Tropospheric and surface temperatures

by Donald Rapp

Santer et al. (2005) emphasized that “a robust feature” of climate models is that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations will amplify warming in the middle and upper tropical troposphere (compared to the surface). It was then with some consternation that they noted that the data do not support this prediction; indeed, surface warming typically exceeds tropospheric warming.

As Klotzbach et al. (2009) pointed out:

“Santer et al. (2005) presented three possible explanations for this divergence: (1) an artifact resulting from the data quality of the surface, satellite and/or radiosonde observations, (2) a real difference because of natural internal variability and/or external forcings, or (3) a portion of the difference is due to the spatial coverage differences between the satellite and surface temperature data.”

Evidently, the failure of data to support amplification of warming in the troposphere is a serious problem for the credibility of climate models and climate modelers would like to shift responsibility onto the data. Santer et al. focused on the second and third explanations, saying they were “more plausible” that “residual errors” occurred in some data sets, and they suggested that the data that do show increased temperature in the troposphere are more reliable than those measured by the UAH group (c.f. Christy et al., 2007). Klotzbach et al. (2009) presented considerable evidence that surface measurements over land often contain biases and effects due to their local surroundings. Indeed, one of the authors (Pielke Sr.) has written extensively on this subject. The nature of most of these biases is to increase measured surface temperatures. Thus Klotzbach et al. (2009) concluded that a significant factor in the discrepancy between climate models and measured temperature data may lie in the measured surface temperature data being too high.

Thorne et al. (2011) provided a detailed history of the evolution of measurements of tropospheric temperatures, whether by radiosonde or from satellite instruments. Early satellite measurements indicated far less warming in the troposphere than was found at the surface by land based thermometers. This caused challenges for climate modelers who predicted that tropospheric temperatures would rise with surface temperatures although the stratosphere would cool. As the years went by, adjustments and corrections of satellite measurement techniques reduced the gap between measured tropospheric and surface temperatures but a significant gap still remains. Radiosonde measurements seem to involve greater uncertainty and variability.

In interpreting the latest results, Thorne et al. (2011) seemed determined to (1) minimize differences between tropospheric and surface temperatures, and (2) emphasize warming in the recent part of the record. They said: “For the surface temperatures it shows (1) very good agreement between the three analyses [NOAA, NASA and HadCRU]; and (2) the trend has remained quite stable over more than a decade”. That the analyses of surface temperatures by NOAA, NASA and HadCRU are in good agreement is no surprise since they use similar databases and similar data processing methods. That the trend (temperature change per decade) was stable proves exactly nothing. There is no a priori reason to believe that the trend should remain constant, and indeed, tropospheric measurements suggest otherwise. In summing up the tropospheric measurements, Thorne et al. (2011) said:

“In summary, the most recent versions of all datasets do not support the conclusion of a significant difference in trend between the surface and troposphere when considering (1) the structural uncertainty (as evidenced by the spread) in the tropospheric trend estimates, (2) the very likely remaining cold bias in the radiosonde trend estimates, and (3) the fact that the tropospheric trend has a small stratospheric cooling component”.

This is a highly debatable conclusion. First of all, by relying only on trend, rather than yearly variations, they eliminate a great deal of detail. Second, their Figure 10 indicates that the trend at the surface is measured to be three times the trend in the troposphere. Thirdly, the trend in the troposphere has varied widely with time whereas the trend of land measurements has been stable since 1990. Finally, Thorne et al. (2011) seemed not to be able to recognize the obvious fact shown in Figure 1 that tropospheric temperatures made a step function rise after the great El Niño of 1998 and was fairly constant before and after. The ‘trend” that they use is not a steady rise over ten years as they assume but actually a one-time rise.

Figure 1. UAH globally averaged satellite-based temperature measurements of the lower atmosphere.

In their conclusion, Thorne et al. (2011) said:

“Overall, there is now no longer reasonable evidence of a fundamental disagreement between models and observations with regard to the vertical structure of temperature change from the surface through the troposphere. This is mainly due to a much better understanding of the real level of uncertainty in estimates of past changes and expectations from climate models. Ironically, elucidation of the true (large) degree of uncertainty in actual trends from observations and expected trends from models has led to greater confidence that they are not inconsistent”.

This conclusion is debatable.

Christy et al. (2010) updated tropical lower tropospheric temperature datasets covering the period 1979–2009 and assessed them for accuracy. As Christy et al. (2010) pointed out:

“The temperature of the tropical lower troposphere (TLT, 20°S–20°N) figures prominently in discussions of climate variability and change because it (a) represents a major geographic portion of the global atmosphere (about one third) and (b) responds significantly to various forcings. For example, when the ENSO mode is active, TLT displays a highly coupled, though few-month delayed, response, with a general warming of the tropical troposphere experienced during El Niño events. The TLT also responds readily to the impact of solar scattering anomalies when substantial volcanic aerosols shade the Earth following major volcanic eruptions …. In terms of climate change due to increasing greenhouse gases …, climate models project a prominent warming of the TLT which in magnitude is on average twice as large … as changes projected for the surface.”

Christy et al. (2010) further asserted:

“The magnitude of the trend in recent decades of TLT has become controversial because of differing views on … whether the relationship between the observed temperature trend of TLT and the observed temperature trend of the surface (TS) is faithfully reproduced by … climate model simulations. These model simulations indicate that a clear fingerprint of greenhouse gas response in the climate system to date is that the trend of TLT should be [1.4 times] greater than [that of] TS. There have been essentially two groups of publications on this contentious issue, one reporting that trends of TLT in observations and models are statistically not inconsistent with each other and the other reporting that model representations are significantly different than observations, thus pointing to the potential for fundamental problems with models.”

Figure 2 shows the best estimate of the TLT by Christy et al. (2010). A linear fit to the data yields an overall trend of +0.09°C/decade over this 31-year period (red dashed line). On the other hand, as we have discussed previously, one could argue for a step function before and after the great El Niño of 1998 as shown by the blue dotted line. According to this latter interpretation, there has not been a statistically significant increase in TLT over the ten-year period from 2000 to 2010. One could also argue that there was no 21-year period from 1979 to 2000.

Figure 2. Time series of average monthly anomalies of tropical TLT (20°N – 20°S) (Christy et al., 2010).

There are two aspects of this result that are particularly important. One is simply that two long periods without a statistically significant increase in TLT would seem to contradict the view that continuously rising CO2 is continuously driving up TLT. The second aspect deals with the scaling ratio of the trend of TLT to the trend of TS in the tropics. Climate models consistently predict this ratio to be ~1.4; the tropospheric temperature is expected to rise faster than the surface temperature. However, as Christy et al. (2010) pointed out, the observed linear trend for TLT (0.9°C/decade) is only about 80% of the observed linear trend for TS, so the observed scaling ratio is roughly 0.8, not the predicted value of 1.4. These results cast doubt on the veracity of climate models, and also suggest that a linear rate of temperature rise does not necessarily result from a linear increase in CO2 concentration.

Obviously, these results for tropospheric temperature measurements are not supportive of climate models. Ben Santer took on a rebuttal and the result was Santer et al. (2011). It is interesting, perhaps, that Santer included 16 co-authors in addition to himself. Pielke Sr. commented: “This is an unusual number of co-authors for a technical paper, but I assume Ben Santer wants to show a broad agreement with his findings”.

Santer et al. (2011) were concerned with a very basic problem in climatology: how to distinguish between long-term climate change and short-term variable weather in regard to tropospheric temperature (TT) measurements? They treated the problem in terms of signal and noise: the climate trend is the signal, and the variable weather is the noise. However, the climate-weather problem is innately different from a classical signal/noise problem such as a radio signal affected by atmospheric activity. In that case, if the radio signal has a sufficiently narrow frequency band, and the noise has a wider frequency spectrum, the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) can be improved with a narrow-band receiver tuned to the frequency of the radio signal. The radio signal and the noise are separate and distinct. By contrast, in the climate-weather problem, the instantaneous weather is the noise, and the signal is the long-term trend of the noise. The noise and signal are coupled in a unique way. Furthermore, there is no evidence that it is even meaningful to talk about a “trend” since there is no evidence that the variation of TT with time is linear. Remarkably, Santer et al. never referred to Christy et al. (2010) but based their analysis on older papers (e.g. Christy et al., 2007). It should be noted that whereas Christy et al. (2010) used tropical TLT data (20°N-20°S), Santer et al. used global TT data (82.5°N-70°S).

As Santer et al. (2011) showed, one can pick any starting date and any duration length and fit a straight line to that portion of the curve of TT vs. time. They did this for various 10-year and 20-year durations. In each case, depending on the start date, they derived a best straight-line fit to the TT data for that time period. They found (as is obvious from Figure 3) that the range of trends for 10-year periods was greater (-0.05 to +0.44°C/decade) than for 20-year periods (+0.15 to +0.25°C/decade). The trends for various start dates for ten-year trends are shown in Figure 4. Clearly, the trend line was steepest for a start date around 1988 (ending in the giant El Niño year of 1998. Prior to 1988 and after 1998, the trend was minimal.

Figure 3. Globally averaged satellite-based temperature of the lower atmosphere (http://www.drroyspencer.com).

Figure 4. Trend (°C/decade) of TT vs. start year for ten-year durations. (Santer et al., 2011).

Santer et al. describe use of longer durations as “noise reduction”, and I suppose it is, provided that one assumes the overall signal is linear in time. They state:

“The relatively small values of overlapping 10-year TT trends during the period 1998 to 2010 are partly due to the fact that this period is bracketed (by chance) by a large El Niño (warm) event in 1997/98, and by several smaller La Niña (cool) events at the end of the … record”.

However, as Pielke pointed out, the period after 1998 was 13 years, not 10, and furthermore, as Figure 3.22a shows, the period after 1998 had roughly equal periods of El Niño and La Niña and was not dominated by La Niñas. What Santer et al. (2011) implied was that an unusual conflux of a large El Niño early on and multiple La Niñas later on caused the trend to minimize for that unique period as a statistical quirk. However, that is like a baseball pitcher saying that if the opponents hadn’t hit that home run, he would have won the game.

In simplistic terms, the signal-to-noise ratio can be estimated as follows. For either 10-year or 20-year durations, the signal was the mean trend derived by a straight-line fit to the TT data over that duration. The noise was the range of trends for different starting dates. For ten-year durations, the trend was 0.19 ± 0.25°C/decade. For twenty-year durations, the trend was 0.20 ± 0.05°C/decade. The signal in each case is taken as the mean trend. The distribution of trends within these ranges was similar to a normal distribution. Thus we can roughly estimate the noise as ~ 0.7 times the full width of the range. Hence, the S/N ratio for ten-year durations is S/N ~ 0.19/(0.7 ´ 0.5) = 0.5 and for twenty-year durations is S/N ~ 0.2/(0.7 ´ 0.1) = 2.9. Santer et al. obtained S/N = 1 for ten-year durations and S/N = 2.9 for twenty-year durations.

If it can be assumed that the signal varies linearly with time, one can then estimate what level of precision for the estimated trend can be obtained for any chosen duration. Santer et al. obviously believe that the signal is linear with time for all time. In my discussion, I have relied entirely on the TT data and I have not included predictions of models. However, the paper by Santer et al. mixes up models with TT data and it is sometimes difficult to separate these. By some logic that escapes me, Santer et al. concluded that

“Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature”.

This conclusion seems to be grossly exaggerated. A better statement might be as follows:

Assuming that the variability of TT is characterized by a long-term upward linear trend caused by human impact on the climate, and that variability about this trend is due to yearly variability of weather, El Niños and La Niñas, and other climatological fluctuations, the recent data suggest that the trend can be estimated for any 17-year period with a S/N ratio of roughly 2.5.

Finally, we get to the nub of the paper by Santer et al. that asserted: “Claims that minimal warming over a single decade undermine findings of a slowly-evolving externally-forced warming signal are simply incorrect”. Here is where Santer et al. attempted to dispel the notion that minimal warming for a period contradicts the belief that underneath it all, the long-term signal continues to rise at a constant rate. Pielke Sr. argued that this was an overstatement and should be replaced by:

“If one accepts this statement by Santer et al. as correct, than what should have been written is that the observed lack of warming over a 10-year time period is still too short to definitely conclude that the model’s are failing to skillfully predict this aspect of the climate system”.

However, I would go further than Pielke Sr. First of all, the period of minimal temperature rise was longer than 10 years. Second, there is no cliff at 17 years whereby trends derived from shorter periods are statistically invalid and trends derived from longer periods are valid. According to Santer et al. a trend derived from a 13-year period is associated with a S/N ~ 1.5 which though not ideal, is good enough to cast some doubt on the validity of models.

Tisdale (2011) presented a great diversity of data on ocean properties including El Niño indices. His interpretation was that after 1976, sea surface temperatures rose in three steps: (a) 1976 to 1985, (b) 1989 to 1998 (culminating in an upward spike in 1998), and (c) 2002 to 2005 (dates are approximate). All three step increases were associated with El Niño events. The repeated El Niños from 2002 to 2007 sustained consistently high Pacific temperatures over this time period that relaxed downward after the La Niña of 2008.

Hansen et al. (2010) provided the data shown in Figure 5. These data show a strong correlation of all El Niño events in the 20th century with rising temperatures in the next few months, except for case where a major volcanic eruption caused temperatures to plummet for a year or two. Hansen et al. (2010) evidently believe that the variations of the El Niño index produce small oscillations about the major secular upward trend in temperatures caused by rising CO2, whereas others (as we have pointed out) believe that the El Niños ipso facto were responsible for global warming.

Figure 5. Global temperature anomaly compared to the Nino 3.4 index showing strong correlation of upticks in temperature with El Niños. Major volcanic eruptions are denoted by arrows. Adapted from Hansen et al. (2010).

In summary, Santer et al. (2011) assumed that the variation of tropospheric temperatures (TT) with time over the past 32 years followed long-term straight line presumably due to forcing by greenhouse gases (the signal) with superimposed yearly variations due to El Niños, volcanoes, and chaotic weather changes acting as noise. Within this time period, one can fit a straight line to the TT data for any duration and start date. They showed that the signal-to-noise ratio for such a segment of the timeline increases as the duration increases and that a segment of at least 17 years duration is needed to obtain a good estimate of the long-term trend. However, it is not clear from the data that a straight line plus noise best represents reality. Another interpretation is that TT were relatively flat prior to the giant El Niño of 1998, jumped up after that El Niño, and then remained relatively flat afterward but at a higher level. The fact that TT was relatively flat for 13 years after 1998 suggests (but does not yet prove) that the model of a long-term straight line plus annual noise may not be valid. A second issue is the relative values of the trends of TT and surface temperatures which appear to contradict predictions of climate models. As more data are accumulated over the next couple of decades, these issues should become more resolved.

Biosketch.   After receiving my B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering, I received a Ph. D. in chemical physics at Berkeley in January 1960. I worked as a researcher in chemical physics for a number of years, amassing a considerable number of publications. I was professor of physics at the University of Texas at Dallas from 1969 to 1979. I came to JPL in 1979 to take a position as the Division Chief Technologist (senior technical person) in the Mechanical and Chemical Systems Division (staff of 700 including 100 Ph.Ds). Amongst other things, I was Proposal Manager on the Genesis Discovery Project to collect solar wind and return it to earth for analysis which won in a field of about 25 competitors in Discovery 5, being funded at ~ $220M. Genesis carried out its mission in space from 2001 to 2004. After that, I acted as Proposal Manager for the Deep Impact Discovery mission proposal to open a hole in a comet and investigate its interior, which won, being funded at about $320M. Deep Impact was a spectacular success in 2005. I was manager of the Mars Exploration Technology Program for a period. In the period 2004-2006, I concentrated on mission design for Mars and lunar human missions, leading to a book I published: “Human Missions to Mars”. Starting around 2007, I devoted most of my time to the study of climate change and ice ages, culminating in two books published by Springer/Praxis Publishing.

Moderation note:  This is a technical thread and comments will be moderated for relevance.

431 responses to “Tropospheric and surface temperatures

  1. Stephen Pruett

    I wonder if their strongly stated support of CAGW for many years influences the manner in which Santer and others interpret their results? The Discussion sections of many papers unfailingly go to great lengths to explain why the results are not inconsistent with warming (usually linear warming). In most fields, evidence that does not support the prevailing paradigm causes the field to back away from the paradigm until sufficient data are available to be reasonably sure. It is remarkable that the effect in climate science seems to have been to harden belief in and defense of the protected paradigm.

    • That is not how Kuhn described the role of paradigms in science, Stephen. He pointed out, correctly I think, that anomalous results are simply set aside, with the expectation that they will be resolved in future. The community does not “back away” from the paradigm just because there are anomalies, rather it waits until a replacement is developed, and even the it takes a struggle. The reason for this is that there are always anomalies, so progress would be impossible if they were always taken seriously.

      What I think we are seeing in climate science is the emergence of the new paradigm, which embraces natural variability, but it will still be a big fight.

  2. This topic was the subject on an entire thread earlier this year, where I believe it was covered in a balanced fashion. To avoid repetition, I’ll link here to my previous comments but readers should revisit the entire thread. I have a sense Donald Rapp, perhaps inadvertently, has created the impression that tropospheric amplification is a creation of climate models – it’s not, but rather follows from the basic Clausius-Clapeyron relationship – nor is it a fingerprint of anthropogenic warming but also follows from surface warming from other forcings such as solar. In other words, if the surface warms, the mid- to upper troposphere should warm somewhat faster in the absence of some anomalous upper tropospheric phenomenon regardless of why the surface has warmed, and so it doesn’t distinguish between causes of surface warming. Multiple techniques have been employed to measure this, and differ in their conclusions, but it’s fair to say that the faster warming, if it exists, has not been clearly demonstrated. It’s also clear that all the methodologies suffer from significant technical problems.

    If the upper troposphere has not warmed faster, the most logical place to look is at the change in specific humidity at that altitude. Lack of amplification would be surprising if relative humidity (RH) has remained constant with warming, but less surprising if any increase in absolute humidity (well documented) has not kept pace with temperature, so that RH has declined. The data are conflicting on this, with Minschwaner and Dessler in 2004 reporting increasing specific humidity but insufficient to prevent a decline in RH, while Soden et al in 2005 reported evidence for a constant RH.

    In a direct sense, tropospheric amplification is a manifestation of a negative feedback – the lapse rate feedback – because it depends on latent heat release at high altitudes. On the other hand, a reduction in RH could also contribute, and so the total effect on feedback is unclear and perhaps small. In this regard, it is interesting that a model, CCSM3, with smaller positive feedback effects projected a greater tropospheric amplification than a subsequent model, CCSM4, characterized by larger positive feedback.

    This is an important area that deserves further evaluation. On the other hand, I don’t think it should be viewed as a surrogate for the role of anthropogenic contributions to surface warming vis-a-vis other warming mechanisms.

    • Fred,

      I hate to ask such an open-ended and briefly thought question on a technical thread like this, but how can what you’re saying be true, that the tropospheric hot spot is a feature of any surface warming? On the one hand, I see your point about latent heat, but what about the differential absorption of IR by CO2 at higher altitudes – and the fact that in the high troposphere, more bandwidth is available for absorption by CO2?

      • Bill – The mechanism leading to a prediction of tropospheric amplification is increased evaporation of water from a heated surface regardless of the cause. When the increased water vapor reaches colder (higher) altitudes, it condenses, releasing more in the way of latent heat and thus leading to a warmer upper troposphere

        The high altitude absorption of IR by CO2 contributes to the overall atmospheric and surface warming, but does not disproportionately warm higher altitudes. In fact, the reverse is true – an increase in CO2-mediated warming will often disproportionately warm lower altitudes, but this disproportion is erased by upward convection of warm air so that the original lapse rate (temperature change with altitude) is restored. It is therefore the latent heat release that creates disproportionate warming aloft.

      • I should add that it’s not clear to me what are the relative contributions of different mechanisms to the tendency of a warmed atmosphere to require upward convection to erase the instability due to low altitude warming (also, it is not invariable in all circumstances). Among the contributors should be the increased buoyancy of air that is richer in water vapor (i.e, closer to a surface value for relative humidity), as well as the low altitude warming effect of increased water vapor itself via IR absorption. In general, the convective effect appears to be predicted mainly in atmospheres with a water vapor component (or equivalent), and with lapse rates that are determined by the condensible component such as water vapor. An atmosphere with CO2 as the only IR absorber would be expected to behave differently.

      • Fred,

        In your 10:35 pm and 11:11 pm comments you have told us that there is no way to predict the effect of a doubling of the CO2 concentration. It is a small increase in “forcing” that may … or may do the opposite.

      • Fred Moolten – You say “if the surface warms, the mid- to upper troposphere should warm somewhat faster” but that “the faster warming, if it exists, has not been clearly demonstrated“.

        Surely the lack of TT warming as described by Donald Rapp is evidence that it does not warm faster, and hence is a disproof of that theory.

        But wrt AGW and natural climate, there are some further differences. You say the supposed TT warming effect “doesn’t distinguish between causes of surface warming“, and in a very narrow sense that may be true. Nevertheless there are differences between the AGW conjecture and natural climate. In the AGW conjecture, the initial warming by CO2 is, as you point out, spread across a range of altitudes. None of the warming occurs at the surface. Yet solar warming is heavily concentrated at the surface. Therefore the TT warming should be more marked if the AGW conjecture is correct. The lack of (more) TT warming is therefore particularly harmful to the AGW conjecture.

        There is a third source of warming in the AGW conjecture, as expressed by the IPCC report : positive cloud feedback. I have no idea at what altitude this is supposed to occur, but it seems reasonable to suppose that it too occurs across a range of altitudes, thus increasing the probability the AGW conjecture is wrong.

        Frankly, the idea of positive cloud feedback has always seemed to me to be complete tosh, so maybe no-one takes it seriously any more? There don’t seem to be many references to it nowadays.

      • Mike – Because of upward convective adjustments that tend to restore an adiabatic lapse rate if the surface warms too fast, solar and ghg forcing are not expected to result in very different tropopospheric profiles, but with the main difference in the stratosphere, as shown in Fiigure 12.5 or the TAR. Cloud feedback long term (e.g. over decades) probably differs from short term (1-2 years or less) variations, and is probably positive, with both the HIRS and ISCCP observational data consistent with model projections, although this still remains a subject of some uncertainty.

      • “…although this still remains a subject of some uncertainty.”

        It remains a subject of complete confusion and application of inappropriate analyses, and the judgment that it is “probably positive” is taken from average outcomes of those inappropriate analyses. In other words, it is complete tosh.

        The long term cloud feedback is undeniably negative.

      • Bartemis – You made that statement about cloud feedback previously, and I responded previously (a few weeks ago), including observational data reinforcing the theoretical inferences that cloud feedback is probably positive for long term forcings such as those from CO2. It may or may not be positive for short term, ENSO-based cloud variations. If you have new evidence since then, it would be worth reviewing, but otherwise, you should review what I said then.,

      • “…and I responded previously…”

        And, I rebutted your response.

      • Fred Moolten,

        “Bill – The mechanism leading to a prediction of tropospheric amplification is increased evaporation of water from a heated surface regardless of the cause. When the increased water vapor reaches colder (higher) altitudes, it condenses, releasing more in the way of latent heat and thus leading to a warmer upper troposphere”

        This is speculative or complete nonsense. Latent heat of water vapor was released to space directly rather than warming up the of upper troposphere

      • Sam – You have discovered a new principle of physics by which heat, in some mysterious, non-infrared form, can evade the CO2, clouds, and water vapor in the upper troposphere (and a bit in the stratosphere also) and completely escape to space without interception.

      • “Sam – You have discovered a new principle of physics by which heat, in some mysterious, non-infrared form, can evade the CO2, clouds, and water vapor in the upper troposphere (and a bit in the stratosphere also) and completely escape to space without interception.”

        Telescopes which measure infrared spectrum are put on high mountain and airplanes are used to measure infrared spectrum
        Quotes:
        Infrared Telescopes
        “Where can I purchase an infrared telescope for backyard use?
        You can’t. Most infrared light from celestial sources is absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere….
        Why can’t I use commercially available infrared film to photograph astronomical objects with an amateur telescope?
        You can! But be aware that this film is responsive to near-infrared light that is just beyond the red end of the visible-light spectrum (around 1 micron)….
        ….
        Which astronomical observatories are capable of observing in the narrow sliver of near-infrared light that is accessible from the ground?

        In theory, any ground-based telescope located on a high mountain and in a very dry climate can observe the cosmos at near-infrared wavelengths. Many of the large optical observatories located around the world are also able to conduct some near-infrared measurements using special refrigerated science instruments.

        Is it true that infrared astronomy can be done from airplanes?

        Yes. By getting above most of the Earth’s obscuring atmosphere, it is possible to conduct infrared astronomical observations from airborne telescopes. However, these airplanes must fly at altitudes above 12-13 kilometers (40,000 feet), or somewhat higher than most commercial flights.
        http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/ask_astronomer/faq/obs.shtml

        What temperature emits 1 miron [1000 nm]?
        600 K [326.85 C] emits some:
        http://chyp.erc.wisc.edu/tools/planck.php
        But infrared photography is .7 to .9 miron
        so need 700 K

        Mercury gets to 465°C (870 F) other than that, stars will emit this
        wavelength. But other objects can reflect sunlight in this range.

        “In infrared photography, the film or image sensor used is sensitive to infrared light. The part of the spectrum used is referred to as near-infrared to distinguish it from far-infrared, which is the domain of thermal imaging. Wavelengths used for photography range from about 700 nm to about 900 nm. ”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_photography

        So the visible light and near-infrared [which is most of the energy of sunlight] can pass thru the atmosphere and can be reflected out of the atmosphere.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_Spectrum.png
        indicates how much near-infrared from the sun is prevented by H2O from reaching the earth surface [and it also would not permit it pass back thru atmosphere].
        So earth atmosphere isn’t opaque near-infrared and above the troposphere it isn’t opaque to much of anything- Ozone layer is opaque some ultraviolet light spectrum.

      • Fred – there is so much uncertainty around this whole issue that, while I am prepared to accept much of what you say re upward convective adjustments etc, the TT measurements clearly show that the models have got it wrong overall. [As an aside : the only times when the TT does warm faster than the surface are around El Ninos. That should tell us something.]
        Figure 12.5 in TAR is presumably superceded by Figure 9.1 in AR4.

        I seriously doubt whether the models have got anything at all right wrt clouds. My personal opinion is that a major driver of clouds is likely to prove to be GCRs [not necessarily the only one, eg. ocean oscillations might have some effect]. Svensmark’s theory is holding up well, with several series of experiments supporting it, and the space between the dots is now not very great. The uncertainty there is now surely way way below the uncertainty wrt the “parametrization” [fiddle factors] of clouds in the models.

      • Figure 12.5 in TAR is presumably superceded by Figure 9.1 in AR4.

        Mike – I think you have probably misunderstood the cosmic ray results and other cloud data, but because these have been discussed extensively elsewhere, I don’t want to repeat the discussions here. I only quoted your statement above to make the point that those two figures don’t conflict in any way, although what they model is not identical. The TAR figure is the better one for illustrating that the source of warming (solar vs ghgs) has almost no effect on the tropospheric profile but results in major differences in stratospheric temperature responses.

      • Fred,

        and the Stratosphere has been flat for about 16 years!!

      • Leonard Weinstein

        Fred,
        “The mechanism leading to a prediction of tropospheric amplification is increased evaporation of water from a heated surface regardless of the cause” is a non-starter. For a start, the measured pan evaporation level generally decreased over much of the period leading up to and including the 90’s. However, the issue is even more complex. It is the increase in absolute water vapor content through the troposphere that is required for positive feedback. The humidity (both relative and absolute) is not directly dependent on just temperature and potential evaporation, it also depend on condensation and resulting rain, and the resulting balance. The direct measure of absolute humidity is needed to resolve this issue. It is far from resolved.

      • The increase in absolute water vapor content as a function of warming has been repeatedly demonstrated and is not controversial. Some controversy persists for upper tropospheric relative humidity (RH), in that Minschwaner and Dessler (2004) found the increase in absolute humidity to be too small to maintain RH, while Soden et al in Science 2005 reported evidence for a constant RH. The increase in absolute humidity was not in dispute in that disagreement and appears well confirmed once the data from satellite measurements is incorporated into reanalysis estimates. This issue has also been addressed by Dessler and Davis 2010.

        Pan evaporation is profoundly affected by wind speed (reduced during polar amplification of a warming trend), particularly when the evaporation setup is surrounded by an environment with relatively low humidity (e.g., a land-based environment). It is not an indicator of global evaporation rates or potential.

    • Fred,
      How many failed AGW predictions will you rationalize before you finally recognize there is a significant issue regrding what is promoted about climate crisis and reality? How many times will you read admissions from the climatocracy themselves that they are not correct before you can accept that it is dead, Jim.

    • Fred Moolten:I have a sense Donald Rapp, perhaps inadvertently, has created the impression that tropospheric amplification is a creation of climate models – it’s not, but rather follows from the basic Clausius-Clapeyron relationship – nor is it a fingerprint of anthropogenic warming but also follows from surface warming from other forcings such as solar.

      Are you saying that the following quote misrepresents Santer et al (2005)? Santer et al. (2005) emphasized that “a robust feature” of climate models is that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations will amplify warming in the middle and upper tropical troposphere (compared to the surface)

      This is an opportunity for me to remind readers that the Calusius-Clapayron relationship is an equilibrium thermodynamic result, independent of the mechanism of heat transport; it may not apply to any section of longitude that is warming up and cooling off every day.

      • Matt – the models quantify tropospheric amplification but the effect itself is derived from C-C. It is expected, as Santer states, from increasing ghgs, but also from other causes of surface warming such as solar – see, for example, TAR Figure 12.5. We’re still not sure whether or not it’s occurring, but if it isn’t, it is most likely because we are less certain of what is happening in the upper troposphere with regard to water vapor than we need to be for an accurate estimate of how that altitude will behave as a consequence of climate warming.. It is not a good indicator of warming per se, nor as accurate a guide to climate sensitivity as more direct indicators.

      • What was the point of the Santer (2011) rebuttal? Did they insist that their analysis was irrelevant to the issue of whether GHGs were causing warming?

      • How does this relate to the upper troposphere?

        As far as I know, no-one disputes that GHGs have been causing warming. The point that is sometimes overlooked regarding upper tropical troposphere temperature is that its rate of warming is not specific to GHGs but is a function of surface warming in general, including solar warming. I’m unaware of any claims within climate science that it is specific – a “fingerprint” – of GHG mediated warming. This seems to be a misconception generated and perpetuated mainly in the blogosphere.

      • The stratospheric cooling has stalled as well of course since 1995. And the ocean heat content since accurate records became available in 2003. The combination of these 3 missing fingerprints should have been the end of the argument.

        There are any number of post hoc excuses as to why things didn’t go the way you expected. But it is important to acknowledge that they didn’t rather than pretend the pause was not a surprise.

        Because it justs looks like too many people are just making things up as they go along because the hypothesis of thermageddon is just too enticing.

    • Dessler et al. (GRL, 2008) attempted to derive water feedback sensitivity by comparing data on global temperature and humidity during the winter months of 2006–2007 and 2007– 2008. However, Christy demonstrated a strong correlation of global temperature with an El Niño index since 1978, and particularly for 2006–2008. Dessler et al. (GRL, 2008) also found a good correlation of global temperature with an ENSO index for 2006–2008. Hence it seems clear that global temperature changes for 2006–2008 were driven primarily by changes in the oceans, and changes in humidity during that period were not a cause of global temperature change, but an effect. The effect of changing CO2 concentration and putative water vapor greenhouse effect are buried in the noise of a much stronger signal due to El Niño variability during these years. Therefore it is physically impossible to derive a water feedback sensitivity from data limited to these two winters. Yet, Dessler et al. claim that they have done so and quote a value in agreement with climate models. This seems impossible to this writer. They then reached the rather incredible conclusion:

      “The existence of a strong and positive water-vapor feedback means that projected business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions over the next century are virtually guaranteed to produce warming of several degrees Celsius.”

      This conclusion is utterly unsupportable from the analysis of a mere two winters’ data controlled by El Niño activity.
      Dessler et al. (JGR, 2008) analyzed a mere one month’s data in 2005 to infer clear-sky top-of-atmosphere outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) and its relationship to humidity. It is not clear to this writer that this paper sheds any light on water feedback sensitivity.
      The work by Soden et al., Santer et al. and Dessler et al. and others shows great ingenuity in ferreting out information from very limited amounts of data, some of which is of uncertain reliability. But ultimately, the credibility of their results is limited by the scarcity of good long-term data. Parameters such as humidity and cloudiness vary widely from day-to-day and year-to-year even in the absence of any forcing. In attempting to determine how these parameters respond to a forcing, one must have data over very long periods to overcome the low signal-to-noise rations inherent in them. The same problem occurs in sea level measurements. However, whereas climatologists studying sea level have emphasized the need for very long-term data, those who infer feedbacks from humidity and cloudiness seem to be content with very short-term data.
      Aside from the science and pseudoscience involved in these analyses, there are social issues as well. The alarmists refer to their interpretation of climate science as simply “climate science”. It is not one interpretation. It is THE CLIMATE SCIENCE – in their view. We see evidence of this in many publications and press releases. In particular, in regard to the effect of clouds, Dessler said: “In recent papers, Lindzen and Choi (2011), and Spencer and Braswell (2011) have argued that … clouds are the cause of, and not a feedback on, changes in surface temperature. If this claim is correct, then significant revisions to climate science may be required”. In other words, he regards “climate science” as that which the orthodoxy subscribes to. It is not his interpretation of climate science – IT IS CLIMATE SCIENCE!

      • Donald – Although the magnitude of water vapor feedback is still somewhat uncertain, that it is strongly positive is now established from multiple studies, including multidecadal studies. The Lindzen/Choi, Spencer/Braswell, Dessler studies address mainly ENSO-related events, and their results can’t be extrapolated to the longer term. However, the conflicting claims for those studies involve primarily cloud feedback, for which the HIRS and ISCCP long term data are most consistent with a positive feedback and exclude a strong negative feedback. That may or may not be true for short term ENSO variations.

        I would like to suggest that you try to separate your ideology from an appraisal of the science. The ideology comes through in terms like “alarmist” and “pseudoscience”. The subjects you have addressed are ones where I don’t think you know the data in the literature well, and it would be a good idea to pursue that in more detail before making claims that are too dogmatic. That’s not to say you shouldn’t raise questions, but the answers you supply should probably be more tentative.

      • Dear FM:
        Thanks for your advice on ideology and your claims on my lack of knowledge of the literature. Take a look at my book: “Assessing Climate Change” published by Springer and note that there are more than 500 references in the book. In regard to ideology, why would anyone want to divert attention from the failure of climate models by arguing a silly point that solar forcing would also warm the troposphere, if it were not an attempt to defend AGW?
        As to: “Although the magnitude of water vapor feedback is still somewhat uncertain, that it is strongly positive is now established from multiple studies, including multidecadal studies” – all I can say is baloney.

      • Donald – I’m not trying to be rude, but your comment speaks for itself.

      • Dear Fred:
        You may not be trying to be rude, but you are succeeding admirably. Who made you the reigning expert on climate change? You maintain that I am not familiar with the literature but my book shows that I am familiar. How familiar with the literature are you, and what did you ever do in climate change? This kind of exchange is why I rarely participate in blogs. In fact, this is my last entry in this one.
        My comments do speak for themselves as do yours. It is evident that you are defending AGW by arguing that failure of climate models to agree with data on TA does not preclude AGW. That may be true, but so what? Climate models are the main basis for AGW and if they fail in one important matter I think they do become suspect in all – despite your arguments to the contrary. Tropospheric temperatures over the past 32 years are better represented by a meandering pattern fitted to El Nino indices and volcanic eruptions than they are to an upward linear trend plus short-term noise. There is little evidence of AGW in tropospheric temperatures.

      • Well, Donald, I’m not trying to drive you out of the blogosphere and you should certainly feel welcome to participate again. However, yes, I am more familiar with the literature than you are if your post and comments are representative, including your most recent statement about tropospheric temperatures of the last 32 years as well as what seems to be your unfamiliarity with an abundance of evidence not dependent on complex climate models. In any case, there are readers here familiar with the data who can draw their own conclusions.

        From your biography, I believe that in addition to following the literature (maybe about 1-2 dozen different journals each month to glance at) you appear to have a sufficient background to enhance your understanding of climate change and geophysics from some good text sources. One that I like is Raymond Pierrehumbert’s “Principles of Planetary Climate”(2011). That would give you a thorough basis for evaluating the science in more detail, and would help dispel some of the Internet myths that you may have imbibed. A very brief and simplified presentation of some basic concepts is found in Raypierre’s Physics Today article. This will give you an overview, but the book, of course, is far more comprehensive and rigorous, and addresses a much broader array of subject matter.

      • Interesting book Donald. Paging through it, the book looks like a comprehensive review of work done by the communities, both research and skeptic. Also lots of opinion added here and there which I think would make for a lively read.

        Could you describe your original or novel contributions to the research? I am asking because it would be nice to know if there is anything new besides the available archival info before having to shell out $179 on Amazon for a copy.

      • Dear WebHubTelescope:
        I was highly disappointed that my book “Assessing Climate Change” is so expensive. It was not intended to be fundamentally original but rather to be a broad and complete summary of most aspects of climate change. If you are already up on the literature, you may not find it worth purchasing. For the past two years, I have been working full time on preparing a third edition for late 2012 by reading everything I can find as new papers come out each month. I continue to do this even today.

        In the Third Edition I have added more than 300 new references, over 200 manuscript pages of new text, and 120 new or revised figures. Particularly notable are the following additions:

        · Additional data and discussion related to the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.
        · Information and discussion of so-called “climategate” revelations
        · Further revelations on manipulations of proxy data and the “hockey stick”
        · Expanded coverage of the connection of climate to El Niños
        · Updated data on global and regional temperatures
        · Data and discussion of weather extremes
        · Expanded data and discussion of mountain glacier retreat
        · Greatly expanded treatment of Earth heat balance
        · Greatly expanded treatment of global warming due to CO2
        · Expanded discussion of humidity and cloudiness effects
        · Inclusion of Spencer and Eschenbach models
        · Extensive discussion of estimates of climate sensitivity from paleo geological data
        · Updates on heat content of the oceans
        · Greatly expanded treatment of climate forcings
        · Expanded discussion of models for future emissions
        · Expanded discussion of the role of black carbon
        · Greatly expanded treatment of sea level change
        · Greatly expanded treatment of sea ice extent
        · Comparison of Holocene to previous deglaciations
        · Expanded discussion of “Stern Report” and other economic analysis of remediation of climate change

        If you are a serious scientist and have a specific interest, I would be happy to email pdfs of a couple of relevant chapters of the third edition to you gratis.

        Donald Rapp

      • It’s interesting that from time to time we see claims that the warming of recent decades is simply the consequence of a few jumps in El Nino without a true externally forced warming trend (El Nino is a heat redistribution phenomenon whereby more than average subsurface ocean heat is expressed on the surface and thus transmitted from the ocean to the atmosphere).

        In this regard, it’s worth looking at the ocean heat content data showing that the top 700 m of the ocean has gained about 10^23 joules of heat since 1980. The question arises – “Where did those 10^23 joules come from?” There is evidence that the deeper ocean has also gained heat during recent decades as well, and so the answer must lie elsewhere.

        I see these claims as an example of how it can be misleading to make judgments based on inspection of a single piece of evidence without considering the other relevant sources of information.

      • @WebHubTelescope&Donald Rapp…

        I just went and looked at Amazon, and it seems if you’re in the continental US you can get it for about $30.00US by Friday, with fulfillment by Amazon if you order it within 10-20 hours.

      • Unfortunately that bargain price applies to the first edition. The second edition was a big upgrade.

      • I didn’t see the $30 Amazon version but I did see some used ones available for $10 to $12. May try that route.

      • Bargain prices apply only to first edition which is pretty much out of date.

      • Donald Rapp,

        Hopefully you will be able to publish by next year or you may need to modify your glacier section with growing glaciers. The Rockies have a number of glaciers that have started adding size instead of shrinking after the last three winters with heavy snows and incomplete melts. Europe, NZ and AU I believe have a few that have been adding a little also!! 8>)

      • Fred Moolten – you say “Although the magnitude of water vapor feedback is still somewhat uncertain, that it is strongly positive is now established from multiple studies, including multidecadal studies.” yet in spite of a fairly lively discussion you provide no links to those studies.

        In another comment, you refer to “evidence that the deeper ocean has also gained heat during recent decades” without a link. I would ask you to recognise that (1) it is the only part of the ocean now not measured so it is the only place left for those desperate to find an exceptional warming, (2) if such warming has indeed gone into the deeper ocean, then the onset of CAGW will be delayed by many centuries, and (3) if this does occur then we will have run out of fossil fuels centuries before they can bring on the feared catstrophe.

      • Mike – You’ll have to forgive me for not repeating references given so many times before that they are familiar to most readers. You can find many water vapor references in this thread, including those to Dessler and Davis, Minschwaner and Dessler, Soden et al, etc. but they are only a small fraction of the total.. Deep ocean heat content changes have in fact been measured and shown to be somewhat faster than previously estimated, but I didn’t give a link because the only point I was making is that the ocean has been gaining heat – that heat has to come from somewhere and there is no place in the climate system to supply it. That means it must come from an imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy.

      • Fred: If you read Section 5.2.2.4 (Water vapor as a greenhouse gas) of the Third Edition of my book Assessing Climate Change (when it comes out at the end of 2012) you will find very detailed discussions contrary to your supercilious, holier than thou assertions as you reside on Mt. Olympus hurling down snide thunderbolts at us mere mortals. A few short excerpts:
        If realclimate.org is correct in its claim that changes in humidity and clouds produce between 66% and 85% of the temperature change induced by greenhouse gas emissions, then pinning down changes in humidity and clouds as a consequence of CO2 emissions is the crucial issue in predicting future climate change. The question of how credible climate models are in making such predictions then revolves about how well they account for changes in humidity and cloudiness. In my book, I review Held and Soden (2000), Soden et al. (2005), Del Genio (2002). All that Soden showed was that humidity apparently went through a step function after the El Nino of 1998. The relation to AGW remains nebulous. I also reviewed Minschwaner and Dessler (2004), Minschwaner, Dessler, and Sawaengphokhai (2006) who did not find large temperature increases due to increases in humidity. An important analysis of the effect of CO2 on climate was made by Lindzen (1997). He made two points: (1) the tropics lose heat by processes other than radiation, and (2) meridional heat transfer is much greater than putative CO2 forcing. Lindzen pointed out that increases in humidity in tropical regions of high humidity have small effects on climate. Lindzen and co-workers (2001, 2007) have studied this and made four major points: (1) The cloud and water vapor feedbacks are intimately connected. (2) Feedbacks are primarily associated with changing areas of moist and cloudy regions vs. regions that are dry and cloud-free (as opposed to mean humidity). (3) Models must have spatial and temporal scales (5–10 km and hours) characteristic of clouds in order to evaluate feedbacks. (4) The effect of cumulus activity must be included. A simplistic model that merely treats humidity as a global average that increases when surface temperatures rise, that ignores regional changes in humidity, and crudely treats clouds will always overestimate the temperature rise due to increased CO2. Dessler et al. (GRL, 2008) attempted to derive water feedback sensitivity by comparing data on global temperature and humidity during the winter months of 2006–2007 and 2007– 2008. . The effect of changing CO2 concentration and putative water vapor greenhouse effect are buried in the noise of a much stronger signal due to El Niño variability during these years. Therefore it is physically impossible to derive a water feedback sensitivity from data limited to these two winters. Yet, Dessler et al. claim that they have done so and quote a value in agreement with climate models. This seems impossible to this writer. They then reach the rather incredible conclusion:

        “The existence of a strong and positive water-vapor feedback means that projected business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions over the next century are virtually guaranteed to produce warming of several degrees Celsius.”

        This conclusion is utterly unsupportable from the analysis of a mere two winters’ data controlled by El Niño activity.
        Dessler et al. (JGR, 2008) analyzed a mere one month’s data in 2005 to infer clear-sky top-of-atmosphere outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) and its relationship to humidity. It is not clear to this writer that this paper sheds any light on water feedback sensitivity.
        Gettleman and Fu (2008) analyzed the changes in humidity produced by temperature changes from 2002 to 2007. As before, temperatures during this period appear to have been determined by El Niño variability, and changes in water vapor content appear to be effects of this temperature change. There is little or no connection to heating produced by CO2 and water feedback sensitivity does not seem to be derivable from this work. Dessler wins the prize for drawing the most conclusions from the least data.

        Since July 1983, global cloud cover has been monitored by The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP). The website http://www.climate4you.com provides some of their data. One interesting result is that the total column water vapor concentration in the atmosphere remained flat from 1983 to 1998, and then decreased after 1998. This is in contrast to the prediction of climate models that the water vapor concentration would increase as the Earth warms. Figure 5.6a shows that relative humidity at 3 km and 9 km altitude decreased as the Earth warmed in the late 20th century, whereas climate models have assumed that the relative humidity would increase. The near-surface humidity meandered but has not increased since 1950.

        ISCCP measurements indicate that total global cloud cover was in the range 67%-69% from 1983 to 1990, decreased to about 65% from 1990 to 2000, and varied from 65% to 67% from 2000 to 2010. Hence, cloud cover did not appear to vary in any consistent way. Figure 5.6b indicates that on balance, warmer temperatures were associated with lower cloud cover. However, there is very wide scatter in the data and furthermore, most of the data at high cloud cover were prior to 1990, whereas most of the data at the high end were after 1990. Other factors than temeprature may well have caused the changes in cloud cover. Here, we have a chicken and egg problem. Was the increased temperature driven by greenhouse gases and reduced cloud cover a consequence of greenhouse-induced warming? Or, did the cloud cover change for other reasons, resulting in warmer temperatures when there was less cloudiness?

      • Mike – Here’s one deep ocean warming reference (J. Climate 2010). There are a few others I could retrieve with more time. Again, though, the only point I was making was that the upper ocean heat content gain couldn’t have come from deep ocean heat loss, because the deep ocean was gaining heat.

      • Joachim Seifert

        J.Hansen figured out that the missing heat 2000 to 2011 is hiding in the deep ocean! What does your deep ocean warming reference say?
        1. “rate of deep ocean warming = 0.002 C/yr.” , while
        2. “Accuracies for WOCE stations are BELIEVED to be 0.002 C for
        temperature…..”
        This 2 thousands part of 1 C with this given accuracy shall make us believe what Hansen says? Why dont you sit in your bathtub and I will add 0.002 C and you will feel much better, I believe…..

      • Donald – You’ve made several misstatements, but your long narrative ignored the comment I made above, which pointed out that your implication that ENSO could have contributed much of the multidecadal temperature rise is incorrect. The many other issues you touch on can’t be dealt with in a thread like this, but I already mentioned your confusion between conclusions about very short term climate responses and longer term responses to CO2 or other persistent forcings, as well as your misconception that we can’t arrive at climate sensitivity range estimates without getting them from the GCMs. You can find all that within this thread.

        If you want to write a book as a partisan with a predetermined slant on climate change, that’s fine, although you won’t be the first. If you want to write something of value to individuals seeking an objective treatment that covers the topic in depth, you don’t yet have nearly the background to do that and it shows. My example above related to ocean heat content is an illustration of that point.

      • Fred: You don’t have the background to determine whether I have the background. I have a Ph. D. in physical chemistry, 75 peer reviewed publications in journals like the Journal of Chemical Physics, I was full professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Texas by the time I was 40. I taught Physical Chemistry (including the CC equation) for years. I was a fellow of the APS, and I have read 800 papers on climate in the past seven years. You are full of misstatements and misconceptions, you smug prig. What is your background?

      • Joachim – Could you quote the Hansen claim that you describe, along with a link and/or reference to the paper where it appears? Are you sure you’re not confusing Hansen with a different author? It’s not that I think Hansen is always right, but I hadn’t read that particular claim from him about missing heat. If he made it, I’d like to read his justification.

      • Donald – The evidence that your background is inadequate to write a detailed, informative book on climate science has nothing to do with your biography but is evident in what you’ve written here. Your latest comment attacks me without conceding your earlier mistake in attributing most warming since 1980 to ENSO or similar phenomena. That is a testament neither to an adequate background or your objectivity. You may not want to hear that, but readers who know some of this stuff will be able to make their judgments regardless of what you or I say.

        If you want to tone down the rhetoric and respond to very specific items that have been raised without trying to debate all of climate science, I’ll try to provide my perspective. That’s the best I can do.

      • Also, Donald, don’t misunderstand me – I respect your background in those areas where you have operated professionally (JPL and so on). I can’t really judge your contributions but I doubt you would have attained the positions you did if you weren’t competent. For climate change, you’re operating in an area outside of your credentials, and even if that difference doesn’t seem obvious to you, I think it will to well-informed observers. who read what you write.

      • OK, sorry, never mind.

    • FM wrote: Three questions regarding mid-troposphere (MT) temperature amplification (TA) are relevant:
      1) Is TA a creation of climate models?
      2) Is TA a test of model skill?
      3) Is TA a test of the principles of anthropogenic global warming?
      FM argued that the answers are No, Partly, and No, and that a proper understanding of what TA does not tell us about climate change is essential to seeing it in an accurate perspective. My response is Yes, Yes and Yes.

      1) FM argued: “Tropospheric amplification derives not from model simulations but from the quasi-exponential nature of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation that relates atmospheric water vapor capacity to temperature. Based on reasonable but not certain expectations that mid-troposphere (MT) humidity will parallel overall tropospheric humidity and increase to an extent that roughly maintains relative humidity, it can be predicted that latent heat release through MT condensation of water vapor should heat the MT more than the surface.”
      I say: The CC equation refers to a liquid and vapor in a closed container at equilibrium. It does not necessarily apply to atmospheric water vapor. In any event if climate models use the CC equation, then TA is a creation of climate models from that use.
      2) FM argued: “Although basic geophysics rather than models predicts TA, its quantitation (sic) is model-based. Therefore, the accurate or inaccurate replication by models of observed MT temperature trends … tells us something about their skill in simulation an important element of climate dynamics”.
      I agree with FM except I would not use the word “partly”.
      3) FM argued that TA would result from any cause of surface warming. He said: ” An inaccurate estimate of TA would signify an inadequate understanding of the details of MT dynamics, but is not a test of AGW.”
      I say that if TA is not properly predicted by climate models, this casts doubt on the veracity of the models. Since the models are the principal basis for alarmism due to putative AGW, then the arguments for draconian reductions in greenhouse gases are based on shaky foundations.

      FM went on to say: “I have a sense Donald Rapp, perhaps inadvertently, has created the impression that tropospheric amplification is a creation of climate models – it’s not, but rather follows from the basic Clausius-Clapeyron relationship – nor is it a fingerprint of anthropogenic warming …”
      I say: TA is a creation of climate models. It is a result of climate models for whatever reasons, even the over simplified ones supplied by FM. While it is possible that non-AGW sources of warming might also produce TA ( the jury is out on this), AGW DOES predict TA and TA doesn’t occur in conformity with models of AGW.

      • In any event if climate models use the CC equation, then TA is a creation of climate models from that use.

        Climate models also include equations for gravity. Does that mean rain falling downwards is a creation of climate models?

        While it is possible that non-AGW sources of warming might also produce TA ( the jury is out on this), AGW DOES predict TA

        ‘AGW’ predictions of TA derive from GCM simulations. These GCM simulations also produce TA from equivalent solar forcing changes. If the jury is out they should get back in and pay attention to what’s being said.

      • Climate models do not create the CC equation nor do they create gravity. But they make predictions, and if the predictions do not hold up when compared to data, the climate models (whether they depend on the CC equation and gravity or not) fail. Solar forcing is a strawman. There is no contest going on between AGW and solar forcing – at least not in my mind. There are more things in heaven and earth than are contained in FM’s philosophy.

      • Paul S,

        you are repeating the apologia.

        1) from 79-98 there was an increase in solar forcing
        2) from 79-current there was an increase in CO2
        3) the models predict that ANY WARMING will cause the Hot Spot
        4) there has been no measurable hot spot

        we have only a few possibilities,

        1) the models are wrong
        2) the models overestimate the response to the forcings
        3) natural variability or something man made is masking that warming
        4) some combination of the above

        Basically whatever you want to blame it on tells us that the severity of the CO2 problem is NOT what has been claimed so 2 is definite and 3 is probable also. With the poor knowledge of aerosols and the improving knowledge of flux and cloud correlation I am leaning to clouds with the GCR tossed in also to overwhelm the small CO2 effect.

        Basically science has moved on and you dinosaurs are trying to stick with an outdated and outmoded belief structure.

      • Donald – If you believe the Clausius-Clapeyron equation doesn’t apply to the atmosphere, I’d have to say you don’t understand the physics very well. It is one critical element (of many) determining hydrologic behavior, including evaporation and precipitation rates, and the height, character, and persistence of clouds. You are also wrong about TA. The “jury” is not out on whether it emerges from non-AGW sources – it does, because it is a function of surface warming as discussed in my previous comments in this and other threads and quantitatively estimated by the models in the TAR and AR4. However, it is not a creation of the models, because it arises from more basic principles. You are also wrong in stating that AGW predicts TA – it doesn’t. There is no relationship between “anthropogenic” and the rate of warming in the mid and upper troposphere as a function of a surface warmed by anthropogenic activities.

        There appears to be a fallacy in your statements that has a formal and clever name – the “fallacy fallacy”. It is the notion that if some part of a complex argument is wrong or inaccurate, the entire set is unreliable or wrong. In this case, it’s the notion that if GCM type models don’t accurately estimate a particular phenomenon, they can’t be trusted in their estimates of other phenomena. This is clearly illogical, because the accuracy depends on the particular inputs and computations, will vary from one circumstance to another, and doesn’t preclude highly accurate assessment in specific cases. It must be evaluated on a case by case basis. The fallacy fallacy, however, seems to pervade certain aspects of Web discourse, and tends to stifle thoughtful analysis of many issues.

        I found your original post interesting, but it’s also clear that your familiarity with the relevant data is limited. Your recent comments tell me that you may be applying a strong bias to that limited understanding, which leads to some of the mistakes you’ve made. In any case, this topic has been discussed in this and previous threads as well as many venues elsewhere, and readers can review the comments and the literature on TA to make their own judgments.

      • The last word wins fallacy is also common on the web.

      • If you believe the Clausius-Clapeyron equation doesn’t apply to the atmosphere, I’d have to say you don’t understand the physics very well.

        I’d have to say that you can’t accept the simple point that equilibrium relationships can not be claimed to obtain in systems that are never in equilibrium.

        Why you think you are not rude is beyond me.

      • Matt – I don’t think it’s rude to point out that Clausius-Clapeyron is highly relevant to the behavior of water vapor in the atmosphere and the evaporation/precipitation/cloud formation cycles, even though equilibrium conditions are not a feature of atmospheric dynamics except for such things as atmospheric LTE.

      • Fred, not addressed to me: Your recent comments tell me that you may be applying a strong bias to that limited understanding, which leads to some of the mistakes you’ve made.

        Stuff like that makes me laugh. Why you think that quote isn’t not rude is a mystery.

      • Last word on equilibrium: at equilibrium, the ocean surface does not have waves, but in real time it has waves. Whether any wave is a large departure from the equilibrium depends on the purpose of your analysis and the scale by which you judge “large”. The arguably slight disequilbrium in the Pacific Ocean N.E. of Tokyo last March destroyed billions of dollars worth of buildings and killed thousands of people.

      • Fred: If you believe the Clausius-Clapeyron equation doesn’t apply to the atmosphere, I’d have to say you don’t understand the physics very well.

        Matt: How accurate is it [in describing the actual profile of absolute humidity in a column above a particular place]? Is it equally accurate during a calm sunrise, the build-up of thunderclouds, and the ensuing downpour? These are observations that you can make almost every day during the summer in the Philippines, on Guam and other places; you can make observations like this somewhat less regularly throughout the American Midwest, from the Appalachians to the Rockies

      • I should say, absolute humidity or anything else, since it gives the equilibrium saturation density as a function of temperature.

        One is tempted to say that the actual saturation density (affected by winds and such) can’t be too far from the equilibrium saturation density, but why not and how far is too far? By how much can the actual vapor density exceed the equilibrium saturation density, and for how long?

      • I say: The CC equation refers to a liquid and vapor in a closed container at equilibrium. It does not necessarily apply to atmospheric water vapor.

        Of course I like that very much, having written it several times myself.

        That was a good post.

  3. Donald Rapp

    Thanks for this (and prior) analyses.

    “a robust feature” of climate models is that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations will amplify warming in the middle and upper tropical troposphere (compared to the surface).

    The granularity of the models is such that it’s doubtful a few “robust features” are not sensitive to scale in unpredicted ways.

    Does this warming mean — at that finer granularity than the models are designed to deal in — temperature, or energy in some other form? Windspeed? Pressure? Lightning? State change? Restructuring of circulation of air to carry the tops of columns further from their surface point of origin in new and different ways?

    Absence of elusive evidence, due the difficulty of proving a negative, is generally discounted when reasoning about validity hypotheses.. though it can be of great value in forwarding the body of knowledge through prompting investigation to discover mechanisms that are actually at play.

    Would you accept the models as validated were this warming, in some guise, discovered?

    How too to correlate compared to surface? Do you compare globally, or point-by-point? With historical levels? (Where is the historical data from, and how reliable?) By column, as the models generate virtually, although actual ‘columns’ aren’t per se real?

    The models can robustly find this warming because the models reliably track cells of temperature data. There’s no reason the real world could or should be able to reproduce such tracking. Else, why bother with models in the first place?

    Maybe some proponents get tunnel vision from looking at computer screens too long and seeing too many confirmatory correlations. Still, the unfounded expression of confidence in robust predictions from models does not invalidate the model. It rather cautions the interpreter.

    Let’s face it, sillier things have been said and proven wrong, that when examined carefully were not suggested by the model in the first place, but by the exuberant researcher.

    As a matter of curiousity, do BEST results alter any of the analyses you’ve done, in any substantive way, if you replace your original temperature dataset with BEST?

    • The granularity of the models is such that it’s doubtful a few “robust features” are not sensitive to scale in unpredicted ways.

      I agree with that. It is a variation on my theme that the knowledge contains many (mostly small) inaccuracies that collectively produce large inaccuracies (too large to settle important questions.) I wish comments like this were widely disseminated before (exaggerated) claims by AGW proponents were disconfirmed. And with respect to rebuttals like Santer et al 2010, the climate scientists and journal reviewers should insist that the rebuttals recognize such granularity instead of doggedly defending overly precise and confident statements that were (inappropriately) made in the first place.

      • MattStat

        It’s always unsettling when someone agrees with me. I seldom agree with myself.

        Chaos Theory and Statistics contain a basic conflict. In Statistics, regression to the mean tells us some variances can be overcome by averaging; in CT, the butterfly tells us even one small difference can propagate to a vastly different effect.

        The question, when I’m asked to measure the length of the coastline, is what scale am I looking at? All the little fractal coves and turns at the millimeter scale disappear if I’m measuring only miles, and so my mile-measured coast is shorter than my millimetric one.. and better reflects travel time to sail the coast, where the fine-detailed mapping would frankly yield incorrect results, even with being more precise.

        The models aren’t built with sufficient granularity to produce fine detail. However, they’re built upon principles with pretty good accord to the systems they map in terms of the scale and span they examine for the purpose they’re built.

        Any experiment succeeds based on the skill of the experimental design at simplifying the process being modeled to eliminate confounding variables and clarify variables of interest.

        The classical experiments of the history of science, from dropping objects from tall towers to balancing oil drops on electric fields to bouncing alpha particles off thin metal foil, and on and on all do this. It’s not a failure of a climate model to successfully eliminate variables of little interest, but rather a success.

        It’s a failure of us to be debating the architectural style of the tower, the brand name of the oil the drop was made of, the color of the foil, or whether or not the models reproduce a detail of a relationship that is so difficult to confirm or disconfirm and so unimportant (as a sub-scale detail) in actual outcome at the scales the model operates on.

        I find some fault with the researchers reporting on their findings; they do from time to time seem to forget the first principles they so scrupulously observed in experimental design and conduct and reasoning and conclusion only to finally set down to writing their introduction to their paper and throwing out a silly ambiguity without proper foundation for the reader.

        I find more fault in readers who don’t think for themselves a bit moe, and check what the experiment did, not what the experimenter said.

        On the whole, experiments tell the story best when they speak for themselves.

      • Bart R: I seldom agree with myself.

        I know the feeling:

        The models aren’t built with sufficient granularity to produce fine detail. However, they’re built upon principles with pretty good accord to the systems they map in terms of the scale and span they examine for the purpose they’re built.

        I have not criticized all the principles. The Clausius-Clapayron relationship is a good principle. However, I have pointed out that, like other applied math in climate science, the mathematical relationship is not sufficiently accurate that we can use it for estimating the climate sensitivity. I used the example of laboratory blood tests where a degree of inaccuracy (25% relative mean square error) is good enough for most purposes. Climate models do not have the accuracy of Newton’s laws, which were accurate for some purposes, but required improvement (Lorentz-Fitzgerald contractions) for other purposes.

      • Chaos Theory and Statistics contain a basic conflict. In Statistics, regression to the mean tells us some variances can be overcome by averaging; in CT, the butterfly tells us even one small difference can propagate to a vastly different effect.

        This conflict exists, but they have to meet at some point when we are talking about fundamental behaviors such as conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, or energy balance in general. What this means is that chaos cannot generate states of the system that suck more energy out than is physically available. Massive amounts of chaos also implies that the states visited can also approach the ergodic limit, which means that all states are visited with a fair chance (the nonlinearity of chaos actually promotes this, see iterated maps used to replace random numbers for searching) . What constitutes fair? That has to do with the probability distributions of these energy states.

        This allows us to make the full circle equivalence between statistical mechanics and chaos theory. The important implication is then as Lacis says in describing the distinction between natural variations and overall energy balance arguments. In other words, all these chaotic disturbance are secondary to the first order effects that the energy constraints imply. Statistical physics with constraints are the best way to reduce the complexity. The natural variations will eventually average out of the system, should we decide to observe it for along enough. In the meantime, the climate scientists keep chugging along trying the best they can.

    • You misunderstand the point. The tropospheric hotspot would occur as a result of any surface warming. Look up ‘Lapse rate’ for more information. It’s basic physics, nothing to do with AGW or CO2 per se. Any sustained global surface warming will cause a tropospheric ‘hotspot’.

      • I did look up the lapse rate; the dry lapse rate is 3.05°C per 1,000 feet and the lapse rate is only 1.66°C per 1,000 feet. Now the model suggest that CO2 absorption of IR transfers heat to the atmosphere and is amplified by water. The models PREDICT that water vapor increases and so does atmospheric heat.
        The models are a hypothesis; the hypothesis has failed to describe reality.
        Dancing around this fact do not disguise that CO2 is in the atmosphere and that all the energy diagrams place its effects in the troposphere.

      • Doc,
        Yet here we have Fred Moolten dancing in a way to make Fred Astaire very impressed.

      • lurgee

        I agree I sidestep an important point.

        From the context I recall of the larger discussion before the “robust feature” of the 2005 paper, all manner of frankly bogus complaints and criticisms of the models were flying around, one of which (if I remember correctly) was, “well, the models can’t even recreate the TT hot spot that results when temperature rises at the surface.”

        The result that the models could reliably reproduce the expected (though poorly confirmed by actual observation) amplification if one actually looked for such in the model runs was considered by supporters of the models as another of the many independent confirmations of the skill of the models in simulating climate, not as a specific feature of AGW.

        So we have a wrong-if-you-do/wrong-if-you-don’t accusation aimed at AGW; if the models don’t reproduce Clausius-Clapeyron (as some critics before 2005 erroneously claimed) they’re wrong and automatically that’s ‘proof’ against AGW, if the models do show Clausius-Clapeyron they’re wrong because it’s an almost impossible to confirm observation about a vector between one shifting and complex space and another in a dynamically convoluted environment, lacking isomorphism or basis upon which to identify the dual so it’s never going to be found.

      • “The tropospheric hotspot would occur as a result of any surface warming, according to our models and understanding of the dynamics as applied to the Earth.”

        Fixed that for you. Now, given that surface warming has been observed, but no tropospheric hot spot, what does that tell you about the models and understanding? Should the community be advocating wrenching changes to the global economy based on the assumption that reality will eventually be found to be in agreement with the models?

      • If we are notdetecting a hotspot when we’re detecting sustained surface heating, then either all the thernometers on the surface are wrong in exactly the same way; or there is a troposhperic hot spot and we’re not able to detect it; or there is no trpopspherical hot spot, regardless of sustained surface warming. If the latter is correct, then a lot more fundamental atmospheric physics has been put into question than AGW. Doesn’t matter what caused the heating over the last 50 years – it should be producing a hotspot, whether it be CO2, the sun, or the Invisible Heat Demons. Surface heating should lead to a ‘hotspot’ due to the amplification effct of the changing lapse rate. It’s that simple – not hotspot = big problems all round.

      • Stephen Wilde

        An increase in the height of the tropopause actually does occur when the surface gets warmer hence no need for a tropospheric hot spot in the first place.

        I’m puzzled that anyone suggests the need for a hot spot to develop when the height of the tropopause is variable. Why is that ?

      • Nullius in Verba

        “I’m puzzled that anyone suggests the need for a hot spot to develop when the height of the tropopause is variable. Why is that?”

        Because *both* ought to happen?

        I don’t know why you think the raising of the tropopause would mean the lapse rate wouldn’t increase and the hot spot form as well.

        I hadn’t intended to pursue the question – I was still thinking about BEST – but you need a bit more detail about the details of the physics to change people’s minds.

      • Stephen Wilde

        Thank you, but why would ‘both’ have to happen ?

        The temperature at the higher levels would be higher than it was before but if it is part of the gradual temperature decline in accordance with the lapse rate then that wouldn’t make it a ‘hot’ spot.

        To my mind a hot spot would involve a temperature reversal or at the very least a temperature decline less than the lapse rate at some point..

        In the charts the hot spot is illustrated by a warmer temperature colour such as yellow which must imply that the temperature decline slows significantly from the slope of the lapse rate. Is that not the case ?

        If the rise in height of the tropopause simply maintains the lapse rate then how can there be a ‘hot’ spot ?

      • “Thank you, but why would ‘both’ have to happen ?”

        Because if there isn’t at least some change, there’s no reason for the height to increase?

      • Stephen Wilde

        The change that has to happen is simply a temperature increase at the surface.

        What we have seen is just such an increase at the surface but no sign of a hot spot.

        However it has been mentioned that the tropopause rose.

        So, again, why should there need to be both a hot spot AND a rise in the tropopause ?

      • Nullius in Verba

        The reason for the hotspot is that the adiabatic lapse rate decreases because of the extra humidity. The maximum gradient gets shallower and the difference in temperature between the upper and lower troposphere gets less.

        Thus, if the surface warms, and the difference between the cold upper levels and the warm surface reduces, then the upper levels have to warm more than the surface. They’re still very cold compared to the surface, but the cold is not quite so extreme.

        It also has the effect of pushing the tropopause up. There are a number of factors than tend to create a thermal gradient in the atmosphere, which tend to get steeper and more intense the nearer you get to the surface. The tropopause occurs when the thermal gradient that would otherwise be caused by all the other factors exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate – triggering convection to remove the excess. If the adiabatic lapse rate is reduced, then the limit will be met earlier, at a higher altitude.

        It’s not forming because you’re trying to fit a bigger temperature drop in the same space. It’s forming because humid air carries more latent heat, which is released into the air by dropping pressure, which means the temperature cannot drop as fast with altitude.

        Although of course observations tell us it’s not. My guess would be that although the warmer surface evaporates more water, for some reason it’s not spreading into the atmosphere generally. It’s getting rained out earlier, or from within smaller volumes. But the details of humidity and condensation get us into cloud physics, which is not well understood.

        Does that help?

      • Stephen Wilde

        Nullius, you said:

        “Thus, if the surface warms, and the difference between the cold upper levels and the warm surface reduces,”

        But in fact if the surface warms the temperature difference between the cold upper levels and the warm surface INCREASES doesn’t it ?

        So all that needs to happen to restore the gradient is to raise the height of the tropopause which did actually happen.

        So why does one need to see a hot spot as well ?

        I’m puzzled by your introduction of the humidity aspect. Humidity holds energy in latent form and therefore has no effect on sensible temperatures. Why do you think that is relevant ?

        Note that there are both wet and dry adiabatic lapse rates and additionally an ‘environmental’ lapse rate because in reality the actual lapse rate never accords with the theoretical adiabatic lapse rate for a variety of reasons.

        I sense confusion in your account but I can’t yet sort it out.

        Note that the tropopause occurs because ozone in the lower stratosphere absorbs solar energy, warms up, and reverses the adiabatic lapse rate.

        NOT ‘when the thermal gradient that would otherwise be caused by all the other factors exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate – triggering convection to remove the excess’.

        In fact convection occurs freely from surface to tropopause but the inversion caused by ozone in the stratosphere puts a lid on the height it can go.

        What actually happens is that a warmer surface gives more vigorous convection which punches into the stratosphere thereby raising the height of the tropopause to restore the lapse rate below the tropopause..

        A higher tropopause with a warmer surface is generally accepted is it not ?

        Why would there need to be a hot spot as well ?

        You would only get a hot spot if, somehow, the vigour of convection did NOT increase AND that increased vigour did NOT push higher into the stratosphere.

        Have you any evidence on that issue ?

      • “The change that has to happen is simply a temperature increase at the surface.”

        You can’t get something for nothing. There has to be at least some local change, or there is no reason for the height to increase. You seem to be describing some spooky action at a distance.

      • Stephen Wilde

        Not spooky at all. A warmer surface increases convection which pushes up the height of the tropopause.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “But in fact if the surface warms the temperature difference between the cold upper levels and the warm surface INCREASES doesn’t it?”

        No. Without the lapse rate change, the entire troposphere increases its temperature by the same amount, and the difference between upper and lower troposphere remains the same.

        “I’m puzzled by your introduction of the humidity aspect. Humidity holds energy in latent form and therefore has no effect on sensible temperatures. Why do you think that is relevant ?”

        I introduce it because that’s the mechanism by which the climate models predict a hotspot.

        Humidity holds energy in latent form at constant pressure. Change the pressure, and the dewpoint changes, leading to the condensation of the water and the release of that energy.

        “Note that there are both wet and dry adiabatic lapse rates”

        Yes, that’s exactly what we’re talking about. The wet lapse rate is different, and the wetter it is, the more different it is.

        “Note that the tropopause occurs because ozone in the lower stratosphere absorbs solar energy, warms up, and reverses the adiabatic lapse rate.”

        And ozone can only survive in the stratosphere because it is not being broken down by the moist, turbulent processes in the troposphere. It is the stratification and low rate of mixing that lets ozone build up. The ozone does not cause the lack of turbulence, it is a consequence of it.

        “What actually happens is that a warmer surface gives more vigorous convection”

        Convection is caused by a temperature difference, or gradient. If you warm everything by the same amount, the gradient and hence the convection stay the same.

        Convection transports heat/energy from hot to cold. If evaporation transports heat/energy as well, less convection is needed.

        “A higher tropopause with a warmer surface is generally accepted is it not?”

        Yes, because warmer air is moister and that changes the lapse rate.

      • Stephen Wilde

        “No. Without the lapse rate change, the entire troposphere increases its temperature by the same amount, and the difference between upper and lower troposphere remains the same.”

        But the lapse rate only needs to change if the height of the troposphere does not change and you have accepted that the height of the troposphere does change.

        I’ll give it more thought to see what I can extract from your comments.

      • Stephen Wilde

        Nullius,

        Am I right in thinking that you are saying that because humidity increases from more evaporation that will change the lapse rate leading to a hot spot in the upper troposphere due to the fact that although the height of the tropopause rises that rise is not sufficient to restore the pre existing lapse rate ?

        Thus the upper levels warm more than do the lower levels.

        If that is what you are saying, wouldn’t it be the case that condensation and precipitation would also increase in parallel with more evaporation preventing any increase in humidity ?

        The global humidity does seem to be very stable despite the recent tropospheric warming.

        So if we don’t see the expected hot spot and nor do we see much of a change in humidity doesn’t that suggest to you that in fact the change in the height of the tropopause is sufficient to restore the pre existing lapse rate ?

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Am I right in thinking that you are saying that because humidity increases from more evaporation that will change the lapse rate leading to a hot spot in the upper troposphere due to the fact that although the height of the tropopause rises that rise is not sufficient to restore the pre existing lapse rate?”

        The lapse rate changes because of the change in humidity, there’s no more to it than that. More humidity = lower lapse rate. Whether the tropopause rises or not, or whether there is any tropopause at all does not matter.

        And more humidity is simply the result of it being warmer – able to evaporate and hold more water.

        Look up moist adiabatic lapse rate, and see if you can see any mention of tropopause in the calculation of its value.

      • Stephen Wilde

        “Whether the tropopause rises or not, or whether there is any tropopause at all does not matter.”

        At that point I think we have to agree to disagree.

      • lurgee,
        Perhaps the issue is that the interpretation of the physics was not adequate, not that there are new or unusual physics to be discovered.

  4. Supporting your argument is an analysis by David Stockwell Stockwell asks: Is the Atmosphere Still Warming?
    David Stockwell applied the empirical fluctuation processes (EFP) analysis (from econometrics)
    to global temperature looking for breaks and trends. He find five segments between 1980 and 2010. These show R2=0.78 for a series of straight lines obtained by segmented regression compared to R2=0.66 for a single trend in the global temperature.

    “Most recently, three of the five data sets are at the lower boundary, indicating that at least the CRU, NOAA and RSS datasets have shifted away from the overall warming trend since 1978.”

    It may be useful to compare Stockwell’s analysis with Santer’s Fig. 4 above.

  5. Donald,

    I’m finding more and more that models are created and quoted from and yet ALL the parameters are not included.
    This then makes these models fail by needing constant adjusting to the real world.

  6. The 1998 step does stand out and seems to indicate a shift as suggested by Tsonis et al.

    The overlap with strat cooling seems pretty likely to impact noise, which is not always noise. I used a mid trop versus strat to better seperate the tempreature series (rather a large envelope overlap looking at the RSS site of adjacent levels.) That was pretty interesting as it seems to show a shift around 1994, I have forgotten most of my signal processing basics so that is an eyeball evaluation. Stare at something long enough and you can see nearly anything.

  7. Does the science of Santer have any credibility after CRUgate?

  8. Not a technical comment because I’m not qualified, but it does not cease to amaze me how much heavy lifting the believers are willing to do in order to explain why the data (that pesky, pesky date) just won’t behave. I’m still thinking of Paul Voosen’s piece in which he writes that the recent lacj of warming the AGW crowd is struggling to explain (more of that heavy lifting) “is a mystery that has given cover to forces arrayed against the reality of human-driven global warming.”

    Is that it in a nutshell or what? The notion that the theory might actually be wrong simply does not occur to them, while skeptics are part of some organized campaign to overthrow reality.. It’s a deeply twisted, manifestly paranoid world view. I’ve a relative with delusional disorder and he’s always making similar sounding claims about organized evil doers who are out to destroy the world. Facts don’t matter to him; t’s literally impossible to reason with him.

    • It’s a deeply twisted, manifestly paranoid world view.

      How can it be twisted when all one has to do is wait a few decades and see how it turns out? The data will unfold all on its own accord, and it sounds like it is you harboring some sort of paranoid delusions.

  9. Thanks for raising important questions.

    Could you explain the following paragraph? What does 0.7 ´ 0.5 mean?

    Thus we can roughly estimate the noise as ~ 0.7 times the full width of the range. Hence, the S/N ratio for ten-year durations is S/N ~ 0.19/(0.7 ´ 0.5) = 0.5 and for twenty-year durations is S/N ~ 0.2/(0.7 ´ 0.1) = 2.9. Santer et al. obtained S/N = 1 for ten-year durations and S/N = 2.9 for twenty-year durations.

    • Unfortunately, there were a few errors in translation from my Mac to the Curry website. The apostrophe should be a “times sign” (i.e.: an “x”). Also note that Figure 3.22a should be Figure 3.
      DR

  10. Fred Moolten has summarized the basics of the tropical troposphere and surface temperature problem quite nicely – that tropospheric warming is not an artifact of climate models, but follows directly from the basic Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. A warmer surface due to increased solar radiation, El Nino sea surface change, or the result of anthropogenic warming, will have the same effect. A warmer sea surface will lead to more evaporation, more water vapor aloft, more latent heat released when the water vapor condenses, which warms the atmospheric region where the water vapor condenses. This is the well-established negative lapse-rate feedback effect which reduces the steepness of the tropospheric temperature gradient.

    If ever there are observations that appear to cast doubt on the validity of the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, I would bet my money on the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship being correct, and would suggest instead that a closer look should be directed at the observations. Accurate measurement of the upper tropospheric temperature is a difficult task whether from the ground looking up, or from satellite platform looking down. Maintaining accurate calibration of radiosondes has been a perennial problem. There are similar concerns about calibration issues for satellite-based measurements, particularly when we are concerned about decadal long temperature trends.

    There is some hope on the horizon that before long ground based and satellite based GPS radio occultation measurements will be able to provide accurate temperature profiles (to within about 0.1°C).

    • Looks like our host has blown the lid off BEST, accusing Muller of “hide the decline” type antics in his statement that warming has not paused over the last 13 years. This is going to be gooooood. Popcorn please…

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/29/uh-oh-it-was-the-best-of-times-it-w

    • Fred Moolten has summarized the basics of the tropical troposphere and surface temperature problem quite nicely – that tropospheric warming is not an artifact of climate models, but follows directly from the basic Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. A warmer surface due to increased solar radiation, El Nino sea surface change, or the result of anthropogenic warming, will have the same effect.

      Why was this unknown when Santer et al (2005) made their statement and when Santer et al (2010) wrote their rebuttal. If it was known, why did not all their colleagues jump in and correct them? How did the rebuttal survive peer review?

      • Santer et al. (2011) was not really concerned with a possible disparity between surface and tropospheric temperatures. This paper is most concerned with attempting to show that just because there may be a decade-long period when temperatures meander and do not rise, that does not contradict the theory that underneath it all, an inexorable slow linear long-term rise in temperature occurs, obfuscated by annual noise. Santer et al. (2011) attempted to estimate the S/N ratio vs. duration of measurements and they concluded that at 17 years duration, S/N ~ 2.5. They therefore argue that periods shorter than 17 years during which T meanders do not contradict the belief system that the underlying T rise is linear in time. However, there is no demarcation cliff at 17 years. Shorter times have lower S/N and longer times have higher S/N. Whether T changes long-term in steps or linearly or otherwise will always be difficult to tell because of the noise. For any assumed underlying form of the signal one can calculate the S/N. It will take far longer than 17 years to determine whether the linear approximation for the signal works well.

      • That part I knew, but you also wrote this: Obviously, these results for tropospheric temperature measurements are not supportive of climate models. Ben Santer took on a rebuttal and the result was Santer et al. (2011). It is interesting, perhaps, that Santer included 16 co-authors in addition to himself. Pielke Sr. commented: “This is an unusual number of co-authors for a technical paper, but I assume Ben Santer wants to show a broad agreement with his findings”.

        Are you saying now that Santer(2011) was irrelevant to the “hot spot” question? In what sense was their paper then a “rebuttal”?

    • Richard Saumarez

      This response seems to be standard modellers’ : “The theory must be correct so the data is wrong”.

      Given the errors you refer to, and given the null hypothesis, that there is no warming, the predicted warming appears to be well outside the error limits of measurement of tropospheric temperature.

      • It’s a standard physicists response to observational data which appears to contradict a long-held and long-confirmed physical principle. Witness reactions to the recent ‘faster than light neutrinos’ result: how many physicists do you reckon believed the data over the relativity model?

      • But, there is at least a difference there. Relativity has a long pedigree, and an extensive record of verification over a full century of observations. It is appropriate to be more cautious in accepting revolutionary modifications under those circumstances.

    • “…but follows directly from the basic Clausius-Clapeyron relationship.”

      Might it occur to you, then, that it is a little too basic to be applied to this complex system?

    • A. Lacis: If ever there are observations that appear to cast doubt on the validity of the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, I would bet my money on the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship being correct, and would suggest instead that a closer look should be directed at the observations.

      How accurate is it? Is it equally accurate during a calm sunrise, the build-up of thunderclouds, and the ensuing downpour? These are observations that you can make almost every day during the summer in the Philippines, on Guam and other places; you can make observations like this somewhat less regularly throughout the American Midwest, from the Appalachians to the Rockies. C-C is derived as an equilibrium relationship, but applied to a system that is never in equilibrium; it must have some degree of inaccuracy.

  11. A question for Moolton and Lacis. If I understand you correctly, then, the alleged “fingerprint” of a GHG-based rise in temperatures is no such thing. In fact, anything driving such rises in temperatures–whether of human or nonhuman origin–ought to produce the 1.4 ratio alluded to by the author. So are we to draw the conclusion that the great amount of ink spilled over this matter–by Santer and a cast of thousands on one side, and Christy and a cast of dozens on the other–is completely irrelevant to the GHG theory’s truth or falsehood? Is this what you are saying?

    • It is pretty interesting from an academic perspective, but it does not mean much in a broader perspective.

      “Thousands”? I rather doubt that there are thousands of researchers actively working specifically on why we have not detected a tropical hot spot.

    • Nullius in Verba

      CO2 on its own only results in about 1C per doubling of CO2. To magnify this into a scary 3.5 C, they have to propose a variety of feedbacks which increase it – the most important of which is water vapour increase. Water vapour would cause more greenhouse warming because it is a greenhouse gas, a positive feedback, and less greenhouse warming because it transports more heat upwards by evaporation, causing a change in the lapse rate, a negative feedback.

      The absence of the negative lapse rate feedback in the observations suggests the water vapour feedbacks are smaller than was thought, which would put the kibosh on the scary predictions of Doom. That’s why they’re bothered.

      It’s absence doesn’t falsify the AGW theory itself – but as many of the sceptics keep saying, it’s not the physics of CO2-based AGW that is disputed, but the feedbacks and magnitude.

      • Stephen Wilde

        The reason for an absence of negative lapse rate feedback is because the atmospheric heights change instead.

        SSTa alter the heights above the equator.

        Solar activity alters the heights above the poles.

      • Water vapour would cause more greenhouse warming because it is a greenhouse gas, a positive feedback, and less greenhouse warming because it transports more heat upwards by evaporation, causing a change in the lapse rate, a negative feedback.

        The positive feedback can also lead to cooling, for example if the temperature is on the way down. Cooling will lead to less water vapor in the atmosphere, which will feed on itself.
        That is the interesting behavior about these kind of open-loop feedbacks in that it depends on the direction of the original stimulus. In historical terms, something is needed to explain the large interglacial swings in CO2 and temperature as evidenced by the Vostok ice core and other paleo-data. The feedbacks are going both ways, with a perceptible asymmetry of longer-tails toward cooling, which provides some clues to possible factors.

        Although solar effects and orbital effects can provide the stimulus, we only have a few logical physical parameters that can sustain the effects. The CO2 and water vapor interacting with the GHG effect, thermal rate laws, ocean mass, ice albedo, and perhaps biota are probably all we are dealing with. The fossil fuel release of CO2 into the atmosphere is the new twist on the historical record.

        The absence of the negative lapse rate feedback in the observations suggests the water vapour feedbacks are smaller than was thought, which would put the kibosh on the scary predictions of Doom. That’s why they’re bothered.

        It’s more of a scientific mystery or whodunnit, which is what motivates most scientists.

      • “It’s more of a scientific mystery or whodunnit, which is what motivates most scientists.”

        Yes, it would be a pleasant parlor game, if the fates of billions of people around the globe were not resting on the outcome.

        With such high stakes, it was simply irresponsible in the extreme for the scientific community to commit itself to a conclusion when the outcome of the game was still, and remains, in doubt.

      • Yes, it would be a pleasant parlor game, if the fates of billions of people around the globe were not resting on the outcome. …. With such high stakes, it was simply irresponsible in the extreme for the scientific community to commit itself to a conclusion when the outcome of the game was still, and remains, in doubt.

        The scientific community is not as monolithic as you make it out. Someone with the right idea can essentially reverse the prevailing wisdom. When is he or she going to make an appearance? They can certainly make a name for themselves, and they would have the bonus of engaging in an intellectual challenge as well. It does go both ways you know — research science is both cooperative and competitive.

      • “Someone with the right idea can essentially reverse the prevailing wisdom.”

        But, often decades after the fact. Meanwhile, we are at high risk of enacting brutally punishing policies to address a problem which may not exist. This is my point. Scientific debate and eventual rightings of wrongs is all fine and good in the abstract. In the meantime, there are real people who are being injured severely, even to the point of death, by the hubris of a highly vocal contingent of righteous crusaders.

      • But, often decades after the fact. Meanwhile, we are at high risk of enacting brutally punishing policies to address a problem which may not exist. This is my point. Scientific debate and eventual rightings of wrongs is all fine and good in the abstract. In the meantime, there are real people who are being injured severely, even to the point of death, by the hubris of a highly vocal contingent of righteous crusaders.

        Don’t I know it. All these crusaders who want to minimize the criticality of limited crude oil availability and suggesting all we have to do is “drill,baby,drill” are putting the entire economy in peril.

      • Red herring alert.

    • There seems to have been a large degree of confusion about this topic over the past few years, which I can’t understand because to me it’s very simple. Perhaps I haven’t frequented the type of fora where such confusion is encouraged?

      Take a look at the two images near the top of this RealClimate post. The one on the left shows the modelled long-term equilibrium spatial response to a doubled CO2 forcing, the one on the right shows the modelled long-term equilibrium spatial response to an equivalent increase in solar forcing. You’ll notice that the tropical tropospheric responses are nearly indentical.

      Santer et al. are quite correct that the amplified tropical tropospheric response is a robust feature of increased greenhouse gas concentrations, but it is also a robust feature of increased solar forcing. It’s a fingerprint of warming occuring in the system, not of GHGs in particular.

      • Paul S | October 30, 2011 at 11:03 am | Reply

        …” but it is also a robust feature of increased solar forcing according to the models.

        What does that say about the models, given that the outcome has not been observed?

    • are we to draw the conclusion that the great amount of ink spilled over this matter–by Santer and a cast of thousands on one side, and Christy and a cast of dozens on the other–is completely irrelevant to the GHG theory’s truth or falsehood? Is this what you are saying?

      NW – I think that is basically correct. The disparity between observed and predicted tropospheric amplification has diminished as a result of improved methodology, but has not disappeared. This has been used by some individuals (mainly outside of professional climate science) to claim that since that particular prediction was wrong, climate science can’t be trusted to get anything right That, in turn, has inspired some defensiveness on the part of some climatologists (a few, not “thousands”) to claim that the prediction isn’t wrong after all. Maybe it isn’t, but it might well be. This, however, has little relevance to most other areas of climate change assessment, and so the controversy has been enormously overblown in my opinion..It seems to me we should be able to get past worrying about the claim that if we don’t know everything, we know nothing.

      • Moolton and Chris G– Thank you. FWIW, “Cast of thousands” was meant as dramatic hyperbole, borrowed from the history of American movie promotions, in particular Cecil B. DeMille movies. :)

        One would like to know: What then IS the distinct empirical fingerprint of a GHG model of warming as opposed to some other (non-GHG) model of warming? Is there any distinctive empirical fingerprint at all?

      • NW – That is a good question. The main alternative for long term warming is solar. Both are predicted to exhibit similar tropospheric temperature profiles. The main difference is in the stratosphere, where solar warming is expected to cause significant stratospheric warming, whereas GHGs are expected to exert a cooling influence. In general, as the climate has warmed, stratospheric temperatures have cooled, but this is complicated, because cooling is also an effect of ozone depletion, and warming a consequence of volcanic eruptions reaching the stratosphere. There has been a recent flattening of the stratospheric cooling trend despite continuing CO2 increase. On the other hand, there is also recent evidence for some recovery of stratospheric ozone, which would create a warming effect counteracting GHG cooling. It’s fair at this point to say that the stratospheric trends are very inconsistent with a predominant solar effect, and difficult to interpret regarding GHG effects.

        Outside of atmospheric profiles, GHG warming, as opposed to solar warming, is predicted to increase nighttime temperatures and winter temperatures more than daytime and summer temperatures, and this has been observed on a global average, albeit with regional deviations.

        Outside of “fingerprints”, the radiative signature of increased GHGs can be found in measurements made from the ground and from satellites. This is not a direct measurement of warming per se, but rather of the changes in radiative flux at specified wavelengths due to infrared absorption by GHGs. It confirms the basic physics of the greenhouse effect.

      • Outside of “fingerprints”, the radiative signature of increased GHGs can be found in measurements made from the ground and from satellites.

        Won’t all warming increase the absolute humidity, and hence the increase in the radiative signature of the GHGs?

      • Won’t all warming increase the absolute humidity, and hence the increase in the radiative signature of the GHGs?

        Yes, that’s true for water vapor and its spectral signatures. It’s not true for the different (but overlapping) signature of CO2 in the infrared spectrum.

      • Fred wrote: Yes, that’s true for water vapor and its spectral signatures. It’s not true for the different (but overlapping) signature of CO2 in the infrared spectrum.

        CO2 is increasing, and so the CO2 signature in the infrared spectrum is increasing. The question is whether this is warming the earth. but whatever warms the earth will put more H2O into the atmosphere, and thereby increase the H2O signature without altering the (human-changed) CO2 signature. So there is no radiological signature of CO2-induced warming.

        This brings me back to my earlier question, slightly rephrased: what actually happens in the water cycle when the CO2 concentration is doubled? Faster water vaporization? Earlier peak temperature? Earlier cloud cover and earlier and more plentiful rainfall? Lower net temperature?

      • Stephen Wilde

        Faster water cycle is a possibility but I’ve seen no evidence that the average residence time for water vapour in the air gets any less though it may do so.

        I prefer the idea of a larger water cycle with more evaporation and more condensation occurring simultaneously to keep global humidity pretty much stable which is what we observe.

        The effect of that larger water cycle is to push energy through the system faster and I aver that that faster throughput offsets the slower throughput effect of more non water vapour GHGs for a net zero or near zero effect on system temperature.

        However the fact of a faster throughput does change the surface pressure distribution a fraction which would cause changes in the size and location of the permanent climate zones which would show up as climate change if the effects were large enough.

        However the solar and oceanic effects of a similar nature are so huge in comparison that we could never measure the effect of more human CO2 emissions.

      • Matt – I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Increasing CO2 will result in an increase in the radiative signature of CO2. Increase in temperature (from CO2 or other modalities) will increase atmospheric water vapor (magnifying the warming effect), accelerate the hydrologic cycle (more rapid evaporation and precipitation), and will cause a change in cloud coverage and cloud properties. The cloud changes are complex, because they involve changes in evaporation (increasing specific humidity), increases in atmospheric temperature (increasing atmospheric water holding capacity so that relative humidity tends to remain constant, with conflicting evidence for constancy or a reduction in the upper troposphere), and changes in cloud type, cloud coverage, cloud height, and cloud distribution. These different changes do not all act in the same direction, but the evidence to date suggests a slight decrease in total cloud coverage and an increase in the ratio of high clouds (with neutral or warming properties) to low clouds (with net cooling properties). Therefore, while the water vapor increase acts as a positive feedback amplifier of warming mediated by CO2 or other forcings, the cloud feedback is more uncertain – the evidence is perhaps most consistent with a positive feedback and inconsistent with a strong negative feedback, but does not exclude a weak negative feedback. (As I recall, cloud modeling was brought up previously, and I mentioned that regional, seasonal, and diurnal variations are incorporated into the models, with an attempt to confirm the modeled behavior by comparison with observed regional, seasonal, and diurnal observations).

        Regarding the radiative signature of CO2-mediated warming, this is not observable directly, but the reduction in outgoing radiative flux in the spectral regions associated with CO2 is measurable – e.g., the band centered at wavenumber 667 (wavelength 15 um). From this, one can calculate the warming potential from a CO2 increase, but the calculation doesn’t indicate the additional effect of feedbacks.

      • Fred: I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

        According to what you have written, there is no radiological signature to Anthropogenic greenhouse gas induced global warming. That is because the anthropogenic CO2 is increasing so its signature is increasing whether the earth warms or not; whereas ANY warming will (according to you) increase the absolute humidity (and the hypothesized hot spot), hence the radiological signature of the increased water vapor.

        You also wrote this: It seems to me we should be able to get past worrying about the claim that if we don’t know everything, we know nothing.

        My claim is that if we have shown that our knowledge is complete enough and accurate enough, then it is not complete enough and accurate enough. Each time someone points out to you a particular cavity in the knowledge, either an omitted factor or a source of inaccuracy, you launch a long recitation of other stuff that is known.

        Consider this:

        The basic physics of the greenhouse effect was not what I was writing about. I was writing about a particular detail, your claim above that there was a radiative signature of anthropogenic GHG-induced warming.

        As an aside, all scientists have been wrong most of the time. We admire them because each has been right about something important when others were unable to. Scientists have succeeded in wresting knowledge from the grasp of ignorance, by genius, persistence, public debate, formulating and carrying out experiments to bring forth evidence, examining lacunae of the theory that seemed irrelevant to others (my favorite example being the failure of Newton’s laws to model the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, but also Einstein’s insight that there should not have to be one law for a magnet passed across a wire, and another law for a wire drawn across a magnet.) The insight that scientists are usually wrong is substantiated by detailed biographies of the great scientists, but also by quotes from some famous scientists. Hence my assertion above: if the models have not been shown to be sufficiently complete and accurate, then they should be treated as though they are not sufficiently complete and accurate. Francis Crick wrote this: The difference between a true scientist and a pseudo scientist is this: a true scientist has many ideas, most of which he knows are false, and he works assiduously to discover which few ideas are correct. A pseudo scientist has a few ideas which he holds to [forever]. “forever’ is a paraphrase because I do not know what exactly he said. Pauling said something similar, as did Newton.

      • OOPS! I omitted this quote from Fred: Outside of “fingerprints”, the radiative signature of increased GHGs can be found in measurements made from the ground and from satellites. This is not a direct measurement of warming per se, but rather of the changes in radiative flux at specified wavelengths due to infrared absorption by GHGs. It confirms the basic physics of the greenhouse effect.

        It’s supposed to be followed by this: The basic physics of the greenhouse effect was not what I was writing about. I was writing about a particular detail, your claim above that there was a radiative signature of anthropogenic GHG-induced warming.

        As they say, I regret the error.

      • AH, NUTS! I omitted a NOT

        My claim is that if we have NOT shown that our knowledge is complete enough and accurate enough, then it is not complete enough and accurate enough. Each time someone points out to you a particular cavity in the knowledge, either an omitted factor or a source of inaccuracy, you launch a long recitation of other stuff that is known.

        I’m going to go eat worms.

      • Matt – Here is what I said:

        “Regarding the radiative signature of CO2-mediated warming, this is not observable directly, but the reduction in outgoing radiative flux in the spectral regions associated with CO2 is measurable – e.g., the band centered at wavenumber 667 (wavelength 15 um). From this, one can calculate the warming potential from a CO2 increase, but the calculation doesn’t indicate the additional effect of feedbacks.”

        I think that’s largely correct, although the “calculation” isn’t direct, and involves some assumptions. if you disagree with the main point, you should say why.

      • Fred: “Regarding the radiative signature of CO2-mediated warming, this is not observable directly, but the reduction in outgoing radiative flux in the spectral regions associated with CO2 is measurable – e.g., the band centered at wavenumber 667 (wavelength 15 um). From this, one can calculate the warming potential from a CO2 increase, but the calculation doesn’t indicate the additional effect of feedbacks.”

        The question was whether there was a radiative signature of CO2-induced warming actuality. The signal that you identified is there whether the accumulated CO2 does or does not induce actual global warming.

        Should the “additional effect of feedbacks” be a net reduction in temperature, then “the warming potential from a CO2 increase” will not be of general interest. It will just be another theoretical detail (like the precession of the perihelion of Mercury.) .

      • When you have worked on actual, real world systems that have to function in the real world, you quickly learn that you cannot blithely dismiss discrepancies, or they will come back to bite you in the tuckus. If you find something curiously incongruous, you must track down the reason and bring it to resolution. Anything less is begging for failure and ruin.

  12. Let’s keep it simple,

    a) Not detecting a hot spot doesn’t imply that CO2 emissions are not warming the planet any more than not finding powder burns implies the dead guy with round holes in his chest was not shot.

    b) Cycles, like ENSO, by definition, do not produce trends.

    I would be curious to know the statistical significance of the trend of the most recent 13-year period. While we are at it, the significance of the 50- or 100-year trend. (Not that they are strictly linear.) Any guesses as to which we should have more confidence in?

    Fred Moolten is correct.

    • Chris:
      Cycles like ENSO, AMO etc definitely produce trends when the trend lines are being drawn from a minimum towards maximum. For example, a 50 -year trend is not noise free due to AMO (it is from AMO-neutral conditions to AMO-maximum and not even speaking of PDO yet…). And a 100 year trend is already too long since the AGW components could be significant only for last ~60 years or so. The most gross mistake is to use the last 30 year trend which is from minimum to maximum, that’s cherry picking.

      • I missed the reference to the AMO in Donald’s post. Could you point it out to me?

        In contrast, there are several references to ENSO events, and statements to the effect that they are responsible for the observed trend. How would you draw a line from a peak to a trough of an ENSO cycle, which is about 5-7 years, and end up producing a 60 year trend?

    • “Cycles, like ENSO, by definition, do not produce trends.”

      This is obviously wrong. All (oceanic, atmospheric, orbital, solar…) cycles produce trends.

    • Cycles definitely produce trends. If you have a period in a signal where the positive sines are greater than the subsequent negative sines you will get a trend. In audio signal processing this is pitch drift. What generally happens is that the drift self corrects, but in climate terms that may take centuries. Btw, I don’t submit that is necessarily what is happening only that to say cycles cannot produce trends is not correct.

      • By definition, a cycle returns to a previous state. What you are describing is a trend with a cycle superimposed over it. To say that ENSO cycles can raise the energy state of a system is the same as saying that sloshing water in a tub creates more energy than went into producing the sloshing.

      • Well stated. That is also the theme that I have been trying to convey in my other comments. It is also what Lacis has been repeating.

      • But, what we call “cycles” are not generally pure cycles anyway, and you cannot just define the issue away. They are, generally speaking, expressions of lightly damped resonances with a minimum bandwidth.

        Agnostic is right. In fact, I was going to post something similar before I saw his post.

      • To say that ENSO cycles can raise the energy state of a system is the same as saying that sloshing water in a tub creates more energy than went into producing the sloshing

        Interesting property in the real world is something called gravity .The enso complex system is a nice example where dynamics systems theory can be used.

        What can be observed is a redistribution of energy from one reservoir to another ie from kinetic to potential energy and back .eg Eg Federov
        Journal of Marine Research

        On interannual time scales, the perturbation available potential energy E is anticorrelated with sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific so that negative values of E correspond to El Niño conditions, and positive values correspond to La Niña conditions This correlation is related to changes in the slope of the thermocline associated with El Niño and La Niña. When the thermocline slope increases (as during La Niña;), the warmer and lighter water is replaced by colder and hence heavier water thus raising the center of mass of the system and increasing its gravitational potential energy..

        Dissipitive structures such as La Nina do come at a cost ie there is a tithe to pay, a reduction in available kinetic energy, decreasing the flow to the “pipeline” from the reservoir.

      • Interesting property in the real world is something called gravity .The enso complex system is a nice example where dynamics systems theory can be used.

        Yes, yet gravity is not a source of energy in a closed system. Objects transform between kinetic energy and potential energy and the total is conserved. Sloshing water in a bathtub certainly follows that rule, which is what ChrisG stated.

    • However, it might be a telltale sign that our surface temperature measurements may have an increasing systemic high bias. It is odd that climate science has parsed the tropospheric measurements for any hint of a possible error, whereas the surface measurements are taken as correct. By the way look at Sceptical Science for an almost hilarious post on this where the temperature derived from wind speed is given great credance despite it disagreeing with the actual temperature measurements and wind speed being a notoriously noisy measurement. There are certainly prima facia reasons to regard the surface measurements as contaminated by human direct influences. As always in this field, the answer is that the data that shows a less alarming trend must be wrong and I might add that anthropogenic warming is worse than we thought.

      Another possiblility is that this business about the lapse rate is oversimplified and is just wrong. It is completely tied to simplified models of convection, a very turbulent process. See Held for some interesting detailed calculations of this that seem to me to call the simple models into question. By the way, this seems so typical of this field. We throw around oversimplified concepts about delicate balanced effects as if they are proof of something. They are usually just proof of how oversimplified concepts give questionable results when you are looking for small effects.

  13. A 50 or 100 year trend that fails for 13 years might be a problem for those clowns, who are very heavily invested in the trend. Has anyone ever counted the 100 year trends, that have subsequently reversed in the 4 billion year history of the earth?

    • What is your point?
      Yeah, we know the earth’s climate has changed a lot over the past 4 billion years. That’s kind of how we know it is not very stable when the radiative balance changes, which is kind of why we are expecting the changes we are.

    • Has anyone ever counted the 100 year trends, that have subsequently reversed in the 4 billion year history of the earth?

      Yes, I did this the last week and it is something that you asked for so it must be very, very important.
      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-k1vYjQ8Qthk/TqdulOhrSEI/AAAAAAAAAko/0H9kUnzIcZs/s1600/vostok_temperature_changes.gif
      This graph shows the probability of temperature changes of a certain signed magnitude over 100 year periods extracted from the Vostok ice core data.

      Submit your exact question in terms of a probability definition and I can extract any kind of probability correlation that you would like to see. Specifically, I can generate probabilities for any number of 100 year sequences. (The count is not as important as the probability)

      Of course, this is not 4 billion years worth of data and it is localized to one point on earth, but reflects hundreds of thousands of years of the immediate past history.

  14. One more point, and I will move on from this silly thread. Nobody was whining about not being able to find the missing heat during the MWP. When is climate science going to get it’s act together?

  15. It seems pretty clear to me that either the surface temperature measurements are incorrect or the tropospheric measurements are wrong or both. Lindzen suggests that there is reason to suggest that the surface measurements are wrong. I did some research on this and discovered that in fact the resolution of this difficulty in the literature was to say that the radiosond measurements of temperature were suspect but that deducing temperature from wind speed was more accurate. This struck me as lacking any basis whatsoever since wind speed is a very noisy quantity.

    • OK, I just can’t resist correcting your misconception. As Chris, Fred ,and anyone with any sense can tell you, those thermometers they put in those silly balloons are notoriously unreliable. You gotta go by wind speed up there, but you gotta believe the thermometers that are placed next to air-conditioner exhausts and airport runways down here at the surface. Why don’t you get that?

      • I’m curious. Did Watts tell you how much difference in trend there was between will-sited stations and poorly-sited stations? Here is a clue, in his own words, they were, “nearly identical”.

        So, again, what is your point?

      • Read the Mail, you dummy. I was wondering why Judith allowed her name to be associated with the BEST nonsense. Well the answer is, she ain’t having it.

      • I think Don’s point may be he doesn’t understand anomalies.

      • My point is that you dummies can’t get away with your ‘nature tricks’ any more. There is a new Sheriff in town, and her name is Dr, Judith Curry. Don’t you clowns read the papers? The doo-doo has done hit the fan.

      • I think you completely missed the point about badly placed thermometers.

        Yes, the trends between badly placed thermometers and well placed ones are nearly identical, but there is also a difference in the temperature that they record.

        The point that you are (wilfully?) missing is that the trends are only indistinguishable if the conditions at the thermometer sites remain constant.

        But the problem with urbanisation is that the conditions have not remained constant.

        Every time you change the conditions around the measuring station you get a step change in the trend. If you don’t document and quantify the step changes, then you get a manufactured trend.

      • No, if you change the conditions at a thermometer, to make the site warmer, you don’t get the same slope as one where the conditions don’t change. There is no slope difference; so, whatever changes have occurred have not contributed much. Unless you are proposing that the well-sited stations have also gotten warmer over the years because of changing site conditions, the data do not match your hypothesis.

    • Richard Saumarez

      As I pointed out in an earlier post, wind speed does not have the dimensions of temperature, whereas thermometers do rely on an effect that has the dimension of temperature. I am extremely dubious that wind speed gives a better indication of temperature than a thermometer.

      If you are saying that all measurements using a thermometer has a low bias, and that wind speed has no bias, this strikes me as an interesting hypothesis that should undergo formal testing.

      Does this only apply to captive balloons or does it apply to free floating ones as well?

  16. Donald Rapp,

    You’re of the opinion that black carbon is primarily responsible for recent warming?

    http://spaceclimate.net/Alternate.Theory.22.pdf

    Its a sort of AGW too, and you accept that positive feedbacks are needed to explain the extent of polar warming. Is this theory more consistent with observed rates of warming on the surface and in the troposphere?

    • That paper was written by me in a moment of fanciful thinking. Clearly, black carbon in the Arctic is one factor that contributes to climate change but probably I exaggerated its importance in the referenced writeup. It is a form of AGW. I don’t know how it would affect rates of warming on the surface and in the troposphere.

  17. As more data are accumulated over the next couple of decades, these issues should become more resolved.

    I think that we may look back on the decade of 2000-2010 as a period of refining hypotheses, and subsequent 2 decades as decades of testing them.

    On the whole, I prefer notions of “accuracy” to notions of “validity” and “veracity”. Some perfectly “valid” ideas may be too inaccurate to make useful predictions and tests of hypotheses, like my characterization of the Clausius-Clapayron relationship. An equilibrium approximation that avoids mechanisms and kinetics isn’t “invalid”, but it is incomplete and inaccurate. I think that inaccuracies are consistently underestimated (or underappreciated) in this field, and the anguish over the observed disparity may result from overconfidence in the precision of all the measurements and models. I think that time will tell whether I am wrong.

    Other than that, I think you have written a nice prologue to the next two decades.

    • Joachim Seifert

      At what year of continuing flat temps will AGW-followers admit they are wrong? Another 6 years (11 have past already) to wait? The year 2017 is the year of reckoning (Trenberth proposed 17 years)?
      Or are 2 full more “decades of testing” required?

      • That’s a good question. The important question is what will scientists coming of age in the upcoming 2 decades going to make of all these debates, and the evidence that is collected? It matters little whether Trenberth, Hansen et al change their minds. As maturing scientists see how the models are repeatedly modified, and older predictions and analyses overturned, AGW advocates will lose influence among climate scientists (as I think they are doing.)

        I don’t think 2 decades are “required”, but I think they will be decisive.

      • Joachim Seifert

        Lets assume, we live 6 years later and the CO2-fingerprint
        is not detectable anymore…. in this year 2017 we then will
        have plenty of, as you put it “maturing scientists coming of age…” and
        AGW will wither away by itself……..?
        But, …. Folks: Is this “Naiv”-“good-humans”-approach of Aristotle
        true and real opinion of the most?
        I rather see the AGW-proponents entrenched to their grave,
        not willing to concede, with their ammunition gone, they will continue
        to throw rocks and mud……. You can prove this that not one
        of them would answer the question of in which year of continuing
        flat temperatures he would renounce AGW and join the sceptics…..

      • and
        AGW will wither away by itself……..?

        You wrote that, not I. I expect that very few AGW promoters will change their minds, they will just lose influence. I would not call it “withering away”, except with the proviso that such withering would require more decades than 2. And for sure not “by itself”, but because it is being studied and debated.

    • MattStat: The utility of a model is its ability to predict the future. Models invented after the fact that “explain” the past but do not yield good predictions for the future are of limited value. The validity, veracity or accuracy of a model should be assessed on that basis. Santer et al. want us to believe that we can draw a straight line for TT starting in 1979, going up about 0.2°C per decade with noise superimposed. Time will reveal whether this is accurate or valid.

  18. a) Not detecting a hot spot doesn’t imply that CO2 emissions are not warming the planet

    Sorry, but you can’t avoid some sort of mistake somewhere – either the hotspot is not as robust a result of warming as we thought, or the warming is not as much as we thought, or some combination of the two. If we stipulate that warming has indeed happened, then that would tend to indicate the hotspot concept must be wrong. If the hotspot concept is wrong, you can’t help wondering what other “solid” climatology is somewhat less, err, reliable than we may have been led to believe.

    • The fact that something is not adding up as expected is what is making it interesting.

      A) How many temperature readings do you think exist from land, sea, and satellite?

      B) How many temperature readings do you think exist from radiosondes?

      C) How many times has the latent heat of water been measured?

      If there is a weak link in the lot, which do you think it is?

      It was expected that the difference in energy would show up as a difference in temperature, but the two are not equal. Temperature is just one way energy can make itself known. So, it is interesting from the perspective of, have we failed to find a temperature anomaly that really exists, has the energy gone into driving winds faster, or, just what is going on here. The evidence that the world is warming is unequivocal.

      • Stephen Wilde

        It has gone into driving winds (or rather the water cycle) faster.

        Changing SSTs alters the height of the tropopause most above the equator.

        In contrast changing solar activity changes the height of the tropopause most above the poles.

        The changing relationship between the two heights alters the latitudinal distribution of the permanent climate zones.

        That is why there is no hot spot. The atmospheric heights change instead and the average lapse rate remains unchanged up to the tropopause. The lapse rate above the tropopause is another matter.

      • A welcome contribution focusing on gradient driven flows rather than average temperature.

      • Alex Heyworth

        “It has gone into driving winds (or rather the water cycle) faster.”

        Or just possibly into driving ocean currents faster. Only a very small increase in ocean current speed would be required to account for the energy, given the very large masses of water involved.

      • Stephen Wilde

        The surface ocean currents might be affected a bit by the change in winds from a larger or faster water cycle but that presupposes a change in the winds first.

        To get a change in the flow rates in the bulk oceans would require more solar energy getting past the ocean skin and into the ocean bulk. A bit more downward IR or warmer air above the water would not be able to do it because energy in the air or in the form of IR cannot (in my judgement) get past the ocean skin.

        However you are right to point out the power of the oceans. Any changes in rate of energy release by the oceans has large effects on the air above, such as the ENSO phenomenon.

      • Temperature gradients drive wind. Wind drives ocean surface currents. Compare the various average annual cycle animations to which I’ve linked (a picture’s worth 1000 words). Here’s another:

        AnimWaterVaporFlux_ (column integrated water vapor flux with their convergence) http://i51.tinypic.com/126fc77.png

        At some point in time, someone with Dr. Curry’s reach will have to run an article specifically aimed at cleaning up some of the widespread misconceptions about ocean currents that have taken on mythological proportions in the climate discussion. Newcomers are usually aware of THC, but not the relative magnitude of ocean surface currents. Such major conceptual gaps severely hamper the efficient & sensible discussion of natural variations.

  19. Does anyone else note the problem with trying to reconcile TLT measurements with surface measurements by (in part) saying that surface measurements are biased high? Is this not precisely what skeptical commenters have been trying to get AGW theorists to admit for a couple of decades?

    • Is this not precisely what skeptical commenters have been trying to get AGW theorists to admit for a couple of decades?

      I am glad that you mentioned that.

  20. I’m pleased to see a reference to Tisdale, but I see no reference in the article to the other material that got the nonalarmist community thinking carefully about natural solar-ENSO step-changes:
    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/ClimateRegimeShift_files/image005.jpg
    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/ClimateRegimeShift.htm
    I’ve done investigations that support this view:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/vaughn-sun-earth-moon-harmonies-beats-biases.pdf
    See particularly section I.10. The climate science community is, generally speaking, unacceptably ignorant of the information contained in EOP (Earth Orientation Parameters). There’s a spooky cross-disciplinary near-total-disconnect that severely undermines trust. I genuinely hope this will change.

  21. Stephen Wilde

    I have been saying in public since early 2008 that I first noticed the jetstreams becoming more meridional around 2000.

    The key changes in surface pressure distribution appear to have occurred as the level of solar activity declined after the double peak of cycle 23. Those changes have continued and indeed intensified as we went into weak cycle 24.

    One way or another the level of solar activity clearly induces changes in the surface pressure distribution from above. That appears to affect global cloudiness, albedo and the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans.

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6645

    “How The Sun Could Control Earth’s Temperature”.

    • Unfortunately a lot of nonalarmist conjecture about clouds is fatally ignorant of circulation. For example, compare:
      AnimMSLP
      http://i54.tinypic.com/swg11c.png
      AnimWind10m
      http://i44.tinypic.com/28rgyzo.png

      And unfortunately alarmists only want to talk about average temperature anomalies, ignoring circulation that is a function of absolute temperature gradients:
      Anim2mT
      http://i55.tinypic.com/dr75s7.png

      Where is a person to find sensible climate discourse, particularly when almost no one involved in the discussion can handle something so simple as tuned wavelet phase extraction (something which requires only basic understanding of complex numbers from high-school math and correlation from standard 1st year university intro stats)? It’s like dealing with people that don’t understand independently & won’t trust that 1 + 1 = 2.

      • And unfortunately alarmists only want to talk about average temperature anomalies, ignoring circulation that is a function of absolute temperature gradients:
        Anim2mT
        http://i55.tinypic.com/dr75s7.png

        Yes that looks like a spatial view of monthly temperature changes. So nice job buddy, you discovered how seasons affect temperature in the hemispheres.

        I guess it does point to the fact that we are looking at a couple of degrees average temperature change when the seasonal changes alone amount to at least 10 degrees C and often much more than this. This large dynamic range makes it hard to extract the change, yet it does not alter the fact of whether the warming does exist. Sometimes this is lost on people.

      • I can suggest you read my other comments & follow the links. There’s a broader context.

  22. Stephen Wilde

    The polar vortices are a phenomenon that is capable of altering the latitudinal position of ALL the surface air pressure components and therefore the positions and sizes of the permanent climate zones AND the levels of global cloudiness and albedo.

    Such changes would have significant effects on the entire global energy budget by altering the rates of energy flow from sun to oceans AND from air to space.

    The mechanism seems to cause changes in atmospheric chemistry involving ozone that have effects on the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere, especially above the poles.

    Those changes alter the balance between the vertical temperature profiles at poles and equator with the mid latitudes acting as a sort of mobile fulcrum as the point of balance shifts cyclically towards the poles or towards the equator.

    The sun affects the size and intensity of the vortices at the poles because when the mix of particles and wavelengths changes then so does the net thermal effect of the chemical response in the upper atmosphere.

    Everything we see follows from that and the water cycle response to those changes always acts negatively such that relative stability has been maintained for 4.5 billion years even whilst the energy putput of the sun increased substantially (see: faint sun paradox).

    Is there anything that such an explanation cannot account for ?

    • So you’re appreciative of this:
      AnimWind550K
      http://i56.tinypic.com/14t0kns.png

      And what about other temperature gradient driven winds?
      AnimPolarWind200hPa
      http://i52.tinypic.com/cuqyt.png
      AnimWind10m
      http://i44.tinypic.com/28rgyzo.png

      Isn’t it comical how the mainstream directs the media to keep the spotlight on temperature averages, using anomalies to keep public attention away from absolute temperature gradients? It’s like they don’t want the public to develop a clue about asymmetric aliasing of solar-driven cumulative circulation.

      • Hi Paul.

        Thanks for those links. I think my general climate overview can accommodate all the factors that you focus on.

    • Everything we see follows from that and the water cycle response to those changes always acts negatively such that relative stability has been maintained for 4.5 billion years even whilst the energy putput of the sun increased substantially (see: faint sun paradox).

      Is there anything that such an explanation cannot account for ?

      Two ways that the “water cycle response” can show positive feedback (in contrast to your negative).
      1. Increased temperature causes further outgassing of water vapor and CO2 from the oceans, thus increasing the GHG effect, and leading to further warming.
      2. Increased temperature causes melting of ice, thus causing less reflection of sunlight and thus further warming (i.e. positive feedback albedo changes).

      These also go in the opposite direction, which is the signpost of a meta-stable system. These two features can account for the fluctuations in temperature that we have seen from ice core and coral data the last several hundred thousand years.

      The asymptotic rails on this feedback system could be the logarithmic sensitiviity to GHG at the upper extreme and lots of possibilities at the lower end.

      • Stephen Wilde

        1) Agreed but more GHGs are a very small effect compared to solar and oceanic variability though they do have the same effect i.e. a change in surface pressure distribution as the water cycle ramps up to deal with it. Just too small to notice though.

        2) The melting of ice being very slow is far less of an effect on albedo caused by cloudiness changes.

        I accept that there is a plethora of positive and negative processes that overall cancel one another out. I simply aver that the variability in solar and oceanic forcings prevail over all else because they are orders of magnitude bigger.

      • To explain the large interglacial temperature swings, something is needed that has both a large inertia and a positive feedback to sustain the swing.

        Cloudiness has no inertia. Excess CO2 has a huge inertia owing to an adjustment time that is predicted in the hundreds and thousands of years.

        The oceans of course have a huge inertia, but no positive feedback mechanism apart from the water vapor that it can supply in a warming environment.

        Solar forcings have been demonstrated to not provide the necessary magnitude and obviously have no feedback potential by themselves.

        Snowcover and ice pack has inertia and feedback potentials.

        The biota has both inertial and feedback potential.

        The point is, I would like to see a basic theory from solar and oceanic forcing alone to explain the interglacial temperature cycling as shown by the ice core and coral data.

      • Stephen Wilde

        Well, Webby, I have proposed elsewhere that interglacials may be characterised by periods of time when the solar and oceanic variations are out of phase so that they are constantly offsetting each other’s thermal effects which results in relatively small climate variations during interglacials.

        That gives the ice caps time to melt during the northern hemisphere summers more than they are added to during the northern hemisphere winters.

        However over time the solar and oceanic forcings move more towards being in phase therefore compounding each other’s thermal effect on each swing of the cycle. There seems to have been much greater climate variability during the ice ages.

        The difference being that when the solar and oceanic cycles are in phase so that both are producing cooling at the same time then so much ice develops in the winter months during the cold downswing that it does not have time to melt fully in the summer months even taking into account the warmer upswings.

        It seems that ice ages are 10 times the length of interglacials so I suspect that the current land mass configuration with most land in the northern hemisphere results in only 10% of the time when the solar and oceanic cycles are sufficiently in phase to mitigate the most extreme swings enough to maintain net summer ice melt from year to year and even then there are periods of reversal such as the LIA.

      • Stephen Wilde

        Whoops, Webby, I’ve answered the wrong question. You asked for a solar/ocean mechanism to explain the swings WITHIN the interglacial.

        For that, I think the observed solar variations are enough.

        You accept that the oceans have huge inertia so anything that affects energy input to the oceans will do the trick.

        If you think about my stuff more carefully you will see that solar induced variations in global cloudiness and albedo will significantly affect the amount of energy getting into the oceans over a complete 1000 year solar cycle i.e. from Roman Warm Period to Dark Ages to MWP to LIA to date.

        A small amount of warming of the oceans makes a much larger difference to the energy content of the air above because of their vastly different thermal capacities.

        We have been within an interglacial for 10,000 years which means that about ten such solar cycles have occurred. For the record the climate swings were far greater more than 10,000 years ago.

      • Stephen,

        Oceans are NOT in inertia. Stop the forward momentum of the solar system or even the planets rotation and you will find it has been moving at an incredible speed. Interesting how all the other planets except the first two are in sequence to within 1/2 day no matter the size or density.
        We look at the time of day by the suns corona but it is the suns outercore we should be measuring from. The rotational sequence is then slightly faster than our and the other planets(except the first two).

      • Stephen Wilde

        Joe,

        I was referring to thermal inertia having assumed WebHub meant the same. In other words it takes some time for changes in ocean temperature to occur. Not related to physical movement of the oceans at all though of course I accept that there is considerable movement on and within the oceans.

        And if the solar system suddenly stopped moving then all other things being the same all our oceans would be flung into space :)

      • Stephen,

        Your one of very few who does have a working brain and does not rely on others for answers. :-)
        The problem with all of science is it is a huge area and confusion and bad conclusion has jumbled the whole areas into a massive mess.
        Keep up the researching. Answers are rewarding especially when they open avenues never considered before.

      • If you think about my stuff more carefully you will see that solar induced variations in global cloudiness and albedo will significantly affect the amount of energy getting into the oceans over a complete 1000 year solar cycle i.e. from Roman Warm Period to Dark Ages to MWP to LIA to date.

        If you could get that into an evaluable math model it really may help overall understanding.

  23. Stephen Wilde

    As regards ENSO:

    Due to ocean dominance in the southern hemisphere the mean position of the ITCZ is north of the equator.

    That upsets the balance of solar energy input to the oceans either side of the equator.

    The imbalance periodically builds up until it can no longer be constrained and a pulse of surplus energy in the southern oceans breaks through to the northern oceans in the SST patterns that we observe.

    The speed at which the imbalance builds up is affected by the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans. That amount is affected by cloudiness and global albedo which are in turn affected by solar effects on the upper atmosphere especially at the polar vortices.

    • Stephen,
      If you look at any satellite, clouds NEVER cross the equator. The ocean heat is the same as the biggest and fastest rotating mass is the equator.
      There is only 100km/hr difference in velocity from the equator to 20 degrees north or south of this. After that, they speeds drop dramatically.

      • Stephen Wilde

        Joe, I never said that clouds DO cross the equator.

        The air circulations in each hemisphere move towards or away from the equator cyclically and in unison.

        It is the water in the oceans that periodically crosses the equator in pulses observed as ENSO features.

      • Stephen,

        Something to consider…
        Since the water crosses in pulses, could that not be by way of quakes or new volcanic activity?

      • Stephen Wilde

        Oh yes. I’m sure they add a little more energy from venting heat or actual movement.

        However I don’t see that it could be so on the basic ENSO timescale or we would have noticed wouldn’t we ?

      • Stephen,

        You mentioned timescales. I have a problem with how short a time they cover.
        In my own research, I find we loose 1.25mm of water every 10,000 years to space. Not a lot, but on the timescale of 4.5 billion years, that is about 2km.

      • Stephen Wilde

        Joe, points taken but you have jumped from between 10,000 year periodicities and seasonal variation.

        Both those clearly have some relevance but ENSO is an interannual phenomenon and the process I described would be far more powerful than the various potentially contributing factors that you mention.

        Due to the ITCZ being where it is a lot more solar energy gets into the oceans south of the equator than north of the equator.That imbalance has to be released somehow and in my opinion ENSO is it.

      • Thanks Stephen.

        I get your point. The surface water mass being uneven in the two hemispheres.
        Have you also considered the oceanographer Ruth Currie’s measurements on surface salt changes that started in the early 1970’s at the equator?

      • Stephen Wilde

        No,, but i’ll have a look so thanks for the tip.

        Meanwhile I’m just waiting for someone with a bit of influence to pick up on the ideas I’ve been generating over the past 4 years.

        They fit ongoing observations rather well and would provide a nice new starting point after the collapse of AGW.

        In particular my ENSO suggestion is pretty neat and I see no other way it could work.

      • Shephen,

        I know what you mean about the AGW collapse so that real research will be looked at.
        Last week I created a mapping on the velocities of rotation on this planet that was quite illuminating on understanding where the planets energies are the most powerful and weakest.
        I do not want to publish this in the current group of the “old boys club”.

        Thanks, your vision is very much worth the look.

      • Stephen,

        Planetary tilting does change the mass weight distribution slightly as the cold surface temperature show slight shifting in phases of summer and winter at the maximum tilt and slightly when the tilting returns.

    • Interesting exchange.
      AnimVerticalVelocity: http://i54.tinypic.com/2ch4x28.png
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/ITCZ_january-july.png
      Stephen, have you been reading Sidorenkov (2005)?

      • No, not yet, but I’ll have a look.

        I’ve been patching it together from first principles and real world observations and in the process have been finding that lots of others have previously made individual points that coincide with mine but so far as I know no one else has strung it all together into a plausible overall concept as I have done.

      • The EOP (Earth Orientation Parameter) people have the most advanced thinking in this area, but they’re understandably gun-shy about publicly entering the climate discussion (and possibly under orders from superiors not to). I’ve received correspondence that ‘leaked’ (you might say) some critical insights, but I’m convinced that it was an innocent ‘accident’.

      • Thank you Paul!
        Very useful.
        I have been trying to show how centrifugal force weakens due to the shape of our planet in velocity and angles itself out.

      • Joe, starting from about the 5th paragraph, I gave a sketch over here:
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/15/shifting-sun-earth-moon-harmonies-beats-biases/#comment-769231

        Sidorenkov (2003 & 2005) emphasizes the importance of the distribution of water (in its various states) over the surface of the Earth:
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/29/new-wuwt-polar-vortex-reference-page/#comment-782252

        I’m suggesting we distinguish between symmetric & asymmetric climate changes. For example, ERSST 30S-90S reveals something coherent with the integral of solar activity that “rides under” (for loose economy of words since I’m short on time) what I’ve illustrated here: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/vaughn4.png

        In short: The importance of Northern hemisphere rotation asymmetry in aliasing solar drive wheel shifts has been overlooked by the mainstream.

        It’s not sensible to assume symmetric spatial kernels when aggregating from a field with such a high fractal dimension (length:area & area:volume ratios). A quick look at the north-south “waviness” vs. “straightness” of this [AnimMSLP http://i54.tinypic.com/swg11c.png ] (for a univariate example) should make this crystal clear, but we’re dealing with folks lacking the functional numeracy to see that they’re basing their statistical inference on patently untenable assumptions.

        They’ve failed absolutely at data exploration. Normally collegiality & diplomacy would demand that such things not be said in public, but they’ve gone too far with their nature-denigrating data misinterpretations.

      • Thank you very much Paul!
        Finally someone who is actually listening to me.

        In mapping the velocity of the planet, I did this in 5 degree latitudes. There is a 1400km/hr drop in velocity and it occurs exponentially to the poles after 20 degrees north or south. From 20 degrees to the equator the speed only drops 100km/hr. Huge differences in energy distribution before even adding in any other factors.

        Thank you for the links. I will be looking at them.

        Joe

  24. Joachim Seifert

    Santer et al. concluded that
    “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature”.

    Does this mean they will give up AGW voluntarily in another 6 years of flat climate GMT? Why don’t we ask: How many more years until YOU give
    up AGW and listen to the sceptics? Let’s ask around….. a new post?…

  25. @Fred Moolten
    “Donald Rapp, perhaps inadvertently, has created the impression that tropospheric amplification is a creation of climate models” Yes – I laboured under that misapprehension. Corrected now. But then, as NW asks, what is all the fuss about? The post we are commenting on says that measurements give the ratio: Rate of Troposheric heating/Rate of surface heating = MT/ST = 0.8. The models, apparently give MT/ST = 1.4. Fred goes on to say “if the surface warms, the mid- to upper troposphere should warm somewhat faster.. ” so the Laws of Physics say the MT/ST > 1 But maybe not:for he continues “… in the absence of some anomalous upper tropospheric phenomenon regardless of why the surface has warmed,..” So actually the Laws of Physics do not require MT/ST > 1. In fact I doubt they impose any requirements on MT/ST at all. Bertrand Russell many years ago (in a paper called “On the Notion of Cause”) pointed this out. The Laws of Physics express relationships, he said, which are unconditional but in the real world have to be qualified by “unless something interferes”. So when I drop a feather it goes up instead of down – in fact it goes all over the place – but this does not impugn the Laws of Physics. It’s just that something interferes. To test a proposed law you need to set up a careful experimental situation to exclude this interference. But models are not test like this – they attempt to apply physical laws to the real climate system through solving a vast number of equations (relationships). It seems to me that if they say that MT/ST=1.4 and in fact MT/ST=0.8 then they are systematically wrong about the climate system. Of course how wrong and how systematic leads to the issue of uncertainty and error in these models which is pretty complex. But the models are not in any way excused by the Laws of Physics for they are absolutely agnostic about the climate system for the reason Russell described so long ago – because things interfere.

    • So when I drop a feather it goes up instead of down – in fact it goes all over the place – but this does not impugn the Laws of Physics.

      Yet the feather eventually does go down, which is the metaphor for climate change. In other words, all the other natural variations although obscuring the effects now, will eventually reveal the projected amount of warming, including uncertainties as those will also diminish over time.

  26. I’m just wondering how accurate this lapse rate theory really is. It would seem to me that convection would play a large role and produce tremendous spacial variations in the vertical temperature profile. I just looked at a post on Isaac Held’s blog that showed something interesting, namely that the physical extent of the computational domain had a very big effect on the convection pattern. This is of course an expected result to anyone familiar with modeling convection. Fred Moolton, can you prove the lapse rate idea from first principles and if not what assumptions are required to derive it from the Navier-Stokes equations? I want to see a rigorous mathematical derivation.

  27. can you prove the lapse rate idea from first principles and if not what assumptions are required to derive it from the Navier-Stokes equations?

    David – I’m not sure of the relevance of NS, because a lapse rate is basically a hydrostatic relationship based on gravity and the gas laws. An adiabatic lapse rate is isentropic and reversible. You are right that convection plays a role in restoring an adiabatic lapse rate after a perturbation, particularly at low latitudes, whereas atmospheric circulation patterns may be more important at higher latitudes. My knowledge of regional lapse rate variations is very limited. They certainly occur, and in fact in certain regions (and cold spells elsewhere), one can sometimes observe a temperature inversion, which is essentially a reversed lapse rate within the boundary layer. The lapse rate description in Wikipedia is not a bad general overview, and since Isaac Held’s blog permits you to make comments and ask questions, his expertise is something you might consider tapping into for detailed answers to some of your questions..

    • Stephen Wilde

      There is a large difference between the theoretical wet and dry lapse rates and reality.

      The so called environmental lapse rate reflects reality and is highly variable over time and space.

      Generally it is the convective system (via the water cycle) that works to restore the environmental rate to the adiabatic (pressure driven) lapse rate and if it fails to do so by the time it reaches the tropopause then it just punches a hole in the tropopause until the match is restored. It is greatly assisted in the process by the efficiency of the phase changes of water for transferring energy quickly from one place to another without registering on sensors (hence ‘latent’ energy)

      That is why some clouds and lots of volcanic eruptions push up past the tropopause locally or regionally.

      A change in the global average height of the tropopause is associated with changing surface temperatures rather than any change in the adiabatic lapse rate.

      Events above the tropopause are a whole different ball game because atmospheric chemistry from there upward plays havoc with the adiabatic rate. The entire stratosphere up to about 50km shows a reversed lapse rate and the mesoshere has to play catch up above that.

      Once above the mesosphere and into the thermosphere solar effects dominate hence my contention that the balance in the atmosphere between solar effects from above and oceanic effects from below is actually at or near the stratopause which is 45 to 50 km up.

      In support of that contention is Joanna Haigh’s finding that the sign for an apparent reversal of the solar effect on the atmosphere occurs at about 45 km.

      I submit that as the balance changes over time between solar and oceanic effects on the atmosphere the height of the stratopause changes accordingly.

      The net outcome being a latitudinal shift in the surface pressure distribution leading to climate change at the surface.

      Those shifts alter the rate of energy transfer through the system so as to negate any attempts at changing the equilibrium temperature of the system by ANY forcing process other than a change in atmospheric pressure at the surface.

      The water cycle is a wonderful mechanism for climate stability sufficient to lead to the evolution of sophisticated life forms. We owe it everything.

    • Fred,

      Convection is the Navier-Stokes equation with temperature variations. Gravity would be a body force term dependent on density. My point is that if this lapse rate theory is really true, it should be derivable directly from this boundary value problem by integrating the equations and applying conservation principles. You see, if I may be so bold, that this is just another example where a very complex process is boiled down to a simple relationship that was derived in the 1960’s by solving just a differential equation in the vertical direction. You can find this on Held’s blog. OK. That’s fine. The question is now after 50 years of research, lets try to derive it from first principles that are actually accurate.

      You know its kind of what we see in fluid dynamics where people try to use just conservation of mass to derive approximations. These approximations are valid for some limited things, inviscid flows. They can be very wrong for viscous flows even though these flows do indeed satisfy conservation of mass. Just because something is derivable from some SUBSET of the correct physical laws governing the system does NOT in any way mean it will be valid for the compete complex system.

      I don’t want to belabor this point, but it is an elementary one that should be well documented in the literature. It looks to me like Held is the first one to really investigate it in any detail. And what a surprise, it raises some questions along exactly these lines.

      Since your knowledge of the literature is so much greater than mine, I thought you could definitively derive it for me. Maybe Andy can help me here.

      • Fred,

        Convection is the Navier-Stokes equation with temperature variations.

        Navier-Stokes derives from what are referred to as the fundamental Master equations of continuity, which includes Fokker-Planck and Darcy’s and Haynes-Shockley continuity equation. These include basic terms for both diffusion and drift. Drift is always governed by a force term and diffusion is the random walk component. Drift is also known as convection or transport depending on which discipline we are referring to. Diffusion is also known as the fluctuation term.

        My read is that convection needs a driving force, and one of the obvious ones is due to gravity. This leads to bouyancy and thus to convection.

        So when you say that “Convection is Navier-Stokes equation with temperature variations”, it kind of blows my mind. That would be like me saying that “Drift is Haynes-Shockley equation with temperature variations”, which is incorrect in describing electrical flow of charged particles. Temperature by itself is only describes the fluctuation term. If you look at Fourier’s Law which is the continuity equation for heat conduction, only a diffusive term exists. Heat is the excited random motion of particles and temperature measures this state, and there is no force associated with heat flow, unless it is indirectly through convection, which is through gravity or other force terms.

      • Web, thanks for the amplification. I know, you need sources and sinks of heat to drive the system. The Navier-Stokes equations as usually formulated to include all these source terms, for mass, heat, momentum, energy, etc. There are always ocmplex boundary conditions too. But the basic physics in convection is easy to see in just a box with a heat source at the bottom. It’s turbulent and chaotic. But, it seems like its a relatively simple boundary value problem (simple compared to the climate problem) and it could be used to calibrate the simpler subgrid models, well maybe it could!! It all depends on how stable the solutions are.

        The other thing that needs to be verified is that the real problem is time dependent whereas it looks like the simpler models are all steady state. That’s a big problem because solutions are only known to exist for the time dependent problem. Recent experience shows that the steady state version can have some rather bad pathologies. I can’t go into detail on this but there is some work in the literature, e.g., Darmofal and Krakos in the AIAA Journal last fall.

  28. Nullius in Verba

    “I’m just wondering how accurate this lapse rate theory really is.”

    It’s not particularly accurate, but it’s good enough for most purposes.

    The idea is based on the physics of gases (not Navier-Stokes) and in particular that if you compress them they get hot, and if you allow them to expand they cool down. It’s the physics on which a refrigerator works, and the reason an air pump gets hot, and a discharging CO2 fire extinguisher gets cold.

    The air pressure drops with altitude; the pressure at any point is the weight of the air above it. This means that if air rises and falls (as with convection) it also expands and is compressed, changing temperature. While it is a truism that hot air rises, the expansion also causes it to cool, preventing further rise. When the loss of buoyancy from the drop in temperature exactly equals the buoyancy force due to the air below being warmer, convection stops.

    This sets a hard limit on how steep a vertical thermal gradient can exist before convection evens it out, and because convection is so much faster than other ways of transferring heat (in the atmosphere, at least), you don’t often get gradients in excess of it. However, there’s absolutely nothing to stop gradients less than it, or in the opposite direction (warm air on top of cold) and these do occur fairly frequently.

    During the day over most of the Earth, the sunlight warming the surface drives enough of a differential to keep convection going continuously, so the atmosphere is held fairly tightly against the limit. As Fred said, on clear, windless nights without this continual heat input, convection can stop, and heat radiated from the ground can cool the air below the temperature of the air above it. That’s called a temperature inversion. The inversions over the north and south poles, where it can be night for half the year, are even more extreme. And winds and pressure systems and weather fronts can all lead to local divergences from the limiting lapse rate.

    The other complexity is humidity – as the air rises, water vapour in it condenses into tiny invisible droplets (and sometimes rain or snow), releasing heat. Because the heat appears and disappears with pressure the same way it does with pure compression, the two effects are combined into one number. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is about 10 C/km, but the moist adiabatic lapse rate is about 6.5 C/km, varying widely with humidity. As cold air is less humid, the air over the poles tends to have a steeper lapse rate limit, and everything happens in a narrower range closer to the surface, for example.

    You can find a derivation of the adiabatic lapse rate on the Wikipedia page, but to answer your question, it’s not that simple in reality. As with most subjects, you have to start off with the simplest picture that captures the essential points, and then bring in the complications one by one. Otherwise people just get lost (or use the opportunity to be deliberately obtuse). But it’s important that people know it’s a simplification, or they’ll feel cheated when they find out it isn’t quite so.

    And I’m still simplifying. The climate is one of the most complicated systems around.

    • Thanks for this. It looks like we are using the ideal gas law and simple thermodynamics of water vapor and some 1D model of bouyancy. How do we know its good enough for most things? This sounds like a naked assertion of authority, the most deadly idea in science. Also, it looks like an equilibrium model. I am a believer in simple models, but ONLY if they are rigorously calibrated from data or detailed simulations. I’m talking about real data, not adjusted data. And you need a lot of different types of data from different tests and situations too.

      I want some real quantification of the error. This is the FIRST question people should ask. You can quantify the errors either from first principles, namely seeing what the neglected terms are in the equations or you can use ACCURATE modeling to verify the simpler model. What I see is that people are just now after 50 years starting to take the latter approach. Good, lets double Held’s and Licas’ salaries and put them in charge of a group and get busy and really do this rigorously. In the mean time, “the science is settled” and according to Fred the literature is trustworthy. These statements are all true in one sense but in the most important sense, they are totally false because they are used to justify a false confidence in the results.

      Look, these things could be right. We need to find out. For that we need reform of climate scientists so we put the real scientists in charge.

    • It’s not particularly accurate, but it’s good enough for most purposes.

      for what purposes is it accurate enough, and for what purposes is it not accurate enough?

  29. Stephen Wilde

    Just try this as to how solar changes could affect surface and tropospheric temperatures by varying the amount of solar energy taken up by the oceans.:

    Envisage a warming effect in the mesosphere and stratosphere as a weak sun sends less ozone destroying chemicals down through the descending polar vortex. That is the reverse effect from standard climatology which assumes a cooling mesosphere and stratosphere when the sun is less active.

    However it is only by getting a warming effect at high altitudes above the pole that one can obstruct, break up and redistribute the downward flow of the polar vortex in the way that is observed when the jets become more meridional.

    If one can accept that contention then it all falls neatly into place doesn’t it ?

    It also accords with Joanna Haigh’s comments about increasing ozone above 45km from 2004 to 2007 whilst the sun was becoming less active.

    Once the downward flow of the polar vortex has been split up and redistributed so that the surface pressure elements are pushed equatorward for a net increase in global cloudiness and albedo then less solar energy enters the oceans and the Earth system as a whole starts to cool.

    The opposite thermal effect occurs when the sun is more active.

    I hink that is the answer to the entire climate conundrum.

    Whatever way one tries to cut it we cannot get the observed changes in surface pressure distribution without a warmer stratosphere at a time of less active sun and a cooler stratosphere at a time of more active sun.. After all, the polar vortex did become more positive with more poleward jets during the late 20th century period of warming at a time of more active sun.

    A shorter term example is the phenomenon known as a sudden stratospheric warming. It is well accepted that short term warming of the stratosphere above the poles does split up and redistribute the polar vortex in exactly the same way as is observed on a longer timescale when the jets become more meridional such as occurred in the LIA.

    I think the logic is sound and the evidence incontrovertible.

    The models need to be adjusted to reflect that reality and the albedo changes that accompany it. Then we will start to get some more accurate ‘projections’.

    Stephen.Wilde
    Copyright 31/10/2011

  30. Whenever I see simplistic references to a single-equation explanation for natural physical phenomena or processes, my first thought is that it can’t possibly be complete or correct. For the extent and distribution of water vapor content, and the liquid and solid phase also, in the atmosphere, the Clausius-Clapeyron is not the complete story. It’s not even a good beginning. The equation gives the potential for the maximum water-vapor content of the atmosphere. It does not determine what the actual content is.

    I have previously posted a few introductory remarks about the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. In those notes I mention its basis and origin in thermodynamics and its application as a driving potential for phase change and mass exchange.

    The thermodynamic origin is equality of the Gibbs function for the liquid and vapor phases on the co-existance line at a planar surface. Both the pressure and temperature for both the liquid and vapor phase are equal.

    The relationship has been found to be useful for applications to attempts of correlating empirical mass exchange data at the water-atmosphere interface. However, there are other descriptions of the mass-exchange process that do not rely on use of the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. These are equally successful as those that include the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. Note that for the case of sub-cooled liquid water and the atmosphere, the thermodynamic states are not those for which the relationship was obtained and for which is has a sound theoretical basis. For some phenomena and processes, however, the usual bulk-to-bulk measure of a driving potential is known to be wrong: evaporative flux of water vapor from a vegetated surface, leaves, is an example. Gas transport at a liquid-gas interface, for example, is governed solely by the state of the turbulence in the liquid at the interface: usually described as a diffusion process within the liquid to be the controlling resistance.

    The controlling physical phenomena, along with correct measures for the driving potential and the dominant resistance, determine the extent of mass, momentum, and energy exchanges at an interface.

    The picture that I get from some of the comments here is that (1) Clausius-Clapeyron is applied at the interface between water and the atmosphere and then, in complete isolation with no interactions, (2) the Clausius-Clapeyron is applied again high up in the atmosphere. It’s as if the vapor uptake at the interface, and the accompanying energy content, is magically transported as an isolated chunk of matter that has no interactions with its surroundings during the transport phase of the process. However, note that in this case a change in the lapse rate is also postulated and thus there must have been some interaction with the surroundings.

    So far in these discussions I have not seen any quantified estimates for the extent of the changes in the potential water-vapor content given changes in the temperature of the atmosphere, or sources of water vapor. Note that even if the potential for increased water vapor content is associated with the source of the vapor, the thermodynamic states of the atmosphere must be such that the additional vapor can be accommodated. The focus must be on both the source and the atmosphere.

    If the change in the saturation pressure with the temperature is evaluated for water, I get that an increase in the temperature of 0.6 K gives a decrease in the saturation pressure of about 0.9 percent relative to a base value of 288.0 K. A change of 1.0 K gives a decrease of about 1.5 percent.

    Given these small changes in the carrying potential, what is the expected delta in water vapor content. I think the delta is small compared to the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere prior to the assumed increase. Quantify the delta. Can the signal of the delta be determined given the scale of the delta and the pre-existing background. Can the changes be detected to the extent that changes in the Bowen Ratio can be quantified? The change in the driving potential is small and very likely well within the scatter of measured data and resulting correlations.

    The change in the temperature must be the local temperature where the water-atmosphere interface exists: Death Valley, and other desserts, for example, won’t be adding much additional water into the atmosphere. And, again, the vapor must survive the transport phase of the process. The effects of the heterogeneous distribution of the increased temperature must be considered when quantification of the effects are carried out. The change in some kind of global-average-temperature estimate is not the correct basis. That is wrong.

    Estimates of the extent and effects of interactions during the transport phase are also missing. Note that it is not even clear that the water vapor survives the transport phase to the troposphere. I guess you can say that if the vapor condenses all the associated energy that is released will also magically transport again with no interactions with its surroundings. That assumption can not be justified.

    Every aspect of the water-vapor cycle, every single one of them without exception, is described in GCMs by parameterizations. There’s not a single aspect of evaporation, condensation, transport, water vapor, liquid and solid formation, and even the vertical motions, among many others, described from first principles: nothing. The simple argument, Take a look at the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, cannot negate the importance of these parameterizations when calculating the effects of changes in temperature on the water cycle. If that is indeed the case, why do we have all these empirical, some ad-hoc, parameterizations and the GCMs?

    And then we get to numerical solution methods.

    Corrections for incorrectos will be appreciated.

    • Dan – You raise many interesting points, but quite a few straw men along the way, I believe, because no-one I’m aware of suggests that CC accounts for all atmospheric water vapor dynamics. If it did, then given an unlimited supply of liquid water in ocean reservoirs, the air would probably be 100 percent saturated 100 percent of the time. despite huge differences in specific humidity between the tropics and the poles.

      What I’m wondering is whether you have examined the concordance between many of the estimated climate responses with observed data. The latter include change in atmospheric specific and relative humidity over time at different altitudes and regions (including over oceans), as well as changes in cloud type, height, coverage, persistence, and regional distribution. You are not suggesting, are you, that latent heat transported from the surface via evaporation isn’t released at high, cold altitudes, with a consequent tendency to drive the lapse rate toward the moist adiabat? This is of course what the “hotspot” is all about, and the condensation will be a function of CC.

      This 1998 Trenberth paper on the hydrologic cycle is out of date but addresses many of the salient issues.

      • Fred, sometimes your posts are comical: You raise many interesting points, but quite a few straw men along the way, I believe, because no-one I’m aware of suggests that CC accounts for all atmospheric water vapor dynamics.

        CC accounts for NONE of the atmospheric water vapor dynamics. It is a thermodynamic equilibrium result that is independent of all mechanisms and rates. This is clearly presented in “The Principles of Planetary Climate” by Raymond T. Pierrehumbert.

        And there is this one below: Kuhnkat – If the “hotspot” is truly absent (not yet a certainty because of the potential for measurement error), it tells us that something about the mid to upper troposphere is not responding as strongly as predicted. This is not the fault of climate models, because the hotspot concept is part of our theoretical understanding of water vapor behavior. The theory is still correct – latent heat release should create more warming aloft – but if less is being released, for example, or if there is less water vapor to start with, or the effect is less altitude dependent, then the warming rate will be slower at a given altitude. It remains a climate change phenomenon where theory and models on one hand, and observations on the other, are not completely reconcilable in terms of the exact magnitude of effects. Water vapor positive feedback as well as the negative feedback from the latent heat release play a role in determining climate sensitivity, but I believe there is more direct evidence on the range of likely sensitivity values, and so I don’t see the hotspot issue as critical in that process.

        The misfit of the model to the data is important because it shows that (a) something is missing in the science; (b) some scientific principle is misrepresented in the model; (c) some essential parameters are inaccurately estimated; or (d) all those. The model misfit that you do not see as critical in the process of estimating the climate sensitivity is absolutely critical to the process of estimating the climate sensitivity accurately enough for any purpose.

      • CC accounts for NONE of the atmospheric water vapor dynamics.

        I think you’re way out of your depth, Matt. CC is a controlling factor for the rate of evaporation from the sea surface, the rate of cloud formation and precipitation from water vapor, and relevant to this thread, the rate of latent heat release and lapse rate change as a consequence of surface warming. As just one example of the above, evaporation from the ocean is a function of temperature that determines water-holding capacity, and is slowed when winds are too slow to replace air that is near saturated at a given temperature with less saturated air, and accelerated by winds that increase the water-holding capacity of near surface air, with CC as a quantitative regulator of those rates. If you can quote a section from Pierrehumbert’s book claiming that CC has no role in water vapor dynamics, that would be informative, but I doubt that you can do that. I’m surprised you made that claim. You are also welcome to contact Pierrehumbert directly (I think he’s accessible by email at U. Chicago), asking whether CC plays no role in water vapor dynamics, and then sharing his response with us.

        What I see as your misunderstanding of the significance of particular GCM inaccuracies for climate sensitivity estimates seems to be something you’ve repeated here, but I believe it has already been addressed many times. If you want to review previous threads and comments, you should find evidence that you’ve overstated that significance. The thread on probabilistic estimates of transient climate sensitivity as well as an earlier thread on probabilistic estimates of climate sensitivity are two places to start, but there are many others. I wonder if you aren’t trying too hard to dismiss conclusions that are in general well established even if there are uncertainties about some of the details. Even so, if you have very specific data about a particular estimate in mind, you can cite it here, so that we can evaluate its importance in the larger context of estimating climate sensitivity.

      • I think you’re way out of your depth

        That’s for sure true of one of us.

      • Regarding Pierrehumbert’s book and a role for CC in water vapor dynamics, see pages 417 and 609 as examples.

      • Fred: mercury expands as it warms. That’s well established.

        Matt: this thermometer is not calibrated well enough for clinical use.

        Fred: I have told you over and over again that mercury expands as it warms.

        and so on.

      • Also, my responses to you were blunt, but I don’t think they are rude. The bluntness came from your use of the word “comical”, which didn’t contribute much to the discussion. Whether comical or not, I thought my statements have been accurate, and on rereading them, I continue to find them accurate.

      • Fred: Regarding Pierrehumbert’s book and a role for CC in water vapor dynamics, see pages 417 and 609 as examples.

        These are not very precise approximations to actual dynamics, but coarse statements of equilibria (p. 417) and a truly imprecise rank ordering (p. 609.)

        p. 609: For an atmosphere such as Earth’s with an appreciable concentration of a condensable substance, synoptic eddies transport energy via latent heat as well as sensible heat. In accordance with Claussius-Clapayron, the warm equatorward-moving tongues of air also tend to be moist, whereas the returning poleward cold currents tend to be dry. In fact, the entire contribution of the C-C to this discussion is that warm air has higher absolute humidity than cool air, and the mathematical relationship in C-C is incidental.

        In my experience, you never distinguish between answering a quantitative question quantitatively and reciting a lot of generally related stuff. Newton’s second law is exceedingly accurate, and his law of gravitation is also accurate, limited by the accuracies in the estimates of mass (which in many cases of practical importance are quite accurate, and have been shown to be sufficiently accurate.) By contrast, the Claussius-Clapayron relationship never (hardly ever? measure 0 with respect to Lebesgue measure in space-time coordinates?) describes the profile of absolute humidity anywhere with much accuracy, and has not been shown to be accurate enough for such purposes as determining the sign of the climate sensitivity.

        Atmospheric science is full of cavaties that make estimation of important quantities like climate sensitivity grossly inaccurate. In response to being alerted about a cavity, you like to direct attention to the surrounding healthy tissue. The cavities remain.

      • Matt – Your earlier statements about CC and about the Pierrehumbert book can be checked by readers against the evidence. Why don’t you consider what they will find when they do that before you dig yourself a deeper hole?

        As to climate sensitivity, if you visit the Probabilistic Estimates of Climate Sensitivity thread, Including some long comments I made near the bottom, you will find quantitative information about climate sensitivity that (a) doesn’t depend on GCMs; (b) takes uncertainty into account; and (c) is independent of the need to know the magnitude of feedbacks because the calculations are based on the direct relationship between forcing and temperature change – once that’s already known, the feedback values are not needed to calculate it.

      • Fred: Your earlier statements about CC and about the Pierrehumbert book can be checked by readers against the evidence.

        Here’s hoping.

    • Good post.

  31. The tropospheric and surface temperature records ALL show warming from 1979 to today.

    The problem is that the two tropospheric (satellite) records both show slower rates of warming than the three surface temperature records.

    Figures below are in degrees C per decade:

    0.153 HadCRUT3
    0.163 NCDC
    0.170 GISS
    0.162 Average Surface

    0.139 UAH
    0.143 RSS
    0.141 Average Lower Troposphere

    The dilemma here is that GH theory tells us that the lower troposphere should be warming faster than the surface, but the record since 1979 tells us that it has been warming at a slower rate.

    One can rationalize that the records are all not that accurate and – what the hell – a mere 0.02C per decade difference is not all that much, etc., etc. – but the dilemma remains:

    The troposphere is warming at a slower rate than the surface, which is just the opposite of what should be occurring according to GH theory.

    Max

    • The dilemma here is that GH theory tells us that the lower troposphere should be warming faster than the surface,

      That’s not correct, Max. The tropospheric warming rate as a function of surface temperature is not based on “GH theory” but applies to any cause of surface warming. It is also incorrect to state that the principle you cite applies to the “lower troposphere”, because its effect is expected to be clearly discernible only in the mid to upper troposphere. Reasons for LT satellite-based and ground-measured differences are an unrelated topic involving many methodological issues; there is no particular reason why they should necessarily be seen as contradicting basic theories of surface/atmosphere interaction. However, they are not the phenomena that this thread has focused on.

      • Fred,

        I have seen statements similar to yours a number of times in discussions of the Hot Spot, that it is caused by the water vapor feedback from ANY warming source.

        Please help me out. What is the magnitude of ANY type of warming that should cause a measurable Hot Spot. We haven’t had a noticeable Hot Spot in the Sonde or Satellite records although it is claimed this is due to poor observations.

      • It’s not so much a matter of magnitude, but of a differential rate of warming between the surface and the mid and upper troposphere. Compare, for example Figures 9.1a and c. Both show a “hotspot”, but because the projected solar warming (9.1a) was so much less than ghg warming (9.1c), the magnitudes are smaller while a difference with the surface is seen in each case. The absence of a hotspot, however, is very likely a magnitude effect in terms of the magnitude of water vapor concentration and latent heat release as a function of altitude. If the latent heat release occurs, but at less than the rate estimated based on surface temperature, the warming will occur, but not at an excessive rate.

      • Fred,

        I see, so, if we don’t have an unphysical instantaneous doubling of CO2 or some other extreme, the atmosphere can adjust by expanding and increasing convection along with the extra emissions (T^4) and not create a hot spot?

      • Kuhnkat – If the “hotspot” is truly absent (not yet a certainty because of the potential for measurement error), it tells us that something about the mid to upper troposphere is not responding as strongly as predicted. This is not the fault of climate models, because the hotspot concept is part of our theoretical understanding of water vapor behavior. The theory is still correct – latent heat release should create more warming aloft – but if less is being released, for example, or if there is less water vapor to start with, or the effect is less altitude dependent, then the warming rate will be slower at a given altitude. It remains a climate change phenomenon where theory and models on one hand, and observations on the other, are not completely reconcilable in terms of the exact magnitude of effects. Water vapor positive feedback as well as the negative feedback from the latent heat release play a role in determining climate sensitivity, but I believe there is more direct evidence on the range of likely sensitivity values, and so I don’t see the hotspot issue as critical in that process.

        It is a political issue in the sense that the failure to get it exactly right has been used to suggest that all important climate change conclusions are questionable, but that’s illogical – each element must be judged on the basis of how well the science addresses it specifically. My own opinion is that the scientists working on it should not defensively insist the hotspot is actually there and the problem is only statistical. While that is conceivable, the problem might also lie with the understanding of upper troposphere water vapor dynamics, and that should be acknowledged.

      • Fred,

        “This is not the fault of climate models, because the hotspot concept is part of our theoretical understanding of water vapor behavior. The theory is still correct – latent heat release should create more warming aloft – but if less is being released, for example, or if there is less water vapor to start with, or the effect is less altitude dependent, then the warming rate will be slower at a given altitude.”

        You do NOT see what is wrong with this statement do you??

        Sorry to have bothered you.

      • Exactly – You might want to do some reading about the relationship of models to their input. Models operate upon the input, but are not responsible for it. If the input is wrong (or slightly inaccurate), a good model will reflect the inaccuracy.

      • Fred Moolten

        Here’s what IPCC has to say about it:

        AR4 WG1 FAQ 3.1 (p.252)

        For global observations since the late 1950s, the most recent versions of all available data sets show that the troposphere has warmed at a slightly greater rate than the surface…This is in accord with physical expectations and most model results, which demonstrate the role of increasing greenhouse gases in the tropospheric warmin

        This may have been true in 2005, when the data for AR4 were cut off (I have not checked the data to see if it was true or not), but it certainly is not true today: i.e. the troposphere has warmed at a slightly slower rate than the surface [from 1979 to today]..

        N.B. This is contrary to the expectations and most model results, and does not demonstrate the role of increasing greenhouse gases in the troposphere.

        Max

      • Max – If you read through this thread, including my earliest and subsequent comments and links, you will find that this is what the entire thread is about. However, you will also find that you are repeating your error in linking tropospheric amplification to greenhouse gases – the troposphere responds similarly to surface warming regardless of whether it is from greenhouse gases or solar changes. Its response is not a test of greenhouse gas-based warming. That error is pervasive in much blogosphere discussion and so correcting it deserves attention. In any case, this has been discussed at length already in this thread and elsewhere.

      • Fred,

        let me restate the question that is being asked.

        Over the last 40 years it would appear that many in the Climate Community believe that there has been warming from Solar, CO2 enhancement, and water vapor feedback.

        We do not see a hotspot where the GCMs tell us it should be due to warming of any kind.

        Does this mean the models are wrong or that we need a heck of a lot more warming for it to appear??

      • Fred, this is what Max presented:
        Here’s what IPCC has to say about it:

        AR4 WG1 FAQ 3.1 (p.252)

        For global observations since the late 1950s, the most recent versions of all available data sets show that the troposphere has warmed at a slightly greater rate than the surface…This is in accord with physical expectations and most model results, which demonstrate the role of increasing greenhouse gases in the tropospheric warmin

        Wouldn’t it have been simpler for you to have said, right at the top, that this is another example of where the IPCC was wrong?

        Instead you have written stuff like this, over and over: However, you will also find that you are repeating your error in linking tropospheric amplification to greenhouse gases – the troposphere responds similarly to surface warming regardless of whether it is from greenhouse gases or solar changes.

        It was the AGW promoters, not the skeptics, who broadcast this error. Why not just say that the AGW promoters, including the IPCC, were wrong?

      • Matt – Max’s error was in implying that tropospheric amplification is a “fingerprint” of ghg-driven warming, when it is a manifestation of surface warming whether caused by CO2, solar changes, or other surface-warming phenomena. It’s not specific to anthropogenic ghg-mediated warming and therefore not a test of that phenomenon. The IPCC has not claimed otherwise (although it has been misinterpreted as making that claim).

        The AR4 FAQ 3.1 statement that the troposphere has warmed faster than the surface is unjustified (I’ve mentioned this point several times). However, WG1 does give a more balanced overview in later section (see, for example Figure 3.18). I’ve criticized them, though, for not acknowledging that it is in fact possible that the estimated higher tropospheric warming rate is simply wrong, and that they need to understand upper and mid troposphere water vapor better to learn why.

      • Fred Moolten,

        ” I’ve criticized them, though, for not acknowledging that it is in fact possible that the estimated higher tropospheric warming rate is simply wrong, and that they need to understand upper and mid troposphere water vapor better to learn why.”

        Thank you Fred. Now that we agree they have something wrong, I would suggest you back off on the BS about needing to DO SOMETHING when you don’t even know if soemthing NEEDS to be done!!! I know, that is why it was so hard for you to even make that small admission, because idiots like me would say that!!

      • Fred Moolten

        Why are you defending IPCC’s error?

        This is not a wise thing to do, once it has been made clear to one and all.

        IPCC states (AR4 WG1, Ch. 9, pp 674/675):

        Greenhouse gas forcing is expected to produce warming in the troposphere…(Figure 9.1c).

        Figure 9.1c shows the tropospheric hotspot between 30N and 30S at 150 to 400 hPa referred to as Zonal mean atmospheric temperature change from 1890 to 1999 (°C per century as simulated by the PCM model from… (c) well-mixed greenhouse gases

        Along with the other quotation I cited, it is clear that IPCC considered the tropospheric “hot spot” (figure 9.1c) a fingerprint of warming from well mixed greenhouse gases, as opposed to warming from (natural) solar forcing (no hot spot, Fig.9.1a),

        But, in actual fact, there was no tropospheric hot spot. So no “fingerprint” of GH warming.

        IPCC’s second error (actually on the same topic) was to state that the troposphere had warmer at a faster rate than the surface, as expected by the GH theory. This has also turned out to be false, as all three surface records have shown more rapid warming than the two tropospoheric records.

        Is this a fatal flaw, which invalidates everything written in AR4 WG1?

        I do not think so.

        But it is foolish IMO to defend a silly error by IPCC, which has already been exposed.

        Max

      • Max – If you take another look at AR4 Figures 9.1a and 9.1c, you it should be clear to you that AR4 does not predict TA as a fingerprint of greenhouse gas-based warming, because it also occurs with solar warming. This error seems to be one you make repeatedly, but if you are confused by the evidence, you should state exactly where you have come to a different interpretation, because the evidence is actually clear (it was also apparent in TAR Figure 12.5, which shows much of the same thing with solar and ghg-mediated energy inputs normalized to the same values).

      • Fred Moolten – you say “If you take another look at AR4 Figures 9.1a and 9.1c, you it should be clear to you that AR4 does not predict TA as a fingerprint of greenhouse gas-based warming, because it also occurs with solar warming.”.

        That warming does not exist. Right now I don’t care whether they think solar forcing will do the same thing or not. What I do care about is that it didn’t happen [I'm posting a reply to another of your posts on that shortly], so they got it wrong. It’s that simple. They are wrong.

      • Fred,

        you are becoming tiresome with your, no, its solar warming that is missing or whatever.

        The hot spot should be there for ANY warming. There is no hot spot…

        There is also no stratospheric cooling for the last 16 years that WOULD make it GHG warming.

        Please try and not act like Nick Stokes.

  32. Donald Rapp: Your figures 1 and 2 are to me sufficient to falsify AGW, which is the position I have taken for the last year or so. However, I prefer to leave the big ENSO out of the trend analysis, as there is no way to know where in there the step occurs. See http://www.mediafire.com/file/a9tv9tad9e6216p/UAH_2011_06_19_two_regressions.pdf

    The step function is obvious and I see no way that the GHG buildup can explain it. Science is about the specifics and this step function is very specific. There is simply no evidence of AGW in this pattern. Yet this is the 30+ year period where the observed warming is supposed to confirm AGW. Thus we get falsification, not confirmation. Science is often simple this way. Michelson-Morley comes to mind.

    Of course if the AGW community can come up with a mechanism whereby the gradual GHG buildup gets transformed into a step function we will all look at it. Perhaps a giant heat capacitor of some sort, hidden in the ocean (just kidding, sort of). Until then I consider the falsification final.

    In the meantime we still have to explain the step, which looks like a regime change, perhaps chaotic.

    • David,

      Take a look at this graph. Can you see a step function in it?

      If you answered “Yes” then you’ve proved that ‘AGW’ is perfectly compatible with the appearance of a step function in a time series. You’ve proved this because the progression of this time series is indeed following a continuous trend which could represent the change in anthropogenic forcing, as shown in this graph.

      I know this trend is in this data because I put it there. What you’re looking at is a simple model building a time series from 4 components: 1) a regular ~12-year, 0.1ºC amplitude sine wave representing the solar cycle; 2) a continuous trend representing anthropogenic forcing, using the function y=0.0136x^2; 3) Irregular negative values representing large volcanic events; 4) MEI (ENSO) annual data, incorporating a 4-month lag, representing inter-annual fluctuations.

      I’ve uploaded the spreadsheet if you want to take a look.

    • Take a look at the graph at:
      http://www.spaceclimate.net/compare_1.web.jpg
      It seems to suggest that surface temperatures follow the integral of the Nino index while tropo temperatures follow the Nino index itself.
      The term “AGW” means many things to different people. Even I, skeptic that I am, think that rising CO2 must produce global warming to some degree (no pun intended). The question is how much? There seems to be a plethora of confusing factors that make it difficult to discern specifically how rising CO2 affects the climate. The connection to El Ninos is one and the differences between surface and tropo temperatures is another.

      • Donald – On very short timescales, ENSO dominates temperature change, but over several decades, the recent warming cannot be explained by anything except a dominant contribution from external forcing as seen here.

  33. http://www.arl.noaa.gov/documents/JournalPDFs/santerdouglass.pdf

    “In the tropics, however, important differences remained
    between the simulated and observed ‘differential warming’.
    In climate models, the tropical lower troposphere
    warmed by more than the surface. This amplification
    of surface warming was timescale-invariant, consistent
    across a range of models, and in accord with basic theoretical
    considerations (Santer et al., 2005, 2006; Thorne
    et al., 2007).”

    • The lower troposphere is variously defined, but most of it is considered to be below 5 kilometers. Models of warming rates show that most of this region would not differ greatly from surface warming, and that in the tropics, the more pronounced “hotspots” would be predicted in the mid to upper troposphere – see Figure 9.1c.

      • Don’t tell me. Tell Max and Santer because if one is wrong they certainly both are.

      • Fred
        Did I misread the paper you referenced or did they reach their conclusion based on GCMs that have not had anyone state within what limits the reliability of the models can be considered reliable for any particular attribute?
        What I read was:
        “In this chapter, the methods used to identify change in observations are based on the expected responses to external forcing (Section 9.1.1), either from physical understanding or as simulated by climate models.”

        How much faith do you put into a model before it has been demonstrated to produce reliable results?

      • Rob – As I mentioned previously, the “hotspot” concept is quantified in the models but doesn’t originate in them. It’s a function of the quasi-exponential nature of the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship (although as Dan Hughes points out above, there are many complexities involved in estimating the magnitude, location, and altitude of latent heat release by atmospheric water vapor).

      • Fred:
        I don’t think that your TLT altitude is the same as what is used by the satellites. This whole discussion is like a comedy where there is a “he who shall not be named”. The answer is that the surface instrument data set are trending to hot. It’s that simple. All the rest is hand waving. Look at it. “Maybe it’s this – maybe it’s that – maybe it’s the other. But no no no, it cannot be that the surface records are too hot. That answer is simply not allowed” I’m just laughing my head off at the way that rationalizations are being thrown out in order to avoid the obvious. The surface records are too hot. And as the hottest of the hot, BEST is the wrongest of the wrong.

      • I found the satellite division of altitudes into lower, mid, and upper troposphere to be a basis for my statement about the lower troposphere.

        Regarding the surface, there are now enough mutually confirmatory observations from independent sources to tell us that the surface trends are not seriously inaccurate, but because this has been extensively discussed in recent threads, it would be repetitious to go through that evidence here. You should probably review the threads on the BEST data. Remember, though, that global warming data are for the most part ocean warming data, with the land contributing only to a small extent. We’re still awaiting updates on the ocean. There were undoubtedly some inaccuracies prior to mid-twentieth century, but the trends since then are much more reliable. Even more important, the ocean heat content trend from mid-twentieth century onward is confirmatory.

      • See Figure 2 indicating that the TLT merges into the TMT at about 4-5 km altitude.

      • Fred: “Regarding the surface, there are now enough mutually confirmatory observations from independent sources to tell us that the surface trends are not seriously inaccurate, but because this has been extensively discussed in recent threads, it would be repetitious to go through that evidence here.”

        This is not true. Both GISS and BEST have huge sources of error which have been extensively discussed here. It would be repetitious to go through that evidence again. And NOAA uses .6F of positive adjustments to get their hot results. HadCrut3 is significantly divergent from both GISS and BEST in the last 15 years.

        http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif

      • Hadcrut and GISS don’t differ greatly regarding trends despite individual year differences – I’m referring to global data (not U.S.-limited data), and to both land and ocean data, where the ocean dominates. I don’t think you are likely to get much mileage out of claims that long term post-1950 global trends are running too high. There are too many independent source of evidence to support the conclusion they are reasonably accurate.

      • You’ve had plenty of time to look at the issue. Is the TLT supposed to warm faster than the surface? Yes or no.

      • steven

        I think a picture may be worth a thousand words in this case. This image shows output from the GISS model (x-axis is latitude, y-axis is atmospheric pressure, which reduces with altitude so the bottom is the surface and the top is the stratosphere).

        The Lower Troposphere is traditionally defined as the space up to about 700-hPa. You can see on the image the tropical region is warmer in the LT than at near-surface pressures (although note that the LT technically includes the near-surface) but that is less clear from the mid-latitudes to the high-latitudes and poles, where the relationship may even reverse.

      • Thanks Paul, but figure 6 in the paper I linked gives a much clearer picture of the expected rate of tropospheric temperature change as does the paper it was a response to.

      • Steven – See my previous comment and the link to the figure in AR4. Models differ, but from every simulation I’ve seen, the “hotspot” is always found in the mid to upper troposphere and there are no great differences in the tropics between surface and LT warming rates.

      • Fred, I am familiar with the tropospheric temperature profiles as modeled and know where the hot spot should be. That isn’t the issue. You seem unable to answer a simple question in a straight foward manner. Was Max incorrect when he stated the TLT should warm faster than the surface or wasn’t he?

      • Max was wrong for the several reasons I cited, including his suggestion that tropospheric amplification (the “hotspot”) is a test of greenhouse gas principles. The theory underlying the “hotspot” predicts mid and upper tropospheric warming for its location, and that is now very apparent from the various figures that have been cited. It does not require LT amplification and so to cite that as a test of the principle is incorrect. The models vary regarding the LT, with some estimating a slight increase and others a slight decrease in warming rates vis-a-vis the surface (see the Figure 6 you cited earlier, the surface L+O trend, and the grey envelope), but with minimal difference from the surface on average. That there is no requirement in the models for the LT to warm faster is also apparent in the AR4 Figure 9.1 I linked to.

        As to whether Santer overstated the conclusions implied by his own Figure 6, that’s possible, but it’s clear that the climate literature places the clearly discernible amplification in the mid to upper troposphere. I expect he probably agrees, but if you think his opinion is important, you might want to contact him to ascertain it more clearly.

      • I didn’t ask what the range of 2 standard deviations was. I asked what was supposed to happen as modeled. I can see obfuscation is the order of the day just like every other day. Now, what was I misrepresenting again?

      • Steven – Forgive me, but I think you are being defensive about having quoted a sentence from Santer et al that greenhouse gas warming should require the LT to warm faster than the surface. Such a conclusion is seen to be incorrect from that paper itself (figure 6) and from the other sources quoted. The principle involved does NOT require LT amplfication, and so to say “the LT should warm faster than the surface” is wrong. That some models show a trend in that direction and others in the other direction, with the average deviating minimally from surface warming is not evidence for what “should” happen.

        The evidence is now pretty clear in my view. If you have further evidence, we should look at it, but I doubt too many readers are interested in seeing further haggling about what has already been shown, which they can evaluate for themselves.

      • I’m not being defensive Fred. I just know when someone is trying to dazzle me with brilliance or trying to baffle me with BS.

  34. Nullius in Verba
    “It also has the effect of pushing the tropopause up. There are a number of factors than tend to create a thermal gradient in the atmosphere, which tend to get steeper and more intense the nearer you get to the surface.”

    There is gravity.
    What else?

  35. Nullius in Verba

    “There is gravity. What else?”

    Gravity doesn’t cause a thermal gradient on its own. Only indirectly, by creating the pressure difference that allows other effects to have that effect.

    The primary example is that sunlight mostly passes through the atmosphere and heats the surface, so heat is constantly flowing upwards. Unless the thermal resistance is zero, that requires a temperature gradient. There is also the friction of horizontal winds with the surface, shear forces and turbulence causing dissipative losses into local heating, particulates in the atmosphere absrbing sunlight, precipitation, clouds, the day-night cycle, and surface evaporation.

    Why?

  36. There are new interesting data available @Wood for Trees.
    This includes BEST preliminary data but also AMO index records.

    The following curves shows clearly how long term Surface Temperatures’ trends are indeed mainly driven by Oceans’ Oscillations, namely PDO and AMO :
    HADCRUT3 vs PDO & AMO.

    A closer look on how T° and [CO2] evolves with respect to the variations of PDO and AMO indexes, over the last 50 years, also provides an enlightening perspective about the real behavior of our climate system . Here are the curves :

    [1960 – 1976].
    [1976 – 1992].
    [1992 – 2010].

    This shows how variations of PDO, that seem highly connected top ENSO considering the 3 years average period, are preceding variations of AMO, themselves preceding variations of Temperature, [CO2] just ranking good last.. CO2 is definitely NOT Earth Thermal knob.

  37. “The second aspect deals with the scaling ratio of the trend of TLT to the trend of TS in the tropics. Climate models consistently predict this ratio to be ~1.4; the tropospheric temperature is expected to rise faster than the surface temperature. However, as Christy et al. (2010) pointed out, the observed linear trend for TLT (0.9°C/decade) is only about 80% of the observed linear trend for TS, so the observed scaling ratio is roughly 0.8, not the predicted value of 1.4. “

    I assume that their basis for the higher ratio is that the back-scattering from CO2 would heat the air faster because it has a lower specific heat than the average value for the earth’s surface, which is predominantly water. But then there is the issue of what radiation bands emitted by CO2 are absorbed by the rest of the air versus the earth’s surface on average. Assuming the radiation calculations have been correctly dealt with in the climate models, then observing a ratio of TLT to TS of less than 1 in the tropics brings up the suggestion that the tropical ocean has been driving the tropical atmosphere more in recent years than any contribution from CO2 was thought to have. If that is the case, then it would make sense for the ratio to be less than one.

    • I believe the quoted passage came from ClimateAudit. The scaling factor of 1.4 is almost certainly wrong. A more appropriate value would be close to 1.0 and perhaps as low as 0.8, and would be consistent with greenhouse gas forcing (or most other sources of surface heating including solar changes). For the troposphere as a whole, 1.4 or greater might be appropriate in the tropics, but for the lower troposphere, there is no theoretical reason for a value this high, and models typically show values distributed on either side of 1, with more slightly above but many slightly below. The reason is that much of the latent heat release from water vapor condensation responsible for the elevated tropospheric warming rate is largely relegated to higher, colder altitudes.

      Although this would be true in general (at least for the tropics), the value would probably be lower still for global land temperatures (e.g., the BEST data). The elevated tropospheric warming represents latent heat from evaporation primarily over the oceans, whereas land emits less water vapor and because it has a lower heat capacity than water, heats more rapidly. In addition, much of the warmed atmosphere over land has been shown to be the result of advection from adjacent oceans. For all these reasons, satellite measurements of TLT over land are not really measurements of temperature from land, but a mixture of land and ocean air temperatures. Since the latter is lower than land temperature, the ratio of TLT to land temperature will be further reduced.

      It’s hard to assign precise values to these estimates. At this point, while a scaling factor less than 1.0 seems plausible, it might be best to avoid all arbitrary scaling factors until more detailed understanding of land/ocean/atmosphere variations is available. That would include the 1.4 value, for which there is no current justification when land temperatures are involved.

      • Figure 9.1c shows a modeled trend with no difference in the warming rate at the surface and the LT (below 5 km), but with accelerated warming estimated at higher altitudes – a scenario consistent with a ratio of 1 but not 1.4. This estimate is for land plus ocean (with ocean predominating). Land temperature rises faster than ocean temperature, and would be consistent with a lower ratio – e.g., less than 1, although it would be difficult to be that precise.

      • Your comments on latent heat release also raise interesting questions, such as how well we understand what potential warming on a global scale would do to the tropical atmospheric circulation cell. It is my understanding that the IPCC expects mid-tropospheric moisture content to generally increase as warming continues, due to increased evaporation and convection in the tropics. However, the NCEP reanalysis dataset shows a gradual decline in specific humidity in the tropical atmosphere above about the 700mb level during the last 60 years. From the surface to 5000 feet specific humidities are rising as would be expected, but higher up, the trend is the opposite.

        Average Jan-Dec specific humidity for the entire 20S-20N latitude belt:

        http://i43.tinypic.com/2ltlf6h.jpg

      • Hi Levi – The NCEP/NCAR reanalysis trend appears to be wrong, and is inconsistent with the other 4 reanalyses, including those that incorporated satellite as well as radiosonde measurements. The modern satellite data all show increases in specific humidity at all altitudes, with maintenance of near constant relative humidity (RH) at most. The one area where this is less certain is the upper troposphere (UT), where Minschwaner and Dessler (2004) reported the specific humidity increase to be insufficient to maintain constant RH, while Soden et al (Science 2005) reported evidence for constant UT RH. The reasons for the spurious NCEP/NCAR trends are thought to lie in instrument changes over time, whereby older, slower humidity sensors were replaced by more rapidly responding sensors. This reduced the contamination of data at one altitude with humidity from a different altitude and therefore caused a false downward jump in apparent humidity.

        The more critical question, I believe, is the exact magnitude of UT humidity changes, even if the direction (increasing) is reasonably well established. If RH is not maintained feedback effects in the UT may be lower than estimated, although how much this would affect overall feedback estimates is uncertain.

      • Incidentally, my apologies for not providing links to all the references. I should have saved them in a convenient place because this topic comes up often, but I think you can find them via the information I gave. Also, the multiple reanalyses were addressed by, I think, Dessler and Davis fairly recently (2008 to 2010), and I’m sure I can get that reference by tomorrow.

      • I actually just looked up and read the Dessler 2010 paper on the subject, comparing the 5 major reanalysis datasets. NCEP/NCAR does indeed seem to be an outlier compared to the other 4, though even without it, there seems to be a lot of variance in the specific humidity trends, with no confidently close agreement. Thanks for pointing out the glaring differences in the NCEP/NCAR dataset.

      • Fred,

        Minschwaner and Dessler (2004) look at a rather small layer (~250 hPa), and their results don’t appear to be outside what some models predict (eg., Minschwaner et al 2006)… whereas some other studies looking at observations that maintain constant RH (in one case to Pinatubo) have methodologies appropriate to looking over a broader column (Soden et al. 2002). It’s also worth a caution against studies that do regressions of humidity and surface temperature over short intervals, as in the observations of M&D 04, which are highly sensitive to ENSO and might not be representative of global warming (e.g. Lu et al 2008, J. Climate)

  38. Joachim Seifert

    To Fred Moolten: The missing heat in the oceans: See
    . As you suspected,
    it was Trenberth, who locates the missing heat in the deep sees, and J. Hansen detected it in the ocean water mixing, where he located the missing heat “in the pipeline” …..
    My important point is this: The celebrated Millenium climate achievement was the TAR (3. IPCC report, 2000), in which the concentrated wisdom of 40 major institutes can be found. Non of 40 institutes, none of the SRES scenarios show the flat temperature plateau, on which we are now! They had all the models, all the equipment, all the knowledge about atmosphere and ocean…… not 1 of them predicted flat plateau temps …. is it not?
    We have to give them the boot, because the first decade is much easier to predict than the sixth or the seventh, where errors amplify…..
    The 40 lied once, and common wisdom says: Who lies once, he will not be trusted…. and Hansen and Trenberth are trying to cover up…..

    • Joachim Seifert

      Fred, the link disappeared, see: eenews.net/public/greenwire 2011/10/25/1

    • why do you think the first decade is the easiest to predict? I don’t think so.

      Predicting the trend over 10 years is hard as it is affected strongly by ENSO and the phase of the solar cycle. 40 years, not so much at all.

      • lolwot,

        the modellers freaked around 2006/7 because the temps weren’t rising. They then went back and INITIALIZED their model with the conditions of about 2000. With this change they kinda saw the flat period that then went back to the monotone 2c/C increase built into the models by due to whatever their error is.

        This SHOULD HAVE made them realize they had a problem that needed fixing. It apparently hasn’t. Fred does not appear to think it is an issue either.

      • Joachim Seifert

        Why are the first 10 years easier to predict than all later ones?

        Plain to see: 1. you have the accurate starting point and have to guess
        only the endpoint and 2. if its not completely correct, you just excuse yourself with the imponderabilities of all the factors, as they do nowadays.
        For all further decades, you dont have the accurate start-and endpoints and the imponderabilities are socalled “noise” and they do not give figures, how strong the noise would be and how thick your earplugs have to be……….
        ………. Imagine, you would have predicted, back in 2000, there will
        be a temperature plateau starting and no more observable temp increase until 2011: The AGW-folks would have screemed you down and sent you
        out of the room with laughter….. But……now they start inviting the sceptics, what they have to say…..a remarkable development…..

      • If you are predicting the trend for the next 10 years you have to predict what ENSO will do.

        If you are predicting the trend over the next 40 years you don’t have to know what ENSO will do, because ENSO variation biases trends less over long timescales.

        Predicting ENSO even a year out is hard, any more pretty much impossible. So I there’s good reason why a short term trend prediction is harder than a longer term one.

        As an extreme example, think about how hard it would be to predict the trend over the next 2 years.

        “Imagine, you would have predicted, back in 2000, there will
        be a temperature plateau starting and no more observable temp increase until 2011: The AGW-folks would have screemed you down and sent you out of the room with laughter”

        Justifiably so, you haven’t explained what such a prediction is based on. Predictions that are mere guesses and are base on no foundation are worthless.

      • Joachim Seifert

        To Lolwot: You say:
        1. —–“Predicting ENSO even a year out is hard, any more pretty much impossible. So I there’s good reason why a short term trend prediction is harder than a longer term one.”
        Look at the ENSO page: El Nino-La Nina compensate each other, you get more heat (2 year event e.g. 1997/98) followed by less heat (2 years 1990/2000), for decadal purposes and the present flat plateau trend or the previous warming trend, which stopped at its tipping point in 2000, the ENSO has to be considered, that is correct, but as a trend has to be equalized together with La Nina…..much shorter than 1 decade….
        These are ultrashort events, which compensate each other, I would say they belong to the weatherman instead to climate research, ENSO has been around for lets say centuries and they do not increase global warming on a longer than decadal scale…..

        2.—— You say: “Justifiably so, you haven’t explained what such a prediction is based on. Predictions that are mere guesses and are base on no foundation are worthless.”
        Indeed, those predictions exists: Those AGW-predictions of mere guess are those of Hansen (Pipeline-argument) or of Trenberth (missing heat hiding from our eyes in deep sees- argument), those guys should be shown the red card….
        My reference is the booklet ISBN 978-3-86805-604-4, which until date, has not been refuted by anyone, you would be the first, if you can, I would be delighted…..
        JS

      • lolwot,

        it is really nice to make up stuff and throw it out. It still doesn’t mean anything. There is no direct connection to whether the earth is warming or coolong with any currently accepted theory. I don’t know. You don’t know. The models can’t display what the modelers are unable to program into them.

    • Joachim – I don’t disagree with you that climate science finds it difficult to explain many of the short term fluctuations in global temperature beyond reference to ENSO and the solar cycle. On the other hand, that needs to be put into perspective, because the long term warming trend of the past century has been punctuated by many ups and downs rather than a smoothly rising curve, and yet the fact that the long term trend is upward is not in dispute (I hope). Viewed in that context, the most recent years aren’t exceptional. We might not have been able to predict in 1980 when the next flat interval would arrive, but we could almost certainly have predicted that it would happen sooner or later.. We need to understand this better, but you are wrong to claim that the scientists have “lied” simply because they have trouble with these fluctuations along the course of the longer trends.

      Regarding Hansen’s “pipeline”, that concept is often misunderstood. As I understand his metaphor (which was a poor word choice), he was not referring to heat already in the climate system, hiding somewhere, but rather to the heat that would continue to accumulate if CO2 concentrations remained at their current level without an increase – this is due to the imbalance between the CO2 concentration and the global temperature with which it would eventually equilibrate. That heat hasn’t yet reached the Earth.

      • Actually he is still promoting said metaphor Hanson 2011

        Dramatic improvement in knowledge of Earth’s energy imbalance is possible this decade as Argo float observations (Roemmich and Gilson, 2009) are improved and extended. If Argo data are complemented with adequate measurements of climate forcings, we will argue, it will be possible to assess the status of the global climate system, the magnitude of global warming in the pipeline, and the change of climate
        forcing that is required to stabilize climate.

        Much as he blames the recent T “hiatus” on anthropogenic decreases,

        In summary, precipitous decline in the growth rate of GHG forcing about 25 years ago caused a decrease in the rate of growth of the total climate forcing and thus a flattening of the planetary energy imbalance over the past two decades. That flattening allows the small forcing due to the solar cycle minimum, a delayed bounceback effect from Pinatubo cooling, and recent small volcanoes to cause a decrease of the planetary
        energy imbalance over the past decade.

        http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/11/27031/2011/

      • Joachim Seifert

        Fred: your comment 1.:
        —–” the fact that the long term [warming] trend is upward is not in dispute (I hope).” — whereas I say, and everyone can convince himself from transparent calculations in my book, that the warming trend has stopped for good and will remain on the flat plateau for the next decades. I dont have to go one inch backward on this….
        your comment 2:
        —–..” We need to understand this better, but you are wrong to claim that the scientists have “lied” simply because they have trouble with these fluctuations along the course of the longer trends.”…..
        —— I maintain they lie, because they all know, that the Earth’s orbit
        (which is the cause for global warming until 2000 and the onset of the temp.plateau…. with temp then receding after 2045) is incorrectly represented… see and compare: 1. wikipedia: a movement called Libration (with example of the moon in animated picture) to 2. AR4-wgi-chapter2: The Earth’s orbit ……is ASSUMED INVARIANT….
        …..thus omitting to calculate Libration movements, which lengthen and shorten distances to the Sun, thus producing RF….. this is being kept under the table, they all know and I personally adviced all LA-contributers of AR5 on this
        flaw, which should not continue…. I wrote almost 150 Emails including to Japan, China and Russia…..
        They continue to lie and thats fact….
        XXX

  39. To add further content to the mix of evidence, I’ve just had a chance to read a new paper on the subject of this thread. Although much of the MSU observational data have failed to support an enhanced rate of upper tropospheric warming, a recently published GRL 2011 paper using a different weighting function to define this region of the troposphere reports enhanced warming vis-a-vis the surface. The enhancement is less than predicted by the models, and so the latter can’t yet be said to have an accurate fix on this phenomenon even with this report. The paper does emphasize, however, the importance of how the MSU technology is interpreted in determining the actual troposphere/surface relationship. There is no method yet available that can record signals from only one set of altitudes, and so it remains a method requiring complex algorithms to sort out which temperature signals are coming from which altitude and assign them the appropriate proportions.

    • Fred Moolten – The paper you provide the link to says “While satellite MSU/AMSU observations generally support GCM results with tropical deep-layer tropospheric warming faster than the surface, it is evident that the AR4 GCMs exaggerate the increase in static stability between tropical middle and upper troposphere during the last three decades.”.

      Not a particularly convincing endorsement.

      But it gets worse.

      The paper’s analysis runs from 1979-2010, which is fair enough because that is the whole available period at the time of the analysis. However, the end date of 2010 is unfortunate, as follows. The paper also says “The interannual variability in observations is largely driven by ENSO ….. We performed sensitivity study by removing ENSO …It is found that this … effect is small …”.

      The removal of ENSO used the Nino 3.4 index. Unfortunately, the relationship between temperature and the index is not precise, and I would contend that for this particular purpose the removal of ENSO by this method together with the 2010 end date led to incorrect results.

      In support of this statement:

      I plotted tropical troposphere temperatures against tropical and global surface temperatures a while ago:
      http://members.westnet.com.au/jonas1/TropicalTroposphereTemperatures.jpg
      In the graph, you can clearly see that the tropical troposphere temperature (at all levels) rises less steeply over time than the surface temperature except around certain El Ninos. The biggest El Nino effects were in 1982, 1986, 1998 and 2009. The El Ninos of 1982-83 and 1997-98 were of similar strength in the MEI index (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/, chart under “Historic El Niño events since 1950″. Presumably MEI index is similar to ENSO 3.4 index.), yet their effect on temperature was markedly different. Similarly the 1986-88 El Nino was bigger than 2009-10, yet its effect on temperature was less. So while the effect of El Nino on temperature correlates quite well with the El Nino index re timing, it does not correlate at all well re amplitude.

      One consequence of this is that the strong El Nino influence on the 2010 temperature would not have been removed properly by their method, and the result would be attribution of a greater tropical troposphere temperature trend to GHG amplification than was justified. But this trend was in any case reported as minor, and well below model predictions. The end result of all this, I would contend, is that their analysis provides no support at all for the GHG amplification predictions in the climate models.

      • PS Fred. The “non-circular” (Occam’s Razor) response by Hansen, when he found that actual warming was only half of that predicted by his models would have been to say:

        Aha! Looks like my models were wrong – I probably loaded in a climate sensitivity which is high by a factor of 2:1

      • Mike – The paper drew its conclusions without removing ENSO, but if recalculated with ENSO removed, results differed very little. The paper does support amplification predictions, but at a lower level than predicted by the models, and I think we agree that the reasons for the disparity need to be resolved. The authors suggest an overestimation of static stability, which is plausible but still speculative at this point.

      • Fred Moolten – you have missed the point. The point is that they DID draw their conclusions without removing ENSO, and these conclusions are wrong because there was a significant ENSO influence, as I described in some detail. (Incidentally I didn’t point out that the lower impact of one of the earlier El Ninos also increased their error). They then tried to claim that they had estimated the ENSO effect was very small, but as I pointed out, their calculations were wrong because the ENSO effect was clearly not in proportion to the index, but was lower early in the period and higher later.

        So, to explain it simply: There clearly is a significant ENSO effect on trend over that period, which made their conclusions incorrect. Their ENSO calculations were also wrong, so they failed to find the error.

      • Mike – The authors calculated the effect with or without ENSO and found little difference. However, from what appears to be your argument, having the 2009 El Nino included would have understated rather than overstated tropospheric amplification, because it would have exaggerated the normal rate of surface temperature increase. If you had something else in mind, you should probably be explicit and then calculate the quantitative effect of that inclusion on the long term trends. I expect it would turn out to be very minor as the authors suggested.

      • Fred Moolten – Wrong way round. The El Ninos caused more warming in the troposphere than at the surface. The 2009 El Nino was not large in the index but was large in its effect on temperature. Their temperature rise included the (large) effect of this El Nino. When they ‘removed’ El Ninos, they did it from the index, which was weak for 2009, hence they did not remove enough, hence their temperature rise (which was in any case very small) included a contribution from the 2009 El Nino. The opposite was the case for the early El Nino (strong El Nino in the index, weak effect on temperature), compounding the error.

        I would very much like to do the calculation you suggest, but it takes time and I’ll have to find some.

      • The El Ninos caused more warming in the troposphere than at the surface.

        The question is whether the ratio of tropospheric to surface warming is greater during El Nino years than the overall average. If you have a reference to evidence for a higher ratio, could you cite it?

      • Fred Moolten – you ask “The question is whether the ratio of tropospheric to surface warming is greater during El Nino years than the overall average. If you have a reference to evidence for a higher ratio, could you cite it?

        It’s clearly visible in the graph I posted some days ago.
        http://members.westnet.com.au/jonas1/TropicalTroposphereTemperatures.jpg
        see eg. 1982, 1986, 1997, 2009.

        I’m working on the numbers but available time is limited, it will take a few days.

        On a separate topic in this thread, you say “The carbon from human, animal, and plant respiration that goes into the atmosphere as CO2 comes from metabolism of food derived from plants that removed CO2 from the atmosphere. As long as we aren’t eating more plants than are growing to keep a balance, respired CO2 causes no net change in atmospheric CO2.“.

        Quite right, and you can include things like –
        – methane from cattle etc (which breaks down again in a few years into CO2 and hence recycles too)
        – bushfires (wildfires)
        – (sustainable) burning of firewood and any other bio materials
        – all (sustainable) agriculture and forestry
        – all natural forests (except those in a bog eg. creating coal eventually)
        – in fact anything sustainable that recycles.
        There is sometimes a one-off initial effect, and sometimes some small residual effects which make the net change not exactly zero, but still not exactly significant.

      • Mike- Your graph is interesting, but I can’t confirm the RSS data for the tropics. Do you have a good reference?

        I think you’ve misinterpreted the methane data. Methane is less important than CO2 overall, but it is a potent warming influence during its atmospheric lifetime, which is closer to 10 years or more rather than “a few years”. As long as methane emissions from cattle and other sources are continuing, they continue to create the warming influence in excess of CO2 effects. It would only be a minor problem if the methane were emitted on one occasion, and emissions then ceased, but that’s not what is happening.

      • Also, could you provide the reference for tropical rather than global surface temperature over the same intervals? In addition, I notice that the Fu et al paper gives a smaller range of RSS values for the tropics than your graph shows.

      • Fred Moolten –
        RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_3.txt – http://www.remss.com/data/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_3.txt (-20 / 20)
        RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TMT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_3.txt – http://www.remss.com/data/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TMT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_3.txt (-20 / 20)
        Hadcrut3 global surface data – http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3gl.txt

        I can’t find monthly tropical surface data.

        The graph I posted was from about a year ago. I have downloaded all the data again, it is here if you want to check that I’ve loaded the correct data, got the trends right, etc.
        http://members.westnet.com.au/jonas1/TropicalTroposphereData_201111.pdf
        The new data with rolling 12-month smoothing is graphed here:
        http://members.westnet.com.au/jonas1/TropicalTemperatureGraph_201111.jpg

        —–

        My understanding is that methane has an atmospheric half-life of 7 years. So a squillion cattle farting and belching away add approx a net zero to the atmosphere, once they have been going for a decade or so. I think the world’s cattle population has been around for longer than that.

      • Methane has an atmospheric lifetime of about 12 years under current conditions, but because its destruction involves the OH radical, consumption of OH in the case of increased methane might lengthen that lifetime – regardless of the latter effect, continuing or increasing methane emissions have an important effect on global temperature.

        Your curves have not, as far as I can tell, provided the data for the tropics. The RSS fluctuations appear much higher than those cited in other sources for the tropics, including the Fu et al paper. I think this entire discussion involves a rather small point, because we already know there’s a need for a more accurate understanding of mid to upper troposphere water vapor behavior, but it still isn’t clear whether the 2010 El Nino or other ENSO events make a small difference as opposed to no difference, or in what direction.

      • Fred Moolten – I can only work with the data available to me. The RSS data that I used was for -20 / 20. That is absolutely tropics. The IPCC report AR4 figure 9.1 hotspot extends approximately -30 / 30, so the RSS data should apply in its entirety and be more marked for covering the centre of the hotspot, not less.

        You say “it still isn’t clear whether the 2010 El Nino or other ENSO events make a small difference as opposed to no difference“.

        Having now downloaded the SOI data and plotted it against the temperature difference between tropical TMT and surface …
        http://members.westnet.com.au/jonas1/TropicalTroposphereTempDiffVsSOI201111.JPG
        … I would say that the tropoosphere-surface temperature diffference is so heavily driven by ENSO that without mechanisms it would be a complete waste of time trying to find anything else in the signal.

      • Also, Mike, remember that the Fu et al paper I linked to addressed the upper troposphere, which is the critical region for the hotspot. Their <a href="http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~qfu/Publications/grl.fu.2011.pdf"Figure 3 shows a smaller range of fluctuations than in the graph you provided (which as far as I can tell wasn’t for the upper troposphere). We would still need to compare that with the surface for the tropics for a clear picture of the ratios, but their data imply that with the weighting function they use, the upper troposphere warmed slightly faster. This still is a small point, because the need for more accurate understanding remains.

      • I forgot to respond specifically to your point about cattle and methane. Their effect is significant – far greater than a net zero. To understand that, imagine that they farted only CO2 instead of methane. The forcing effect (perturbation of net radiative flux at the tropopause) would be rather small and matched by the reduction in atmospheric CO2 from the plants they ate. When they emit methane, however, they are adding significantly to the forcing, and as long as that continues rather than happening as a one time event, these emissions will continue to elevate the forcing and correspondingly exert upward pressure on global temperatures.

        (I notice in the dataset you linked to above that there is in fact a TLT and TMT column for the tropical latitudes, but see my points above regarding the need for a curve comparing tropical surface, not global surface, with tropical upper troposphere in order to respond to the Fu et al paper)

      • Nice, Mike, @ 4:50 PM 11/6. Thanks for the work. Threading is gang agley so I hope people see this.
        ==========

    • Fred Moolten

      You refer to Hansen’s “hidden in the pipeline” postulation (“which was a poor word choice”, as you wrote).

      It was not only a “poor word choice”, Fred, but it was based on circular logic:

      - the thermomethers tell me that it warmed by 0.65C since 1880

      – my models tell me it should have warmed by twice that amount

      – since my models could not possibly have been wrong, there must be half of the warming still “hidden in the pipeline”

      Then it went a step further.

      Where is this “pipeline”?

      Aha! The upper ocean is where the “missing heat” is “hiding”!

      Ouch! Since we have put in these expensive ARGO devices in 2003, the upper ocean has been losing heat.

      So let’s see if we can rationalize that.

      Aha! The Chinese are polluting the air with aeosols!

      Rationalis ad nauseam…

      Max

      • Max – You have repeated your previous misinterpretation of Hansen’s “pipeline”. He was not referring to heat anywhere within the climate system – the oceans or anywhere else – but rather to heat that would arrive in the future if CO2 concentrations remained at current levels. This is an essential element in the understanding of the “radiative forcing” concept that entails a flux imbalance at the TOA that is resolved by a change in surface temperature.

        The statement that the oceans have been losing heat since 2003 is incorrect. If I recall correctly, Pekka has pointed out the flaws in that conclusion on several past occasions, and you should review his analysis.

        The temperature rise over the past century was about 0.84 C, but I believe you misinterpreted Hansen’s estimates if you think he concluded that his models should have shown “twice that amount” (whether 0.65 or 0.84 C), because transient climate responses are not expected to be as high as equilibrium responses.

      • Fred,
        That is not what Hansen implied at all.
        The Climategate e-mails shows that the effort was to look for where the energy they (incorrectly) predicted was hiding out.
        Why do you continue to defend this stuff?
        Just admit they are wrong and move on.

      • Hunter – Please cite an exact quotation from Hansen differing from the explanations I gave on either the “pipeline” or the expectation that transient responses would not mimic eventual equilibrium resp0nses. I think you may misunderstand the “pipeline” concept, but if so, that is because it has often been misrepresented – but not by Hansen himself as far as I know.

      • hunter, the missing heat is the explanation for the energy imbalance which is the heat in the pipeline and that missing heat has to be in the oceans. If there is no substantial mixing of the surface layer of the oceans with lower layers the surface layer would come to equilibrium fairly quickly and the energy imbalance would be insignificant meaning the transient sensitivity would be roughly equal to the equilibrium sensitivity. No cause for concern if that is the case since it indicates a very low climate sensivity. That is why the missing heat is such a (excuse the pun) sensitive issue.

      • the missing heat is the explanation for the energy imbalance which is the heat in the pipeline

        Steven – “missing heat” and “heat in the pipeline” are related but separate concepts, although sometimes confused in media descriptions. The “pipleline” refers to heat that has not yet reached the Earth but will arise in the future due to the fact that a flux imbalance from existing CO2 concentrations will continue to cause more energy to enter the climate system than leaves it until a new equilibrium is reached.

        The “missing heat” (Trenberth’s claim, with Hansen appearing to disagree) is based on Trenberth’s calculation that the flux imbalance should have already brought more heat into the system than was apparent from atmospheric, surface, and upper ocean increases in temperature and heat content. Trenberth and others have speculated that some or all of it can be accounted for by increases in the heat content of the deep ocean, although the data are too sparse for confident conclusions.

        If all CO2 emissions ceased tomorrow, the “pipeline” would disappear, and almost no further heating would be expected. The “missing heat”, however, if it is truly missing, would still have to be accounted for.

      • Joachim Seifert

        Hi Fred, you say:
        “The “pipleline” refers to heat that has not yet reached the Earth but will arise in the future due to the fact that a flux imbalance from …..”
        …….where is the heat stuck then? It takes 7 minutes for the solar rays (heat) to arrive at Earth….. so Hansen means: The heat takes a break on the way, rests a couple of years (months? how long?)….. in the “pipeline”…?.
        So much to the “expert” Hansen (oh my god) and concerning the other guy, Trenberth (oh my god as well): See OHC flat since TAR 2000, no increase!
        Cleverly responded: If not in the OHC, then deeper down hidden in order that we will wonder…..(????). As your deep ocean reference measured:
        Temp. increase of 0.002 C/Yr…thus from TAR to today x10 = 0.02 C increase…. please sit in your tub and I will “HEAT” your tub by 0.02 C and you will be comfortable?
        I lost all respect for the lyers, only the ones count, who are right i.e. understand the climate and do a correct forecast, otherwise they should step back feeling sorry and hand in their place to others with a better record…..

      • In point of fact, in a response to a comment on RC quite some time ago, it was stated they did not expect there was missing heat.

      • Fred,

        Please cite a reference that makes it clear that Hansen was talking about future warming not in the system yet. (even if you can that is totally speculative on his part. Are you really pursuing this direction??)

        Please direct us to the Peer Reviewed Paper that Pekka has written to support your and his contention for OHC.

      • Fred,
        Here is the pipeline as described by the Environmental Defense Fund:
        How much warming is in the pipeline? It depends on the level at which greenhouse gases are stabilized. For example, the latest IPCC report calculates that if we held greenhouse gas concentrations steady at 2000 levels, average global temperature would go up another degree Fahrenheit. Concentrations have gone up since then, so the warming commitment for today’s greenhouse gas level is slightly higher than one degree.

        The implication of this ocean-induced lag time is that we have less time to act than it first appears. The tipping point for losing the Greenland ice sheet may be just 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit above today. If you factor in the warming in the pipeline, about half of that amount is already gone.

        In addition to the oceans’ role, there’s another factor that makes it so important to act today: the long lifetimes of greenhouse gases. How much of an effect does this have? Well, if we cut global emissions deeply enough, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would begin to decline. (A couple decades later, temperatures would decline, too.) Unfortunately, it could take centuries for greenhouse gas concentrations to fall all the way back to today’s levels.
        http://blogs.edf.org/climate411/2007/11/20/the-global-warming-in-the-pipeline/

        Here is a summary of Hansen claims regarding global warming and slr by a pro-Hansen congressional group:
        http://www.eesi.org/files/hansen_climate_testimony_06.pdf
        Then of course we can let hansen speak for himself:
        http://www.davidkabraham.com/Gaia/Hansen%20State%20of%20the%20Wild.pdf
        “The upshot of inertia and feedbacks is additional climate change ‘in the pipeline’. Even if we stop increasing greenhouse gases today, more warming will occur. The importance of this warming in the pipeline is magnified by the present status of the Earth’s climate.”
        Fred,
        You have been had and left holding the bag.

      • Hunter – The links you cite indicate that you did in fact misunderstand the pipeline concept. In addition to the explanation I gave, the concept is addressed more quantitatively in the links I cited for JCH below on “climate committments”, which is another and better name for the “pipeline”.

      • Fred,
        With all due respect, you are the one misinterpreting this.
        Hansen says heating will continue even if CO2 stops rising today, for decades to come.
        You say, just below here, that “However, if all anthropogenic emissions ceased, including the cooling aerosols, there would be a temporary upward temperature spike from the reduced cooling, before the temperature then gradually started to decline over a very long interval.”
        Also, saying Hansen is ‘exactly right’, as you do elsewhere, is not really credible.
        I have worked around pipelines. I understand their use.
        Just as Lacis’ misuse of the concept of thermostat, it seems Hansen has misused the idea of pipeline. I think thsee misuses stem from the basic flaws that became inevitable when they switched from being scientists to being all-too-certain partisans.

      • If CO2 emissions cease, CO2 concentrations will fall, and the warming will stop. You haven’t yet grasped the distinction between a constant CO2 level, which would leave heat in the “pipeline”, and a falling level from a cessation of emissions, which would eliminate the pipeline.

      • Fred,
        Since there are no ways even contemplated by the most fervent in the AGW community to have CO2 stop rising in the next many years, the distinction is moot.
        The use of the term ‘pipeline’ means that the heat is already in the system but is somewhere in transit- according to what Hansen and others say (and you choose to ignore) in the ocean or the winds of the troposphere.
        The free abuse of language by so many in the AGW community does not help.
        Skeptics and the data point out that there is no place to hide the heat.
        The system is as hot as it can be at any point in time.

      • The “pipeline” does not refer to heat in the system – see my comments and the links I cited in a reply to JCH. Hunter – you have now made this same statement in one way or another several times. I think you should review the exchanges to understand why that was not what Hansen meant or said, but even if you don’t, there’s enough material now for others to do that.

      • Fred,
        You can redefine it to say it doesn’t refer to heat in the system, but you are changing the way the term was used by those you choose to defend.
        This is getting rather tedious of you: You are shown to be wrong and simply repeat yourself until you bore everyone into leaving you alone on the field and then declare victory.

      • @FM: The “pipeline” does not refer to heat in the system – see my comments and the links I cited in a reply to JCH.

        Independently of what Hansen said or meant, why isn’t the ocean a pipeline, or more accurately a transmission line terminated in a short circuit (an antinode as opposed to a node)? The process of warming the ocean requires the heat to be carried down convectively (since water is nearly as good a thermal insulator as land). Were the ocean infinitely deep it would act as an infinite heat sink. But because it’s finite the heat can’t keep going down, and the total thermal energy (in joules) starts to back up, offsetting some of the flow down.

        As long as the surface temperature keeps rising (averaged over two or more decades, which is all that’s relevant to long term climate), heat will continue to flow into the ocean (and out, but the net flow will be in). That’s not an equilibrium situation (though it might be for a suitable derivative of temperature with respect to time). If the surface temperature were to stabilize, eventually equilibrium would be reached, but not immediately.

        I can’t speak for Hansen, but I would have no conceptual problem with viewing the ocean as a “pipeline” up to the point where equilibrium was restored. At equilibrium there should be no net flow (other than the natural flows that have been occurring long before we turned up the heat), and the pipeline metaphor is no longer appropriate, since although there is heat in the ocean it’s no longer flowing.

        If the temperature were to fall instead of stabilizing, that’s not an equilibrium condition either, although when and if it stopped falling equilibrium might be reached sooner. Meanwhile the marine life would be saying “Make up your damn mind.”

        That was my own view. Now let’s look at Hansen et al’s view at this longer version of their paper. On p.28 of that version they write “The planetary energy imbalance is the drive for future climate change and it is simply related to climate forcings, being the portion of the net climate forcing that the planet has not yet responded to.” This is in the context of monitoring ocean temperature fluctuations at depths to 2 km.

        Maybe I’m just biased by my own understanding of what’s going on, but this sounds to me awfully like what I was describing as a “pipeline.” Does Hansen define the term “pipeline” differently in some other document, maybe one of the ones above?

        And my interpretation also seems to be the impression of everyone here but Fred, who seems to be the only one promoting his interpretation of “pipeline” as heat that has not yet reached Earth. I don’t even know what that means. Earth is constantly absorbing 121 petawatts of heat from the Sun and radiating an almost equal amount to space. What Hansen et al are talking about is not future heat from the Sun but the current imbalance on Earth. If there were no imbalance, as would occur if the additional heat from forcing could distribute itself instantly, there would be no pipeline. The pipeline refers to the delay in the system on Earth, not to future heat from the Sun.

        @FM: Please cite an exact quotation from Hansen differing from the explanations I gave on either the “pipeline” or the expectation that transient responses would not mimic eventual equilibrium resp0nses.

        In response to the first, hopefully the above quote from Hansen et al together with its context makes clear that your idea of “pipeline” is not Hansen’s. Regarding the concept of eventual equilibrium response, what was in dispute there? My understanding was that this concept was confined to the serious modeling community and has nothing to do with reality, even less than does no-feedback sensitivity. Does someone think otherwise?

      • Vaughan,

        “And my interpretation also seems to be the impression of everyone here but Fred, who seems to be the only one promoting his interpretation of “pipeline” as heat that has not yet reached Earth. ”

        Maybe Fred is referring to that continuous absorption of Microwave Background Radiation that will continue for a non-negligible period of time?!?!! The BB’s gift to future warmers!! 8>)

      • Vaughan – The ocean acts as the conduit you describe, but the Hansen “pipeline” refers to the Climate Change Commitment described by Matthews and Weaver, and is expressed in terms of the W/m^2 TOA flux imbalance, which, if unchanged, will mediate a calculated degree of future warming – i.e., it is heat not yet in the system,. The misconception that it refers to heat already in the system is common on the Web but is incorrect. If you check Hansen’s publications, I believe you’ll find reference to the concept that the “pipeline” usually describes a scenario with an unchanged CO2 concentration, but in theory it could apply to any unchanged forcing. If you find anything Hansen has written to contradict that, you should quote it, but I don’t think you will.

      • From <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5727/1431.short"<Earth's Energy Imbalance –

        “The observed 1880 to 2003 global warming is 0.6° to 0.7°C (11, 22), which is the full response to nearly 1 W/m2 of forcing. Of the 1.8 W/m2 forcing, 0.85 W/m2 remains, i.e., additional global warming of 0.85 × 0.67 ∼ 0.6°C is “in the pipeline” and will occur in the future even if atmospheric composition and other climate forcings remain fixed at today’s values (3, 4, 23).”

        If other readers continue to confuse the “pipeline” with heat already in transit within the climate system, this reference should make clear that it refers to future heat instead from forcings that remain fixed at current values..

      • manacker,
        The pipeline is made of improbium and is in the land of Neverwuzistan.

  40. Fred – if GHG emissions stopped tomorrow, wouldn’t warming continue to equilibrium?

    • JCH – If emissions stopped tomorrow, with no other changes, CO2 levels would start to fall and thereby quickly eliminate the flux imbalance, and so “equilibrium” would ensue from that elimination – see Climate Change Commitments. However, if all anthropogenic emissions ceased, including the cooling aerosols, there would be a temporary upward temperature spike from the reduced cooling, before the temperature then gradually started to decline over a very long interval.

      • Fred,
        Your opinion on a rapid recovery from CO2 is at odds witht he latest climatocracy claims that it will take hundreds of years to recover from man’s CO2 sins.
        Be careful that you are not labled a heretic and run out of town.

      • Recovery from current CO2 would occur gradually over thousands of years, but it would start promptly if all anthropogenic CO2 emissions ceased.

      • Fred,
        Re-read what you wrote in your post.
        It makes no sense.
        Please try to explain it more clearly.

      • Fred Moolten

        You state (apparently with some confidence in your ability to project the future):

        Recovery from current CO2 would occur gradually over thousands of years, but it would start promptly if all anthropogenic CO2 emissions ceased.

        For ALL anthropogenic CO2 emissions to cease we would first ALL have to stop breathing.

        For all non-respiratory anthropogenic CO2 emissions to cease we would have to return to the brutal pre-industrial world of relative poverty and early death.

        So your point is purely conjectural. But let’s look at it anyway.

        Not wanting to put itself into a straightjacket, IPCC has told us that the residence time of CO2 in our atmosphere is between 5 and 200 years.

        Other studies pin it down a bit more to a long-term half-life of 100 to 120 years.

        So let’s say we all reverted to pre-industrial life. First about three-fourths of humanity would disappear quickly due to starvation, exposure to cold, etc.

        At the same time, we would see atmospheric CO2 gradually reducing, although Mauna Loa would have to shut down due to lack of power, so there would be no one to measure it.

        Would it disappear at the theoretical initial rate of 0.58% of atmospheric concentration (or 2.3 ppmv) per year?

        Let’s say it did.

        So it would reach ½ of 390 ppmv (or 195 ppmv) in 120 years.

        But wait a minute! That’s lower than it was before humans started emitting it industrially.

        So when would it reach the “magic” (pre-industrial) level of 280 ppmv?

        And, when it did, would it magically stop there, or would it continue to decrease without human industrial emissions?

        Or is there maybe something else that is determining the level of atmospheric CO2 concentrations besides just the human emissions?

        And, if so, what is this and how big a role does it play?

        Was this “something else” also responsible for the major fluctuations our planet has seen in atmospheric CO2 in the past?

        Lots of questions.

        So few (real) answers.

        Max

      • If anthropogenic CO2 ceased (via cessation of fossil fuel burning and deforestation), CO2 levels would decline asymptotically toward a new steady state, probably close to preindustrial values of about 280, over the course of many centuries. Human respiration is irrelevant to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

      • Fred is right on this Max. You first have to understand the natural carbon cycle and treat the anthropogenic component as riding alongside it.
        Personally, I worked my way through this because that is the only way I could develop a sense of intuition as to how it works.

      • “The average person, through the natural process of breathing, produces approximately 2.3 pounds (1 kg) of carbon dioxide per day. The actual amount depends strongly on the person’s activity level.”
        http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/fq/emissions.html#q7

        So 365 kg per year and times 7 billion people, so 2.5 billion tonne per year.
        “A gallon of gasoline is assumed to produce 8.8 kilograms (or 19.4 pounds) of CO2″
        and about 75 billion gallon used per year by passenger cars:
        http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004727.html
        So that is .66 billion tonnes of CO2 in the US. And US uses 45% of world-so about 1.2 billion globally.
        Or the breathing of people produces more CO2 than cars do- about twice as much.

      • gbaikie – The carbon from human, animal, and plant respiration that goes into the atmosphere as CO2 comes from metabolism of food derived from plants that removed CO2 from the atmosphere. As long as we aren’t eating more plants than are growing to keep a balance, respired CO2 causes no net change in atmospheric CO2.

      • For ALL anthropogenic CO2 emissions to cease we would first ALL have to stop breathing.

        Max has a point there. With our population on the verge of 7 billion, and with breathing accounting for more than 5% of total anthropogenic CO2, this is less facetious than it might sound.

        But then Max returns to form with his pet theory that all sources of energy generate the same amount of atmospheric CO2 per watt, ignoring both the option of adding CO2 sequestration to power plants as well as alternative energy sources that don’t generate significant CO2.

        Fossil fuel energy today makes big bucks, and with more energy than ever being consumed is even a growth industry to some extent. But not to the extent that the alternative energy niche is, which is growing rapidly out of its niche status. The time frame here is 50 years, assessing alternative energy in terms only of its growth over the last 5 years is missing a factor of ten. Mighty industries from little niches grow, it happens a lot.

        So let’s give Max his 5%, plus an extra 5% for being so alert as to spot that. But in light of the coming alternatives, no more than 10%. (Hmm, not sure about electric planes, maybe it should be 15-20%. But not the 100% Max has in mind.)

      • I think our breathing is in the net 280.

      • Vaughan,

        “Fossil fuel energy today makes big bucks, and with more energy than ever being consumed is even a growth industry to some extent. But not to the extent that the alternative energy niche is, which is growing rapidly out of its niche status.”

        government entitlements are also growing far past their original niche. Please don’t insult us by suggesting that either is efficient or sustainable for over half the population within the next 50 years or even further out.

      • Vaughan – The CO2 we respire (a very small fraction of biologically respired CO2) is recycled carbon and does not add to the net effect of anthropogenic emissions – it doesn’t change atmospheric levels, because it is matched by CO2 extracted from the atmosphere by plants so that we have something to metabolize and breathe out.

      • Fred is correct regarding recycled carbon, and it would be absorbed in the baseline 280 that JCH mentions, short of transient effects caused by an increasing global population. If population was steady the effect would certainly be in the noise.

      • “As long as we aren’t eating more plants than are growing to keep a balance, respired CO2 causes no net change in atmospheric CO2.”

        A common argument regarding fossil fuels. Which has more or led to governmental subsidy of ethanol- corporate welfare. Corporate welfare which always plays a role in US election- a crazy waste of taxpayer money and lots of government corruption.
        The food chain or Biomass Pyramids generally leave out the most basic and most necessary element to the food chain, CO2.

        Another element is the idea that fossil fuels are considered fixed. Perhaps over human time scales they could be consider more or less unchanging, but in larger time scales they are not. There are also some theories regarding fossil fuels which are not widely accepted, but without getting into that we have another fuel- methane hydrates. These could considered resource which change closer to human times scales.
        Meaning a lot of these deposits formed since last ice age- ten thousand year time scales as compared to millions [or hundreds of million] of years timescale.
        “Continental margin methane hydrates 6667 to 26667 Gt {methane] 5000 to 20,000 Gt [carbon]”
        And:
        “Another look at the diagram of carbon reservoirs reveals some astonishing facts about the methane hydrate reservoir. It is at least twice that of the fossil fuel reservoir, that is, there is more carbon in methane hydrate than in oil, coal, and natural gas. It is greater than that of all other near-surface carbon reservoirs (except carbonate rocks) combined. It is vastly greater than the amount in all organisms, living and dead. And — not least — it is over thirteen times the total amount of carbon in the atmospheric reservoir.”
        http://www.killerinourmidst.com/methane%20and%20MHs2.html

        So in comparison with crude oil, methane hydrates are young and possible one could get “more growth” with higher CO2 level [my speculation].
        So at least in terms of methane hydrate one talking about something dynamic in terms of less than 1 million years- a making and emission regardless of what humans are doing- and of enormous scale.

        The other aspect regardless of how stable it is, does “recycle”- there is plate tectonic which is which resurfaces a large portion of the world over hundreds of millions of year to billions, fossil fuels can simply burn “naturally”. Oil reserves can seep out the ground or into the ocean.
        But getting back to methane hydrates, these fragile, or if you like time bombs, which going to go off- without without humans involved. And seems mine them could reduce this eventually risk.

      • Fred – I’ll look at those articles. Maybe my simplistic partitioning, I think of pre-industrial as a persistent net 280 and tend to ignore it, has misled me.

        But not as far as Hunter has misled himself.

      • Fred,

        you obviously have not beothered to look at the animation for the data from the Ibuki satellite JAXA runs. The oceans and other sources would continue to produce CO2 quite happily if man and all his minor bits disappeared off the earth.

      • That’s true, but the rates of release to the atmosphere and disappearance into sinks would settle into a rough balance, with ups and downs but no long term trend in the absence of some new forcing. This was true in preindustrial times, and after many centuries would very likely return to approximately the same state, absent some major change in solar input.

      • Fred,

        it is wonderful to make assumptions. Since you have very incomplete empirical data on the actual release to atmosphere from the sources and uptake by the sinks I would have to become a believer to accept your asertion.

    • “He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.”
      Voltaire

  41. “The observed
    1880 to 2003 global warming is 0.6- to
    0.7-C (11, 22), which is the full response to
    nearly 1 W/m2 of forcing. Of the 1.8 W/m2
    forcing, 0.85 W/m2 remains, i.e., additional
    global warming of 0.85 x 0.67 ~ 0.6-C is
    ‘‘in the pipeline’’ and will occur in the future
    even if atmospheric composition and other climate forcings remain fixed at today’s values
    (3, 4, 23).”

    It is clear from his paper that if CO2 remained at today’s values Hansen would still expect heat in the pipeline. I feel fairly confident that my description was accurate. If you can show me evidence otherwise I will be happy to entertain it.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2005/2005_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

    • Steven – Hansen is exactly right. As I stated above, the “pipeline” refers to the future heat expected from CO2 that persisted at current values. On the other hand, if we stopped emitting CO2, with nothing else changed, the “pipeline” would disappear and little if any further warming would be expected – see the links I cited above in response to JCH.

      • And what is the cause of this? Ocean inertia? And why is there ocean inertia? Because heat is lost to lower levels?
        From the paper previously linked:
        “The thermal inertia of the
        ocean, with resulting unrealized warming
        ‘‘in the pipeline,’’ combines with ice sheet
        inertia and multiple positive feedbacks during
        ice sheet disintegration to create the possibility
        of a climate system in which large
        sea level change is practically impossible to
        avoid.”

        You responded to my post as if you saw something wrong with my interpretation of Hansen’s description of heat in the pipeline. If this is the case state specifically what you object to and show your reference.

      • Steven – My response was meant to make clear the distinction between the “pipeline” and “missing heat” concepts – the first involves the future and the second relates to energy already in the climate system. The “pipeline” doesn’t refer to heat in the ocean. If your earlier comment was intended to make the same point, I certainly agree with it. The distinction between the two concepts is important because many comments here and elsewhere have confused the “missing heat” with “heat in the pipeline”.

        Hansen may or may not be right about the extent of future sea level rise from current or future ghg forcing, but I don’t think anyone disagrees that the ocean contributes very great thermal inertia to the climate system, and that over timescales of most interest to us, heat entering the ocean is distributed fairly rapidly (years to decades) into the mixed layer, and that equilibration with the deep ocean requires centuries. Given the enormous heat capacity of the deep ocean, finding Trenberth’s “missing heat” there should have little impact on climate sensitivity calculations, but I would have to review the numbers to get a more precise sense of this. (On the other hand, if the “missing heat” had escaped to space, that would probably suggest a lower than estimated sensitivity.)

      • The concept is simple. Without heat transfer to deeper layers of the ocean there is no significant heat in the pipeline. That is the heat that is missing. The concepts are more than related, they are inseparable. If you disagree the proper thing to do would be to state specifically where I am in error and provide a reference to support your position.

      • steven,
        a little music while waiting on Fred to answer that one:

      • There is an interesting twist to this, if we talk strictly about man-made emissions. If we were to turn those off tomorrow, yes it would start cooling immediately, but slowed down due to the long adjustment time in the atmosphere for CO2. What may also come down quickly is that amount of CO2 that outgassed from the oceans as they got warmer. So if and when the oceans cool again it will suck this excess back in (whether you want to call the Arrhenius rate law or Clausius-Clapeyron, same basic idea).

        But then again, the ocean also has a huge thermal inertia, and it probably won’t start cooling as fast as the atmosphere. This means that we have excess CO2 from both man-made emissions and from the positive feedback of CO2 outgassing from the ocean providing a latency effect. One of these is from the long adjustment time of CO2 and one from the thermal inertial of the ocean.

        Look at the data from the Vostok ice cores and you do see longer tails on interglacial cooling than on heating.

        So the ocean as a latent pipeline or capacitive buffer may be bad news should we get a lot of warming, as it may even be harder to reverse. Any physical process with the word latent in it just means that the inevitable is delayed, and in this case it may be compounded to some degree as well.

      • The concepts are separable, Steven, because one refers to future heat and the other to heat that is putatively already in the climate system. “Missing heat” is not “heat in the pipeline”. Others can now review these concepts and judge for themselves, but I think the example I gave should make the distinction clear – if all CO2 emissions stopped tomorrow, heat “in the pipeline” would disappear, but any “missing” (unaccounted for) heat in the oceans would still be in the system and just as large as it was yesterday (if it exists).. It would also still be missing if none is in the ocean, transferred from one depth to another, but had escaped to space.

      • I’m sorry but the reference seemed to have been inadvertently left off of your comment. I will get back to you when you have posted it. But just so you have something to think about, if the heat had escaped to space there would be no imbalance at TOA and there would be no heat in the pipeline.

      • H2O vapor is more important than CO2 for the greenhouse effect. If you don’t know what the H2O is doing then the CO2 measurements are next to useless.

      • Well, it looks like I won that Final Jeopardy round since no one else responded with the correct answer.

      • Web,
        You didn’t either.
        The music plays on.
        And the climate still does not care what predictions are made about it.

      • Steven – Yes, if all the heat had escaped to space, eliminating the flux imbalance, there would be no “heat in the pipeline”, but that doesn’t change the fact that the two concepts are separable. The separability is I think confirmed by the fact that the same amount of “missing heat”, as you state, would be associated with different amounts of “pipeline” heat, depending on where it went. I don’t know that further discussion is going to help anyone else at this point. Some readers appear to want to continue to see the two concepts as identical, and others probably already appreciate the distinction.

      • Fred,
        What is certain about the pipeline/missing heat is that it/they is/are holes in the AGW consensus of dangerous climate change/global warming/climate disruption/branding term du jour.
        Pielke, Sr. has pointed out for years that ocean heat content, not temperature and in partiuclar not temperatures on land, are what is vital.
        He has been derided rather strongly by the RC gang for that position.
        OHC is not behaving as needed by the AGW consensus.

      • Fred – I think you’re giving up too soon. These are the things I commonly read during “the missing heat” saga.

        1. The missing heat either went into the oceans and had not yet been found, or it went back into space. Land and atmosphere are not mentioned as possibilities because they are unlikely places for the heat to be hiding. It was the divergence that created “the missing heat” saga. Before the divergence the amount of heat in the system agreed with the expectation. The “heat in the pipeline” was still there as GHGs were increasing.

        2. The “heat in the pipeline” is a function of atmospheric CO2 concentration, which is why it reacts to emission levels. I believe this is correct: if the atmospheric CO2 level is sufficient, heat in the pipeline will, upon its arrival, be found in the atmosphere, the land, and the oceans. I will probably be corrected on that!

        I think this is why Fred sees them as separable. Because they are two different things.

      • JCH – Land and atmosphere are possibilities, but the atmosphere has almost no storage capacity and the land has much less than the oceans. Ice melting is another destination for heat, but can’t account for the entire gap in Trenberth’s heat budget estimates. It’s also worthwhile to note that his budget disparity is based on the expected heat storage over a course of years. Therefore, a forcing that was less than estimated in the past might account for some of the disparity even if the TOA flux imbalance estimated at the time of his analysis (2008) was accurate. In that case, no unidentified heat would have either escaped or been stored, but a flux imbalance would still exist.

      • The “missing heat” is about as mysterious as the “missing CO2″ that skeptics had previously complained about.

        In the case of CO2, it turns out the missing concentration exists in the random walk adjustment state that CO2 exists in as it diffuses in and out of the nooks of the carbon cycle. This comes out naturally when you solve the master equation for diffusion, a formulation that physicists have been using for years. The conclusion is that there is no “missing CO2″, and therefore no mystery as the emissions are all accounted for.

        In the case of temperature, it’s probably just as straightforward an explanation. Consider that the response to atmospheric temperature increase is buffered by the oceans such that a portion of the heat is absorbed at a first-order rate:
        \frac{dT}{dt}  + C \times T = f(t)
        The RHS of the equation is the forcing function and the LHS is the response. Now the thing to remember is that the forcing function has been operating for a period of time and continues to increase so whatever lag there is has largely been permanently incorporated as a steady state fraction of the heat going into the ocean. The latency is reflected by the natural time constant of the equation.

        There are also diffusive and higher-order rate variations of this equation, but I am not sure which one works as the best exemplar of the situation without getting into a lot of the details.

        Other latency factors can involve heat going into melting of the ice, which won’t change the temperature of that fraction. The analogy is that if you were freezing in a house without heat, what you want to do is fill up a bathtub with hot water and close the bathroom door. You will stay warmer than the rest of the house as long as the bathtub water has not completely frozen. Now reverse this and say that you don’t have air-conditioning during a blistering heat wave, then you fill it up with cold water and perhaps empty the freezer of ice. The larger climate response then is like having a bathtub that is infinite depth with some amount of recirculation. That recirculation bit is the difficult part and why the climate scientists have some more sophisticated circulation models than the first-order model above.

        It would be great if we had something at this level of complexity so that we can at least have some sense of the scale of the heat retention.

      • Fred, one can’t exist without the other. There is either heat going into the oceans or there is no heat of significance in the pipeline since the only other place it could be going is space. If you understand the fine difference all that says to me is one of us doesn’t understand the concept and since I have a reference and you have yet to provide one I am left assuming the one not understanding the concept is you.

      • Steven – I’m not sure what references you had in mind. I’ve provided two references to the “pipeline” (Climate Commitment) and one to Trenberth’s energy budget analysis.

        Either the “pipeline heat” or “missing heat” can exist without the other. Please see my responses to JCH for examples related to changes in forcing over time. However, I’m not sure why you want to keep haggling over this, because the point of confusion in many minds is whether those two concepts are identical. I hope it’s clear by now that they are not. I think that at some point this will bore everyone else, and maybe it would be a good idea to let it rest so that anyone interested can make his or her own judgments.

      • Fred, if there is an energy imbalance that represents heating in the pipeline, where does the energy go? If it goes in the ocean and can’t be found it is the missing heat in the oceans. Now if we are talking about the same energy how do you manage to seperate the two in your mind? It is either there or it isn’t.

      • Whu?? Webby?

        Did you say something?? Fred put everyone to sleep with his droll repetition of useless points.

      • Webby,

        the sceptics did not have the data to complain about missing CO2 until the “experts” told us it was missing.

      • Webby,

        the sceptics did not have the data to complain about missing CO2 until the “experts” told us it was missing.

        Hey Vernon, Your guys were the ones that never understood the distinction between residence time and adjustment time. They are still going off the rails, including your buddy Murry Salby. I have a feeling he won’t publish anything.

        In contrast, it really shows how honest climate scientists are. When they see something that doesn’t make sense, they don’t hide the data. If the theory holds water, it has to make sense in a collective fashion. And sure enough, it didn’t take long for the adjustment time hypothesis to become accepted. The adjustment time was described by Rodhe in 1979. The top skeptic on this is Segelstad, and this is how he references Rodhe’s work:

        Hence, they say, when we construct non-linear (non-proportional and non-chemical-equilibrium) non-steady-state systems for the fluxes between the ocean surface layer, the atmosphere, and the terrestrial system, the decay time of man-made carbon into the atmosphere must be much longer than the
        turn-over time (Rodhe & Björkström, 1979).

        The following link is an excerpt from the textbook “Introduction to Organic Geochemistry” which explains the adjustment time
        http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/6417/tracegases.gif

      • Sorry Webby,

        no time for your BS tonight.

      • Sorry Webby,

        no time for your BS tonight.

        Hey Vernon buddy, sometimes maintaining a poseur attitude is just too much, eh?

  42. Fred – are you saying that land and atmosphere are possibilities for “the missing heat”? Because, and perhaps they were simplifying, the common statement went like this:

    The missing heat is either hiding in the ocean or has gone back into space.

    That says to me any of it not found in the ocean or gone back to space would be negligible.

    Anyway, I would think the “heat in the pipeline”, once here and no longer in the pipeline, would not have a limited earthly abode, which the missing heat, if here, seems to: oceans.

    • The land and ice melting are small but non-negligible destinations (see Trenberth’s Table 1), but the atmosphere has much too small a heat capacity to store an appreciable quantity. The oceans would be the most capacious storage venue within the climate system.

      • Fred,

        there is some glacier regrowth in a number of areas around the world this year due to the large snowfalls that have not melted and the Arctic is regrowing as usual. Sounds like loss of heat to me, but, I am ignorant.

      • Fred,
        Yes, the oceans, as Dr. Pielke, Sr. has been pointing out for years, are where the its at.
        Glad you agree with that.
        Now can you admit that the oceans are not behaving as needed for the AGW consensus?

      • But Hunter, with 333 Wm-2 DWLR, the oceans must be warming. It is a scientific FACT! It would be hersey to consider otherwise, the pyrogeomemters have spoken.

  43. My previous attempt didn’t go through. Apologies if both show up as duplicates.

    Steven – I’m not sure what references you had in mind. I’ve provided two references to the “pipeline” (Climate Commitment) and one to Trenberth’s energy budget analysis.

    Either the “pipeline heat” or “missing heat” can exist without the other. Please see my responses to JCH for examples related to changes in forcing over time. However, I’m not sure why you want to keep haggling over this, because the point of confusion in many minds is whether those two concepts are identical. I hope it’s clear by now that they are not. I think that at some point this will bore everyone else, and maybe it would be a good idea to let it rest so that anyone interested can make his or her own judgments.

    • This is actually a response to Steven’s comment above. I think we are now quibbling over very minor interpretations, but because it’s late, I’ll cease for now with just what I see as the salient point.

      Pipeline heat is heat that will arise in the future from a constant forcing. “Missing heat” or in fact, any heat transferred in or out of the climate system (land, ice, but mainly ocean) is heat estimated to have been stored during some past interval from any forcing, which may have changed with time. They are different and separable.

      As a very hypothetical illustrative example, consider a two-year scenario:

      Two years ago, forcing was slightly negative (e.g., from aerosols) but this diminished to a zero net forcing by one year ago. At that point, pipeline heat was zero, but transferred heat was non-zero (in this case negative). In the subsequent year to the present, forcing became slightly positive (e.g.,via CO2). At present, then, pipeline heat will be positive but the two-year ocean heat transfer will be zero. (Remember that the entire “missing heat” issue arose over how much heat was stored over a specified time interval)

      I doubt that this is of much interest to other readers, but I hope the understanding that “pipeline” heat is not missing heat, will stick. If something new arises in further discussion, I’ll try to respond (tomorrow). Otherwise, I’ll quit.

      • Makes perfect sense Fred. The furture warming from the energy imbalance that warms the ocean but has nothing to do with how much the ocean warms. I am bored and done.

      • Fred, your definition of pipeline heat is not one that is reasonable.

  44. Fred Moolten

    Your summary on “missing” heat is great, but rather theoretical.

    And its very existence is based on circular logic, as pointed out above.

    Like Steven, I’m bored and done.

    Max

    • Fred Moolten

      You wrote:

      Max – You have repeated your previous misinterpretation of Hansen’s “pipeline”. He was not referring to heat anywhere within the climate system – the oceans or anywhere else – but rather to heat that would arrive in the future if CO2 concentrations remained at current levels.

      Wrong, Fred.

      Check out the Hansen et al.paper on the “pipeline postulation”:
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5727/1431.full.pdf

      Our climate model, driven mainly by increasing human-made greenhouse gases and aerosols, among other forcings, calculates that Earth is now absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 watts per square meter more energy from the Sun than it is emitting to space. This imbalance is confirmed by precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years.

      And, further down:

      Improved ocean temperature measurements in the past decade, along with high precision satellite altimetry measurements of the ocean surface, permit an indirect but precise quantification of Earth’s energy imbalance. We compare observed ocean heat storage with simulations of global climate change driven by estimated climate forcings, thus obtaining a check on the climate model’s ability to simulate the planetary energy imbalance.

      It’s pretty clear that Hansen is referring to “missing” energy “hidden in the pipeline” of the “ocean”.

      Just to clear up the apparent confusion you have on this point.

      Max

      • Max,

        Fred’s and Hansen’s statements are not in contradiction. I’ll try a different approach to explain what’s being said:

        Vertical distribution of heat on land is tiny. If you dig down into some soil just a couple of metres you’ll find it is much cooler than the surface. For this reason land surface temperatures respond quickly to changes in energy input – almost all the energy is going into warming just the surface. If the whole world was covered in land, with no oceans, the Earth would very quickly achieve radiative equilibrium from any perturbation and there would be very little ‘warming in the pipeline’.

        Oceans on the other hand have similar temperatures going down several metres and any changes are gradual down several hundred metres. Heat is being vertically distributed to a great extent. Any new energy will not only warm the surface of the ocean, but also the hundreds of metres beneath, therefore sea surface temperatures will respond slowly to any change in energy input. Since closing an energy imbalance depends on a surface temperature change – it needs to be warmer to radiate energy out more efficiently – it takes a long time to achieve radiative equilibrium from any perturbation. That means, if a perturbation remains at a constant level, there will be more ‘warming in the pipeline’ until equilibrium is achieved.

        The reason for measuring ocean heat content changes is that they should tell us how much extra energy is being introduced into the system over time, which should tell us the current magnitude of the top-of-the-atmosphere energy imbalance. Knowing the energy imbalance is required if we want to constrain our understanding of how much warming is ‘in the pipeline’ – that is, how much extra warming will occur in the future even if we stabilise GHG concentrations today.

      • Paul, it is clear we all agree that without ocean lag there can be no heat in the pipeline. It is clear from this agreement that the missing heat is inseperable from the concept of heating in the pipeline. If the missing heat went to space there is little heat in the pipeline, if the missing heat is actually in the oceans there is considerable heating in the pipeline. How do you seperate the issues? They are interdependent. When people say the heat in the oceans represent the potential warming in the pipeline they are exactly correct. If it is just the top layer of the ocean that warms and there is very little mixing than there is very little heat in the pipeline since it would be at or near equilibrium already.

      • That generally sounds right. I was responding to Max’s belief that ‘warming in the pipeline’ refers to heat which is already in the system but ‘missing’. It doesn’t – ‘warming in the pipeline’ refers to a current TOA imbalance which will bring more surface warming in the future.

      • Paul S

        I have not said that Fred’s and Hansen’s statements “are in contradiction”, simply that Hansen’s “hidden in the pipeline” paper was a) based on circular logic and b) postulated that the “pipeline” was the upper ocean.

        You state:

        The reason for measuring ocean heat content changes is that they should tell us how much extra energy is being introduced into the system over time, which should tell us the current magnitude of the top-of-the-atmosphere energy imbalance.

        If we observe, as ARGO has since it started in 2003, that the upper ocean is losing heat (rather than gaining it), at the same time as the atmosphere is also cooling, then we can conclude there is no “extra energy being introduced into the system over time”, correct?

        That is Trenberth’s “travesty” and the current dilemma with Hansen’s postulation.

        Trenberth speculated that the “missing energy” might be going out to “space” with clouds acting as a “natural thermostat” – this actually makes sense to me.

        But it would mean that there is NO extra energy entering the system (or the “pipeline”), right?

        Max

      • That is a good explanation. It seems that we could come up a range of latencies or time constants, depending on assumed thicknesses of the ocean layer. I collected surface and subsurface temperatures from one of the sites and was doing some cross-correlations of the surface temperatures against depth. Example charts here
        http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lsWgjpo5PJk/TpPAfdezcAI/AAAAAAAAAjw/uuTECWDZeDM/s1600/seatempccorr.gif
        This gives an idea of how deep you would have to go to estimate thermal capacity perhaps.

        Has anyone done that kind of work? It seems obvious from a naive initial look. Assume zero thickness then no latency, and the assume X thickness and get Y latency and analyze it that way.

      • WHT – There have been a number of attempts to do this type of estimate based on energy balance models. One of the better known efforts was by Stephen Schwartz in 2007, who estimated an e-folding time of about 5 years for equilibration within the upper ocean mixed layer, leading to an equilibrium climate sensitivity estimate of 1.1 C/CO2 doubling. The approach was beset with a number of problems, including the difficulty of using a single compartment model for a process with very different rates for the upper and deeper oceans. Schwartz re-evaluated the problem in a 2008 overview and arrived at a higher figure of 1.9 C/CO2 doubling, which is at the lower end of the generally estimated range of 1.5 or 2.0 to 4.5 C.

        Focusing exclusive on ocean heat uptake remains problematic, however, because estimates are highly sensitive to assumptions about the processes involved in heat transfer among different depths. My own perspective has been more influenced by the type of estimates in which ocean heat uptake and radiative heat loss to space are not estimated separately, but combined to permit transient climate responses to be expressed as temperature change as a function of forcing – the 2008 Gregory and Forster paper is a good example, and arrived at a transient sensitivity (temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling) with a range of 1.3 to 2.3 C. The virtue of this approach is that it is independent of errors in estimation of the rate of ocean heat uptake and requires only values for forcing and temperature over the relevant interval. Even so, the existence of a fairly broad range indicates that these calculations are still vulnerable to significant uncertainties.

      • This may be a better link to the 2008 Schwartz paper.

      • Fred,

        Recent talks about climate sensitivity and feedbacks on WCRP open conference including Gregory’s is here:

        http://www.wcrp-climate.org/conference2011/Parallel_B12.html

        List of other sessions:

        http://www.wcrp-climate.org/conference2011/structure.html

      • Jianhua -Thanks. That looks like an interesting presentation. Some of it will be hard to interpret without hearing the talk itself, but I’ll try to go through it in more detail to get a good sense of the different methods.

      • manacker,
        The interestin gthing is how tenaciously Fred sticks to issues like this, no matter how circular or faulty the opsition. It is almost as if he realizes that if any of these points he defends fail, the whole AGW house of cards could fall down.

      • Should something have to exist to become missing?

        I can see the obvious attraction of being employed to search for something that does not exist though!!

  45. Steven

    I know it’s late and we’re all tired, but don’t let Fred dazzle you with eloquent BS.

    IPCC made it real clear in AR4 WG1 Ch.9 (Understanding and Attributing Climate Change) that warming from well-mixed GHGs should cause a tropospheric hot spot, while warming from solar forcing should not. This is described in the text on p.674 and shown graphically on p.675 in Figure 9.1, where Figure 9.1a) shows the zonal mean atmospheric temperature change profile for solar forcing (no tropospheric hot spot) and Figure 9.1c) shows the profile for forcing from well-mixed greenhouse gases (with the tropospheric hot spot).

    Fred can try to side track with Santer et al reports, etc., but the fact of the matter is that IPCC has shown that warming from GHGs should cause a tropospheric hot spot while mixing from solar forcing should not.

    The dilemma: Actual observations do not show the tropical hot spot.

    Secondly, IPCC states in Ch. 3 (Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change) that the troposphere is warming at a greater rate than the surface and that this is “in accord with physical expectations and most model results” (p.252).

    The dilemma: Both the UAH and RSS satellite records show that the troposphere has warmed at a slower rate than the surface, as measured by GISS, HadCRUT3 and NCDC.

    These are the facts.

    All the rest is rationalizing, posturing and side-tracking.

    Max

    • Max,

      You misunderstand figure 9.1. What it shows is the response to estimated forcings from 1890-1999. The solar response is less dramatic than the GHG response simply because the forcing is a lot smaller over that period. What Fred is saying is that an equivalently large solar forcing would produce a similar response.

      Interestingly the results in figure 9.1 were produced by the PCM model, which has the lowest sensitivity in the AR4 ensemble. I wonder what a high sensitivity model would produce?

      • Paul S

        You write:

        You misunderstand figure 9.1. What it shows is the response to estimated forcings from 1890-1999. The solar response is less dramatic than the GHG response simply because the forcing is a lot smaller over that period.

        No. I am not misunderstanding at all.

        See Lee et al. for the models’ depictions of the hot spot from CO2 forcing:
        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008JCLI1891.1

        – The models predict a hot spot from greenhouse forcing. The hot spot was not there in actual fact.

        – IPCC states that GH theory should have the troposphere warming at a greater rate than the surface. In actual fact, it did not.

        Those are the key points here, Paul.

        [BTW, they have been raised by others, so are nothing new.]

        Whether or not solar forcing was less than anthropogenic greenhouse forcing is another discussion.

        IPCC has estimated that solar forcing was only 7% of the total, but has conceded that its “level of scientific understanding” of “solar forcing” was “low”.

        There have been several studies by solar scientists, whose “level of scientific understanding” of “solar forcing” is presumably a bit higher than that of IPCC who are not solar specialists but concentrate on anthropogenic warming, which is their brief to study.

        These tell us that around half of the observed warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of 20th century solar activity (highest in several thousand years).

        But that is another topic entirely, Paul.

        Here we are talking about the model-based tropospheric hot spot expected from greenhouse warming, which is not there, in actual fact.

        Hope that clears it up.

        Max

      • Yes, we know that the models predict a hotspot over the tropics in the mid-to-upper troposphere in response to CO2 (or other GHG) warming. This is all agreed.

        What I’m pointing out is your mistaken impression that this would not be the case for an equivalent solar forcing. Look at the images at the top of this article: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/

        The one on the left is a GCM response to a 2xCO2 forcing, the one on the right to a 2% increase in solar output (roughly equivalent forcing to 2xCO2). Spot the difference?

      • Paul S,
        It ain’t there.
        Period.

      • Paul S

        Whether or not added solar forcing would have resulted in the same tropical hot spot as was stated by IPCC models to have occurred for CO2 forcing (but was not observed in actual fact) is rather a moot point, don’t you think?

        IPCC stated: “Greenhouse gas forcing is expected to produce warming in the troposphere…”

        and further down: “Note that there is substantial uncertainty in the identification of climate response to solar cycle variations…because the response is difficult to separate from internal climate variations…”

        The key point (as you have agreed) is that the “models predict a hotspot over the tropics in the mid-to-upper troposphere in response to CO2 (or other GHG) warming” – and this predicted hot spot has not been observed.

        But I fear that we are beating a dead horse here, Paul

        Max

      • Max,

        It may be a moot point but you were the one making it. Do you not consider it beneficial to gain a better understanding of the things you’re talking about? Now that things are more clear can I presume you won’t again be making mistaken assertions such as ‘the fact of the matter is that IPCC has shown that warming from GHGs should cause a tropospheric hot spot while mixing from solar forcing should not.’

        On whether or not there is evidence for the hot spot in observational data it’s really not something I’ve looked into at all so I can’t comment. I downloaded the RSS TMT data and the tropical region shows a greater trend than the global average over 1979-present, which matches the qualitative picture in the GCM predictions for that atmospheric region, but it also below surface temperature trends. I don’t really understand enough to draw any strong conclusions though.

      • Paul S

        Let’s cut through the BS on this topic.

        As pointed out earlier, IPCC AR4 WG1 Ch. 9 (2007) clearly shows the tropospheric hot spot (along with stratospheric cooling) as a feature of greenhouse warming. In Ch. 3, IPCC states that the warming was greater in the troposphere than at the surface as expected (a claim which has turned out to be false in itself).

        Douglass et al. (2007) found that the model-generated hot spot is missing in real life.
        http://www.icecap.us/images/uploads/DOUGLASPAPER.pdf

        Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs. These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.

        On the whole, the evidence indicates that model trends in the troposphere are very likely inconsistent with observations that indicate that, since 1979, there is no significant long-term amplification factor relative to the surface. If these results continue to be supported, then future projections of temperature change, as depicted in the present suite of climate models, are likely too high.

        In summary, the debate in this field revolves around the idea of discrepancy in surface and tropospheric trends in the tropics where vertical convection dominates heat transfer. Models are very consistent, as this article demonstrates, in showing a significant difference between surface and tropospheric trends, with tropospheric temperature trends warming faster than the surface. What is new in this article is the determination of a very robust estimate of the magnitude of the model trends at each atmospheric layer. These are compared with several equally robust updated estimates of trends from observations which disagree with trends from the models.

        Santer et al. (2008) jumped to the defense of the missing hot spot
        https://www.llnl.gov/news/newsreleases/2008/NR-08-10-05-article.pdf

        ABSTRACT: A recent report of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) identified a ‘potentially serious inconsistency’ between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates (Karl et al., 2006). Early versions of satellite and radiosonde datasets suggested that the tropical surface had warmed more than the troposphere, while climate models consistently showed tropospheric amplification of surface warming in response to human-caused increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs). We revisit such comparisons here using new observational estimates of surface and tropospheric temperature changes. We find that there is no longer a serious discrepancy between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates.

        But reading through Santer et al. one sees that the authors have concluded that the hot spot may not actually have been seen by the radiosonde record, but might be there, since the radiosonde record might be wrong.

        Sherwood et al. (2008) add a new slant in order to clear up the discrepancy of the missing hot spot.
        http://camels.metoffice.gov.uk/quarc/Sherwood08_JClimate.pdf

        The question of whether tropospheric temperatures are participating as expected in climate change has been controversial, with some observing systems reporting changes that are inconsistent with the models (CCSP 2006; National Research Council 2000)… that discrepancies between expected and measured tropospheric warming rates have not been fully explained in the tropics (CCSP 2006), …

        By various statistical adjustments and manipulations to the radiosonde data and by adding in an analysis using wind shear data rather than temperature measurements, the authors conclude:

        the adjusted tropospheric temperature trends agree roughly with physical expectations.

        So it looks to me like the “consensus group” is doing its damnest to salvage the model-derived hot spot, which does not appear to be present in real life.

        As a rational skeptic, I ask myself: If the concept of a tropospheric amplification factor relative to the surface is so unimportant, why would there be such a scramble to defend it by finding the missing hot spot?

        Max

      • Paul S

        Check the RSS TLT record again.
        http://www.ssmi.com/msu/msu_data_description.html#zonal_anomalies

        You will see that since 1979 the rate of warming of the lower troposphere has been 0.142C/decade.

        This checks well with the UAH record of 0.139C/decade and is well below the three surface records:

        0.170 GISS
        0.163 NCDC
        0.153 HadCRUT3

        [BTW, RSS shows that the middle troposphere warmed at an even slower rate of 0.087C/decade.]

        So it is clear that the troposphere warmed at a slower rate than the surface, while IPCC AR4 WG1 Ch.3 claimed just the opposite.

        That was my point, Paul.

        Max

    • Manacker,

      if you hunt around there was a “proof” that solar COULD cause a hot spot. Of course, it would take about TWICE as much forcing as anyone thinks is available from the sun to do it!!

      The other trick is that GHG hot spots are accompanied by lower Stratospheric COOLING which we are also missing!!!!

  46. Berényi Péter

    “the observed scaling ratio is roughly 0.8, not the predicted value of 1.4

    Have you considered the possibility of both satellite measured lower troposphere temperatures and an 1.4 scaling factor being correct, but the land surface temperature trend is boosted by a large UHI trend due to increasing global population density? In that case about 43% of measured land surface temperature trend is an artifact, as it is suspected by many.

    • Berényi Péter – if “about 43% of measured land surface temperature trend is an artifact” then CAGW collapses, because it needs the surface temperature to have gone up by the full amount.