# An alternative metric to assess global warming

by Roger A. Pielke Sr., Richard T. McNider, and John Christy

The thing we’ve all forgotten is the heat storage of the ocean – it’s a thousand times greater than the atmosphere and the surface.  – James Lovelock

This aspect of the climate system is why it has been proposed to use the changes in the ocean heat content to diagnose the global radiative imbalance, as summarized in Pielke (2003, 2008). In this weblog post, we take advantage of this natural space and time integrator of global warming and cooling.

We present this alternate tool to assess the magnitude of global warming based on assessing the magnitudes of the annual global average radiative imbalance, and the annual global average radiative forcing and feedbacks. Among our findings is the difficulty of reconciling the three terms.

Introduction

As summarized in NRC (2005) “the concept of radiative forcing is based on the hypothesis that the change in global annual mean surface temperature is proportional to the imposed global annual mean forcing, independent of the nature of the applied forcing. The fundamental assumption underlying the radiative forcing concept is that the surface and the troposphere are strongly coupled by convective heat transfer processes; that is, the earth-troposphere system is in a state of radiative-convective equilibrium.”

According to the radiative-convective equilibrium concept, the equation for determining global average surface temperature is

ΔQ = ΔF – ΔT/ λ   (1)

where ΔQ is the radiative imbalance, ΔF is the radiative forcing, and ΔT is the change in temperature over the same time period. The quantity λ is referred to as the radiative feedback parameter which has been used to relate temperature response to a change in radiative forcing (Gregory et al. 2002, NRC 2005). As such, it has been used as the primary global metric for assessing global warming due to anthropogenic changes in radiative forcing. The quantity ΔT is typically defined as the near-surface global average surface air temperature.

While perhaps conceptually useful, the actual implementation of the equation can be difficult. First, the measurement of ΔT has been shown to have issues with its accurate quantification. In the equation, ΔT is meant to represent both the radiative temperature of the Earth system and the accumulation of heat through the temperature change that would occur as a radiative imbalance occurs. However, changes in temperature at the surface can occur due to a vertical redistribution of heat not necessarily due to an accumulation of heat (McNider et al. 2012), site location issues (Pielke et al. 2007; Fall et al. 2011), as well as due to regional changes in surface temperatures from land-use change, aerosol deposition, and atmospheric aerosols (e.g., Christy et al. 2006, 2009; Strack et al. 2007; Mahmood et al. 2013). Even more importantly, as shown in recent studies (Levitus et al. 2012), a significant fraction of the heat added to the climate system is at depth in the oceans, and thus cannot be sampled completely by ΔT (Spencer and Braswell 2013).

Computing the radiative imbalance ΔQ as a residual from large positive and negative values in the radiative flux budget introduces a large uncertainty. Stephens et al. (2012) reports a value of the global average radiative imbalance (which Stephens et al. calls the “surface imbalance”) as 0.70 Watts per meter squared, but with the uncertainty of 17 W m-2!

We propose an alternate approach based on the analysis of the accumulation rate of heat in the Earth system in Joules per time. We believe the radiative imbalance can much more accurately be diagnosed by the ocean heat update since the ocean, because of the ocean’s density, area, and depth (i.e., its mass and heat capacity), is by far the dominate reservoir of climate system heat changes ( Pielke, 2003, 2005; Levitus et al. 2012; Trenberth and Fasullo 2013). Thus, the difference in ocean heat content at two different time periods largely accounts for the global average radiative imbalance over that time (within the uncertainty of the ocean heat measurements). Once the annual global annual average radiative imbalance is defined by the ocean accumulation of heat (adjusted for the smaller added heating from our parts of the climate system), we can form an equation that drives this imbalance as

Global annual average radiative imbalance [GAARI] = Global annual average radiative forcing [GAARF] + Global annual average radiative feedbacks [GAARFB] (2)

where the units are in Joules per time period (and can be expressed as Watts per area).

Levitus et al. (2012) reported that since 1955, the layer from the surface to 2000 m depth had a warming rate of 0.39 W m-2 ± 0.031 W m-2 per unit area of the Earth’s surface which accounts for approximately 90% of the warming of the climate system. Thus, if we add the 10%, the 1955-2010 GAARI= 0.43 W m-2 ± 0.031 W m-2.

The radiative forcing can be obtained from the 2013 IPCC SPM WG1 report (unfortunately, they do not give the values for specific time periods but give a difference from 1750 to 1950, 1980 and 2011). Presumably, some of this forcing has been accommodated by warming over the time period, but the IPCC does not address this.

Figure SPM.5 in IPCC (2013) [reproduced below] yields the net radiative forcing = 2.29 (1.13 to 3.33) W m-2 for the net change in the annual average global radiative forcing from 1750 to 2011.   The report on the change of radiative heating from 1750 to 1950 is 0.57 (0.29 to 0.85) W m-2. If we assume that all of the radiative forcing up to 1950 has already resulted in feedbacks which remove this net positive forcing, the remaining mean estimate for the current GAARF is 1.72 W m-2.

For GAARFB, Wielicki et al. (2013; their figure 1; reproduced below) has radiative feedbacks  =  -4.2 W m-2 K-1 (from temperature increases) + water vapor feedback (1.9 W m-2 K-1) + the albedo feedback (0.30 W m-2 K-1) + the cloud feedback (0.79 W m-2 K-1)   =  -1.21 W m-2 K-1.

It needs to be recognized that deep ocean heating is an unappreciated effective negative temperature feedback, at least in terms of how this heat can significantly influence other parts of the climate system on multi-decadal time scales. Nonetheless, we have retained this heating in our analysis.

Over the time period 1955 to 2010, the global surface temperatures supposedly increased by about 0.6 K (Figure SPM1 from IPCC, 2013 and reproduced below).

Thus, GAARFB = -1.21 W m-2 K-1 x 0.6K = -0.73 W m-2.

Using the IPCC GAARF of 1.72 W m-2 and the GAARFB of -0.73 W m-2 in equation (2) yields

GAARF + GAARFB = 1.72– 0.73 = 0.99 W m-2 = GAARI

This, however, is more than twice as large as the ocean diagnosed GAARI of 0.43 W m-2 ± 0.031 based on Levitus et al. (2012).

Even the IPCC agrees that the radiative imbalance is relatively smaller than the 0.99 W m-2 calculated above. They report that the global average radiative imbalance is 0.59 W m-2 for 1971-2010 while for 1993-2010 it is 0.71 W m-2. Trenberth and Fasullo (2013) state that the imbalance is 0.5–1W m−2 over the 2000s.

Rather, than using the IPCC (Wielicki, 2013) GAARFB, we can use equation (2) to solve for the radiative feedbacks with the ocean heat data as a real world constraint, i.e.

GAARFB = GAARI – GAARF (3)

Inserting the heat changes in the ocean to diagnose GAARI and the IPCC GAARF in (3)

0.43 W m-2 ± 0.031 W m-2 [GAARI] – 1.72 [-1.13 to -3.33] W m-2 [GAARF]

then results in the estimate of GAARFB of – 1.29 W m-2 with an uncertainty range from the IPCC and Levitus (2012) yielding -1.10 to -3.36 W m-2.

Thus, even assuming that the fraction of the global average radiative forcing change from 1750 to 1955 has already equilibrated through increasing surface temperatures, the global average radiative imbalance, GAARI, is significantly less than the sum of the global average radiative forcings and feedbacks – GAARF + GAARFB (the use of 1950 and 1955 as a time period should not introduce much added uncertainty).

Also, since there has been little if any temperature increase for a decade or more (nor, apparently little if any recent water vapor increase; Vonder Haar et al. 2012), the disparity between the imbalance and the forcings and feedbacks is even more stark. While including the uncertainty around each of the best estimates of the radiative forcings and feedbacks, and of the radiative imbalance, could still result in a claim that they are not out of agreement, the lack of proper closure of equation (1) in terms of the mean values that are available needs further explanation.

Thus as the next step, the uncertainties in each of the estimates needs to be defined for each of the values in equation (2). The estimates need to be made for the current time (2014). The recognition and explanation for this apparent discrepancy between observed global warming and the radiative forcings and feedbacks needs a higher level of attention than was given in the 2013 IPCC report.

In order to aid in the analyses of equation (2), the combined effects of the radiative forcings and feedbacks over specified time periods (e.g., decades) could be estimated by running the climate models with a set of realizations with and without specific radiative forcings (e.g., CO2).   One could also do assessments of each vertical profile in a global model at snapshots in time with the added forcings since the last snapshot to estimate the radiative forcing change.

References

JC note:  This post was submitted to me via email.  I also refer you to my recent post Ocean heat content uncertainties.  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments relevant and civil.

### 379 responses to “An alternative metric to assess global warming”

1. Thanks for this post. It is remarkable how important we think we are.

• Newport_Mac

Thanks omanuel, Its Now confirmed to be Theatre Absurd!

• Newport_Mac

An alternative metric to assess global warming

,,, has never been scientific!

• Newport_Mac

“those that live in water”

With Respect Dr. Curry,
May I have a bit of pen to splash ignorance in its color and regional water?

• It is remarkable how important we humans think we are.

We pretend to be interested in saving life on planet Earth and forget about those that live in water?

• Newport_Mac

To do with “Math”?

• Newport_Mac

Regretfully it had to teach this level of absurdity before being recognized as something even beyond the norm of regular post-normal science.

• Typo-correction: Regretfully it had to reach this level of absurdity before being recognized as something even beyond the norm of regular post-normal science. More is being revealed each day:

http://nuclear-news.net/2014/04/29/deception-at-the-centre-of-the-global-nuclear-industry/

2. You might want to consider finding different symbols for your equations.I can’t help but laugh every time I see an acronym like “GAARF.” It’s distracting.

• Greg

Howard “You might want to consider using “I” less in your comments. It is an indication of immaturity and narcissism. ”

when expressing a personal opinion it sees appropriate and humble to introduce it with “I think”.

You might want to “consider” trying it youself instead of attempting to insult others with your pathetic bar-room psycology, stated as fact.

• Howard

You might want to consider using “I” less in your comments. It is an indication of immaturity and narcissism.

What you call symbols are acronyms. As such, they make it very easy to remember exactly what they are without any memorization, which frees the brain to think and not react and recollect.

• I agree, it seems silly but GAARF and GAARFB does come over rather comically and if you were to make an important result with this approach it invites a satirical comment that it’s GAARFBage.

It’s all a bit AARF, AARF. Try a greek letter or something. Always looks learned. ;)

• I shudder to imagine a world where using the word “I” twice in one paragraph indicates narcissism.

• John Carpenter

Heh, he also missed that you did refer to them as acronyms as well.

• Howard

Reading comprehension and bar psychology are correct, touche. It was an unfortunate hasty response after years of previous back and forth blog comment battles over perceived personal slights and tedious misunderstandings between Brandon and anyone else that choose to combat his unceasing flow of empty verbiage. While holding out hope for a higher standard in what this young man could be versus the waste of his not inconsiderable brainpower on petty trivia, his beyond shallow example here was the last straw. Cheers

3. Steven Mosher

“We present this alternate tool”

You meant to say

• Howard

It’s not a tool yet, right? It’s just an outline of an idea for a proposal to determine the feasibility of using OHC as one tool to shed light on climate change.

• It is additional. how useful it proves to be will determine if it is an alternate.

• David Springer

Hey Mosher when someone says alternative to fossil fuel do you tell them it should be addition to fossil fuel? Or if someone says they lead an alternative lifestyle do you say no no no you mean to say additional lifestyle? You’re lame, Mosher, in addition to being dull witted.

4. Steven Mosher

“However, changes in temperature at the surface can occur due to a vertical redistribution of heat not necessarily due to an accumulation of heat (McNider et al. 2012), site location issues (Pielke et al. 2007; Fall et al. 2011),

But Fall et all showed NO effect of site location on Tave.

• manacker

Steven Mosher

If spurious local warming signals were shown to have no impact on the globally and annually averaged temperature signal, then the studies were wrong.

If (as in BEST) they were shown to have a slight net cooling impact on the global signal, then it’s time for some serious rework of the study.

Just that simple, Mosh.

Max

• Eunice

Non sequiter.

The original statement is about temperature profile and the low heat capacity of air, not surface station location.

5. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

To Pielke et al. in subsection 3.1.4 of my “Refuting …”:
I explain that inaccuracies in energy budget measurements drive to errors in the global warming evaluation. (In that case: in the evaluation of climate sensitivity).
In my humble oppinion of just a physicist (no phd, no academic, no educator), your proposal is another excuse to the manipulation of values. Just like the epicycles in the ptolemaic model.

6. Jim Cripwell

“All sound and fury, signifying nothing” Shakespeare.

It does not make any difference. It is still impossible, at this time, to measure the climate sensitivity for additional of CO2 added to the atmosphere from recent levels. Unless and until measurements are made, all estimates of climate sensitivity, however defined, are nothing more than guesses.

• John Carpenter

Well then you should endorse this alternative metric as it effectively replaces the need to speak about climate sensitivity Jim. Instead of CS to CO2, OHC would be used to describe energy into the system by radiative imbalance. OHC can and is empirically measured and can be plotted against time. You should be very accepting of this approach.

• Jim Cripwell

John, you write “You should be very accepting of this approach.”

Sorry, John, you are wrong. Climate sensitivity, in it’s broadest sense, is the response of the earth to more CO2. It can be measured with surface temperatures, OHC, ocean temperatures, or anything else that is suitable. This piece, by Pielke et al, looks to me like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

• John Carpenter

“Sorry, John, you are wrong.”

I’m so surprised you believe this.

7. JCH

I’ve liked this idea since I first read about it on R.P. Sr.’s blog.

So metric me this, how’s the pause in the accumulation of energy in the oceans going?

• JCH
• HR

ar5 graphs 5 ohc datasets, 3 of them are flat over the pause, you’ve chosen to show the most uppy.

• JCH

I don’t think Roger is talking about using data from as long ago as that. I think he wants it beamed straight from the ARGO floats to his cellphone.

8. catweazle666

Ah, computer games climate models strike again.

You know, it never fails to amaze me how climate scientists happily express parameters such as ocean temperature to limits well in excess of the measuring capability of their instruments.

“False Precision Syndrome”, I think it’s called…

9. Joe Born

Just in case you want to recycle the text some time:
“from our parts” from other parts?
“by far the dominate reservoir ” is by far the dominant reservoir?

10. Curious George

I have a problem with “sensitivities” and “forcings” and other pseudo-physical parameters which can not be measured to a desired accuracy. Unfortunately, replacing them by global yearly averages does not help in this respect.

11. Historically — and, this is all hindsight — periods of global warming are associated the relative advance of all humanity–e.g., greater material abundance and freedom of action and thought. So, that could be a metric to consider by anyone who does not start with the preconceived notion that humanity is a big mistake.

• Tom McClellan
• Nice graphs Tom. Now I think you need to familiarise yourself with the concept or correlation, correlation coefficients and how this relates to “significance”.

12. Stephen Segrest

The National Review has a major story on their lawsuit with Mann (where Dr. Curry is heavily cited). With us Conservatives where Faith is very important, this is an example of where we sometimes feel our heads exploding. Judith represents our conservative values but then we have people like Dr. Katharine Hayhoe who reflects our Faith. Since 99.9% of us are not climate scientists, one tends to listen to people you trust on values.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/376574/climate-inquisitor-charles-c-w-cooke

• JJ

Trade one metric suffering from inadequate data for another with even less.

Sigh.

13. Steven Mosher – With respect to what we concluded in Fall et al, I assume you agree that Tmin and Tmax did show station bias, which cancelled, fortuitously, in this case. That Tmax and Tmin have biases when the station siting is poor, however, should raise a question the use of Tmean trends as a metric for global warming.

Also, stay tuned for a further assessment that Anthony Watts is leading the research on.

Roger Sr.

• Stephen Segrest

A layman question: You say “One could also do assessments of each vertical profile in a global model”. Why do we hear some climate scientists say we don’t have computers powerful enough to run these vertical profiles? If my question doesn’t make sense, forget I asked it. TX.

• Rob Starkey

Given the historical information available regarding the temp of the oceans at various depths and the reliability of that information record, how long do you think it will take until a sufficiently large enough data base is available to reach reasonable conclusions?

14. Summing up these assumptions, IPCC-derived radiative imbalance is .99 W/m2

Ocean-derived radiative imbalance is 0.43 W/m2

Thus, IPCC sensitivity is exaggerated by a factor of ~2.3 times, sensitivity to CO2 only about 1.3C (actually even less) per doubling of CO2 vs. the IPCC former central estimate of 3C.

• Waiting for warmists to present evidence of positive feedbacks
amplifying CO2 warming is rather like waiting for Godot.

• manacker

Hockey Schtick

Thus, IPCC sensitivity is exaggerated by a factor of ~2.3 times, sensitivity to CO2 only about 1.3C (actually even less) per doubling of CO2 vs. the IPCC former central estimate of 3C.

I believe that this is the hidden message.

The problem has been that we have been trying to ascertain a very small difference between very much larger numbers based on model simulations that are only partially backed by observed data of very questionable accuracy.

The second hidden message as I read it is that the ocean provides a gigantic negative feedback (one that is imperceptible to us land dwellers) to global surface warming (the temperature rise we land dwellers could actually feel).

Max

15. Matthew R Marler

It needs to be recognized that deep ocean heating is an unappreciated effective negative temperature feedback, at least in terms of how this heat can significantly influence other parts of the climate system on multi-decadal time scales. Nonetheless, we have retained this heating in our analysis.

How does that work? For a given radiative imbalance, how does the warming of the deep ocean slow the warming of the surface? Possibly they mean that the heat going into the deep ocean does not itself warm the surface, but that is not what is meant by “negative feedback.” For a given difference between deep ocean and surface, the warming of the deep will slow the diffusion of heat from surface to deep, and for a given radiative imbalance at the surface, that ought to slow the rate of surface cooling — resulting in a warmer surface.

I suppose if you are going to go with temperature change proportional to radiative imbalance and assume equilibrium, this is as good as the other approaches. I don’t see how it is an improvement, or can have the accuracy necessary for appraising possible CO2 effects.

In order to aid in the analyses of equation (2), the combined effects of the radiative forcings and feedbacks over specified time periods (e.g., decades) could be estimated by running the climate models with a set of realizations with and without specific radiative forcings (e.g., CO2). One could also do assessments of each vertical profile in a global model at snapshots in time with the added forcings since the last snapshot to estimate the radiative forcing change.

I can’t see how future progress can be obtained by running the GCMs, at least not until some of them have established a record of accuracy. Their inaccuracy could be due to zillions of minor inaccuracies, some larger inaccuracies, or one or two major flaws. From the wording, the authors seem to present this as a work in progress, not yet fit for submission to a journal.

• JCH

What does deep ocean mean?
?:
Abyssal Ocean – deeper than 2000 meters
Deep Ocean – 700 to 2000 meters
Upper Ocean – 0 to 700 meters

• JCH

The warming in the abyssal oceans is essentially gone for a very very long time. Form Purkey and Johnson it appears to be a very small percentage.

In terms of the pools of water involved in ENSO, some of it could come back.

• ” Possibly they mean that the heat going into the deep ocean does not itself warm the surface, but that is not what is meant by “negative feedback.”

I suspect this means that heat diffused into the deep ocean is not going to pop back out any time soon. Assuming that the rate that it diffuses into deep ocean is a function the departure from the thermodynamic equilibrium with the deep ocean, makes it a function of the warming and hence an “effective” negative feedback.

The authors probably need to state more clearly what they meant there and what assumptions they were basing it on.

That’s my guess but I can’t speak on their behalf, obviously.

• Jim D

It is not really a negative feedback, more a delaying mechanism in the response. The ultimate (equilibrium) response to a given forcing is unaffected by the length of the delay before getting there.

• Peter Lang

Jim D,

Do you mean like a big heat suck?

• manacker

Matthew Marler

The “negative feedback to global surface warming” statement makes sense in this connotation.

An energy imbalance, which would otherwise lead to global surface warming (which we land dwellers would all feel) disappears forever for all practical purposes into an ocean with a vastly higher heat capacity (where no one would feel it).

Max

• Matthew R Marler

Jim D: It is not really a negative feedback, more a delaying mechanism in the response.

I think that is correct. Maybe the authors meant something other than what the words literally meant.

• If the physical mechanisms behind ENSO turn out to be not as complicated as we think, we could see a change in how we model the variability in climate.

16. Spencer & Braswell 2011 points out that though radiative and non-radiative reactions have different phase (radiative response of equation 1 here is almost instantaneous) , you cannot really separate the the two. The ‘instant’ response happens three months later, meaning it has already been mixed with the time lagged warming of the oceans:
http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=931

I’m currently writing a different approach that fits the fully developed , exponentially lagged response. Here following Mt Pinatubo.
http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=926

It’s a bit terse taken out of context but what it shows is that earlier physics-based values of volcanic forcing ( 30 W/m2 * AOD ) were likely much nearer than current values.

http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=925

The problem is that with current feedback estimates/guesses/parameters for tropical feedbacks this would have too much impact , so instead of correct the model’s they corrected the inputs: in this case they scaled down the Lacis et al 1992 value: 30 to 20 W/m2 in Hansen et al 2002

(NB Hanson was also a co-author on the former paper.)

This looks a lot like fixing the input data instead of fixing the model.

17. R. Gates

Of course this post is music to my ears and I fully applaud the approach. Tropospheric sensible heat is such a poor metric for energy accumulation (as I’ve been stating for quite some time). This quote from the post I especially applaud as it cuts to heart of the issue:

“We believe the radiative imbalance can much more accurately be diagnosed by the ocean heat update since the ocean, because of the ocean’s density, area, and depth (i.e., its mass and heat capacity), is by far the dominate reservoir of climate system heat changes ( Pielke, 2003, 2005; Levitus et al. 2012; Trenberth and Fasullo 2013).

What is needed of course is a large expansion of the ARGO float program, and such an expansion is in the works, adding many more floats, and regularly sampling the ocean down to 6000m. This will provide an even better sampling of the energy flux in and out of the ocean and give us the most accurate accounting for the effects of anthropogenic forcing on the climate.

• RG, this is good twofold.

You let the skeptics come up with an improved characteristic and then they score own goals.

If consensus advocated this approach then the skeptics would scream that they were redefining the map.

Own goals are a wonderful thing as the own goal scorers can only blame themselves.

• R. Gates

“…really good news is that all this heat that disappears into the deep ocean with its immense heat capacity stays there rather than contributing to much greater global surface warming..”
____

This, unfortunately is not the way that the complex system works. Additional energy in the ocean absolutely does not just harmlessly disperse like a bit of salt added to a glass of distilled water. Winds and currents concentrate heat in specific regions of the global ocean (such as the IPWP for example). This concentration of warmer waters, especially along coastal areas and by currents into the rather shallow Arctic ocean, might already be having positive feedback consequences, such as diminished sea ice (allowing more SW into the Arctic ocean), and methane hydrate destabilization, not just in the Arctic ocean, but at lower latitudes as well:

http://211.144.68.84:9998/91keshi/Public/File/34/490-7421/pdf/nature11528.pdf

http://211.144.68.84:9998/91keshi/Public/File/34/490-7421/pdf/490491a.pdf

• manacker

RG and WHT

Indeed.

And the really good news is that all this heat that disappears into the deep ocean with its immense heat capacity stays there rather than contributing to much greater global surface warming, which we land dwellers would all feel.

It’s like the authors write: a giant “negative feedback” to global surface warming.

Max

• Don Monfort

Webby, you don’t know your ankle from your ass. Nobody gave you the authority to call own goals. Stick to spurious curve fitting. Is Dennis still the lone attendant on your little obscure blog, webby? Don’t neglect him completely.

• R. Gates

“As long as thermal energy gets absorbed at approximately the rate the measurements say, the consensus climate scientists will continue to have their AGW theory substantiated.”
_____
While it is personally amusing to see certain zealots score own goals against their “team”, I’m personally always looking at any possible evidence that might indicate that the Earth climate system is not gaining energy. If I wanted to be myopic about it, I could have easily focused on the so-called “pause” as my proof against AGW. Unfortunately I knew from a physical and scientific perspective, such a narrow viewpoint would be dishonest. Following the heat content of the global ocean and getting as many ARGO floats dispersed as widely and deeply as we can is the best possible way to really chart what’s going on with Earth’s climate energy content. It’s still a proxy for overall energy in the climate system, but a far better proxy than the relatively puny and low thermal inertia sensible heat in the troposphere.

• JCH

Max is the problem with the terminology. Deep ocean is not defined.

• Scott

RG,
good suggestion to increase ocean sampling. Observations and data without adjustments are the basis for metrics.

WHUB, why jump in with a nasty comment on own goals. The goals are better science through improved observations. Using observations and data to develop and defend hypothosis is the backbone of recognizing patterns in complex systems. Don’t need snide comments when most can embrace the call for improved data gathering.
Scott

• RG, ignoring the ankle-biters for the moment, we see that the diffusional heat capacity flow has been built into the models since Hansen in 1981 and before that.

This gives us a TCR of 2C and a ECS of 3C that we immediately feel on land

They can score own goals with their ankles?

• RG, the skeptics are so embarrassed about scoring own goals that they attempt to deflect the criticism towards a debate on civility.

Too late, the own goals have already been scored and tallied.

As long as thermal energy gets absorbed at approximately the rate the measurements say, the consensus climate scientists will continue to have their AGW theory substantiated.

• The Pause is an own goal as well as it shows how variability plays into the time-series.
http://contextearth.com/2014/01/11/the-cause-of-the-pause-is-due-to-thermodynamic-laws/

Very easy to fit the rising temperature profile by including factors such as Stadium Waves (own goal) and other periodic components (more own goals).

18. The point about the 3m lag in S&B11 is that once it decorrelates you will under-estimate the slope in using OLS.

19. AK

Global annual average radiative imbalance [GAARI] = Global annual average radiative forcing [GAARF] + Global annual average radiative feedbacks [GAARFB] (2)

I have the usual problem with this: the definition of “average” is imprecise, and variations on a variety of time-scales to a variety of other things than “average temperature” could strongly affect cloudy air activity, with consequent impacts on albedo and therefore radiative imbalance.

The assumption that a “feedback” from “average temperature” or “Global annual average radiative forcing [GAARF]” is the primary driver of changes to cloudy air activity is unwarranted.

Which doesn’t make the whole thing useless, but all conclusions based on it have, IMO, to be qualified by the fact that the assumed “feedback” may well include large amounts of natural variation on many time-scales from sub-annual to 100’s of Kyears.

• My main problem with this is insufficient sampling and the usual, totally unrealistic uncertainty estimations for OHC measurement.

Levitus’ claims of OHC going back 1955 are laughable in view of the coverage of actual measurements.

20. Forsert & Gregory 2006 also recognised the regression dilution problem ( having errors in x as well a y variable causes an incorrectly low estimate of the slope.

Look carefully at the appendix. They provide very difference values of climate sensitivity than presented in the text and conclusions of the paper.

It seems they did not want to rock to boat too much in one go.

http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Forster_sensitivity.pdf

21. from core to outer space, there are layers of material, and layers of heat. some layers of material encompass the globe, others form pools. Every layer, and every pool, has an upper and lower surface. as any surface warms up, it passes heat more quickly to the one above it. as any layer above cools, it facilitates more heat passage from the one beneath it. we have focussed on one small sliver, of one small layer, and measured it to death. then we have extrapolated those measurements to envision the entire system fluctuating. then we decided, “hey, maybe we better pay attention to the oceans.” WHY DO WE STOP THERE???

22. when the earth is hotter, it dissipates heat more quickly. storage of heat in a system that operates 24 / 7 / 365 ???

23. or temporarily halted outward flow of heat from substances lower in the earth. Not storage. slowed progression of heat, vs accelerated progression of heat. when you are on the bow of a boat, and look at the bow shock in front of the boat, and the boat speeds up, and the bow shock gets a little deeper, is it “stored” water??? NO. and would the water running off the bow shock wave, run off faster at higher speed??? YES.

24. Rud Istvan

Showing that the various estimates do not reconcile suffices to prove the science is not settled. That is a significant contribution.

But I am unconvinced that the proposed decadal model parsing program will advance knowledge much. There are two fundamental reasons for this pessimism.
First, despite all the effort that Levitus and his team have put in, there is simply too much uncertainty in ocean heat data. There are three intractable causes. First, Ocean heat is inferred from temperature, and the temperature differences are very, very small because the heat capacity is very very large. Measurement error. Second, there isn’t a lot of preArgo data at depth while the thermocline varies enormously by season and location. Third, preArgo near surface samples are shipping trade route biased. Vertical and horizontal Sample bias, when oceans are enormous heat conveyors horizontally and vertically.
Second, the best climate models do not have sufficiently fine resolution to do a proper job of convective cells. That is why CMIP5 still produce a tropical troposphere hot spot when not exists, and still get precipitation and clouds wrong. So the CMIP5 ensemble cannot adequately produce either water vapor(UTsH) or cloud feedbacks.

25. Svend Ferdinandsen

It is attractive to measure the heat flow by the heat in the oceans. Only problem is, that you have not a heatmeter (joulemeter). The only way to measure the heat is by measuring the temperature, and that i think gives even more problems as measuring the temperature of the air.
The sampling is sporadic and especially below 700m out of the several 1000m deep oceans.

26. Levitus et al. (2012) reported that since 1955, the layer from the surface to 2000 m depth had a warming rate of 0.39 W m-2 ± 0.031 W m-2 per unit area

Garbage in, Garbage out.
The number of temperature readings from 700 meters to 2000 meters between 1955 and 2003 are too few and too clustered to rule out cooling of this layer much less support a warming with any precision.

All heat estimates of the worlds oceans must first begin with the realization that an uncertainty in average temperature of the ocean of 0.01 deg C is equivalent to 27.5 ZJ (1 ZJ =10^21 Joules). Even if we take Levitus increase in heat content, it amount to only 0.06 deg C from 1955-2012.

0.01 deg C is an uncertainty difficult to achieve under laboratory conditions, but out in the open ocean, across four seasons, with one thermometer per 240,000 km3 in a temperature field that varies from 0.00 to 5.00 deg C, and 100,000 (3000 Argo’s * 36 profiles/yr) profiles per year, 0.01 deg C uncertainty might be justifiable.

But prior to ARGO, fewer than 1000 temperature profiles per year are available in the 700 to 2000 meter range and most of these are clustered in the North Atlantic. If we have 1/100 the number of profiles, then we have no better than 1/10 the the precision. So prior to ARGO, it is most difficult to believe that we know the 700-2000 meter temperature to better than 0.10 deg C and uncertainty that swamps the signal claimed by Levitus.

• Any measure of Ocean Head Content deeper than 1000 meters prior to the start of ARGO in 2004 is pure guesswork. The sampling is so sparse as to be useless.

Any measure of warming of 0 to 1000 meters prior to the start of ALACE 1993 is also pure guesswork because only with the start of ALACE was a fair spatial sampling, as sparse as it was, possible.

1960-1992 OHC measurements are mostly limited to 0-300m and have spatially biased concentrated sampling in the areas of anti-submarine efforts, North Atlantic, NW and NE Pacific. The Southern Hemisphere is incredibly sparse. To assume we KNOW the change in Global Ocean Heat Content is fantasy.

27. “In order to aid in the analyses of equation (2), the combined effects of the radiative forcings and feedbacks over specified time periods (e.g., decades) could be estimated by running the climate models with a set of realizations with and without specific radiative forcings (e.g., CO2). ”

IMO , if the method ends up having to fall back on the seriously flawed models currently available, it is a non-starter.

Surely any new empirical method should be designed to inform the models (and hopefully correct then ) rather than to depend upon them.

28. The earth system is the most complex machine we have ever known, too complex to be solved by such a simple energy equation.

29. Dan

Better then idea but the devels in the details. If one ever did a detaled tempature survey of a liter of waterr undergoing heating one finds just how hard it is to measure temprature. Covection induced currents produce complex temprature gradents. If one wants to do it right one needs 10 TC (temprature sensors) and simtanus sampling. IMHO 100 X ARGO is not going to give the preisison need.

30. ceresco kid

“Figure SPM.5 in IPCC (2013) [reproduced below] yields the net radiative forcing = 2.29 (1.13 to 3.33) W m-2 for the net change in the annual average global radiative forcing from 1750 to 2011”.

What mechanisms were used to get data in 1750 and how reliable were they?

31. On one or more occasion, where indicators have been discussed I have presented a list of properties that a good indicator should have:

1) It’s easy to understand also for non-specialists.
2) It’s value can be determined accurately, with little ambiguity, and with little delay.
3) It’s stable, i.e. does not vary rapidly and with a large amplitude around it’s mean.
4) It tells on a quantity that has direct significance to the society.
5) It’s available over a period that extends far to the history.

There might be more, but this should be a fair start.

OHC wins on the point (3), On the other points the GMST is better. (How should GMST be defined to reach the best score is another question).

• Howard

Great summary Pekka I don’t agree 100% with your interpretation, but like the way you have framed the issue.

1) This one is nearly equal. OHC is not significantly less understandable. Everyone has experienced time in 60F air versus 60F water and intuitively knows that water has a greater heat-depleting capacity and more stability.
2) Agree
3) Agree
4) I think this one slightly favors OHC. A few tics of average temperature are meaningless when the daily and seasonal fluctuations are 10’s of times greater. OHC can be easily sold with rising sea, melting ice, bigger storms, etc.
5) OHC is the winner on this one. OHC is the only metric that has proxies that go back into the LGM and beyond into deep geologic time. GMST proxies only go back a few thousand years.

Like Mosher tersely pointed out upthread, it’s not either-or situation. The real work is for scientists to use all metrics to their best advantage.

• manacker

Pekka

Good list.

Your point 4 (“impact on society”) may well be the most important (at least IMO).

And OHC has practically no impact on society at the few hundredths of a degree warming over many decades or even centuries, which one might envision for an ocean, with which we have little direct contact, compared to global surface temperature changes many orders of magnitude greater and faster, which we land dwellers would feel directly.

Max

• Pierre-Normand

Those are very good points. OHC may not win on point (4) but it doesn’t lose too badly since it has rather direct significance for sea level rise, especially when summed with the heat of fusion of ice-sheets and glaciers.

• Jim Zuccaro

Pekka Pirila,

You could add to the list: Ocean temperature is an indicator that ‘measures’ four times more of the global area than GMST.

Also, as ocean water evaporation and precipitation is the largest mechanism (I am guessing) transporting heat from the equator towards the poles, (I also guess that) very small changes in ocean temperatures and evaporation rates, will be changes in heat transportation rates that could compare to a small fraction of the small estimate of the radiation imbalance.

Also, heat conveyed to high latitudes and radiated away from the globe when water precipitates would have an opposite effect on ground temperatures; e.g. more heat in water vapor transported to northern Canada, radiated to space when the snow falls, is recorded as lower surface temperatures.

• Jim Zuccaro

Using ocean heat content or temperatures as an indicator would add impedance (probably very necessary) to the GCM’s.

• JJ

OHC wins on the point (3), On the other points the GMST is better.

That depends on how much accuracy you think you really need. OHC and SST correlate very well over reasonable time scales, i.e. decades. SST is a better indicator of total energy and much less noisy than temperatures over changing “surfaces”.

http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/12/2000-years-of-climate.html

I did that a while back using OHC, GMSL, SST, and an IPWP reconstruction and even included BEST and CET. The land “surface” temperatures have a scaling factor to allow for the “land amplification”.

The Oppo 2009 IPWP recon is binned into 10 year points to make the splicing a bit more realistic IMO.

32. One thing you are not allowed to do in science is to change your measurement method when you don’t get the result you were expecting.

• Pierre-Normand

This claim presupposes a rather naive falsificationism that not even Popper endorsed. You are suggesting that whenever any unexpected result is found then any theory that led to the unsatisfied expectation must be jettisoned. But it is often much more parsimonious to revise an auxiliary hypothesis. Which one must be revised can be empirically determined through making different measurements.

• manacker

Paul Matthews

For years now (since IPCC’s FAR) we have read in successive IPCC reports of “global surface warming” (from human GHG emissions) as the problem and the metric used to define the AGW problem.

The 2xCO2 climate sensitivity “at equilibrium” and the future effects of AGW have always been expressed in this metric, as well.

Now that global surface temperature has stalled, despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels, we are hearing from IPCC about OHC changes as an alternate metric to define the AGW problem.

Your point, with which I agree, is that this switch is disingenuous.

It is also moving the debate to a slippery slope, where there are no good data prior to ARGO in 2003 (and inconclusive data since then), plus the basic question of whether or not a few hundredths of a degree warming of the ocean over the next century would even matter at all for us land dwellers.

Max

• manacker

Paul Matthews

You are 100% correct. But let me reword your comment to make it even clearer:

“One thing you are not allowed to do in science is to change your measurement method when you don’t because you didn’t get the result you were expecting.”

I believe that is what you were getting at.

Max

• Howard

Actually Paul, that is exactly what a scientist must do after getting both expected or unexpected results to reduce uncertainty and to identify other useful behaviors of the system under study. Changing measurement methods is the most powerful tool in science. In some cases, it can mean the difference between life and death. Google partial panel in IMC.

• Jim Zuccaro

Paul,

With regard to what is “allowed” in science: That measurement methods change, and conclusions change, is something that is correct to do in science. That the changes are done overtly and with explanation, for all to see and question, is also something that is necessary to be a scientific process.

33. Leonard Weinstein

I hate to disagree with the accumulated energy argument, but consider: For cycles lasting about 90,000 years, the Earth has been in periods of extreme cold (Glacial periods). These have been followed by 10,000 to 15,000 year periods of less cold (interglacial cycles). We are presently in about the 11,000th year of the present interglacial (the Holocene). During the glacial cycles, the average air temperature was significantly colder than present. This meant that the overall ocean surface and near surface were also colder, and this lower temperature affected the amount of energy convected down to the lower ocean from mixing and currents. This decreased the average full ocean temperature, and result in decreasing sea level even beyond the water level lost in accumulated snow to land based glaciers. When an interglacial period such as the present one occurred, the air became significantly warmer. This first resulted in melting of many of the land based glaciers, which greatly increased sea level, but also slowly warmed the oceans. These changes could be valid even for constant average solar insolation to the oceans over all cycles. Since the ocean takes a very long time to reach new equilibrium from rapid changes from glacial to interglacial or back, then any condition where the average ocean temperature is rising or falling cannot necessarily be blamed on global warming or cooling. The time to reach equilibrium needs to be established first, and the deviation from this condition found. Just looking at the fact that a small excess of absorbed solar energy is slowly heating the ocean is not enough information to say the Earth is warming above the natural level for the part of cycle it is in. It may still be out of equilibrium, and the continual excess retained heat due to this in-balance. The tiny increase in average ocean temperature is far too small to be a driver of large surface temperature increases, and this is even more a factor for deep water. If it can be shown that the average ocean temperature has been rising over the Holocene, at similar rates as present, even before the CO2 increased significantly, then there is no argument that supports the role of CO2 as causing the extra (small) ocean warming.

• Joe Born

Leonard Weinstein: “Since the ocean takes a very long time to reach new equilibrium from rapid changes from glacial to interglacial or back, then any condition where the average ocean temperature is rising or falling cannot necessarily be blamed on global warming or cooling. The time to reach equilibrium needs to be established first, and the deviation from this condition found.”

I’m interested in understanding what you mean.

If we indeed did have a good measure of the complete ocean heat content (a proposition I’m agnostic about), are you saying that something other than radiation imbalance, e.g., glacier melt, is currently affecting it significantly over long (say, decade or more) time scales that it would not at least greatly constrain what the imbalance over such a period could be?

If you’re not saying that, and if we have a good sense (as everyone says we do) of the pre-feedback radiative effects of increased CO2 concentration, wouldn’t the ocean heat content then at least impose some upper limit on what those feedbacks might be?

• aaron

+1000

Though, change in outgoing IR does support an increasing greenhouse effect.

34. edbarbar

“Thus, the difference in ocean heat content at two different time periods largely accounts for the global average radiative imbalance over that time (within the uncertainty of the ocean heat measurements).”

Doesn’t this assume the oceans uptake heat quickly? What evidence is there for that?

Also, if the oceans do uptake heat quickly, won’t it take some very long time to come to the point at which oceans tend to shed as much heat as they absorb? (Note, some might call this equilibrium, but I’m told no such thing exists).

• manacker

edbarbar and Pierre-Normand

There is, of course, another way for “energy to enter or exit the whole system”: increased SW reflection from slightly increased cloud cover.

Max

• Pierre-Normand

“Doesn’t this assume the oceans uptake heat quickly? What evidence is there for that?”

No. It merely assumes conservation of energy. The rate of accumulation of energy in the system must match exactly the radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. There is no other way for energy to enter or exit the whole system. And the only big storage places are the oceans and the cryosphere.

• Pierre-Normand

“There is, of course, another way for “energy to enter or exit the whole system”: increased SW reflection from slightly increased cloud cover.”

That’s not “another way”. Albedo changes (either from ice/snow, aerosols or clouds) are contributors of the TOA balance.

• edbarbar

“Thus, the difference in ocean heat content at two different time periods largely accounts for the global average radiative imbalance over that time (within the uncertainty of the ocean heat measurements).”

What you are saying doesn’t make sense to me. I put an ice-cube into a room at room temperature, it takes a long time for the thing to melt and come to equilibrium with the room’s temperature. I think the assumption only makes sense if heat mixes into the oceans quickly (such as on decades timescales, as opposed to hundreds of years timescales).

And if it is decades, rather than hundreds of years, then, due to the high specific heat of water, it’s going to take a long time for radiative forcing on account of CO2 to heat up the atmosphere to a dangerous point.

35. Pierre-Normand

“If it can be shown that the average ocean temperature has been rising over the Holocene, at similar rates as present, even before the CO2 increased significantly, then there is no argument that supports the role of CO2 as causing the extra (small) ocean warming.”

The exact opposite can actually be shown. Sea levels haven’t varied by more than about one meter over the last 6,000 years. So, the average rate of sea level rise doesn’t exceed about 0.15mm/year over the late Holocene. But it has been at least 10 times larger than that over the last century, and 20 times larger over the last 20 years.

• manacker

Pierre-Normand

The SL data we have (from tide gauges) is pretty good since the mid-19thC, and shows no real increase in the rate of SL rise since then. Holgate 2007 suggests that the “average annual rate” over the 20thC was around 1.7 mm/year, with decadal periods showing fluctuations from -1 mm/year to +5 mm/year. The first half of the 20thC saw a rate of rise of 2.0 mm/year, while the second half saw a rate of rise of 1.4 mm/year. The current rate of 2.5-3.2 mm/year lies well within the decadal range seen over the 20thC.

Comparing SL measurements made since the early 1990s by satellite altimetry with tide gauge records before this time, is fraught with problems (the two use basically different methods to measure basically different scopes, so are not really comparable).

In a reconstruction from 1700 Jerjeva et al. 2008 showed a drop in average annual SL of -0.35mm/year from 1700 to 1800, a rise in average SL of 1.5 mm/year from 1800 to 1900 and an increase of 1.7 mm/year over the 20th C

During the LIA the rate of rise was apparently much lower (although data are more sparse). Tony B has done some studies on past rates of SL rise during historical times, which show some fluctuations with warm periods, such as the MWP, showing accelerated SL rise and colder periods showing a fall in average SL.

So, while a multicentennial average might be much lower than the current decadal average, most of this discrepancy might just be in the high level of multidecadal variability in SL over the centuries rather than in some underlying acceleration.

Max

• aaron

Variance.

36. Bob Ludwick

“Over the time period 1955 to 2010, the global surface temperatures supposedly increased by about 0.6 K (Figure SPM1 from IPCC, 2013 and reproduced below).”

The chart in question plots the ‘global surface temperature anomaly’ from 1850-2012. The peak to peak variation over the entire time is around 1.1 C, with year to year variations plotted with what would appear to me to be a precision of a few hundredths of a degree.

Does anyone actually believe that since 1850 we have had a planet wide instrumentation system in place that is capable of measuring the TOE (annual surface temperature of the earth-however defined) with a precision that not only allows us to plot changes of a few hundredths of a degree/year but to accurately apportion the observed variations among all the factors known to affect the TOE?

37. Pekka Pirilä You a list of properties that a good indicator should have.

Below is my response regarding ocean heat content changes versus the global average surface temperature trends.

1) It’s easy to understand also for non-specialists.

Actually, the global average surface temperature is more muddied than is usually communicated. First, what is the “surface” [e.g. the skin temperature, 2m air temperature ect]? Moreover, all temperatures do not radiate to space with the same energy (the emissions, of course, are proportional to the 4th power of temperature).

We discuss a number of the issues, for example, in our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229. http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/10/r-321.pdf

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/spatial-variations-in-gmst-ii-eli-rabett-vs-dr-pielke-sr-guest-weblog-by-lucia-liljegren/

As scientists, we need to present the most robust metric to diagnose global warming. From physics, the units of Joules should be used. Surface temperature trends provide an inadequate metric for this purpose. As I wrote in my 2003 paper

“Since the surface temperature is a two-dimensional global field, while heat content involves volume integrals, as shown by Eq. (1), the utilization of surface temperature as a monitor of the earth system climate change is not particularly useful in evaluating the heat storage changes to the earth system.”

Non-specialists have an understanding of “calorie”. as well as what is in the food in terms of sugar, sodium etc [ listed on our food packaging] . The unit of Joules is not a difficult technical concept.

2) It’s value can be determined accurately, with little ambiguity, and with little delay.

Since about 2003, the ocean heat content has been monitored with particularly good precision. Argo is a major reason for this.

Also, the global average surface temperature trend has ambiguity as we outlined in our 2007 JGR paper.

3) It’s stable, i.e. does not vary rapidly and with a large amplitude around it’s mean.

The ocean itself does the time and space averaging. There is no time lag between a radiative imbalance and heat changes in the climate system. There is no need to try to derive the so-called “climate sensitivity”.

4) It tells on a quantity that has direct significance to the society.

If we are going to communicate “global warming”, we should use the proper physics metric of heat. :-)

5) It’s available over a period that extends far to the history.

In terms of assessing global warming, for those who claim that the added radiative forcing of CO2 dominates, the last several decades is far enough in the past to assess i) if the magnitude of global warming from added CO2 dominates, and ii) the skill of the multi-decadal climate models at predicting the warming.

Roger

• With (1) I had in mind that a change of temperature by 1 C (or 1 F) has an obvious meaning to everybody, while measures of OHC are totally strange. This may, however, be a weak point, because a systematic use of a new measure makes it familiar rather soon (a suitably chosen new unit would also help.

On the determination of the value, there are issues on the GMST. I would not worry so much on, whether it’s really global and really surface. All alternatives give comparable results, and my choice would be optimized based on the set of criteria. The outcome could be close to HadCRUT4 rather than as global as possible. Similarly OHC could be emphasize measurability over full coverage also for OHC.

Sea level may be a societally important measure in future, but so far the changes in temperature have been more significant that additional change in sealevel.

The availability of historical data is a really serious deficiency of OHC. The coverage of the older estimates is too poor.

Of course, many time series will maintained, thus there’s no need to pick just one.

I didn’t mention one potential criterion. It might be argued that a indicator linked directly to a conserved quantity is preferable. Energy is conserved while average surface temperature has no similar direct link. This may, however, be only an aesthetic point, and mainly for physicists.

• Most people live on the surface of the planet, preferably a dry bit, so this means the most important factors to society are surface temps and sea level (by this I mean the wet one measured at the coast, not the theoretical phantom GMSL provided by CU Bolder that hovers mysteriously above the waves and piles up under mid ocean barometers).

In terms of calculation, once OHC errors are realistically estimated it could be a useful method of calorimetry. But we don’t have “decades” of data we perhaps one decade.

Once again any instrumental readings that do not fit the message get adjusted out post hoc.

• R. Gates

“Most people live on the surface of the planet, preferably a dry bit, so this means the most important factors to society are surface temps and sea level.”
_____
Absolutely not true. The overall status of both the biosphere of the ocean as well as the closely related ocean heat content are critical to we land dwelling creatures. Earth is first and foremost a water planet, and the health of land dwelling life is intimately conneted to the health of the oceans and our entire climate system is driven to a large extent by the sensible and latent heat flow from ocean to atmosphere and from tropical ocean to the poles.

• Scott

Pielke Sr
Thanks for the papers links. It is always good to see readable papers that address some of the issues and laypersons can get information rather than arrogant statements when the discussions link up with data.
Regards, Scott

• edbarbar

“If we are going to communicate “global warming”, we should use the proper physics metric of heat. :-)”

Is joules of heat storage a good indicator of the catastrophes we’ve been warned about? Plague and pestilence. Climate wars. Flooding. Hurricanes and other natural disasters (weren’t earthquakes on the list at one time)? If it is the best indicator of how CO2 will influence these things, then joules is it. If not, I want the measure that will tell me about these things.

Perhaps there is no such measure, in which case I would like to understand why my electricity bill keeps going up so much.

• Jim Zuccaro

Pekka,

You said: “I didn’t mention one potential criterion. It might be argued that a indicator linked directly to a conserved quantity is preferable. Energy is conserved while average surface temperature has no similar direct link. This may, however, be only an aesthetic point, and mainly for physicists.”

I think that what you said is an important idea. When the argument is made in terms of ‘radiation imbalance’ (energy), measuring that conserved quantity (heat) is most important. Not just for physicists, and not an aesthetic point. Calculating GMST anomaly from the radiation imbalance is a fools errand, and it is why (I think) the GCMs have such low predicative value.

Thanks

38. Bruce

Climate science is a marvelous intellectual exercise, akin to medieval monastic speculation on the nature of the universe.
It is true that the ocean heat content is the better measure of global warming.
Only problem is that the putative temperature change since 1955 is less than 0.07 deg C for the first 2000 M, a quantity that cannot be measured with any certainty/accuracy even by the recently deployed Argo buoys.
Similarly, the sea level rises cannot be measured accurately. Amusingly, the satellites measure no change in average sea level. Data processing with the inclusion of (the calculated) post glacial rebound leads to the supposed sea level rise.
But has all this stopped the arrant speculation?
Noooh!

• Mike Flynn

Pierre- Normand,

You wrote –

“Well, I don’t have all that much of a clue because I don’t study those things personally.”

That was quite apparent. I am glad you confirmed the obvious.

You also wrote –

” However, . If there is no increase of the volume of the oceans (either from thermal expansion or mass gain from glacial melt) then it is just not possible that there would be both a net average uplift of the emerged continental areas and a net increase of sea levels relative to the coastal areas at this would logically imply that the Earth as a whole has just now decided to swell up like an inflating balloon. This just doesn’t seem physically possible.”

Whether you think it seems physically impossible or not, seems somewhat irrelevant, given that you say you haven’t studied these things, and haven’t got much of a clue. However, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists seem to think that it is perfectly possible, physically.

So who to believe? You, who claim to not have much of a clue, or scientists whose papers are backed up by fact and logic? Sorry, I’m only playing with you. I believe the scientists.

Maybe if you concentrate really, really, hard, the greenhouse effect will reappear.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“The latest measurements (3.4 mm/year or 2.4 mm/year) are not outside the range measured by another method during the 20thC.”

They may not be outside of the range of short term variations, because of short term noise, but they have been sustained at the top of this range over the last few decades, unless you single out for comparison earlier periods so short (e.g. 5 year long) to magnify the noise from ENSO and/or the measurement errors. Smoothing over 10-year averages makes the recent rate stand out in the 20th century context. That’s true not just for the satellite record but also for the tide gauge (and hence, in situ, though GIA adjusted) record (2.8mm/year +-0.8 for 1993-2009; Church and White 2011) which is fully consistent with the satellite record in the overlapping period. Indeed, it must be consistent with it by design since tide gauges are used for calibration. Likewise, the rate for the whole 20th century is very much at the top of range of reconstructed centennial rates over the last 6,000 years.

Also, as I noted elsewhere, correction for GIA only makes the global average rate deviate from the coastal-relative rate by 0.3mm/year. Notice also that Holgate’s tide gauge data also are GIA adjusted.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

If you must quote yourself, you may be better off if you do it fully. Having done so, if you read what you wrote, you will discover that one of your conclusions does not follow from your writing.

But what the heck. Warmists always turn round and claim they didn’t mean what they wrote, or they misspoke, or the words magically acquired different definitions between being written and being read.

If you read some of the papers written by Scripps scientists relating to oceans, ocean basins, vertical and horizontal plate displacement and so on, you can probably work out where you went wrong.

So yes, I’m right, and you’re wrong. I won’t bother answering your silly rhetorical question, because that’s your assertion, based on your faulty assumptions.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“IPCC has conceded in AR4 WG1 SPM:

Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 [3.1 mm/year] reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer term trend is unclear.”

Maybe it was unclear back then, but with a doubling up of the fast rate period, from one single to two complete decades, it is becoming increasingly clear.

“The rate of 3.1 mm/year, which apparently continued until recently, when it slowed down to around 2.4 mm/year, is not unusual in the context of the decadal variability seen in the 20thC rate of SL rise.”

You ought to be aware that the trend of a 8 year period ending during the 2011 sea level drop is quite spurious, since the water dumped on land as a result of one single La Nina episode returned to the sea over the following months and the trend very quickly returned to 3.3mm/year. Why focus specifically on a short term trend — not even leading up to the present — that magnifies inter-annual hydrological cycle noise clearly unrelated to glacial melt of ocean heat content?

• manacker

Pierre-Normand

It is silly IMO to make very much out of a SL rate of rise of 3mm/year over the past two decades or so for two reasons.

Comparing it to past rates of SL raise is an “apples” and “oranges” comparison.

Current rates are measured by satellite altimetry (a dicey method, to start off with, when measuring a heaving ocean, as the NOAA scientists themselves have conceded). As Carl Wunsch et al. 2007 put it:

The widely quoted altimetric global average values may well be correct, but the accuracies being inferred in the literature are not testable by existing in situ observations. Useful estimation of the global averages is extremely difficult given the realities of space–time sampling and model approximations. Systematic errors are likely to dominate most estimates of global average change: published values and error bars should be used very cautiously.

Then it measures the entire ocean except regions near coastlines and polar regions, which cannot be captured by satellite altimetry, while the tide gauge record measures SL near selected coastlines, where we humans live.

The tide gauge record (Holgate 2007) showed decadal swings from -1 mm/year to +5 mm/year over the 20th C, with an average for the first half of the 20thC of 2.0 mm/year and 1.4 mm/year for the second half, averaging 1.7 mm/year over the entire century.

The latest measurements (3.4 mm/year or 2.4 mm/year) are not outside the range measured by another method during the 20thC.

I would not read too much into either the slightly faster decadal rate prior to the latest slowdown, nor to the latest slowdown in rate.

Max

• manacker

Pierre-Normand

Looking at the Holgate 2007 tide gauge SL data for the 20thC, which I cited, I see one 10-year period where SL rise averaged over 5 mm/year and two 13-year periods, during which it measured over 4 mm/year.

You are comparing this with a 15-year period during which it averaged over 3 mm/year, as measured by a totally different method covering a totally different scope.

So I conclude that there is no evidence to show that he current rate of SL rise is unusual when compared to that of the 20thC.

More data would be needed to draw such a conclusion.

Max

PS I also do not believe that the most recently observed slowdown in the rate of SL rise means anything, in light of the past observed variability.

• manacker

Pierre-Normand

Holgate 2007 shows a rate of over 5 mm/year which lasted over a decade during the 20thC.

IPCC has conceded in AR4 WG1 SPM:

Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 [3.1 mm/year] reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer term trend is unclear.

The rate of 3.1 mm/year, which apparently continued until recently, when it slowed down to around 2.4 mm/year, is not unusual in the context of the decadal variability seen in the 20thC rate of SL rise.

And then we have the problem of comparing “apples” (past SL measured by tide gauges) with “oranges” (current SL measured by satellite altimetry).

Finally, we have the problem that there are acknowledged problems with the accuracy of the satellite altimetry measurements.

That’s why I wrote that one shouldn’t make too much out of either the 3+mm/year rate seen from 1993 to a few years ago, or the apparent current slowdown in this rate to 2+mm/year.

Max

• Pierre-Normand

“Amusingly, the satellites measure no change in average sea level. Data processing with the inclusion of (the calculated) post glacial rebound leads to the supposed sea level rise.”

Not true. The correction for the GIA amounts to just 0.3mm/year, which is smaller than the +-0.4mm/year uncertainty of the estimated sea level rise, and just one tenth of it value over the last 20 years. See the page “What is glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), and why do you correct for it?” on the University of Colorado Sea Level Research Group web page. Furthermore, the expectation from the GIA is that sea levels would drop relative to the rebounding coasts. But not only aren’t they dropping at the expected rate (-0.3mm/year, assuming zero TOA radiative imbalance), they are rising 11 times faster (3.3mm/year), on average.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

I know you will correct me if I’m wrong, but you need to measure a volume of water, heat it, and then measure the volume again. You could then theoretically calculate the energy absorbed by the water provided you were able to hold all other relevant factors constant or apply adjustments based on physical properties.

However, when you don’t know the volume of the ocean, don’t know its initial temperature, don’t know its final temperature, haven’t got the faintest idea about how much the shape of the container has changed, don’t know the effect or the amount of lateral or vertical displacement of your tide gauges . . . and so on, making wild guesses and pretending this is science will eventually catch up with you.

Dream on. Just don’t expect respect for espousing nonsense.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“Whether you think it seems physically impossible or not, seems somewhat irrelevant, given that you say you haven’t studied these things, and haven’t got much of a clue. However, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists seem to think that it is perfectly possible, physically.”

They believe the Earth as a whole could be swelling up with no thermal gain by the oceans? I’d like to see a quote.

• Pierre-Normand

“However, when you don’t know the volume of the ocean, don’t know its initial temperature, don’t know its final temperature, haven’t got the faintest idea about how much the shape of the container has changed,[…]”

You actually don’t need to know the initial or final temperature to infer that some amount of expansion has been the result of heat accumulation rather than heat loss. It’s true that the inference of the precise amount is complicated by the variable coefficient of thermal expansion of water as a function of salinity and temperature.

Also, it’s not true that we don’t know anything about the changing shape of the container. The continuing isostatic rebound of the continental plates that still is occurring as a result of past ice-sheet melt (such as the Laurentide ice sheet) isn’t just inferred or speculated. It is now measured by GPS. Were it not for the gain of mass and thermal expansion of the warming water, the sea levels should be dropping at a rate of 0.3mm/year as a result of the coastal uplift, and relative to them. But they aren’t. They are still rising.

• Pierre-Normand

“Looking at the Holgate 2007 tide gauge SL data for the 20thC, which I cited, I see one 10-year period where SL rise averaged over 5 mm/year and two 13-year periods, during which it measured over 4 mm/year.”

Yes, I can see that. Notice that there are two records on this graph. One is comprised of the combined data from 9 stations extending back to 1904 and the second one from 177 stations extending back to 1953. The second 13-year period that you point out occurs during the period where the two records first overlap. Notice that the rate from the 177 record is about half as large as the rate from the 9 station record. Why are you favoring the older record with the much sparser coverage? There is barely any overlap of the error bars between the two records so that may be an issue with insufficient spatial sampling. So, I wouldn’t put too much stock on this apparent spike in the 9-station record, or the earlier spike either. The spike in 1980 is consistent between the two records but is is very short lasting and one shouldn’t expect much acceleration to emerge from the noise in the period spanning from 1980 until now anyway. I agree that the acceleration signal doesn’t emerge very saliently from the 20th century data (though it is statistically significant according to Church and White). But it is still there and, over the last ten years that aren’t covered by Holgate 2007, it has grown stronger. Finally, the cumulative rise since 1900 still is salient in the context of the last 6,000 years.

• manacker

Pierre-Normand

Look at the graph posted by our hostess.
http://judithcurry.com/2014/04/24/slowing-sea-level-rise/

It clearly shows an “18-year SL trend” of 4 mm/year, which occurred in the mid 20thC (similar to the Holgate data I cited earlier).

This compares with recent data (Cazenave)
1992-2002 (10 years) 3.4 mm/year
2002-2011 (9 years) 2.4 mm/year
(Both measuring a different scope using a different method).

There is nothing at all “unusual” about the Cazenave rates of SL rise, when compared to those in the 20thC.

Forget about La Nina, El Nino, and all that (these occurred in the last century, too).

If you want to interpret something unusual and potentially threatening in the most recent rates of SL rise, go right ahead.

It’s a free world and you can believe anything you want to.

Just don’t expect me to join you.

Max

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

You wrote-
“You actually don’t need to know the initial or final temperature to infer that some amount of expansion has been the result of heat accumulation rather than heat loss. It’s true that the inference of the precise amount is complicated by the variable coefficient of thermal expansion of water as a function of salinity and temperature.

Also, it’s not true that we don’t know anything about the changing shape of the container. The continuing isostatic rebound of the continental plates that still is occurring as a result of past ice-sheet melt (such as the Laurentide ice sheet) isn’t just inferred or speculated. It is now measured by GPS. Were it not for the gain of mass and thermal expansion of the warming water, the sea levels should be dropping at a rate of 0.3mm/year as a result of the coastal uplift, and relative to them. But they aren’t. They are still rising.”

You can infer all you like. If you haven’t been able to measure the initial volume of the oceans, and subsequently remeasure it, then you haven’t got a clue as to whether the volume has increased, decreased, or remained constant. Your use of the Warmist nonsense term heat accumulation can be replaced by the single word heating, if you wish to be clearer.

It is true that you don’t know anything about the shape of the container, and how it changes. What volume change in the container holding the oceans came about as a result of the tectonic uplift and horizontal translation causing the Fukushima tsunami? You don’t know. What was the vertical movement of the Pacific Ocean basin over the last 100 years? You don’t know, do you? Your silly statement about what should be happening were it not for something else you know nothing at all about just demonstrates the silliness of the argument.

Prior to about 1978, you have no clue whatsoever as to absolute vertical and lateral displacement of portions of the Earth’s crust. You haven’t got the faintest idea of the perimeter of the oceans, either at low tide, high tide, or in between, as it constantly changes. Calculating the volume is therefore a little daunting, but you may wish to provide the figure you have used. Or maybe not, seeing as how you don’t actually have one.

You must be a Warmist, or a Warmist acolyte. Real scientists admit to a lack of knowledge by saying they don’t know. Warmists almost never admit to a lack of knowledge. They just make up more and more excuses, until the laughter from the bystanders deafens them!

If it keeps you happy, just keep on believing. Maybe you can bend Nature to your will, but I doubt it.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“You can infer all you like. If you haven’t been able to measure the initial volume of the oceans, and subsequently remeasure it, then you haven’t got a clue as to whether the volume has increased, decreased, or remained constant.”

Well, I don’t have all that much of a clue because I don’t study those things personally. However, from what I read of the methods, they seem sensible. Continental uplift is now measured by GPS with reasonable accuracy. If there is no increase of the volume of the oceans (either from thermal expansion or mass gain from glacial melt) then it is just not possible that there would be both a net average uplift of the emerged continental areas and a net increase of sea levels relative to the coastal areas at this would logically imply that the Earth as a whole has just now decided to swell up like an inflating balloon. This just doesn’t seem physically possible.

• Pierre-Normand

Mike Flynn,

Imagine you are pulling up the tarp in the middle of a flexible kiddy pool until it emerges from a thin layer of water. Imagine a pocket of oil under the tarp, such that the total volume under the tarp, and hence the average height of the tarp, are conserved. This conserved volume represents the earth mantle. As you pull the tarp further up, a wider area of it will emerge from the water, right? This motion represents continental uplift. The water level will not rise so much that a shrinking area of the tarp is emerged, right?

• steven

Quinn 2010 has a critique of GRACE measuring ocean mass.

SUMMARY
Ocean mass, together with steric sea level, are the key components of total observed sea level change. Monthly observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) can provide estimates of the ocean mass component of the sea level budget, but full use of the data requires a detailed understanding of its errors and biases. We have examined trends in ocean mass calculated from 6 yr of GRACE data and found differences of up to 1 mm yr−1 between estimates derived from different GRACE processing centre solutions. In addition, variations in post-processing masking and filtering procedures required to convert the GRACE data into ocean mass lead to trend differences of up to 0.5 mm yr−1. Necessary external model adjustments add to these uncertainties, with reported postglacial rebound corrections differing by as much as 1 mm yr−1. Disagreement in the regional trends between the GRACE processing centres is most noticeably in areas south of Greenland, and in the southeast and northwest Pacific Ocean. Non-ocean signals, such as in the Indian Ocean due to the 2004 Sumatran–Andean earthquake, and near Greenland and West Antarctica due to land signal leakage, can also corrupt the ocean trend estimates. Based on our analyses, formal errors may not capture the true uncertainty in either regional or global ocean mass trends derived from GRACE.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

I saw no mention of kiddy pools or tarps in the papers I read. The scientists paid attention to the Earth. You continue to play with your kiddy pool if you wish. I wish you well with your play.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“You make assertions based on false premises (based on what you wrote) by neglecting options which appear to be factual, but obviously don’t accord with your views on what should happen.”

What premise is false? My claim has the form of a *conditional* statement. So it doesn’t explicitly rely on any factual premise at all. It expresses what can be inferred from what on the basis of pure geometry. You may think the validity of the inference relies on a very well hidden tacit premise that happens to be false of unwarranted. But you don’t say what that premise is. You just wave you hands vaguely in the direction of the Scripps Institution without making any point of substance at all.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

You wrote –

“I thought that could help your understanding of the issue that you seem to be missing. Net continental uplift (measured) isn’t consistent with net sea level rise relative to shores (measured) absent a net increase in ocean volume (inferred). But you don’t need any help. That’s fine with me.”

As I said, I prefer to believe scientists who back up their papers with facts etc. You make assertions based on false premises (based on what you wrote) by neglecting options which appear to be factual, but obviously don’t accord with your views on what should happen.

You are wrong. Your statement might appear superficially attractive, but overlooks at least one critical factor, which has been investigated in at least a few scientific oceanographic papers.

Thanks for your kind offer of assistance, but I prefer to seek assistance from people who appear to know what they are doing a little more than you.

I am pleased you agree with my approach.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“I saw no mention of kiddy pools or tarps in the papers I read. The scientists paid attention to the Earth.”

I thought that could help your understanding of the issue that you seem to be missing. Net continental uplift (measured) isn’t consistent with net sea level rise relative to shores (measured) absent a net increase in ocean volume (inferred). But you don’t need any help. That’s fine with me.

39. Edim

I disagree about the OHC for obvious reasons (not measured with any reasonable certainty/accuracy) and it’s an epicycle after all the global temperature hysteria. The global tempareature indices are ok, in spite of the torturing of the measured data and local warming (the so-called UHI), which will be overwhelmed by the cooling in the next few decades anyway

One robust metric is global sea ice.

• “One robust metric is global sea ice.”
Ice area/extent? Metric of what? what about Antarctica?

• Edim

Greg, the whole ‘global warming’ scare is based on the global temperature anomaly indices, so let’s stick to that. But if the warmists or alarmist want to change the metric, I suggest global sea ice area or extent. I would give them that.

• aaron

Sea ice could be quasi-cyclical or dependent on stadium wave process.

• Edim

Global temperature indices are quasi-cyclical and dependent on stadium wave process, just like sea ice.

40. “In order to aid in the analyses of equation (2), the combined effects of the radiative forcings and feedbacks over specified time periods (e.g., decades) could be estimated by running the climate models with a set of realizations with and without specific radiative forcings (e.g., CO2). One could also do assessments of each vertical profile in a global model at snapshots in time with the added forcings since the last snapshot to estimate the radiative forcing change.”

This recent paper is of interest in this regard:

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/3/034016/article

Internal variability of Earth’s energy budget simulated by CMIP5 climate models

OPEN ACCESS

M D Palmer and D J McNeall
Show affiliations
M D Palmer and D J McNeall 2014 Environ. Res. Lett. 9 034016
doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/3/034016

We analyse a large number of multi-century pre-industrial control simulations from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to investigate relationships between: net top-of-atmosphere radiation (TOA), globally averaged surface temperature (GST), and globally integrated ocean heat content (OHC) on decadal timescales. Consistent with previous studies, we find that large trends (~0.3 K dec−1) in GST can arise from internal climate variability and that these trends are generally an unreliable indicator of TOA over the same period. In contrast, trends in total OHC explain 95% or more of the variance in TOA for two-thirds of the models analysed; emphasizing the oceans’ role as Earth’s primary energy store. Correlation of trends in total system energy (TE ≡ time integrated TOA) against trends in OHC suggests that for most models the ocean becomes the dominant term in the planetary energy budget on a timescale of about 12 months. In the context of the recent pause in global surface temperature rise, we investigate the potential importance of internal climate variability in both TOA and ocean heat rearrangement. The model simulations suggest that both factors can account for O (0.1 W m−2) on decadal timescales and may play an important role in the recently observed trends in GST and 0–700 m (and 0–1800 m) ocean heat uptake.

41. David L. Hagen

Nir Shaviv similarly evaluates: Using the Oceans as a Calorimeter to Quantify the Solar Radiative Forcing

We find that the total radiative forcing associated with solar cycles variations is about 5 to 7 times larger than just those associated with the TSI variations, thus implying the necessary existence of an amplification mechanism, although without pointing to which one

42. RiHo08

Something caught my eye and I didn’t understand:

“As summarized in NRC (2005) “the concept of radiative forcing is based on the hypothesis that the change in global annual mean surface temperature is proportional to the imposed global annual mean forcing, independent of the nature of the applied forcing. The fundamental assumption underlying the radiative forcing concept is that the surface and the troposphere are strongly coupled by convective heat transfer processes; that is,

THE EARTH-TROPOSPHERE SYSTEM IS IN A STATE OF RADIATIVE-CONVECTIVE EQUILIBRIUM.”

There was something that gave me pause:

1) in a chaotic system like weather, can one really assume equilibrium?

2) Am I correct in thinking that without the assumption of equilibrium, the physics applied to a chaotic weather system may not be appropriate?

• “The growth of plants in the Carboniferous caused a reduction in atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide, forming the basis for large deposits of dead plants and other organisms. Plant debris became the basis for peat and coal, smaller organisms provided oil and gas, both after millions of years of applied heat and pressure from geological change; mountain building, erosion, deposition of sediments, volcanic eruptions, rises and fall of sea level and movement of continents. Marine organisms used carbon dioxide to build shells and coral polyps and these became the basis of limestone rocks.

The idea promulgated by the IPCC that the energy received from the sun is instantly “balanced” by an equal amount returned to space, implies a dead world, from the beginning with no place for the vital role of carbon dioxide in forming the present atmosphere or for the development or maintenance of living organisms, or their ability to store energy or release it.” ~Vincent Gray

• Pierre-Normand

Gray seems to be lacking a sense of scale. That’s like saying that the heat and light emitted by a light bulb isn’t equal to the consumed electric power since some energy is lost to the slow burning of the filament and the cooking of the dust that gets deposited on the glass. That’s true but quite irrelevant to whoever pays the electric bill. Likewise, the few tens of milliwatts/m^2 from the geothermic flux and the (opposite sign) endothermic weathering and biological growth processes are quite irrelevant to the climate system energy balance and its huge solar input.

• Pierre-Normand

“endothermic weathering and biological growth processes are quite irrelevant to the climate system energy [balance]

You quoted a sentence fragment and ignored the context. The endothermic energy *fluxes* and geothermal *flux* are irrelevant to the climate system energy budget. I obviously never implied that the rates of weathering processes on atmospheric CO2 content aren’t relevant to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is huge compared with those fluxes. The article that you cite makes my point.

• Mike Flynn

RiHoO8,

1) I don’t believe so.
2) I believe you are correct.

There doesn’t appear to be a useful definition in this context of the Earth troposphere system, so it may all be confusing nonsense for all I know.

Anybody foolish enough to believe that a big ball of mostly molten rock, suspended in a near vacuum environment with an effective temperature of around 4K, with a radiant heat source a long way away, is in a state of radiative equilibrium, should probably apply for a job as a Climatologist.

The fact that the Earth and all its bits has managed to cool a bit over the last 4.5 billion years indicates a slight disequilibrium. Even a fairly major disequilibrium if you factor in the loss of radioactive material on the core over that period. That’s a lot of half lifes gone.

So the Earth continues to cool. Slowly, relentlessly, remorselessly, and will no doubt continue to do so until the temperature gradient from the core to the outer reaches of the atmosphere becomes zero, apart from variations due to solar influences which apparently extend no more than 3 meters or so into the crust, before they become indiscernible.

But hey ho!, what’s life without a good pointless panic?

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• maksimovich

endothermic weathering and biological growth processes are quite irrelevant to the climate system energy

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v340/n6233/abs/340457a0.html

43. As a metric, how about… sunspots? The last big chill occurred at a time corresponding with a period of reduced solar activity – measured by fewer sunspots – as also occurred before that, during the Maunder Minimum (1645–1715 ) and Spörer Minimum (1460–1550). “My opinion is that we are heading into a Maunder Minimum,” according to Mark Giampapa (solar physicist at the National Solar Observatory). “I’m seeing a continuation in the decline of the sunspots’ mean magnetic field strengths and a weakening of the polar magnetic fields and subsurface flows.”

44. Pierre-Normand

“The last big chill occurred at a time corresponding with a period of reduced solar activity”
Those big chills were drops of 0.1°C to 0.2°C compared with previous previous or following decades of normal solar activity. If such drops are “big chills”, then temperature rises that are ten times larger in magnitude are big what? What if a new “big chill” temporarily reduces this increase by 10%, and thus temporarily cancels one or two decades of warming?

• The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830… During that period, there was a variation of temperature of about 1°C

~wiki

• Pierre-Normand

“The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830… During that period, there was a variation of temperature of about 1°C”

Did you follow the reference for this claim on the Wikipedia article? It doesn’t lead to a publication but rather to the graph of a local temperature record for Germany. It shows a dip of about 0.5°C in the 10 year moving average compared to the 30 year moving average (which doesn’t budges). The author of this claim made the mistake of attributing to the solar Dalton minimum all the span of a single peak to valley fluctuation in a local noisy record.

• Pierre-Normand

Sorry, I misread the graph. The drop actually is just about 0.2°C averaged over about 20 years, not quite 0.5°C.

45. I like to remember energy balance, like if you fly a big ball into a little one, energy balances if the big ball stops and the little ball flies off fast with the former energy of the big ball.

Which isn’t what happens, of course. There turn out to be other equations.
The system is more complicated than energy balance captures.

Energy balances but it is not enough to tell you what happens.

Here we want the temperature at the surface, and the suggestion is a step away from it, trying to explain why energy balance doesn’t seem to be working.

A cynic might suggest just measure CO2 concentration and forget temperature. Problem solved.

• Generalissimo Skippy

My second guess would be insurance salesman.

Energy is always conserved – that really is the point of the 11st law of thermodynamics.

When you compare a gain of 342W/m2 to a loss of 0.05W/m2 – a sense of perspective suggests that the former is overwhelmingly important and the latter more realistically ignored. The world would be a pretty dull place without the former.

The top of atmosphere is where all energy lost and gained by the open Earth system is radiant energy. Anywhere high enough will do – say a satellite.

The gain is 342W/m2 and the loss is 342W/m2 give or take a little warming or cooling – especially in the oceans – and neglecting the oh so very minor terms. It varies quite a lot over the year given the differences between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres but it is pretty reapeatable. You remember the oceans don’t you? There is a little bit of solar variability as well.

Here knock yourself out – http://ceres.larc.nasa.gov/order_data.php

We have been through this. I guess some are just a little slower than others.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Ah ….1st law … the 11th law only works in N-1 dimensions.

• Mike Flynn

Generalissimo Skippy,

Your obsession with my profession continues unabated, I see.

You wrote –

“The Earth could be completely cold internally and the energy in and out would still be 342W/m2 – give or take a little warming or cooling.”

I’ll take your word for the numbers. One small point, the Earth is not completely cold internally – possibly 6000K or so. Quite hot, in fact.

As you point out so eloquently, the energy in and out could be such and such, give or take a little cooling. Correct. A little cooling is what is happening – continuously.

If you cannot find any facts to support your notion that the Earth’s temperature is rising, you perhaps try the old standby of adjusting the data to fit the preconception. This has worked well in the past. Just remember to hide any decline, and use Mike’s Nature trick if all else fails.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• On longer time scales, the sun has shown considerable variability, including the long Maunder Minimum… For example, during the 70-year period from 1645 to 1715, few, if any, sunspots were seen, even during expected sunspot maximums. Western Europe entered a climate period known as the “Maunder Minimum” or “Little Ice Age.” Temperatures dropped by 1.8 to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

~wiki

• Pierre-Normand

Long term energy balance (modulo finite heat accumulation in the climate system) is an absolute requirement for energy conservation. You seem to construe your collision example as a case where momentum and other effects transfer takes the slack from a lack of conservation of energy. But energy conservation doesn’t imply that the small ball will take up all the kinetic energy from the big ball and therefore come to rest. It only implies that any energy *lost* by the big ball will be gained by the small one (or, if the collision isn’t perfectly elastic, that plastic deformation will take up extra energy). But energy still must be conserved. And likewise is it in the climate system. Top of atmosphere balance is an absolute long term requirement since the system can’t go on accumulating heat indefinitely.

• Generalissimo Skippy

It is not so much an obsession as to your occupation as an idle curiosity as what use the peculiar skill set of a derivative and archaic literary style combined with a superficial acquaintance with any actual science is.

The Earth most certainly warms and cools – sometimes dramatically enough for little beings like us. I will leave the gathering of evidence of such as a simple homework exercise. Try Googling glacials and interglacials.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

How did the Earth manage to cool if there was no net loss of energy from the system?

Energy is not conserved by the system. There is no trapping, accumulation, or buildup of heat from the Sun over any significant period of time.

Things warm up. Things cool down. The Earth is cooling. The few tens of milliwatts of geothermal flux emitted by the surface you mention indicate cooling, not heating. Sorry, no heating, unless you stand in the Sun, build a fire, leap around vigorously espousing Warmist Waffle, or similar.

Maybe you could use some of the missing heat (it’s a travesty, I know) to balance the heat missing from the surface hour upon hour, year after year. Try your best to stop me laughing if you wish. A fact or two would help, but I know you don’t have any to spare. I’ll lend you some if you like.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“How did the Earth manage to cool if there was no net loss of energy from the system?

Energy is not conserved by the system. There is no trapping, accumulation, or buildup of heat from the Sun over any significant period of time.”

I never said energy is conserved by the *system*. The system is open, not closed. The Earth climate system cooled over the last few billion years because as a result of the progressively reduced volcanic activity the atmospheric CO2 concentration dropped. This cooling was further amplified by the increasing albedo due to the growing ice-sheets. Were it not for this dampening of the greenhouse effect, then the Earth climate system (oceans and troposphere) would have warmed because the total solar irradiance increased significantly over the last three billion years (by about 20%).

• Generalissimo Skippy

My third guess would be a defrocked priest – same exclamatory yet pedestrian style – poor cousin to grand rhetoric – a yokels idea of sophisticated formalism and logic – and utter lack of any scientific sensibility or training. The bad faith in discourse is also pretty underwhelming. The Earth is constantly cooling at 0.05W/m2? A very poor notion obviously specially pulled out of your arse for the occasion.

The Earth’s internal heat originally came from the heat of accretion and the heat of core formation. It is supplemented by radioactive decay mostly in the mantle. The Earth could be completely cold internally and the energy in and out would still be 342W/m2 – give or take a little warming or cooling.

You can repeat skydragon nonsense as much as you like – but the Sun supplies thousands of times more energy than core cooling – and the modulation of this by clouds and atmosphere is several orders of magnitude greater.

We have certainly been through this before – you have precisely zilch credibility.

• Mike Flynn

Generalissimo Skippy,

You are wrong again, as usual. I don’t why you appear to be preoccupied with my occupation. Keep guessing if you wish.

You write –

“The gain is 342W/m2 and the loss is 342W/m2 give or take a little . . . ”

Given the figures you provide, there would be no change in temperature, obviously. Unfortunately, as you have pointed out, there is a net deficit of a small amount. This is called cooling.

Your eyes and feet can attest to the fact that you are not standing on molten rock, as the surface once was. That small deficit, that minor proportion that you think should be ignored, is responsible. Actual scientists acknowledge this, unlike self proclaimed Climatologists.

I note that you appear to have abandoned using the fictitious TOA as a support for your bizarre support of the non existent greenhouse effect. There doesn’t seem to be much support from so called surface temperatures over the last 17 years or so, either.

You might choose to repeat the Warmist Manntra, but with more feeling. That might work, as the greenhouse effect doesn’t seem to be doing too well.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Mike Flynn

Generalissimo Skippy,

You figure wrongly, yet again, regarding my occupation.

You write –

“The heat flux from the interior of the Earth is some 0.05W/m2 – . . . ”

If this is a measured heat loss, are you trying to tell me that a body demonstrating a measured net loss of energy is heating up?

Small rate of loss, slow rate of cooling. No energy conservation here. Just a slow, steady, inexorable loss. You may disregard it if you wish. You may dismiss it as irrelevant, minor, or whatever the current sensible Warmist dictum dictates.

It’s still a fact, as you have stated.

You don’t where where the wondrous TOA is. Even less do you know the total energy passing through this fictitious entity. Mind you, that’s my assumption. You can easily put me in my place by quoting the precise total amounts of energy, including all wavelengths, entering and leaving the non existent TOA at a UTC time and date that you choose.

Maybe the greenhouse effect stops working in the presence of unbelievers. That might explain the stubborn refusal of the world to become boiling hot, the seas to rise and wipe us all out, and pestilence, famine and boils to lay us low. So far, my unbelief seems to be countering the efforts of thousands of dedicated Warmists to achieve global warming.

Actually, I’m cheating a bit. There’s actually two of us.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

This is what you wrote –

“But energy still must be conserved. And likewise is it in the climate system. Top of atmosphere balance is an absolute long term requirement since the system can’t go on accumulating heat indefinitely.”

You now write –

“I never said energy is conserved by the *system*. The system is open, not closed.”

I must be dense, or is the climate system closed, where energy must be conserved, and your other unspecified system is open but disconnected from the closed climate system?

It is very confusing. Maybe you can explain a little mor clearly.

In relation to your first statement, may I point out the blindingly obvious fact that the system can go on losing heat until it is cold – or as cold as it can get. I believe this is called the heat death of the universe. Don’t worry, it’s a long way away – according to real scientists, maybe even Climatologists!

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“I must be dense, or is the climate system closed, where energy must be conserved, and your other unspecified system is open but disconnected from the closed climate system?

It is very confusing. Maybe you can explain a little more clearly.”

The Earth climate system is open since it is gaining energy from the sun and radiating energy to space. It is in balance when those two fluxes are equal. What the principle of conservation of energy requires is that whenever the system is out of balance, the system will gain (or lose) energy at a rate that is equal to the difference between those two fluxes. This gain (or loss) of energy by the system will continue to occur, and hence oceans will continue to warm (or cool), and ice-sheets will continues to melt (or grow) until something occurs that will restore the balance. Since the amount of incident solar energy is unaffected by whatever occurs within the climate system, the change that will eventually restore the balance must be a change in albedo (clouds or snow/ice) or surface temperature, or some combination of both.
So, when the greenhouse effect is enhanced, the system gains energy until the surface warms sufficiently and/or the cloud albedo increases enough to restore the balance.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

You wrote –

“The Earth climate system is open since it is gaining energy from the sun and radiating energy to space. It is in balance when those two fluxes are equal. What the principle of conservation of energy requires is that whenever the system is out of balance, the system will gain (or lose) energy at a rate that is equal to the difference between those two fluxes.”

So no closed system at all. So no conservation of energy. So your earlier statement “But energy still must be conserved. And likewise is it in the climate system. Top of atmosphere balance is an absolute long term requirement . . . ” is untrue. I thought so, and I’m glad you now agree.

As to the nonsense about equality of energy fluxes, you might care to indicate when such an occurrence was last recorded. Of course you can’t, as it will only occur randomly, rarely, and unpredictably, if at all. The Earth has been cooling for about 4.5 billion years, which may have inadvertently escaped your notice. This requires an ongoing inequality of the fluxes.

Unfortunately, even your statement about energy loss occurring at a rate equal to the difference between the two fluxes, is at once true, but also totally misleading. May I gently point out that the interaction between light and matter is, as Feynman points out, strange. Hence the title of his relevant book.

Of course, you are free to believe whatever you like, however lacking in fact your beliefs are. I am an unbeliever in Warmism, given such facts as I am able to ascertain. These are certainly more than the wild assertions upon which you appear to base your faith.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“Unfortunately, even your statement about energy loss occurring at a rate equal to the difference between the two fluxes, is at once true, but also totally misleading.”

I’m glad you now are agreeing with the statement and the misunderstanding has been cleared up. It was not my purpose to mislead.

Energy indeed is conserved *in the Universe*, or in closed systems, and when a system is open, conservation of energy (*in the Universe*) dictates that energy accumulation within the system must match up with the net flux at the system’s boundary. This net flux is the difference between the gross fluxes out from and into the open system.

• Generalissimo Skippy

I figure Flynn is a lawyer. It is the overuse of the exclamatory form – a poor man’s ersatz Francis Bacon – combined with absolute incomprehension of any technical detail. He has heard the words – but doesn’t quite manage to put them together in any scientifically competent way.

Energy is conserved – we should take that to be as sure as death and tax avoidance. Matter is a form of energy but this matters only in the odd fusion or fission reaction and in radioactive decay in the Earth’s interior. We know that energy enters the planetary system from the Sun at about 342W/m2 and leaves at about the same rate give or take some warming or cooling of the planet.

The heat flux from the interior of the Earth is some 0.05W/m2 – and from combustion of fossil fuels some 0.03W/m2. Most people sensibly ignore these minor terms. I think there is an interesting technical wrinkle. The usual narrative is that increased greenhouse gases reduce the outward flux of radiant energy in specific frequencies – thus the radiant imbalance. This warms the atmosphere which then emits more energy restoring the balance between incoming and outgoing energy. But carbon dioxide is emitted at 1000’s of degrees (flame temperature) and cools to ambient atmospheric temperatures. The minor terms offset the nominal radiant imbalance. This – I have to add to offset howls of protest – makes not a whit of difference to the rise in temperature of the atmosphere from greenhouse gases.

• AK

The Earth’s internal heat originally came from the heat of accretion and the heat of core formation. It is supplemented by radioactive decay mostly in the mantle.

It’s also supplemented by tidal energy: the result of inelastic deformation in response to Lunar and Solar tides. IIRC they’re of the same order of magnitude…

• Mike Flynn

Generalissimo Skippy,

You wrote –

“The Earth most certainly warms and cools – sometimes dramatically enough for little beings like us.”

More assertions supported by precisely no facts. If you choose to believe urban myths such as global warming, you probably would have no trouble believing that continents don’t move, and that peptic ulcers usually result from stress and a diet high in spicy foods.

I am not quite so gullible. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Sorry, no facts, no logic, no physical basis, results in no belief in the greenhouse effect for me. Good luck with creating some global warming. Nature doesn’t seem to be providing any.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Climate – as I keep saying – is emergent behavior in a deterministic chaotic system. The planet warms and cools abruptly over many timescales. Warming is not guaranteed – surprises are. Flynn’s continued misrepresentation of this as some simple warmist meme is more simple bad faith than rational discourse.

It of course does not preclude understanding the radiative physics of the atmosphere – something that Flynn rejects based on the flimsiest of skydragon rationales.

• But energy still must be conserved. And likewise is it in the climate system. Top of atmosphere balance is an absolute long term requirement since the system can’t go on accumulating heat indefinitely.

That’s more or less what I said. The momentum equation addition explains why the little ball doesn’t get all the energy. That corresponds to the ocean addition.

But in the case of climate, the surface temperature is supposed to be the alarming thing, not the deep ocean temperature, or whatever is supposed to explain why things are not working out.

46. Ocean important? Hmm, might have to take an actual look. Then there’s the lithosphere and all hot ‘n gooey asthenosphere country. Might have to take a look at that too. We could call this funny new impulse to curiosity something like…the Enlightenment? Is that a good name?

We could still keep our models and other holy implements, mostly for tradition/ritual etc. We don’t want to stir up Victor Venema and the mature clergy.

47. Brian H

0..7 with an uncertainty of 17 is like 1 with an uncertainty of 24+. So like specifying “somewhere between +25 and -23; hard to put much confidence in the number of significant figures in that!

48. Speed

An educated person with a logical mind and a background in science and/or engineering, when first faced with the “global warming” problem would have asked, “Why are they using air temperature as the metric?” The correct metric should be total heat or total energy content of the planet. The energy content of the air in my back yard can change by more than 10% in 12 hours and the energy content of the atmosphere is tiny compared to the oceans. If “global warming” is important, its signal can be measured only in the oceans.

It appears to this outside observer that those studying global warming expend almost no effort making measurements – creating new datasets. The exceptions are the satellite measurements of global air temperature and the Argo floats. Air temperature is interesting but of little value as outlined above. The Argo effort is also interesting but in the worldwide scheme of things, the data is quite sparse – what reasonable person would design a system to measure temperature over time that never took two measurements at the same location? I guess it’s better than nothing but not much. I think we have better data about bird migrations than ocean heat content.

It’s as if most of the people working in the global warming industry don’t want a final and unequivocal answer. They’d rather spend their time (as I am right now) sitting in front of a computer screen, typing. Me, I’d rather be out in the real world seeing, touching, wondering and measuring. Real scientists hate paperwork.

49. Just an observation but, in a scholarly article about ‘radiative forcing,’ the Sun is mentioned just eight times (by only one person) and wh is that? Because, climatists see that big independent variable in the sky we call the sun, as a constant.

•  DJC

Yes Wagathon – and the Sun’s radiation hardly even affects the thin, transparent ocean surface layer. See below.

But solar radiation does set the overall level of the thermal profile in the troposphere (with its thermal gradient when in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium) and that’s where variations in intensity come into play.

Did you know that the timing of glacial periods may relate to the ~100,000 year cycle in Earth’s eccentricity caused by Jupiter’s gravity? It may be shown mathematically that the annual mean distance from the Sun varies with eccentricity, and so the intensity is affected by the square of this mean distance.

Doug

• Yes, the shifting crusts and volcanic eruptions, oscillations of solar activity on multi-Decadal to Centennial and Millennial time scales with variations in gamma radiation and the role of the big planets, Saturn and Jupiter — and a changing North Pole and variations in the magnetosphere — all are a part of a holistic process that is the Earth’s climate.

50. Heisenberg uncertainty principal as applied to climatology:

The greater your uncertainty of the energy content of the climate system, the more certain you can be of your position.

This principal is the basis for AR5 SPM.

51. SkepticGoneWild

Ocean temperature data prior to the deployment of the ARGO float system is pretty much non-existent. The ARGO float system was completed in November of 2007. Presentation of accurate ocean heat content prior to 2005 is speculative at best, especially at depths greater than 700 m.

The NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center has an interactive link where one can graphically observe the ocean temperature data points for any given year. (http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/OC5/3M_HEAT/showfig.pl?action=start). Available data for the depth of 2000 m is pretty much non-existent. At 1750 and 1500 m respectively, adequate coverage did not occur until about 2005. Even at a depth of 1000 m, data was sparse in 2002. Data for the 700 m depth is sparse prior to 1995.

IMO adequate ocean heat content data is simply not available to warrant the conclusions proposed by Pielke, McNider, and Christy.

52.  DJC

When will you all understand that the ocean surface does not absorb radiation in the same way it emits?

Radiation comes only from the very surface layer of molecules. In regard to absorption, you could consider a few more layers of molecules as representing the surface, but even if you consider the surface to be a whole centimetre in depth, it is still almost completely transparent to solar radiation, whilst back radiation does not even penetrate that far. You cannot use emissivity to determine what happens when it absorbs radiation.

So, if you estimate that at least 99% of solar radiation passes through the first centimetre and then on into the ocean thermocline below, then you should have reduced the intensity by at least 99%, as is blatantly obvious, but “overlooked” in all climate models. And of course if you do this then you have nowhere near enough solar radiation to warm the surface to the observed temperature, much like on Venus.

So, as I keep telling you, the surface temperature is maintained by conduction between all air molecules at the boundary with the surface layer of the troposphere. This is the supporting mechanism, and it can only exist because of the gravito-thermal effect and consequent downward diffusion and advection (up the temperature gradient) when thermodynamic equilibrium is disrupted by the absorption of new energy at higher altitudes.

53. Jim D

This equation assumes that lambda is constant when it is possible that the early response to radiative forcing has a lower effective sensitivity (e.g. work by Armour et al.). Plugging in 0.59 W/m2 for the imbalance and working out the feedback term, you get -1.88 W/m2/K instead of -1.21. This corresponds to a sensitivity of 2 C per doubling instead of 3 C per doubling. Since the main response has been in drier or cooler areas (land and Arctic) this lower feedback factor is not surprising. However, if the tropical oceans warm more, lambda would have to increase to account for the increased water vapor that adds to the atmosphere. The discrepancy is telling us that the temperature change has been more effective at reducing the imbalance than would be expected for a 3 C per doubling sensitivity (which had been assumed with the 1.21 W/m2/K value). An uneven response can lead to these variations in effective sensitivity. Once again I recommend Armour’s paper on how this works.
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00544.1

54. Generalissimo Skippy

Since irradiance variations are apparently minimal, changes in the Earth’s climate that seem
to be associated with changes in the level of solar activity – the Maunder Minimum and the Little Ice age for example – would then seem to be due to terrestrial responses to more subtle changes in the Sun’s spectrum of radiative output. This leads naturally to a linkage with terrestrial reflectance, the second component of the net sunlight, as the carrier of the terrestrial amplification of the Sun’s varying output.

This is something we know nothing about prior to satellites. What we see in the satellite era is that TOA radiant flux is both extremely variable and associated with patterns of ocean and atmosphere circulation. In the context of large natural variability – explaining TOA energy dynamics in terms of IPCC forcings is quite inadequate.

The large natural variability in energy out is in both SW and IR. What it shows – inter alia – is a significant increase in reflected SW – planetary cooling – after the turn of the century climate shift and little change since.

http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/heat_content55-07.png.html?sort=3&o=139

http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=102

In principle ocean heat can integrate radiative imbalances – in practice OHC varies from year to year with large uncertainty relative to changes. The change in sign of the derivative at different times – warming and cooling – in fact shows that the energy imbalance changes from positive to negative.

The trend in the von Schuckmann and Le Troan (20011) graph shows a modest increase reasonably expected – from the CERES record – to have been more from SW changes than otherwise. It also shows – interestingly – a loss of mass in the period.

As von Schuckmann and Le Troan say – longer ARGO records are required to distinguish robust anthropogenic trends against large natural variability and to determine the sign of the variable radiant imbalance at any time. Reliable TOA radiant flux data is needed to understand the nature of the changes.

To avoid admitting that is no such a thing as GLOBAL warming – they concocted that: the missing heat is gone deep down in the ocean, and in few years will surface’’ BOO!!

Dear friend: ‘’if you PUMP warmer water trough a pipe deep down – will surface in a jiffy; because ‘’HEAVIER’’ colder water from above will squeeze the warmer water up, because ‘’warmer’’ water is not as heavy. Same as cooking oil, or fat, doesn’t stay in the middle of the pot of water, or below – because is not as heavy per volume. Having in mind that: that con came from leading Warmist… they are not very smart; only cunning and shameless liars = they know that they can get away with anything, they treat the opponents like 3y old children. No need to wait few years and see that was no missing warmth surfacing. B] no need to go and look for it; the normal laws of physics are the most reliable guidance. Experiment can be replicated in the kitchen: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/global-warming-or-climate-change/

56. Aren’t there already four dozen other ‘alternative’ metrics to assess global warming?

Most of these, the 50 Essential Climate Variables (www.wmo.int/pages/prog/gcos/index.php?name=EssentialClimateVariables), far easier to measure globally, with far longer records, and otherwise better fulfilling the conditions Pekka cites for good metrics?

Why pick on just one? Why dismiss the WMO entirely?

And if you really need go further, why ignore http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425713000813?

Isn’t the point of science to consider all available data, not just the shortest and most elusive dataset?

If you need a composite metric made up of all 50 or more measures, by all means produce a normalized product with 50 input variables if you must. But going with just one seems.. subject to issues of interpretation.

57. RiHo08

Here’s another statement that leaves me puzzled:

“Levitus et al. 2012, a significant fraction of the heat added to the climate system is at depth in the oceans, and thus cannot be sampled completely by ΔT (Spencer and Braswell 2013).”

1) Is the heat of the atmosphere going to depth of the oceans; i.e., > 2000 meters, bypassing the first 2000 meters, always been happening?

2) Was the mechanism of heat going to ocean depth operating during the period when global surface temperatures were measured as rising?

3) Has anything changed now (I can not fathom a mechanism for the abrupt climate change of the 1999-2001 except that articulated by Tsonis) that makes the heat go to depth now (where it is most difficult to document) and it did not before?

Is nature playing tricks on us like a mirage, explanations only to be discovered later?

• phatboy

Pierre-Normand, water is essentially incompressible, so for it to flow it generally needs somewhere for it to go. The Ekman transport is far more likely to induce upwelling than downwelling. For downwelling, in order to displace the deeper water, the surface water must become denser – either by becoming colder, saltier, or both.
That’s why large-scale downwelling happens in the polar regions and large-scale upwelling happens in the the tropics.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen small-scale in other regions.
If you do get surface current convergence, it’s far more likely to be because of the downwelling rather than the cause of the downwelling.

• JCH

1st – there was never any cooling. He made a mistake.

2nd – he erroneously found cooling in the upper ocean: 0 to 750 meters. He said it appeared there was cooling down to 1400 meters, but that is not a finding of the paper, which was wrong anyway.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Downwelling certainly produces turbulent deep ocean currents that drive upwelling – upwelling occurs in part because the deep ocean is not still. I’d suggest that downwelling exceeds upwelling. There is no simple connection between the downwelling and upwelling zones where mass be conserved.

• Pierre-Normand

“I’d suggest that downwelling exceeds upwelling.”

On a global scale, surely, the two must balance.

• Pierre-Normand

“The Ekman transport is far more likely to induce upwelling than downwelling.”

Maybe so but, as you note, water is incompressible, or very nearly so. This means that for every volume element that is upwelled across as surface of some depth in the ocean, to some region above this depth, and equal volume of water must be downwelled *elsewhere* from above that depth to below it in order to replace the upwelled water. So, there you have your downwelling mechanisms. Whatever causes any amount of upwelling thereby causes an equal amount of downwelling elsewhere. The notion that there might occurs much more upwelling than downwelling in the ocean is physically impossible.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Upwelling mostly occurs at margins of land masses. The warm surface layer inhibits upwelling – but wind blowing from the land disperses the mixed layer.

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/currents/media/supp_cur04a.html

Except in the central Pacific where trade winds cause more divergence of surface water and water upwells in La Nina.

The major upwelling zones of the eastern Pacific are influenced by the north and south Pacific gyres.

• JCH

Maxed out BS.

• manacker

JCH

Get serious.

No heat was found anywhere before around 2003, when ARGO started.

First ARGO showed slight cooling down to 2000 m (Josh Willis’ famous “speed bump”), then the raw data were “corrected” and it showed slight warming.

Maybe we’ll have some meaningful data in another decade or so, but to date we do not.

Max

• JCH

There are no questions about how the heat bypassed the first 2000 meters.

Most of the heat that has been found so far was found in the layer 700 to 2000 meters.

• manacker

RiHo08 and Pierre-Normand

Yes. There are many unanswered questions about how the “missing heat” has by-passed the upper ocean unnoticed, only to be hidden out of sight in the deep ocean where no one can see it, where it is lurking until it will rise out of the frigid depths some magic moment in the future to fry us all here at the surface of the land.

A more straightforward answer could be that there is no “missing heat” and we simply do not know what is causing the current pause in global surface warming of both the land and the sea surface despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching all-time record levels.

Could longer term cyclical changes in climate, such as those we have seen in the past (LIA, MWP, Dark Ages, Roman Optimum, etc.) be at play, for which we do not yet fully understand the exact mechanisms, could the sun or clouds be playing a more important role than our models have estimated, etc.?

Admitting ignorance is sometimes a far better solution than trying to devise all sorts of complicated scenarios to defend a hypothesis that may in itself be flawed (i.e. the model-derived quantification of global temperature response to increased GHG concentrations upon which the entire CAGW premise as specifically outlined in detail by IPCC is based).

Max

• Pierre-Normand

A river flowing isn’t a mere surface current; it flows as a whole, though in a laminar fashion. When ocean *surface* currents converge, then they *do* have somewhere to go, namely: down.

I Googled “ocean surface” and “converge” and found this:

“Wind induced upwelling: The wind stress acting on the surface layer of the ocean induces movement of that water. This is called Ekman Layer transport, which extends to the surface 50 to 200 meters. The Ekman transport is directed at 90° to the direction of the wind, to the right of the wind in the northern hemisphere, left of the wind in the southern hemisphere. As the wind varies from place to place, Ekman transport can produce divergence (upwelling) or convergence (sinking) of surface water.”

This is quite relevant to the present discussion since Ekman transport is prominently featured in ENSO phenomena. See the recent piece by Rob Painting (23 April) about El Nino on Skepticalscience. This is where I had got the idea and then forgot the source.

• Pierre-Normand

“1) Is the heat of the atmosphere going to depth of the oceans; i.e., > 2000 meters, bypassing the first 2000 meters, always been happening?”

It might always have been going on while the rate, only, has recently increased. When the heat transport is a result of ocean circulation, as it indeed must be, rather than a result of thermal conduction (which it can’t possibly be), then there is no expectation that it will *not* bypass to top layers.

Compare bringing more customers to the back of a convenience store. Each costumer must go through the front half of the store, let us assume, in order to get to the back. But when they start entering the store and moving to the back at a greater pace, they can accumulate there without there being any accumulation in the front half of the store at any time. That’s because every time a customer enters the store, another one can move from the front half of to the back. So, there never is an increase in the number of customers in the front half. Even though no individual costumer (parcel of warm water) bypasses the from end of the store (the shallow ocean layers), an increase in the density of customers (heat content) effectively bypasses the front end (shallow layers).

• phatboy

Pierre-Normand:

…surface water converges and has nowhere else to go but down.

That’s like saying that water in a river has nowhere to go but down when it encounters a dam wall.
If ocean currents have nowhere to go then they don’t flow.

• RiHo08

PIERRE-NORMAND

Assume for the moment that heat has always been moving from atmosphere to deep ocean and by-passing the first 2000 meters.

“It might always have been going on while the rate, only, has recently increased.”

1) The question in this scenario: why has the rate changed?

2) What measurement can we take that can define what it is that causes such a change in rate?

I can imagine a mechanism of eddies of warm water reaching deep into the ocean floor. What keeps the warm water there in the abyss? Cold water sitting upon and suppressing the rising of warm water? Eddies of warm water mixing with cold? How long will this warming of the cold abyss last until it gives up its heat to the atmosphere? where we will all roast and die? a year? 10,000 years? until the ice age man cometh? Until the orbits of the planets and sun meet the age of Aquarius? I can imagine. That seems to be what many others do, imagine.

• Pierre-Normand

RiHo08,

I can’t answer those questions. I am quite ignorant about the details of ocean circulation. Look up “thermohaline circulation”, though. Ocean circulation is driven by variations in density caused by variation in temperature *and* salinity. The freshwater fluxes from precipitation, water run-off and sea ice and glacial melt all cause local variations in salinity. Winds also drive surface circulation and, in some spots, surface water converges and has nowhere else to go but down. I don’t know anymore of the details, but you must keep at least those few in mind. Warm water can be dense due to salinity. Cold buoyant low-salinity water that upwells in the tropics (after travelling there from the poles) also must displace warm water from the surface. Others here are more knowledgeable about how ENSO, the PDO, and other things, that may relate to the transport of surface water into the abyss.

• phatboy

Pierre-Normand, the bulk of the downwelling occurs at high latitudes.

• AK

Downwelling certainly produces turbulent deep ocean currents that drive upwelling – upwelling occurs in part because the deep ocean is not still. I’d suggest that downwelling exceeds upwelling. There is no simple connection between the downwelling and upwelling zones where mass be conserved.

I’m not sure if that even makes sense, but the best I can make of it certainly doesn’t match my picture of how it works. Major “downwelling” occurs, AFAIK, at high latitudes due to increased density from cold and salinity (due to evaporation and freezing out of fresh water). “Upwelling” occurs mostly at western mid-latitude continental margins due to overlying warmer waters being blown and steered away (west) by Coriolis effects. Flow rates in both (AFAIK) are too low to support much in the way of turbulence.

There is also considerable vertical mixing due to turbulence, driven by eddies (mesoscale etc.). When a smaller vortex drifts in a larger one, shear in the Ekman flow of the larger tends to drag the smaller in different directions at different heights, causing its axis to tilt. This in turn allows it to transport water (or air in atmospheric cases) from one height/depth to another as the vortex passes through the supporting medium.

In addition, Ekman flow itself tends to drag water (or air) from the boundary layer to greater heights (or depths) enhancing mixing near the boundary layer.

In the ocean, I would assume (absent any real literature search) that the majority of vertical mixing occurs in areas with substantial bottom relief, where the boundary layer itself is far from horizontal, and movement of vortices over it can introduce substantial tilting. In addition, the layer of enhanced mixing is extended over a much greater vertical span.

I’ve seen nothing peer-reviewed regarding the relative contributions of major downwelling and upwelling vs vertical mixing to the overall heat flows within the ocean, although occasional comments here have suggested most experts regard the former as more important.

However, the contributions of changes in these mechanisms to changes in overall heat flows remains, AFAIK, sub judice. Mixing in tropical/equatorial latitudes has the potential to mix very warm water with very cold, unlike conditions near the poles. Of course, El Niño (ENSO) can potentially introduce major changes to upwelling along the western American continental margins, By depleting the Western Pacific Warm Pool, thus raising the thermocline there, it may well also introduce major changes to mixing in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and South China Sea.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Simpler. Surface water is warmed – moves north – cools – sinks – surface water is warmed. It is a self contained ongoing process. Occasionally – turbulent deep ocean currents surface as a result of very different processes.

http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/3905/20130910/skyscraper-sized-waves-recorded-beneath-ocean.htm

Vertical heat transport is a different thing again – a balance between turbulent mixing and buoyancy of warm water.

• manacker

JCH

Your rationalization of Willis’ “speed bump” just got rejected by my BS meter.

Sorry ’bout that.

Max

• Pierre-Normand

AK, that post of yours was very informative, thank you. I was hoping someone would complement or correct the very limited understanding of those issues that I have expressed. I didn’t expect such a good yet concise overview of the mechanisms for vertical heat transport in the oceans.

• manacker

JCH

Check out this NOAA blurb on Josh Willis’ “speed bump” in ocean warming:
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2704.htm

The report by Willis first read:

The average temperature of the water near the top of the Earth’s oceans has cooled significantly since 2003. The new research suggests that global warming trends are not always steady in their effects on ocean temperatures.

Although the average temperature of the upper oceans has cooled significantly since 2003, the decline is a fraction of the total ocean warming seen over the previous 48 years.

“This research suggests global warming isn’t always steady but happens with occasional ‘speed bumps’,” said Josh Willis, a co-author of the study at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “This cooling is probably natural climate variability. The oceans today are still warmer than they were during the 1980s, and most scientists expect the oceans will eventually continue to warm in response to human-induced climate change.”

Of course, Willis later “adjusted” the ARGO data from slight cooling to slight warming, as we all know.

Max

• JCH

You are political. Political people don’t have a BS meter. They have a filter.

For instance, you can filter out the truth:

“When Josh Willis published his first global estimates of ocean heat storage, we saw it as a chance to verify the accuracy of our energy balance time series against a completely independent set of measurements. Josh gave us data on ocean heat storage through 2002, and we compared it to our net flux estimates. There was good agreement, and so we published a paper on that together.”

“We continued to update our net flux time series each year, and we concluded that the positive energy imbalance that we detected previously remained the same,” says Wong. So he was surprised, even a little alarmed, when Lyman and Willis’ reached the opposite conclusion in 2006, saying that the ocean had cooled. …

• JCH | April 29, 2014 at 2:10 am said: ”Most of the heat that has been found so far was found in the layer 700 to 2000 meters”

JCH, .Dear friend: ‘’if you PUMP warmer water trough a pipe deep down – will surface in a jiffy; because ‘’HEAVIER’’ colder water from above will squeeze the warmer water up, because ‘’warmer’’ water is not as heavy. Same as cooking oil, or fat, doesn’t stay in the middle of the pot of water, or below – because is not as heavy per volume”.

Water is the heaviest at 4C (39F) and is deep down – any degree warmer than that is in layers above – the warmest is on the top; you can’t have warmer water below the colder water!!! Having in mind that: that con came from leading Warmist… they are not very smart: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/global-warming-or-climate-change/

58. Jim D

I still think that the best metric is global surface temperature over a suitably long period, like 30 years.
This avoids problems related to heat entering and leaving the ocean, which over long periods would be expected to change proportionally to this surface measure.
It removes timescales related to ENSO and solar variation, and also smooths out volcanic episodes.
Other pluses are that it is easy to measure and understand. We don’t need to talk about pauses, etc., when these are smoothed into the steps that always precede them.
What we are left with is a surprisingly straight rise that has been going on since 1980.

• phatboy

And, once again, Webby musters up every ounce of his towering intellect, wit and charm to add something of truly profound value to the discussion.

• manacker

Jim D

I’d agree with you that global surface warming is the best metric.

We land-dwellers live at the surface, so that is what counts for us (not warming of the ocean by a few hundredths of a degree)..

I disagree that 30 years is a suitably long period, however. We have a surface temperature record that goes back 160+ years, so let’s make sure we understand all of that record, including the 30-year warming/cooling cycles that are apparent in the record, and the current “pause”, especially if it continues for another decade or two.

Even that is only a blip in our climate’s past history. Let’s use all the data out there that we can gather (historical, paleo reconstructions, etc.) to try to extend this record as far back as possible. Tony B is doing a lot of this research and has already found some interesting things.

Until we can fully understand why there was a Minoan Warm Period, a Roman Optimum, a Dark Ages Cold Period, a MWP and a LIA, we cannot fully understand our current warm period.

To close our eyes to all these past fluctuations and concentrate only on the period since 1975 or so, with a myopic fixation on human GH gases, is IMO foolish, since we are unlikely to understand what really makes our long-term climate behave as it does with this approach.

Max

• TCR = 2C
ECS = 3C

Take it to the bank.

• Generalissimo Skippy

I always wonder if they actually mean that temperatures will be some further degree warmer as the CO2 counter ticks over 560ppm.

Only by the wildest chance.

• phatboy

Jim D, if you stopped playing around with tools that you quite evidently don’t understand, then perhaps others would take you more seriously.

• JD, Keep the hammer on.

The deniers have no answer for the relentless warming signal.

• manacker

Webby

The “deniers” do have an answer to what you refer to as “the relentless warming signal”.

It’s not “relentless” (stopped a bit more than 10 years ago, despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels).

It’s a steady underlying warming trend since we have been emerging from a naturally caused colder period called the Little Ice Age, superimposed by 30-year cycles of strong warming and slight cooling, which have nothing to do with human GHG emissions.

It was just as strong during the early 20thC warming cycle, which occurred long before there were any significant human CO2 emissions, as it was during the statistically indistinguishable late 20thC warming cycle, which is being used by the IPCC as its “poster period” fro AGW.

All you have to do, Webby, is open your ears and eyes (and not just your mouth).

Max

• phatboy

…and then smugly throws in some stuff which is completely irrelevant to the discussion.

• JamesG

The realists answer is that this relentless warming is a mere 0.6K/century according to the IPCC and is likely entirely natural. The only scare comes via models with unverified and now entirely unproven assumptions about natural variation.

59. Coming, as always, with the perspective of a non-scientist interested in the policy implications of alleged CAGW, my take on this interesting discussion is that it reinforces my existing views [seeking confirmation bias? Hmm, maybe]:

1. The longer the discussion of and exploration of climate continues, the more complex it seems. Scientists know more, but the scope of what they need to know about and don’t know, and don’t have adequate data on, seems to expand. The basis for major policy decisions seems to me to be less, rather than more, certain.

2. Therefore, lacking the precise delineation of future changes and their costs and benefits, we must continue (or return to, or finally adopt) those policy measures which increase our capacity to deal with whatever future befalls.

That is, from a policy perspective, alleged CAGW/climate change should be regarded as one issue of which we may at some stage need to take serious account (though that is by no means certain), in the meantime, there are more pressing issues, which if properly addressed will increase our capacity to deal with any untoward changes in climate which might at some, probably distant, time emerge.

• Complexity … shelter ? O we’re gittin’ into
Hamlet territory here.

‘ … Alexander died. Alexander
was buried, Alexander returneth into dust, the
dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why
of that loam, whereto he was converted, might
they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d ter clay,
Might stop a hole ter keep the wind away;
O! that that earth, which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall ter expel the winter flaw’

More things Horatio ….

• Generalissimo Skippy

Flynn is a man who cultivates butterflies in a cyclone zone yet refuses to tie down his roof or install foundations. Another builder is called for.

I’d suggest 0.7% of GDP in aid – as indeed all the developed nations have committed to – going to Copenhagen Consensus goals is an appropriate starting point – along with free trade.

http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/

And investment in energy innovation. Cheap energy is needed sooner rather than later.

Formulating rational policy responses is much preferable to building dodgy post hoc rationalizations on unsound foundations of ignorance.

• Yes, it does make sense to cover all possible eventualities. I have walls on my house for insulation, wind and rain. The roof does some insulating and shading and also keeps rain off.

I’m worried that if I put my house design in the hands of a climate policy adviser he might decide I need extra walls but can skip the roof. Or maybe a double roof and no walls. Gawd, even a celebrity architect knows you need some kind of walls and some kind of roof.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Changing the atmosphere of the planet without knowing the biological or climatological consequences – but knowing that non-linear change is the core fact of the Earth system – sounds like a house without foundations.

• Mike Flynn

mosomoso,

You have a roof? I wanted one, but I was convinced by a psychologist that it might eventually get blown away by a cyclone, and that the precautionary principle should be applied.

I am rethinking the situation. I keep getting wet when it rains.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Greg

Well put, Faustino.

Then there is the Lewandowsky school of thought that says the risk is proportional to the degree of uncertainty which thus drives the imperative for action.

This leads to the paradoxic conclusion that we must act immediately to resolve all the problems about which we have no knowledge, ignoring those we do understand and which, by this logic, carry less risk and are less urgent.

thankfully, I’ve never needed the opinion of a psychologist on risk management.

• Generalissimo Skippy

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
― Winston Churchill

• Mike Flynn

Faustino,

You obviously get my vote.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• manacker

Faustino

+100

Max

• Generalissimo Skippy

Wally says that the future of climate is unpredictable. ‘We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change.’ A few people say that the implications of a chaotic climate include more frequent and intense La Nina – and non-warming at least – for 20 to 40 years from the 1998/2001 climate shift.

This is not skeptical at all but mainstream freakin’ climate science. There is zilch evidence that this is understood by the Borg collective cult of AGW groupthink space cadets.

• Generalissimo Skippy

‘Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

A good enough summary of the state of play of climate science that is more than a decade old now. It is from a NAS document prepared by a who’s who of climate scientists. It is still little understood and barely acknowledged. What it means is that change is not slowly emerging and limited to the far off future – but that the potential exists for far reaching climate change in as little as 10 years. Starting any time now.

In terms of a risk profile a mathematical certainty – if as yet loosely quantified – rather than uncertainty prevails. In risk management language we would classify catastrophic climate change as a small risk with extreme consequences. The combination is a high priority for risk management.

The pragmatic response first of all defines appropriately the multiple dimensions of the problem involving population, lack of development, ecological degradation, erosion of agricultural soils, waste management, etc, as well as the more obvious contribution from burning of fossil fuels. The solution is in principle the maximisation of a function with multiple objectives and constraints – such a problem is found quite commonly. It even has a dedicated discipline – operations research.

• JCH

I think they understand it. What does Wally say now?

• GaryM

Faustino,

Agree on all counts. To which I would only add as a reason for policies of economic growth, the virtual impossibility of decarbonizing the global economy, given the Russian, Chinese and Indian aversion to economic suicide.

• aaron

Generalissimo Skippy | April 29, 2014 at 5:14 am,

I’d add to that, a huge ramp up in fossil fuel extraction in the mean time. Keeping the stuff in the ground bodes of no confidence in alternatives this half century or longer. We should be extracting while they’re still worth something. And not doing so gives other producers dis-incentive to grow and be clean and efficient. (Energy Crisis Revisited

• JCH

We have five primary findings:

• It is very likely that the strength of the AMOC will decrease over the course of the 21st century in response to increasing greenhouse gases, with a best estimate decrease of 25-30%.

• Even with the projected moderate AMOC weakening, it is still very likely that on multidecadal to century time scales a warming trend will occur over most of the European region downstream of the North Atlantic Current in response to increasing greenhouse gases, as well as over North America.

• No current comprehensive climate model projects that the AMOC will abruptly weaken or collapse in the 21st century. We therefore conclude that such an event is very unlikely. Further, an abrupt collapse of the AMOC would require either a sensitivity of the AMOC to forcing that is far greater than current models suggest or a forcing that greatly exceeds even the
most aggressive of current projections (such as extremely rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet). However, we cannot
completely exclude either possibility.

• We further conclude it is unlikely that the AMOC will collapse beyond the end of the 21st century because of global warming, although the possibility cannot be entirely excluded.

• Although our current understanding suggests it is very unlikely that the AMOC will collapse in the 21st century, the potential consequences of such an event could be severe. These would likely include sea level rise around the North Atlantic of up to 80 centimeters (in addition to what would be expected from broad-scale warming of the global ocean and changes
in land-based ice sheets due to rising CO2), changes in atmospheric circulation conditions that influence hurricane activity, a southward shift of
tropical rainfall belts with resulting agricultural impacts, and disruptions to marine ecosystems.

————————-

• Generalissimo Skippy

‘The above conclusions depend upon our understanding of the climate system, and on the ability of current models to simulate the climate system. However, these models are not perfect, and the uncertainties associated with these models form important caveats to our conclusions. These uncertainties argue for a strong research effort to develop the observations, understanding, and models required to predict more confidently the future evolution of the AMOC.’

60. aaron

I think the assumption of a radiative surface energy balance is a very bad assumption. The surface may be significantly out of balance on many time scales. Look at natural variability of temperature, it can’t be balanced all the time. Assuming we were in balance after the little ice age, or should be in balance now, is just wrong.

We can be pretty sure of the greenhouse effect because of the trend in upwelling low frequency IR, but there are many processes that could be affecting this trend as well as SW and high frequency IR absorption and greenhouse effect.

Take these three assumption.
1) Cowtan and Way: Heat is being transported to the arctic.
2) Trenberth: Heat is being transferred to the deep ocean.
3) Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CSFR) : We are in radiative deficit.

My personal belief is that all these assumptions are a little bit right, but very wrong. We may be/have been in TOA radiative surplus for hundred or even thousands of years, with variation in deep ocean heat uptake affecting surface temps in addition to surface effects. Clear skies may have driven much of the 70s-late-90s warming, with large transfer to the deep ocean. Rather than increasing deep ocean uptake driving the pause, a decrease in energy surplus (CFSR) may be driving the pause. Or, a decrease in deep ocean uptake may have driven temps higher (though unlikely, given the trend in upwelling IR) and resumption of uptake and less clear skies are driving the pause. Or, many other varying combinations.

• angech

Cowtan and Way use a “superior” method because they are superior people no doubt. Prefer you use the word alternative in this setting.
If 2 and 2 are 4 I don’t mind if you use a computer , an abacus or your logic all methods give the same answer.
Some may be quicker that is not to say that they are better.
The faulty method of CAM you allude to is surely not the one that says neighbouring areas are likely to have similar temps and unknown areas are likely to have similar temps is it.
Unlike Cowtan and Way who claim that neighbouring areas must be vastly different in temp and that unknown areas must be vastly hotter than the known areas.
Paraphrasing I know a link to Skepical Science on this matter that Mr Way gave but that is the gist.
Still we needed extra heat to falsify the pause.
Hopefully Cowtan and Way will soon be showing cooling in the Arctic as the sea ice levels slowly recover.
And why don’ they show this in the Antarctic?
Interesting ,hey

• Steven Mosher

Cowtan and Way do not assume that the heat is being transported to the arctic.
They DEMONSTRATE using all the data and a superior method that
SOME of heat has been transported.

How do they demonstrate this?

1. By using all the data, data that HADRCUT do not use and cannot
use because of faulty method (CAM) that jones employs.
2. By using a superior method, a method that skeptics have been arguing
for YEARS must be used on this kind of problem.
3. By using an remote sensing approach championed by skeptics in their famous paper on the south pole, O’donnel and Mcintyre.
4. By cross validating, another approach that skeptics have demanded.
5. By validating using our of sample data, another tool that skeptics

In short, from the beginning of the skeptical movement, starting with Warwick Hughes and flowing through Willis Eschenbach, and McIntyre, and Watts and yes, even me, critics of the temperature record have attacked
CRU and GISS on these key issues: Failure to use all the data, and failure to use standard geostatistical methods and failure to do cross validation.
Cowtan and Way address each and every one of those criticisms

A) they use all the data.
B) they use kriging a method that has been suggested dozens of times
on skeptic sites.
C) they cross validate using arctic bouy data.

The skeptical theory was this. If you use all the data and use best methods and cross validate, then you will see that the record is biased warm.
That theory was tested. That theory is BUSTED. Its busted because the data show the exact opposite.

Where is Feynman to explain to skeptics that their theory is busted?

61. “Also, since there has been little if any temperature increase for a decade or more , the disparity between the imbalance and the forcings and feedbacks is even more stark.”
means no temperature increase for a decade or more
means there is currently no radiation imbalance.
“The thing we’ve all forgotten is the heat storage of the ocean – it’s a thousand times greater than the atmosphere and the surface.”
so if we look to SST or lower atmosphere temps on models going up 0.3 degrees a decade or more to prove anthropogenic global warming this means a change of 0.0003 degrees in the average ocean temperature.
“global average radiative imbalance (which Stephens et al. calls the “surface imbalance”) as 0.70 Watts per meter squared, but with the uncertainty of 17 W m-2!”
means that the error of magnitude in measuring is 24 times [approx].
How one can measure 0.0003 degree changes with an error magnitude of 0.0072 degrees over 10 years is gobbledygook.
I understand that the accuracy of change with such a large reservoir makes discerned changes very important but since the ability to measure such changes is not achievable [Heisenberg principle] the value of this measure is more philosophical than practical.
This means that the metric that no one wants to use SST is still the most easily measurable and the one most people will put their house on when it is going in the direction they want, but why they are all jumping off the bandwagon now that the pause and hopefully entrancement is occurring

• Pierre-Normand

My thought experiment merely provides a simple counterexample to your claim that “The atmosphere can’t absorb more IR per volume without increasing temperature.” If the cylinder can, why can’t the atmosphere? You didn’t justify your claim. Just increasing the emissivity of a gas volume will not make it warm when it’s already in radiative balance with its surrounding. Adding CO2 merely increases the emissivity. It’s the change of the TOA balance that will indirectly cause a temperature change in the lower troposphere, and only after the surface has warmed.

• Pierre-Normand

“You are wrong on all counts. The simplest explanation is that when a volume containing CO2 molecule interacts with IR photons both the kinetic and internal energy of the volume changes. It is an inevitable fact of statistical mechanics.”
That hardly sounds like a simpler explanation of the fact that the gas filled cylinder’s temperature remains *constant*. It sound more like a denial of that hypothesis.

• Generalissimo Skippy

I am afraid that you have invented a thought experiment and assumed an answer. Then you accuse me of denying something I have utterly ignored. I ignore all pointless little climate thought experiments, analogies, metaphors, equivalence, similitude, etc – for the very good reason that they are quite silly.

• Generalissimo Skippy

You are wrong on all counts. The simplest explanation is that when a volume containing CO2 molecule interacts with IR photons both the kinetic and internal energy of the volume changes. It is an inevitable fact of statistical mechanics.

Nor is the radiant imbalance evident once the temperature has increased. Although in reality CO2 is emitted at 1000’s of degrees C – and cools to a new and higher energy state. The higher energy state is of course maintained by energy flux from the surface – before the howls of outrage start.

• Generalissimo Skippy

wrong place – didn’t mean you Angech

62. “retracement” not entracement

• Jim D | April 30, 2014 at 11:58 pm said: ” the stratosphere gets cooler because the added CO2 causes it to emit more longwave radiation”

Jimmy dee, ”stratosphere” is always cold, temp is always below -90C, even above the equatorial regions!!!

• Pierre-Normand

Good point. Something that’s very cold can’t possibly become any cooler since it’s already very cold. Why didn’t atmospheric physicists and astronomers ever think of that!

63. R. Gates

To reiterate a point that has been made several times, but not fully grasped by many, at least part, if not the majority of the reason for both long term and short term increase in ocean heat content is not an increase in heat going into the ocean, but a net decrease in heat coming out. Complex explanations for the atmosphere “warming the ocean” are interesting but physically impossible in most cases. The net flow of energy is very strongly from ocean to atmosphere. Here is one example, for instance, of how the freshening of the southern ocean and increase in Antarctic sea ice,has warmed the deeper ocean, but because of heat flowing into the ocean, but the slowdown in heat coming out:

http://www.livescience.com/43805-global-warming-changes-antarctica-ocean-currents.html

Other changes in winds have increased downwelling of SOLAR warmed surface waters, and thus, some research has indicated the potential for a more permanent La Niña like state, such as might have been present the last time CO2 was at 400 ppm, during the Pliocene. The point is, when you think of warming oceans, think of decrease in heat out, not increase in heat in, since the ocean always strongly warms the atmosphere globally.

• willb

Pierre-Normand, I don’t completely agree with your cylinder example. If the quantity of CO2 in the cylinder is such that it is already completely opaque in all CO2 absorption bands, then adding more CO2 will not change the emissivity of the cylinder. I believe the troposphere is thick enough that it is opaque in the CO2 absorption bands.

• Matthew R Marler

Pierre-Normand: Matthew R Marler wrote: “Why is the ocean not losing heat as rapidly as before if the surface has the same temperature?”

Because there has been an increase in downwelling radiation owing to the increase in CO2 concentration. This has increased the emissivity of the atmosphere. It occurs even when the troposphere doesn’t warm. There is a lesser amount of compensation for the outwelling flux to space and hence the surface doesn’t cool as effectively.

“If the surface temperature is maintained because of extra downwelling LWIR to maintain the surface temp despite increased transfer to the depths, how can that be happening (if due to increased CO2) without the troposphere having warmed?”

Because the flux from the atmosphere to the ocean is a function both of the emissivity and the temperature of the atmosphere layers. Increasing the greenhouse gas concentration increases the emissivity throughout the whole column. The radiation from the atmosphere to space still is reduced because the troposphere cools.

I think if you describe all the heat flows in their chronological order (allowing for them to be overlapping in time), then you can not construct a series of heat flows coherently by which increasing CO2 in the troposphere can produce an increase in OHC without changing either surface or troposphere temperature. Your explanation looks at a few heat flows in isolation without consideration of all the heat flowing through the system.

Consider this one again: Because there has been an increase in downwelling radiation owing to the increase in CO2 concentration. This has increased the emissivity of the atmosphere. It occurs even when the troposphere doesn’t warm. There is a lesser amount of compensation for the outwelling flux to space and hence the surface doesn’t cool as effectively.

Does that not imply that the troposphere cools? I am not sure that the last sentence there makes sense as written, in context.

• JCH

MM – see if this makes sense to you and others for this single phenomena.

For whatever atmospheric situation, in terms of radiation leaving the skin layer and radiation coming into the skin layer, more CO2 in the atmosphere results in less net outgoing radiation than would have taken place had the additional CO2 not been there. This causes less heat to leave the oceans for this one effect.

There are, of course, lots of other things going on that will determine the ultimate SAT and OHC, but for that one phenomena in any varied atmospheric circumstance, 395 ppm will always allow out less heat than 390 ppm.

• Pierre-Normand

“How is that related to increased accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere? You write as though increasing atmospheric CO2 is merely coincidental.”

The increasing atmospheric CO2 cools the stratosphere and therefore reduces the amount of energy radiated to space by the whole Earth system. The amount of energy gained by the oceans from the Sun remains the same. But since *all* the net energy fluxes from the ocean surface (latent, sensible and radiative) can only escape the whole Earth system radiatively at the top of the atmosphere, and this outgoing TOA flux now is reduced, this means that the oceans now are gaining heat. That’s because, as Gates insists, are losing *less* heat from the latent, sensible and radiative fluxes together than they are receiving from the Sun. This imbalance persist until the surface and troposphere have warmed enough for more upwelling radiation to make it to the top of the atmosphere through the atmospheric window (the narrow infrared region transparent to greenhouse gases) and thereby restore the balance in spite of the fact that the stratosphere remains colder.

• steven

Gates, you remember when global warming was going to cause a permanent El Nino state? I do. We know global warming must do something and so everything we see must have been caused by it?

• Greg

If heat comes from the ocean , it is still basically solar in origin not geothermal.

La Nina warms the oceans ( atmospheric effects on transmission of solar, not atm heat content being the source of the energy ). El Nino pumps more heat from oceans to atm.

Thus _magnitude_ of Nino/Nina cycles determines the capture and throughput of solar energy.

• R. Gates

“Thus _magnitude_ of Nino/Nina cycles determines the capture and throughput of solar energy.”
_____
I completely agree that ENSO plays a big factor in the flux of energy from ocean to atmosphere, and thus, during cool phases of the PDO, where La Nina dominates, we’ll see lower net ocean to atmosphere latent and sensible heat flux. For at least the past 60+ plus years, the heart of the energy source for El Nino’s has been accumulating energy- namely, the IPWP.

• AK

Here is one example, for instance, of how the freshening of the southern ocean and increase in Antarctic sea ice,has warmed the deeper ocean, but because of heat flowing into the ocean, but the slowdown in heat coming out

It’s important to remember that subduction of cold water represents a net upwards flow of heat (since the sinking water is usually colder than the surrounding water). Thus a reduction of sinking of cold Antarctic water represents a reduction of heat loss from the ocean.

OTOH, note from the link provided above:

Previous studies have found this deep, dense water is disappearing, though researchers aren’t sure if the shrinkage is part of a long-term trend linked to global warming, or a natural cycle.

IOW, nobody yet knows whether it’s “global warming”/”greenhouse effect”, or some cycle, perhaps associated with the “Stadium Wave”, or some other century-scale variation (not cyclical).

• Matthew R Marler

R. Gates: To reiterate a point that has been made several times, but not fully grasped by many, at least part, if not the majority of the reason for both long term and short term increase in ocean heat content is not an increase in heat going into the ocean, but a net decrease in heat coming out.

How is that related to increased accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere? You write as though increasing atmospheric CO2 is merely coincidental.

• Howard

R. Gates

You are correct that the ocean has a strong influence on GMST. Your point about less heat leaving the ocean rather than more going in is a good one as well. The OP hints at this being a negative feedback, at least under transient conditions, for increased DLWR from CO2. It seems that they are agreeing with the recent “consensus” on the missing heat.

One thing to keep in mind when discussing the Pliocene is that prior to the closing of the Isthmus of Panama, the arctic largely remained free of permanent ice. Therefore, the ocean circulation at that time was very different than today, so it is an apples and orangutan comparison, esp WRT ENSO.

Perhaps then, the LIA was a period of oceanic storage of solar radiation due to dryer atmosphere and fewer clouds. Once this heat was then turned over in the 19th Century, the oceans then began to heat up the atmosphere, melt glaciers, etc. Then, what we see in the late 20th C, is a combination of the ocean releasing stored heat and added CO2 heating the atmosphere and the ocean.

Unfortunately, there are no past analogues that fit this scenario to rely on. The more we understand climate, the more uncertain we become. This prospect should be exciting to young scientists. Hopefully, this cowardly talk of a “mature science” and “consensus” will end so the next generation can untie this Gordian Knot.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Except that it was a case of more SW in and the same IR out last decade – and no change at all over the full CERES record.

Of course actual data doesn’t seem to count at all.

• R. Gates

Howard suggested:

“LIA was a period of oceanic storage of solar radiation due to dryer atmosphere and fewer clouds.”
____
Not likely. Most proxies from this period indicate that less total SW was actually going into the oceans and that OHC, in regions such as the IPWP was lower than either the MWP or the current warm period. Thus, it becomes an input/output issue when thinking about increasing OHC.

OHC can only rise for 2 reasons:

1) More solar in, and less out
2) Less solar in, but even less out

During a period of high solar activity and/or low volcanic activity, #1 would be the case, which seems to be indicative of the MWP from about 900-1200 AD.
During the LIA, from about 1250 to about 1850 or so, we had higher volcanic activity and generally lower solar activity and OHC seems to have reached some minimums over the past several thousands years. During the period of the so-called “pause” in tropospheric temperatures over the past 15 years or so, #2 above seems to have been in force as. The level of GH gases in the atmosphere strongly controls the rate of energy out of the ocean.

• RG, right on. The skeptics also keep on forgetting that ENSO is a zero-sum game that has zero impact on the secular trend.

• Pierre-Normand

Matthew, the radiative balance requirements account for all the fluxes.

“Does that not imply that the troposphere cools? I am not sure that the last sentence there makes sense as written, in context.”

The troposphere doesn’t cool as a result of the increased emissivity. The increased net downwelling flux is the result of the troposphere absorbing more of the net upwelling from the surface rather than letting pass through to space. Also, the turbulent convective adjustment dominates the effect from the radiative flux in the lower troposphere (bottom 5km or so). So, it tends to maintain the vertical temperature profile (except at night) while the increased emissivity of the atmosphere means that more of the surface flux is sent back to the surface.

• angech | April 30, 2014 at 11:48 pm said: ”Ask why Co2 causes a cooler stratosphere? more CO2 in the upper atmosphere emits more Ir to space so there is less heat reaching the sea surface b]Pierre it doesn’t reduce the amount radiated to space by the whole dearth system”

angech, CO2 never goes into the stratosphere. In the morning CO2 is lifted by the warming sunlight up to 5-7km altitude – after sundown CO2 loses the benefit of sunlight and falls to the ground – that’s when the trees, crops gorge themselves on the essential CO2.

b] CO2 doesn’t ”radiate” heat upwards into the stratosphere – because: every molecule of CO2 is surrounded by lots of oxygen & nitrogen atoms – those two gases are perfect ”insulators”. Heat is taken by those two gases up and released, not by CO2.

c] the Chief is NOT a ”Skeptic” he was only told; to ;;imitate” a skeptic

anyway, O&N are the ones that cool and regulate the overall temp – that’s why windy places are cooler: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/global-warming-or-climate-change/

• Generalissimo Skippy

‘…that’s why windy places are cooler’

Don’t forget that it cools at night Stefan – thus I refute them.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Actual data in the satellite is available – http://www.arl.noaa.gov/documents/JournalPDFs/ThompsonEtal.Nature2012.pdf – tell me what the mystery is.

• Generalissimo Skippy

…. satellite era…

• Pierre-Normand

“Pierre it doesn’t reduce the amount radiated to space by the whole dearth system . Energy in equals energy out its just some of the initial energy never went down. This invalidates your whole argument and all the people agreeing with you.”

When the statosphere *cools*, it certainly doesn’t prevent Solar energy from entering the system. The only way for the stratosphere to radiate out more of the incident longwave solar energy would be for it to *warm*. As it cools, however, it does limit the amount of energy that the Earth can radiate away. “Energy in equals energy out…” only after the energy balance has been restored following an initial change in radiative forcing. When the surface and troposphere warm, more radiation escape through the atmospheric window (around about 15-micron). This compensates both the lowered radiation from the IR opaque stratosphere and, as Jim D noted, the reduced temperature of the effective radiation level.

• Jim D

angech, the stratosphere gets cooler because the added CO2 causes it to emit more longwave radiation. Sounds like you are disagreeing? Be specific.

• angech

Never read such a mish mash of uneducated opinion by so many warmists spouting non physics to explain ocean heat and atmospheric radiation. Thank goodness for Skippy and some sense.
Ask why Co2 causes a cooler stratosphere? more CO2 in the upper atmosphere emits more Ir to space so there is less heat reaching the sea surface and coming back to it (skeptical science revised view hate to quote it but it suffices)
Pierre it doesn’t reduce the amount radiated to space by the whole dearth system . Energy in equals energy out its just some of the initial energy never went down. This invalidates your whole argument and all the people agreeing with you

• Generalissimo Skippy

You are wrong on all counts. The simplest explanation is that when a volume containing CO2 molecule interacts with IR photons both the kinetic and internal energy of the volume changes. It is an inevitable fact of statistical mechanics.

Nor is the radiant imbalance evident once the temperature has increased sufficiently. Although in reality CO2 is emitted at 1000′s of degrees C – and cools to a new and higher energy state. The higher energy state is of course maintained by energy flux from the surface – before the howls of outrage start.

• Jim D

Pierre-Normand, yes, the effective radiating level idea is also an alternative explanation for the increase in downward IR at the surface with more CO2. From the surface point of view, the effective radiating level comes down to warmer temperatures with more CO2, so there is more downward IR with more CO2 to answer MM’s question. This extra downward IR affects the surface energy budget in a direction that warms the surface, which is the first step in the adjustment process to added CO2.

• Matthew R Marler

Pierre-Normand: The increasing atmospheric CO2 cools the stratosphere and therefore reduces the amount of energy radiated to space by the whole Earth system. The amount of energy gained by the oceans from the Sun remains the same. But since *all* the net energy fluxes from the ocean surface (latent, sensible and radiative) can only escape the whole Earth system radiatively at the top of the atmosphere, and this outgoing TOA flux now is reduced, this means that the oceans now are gaining heat. That’s because, as Gates insists, are losing *less* heat from the latent, sensible and radiative fluxes together than they are receiving from the Sun. This imbalance persist until the surface and troposphere have warmed enough for more upwelling radiation to make it to the top of the atmosphere through the atmospheric window (the narrow infrared region transparent to greenhouse gases) and thereby restore the balance in spite of the fact that the stratosphere remains colder.

That is all perfectly sensible. Now how does the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere cause the increase in the heat accumulation in the deep ocean without increasing the temperature of the surface and troposphere?

CO2 increased consistently since 1850 or so, but especially since WWII. It caused an imbalance (compared to 1850) such that more heat accumulated in the climate than before, but only caused the temperature rise from 1978-1998, approximately. Despite the persistence of the aforementioned imbalance, the ocean surfaces now show no temperature rise, and the troposphere shows no temperature rise because now the ocean does not lose heat as rapidly as before. Why is the ocean not losing heat as rapidly as before if the surface has the same temperature? If the surface temperature is maintained because of extra downwelling LWIR to maintain the surface temp despite increased transfer to the depths, how can that be happening (if due to increased CO2) without the troposphere having warmed?

I think if you try to put together a complete picture of all the energy flows, and which parts of the system stay at near constant temperature while atmospheric CO2 increases and deep ocean heat increases, the whole picture does not make sense.

consider this again: That’s because, as Gates insists, are losing *less* heat from the latent, sensible and radiative fluxes together than they are receiving from the Sun. This imbalance persist until the surface and troposphere have warmed enough for more upwelling radiation to make it to the top of the atmosphere through the atmospheric window

Gates insists on more than that, Gates insists that right now the deep ocean is accumulating heat and the troposphere (despite being more sensitive to heat fluxes due to its lower mass) is maintaining a constant temperature. No mechanism involving CO2-induced warming has been explicated that can have an increasing CO2 concentration produce both of those effects for going on 20 years now.

• Matthew R Marler

JCH: For whatever atmospheric situation, in terms of radiation leaving the skin layer and radiation coming into the skin layer, more CO2 in the atmosphere results in less net outgoing radiation than would have taken place had the additional CO2 not been there. This causes less heat to leave the oceans for this one effect.

Same question: How does that happen with a nearly constant troposphere temperature and nearly constant surface temperature for 17 years?

• Pierre-Normand

“The atmosphere can’t absorb more IR per volume without increasing temperature.”

Of course is can. It just needs to emit more. When the CO2 concentration increases, each atmospheric layer both absorbs and emits more energy. Surface temperature, boundary surface conditions (all the surface heat fluxes) and the lapse rate jointly determine the temperature the atmospheric layers. When radiative balance is achieved in the atmosphere (after a few hours or days) as a response to an instantaneous changes in external forcing, then each thin atmospheric layer emits as much radiant energy as it receives.

Compare a glass cylinder filled with air and placed in the middle of a room that is maintained at a uniform constant temperature. When temperatures have equilibrated, the gas in the glass cylinder will emits some radiant energy flux to the rest of the room and absorbs an equal energy flux from the room. (That’s something dragon slayers can’t wrap their heads around). If you increase the concentration of the CO2 in the cylinder then its emissivity will increase but its temperature will remain the same, and this in spite of the fact that is absorbs more IR from the rest of the room. That’s because it also emits more in the exact same proportion. The balancing effect also is instantaneous since, in this simple case, there never is a departure from thermal equilibrium.

• Pierre-Normand

“Pierre-Normand, not only that the stratosphere cools, but also with more CO2 the effective radiating level rises, which means the troposphere radiates from cooler temperatures.”

Yes, that’s true. I tend to neglect this in my simple explanations because I focus of the parts of the IR spectrum that the stratosphere is fully opaque to. But spectral line broadening implies that there always are parts of the spectrum that the atmosphere isn’t fully opaque to, and increasing CO2 concentration makes them more opaque and hence raises the level of last emission within the troposphere, where there is a negative lapse rate. So this indeed raises the effective radiating level to a colder temperature.

• Jim D

Pierre-Normand, not only that the stratosphere cools, but also with more CO2 the effective radiating level rises, which means the troposphere radiates from cooler temperatures. This all leads to reduced longwave output when CO2 is added.

• Generalissimo Skippy

The atmosphere can’t absorb more IR per volume without increasing temperature.

• Pierre-Normand

Opps: “The radiation from the atmosphere to space still is reduced because the [strato]sphere cools.”

• Pierre-Normand

Matthew R Marler wrote: “Why is the ocean not losing heat as rapidly as before if the surface has the same temperature?”

Because there has been an increase in downwelling radiation owing to the increase in CO2 concentration. This has increased the emissivity of the atmosphere. It occurs even when the troposphere doesn’t warm. There is a lesser amount of compensation for the outwelling flux to space and hence the surface doesn’t cool as effectively.

“If the surface temperature is maintained because of extra downwelling LWIR to maintain the surface temp despite increased transfer to the depths, how can that be happening (if due to increased CO2) without the troposphere having warmed?”

Because the flux from the atmosphere to the ocean is a function both of the emissivity and the temperature of the atmosphere layers. Increasing the greenhouse gas concentration increases the emissivity throughout the whole column. The radiation from the atmosphere to space still is reduced because the troposphere cools.

• Pierre-Normand

willb wrote: “Pierre-Normand, I don’t completely agree with your cylinder example. If the quantity of CO2 in the cylinder is such that it is already completely opaque in all CO2 absorption bands, then adding more CO2 will not change the emissivity of the cylinder. I believe the troposphere is thick enough that it is opaque in the CO2 absorption bands.”

This is a good remark but first notice that it doesn’t affect my point. GS claims that increased emissivity is sufficient to cause the troposphere to warm and my example provides a counterexample to this. It doesn’t affect my point to suggest that an increase of CO2 concentration wouldn’t increase the effective emissivity of a thick atmosphere layer past some saturation point. That’s a different issue.

Regarding this different issue, notice that the atmosphere isn’t opaque throughout the whole thermal IR spectrum. There is a transparent window, but, also, there are many gaps between the absorption lines. The lines, though, are widened from the effect of the molecules random velocities and the the effect of collisions (pressure broadening). This means that in the vicinity of the lines, there are regions of the spectrum that remain unsaturated, and that become increasingly more saturated as the CO2 concentration increases in the higher troposphere (where there are very few water vapor molecules). This causes the effective radiation level to rise to a colder altitude and this is in part responsible for the increased forcing at the tropopause, and the increased IR downwelling.

The cooling of the stratosphere is a separate effect on the tropopause radiative balance consequent on the first effect mentioned above. I am unsure by what means it affects the downwelling at the level of the lower troposphere. I’ll have to think it through some more or look it up in Pierrehumbert’s textbook.

• Jim D

Matthew Marler, the sequence would be, increase CO2 in troposphere, increase downwelling longwave at surface due to lower effective radiating level, surface warms due to net increase in incoming radiation, troposphere warms in response to surface by convection.

• Pierre-Normand

OK, I was thinking of the cooling of the stratosphere and the increased downwelling from the troposphere as two separate effects on the surface radiative balance. I was thus wondering how the first effect could change the surface flux balance independently of the increased downwelling from the troposphere. But there is no such problem. It is precisely because of the rise of the effective radiating level that the downwelling to the surface increases and the upwelling from both the surface and the troposphere towards the stratosphere decreases. Thus insulated from the lower levels, the troposphere cools. It isn’t this cooling that causes the change in the surface radiative balance. Rather, it is the reduced upwelling flux at the tropopause that allows the stratosphere to cool, as it must, in order to maintain the same imbalance at the top of the atmosphere that occurs at the surface (or any other level). Else there would be a flux discontinuity somewhere and this would contravene the conservation of energy.

64. Greg

“Clear skies may have driven much of the 70s-late-90s warming, with large transfer to the deep ocean. ”

It’s worth looking at which skies contributed to that warming:

http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=902

Two definitive drops in TLS after major eruptions.

That coincide with an increase in net downward flux at the tropopause:
http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=932

The implication is that eruptions like Mt P and El Chichon caused much of the observed warming. At least in the tropics.

• aaron

Excellent point. The region of clear skys and clouds are important. I have tropical pacific in mind particularly. TOA radiative balance analysis suggests we are not accumulating heat like in the 90s. While more persistent la nina and neutral conditions pool more warm water in the indo-pac, the relative amount compared to la nina and neutral conditions of the 90s may be very different. Deep ocean circulation may be different and more heat may be bleeding off into the deep ocean or moved toward the tropics or poles. We may have a bigger warm pool without a lot more heat and it may be losing heat. In addition, when we do move to el nino conditions, we may not have quite as clear skies as other el ninos; we might see much less/slower evaporation relative to SST and more rain over ocean relative to land than expected. We could see a big el nino have a muted temperature response and fizzle.

• aaron

(more specifically ENSO region)

65. Bill Illis

The main point that most are missing here is where is all this radiative forcing going?

IPCC AR5 says we are up to +2.29 W/m2/year now but only 0.5 W/m2/year is showing up.

The deep ocean is warming 0.002C/year and surface temperatures are flat.

Where is the impact of all this greenhouse gas forcing? It is going back out into space nearly as fast as it is accumulating or it was never calculated properly to start with.

• Jim Zuccaro

Pierre-Normand ” What is a “net” forcing? A positive radiative imbalance is caused by a positive change in forcing. The immediate result of to this imbalance is an accumulation of heat in the system and, eventually, a change in surface temperature. The change in surface temperature tends to restore the radiative balance through compensating the forcing change. But the forcing change isn’t cancelled by the warming, or else the imbalance would be reversed, the oceans would cool, and temperature would eventually fall back down.

So, the total forcing change over some period doesn’t determine the net energy gain in the climate system. It is the current imbalance at any time that determines the rate of energy gain and this imbalance is a function *both* of the forcing and of surface (and troposphere) temperature.”

What you write seems like a very convoluted way to think of the problem.

” The change in surface temperature tends to restore the radiative balance through compensating the forcing change. But the forcing change isn’t cancelled by the warming, or else the imbalance would be reversed,…” What you write is difficult to quantify, for me. Is there a mathematical description of this?

Thanks,

• Jim Cripwell

Bill, you write “Where is the impact of all this greenhouse gas forcing? It is going back out into space nearly as fast as it is accumulating or it was never calculated properly to start with.”

Of course. But you will never get a warmist to admit it.

• Steven Mosher

Wrong

“IPCC AR5 says we are up to +2.29 W/m2/year now but only 0.5 W/m2/year is showing up.”

2.29 W/m2 is the FREAKING TOTAL since 1750.

FREAKING TOTAL.. not per year.

A first order estimate of sensitivity can be derived from this.

sensitivity is DEFINED as the change in temperature divided by the change in forcing. delta T/ delta F

Total change in
temperature = 1.5C
Total change in forcing = 2.29

lambda = dT/dF = .65

With a climate sensitivity to all forcing we can calculate the sensitivity
to doubling C02

lambda = .65
Forcing from doubling C02 = 3.71

Sensitivity to doubling = 2.43C per doubling

Now of course people can quibble about the figures

1.5C plus or minus
2.29 Watts, plus or minus

That is where the argument is. How good is the 1.5C estimate
How good is 2.29 watts estimate.

But, Given those two estimates the rest is just math.

• David Springer

If 2.3 Watts is total forcing since 1750 and there’s a 0.5W imbalance remaining at TOA then T4 temperature rise has gone 1.8W towards equilibrium. So deltaF is 1.8W. DeltaT since 1750 is given as 0.8C in most series I’m aware of.

Total change in temperature = 0.8C. Total change in forcing = 1.8W
lambda = dT/dF = .44

With a climate sensitivity to all forcing we can calculate the sensitivity
to doubling C02

lambda = .44
Forcing from doubling C02 = 3.71

Sensitivity to doubling = 1.6C per doubling

• David Springer

The question still remains however of CO2 doubling forcing = 3.71W/m2. That figure includes the mythical water vapor amplification. Forcing from CO2 alone is about 1.1C. The real question, Moshbrains, is whether the water cycle warms or cools the surface in the current regime of mostly liquid ocean surface and cloud cover at around 70%. The evidence all points to the water cycle having a net negative feedfack not an absurdly positive feedback. Compare the mean annual temperature of wet and dry climates at the same latitude & elevation and the dry climate always has the higher mean annual temperature. To me that’s pretty frickin’ compelling evidence that when the earth sweats its surface cools just like evolution gave you sweat glands to cool yourself with instead of sand glands. QED

• Good catch Mosh.

When the refugees from WUWT show up here, they invariably embarrass themselves.

• Eunice

And which temperature data set are you invoking that has a global estimate for 1750?

• Eunice

And wouldn’t 1750 be a particularly bad starting point?

• Bill Illis

Steven Mosher | April 29, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
2.29 W/m2 is the FREAKING TOTAL since 1750.
————

You have no idea what you are talking about it.

It is 2.29 W/m2 net forcing in 2013.

The accumulating total is something like 170 X10^22 joules since 1955 which can be compared to the 19 X10^22 joules which have accumulated in the 0-2000 ocean and the 2 X10^22 joules which have accumulated in the land, ice-melt and atmosphere. 150 10^22 joules is missing.

• Eunice

The satellite era gives us this:

http://climatewatcher.webs.com/TCR.html

1.6C for a CO2 doubling.

Luke-warmers win. Again.

• Pierre-Normand

“You have no idea what you are talking about it.

It is 2.29 W/m2 net forcing in 2013.”

What is a “net” forcing? A positive radiative imbalance is caused by a positive change in forcing. The immediate result of to this imbalance is an accumulation of heat in the system and, eventually, a change in surface temperature. The change in surface temperature tends to restore the radiative balance through compensating the forcing change. But the forcing change isn’t cancelled by the warming, or else the imbalance would be reversed, the oceans would cool, and temperature would eventually fall back down.

So, the total forcing change over some period doesn’t determine the net energy gain in the climate system. It is the current imbalance at any time that determines the rate of energy gain and this imbalance is a function *both* of the forcing and of surface (and troposphere) temperature.

• Pierre-Normand

“The exponentially increasing negative feedback is called the Planck response.”
It’s a fourth power response, so it’s not exponential. And it has no bearing on climate sensitivity since it’s implicit in the definition of a radiative forcing change that the magnitude of the forcing just is the magnitude of the Plank response (measured at the top of the atmosphere) required to exactly balance the forcing change (assuming no other feedback).

• manacker

Jim D

No. It’s not the “Lindzen trick” of ignoring aerosols.

It’s the old “IPCC trick” of stating that the forcing from aerosols and that from other GHGs beside CO2 cancel one another out, so that the total anthropogenic forcing equals the forcing from CO2.

Max

• Generalissimo Skippy

The exponentially increasing negative feedback is called the Planck response.

• Pierre-Normand

“‘Mathematics . a symbol or number placed above and after another symbol or number to denote the power to which the latter is to be raised: The exponents of the quantities x n , 2 m , y 4 , and 3 5 are, respectively, n, m, 4, and 5. ‘”

Well, more customarily mathematicians would distinguish of power function (e.g. f(x) = x^n) from an exponential function (e.g. f(x) = n^x). A constant exponent doesn’t an exponential make as Yoda would say. But nothing really hangs on this. I was quibbling over your use of “exponential” to qualify a polynomial growth (of which a fourth power growth is a special case).

“It is applicable to not having runaway feedbacks – which you entirely misunderstood.”

The greenhouse gas effect is runaway on Venus. The Planck response makes it possible that surface temperature will grow until the TOA balance is restored after the forcing has changed and the other climate feedbacks have kicked in. It doesn’t prevent that strongly positive radiative feedbacks could cause the oceans to boil away — which is the definition of a runaway climate feedback.

• Generalissimo Skippy

‘Mathematics . a symbol or number placed above and after another symbol or number to denote the power to which the latter is to be raised: The exponents of the quantities x n , 2 m , y 4 , and 3 5 are, respectively, n, m, 4, and 5. ‘

Exponential gives an idea of the form of the response – T^4 in the Steffen-Boltzmann equation. Although this is strictly an approximation not quite applicable to the real world.

It is applicable to not having runaway feedbacks – which you entirely misunderstood. In general you are showing yourself to have very little depth of knowledge and a great facility in inventing wrong concepts.

I left a couple of references somewhere else in this post. I suggest you go back and understand the basics first – and there may then be the basis for a more interesting discussion.

• Pierre-Normand

There is no runaway amplification. All the individual feedbacks, either positive or negative, provide a finite amount of amplification or dampening of the initial response. If the net feedback is positive, it’s still finite, and not runaway.

• Jim Zuccaro

Pierre-Normand “… Forcings and imbalances are difficult to measure. But the issue here only is an issue about definitions. ….”

I think I understand.The ‘forcing change’ vs ‘change in forcing’ is a little ambiguous to me. I think that we would all like to *just* integrate the radiation imbalance over time to find net heat increase..

For me, I understand that atmospheric CO2 slows heat loss, and does increase the mean temperature of the earth. I am trying to find from these arguments how the ‘runaway’ amplification occurs.

• steven

Aerosols are easy. Just show a correlation between where they are produced and the regional warming. Be famous since as far as I know you’d be the first. Of course if you can’t that would be an indication they are overrated.

• Jim D

The 2.3 W/m2 includes a fairly uncertain estimate of the change in aerosol forcing since 1750. The IPCC transient sensitivity is 1.0-2.5 C per doubling, which would give warming in the range 0.6-1.5 C for this forcing change, so 0.8 C is in their range.

• Pierre-Normand

“What you write is difficult to quantify, for me. Is there a mathematical description of this?”
Forcings and imbalances are difficult to measure. But the issue here only is an issue about definitions. I was responding to someone who expected that a forcing change over a long period should translate into a equal rate of heat accumulation into the oceans in the present. This is a confusion about the definition of a forcing change. It confuses it with the temporary imbalance that follows a change in forcing, and that, unlike the forcing change itself, tends to be restored after the surface and troposphere temperatures adjust. Notice that David Springer didn’t make that error so you can refer back to his post if you think it’s less convoluted than mine.

• Jim Zuccaro

Pierre-Normand “Yes, there might be a significant increase in negative aerosol forcing since 1750. But this calculation also fails to account for the lagged response in ocean surface warming and thus underestimates the effect from the water vapor feedback.”

Yes. Water vapor has a short half-life, 10 or 20 days, no? Then what; heat loss when it precipitates? It is all conducted to the air, and no radiation loss? It is a faster conveyor belt of heat, but to where?

It seems to me that water vapor transporting heat towards the poles is a very big deal. The arctic is warmer than it would be if the earth didn’t have three phases of water in the ocean and troposphere, it seems to me.

• Jim Zuccaro

Jim D “This is the old Lindzen trick of forgetting the aerosols. I think his reasoning was that we don’t know the aerosol effect, so let’s set it to zero.”

So do we have any estimation of pre-industrial aerosols? Are you not just introducing a variable that has a current value, but unknown prior value?

Thanks,

• Jim D

I see now that 2.3 W/m2 includes aerosols, so this is not the Lindzen calculation that came up with a similar result. Yes, 0.5 W/m2 imbalance gives 1.6 C, but if it is 1 W/m2 you get 2.3 C. Note also that this is a transient response since the tropical areas have not yet provided their full water vapor feedback, so it underestimates the equilibrium response. Taking periods starting since 1950, you get numbers in excess of 2 C per doubling as a transient rate.

• Pierre-Normand

Yes, there might be a significant increase in negative aerosol forcing since 1750. But this calculation also fails to account for the lagged response in ocean surface warming and thus underestimates the effect from the water vapor feedback.

• Jim D

This is the old Lindzen trick of forgetting the aerosols. I think his reasoning was that we don’t know the aerosol effect, so let’s set it to zero.

• Jim Zuccaro

David Springer “If 2.3 Watts is total forcing since 1750 and there’s a 0.5W imbalance remaining at TOA then T4 temperature rise has gone 1.8W towards equilibrium. So deltaF is 1.8W. DeltaT since 1750 is given as 0.8C in most series I’m aware of.

Total change in temperature = 0.8C. Total change in forcing = 1.8W
lambda = dT/dF = .44

With a climate sensitivity to all forcing we can calculate the sensitivity
to doubling C02

lambda = .44
Forcing from doubling C02 = 3.71

Sensitivity to doubling = 1.6C per doubling”

David Springer has this correct. Important, I think!

66. David Springer

“However, changes in temperature at the surface can occur due to a vertical redistribution of heat not necessarily due to an accumulation of heat (McNider et al. 2012), site location issues (Pielke et al. 2007; Fall et al. 2011),”

Correct. And keep in mind the distribution of heat goes beyond the atmosphere and into the crust. Geothermal gradient is about 25C/kilometer. Dig a shaft a several miles deep and it gets hot enough to boil water at the base of it. Or cover an earth-like planet with a molten core with 90 bar of CO2 and the surface gets hot enough to melt tin.

67. Steven Mosher – You write with respect to the comment

“IPCC AR5 says we are up to +2.29 W/m2/year now but only 0.5 W/m2/year is showing up.”

that

2.29 W/m2 is the FREAKING TOTAL since 1750.

FREAKING TOTAL.. not per year.

The value 2.29 W/m2 is a flux. It is not a “total”.

Roger Sr.

• Pierre-Normand

Roger Sr. wrote “The value 2.29 W/m2 is a flux. It is not a “total”.”

You are missing the point Mosher is making. Someone mentioned that the CO2 forcing is 2.29W/m^2 whereas the flux of heat going into the oceans is much smaller that that. But the two fluxes only can be expected to be very close immediately after a new forcing change has occurred (and the stratosphere has cooled — in the CO2 case) but before the surface and troposphere have warmed to restore the TOA balance.

Hence 2.29W/m^2 just is the total radiative imbalance that *would* occur at the top of the atmosphere *if* the forcing change since 1750 has not been partially cancelled by any surface warming. But since there already has occurred a surface warming of 0.8°C (for whatever reason) then the remaining heat flux into the oceans represents the fraction of the forcing change since 1750 that has not yet been cancelled by surface warming and/or albedo changes.

68. manacker

With due respect to the authors of this lead post, here is my assessment of why we are looking for an “alternative method to assess global warming”>

Empowered by the politically motivated forced consensus process of the IPCC, climatologists sitting behind their computers in a virtual world began spinning a story of impending manmade global warming and high tides, which would lead in the future to more violent storms, heat waves, floods, droughts, famines, extinctions of species, climate related mass migrations, increased social unrest and pestilence – unless humanity changed its wasteful ways and stopped its use of fossil-fuel based energy.

These imaginary hobgoblins were trumpeted incessantly in the sensationalist media and by self-proclaimed saviors of the planet, until a significant minority of the populace began to actually believe the story of impending man-made climate doom.

Billions of taxpayer dollars were being spent to keep the story alive and to support industries and environmental lobby groups, which fed on the hysteria.

Politicians were licking their chops at the prospect of being able to tax their constituents for their energy use and thereby gain control of the energy market as well as gain revenues for pet projects and to reward supporters.

Man-made global warming as a potential threat to humanity and our environment became the politically correct position to take – doubters were compared to “flat earthers” and holocaust deniers.

The “science was settled”.

But then there was the embarrassing exposure of rampant data control and manipulation plus bogus claims of disaster by the IPCC.

To make matters worse, Mother Nature stepped in to bring in a dose of reality with an end to the global warming trend and record cold winters across much of North America and northern Eurasia. A “travesty”.

Now the IPCC supporters, who have an existential need to keep the story alive, are looking for rationalizations to explain why it is still warming despite the message from all those thermometers out there that it is not. These include various explanations from Chinese aerosols to unexpected (but temporary) natural variability. Melting Arctic sea ice is used as evidence that AGW is still going on, while growing Antarctic sea ice is swept under the table as statistically insignificant.

The discussion is shifted to related hobgoblins, such as “ocean acidification”

And included to explain the “missing heat” is ocean warming.

As the authors of the lead post indicate, using ocean warming as an alternative metric to assess global warming (once we really have some extended real-life data) could become a two-edged sword for those promoting the IPCC story: first by providing physical evidence that the model-derived 2xCO2 climate sensitivity cited by IPCC is grossly exaggerated and second by demonstrating that the ocean acts as a natural “negative feedback” to AGW.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as we start to get some extended (hopefully un-manipulated) data from ARGO.

Max

• Bob Ludwick

@ manaker

Pretty good summary of the CAGW industry, which is a self-licking ice cream cone made up of progressive politicians, progressive climate scientists, and progressive ‘green’ organizations.

Of course what often gets lost in the shuffle is the fact that the only EMPIRICAL catastrophes that can be directly attributed to Anthropogenic CO2 (ACO2) are the results of policies imposed by fiat to CONTROL ACO2 rather than any variations in climate that can unambiguously be attributed to ACO2, which so far total zero.

• Jim Cripwell

Very elegant Max, but rather long. I prefer my analogy, that I wrote to John Carpenter.

They are rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

69. The SSTs are the best metric for measuring global temperature trends. We should really be measuring the entropy of the system and SSTs trend closely with entropy whereas the land temperatures do not. Introducing radiative forcing into the warming estimates merely increases the uncertainty of any measurements and essentially continues the IPCC method of modelling which is inherently useless for making useful forecasts.
It is of interest however to estimate changes in the OHC using the latest ARGO data. The best estimate of recent OHC trends can be found in
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/OHCA_1950_2011_final.pdf
This shows in Table1 that ocean warming reported as heat flux applied to Earth’s entire surface area (in W m-2) corresponding to trends in annual REP OHCA dropped 90% when 1983- 2011 is compared with 2004 – 2011 for the 0-100 meter depth with lesser though still large decreases when calculated from 0-300 and 0-700 m levels. In short the oceans are cooling from the top down as might be expected on a cooling planet.
With the AR5 reports it is now abundantly clear that the IPCC modelling method provides no basis for any useful discussion of future climate or its impacts. A new approach to forecasting is required. For forecasts of the probable coming cooling based on the natural 60 and 1000 year quasi-periodicities in the temperature data and using the neutron count and 10Be record as a proxy for solar activity see several posts over the last 18 months at
http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

70. Rather than never knowing snow again as global warming alarmists were predicting, the Western world’s children will know hefty amounts of it. We’ll all boast of new records. We will talk about the massive depth of it and the mind-boggling extent of it; and, the prodigious amounts of hail, whopping amounts of plow-grinding snow, and the maximum extent of polar ice: an immense white panorama increasing terrestrial albedo, reflecting away most of the sunlight.

71. Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
‘The ocean…is by far the dominate reservoir of climate system heat changes’. An exclusive from Climate Etc.

• The Science debate has evolved and expanded into a serious threat to society, without the statesmanship needed to resolve and end the threat.

It is time to accept Reality: Many fields of science were compromised after 1945 – astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, . . . nuclear, particle, planetary, solar, theoretical physics, etc.

1. Fear of nuclear annihilation drove this alliance of scientists and world leaders to deceive the public in 1945.

2. Fear of retaliation now prevents them from admitting the structure of post-1945 government science was bent to hide the source of energy in cores of:

1. Heavy atoms like Uranium
2. Some planets like Jupiter
3. Ordinary stars like the Sun
4. Galaxies like the Milky Way

Deniers cannot be defeated but they cannot win the battle. World leaders and their army of scientists cannot be defeated and they cannot win the war without destroying large segments of society and perhaps themselves.

Can WE solve this dilemma?

72. This is not an alternative approach; it is the same mainstream science and no difference. I wonder how far this science will go against an overwhelming number of engineering textbooks that have passed the test of time and accepted by seven billion people. The greenhouse gas effect does not exist in engineering. Radiation within the atmospheric air does not exist either. The lapse rate equation is an equality between variations of enthalpy and potential energy. No radiation terms exist in the lapse rate equation. Since air is the same in all cases, how come mainstream science and this alternative science is so different than engineering or atmospheric textbooks?

• Generalissimo Skippy

The enhanced greenhouse effect is not dependent on the lapse rate. .

73. Generalissimo Skippy said: ”Don’t forget that it cools at night Stefan – thus I refute them”
.
Hi Chief, would you believe that: there are winds at night also – horizontal winds cool the surface – ”vertical winds” cool the planet.

all those winds are made from oxygen & nitrogen

Happy Easter Chief!

74. Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

I fail to see the point of your thought experiment with a cylinder of gas.

I am an unbeliever in the greenhouse theory, and I point out that a concrete block, a cylinder containing any type of gas, a cylinder of compressed carbon dioxide at 30 bar, and a cylinder of carbon dioxide at 1 bar, will all be in thermal equilibrium in a room held at a constant temperature, within a relative short time.

What is it that I cannot get my head around? What has this to do with the non existent greenhouse effect and climate change?

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Little Flynnie boy doesn’t understand statistical mechanics. It’s so cute seeing him get flustered.

… and this

Wow, even WUWT is posting warnings about the misguided nonsense that people like Flynn are promoting. I never thought I would see that.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Else that would mean that different transparent gas enclosures filled with different gases left in the sunlight would reach different equilibrium temperatures according to the emissivity of the enclosed gasses. Do you really believe that?

If you have a volume of gas – say the troposphere – with IR passing through it in one direction and you add more say CO2 then the volume will warm. This is simple enough. Some people talk about insulation but I don’t much like climate metaphors.

Instead you invent some other elaborate scenario. What is the your point?

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

Indeed. And in the absence of a heat source, say at night when the sun isn’t shining, what happens then? Cooling or warming? Faster or slower?

Sorry, still no global warming.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

The only point of this example is to show that it is false to presume that merely increasing the emissivity of the troposphere (e.g. through increasing the CO2 concentration), while maintaining the surface temperature constant, would cause its temperature to rise. That’s all. It just provides a counter-example to a specific claim.

• I laugh at little Flynnie because he can’t comprehend the thermal properties of the radiative spectrum.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

Going back to your thought experiment, do you think that emissivity makes any difference to thermal equilibrium?

For example, if you polish one cylinder of CO2 at 30 bar to a highly reflective surface, and coat another one with carbon black, why would they be at different temperatures? They must be the same temperature, if your room maintains a constant temperature.

Have I missed something here? I still don’t get your point. How does this relate to the supposed greenhouse effect?

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Mike Flynn

WebHubTelescope,

Laughter doesn’t seem to have any negative side effects, so laugh away. It is preferable to being miserable.

I think you are making stuff up, as they say.

I am reasonably certain you can’t even define the nonsense term you use. What is the rigorous scientific definition of the thermal properties of the radiative spectrum?

You might wish to keep laughing while you are trying to work out a useful definition. Even more so if you repeat your earlier statement about CO2 having magical photonic properties. I certainly get a laugh out of it!

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“I still don’t get your point.”

The point only was to provide a counter example to GS’s false claim. Nothing else. You may think it’s pointless to refute false claims. Maybe in some cases it is.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

It appears I am confused, and misunderstood. Rather than chase up and down the thread, I’ll just apologise. Sorry.

I’m a bit of a driveby refuter myself, I suppose, as well as an unbeliever. I don’t think anybody has used refuter as an epithet to apply to me, but it probably won’t be long.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Generalissimo Skippy

We have a thought experiment that purports to show that increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere doesn’t raise the temperature? Flynn must be right after all.

• Mike Flynn

Generalissimo Skippy,

Thank you. Of course I’m right. Why would you think otherwise?

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“More IR down reduces the IR loss from the oceans and they warm until the losses increase again. It is the thermal inertia of the oceans that perpetuates the radiant imbalance.”

You got this part right.

• David Springer

More IR down decreases the IR loss from the ocean but it increases evaporation and latent heat loss.

See if you can find an experiment showing precisely how much IR loss slows and how much evaporation increases per unit of power increase at 10 micrometer wavelength. IR at that frequency is absorbed by water within the first few micrometers of its surface which drives evaporation without changing the bulk temperature.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

Unfortunately, you cannot produce a real experiment to demonstrate the greenhouse effect, because it doesn’t exist. You can’t even produce a decent thought experiment to show the greenhouse effect, because it doesn’t exist.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, the Earth doesn’t seem to be warming, does it?

It seems to have cooled over the last four and a half billion years, as well. It doesn’t look like reversing that trend anytime soon, but I could be wrong. Time will tell.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“It seems to have cooled over the last four and a half billion years, as well.”

Hasn’t it warmed a bit from 15,000 until 8,000 years ago?

• Generalissimo Skippy

Warming of the atmosphere is almost instantaneous as a result of increased scattering of IR photons with increased concentration of greenhouse gases. Indeed – CO2 cools from very high temperatures to the new ambient temperature. Scattering involves potential energy and temperature kinetic. Electrons will move between orbits and molecules will vibrate. Both will happen simultaneously in a volume.

More IR down reduces the IR loss from the oceans and they warm until the losses increase again. It is the thermal inertia of the oceans that perpetuates the radiant imbalance. An imbalance – btw – that is lost in the large signal of natural variability.

It is not about the basics – which you continue to get wrong – but about much more complex issues once you move beyond the basics.

• Mike Flynn

Pierre-Normand,

Not at all. What would give you the idea that anybody could measure the Earth’s heat content or global surface temperature 8000 years ago? Nobody can do it accurately now, even with a lot of thermometers, remote sensing from satellites and so on.

Anybody who claims the globe magically heats and cools, (apart from the sort of cooling you get if you stand in the shade, and the warming that follows when you step back into the sunlight), is deluded. As I say, the magical greenhouse effect can’t be demonstrated, in spite of the vast amounts spent on so called research.

You can’t find experimental evidence of an effect that doesn’t exist, and neither can anybody else. If you have faith, facts don’t count. That seems to be part of the Warmist creed, but what would I know? I’m not a Warmist.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Pierre-Normand

“We have a thought experiment that purports to show that increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere doesn’t raise the temperature? Flynn must be right after all.”

The enhanced greenhouse effect doesn’t *directly* cause an increase of the temperature of the troposphere. It creates an imbalance that causes the surface to gain heat until it eventually warm. As the surface warms, so does the troposphere.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Yet despite getting the concept of exponential wrong – showing very cursory maths training – you have at least seen the S-B formula. It remains the fact that potential and kinetic energies change simultaneously as statistical mechanics insists it must.

• Pierre-Normand

“Yet despite getting the concept of exponential wrong”

T^4 isn’t an exponential function of temperature. Please, Google “exponential function” and “exponential growth”. Compare “polynomial growth” and “power function”.

” – showing very cursory maths training – you have at least seen the S-B formula. It remains the fact that potential and kinetic energies change simultaneously as statistical mechanics insists it must.”

The temperature of a gas enclosure (or liquid or solid) will equilibrate with the constant temperature of its surrounding irrespective of its emissivity. Increasing the CO2 concentration of the gas changes its emissivity, not its temperature. It will warm *faster* as a result of an increased emissivity, though, if it isn’t already in thermal equilibrium with the warmer surrounding. If increasing the CO2 concentration in the whole atmosphere creates an instantaneous forcing at the tropopause, then an imbalance will occur. There will be a tendency for the troposphere to warm (though convection will mostly cancel that) but that’s because the tropopause will not be in thermal equilibrium anymore with the surface, stratosphere and solar fluxes — not because of the increased amount of scattering. Else that would mean that different transparent gas enclosures filled with different gases left in the sunlight would reach different equilibrium temperatures according to the emissivity of the enclosed gasses. Do you really believe that?

• Pierre-Normand

I meant to say: “…but that’s because the tropo[sphere] will not be in thermal equilibrium anymore with the surface, stratosphere and solar fluxes…”

• Pierre-Normand

“Not at all. What would give you the idea that anybody could measure the Earth’s heat content or global surface temperature 8000 years ago?”

How about until now then? Don’t you believe the Earth surface now is warmer than it was in the middle of the last glacial period some 22,000 years ago when sea levels were some 130m lower than now? If the Earth surface was colder back then, then surely it must have warmed at some point?

75. Pierre-Normand – We agree that some of the radiative forcing in past years has been accommodated by a surface temperature increase, The radiative forcing as we add more CO2 today is certainly less than the difference between 1750 and now. We estimated this in our post.

The IPCC failed to address this, leaving the impression (as they did in the 2007 report), that the current radiative forcing from added CO2 remains the larger value. Steve’s comment did not properly address this.

Roger Sr.

• Roger Pielke – Your emphasis on OHC change as a metric deserves attention. I’m not sure, however, that your conclusion that the radiative imbalance “is significantly less than the sum of the global average radiative forcings and feedbacks” accurately captures the totality of the data you present. That conclusion was based on the 1950 forcing estimate (0.57 Wm-2). Suppose, however, we do the same calculation using the 1980 estimate of 1.25 Wm-2. This is convenient, since the temperature rise since 1980 is almost the same as the rise since 1950 or 1955 – about 0.6C. Using the same value for what you refer to as “feedback” (I prefer the term “radiative restoring”), -1.21 Wm-2/K, we get as a residual forcing 2.29 – 1.25 = 1.04 Wm-2. Subtracting the radiative restoring (-1.21 x 0.6 = -0.73) yields a calculated imbalance of only 0.31 Wm-2 as opposed to the 0.99 Wm-2 based on the 1950 data. In other words, the IPCC estimated imbalance of 0.71 Wm-2 is “significantly less” than one of the sums you mention, as you state, but significantly greater than the other – the disparity is not in one direction only. If we arbitrarily “split the difference” by averaging the two forcings, the estimated imbalance comes out to 0.65 Wm-2, similar to the IPCC estimate.

It’s certainly true that we need more and better OHC data, but in my view, an even greater problem lies in the difficulty of arriving at accurate forcing estimates. My sense is that the 2.29 Wm-2 forcing since 1750 is an overestimate that fails to account fully for the counteracting negative forcing from aerosols, but that’s a matter for a different discussion.

• Generalissimo Skippy

Climate is an emergent state that integrates all ‘forcings’ internally through the interactions of powerful sub-systems.

The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional,
change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the
norm.

http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/global/pdf/pep/Rial2004.NonlinearitiesCC.pdf

The notion of radiative imbalance exists as a result of thermal inertia in the oceans – but this seems well and truly subsumed in the large signal in TOA radiant flux of natural variability. Ocean heat content follows quite closely changes in net outgoing radiation.

The question of a radiant imbalance is an obvious one – but the ubiquitous problem of distinguishing this against a large and very variable – including abrupt shifts and multiple equilibria – climate signal at TOA persists. Gross oversimplification and back of the envelope calculations notwithstanding.

• Pierre-Normand

Thanks Roger Sr,

However notice that Steve’s comment didn’t need to address that point. It wasn’t directed at you. It was a response to Bill Illis who had said that “IPCC AR5 says we are up to +2.29 W/m2/year now but only 0.5 W/m2/year is showing up.”

76. Just trying to see if I can make WordPress to get my name right – sorry for the distraction.

77. Mike Flynn

WebHubTelescope,

No fluster on my side. I’m far too indolent for that. Possibly a little bluster on your side, but we shall see.

I haven’t got the faintest idea of what you mean by statistical mechanics. Can you elucidate for me, please?

If you perchance are trying to insinuate that using statistical classical mechanics to draw a useful conclusion from a chaotic system, you are doomed to failure. I detect the subtle influence of a Warmist editor – about as subtle as a train crash, actually – on a relevant Wikipedia entry, so I trust you are not using any of that to support your contention.

By the by, I assume you have linked to something in your post, but no links show up.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Flynn admits that he has not ” got the faintest idea of what you mean by statistical mechanics”, and yet here he is commenting on an atmospheric sciences blog associated with a tech university.

I suggest that Flynn submit an application to Georgia Tech to enroll in a scientific curriculum. Then he can get all the links he wants to learn about statistical mechanics.

• Mike Flynn

WebHubTelescope,

Not at all. You haven’t specified which branch of statistical mechanics you refer to. Possibly you think there is no difference, but people who understand such things – even possibly including me – would be inclined to require a little more specificity before attempting to give an answer.

Warmists sometimes tend to assume that anything not adhering to Warmist orthodoxy either doesn’t exist, or is irrelevant.

So which branch of statistical mechanics are referring to? I can think of at least three, with another one which has only a tenuous claim to separatism, in my view.

You seem to be either unwilling or unable to define what you mean, but this is a normal Warmist ploy to muddy the waters.

I thank you for suggestion as to how I should spend my spare time. Unless your suggestions are accompanied but suitable amount of cash, you will understand why I treat them with the disdain they so richly deserve.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

78. Pierre-Normand – Thank you for clarifying. The IPCC is remarkably silent on what is the current radiative imbalance and how it fits with estimates of the current radiative forcings and feedbacks. This should have been a priority in the assessment. We offered our analysis of this in our post, and notice that no one has refuted it.

Best Regards

Roger Sr.

• Pierre-Normand

“We offered our analysis of this in our post, and notice that no one has refuted it.”

That’s a very fair point. I’ll have a closer look at it since I very much like your approach but am puzzled by the way you are treating the ongoing imbalance and the Planck response. I’ll comment back in a couple days.

• Pierre-Normand

Roger Sr.,
I went through your calculation and I have two issues.

For purpose of calculating GAARFB you are using the 2.99W/°Km2 from Wielicki et al. 2013. I haven’t read that paper but it’s easy to calculate that such a value for the climate feedbacks yields a sensitivity of 3.05°K per CO2 doubling equivalent (assuming 3.7W/m2 forcing from a CO2 doubling). Hence your result purports to show that the radiative imbalance (from Levitus et al.) only is half what one would expect if climate sensitivity were 3.05°K. Though this is the middle of the range for IPCC estimates of ECS, I think a 2°C TCR is a better point of comparison for the climate response to the forcing change since 1955. I also think the IPCC projections for 2100 are based on models that have a TCR response closer to 2°C/CO2 doubling in that time frame than to the full equilibrium response.

If we calculate the expected imbalance with a climate feedback value of 2.35W/Km2, which corresponds to a TCS of 2°C/CO2 doubling, then, for a 0.6°C temperature rise, we get a resulting imbalance of just 0.61W/m2.

My second issue concerns your tacit assumption that the current imbalance that you calculate ought to reflect the average imbalance over the 1955-2010 period. This is the 0.39W/m2 from Levitus et al. (2012). But your GAARI = GAARF + GARFB equation only is valid for the value of those parameters at any point in time (or as yearly averages over specific years). It would also hold exactly over the whole period, since it is linear, if you would average *all* the terms. But what you do is average only GAARI while using the end values for the right hand side of the equation. It is however to be expected that — (assuming as you do, for simplicity, that there is no significant imbalance in 1955) — as the forcing increases, the imbalance will not immediately jump to its average value over the whole period that ends in 2010. Rather, it will grow progressively and can be expected to be higher at the end of the period than its average value. Indeed the estimates of the increase in ocean heat content over recent periods 1990 until 2008 might have ranged from 0.46 to 0.73W/m2 +- 0.16W/m2 (Nuccitelli et al. 2012).

So, the observed recent imbalance seems to be fully consistent — indeed in the middle of the uncertainty range — with what one would expect if the TCS were 2.0°K/CO2 doubling.

79. fredmoolten – Thank you for the feedback. Even if we accept the 0.65 Wm-2 value, it is still well less than what the models are predicting (e. g .see http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/1116592hansen.pdf from Jim Hansen). This issue should have been a high priority in the IPCC WG1 assessment but it was not.

Best Regards

Roger Sr.

• Pierre-Normand

Yes, gases that are allowed to expand have this amazing property that they never warm when warmed and never cool when cooled. Reading this blog is so instructive.

• Roger A. Pielke Sr. | May 2, 2014 at 1:50 pm said: ” Even if we accept the 0.65 Wm-2 value”

Roger, ANY ”value” is irrelevant; when everybody ignores that: ”oxygen & nitrogen are regulating the overall temp in the atmosphere – horizontal and vertical winds speed up when is warmer than normal / or anomaly in temp – all other ”predictions” are only part of the religion.

O2&N2 are 998999ppm in the atmosphere – by the ”normal” laws of physics, they are and always did regulated the temp, by INSTANTLY expanding wen warmed and INSTANTLY shrink, when cooled:: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/climate/

the truth will win on the end!!!

• Generalissimo Skippy

No refutation? Really? ARGO shows both warming and cooling – CERES shows changes both SW and IR not related to anthropogenic changes. The indications are that the ‘radiative imbalance’ is neither constant (or even constantly positive) and that the energy dynamic is vastly different than the IPCC forcings suggest.