Is The Average Variation Of Clouds CO2?

The past couple of weeks have been interesting, here. A few years back, we returned to the old cooler weather patterns of prior to the mid-70s PDO flip. Not really a surprise as the PDO has flipped back to that state.

Now for about 30 years it has been hot summers here. June was pretty much hot and miserable (compared to the cool phase). Then this summer we had a largely cool and cloudy June, again, like in the prior PDO phase. We did get a couple of sporadic hot days (near / at 100 F) and then cool returned. The month isn’t over yet, but here’s a graph of temperatures to date:

KSJC San Jose California Airport June 2017 partial  month

KSJC San Jose California Airport June 2017 partial month

Now the one big thing I can add to the graph itself is simple. I watched the sky during that time, closely. The cool days were cloudy to overcast. The hot days were clear blue sky. Temperature directly matched to degree of clouds. Cloudy days are cool. Clear days are hot.

During these three weeks of data, there is nearly zero change of any of the Milankovitch parameters. Insolation is a functional constant to a large number of decimal places. Our latitude and longitude and distance to water do not change. All manner of variables in this complex soup are held constant by the nature of their 1000s of year rate of change. On the scale of a couple of weeks, geologic time scale events ARE constants.

Even the slow rise of CO2 on a decadal scale is a constant and the seasonal change similarly near zero. CO2 is also a functional constant.

NONE of these temperature changes can be attributed to anything solar, celestial, gas composition changes, volcanic, etc. etc. What changed was the clouds, as observed. Now the cloud changes could also indicate some change of the winds and air mass. Barometric pressure changes indicate something moved through the area. We get cyclonic systems formed out in the deep Pacific that drift ashore here. Usually full of rain in winter, but by summer they are just remnant winds, all the precipitation wrung out of them. Particularly interesting to me is that as pressure dropped, the clouds cleared and it got hotter. This is NOT your east coast or mid-west low pressure storm system. Just a bit of clear dry air. I didn’t see any cyclonic systems on the weather report, so this is likely due to hot air inland rising and pulling on our area, sucking down the pressure some. An interesting “Dig Here!” would be to get regional wind maps for the area and see what lows and highs existed. But that’s just looking at the thing that caused the change of clouds, not the change of temperature. Winds were very low and have a daily cycle. It’s solar heat causing an afternoon breeze, then dying down at night.

What matters here is just the temperature graph. During the first week it “tick-tocks” back and forth between the daily “norms”. Average cloud. Average temperatures. A nearly symmetrical rise and fall. The range is about 15 F. That happens 2 x in 24 hours, so about a degree F / hour. Tell me again WHY I’m supposed to care about a 0.01 F variance in a thing with a daily 15 F range? Any “Anthropogenic Warming” is irrelevant to the daily cycle.

Then we look over at the overcast days around the 8th to 12th. The highs are significantly depressed. The lows are near the “norms”, though. A bit of cloud can knock 10 degrees F off the highs. So to detect a 0.01 degree effect we must know cloud density to 1/1000 of the norm. Clearly, since we have nearly zero cloud data, even minor changes of cloud can swamp entirely anything being attributed to CO2. We have a giant cloud error band swamping the available data.

On about the 16th, the clouds had gone back to the normal puffy bits, then completely vanished. Clear sky and a lower humidity. The sun was hot upon the skin and the earth. Temperatures rise to have the lows about 20 F above the norms and the highs about the same. So just having a “clear day” can jump temperatures 20 degrees F, or swing them about 30 F from an overcast day. Hmmm…

At the right edge, the daily “puffy clouds” return, the air is a bit more humid, and the temperatures are again moderated. Back to the cool side. Cool air off the cold Pacific. We have a current come down from Alaska just off shore. About 45 F water. That air slowly drifts inland and heats as it heads to Nevada and points beyond. In the short run, the Pacific is a constant temperature, it changes over years by a tiny bit (both ways…). In the couple of weeks time frame, we have a constant source of cool air and temperatures depend on solar heating it, clouds modulating that.

So where is CO2 in all this? Nowhere to be found. It didn’t change the clouds. It didn’t change the sun. It didn’t change the light on the ground. It didn’t change anything. So IF we have a 20 degrees F to 30 degrees F change of temperatures from clouds, and then ignore changes in clouds, how can we say ANYTHING about CO2? If we average all those daily temperatures for this month, it tells us about clouds, not about CO2.

So if we average temperature changes over the State, the Continent, or even the Globe, isn’t that really just informing us about changes of CLOUDS, not changes of CO2? We have an existence proof of one very very clear case where temperature is being entirely driven by cloud changes. Given that, an average of such changes, globally, can NOT be attributed to something else that didn’t change. Then, given such a daily Average Of Global Temperatures is driven by clouds, how can one assert that changes over years, of a fraction of the daily changes of temperature, can not also be entirely explained by changes of cloud cover (that is poorly tracked at all, and completely ignored in vast areas of the planet)? Hmmm?

What this simple observation shows is that temperatures are strongly controlled by cloud cover in any given location. In a prior posting I found that long term averages have a strong latitude component (the “folk wisdom” that it’s a few degrees colder as you move north from L.A. to San Francisco to Portland to Seattle) and distance from water (Phoenix is hotter than Los Angeles). But those geographic things do not change, so can not be part of any change of recorded temperature trends. Then there is a precipitation component that can change; but precipitation depends on clouds…

What does change is amount of cloud and precipitation. It is water and clouds that account for changes, not any hypothetical “back radiation” that is lost in the minor decimal places of the error bands of cloud and precipitation measurements.

It really IS that simple: Cloud levels and precipitation are shown to control temperature ranges in the short run, so averages of them over long runs will also be dominant. Yet we do NOT have good data for changes of clouds or precipitation over time, and they are treated as a parameter in climate models, or as a dependent variable on CO2, so the models are quite useless for enlightenment on cloud and precipitation.

Until cloud and precipitation data are adequate AND accounted for properly AND the error bands are low enough to cover 1/10 degree increments, we can’t say there is ANY effect from CO2 on temperature. It is at most a conjecture, and not a very good one. You can not ignore the major driver of changes of temperatures (as shown in the above graph) and then attribute temperature changes to something else by supposition.

There is no reason to presume cloud and precipitation are constant over decade to century scales. We have geologic history saying deserts become tropical rain forests and that grasslands become deserts. That the Monsoon Band can wobble 400 miles over time. We KNOW cloud and precipitation does change, so assuming it is not changing (and so, not the cause of temperature changes) would be, and is, idiotic.

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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...
This entry was posted in AGW Science and Background and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Is The Average Variation Of Clouds CO2?

  1. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Nailed it. So there’s no long term data on cloud cover? Mabe some amateurs tracking it?
    Minister of Future

  2. pearce m. schaudies says:

    @Chief- don’t printed weather forecast say cloudy partly cloudy overcast with scattered darkness and other phrases like that.

    or maybe something like pilot weather forecast for flying.

    Regards,
    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future
    Falling Skys &
    Wolves at Door

  3. erl happ says:

    The Co2 proposition is supported as an article of faith. The important thing is what the proposition facilitates. It serves a purpose. It will not be overthrown by reason.

    The high priests of global warming will be cast out from the temple. Arbiters of public taste and opinion, who know little of observation and verification, will set up a lynching and the great unwashed will encourage and applaud.

    In the meantime, every little bit helps. Your piece will resonate with the common man.It’s a flourishing green shoot of uncommon good sense.

  4. Julian Jones says:

    @EM : ” for about 30 years it has been hot summers here” & “geologic history”

    Does remind of a fairly recent UK Gov Met Office presentation about UK temperatures where the speaker presented a temperature data set for a land area around their former Bracknell, Berkshire office over past half century and I think he claimed a 5 deg C increase in this time – he claimed solely due to AGW.

    I queried this with him as I knew the history of this land area very well. At the start of this period it was intensively farmed horticultural market gardens evolving into prairie type wheat fields now. Changes in land use that alone could probably account for this temperature increase. The switch from organic to chemical fertilizer particularly so over this time (compromised soil microbial Calvin Cycle etc).

    Soil temps here in UK also seem to control aquifer rain recharge (capillary action).

    Beyond my expertise but I assume cloud formation will also relate to stored soil moisture/evaporation etc which will be significantly reduced with chemical agriculture ?

    With your agricultural and wider knowledge could you say if similar might be impinging in California – our UK farmers certainly doing a great job of creating deserts here … all govt approved, funded and of course blamed on climate change.

    eg http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/climate-change-%E2%80%98huge%E2%80%99-threat-to-water-resilience/1303922#.WVFUh8aQy00

  5. A C Osborn says:

    EM, last week we had a similar situation in the UK, a few days of clear skies which after a few days led to mid 80s to lower 90s temps with night temps in the upper 70s.
    24 Hours later the clouds came in and we were back to upper 60s lower 70s.

  6. A C Osborn says:

    Julian Jones says: 26 June 2017 at 6:39 pm “where the speaker presented a temperature data set for a land area around their former Bracknell, Berkshire office over past half century and I think he claimed a 5 deg C increase in this time – he claimed solely due to AGW.”

    Someone should have asked him why the A/Global/W had not affected the rest of the UK.

  7. Julian Jones says:

    AC Osborn – Thank you – Met Office man was claiming this to be typical for all UK, regardless of land use, that was his point. I suspect the Bracknell land temp data was the longest time series they had – no instruction to research prior to Margaret Thatcher. I tried discreet direct follow up, verbally during coffee break and twice in writing following event. No replies forthcoming.

    And I should also have added above; I think soil moisture / condensation effects possibly significant.

  8. John F. Hultquist says:

    Very interesting.
    Our region – the Central Cascades of Washington – was clear yesterday. Temp both at home and elsewhere almost hit 100°F.
    With a bunch of others, I was on a rocky braided stream coming off the glaciers of Mt. Rainier Nation Park. We were fixing trail, mostly moving rocks about in the hot sun. Ouch!
    Today an air mass is moving northeastward across part of the region.
    Visible Satellite imagery:
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/cgi-bin/latest.cgi?vis1km

    We are under the thickest part of the clouds and the temp is about 12 degrees cooler than yesterday. Not so at Yakima where the sun shines brightly and the temp at 1:15 PM was 99°.

  9. andrewsjp says:

    Sounds like common sense to me. I will post to my Facebook page so my family will understand.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @Julian Jones:

    One of the “nice bits” about clouds, here, is they come directly off the ocean ridge lifted air. There’s about a 20? mile run from the ocean, up some very modest hills, and then over the top of us.

    Now this area has changed. From mostly orchards to mostly houses and offices, but the cloud cover is formed over ocean and ridge lift that is largely unchanged.

    Go inland another 30 miles, and over another set of coast range hills, and you reach farmland. It had been basically swamp in the 1800s. (Largest fresh water lake west of somewhere or other, or other than the Great Lakes? Something like that… Seasonal.) Now all that water is gone and it’s miles of farm land… Yeah, it’s drier and thus hotter now.

    I’d expect all sorts of land use changes from the hundreds (thousands?) of square miles of ancient redwood forest that has been cut down. Redwood City is now, well, a city… The “fog forest” tends to enhance fog, and concrete not so much help with the fog.

    Texas, Iowa, etc. the land use might well have changed cloud formation as there, the water in the land does drive the clouds.

    @Pearce:

    I took ground school and I’m very familiar with metars. The problem is that it is a short record, it is geographically very local, and it is very imprecise. Is “Scattered low cloud 10000 ft” the same, or different, from “Scattered low cloud 6000 ft” tomorrow? What is the relative coverage of “scattered” vs “broken”? Does it have 1% resolution, continuously, for 200 years? Um, no… Then we won’t even talk about time resolution. Scattered 10k may be for an hour, or 1/2 a day… until a new observation comes in.

    Now season that with the 70% of the sky over water where their are essentially no usable data for anything prior to about 1960…

    @A.C.Osborn:

    Good points…

    @Hans:

    I’ll take a look. Thanks.

    @John F.:

    Nice added data points.

    Basically confirms the point that daily temperatures, highs and lows, are strongly set by clouds (both locally, and if your air mass comes from somewhere else, clouds there) and not by some 0.01 change of “back radiation”.

    Now if daily data are so set, then averaging them to get monthly Min Max and Mean just tells you about monthly cloud variations. Averaging THAT over the globe and over time tells you about changes of clouds over the globe and over time. To then use that data to say ANYTHING about a CO2 effect would require de-trending and normalizing by removal of the cloud effect / impact. That isn’t done, so the GAT Global Average Temperatures folks compute can say nothing about any effect of minuscule CO2. Neither pro nor con. It is lost in the much much larger ( 20 F in one day! ) impact of cloud variation. Any claim it “averages out” to a constant is just a made up fantasy since we don’t have the data to say how cloudy it was in the 1800s, or even the 1900 to 1950 era. Then the latest 60 years are too short to establish any trend as they are inside cyclical processes and the start and end bias can wreck any trend perception.

    In short: We know the clouds are a dominant impact in the average, and we can’t detrend them.

  11. EMS.
    You will be interested to read what Svensmark has to say. In particular, it is clouds that control the weather not the other way around. This video is quite long but well worth viewing.

    Adrian Ashfield

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adrian:

    Yeah, that whole GCR thing. I’m familiar with it. I was just looking for empirical evidence that temperatures were correlated with clouds. Not going into the “why do clouds change” part just yet. One brick at a time.

    In the beginning, there were temperatures. Begat of clouds and sun… Then work up the stream layer by layer. They come the other way. Modulate GCR to condensation nuclei to droplets to clouds to… So I’m just filling in a minor step at the end.

    I’ve also seen way too many times in Florida that once summer temps reach about 85 F, you start to get afternoon thunderstorms. That’s “the other kind of cloud”. We have broad area ridge lift cloud. They get solar driven convective clouds. Once hot enough, every day tends to start sunny and clear, crosses over 85 F and the evaporation / moist convection leads to dark rain clouds and drenching rain, then it cools and clears and evenings are nice again.

    At the hot tropical end, convective clouds limit upper bound temps. At the cold frozen end, dry clear air makes for -40 degree ice and no lower bound to radiative cooling of Antarctica (other than running out of time to cool and spring returns). In between, we’ve got the temperate zone with variations in kinds of clouds. Here it is essentially Pacific Cyclone and Anti-Cyclone (cold downwelling in Alaska) cloud banks, and jet stream driven moist ridge lift clouds depending on if a storm is involved or not. (Central Valley also gets tullie fog or ground fog in winter, essentially warm dirt and cool air for 3 months of no sun and dank…)

    The nice thing about this example, here, is it is a clean uncomplicated thing. No convective cumulus thing going on at all and summers devoid of storms.

  13. EMS.
    You didn’t say whether you agreed with Svensmark. I don’t think it is the only factor changing global temperature but strongly suspect it is more important than CO2.
    I regret the slow start t o the video that might have put you off. but it does warm up some. The correlation between the sun’s magnetic field and global temperature is too close for it to be coincidence.
    I also liked the examples of how climate scientists had a strongly negative reaction to the theory when presented with the facts. Seems typical.
    Santer and a number of climate scientists published a paper in Nature recently admitting for the first time that the models got it wrong for the pause.
    As the sun’s magnetic field is getting very weak we may get some proof if the temperatures start dropping in the 2020s.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting you mention this:

    I’ve also seen way too many times in Florida that once summer temps reach about 85 F

    Several years ago I saw a TV program (special like Discover or some such) about the Monsoon in India. Their scientists found that 85 deg F sea surface temps were the “switch” that turned on Monsoon flow, it the Indian Ocean was too cool, the flow did not setup and they had catastrophic drought.

    As a storm chaser I have also noted that clouds “look different” in the winter, as you say towering Cumulus clouds are strictly a summer phenomenon, and require both heat and convective instability in the atmosphere (moister at lower levels). Without instability and some sort of trigger to force the low level air to “break the cap” and begin free convection you have stratiform clouds which mostly act as a huge sun shade.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, I think the Svensmark GCR theory is right. I’ve seen the video before.

    I’m just begging off any connection between my modest observation of a few weeks and a Ph.D. level theory of everything… (It’s me Mum’s fault… that whole British Modesty Thing… Never got the hang of American Audacious Marketing Hype… disappointing to me Dad as it was… He was a Yank Real Estate Salesman.. )

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry:

    You, Sir, have it “exactly right!”

  17. tom0mason says:

    I have recently been trying to find some research on clouds and stumbled on UK’s Manchester University site here — http://www.cas.manchester.ac.uk/resprojects/holmemoss/index.html
    from there a paper available here — http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL073441/abstract .
    all about the shape of ice-crystals in clouds.
    Nothing too taxing there but it does highlight that cloud formation is also affected by the local atmospheric chemistry and particulate make-up.
    I was also trying to find the paper I read years ago about large forests having limited control of their local weather by their control of humidity, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particulate release.
    This one comes close (https://www.mpg.de/622290/pressRelease20100920 ) but is not the paper I read a few (5 or 6 ?) years ago.
    So far I not found it but have found a few others —
    ¯
    Coastal areas can be affected by the atmospheric salt particles affecting the nature of the cloud cover. http://www.nature.com/news/1998/020812/full/news020812-9.html
    Also pollen, bacteria, and virus particles may initiate the formation of cloud nucleation points when they are airborne. (https://www.insidescience.org/news/ice-ice-bacteria-not-too-cold )

    The skies are full of invisible life. Bacteria, algae, and fungi are swept up by winds and lifted to the altitude of a Boeing 747—or catapulted 20 miles into the stratosphere by electric fields during thunderstorms. Prather, a 49-year-old professor at the University of California, San Diego, is one of a growing number of scientists who suspect this largely unexplored microbial ecosystem might hold the answer to one of the great mysteries of the weather: Why do clouds produce precipitation when they do?

    From http://discovermagazine.com/2012/apr/07-does-rain-come-from-life-in-the-clouds

  18. tom0mason says:

    Also there is http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1885/4613

    However, these studies ignored the impacts of forests on atmospheric aerosol. We use a global atmospheric model to show that, through emission of organic vapours and the resulting condensational growth of newly formed particles, boreal forests double regional cloud condensation nuclei concentrations (from approx. 100 to approx. 200 cm−3). Using a simple radiative model, we estimate that the resulting change in cloud albedo causes a radiative forcing of between −1.8 and −6.7 W m−2 of forest. This forcing may be sufficiently large to result in boreal forests having an overall cooling impact on climate. We propose that the combination of climate forcings related to boreal forests may result in an important global homeostasis. In cold climatic conditions, the snow–vegetation albedo effect dominates and boreal forests warm the climate, whereas in warmer climates they may emit sufficiently large amounts of organic vapour modifying cloud albedo and acting to cool climate.

  19. tom0mason says:

    A search using ‘forest terpenes VOC in rain clouds’ sees many more such links, yet the ‘climate change’ congregation fails to acknowledge the effect.
    To my thinking this living earth has a whole host of mechanisms to regulate temperatures locally and regionally, and CO2 is not one of the major ones.
    As climate is all about regional change (I do not subscribe to the notion of global climate), then all these local changes are what truly matters when changes in climate are to be investigated. Averaged and Homogenized Global temperatures are a useless metric for assessing probable changes to climate, it is all about regional change, be that in weather variation, land use, volcano out-gassing, floods, or whatever (even large ‘forests’ of windfarms!).

  20. beththeserf says:

    De Vries cycles, :: Cheshire sunspots, cosmic rays, clouds
    … cool. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAELGs1kKsQ

  21. David A says:

    Hum? Yes them clouds, and the IPCC considers clouds a positive feedback.

    We also know that the correlation between air T and evaporation is anything but linear. Evaporation and thus cloud formation increases exponentially as T increases, placing a hard upper limit on tropical T. ( see the work of Willis ar WUWT)

    Yet more then that the percentage of any given WL of radiation which produces WV is immensely variable. Virtually 100 percent of LWIR is absorbed by the skin layer of water, thus it almost instantly morphs into WV. However a much larger percentage of SW insolation goes below the surface, some of it for years or decades, or millennium even.

    So not only is clouds and wv critical for daily weather highs, but also for long term weather as ocean heat content is dependent on cloud variation. Oh, and it ain’t just clouds. Water vapor alone in clear skys can absorb about twenty percent of insolation BEFORE it reaches our energy battery, the oceans.

  22. A C Osborn says:

    Julian Jones says: 26 June 2017 at 7:07 pm
    AC Osborn – Thank you – Met Office man was claiming this to be typical for all UK, regardless of land use, that was his point.

    He is obviously a CAGW activist, the Central England Temperature set (CET) proves him completely wrong. According to Wiki it shows about 2 degrees C increase in over 300 years from the very lowest temp of about 8.1C in 1700. It rose from 8.1C to 9.9C in just 40 years and currently shows about 10.3C.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @A C Osborn:

    And you are one minor shift of the Gulf Stream / North Atlantic Drift away from having a direct return to 1700 or even 1300 AD temperatures… The Little Ice Age was a cyclical event and WILL happen again. The only real question is: Was it a full Bond Event, so the next one comes about 2700 AD or was it a Half Bond Cycle Event, so the next one is the full Bond Event and happens about, well, about now… 540 AD + 1470 yrs = 2010 with a couple of decade error band…

  24. Julian Jones says:

    @A C Osborn: “obviously a CAGW activist” – ? Are you referring to me or the Met Office man ?

    I was raising this because in my limited experience (as a water and land engineer), agricultural land use changes – (and increasing urbanization of course) but primarily cropping and crop fertilization changes, can account for significant temperature rises, likely going way beyond the scale of urban heat island effects usually noted here. And may well impinge on cloud cover also; I was trying to contribute positively to the blog posting.

    I do not honestly recall the precise deg C raise that was quoted at the meeting I referred to – I am sure it was closer the figure you raise, so thank you. In either event, much of UK temp rises can thus be attributed to land use; desiccation of landscapes is a trait of most civilizations, so far. But need not be.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Julian Jones:

    Land use, as you pointed out, can have dramatic changes to temperatures and humidity. Ask any motorcycle rider…

    When riding through the California Central Valley, especially on summer nights, a pass by a peach orchard being flood irrigated was stepping into the cooler, then a dry brown ploughed field, or even just rice stubble after harvest, was hot and dry. Forests, in the day, were a cool haven, while cities and brown crops were hot dry unpleasant places to ride.

    There was a study sited in a WUWT article about irrigation effects on recorded temperatures in California farm land. Probably worth looking for it.

    There was also some work done that showed some kind of trees tried to self regulate leaf temperature to about 85 F by variation of transpiration. Now just think what happens to the average temperature of 20 square miles of forest when it gets cut down and plowed… In the Central Valley, it would be 100+ F in the fields, yet folks would go to the park and sit under the trees, happy to eat lunch outside…

    Oh, one more:

    I’ve had times I’ve gone up on the roof. I do some radio stuff and have a few antennas… Well, it can be quite comfortable on the grass under the trees, then you go up the ladder and it is hot holy hell on the dark rooftop. Distance of maybe 40 feet between the two. How many places have been paved over with buildings and roads that were once green?

    But that isn’t all of it! There are historic pictures of the Los Angeles area from the 30s and 40s in the pre-airconditioning era. LOTS of whitewashed stucco with blue trim and white roofs. Now, post AC arrival, dark roofs are the norm. The whole albedo of the L.A. basin has been changed just by a style change… A very small kind of ‘land use’ change, but with a big impact.

    It is a very poorly explored area. Obviously important, and studiously ignored by “climate scientists”…

  26. cdquarles says:

    It has been a rather wet June here. The wettest June in my memory happened about 20 years ago, where it rained some 20 inches that month and caused extensive local flooding along the Sugarnochee River. [I am a bit further east and a bit further north now.] Being closer to the equator than the SF area, having ocean air available for transport here over more than half of the compass circle
    and where strong fetches can raise or lower temperature by 20 or more degrees, depending on season and direction, and where the average annual rainfall is 55 inches per year, I can second EM’s notion. Summer is our least variable weather season. If/when we get the HHH, from late June to mid August, the diurnal variation is going to be 20 degrees +/- 2 and the overnight low will be within 1 degree of the local dew point temperature.

    Soil moisture and local surface water area combine to give the local absolute humidity (precipitable water). Since most of the ground is covered in vegetation, the soil contribution is medicated by plant transpiration. The plants also release tons of VOC. Combine that with the low zenith angle (a bit under 10 angular degrees here for the 4 weeks either side of the solstice, you get the heat, haze and humidity (and enough ground level ozone to smell it if you are away from the city and/or get the afternoon thundershower. A cold front stalled out along the Gulf Coast some 10 days ago. A small tropical system formed on its tail end, which is the typical mechanism for these systems at this point in the year. Said system slowly moved eastward, pulling in lots of clouds and tropical air ahead of it. On those days the diurnal variation was only 10 degrees, with the daytime high capped 10 degrees below average. After the system passed, it pulled in cool dry air. Overnight lows the last few days have been in the low 60s and highs well below average, too. As it dries out, the dew point will rise back to the low and mid 70s and the highs will creep back to the upper 80s and low 90s. Keep in mind that the big cities will be several degrees warmer, for, as with an ant mound or beehive, which are warmer than their surroundings, the cities also are warmer inherently.

    Briefly I lived in the Central Valley, west of Sacramento in and around Davis and Woodland, CA. My dad died young and my mom, who was ill, had to leave. I am glad we did. The 50s were California’s Golden Era. My how they’ve fallen.

  27. cdquarles says:

    I think that I’ve mentioned this before. Back in the late 70s/early 80s, I read a paper that worked through UV photochemistry of terpenes. Guess what one of the products happened to be (hint: it is mostly carbon and gets to 1 to 10 microns in size). What do plants release (and fungi and bacteria)? Among the hundreds (thousands?) of chemicals, two are of particular interest, being unsaturated hydrocarbons: ethylene and isoprene.

  28. tom0mason says:

    Not strictly on topic but is of note (IMO) —
    At least 30 states had their lowest recorded temperatures on or after 1937. This means there have been more record lows since 1937 then there have been record highs.
    Also, more than half of all U.S. states had their highest recorded temperatures prior to 1937.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._state_temperature_extremes

  29. cdquarles says:

    Clouds, by the way, are the common name for the most common type of aerosol in our atmosphere, because this is a water planet.

  30. tom0mason says:

    Another paper on emissions from plants —
    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.arplant.52.1.407

    Recent estimates suggest that isoprene emission from plants is among the most important biosphere-atmosphere interactions. The total hydrocarbon flux from the biosphere to the atmosphere was estimated by Rasmussen & Went in 1965 (106) to be 432 Tg C yr−1. The estimate for global isoprene emission is now about 500 Tg C yr−1, making it the dominant hydrocarbon that moves from plants to the air, roughly equal to the flux of methane to the atmosphere
    (References: 41. Guenther A, Hewitt CN, Erickson D, Fall R, Geron C, et al. 1995. A global model of natural volatile organic compound emissions. J. Geophys. Res. 100:8873–92
    162. Wang KY, Shallcross DE. 2000. Modelling terrestrial biogenic isoprene fluxes and their potential impact on global chemical species using a coupled LSM-CTM model. Atmos. Environ. 34:2909–25)

    …Another phenomenon associated with volatile isoprenoids from plants is the blue haze described by Went (164). Oxidation of monoterpenes causes them to stick together until they form a solid particle. These particles can act as cloud condensation nuclei. This is important because in some areas rainfall is limited by a lack of cloud condensation nuclei, which has given rise to the practice of cloud seeding in these areas. Raindrop size is also affected by the concentration of cloud condensation nuclei. These particles that are formed from monoterpenes also scatter light. When the particles are very small, blue light is scattered more than other colors, giving rise to the natural blue haze (164). By itself, isoprene does not cause particle formation, but it may contribute to their growth(64).
    Despite early warnings from Rasmussen (103), Zimmerman (174), and then presidential candidate Reagan1(100), the role of isoprene emitted from plants (and other biogenic hydrocarbons) in atmospheric chemistry was ignored in early attempts to reduce ozone pollution. Early air quality regulations emphasized reduction of anthropogenic hydrocarbons, even if that meant some increase in nitrogen oxide emissions. This strategy was not effective (122). In 1987, Trainer et al (157) pointed out the importance of biogenic isoprene in clean environments. In 1988,Chamedies et al (12) suggested that so much isoprene was coming from vegetation in the Atlanta, Georgia (USA) area that air pollution control strategies had to switch to reducing NOxto be effective.

  31. erl happ says:

    Tomomason, its not generally realised that its the liberation of NOx from soil that is responsible for the erosion of O3 in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) and the height at which the tropopause is established. The northern hemisphere, with more soil. is different to the southern hemisphere in this respect. Ozone, despite its lower incidence in the troposphere, absorbs as much long wave energy (thereby instantly heating adjacent atmospheric molecules) in the troposphere as it does in the stratosphere where only 10% of the atmosphere resides. The primary control on this energy transfer process is atmospheric density. So, the variations in the ozone content of the air within the troposphere give rise to differences in relative humidity and cloud cover.
    More than 100 years ago people like Dobson observed that low pressure systems that form where ozone levels are elevated above 500 hPa have greater total column ozone than high pressure cells.
    It’s a mystery to climate science why ozone should proliferate in the winter hemisphere rather than the summer hemisphere but part of the reason may be the elevated release of NOX by warm soils in summer.
    Ozone concentration in the atmosphere varies on all time scales and one of the sources of variation may be the influence of cosmic rays.
    During sudden stratospheric warmings ozone rich air from mid latitudes floods into the space over the polar cap normally dominated by ozone deficient air in the winter season. There are no warmings in the summer season when that ozone deficient air withdraws back into the mesosphere.
    We know that high pressure cells are relatively cloud free. Its warm, humid air travelling from the tropics that is responsible for cloud and precipitation in high latitudes.Its the surface pressure relativity between high and low latitudes that determines the flow of the air towards or away from the poles.
    The temperature of the air related to where it comes from.

  32. tom0mason says:

    WRT E.M.Smith says:
    27 June 2017 at 11:32 am

    “And you are one minor shift of the Gulf Stream / North Atlantic Drift …”
    There is this (usual caveats apply it’s all models and theory) —

    Although climate scientists have worked hard to determine the ultimate trigger of abrupt climate change during the last ice age, it is likely that a combination of ocean and atmospheric circulation changes were involved. For example, a subtle shift in atmospheric circulation to
    a more meridional jet stream flow would encourage the transport of warm, salty water into the sub-polar North Atlantic, which in turn could lead to the reestablishment of strong AMOC and enhanced oceanic heat transport to the high-latitude North Atlantic. In this case, ocean
    circulation changes associated with AMOC may have amplified small changes initiated in the atmosphere on the transition into warm interstadials. Conversely, a sudden reduction in AMOC due to an influx of freshwater into the high-latitude North Atlantic region has the potential to trigger a regional cooling that can significantly alter tropical atmospheric circulation around the globe. Although we still do not know which happened first, interactions between both the ocean and the atmosphere must have played an important role in driving the dramatic climate oscillations of the last ice age. This paper only discusses two hypotheses to explain the abrupt climate shifts of the last ice age. To read about alternate hypotheses, see the comprehensive
    review paper by Clement & Peterson (2008).

    from https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/abrupt-climate-change-during-the-last-ice-24288097

  33. tom0mason says:

    @erl happ says:
    30 June 2017 at 12:01 am
    Thank-you for the reminder about Dobson’s significant paper.

  34. Bulaman says:

    I have proposed in the past that the area of land under irrigation is a metric that (at an unscientific glance) will have a significant impact on the formation of clouds. In my early life I remember summer drought and days on end with clear skies with the land baked and bare. With irrigation we seem to have much more cloud due to the increased availability of H2O. Not a co-incidence I think.

  35. eddiesharpe says:

    What cloud data was Clive Best using to come to the same conclusion to explain the pause ?
    http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=5694

  36. Don A says:

    A severe frost can only occur when the sky is clear and dry, with only CO2 to prevent it. When there is cloud cover there is never a frost. Does this not tell us something?

  37. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Chiefio

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/is-the-average-variation-of-clouds-co2/

    JoNova has recently drawn attention to your post. Please read my comment to her post. I have just reviewed the meteorological observations that were made at San Jose’s International Airport to which you drew attention. I did this because I am quite familiar with the thin, high, cirrus which is commonly observed to be associated with record high temperatures. So, I was somewhat taken back when I did not find this to be the case for June 18. However, this high cirrus was there on the 17th and its scattering of the upwelling IR back toward the surface reduced the cooling during the night of 17-18 to 11 degrees above the low temperature of the previous morning. Hence, the solar radiation of the 18th increased the heating of the surface and atmosphere the same number of degrees as had occurred on the 17th.

    https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum=2217

    While the topography of this site is not that of the airport, I believe this site might be considered in its ‘general’ vicinity. Check it out. Particularly the solar for June. You need to explain the consistently lower values during the times of the highest observed air temperatures and soil temperatures at 2 inch depth.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  38. JetSET_AU says:

    Going back over weatherstation values for the past few days, my values follow the clouds just like yours.
    We are on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. It is mid winter, not that you would know it from the temps ;-)

    8th July 0725 1.5C Min average ~3degC overnight
    1355 22.1C Max Clear skies for a few days

    9th July 0715 1.3C min Clear skies
    1525 23.4C max

    10th 0615 1.2C Min Clear skies
    1235 21.5C Max

    11th 0715 1.1C Min av 4 – 5 deg overnight
    1215 21.1C Max Late overcast, light rain, amount didn’t register. Cloud overnight, temp stayed high.

    12th 0505 9.3C Min cloud cleared in morning
    1505 20.0C Max late rain, 1645-1800 2.4mm, cloud overnight, temp stayed high.

    13th 0645 7.8C Min
    1235 22.1C Max Currently ~50% light overcast

  39. Hi Chiefio

    As someone else has mentioned, your post here has become a lively topic over at Jo Nova’s

    I contributed a piece to it and got an interesting reply so I have repeated the sub thread here.(hope it doesn’t end up sprawling all over the blog!) I can then take a copy of this article of yours and when summer finishes I can refer to it when I get on with the research I started earlier this year on winds, as it seems to me that wind and clouds are often very closely correlated, at least here in Europe.

    All the best

    tonyb

    ———-From Tonyb ————
    July 13, 2017 at 6:13 am · Reply
    Earlier this year I got hold of Hubert lambs reconstruction of wind direction back to the 16th century for the British isles. As I have carried out a reconstruction of CET to 1538 I merged the two together. It has gaps and there are anomalies but there is no doubt that for a very good part of the study there is a close correlation between the two, right through the LIA and warm periods. The correlation being roughly that westerly winds equals mildness especially in the winter. Easterlies means hot in the summer but cold in the winter.

    Unfortunately lambs study ceased in 1974 . The met office and Dr Phil jones have both been extremely helpful in trying to fill in the gap to the present day as it may be that the warm spike during the 1990′s and the cooler period the decade after might be the result of persistent wind directions.

    Intriguingly in December 2015 we were heading for a rather cold year but during that month the westerlies were very dominant and temperatures rose sharply except on the two days we had easterlies when the temperatures plummeted.

    Overall the winter was the warmest on record apart from one in the 1850′s which also had an unusual amount of westerlies.

    So I am trying to fill in the gap to see if the hypothesis that wind direction is the prime climate component holds good. Of course, wind direction also impacts directly on cloud amounts. Westerlies over here are generally cloudy and rainy whilst easterlies often bring clearer weather

    Tonyb

    RobR
    July 13, 2017 at 8:41 am · Reply
    At one stage way back in the 1980′s to early 90′s average wind direction was the main reason provided for shifts in climate in New Zealand, including average temperature. The peer reviewed literature said that this was true. Then along came carbon dioxide. The same researchers jumped on the CO2 bandwagon and now changes in average wind direction are all but a forgotten artifact of a distant past.

    This week in NZ we have had a stunning demonstration of the power of the wind in terms of temperature change. It went from positively average to virtually polar on the east coast of the South Island in a matter of hours. All it takes is a good southerly blow. Snow to sea level. Good news for the Ski Fields.

    #
    Tonyb
    July 13, 2017 at 9:11 am · Reply
    Rob

    Thanks for that.

    you wouldn’t have a link to one of those studies of kiwi winds would you?
    Tonyb

    #
    RobR
    July 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm · Reply
    Tony,

    Start with-

    Salinger, MJ. 1980. New Zealand Climate: II. Temperature Patterns. Monthly Weather Review 108:1905-1912.

    #
    RobR
    July 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm · Reply
    Tony,

    Follow up with:

    Salinger, MJ & Mullen 1998: New Zealand Climate: Temperature and Precipitation Variations. International Journal of Climatology19: 1049-1079

  40. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Sunbathing on the beach in the UK is a great way to appreciate the instant cooling that a passing cloud brings. It can shift the temperature from being pleasantly warm to uncomfortably cool in a matter of seconds simply be removing the radiant heat.

    I’m convinced that cloudiness is a major influence on climate because its effect is obvious and massive. Why should we assume it is a constant when everything else is changing?

    The answer is probably more to do with lack of understanding, inability to model clouds and the desire to make CO2 dominant.

  41. Billie says:

    Sydney Observatory, up near the Cahil Expressway, used to have a device to measure sunlight in a day. Essentially a glass sphere that focussed the sunlight, and burned a path across a strip of paper that was changed daily. Cloudy days, no path.

    Is that still used? Are the records available?

  42. Total global cloudiness is a function of the ‘loopiness’ of the jet stream tracks which in turn is a function of the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles and that gradient appears to be affected by solar influences:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2015/01/is-the-sun-driving-ozone-and-changing-the-climate/

    The loopier the jets the longer the lines of air mass mixing and the more clouds, simple.

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    Per thread being picked up at Jo’s:

    Happy to see it! Don’t mind at all if things end up spread arround.

    I see my role as that of observer and “idea admiration”, then noting “Dig Here!” points where I’m out of time to explore. I really like it when (or if) one of those interests someone.

    Besides, I’ve been dealing with flakey internet this week, (AT&T shows a red blob over California) with 25% packet loss on pings, so keeping the discussion going somewhere is a feature.

    Hopefully my participation can get back to normal soon. Until then it will be up to others to keep things lively :-)

    Per clouds::

    I’ve been thinking about making a “degrees per W-hr” graph (or looking for one already made).
    Pick sunny places with fairly consistent humidity, like deserts and arctic ice fields. Establish a baseline of change rate per input. Then see how that changes in cloudy places like tropics.

    Ought to take some decent compute time, but the result would be interesting. IF for example, the degrees/W-hr are faster in cloudless than cloudy, it becomes very clear that cloud variation must drive max temps reached in semicloudy areas. It would also imply jet stream variation from meridional to zonal with solar variation which is known to change clouds then has a direct metric for effect.

    But for now, I’m working on basic internet function… sigh.

  44. cdquarles says:

    You do know that animals, particularly warm blooded vertebrates, make and exhale nitric oxide, don’t you?

  45. Derek says:

    Of course we all know that recorded temperatures are made in shade, but I instinctively believe you are right to believe that overall temperatures are lower when cloud cover increases. I wonder if the satellites take measurements of cloud cover globally. I am sure I have read somewhere that it is supposed to remain more or less static on an annual basis, but how accurate are the measurements?

  46. E.M.Smith says:

    @cdquarles:

    It is important in several systems, including pain sensing heart / circulatory and, ahem, “erections”…

    Blacks have somewhat different nitrous oxide metabolism, so some heart medications work differently (due to the different levels). There was even some TV show where the “drama” was over a Black Man insisting he wanted the White Man medicine since it had to be better, seeing as they only gave Blacks the other one. Probably a “plot device” with the purpose of “edutainment” along with someone seeing that happen IRL. (In Real Life).

    But yeah, odd how life depends on pathways using Nitrous and Sulphur and Phosphate, and how oxygen only came in as something to be suppressed until the atmosphere changed due to green plants “destroying” the high CO2 place…

    @Derek:

    That is one of the general problems with Computer Models. The clouds are “sort of constant” as a long term average over the whole globe. BUT: Averages are used to HIDE things. Whenever you see an average, ask: “What is being hidden?”

    For clouds, this is the fact that clouds at different TIMES have a different effect. Mid summer much different than mid-winter. PLACES have a different effect. Clouds in Florida do something different from clouds in Alaska. (Angle of sun, ambient temperatures of formation) Then things like seasonal distribution… So when zonal vs merdional jet stream, not only does the quantity of cloud change, but their location…

    Finally, what’s the error band on that whole thing? Is the error the same in summer as winter? Hmmm? Are hot summer thunderstorms popping up at 85 F to maintain steady state temperatures the SAME as winter snow storms? Really? If you get more of one does that offset less of the other?

    If folks do nothing else, learn to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ask:
    “What does the average hide?”

    If you can’t do that, AND show those things absolutely do not matter, then you can not depend on the average to illuminate anything, but you can know it will hide things that matter.

    (Put less clearly: The “Average temperature” is not a temperature. It is a statistic about temperatures best stated as “Average OF temperatureS”… Similarly “average cloud cover” is really a “statistic about averages of cloud covers” and is not a cloud… )

  47. Pingback: More links, more vids, and more Hawt chicks. – Adam Piggott

  48. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Chiefio (E.M.Smith),
    I am slow but I sometimes get there. But I still do not understand the use of an alias. And I do not understand how it seems you can see the fundamental role that clouds play in the earth-atmosphere energy balance (temperature) system and yet not see (refer to) the subtle, critical influence of high, thin, sometimes persistence, cirrus clouds that have been observed from the San Jose International Airport for years. Look at the METAR’s data July 6-13, 2002.

    You are honest and do not claim to be a scientist; instead you claim to be just a curious person who has interests in many different areas (subjects). Which is exactly what a good scientist needs to be. However, it seems you and so many others today most likely have not read Galileo’s classic which was translated into English and published in 1914 so you and they have trouble understanding what modern science actually should be.

    We need to have a more direct exchange of ideas; for I am sure we can both help each other.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  49. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jerry:

    The use of an alias comes directly out of the fact that a zillion folks named Smith exist, so it is impossible to get any site name starting with any combination of first &/or middle names or initials and a last name of Smith. They have all been taken. To have something shorter than, say, my whole 3 names, birth date, and address concatenated; I need to use something more “unique”. As I’d called myself “Chief Of I/O” (as a lark) during my “tape hanging” days, I kept using it…

    Per “high thin sometimes persistence (sic) cirrus clouds”: That is your hobby horse to ride. Not mine. That I’ve said nothing about it is NOT evidence for “not see” ing it. It just means YOU care about it and me not so much. Want to make YOUR case, YOU state it. Me? I’ve got other things to look at.

    Not caring much is NOT evidence for failure to understand. The world is about 99.9% stuff I simply can not care about (due to lack of 10000 lifetimes to explore it or there being 10000 times more stuff than any one person can read).

    So YOU have a hobby horse; not my problem. That YOU want to accuse me of ‘issues’ because I’m not riding YOUR sacred cow just again illuminates YOUR issues, not mine. If you want to make a case, make it, but slandering me isn’t helpful to YOUR case. Saying, even obliquely, that someone just doesn’t get it, is a kind of slander or insult.

    “However, it seems you and so many others today most likely have not read Galileo’s classic which was translated into English and published in 1914 so you and they have trouble understanding what modern science actually should be.”

    No, I’ve not read Galileo, just some quotes. See the above point about 10000 lifetimes… I’m still working on Mathematica by Newton. (Learning Latin has hit a wall for the moment, not enough time… I may have to resort to a translation).

    But I’m pretty sure my Chemistry & Physics & Biology teachers all gave me a darned good grounding in “what modern science actually should be”. As one example: IF we had ANY erasure in our “lab book”, it was an automatic F grade on that exercise. Any correction was to get ONE line through it, a foot note explaining why, and the corrected information entered. ALL corrections and adjustments needed a 100% audit trail. Observation, hypothesis, experiment, testing, etc. etc. All with audit trail, or you got an F. Lord help you if you made a leap to a conclusion not supported by the data…

    “We need to have a more direct exchange of ideas”

    The thread is open. You have a case to make, make it. Not just to me, but to all the folks reading here. Heck, far better minds than mine read here and are willing to look over your thesis (hypothesis, surmise, whatever…) So don’t just limit yourself to me. Give US a reason to care about your POV and your pet theory. Otherwise, I’ve got about 100 things I’m supposed to be getting done right now, including some data analysis programs to write and a temperature database to build.

    Simply saying “Go fish here in the METARs” isn’t enough, BTW. State your hypothesis, state what data supports it. Show the “experiment” that can be done to validate your hypothesis or the observations of natural processes that can act as an experiment, then your conclusions. That’s how you get someone to take a look at your favorite idea.

    FWIW, since you seem to have missed it, there are 2 things that are effectively forbidden here:

    1) Insult “to the person”. Don’t call people dumb or say they don’t understand your ideas. It is usually the presentation of them that’s the problem, not the intelligence of the audience. Polite and understanding is better.

    2) Time squandering. Tell folks to “go fish here” without enough justification to show the time spent is going to be worth it and I’m just not going there. I have VERY limited time, as does everyone else. IF you wish to purchase some of it, show that the reward is worth it. Otherwise, I’ve got dozens of things in the queue where the cost / benefit is clearly very positive and I’m going to do them instead. As does everyone else…

    Realize that those 2 things are exactly what you run into in the professional world of management. Don’t make folks annoyed at you, and expect to justify your budget for every project, before, during, and after. (Heck, we did quarterly budget and staff reviews along with weekly “what are you doing and why?” staff meetings for a few decades at various valley tech companies…) So it isn’t like this is some radical departure from the norm.

    A common paradigm was to list things as A B and C priorities. Throw away the C, work on the A, and if you have time left over, pick a B and do it. No explanation for your ideas makes them a C priority…

  50. jerry l krause says:

    Hi E.M.,
    Sorry I did not understand what you were about. Now that I can read I will not bother you again.
    Have a good day, Jerry

  51. E.M.Smith says:

    Jerry,

    What I’m about is efficient use of time to learn new things.

    You have some point to make about high clouds, but your only hint what that might be is a “go fish” in METARS for some unknown thing to show some unknown effect to make some unknown conclusion. I have no idea what point you want to make or what you think is happening.

    Some idea, with no refences nor links, that high clouds make things warmer, maybe, then a pointer to some station and a claim I need to do something with soil temps…

    Now there’s just no way I can work that out as it is all your points in your head. You poke at it (and me) twice, but never say what you think it means. That’s just not very effective. So I tell you to make your point ’cause I’m not gonna (and can’t without a long blind fish in high clouds, and even then might well not discover your issue / point). Your answer is to pack up and leave.

    Well, I’m ok with that, but it would be better to just say what the heck you think high clouds do. Clarify and maybe even add a link or refence or two.

    IMHO, they are entirely irrelevant as they are above the convective zone in the radiative to space zone. Now I see no reason to chase a non-actor. You think it is worth chasing, but don’t give any why. Absent any defence of whatever it is you think is happening, I just can’t say anything about it and will not do a blind “go fish”.

    I can’t say if I’m being dense, not knowing some “well known thing” you think I ought to know, or if you are chasing something that isn’t well known; but in any case, it isn’t at all clear what you think is going on or what you think I’m supposed to do with it. Just a statement about high cloud back radiation. IMHO, high cloud indicates condensation and thus radiation to space from the condensing water at the top of the convective zone. Absent any further pointers, we have two divergent oppinions and a “he said she said” that goes nowhere. Not very effective…

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/one-tenth-bar-short-waves-and-solar-spectral-change/

    High altitude, CO2 radiation cools (see graph in link). High altitude sees a water vapor barrier below it to any backradiation (why we have a troposphere in the first place) but easy radiation to space (same graph in link).

    At the top of the convective zone, water radiates heat away, part of why clouds condense in the first place. At the tropopause, a cat 2 hurricane force wind heads toward the poles, where even more effective radiation to space happens. Mass transport matters at the tropopause and lower stratosphere.

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/tropopause-rules/

    Just not seeing where some very thin high clouds stop any of that.

  52. Derek says:

    Thanks for your comments on my previous post. I can see that you take a lot of trouble to reply to people which is great. I have one further thought about clouds and that is that at night they slow down the loss of radiation by reflecting some of it back to earth. I completely agree with you that it is hopeless to try and understand the heat balance without being able to quantify the effect of clouds. It could easily outweigh the effect of CO2. I very much enjoyed reading your blog and will visit again.

  53. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Chiefio,

    I will try to do what you have asked. Richard Feynman taught a radiation scattering theory of cloud particles (The Feynman Lectures On Physics, 1963) to which I have yet to discover any atmospheric physicists referring. While he only focused his students’ attentions upon the visible radiation, he makes it clear that ordinary cloud droplets with a diameter of 20 micrometers will scatter the longwave IR radiation being emitted by the earth’s surface many, many, many times more intensely than they scatter visible radiation. Hence, according to this theory, a nearly invisible cloud to our eyes will effectively limit the transmission of the IR radiation to space with the result of higher temperatures, than normal (average), of the air as traditionally measured and the surface (soil) as not traditionally measured. But we cannot directly measure the temperature of the surface during the daytime and can only directly measure the temperatures of the soil beneath the surface as is done in the SCAN project.

    Whether this information inspires you to study in more detail the METAR data, the SCAN data, and the SURFRAD data is up to you.

    If you respond to this I will more specifically respond to your last statement (Just not seeing where some very thin high clouds stop any of that.).

    Have a good day, Jerry

  54. cdquarles says:

    @ Derek, keep in mind that if it is cloudy, there’s more water in the air locally. Moist air contains more energy than dry air, at the same thermodynamic temperature. The actual dew point at your location will be where the over night low will be. When the dew point is higher, the low will be higher (moister air) and when the dew point is lower, the low will be lower (dryer air), so there’s more to it than IR radiation. IR active gases are not ‘heat traps’. They are IR two-way translucent mirrors, in a way.

  55. cdquarles says:

    Jerry, what you say of what Dr. Feynman said is true, but it works both ways and there is a heck of a lot of long wave IR and even longer stuff coming in from the sun. Just because it is a small fraction of the total power received by the Earth system from the sun does not make it zero.

  56. jerry l krause says:

    Hi cdquarles,

    “Just because it is a small fraction of the total power received by the Earth system from the sun does not make it zero.”

    You are correct that clouds scatter the solar near IR and far IR more strongly than they scatter the solar visible and UV. And you are correct that the presence of this solar near IR and far IR are generally overlooked to the extent I do not know with any certainty if the measurement of the earth-atmosphere’s albedo includes any more of the solar radiation than the visible portion. C. Donald Arhens’ popular introductory meteorology textbook, Meteorology Today 9th Ed., shows that 37% of sun’s emitted energy lies in the near IR and 11% in far IR portions of its spectrum. So perhaps your statement well understates the actually fact.

    And about 4 pages later he graphically shows that water vapor has strong absorption bands in the near IR portion and carbon dioxide a weaker one at the far end of the near IR portion. Hence, solar radiation can directly warm the atmosphere during the daytime (seldom acknowledged) just as it is more commonly considered that the emission of GH gases can cool the atmosphere during the nighttime.

    If we study the right commonly measured data we can see observations which can be explained by these considerations which, without observational support, are only I thinks.

    And I consider you must study this data as I have to ‘see’ this critical importance of observation in natural science (actually all modern science).

    You and Chiefio have seen the light but maybe not yet all the light. But if we are patient with each other perhaps we can have a quite productive conversation.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  57. Larry Ledwick says:

    A simple A vs B test of the actual values of solar total energy delivered to ground level could be preformed during the Aug 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.

    Many observers have commented on how the atmosphere suddenly cools during the totality period, it would be useful if someone with the proper equipment (probably several hundred thousand dollars worth) could take real time measurements of incident energy across all the total solar illumination spectrum with sensors that were highly directional (ie eliminated most atmospheric scattering.

    Such measurements taken in multiple locations (and sky conditions) could answer a lot of questions as you have a naturally controlled experiment (before, during and after) with same instrument same location and calibration.

    Synchronized with high altitude and above the atmosphere measurements it would go a long way toward answering specific band width transmission and scattering questions.

  58. llanfar says:

    Color my psyched – my parents extended their Maggie Valley stay for a few days to be there for the eclipse…needless to say, my wife and I will be there. Not quite 100%, but a week of forays south will get us an ideal spot off a road with a view…

  59. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ilanfar:

    Try to find a tree, in leaf, casting a lot of little light spots between the leaf shadows. At partial eclipse, the light spots all turn into small crescent sun projected images from a zillion ersatz pinhole cameras in the spaces between the leaves… Saw it in about 78? when a partial eclipse passed over my apartment. In many ways it was more interesting that the actual direct view of the eclipse…

  60. llanfar says:

    Last time I witnessed a near total eclipse was in Tampa in ’70 – I think I was in first grade…barely remember using pins in cardboard…

  61. cdquarles says:

    @Larry, such tests are available with every total solar eclipse. I recall such a test done when the East coast hugging eclipse in March, 1970 happened. Funny, I don’t recall much in the media about the results.

  62. cdquarles says:

    Hey, EM, the same happened for me in the March 1970 one, thanks to the trees in the yard. We made pinhole cameras anyway. The totality path hugged the East coast. I will be much closer to this one, some 150 miles to Chattanooga, TN. I had planned on going to Oak Ridge, where my uncle (mom’s youngest surviving brother) lives. Finances may preclude it, but still being this close will be exciting.

  63. Zeke says:

    tomomason says, “Recent estimates suggest that isoprene emission from plants is among the most important biosphere-atmosphere interactions. The total hydrocarbon flux from the biosphere to the atmosphere was estimated by Rasmussen & Went in 1965 (106) to be 432 Tg C yr−1. The estimate for global isoprene emission is now about 500 Tg C yr−1, making it the dominant hydrocarbon that moves from plants to the air, roughly equal to the flux of methane to the atmosphere…”

    Oh boy. What happens to isoprene molecules after a big lightning storm?

  64. Zeke says:

    Benzene maybe!

  65. E.M.Smith says:

    Naw, it becomes zapoprene ;-)

  66. Zeke says:

    Okay then, an aromatic zapoprene! (:

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