The True Sign of Water Vapor Feedback is Negative

In the AGW FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) push, and in all the computer climate models (i.e. fantasy) projections (i.e. a prediction that has ‘plausible deniability’ built in) the Big Scare comes out of a positive and fairly strong Water Vapor Feedback value.

CO2 alone is not enough to get things hot, so there is a postulated positive feedback loop of more heat causing more water vapor causing more IR trapping causing more heat causing…

This got me thinking:

Is there any way to OBSERVE the actual nature of “water feedback”? (Notice I’ve left out the world “vapor”. Why? Because water does not STAY vapor. As a first direct observation, we observe that water vapor rapidly turns into things like clouds and rain. It is the entire system that matters and what really happens that matters, not just some theoretical water vapor that never changes phase…)

I just did a 2 day rapid run from coast to coast. During that time, you get to see things. How do clouds form over the day? How does the weather change and how do the temperatures change with an 8000 foot drop of elevation in an hour or two… What happens between the high desert and the low plains. Gets a fellow to thinking.

First off, lets look at a temperature map for today:

Temperature Map 8 June 2013

Temperature Map 8 June 2013

This was picked more or less at random from:

but conforms pretty much to a thousand others I’ve seen over the years.

UPDATE: Added GEOS screen capture

This is an image grabbed from an animated loop at: per the discussion below.

GEOS IR screen capture 9 June 2013

GEOS IR screen capture 9 June 2013

The violet over the west looks like it is from the far cold end of the caption, if I’m reading it right. My guess, and it is only a wide guess, is that this satellite is looking at a band and altitude that is high up in the sky, so cold over the desert west. There was snow on the mountain tops (even while warm in the sun in the valley) so I think what we are seeing is differential heat transport. To the ground as light in the west (leaving “high cold air” with little convective heat deposition) and with heat being dumped at cloud tops in the East. But I could be all wrong, this is just an “on the fly” attempt at interpretation.

Back to the original posting

As the West Coast has air that generally comes in from “up north” and over cold water (typically about 45 F off the California north coast as a rough ‘typical’ number) it is clearly not arriving in the inland areas of The West as hot air. In Florida, the air tends to arrive in a north bound flow from over nice warm water (about 80 F in summer). The West gets a cool air feed, the East a warm air feed.

If we pick areas of about the same latitude, we can say they are getting about the same sunshine. What varies is how much water vapor is in the arriving air. IMHO, this gives us an “existence proof” of “water vapor feedback”. Looking more north means less sun, more south more sun; so we would expect a “bit north” compared to a “bit south” to give the bias toward a cooler north and warmer south. (That can be seen on the East Coast as a temperature gradient from Main to Florida)

What happens to the dry air when it has sunshine vs the wet air when it gets sunshine? Which one heats up more?

Even a casual inspection of the map shows that the entire dry desert band, from inland Washington state (they have a bit of desert behind their mountains) all the way on down through Nevada ( nice high desert there) and Utah ( I reached 8000 Ft plus elevation at one point) and on into West Texas (known for Mesquite and BBQ using same ;-) are all quite hot. 84 F to 108 F. Now, if “water vapor feedback” is a positive value, we would expect that areas more south, at lower elevations, with even MORE sunshine, would be even hotter.

I can tell you that for most of today in Orlando, the humidity was 100%. It started off very sunny, and was quite hot at noon. A strong tropical (or near tropical) sun. I was out in it. Observing it. Then it clouded up, and began to rain. The formation of tropical thunderstorms is characteristic of hot summer days. They are welcome as they cause a rapid plunge of temperatures. (As I’m typing this, it’s 11 pm and I’m feeling a bit of ‘chill’ from the cool. I’m on the patio again.) Tomorrow morning will be sunny, and then it will get humid and “hot”, and then the rain will come again. Now look at the map.

The midwest is known for humidity, as is Farm Country. Iowa corn puts a lot of water into the air, and I’ve taken a shower in Iowa only to towel off and still be soaking wet as the humidity condenses. Anyone who has been on the Gulf Coast on a sunny day can tell you that 90 F and 99% humidity is brutal. Now look at that map. The high humidity areas are in the 60 F to 70s F range, getting up to 82 F in the far southern tip of Florida. Looking back to the West Coast, it is hot inland where it is dry, but look at the edge of the water. You can see the low and cold coastal temperatures where the cold air comes in from over the water with humidity in it. Then it warms inland where it is dry.

More water vapor makes for colder air temperatures. NOT warmer.

At the limit case, at about 84F to 88F, thunderstorms form and eventually, with enough area of hot water and enough of the right winds, even hurricanes / cyclones. They, too, cool things down dramatically. A hurricane passed off shore some years back when I was here. For 100 miles from the hurricane, surface winds evaporated water, rushed to the cyclonic center, were lofted to altitude, condensed that water dumping massive heat at altitude, and returned that cold water (and hail…) to the surface to cycle again. About a 10 F drop.

With a lot MORE tropical surface heating (and lots of water to store heat from UV penetration) the result is a faster driving of the water cycle, and COOLING of the surface. The water vapor feedback is aggressively negative and more so with any rise about about 84 F to 88 F.

In short, the models are horridly wrong simply from having the sign backwards on water feedback. More water vapor does NOT make things hotter, it makes them cooler (if wetter…)

It is trivial to observe. Look at any temperature map that includes both dry and humid areas. Look at what happens to the temperatures as a tropical storm passes. Look at what happens to surface winds near thunderstorms and the temperature changes. Water cools.

Some Pictures

While driving across the Plains, I noticed an interesting pattern to the clouds over the day. I was “holding a line” of relatively constant latitude, and there was not a significant weather system happening. What I saw was a clear sky morning, then with a bit of warmth, the greenery gave humidity, that rose to make “puffy clouds” down low about 10 am. Those then evaporated over the next couple of hours (as the sun heated them) and then another “pulse” of humid air headed up. In the afternoon, a larger and fuller cloud deck started to form as even more water vapor ended up higher in the air. This was from the center of Nebraska to Missouri. You could watch the humidity pump pulse upward into the sky, taking loads of latent heat with it. (Eventually it rained, but I was all the way down to Tennessee / Georgia by then and it was coming up on the next day, so not a direct comparison).

Nebraska One early morning

Nebraska One early morning

Clear sky at the start of the day.

Nebraska nearing 10 am

Nebraska nearing 10 am

These clouds formed locally. The ‘wind’ was near zero and any body of water of any size was days away. This is local low cloud formation from water evaporating from the surface. As clouds form, the surface is notably cooler under them. (Driving under cloud patches would give significantly cooler feeling on the skin.)

A bit before noon, it’s even thicker clouds, still low, and starting to get a ‘banding’ pattern where air is rising in rows, making bands of clouds.

Nebraska a bit before lunch

Nebraska a bit before lunch

Then an odd thing happens. The sun near noon is quite hot, and it looks like the land has been shaded and dried a bit, so the clouds evaporate and the humid air rises a bit higher. A bit more sun / heat reaches the ground, and the cycle repeats. While hard to see in the pictures, from the ground it looked like the could deck re-formed a bit higher up in the sky. As though the second “pulse” pushed higher. Then the cloud deck fills in more fully.

Nebraska just after lunch and "my ride" ;-)

Nebraska just after lunch and “my ride” ;-)

So I stopped for lunch in the town of Aurora Nebraska (subject of another posting to come) and this is on the way back to the interstate after the stop. The clear sky didn’t last long, as the next picture shows. It was not just ‘cloud banks’ drifting by. Things didn’t move sideways much; they formed in place, barely drifted, and changed form over time more or less ‘in place’.

Nebraska mid afternoon with full cloud banding

Nebraska mid afternoon with full cloud banding

Here’s the view at the Missouri welcome station just over the border, and then one from the entry to Florida the next morning. Clearly further south with even more sun at Top Of Atmosphere is NOT having a lot of ‘positive’ feedback from the added water vapor…

Missouri near welcome station

Missouri near welcome station

Florida the next day

Florida the next day

So that’s my “trip pix” and my interpretation of them. I have some more from the desert areas (for yet another posting). The simple fact is that having gone from one coast to the center of the country in one day (a very long one ….) and then from the center to the other coast in the next day (another very long one), you “notice things”. One very obvious one is just that the lack of water vapor in the high desert makes it hotter. Even though it is at higher altitude, higher latitude, and has cold air flow coming in off the Pacific. With all that “against it”, the low water vapor air heats up more. Then, middle of the country where you just can’t get air changing very fast, there is a rapid daily cloud cycle. That cycle clearly shows how water vapor makes clouds, that result in lower surface temperatures. Further on, near huge amounts of water, and hotter water at that, with a load of water vapor in the air, the result is a cooling rain and the lowest air temperatures of the trip.

The more water vapor, the cooler the temperatures. It is really that simple, and anyone can observe it.

The models are flat out wrong, and spectacularly so, with the wrong sign on water vapor feedback. Most likely from applying a “theoretical” of IR radiation physics and failing to deal with clouds, convection, enthalpy, and precipitation: the things that dominate and determine what actually happens.

Just For Fun

I found this sign interesting. It would seem that even the fates think that there’s the right way to do things, and the wrong one. You can do things “Like a Smith”, or go the other way…

It's Smithville or "the other way"...

It’s Smithville or “the other way”…

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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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22 Responses to The True Sign of Water Vapor Feedback is Negative

  1. Gail Combs says:

    I agree.

    When Willis came out with his Thunderstorm Thermostat Theory, I did a quick and dirty check. I used the east coast of the USA since I vividly remember the 4:00 pm thunderstorms in Columbia SC that were such a PITA to drive through every day in summer.

    The data I looked at showed Florida had 20 days of rain per month in the summer decreasing to 10 days of rain per month as you moved up the coast to Fayetteville NC. At Fayetteville the rain became much more sporadic and less frequent. My eyeball estimation was the cut-off temp was about 90F.

  2. Gail Combs says:

    A few years later spurred by a comment by Sleepalot on WUWT, I did a different check.

    my comment 1
    …The second point brought up by Sleepalot @ July 21, 2012 at 4:21 am, is the day/night cycle of off-again/on-again solar insolation and the rapid response of the air and land temperatures to the “switching -off” of the sun’s energy. Sleepalot’s link

    Sleepalot @ July 21, 2012 at 4:53 am then points out the actual effects of the GHG water vapor on the temperature by comparing high vs low humidity.

    … Temp: monthly min 20C, monthly max 33C, monthly average 26C
    Average humidity 90%

    … Temp: monthly min 9C monthly max 44C, monthly average 30C
    Average humidity around 0%

    Take a good hard look at those two pieces of real world data and ask yourself what it is telling you.

    #1. The solar eclipse data tells you the earth & air temperature response (in low humidity) to a change in solar energy is FAST!

    #2 The effect of the addition of water vapor (~ 4%) is not to raise the temperature but to even the temperature out. The monthly high is 10C lower and the monthly low is ~ 10C higher when the GHG H2O is added to the atmosphere in this example. The average temperature is about 4C lower in Brazil despite the fact that Algeria is further north above the tropic of Cancer. Some of the difference is from the effect of clouds/albedo but the dramatic effect on the temperature extremes is also from the humidity.

    I took a rough look at the data from Brazil. Twelve days were sunny. I had to toss the data for two days because it was bogus. The average humidity was 80% for those ten days. The high was 32 with a range of 1.7C and the low was 22.7C with a range of 2.8C. Given the small range in values over the month the data is probably a pretty good estimate for the effects of humidity only. You still get the day-night variation of ~ 10C with a high humidity vs a day-night variation of 35C without and the average temp is STILL going to be lower when the humidity is high.

    This data would indicate GHGs have two effects. One is to even out the temperature and the second is to act as a “coolant” at least if the GHG is H2O.

    The latent heat of evaporation could be why the average is 4C lower when in Brazil vs Algeria. As one of the commenters here at WUWT mentioned using temperature without humidity to estimate the global heat content is bad physics.

    my comment 2

    RACookPE1978 says:
    July 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

    ….A question not addressed yet.

    Assume 1370 watts are present at the top of atmosphere at the equator.
    Approximately 360 watts are absorbed by the atmosphere before reaching the ground. What absorbed that 360 watts that are NOT transmitted, and where does that energy “go” if O2 and N2 do not radiate or absorb IR energy?

    Just looking at the diagram at the top of the page. Incoming solar insolation is absorbed by CO2, H2O and O3. It is also reflected by H2O in the form of clouds.

    This also goes back to what Sleepalot and I were pointing out.

    I would like to add that in looking again at Sleepalot’s data

    For May 2012, Barcelos, Brazil (Lat: 1 South)
    Temp: monthly min 20C, monthly max 33C, monthly average 26C
    Average humidity 90%

    For May 2012, Adrar, Algeria (Lat: 27 North)
    Temp: monthly min 9C monthly max 44C, monthly average 30C
    Average humidity around 0%

    He picks May which is midway between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice and therefore the sun would be midway between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer (the latitude line at 23.5° North) so the solar insolation at both locations would be roughly equal with a bit more expected in Barcelos, Brazil.

    Barcelos, Brazil elevation ~ 30 meters (100 ft)
    Adrar, Algeria ~ Elevation: 280 metres (920 feet)

    One would expect a drop in temperature of ~ 4C due to altitude for Adrar, Algeria so the difference between locations, taking into account altitude is ~ 8C higher in Adrar which is further north but with much lower humidity.

    Photos Adrar, Algeria and Barcelos, Brazil

    A quick search shows some work has been done on clouds, humidity and solar insolation but it is not something I (or my computer) could handle. I found this quite interesting since it is obvious from the chart at the top of this page that water vapor (not clouds) does effect the amount of surface insolation and I would expect to easily find information on it… info based on real life data collection and not models.

    Global Insolation on a Horizontal Surface
    The solar radiation and cloud parameters contained in SSE 6.0 are obtained directly or derived from parameters available from the NASA/Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment – Surface Radiation Budget (NASA/GEWEX SRB) Project Release 3.0 archive ( The NASA/GEWEX SRB Project focuses on providing estimates of the Earth’s Top-of-atmosphere (TOA) and surface radiative energy flux components.

    …The absolute uncertainty of these components is still the subject of active research. For instances, the most recent satellite based measurements of the incoming solar radiation disagree with previous measurements and indicate this value should be closer 340.3 W m-2 providing another source of uncertainty. Other uncertainties involving the calibration of satellite radiances, atmospheric properties of clouds, aerosols and gaseous constituents, surface spectral albedos are all the subject of research within the SRB project…..

    There is also the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP)
    And this interesting graph of top of the atmosphere vs surface vs air variation in net shortwave energy over time. link from NASA The link also contains a similar longwave radiation graph.

  3. Gail Combs says:

    Time to go fish again.

  4. Ian W says:

    The AGW theories are based on radiation – everything is seen in terms of Stefan Boltzmann and outgoing infrared being ‘trapped’ or scattered by CO2 and water vapor. They are unwilling to accept the vast amount of heat that is transferred to the tropopause by convection and latent heat of state change of water. While they probably understand the theoretical physics of water vapor they do not really comprehend how it affects the atmosphere they do not believe they need to as they are only looking at water vapor as a ‘green house gas’ (sic).

    Yet if you look at the case of a cloud forming then burning off.what has actually happened? Heat from the surface has been extracted as latent heat of evaporation and carried in the water vapor state until the lapse rate leads to 100% saturation at which point water starts condensing and releasing heat as infrared. The non-radiative gases oxygen and nitrogen cannot be warmed by this as they are ‘transparent’ to infrared. So the latent heat of condensation radiates in all directions and may warm other water vapor molecules, escape to space or warm the surface. The cloud droplets are all surrounded by 100% humidity as all clouds are otherwise the water droplets would evaporate, so much of the latent heat of condensation will be absorbed by water molecules except above the cloud by due to the lapse rate is less humid so more radiation will escape to space..
    You then point out that the sun ‘burns off’ the cloud. What is happening is that the shortwave radiation from the sun is being absorbed by the cloud droplets until they have sufficient energy for the latent heat of evaporation in that level of humidity. So the entire cloud starts gaining energy and eventually the entire volume of the cloud and air around it has been given sufficient energy for all the droplets to completely evaporate. All that heat energy just changed the state of the water it did not raise the temperature. So the clouds act as a ‘damping’ mechanism (in both the wet and system sense)
    You can see the infrared from cloud formation on the GOES satellites. The AGW SB only radiation people are unable to accept that large amounts of outgoing infrared comes from ‘cold’ clouds. But of course latent heat of condensation and fusion are not governed by Stefan Boltzmann.

    Watch the weather fronts and storms radiating infrared here.

    The radiation is not related to temperature it is related to the amount of water changing state condensing or freezing and releasing heat – and heat is NOT temperature.

  5. You are entirely right and will be happy to know that Trenberth agrees with you- and what is more he acknoweldges that it is not included in the climate models.For the Tropics negative feedback is equal to 1.5 W/M2 Just about equal to all the radiative forcings which they (erroneously) attribute to CO2. Check Trenberths PPT presentation at.
    The key slide showing the calculations is towards the end

  6. Dale Cozort says:

    One thing to watch in these comparisons, though, is heat versus heat content. Dry air may be hotter in terms of what the thermometer says, but humid air might have more heat content.

    That isn’t to defend the “water vapor as a greenhouse gas” meme, which is rather difficult to defend, but if we’re asking how much heat is being added to the atmosphere under what conditions the issue really should be temperature * heat carrying capacity of the atmosphere at current humidity, rather than simply temperature.

    Of course, that argument means that simply adding up temperatures over a wide area and declaring that global temperatures went up or down is absurd. If average humidity goes down and average temperatures go up, you may end up with less atmospheric heat content even at higher temperatures.

    As to what might impact average surface humidity and especially local humidity, I suspect that a plethora of things would, in opposite directions: Irrigation/lawn sprinkling would presumably increase local humidity, which would probably be reflected locally in lower daytime temperatures but higher night-time temperatures because the more humid air would have more heat content to dissipate. Lots of concrete replacing dirt would decrease humidity, making daytime temperatures hotter locally, but also absorbing heat that would then radiate off at night, keeping night-time temperature hotter during the early hours. It would be interesting to study the average daily temperature curve of areas near dirt/grass versus concrete or asphalt. My guess: you could probably detect a distinctive concrete/asphalt signature in lower local humidity/higher daytime temperatures, followed by higher temperatures in the early night-time hours due to re-radiation from the mass of the concrete or asphalt, but possibly with a steeper downward curve toward the end of the night because there would be less water vapor to keep heat from radiating away.

    It would also be interesting to look at what impact watering a lawn had on local humidity and the local daily temperature curve.

    Then there is trees versus treeless, and, I suspect that the kind of trees would have an impact on humidity, and thus on temperature. If you cut down old growth oak and plant pine do you get different amounts of humidity in the local air? Probably. At a guess, the deeper the roots of local plants, the higher the local humidity, because the plants can bring up water from deeper in the soil. Then you have the impact of trees or lack there-of on wind, and presumably through wind on storm patterns. How is a thunderstorm over a plowed field different from a thunderstorm over a forest? There probably are significant differences, but what are they?

    If I sit down and think about this stuff seriously, it gets obvious that (a) It’s scary complex, and (b) Current climate studies is like a chimpanzee studying a car. It may notice some patterns, but has no clue how things really work. I think that where things went wrong is that around 30-35 years ago, a few maverick climate researchers came up with the greenhouse gas warming theory and the government asked leading scientists if they could prove it one way or the other. The really top-notch scientists in the field said that it would take decades if not centuries. A bunch of young mavericks on the periphery jumped in and because they didn’t understand the complexity or saw the way the politics could play, said, “Yeah, we can prove it.”

    I think some of them are now starting to understand why their elders were more cautious, but they are committed to the point where admitting that they didn’t really understand the problem would destroy their careers and earn them a place on the crap list of some very nasty true-believers.

    None of this is to say that humans aren’t affecting the climate. We almost certainly are to some extent. And the young mavericks could turn out to have accidentally be right for the wrong reasons. With a system as complex as global climate, it’s hard to know.

  7. adrianvance says:

    CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition. It absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 80 times as many molecules capturing 560 times as much heat making 99.8% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.2% of it. For this we should destroy our economy?

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    See The Two Minute Conservative via Google or: and when you speak ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.

  8. Bulaman says:

    Talk to glider pilots. Cloud “Streeting” is well known and used to fly long distances.

  9. Zeke says:

    “Then, middle of the country where you just can’t get air changing very fast, there is a rapid daily cloud cycle.”

    This agrees well with the clouds constantly forming and billowing up over the Brazilian rain forest and other forests, including Douglas Fir.
    (Just a one second sample tho.)

    It probably does not matter to your observations, but you were driving along the Platte River in NE, so there was a body of water. Now what could possibly happen in Aurora, lol.

  10. Zeke says:

    Ian W says:
    ” So the entire cloud starts gaining energy and eventually the entire volume of the cloud and air around it has been given sufficient energy for all the droplets to completely evaporate. All that heat energy just changed the state of the water it did not raise the temperature….You can see the infrared from cloud formation on the GOES satellites.”

    Look what happens in the desert as the sun rises. What is that in the top left corner? I did not fully understand the color band. Is purple far infrared?

  11. Pingback: These items caught my eye – 9 June 2013 | grumpydenier

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, I’d hardly call that stream a “body” of water ;-)

    It was a nice fat creek to look at, but not important to the 20 mile vision of clouds I was looking at… (Most of the time I was looking south east and well beyond the river that was right next to the freeway… but sometimes I looked off north and west, again well away from the river. I could see no impact from any rivers, but lots from the general soil and plant moisture…)

    I’ve added a screen capture of one image out of that animation up above in the article (so it’s easier for folks to see what is being discussed). The legend at the bottom makes the deep purple look like either very cold or very {something} wavelength. I’ve not taken the time to figure out the legend… I speculated in the text “up there” that it means the upper air is cold out west, while in the east convection is heating the upper air (and cooling the surface). Which does kind of highlight the point that “surface temperatures” are the wrong thing to measure. Both due to heat NOT being temperatures and the surface not being the mass / volume of the total air column…. All basic calorimetry things. If you don’t know the temperature through the whole mass (and what the mass is), along with any phase and chemical changes, you can’t say squat about heat vs temperature and using temperature as a proxy for heating is brain dead. But we already knew that, not being afflicted with Simpleton Climate “Science” errors of assumption…


    Maybe that’s my problem… I took ground school a couple of times (power and glider) and worked ground school for balloons while taking glider lessons… just can’t erase all that understanding of convection and winds from my brain…

    Anyone interested in a T-Shirt that says: “It’s the convection, Stupid!” on one side and “IR Radiation is the tail on the convection dog” on the other? ;-)

    @Ian W:

    BTW, the “usual excuse” I’ve seen waved about is that convection only happens in the troposphere and ends at the tropopause, so doesn’t matter. The idea being that the tropopause is some kind of thermal barrier to mass flow / convection so only radiation can cross it.

    That is another of the core broken ideas of Global Warming True Believers. The height of the tropopause is variable and changes with the degree of convection. There is downwelling stratospheric air mass at the polar night jet / vortex areas, so mass MUST cross the tropopause upward to replace it. There is a Cat 2 hurricane force wind going sideways at the tropo”pause”, so lots of turbulent mixing can happen, along with conductive heat flow. It is the vision of the “pause” as a barrier of some sort that is the “root cause error” leading to the fixation with radiative theories. It’s just wrong. So pitch out the tropo”pause” as a “barrier” and the whole thing unravels…

    Decent thunderstorms can punch cloud tops right through the “normal” height of the tropo”pause”… by a lot… I’ve been in jets going cross country above the ‘pause’ in clear air and the pilot announced we had to steer around some thunderheads to avoid the turbulence. Looking out the window, they towered over our altitude…

    Cumulonimbus clouds typically are accompanied by lower altitude cumulus clouds, growing vertically instead of horizontally, contributing to the mushroom shape of the cumulonimbus. The cumulonimbus base may extend several miles across and occupy low to middle altitudes- formed at altitude from approximately 500 to 13,000 feet (150 to 3,960 meters). Peaks typically reach to as much as 20,000 feet (6,090 meters), with extreme instances as high as 75,000 feet (23,000 meters).

    So when one of those puppies spikes up to 75,000 feet and dumps an anvil top into the space above the surrounding “pause”, think that matters?…. IR my left foot…

    Well-developed cumulonimbus clouds are characterized by a flat, anvil-like top (anvil dome), caused by wind shear or inversion near the tropopause. The shelf of the anvil may precede the main cloud’s vertical component for many miles, and be accompanied by lightning. Occasionally, rising air parcels surpass the equilibrium level (due to momentum) and form an overshooting top culminating at the maximum parcel level.

    The tropo”pause” is a violent wind area with highly variable altitude and all sorts of anomaly events punching into it. This is all seen instead as a flat stable barrier to heat flow by the Model Toy Boys who only see it as an IR window and ignore the mass flow and entropy.


    Let us know what you catch! ;-)

    Interesting idea, plotting rain vs latitude… Same thing could be done on a transect from the west coast into the high desert or from Houston up to Oklahoma city… hmmmmm……

  13. New paper finds significant cooling effect of irrigation; implies water vapor feedback is negative

  14. Stephen Wilde says:

    I’ve been saying just that for a long time.

  15. adrianvance says:

    If you are talking about the heat of vaporization of liquid water and the absorption of IR from sunlight you should appreciate that you are talking about two different things.

    If you examine the atmosphere quantitatively in terms of the IR absorption and quantities of each component you will quickly see that nitrogen, oxygen, methane, argon, neon, etc. are all transparent to IR; they absorb none. Water vapor is the only strong absorber of IR in air. CO2 is both a “trace gas,” insignificant by definition, but where carbon combustion makes 80% of all our energy it is of interest to the elected ruling class as taxing and controlling it would give virtual dominion over us. It is just that simple.

  16. Gail Combs says:

    Stephen W. From what I can tell you have the closest to nature ‘model’ of climate I have seen so far although I think the lunar effects on climate Ian Wilson and EM smith have brought to our attention need to be given weight.

  17. Norman Page,
    Impressive stuff. I added your web site to my Bookmarks.

  18. Gary says:

    Makes complete sense. The more water vapor, the greater the effect when it changes phase.

  19. Ian W says:

    @Dale Cozort
    You are correct – this is called the enthalpy of the air, its specific heat at that temperature which is linked to its humidity. The correct metric for the heat trapped by CO2 is kilojoules per kilogram of atmosphere. Our climate ‘scientists’ seem to be less cognizant of the correct metric than an air conditioner engineer. To use an example I have used before:
    As an example:
    A Louisiana bayou in the afternoon just after a thundershower the air temperature is 25C (~77F) the humidity is 100% with mist slowly burning off in the sun. At the same time over in the Arizona desert the temperature is 38C (~100F) and almost zero humidity. The energy content of the air in the bayou at 25C is ~76.8 kJ/Kg but the energy of the Arizona air at 38C is ~38.2 kJ/Kg only half that of the cooler Louisiana air.
    People using simple ‘air temperature’ to assess heat content are using the incorrect metric. Just because these records were kept for a long time doesn’t make air temperature a suitable metric for the amount of heat ‘trapped’ in the atmosphere. Averaging the temperatures makes even less sense. It is not uncommon in Florida for morning temperatures to be 60F with afternoon peak temperature 90F but as the morning is ~90% humidity or more and the afternoon is say ~60% the actual heat content of the atmosphere may have been unaltered or even dropped from morning to afternoon.
    (I have set myself the task of running this job against a set of observation stations)

    I think that there are times when the tropopause is like a large lava lamp. There is no mathematically flat surface it has waves breaking in it – both Rossby and Kelvin waves and tides it is not at all as these neat diagrams would have people believe.

    Strange you should point out the purple over the desert (purple the lowest outgoing IR value) in the GOES East satellite pic — These will alter – but for now it is salutary to look at the GOES East and the humidity from Intelliweather…


    Coldest part of the day in the desert is just after dawn.

  20. Paul Hanlon says:

    Don’t forget too that there is also the significant effect of reflection of sunlight from the tops of clouds. Anybody out sunbathing on a nice warm day can attest to that as temperature drops a lot when a cloud blocks out the sun.

    And this is despite the fact that that same cloud is trapping heat and radiating ti back to earth, as we know from the way that cloudy nights are always warmer than non cloudy nights, all other things being equal.

    But the trapping effect is not more than half of the reflective effect, which means that just that phenomena alone makes clouds a negative feedback, without the heat dissipation of the state change of water factored in.

    We’re starting to see the revisions of the climate sensitivity number coming in. My guess is, before we get through this cooling cycle, it will be found that it is an order of magnitude less than what we’ve been told up to now.

  21. Gary says:

    Trying to make a specific point about global warming is like trying to follow the tire tracks of a car a through through a demolition derby. Just put the whole damned earth in a box and measure what goes in and out at the top of the atmosphere, fact is warming is a known effect – hoping that Gaia or some complicated feedback process is going to save our asses is a bit like Pascals wager – no wonder we have ‘believers’ and ‘nonbelievers’. Humans should not start something they do not know what they are doing. I got into atmospheric chemistry because of the CFC’s – we could still be arguing about ‘feedbacks’ and the observed data while wearing SPF100 – some lawyers still think that the Montreal protocol was an unauthorized demonization of a legitimate industry…and the ‘cheaters’ who keep that hole open in the SH feel that a little bit more will not hurt. But then when two billion Chinese, Indians, Brazilians etc have our standard of energy wastage – its gonna be real fun sucking in that combustion pollution -Read Natures End – we are half way there (PS this written was BEFORE the WWW). Got grandkids? Get them some rebreathers/scrubbers for Christmas – laugh? – its not funny in Beijing during late winter. -Gary

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