I was hoping you could give some thought to this:

    Apparently a major manufacturer of Infrared Thermometers has clarified, for those who don’t read the specs on the equipment, that they read in the 8-14 micron range. As this EXCLUDES the primary bands for water vapor and CO2, just what the heck is being measured??? As it is the WINDOW area, how the heck could they be reading so much radiation if their theory is anywhere close to reality???? I should mention that even Dr. Spencer is guilty of using these things as proof of backradiation without considering they aren’t even measuring the CO2 bands!!!

    Thank you for another excellent post showing how Consensus Science just doesn’t cut it.

  10. Rob R says:

    Nice work, its a shame most of the sheople who need to know about this stuff will resist the implications and take no notice.

  11. Ray Dart says:

    Nice post Chief, but there are many out there that don’t fully recognise the differences between ‘entropy’ and ‘enthalpy’!

    I recently met this confusion at SoD’s site. What’s more, ‘wiki’ isn’t so clear on this either. I’d like to reference your post elsewhere, but the general distinction between ‘entropy’ and ‘enthalpy’ doesn’t seem to be fully defined. It would be nice to have this distinction ‘blatantly’ defined somewhere.

    Best regards, Ray.

  12. Roger Sowell says:

    E.M., we’ve had another unusually cool summer here in Marina del Rey (California), and there is a definite correlation between the few warm days we’ve had and clear skies. Most days are overcast, cloudy, some days a bit of mist or very low fog.

    In addition to the enthalpy problems mentioned above, the degree of cloudiness or clear skies has a huge impact on measured daily temperatures. Any influence from atmospheric CO2 is trivial.

    Also, I found something rather unusual recently and posted on my blog. I’ll leave a tip above in hopes you might have a look. Very curious, odd thing.

    All the best,


  13. suricat says:

    Nice post Chief, but there are many out there that don’t fully recognise the differences between ‘entropy’ and ‘enthalpy’!

    I recently met this confusion at SoD’s site. What’s more, ‘wiki’ isn’t so clear on this either. I’d like to reference your post elsewhere, but the general distinction between ‘entropy’ and ‘enthalpy’ doesn’t seem to be fully defined. It would be nice to have this distinction ‘blatantly’ defined somewhere.

    Best regards, Ray.

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    “The Devil is in the details”, in other words: the Devil complicates things by multiplying concepts, enthalpy it is a detail, it would be simpler if we look for the source of those energy changes: a movement of charges in the eternal dance of a loving courtship seeking eternity, through the hardships of overcoming entropy by producing life and fleeting permanence.

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    You know: The more complicated, the more entangled, the more “cool”, sophisticated and “intelligent”. This is our today´s fate, we should return to the simplicity of principles and abandon the self-indulgence of a kind of show business science.

  16. Sera says:

    Or, we could all just move to Fiji. Check out the yearly min/max here…

  17. Serioso says:

    I hope you will answer P.G. Sharrow’s question.

  18. suricat says:


    ” “The Devil is in the details”, in other words: the Devil complicates things by multiplying concepts, enthalpy it is a detail, it would be simpler if we look for the source of those energy changes: a movement of charges in the eternal dance of a loving courtship seeking eternity, through the hardships of overcoming entropy by producing life and fleeting permanence.”

    I admire your ‘pros’ (poetry) adolfo. It’s so true! :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  19. DocMartyn says:

    Take a look at the diurnal temperature profiles of deserts and non-deserts. In deserts temperature plots very well with light flux, so the Tmax is near noon.
    If you have an area where evaporation occurs then you find that Tmax occurs between 1:30 and 2:00. This ‘lag’ is due the fact that you have had to burn off a huge amount of water before you get a temperature rise.
    Of course at night this water undergoes a reverse temperature phase transition and warms the night sky.

    Luckily there has been no wide spread changes in water usage and land use of the last 100 years throughout the globe so we can completely trust that airport temperature = global heat.

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Thanks! All I do, really, is try to keep a tidy mind, make sure things “fit” and are reasonably well proven before I embrace them too fully… and then translate it to a direct understandable thing instead of leaving them in the bafflegab that passes for “jargon” in most fields. While it can be very efficient to think in ‘compact forms’ like jargon and math symbols (and I do it when needed, often inventing my own to speed things up) and use custom methods:

    IMHO, there is nothing that can not be expressed in direct and simple human language. Sometimes the circumlocutions can be long or lumpy. Sometimes it takes a preamble to set the assumptions. But it is just a translation exercise, really.

    The harder part, IMHO, is the “noticing” part. Just noticing that the dew is forming and the temperatures stop dropping… for example.


    My Florida Friend was born here. He says it’s got wet and dry seasons too…

    @A K Haart:

    This kind of stuff was what first got me asking questions. (Simple and direct ones that caused the “warmer” sites to toss rocks at me; then then sent me off to the skeptic sites where I found even more things that were broken in “Global Warming’.) I owe it all to a very good HIgh School Chemistry Teacher. He had a very practical bent, and simply demanded that you keep a tidy mind and not speak stupidities.

    So I look at the “Global Average Temperature” as a proxy for “Heat gain in the calorimeter” and all his admonishments about how easy it is to screw up calorimetry and how you never never ever screw around with the thermometer in the middle of the experiment comes flooding back… and it’s very clear that the GAT is just a broken calorimetry experiment done by folks with bad technique and weaker understanding.

    The rest then just becomes an exposition of the things they are doing wrong when they play with the thermometers and ignore specific heats and mass as they calculate a proxy for heat gain via temperature…

    @Owen Hughes:

    Yup, you got it! It’s a heat engine and a heat calculation being broken by looking only at temperature (and that is VERY broken calorimetry…)

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    I’m not so sure. (It MAY be, I’m just not sure…) Looking at the data being used by things like GIStemp, it’s temperatures only. Looking at the station data, some of them have humidity, some precipitation, but some look like just temperature and nothing else. Further, while dewpoint and humidity are helpful, they don’t address the rains that fall from altitude and re-evaporate before landing. How much of “sleet” is frozen vs liquid as it falls? How much then freezes on the ground? We have partial data for some aspects of vaporization enthalpy and dew points, but not all the forms and places.

    I’d like to see us at least use what we have, that would be an improvement, but we’ve got lots of holes in the data (especially the historical data).

    @Rob R.: You are most welcome. Glad you liked it.

    @Kuhncat: I’ll go take a look… Back in a few ;-) But if the IR meters have too narrow a window of read, we’ve “got issues” with knowing what IR is going where when…

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, @Ray Dart:

    My understanding of Enthalpy was set via the clear terms of Specific Heat, Heat of Fusion, Heat of Vaporization, etc. They make clear that it is the heat that is hidden inside the structure of a material. Varying in degree with each material.

    Entropy is the tendency for “things to run down hill”. We tend to a more disordered and lower energy state over time and over work functions. Things eventually end up as heat (and tends to low levels of heat at that…).

    So, for example, an ice cube melts. The Heat Of Fusion is absorbed, and the water molecules become more disordered. That heat had to come from somewhere, and along the way some is lost. It wanders off as low grade heat (low temperature) and the entropy of the region increases. Later we might re-freeze that ice, liberating the heat of fusion, but along the way our refrigerator would ‘waste’ some heat (that would show up as increasing disorder in the region). We increased the order in the ice but at the expense of decreasing the order somewhere else (and by a larger amount).

    Melting a similar sized chunk of iron would result in similar disorder in the iron molecules, but with a very different heat of fusion (enthalpy) and a massively different temperature.

    So the ‘enthalpy’ can change by both gains and losses of heat and energy, but the entropy of the whole system tends inevitably to more… I see enthalpy as applying more to specific things, and entropy to the system at large.

    I’ll give it some more thought and maybe I can come up with a cleaner distinction after ‘morning coffee’ ;-)

  22. DocMartyn says:

    Chiefo, if you like question, here are a few:

    Why are there oxygen gradients in the worlds oceans?
    Why are the oceans oxygenated at the top but hypoxic at the bottom.,
    Why is O2 not in ‘equilibrium’ top to bottom?
    Why is there such an abundance of anaerobes at the bottom of the oceans?
    Why is the CO2/CH4 and inorganic carbonate gradient the opposite to the O2 gradient?
    Why is that people assume before we started burning coal/oil that the CO2 in the oceans was in ‘equilibrium’, when they don’t assume O2 was?

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, “morning coffee” has turned into “afternoon beer and Raiders Football”… so don’t know that I”m going to be giving it as much thought as I’d planned ;-)


    Ooooh! Good Questions! As a ‘first blush’ I’d suspect that it was all the oxygen in the air and sunlight at the surface, contrasted with all the carbon rich detritus and lack of sunlight at the bottom, seasoned with a bit of reducing volcanic emissions at the mid ocean ridges and all the megatons of manganese (and other metals…) nodules on the ocean floor. Mass separation of oxidizers vs reducers.

    As for why people do what they do, I have no clue. They are a profound mystery (at least, the ones that do not keep a tidy mind…)

  24. suricat says:

    @E. M. Smith.

    With all due respect, these two statements seem incongruous;
    “”Entropy is the tendency for “things to run down hill”. We tend to a more disordered and lower energy state over time and over work functions.””
    “”So, for example, an ice cube melts. The Heat Of Fusion is absorbed, and the water molecules become more disordered.””.

    These types of statement are confusing. The water molecules are liberated from the ‘ice lattice’ and are more ‘energetic’, thus contain ‘more’ potential energy and are raised to a higher ‘energy level’ of entropy than they previously enjoyed as ice.

    I, also, am castigated at ‘warmer’ sites, but (and I don’t want to teach you how to ‘suck eggs’) these points should be clear during any debate:

    ‘Enthalpy’ is an engineering term that shows the ‘energy’ put to ‘useful work’ (achieving the desired outcome) from the ‘total energy input’ (first introduced to evaluate the thermal efficiency of the Carnot Cycle I believe). This term was so successful in proving the output efficiency to the input effort that many other disciplines have also taken up its use.

    ‘Entropy’ can be a confusing term in itself. It is associated with both lowering energy levels (due to energy drain from the ‘observed system’) and increasing ‘randomness’ or ‘chaos’. IMHO, it’s best to keep to the definition that is the ‘inverse’ of ‘energy gain’ (potentially speaking) to the observed system.

    To be honest, you can’t use the term ‘enthalpy’ when describing ‘ice melt’ and ‘ice freeze’ without separating the two processes of ‘melting’ and ‘freezing’ beforehand. If you don’t, the two negate each other and you end up with ‘Cp.’ (thermal capacity) or a derivative thereof, which is what you should’ve lead with in the first place.

    I’ve had enough brandy for now, so grab your coffee and I’ll grab mine when you respond. :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  25. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting point… In the context of enthalpy, here you have Fiji with nearly constant temperatures, yet massive variations in condensate water. A great example of temperature not capturing the essence… Have to think of a way to make a posting from that insight.


    Didn’t see a question mark in it. More like an assertion.

    I agree that it’s been known as a problem for at least 200 years, but the data for enthalpy are more sparse than needed, IMHO.

    @Roger Sowell:

    I’ve been pondering this “cold air mass” from Canada that has made Florida a bit cool and dry. Lead me to think about where the air in Canada came from… Not yet into it enough for a posting, just at the pondering phase.

    So, I’d pondered to “maybe it comes from Asia or from over the North Pacific” (or maybe is a downwelling from altitude…). But if the N. Pacific has gone cold, then you would be cooler and Canada might be getting colder air in, too, and thus the cool air reaching here. Need to work out where the air is really coming from, though, and what cools it, before going any further with the idea. Maybe someone else could run with it (hint hint ;-)


    Nice point about the timing. ( I presume the airport comment was in need of a /sarcoff> after it ;-)


    Those that over complicate are not familiar enough with Occam… and his razor… perhaps we could give them a bit of a shave ;-)

    but sometimes to simplify too much loses the truth in things. So they need a bit of a scalping…

  26. suricat says:


    “Chiefo, if you like question, here are a few:”

    I suggest you ‘google’ the ‘triple point’ of the gasses that you query and note the temperatures and pressures where they can exist as a liquid. You’ll discover that those gasses exist as ‘dissolved gasses’ (they don’t ‘change phase’ to a ‘liquid state’), thus, Archimedes Principle precludes them from the lower depths of our oceans, which leaves those ‘lower depths’ to be populated by ‘anaerobic’ bacteria.

    Enough brandy for tonight, I’m off to bed. :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  27. E.M.Smith says:


    Yes, the atoms of the melt water are more energetic. They are also more disordered. Energy of fusion was absorbed by the water, but left somewhere else. OVERALL, the process is not perfect, so total entropy increases.

    I have difficulty accepting that “enthalpy” can only talk about an engine efficiency. “Heat of fusion” happens with or without an engine… or any engineering.

    As I understand it, enthalpy is the same for ‘ice melt’ as for ‘ice freeze’, it’s just a question of in which direction the heat is flowing. It is the same “heat of fusion” in both cases, just the direction of travel changes. (sign change).

    Heat stored in the physical / chemical system (or released from it).

    Entropy is the loss of heat in the conversion processes. The raising of the randomness of the bulk of the universe as some heat is not perfectly conserved inside the “isolated” system. Things as a whole “running down hill” to more chaos.

    So a heat engine makes work out of burning fuel, in the process lots of enthalpy changes happen (evaporation of fuel, condensation of exhaust water, etc.) but at the end of the day, it is the heat differential between the hot pole and the cold pole that can be partly captured as work; and it is the loss of some low grade heat to the cold pole / universe at large, that raises the disorder in the rest of the universe and lets things ‘run down hill’ a bit. Lower energy level in the initial fuel / air as it gets turned into work and waste heat; higher disorder in the rest of the universe.

    But I’ve moved on to “several” beers and some Raiders Football (having not had nearly enough coffee to be doing enthalpy / entropy elucidations…) so would hope folks will accept that these are just ‘comments’ and not worked out postings…

    BTW, the spouse arrives on 10/4 for a week of together and vacation time, so you can expect things to be a bit ‘sporadic’ for that week…

  28. DocMartyn says:

    As a ‘first blush’ I’d suspect that it was all the oxygen in the air and sunlight at the surface, contrasted with all the carbon rich detritus and lack of sunlight at the bottom, ”

    But Chiefo, that would mean that the distribution of CO2 in the oceans was not at equilibrium but was part of a steady state. This steady state would be due to the biotic mass of the oceans making O2 at the top and sending carbon rich shit to the bottom. Such a steady state would mean that the bottom of the ocean was carbon rich and the top almost completely denuded of carbon, and that the to[p would be rich in oxygen and very oxygen poor at the bottom. Neither gas would be at equilibrium and both would form a dynamic steady state in different parts of the oceans. In sunlight rich areas the oxygen rich zone would go deeper than in the areas with less sunlight; CO2 would follow the opposite direction. Indeed, one would note a reciprocal relationship between CO2/O2 at any depth.. In such a system the response time of the surface to an injection of CO2 into the atmosphere would be very quick, in the order of decades, rather than a thousand years or so. In addition, it would mean that the fact only some 50% of the CO2 we have pumped into the atmosphere has remained there could be easily explained.

  29. Pascvaks says:

    An effective Global Temperature (better “Climate”) Proxy might be had by the use of global vegetation analyses. An example of what I’m trying to say can be found at “GLOBAL ATLAS OF PALAEOVEGETATION SINCE THE LAST GLACIAL MAXIMUM”

    (See Data at bottom of page)

    In many ways it’s better than “temperature” and more meaningful with respect to global climate. I’m sure some 1st year Post Grad student could come up with something from such data to reflect which way we’re headed. Personally, I don’t think I’d bother much with UHI or the effect the Carbon Units Infesting Planet Earth have had, it just looks like a Big Blue Marble from space with no evidence at all of any intelligent life forms.

  30. suricat says:


    “Yes, the atoms of the melt water are more energetic. They are also more disordered. Energy of fusion was absorbed by the water, but left somewhere else.”

    So you agree that the differentiation between enthalpy and entropy is confusing? IMHO, we should loose the ‘chaos’ tag for ‘entropy’. What are your thoughts?

    Hope you enjoy the time with your spouse. ;)

    Best regards, Ray.

  31. Espen says:

    Thank you for your well-written post on this important topic! I’ve tried to point out that mean global temperature is a bad measure of global heat content several times in blog comments on different blogs, but got only occasional responses. It was pretty obvious last winter, just imagine the difference between the “heat” in the Canadian Arctic and a similar temperature rise in the tropics!
    This summer there has been a similar situation: a warmer than usual Antarctica has contributed to high GISS and UAH (RSS and HadCrut include less of Antarctica) values – but +10C in the middle of the winter in the antarctic desert certainly doesn’t correspond to the same enthalpy change as a hypothetical +10C in Florida!

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