The title of this posting comes from an old beer commercial. Olympia Beer, for decades, had the slogan “It’s the Water, and A Lot More!”. Trivia for those who might not have a familiarity with beer from the Pacific Northwest of America from 40 years ago ;-) It was the first beer I ever drank, at about age 12… Light, tasty, gentle hops. Just a very drinkable beer with a crisp bubbly finish. Since then it got mergered and the brewery closed in 2003 or so.
The Olympia Brewing Company was a brewery firm in Tumwater, Washington, USA which existed from 1896 until 1983. It was acquired in the latter year by what would eventually become Pabst Brewing Company. The Olympia Brewery in Tumwater was purchased by SABMiller and operated until its closure in 2003.
Though they still have an official site:
Every so often I’ll hear ‘the water’ and that jingle runs through my mind… and I miss Oly… I’ve not tried the SAB Miller version of it, so can’t say how much it has changed. But when a conglomerate buys a small brewery on a special water supply and merges it into the recipe file, it just isn’t the same…
The Skin Knows
I’m rather fond of “minimalist” things. Be it emergency / preparedness kits, or code in programming, or level of language to conveigh a thought. The same desire holds for observations to support an understanding.
I’m especially fond of simple things that can be easily observed by anyone and have the full understanding in them.
So I was on the lounge chair in the garden. Sunning and thinking. A couple of days back, the same thing. Then, the skin was hot and I had that Typical California feeling of the sun boring into me and making my skin want to burn. As I have the “redhead gene”, I’ve had that feeling most all of my life when in full sun at about noon. Back in the 80’s I used to say that I was good for about 20 minutes at high noon, and then I would be burned. I became VERY aware of that “burn coming” feeling. You can imagine my surprise when I was in Florida and, starting with 20 minutes at “before 10 AM or after 2 PM” I gradually worked around to a full hour at “about noon”. No burn. Heck, not even that “sun boring in feeling of a burn soon”. I commented on it here, and in other places, several times.
My assertion had been that “something had changed” in the sun, and that had to be the large reduction of UV.
Yet, here I was, feeling that old familiar feeling again.
Was the sun back to a ‘hot point’?
Was I just mistaken?
Was there something different about California?…
That last one got me thinking about California dead dry air vs Florida sultry humid air. Yes, there was something different. The water. In the air.
Then, about 20 minutes into this sunning reverie, a couple of small clouds came, and went. The “burn soon” went, and came. Then went again… but the sky was still blue / clear… I used a fist to block out the sun, and noted a feint veil of haze to the sky. There was a bit of “not a cloud” but maybe had been, or would be soon, drifting by. Nothing that anyone would ever call a cloud. Hardly visible at all. Mostly just a slight shift of sky saturation and a bit of ‘flare’ brightness added. I’d call it “clear sky” and not think about it, but for the skin saying “something is cooler, and less burn”.
I stayed through a couple of more cycles to make sure this was repeatable. And repeated it again today. Today was more that ‘crystal clear’ and with “the burn soon” feeling mostly back.
That experience led me to think “It’s the water vapor that modulates surface warming and surface UV”. Which sent me off to do a literature search. Surely someone else had bothered to look and noticed something similar?
Seems they had. Only 5 years back. (Just think, I was only 5 years past finding something new in ‘settled science’ ;-) Further looking showed other folks had already seen this. On the off chance others missed it, I’m going to report on it here.
The Paper of Vapor
Published Online January 28 2010
Science 5 March 2010:
Vol. 327 no. 5970 pp. 1219-1223
Contributions of Stratospheric Water Vapor to Decadal Changes in the Rate of Global Warming
Susan Solomon1, Karen H. Rosenlof1, Robert W. Portmann1, John S. Daniel1, Sean M. Davis1,2, Todd J. Sanford1,2, Gian-Kasper Plattner3
– Author Affiliations
1 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO, USA.
2 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
3 Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
Since the “models” don’t look to have been rewritten since 2010 (though maybe I just missed it when they cut the CO2 contribution in half…) this alone means they are quite wrong and ought to result in a “halt” to the Warm Mongering.
Paywalled, so all I get is the Abstract. If someone knows were to get the full Monty put up a link… Bold bits added along with white space.
Stratospheric water vapor concentrations decreased by about 10% after the year 2000. Here we show that this acted to slow the rate of increase in global surface temperature over 2000–2009 by about 25% compared to that which would have occurred due only to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Now think on that for a minute. There is one heck of a lot of water in the air, and not much CO2. Per molecule, they ought to be about the same impact on UV / IR. Water changed by 10% of an orders of magnitude larger number than CO2 concentrations. Hmmmm…. And even by their numbers, that’s a full 1/4 of the warming “kept away”.
More limited data suggest that stratospheric water vapor probably increased between 1980 and 2000, which would have enhanced the decadal rate of surface warming during the 1990s by about 30% as compared to estimates neglecting this change. These findings show that stratospheric water vapor is an important driver of decadal global surface climate change.
Increased water vapor added 30% of warming during the only time things warmed, from 1980 to 2000. It was cold and cooling from about 1950 to the mid 1970s. Now put those two things together. (And I wonder why they were split apart…)
Water Vapor caused a 30% click up, and then a 25% click down to flat. Given that “colder” was happening before the run up (and is returning now, given all the places with unseasonable snow, ice, and cold: http://iceagenow.info/
At a minimum, 1/3 of “global warming” is from water vapor, and more likely closer to 1/2 of it. (That cold prior to the warm means there was more room to the downside). I also note in passing that since 2010, we’ve gone even colder and even dryer. Houston, I think Global Warming from CO2 has a problem…
But Wait, There’s More…
This is only looking at one layer of the Stratosphere. It says nothing about the effect of all the changes of water vapor in the Troposphere and in any other layers of the atmosphere. This is just one slice of the atmosphere that’s accounting for about 1/3 of the warming and modulating it. One wonders about what happens with the total water vapor column + clouds…
Others Saw This Before Me
There are others who’ve already flogged this.
Is Water Vapor in the Stratosphere Slowing Global Warming?
A mysterious drop in water vapor in the lower stratosphere might be slowing climate change
By David Biello | January 29, 2010
But since 2001 there has been less water vapor in a narrow, lower band of the stratosphere thanks to cooler temperatures in the tropopause, and that may just be holding back global warming at ground level, according to new research published online in Science on January 28.
“We found that there was a surface temperature impact due to changes in water vapor in a fairly narrow region of the stratosphere,” explains research meteorologist Karen Rosenlof of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Aeronomy Laboratory, one of the authors of the study. “The reason for the water vapor change is the temperature drop at the interface between the troposphere and the stratosphere over the tropics. What we don’t know is why the temperature dropped.”
So they admit the top of the troposphere does not have a ‘hot spot’, but cooled. And they don’t know why.
I’d suggest they take a look at Solar UV production and the impact both on direct energy deposition into the Stratosphere and into the water below, along with the height and strength of thunderstorm tops. Along with fewer hurricanes, I think we’re going to see a general drop in “water lofted to height”.
I find this next bit a real hoot. They simply must genuflect to Global Warming, even in a cooling event, and attribute the cooling to warming.. As usual, bold added.
That temperature does seem to correlate, however, to sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific that, of course, follow El Niño–La Niña cycles, along with other trends. A new El Niño cycle—warmer surface waters—began last summer, which may mean that stratospheric water levels could change again. So this effect could either be the result of natural variability in Earth’s climate, or yet another effect of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases like water vapor trapping more heat and thus warming sea-surface temperatures.
Also note that El Nino moves the hot spot left / right, rather than making added heat… It also ignores that the El Nino is offset by La Nina in other years, and the folks in their abstract did not show water vapor doing a yo-yo dance; so I take this to be pure speculation and genuflection.
All told, stratospheric water vapor declined by 10 percent since 2000, based on satellite and balloon measurements, yet that was enough to appreciably affect temperatures at ground level according to climate models. “Reduce the water vapor and you have less long-wave radiation coming back down to warm the troposphere,” Rosenlof says. Conversely, an apparent increase in water vapor in this region in the 1980s and 1990s exacerbated global warming.
Which fails to explain my sunburn a couple of weeks ago in less time than in Florida, nor my skin going from “ooohhh nice” to “gak burn soon”. Yes, there is a significant different feeling to UV than extra IR. The IR just feels warm / hot. I love it. Fireplaces, the burner on the stove, quartz heater. The UV heavy sun has a ‘prickly pins’ aspect absent from sun through loads of water vapor. I’m sure there is some way to actually measure that, and finding a data set that covers it is left as a “Dig Here!”. I mean, it’s nice that I have “calibrated skin” from a few dozen sunburns, but I’d rather have an instrument with data…
Then there is this note about methane changes being another aspect of misunderstood “settled science”:
Of course, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is also affected by another potent greenhouse gas—methane—which has unexpectedly failed to increase in recent years. “The other influence is methane, which breaks down into two water molecules and CO2 in the stratosphere,” explains climate scientist Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). “Methane’s growth rate has dropped, so it’ll have become a weaker source of stratospheric water, but we don’t fully understand why its concentrations have not increased as rapidly in recent years as they did for the previous several decades.”
I’d look more to how much swamp gas was being made as the swamps cooled off and less light penetrated deep to make more stuff to rot… Only UV and blue penetrate deeply, and both are reduced. They then go into some (IMHO crazy) speculation on methane changes. Hit the link to read it. Then they, too, end with a catechism of GISS showing “Hottest Year Ever!!!!” (just ignore all the snow in Boston and the blocked roads globally and snow in the Levant and…)
Stratospheric Water Vapor is a Global Warming Wild Card
January 28, 2010
A 10 percent drop in water vapor ten miles above Earth’s surface has had a big impact on global warming, say researchers in a study published online January 28 in the journal Science. The findings might help explain why global surface temperatures have not risen as fast in the last ten years as they did in the 1980s and 1990s.
Observations from satellites and balloons show that stratospheric water vapor has had its ups and downs lately, increasing in the 1980s and 1990s, and then dropping after 2000. The authors show that these changes occurred precisely in a narrow altitude region of the stratosphere where they would have the biggest effects on climate.
I also must wonder: IF this is such a good explanation of the halt in global warming, how does it square with the claim that Global Warming didn’t pause? Hmmmm?
Now watch the sparks fly — as there are two major constituencies that have a vested interest in the pause:
There are at least two rival data centers that may dispute the NCDC analysis:
the Hadley Centre in England and the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). In fact, Hadley’s partner, the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was the first to announce, on the BBC, the existence of a pause in global warming.
Then there are also dozens of scientists who have published research papers, purporting to provide an explanation for the reported pause. Yours truly turns out to be amongst these. They will all be mightily disappointed if their intellectual efforts turn out to be for naught.
Stratospheric Water Vapor is a Global Warming Wild Card
Date: February 1, 2010
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A 10 percent drop in water vapor ten miles above Earth’s surface has had a big impact on global warming, say researchers. The findings might help explain why global surface temperatures have not risen as fast in the last ten years as they did in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Current climate models do a remarkable job on water vapor near the surface. But this is different — it’s a thin wedge of the upper atmosphere that packs a wallop from one decade to the next in a way we didn’t expect,” says Susan Solomon, NOAA senior scientist and first author of the study.
Since 2000, water vapor in the stratosphere decreased by about 10 percent. The reason for the recent decline in water vapor is unknown. The new study used calculations and models to show that the cooling from this change caused surface temperatures to increase about 25 percent more slowly than they would have otherwise, due only to the increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Also unknown, I might add, is what water vapor was prior to about 1980 and what it is likely to be in the future. Oh, and the effect on water vapor of rapidly expanding Antarctic Ice with ever colder air and ever colder descending stratospheric air in the polar vortex.
In short, on climate time scales (over 60 years as there is a 60 year cycle of change) we have essentially no data and no clue how water vapor changes. Now if we take out their hypothetical positive water vapor feedback that has not been demonstrated in reality, and instead put in this cyclical change of stratospheric water vapor, we start to arrive at reality. There is very little “space” left for CO2 to have any meaningful impact; and the current crop of models are terribly wrong. ( I’d say “crap”, but that would not be polite…)
For me, the direct sensing of skin temperature modulation with water vapor changes was a clear indication that the effects are huge. That it happened with water vapor lenses drifting by in the troposphere tells me they have a lot more to learn about what water vapor does. There was NOT an increased feeling of warmth as tropospheric water vapor rose; but there was a strong feeling of cooling / relief as it blocked both IR and UV from the sun. Then add in that stratospheric water vapor is also modulating, but on decadal time scales, and it is pretty clear that water matters and CO2 does not.
You can see in the middle of this image that there is a blob of dryer air right over California, and that over Florida it is much wetter. And that makes all the difference in the world to my skin, UV at the surface, and sensible IR. With an air temp of just 60 F or so in California, the sun makes skin feel very warm. In Florida, cold is just cold. In California, the UV prickles and warns to get to shade fast. In Florida I was good for an hour at noon (on more than one occasion, no sunscreen). I think this indicates a much larger process, especially given the wide variations in total water column in different parts of that image.
You may also chose TCW Total Cloud Water and RH Relative Humidity as options. Here’s the link:
All of which leads me to the conclusion that climate models can’t handle water vapor correctly. Not in the stratosphere (as the paper above confirms) nor in the troposphere (as the lack of a tropospheric hot spot shows), not as clouds (as the Warmers often admit). Now if you can’t get the absolutely most important aspect of the atmosphere right, what good is the model?