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:
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.