Speed of Response to Solar Change

I think it matters to ask “How fast does temperature track solar change?”.

The essential thesis of AGW is that temperature has a long lag time. There is heat “caught in the system” somehow. Either as “back radiation” from the sky or “whatever”. ( They are a bit vague on it, and I think that vagueness is an indication of error).

SJ Intl Airport Temps vs Time Quasi Random date

SJ Intl Airport Temps vs Time

In a prior posting I was watching how the temperatures changed “over the spacial domain” around the San Jose International Airport. It looks like there is a clear and easily demonstrated Airport Heat Island.


In looking at various data about the airport thermometer at Wunderground, I thought that maybe I could look at daily data and find some “signature” of back-radiating-IR that ought to be there, but was missing. I’ve not finished that pondering yet (and feel free to suggest “possibles”… things like “Would back radiation show up as a later time of cooling in the evening after the sun has set” or “Would back radiation show up as a higher low in present data vs 1970s data”) But along the way I looked at Just One Day. Graphed above.

Look at it for just a minute. The top line is temperature. The bottom line is “change from the prior hour”. Basically, did it get warmer or cooler in that hour which just passed? My thoughts were about all that “back radiation” we are told exists, and was there some clear skew in the curve of changes to indicate some persistent slowing of the loss of heat, or more rapid onset in the mornings.

Sunrise was at: 5:46 AM
Sunset was at: 8:30 PM

Which if I’ve done it right puts “High Noon” at 1:07 PM local (daylight savings time).

Looks to me like about a 1 hour lag time. For about 1 hour after first sunrise, temperatures are still low. Change is nearly nothing, but perhaps smidgen of cooling still. At 9am to 1 pm we have our maximum rate of heating and the highest temperatures come about 1 to at most 2 hours later ( 2 pm to 3 pm). But by then, the rate of heating has already rolled over. Turning to net cooling by 4 pm with the sun still well overhead and evening sun for another 4 hours. Just at an ever shallower angle with ever less net heat input to the ground. By 10 pm, just 1 1/2 hours after sunset, maximum rate of cooling has passed and we’re in a very slow very minor rate of cooling into the late night.

I think I’ll do similar graphs for other days of the year, and for other places. ( Like dry desert areas without the ocean nearby to add water as a “Greenhouse gas”…)

But just from a simple first look at one day of data only (and a day with near zero wind speed at night and not much more during the day, so not a lot of air mass changes) it sure looks like there isn’t much room for “back radiation” to do, well, anything. At most I can see an argument for a 1 hour delay of maximum impact (though I think that is heating of the air mass not IR related), which would mean that at most it could shift the “almost zero net cooling” from 10 pm to 11 pm. Perhaps moving that “minimum” from 5 am to 6 am or shaving a couple of 1/10s degree of that corner at the start of daily warming. By 2 pm, anything that was done is lost in the daily cycle and the much higher rate of heat loss from the warmer air. That strong 4th power heat loss with temperature of the Stephan-Boltzmann Law just dominates. And does so in minutes to at most an hour. (The rate of heat gain is already dropping as we pass 2 pm and is a net loss closely thereafter).

So this “speaks to me”… but it just seems too obvious. Hasn’t anyone else taken a day with still air and just looked at how heat gain and loss changes over the cycle of the day? Noticed that it very closely tracks insolation in time? That there just isn’t any indications of heat “hanging around” for long periods of time and that the cool / cold nights rapidly stabilize at a point that looks more related to loss of heat from ground and structures than from the air? In essence, that 4 or 5 hours in the middle of the night with almost no change of temperature are when the ground is cooled on the surface enough that it is just holding heat loss to the air steady. In winter I’d expect an even longer flat period in the middle of the night, but with less daily heating and some net heat loss over time. In short, I think it is quantity of sun and absorption into the dirt that matters. The air temperature is a side effect.

We already have air temperature change as quite fast from earlier in the day as the sun is just starting to set, so we know the air changes more quickly than the temperature curve is changing. That implies that with a colder sky and colder air – less ‘back radiation’ – something else is slowing the decent into deep cold. I’d assert that “something” is just the dirt, buildings, and “stuff”. Rather like lunar soil moderates surface temperatures. In short: The specific heat and mass of the soil and buildings are far greater than the specific heat and mass of the air. The air cools rapidly to the point where surfaces dominate and stabilize the temperature.

That’s my thesis on what this graph says. Any other ideas? As I’m going to be poking around looking at other temperature histories and plotting up a few more of these “Daily Profiles”, now is the time to say if there’s somewhere in particular you would like to see. (Nome Alaska at the equinox and solstice dates might be interesting ;-)

For me, there just isn’t anything in that graph to speaks of “back radiation” and there’s a whole lot that speaks to mass of air, mass of dirt, specific heat, and rate of insolation. With what looks like about a 1 hour “lag” for the insolation near the Summer Solstice to soak in to the dirt.

To the extent the ‘dirt and sky’ thesis is true, then changes in ground cover, such as vegetation and snow removal, would be major influences on the temperature record. Airports would be among the worst possible places to measure “global warming” when compared to pre-airport times with grass fields and trees… Yet, that’s what they do…

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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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15 Responses to Speed of Response to Solar Change

  1. BobN says:

    I read that they have shown much higher heat lose through the atmosphere than they thought would occur. Almost double from what they originally thought. The van allen belt grows and shrinks with incoming radiation. I wonder if there is data on a daily bases to track how much it changes with ground temperature.
    As a side question, has anyone ever mapped temperature as it relates to earth quakes. It always seemed like it was warm after a quake. Just curious if the data would show anything.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    As I understand it, the notion of “Earthquake Weather” has been looked at and found wanting. Don’t know the details. The wiki:


    indicates some odd correlations:

    Geologists maintain that there is no connection between weather and earthquakes. They are the result of geologic processes within the earth and can happen in any weather and at any time during the year. Earthquakes originate miles underground. Wind, precipitation, temperature, and barometric pressure changes affect only the surface and shallow subsurface of the Earth. Earthquakes are focused at depths well out of the reach of weather, and the forces that cause earthquakes are much larger than the weather forces. Earthquakes occur in all types of weather, in all climate zones, in all seasons of the year, and at any time of day.

    Some recent research has found a correlation between a sudden relative spike in atmospheric temperate 2-5 days before an earthquake. It is speculated that this rise is caused by the movement of ions within the earth’s crust, related to the oncoming earthquake. However, in this case the atmospheric changes are caused by the earthquake, rather than causing it. Furthermore, this relative change would not cause any single recognizable weather pattern that could be labelled “earthquake weather”.

    At the 2011 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Shimon Wdowinski announced a temporal connection between tropical cyclones and earthquakes.[

    So maybe a bit warmer for a couple of days, but more likely related to ion levels than temperature. Also some vague connection to cyclones claimed.

  3. EM – the peak temperature of the day has for a long time been reckoned at around an hour after local noon, if the cloud-cover remains around constant. For some reason the weather forecasts here now show the day’s temperatures at 3pm (4pm in summer (daylight saving) time), but this is something that changed some indeterminate time ago – when I was young I remember it as being 1pm in winter or 2pm in summer. It’s also been reckoned that “the coldest hour is just before the dawn”.

    Your measured temperatures seem to have a low at around 6:45am and 3:45 pm. About an hour after dawn and around 2 1/2 hours after local midday. Since on any one day the cloud-cover and thus insolation heat available will be varying throughout the day, you really need a composite picture to average out those variations. A lot of data to key in and get the differentials of the temperature graphs. In the end, though, you’ll probably end up with something pretty close to the one-day graph above, but without the wiggles.

    The important thing seems to be the differential line – how fast the air is heating or cooling. Throughout the year the day-length varies, so we can’t simply take an overall average without taking account of that. Possibly looking at the rate of heating/cooling when the sun is a certain angle above horizon and rising, with similar sets for the sun descending. It’s starting to sound like a complex program to extract good data, but the idea is that we have a certain amount of power per m² (or ft²!) at a certain angle of the sun, and thus depending upon albedo the ground will have a certain heat input.

    Here the albedo is going to be important. Black tarmac won’t change much summer/winter (except when there’s snow on it), whereas green fields will probably have flowers in summer and the albedo will change quite a lot with seasons. Earth is probably less conductive of heat than tarmac or concrete, so will take longer to heat up and to cool down. Over concrete and tarmac, thus the heat-lag will be longer before the air heats up or cools down.

    When I started writing this it seemed pretty simple, but there seem to be more and more variables coming in. If the variables are not properly accounted for it seems it could be easy to get figures that “proved” anything you wanted. It’s not an easy thing to compare like with like if the variations in conditions are hidden.

  4. Damn – two miskeyings – firstly it’s not low at 3:45pm, it’s high, but dT/dt is zero. Secondly that earth will get a higher surface temperature more quickly than concrete, thus air temperature change will be quicker on fields than concrete. I knew what I meant….

  5. Another Ian says:


    O/T but testing to see if I can post here after 1 and a repeat didn’t show on T6

  6. Baa Humbug says:

    Hi EM
    This subject matter has the potential to keep you awake at night. Our intiution tells us something, but it is difficult to articulate and back-up with evidence.

    The period from dawn until sometime in the afternoon is all about the rate of warming; The dominant radiation is from the sun. The rest of the day is all about the rate of cooling; The dominant radiation is from the surface.
    These rates of warming and cooling will change depending on the lattitude of the area we are studying and the time of year. I guess it would be less complicated if we could locate desert areas as close to the equator as possible.
    It would also help if these areas had 30, 50 or 60 years of daily data. That way, we can see if the daily warming rate has increased/decreased over time (solar changes) or if the daily rate of cooling has changed (possible GHE changes)

    A fellow named Slade Barker studied New Mexico records 10 years a go, “A New Metric to Detect CO2 Greenhouse Effect Applied To Some New Mexico Weather Data”


    Thankyou, intriguing post as always.

  7. adolfogiurfa says:

    Some correlations:
    1)A big CME:
    2) Volcanic vents under the northern peruvian coasts erupt:
    3)Dolphins die:
    4)Sea gets warmer on the zone (yellow are: 4ºC above normal)

    5)This yellow area curiously coincides with the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly:

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    To think about: A Chilling Sun:
    The atmospheric pressure of the sun, instead of being 27.47 times greater than the atmospheric pressure of the earth (as expected because of the gravitational pull of the large solar mass), is much smaller: the pressure there varies according to the layers of the atmosphere from one-tenth to one-thousandth of the barometric pressure on the earth;(13) at the base of the reversing layer the pressure is 0.005 of the atmospheric pressure at sea level on the earth;(14) in the sunspots, the pressure drops to one ten-thousandth of the pressure on the earth

    What temperature would any of us “feel” at such vacuum?. Of course NONE.
    Then: Temperatures have been found relative to sunspots, this is relative to sun´s EM activity.
    However there are some “locally” generated temperatures, as mentioned above, what it is right now happening at the northern coasts of Peru:

    We undersand “temperature”, “heat”, as infra-red-radiation; well, eat a big whopper plus a quart of coffee and you´ll be emitting IRR and contributing also to the UHI phenomenon. Then WE TRANSFORM ENERGIES….of course, some of us ONLY TO IRR :-), others, more intellectually inclined, as our friend @E.M. produce higher frequency emmisions, with almost no IRR in it.
    If we were to suddenly stop our negentropic existence….how much time would our produced energies subsist? , not too much in most cases. And, worst of all, energies, waves, resonate with surrounding similar frequencies, “like attracts like”, higher frequencies to higher “places” and lower frequencies to……………..

  9. Pascvaks says:

    Thoughts: (Beware! This is some 64 year old, very faded, deteriorating, very moldy, gunk that’s mixed with pits and bieces of things picked up along the road and thrown in back of, and under, the seat of an old 1948 Ford pickup!)

    – Solar heating: Starting at the source, I guess best bet is to take the average, everyday, run of the mill heat packet and start it on its way. Assuming there are no interferring bits of microscopic space junk –IAW a clean shot without complications– it arrives at/near the Van Allen Belt. Now what happens? No idea.
    – Once in the atmosphere… ahhhhhhh.. on second thought… let’s make this short..
    at some location you set up something calibrated and tested that measures what “is” and you compare it to the best educated guess of what you think it “should be”, the difference is the effect of everything it bumped into along the way from start to finish. Right? Angle of this and that, layers and mixes of the atmospheric gases, their temperatures, pressures, and things like humidity, the exact time and angle of this and that, etc., all go into the measurements and you compare ‘standard’ to ‘measured’. It seems like something the boys and girls at Stanford would be interested in playing with, and I guess, that’s brings us to the conclusion that if there’s so much wrangling and spitting and biteing and hair pulling, that a lot of people don’t agree with the ‘standards’. It seems that the Clinton Paradox (What the meaning of ‘is’ is is debateable.) has raised it’s ugly head again.

    I’ll bet a yuan that some Chinese guy has already done the experimentation and written the paper and that it agrees perfectly with what the Central Committee says the answer is.

  10. Ian W says:

    Hasn’t anyone else taken a day with still air and just looked at how heat gain and loss changes over the cycle of the day? Noticed that it very closely tracks insolation in time? That there just isn’t any indications of heat “hanging around” for long periods of time and that the cool / cold nights rapidly stabilize at a point that looks more related to loss of heat from ground and structures than from the air?

    Well if you want to measure atmospheric heat it is in kilojoules per kilogram. You should calculate the atmospheric enthalpy from the humidity of the atmosphere and from that the heat content. It is very probable that as the atmospheric temperature rises, the humidity drops and the actual atmospheric heat content remains constant. The integral of the atmospheric heat content should be used rather than arbitrarily timed temperature measurements.

    As I have pointed out elsewhere – the atmosphere in a misty Louisiana bayou after an afternoon thundershower with an air temperature of 75F has more than twice the heat energy of the arid atmosphere in the Arizona desert with an air temperature of 100F.

    Atmospheric Temperature is not the same as nor does it necessarily vary proportionately with Atmospheric Heat Content

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmm… I’d flagged this posting as “Pending Review” as I realized that the graph was not from KSJC 18 June 2012 (but could not peg exactly when). And then found that it was flagged as “published” this morning.

    OK, I’m leaving it up, but realize that I need to either re-do the graph to a known date one, or at least make it clear that the graph is not matched to that date.

    In short, expect the graphic or a bit of the text to change. Not dramatically, just a bit. I found the data for that graph as a nice clean set at “way early in the morning” but didn’t note exactly which set it was. Now I’ve got the question of KSJC or a ‘nearby’ station? And was it June 2012, or some other date?

    At any rate, the basic thesis stays the same, just the graph is a bit of a mismatch to the text.

  12. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    It shows a very low temperature change day to night, so i expect humidity is the reason if it was clear sky. It is anyway amazing how low my lawn is in temperature relative to a single small concrete stone slab at full sun.
    I believe you had a post about that for some time ago.

  13. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    These two links gives some information regarding radiation to and from the ground:
    Only drawback is that they can not show temperature and radiation in the same plot, you have to choose.
    I believe a lot of information is hidden in the data if you could mine it. Clear sky and clouds show up very distinct.

  14. omanuel says:

    Thanks for the post, E.M.

    In 1946 an Orwellian curtain of misinformation fell across the fountain of energy that Copernicus discovered at the center of the solar system four centuries, earlier in 1543.


    In 1994 Sir Fred Hoyle himself documented the sudden change that occurred in dogma on the Sun , without new data, discussion, or debate [1], in 1946.

    In 1998, CSPAN accidently recorded [2] evidence of NASA promoting misinformation on the fountain of energy at the center of the solar system.

    In 2009, after deception had continued to grew out-of-sight like a cancer on government science for sixty-three years, it finally emerged on Climategate emails and documents:


    – Oliver K. Manuel

    PS: I spent the last couple of days with Dinesh Sabu, the youngest son of the late Dr. Dwarka Das Sabu, coauthor of early papers [3-5] uncovering factual information about the Sun’s role in producing our elements and sustaining our lives.

    Dinesh is working on a documentary on the stresses his immigrant parents faced in the United States. http://kartemquin.com/films/unbroken-glass


    1. Fred Hoyle, Home Is Where the Wind Blows: Chapters from a Cosmologist’s Life (University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA, USA, 1994, 443 pages) pp. 153-154

    2. Scientific Genesis: Global Warming Scam

    3. O. K. Manuel, E. W. Hennecke, and D. D. Sabu, “Xenon in carbonaceous chondrites”, Nature 240, 99-101 (1972).

    4. O. K. Manuel and D. D. Sabu, “Elemental and isotopic inhomogeneities in noble gases: The case for local synthesis of the chemical elements”, Trans. Missouri Acad. Sci. 9, 104 122 (1975).

    5. O. K. Manuel and D. D. Sabu, “Strange xenon, extinct superheavy elements and the solar neutrino puzzle”, Science 195, 208-209 (1977).

  15. Pascvaks says:

    Regarding the ‘speed of response to solar change’, a questionable ‘thought’ came to mind this morning as I was sipping tea, having a fine generic bit of tobacco, and watching the wildlife in the backyard while pondering the Infinite Wisdom of the Supreme Court and what was going to happen today at 10AM EST; today is supposed to be the kick off of a couple days of temps in the hundreds in the Old Gulf Coast, some of that Fine Mexican-Texas Heat is going to pay us a little visit. Here’s the beef, the meat, the grit of it:

    UHT and Garden Hoses?
    Would it amount to anything at all in the actual effect (temps) if residents of urban areas soaked their lawns the morning that a heatwave was expected to arrive? And each morning thereafter? (Would it be better to do it earlier still, say the early pre-dawn hours, if it would matter at all?)

    I can’t imagine it would do anything except raise the level of humidity a smidge and for a very brief instant.

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