The Fallacy of Trapped Heat

I was pondering the problem of lighting a sphere and figuring out how much energy arrives where. This led to two interesting web pages (that I’m trying to find again). One was a scholarly look at it from a “climate science” perspective, that proceeded to list a load of critical things that would be simplified out of the problem. The other was an animation rendering paper that found an ‘almost right’ and good enough method for calculating lighting that gave much faster rendering times. The Animation Folks took on the problem in a much more complicated way (even though it was a dramatic simplification of what is used now in rendering). The “net net” for me was that clearly since ‘it has to look right’, the animation folks did a LOT more work on the problem. This implies that the “climate science” folks are leaving out a load of reality. Reality that matters, or it would ‘look right’, and the animation folks would not need to do such complicated things. But the details on that will need to wait for another day, when I have the URLs in hand.

What it did do is remind me of just how complicated the world is and how much the details matter. Was there a way to garner some useful information from that perspective?

Several times I’ve ranted that temperature is just the wrong thing to use to measure heat. Basic physics. Temperature is not heat. Temperature can’t even tell you about heat. It is an intrinsic property of one object (or one part of an object). Heat is an extrinsic property. You need mass, and specific heat of the material, and any phase change information; then you can start to talk about heat. OK, that said, I’m going to be sloppy for a little while (in that “climate science” kind of way) and talk about energy flows in and out, temperatures, and yes, even reference heat; all while not being scrupulous in keeping them isolated from each other (like they ought to be).

So I was picturing a sphere being illuminated by a distant point light source, with a variety of reflections (moon, planets) and with constantly changing surface texture and reflectivity (clouds, ocean) and just what WAS the illumination of any one spot? The illumination of a wave crest on the tangent of the perimeter may be normal to the incident sunlight, while the trough of the wave is in shadow, or at such an angle that any sunlight is reflected off. The surface “roughness” varies, dramatically. As for “average illumination”, that’s a bit of a lark. What is the illumination at the South Pole? Would that be December or June? So we play with numbers to get an average over a year (or years) and pretend that is what is happening. But it isn’t.

Every day nature runs an experiment in illumination. It starts out ‘near zero’ (but not AT zero, as there are stars and moon to think about, and those pesky clouds). Then slowly rises to ‘full sun’, and heads back to ‘near zero’. In other postings I’ve admired the point that we “ignore the day at our peril”. Similarly there are seasons. Over a one year period, we move from winter to spring, then summer and fall. Then back to winter. Simple, no? But what does that say about “trapped heat”? It says that on a seasonal level, heat leaves. Massive quantities. We go from 110 F in the shade (“and there ain’t no shade”, as I’m fond of saying of summer in my old home town…) to 20 F and a load of frozen water. Where is all that “trapped heat”? Hmmmm? Can we put a “size” on the heat flow? A “rate”? I think so, even if it is a bad, or poor, one.

The basic thesis of “climate science” rests on the notion that “heat” will “build up” in the system. That it will be trapped over a duration of decades and raise the temperature. Yet we know that heat does not “build up”. It leaves. Every winter demonstrates that on a longer term scale. Where is summer heat when winter snows arrive? Gone.

It didn’t go furtively into the oceans. It didn’t run off to Brazil with the maid. It didn’t crawl down into the earth to make volcanoes. The Elvis of heat has left the planet.

At any one time, there is ONE spot on our planetary sphere that takes a path directly normal to the solar disk. Over the course of a day, that traces a single circle around the globe. Everywhere else is a bit ’tilted’ relative to that line. Getting ever more oblique to the sun, and not as hot. The further you get from that equatorial line, the colder you get. The heat is not “building up”, it is moving. Maximum on that line, lowest at the poles, and moving massive quantities of water and air between the two, trying desperately to equalize the temperatures, and failing. Because the heat leaves. Every single day, and every single season.

Now that line wanders back and forth with the tilt of the earth on a seasonal basis (causing the seasons). It stops at the two ‘tropics’. The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. (Echos of when we referenced the starts and constellations to maintain our orientation in life…) As that line moves the heat moves with it. We do not have “trapped heat” at the Tropic of Capricorn keeping it nice and warm all winter. Summer heat rapidly leaves. Winter comes. Much further from the equator we have places that never do get “normal” to the sun. It is always a bit low on the horizon, never directly overhead. (The ‘tropics’ mark the limits of where the sun can be overhead, even if only briefly on one summer day). Those places are never quite as warm as the equator. Try as it might, the earth just can’t move the heat there sufficiently to warm those poles before the Elvis of heat has Left The Planet.

Now return again to that sphere spinning and nodding in front of a light source. It gets 100% of illumination on one dot, that rotates a bit over and gets a bit less while another dot rotates into position to get a bit more. One polar end gets some decent, though not direct, illumination, and another gets darkness in shadow (yet with cloud reflections and such to complicate things). What temperatures do we get? From about 50 C down to about -50 C. A 100 C range. From tropical / desert to polar / arctic. We can size the range of illumination (moderated by huge heat flows in water and air) at about a value that gives 100 C of “range” from “full” to “zero”. Now take those places that have more consistent daily illumination. They have daily temperature swings, too. We could, in theory, take those daily temps, compare them to 100 C, and figure an ‘efficiency’ of heat storage over a daily cycle or over a seasonal cycle. (It isn’t really an efficiency, but I’m not sure what other term would give the idea well. It’s more a ‘figure of merit’ but that’s a bit vague as a term.)

So right now I’m in Florida in the early Summer. The sun is nearly overhead at high noon. Daily temperatures cycle between about 74 F at night and 94 F in the day. Yes, both ends ‘wander’ a bit with the passing storms, or sunnier days; but it tends to hang about there. In south Texas, at a similar latitude, it can have a much wider range. They have less water to store heat as non-temperature things like enthalpy (heat of vaporization / condensation).

Now those 20 F degrees are about 10 C degrees (really 11.1111 but the error bands on the estimates of the range are greater than 1 C so 10 C is ‘close enough’). That’s 1/10 of the 100 C range from “zero to full”. That means that in one night, Florida, great as it is at storing heat in all that ocean water around it, dumps 1/10 of a “full load of heat”. (It dumps more during the day in those thunderstorms, that’s why it’s not 50 C and tends to drop back to ’80 something F’ after an afternoon storm) It doesn’t dump it to the poles (we don’t have winds running 6000 miles in 12 hours, or 500 MPH toward the poles…), it dumps it off planet. (At cloud tops in all those nice rising thermals freezing tons of water to plummet to earth, melting on the way, and making nice afternoon downpours).

Over the course of a year, as the seasons change, the high and low move together with the seasons. At the low end, we start to get more range. Why? Because the hurricanes and thunderstorms that are the convective engines in a hot wet environment stop working. Their heat engine turned off, they remove less heat. So a winter day max can rise further from a winter night low before starting up that heat engine that puts a lid on temperatures at about ‘mid 90s F’ here.

Similarly, once water freezes, it can not give up heat of fusion to moderate low swings any further. So winters in places like Calgary Canada, can get quite cold. Water moderates the downside to a point, then stops, where summer storms can just get bigger, more frequent, longer lasting, and move ever more heat. The heat there comes with the summer sun, and is gone when the sun drops low on the horizon.

In my old home town, winters got down to about 20 F ( -7 C). So from 43 C in summer to -7 C in winter. 50 C of range. Now the Topic of Cancer is at about 23 degrees N, while my home town was closer to 38 N. That means we never quite got directly overhead sun, even in the hottest part of summer. A good 15 degrees off ‘head on’ normal. Yet we got to within a few degrees C of some of the hottest spots on the planet. And in winter dumped all that heat to be 1/2 way to zero sunshine. Even though the sun was well above the horizon and the ocean only about 100 miles away. Where is all that “stored heat” when you need it?

Daily temperatures could be as low as 20 F, or sometimes only 50 F, at the winter cold end. Sometimes winter days were about 30 F peak, sometimes 70 F. It all depended on how much sun we got and if a polar cold air mass landed on our heads. The mobile polar air could knock us down about 10 F. The rest was solar and heat loss. Warmer air could put us up 10 F, but if the next day was poor in sun, we got cold. Overall, the warmth of the day was strongly driven by daily solar heating, moderately by movement of air masses. Water uniformly made things colder. (When a storm would come, it was always cold rain, or hail, and occasional snow; never a warm tropical rain). Here in Florida, we have a warm tropical rain; but even that knocks the temperature down several degrees in minutes.

So again, where is all the heat “trapped”?

Simply put: It isn’t.

There is seasonal solar warming of tropical oceans that drives the ocean circulation and dumps that heat into the polar oceans; where it leaves the planet during long cold polar nights on a seasonal basis. There is daily solar warming of tropical and temperate regions, that drives daily thunderstorms (or cyclones where there is enough energy input) that moves heat to the stratosphere (and off the planet). On daily cycles, we can see a large part of the heat leaving in the water cycle in tropical and temperate regions. On a seasonal cycle, we can see the remainder leaving from the polar regions (delivered by ocean currents, while keeping things at least a little livable near them as it flows by). We can size those daily heat flows as being about 1/10 of a zero to full peak solar heating in any one day on land. (Though oceans can hold some heat a bit longer as it runs for the poles).

The heat is not trapped. It is not subject to ‘runaway feedback’. It leaves, rapidly, and the daily and seasonal variations that we see track the changes in solar input very rapidly, indicating just how fast that heat leaves. The peak summer heat comes about 1 month after the peak summer sun. There’s a bit of heat stored in warming soils and waters. About 30 days worth. (That’s the lag time of the storage). By dead of winter, it’s all gone again. Raise summer heat by 10%, you bought yourself about one day of cooling needed to dump that excess. At most you can slow the worst cold of winter by a couple of days.

For a formal treatment, this ought to be put into a load of formulas with heat storage in water and soils showing a one month lag on seasonal sunshine changes, and with overnight moderation of temperatures to match the daily ranges at each place sizing the local water cycle. Showing speed up and slow down of ocean currents with lunar tidal forces and thermal driving. For a ‘getting it’ moment, simply realizing those heat flows is all it takes. Trying to imply some “global warming” out of an average of an ever changing population thermometers is a fools errand. It ignores the herd of elephants in the room. Enthalpy. The water cycle. Ocean currents. The ever changing illumination of our sphere as it rotates and nods. Clouds and thunderstorms. All those things that move and dump the heat, leaving temperature as a poor proxy in a chaos of water and precipitation. You simply can not ignore the weather when talking about a 30 year average of weather.

So to the question of “Where is the trapped heat?”, I answer “It isn’t. Elvis has left the planet”.

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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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58 Responses to The Fallacy of Trapped Heat

  1. View from the Solent says:

    ‘Now those 20 F degrees are about 10 C degrees (really 11.1111 but the error bands on the estimates of the range are greater than 1 C so 10 C is ‘close enough’). That’s 1/10 of the 100 C range from “zero to full”. That means that in one night, Florida, great as it is at storing heat in all that ocean water around it, dumps 1/10 of a “full load of heat”. ‘

    I saw what you did there ;-)
    The range is from 273 to 373K. That 0C is purely arbitrary.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @View from the Solent:

    Yes, one ought to do it all in K, but most folks don’t like that. Still, I’ve done valid descriptions.

    That 20 F range is about a 10 K range, and the -50 C to 50 C range is a 100 C range or a 100 K range. As it’s all being done in ‘ranges’, the units don’t matter much. A zero to full sun variation gives a 100 K or 100 C range. And a 20 F range gives about a 10 C or 10 K range. So use C or K as you like. No difference, really, to what I was saying.

    The “zero to full” in question is not from 0 C to 100 C, it is from “zero sun at the pole to full sun at the equator”, more or less. Or about -50 C to 50 C with a 100 C range. You can put that in K if you like. ( It ought to be about 223 K to 323 K if I did it right).

  3. adrianvance says:

    All of these “heat shield,” “ozone shield,” etc. concepts require that a surface be formed and gases cannot form surfaces as can solids and liquids. It is amazing the stuff these science fraudsters get away with! In every lecture Jim Hansen claims, “Man made CO2 stays in the atmosphere 400 years,” implying it is different from “natural” CO2. The great lesson of the Wohler urea synthesis is that it demonstrated all molecules are alike no matter from where they come. That fact prevailed from 1832 to 1988 when Jim Hansen came along and changed it in his avarice (Not the small town in Illinois of the same name.) and no one objects because all the guys in the audience are in envy of Hansen’s fame and fortune. We are doomed….

    Come see us at http://adrianvanceblogspot.com for some truth.

  4. co2fan says:

    I just had this exchange with Hans von Storch on DieKlimazwiebel blog.
    I trust your instinct more than his.
    Anonymous said…
    Here is a comment about the interview on Bishop Hill. Any explanation HvSt?

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/6/21/von-storch-on-the-pause.html#comments

    The more these guys talk the less credibility they have. They really need to shut up. Can anybody reconcile the following two statements made by Storch:

    Storch: “Certainly the greatest mistake of climate researchers has been giving the impression that they are declaring the definitive”
    and

    Storch: “Yes, we are certainly going to see an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more — and by the end of this century, mind you.”
    We were wrong to declare we were certain, but I am certain that in the future….

    Do these guys need to fail an IQ test to become “climate scientists”?

    Jun 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Geckko

    June 21, 2013 at 2:04 PM
    Hans von Storch said…
    Anonymous, to become a climate scientists requires the ability to read mkroe than one sentence – the full yuote is “Yes, we are certainly going to see an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more — and by the end of this century, mind you. That’s what my instinct tells me, since I don’t know exactly how emission levels will develop. Other climate researchers might have a different instinct.”

    Next time, try to identify yourself.

    June 21, 2013 at 2:33 PM
    Anonymous said…
    I forgot to sign.
    I cited the comment from BH.

    I agree with the gist of the comment, not the insult.

    I wonder what place instinct has in science, other than selecting a specific approach in research.

    Saying you are certain and later qualifying it as instinct falsely communicates scientific confidence.

    The null theory of natural climate change has not been falsified by the models, therefore waiting five more years is not necessary in my scientific judgement (not instinct).

    Harald
    CO2fan.wordpress.com

    identifying myself thru wordpress invariably results in my comment getting lost.

    June 21, 2013 at 3:14 PM
    Hans von Storch said…
    Thanks, Harald, for identifying yourself. We had here some discussion about the role of instinct/intuition in science. Among others, a nice Einstein-quote.

    I would expect that your judgment contains a significant portion of instinct by applying a number of tacit assumptions. How do you got the idea that models would falsify you null hypothesis?

    June 21, 2013 at 3:23 PM

  5. Baa Humbug says:

    I like the way you think through things Mr Smith. My respects.

  6. Dr. van Storch is in the news:
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/21/climate-scientist-global-warming-models-could-be-fundamentally-wrong/#ixzz2WsxFCZiQ

    Perhaps it could be called “endstinct.”

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  7. Tim says:

    Can I ask for some clarification for my rather old grey cells (well older than yours, anyway)? What you are saying is that the amount of heat coming in to the Earth is the same as that leaving via the poles, winds and rain, albeit with a short term local hysteresis and regardless of the actual amount incoming from the sun.

  8. tckev says:

    I go with you instinct, after all if the models are correct the Medieval Warm Period would still be here as the heat would be ‘trapped’ with us.

  9. adolfogiurfa says:

    Some heads trap heat for sure….those are the only ones trapped in their power/money grabbing fantasy world, while the real world changes unexpectedly.. It over kids!….time to get a job or lose your positions.

  10. Tim wrote:

    Can I ask for some clarification for my rather old grey cells (well older than yours, anyway)? What you are saying is that the amount of heat coming in to the Earth is the same as that leaving via the poles, winds and rain, albeit with a short term local hysteresis and regardless of the actual amount incoming from the sun.

    The problem with short summaries is that they (necessarily) leave out a lot and have to make assumptions.

    The “actual amount coming from the sun” is indeed the source for more much more than 99.9% of the heat reaching the Earth’s surface. Not counting the extremely small contributions from things like other stars, the balance is heat from the Earth’s interior (maintained by radioactive decay) reaching the surface through volcanoes and vents. Each of these varies, but solar variance counts much more than variance in the direct heat from the interior of course.

    Nevertheless, interior-driven events such as volcanoes can be important in changing the planet’s albedo, locally or globally, and sometimes for extended periods. Despite the tiny effect of volcanic heat on the planet’s temperature, the reflective clouds can be potent indeed.

    Chiefio’s excellent summary was focused elsewhere, and did not delve into radiation budgets, albedo and such. Albedo changes are orders of magnitude larger than CO2 changes, and have hugely more significant impacts upon surface temperatures. The mechanisms that cause albedo changes seem to have drives that (in part) are not related to temperature, let alone CO2, and we seek more data on these phenomena.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a hundred-year daily chart of albedo by region or grid cell around the globe? Alas, we cannot recreate this through any known mechanism or proxy, and so current models simply stick in numbers and make assumptions. Recent measurements using the Moon as a reflection-catcher show that this effect is indeed significant.

    But Chiefio was dealing with the notion of trapped heat (once it gets here) and the physical difficulties with the timeframes proposed, compared to observed behavior.

    Nevertheless, it seems that you had a question … but I am not quite able to pick it out of your restatement. Perhaps my grey cells (not to mention glia!) are too old as well. Can you ask again?

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  11. Power Grab says:

    Bravo! Well said.

    If I may, here are some questions:

    Why is it that our coldest weather (at around latitude 37, anyway) is not at the winter solstice? And our hottest weather is not at the summer solstice?

    Is there something cumulative about the waxing and waning of the energies that make us warm?

    (Maybe you already said that and I missed it… While I did read through this article, I have to admit that if I don’t print it off on paper and read it at my leisure, I’m likely to miss something.)

  12. Bennett In Vermont says:

    @ Power Grab, if I may, the way I understand it is quite simple. There is a lag. Things take time to heat up, or to cool off. This is true of the atmosphere and anything sunlight can warm. When sunlight diminishes, it takes a while for the effect of the “lessening” to result in cooler days.

    Another wonderful essay, E.M.. As always, thank you for giving me something to think about.

  13. DocMartyn says:

    I have been in the umbra of a solar eclipse twice. Gets cool very quickly, from afternoon sunshine hot to 6ish in a minute

  14. Gail Combs says:

    I understand what EM is getting at but he is missing a point. You do ‘Trap heat’ in the soil. Caves stay at constant temperature year round (Indiana is 54.5F, Sonora Texas 70F and Vermont somewhere around 45F BRRrrrr) However this is an equilibrium temperature that is the average of the summer/winter heat for that location.

    It would be interesting to see if those temperatures have changed over time.

    A second point. You might want to put up this graph: http://www.shadowchaser.demon.co.uk/eclipse/2006/thermochron.gif (Just in case it disappears again as the report is now MIA)
    It is the temperature change in the air temperature and the soil temperature during a total solar eclipse 2006 in Libira

    …2006 March 29

    Successful observation from the Sahara Desert in Libya under perfect skies. Report is here.

    Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation…
    http://www.shadowchaser.demon.co.uk/eclipse/index.html

    Third point: I took a quick and dirty look at temps in a desert and a rain forest during sunny days here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1040071

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1041066

    All GHG (water) does is moderate the temperature. The highs were 10C lower and the lows 10C higher in the rain forest. The average temperature is about 4C lower in Brazil despite the fact that Algeria is further north above the tropic of Cancer. One would expect a drop in temperature of ~ 4C due to altitude for Adrar, Algeria so taking into account altitude it is ~ 8C higher in Adrar which is further north but with much lower humidity.

    The rain forest at Barcelos, Brazil was also very near the ocean.
    …..

    When you think about it, it makes sense. The interaction between GHGs and IR radiation is going to be very short term. An energy ‘packet’ is absorbed but it is going to be re-radiated or transfered by collision in seconds (nanoseconds?) not in days or weeks. (Visualize a pinball machine with the energy packet as the ball and the flippers CO2)

    I think time is the factor that is left out of the whole CAGW CO2 heats the earth equation. As EM says ” Elvis has left the planet” just not quite as fast as he leaves the moon.

  15. Gail Combs says:

    DARN, sorry for messing up the block quotes, I am half asleep.

  16. Jason Calley says:

    @ Gail “It would be interesting to see if those temperatures have changed over time.”

    There have been attempts to chart past temperatures by charting the temperature changes at deeper levels of caves, but I suspect the error bars must be huge. The complication is that with most caves you have a combination of water flow and air flow messing up the thermal stratigraphy. It is simpler and less guess work to drill a bore hole and measure the temperature of the various layers of rock.

  17. John F. Hultquist says:

    Seems mostly reasonable to me but then I’m not a certified ‘climate scientist’!

    The 8th paragraph starts:
    “At any one time, there is ONE spot on our planetary sphere that takes a path directly normal to the solar disk.”

    And then:

    “The further you get from that equatorial line, . . .”

    In trying to explain such things to young folks (beginning college), I found (way too late) it best to never say anything that might be misconstrued or be a misdirection. I used the phrase “sub-solar point” (with ‘sub’ meaning under) and explained the trace would be an imaginary figure of the Slinky sort.

    The motions of Earth and Sun never stop so unlike the Equator (a line on a globe or map) the trace of the sub-solar point doesn’t connect with itself.

    Also, have a look at this very colorful diagram.

    The thing to notice is that at the Tropic day length is about 13.5 hours while farther north day length increases rapidly. Today where I live (47th Parallel) the day was about 16 hours.
    Maximum intensity is at the sub-solar point. Daily received heat is a maximum farther north and for other reasons the major deserts of the world are adjacent to (beyond) the Tropics – the meaning of ‘sub’ changes with this concept. The regions are called sub-tropical. Florida, for example. I have never been at the sub-solar point, nor south of it. A sad state of affairs.

    I could mention the high albedo of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean – maybe another time.

  18. Tim says:

    Keith DeHavelle says;
    “The problem with short summaries is that they (necessarily) leave out a lot and have to make assumptions.”

    Yes, my question was not very well put. As a non scientist, but scientist by inclination, for the last few years I have been trying to get a mental construct on the way the Earth’s warming and/or cooling is supposed to work. My experience of 74 years on this Earth is that there is no noticeable overall warming or cooling. In passing a friend who is 89 years old a couple of days ago, he volunteered that “all this global warming is a load of rubbish”. No, I didn’t prompt the statement; as far as I am aware I have never spoken to him about it. We could both exchange similar memories of varying weather, however.

    Simplifying things massively there are two sources of heat worth considering; the sun and the Earth. I guess the Earth’s output is fairly steady (put me right if I am wrong) and the sun’s output can vary somewhat. The Earth’s chaotic response to these two heat sources gives us our weather. I can understand that Carbon Dioxide can trap very small amounts of energy in certain wavelengths, but compared to changing albedo – plant growth and removal, cities being built, changing sizes of glaciers,changing amounts of ice at the poles – it must be virtually impossible to see that trapping effect.

    If we want to know whether the Earth is warming or cooling I would suggest putting a highly accurate temperature measuring devices on every square foot of the planet’s surface – including the seas – and then record the temperatures say 24 times a day/night for the next say 1000 years. We might then have some data worth the scientists having a look at. We could then pick out all the UHI and other effects and create an easy to view 3D graph which we could view online rather as we now view Google’s or Bing’s aerial views.

    Yes, I know it is impossible, but then equally it is impossible currently to measure or calculate the Earth’s average temperature to tenths of a degree Kelvin, or even to whole degrees.

  19. Gail Combs says:

    Tim
    …..Yes, I know it is impossible, but then equally it is impossible currently to measure or calculate the Earth’s average temperature to tenths of a degree Kelvin, or even to whole degrees.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You might be interested in AJ Strata’s error analysis of the global temperature (He is a NASA engineer) http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/16688

  20. Bloke down the pub says:

    One of my arguments against cagw is their ideas on Arctic feedbacks. They claim less sea ice means more sunlight being absorbed by the ocean instead of being reflected out into space, therefore more warming. At those latitudes the difference in albedo between ice (especially dirty ice) and water is small. On the other hand, ice traps heat in the water beneath while open water allows greater mixing and therefore more heat to be released out into space. The feedbacks, I think, are negative not positive.

  21. Ralph B says:

    This makes me think of how the ice got there during ice ages. I mean, there were kilometers of ice which contained a heck of a lot of water. The ice came pretty fast so there must’ve been significant precipitation. If the earth was cooler then what drove all that evaporation?
    Looking at Yellowknife, it receives most of its precipitation during the mid summer months (looks to avg 10.5″ per year of water). For the ice to come that rate would have to remain the same (or increase) and temperatures to drop so it all stayed frozen.
    I am trying to get a handle on this but it sure seems to be water cycle driven and not CO2.

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    …Nobody talks about the change in the HEIGHT of our atmosphere, which has decreased in HALF in the last years…

  23. Power Grab says:

    @ adolfogiurfa: Indeed!? I read not many years ago about how a probe found that the ionosphere was considerably lower than expected, but I didn’t know the height was down to half its previous level. I would like to read more about that.

    Also, isn’t the atmosphere like a lens? And wouldn’t its height affect how much heat is at any particular location? Some days in the summer, I feel like an ant under a magnifying glass.

    If we didn’t have the atmosphere that we have, wouldn’t the planet be more like, say, Mars?

  24. CompuGator says:

    Chiefio says (originated on 21 June 2013):

    Overall, the warmth of the day was strongly driven by daily solar heating, moderately by movement of air masses.

    This reminded me of my rudimentary efforts to calculate the 2-D appearance of the lunar crescent, as a projection from 3-D of the Sun illuminating a spherical Moon, simplified to a daily rotation of 360 / 29 ½ degrees. The 2-D width of the crescent does not wax or wane by a constant linear increment. The following may be too elementary for some readers, but I found it interesting to see some of the calculation results on my TI-34.

    [….] So right now I’m in Florida in the early Summer. The sun is nearly overhead at high noon. Daily temperatures cycle between about 74 F at night and 94 F in the day. Yes, both ends ‘wander’ a bit with the passing storms, or sunnier days; but it tends to hang about there. In south Texas, at a similar latitude, it can have a much wider range.

    Hmmm: Downtown Orlando is almost exactly at 28 ½ N.; San Antonio (Tex.) is nearly 29 ½ N.  On the day of the summer solstice (i.e.: yesterday), and assuming input as degrees (automagically converted to-&-from radians by T.I.), relative solar illumination at Orlando would be computed as cos (28 ½ – 23 ½) = 99.6%, would it not? For the winter solstice, we must bias each N. latitude by its separation from the Tropic of Capricorn, at 23 ½S.  So on that day, Orlando will get only cos (28 ½ + 23 ½) = 61.6%.

    [….] In my old home town, winters got down to about 20 F (-7 C). So from 43 C in summer to -7 C in winter. 50 C of range. Now the T[r]opic of Cancer is at about 23 degrees N, while my home town was closer to 38 N.

    Ah, yes, 38 N.: The Pt. Reyes/ San Rafael/ other-Richmond/ Stockton/ Tuolumne/ Mono-Lake Axis. Now there‘s quite an example of climate variation (miniclimate?), in only 200 miles of longitude! Easterners might want to compare its latitude with the mouth of the Potomac River (into Chesapeake Bay), centered on 38 N.; or the District of Columbia (“D.C.” to locals), whose northern point is very near 39 N.; or the sesquicentennially historic metro Richmond, sprawling across 37 ½ N.  On the day of the summer solstice, Chiefio’s 38 N. gets a surprisingly high cos (38 – 23 ½) = 96.8% relative solar illumination, right? But on the day of the winter solstice, 38 N. will get only cos (38 ½ + 23 ½) = 47.7%. Thus, that Pt. Reyes/ …/ Mono-Lake Axis is on the chillier side of the line of 50% illumination on the winter solstice, that being at (arccos (0.5) 23 ½ deg.) = nearly 36 ½ N.

    Quite surprisingly, the math tells me that the line of 50% illumination on the summer solstice is at (arccos (0.5) + 23 ½ deg.) = nearly 83 ½ N.  I confess that the latter fails my nonmathematical intuitive sanity check. Have I missed something herein that’s fundamental?

  25. CompuGator says:

    CompuGator says (22 June 2013 at 6:24 pm):

    Have I missed something herein that’s fundamental?

    That is, aside from me not expecting WordPress to abuse my standards-compliant posting, by rejecting the HTML-3.2 standard (implicit HTMLlat1 DTD) symbolic character entity “½”, by refusing to display it as the glyph for the fraction “1/2”, that is? Arrrgh!

    So I’ll try the iffy ISO 8859-1 code 189 a.k.a. Win. ALT-0189, and see what WordPress lets me show: “½”. Plus its ugly hex variants, while I’m at it: “½”, “½” and “½”, “½”.

    Likewise the degree sign I neglected, first as the symbolic entity: “°”; then as the ISO 8859-1 code 176 a.k.a. Win. ALT-0176: “°”, and its hex variants: “°”, “°” and “°”, “°” (one would, of course, never confuse the degree sign with the practically identical glyph of the masculine-ordinal sign at 186). Sigh.

  26. Pingback: These items caught my eye – 22 June 2013 | grumpydenier

  27. When people start talking “Missing Heat” hiding in the oceans I chuckle. Just another indication of sheer desperation by Kevin Trenberth and the “Hoclkey Team”. Of course one should be worried that there are still useful idiots out there who take this nonsense seriously or waste barrels of ink writing about it.

    Poor Kevin has his timescales messed up. Heat does hide in the oceans but the time constant is much too long to rescue the failed theory that CO2 will cause Catastrophic Anthopogenic Global Warming. The ice core evidence shows temperature lagging CO2 concentration by 600-800 years. This is a clear indication of how long it takes to heat up the bulk of the ocean or to cool it down.

  28. Sparks says:

    And how would this work on Uranus? as the claim goes, the “greenhouse effect” on this planet has shut down. The planet Uranus emits less energy than it absorbs, do you think, if a planet simply disperses solar radiation evenly then it would not have a so-called ‘greenhouse effect’.
    Or is it a case that the exposure of solar radiation at the poles are extreme to the point of shutting down the ‘green house effect’, I find it interesting that either of these can explain away the lack of a ‘green house effect’ on a planet that has 2 percent methane in its atmosphere.

    If it turns out that the ‘greenhouse effect’ is dependent on rate of solar radiation it receives or on the axis of its rotation to the source of solar radiation then I think we can safely throw out this ‘greenhouse’ theory and the ‘runaway’ version of it as being caused by the composition of gases found in a planets atmosphere!

  29. Gail Combs says:

    Ralph B says:
    22 June 2013 at 11:14 am

    This makes me think of how the ice got there during ice ages. I mean, there were kilometers of ice which contained a heck of a lot of water. The ice came pretty fast so there must’ve been significant precipitation. If the earth was cooler then what drove all that evaporation?….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes it is water/sun light driven system.
    NORTH AMERICA DURING THE LAST 150,000 YEARS is a pretty decent (readable) summary of what conditions were like during glaciation.

    …40,000 14C y.a.; a fairly cold phase, in the ‘middling’ period between the two main glacial maxima. A map summary for the eastern USA has been compiled by Delcourt & Delcourt (1981), on the basis of a number of pollen sites and other data such as ice margin positions. Delcourt & Delcourt suggest that ice extent over eastern Canada was only slightly less that its maximum extent around 20,000 y.a., and that it extended just south of the Great Lakes. Spruce and jack pine forest seems to have covered most of the eastern USA, with mixed cool temperate forest in Tennessee and North Carolina. Southern pine forest with oak and hickory existed south of this, extending around into easternmost Texas. Open scrub is reconstructed for the Florida Peninsula.
    ________________________________________________________________
    28,000-25,000 14C y.a.; shortly before Last Glacial Maximum. In the eastern USA, conditions may have been generally drier than today. A xeric scrub cover existed in Florida at this time, instead of the present forest (Watts & Stuiver 1980). In Maryland (38N, 75W) pollen evidence indicates pine-birch barrens or spruce parkland dominating after 30,000 14C years ago (Wells 1992 p.612), and it is possible that most of the eastern USA had an open wooded vegetation cover at this time.

    Delcourt & Delcourt (1981) give a summary map for the eastern USA at 25,000 y.a., showing spruce and jack pine forest extending south to about the latitude of Washington DC, and thinning out into forest-steppe west of the Mississippi River. A mixed cool temperate forest belt seems to have existed across the south Appalachian region. From South Carolina southwards to northern Florida, oak-hickory and southern pine forests are suggested as having survived.

    In the western cordillera of the USA, lake levels were higher than today (indicating moister conditions) but not generally as high as they would become at the LGM. In northern Arizona, altitudinal zones of vegetation had not yet declined to their LGM positions (which were reached by about 24,000 y.a.), but were lower than today. In the NW Cordillera of the USA, in eastern Cascades Range at 45 deg.N, 120 deg.E, forest cover was considerably less than today, with more steppe and cold-tolerant species (Whitlock & Bartlein 1997). This followed an earlier stage, 30,000-40,000 y.a., when there had been slightly warmer conditions in the Cascades with more forest cover (though still considerably less than today).

  30. Gail Combs says:

    HEIGHT of our atmosphere….

    NASA links

    …A 12-year low in solar “irradiance”: Careful measurements by several NASA spacecraft show that the sun’s brightness has dropped by 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at extreme UV wavelengths since the solar minimum of 1996. The changes so far are not enough to reverse the course of global warming, but there are some other significant side-effects: Earth’s upper atmosphere is heated less by the sun and it is therefore less “puffed up.” Satellites in low Earth orbit experience less atmospheric drag, extending their operational lifetimes….
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum/

    A Puzzling Collapse of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/coolingthermosphere.html

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/23sep_solarwind/

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/solar_trend_change_climate.html

  31. R. Shearer says:

    Life traps heat in the form of accumulated biomass.

  32. Sparks says:

    And how would this work on Uranus? as the claim goes, the “greenhouse effect” on this planet has shut down. The planet Uranus emits less energy than it absorbs, do you think, if a planet simply disperses solar radiation evenly then it would not have a so-called ‘greenhouse effect’.

    I will take a shot at this.

    The balance of energy is not directly relevant to the greenhouse effect. It’s more the timing. The word that Tim used above is a good one: “Hysteresis.” This is “a delay in a physical effect,” and is perfect for greenhouse issues.

    Imagine a planet the size and orbit of Earth, but reflective of all wavelengths. It would remain at essentially absolute zero (with only quantum uncertainties), but the energy reflected back would equal the energy arriving.

    Now: Another planet, with a very black surface and thick cloudless atmosphere. It’s the same size and at the same orbit, but it is much warmer at the lower atmosphere than we are now. Yet, after an initial build-up to achieve equilibrium, it would reflect the same energy level as arrives upon it, just like the mirror planet previously. Some wavelengths would be shifted, but the energy would balance. It’s just that some energy arrived, was trapped and shifted for a while (warming things up), then made it back out. If you could put an ID tag on the outgoing wavelengths, you’d see that the total was the same as the mirror planet’s, but that some of the wavelengths were minutes, days, weeks older or more.

    Uranus is very cold, but does have a substantially methane atmosphere. It traps (for a while) the radiation from the distant Sun, but eventually gives it up. This warms the planet’s “surface” (cloud layers) more than would be the case without that atmosphere, so it still has a greenhouse effect.

    But Uranus does not have the internal heat-generation going on that Jupiter and Saturn have. It’s only about a third that of neighboring (and similar) Neptune. So Uranus is slowly losing energy to space, despite the fact that its greenhouse effect is still there.

    Of course, “greenhouse effect” has very little incoming radiation to work with during Uranus’s 20+ year night-winter on alternating ends of the planet. During that time, the temp drops to within fifty degrees of absolute zero. And that’s under a heavy atmosphere blanket. You can’t delay something that never arrives to begin with.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  33. Ralph B says:

    Thanks Gail for a very interesting link. It still boggles my mind that only 17KYA there was an oceans worth of ice lying on top of NA. The shrill scream of alarmists sound so hollow when you think of the alternative to warming.
    Maybe I read this wrong but it seems like precipitation was more northerly driving the increase in ice. Florida as a semi desert? Yes it is dry in the winter today but summers are quite moist. The Caribbean was smaller but still there and if wind patterns were similar then you shouldn’t see semi desert conditions. It seems like the moisture was transported North.

  34. CompuGator says:

    The blatant incompetence of the Web-page mark-up (i.e.: HyperText Mark-up Language) for <[….]/nercNORTHAMERICA.html>: “NORTH AMERICA DURING THE LAST 150,000 YEARS”, is quite a startling discredit to its Mr. Adams. Especially considering that he used HTML in a very simple form.

    It turns out that there are more clueless errors than just a missing “</u>” that could explain the final 91% of the page suffering from unremedied underlining. That Web page never should’ve been allowed out to a publicly viewable Web site. Is the webmaster over there at www.esd.ornl.gov completely lacking in professional pride?

    Or is whoever’s responsible just another example of the lack of attention to details & reality that’s recently earned increasing criticism for the climate-“science” community?

    So I’m favorably impressed that Ms. Combs (23 June 2013 at 12:14 am) had the patience to slog through all the distractions of its fouled formatting (as displayed in both Internet Explorer and Firefox). It’s nearly physically painful for me to read–or to try to. What an (expletives deleted) mess!

  35. R. de Haan says:

    Glider pilots read the landscape and the clouds and this provides detailed insight in the process of convection. This is the process that takes place every day and is powered by our sun. Just for the insights: http://www.pilotoutlook.com/glider_flying/thermal_soaring Thanks to flight computers, loggers and GPS we have created convection maps read thermal maps which apply for almost any weather pattern which is determined by the properties of the air above the area and the wind direction and speed. It’s an incredibly dynamic process which has absolutely nothing to do with the statists who think climate can be determined by reading temperature meters. That’s why most pilots are skeptic about AGW.

  36. RalpB,
    50,000 years ago there were Mammoths in Florida which means that air conditioning was not as important as it is today. The Florida peninsular was more than twice its current size, so think of all the prime real estate that is now 100 under the ocean!
    http://www.littletownmart.com/fdh/mammoths.htm

  37. Sparks says:

    @Keith DeHavelle

    Hi Keith,
    I agree, understand and like the first half of your comment, just some points I’d like to take you up on.

    “Uranus is very cold, but does have a substantially methane atmosphere. It traps (for a while) the radiation from the distant Sun, but eventually gives it up. This warms the planet’s “surface” (cloud layers) more than would be the case without that atmosphere, so it still has a greenhouse effect.

    But Uranus does not have the internal heat-generation going on that Jupiter and Saturn have. It’s only about a third that of neighboring (and similar) Neptune. So Uranus is slowly losing energy to space, despite the fact that its greenhouse effect is still there.

    Of course, “greenhouse effect” has very little incoming radiation to work with during Uranus’s 20+ year night-winter on alternating ends of the planet. During that time, the temp drops to within fifty degrees of absolute zero. And that’s under a heavy atmosphere blanket. You can’t delay something that never arrives to begin with.”

    The point of a greenhouse effect is that a planet will emit more radiation than it absorbs from the sun, Uranus on the other-hand emits less radiation than it absorbs.

    We know that it has Methane in the upper atmosphere because it absorbs red light, giving Uranus its blue-green color. And we also know that Uranus receives plenty of solar radiation due to the observations from the HST of massive aurora and the storms that form as the polar seasons change.

    In your comment you haven’t established that Uranus has a greenhouse effect yet you insist that it is there.

    The planet does not exhibit a greenhouse effect, regardless of its atmosphere consisting of 2% Methane, this CH4 is in a gaseous form in the upper atmosphere and the data shows that it absorbs more radiation than it emits. There is an obvious issue I’m trying to hint at, how much radiation a greenhouse gas can absorb may not be dependent on the quantity of the gas (how much there is) in a planets atmosphere.

    Basically when a ‘greenhouse gas’ is in the atmosphere of a warm planet the gas is warm and when a ‘greenhouse gas’ is in the atmosphere of a cold planet the gas is cold no-matter how much or how little there is.

    :)

  38. CompuGator says:

    gallopingcamel says (24 June 2013 at 2:20 pm):

    50,000 years ago there were Mammoths in Florida which means that air conditioning was not as important as it is today.

    We do have black bears nowadays (an animal that’s certainly no epicurean delight). Maybe the wooly mammoths in Florida weren’t any more wooly than our modern bears. Some layer of fur might’ve been useful to keep mosquitoes from penetrating the skin layer below it, and drawing blood in exchange for nasty parasitic diseases.

    I assume that it was a sense of, um, modesty that caused you not to mention the prehistoric camels of Florida:

    Camels and llamas evolved in North America [,] and these camel llama fossils are very abundant in the fossil record of Florida. The Camelids were most diverse in the Miocene Period and went extinct in North America by the end of the Pleistocene Period. Of the Camelidae, in Florida, three sub-Families existed: Aepycamelinae (Giraffe-camels), Florida Tragulinae and Camelinae.

    That’s a quote from the commercial/enthusiast site fossil-treasures-of-florida.com
    (with which I have no relationship whatsoever, but the linked page does show an artist’s rendering of a Florida camelid).

  39. DirkH says:

    Energy transfer in animation? You’re looking for the radiosity approach. Maybe combine the search with Michael Abrash as he is a writer and CGI guru.

  40. Gail Combs says:

    Keith DeHavelle says: @ 23 June 2013 at 3:58 am

    ….The balance of energy is not directly relevant to the greenhouse effect. It’s more the timing. The word that Tim used above is a good one: “Hysteresis.” This is “a delay in a physical effect,” and is perfect for greenhouse issues….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    YES! The whole sorry con job is based on carefully leaving time out of the discussion.

    So CO2 or water molecules intercept energy, we all can agree on that. What is left out is how LONG the molecule keeps that energy and whether it is transferred via collision to N2 or O2 or ejected as a photon.

    If you look at when the coldest and hottest time of day is when there is high humidity, or this graph of temperature vs solar eclipse in the desert you can see you are talking about a matter of minutes to hours at the most for the atmosphere depending on the humidity. (I wonder if that study has been done?) For the oceans you are talking 600 to 800 years given the ‘Ocean Conveyer Belt’

  41. @Sparks

    In your comment you haven’t established that Uranus has a greenhouse effect yet you insist that it is there.

    I insist the heat still moves! (Given time, and allowing for some changes.)@Sparks

    The planet does not exhibit a greenhouse effect, regardless of its atmosphere consisting of 2% Methane, this CH4 is in a gaseous form in the upper atmosphere and the data shows that it absorbs more radiation than it emits.

    You’ve placed these statements together, about not exhibiting a greenhouse effect and the comparison of radiation absorbed to emitted. You’d used a variation of this earlier, when you said:

    And how would this work on Uranus? as the claim goes, the “greenhouse effect” on this planet has shut down. The planet Uranus emits less energy than it absorbs…

    The existence of a greenhouse effect and the absorbs/emits ratio are different considerations.

    Perhaps there is large agreement that a greenhouse is a good example of the greenhouse effect. (Actually, it isn’t, really — as almost everyone is thinking of the mostly-radiative effect of greenhouse gases these days, as opposed to the mostly convective process in a greenhouse. But in both cases, it is the trapping (for a period of time) of energy by transforming it somewhat.

    But back to our real (or at least hypothetical) greenhouse: Take this well-built greenhouse full of healthy flowering plants, and fill it with standard atmosphere enriched by very substantially increased CO2, as is common practice. Add bright sunshine coming in, and the greenhouse effect is in full bloom so to speak: The inside temperature will be greater than the outside barring extraordinary circumstances.

    But what sort of circumstances are extraordinary? Move this happy greenhouse to the Antarctic slopes, buffeted by katabatic winds of tens of meters per second, but placed in such a way that full summer sunshine is still striking the greenhouse. Even tilt it up on one side to get full sunshine effect.

    It still has a greenhouse effect … but the glass is not a perfect insulator. Note that it would not need to be in order to create a greenhouse effect, just slow the loss of energy enough so that the delay causes it to be warmer inside than out. Double-paned and triple-paned windows are simply ways to delay the exit of energy, raising the stable temperature difference by this somewhat improved insulator technique.

    But with such a disparity of temperature, the greenhouse effect (still operating) is not enough to compensate for the energy radiating (mostly conducting, really) out through the glass. At some point, the plants will die as the temperature drops. Still the greenhouse effect is in play — and at least the plants aren’t using up the CO2.

    I’ve mentioned CO2 a couple of times, but it is really only incidental to a physical greenhouse. In a real greenhouse, solar energy comes through a transparency of some sort (glass or plastic), hits surfaces inside, and then a small part is re-radiated in a different wavelength to which the cover is less transparent. Also, the larger portion that is absorbed is passed, more gradually, to surrounding material and air, and that air is physically bound by the cover and slower to give up its heat to the glass/plastic by contact. It still happens, though, it’s just delayed.

    And that delay is all it takes to raise the temperature until these convection/re-radiation processes reach high enough levels where they match the incoming solar. A greenhouse, for example, does not rise to infinite temperatures. It just stabilizes at a warmer temp because the energy was delayed for a while. But at some energy level the output (losses to the environment or space) matches the input, and it reaches equilibrium.

    Our Antarctic greenhouse battles an unfair energy difference. As the song said, “Baby it’s cold outside!” So it’s already at a point of needing to lose energy to stabilize, even though its stable point would still be warmer than the Antarctic outside. It would have to receive much more solar radiation to be stable at a temperature we’d be comfortable at.

    The Antarctic greenhouse, like the planet Uranus, is emitting more energy than it is absorbing, which means it will get colder before these accounts balance and it stabilizes.

    (It is possible to build exotically insulated and designed structures for this purpose; such is man’s ability to engineer his way through issues. I’m unaware of any that achieve equilibrium at comfortable temperatures, though.)

    Such is the condition of the poor planet Uranus. It has little warmth coming from the planet’s compressed gases below, and very little input from distant Sol, essentially “a bright spot in the nighttime.” So, even though the photons coming in are caught briefly, and re-radiated in a different wavelength that is not so readily sent back to space, eventually the photons do make it out.

    And because there are so few coming in, the net result is that more escape than arrive, allowing energy from the planet’s warmer past to gradually leak away. Without Uranus’s modest greenhouse effect, this would happen more quickly. But the planet would eventually be “stable” at a temperature colder than now, and warmer than it would be without greenhouse gases.

    @Sparks

    There is an obvious issue I’m trying to hint at, how much radiation a greenhouse gas can absorb may not be dependent on the quantity of the gas (how much there is) in a planets atmosphere.

    I suspect that what you’re referring to is a shadowing effect — once a particular photon is absorbed by something that catches that wavelength, the identical molecule below the one that caught it has nothing to do.

    The effect is that the more molecules of a particular greenhouse gas there are, the more frequently the lower molecules are “shadowed” by upper ones that are hit first. This is why twice as much CO2 does not produce twice as much greenhouse effect: It tapers off rapidly as a smaller percentage of the molecules are in a position to catch the photons.

    Uranus, with a relatively high percentage of methane, will catch most of the red photons in its upper layers before they get very deep (hence its blue-green, i.e., red-diminished, color). Given a bit more insolation (or a bit better insulation!) it would be at a “stable” temperature.

    I’m using “stable” in quotes because Uranus’s odd tilt and long orbit means ridiculous seasons of decades in length that are all-sun or no-sun, like an exaggerated Antarctica. So, the end-to-end heat flows from the “summer” end to the “winter” end (complicated by planet spin and orbit and the resulting wind patterns) mean that the temperature is not stable at any place there, just very slightly declining, on balance, overall.

    A key point of agreement (or not): Whether a planet (or structure) is net losing energy or net gaining is independent of whether a greenhouse effect is in operation. Greenhouse effect is merely the delay of energy returning compared to what’s coming in, usually though changing its wavelength before bouncing it around for a bit inside.
    • Conduction plays vanishingly little role in planets but is important in greenhouse design.
    • Radiation is the essential part of greenhouse gas effects.
    • Convection is important to both (though less talked about).
    But the principal of delayed heat return is the same. Agreed?

    It’s probably worth noting that just about all matter (from a rock to a house to a planet) has some greenhouse effect since it’s not perfectly transparent at all wavelengths — it’s just not enough to be important in most circumstances. The structures and gases that enhance this effect are what we’re talking about here.

    For gases, those with complex structures tend to be involved, as opposed to single-atom mostly transparent gases. Water vapor (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are complex molecules, and there is so much more water vapor than CO2 that to speak of “forcing” without figuring changes in water vapor, and without even tracking it, is foolish indeed. A day’s change in water vapor can completely eliminate the effect of CO2.

    Plus the fact that water can be an anti-greenhouse gas, forming nearly opaque layers (clouds) that reflect back most of what would be absorbed and re-radiated lower down. This works better than aerosols, which tend to absorb much more energy. If you absorb rather than reflect, you’re still warming the atmosphere.

    Nature magazine reported an experiment in 2007 using three instrumented drones, flying one on top of the other (and separated vertically by kilometers) to see how much absorption there was in an aerosol-rich “brown smog” environment over the Indian ocean. To their surprise, the effect was potentially larger (and thus, smog more responsible) than all the “global warming” of the prior century. This was downplayed, of course, and the experiment seems to be one few are interested in repeating or amplifying.

    Water vapor is huge. So are clouds. Other particulates and aerosols are important. CO2 plays a role, as (on a lesser basis) do other trace gases. Surface changes are very important, as they control absorption versus reflection, though at the poles the low angles make this effect far less important. (On smooth water, light will reflect rather than absorb at angles less than around 23 degrees or so.)

    So, what was the total atmospheric greenhouse effect a hundred years ago? A thousand? During the last glaciation? Or even during the last week? We don’t know for certain. But somehow, we “know” it’s going to be catastrophic in the immediate future.

    Hmm. I think I’ll clean this up a bit (and make you anonymous unless you’d like to be identified) and post it on my own site. There I can find and add a few useful links.

    And I’ll probably spot blatant errors as soon as I hit “post comment” … so I apologize in advance.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  42. CompuGator,
    Camels have been around for at least 200 million years athough back then they were much smaller than modern camels.

  43. “al least 200 million years”? That’s longer than mammals. An impressive accomplishment!

    How did they get over that hump?

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  44. David says:

    This thing all things devours
    Birds, beasts , trees, flowers…

    and so the Tolkien riddle goes, and the answer is time! Specifically, only two things can change the energy content of any system in a radiative balance. Either a change in input, or a change in the residence TIME of some aspect of the recieved energy.

    GHGs both increase and decrease the residence time of some radiated energy. However quantifiying those two does not begin to tell one if the system heats up, and or gains energy. Energy can be moved so many ways besided radiatively, and also many of those ways do not manifest as heat. Additional energy can simply accelerate the system, IE move the energy more rapidly, via convection, conduction. IE, convection and conduction can reduce the residence time of energy, as a Newtonian response to increased residence time of some additional GHG. The increased residence time of additional GHG, is balanced by a decreased residence time of more rapid convection and conduction.

    Albedo changes, evaporation responses, conduction changes, convection changes, etc, are all systems that affect the residence time of energy within the system. Not only does the direct residence time of increased radiative energy within the system, due to more GHG molecules, need to be weighed against the decreased residence time of more radiation exiting at altitude due to additional GHGs, but subsequent changes to the speed of the syatem via conduction, convection, albedo changes, phase evaporation changes, etc etc, need to be known before any thing is inferred as to the systems true energy balance increasing or decreasing.

    All of the above factors are changes in RESIDENCE TIME of the energy in the system. ALL the residence time of energy, in all its forms, must be known, before one can say if the energy content of the system has changed. CAGW science basically says that GHGs increase the residence time of some radiative LWIR radiation in the atmospheric system of the earth. Without knowing how that increased energy changes, to reduced residence time of energy via convection, conduction, evapration phase changes, albedo affects, ocean energy content changes, etc etc, thenit is folly to state that a few additonal GHGs can change the mean T of the planet.

    Also, perhaps, in a system where energy is not recieved by 1/2 the system, the cooling starved 1/2 of the planet, may cool to the same T, just at a slightly later time, before the energy source returns. If two otherwise equall systems, have the same T max and same T min, but one syatem substains the T minimum for a shorter period of time, but is otherwise the same, that system has more energy, but not a higher mean T. This is yet another way, among many, where increased radiative energy, mans neither increased total energy in the system, and or where increased radiative energy, does not necessairly mean increased mean T.

    Now if all of the above somehow becomes truly understood, and all of the above factors of residence time within a chotic system are somehow known, and th average T increases by one or two degrees C, then this says nothing about weather or not such changes are beneficial of harmful. However it can be said that the benefits are known, while most all the harm is projected only, and the observations show those projections to be false.

  45. Brian H says:

    More GHGs needed?

    The vast bulk of the atmosphere is composed of N2 and O2, non-radiative non-GHGs. They are unable to dispose of sensible heat except through evaporative loss from the top of the atmosphere. Only GHGs can radiate energy to space. Hence, in their absence, the atmosphere would heat until it could “boil” away enough mass to counterbalance solar irradiation.

    Hence GHGs are cooling agents which preserve atmospheric mass. The Warmist (and Luke-warmist) positions are 180° wrong. As usual.

  46. Gail Combs says:

    Ralph B says: @ 23 June 2013 at 8:10 am

    ….Maybe I read this wrong but it seems like precipitation was more northerly driving the increase in ice…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Eons ago perhaps in Geo 101 I remember reading that it was not so much that winters were colder but that summers were much cooler and shorter.

    Yo can see the effect of the quiet sun on the Jet Stream and possibly ENSO. SO I think you are correct. The weather patterns shifted.

    Here we analyse annually laminated sediments of Lake Meerfelder Maar, Germany, to derive variations in wind strength and the rate of 10Be accumulation, a proxy for solar activity, from 3,300 to 2,000 years before present. We find a sharp increase in windiness and cosmogenic 10Be deposition 2,759  ±  39 varve years before present and a reduction in both entities 199  ±  9 annual layers later. We infer that the atmospheric circulation reacted abruptly and in phase with the solar minimum. A shift in atmospheric circulation in response to changes in solar activity is broadly consistent with atmospheric circulation patterns in long-term climate model simulations, and in reanalysis data that assimilate observations from recent solar minima into a climate model. We conclude that changes in atmospheric circulation amplified the solar signal and caused abrupt climate change about 2,800 years ago…. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012NatGe…5..397M

    What I find interesting is that the switch from glacial to inter glacial weather pattern was FAST.

    In his book, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future Richard Alley, one of the world’s leading climate researchers, tells the fascinating history of global climate changes as revealed by reading the annual rings of ice from cores drilled in Greenland. In the 1990s he and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years….
    http://www.amazon.com/Two-Mile-Time-Machine-Abrupt-Climate/dp/0691102961

    So much for Lief Svalgaard’s we don’t have to worry about a descent into an Ice Age because it takes 1000s of years.

    Briefly, the data indicate that cooling into the Younger Dryas occurred in a few prominent decade(s)-long steps, whereas warming at the end of it occurred primarily in one especially large step (Figure 1.2) of about 8°C in about 10 years and was accompanied by a doubling of snow accumulation in 3 years; most of the accumulation-rate change occurred in 1 year. (This matches well the change in wind-driven upwelling in the Cariaco Basin, offshore Venezuela, which occurred in 10 years or less [Hughen et al., 1996].)”

    Ice core evidence also shows that wind-blown materials were more abundant in the atmosphere over Greenland by a factor of 3 (sea-salt, submicrometer dust) to 7 (dust measuring several micrometers) in the Younger Dryas atmosphere than after the event (Alley et al., 1995b; Mayewski et al., 1997) (Figure 2.1). Taylor et al. (1997) found that most of the change in most indicators occurred in one step over about 5 years at the end of the Younger Dryas, although additional steps of similar length but much smaller magnitude preceded and followed the main step, spanning a total of about 50 years. Variability in at least some indicators was enhanced near this and other transitions in the ice cores (Taylor et al., 1993)….
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=27

    Large, abrupt climate changes have affected hemispheric to global regions repeatedly, as shown by numerous paleoclimate records (Broecker, 1995, 1997). Changes of up to 16°C and a factor of 2 in precipitation have occurred in some places in periods as short as decades to years (Alley and Clark, 1999; Lang et al., 1999). However, before the 1990s, the dominant view of past climate change emphasized the slow, gradual swings of the ice ages tied to features of the earth’s orbit over tens of millennia or the 100-million-year changes occurring with continental drift. But unequivocal geologic evidence pieced together over the last few decades shows that climate can change abruptly, and this has forced a reexamination of climate instability and feedback processes (NRC, 1998).

    The climate system in the past has made large jumps between typical patterns of behavior, as in the mechanical analogy presented in Box 1.1. Especially large and abrupt climate changes have occurred repeatedly over the last 100,000 years during the slide into and climb out of the most recent global ice age. Those changes persisted into the current warm period and probably occurred during previous ice ages (Sarnthein et al., 1994; Broecker, 1995, 1997; Alley and Clark, 1999; Stocker, 2000). Our ability to understand the potential for future abrupt changes in climate is limited by our lack of understanding of the processes that control them. For example, mechanisms proposed to explain abrupt climate shifts do not fully describe the patterns of variability seen in either the paleoclimate or the historical records.

    Long-term geological records show that in the past there were different stable states of the climate system from those of today. Differences in these climate states involved the coupled atmosphere, ocean, ice, and biological systems… http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=10

  47. Gail Combs says:

    Brian H says:
    29 June 2013 at 8:10 pm

    More GHGs needed?

    The vast bulk of the atmosphere is composed of N2 and O2, non-radiative non-GHGs…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You forgot UV energy + 3 O2 –> 2 O3 otherwise know as ozone, so oxygen also has to be considered in looking at the effect of the atmosphere on climate.

    I also looked at the temperature in a desert vs a rain forest (humidity 80% sunny days only) and found the net result for a more humid area was 10C cooler day time temps, 10C warmer night time temps, and when you take into account altitude 8C lower mean temp (otherwise 4C lower) This of course says nothing about the amount of energy bound up in the vaporization of water.

    Water modifies the temp by evening out the temperatures. Certainly not an effect to get your panties in a twist about. CO2 doesn’t seem to do diddle squat. Again it is TIME that is left out of the conversation on GHGs as well as night vs day.

    DATA:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1040071
    and
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1041066

  48. DonM says:

    David says:
    26 June 2013 at 12:51 pm
    This thing all things devours
    Birds, beasts , trees, flowers…

    ======================
    Thanks David,

    If all would use the appropriate terminology, then some would be less confused. Although Michael “Piltdown” Mann and his comrades enjoy and need the confusion to keep it (the fallacy) up.

  49. Brian H says:

    adrianvance says:
    21 June 2013 at 1:16 pm
    .
    Come see us at http://adrianvanceblogspot.com for some truth.

    Um, when typing your own URL remember the dot before blogspot, or it doesn’t work. A senior moment?

  50. Brian H says:

    Chiefio;

    The vast bulk of the atmosphere is composed of N2 and O2, non-radiative non-GHGs. They are unable to dispose of sensible heat except through evaporative loss from the top of the atmosphere. Only GHGs can radiate energy to space. Hence, in their absence, the atmosphere would heat until it could “boil” away enough mass to counterbalance solar irradiation.

    Hence GHGs are cooling agents which preserve atmospheric mass. The Warmist (and Luke-warmist) positions are 180° wrong. As usual.

  51. Brian H says:

    adrian;
    PS: It’s adrianvance.blogspot.CA , to be exact. Astonishing to have to teach someone his own website address.

  52. Brian H says:

    Gail Combs;
    Yes, I didn’t elaborate, but water is a GHG, with special features. It is by far the most potent influence because of its ability to transport enthalpy through condensation, evaporation, and freezing … AND radiate powerfully! Nothing else is in the same league, or even in training camp on a tryout. Notably CO2; its effects are swamped, mere trivial flotsam.

    So “absent GHGs” means absent water, specifically.

  53. Gail Combs says:

    DonM says: @ 30 June 2013 at 6:53 am
    If all would use the appropriate terminology, then some would be less confused. Although Michael “Piltdown” Mann and his comrades enjoy and need the confusion to keep it (the fallacy) up.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The changing of the meaning of a word is a classic method of control. The ‘Classic Liberal’ is more like todays US conservative rather than a ‘Progressive Liberal’ ‘Animal Rights’ is not about the rights of animals (They do not reason so can not have ‘Rights’) Instead it is Anti-Human Rights.

    ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Environmentalism’ are undergoing the same type of change.

    It is a method for usurping the high moral ground by stealing a label although in most cases it is taken by knaves and con-men and fraudsters and thieves.

    The Democrats in the USA were very anti-black and racist especially the southern Democrats, but you would never know it to hear them talk today. Women were included in the equal rights bill only because a Southern Democrat thought adding women would kill the bill.
    link

  54. @Gail Combs

    The Democrats in the USA were very anti-black and racist especially the southern Democrats, but you would never know it to hear them talk today. Women were included in the equal rights bill only because a Southern Democrat thought adding women would kill the bill.

    They still are. It is those on the left who roll out the bigoted slurs and cartoons, when one of the people in these groups announces that he or she isn’t going to follow their program.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  55. Gail Combs says:

    Brian H, I went into detail as to why I think CO2 is the flea on an elephant’s rear end, with H2O being the elephant, in this WUWT comment.

  56. Gail Combs says:

    Keith DeHavelle, I certainly agree with you. A chigger with an N is fine as long as he is ‘Their Boy’ but let him start thinking for himself and they come down like a ton of bricks.

    ‘Affimative Action’ is actually a slap in the face. It say that you are not the equal of a white man so we have to give them a handicap so you can compete. Busing was a great way to move drugs into affluent neighborhoods with $$$$. My school went from no drugs to 6 year olds stealing money out of Mom’s purse as soon as the under-aged drug pushers moved in to the school.

    Drugs are a really big money maker for governments. Heck studies show the cops do not even bother to arrest and prosecute. They just wait until almost all the drugs are sold and then move in and pocket the cash using civil forfeiture laws!

    SEE: WSJ Police for Profit

    “Even if you’re a law-abiding citizen who’s never been convicted of a crime, local police are allowed to confiscate your property and money and keep up to 80 percent of it for themselves, with the legal stipulation that this windfall be spent only on programs likely to result in additional confiscations where the police can keep up to 80 percent of the booty for themselves…”

    The Spring 2007 edition of Justice Policy Journal features a 31 page treatise, Civil Asset Forfeiture: Why Law Enforcement Has Changed its Motto from “To Serve and Protect” to “Show Me the Money,” in which Jared Shoemaker examines the negative impact on law enforcement goals and practices when police agencies aggressively pursue civil asset forfeitures as a means of supplementing their budgets, as well as how police agencies’ addiction to forfeiture revenue leads to disregard for individual due process rights, sometimes with tragic and life-altering consequences for innocent individuals.

    The perversion of law enforcement priorities was also the subject of an empirical study published thirteen years ago. Sociologists Mitchell Miller (University of Tennessee) and Lance H. Selva (Middle Tennessee State University) received the 1994 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Award for their undercover study and critical analysis of asset forfeiture’s impact on police procedure. Based on twelve months of covert observation from within narcotics enforcement agencies, Drug Enforcement’s Double-Edged Sword: An Assessment of Asset Forfeiture Programs described forfeiture as a “dysfunctional policy” that forces law enforcement agencies to subordinate justice to profit….

    And that is not even getting into the trashing of the education system.

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