There’s a problem (among many) with how “climate change” is measured. Largely, it is measured with Land Surface Temperatures.
Each of those words constitutes a failure to comprehend.
First off, Land.
70% of the planet surface is oceans. More is ice, snow, and rivers and lakes. The part that is “just land” is pitifully unrepresentative of what this planet actually is. This is a water planet, with some mud and rocks strewn about. Where we do have a lot of land, the relative temperatures of the different parts are largely controlled by the degree and nature of water on, over, or near it.
The Pacific Coast of California is generally cool in summer (sometimes even cold at night) due to a large body of very cold ocean just off shore. At the same latitude, South Carolina has a very warm coast. It has a warm ocean nearby. More inland, California has Death Valley and record hot temperatures. Same insolation, often even the same crystal clear skys in summer. Very different temperatures due to the very different water profiles.
Where it is dry, it can get very hot. Where it is wet, the water turns to steam, rises, falls as rain, and the land cools. Temperature over land tells you about the water nearby, or in the clouds and rain. Not about the radiative profile. Florida, far more south than California, has a daily summer tropical temperature profile that peaks in the low 90s F. (Sometimes less). Water all around, so lots of rain to cool peak temperatures. It’s about a 20 F to 30 F offset between the dry places (Arizona desert, Death Valley) and the wet places (Florida). Another 10F to 20F cooler along the coast of California near San Diego. It is all due to water, not due to radiative differences.
Next, the Surface.
Heat is measured by considering the mass, temperature, and specific heat of the substance being heated (or cooled). It can be no other way. Measuring a surface does not measure the mass. There’s about 14 lbs of air and water vapor above every square inch of surface. What does measuring the temperature of the fraction of a gram near the surface tell you about the 6 kg of air and water in the sky above that point? It’s just wrong. The actual mass varies with the barometric pressure too.
Without that mass, and the various temperatures in all of it, and the specific heat of that air (which changes with the amount of water vapor in it), and any information about phase change of that water (making ice, evaporating water, etc.) you can say nothing about the change of heat content. The latent vs sensible heat ratio can not be known.
So not knowing the chemical composition of the whole air column (water content at different heights), nor the actual mass (barometric pressure), nor the phase state (hail, snow, rain, vapor, dry air), nor the various temperatures at different heights: Surface air temperature tells you nothing about heat flow or changes of heat content.
It is not sufficient to just “assume a standard atmosphere”, as the atmosphere is not standard over the surface of the earth.
Folks with a decent background in chemistry or physics already know this, and I’ve mentioned it just above when talking about why a surface is not enough to measure. Yet it is a very common error, even among folks who ought to know better, to conflate temperature and heat. The two are very different.
Take a pot of ice, put a flame under it, and melt 1/2 the ice. At no time will the temperature change from 32 F or 0 C. Yet a great deal of heat energy is put into that ice. Similarly, at the boil, water holds a 212 F or 100 C temperature while a lot of heat is added. Going the other way, water condensing to rain liberates a great deal of heat energy. Ice, when forming from water, also lets out a lot of latent heat. There are massive heat flows in the atmosphere that are entirely unrelated to temperature changes. So what can temperature tell us about heating? Well, by itself, not much. (It can give a tiny clue, in that when temperature changes a lot, it usually indicates some degree of heat change; but even that is not guaranteed. A body of damp air at the surface at 95 F can rise high into the sky, with temperature dropping all the way but nowhere for heat to be lost, eventually cooling so much that ice is formed as hail.)
Temperature can be used to compute heat gain / loss. But only with the added factors of specific heat, heat of fusion, heat of vaporization, mass, relative mass of water and air, and any changes in things like pressure on gasses. We generally know none of those things for the total air column.
In short, surface air temperature is about as useless as you can get for making any statement about actual heat gain or loss.
But Wait, There’s More!
The “Narrative” of “Climate Science” is that radiative “forcing” (a word not found in my Physics book as a noun…) will cause heat to build up and temperatures to rise. Well, one must ask: “Heat to build up where?”
IMHO, “where” the various radiation types go matters a very great deal to what kind of ‘heat storage’ can happen.
Air does not store heat. Air rises when warm and at the tropopause forms a Category 2 hurricane force wind headed to the cold winter pole to dump heat to space. It is a ‘working fluid’ for heat transport. Similarly, liquid surface water evaporates and conducts heat into the air (and then on to space). Infrared light is nearly instantly absorbed into surface layers of water, causing it to evaporate. Increased infrared radiation just increases water evaporation and runs the “heat pipe” of water vapor taking heat back to space all that much faster. Blue light and ultraviolet light penetrate water to some depth. The only way to increase heat storage via radiation is via more blue and ultraviolet light, not more infrared.
Now; many times I’ve said “the heat isn’t stored, it leaves!” often followed by “the same day!”. That is true for atmospheric heat. It has been measured and found to have a few hours lag time between sunshine on land and rising hot air masses at altitude. (I’ve got a posting here about it somewhere ;-) Yet heat can be stored in two places. The earth itself, and the water. The earth, though, is heated from below. Dig a mine and you are rapidly in 100 F+ hot holes in the ground, even in the far north. Heat flow is from the molten core of the planet, out through the dirt. It is not from the sky into the dirt. At best, it acts as a small capacitor storing a bit of heat from summer into winter. In the end, just a couple of feet down the temperature tends not to change seasonally. (This is used in ground source heat pumps that cool in summer and heat in winter). The mass of soil is much larger than the mass of the air, reinforcing the irrelevance of air to heat storage, but still less than that of the waters of the world.
It is the oceans that can store heat, or provide excess heat from storage. But never at very high temperatures.
The lower levels of the ocean are uniformly cold. Water becomes most dense at a bit above the freezing point. That’s why ice floats. So that most dense water sinks and gets trapped at the bottom. The water below about 700 feet is pretty much irrelevant to heat storage. It is only the upper layers that change. The thermocline (point where the temperature changes rapidly from warm surface to cold bottom water) changes depth with the seasons and with latitude. It is here that some variation in heat storage can happen. But NOT from air heat. It is cold water that sinks, so it is cold at the poles that drives the global circulation. The surface waters are pushed around by winds, and by tides. This causes much of our weather. Surface heating just drives air circulation and drives water into clouds, thunderstorms, and hurricanes; dumping massive heat to space, not into the ocean.
But what can put energy (and heat) at different depths into the ocean surface? Solar heat from blue light and ultraviolet.
When the sun has a quiet phase, as now, it makes much less blue and ultraviolet. When the sun is highly active, as it was in the 1980s and 1990s, it makes a lot more UV and blue light and less red and infrared. This changes where in the ocean that solar heat is deposited. When the sun is highly active, sunlight is absorbed more at depth, slowly warming a huge mass of ocean over decades. When the sun is quiet, much less is absorbed at depth, and more is absorbed in the surface. Less is stored at depth, more is moved as rain into the sky.
It is my assertion that this differential solar heating of the oceans is one of the key methods by which global heat balance can shift. (I’m not discounting thing like Svensmark’s GCR theory nor lunar tidal mixing nor other mechanisms that can cause weather shifts – mistakenly called ‘climate change’ by the “climate scientists”. There are many things that influence and change long term weather cycles. I’m just asserting that one of them is differential solar heating with UV shifts of the sun.) So now, with a quiet sun, we are getting loads of rain. Heat that prior had been deposited 20, or even 50 meters down in the ocean is now absorbed into the skin and promptly evaporates some water, eventually to make rain. During times of high solar activity, lots of energy goes deep into the ocean surface layers. So we have a very long, slow, ocean warming likely over decades (with the attendant slow warming of the air temperatures with some time lag). Now, with a quiet sun, we have a lot of rain, and a relatively warm ocean slowly cooling. It will likely take a couple of decades to get the heat out of the surface layers of the ocean.
Not surprisingly, the “climate scientists” are now trying to assert that the “global warming” heat is now flowing into the oceans and are finding that the oceans are warmer than in the past. Apparently missing the point that that heat flow is in the past, and the artifact of those high UV and blue light levels prior to the year 2000. Present heat flow will be out of the oceans. In a decade or two they may notice that, as things get quite cold. Yet a quick look at the ocean surface temperature will show that it is not abnormally high. For heat to be flowing in, the surface would need to be quite a bit warmer now than in the past. It isn’t. For heat to flow out, it can do that via evaporation and with either surface cooling or no temperature change, depending on the ratio of heat loss via evaporation and heat transport to the surface via convection or similar mechanism. (Tidal mixing, wind mixing, etc.)
Blue is colder than normal, green is warmer than normal, aqua is roughly normal. IMHO there’s more blue than green…
In other words, the ocean is NOT abnormally warm at the surface.
Unfortunately, the precipitation data for the world is pretty slim. Both in distribution and over time. THE most important factor to measuring heat flow on our water world, precipitation, is widely ignored, and has insufficient history of data to do much of merit.
What we can say is that it was not raining much in the 1990s (remember the “Drought Scares” being shoved at us then?) and it is raining a lot all over the globe now that the sun has gone quiet. (Lots of floods from the UK, to Australia, to Florida, to…) Yes, Texas had a bit of drought. A “Loopy Jet Stream” does that. Some places get the warm lobe, some the cold. When that warm lobe comes from somewhere like the deserts of Mexico, it doesn’t get much rain. The net net of it, though, is that colder poles make for a loopy jet stream as more ocean heat heads to the pole, and more polar cold heads to the equatorial oceans. So more places get a load of rain than get a drought.
Eventually the oceans will cool down some, and the sun will transition to active, and we will go back to evaporating less water at the surface, and warming the oceans a few dozen meters down more. Then it will be more like the ’70s again. When there were droughts in California and I learned to ski on patches of hay between the patches of snow. But the same solar cycles (driven most likely by the planets stirring the sun around) are expected to stay quiet for the next 20 years or so. We have a lot of “wet and getting cold” before we go back to “dry and getting warmer”.
The Sun Planet Connection
I’ve had this open in my browser for weeks, meaning to post it. Now I’ve lost the pointer to who told me about it, or where I found it. It is the elusive “mechanism” by which planetary motions can cause solar changes. This is just the abstract. On my “to do” list is get around to buying the pay-walled copy of the actual text. I’d like to read the whole thing. (Now that I’ve got a studio with kitchen and all, I’m going to have more ‘home time’ for things like reading and posting ;-)
Still, presuming that the article backs up the abstract sufficiently, “Houston, we have a mechanism!”:
We derive a perturbation inside a rotating star that occurs when the star is accelerated by orbiting bodies. If a fluid element has rotational and orbital components of angular momentum with respect to the inertially fixed point of a planetary system that are of opposite sign, then the element may have potential energy that could be released by a suitable flow. We demonstrate the energy with a very simple model in which two fluid elements of equal mass exchange positions, calling to mind a turbulent field or natural convection. The exchange releases potential energy that, with a minor exception, is available only in the hemisphere facing the barycenter of the planetary system. We calculate its strength and spatial distribution for the strongest case (“vertical”) and for weaker horizontal cases whose motions are all perpendicular to gravity. The vertical cases can raise the kinetic energy of a few well positioned convecting elements in the Sun’s envelope by a factor ≤7. This is the first physical mechanism by which planets can have a nontrivial effect on internal solar motions. Occasional small mass exchanges near the solar center and in a recently proposed mixed shell centered at 0.16R s would carry fresh fuel to deeper levels. This would cause stars like the Sun with appropriate planetary systems to burn somewhat more brightly and have shorter lifetimes than identical stars without planets. The helioseismic sound speed and the long record of sunspot activity offer several bits of evidence that the effect may have been active in the Sun’s core, its envelope, and in some vertically stable layers. Additional proof will require direct evidence from helioseismology or from transient waves on the solar surface.
And with that, we reach the end of this posting.
We have a sun that can vary in output, cyclically, via planetary stirring of the fuel. It changes color (an observed happening) and that changes where the heat goes. Into ocean storage in one case, into precipitation and off planet rapidly in the other. Add in that lunar tidal mixing is in orbital resonance with those same planet motions, and that tidal mixing is as strong as wind mixing of surface ocean layers, and we have both differential heat loading of the oceans, and heat liberation via tidal mixing.
Those tidal cycles match the historical weather cycles, including the 1500-1800 year Bond Event cycles and 60 year PDO cycles.
All you need to do to figure all this out is look at the working fluid of the planet, water, and ignore the irrelevant gas CO2. To look at UV and blue light, and ignore IR ‘trapping’ and ‘feedback’. To look at the planets stirring the sun and moon in a synchronized dance.
In short: “It’s the water, and a lot more.”
(For those who don’t know it, that was a commercial jingle for beer in years gone by ;-)