Climate sensitivity: Ringberg edition

by Judith Curry

Presentations are now available  from the WCRP Workshop on Earth’s Climate Sensitivity.

The website for the Workshop is [here].   Several articles on the Workshop have been written:

Gavin Schmidt writes:

There were two major themes that emerged across a lot of the discussions: the stability of the basic ‘energy balance’ equation  that defines the sensitivity; and the challenge of estimating cloud feedbacks from process-based understanding. The connection occurs because the clouds are the cause of the biggest variation in sensitivity across GCMs. 

Roz Pidcock’s article discusses some broader topics related to climate sensitivity, including the Workshop.  Links to new publications that are  discussed:

  • Equilibrium climate sensitivity in light of observations over the warming hiatus, by Johansson, O’Niell, Tebaldi & Haggstrom [link]
  • Clouds, circulation and climate sensitivity, by Bony, Stevens, Frierson, Jakob, Kageyama, Pincus, Shepherd, Sherwood, Siebesma, Sobel, Watanable, Webb [link]

The punchline of Pidcock’s article is evident from the title: Climate sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 2C, say scientists.

Re Bjorn Stevens’ paper on aerosol forcing (discussed in a post by Nic Lewis).  Media Matters reports:  Climate Scientist: No, My Study is Not a Death Blow to Global Warming Hysteria, based on letter written by Bjorn Stevens.   The title of Bjorn Stevens’ talk at Ringberg sums up his take on the subject: Some (not yet entirely convincing) reasons why 2<ECS<3.5.

Andrew Montford tweets:  “Alarmism has taken a beating” is equivalent to BS’s “highest estimates look less likely”.

So, am I buying the conclusion that climate sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 2C?  In a word, NO.

Here are some interesting items I was able to glean from the Ringberg presentations.  Note, only a few of the presentations really ‘worked’ as stand-alone documents; I may have very well missed some important points made at the meeting since they weren’t clear in the ppt presentations.  A list of publications is provided on the Ringberg web site; presumably more can be gleaned from these publications.

Evaluating the methods

Hegerl et al.:  What observed climate change can and can’t tell about transient and equilibrium sensitivity.

Punchline: A good overview presentation. Natural variability influences ECS and TCR estimates.  No robust contradiction between observational and model estimates, given uncertainties.  Observed climate change provides good lower limits, but cannot reliably set an upper limit particularly for ECS until we address nonlinearities and structural model problems.

Andrews, Webb and Gregory: Feedbacks, their inconstancy and dependence on SST patterns

Punchline:  Feedbacks are very sensitive to warming patterns: can get ECS values from 1.3 to 5C just by changing the warming pattern in a climate model.  May expelling differences between observational and climate model estimates.

Armour:  Robust increase in effective climate sensitivity with transient warming

Punchline: CMIP5 models show a robust increase in climate sensitivity over time.  Estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity based on observed global energy constraints should be viewed as a lower bound.

Golaz and Zhao: Tuning the indirect effect; engineering the climate sensitivity: What should modelers do with these newly found powers?

Punchline:  To some extent, magnitude of aerosol indirect effect is tunable, and climate sensitivity can be engineered.  Can we build modes that represent the 20th century with different combinations of forcing and sensitivity? Eg. high sensitivity, strong indirect effect; low sensitivity weak indirect effect.

Gregory et al: The inconstancy of the climate feedback parameter

Punchline: Ocean heat uptake efficiency declines with time.  TCR in the historical period may underestimate future CO2 forced warming.  Climate sensitivity to volcanic forcing may be smaller than for CO2 forcing, and the sensitivity may be smaller for larger forcing.  Volcanic forcing may be overestimated in magnitude by the AR5 forcing because of cloud adjustments.

Nic Lewis:  Pitfalls in climat sensitivity estimation

Punchline: Problems – overstrong aerosols, bad priors, AMO influence.  Most CMIP5 models have excessive TCR and ECS.


Church et al.: Ocean heat uptake during the Argo period

Punchline: The Argo Array provides high-quality, global coverage to 2000m, from about 2006.  Beware of biases from historical data bases.  Interannual fluctuations in upper 500 m; deeper warming trend.  Heat uptake in mid-latitudes, particularly the southern hemisphere. The majority of the heat uptake occurs south of 20S, with about the same amount of heat in the upper 500 m and 500-2000 m.  The majority of the heat is stored south of 20S.

Fasullo: Understanding sea level as a constraint on climate variability and sensitivity.

Punchline: Sea level reconstructions suggest that the Grand Hiatus (1945-1975) was not forced. Interpreting climate sensitivity from the instrumental record depends critically on separating forced changes from internal variability.  Assumptions regarding internal variability are key, model dependent, and challenging to validate.

Kosaka et al.  Earth’s energy budget in the presence of internal variability

Punchline:  During hiatus, net incoming energy decreases instead of accelerates (the traditional energy equation predicts the latter).  Observed ocean heat content tendency is consistent with the internal variability hypothesis of the hiatus.

Latif et al.:  The challenge of validating climate models

Interesting points:  If anything an enhanced equatorial SST gradient and Walker circulation has been observed during the past 50 years.  Southern Ocean internal centennial variability impacts global surface air temperature and Antarctic sea ice. The surface Southern Ocean cools, while the abyssal Southern Ocean warms.


Bony: Do climate models overestimate cloud feedbacks?

Interesting points:  There is evidence for an Iris effect . . . but not for a negative cloud feedback associated with it (so far).  Could a change in convective organization with temperature affect this feedback?  Remains to be investigated.

Bengtsson:  What are the best temperature data to use in estimating climate sensitivity?

Interesting points:  The variance in cloud feedbacks fc is almost twice as large as the net feedback fnet. This suggests that the other feedbacks compensate for variability in fc.  Tuning climate sensitivity to lie within the observed spread across models is a sufficient explanation for the origin of compensation between fc and the other feedbacks.  There is no reason to assume that climate sensitivity is a ‘constant of nature’ as it depends fully on the physical behavior of the climate system and changes in feedback structure.

JC note:  there were several additional presentations that addressed clouds at the process level.

Structural uncertainty

I was particularly hopeful for some fundamental papers that addressed structural uncertainty of the methods used to determine sensitivity.  Several presentations mention structural uncertainty, but I didn’t get much out of any of them:

JC reflections

I was hopeful for insights into 3 topics:

  • lower bounds for ECS/TCR
  • upper bounds for ECS/TCR
  • ideas for new structural models for ECS/TCR determination

It seems like the community at the workshop is resisting ECS<2 (other than of course Nic Lewis).  Not much at all was said about inferences of upper bounds, although the ‘consensus’ seems to be creeping downwards (to 3.5 or 4.0, from and AR5 value of 4.5). Hegerl correctly states that we cannot reliably set an upper limit particularly for ECS until we address nonlinearities and structural model problems.

Re structural uncertainty, it is good to see the community acknowledging the confounding factor of natural internal variability, inconstancy of the feedback parameter, inconstancy of ocean heat uptake, sensitivity of feedbacks to spatial warming patterns, aerosols as a tuning factor for sensitivity.  In light of these structural uncertainties, I find it inappropriate to state any conclusion regarding climate sensitivity with anything greater than ‘low confidence’.

The ocean presentations were quite interesting and all of them work reasonably well as stand alone presentations.

Bottom line is that I don’t see anything here that makes me want to question my recent assessment on this topic: Climate sensitivity – lopping off the fat tail.


262 responses to “Climate sensitivity: Ringberg edition

  1. For goodness’ sake, can’t they save everyone time and just count th angels?

  2. There is no reason to assume that climate sensitivity is a ‘constant of nature’ as it depends fully on the physical behavior of the climate system and changes in feedback structure.

    As I’ve often said: “Climate sensitivity” is a myth.

    • “As I’ve often said: “Climate sensitivity” is a myth.”

      I don’t think that’s what Bengtsson is saying, but rather that it could well be a function of climate state, temperature, and more.

      • I don’t think that’s what Bengtsson is saying, […]

        It’s what I’m saying.

        […] but rather that it could well be a function of climate state, temperature, and more.

        But it’s treated as a “constant of nature”. And in addition to “climate state, temperature,” he included “changes in feedback structure.” Which depend, among other things, on boundary conditions. Without any warrant to assume that the size of the changes to boundary conditions determines the size of the “changes in feedback structure.” Which means, as I’ve pointed out before, that a single tree falling somewhere in the high Andes (or Himalayas, etc.) could cause a significant change to “Climate sensitivity”. But given that many constructions that use it, including simplistic-minded 1-dimensional models, assume that it is a “constant of nature”, what it really is is a myth.

      • Yikes, a variable? What was that whole argument about whether it was being measured or estimated.

        And yes, David, that looks like a big step to take. Hmmm, what to make of paleontology estimates of sensitivity? What, what what?

      • The problem with circular logic is that if it breaks at any point, the whole thing falls apart.

        Of course, we still don’t know for sure whether the extra CO2 will cause serious problems. That is we don’t know it won’t.

      • “Of course, we still don’t know for sure whether the extra CO2 will cause serious problems. That is we don’t know it won’t.”

        We don’t know for sure if it will or if it won’t. Therefore, taking on action on AGW is rolling the dice, not intelligently preparing for risk.

      • Therefore, taking on action on AGW is rolling the dice, not intelligently preparing for risk.

        Action is already being taken. Very effective action. Just not the action you want.

      • “Action is already being taken.”

        Not much of anything at all that reduces risk.

      • The end of this useless, non-scientific debate will be obvious when the most powerful leaders join together to lead the public in a prayer of gratitude to the force of creation they could not hide.

        See: “Teacher’s Supplement to Solar Energy”

      • Not much of anything at all that reduces risk.

        The fossil carbon problem is effectively solved. We just have to wait for the answer to work itself out.

        OTOH the risk to your socialist utopia…

      • David Appell — you recommend taking action, but no truly meaningful action is being contemplated. None of the steps taken or steps proposed will stop the atmospheric concentration of CO2 from continuing to rise. Since you’re worried about climate change, are you not furious at Obama and the EPA for trumpeting steps that are utterly inadequate? Their approach discourages other approaches that might have a chance of actually working.

    • “But it’s treated as a “constant of nature”.”

      Models don’t consider it a constant — they calculate it, based on the climate state and the forcings.

      “Which means, as I’ve pointed out before, that a single tree falling somewhere in the high Andes (or Himalayas, etc.) could cause a significant change to “Climate sensitivity”.”

      The periodicity and amplitudes of the recent ice ages strongtly suggest the climate is not anywhere close to being that sensitive. So does other paleoclimate results.

      • Models don’t consider it a constant […].

        Politics does.

      • The periodicity and amplitudes of the recent ice ages strongtly suggest […]

        Given how many unknowns (known and unknown) there are about “the recent ice ages” they really shouldn’t be “strongtly suggest[ing]” anything.

      • “Given how many unknowns (known and unknown) there are about “the recent ice ages” they really shouldn’t be “strongtly suggest[ing]” anything.”

        They certainly suggest that a falling tree didn’t send the climate off on some wildly different path, but instead that it was still governed by major forcings and reasonably predictable.

      • a falling tree didn’t send the climate off on some wildly different path, […]

        Straw man.

      • About action being taken to reduce the climate risk David says:
        “Not much of anything at all that reduces risk.”

        Well, it is estimated that about 350 billion dollars are being spent annually on “green energy” installations and subsidies.
        True, they don’t reduce emissions (a fact) therefore don’t reduce the (unknown) “risk” . The “green energy” being installed is not effective, therefore not useful. More of the same won’t do the job.

        The 350 billion are wasted. Nothing can reduce the risk now, since we lack the necessary technology to produce carbon free energy (except nuclear). Research is needed, but wasting billions on things that don’t work isn’t rational.

      • All this waste is lost opportunity costs. And lost opportunity costs compound. We’ve already damaged future generations with this green madness, why compound the harm by continuing?

    • Climate sensitivity is a convenient rule of thumb to describe a complex system.

      It works best if there is a single dominant forcing

      There is, greenhouse gases.

      • Heehee, single? And how dominant? You don’t know, and neither do all the king’s climatologists and all the king’s models.

      • Though naychure
        long – term has
        shewn itself ter
        be resilient, else …

        And precious little
        climate -scientists
        seem ter be
        aware of this …

        with their model
        peut -etres, peut –
        etres and peut – etres,
        quite under – estimatin’

        yer cloudy werld ‘n
        logarythmic C – O – 2 …

      • I am fairly sure Rabett meant a single dominant forcing change – there is, greenhouse gases.

      • “And how dominant?”

        Three bags full.

      • Bah, bah, black swan.

    • “There is no reason to assume that climate sensitivity is a ‘constant of nature’ as it depends fully on the physical behavior of the climate system and changes in feedback structure.”

      That it has taken so long for the “climate science community” to understand such a basic point is very telling.

    • Should climate sensitivity be a constant? If one added heat only to the Gulf of Mexico or to the Bering Sea until GMST rose 1 degC – and then measured the increase in OLR and reflected SWR leaving the planet, you will get different answers for the climate feedback parameter. Artificial experiments like these cast doubt on whether the climate feedback parameter is a constant. Such experiments are irrrelevant

      Increase CO2 (n a model or in the real world) at 1% a year until GMST rises 1 degC and then measured the average increase in OLR and reflected SWR leaving the planet during the decade. Repeat the process a dozen times from different starting conditions. Will the climate feedback parameter vary significantly? (My guess is probably not.) Such experiments are relevant.

    • David Springer


      Who are you where is the real David Appell?

      Seriously, I’ve never seen a series of responses this reasonable from you,.

      I agree that higher ECS estimates are artifacts of models are unlikely to be constant. I believe that ECS decreases as temperature increases due to strong convection that begins when SST reaches 28C. It makes the earth sweat. SST measured by ARGO is so rarely over 30C we can consider that a ceiling temperature under normal conditions.

      On the other hand as temperature declines ECS rises until the freezing temperature is reached and then a tipping point is reached in the northern hemisphere where snow and ice cover creates an albedo so high that an a quasi-stable state is reached – an ice age lasting approximately 10 times longer than the interglacial preceding it.

      Climate would be a lot easier to predict if there were no water on this planet but it is close to covered in it. Aside from phase change from liquid to vapor able to insensibly carry huge amounts of heat away from the surface to higher altitude where it can radiate to space more efficiently, condensation and freezing creates drastic changes in albedo which throttle how much solar short wave reaches the surface to warm it.

      Granted there is potential for adverse effects due to accumulation of CO2. The problem for the alarmist narrative is that the benefits of fossil fuel combustion and fertilization of the atmosphere with the CO2 byproduct has immense positive effects that are well known. No on in their right mind is willing to trade the tremendous positive effects of fossil fuel power for adverse effects that are imagined at best. The fact that alarmist narrative of rapidly rising surface temperature has not taken place for almost two decades now greatly multiplies the doubt about the veracity of the adverse effects.

      Absent a sustained resumption of rapidly rising surface temperature the alarm of climate change can no longer be viewed as scientifically credible. It’s a political moving forward on rapidly diminishing intertia.

  3. Wow! Impressive before/after image page 9 of Bengtsson’s presentation.

    The “sea of plastic” in Spain. Mostly greenhouses, according to Bengtsson’s slide the area with greenhouses covers some 260 square kilometers.

    • Gracious, that’s a lot of out radiation by that greenhouse effect. Who needs pyrgeometry? I can see it with my own eyes.

    • Produces a lot of Europe’s veg. The problem is that the people who work in them are exploited, working in 45 C heat for little money and exposure to a lot of nasty ag chemicals.

      • Laid off from installing solar panels. Whaddya gonna do?

      • The problem is that the people who work in them are exploited, working in 45 C heat for little money and exposure to a lot of nasty ag chemicals.

        A temporary problem. That work is routine, could be done by mass-produced specialized robots. The “workers” will sit in comfortable air-conditioned offices, managing them on a computer screen.

        Do you think the current “people who work in them” will be grateful to be replaced by robots? So they don’t have to do those horrible jobs any more?

      • Doing the work robots won’t do yet.

      • “Doing the work robots won’t do yet.”
        Ouch! :O)

      • Eli Rabett wrote, “The problem is that the people who work in [greenhouses] are exploited, working in 45 C heat for little money and exposure to a lot of nasty ag chemicals.” Including, I suppose, the elevated CO2 maintained to stimulate growth.

        But not for long.

        Automated systems incorporate technological developments into the production of greenhouse crops. The labor involved in propagating, potting, moving, growing, and harvesting greenhouse crops is intensive.

        Automated systems can greatly reduce labor costs. They also allow for the management of much larger greenhouse operations. Automated systems speed the planting and transplanting processes. Automated pot fillers are used to fill pots with medium. The medium is lightly packed, and the pots are stacked or move down a conveyor for planting. Automated seeders permit the sowing of entire flats or plug trays in a few moments. The finished flats or trays move down a conveyor to a germination room or are taken right to the greenhouse. Automated transplanters remove small plants from plug trays and transplant them directly to pots.

        One of the most labor-intensive tasks in the greenhouse is the transporting of plants. Conveyor belt systems are used to move plants from one area of the greenhouse to another. Tray mechanization, first developed in Holland, has grown in popularity in the United
        States. Individual trays or palletized benches that hold 100 pots or more roll on a series of rails from one area to another. The rail systems connect greenhouses to one another and to the headhouse, where plants can be packaged for shipment.

      • @rovingbroker…


      • Here’s more …
        Silicon Valley Firms Plant Roots in Farm Belt

        Venture capitalists bet on ‘indoor farming,’ lasers that monitor crops and Soylent drinks
        [ … ]
        Harvest, which already has 30 customers using its HV-100 robot to manage potted poinsettias and mums in the $14.5 billion U.S. nursery business, now is eyeing produce, where Chief Executive John Kawola says potted plants managed by robot fleets could enable about 50% more plants to be grown per acre.

        In a business beset with labor shortages, Mr. Kawola said, a robot “potentially changes the labor equation in a significant way.”

      • Geoff Sherrington

        So, is chemophobia part of current accepted wisdom?
        As a chemist, I find your knee-jerk comment rather insulting.
        Chemicals invented and/or applied by chemists have made your life and mine immensely better.
        People reflexively demonise asbestos, too, while failing to count the many lives it saved.

    • We have two large greenhouse areas about 10 to 20 km away, they are a bit odd looking,, when I moved here I thought they were water storage reservoirs (too symmetric but they shone as if they were shimmering lakes). The following is a reference you may wish to look over, it’s the web site for a greenhouse builder.

      Maybe we just need to submit a geoengineering proposal to build x km2 of greenhouses to compensate for our inability to build fusion power plants prior to 2030.

      Which makes me wonder why Utah doesn’t just dry up the great salt lake? It should shine like crazy and will make up for their emissions.

      • It isn’t just solar panels that could be floated. Why not just create plastic “trays” for soil, covered with film. Might be more expensive, but with economies of scale, not that much. And the roof could be supported with a light overpressure. And you could hang solar panels inside, enough for all the power you need, without the exposure to weather and dust/sand.

        Make them the right size, say 3mx20m, and they could be pulled around to a floating “factory” harvester, plow/harrow/cultivator, “smart” weeder, etc.

        Or, looking at the pictures in your link, solar panels could be deployed between the rows (below plant level so they don’t shade the produce). Put them on rollers so they can be slid under the growing frames when people need access. The entire greenhouse could be made of modular sections of corrosion-resistant marine plastic. I don’t know whether something like that could be cost-effectively floated on the open ocean, but it would probably work on coastal shallows, or the Great Salt Lake, or the Salton Sea.

        Either way, as greenhouses, they could achieve very good water economy, and with a little solar power, they could make up their losses with desalination.

  4. Judith wrote: “It seems like the community at the workshop is resisting ECS<2"

    That's seems like a very biased way to put it. Pidcock's article goes more thoroughly into the details about why there isn't much *evidence* for a low ECS.

    • Graeme Stephens ran out of blackboard space and time at the Ringberg Brothers’ Climate Circular Chamber. The part he didn’t get to is that clouds can do anything at all, that is the ‘here a miracle happens’ part.

      • Obligatory picture of Graeme scratching the back of his head at the end of the blackboard. He was trying to chalk out all of the cloud feedbacks.

      • In the context of Ringberg, I wonder if much of what appears to be circular reasoning might arise from the way we calculate the classical model. We apply fixed albedo to TSI calculate downwelling radiation and SW flux. Then later in the model we treat as feedbacks or negative forcing the various components that also account for variability in albedo, such as clouds and aerosols.

        I have been pondering Stephens (2015) for several days. Stephens et al. The Albedo of Earth, 2015.

        Quote 1: “Because it is reasonable to propose that the Earth’s equilibrium temperature has changed by a similar amount, we can reasonably surmise that past variations in albedo have been small. In the absence of climate feedbacks and for the present-day value of 0.29, a 5% change in the magnitude of this albedo corresponds to a global surface temperature change of approximately 1 K [North et al., 1981].”

        Quote 2: “Estimates of Earth’s albedo have remained largely unchanged from the value of 0.30 deduced from earliest measurement first from the Explorer-7 satellite observations in 1959 [Kandel and Viollier, 2010].”

        Quote 3: “The accuracy [of albedo] is estimated to be 2% for the ERBE shortwave scanner instruments and 1% for the CERES SW instruments [Wieliki et al., 2006; Loeb et al., 2009].

        My comment: A decline in albedo of 4% could account for all global warming since 1850. ( 4% / 5% * 1 K = 0.8 K ). Loeb et al. (2009) estimated albedo as 0.294 in the 5 years after 2005. If albedo had declined by 4% since 1850 then in 1850 albedo would have been 0.306 (0.294/0.96).

        A decline of 0.012 (0.306-0.294) in 150 years would give 0.008 per century: albedo 0.302 in 1900; 0.298 in 1950; and 0.294 in 2000. The figures for 1950 and 2000 are close to those given by Stephens.

        Validation: To account for a temperature increase of 0.3 K between 1850 and 1950 the albedo would have declined by about 1.5% (0.3/08*4%). The influences might have been the combined effects of forest clearing, conversion of grassland to croplands, building cities and melting glaciers.

        If these factors caused such a decline in albedo from 1850 to 2000, then based on Stephens, the change in albedo alone might have been enough to cause the entire observed global warming of 0.8 K.

        I am not claiming that this is actually what caused the observed global warming. I merely wish to illustrate the point that using constant albedo for modeling seems not to be justified unless the purpose is to take a snapshot at a fixed date based on observed albedo.

        Further, the uncertainty in estimating albedo is equivalent to about 0.3 K., equivalent to 60% of warming from 1950 to 2000 or alternatively to the entire warming in the century from 1850 to 1950.

        Possibly what seems to be circular reasoning reflects circularity embedded in the classical model. We take the solar constant (1361 W m-2) divided by 4 to get 340 W m-2 then we compute downwelling radiation as 240 W m-2 (340 * (1-0.294). We get also 100 W m-2 (340 * 0.294) as SW reflected back into space. (Leob et al. 2009, estimated these as 239.6 W m-2 and 99.5 W m-2 based on observations.)

        Once we have calculated the radiative fluxes we then calculate the details of the Earth’s radiation budget (ERB) and climate sensitivity to CO2 etc by working out the effect of clouds and aerosols. (We have already removed their effect in reflecting SW radiation back into space.)

        If albedo itself is a variable and we have not properly take its variability into account our subsequent analysis of the effect of aerosol and clouds will be, at the very least, difficult to interpret.

        A further complication is that GCM modelers cannot agree on the values of the feedback parameters and only slight improvement has been made since the seminal paper by Cess et al in 1989.

        Finally, this circularity in modeling may explain why cosmic rays are not included in climate models. The cosmo-climatologists seem to be claiming that albedo is a variable that is modulated by the effect of the solar wind, magnetism, cosmic rays on cloud formation. Possibly we are seeing an illustration of Kuhn’s “incommensurability and incompatibility of paradigms”

        Loeb et al. Toward Optimal Closure of the Earth’s Top-of-Atmosphere RadiationBudget. J.of Climate, AMS, V.22, p.748.)

        Loeb, et al. Observed changes in top-of-the-atmosphere radiation and upper-ocean heating consistent within uncertainty. (Nature Geoscience Vol 5 February 2012)

      • David Springer

        @Frederick Colbourne



  5. James Annan: if the models agree in avoiding sensitivity estimates that are very high or very low, this might be evidence that they are “reasonable.” “But it is also possible that people converge to some extent through social effects that have no sound basis.” Now we are talking.

  6. There are three problems for the alarmists, and catastrophic scenarios.

    1. Judith’s ‘NO’. And not just Judith’s. ECS could well be below 2.0 deg C, and TCR even lower.

    2. The need to lower the scary threshold below 2.0, thanks in part to Richard Tol’s recent optimistic work. Thus the sudden push for 1.5 degrees C as the threshold, a growth blossoming only now after the castle bells tolled.

    3. The underlying truth that paleontology never demonstrates a net harm from any warming and always demonstrates a net harm from any cooling. We cannot put enough CO2 into the air to impact the next glaciation, and barely will budge the bar upwards at all. Not to mention the greening, no, never, not the greening.

    It’s not three strikes ‘cuz the ump keeps calling foul tips.

    • “We cannot put enough CO2 into the air to impact the next glaciation.”

      On the contrary, we’ve already done so:

      “No glacial inception is projected to occur at the current atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 390 ppmv….”

      from: “Determining the natural length of the current interglacial,” P. C. Tzedakis et al, Nature Geoscience 5, 138–141 (2012)

      • Assuming that ice growth mainly responds to insolation and CO2 forcing, this analogy suggests that the end of the current interglacial would occur within the next 1500 years, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations did not exceed 240±5 ppmv.

        Why is the assumption warranted? And we all know that reasoning by analogy is suspect.

      • In the last 100 million years, there has never been a glacial period with more than 400 ppm of CO2. They have all occurred after the basic level dropped more towards 300 ppm, which only happened within the last couple of million years of the period.

      • Hmmm, thirty-two dollars to discover how unsupported are their assumptions, and the novelty of their modeling. Or maybe that’s not the tricks they used.

        Still, wow, no glaciation. Is that a promise?

      • JD, you assume a CO2 control knob, but it’s fallen off in your hand.

      • Actually, it was just a picture of a control know. Written in Fortran.

      • “Why is the assumption warranted?”

        The Holocene suggests it. And it isn’t about the assumption being “warranted” — this paper isn’t making a prediction — it’s about making the assumption and seeing what its consequences are. Scientists do it every day, because it aids learning and understanding.

      • So with those assumptions we’ve stopped the next glaciation. Good work, Humans. Your next mission, should you choose to accept it, is greening up the biome, despite its greatest efforts, abetted by the sun, to commit suicide by freezing and CO2 starvation. You’ve got your work cut out for you, Humans. I come in Peace.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        From the abstract: “Assuming that ice growth mainly responds to insolation and CO2 forcing, this analogy suggests that the end of the current interglacial would occur within the next 1500 years, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations did not exceed 240±5 ppmv.”
        Wow, such precision.

        But what drives ice sheet ebb and flow is probably not just those two factors. See “Insolation-driven 100,000-year glacial cycles and hysteresis of ice-sheet volume”, Nature, 2013. The contribution of delayed isostatic adjustment (gradually changing high latitude surface height) appears key to the duration of glacial and interglacial epochs, the rapid rise out of glacial periods, and the slow descent into glacial periods. Ice core data shows the last interglacial ended with atmospheric CO2 still near 270 – 280 PPM. See: There is no reason to think the same thing would not happen again. I agree that our descendents are not likely going to see another glacial period if atmospheric CO2 is above 400 PPM.

      • it’s about making the assumption and seeing what its consequences are.

        Then why did you offer it in support of

        “No glacial inception is projected to occur at the current atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 390 ppmv….”


      • “We cannot put enough CO2 into the air to impact the next glaciation.”

        On the contrary, we’ve already done so:

        “No glacial inception is projected to occur at the current atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 390 ppmv….”

        Sounds like good news to a lot of people. Perhaps the Nobel Committee should grant the Peace Prize to the oil and coal producers…

      • Appell – You suffer from the delusion that if someone has a peer-reviewed paper published then the point of the paper has bee proven. Some of us who are a little older and have some common sense, realize that a question like this is highly speculative and proof, one way or the other, is a long, long way off.

      • Hooray!!!

      • David Springer

        Yay! It’s not as worse as you thought!

    • Kim,

      Your point #3. is by far the most important. it tells us there is nothing to fear from warming and it is probably net good, not harmful. Furthermore, if we are reducing the risk of an abrupt cooling climate change, that is excellent.

      As an aside, can anyone point to a competent risk analysis that takes into account the reduced risk of an abrupt cooling climate change to offset the perceived damages from a warming climate change?

  7. Willis Eschenbach

    Jeffrey Keihl showed that climate sensitivity is an inverse function of the forcings chosen by the modelers. Models with larger forcings have smaller sensitivities, and vice versa. As a result, I find the idea that the models can tell us anything about the so-called “sensitivity” to be quite hilarious …


    • stevefitzpatrick

      Willis, All I get is “REQUEST FORBIDDEN” from your link. But yes, there is an approximately inverse relationship, and so what the models tell us is that they can be effectively tuned to match historical data. But predicting the future is harder.

  8. For pragmatic purposes to use going forwards, you can define an effective transient sensitivity from this fit.
    This is equivalent to 2.4 C per doubling, or exactly 1 C per 100 ppm in the 300-400 ppm range, the way I have scaled the lines, which you can see fits the last 60 years quite well. What this ignores is the offsetting effects of other GHGs and aerosols, which is why I would call it an effective transient sensitivity.

    • This is an estimate of the transient climate response, not ECS (which includes long-term feedbacks as well). And, since it excludes aerosols, which have had a cooling effect (though no one is sure how much), it’s not a very good number.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        David, You are completely correct, it is a nonsense number. I already tried to explain that to Jim D, without success. Maybe he will listen to you.

      • It’s a myth.

      • The transient response, especially an effective one, is the relevant number for warming rates, not the equilibrium value. However, policy is usually based on an equilibrium limit, so you can take the transient sensitivity as just a lower limit of ECS, which is its relevance to this discussion.

      • Heh, Jim D would take for a policy number something never quite happening and far off at its never quite happening. Transient climate response is the relevant one for policy for us and foreseeable generations, who will be quite happening.

      • It just fits with 60 years of data and gives a lower estimate of ECS. This kind of data fit makes it unsurprising that 2 C would be a lower limit to ECS.

      • “…so you can take the transient sensitivity as just a lower limit of ECS, which is its relevance to this discussion.”

        No, because, again, the calculation doesn’t include long-term feedbacks (which are not all necessarily positive.) But the major point is that being unable to make an accounting of historical aerosols, which cool, the number is too unrealistic to mean anything.

      • David Appell, if you look at the Armour and Gregory summaries, the indication is that any sensitivity we estimate with current data is going to be a low estimate, even if you account for the ocean heat content storage. Armour gives some physical reasoning for this in his previous paper.

      • By the way, aerosols and other GHGs are implicitly accounted for in the temperature change, which is why I call this an effective TCR. The forcing change is at least 80% CO2, making CO2 a good proxy, and the curve fits quite well indicating the dominance of this one factor.

      • I love it. Transient climate response is the relevant policy number but it is a myth. By Gaia, it is a useful myth, for sooth.

      • By Gaia, it is a useful myth, for sooth.

        Most of the myths used by state-sponsored fortune-tellers are. Been going on since at least Rome, probably as long as there were states. (E.g. some of the stories in the OT.) “Science” is just the most current incarnation of mythic “authority”.

    • JimD-
      You seem to be claiming 2.4 K/doubling as a transient response. Bengtsson’s presentation makes much the same comparison, with a calculated (transient) sensitivity of 0.314 K/(Wm-2), considerably less than your value.

      • I think he zeroed out the aerosol effect, so it is definitely a low estimate. My method implicitly includes aerosol changes since the 1950’s, so it would account for more factors in the effective value.

      • Bengtsson wrote: “We have no firm knowledge of ant. aerosol forcing but at the very first approximation it might be proportional to the emission.” Likely the more important difference is that Bengtsson looked over the last 150 years.

      • His 2.9 W/m2 is a value that would not include any aerosol effect. It comes from his 480 ppm equivalent. If you use a high forcing, you get a low sensitivity.

      • OK, I tried it your way, including aerosols. Independent variable = RCP forcing series from AR5. Dependent variable = GISS annual, 1958-2014 inclusive (seemed to be your interval from the graph you linked).

        OLS slope (depends slightly on which RCP scenario one chooses) computed as 0.325 to 0.33 K/(Wm-2). Scaling by 3.71 Wm-2/doubling, about 1.22 K/doubling transient sensitivity.

        This value may be too high for several reasons:
        (1) HadCRUT4 gives a smaller slope, about 0.3 K/(Wm-2), or 1.1 K/doubling.
        (2) Stevens’ (2015) revised value for aerosol forcing presumably increases net forcing and hence would reduce the sensitivity estimate.
        (3) 3.71 Wm-2/doubling may be too high a scaling factor. Forster et al. (2013) gives 3.44 Wm-2 as an average over 23 models.

  9. Actual real life data does not agree with alarmist model output.
    Alarmist model output is all they have and they have less than nothing.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        RPC 2.6 is not close to what actually happened. Like picking cherries much?

      • “RPC 2.6 is not close to what actually happened.”

        RCP 2.6 means the radiative forcing is 2.6 in the year 2100 relative to the pre-industrial value, not that it’s been a constant 2.6 all along.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        I understand what the RPC values mean. My point is that the actual forcing trajectory has been closer to RPC6.0 (or higher!) so the calculated warming in your graph is a low ball figure…. a cherry pick. Plug in more representative forcing, and the model projections don’t look so good.

      • Steve, no. The different RCP values don’t deviate until 2005 — before that they all use historical forcings from historical GHG concentrations. Up until 2005, GISS would give the same result for any RCP. So the label on my graph wasn’t needed, except for the few years since 2005.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        A decade of RPC6 trajectory (or greater) makes a difference. The CMIP5 average projection for RPC6 (or higher) is >0.25C per decade. That is most certainly not what has been measured.

      • Seeing that the last 7 months is at .74C, and 12 months ending on 09/31/2015 is likely to be that high, or higher, it looks about right.

        But why not just run the analysis with RCP 6.0?

      • Steve, I ran more numbers. The difference in total warming between GISS’s RCP6.0 and RCP 2.5 is, by 2015, only 0.01 C.

      • JCH wrote:
        “But why not just run the analysis with RCP 6.0?”

        That’s what I just did — see my comment above this one. By 2015, the difference in total warming between GISS’s model for RCP6.0 and RCP2.5 is just 0.01 C.

      • So if we shut down ten Great Britains and two Australias we might get into the ballpark of compensating? Or am I just supposed to pick up the bat and run it back to the dugout?

      • Steve Fitzpatrick

        Fair enough, the difference between the forcing scenarios, at least with the GISS model, is smallish. But the GISS model is almost the lowest response model of them all. It is pretty easy to understand the situation: the models are, on average, clearly divergent from measured reality. You can offer a bunch of excuses, (see Ringberg presentations) or, if you have the courage, you can accept that the GCMs are not capable of reasonable projections. In which case there is a basis for starting for a rational conversation about public policy on energy.

    • “A decade of RPC6 trajectory (or greater) makes a difference.”

      No, it doesn’t, not in the first decade. The difference in RFs are less than 0.1 W/m2 in the first decade, according to my numbers.

    • PS: The total warming by 2100 for the GISS model I used is 1.67 C for RCP 2.6, and 2.74 C for RCP 6.0.

      • Interestingly, current version of GISS model has one of the lowest sensitivities among climate models.

      • stevefitzpatrick


        Indeed. GISS is now just about the lowest response model. Gavin is both reasonably young and no fool.

      • curryja, “Interestingly, current version of GISS model has one of the lowest sensitivities among climate models.”

        If it got the ocean temperatures right I might get excited.

        But there is a pretty big difference between the Russell and Hycom ocean models and observations. I am not sure how they guess at latent and convection without agreeing on historic SST.

  10. Steve Fitzpatrick

    “It seems like the community at the workshop is resisting ECS4C per doubling) as more likely.

    What many of the presenters said (paraphrasing here) was ‘Even though a simple energy balance says climate sensitivity could be low, I don’t think it could be low because…’ [presenter’s reason then given]. Lots of different reasons were offered, at least some of which were mutually contradictory. I don’t think ‘the community’ is going to accept even the IPCC’s lower bound of 1.5C as plausible any time soon; they appear strongly committed to their existing paradigm of high sensitivity. Of course, reality doesn’t care what anyone thinks. If Nic’s analysis is even close to correct, then the models will continue to grossly over-predict the rate of warming.

  11. stevefitzpatrick

    Sorry, that quote should have been: “It seems like the community at the workshop is resisting ECS<2 per doubling."

    • They are whipsawed, gotta say it’s over two, but everyone knows it might be under two. And two can be easily shown to be net beneficial. Oh, what a mess they’ve gotten themselves into.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Kim, I think that most have made a huge commitment (personal, professional, emotional) to climate sensitivity being high. Under these circumstances, lower sensitivity values will face stiff ‘Kuhnian’ opposition (after Thomas Kuhn). That is just the way science flows. If they are mistaken about high sensitivity, as I think the empirical evidence suggests, then time will prove them mistaken.

      • @ stevefitzpatrick

        “Kim, I think that most have made a huge commitment (personal, professional, emotional) to climate sensitivity being high.”

        Don’t forget: those who have made the ‘huge commitment to climate sensitivity being high’ are the very same folks who collect the data, adjust it, krig it, and otherwise torture it into revealing the latest ‘annual temperature of the earth’, with an accuracy and precision of hundredths of a degree, and who are responsible for placing the annual temperatures of the earth since 1880 in rank order.

        This allows them to make such AGW confirming pronouncements as their recent ‘2014 shattered the record as the warmest year since records began in 1880!’. Shattered by 0.02 degrees. Not only can they measure the ‘temperature of the earth’ with hundredths of a degree precision, they can ALSO attribute variations of hundredths of a degree in the annual temperatures to a specific cause. ACO2. And do.

  12. John Benton for the win:

    It’s unfortunate the leading researcher in the climate sensitivity field, Nick Lewis, was not invited.

    If John Benton could come up with his Damascus story about how RC transformed him into a contrarian, that would be great.

  13. With all of the barefaced certainty about global warming amidst all of the demonstrated uncertainty about climate change… someone should tell Pharaoh there’s a new god in town.

  14. stevefitzpatrick

    Judith, in your link to Bjorn Stevens’ talk, the title has a typo: you reversed the inequalities; should be: “2.0 < ECS < 3.5"

  15. A garden variety bump in a Holocene which is all bumps and dips. That’s all we had at the start of this “debate” and all we have now. The rest is shoddy artifice, from the studio which brought us Return to Almora.

    • …meanwhile, the sun has gone from a geophysically unique Grand Maximum event during the last half of the 20th century to its current state of anomalous quietus.

  16. The Carbon Brief blurb stated that feedbacks could get stronger the higher the temperature. This doesn’t seem to be reasonable since the Earth has never undergone runaway warming.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick


      Claims like that (more sensitive with higher temperature) also strike me as dubious at best. That these claims are made only after empirical data suggest sensitivity is low (eg Lewis & Curry) does at least give you reason to chuckle at human foibles…. and outright failures.

    • > … Earth has never undergone runaway warming.

      Good point. Consider the Phanerozoic carbon cycle with CO2 as high as 7000 ppm.

      BTW, did anyone note that Robert A. Berner passed away in Jan. 2015? I didn’t see it mentioned by anybody here.

  17. It does not appear to me that there is much settled science, more a reluctance to consider that previous pronouncements were embarrassingly wrong. Too many Ptolemaic epicycles.

  18. I have what probably is a stupid question, but here goes anyway. Why, as noted in Bjorn Stevens’ talk, is it assumed that an increase in global temp will cause relative humidity to change such that relative humidity is constant?

    I’ll leave it at that for now.

  19. Pingback: Climate sensitivity: Ringberg edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  20. Question: the Argo buoys continue obtaining data which they transmit to gathering centers. I assume the data has to be reviewed but that should be largely an automated process.

    The incoming data can be introduced in a master grid and a fine scale temperature grid can be prepared using kriging. If they don’t have it they should lay out tethered buoy arrays perpendicular to large current flows to allow a sensible kriging technique, and the complete data set can be used to estimate regional energy changes on a weekly averaged basis.

    This can be compared to atmospheric temperature trends which can also be correlated to cloud coverage and greenhouse gas concentrations. It seems such data acquisition and analysis is worth more than the endless series of papers based on models fed rcp8.5.

    This is a common sense proposal, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be done. But I want to leave it for the record.

  21. Jerry Gorline (not afraid)

    Hoe is this research aligned with new studies that show aerosols are not as negative as previously thought.


    • Aerosols were the fudge that allowed models to justify high sensitivity. With aerosols more constrained by recent study(Stevens), the estimates of sensitivity are more constrained and slightly lower. Many skeptics suggest that but for inertia, sensitivity estimates would be greatly lower.

      A barely resistable force is moving the almost unmoveable object, so dropping sensitivity and good reason to be ‘not afraid’.

    • kim draws a line in the sand and steps to the side of the big lie.

      • JCH

        The really big lie are the phantom negative forcings that keep some in the community out of commitments to the funny farm. If the lie goes, they go. Much of what the community has built relies on inverted pyramids. There is not much of a foundation.

        All the Kings horses and all the Kings men….

      • You think that is the big lie that Bjorn Stevens waste his valuable time refuting?

        game changer
        final nail in the coffin for the IPCC
        fudge factor for the hoax

        You’re lost. Maybe you too can become a poet.

      • SO2 emissions have been declining for decades now:

        The trend of aerosol forcing has likely been positive, not negative since peaking.

      • Ringberg dropped ECS a quarter of a degree, Celsius, from 3.0 to 2.75. The value may well be four to eight times lower, from 3.0 to 2.0 or 1.0. I can’t rule out even lower, but start to doubt on the thin ice.

      • The consensus takes baby steps away from alarm, I urge the clodhoppers out on the ice.

  22. 1. You can’t tell trends from cycles with data short compared to the cycle, mathematical fact.

    2. The earch has had aeons of perturbations and has not run away to one extreme or another. So the feedback is negative. That’s about all the data there is.

    3. Models with parameters are curve fitters. They match the past and are useless for the future. Think of the equivalent, fitting the past with a high-enough degree polynomial. It works exactly. It’s completely wrong about tomorrow.

    Those knobs are your enemy.

    • Do you have any idea of the feeling you get twiddling those knobs? The vast amount of water, air, and heat you can move around? The huge amount of money and policy action you can effect with those knobs? The infinite variety of speculation you can engender?

      So please, these knobs are shiny, and they are my friend. Are they yours? Could be, but just don’t touch the knobs.

  23. Michael Edwards

    So entertaining. I have been hearing about global climate change since the 1970’s – even from some of the same characters. But then it was the next ice age. I have seen some of these same crooks belly up to the bar for global warming. Was in Oak Ridge National Lab then, when someone concerned with CO2 emissions asked me to check ways to remove from environment – pumping underground was not reasonable, and very expensive. Only choice I could see was in the oceans as carbonates, or above with expensive process to do same. Then many years in oil, with Mobil, and very proud of my efforts to provide people with better products at lower cost. Moved to helping refineries, in Spain, China, Korea, and others to do better, less energy, lower costs, and moved to India. After helping Indians in Reliance get energy at lower price, now working for Dangote in Nigeria to do same for their people, and on this lovely Easter Monday, I am doing more for the poor and suffering than anyone in the “Global Climate Change” industry. Some serious sick people in the “business” of climate change. So sad.

    • Michael Edwards…this is about you…thank you!!!

      “Then, finally, oil and gas prices plunged owing to the “drill, baby, drill,” can-do attitude of the private sector. Americans should thank the U.S. oilman — from the drillers in the field to the engineers behind the scenes — who did the impossible. They vastly increased the supply of what was supposedly a permanently declining resource, and thereby helped to crash prices.

      Oilmen, not the government, returned hundreds of billions of dollars to American consumers. They, not Ivy League experts and Wall Street grandees, kick-started the economy where federal subsidies had failed to. They, not the policies of the Obama administration or the rhetoric of Secretary of State John Kerry, weakened our enemies.

      Almost everything Obama tried for six years in an effort to rev the economy — from near-zero interest rates and $1 trillion annual budget deficits to Obamacare and vast increases in entitlements — has failed. His foreign-policy stances of resets and leading from behind led to chaos and emboldened enemies.”

  24. Given the two- to threehundred years relaxation time, equilibrium sensitivity is an academic issue and hence completely useless for policymakers. The only climate sensitivity that really matters is the transient climate response, which is low as we all know now. Combined with the non-saturating co2-sinks we can conclude that there is no climate issue.

    • The rising percentage of net natural CO2-sinks intrigues me immensely. But why shouldn’t we expect recruitment of previously unknown negative feedbacks, primarily biotic, and enhancements of known negative feedbacks, to the rising CO2 concentration?

  25. Until the modelers learn to do convection and the water cycle properly, this is all fun and games.

  26. Michael Edwards

    I kind of like the first one. As Buddhist last 45 years, I can happily ascribe my very good life to creative force. So will go with that one. As Chem Engineer, I of course disavow any such superstition – but since I am (USA) Scorpio born in year of Tiger (China – as is my wife) I will go still with gratitude to the Sun.

    • I see your Solar storm of 1859 and raise you an April 4, 2015 Blood Moon.

      • A wee bit of sardonic genius underlies the report from the TheOnion link about the global supply of potable water when it comes to the plenty that capitalism affords…

        By harnessing the freshwater that exists inside these remarkably abundant beverages, we could more than double access to safe drinking sources worldwide,” said Ghosh, observing that soft drinks manufactured by Coca-Cola are present all across the globe, even in places where lakes, rivers, and aquifers have run dry. “We’re devoting all the resources we can toward developing an adequate filtration process that can turn Cherry Coke and Fresca into clean drinking water, but we have a long way to go.

      • Well, I got a little factory and filter that’ll clear out carbohydrates, but it leaks some carbamines. Probably not what you’re looking for.

      • Turns wine into water, occasionally useful.

        H/t a physiologist, far away and long ago.

      • Also helps preserve the internal milieu from dessication.

        H/t, that’s Bernard.

      • Climate Change Paradox: If the predictors of global warming are correct, then they must have solved the simulation problem and the models they possess are detailed reproductions of nature. But, to believe there are so many — but, only in Western academia — who have successfully digitized faithful copies of nature is irrational.

      • I think they’ve rebranded the climate models from climate simulation to climate ANIMATION.

      • So now, to complement the global surface temperature constructions we have the climate animations.

      • Testing threading …

      • But, can you turn felt hats into rabbits?

      • When you peel back the onion you find some truth inside, enough to make you cry.

  27. Equilibrium climate sensitivity in light of observations over the warming hiatus, by Johansson, O’Niell, Tebaldi & Haggstrom [link]

    What is the “equilibrium” climate sensitivity in a system that is never in steady-state, much less equilibrium? Has there been any estimate of the last date in which the climate system was in “equilibrium”? Maybe next year everyone will have something interesting to say about the impact of the Laliberte et al paper on their thinking about how the climate system can evolve from here to there in light of the limited extra power supplied by 4 W/m^2.

    • Didn’t Graeme Stephens sort of already comment on it?

      • JCH: Didn’t Graeme Stephens sort of already comment on it?

        If so, I have missed it. What exactly did he say, and where can I find it?

        Equilibrium is defined as the state of maximum entropy, at which changes cease. Everyone since Maxwell and Boltzmann has addressed the problem of approximating a system that is obviously not in equilibrium by equilibrium calculations. For a small change in mean global temperature produced by a small change in chemical composition of the atmosphere, when the system constantly has fluctuating input and fluctuating states and phases, any approximation would have to be shown to be quite accurate in order to have believable consequences. It is an extra challenge when, as with high-dimensional non-linear dissipative systems (with fluctuating input no less), no equilibrium is even possible.

      • I pointed it out once hoping you would see it. You never said a ward, so I just concluded it ad nothing important to with your pursuit of this.

        It was in the powerpoint presentation he gave about his albedo paper.

      • in the section at the end called ‘supporting material’, Goody 2004

        It probably has nothing to do with what you talking about.

      • JCH: in the section at the end called ‘supporting material’, Goody 2004

        It probably has nothing to do with what you talking about.

        Many thanks for the follow-up. I had already downloaded that, probably at your suggestion. They explicitly address the condition of “steady-state”. Thus they “sort of” abandon the concept of equilibrium. Strictly speaking, at “steady state” the rate of inflow and rate of outflow are always equal in every part of the system. For an “approximate steady state”, we can have the total inflow over a time nearly match the total outflow over that time without the rates being equal for any positive duration.

    • Equilibrium is a useful concept because at any time we are either colder or warmer than equilibrium which forecasts what the long-term trend will be. For example, now we are colder than equilibrium because the imbalance is significantly positive. The warming of the OHC is an expected consequence of that. Even if emissions stopped now, this imbalance may take some decades to remove.

      • Jim D: Equilibrium is a useful concept because at any time we are either colder or warmer than equilibrium which forecasts what the long-term trend will be.

        Without a clear demonstration that an equilibrium can exist, that is an empty claim.

      • Matt, it’s one of those targets you have to cross your eyes at before you can see to aim.

      • Equilibrium is a useful concept because at any time we are either colder or warmer than equilibrium which forecasts what the long-term trend will be.

        Worth reflecting that through the annual cycle, earth is never in equilibrium, running a deficit in northern summer and a surplus in northern winter.

        Now, earth does ‘chase’ the equilibrium constantly, but equilibrium is quite hypothetical and given the huge ocean thermal mass, probably a useless concept.

      • The imbalance is very real. Even the skeptical scientists accept it. This is a measure of the distance from equilibrium which is now much wider and more long-lasting than when the earth is in a more natural state as it was during most of the last millennium. We are exerting a steady pull in the warming direction, and the temperature is yielding.

      • Jim D: This is a measure of the distance from equilibrium which is now much wider and more long-lasting than when the earth is in a more natural state as it was during most of the last millennium.

        When the equilibrium can’t exist, as in high-dimensional non-linear dissipative systems, there can’t be a “distance” from it, or a “direction” to it

      • So you are saying there can’t be an imbalance in the energy budget?

      • The imbalance is very real.

        Real things most often don’t need people to proclaim them or ‘believe’ in them.

        People just say ‘lookit!’

        Unfortunately with radiative imbalance, the measurements of absorbed and reflected sunshine are not accurate to within a doubling of CO2.

        And outgoing IR, rather than declining, looks higher recently than it was
        a thrid of a century ago:

        Of course, OLR isn’t known very well, either.

        So, while I understand the theory, neither you nor I nor anyone else ‘knows’ if the imbalance is real.

      • It would be nice to know there’s a little sumpin’ stickin’ to the ribs, instead of shivering under a thin blanket of pusillanimous carbon pollution, impotent to prevent the escape of energy.

      • There are two independent ways of estimating the imbalance, and it appears to be in the range 0.5-1 W/m2. No one says 2 and no one says zero. Just because it has to be estimated is no reason to discount it.

      • So when Graeme Stephens says the SH albedo is immediately adjusted to match the NH albedo, that’s landmark and profound and maybe even a game changer, but when he says the Southern Oceans are warming because they’re absorbing the vast majority of earth’s energy imbalance ~.6 wm-2 it’s not real. Cool.

      • Jim D: “Equilibrium is a useful concept because at any time we are either colder or warmer than equilibrium which forecasts what the long-term trend will be.”

        There is in fact a significant difference between equilibrium and steady-state and it is not always apparent. The key to be investigated is whether there is total reversibility or not. In the latter case there is an entropy flux. Entropy is energy just as enthalpy (heat) is. They are combined expressed as Gibb’s Free Energy, which determines the chemical reaction direction. Photons produce entropy whenever they are converted from one state to another irreversibly. Since low frequency radiation cannot go back to high frequency there is entropy flux in the equation of Earth’s energy budget.
        Dr. Chistopher Essex was one of the first climate scientist to realize this in his 1984 paper. I just finished reading a couple of others trying to get quantification but it seems above my level and I would appreciate if anyone can interpret this paper, especially the table mid-paper giving quantities in net units of W/m2 K here. It seems that there is a natural negative feedback of lost energy of increased entropy every time water evaporates and condenses or parallel sunrays are scattered by clouds. More entropy is produced by photon absorption than refraction and more by refraction then reflection but all are irreversible and energy consuming.

      • Ron – the only place I have seen this stuff discussed is on Nicks Stokes’ blog. He seems to enjoy this subject: here, <ahref=""here, and here.

        Could be other places as well.

      • latest article

        In the 3rd paragraph there are three links to other posts.

      • Jim D: So you are saying there can’t be an imbalance in the energy budget?

        Why you say that I do not know, since what I have written is that there can’t be an equilibrium. That is what I have written.

        There can’t be an equilibrium.

      • Even if there is never an exact equilibrium, you can always define a distance from equilibrium, which is known as the imbalance (dN), a useful concept because it predicts the direction of the climate change that is needed to restore the energy balance.

      • Ron Graf: I just finished reading a couple of others trying to get quantification but it seems above my level and I would appreciate if anyone can interpret this paper, especially the table mid-paper giving quantities in net units of W/m2 K here.

        Thank you for the link to that paper. You might start with Thermal Physics of the Atmosphere by Maarten H. P. Ambaum. He begins at the beginning, so to speak, and works up to steady state.

      • JCH: latest article

        Thank you for that link. The paper by Laliberte et al was discussed at ClimateEtc when it first came out. They cite the book by Ambaum, which was why I bought it.

      • curryjh: Re entropy, see this previous post

        Thank you for the link; I had missed that paper.

      • Jim D: Even if there is never an exact equilibrium, you can always define a distance from equilibrium, which is known as the imbalance (dN),

        I think that you have tied yourself into a knot. The “imbalance” is the difference between the inflow rate and the outflow rate (from the perspective of the whole system, or of any of its parts considered separately.) It is not the direction to or the distance to the equilibrium, even when such an equilibrium exists. You can not define the distance to or direction to something that is not there.

        The climate system and each of its parts alternates between imbalances of inflow and outflow without ever reaching, or getting close to, an equilibrium. It could be in an “attractor” (one of the “strange” attractors); a “steady state”, should it exist, would be an “attractor” of a single point in a high dimensional space. An attractor or an approximate steady state would have oscillations of states and derivatives within bounds; that is what the history of the climate looks like.

        For a reference with computational and experimental examples, consult the later chapters of “Modern Thermodynamics” by Kondepudi and Prigogine. For more, nearly any modern textbook on nonlinear and chaotic dynamics.

      • I think you haven’t fully understood the significance of the presence of an imbalance or a forcing that tends to increase it. You don’t need equilibrium to get the relevance of these concepts. The only connection to equilibrium is that is a special state with zero imbalance, which we are nowhere near at the moment.

  28. Academia appears to wish to remain clueless about the fact that the Sun is on hiatus.

  29. Observed climate change provides good lower limits, but cannot reliably set an upper limit particularly for ECS until we address nonlinearities and structural model problems.

    That’s a funny statement. Until the natural (CO2 independent) variation is known in sufficient detail, a firm lower bound (actually, a firm greatest lower bound) can’t be known. Every estimate of ECS makes some assumptions about the natural variability.

  30. CMIP5 models show a robust increase in climate sensitivity over time.

    Is this why they have been “robustly” overpredicting recent warming? “Robust” results of modeling have been taken as providing security that the shared results of divers models are reliable (e.g. Soden and Held), but the complementary idea is that they are indications of error(s) that the models have in common.

  31. Fasullo: Understanding sea level as a constraint on climate variability and sensitivity.

    Does the work required to raise the sea level 4mm put a constraint on how much the surface and deep ocean temperatures can be increased by an extra 4 W/m^2? Where the sea is 3,000 meters deep, wouldn’t that be equivalent to raising 3,000 m^3 of water 2mm? If the “equilibrium” calculations show that it is possible, how rapidly can the work be performed if it is powered by 4 W/m^2?

  32. Here is data that shows what the climate has been and what it is sensitive to.

    It looks obvious to me but if it does not conform to AGW theory so it must not be taken seriously. This is obvious due to the current discussion that is taking place over climate sensitivity.

    Also ,this can be flipped around and the study could be how sensitive to the climate is the greenhouse gas effect.

  33. Professor Curry,

    Why delete NASA’s warning about a potential Solar Armageddon that could abruptly alter life on planet Earth?

  34. Bengtsson: There is no reason to assume that climate sensitivity is a ‘constant of nature’ as it depends fully on the physical behavior of the climate system and changes in feedback structure.

    I hope that idea gains a lot of traction in the next few years.


    Historical climate data which shows the climate is not sensitive to CO2, which is totally being ignored by AGW theory..

  36. Here I present what the climate is SENSITIVE to, and where the direction of the climate discussion should be proceeding. All AGW has done is focus the climate discussions on the wrong path and has wasted so much time from those of us who have to show why this theory is essentially BS and does not have any creditability to stand on.

    This has been shown time and time again by the data not to mention all of the atmospheric processes this theory has predicted that have yet to come about, which I will send on my next post.

    Below is my theory which is much superior to AGW theory and conforms to the data rather then having the data conform to the theory, which is what AGW theory keeps trying to accomplish.


    Below I list my low average solar parameters criteria which I think will result in secondary effects being exerted upon the climatic system.

    My biggest hurdle I think is not if these low average solar parameters would exert an influence upon the climate but rather will they be reached and if reached for how long a period of time?

    I think each of the items I list , both primary and secondary effects due to solar variability if reached are more then enough to bring the global temperatures down by at least .5c in the coming years.

    Even a .15 % decrease from just solar irradiance alone is going to bring the average global temperature down by .2c or so all other things being equal. That is 40% of the .5c drop I think can be attained. Never mind the contribution from everything else that is mentioned.

    What I am going to do is look into research on sun like stars to try to get some sort of a gage as to how much possible variation might be inherent with the total solar irradiance of the sun. That said we know EUV light varies by much greater amounts, and within the spectrum of total solar irradiance some of it is in anti phase which mask total variability within the spectrum. It makes the total irradiance variation seem less then it is.

    I also think the .1% variation that is so acceptable for TSI is on flimsy ground in that measurements for this item are not consistent and the history of measuring this item with instrumentation is just to short to draw these conclusions not to mention I know some sun like stars (which I am going to look into more) have much greater variability of .1%.

    I think Milankovich Cycles, the Initial State of the Climate or Mean State of the Climate , State of Earth’s Magnetic Field set the background for long run climate change and how effective given solar variability will be when it changes when combined with those items. Nevertheless I think solar variability within itself will always be able to exert some kind of an influence on the climate regardless if , and that is my hurdle IF the solar variability is great enough in magnitude and duration of time. Sometimes solar variability acting in concert with factors setting the long term climatic trend while at other times acting in opposition.


    Solar Flux avg. sub 90 .

    Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec .

    AP index avg. sub 5.0

    Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute .

    Total Solar Irradiance off .15% or more .

    EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.

    IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.

    The above solar parameter averages following several years of sub solar activity in general which commenced in year 2005.

    If these average solar parameters are the rule going forward for the remainder of this decade expect global average temperatures to fall by -.5C, with the largest global temperature declines occurring over the high latitudes of N.H. land areas.

    The decline in temperatures should begin to take place within six months after the ending of the maximum of solar cycle 24.

    Secondary Effects With Prolonged Minimum Solar Activity. A Brief Overview.

    A Greater Meridional Atmospheric Circulation- due to less UV Light Lower Ozone in Lower Stratosphere.
    Increase In Low Clouds- due to an increase in Galactic Cosmic Rays.

    Greater Snow-Ice Cover- associated with a Meridional Atmospheric Circulation/an Increase In Clouds.

    Greater Snow-Ice Cover probably resulting over time to a more Zonal Atmospheric Circulation. This Circulation increasing

    the Aridity over the Ice Sheets eventually. Dust probably increasing into the atmosphere over time.
    Increase in Volcanic Activity – Since 1600 AD, data shows 85 % approximately of all major Volcanic eruptions have been associated with Prolonged Solar Minimum Conditions. Data from the Space and Science Center headed by Dr. Casey.

    Volcanic Activity -acting as a cooling agent for the climate,(SO2) and enhancing Aerosols possibly aiding in greater Cloud formation.

    Decrease In Ocean Heat Content/Sea Surface Temperature -due to a decline in Visible Light and Near UV light.

    This in turn should diminish the Greenhouse Gas Effect over time, while promoting a slow drying out of the atmosphere over time. This may be part of the reason why Aridity is very common with glacial periods.

    In addition sea surface temperature distribution changes should come about ,which probably results in different oceanic current patterns.

      • The unifying theories are all too long to unsnarl to the end. But for all those balls of yarn, there’s got to be a common thread, representing Nature, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

        Fortunately, the needle is steel, not straw, and the thread is golden, not tolden.

  37. AGW theory has predicted thus far every single basic atmospheric process wrong, or in question.

    In addition past historical climatic data shows the climate change that has taken place over the past 150 years is nothing special or unprecedented, and has been exceeded many times over in similar periods of time in the historical climatic record. I have yet to see data showing otherwise.

    Data has also shown CO2 has always been a lagging indicator not a leading indicator. It does not lead the temperature change. If it does I have yet to see data confirming this.






    LESSENING OF OLR EARTH VIA SPACE -WRONG? I have a study showing this to be so, still I will put a question mark here. I want more data.




    STRATOSPHERIC COOLING- ? because lack of major volcanic activity and less ozone due to low solar activity can account for this. Still let us put a question here.

    AEROSOL IMPACT- WRONG- Because aerosols may be less then a cooling agent then expected, meaning CO2 is less then a warming agent then expected.

    OCEAN HEAT CONTENT TO RISE- WRONG – this has leveled off post 2005 or so. Levels now much below model projections.

    Those are the major ones but there are more. Yet AGW theory lives on.
    Maybe it is me , but I was taught when you can not back up a theory with data and through observation that it is time to move on and look into another theory. Apparently this does not resonate when it comes to AGW theory , and this theory keeps living on to see yet another day.

    Maybe once the global temperature trend shows a more definitive down trend which is right around the corner (according to my studies ) this nonsense will come to an end. Time will tell.

    • There’s rather a high cost to all this foreknowledge that proves false. You can even end up without dams you need, and with desals you don’t need (but which cost half a million a day just to look pretty and rust). You know the old saying: Behind every great climate authority there’s a great white elephant. Example (from the Melbourne Age of 2009):

      ‘David Jones, the head of the bureau’s National Climate Centre, said there was some risk of a worsening El Nino event this year, but it was more likely to arrive in 2010 or 2011. “We are in the build-up to the next El Nino and already the drought is as bad as it has ever been — in terms of the drought, this may be as good as things get.”’

      Then this happened:

      • Apres la secheresse …

      • The recent rainfall antipode between the region around Perth and the rest of the continent is strikingly reminiscent of the multidecadal temperature see-saw between Southern California and the rest of the USA. Seemingly, “Mediterranean climate” zones are comparatively small and vary opposite in phase relative to their continental neighbors.

      • Seems odd to relate climate zones just because they are part of a political entity. An Australian rainfall average for our freak year of 1950 would be a particularly useless and deceptive statistic.

        Fortunately, 1902 was a nice even red, while the mid-1970s almost achieved the impossible all-blue.

        (Amazing how the climate used to change before there was climate change.)

      • Good map

        But we know the “Activators” took it in their stride – within 24 hours, the flooding was caused by those Greatest of Sinners, the Coal Miners (who were also responsible for the drought, whenever that may occur)

        I’ve reached the point where I can only laugh helplessly. There is a sub-set in this thread above where our two heroes, Jimmy D(oodles) and Dave the Appellachian argue over who of them is best at cherry-picking empirical data for a metaphorical headline

        Very droll indeed

      • Bad coal miners!

        Australia is so handy. You can predict drought and there’s nearly always one already going on somewhere. Kidman successfully played the differences over a whole continent, though he lost out in 1902 when the whole lot dried out.

        Interesting that the grandmother of all floods (Gundagai 1852) came only a year after the grandmother of all fires anywhere: Black Thursday 1851. Though they reckon the rains which ended what may have been our sharpest drought, that of the late 1830s which desiccated the ‘bidgee, were pretty awesome.

        All done before the climate got all sensitive and changey.

  38. The more I read this article on climate sensitivity the more you can see the thinking is so far off.

  39. Below I make the case to Dave, that all of the rise in the global temperature trend last century can be linked to natural variability.

    David Appell (@davidappell) | April 3, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Reply

    Salvatore, the average of those three datasets shows +0.56 C of warming since Jan 1979.

    Something for you to think about

    My reply: From 1998-present the rise in global temp. from the late 1970’s-1998 which was due to natural causes has turned into a temperature pause.

    What were the natural causes from the late 1970’s -1998 that caused the global temperature trend to rise?

    High Solar Activity which lasted to year 2005.

    PDO to Warm Phase during late 1970’s (the great climatic shift)

    Volcanic Activity early 1980’s and 1992 then only to become very quiet post 1992.

    AMO to warm phase 1995.

    Super El Nino in 1998, with periods of more El Nino’s versus La Nina’s from the late 1970’s -1998.

    A highly zonal atmospheric circulation as reflected in NAO/AO data.

    A rise in ocean heat content which correlates to the rise in solar activity. Sunspot numbers exceeding 40 which translates to warming.

    Since 1998 the natural forces promoting warming( from 1978-1998) have all subsided and are presently trending toward promoting a cooler climate going forward. This should persist for the next 30+ years.

  40. Timothy Sorenson

    The link 2>ECS>3.5 should read 2<ECS<3.5 FYI


    • Not so sure I’m on board with this, certainly because the mixing ratio of water vapor necessarily decreases with height while CO2 is well mixed. That means that increased CO2 does have the effect of changing radiance at the tropopause.

      Now, I don’t get worked up about CO2 because I don’t get worked up about a few degrees warming which is small from day to day, from day to night, and from summer to winter – it just doesn’t mean that much.

      But CO2 probably does have a part in the warming.

  42. This post certainly provides a lot to digest. Have now got through all the linked papers and post, and about half of the .pdfs atnthe Ringberg site.
    Have formed three impressions.
    1. Further unsettling of the science is in considerable evidence. Clouds, Southern Ocean heat/circulation, natural variability (‘cooling’ from ~1945-~1975 ‘primarily not forced’)…all of which indirectly challenge the GHG forcing attribution to the warming from ~1975 to 1998. But the implication seems not to have been discussed.
    2. There appears to be a rear guard resisting any meaningful downward onservational revision to ECS (Pidcock discussing Johanssen’s new paper), Bjorn Stevens letter refuting Nic Lewis’ use of BS’ revised aerosol forcing estimates to further lower TCR and ECS, energy budget models are too simple,…
    3. And there appears to be a new ‘excuse’ forming for why observationally lower sensitivity does not falsify climate models and cancel the alarm. This best summarized in Schmidt’s post at RealClimate. Sensitivity isn’t constant, it inceases with temperature as equilibrium is approached, cause that is what the models do. We just forgot to mention that before in AR4 and AR5. So never mind those new observational low ECS estimates. Wait a few decades and they will go back up. Another goal post move. As feeble as continually increasing the number of years needed for the ‘pause’ to falsify the models. Another wait and all will again be ‘well’ with our CAGW model predictions.

    Hard to decide whether tactic 2 or tactic 3 is sillier. 2 fails on fact; 3 fails on falsification logic.

    • “2. There appears to be a rear guard resisting any meaningful downward onservational revision to ECS ”

      Now that looks a double intender. They are either covering their retreat or covering their a…

    • ‘fails on falsification logic’. It’s buying time. It’s bluffing. It’s bleak.

    • I note two new memes, all quite freshly blooming, poking through the snowdrifts around the castle.

      1. We’ve already loosed enough CO2 to prevent the next glaciation.
      2. Climate sensitivity to CO2 is a variable.

      Add in the reckless meme from Rahmstorf and Mann about man’s disruption causing cooling and we are well and truly through the looking glass.

      Hang on to your life of the mind jackets, we’re clinging to the wreckage already.

  43. Dan Pangburn

    Proof has been hiding in plain sight that change to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) does not cause climate change. Only existing data and the relation between physics and math are needed or used. The proof and identification of the two factors that do cause climate change are at .

    Climate sensitivity, (the increase in AGT due to doubling of CO2) is therefore not significantly different from zero.

  44. “Punchline: Sea level reconstructions suggest that the Grand Hiatus (1945-1975) was not forced. Interpreting climate sensitivity from the instrumental record depends critically on separating forced changes from internal variability. Assumptions regarding internal variability are key, model dependent, and challenging to validate.”

    I would not assume that the variability is internal. I would suggest that stronger solar wind conditions in the 1970’s through to 1976, increased positive AO/NAO states, increasing the trade winds, and causing a stronger cooling of the AMO by increasing wind driven AMOC events and rates, and greatly increasing La Nina.

    • Further..
      The ideal solar example of increased forcing is 1970-1976 where La Nina increase, and the AMO and Arctic cool strongly. The cold AMO then increased continental interior rainfall, causing further regional cooling. The corollary of this being the marked decline in the solar signal since the mid 1990’s, with the oceanic negative feedbacks providing a strong AMO and Arctic warming, giving an accelerated global mean surface temperature rise from ~1995-2005, exacerbated by continental interior drying due to the warm AMO mode.
      From this frame of reference, TCS to increases in GHG forcing would be a negative bias with regard to mean surface T at least at decadal scales, and only positive with ECS because of increases in upper OHC. So increases in GHG forcing should have reduced warming rates of the AMO and Arctic since 1995. Particularly as there is a near consensus amongst IPCC models that increased GHG forcing will increase positive AO/NAO states, which is the requirement for a cooler AMO and faster trade winds.

  45. JC: “… the confounding factor of natural internal variability, inconstancy of the feedback parameter, inconstancy of ocean heat uptake, sensitivity of feedbacks to spatial warming patterns, aerosols as a tuning factor for sensitivity. …”

    yep. chasing after a mouse amid a herd of stampeding elephants

  46. Berényi Péter

    No robust contradiction between observational and model estimates, given uncertainties.

    Of course there is a contradiction. Not in ECS, which is a far too flexible concept.

    However, none of the computational climate models can replicate the observed hemispheric symmetry in reflected shortwave irradiance. Which is a far more serious issue than lack of lower tropospheric warming for the last 18 years.

    It is serious, because this symmetry (better than one part in two thousand) is brought about by clouds, so failure to model it implies utter failure of representing large scale cloud regulation. Without that no computational model may have any relation to reality ever.

  47. All the climate sub- topic studies under the main topic presented here today under the topic climate sensitivity have one common element which is they try to make the data fit their absurd theory (AGW) rather then show how their theory conforms to the data.

    They have made a case that has zero substance as far as being able to verify the validity of their theory. They have no supportive data either through past historical climatic data or present atmospheric processes that supports this theory as something that has never occurred before in the climatic system of earth. There is absolutely nothing out there to show this to be the case. Nothing.

    AGW theory as of today is nothing more then speculation.

  48. … anime aimed at liberals and Leftsts: stupide?

  49. JC: “… the confounding factor of natural internal variability, inconstancy of the feedback parameter, inconstancy of ocean heat uptake, sensitivity of feedbacks to spatial warming patterns, aerosols as a tuning factor for sensitivity. …”
    And that’s not all of it!

  50. Schrodinger's Cat

    Is funding a factor in climate sensitivity calculations?

    • Yes, there’s a vicious positive feedback from policy considerations modulated through the funding. High sensitivity is actually man’s fault, but fortunately, it is variable.

  51. David Wojick

    ECS/TCR is a worthless abstraction. In a vacuum you can throw a potato chip as far as a baseball.

  52. Lauri Heimonen

    Judith Curry:

    ”So, am I buying the conclusion that climate sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 2C? In a word, NO.”

    Judith Curry, I agree with the expression yours. As you replace the results on climate sensitivity adopted by IPCC by using empiric observations, climate sensitivity is less than 2C. However you can not yet get rid of the uncertainty between zero and 2C.

    In my link I have proposed a way how to proceed towards a final solution of uncertainty concerning climate sensitivity and especially on the role of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in that; excerpt:

    ”I understand that Judith Curry and Eija-Riitta Korhola are striving for a target where the interface between politicians as decision-makers and climate scientists as due researchers is understood by both sides well enough. The content of the target is not yet known sufficiently well. ‘If we want science to be its most innovative, . . . ; it’s about supporting the ones we already have.’ Judith Curry and Eija-Riitta Korhola belong to ‘the ones we already have’. In addition that they can support each others, we all should support them.

    In my opinion, they have to scrutinize themselves what is the real share of anthropogenic CO2 in the total increase of CO2 content in atmosphere, and what is the real share of atmospheric, total CO2 increase in the recent global warming. In my view, Tom V Segalstad and Murry Salby are right, as they state that the anthropogenic share of the recent total CO2 content in atmosphere has been only 4 % at the most. In addition, Scafetta says that the climate sensitivity is lower than 1C, and accrding to Lindzen it is 0.5C or less. Cripwell, Wojick and Arrak have stated that the climate sensitivity is so minimal that it can not be distinguished from zero.

    I have expressed views of my own on the share of anthropogenic CO2 in the increase of CO2 content in atmosphere, and on the share of increasing CO2 content in atmosphere on global warming e.g. in my comment :
    a) ‘The present temperature plateau’ proves that a trend of global warming does not take place, although the content of CO2 in atmosphere is even exponentially increasing.
    b) The recent increase of CO2 contentent in atmosphere has been controlled by natural warming of sea surface, especially on the areas where sea surface CO2 sinks are.
    c) The anthropogenic share of the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere is about 4 % at the most. Even this 4 % has been caused mainly by the warming of sea surface on the areas where sea surface sinks are.”

  53. Letś get to the sensitivity and ignore the multifarious side issues introduced to muddy the waters. Sensitivity and atmospheric carbon dioxide are related quantitatively by the amount of greenhouse warming that takes place when the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide is doubled. The amount of this warming, expressed in degrees Celsius, then defines sensitivity. As it happens, it is not a difficult task to determine it in todayś world. We live in a”hiatus” or “pause” period when carbon dioxide constantly increases while global mean temperature does not. The same thing happened in the eighties and nineties although you can’t see this because it is covered up by false warming (1). This lack of warming violates the predictions of the Arrhenius greenhouse theory used by the IPCC. If a scientific theory such as Arrhenius produces an unequivocally false prediction the theory itself is considered false and belongs in the waste basket of history. The correct greenhouse theory to use is the Miskolczi greenhouse theory, MGT. It came out in 2007 and was promptly blacklisted by the global warming movement. It differs from the Arrhenius theory in being able to handle more than one GHG at the same time. Arrhenius can handle only one, carbon dioxide. The IPCC requirement that water vapor in the atmosphere should triple the greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide alone must be added as an additional hypothesis to Arrhenius theory that has never been scientifically validated. According to MGT, carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere jointly form an optimal absorption window in the infrared. Its optical thickness is 1.87, determined by Miskolczi from first principles. If you now add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, it will start to absorb in the IR, just as Arrhenius predicts. But this will increase the optical thickness. And as soon as this happens, water vapor will begin to diminish, rain out, and the original optical thickness is restored. The added carbon dioxide will of course keep absorbing but the reduction of water vapor keeps the amount of absorption constant and no warming is possible. With that dies the greenhouse theory of global warming. Even if you double the amount of carbon dioxide you still get no warming. This means that the sensitivity is zero, period. Since the greenhouse warming is assumed to be the cause of AGW the anthropogenic global warming is likewise dead. IPCC was established specifically to study the effect of global warming on humans. Since we have just proved that AGW does not exist there is no longer any warming to influence humans. Hence, there is no need for IPCC and it should be closed down.

    (1) “What Warming? Satellite view of global temperature change (2010),” figure 15.

    • Arno, you should at least consider Lubos Motl’s rather devastating mathematical critique of Mizkolski. And that the GHG effect can be experimentally verified in the lab. And that Arrhenius originally incorrect theory was subsequently modified to account for ‘height’ variation to ‘transparency’. Mozkolski’s theory that increasing CO2 forcing is exactly offset by a decreasing water vapor forcing is also falsified by observational evidence. It is observationally true that relative humiditymis not constant as IPCC AR4 asserted. It declines. But specific humidity still goes up, just not as much as in the climate models. See essay Humidity is still Wet for references.

      • ristvan,

        I wonder if you could provide me with a link to the experimental verification of the Greenhouse Effect?

        I can’t find any using Google, just many links to experiments showing that gases can be heated and cooled.


      • stevefitzpatrick

        You are wasting your words. You will never convince them. Let it go.

      • Zipper, Google using specific search techniques. Seek, and you will find a number of older peer reviewed papers. The experimental technique is usually a long glass tube of some gas mixture/pressure. Know the light intensity/frequency in one end, measure the attenuation by frequency out the other end to get the absorption curves. (Glass tubes act like fiber optic waveguides, so most of the introduced light is internally refracted rather than escaping sideways along the way to the end owing to the difference in index of refraction.) You read this because of that same fundamental fiberoptic physics.
        Used to verify the various atmospheric radiative transfer codes by bandwidth segment, like Modtran, which is publically available. Again a Google away. That GHG behave like Tyndall showed the Royal Society in 1859 cannot be reasonably doubted. Those few still making contrary arguments are true science ‘deniers’ who only discredit the rest of us skeptics.
        AGW is all about the climate feedbacks/sensitivity. Including Mizkolski’s argument. Not whether a ‘greenhouse effect’ exists. (Note, real greenhouses work by impeding convective cooling. GHG work by impeding radiative cooling, since there is no convective or conductive heat transfer to the space vacuum–as Thermos bottles know. Difference has unnecessarily tripped up many.) Main feedbacks are water vapor and clouds. Mizkolski is wrong about water vapor. My ebooks have details.

      • SFP, you are likely right. But I have the hope that with enough patient repetition and reference guidance, we can start to coalesce the skeptical community around irrefutable facts that warmunists could only attack at their peril. Complete AGW denial is as wrong as CAGW. Two wrongs do not make a right.

      • Can we also safely say that other labs, called greenhouses, clearly demonstrate that green things grow faster, larger, and produce more of what we need and want while using less water? Can we infer from this that there may actually be a net benefit to increased levels of co2?

  54. Geoff Sherrington

    There seems to be an implicit belief that sensitivity to GHG cannot be zero.
    What is the strongest, most recent accepted argument to exclude zero?
    I still find it within uncertainty limits.

  55. From Nick Lewis’s slides:

    Does the hiatus affect estimates?
    Rogelj et al 2014: “lines of [ECS] evidence … pointing to the lower end … are strongly influenced by the low increase in observed warming during the past decade”
    • No: best estimates of ECS and TCR little affected

    I find this highly counter-intuitive, and would expect Rogelj to be right. If the ‘haitus’ is evidence against GCMs with high climate sensitivity, surely it supports a lower sensitivity? What assumptions are going into the calculation such that a decade of flat temperatures make little difference to the estimate? And how is it possible (eg Lewis and Curry 2014) to get a higher value excluding the 2000s than including them?

  56. The Navier Stokes differential equations describe fluid flow with changes in temperature and density. They are nonlinear, chaotic, with sensitive dependence on initial conditions. That means that no finite set of records of past data can ever be sufficient to predict distant future states. This has been known since Edward Lorenz’s 1963 paper “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow”. We can’t tell if the distant future will be warmer or colder for any NS system, even if all inputs are held the same. Further, we know that the inputs are not held the same: Evolution will favor higher CO2 consumption plants if higher CO2 levels are available. Now factor in that the major force in the solar system is the Sun, some 1.3 million times bigger than the earth, and it is also described in part by the nonlinear Navier Stokes equations.

    The entire edifice of Global Warming is crap, built on a rotten foundation, except where it is built on greed for power by government bureaucrats and their fellow travelers.

  57. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #176 | Watts Up With That?