New research on atmospheric radiative transfer

by Judith Curry

Three new papers highlight how atmospheric radiative transfer, particularly how it is treated in climate models, is not ‘settled science.’

The greatest uncertainties in simulating climate change from increasing CO2 is generally regarded to be associated with cloud feedbacks and ocean circulations (there are many more, but these stand out).  Atmospheric radiative transfer is regarded to be among the most certain aspect of simulating climate change. For some background on this issue, see this previous post:  Confidence in radiative transfer models

Three new papers highlight how atmospheric radiative transfer, particularly how it is treated in climate models, is not ‘settled science.’

An assessment of methods for computing radiative forcing in climate models

Eui-Seok Chung and Brian J Soden

Abstract. Because the radiative forcing is rarely computed separately when performing climate model simulations, several alternative methods have been developed to estimate both the instantaneous (or direct) forcing and the adjusted forcing. The adjusted forcing accounts for the radiative impact arising from the adjustment of climate variables to the instantaneous forcing, independent of any surface warming. Using climate model experiments performed for CMIP5, we find the adjusted forcing for 4 × CO2 ranges from roughly 5.5–9 W m−2 in current models. This range is shown to be consistent between different methods of estimating the adjusted forcing. Decomposition using radiative kernels and offline double-call radiative transfer calculations indicates that the spread receives a substantial contribution (roughly 50%) from intermodel differences in the instantaneous component of the radiative forcing. Moreover, nearly all of the spread in adjusted forcing can be accounted for by differences in the instantaneous forcing and stratospheric adjustment, implying that tropospheric adjustments to CO2 play only a secondary role. This suggests that differences in modeling radiative transfer are responsible for substantial differences in the projected climate response and underscores the need to archive double-call radiative transfer calculations of the instantaneous forcing as a routine diagnostic.

Published in Environmental Research Letters [link]

I find this to be pretty astonishing: The adjusted forcing for 4 × CO2 ranges from roughly 5.5–9 W m−2 in current models.

Some interesting insights from this paragraph:

Our assessment of the intermodel spread in the instantaneous forcing from CO2 is similar to that obtained by Collins et al (2006) for both the shortwave and longwave components. Collins et al (2006) documented that at the top of model the range of instantaneous forcing for a doubling of CO2 is ∼1.2Wm−2 for the longwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum and ∼0.5Wm−2 for the shortwave part. These ranges, respectively, correspond to ∼2.4Wm−2 and ∼1.0Wm−2 for a quadrupling of CO2 if the curve of growth of forcing withCO2 holds. This agreement further supports the validity of the kernel methodology. The spread is significantly larger than that obtained by Collins et al using line-by-line calculations, indicating that the spread in forcing calculations does not reflect uncertainties in radiative transfer theory, but in the fidelity of its implementation in climate models.

These discrepancies are surprisingly large when considered as a fraction of the total forcing.

Back when I was deeply involved in radiative transfer research (1990’s), it was clear that many climate models were using substandard and erroneous radiative transfer codes, largely because radiation codes are very computationally intensive.  I imagine the situation has improved, but apparently there are still substantial issues.  For an evaluation of climate model radiation codes against observations,  see this paper The continual inter comparison of radiation codes:  Assessing anew the quality of GCM radiation algorithms.

———–

The next paper, while not a new one (published in 2006) gives an example of something missing from radiative transfer models (someone tweeted this paper last week, bringing it to my attention).

Parameterization of the Absorption of the H2O Continuum, CO2, O2, and Other Trace Gases in the Fu-Liou Solar Radiation Program

ZHANG Feng, ZENG Qingcun, Y. GU, and K. N. LIOU

Abstract. The absorption properties of the water vapor continuum and a number of weak bands for H2O, O2, CO2, CO, N2O, CH4, and O3 in the solar spectrum are incorporated into the Fu-Liou radiation parameterization program by using the correlated k-distribution method (CKD) for the sorting of absorption lines. The overlap absorption of the H2O lines and the H2O continuum (2500–14500 cm−1) are treated by taking the two gases as a single-mixture gas in transmittance calculations. Furthermore, in order to optimize the computation efforts, CO2 and CH4 in the spectral region 2850–5250 cm−1 are taken as a new singlemixture gas as well. For overlap involving other absorption lines in the Fu-Liou spectral bands, the authors adopt the multiplication rule for transmittance computations under which the absorption spectra for two gases are assumed to be uncorrelated. Compared to the line-by-line (LBL) computation, it is shown that the errors in fluxes introduced by these two approaches within the context of the CKD method are small and less than 0.48% for the H2O line and continuum in the 2500–14500 cm−1 solar spectral region, 1% for H2O (line)+H2O (continuum)+CO2+CH4 in the spectral region 2850–5250 cm−1, and 1.5% for H2O (line)+H2O (continuum)+O2 in the 7700–14500 cm−1 spectral region. Analysis also demonstrates that the multiplication rule over a spectral interval as wide as 6800 cm−1 can produce acceptable errors with a maximum percentage value of about 2% in reference to the LBL calculation. Addition of the preceding gases increases the absorption of solar radiation under all sky conditions. For clear sky, the increase in instantaneous solar absorption is about 9%–13% (12Wm−2) among which the H2O continuum produces the largest increase, while the contributions from O2 and CO2 rank second and third, respectively. In cloudy sky, the addition of absorption amounts to about 6–9 W m−2. The new, improved program with the incorporation of the preceding gases produces a smaller solar absorption in clouds due to the reduced solar flux reaching the cloud top.

Published in Advances in Atmospheric Science [link]  …

The Introduction provides some context:

The absorption of a number of gases in the earth’s atmosphere makes an important contribution to the radiation budget of the Earth-atmosphere system. In the discussion of solar absorption, Liou (2002) presented numerous solar absorption bands of gases that have not been properly accounted for in radiation parameterizations. These include absorption lines associated with H2O, CO2, O3, O2, N2O, CH4, CO, and NO2. It is noted that only the major absorbers (H2O near-infrared bands, O2, CO2 near-infrared bands, and O3 UV and visible bands) have been considered in the radiative transfer parameterizations in the majority of current general circulation models (GCMs). A common feature in most GCMs to date has shown that the simulated net solar fluxes at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) are smaller than the observed values, indicating a cold bias in the GCMs (Gu et al., 2003). Introducing the neglected absorbers in the radiation model can correct this cold bias and at the same time improve the performance of the GCMs.

From the conclusions:

Under all sky conditions, the new version of the Fu- Liou radiation parameterization has produced larger solar absorption than the original one. Contribution from the absorption of the H2O continuum is most important, followed by O2, CO2, the H2O visible band, and CH4. The contributions of N2O, the O3 3.3 μm band and CO on solar absorption are quite small and can be neglected for most practical applications. In cloudy sky, the new version has generated a smaller solar absorption in the cloud due to less solar flux reaching the cloud top. Finally, it is our intent to integrate the new version of the Fu-Liou radiation program into the IAP AGCM II to determine the contributions of the preceding absorption bands to the heating of the Earth-atmosphere system for climate study.

The Fu-Liou radiation code is a state-of-the-art research quality radiation code.  It is very computationally intensive, and hence not used in climate models for production runs for CMIP/IPCC.  Although I did spot this presentation where the Fu-Liou code was incorporated into the UCLA GCM, although it doesn’t directly address the issues raised in the 2006 paper.  The presentation is worth reading since it highlights additional uncertainties in radiative transfer modeling.

——-

The final paper is a Ph.D. thesis from Germany, the most interesting thing I’ve read in a long time, and it takes me back to my own thesis (on radiative transfer in the Arctic [link])

Antarctic specific features of the greenhouse effect

Holger Schmithusen

Abstract. CO2 is the strongest anthropogenic forcing agent for climate change since pre-industrial times. Like other greenhouse gases, CO2 absorbs terrestrial surface radiation and causes emission from the atmosphere to space. As the surface is generally warmer than the atmosphere, the total long-wave emission to space is commonly less than the surface emission. However, this does not hold true for the high elevated areas of central Antarctica. For this region, it is shown that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is around zero or even negative. Moreover, for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the earth-atmosphere system. These unique findings for central Antarctica are in contrast to the well known general warming effect of increasing CO2. The work contributes to explain the non-warming of central Antarctica since 1957.

PhD thesis from the Alfred Wegener Institut, Universitat Bremen  [link].

Current explanations for the cooling in Antarctica include ozone hole and the Southern Annular Mode.  This thesis argues for a negative greenhouse effect (GHE), whereby there is more radiation emitted from the top of the atmosphere over Antarctica than by the surface.  The reason this happens is because of a combination of temperature inversions (the temperature increases with height in the lower atmosphere over Antarctica) and the high elevation.   The negative GHE is most prominent in austral autumn, because the stratosphere is still warm while the surface is cold. In spring the stratosphere is warmed up rapidly by the absorption of ozone, while the surface has just started to recover from its winter temperature, causing a strong negative GHE in October.

Schmithusen explains the effect:

The term negative GHE might seem to sound odd, as we think of GHGs to act like a blanket for the planet, shielding terrestrial radiation from being emitted to space. “Anti-shielding” does not make sense. The following thought experiment demonstrates that GHGs can actually help the planet to lose energy, that would not be emitted without them:

Say, there were no GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere. Clouds shall be neglected as well, to make things easier. The planet gains energy over the tropics (positive budget) and loses this extra energy over the poles (negative budget). The energy transport in-between is carried out by the atmosphere. The ocean, of course, also contributes to this meridional transport of energy, but this is not of importance here.

The energy gained over the tropics, which is then transported to the poles, must enter the ground in the polar regions before it can be emitted to space. This is because no GHGs and no clouds, also no aerosol, shall be contained in this hypothetical atmosphere. The atmosphere cannot emit energy directly to space, as it lacks long-wave emitters. Consequently, any “imported” energy that shall leave the Earth-atmosphere system in the polar regions, must be transported via sensible heat flux into the ground. From there it can then be emitted to space.

Now, GHGs shall be introduced. Sure, they have a “shielding” effect over the tropics by causing long-wave downwelling radiation to heat the surface. The same happens, to some smaller extent though, in the polar regions. In addition to that, GHGs give the atmosphere the ability to emit energy directly into space, without the need to transport it through the surface first. This increases the ability of the planet to get rid of energy at the poles, which has been collected over the tropics. In essence, this helps the atmosphere to perform its “task” of meridional energy transport; GHGs help to balance the radiative imbalance between the tropics and the poles.

The conditions in central Antarctica, being a high-altitude plateau and having a continental climate, are such, that the “shielding” effect of GHGs is excelled by the “helping in losing energy” effect. This, one can name negative greenhouse effect.

From the concluding section:

A better linkage between the reported phenomena and the widely discussed surface temperature can be provided from analyses of GCM results. For this, it is crucial that the surface temperatures on the Antarctic plateau are modelled correctly. The CMIP5 comparison shown here demonstrates that this is not the case for many state-of-the-art climate models: most models evaluated here overestimate the surface temperature. Consequently, many models do not reproduce the observed negative GHE over central Antarctica. Furthermore, GCM analyses shall ensure that the surface temperature inversion is correctly reproduced. Both the strength and the height of the inversion influence the changes in LWD caused by increasing GHGs. If the surface inversion is too weak in a model, the increase of LWD caused by increasing GHGs will be overestimated.

Further observational proof of the phenomena reported here could be gained from long-term analysis of TOA thermal infrared emission spectra. Satellite records of such measurements date back to the launch of the Nimbus 4 satellite in 1970. Given the comparability of the different sensors, that have been in space since then, and given sufficient data coverage, a correlation of GHE of CO2 over central Antarctica with the atmospheric CO2 concentration should be feasible. This kind of analysis is expected to resemble the results of RF of CO2 presented here, essentially showing no or slightly negative correlation.

JC comment:  this is a very readable and informative thesis, it is well worth reading for anyone interested in radiative transfer.  A nice thing about Ph.D. theses is that they really explain things.  It is also a potentially important thesis, although I may be biased since this makes me nostalgic about my own Ph.D. thesis completed over 30 yrs ago.

————

JC reflections

Back in the 1990’s, when radiative transfer was a central research topic for me, we didn’t worry too much about the details of radiative transfer codes in climate models, because any errors were swamped by the errors in the modeled distribution of clouds, which had a much greater impact on the planetary energy balance than did any errors in the radiative transfer code.

But the issue is that all of the errors/uncertainties highlighted in the above 3 papers are systematic errors in a given model, directly giving rise to errors in sensitivity to CO2, although it is difficult to infer anything quantitatively re climate sensitivity from these papers.

While the state of understanding of atmospheric radiative transfer is pretty high, there remain some significant uncertainties and unaddressed problems.  The bigger issue is the slow translation of this understanding into the radiation codes used in climate models.  I recall ECMWF was using a neural network approach based on a sophisticated radiative transfer model, this seems a promising approach.

I spent the 1990’s working on issues related to radiative transfer in the Arctic.  A key issue in polar regions is the ‘dirty window’ in the far infrared  around 20-30 microns (fig 2.20 in the Antarctic thesis illustrates this).  The dirty window is also an issue in the upper troposphere.  Getting this wrong in your climate model will cause all sorts of problems, including too much heating in the polar regions.  I know a few climate models that treat the dirty window in a reasonable way, but I suspect that most don’t.

It is an important but fully tractable challenge to bring climate model radiation codes up to the level of our understanding that is reflected by state-of-the-art radiation codes such as Fu-Liou.

Moderation note:  This is NOT the thread to discuss theories of the greenhouse effect or its nonexistence.  Keep such discussion on the Week in Review thread.

271 responses to “New research on atmospheric radiative transfer

  1. Thanks, Professor Curry, for your tireless efforts to address problems with global climate models. You have the patience of Job!

  2. The troposphere is the part of the atmosphere that is convectively linked to the surface temperature, and this is the part that warms when CO2 is increased. This is typically 10-20 km deep. Antarctica has very little “troposphere” by this definition, if any, because surface air hardly gets away from the surface due to the inversion. Layers that are not attached to the surface by convection tend to cool when CO2 is added, as with the stratosphere and apparently most of the air above the Antarctic, so I think this cooling is understandable.

    • Danny Thomas

      Jim D,

      What then, does this mean for the “global” definition and the related “global” effects of a doubling (or more) of CO2 over time? (Leaving out the if we can get to doubling, or more).

      Thanks.

      • The global mean troposphere dominates the lower 70-80% of the atmosphere by mass, and it all warms with increasing GHGs. Cooling seen in other areas would also be part of the CO2 signature.

      • Danny Thomas

        Seems to be a bit of a hole in that response, right? Did I miss follow/understand/apply that there is some “offset” via the effects as observed in Antarctica?

  3. From the PhD thesis,

    “Now, GHGs shall be introduced. Sure, they have a “shielding” effect over the tropics by causing long-wave downwelling radiation to heat the surface. The same happens, to some smaller extent though, in the polar regions. In addition to that, GHGs give the atmosphere the ability to emit energy directly into space, without the need to transport it through the surface first.”

    Steven Mosher on the last thread: “Downwelling IR is not the cause of global warming. IT IS THE EFFECT. Downwelling IR doesn’t warm the planet.

    Which is it?

    • Mosher is a bit more right. Insulation doesn’t heat your house, but it does cause it to cool less, so it is warmer that way. It is better to say that downwelling IR keeps the surface warmer than without GHGs. See the difference? It is subtle.

      • Insulation doesn’t heat your house, but it does cause it to cool less, so it is warmer that way.

        How does it keep it from cooling?
        It is subtle.

      • I didn’t think insulation did anything other than slow the rate of heat transfer

      • I didn’t think insulation did anything other than slow the rate of heat transfer

        The key question is how.
        What do fiberglass insulation, Styrofoam, and snow all have in common?

      • A miracle! Steven Mosher, Jim D, SoD & HS, et al agree that downwelling LWIR DOES NOT heat the surface, i.e. it does NOT account for a 33C warming of the surface above equilibrium temperature with the Sun.

        However, the Trenberth energy budget diagram says 333 W/m2 backradiation from GHGs is “Absorbed by the surface” i.e. is thermalized to transfer HEAT to the surface. This myth continues in perpetuity all over the internet including online lectures by folks like Richard Alley and about 16 million sites on Google that proclaim the same nonsense, and also apparently in the PhD thesis above.

        Moving on from the false paradigm that GHG DLIR HEATS the surface, the next bogus excuse for CAGW is that increased CO2 raises the ERL, thereby radiating from a cooler layer. This is false for many reasons, including:

        1. By Wein’s Displacement Law, the peak 15 micron emission from CO2 is “equivalent” to an actual TRUE blackbody at -80C or 193K. Leaving beside the fact that CO2 is not a true blackbody, is just a line-emitter without a Planck curve and doesn’t obey SB, the temperature of the “ERL” is always equal to the equilibrium temperature with the Sun = 255K. Therefore, even if the height of the ERL moves up (and it doesn’t for reasons below), the temperature of the ERL remains the same 255K equilibrium temp with the Sun, which is much WARMER than the FIXED emitting temperature of 193K for CO2. The emitting temperature of -80C for CO2 cannot change regardless of the height of the ERL where T=-18C.

        2. There is zero observational evidence that increased CO2 raises the ERL, it’s just yet another modeling fantasy dunked in #1 above. In fact, observations show OLR has INCREASED over the past 62 years, falsifying the claim of decreased OLR from GHGs to space.

        3. The height of the ERL has nothing to do with GHG concentrations and is dependent only upon the equilibrium temperature with the Sun, kinematic viscosity, and the center of mass of the atmosphere located at ~5.1km geopotential altitude where T=Te=255K, thus the ERL height is essentially a constant and not in the least dependent upon GHG concentrations. The gravito-thermal, not radiative, GHE explains not only the 33C temperature gradient between the ERL and surface, but also the even larger negative 35C anti-greenhouse effect from the ERL to top of the troposphere.

        3. The Arrhenius radiative GH theory does not explain the -35C anti-greenhouse effect from the mid-troposphere 5.1km ERL to the top of the troposphere, and instead claims the missing “hot spot” and GHG “heat trapping” and the most warming are supposed to occur in the mid to upper troposphere where the -35C anti-greenhouse effect is located!

      • the Trenberth energy budget diagram says 333 W/m2

        Most of which is from clouds/cloud bottoms.

      • GHGs are like insulation. They prevent the surface from cooling so much. Why is that so hard to understand?

      • micro,

        Air pockets?

      • Air pockets?

        Yes indeed, that is it.
        I should have included grass, and with no wind tree tops as well.

        But, my point is it seems to me that none of these work without that trapped air having it’s own version of “DW” IR.

        Although I reserve the right to ponder this some more.

      • Folks, every CO2 molecule absorbs and emits.

        The business about RF at the “surface/tropopause/top of the atmosphere” is what the radiative flux is at a given level of consideration, but there are radiative influences more or less continuously throughout the depth of the atmosphere for increases in CO2.

        Now, the troposphere is the ‘well mixed’ layer [ I found this web definition I never looked up before: 1914, from French troposphère, literally “sphere of change,” coined by French meteorologist Philippe Teisserenc de Bort (1855-1913) from Greek tropos “a turn, change” (see trope ) + sphaira “sphere” (see sphere )].

        Because the troposphere is well mixed, heating which takes place at the surface is often quickly dispersed to the rest of the troposphere ( the winds blow, after all ), which is why early modelers ( Manabe comes to mind ) suggested considering the flux at the tropopause to be representative of forcing. There is some mixing across the tropopause, but not nearly as much as there is within the troposphere.

        If you calculate radiance on the basis of layers, the amount of radiant flux captured or lost by bounding layers gives you a heating rate for that volume:

        By analogy, if you consider the troposphere as a whole, changes in radiant flux at the tropopause imply a change in the heating rate of the troposphere:

        Yes the surface flux changes matter, just as the flux changes throughout the atmosphere matter, but it is the measure at the tropopause or certainly at the ‘top of the atmosphere’ that are thought to matter most because at the TOA, the only significant transfer mechanism is radiance, while conduction and convection occur increasingly toward the surface.

      • Eddie, looking at the atmosphere as a organism, the TOA is the active surface, the transfer membrane for radiative flux. Thus every dynamic, whether is occurs all over or not, becomes increasingly important to radiative flux in proportion to its proximity to the TOA.

      • micro6500, you are asking how insulation keeps your house from losing heat? That is its purpose. Do you have insulation? Why? I find your question strange.

      • Of course you do, explain how it works, explain what an IR thermometer reads and why.

      • Bob Greene, this is how it works. If you warm your house at a fixed rate and then add insulation, it maintains a larger temperature gradient between the house and outside, and therefore the house gets warmer for a given outside temperature.

      • ” this is how it works. If you warm your house at a fixed rate and then add insulation, it maintains a larger temperature gradient between the house and outside, and therefore the house gets warmer for a given outside temperature.”
        This is not an explanation.

      • I also have insulation to keep my house cool in the summer.

      • Good, aaron, explain how it works to micro6500. He is not sure about the temperature gradient part. I did my best.

      • I did my best

        LMAO, I think just about suns it all up!

      • We seem to have landed in a war of semantics here. Allow me to make a layman ass of myself and admit that I thought all atoms at a temperature over 0K emitted energy, and thus when we are talking about energy flow from warmer to colder it’s the nett flow that matters? Steven Mosher’s first two sentences make absolute sense, but the third is questionable.

      • thought all atoms at a temperature over 0K emitted energy

        I did too, but gases don’t, and when they do (I think) they are line emitters, like Co2 is.

      • The insulation is also cooling the house, just not as efficiently as the open air.

      • insulation

        Slows the transfer of heat, air based insulation does this both directions, it’s a poor conductor and the pockets are small enough it has little convection.
        Silver Mylar reflects (IR) photons away, and then with an air gap it has poor conduction. Thin film gold reflects IR even more so (why do you think all the astronauts have gold visors and such).

        But if this seems unclear, get an IR thermometer, how do you think those work? You can also feel this with your skin, when it’s either real cold or real hot out and the inside is not (heat on in the winter, air on when it’s hot) and you can feel the difference between an inside vs outside wall (well with my shirt off I could).
        Those FBI IR cameras that can “see” through walls, until you have good insulation, then they switch to back scatter x-rays.

      • The point is, the material is still transferring heat away from the object, which is warmed by its heat source. The warming does not come from the insulation.

      • The point is, the material is still transferring heat away from the object, which is warmed by its heat source. The warming does not come from the insulation.

        I drive my wife nuts. I agree with your statement, but add the caveat the insulation itself does warm as well, so it too will emit IR.

      • micro, I know you are on top of this stuff. The problem is the general public who have been totally bamboozled by the climate activists. They really don’t know that only the sun warms the planet, and that the atmosphere helps the planet cool gradually. They have been told that gases and especially CO2 make the surface warmer.

      • I know you are on top of this stuff.

        Thanks I try, Everyone says I’m “Trying”.

        The problem is the general public who have been totally bamboozled by the climate activists. They really don’t know that only the sun warms the planet, and that the atmosphere helps the planet cool gradually. They have been told that gases and especially CO2 make the surface warmer.

        I understand, but I think it just means we need to be very clear with our language. But for the people who are open, we need to be straight with them, I’m not sure how many people who have already made up their mind we’re going to change. But a lot of this (climate, thermodynamics, weather, etc) we all live with, and we all experience it directly (although some have a limited view), so things we say might get them to see what they already know.

      • micro, here’s a question for your wife:
        From Philosophy 101:
        If a man says something, and his wife is not there to hear it, is he still wrong?

      • If a man says something, and his wife is not there to hear it, is he still wrong?

        Bayesian a priori says absolutely.

    • Steven Mosher on the last thread: “Downwelling IR is not the cause of global warming. IT IS THE EFFECT. Downwelling IR doesn’t warm the planet.”

      Lol, did our resident post modern warmist really say that?
      I actually agree that his comment matches what’s being measured , but I wonder how increasing Co2 is suppose to do anything then?

      • Steven Mosher

        It raises the ERL

      • David Springer

        “It raises the ERL” is like the author. Too simplistic. A bit more detail would be “It raises the ERL to a higher, colder level”. Yet more detail would be “It raises the ERL to a higher, ostensibly colder level.”

        SUFFICIENT detail is “It raises the ERL to a higher, potentially colder level which may in fact not be colder due to lapse rate feedback.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_feedback#Lapse_rate

        Lapse rate[edit]
        Main article: Lapse rate
        The atmosphere’s temperature decreases with height in the troposphere. Since emission of infrared radiation varies with temperature, longwave radiation escaping to space from the relatively cold upper atmosphere is less than that emitted toward the ground from the lower atmosphere. Thus, the strength of the greenhouse effect depends on the atmosphere’s rate of temperature decrease with height. Both theory and climate models indicate that global warming will reduce the rate of temperature decrease with height, producing a negative lapse rate feedback that weakens the greenhouse effect. Measurements of the rate of temperature change with height are very sensitive to small errors in observations, making it difficult to establish whether the models agree with observations.[64][65]

        Study harder.

      • micro6500, I have posted this in WUWT and science of doom, but it seems many have not seen it (it goes back several years for the early posts):
        https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WPeBO_Ra9mkhWjv0J0SNmyRzHFVE9zPP8xRDUpR08jc/edit?usp=sharing (back radiation)
        This describes what Steven Mosher is saying.

      • Thanks ordvic for posting that link (that I’d forgotten about lol). It provides 9 reasons why the claim of a rising ERL does not cause AGW.

      • Hockeyschtick,
        Yes that is a very article, easy to understand. Thanks :-)

      • Steven Mosher says, July 7, 2015 at 4:34 am:

        “It raises the ERL”

        And how specifically does this force the surface to warm? Through what mechanism?

      • David Springer

        A higher ERL (effective radiating level), given no change in moisture content in the column, is a colder level. That means the rate of energy loss per unit-area is lowered. Energy then accumulates (temperature rises) until the rate of energy loss is restored to an equilibrium rate (energy in from the sun equals energy out at the top of the atmosphere).

        The confounding factor is we know there is a change in moisture content in the column. It increases. This lowers the lapse rate or how much temperature declines per unit-measure of altitude. This is a negative feedback called lapse rate feedback and no one knows how large it is because we don’t any means of measuring it with sufficient precision all around the world.

      • The bigger effect from the extra moisture is the positive feedback due to its extra emission from the atmosphere that adds to CO2’s and raises the ERL further. The lapse-rate effect only partially counters that.

      • No Jim D, that is an unknown.

        It varies by season, location, and climate regime. Cloud cover, precipitation frequency, increased mixing can all overwhelm the increase in water vapor at the surface. Chemical processes could even come into play. (What are sources for stratospheric water vapor?)

        See comments below by PA and TE.

      • No, it’s unknown.

        It varies by season, location, and climate regime. Cloud cover, precipitation frequency, increased mixing can all overwhelm the increase in water vapor at the surface. Chemical processes could even come into play. (What are sources for stratospheric water vapor?)

        See comments below by PA and TE.

      • David Springer says, July 7, 2015 at 7:41 pm:

        “A higher ERL (effective radiating level), given no change in moisture content in the column, is a colder level. That means the rate of energy loss per unit-area is lowered. Energy then accumulates (temperature rises) until the rate of energy loss is restored to an equilibrium rate (energy in from the sun equals energy out at the top of the atmosphere).”

        “Energy accumulates and temperature rises.” Thanks, but this doesn’t answer my question. Where exactly does it accumulate? And how? And in what way does this make the surface warm?

        Through what specific physical mechanism does a raised ERL force the surface to become warmer? If not through an increase in DWLWIR? Does the air warm before (and relative to) the surface, reducing the upward temperature gradient? Or what?

      • David Springer

        “Energy accumulates and temperature rises.” Thanks, but this doesn’t answer my question. Where exactly does it accumulate? And how? And in what way does this make the surface warm?”

        It accumulates in the global ocean. The $64,000 question is the distribution within the ocean. If the excess is evenly distributed top to bottom then it’s a non-problem as the current measured excess is only enough to warm the ocean 0.2C per century. If it’s concentrated in the top 10% of the ocean then it’s enough to warm it 2C/century. Neither I nor anyone else at present can answer the vertical distribution question.

      • It accumulates in the global ocean

        Yeah, but that’s just made up. we don’t have enough sampling nor enough years with ARGO running.

        This visualization was produced using model output from the joint MIT/JPL project: Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2. ECCO2 uses the MIT general circulation model (MITgcm) to synthesize satellite and in-situ data of the global ocean and sea-ice at resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow current systems,

        This is the notes on the NASA Visual Ocean video.

      • David Springer says, July 8, 2015 at 5:05 am:

        “It accumulates in the global ocean.”

        I’m still confused. What accumulates in the ocean? The solar input? Or the DWLWIR?

        How precisely does a raised ERL several km up in the air make it so that solar energy accumulates in the ocean? If not by increased DWLWIR?

      • David Springer

        The imbalance at top of atmosphere between energy in and energy out (less out than in) accumulates in the global ocean raising its average temperature.

      • The imbalance at top of atmosphere between energy in and energy out (less out than in) accumulates in the global ocean raising its average temperature.

        But I don’t buy that the change in Co2 has but a possible tiny impact.
        Ocean heat content is poorly sampled, there’s little history, and that’s even more sparsely sampled, finally the satellites lack the accuracy to detect a TOA imbalance, they presume there’s an imbalance and adjust the measurements to show an imbalance.

        One of my big issues is everywhere I look we lack the detail to tell what’s actually going on, so it’s all adjusted on the basis that they know it to be true (many times with unvalidated models). Surface temps, ocean temps, TOA imbalance, infilling, adjustments, all of it, every single bit of data is adjusted based on what people expect the answer to be, every bit.

        And when I look at surface data in a unique way that hasn’t been adjusted it shows on a daily and annual basis a 0.0F +/- 0.1F change in residual temp back to the 40’s. And I trust my work more than I trust people who adjust the data to make it what they think it should be. Now, you might say why should anyone trust you? I have 15 years explaining, supporting and proving simulators work to electronic design engineers so I know simulation technology, plus I’ve done design and modeling using simulators. I think that gives me an independent understanding of GCM’s. I can follow that with 17 years of data work, where if I do my job wrong, I can put multibillion dollar global corporations out of business, and you all have stuff the data can trace back to me, all of you. In my world bad data has immediate consequences.

        So call me skeptical on a TOA imbalance.

      • Mike Flynn

        David Springer,

        In four and a half billion years, the Earth has managed to cool. Its average temperature has fallen. This is in spite of much higher levels of CO2 in the past.

        Even the oceans managed to cool. Do you agree?

      • micro, “But I don’t buy that the change in Co2 has but a possible tiny impact.”

        About 0.8C could be considered tiny.

      • About 0.8C could be considered tiny.

        Yeah, not much, and that’s air temps, I don’t see that having much impact to oceans with it’s 1000x heat capacity.

      • micro6500 | July 9, 2015 at 9:38 am |

        So call me skeptical on a TOA imbalance.

        Well…

        Global warming is getting squeezed between reality and the satellites.

        A February study actually measured the CO2 forcing.

        Since the measurements were done at the top and bottom of the temperate zone – the 0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM is sort of a worst case and represents 1.05 W/m2 of forcing since 1900.

        So there is a ground level CO2 forcing effect but it is pretty small.

        The satellites don’t show much change so the effect is mostly at ground level.

        This isn’t good news for global warming. A limited ground level effect with a future CO2 change of less than 100 PPM doesn’t give them a lot of reason for joy.

        The future warming is bounded at less than 1/10 of the level of the IPCC “scare” scenarios.

        The TOA question is somewhat ambiguous. The change in the net inputs and outputs might indicate something. But since there isn’t a way to ensure all the energy inputs and outputs of the earth system are captured accurately and completely a TOA differential really doesn’t tell you if the earth is warming or cooling.

        Since the precision is better than the accuracy the trends at TOA might indicate if forcing is increasing or decreasing.

      • Since the precision is better than the accuracy the trends at TOA might indicate if forcing is increasing or decreasing.

        They are precise, but there have been more than one, and they don’t go back all that far. So, I get a shrug, maybe, maybe not, but as you note if you believe them they’re shrinking the impact of Co2.

      • As far as the ERL.

        The ERL varies by wavelength. CO2 is increasing but the upper layers are drying.

        What appears to be happening is for CO2 wavelengths the ERL is moving up and for most IR the ERL is moving down.

      • The ERL varies by wavelength. CO2 is increasing but the upper layers are drying.
        What appears to be happening is for CO2 wavelengths the ERL is moving up and for most IR the ERL is moving down.

        This matches what I’m seeing in the surface data, I don’t doubt that temps are up and down, but the surface cools just fine at night and during the winter.

      • micro,
        “Yeah, not much, and that’s air temps, I don’t see that having much impact to oceans with it’s 1000x heat capacity.”

        That just increases the timed required. About 300-400 years all things remaining equal. According to some of the paleo, ocean heat can lag atmosphere by around 1700 years. Since the current rate of uptake is around 0.6 Wm-2, dropping that to zero shouldn’t have much impact at the “surface”. A lot can happen in a millennium or so.

      • A lot can happen in a millennium or so.

        I’m going to be pi$$ed if we don’t have a large fraction of our energy needs being met with atomic energy in 50 years, so yeah 0.6w/m^2 shouldn’t be a problem at all, we have other things to do.

        And that’s another thing that annoys me, we have environmental issues that do need addressing, and we’ve wasted so much time and effort on AGW.
        I spend 6-12 months visiting Cray research in Wi, and I love me some big computers, but let them spend their own money on them, not ours.

    • A good question but I believe that Steven was writing about what was the cause of the additional IR in the first place and not about the mechanism by which downwelling radiation heats the Earth’s surface.

    • Steven Mosher

      Phd thesis?

      try the best textbook
      http://cips.berkeley.edu/events/rocky-planets-class09/ClimateVol1.pdf

      “A common fallacy in thinking about the effect of doubled CO2 on climate is to assume that the
      additional greenhouse gas warms the surface by leaving the atmospheric temperature unchanged,
      but increasing the downward radiation into the surface by making the atmosphere a better infrared
      emitter…..
      This reasoning is faulty
      because increasing the CO2 concentration while holding the atmospheric temperature fixed reduces
      the OLR. This throws the top-of-atmosphere budget out of balance, and the atmosphere must
      warm up in order to restor balance. The increased temperature of the whole troposphere increases
      all the energy fluxes into the surface, not just the radiative fluxes. Further, if one is in a regime
      where the surface fluxes tightly couple the surface temperature to the overlying air temperature,
      there is no need to explicitly consider the surface balance in determining how much the surface
      warms. Surface and overlying atmosphere simply warm in concert, and the top-of-atmosphere
      balance rules the roost.”

      So have a read of the entire text.

      Find a passage that says the planet warms as a result of downwelling IR.
      You wont. The cause of warming is the DECREASE in OLR

      See chapter 3.

      • “A common fallacy in thinking about the effect of doubled CO2 on climate is to assume that the additional greenhouse gas warms the surface by leaving the atmospheric temperature unchanged,
        but increasing the downward radiation into the surface by making the atmosphere a better infrared
        emitter…..

        I make no such claims

        Find a passage that says the planet warms as a result of downwelling IR. You wont. The cause of warming is the DECREASE in OLR

        Surface and overlying atmosphere simply warm in concert, and the top-of-atmosphere balance rules the roost

        And what exactly happens to DWIR while the Surface and overlying atmosphere simply warm?

      • AVHRR shows OLR is increasing.

        ESRL shows “no persistent long term trends” in DWIR.

        Doesn’t this suggest that the “missing heat” is escaping?

      • Steven Mosher: Phd thesis?

        try the best textbook
        http://cips.berkeley.edu/events/rocky-planets-class09/ClimateVol1.pdf

        that is definitely a good textbook, but most PhD theses are improvements over textbooks. In Europe the PhD theses are usually compendia of already published articles by the author. You should give a PhD thesis a lot of thought after a thorough reading before dismissing it outright. You ought not be credulous either — new findings need to be replicated by others before being accepted.

      • Steven Mosher: Find a passage that says the planet warms as a result of downwelling IR.

        You wont. The cause of warming is the DECREASE in OLR

        The two rate changes happen concurrently. At different parts of “the planet” the two rate changes have different effects. The increase in the DWLWIR, where it occurs, contributes to the warming of the surface.

        Pierrehumbert’s text is concerned almost exclusively with “equilibrium” conditions, hence it does not treat of different parts of “the planet”.

      • Mosher says: “The cause of warming is the DECREASE in OLR.”

        But HOW? How does a decrease in OLR produce a warming of the surface? By what specific physical mechanism?

      • angech2014

        Steven Mosher: Find a passage that says the planet warms as a result of downwelling IR.
        You wont. [plenty of those around, Steven, open your eyes, as you say they are technically wrong as the sun warms the planet and the GHG effect so the downwelling IR is a secondary effect, not a cause ]

        The cause of warming is the DECREASE in OLR.

        Um, true but only very temporarily.
        It is true that GHG CO2 increase holds more heat in.
        That is the presence of the CO2 in the air makes all the air particles move faster. but this happens almost instantaneously.
        and then there is no decrease in the OLR

        as the lower atmosphere heats up the OLR must increase.
        To be precise there is no permanent or ongoing decrease in OLR in a warming planet.

      • angech2014

        best explanation is RealClimate 7/12/2004 ” why does the stratosphere cool when the troposphere warms. 3 experts including Andy Lacis, Gavin and James Shearer plus one Eli Rabbett get it all completely wrong.
        Roy Spencer has a go.
        Perhaps Science of Doom, Judy or Mosher could explain in a few short sentences or revisit this topic here in a follow up article.
        Reminded me of the Pink Panther car crash with the Gorilla/s.

      • angech, “best explanation is RealClimate 7/12/2004”

        That is a classic :)

      • The textbook science looks fine to me. The troposphere does act in concert with the surface, being linked by convection, so you can’t say which warms first. Saying that the atmosphere heats the surface is not scientifically precise, as I mention above. It is no more correct than saying your roof insulation heats the house. In both cases the heat comes from elsewhere, and these restrict its escape. I think it is easy to understand GHGs as insulators.

      • Jim D: The textbook science looks fine to me.

        Do you think that disproves the result reported in the PhD thesis?

      • I don’t think the thesis would dispute this textbook stuff. Antarctica may be as described. I have not seen if some GCMs have trouble with the inversion, so I can’t comment on why that may be.

      • captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.3 | July 7, 2015 at 8:44 pm |

        “”angech, “best explanation is RealClimate 7/12/2004″
        That is a classic :)”

        A real life Ripley’s believe it or not moment.
        \ Have a look for a real laugh and real insight into how little RealClimate knew when they put up the article. Google
        “Why does the stratosphere cool when the troposphere warms?”
        second article down, not Stoat.
        Gavin says “This post is obsolete and wrong in many respects.”
        “NB. The following text was originally in the post ( , and has subsequently turned out to be wrong. It is left here so that the comments on it can remain comprehensible.”
        “14/Jan/05: This post was updated in the light of my further education in radiation physics. 25/Feb/05: Groan…and again.”

      • angech, “A real life Ripley’s believe it or not moment.”

        There is an Antarctic warming/not/warming/not series as well. Finding Antarctic cooling proportional to rest of the globe CO2 related warming would have been a “signature” of GHE related impact. Setting out to create warming where the physics should have told them there would be none or cooling, is just another humorous example of “belief system” science.

      • Jim D: I don’t think the thesis would dispute this textbook stuff. Antarctica may be as described.

        The thesis shows another place on Earth where the equilibrium-based analysis developed in the text is too inaccurate to permit a calculation of the sensitivity of the climate to a change in CO2. Pierrehumbert addresses the issue of accuracy/inaccuracy of the equations at several places in the text, and claims that the equilibrium approximation is sufficiently accurate to account for most of the differences between planets. He does not claim that it is sufficiently accurate to account for changes within each climate system. Schmithusen describes a specific example of change due to CO2, the changes at Antarctica. Other people have described differential changes at levels of the atmosphere and regions of Earth, i.e. the “hotspot” in the tropical troposphere..

      • Mike Flynn

        Steven Mosher,

        Ray Pierrehumbert wrote the following –

        “If you are underneath something with a nonzero temperature that has a nonzero emissivity, it is going to warm you. You will experience the downward flux.”

        Do you agree with this? Do you believe that lying naked on a block of insulation under the still clear desert sky at night, with air temperatures around the zero mark, will be fine, because you are being “warmed” by “back radiation”.

        Or do you think that Ray Pierrehumbert misspoke, or that I didn’t understand his meaning? He makes sense if you use the Warmist meaning of “warm” which seems to mean “emits EMR”. Ordinary people understand “warm” to mean “to increase in temperature”. Warmists, on the other hand, use “warm” to mean “not get cold as fast”, amongst other distortions of the English language.

        You apparently have qualifications relating to the English language. Maybe you should concentrate on these, before attempting to learn physics.

      • matthewmarler, the thesis is not about the accuracy of the known physics. Antarctica is a case where the atmosphere is not getting most of its heat from the surface which is colder. It is therefore more like the stratosphere where increased CO2 will cause a cooling.

      • angech2014

        Steven Mosher “So have a read of the entire text.
        Find a passage that says the planet warms as a result of downwelling IR”.

        Adding CO2 shifts this “radiating height” upward and increases emission, but that increased emission is more than offset by the decreased emission toward the flanks of the spectral band sensitive to CO2. Thus, CO2 decreases emission to space and warms the planet.
        Chris Colose (@CColose)
        A Guide to CO2 and Stratospheric Cooling
        May 22, 2015 by climatephys

      • Jim D: matthewmarler, the thesis is not about the accuracy of the known physics. Antarctica is a case where the atmosphere is not getting most of its heat from the surface which is colder. It is therefore more like the stratosphere where increased CO2 will cause a cooling.

        this little tangent began with a comment on the relative worth of the PhD thesis and the textbook by Pierrehumbert. The thesis is a careful quantitative examination of a region of the climate system where the equilibrium-based approximations of the text book are no adequately accurate for assessing the effects of CO2 change on climate.

      • The textbook and theories back to Arrhenius refer to a globally averaged situation. An average situation doesn’t have to apply everywhere or even all the time at a location, and I doubt the textbooks ever claimed that. To claim that this is in conflict with Pierrehumbert is to misinterpret their meaning.

      • Jim D: To claim that this is in conflict with Pierrehumbert is to misinterpret their meaning.

        All along there has been no way to calculate accurately the effects of a change in CO2 concentration on the surface or near the surface of Earth. The first reasonably accurate calculation for Antarctica shows no change. Up next, … , what? The Himalayas? The Pampas? Siberia and Irkutsk? The Indian Ocean? The Sahara Desert? My calculation showed little or no net warming of the surface in response to increased CO2 concentration.

  4. On the “negative” greenhouse effect given a temperature that increases with height:

    This is known. The greenhouse effect requires air (aloft) colder than the surface to replace warm, intense surface radiation with “colder” more feeble emission to space. If you replace emission with a warmer atmosphere you take slack off the emission demanded of the surface to satisfy the planetary energy budget. So yes, this aspect is “settled science”

    • So yes, this aspect is “settled science”

      Debunked above. The emission temperature of CO2 is FIXED at -80C regardless of the height of the much warmer FIXED -18C temperature of the ERL.

      In addition, any increase in “radiative forcing” or warming of the lower troposphere is easily overcome by negative feedback increases in convection & WV latent heat transfer/condensation. Convection and WV condensation dominate (91.5%) of radiative-convective equilibrium in the troposphere.

    • Chris Colose: If you replace emission with a warmer atmosphere you take slack off the emission demanded of the surface to satisfy the planetary energy budget.

      There is a “budget” that has to be “satisfied”? I think you mean something more complex, but I don’t want to put words into your mouth.

    • Chris , Chris, Chris,

      “The greenhouse effect requires air (aloft) colder than the surface to replace warm, intense surface radiation with “colder” more feeble emission to space.”

      James B. Shearer says: 27 Feb 2005 at 6:51 PM Eli,
      Gavin is arguing above that adding greenhouse gases would cause the stratosphere to cool even if the stratosphere was not being warmed by the adsorption of UV and that this is the explanation of stratosphere cooling. I am arguing that this is incorrect if all warming was from below there would be no cooling.

      Gavin, the gradient increases but the fixed point is the top of the atmosphere not the effective radiating level. As a result all layers warm with the amount of warming increasing as you move towards the surface. This means the effective radiating level rises.

      Consider the top of the atmosphere as an arbitrarily thin gray body. Looking down from this layer we see the earth radiating at its black body temperature, TB. Looking up we see space at near absolute zero. So this layer will have temperature ((TB**4)+0**4)/2)**.25 or (.5**.25)*TB or .84*TB as claimed above. If the top layer is not arbitrarily thin but instead has emissivity e then its temperature will be TB*(2-e)**(-.25). In either case the temperature is independent of the details of the temperature structure below, the key point is that the total outgoing radiation must balance the incoming solar radiation.

      Roy W. Spencer says: 10 Dec 2004 at 1:53 PM
      1. The stratosphere does NOT have a positive lapse rate…it is negative. A positive lapse rate is one in which temperature decreases with height. That’s why it’s called a “lapse” rate.

      Basically at TOA all outgoing radiation must balance all incoming radiation.
      Despite the stratosphere being thinner and higher the energy going through it is the same as the energy being emitted from the surface.
      If the lower atmosphere is greenhouse hotter, the upper atmosphere must be cooler so the total radiation out equals that in.
      A bigger question is does the hotter lower atmosphere have to heat up the sea?
      As you can see the ground can be hotter than the air but it does not build up in heat once it is in balance.

  5. ” The energy gained over the tropics, which is then transported to the poles, must enter the ground in the polar regions before it can be emitted to space. This is because no GHGs and no clouds, also no aerosol, shall be contained in this hypothetical atmosphere. The atmosphere cannot emit energy directly to space, as it lacks long-wave emitters. Consequently, any “imported” energy that shall leave the Earth-atmosphere system in the polar regions, must be transported via sensible heat flux into the ground. From there it can then be emitted to space.

    Now, GHGs shall be introduced. Sure, they have a “shielding” effect over the tropics by causing long-wave downwelling radiation to heat the surface. The same happens, to some smaller extent though, in the polar regions. In addition to that, GHGs give the atmosphere the ability to emit energy directly into space, without the need to transport it through the surface first. This increases the ability of the planet to get rid of energy at the poles, which has been collected over the tropics. In essence, this helps the atmosphere to perform its “task” of meridional energy transport; GHGs help to balance the radiative imbalance between the tropics and the poles.”
    This is basically the same effect I see in surface stations, air heated in the tropics is carried pole ward, and is radiated over night exiting the system leading to more cooling than the prior day warmed.
    It also calls into question “Arctic amplification “, sub zero snow doesn’t radiate a lot of 15u ir.

  6. The Antarctica paper seems to indicate that increasing CO2 makes Antarctica a better radiator, increasing the heat loss from the atmosphere without warming the surface.

    Is this correct?

    • It means that for part of the year, increasing CO2 over Antarctica makes more energy leave to space than would otherwise.

      But this is aloft, not at the surface. How this cooling is shared with the rest of the atmosphere is determined by dynamic motion which is much less clear.

      • Or another post first, read papers later.

        The Schmithusen paper says surface inversions are very important and missed by GCMs ( weather models also? ).

        Table 2.4 shows just how screwed up the ‘settled science’ gcms are, over Antarctica anyway.

  7. Physically, yes, in modelling terms, errrr, NO…

  8. angech2014

    Abstract. CO2 is the strongest anthropogenic forcing agent for climate change since pre-industrial times.

    So true quite small and can be neglected for most practical applications..
    The CO2 itself is only a tiny proportion of the GHG , mainly water as a gas and water vapor, say 10% [ the major absorbers (H2O near-infrared bands, O2, CO2 near-infrared bands, and O3 UV and visible bands) ].
    So anthropogenic CO2 effect is less than 0.075% hence, to paraphrase, is “quite small and can be neglected for most practical applications.

    By the way does O2 absorb near infra red and why is this important effect never mentioned?

    • Angech: Indeed, the solar Fraunhofer “A” and “B” features at ~0.76 and ~0.69 microns in the near infrared are absorption bands of terrestrial oxygen. It’s true that for each molecule of CO2 added to the atmosphere, a molecule of O2 is consumed. But that is a very small portion of the total atmospheric O2 (which is about 21% of the total atmosphere). Therefore, the absorption by these O2 bands are decreasing with time as CO2 increases, but by an unmeasureable, tiny amount; their absorption can be regarded as constant for all modeling calculations.

  9. angech2014

    As the surface is generally warmer than the atmosphere, the total long-wave emission to space is commonly less than the surface emission.

    Curious comment
    scientifically not right
    perhaps I am mistaking the purpose of the comment.
    Radiation comes in, some is reflected on the way down radiation received at surface equals radiation out from surface at surface.
    which must all eventually, mostly all as long-wave radiation go to space, plus the infrared radiation from some of the incident SW and LW absorbed by the atmosphere, ie never reached the surface in the first place but goes back out as both SW [reflected], and LW from GHG absorption. The total long-wave emission to space is always greater than the surface emission.

    Note the TOA emission is less per square meter but there are a lot more square meters up there to add up, perhaps this is where the confusion came in.

  10. angech2014

    Moreover, for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the earth-atmosphere system.

    Again most heat is always lost in the tropics. The most heat going out occurs in the day with the sun directly overhead. The hotter it is the more heat goes out by a factor of 2 to the fourth power.
    Thus the area to look at for the most heat loss which “cools the planet is perversely the tropics. Cloud cover here can reflect a lot more heat here hence lowering the total earth absorption of energy significantly.
    The polar areas hardly lose any heat to space in comparison, being so cold to start with.

    There is no increased long-wave energy loss to space, only the normal amount of long-wave energy that is expected given the amount of insolation, GHG and cloud cover at the time.
    There was obviously less energy getting to the surface!

  11. angech2014

    GHGs give the atmosphere the ability to emit energy directly into space, without the need to transport it through the surface first. This increases the ability of the planet to get rid of energy at the poles, which has been collected over the tropics.

    No, see above. It does not get rid of energy at the poles it just lowers the amount of radiation able to enter the atmosphere and hit the surface.
    The energy from the tropics is mostly put out in the tropics, less so in the temperate areas and minimally at the poles as most is lost long before it can get there.

  12. Hints of looking for lost keys under the streetlamp, as mentioned by JC a while back.

  13. Mike Flynn

    All of the papers mentioned appear to involve solar radiation, either explicitly or implicitly.

    At least one refers to a negative GHE, during six months of continuous daylight (or thereabouts).

    In the absence of sunlight in other places, say the Tibetan plateau, does the GHE become negative?

    There is at least one paragraph in one of the papers that doesn’t appear to be factual. “The atmosphere cannot emit energy directly to space, as it lacks long-wave emitters. Consequently, any “imported” energy that shall leave the Earth-atmosphere system in the polar regions, must be transported via sensible heat flux into the ground. From there it can then be emitted to space.”

    A sample of atmosphere above absolute zero does not need “long wave emitters”, or any other sort of “emitters”. It can, and does, emit energy in all directions. If the environment is colder than the atmosphere, it will cool. Talk of requiring a “sensible heat flux into the ground” to enable the atmosphere to lose energy to space is simply incorrect.

    Measuring the temperature of the atmosphere would not be possible if the atmosphere did not emit radiation.

    Atmospheric radiative transfer models seem to have a way to go, particularly in the absence of insolation.

    • In the absence of sunlight in other places, say the Tibetan plateau, does the GHE become negative?

      Or Greenland?

      One reason negative RF over Antarctica is more likely than for the Himalayas or Greenland is that stratospheric temperatures create a strong high-level inversion over the summer pole, and that temperature profile is what engenders the negative RF:

      I believe that inversion is stronger for the Antarctic than Arctic and Greenland lies more toward the equator than Antarctica ( around the pole, of course ). And the Tibetan plateau is to far equatorward to catch the inversion influence.

  14. So what would the net effect of increasing GHG be? It may increase heat loss in the polar regions, but surely would be swamped by a greater positive effect at the tropics, and extending to sub tropical regions making the area that is net positive very much larger than the poles?

    What would the boundary between the positive and negative GHG effect areas look like? Would that match land area?

    A very interesting post.

    • The portion of earth covered by Antarctica is relatively small so the global RF is probably not that different, though the models probably don’t resolve all the temperatures over Antarctica very well.

      Another interesting thing to consider is this:

      The higher the temperature, the greater the RF.

      The greenhouse effect in general is lower over the poles and higher over the tropics because ‘if you got nothing, you got nothin to lose’:

      Imagine an atmosphere where the temperature was 0K everywhere.
      Adding CO2 would have no effect because no emissions would take place from either the surface or the top of the atmosphere.

      Now imagine an atmosphere with some surface temperature Tsfc, and some top of the atmosphere temperature Ttoa = Tsfc – x. Adding CO2 increases the greenhouse effect because more emission to space takes place at Ttoa than before.

      • The problem with this

        is it’s a calculation, doesn’t make it wrong, but there’s no guarantee it’s right either. The evidence it’s likely wrong is GCM’s lack fidelity.

      • Turbulent Eddie: Adding CO2 increases the greenhouse effect because more emission to space takes place at Ttoa than before.

        No dispute, but that kind of leaves us where we have been. How much is the effect, and what are the non-uniformities in its distribution?

  15. You say;

    “These discrepancies are surprisingly large when considered as a fraction of the total forcing.”

    You should have added, ‘especially as so much time, effort and money has been expended in establishing this aspect of the settled science.’

    tonyb

    • Tony, it is a bit of a stunner to find Soden saying the LBL RT codes now all produce similar results, but the RT parameterizations don’t, varying by a factor of nearly two. The most basic thing in GCMs not validated. What an indictment of ‘climate science’. How many other parameterization errors to offset RT errors in order to get decent hindcasts?

      • ristvan: Tony, it is a bit of a stunner to find Soden saying the LBL RT codes now all produce similar results, but the RT parameterizations don’t, varying by a factor of nearly two. The most basic thing in GCMs not validated.

        Yes it is!

  16. “These discrepancies are surprisingly large when considered as a fraction of the total forcing.”

    That was what I thought might be in the papers and links presented. But was quite unsure because of my general ignorance.

    So the uncertainty of some aspect that’s implied in the models is of the same order of magnitude as the external forcing? And everything is unlinear in the model. And there are other uncertainties to boot. And we have an initial value problem where errors accumulate.
    Well if this was used to model some crucial aspects of some technological contraption, a plane say or a nuclear reactor, would such a thing ever be allowed to operate?

    Climate Science must be different.

    • krmmtoday: So the uncertainty of some aspect that’s implied in the models is of the same order of magnitude as the external forcing? And everything is unlinear in the model. And there are other uncertainties to boot. And we have an initial value problem where errors accumulate.
      Well if this was used to model some crucial aspects of some technological contraption, a plane say or a nuclear reactor, would such a thing ever be allowed to operate?

      Your comments and question have been oft repeated.

      The answer among the promoters of AGW “urgent action” has been that the accuracy of the GCMs is a much less important criterion than the insight that can be gained from experimenting with their inputs and parameter values.

      • The answer among the promoters of AGW “urgent action” has been that the accuracy of the GCMs is a much less important criterion than the insight that can be gained from experimenting with their inputs and parameter values.

        As the say “LOOK ->, a squirrel”

      • Sorry for being annoying, but for me this is at least confirmation that I got the gist of those posts right. Without being an expert you’re always more or less insecure whether you got it right. Thought it was the sense of this blog to inject a bit of info into the uninitiated.

      • Re: experimenting
        Some years ago, I spent some serious effort trying to get my gravitational model of a solar system to be stable. It would start out well (kinetic + potential = constant), but it did not take long (a few simulated Earth orbits) for the total energy in the system to start fluctuating. After 500 orbits or so, it would be completely off the rails.
        The value of my experiments was that I learned a ton about the limitations of computers.

  17. “However, this does not hold true for the high elevated areas of central Antarctica. For this region, it is shown that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is around zero or even negative. Moreover, for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the earth-atmosphere system…”

    That has been a favorite topic of mine for a while. Increasing the rate of pole ward advection and polar heat loss can create an impression that there is significant warming when you use plain anomalies instead of energy weighted anomaly (allow for S-B T^4 issue). It is an energy problem and T isn’t a good proxy for energy when you have a range of -90C to 50C . I believe this ‘rookie’ mistake is not something easy to find a publisher for, isn’t really a ‘debate” point and some might consider a bit embarrassing in thermodynamic circles. Frame of Reference, KISS and ASSUME doncha know.

    • Good point! Alarmists call this “polar amplification” referring to the positive anomalies in polar regions, especially the Arctic, which make those regions show up in red in the temperature anomaly maps.

  18. Reblogged this on kingbum78's Blog and commented:
    I love reading the work of experts and getting a glimpse into what they think. This is a very important matter that needs to be worked out. Having said that it is just one piece of the climate issue and it gives me appreciation for the complexity of the matter. Coding has to be wrong in the climate models because if it wasn’t the climate would be doing as predicted.

  19. A lot of people don’t understand the key distinction here – primarily the difference between a “line by line” model (LBL) and a parameterization.

    The LBL model is very computationally expensive in the context of a GCM. It’s true that I can run an LBL calculation on a home computer with Matlab (maths software) – and get one result (or a few results) – but the proportion of computational time that would be devoted to LBL radiative transfer in a GCM for every point on the grid (e.g. 65,000 points on a 1’x1′ grid), running multiple times per day, makes it a bad choice compared with a parameterization.

    The three key places that LBL models suffer:
    1. Knowledge of the GHG concentration as a function of height
    2. Knowledge of the temperature profile as a function of height (the environmental lapse rate)
    3. The continuum absorption of water vapor – which isn’t based on a set of measured absorption lines and the theory is not completely clear. The experimental measurements don’t come from the normal spectroscopic data gathered on absorption lines, instead they come from the “real lab” of the atmosphere.

    This makes the uncertainty in LBL primarily due to knowledge of the atmosphere, with some due to water vapor continuum (depending on specifics of the amount and location of water vapor).

    The places that GCMs suffer in regard to LBL models are due to the parameterizations.

    Collins (2006) gives a good example (as cited in the article) but again LBL models have almost no spread of calculated radiative forcing, compared with GCM parameterizations which have significant spread.

    • David Springer

      Could you please supply references to literature and/or textbooks instead of your own blog articles?

      Thanks.

      • What you desire to have spoon-fed is contained in his blog posts. Get back to us once you have caught up.

      • SoD presents some of the most detailed and clear explanations of some of the underlying science associated with this topic. He also has references at the end of most of his posts. If you can’t be bothered clicking more than one link, that’s your loss.

      • David Springer: Could you please supply references to literature and/or textbooks instead of your own blog articles?

        you could start with Collins (2006) in the article.

        fwiw, his blog is pretty informative. You could start there as well, and work through the references that he provides.

    • David Springer

      I will concede that 7th grade science is just the right level for Ken Rice.

      LOL – I kill me sometimes!

  20. kingbum78,

    Coding has to be wrong in the climate models because if it wasn’t the climate would be doing as predicted.

    You have to understand what a model does. It doesn’t reproduce reality, it is an approximation. How much of an approximation?

    The fundamental equations in a climate model are correct representations of reality and this is easily seen in weather models (which use the same equations).

    The scale is the first problem, as explained in Turbulence, Closure and Parameterization. Basically climate models are on too coarse a grid.

    The issue of chaos is the second problem, as explained in Natural Variability and Chaos – Four – The Thirty Year Myth. This means predictability is only ever possible in a statistical sense (averages and variances over a “long time period”), not in a deterministic sense (i.e. second by second, or minute by minute).

    • scienceofdoom said:

      The fundamental equations in a climate model are correct representations of reality and this is easily seen in weather models (which use the same equations).

      Some of the equations might be “correct”, as illustrated by the examples in this post. And let’s take “correct” to mean that some of the models of, as implemented in GCMs, the actual fundamental equations might be useful for gaining some degree of understanding of some aspects of the hydrodynamics and thermodynamics ( the mass, momentum, energy chemical, and biological processes ) occurring in Earth’s climate systems.

      And while some of these equations might have, rough, corresponding parts in NWP, in the continuous-equation domain, the heavy lifting of providing fidelity of the calculational domain with the physical domain in GCMs is carried by the parameterizations. Again another point illustrated by the present post. The objectives of NWP and GCM modeling and applications are very different. I doubt that any NWP model has an accounting, at least at high-fidelity, of radiative energy transport, for example.

      When invoking NWP as an analogy for GCM the biggest leap of faith, by far, is the giant step from the continuous equation domains to the numerical solution methods and application domains. Critically important considerations in the numerical solution domain can, and very frequently do, totally overwhelm any firm foundation that might have been set at the continuous equation domain. Not to forget that it is the parameterizations that provide fidelity. The NWP to GCM analogy is yet another failed analogy in Climate Science. Yet another example of Bumper-sticker Grade Climate Science.

      Until the methods used to solve the discrete approximations to the continuous equations have been verified, little real progress will be made. Following that activity, which is actually an ongoing process and not a procedure, the “correctness” of the so-called fundamental equations, and more importantly the critical parameterizations, can be investigated. The validation activity frequently leads to discovery that the correct fundamental equations, themselves, turn out to be not so correct or fundamental.

      Climate is not the average of weather. To first order the climate at a location is set by macroscopic properties and characterizations outside the domain of the state of the atmosphere. Weather is perturbations in climate. Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

      • Climate is not the average of weather. To first order the climate at a location is set by macroscopic properties and characterizations outside the domain of the state of the atmosphere.

        In many places this seems true, but not all places, I keep pointing out that my local “weather” is not variations of a single climate, it’s actually variations of 2 different climates that swap in and out based on the path of the jet stream, and the main driver of the location of the jet stream is more climate state than weather.

        This is the same reason a latitude based field calculation with infilling from long distances is inherently flawed.

      • Weather is perturbations in climate.

        FAIL!

      • Actually, weather is what happens and climate is the statistical history of weather. Climate doesn’t drive weather, it is a statistical artifact.

      • Actually, weather is what happens and climate is the statistical history of weather. Climate doesn’t drive weather, it is a statistical artifact.

        Doesn’t this mean the process used to calculate surface temp is fatally flawed?

      • The earlier statement is not wrong, just incomplete, and thus misleading. The full explanation: Climate is what we expect, based upon patterns we humans see in the past weather.

        Now if the weather history has been adjusted to bring it into line with our expectations, then we lose any objective point of reference.

      • David Springer

        People who won’t read, can’t read, or have the hubris to change dictionary definitions of common language such as the following bore the hell out of me.

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/climate

        “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation”

      • ulriclyons

        Climate means slope or zone, so denotes latitude zones such as torrid, temperate, and frigid, and would also cover arid, tropical dry and wet, desert, temperate, maritime, continental and polar climatic regions. Climate change is changes in weather patterns, so to understand how climate changes, one must understand how weather patterns change.

      • David Springer: “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation”

        That’s a start but “place” and “period of years” are left indefinite, and “climate” includes the distribution of the measured variables.

    • This means predictability is only ever possible in a statistical sense (averages and variances over a “long time period”), not in a deterministic sense (i.e. second by second, or minute by minute).

      And even that assumes that natural variance decreases over “long time periods”. That does not appear to be the case.

      Peixoto and Ooort:

      Certainly, we observe ENSO events but also decadal scale variance and in the ice core data, strong centennial scale variance.

      • From your link:

        Comparison of variability as a function of time scale of annual global mean temperatures (°C2 yr–1) from the observed record (Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit gridded surface temperature data set (HadCRUT3), Brohan et al., 2006) and from AOGCM simulations including both anthropogenic and natural forcings.

      • Turbulent Eddie

        [in response to my statement:
        This means predictability is only ever possible in a statistical sense (averages and variances over a “long time period”), not in a deterministic sense (i.e. second by second, or minute by minute).“]

        And even that assumes that natural variance decreases over “long time periods”. That does not appear to be the case.

        I wasn’t trying to address the totality of climate prediction in one sentence, only to address the point that climate models not following a close correspondence to the last 100 years of observed “averaged weather” doesn’t of itself demonstrate they have the wrong equations.

        To expand little, but still compressing the idea from a volume or two to a paragraph..

        The best case – given the chaotic nature of weather – is that some statistics of weather (=climate) might be predictable.

        Now, with a constant forcing (orbital conditions, GHG concentrations) we might expect – if the Lorenz simple analogy is correct – that statistics over a long enough time are constant.

        There is no a priori reason to expect that this time is 30 years (as explained in the blog article I linked – this is simply a convenient time period probably decided by the career length of the people who came up with it). Nor 3,000 years. Nor 3M years. It’s a tricky one.

        However, let’s suppose it was 10,000 years, just for sake of argument. But we are changing the external conditions (orbital conditions) over this time period so we cannot expect the statistics to converge. Take the “simple case” of a forced harmonic oscillator. It is chaotic. But over a long enough time the statistics of motion are constant. However, if you apply some long term complex changes to the forcing then you won’t have long term constant statistics.

        So this makes the tricky problem even more difficult.

      • SoD,

        “I wasn’t trying to address the totality of climate prediction in one sentence, only to address the point that climate models not following a close correspondence to the last 100 years of observed “averaged weather” doesn’t of itself demonstrate they have the wrong equations.”

        Indeed, the unpredictability may well stem from the fact that the equations in the models are very much correct but non-linear, which imposes the unpredictability.

        “There is no a priori reason to expect that this time is 30 years (as explained in the blog article I linked – this is simply a convenient time period probably decided by the career length of the people who came up with it). Nor 3,000 years. Nor 3M years. It’s a tricky one.

        However, let’s suppose it was 10,000 years, just for sake of argument. But we are changing the external conditions (orbital conditions) over this time period so we cannot expect the statistics to converge.”

        The chart from Mitchell 1976 via Peixoto and Oort above is notional, though largely borne out by others. I like it, however, because it displays the diurnal cycle, the 3-7 synoptic wave variance, and the seasonal cycle in the same context as the glacial variance. But one aspect of this is that the “background” variance is not zero and in fact tends to increase as the period of consideration increases.
        Climate may not be predictable on any time scale, certainly not any finer than +/- the variability.

      • However, let’s suppose it was 10,000 years, just for sake of argument. But we are changing the external conditions (orbital conditions) over this time period so we cannot expect the statistics to converge.

        Here’s an interesting question for you? Changes to initial conditions can change the output of a coupled non-linear process, in ways where the size of the initial change is somewhat independent of the size of the effect (“butterfly effect”). AFAIK the same applies to boundary conditions in a hyper-complex non-linear system. (I.e. the size of the effect of differences in boundary conditions is somewhat independent of the size of those differences.)

        So, could we reasonably expect that the geological effects of erosion, especially to high-relief, high-altitude terrain (mountains) might have a significant, on-going effect on the evolution of the attractor? Personally, I would expect that even felling a tree on a mountain in the the Andes, for instance, of the Himalayas, could create a significant difference of potentially equal magnitude to orbital changes.

        Of course, the chance would be much smaller, for any tree. But there’s lots of trees. And a fair number of mountains.

      • Mike Flynn

        AK,

        Spot on. Even more” worrying” is the movement of the continental plates. Those blasted mountains keep going up and down, continental plates keep dancing in three dimensions, unpredictably. Even the ocean basins keep changing!

        What’s a poor climatologist to do? Examine more detailed entrails?

        It’s fairly obvious that most climatologists don’t really believe in chaos theory, as it would make their efforts pretty much of no consequence.

    • Given how badly wrong the literature often is, and that there is no quality control aspect to science, citation to the literature is pretty much worthless.

      • Steven Mosher

        Given how badly wrong some comments are and that there is no quality control aspect to blog comments, ……

      • “badly wrong” = correction opportunities

        Have at it.

      • The Sun is our solar system’s supreme creative and sustaining natural force. It bathes us with warmth and light in ways we still do not fully understand. In its gravitational harmony with the Earth and other planets, it irradiates us with an awesome spectrum amidst a complex play of cycles. The Sun alone has the power to determine whether we live and prosper in that warmth or descend into an ice age of almost 100,000 years of lethal cold. ~John L. Casey, Dir., Space and Science Research Center

      • Although the other side appeals to NASA authority no matter how biased, John Casey I have to say is either nuts or just selling his title as part of a marketing scheme with Newsmax to sell the book “Dark Winter.” The claim is that we are heading into a colder times, not warmer, due to a solar cycle that is past it peak and going toward a minimum now like the Maunder Minimum, which coincided with the Little Ice Age.

      • Many of us agree 100% with what John Casey, is saying. You have to be nuts to believe in AGW theory which has not one shred of evidence to back up anything they say or claim.

      • There are two schools of thought natural climatic change with solar playing a big role and AGW theory with solar playing no role.

        One will be correct and one will be wrong and the answer should come before this decade is out.

      • I’m not convinced that all the energy transfer from the sun is radiative.

        It would be helpful to study solar influences given the IPCC thinks it understands GHG.

      • Mike Flynn

        PA,

        Are you referring to energy from the Sun reaching the Earth? Maybe I misunderstand, but given the near vacuum between the Sun and the Earth, I assume all energy transfer is by radiation.

        What other mechanism are you proposing?

        Thanks.

      • Mike Flynn, the solar wind (high energy particles that interact with the upper atmosphere), CME’s, solar magnetic field variations, and changes in solar spectra (esp. UV content), all energetically affect the Earth to different degrees.

      • Mike Flynn

        Leonard Weinstein,

        Of course you are correct. I overlooked the “all” in PA’s comment. My mistake.

        May I respectfully point out that all EMR is “radiation” by definition. This includes UV, IR, visible, and everything from the longest of radio waves to the highest energy gamma rays.

        But your point is still valid, as I had overlooked the energy contained in particles with intrinsic mass. Given the probable chaotic nature of the Earth’s components, it is quite possible, or even likely, that an apparently minuscule amount of energy in the form of mass ejected from the Sun could have an unforeseen and massive effect on the behaviour of the system.

        Edward Lorenz pointed this out, but many find his ideas to be a bit confronting, I suspect.

      • “From our regression of low cloud factors with various solar activity related parameters, we have estimated the percentage change in cloud factor implied by the known variation in cosmic ray flux and solar activity during the past century. In addition, we have used cloud forcing factors derived by others to estimate the effect of cosmic ray-induced low cloud factor changes on global temperatures. Taken at face value, our results imply that, possibly excluding the last decade or so when an accentuated rise in global temperatures is widely accepted to have occurred as a result of the enhanced greenhouse effect, most of the global warming of the twentieth century can be quantitatively explained by the combined direct (irradiance) and indirect (cosmic ray induced low cloud) effects of solar activity. Similarly, we find the lower level of solar activity in the Maunder Minimum predicts an increase in the low cloud factor that gives rise to an increased albedo for the Earth and lower global temperatures.

        http://www.solarstorms.org/CloudCover.html

      • And maybe affect biology in unpredictable ways.

      • Some energy is carried from the Sun to the Earth via particles, i.e. the Solar Wind. :)

      • Solar plays a role in AGW.

      • Mike Flynn

        Steven Mosher,

        You are right. No Sun, perpetual night. Global surface temp around 30 K. A little cool for my liking.

      • lol. will anyone claim otherwise

      • David Springer

        Ya think?

      • davideisenstadt

        no kidding steve..
        I went throughs mosher”, “steven mosher”, I looked a ton of screens from google scholar searches…not a single citation…I wouldn’t particularly care, except that you made it seem like publishing in peer reviewed journals was the work of a serious scientist.
        i only taught statistics to undergrads for a decade…
        Am I looking in the wrong place for you body pf work?

      • David Springer

        +1

        “Given how badly wrong some comments are”

        Including yours.

      • Stanton Brown: Given how badly wrong the literature often is, and that there is no quality control aspect to science, citation to the literature is pretty much worthless.

        Citation of the literature permits the interested reader to track the claims and assess the evidence for and against them.

      • The problem is that actual data (the 0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM), the CO2 rise diverging from RCP8.5 rapidly, the pause, etc. aren’t what the global warmers expected.

        The global warmers inability to predict things until after they happen is generally indicative of an incorrect or bad informed perspective.

      • This is going to be resolved before this decade ends.PA if you read my theory it makes much more sense then AGW.

    • “Basically climate models are on too coarse a grid.”

      Ture, by a factor of at least 50-100X according to published papers.

      Thus, as you say, convection is “parameterized” i.e. a fudge factor, and the models clearly do not take into account that any increase in radiative forcing is easily overcome by the dominance of convection and WV condensation over the radiative-convective equilibrium of the troposphere.

      • Due to computational contraints, finest grid resolution in CMIP5 is one degree, about 110km at the equator. For example, UK Met regional weather model has to parts, a coarse resolution at 20 km for things like fronts and wind gradients, and fine resolution 2.5 km for convection cells, precipitation, and such. Each halving of grid size requires 10x computation (x,y,z,t) according to NCAR. So CMIP5 is computationally inadequate by 100/50/25/12/6/3 5 orders of magnitude. Essay Models all the way Down.

      • HS

        Yes, they represent the outcome of far too coarse a grid through which real world temperatures fall, but the paleo porxy reconstructions have some value in demonstrating the direction of travel of temperatures. This link goes to a graphic comparing paleo proxies and CET

        This from the text regarding conclusions and comments;

        “The first (conclusion) is that Dr Mann’s graphic (as do many of the other paleos) make a pretty good job of picking up the relatively limited temperature variability we can observe over a 40/50 year or longer period . This is confirmed when comparing the data with the CET 50 year instrumental ‘paleo’ (the horizontal blue line.) This is with the notable exception of the coldest period of the Little Ice age around 1690 and the subsequent recovery in the following decades, providing the most notable hockey stick in the record.”

        *The CET comparison to the global instrumental record (shown from 1900 in figure 4) is pretty good as is its comparison to the 50 year paleo records. Britain as a temperate country will have different climate characteristics/variability than the tropics or countries at other latitudes but it can be seen that CET provides a useful long term record validation, although Lamb’s maxim should be borne firmly in mind and precise accuracy and correlation at all times is impossible.”

        *The variability shown in the uptick from 1900 looks unusual only because an instrumental temperature record-which captures variability-is now used, whereas the long term paleo reconstruction proxies previously used, do not have this ability to capture short term variability and thereby present an impression of a ‘stable’ climate. The uptick is therefore purely an artefact of changes in methodology as a ‘paleo’ apple is swapped for an ‘instrumental’ orange.”

        *The 40/50 year paleo reconstructions (figures 2, 3 and 4 ) fail to capture the decadal variability (orange lines) let alone the annual range (shown in figure 2 as a brown vertical line). They consequently fail to ‘see’ such notable events as the great warming centred on 1730, the recovery around 1830 from the coldest decade (1810) since the depths of the LIA in 1690, and the final bursts of the LIA in 1840 and 1890. Looking further back, the paleo reconstructions also do not replicate the considerable drop to the depths of the LIA around 1690, the (reconstructed) warmth around 1630, the period of well documented cold at the beginning of the 17th century and the sharp (reconstructed) rise around 1540 to something apparently approaching the temperatures at the end of the 20th century. In particular the paleo proxy reconstructions represent the severe perturbations of the various periods of the Little Ice age as merely shallow downwards blips, whilst the astonishing recovery around 1690 featuring the largest hockey stick in the record is a corresponding shallow upwards blip.”

        *if the paleo proxy reconstruction can miss these considerable perturbation downwards, some doubt is thereby introduced as to whether they would catch other similar perturbations in the opposite direction most notably during the so called medieval warm period.

        *it confirms that the instrumental temperature record shows an upward trend (with various reverses and advances) from the start of the CET instrumental record in 1659 making the 1880 start point for the instrumental global record used by GISS appear to be merely a staging post in the upwards trend, rather than the starting post”

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/16/historic-variations-in-temperature-number-four-the-hockey-stick/

        tonyb

    • The equations are correct AS FAR AS KNOWN, but cloud physics, long period ocean currents, aerosols, and solar effects (in addition to direct insulation levels) are not correct, and they surely are part of the problem.

      • Leonard,

        My response was addressing a particular point – that is, there isn’t some obvious flaw in the parameterized equations that are the essence of climate models – because they are substantially the same in NWP (numerical weather prediction). NWP gets the right results – in a statistical evaluation. That is, the probabilistic forecasts from NWP match the statistical results pretty closely (in part because the timescales allow continuous evaluation and, therefore, recasting of the equations).

        On the other hand, the equations are parameterizations and are therefore not “correct”. If we had the “correct equations”, which in fact are easier to produce, we can’t get the boundary (starting) conditions at the minuscule level needed and we don’t have the computing power to solve the equations at this kind of grid spacing.

    • scienceofdoom: You have to understand what a model does. It doesn’t reproduce reality, it is an approximation. How much of an approximation?

      kingum78 referred specifically to climate models; what is your answer to “How much of an approximation”, or more clearly, “What are the approximation errors”.

      The fundamental equations in a climate model are correct representations of reality and this is easily seen in weather models (which use the same equations).

      The models are not demonstrably complete and sufficiently accurate — hence the prediction errors. You address the error associated with large grids; until that error has been substantially corrected, it can’t be known whether there are other errors.

  21. Mike Flynn

    scienceofdoom,

    Your link contained the following –

    “The fact that chaotic systems exhibit certain behavior doesn’t mean that 30-year statistics of weather can be reliably predicted.”

    Exactly. The climate (average of weather) cannot be reliably predicted. Climate models, by definition (if the system is chaotic), cannot predict future climate. Even the basic Lorenz equations have an infinite number of solutions. It is impossible (as far as I know) to predict the minimum values which will result in a torus knot, say, or any other particular class of solution.

    And that is for only 3 equations. How many more are required to describe the Earth system – and one must obviously include the core, mantle, lithosphere, aquasphere and atmosphere! Good luck!

    All joking aside, the IPCC recognises the inherent impossibility of the situation –

    “In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    Sliding around the problem by muttering about “probability distributions” does no good whatsoever. The probability of a tossed coin coming up heads is nearly 0.5. This, even if true, is of no utility for predictive purposes. Even if a fair coin has previously shown heads 20 times in a row, the chance of another head is still nearly 0.5. So much for probability distribution.

    Likewise, if you have just suffered a nominal 1 in 1000 year flood, for example, you may suffer another much sooner than you expect – maybe tomorrow, next week or next year. Or maybe not.

    Have fun!

    • David Wojick

      I think that a chaotic system does not have a findable probability distribution, because of the butterfly effect. Here’s the problem. Make an ensemble of n runs using n different sets of initial conditions. This gives a distribution. Now change each set of initial conditions a tiny bit and repeat the runs. The resulting distribution can easily be very different from the first one. Thus the distribution is extremely sensitive to initial conditions and so the true one cannot be found.

  22. Verify the methods.
    Validate the models.
    V&V . . . you can’t ever do too much.

  23. Back when I was deeply involved in radiative transfer research (1990’s), it was clear that many climate models were using substandard and erroneous radiative transfer codes, largely because radiation codes are very computationally intensive. I imagine the situation has improved, but apparently there are still substantial issues. For an evaluation of climate model radiation codes against observations, see this paper The continual inter comparison of radiation codes: Assessing anew the quality of GCM radiation algorithms.

    That paragraph, and the paper it links, point up an extremely important point regarding GCM modelling: the fact that everybody knows they do it wrong, and nobody knows the impact.

    Despite the approximations used in GCM RT algorithms, their share of CPU resources in climate simulations is still typically the largest of all the parameterizations of physical processes. Given the importance of radiation calculations to climate simulations and the relatively settled status of spectrally detailed clear-sky radiative transfer, one would think that GCM radiation codes would by now faithfully reproduce the radiative effects of greenhouse gases computed by more detailed models at present and projected future concentrations, thereby allowing confidence in this critical aspect of the simulation when tackling nonpristine atmospheric states. Unfortunately, this has not generally been the case.

    I sure anybody who’s worked on large information processing systems would agree with me that often you can’t predict the changes that will result in system behavior from changes in the detailed code of one module. And that’s with good modular programming.

    If it’s impossible to predict the changes to GCM behavior resulting from a change to, say, “the approximations used in GCM RT algorithms”, it’s even more impossible to predict how those approximations cause model behavior to differ from the real thing.

    The issue with Antarctica is interesting, the question that immediately pops into my head is “what about Tibet?” Two important causes of the Antarctic differences are its height and high albedo, neither depends on the depth of snow/ice, so when the Tibetan Plateau is covered with snow, how much does the same a similar problem arise with modelling it?

  24. With regard to the negative-GHE thesis, the fact that very little water vapor is present over central Antarctica would make it logical that an increase in any other GHG would produce a locally magnified effect. However, the absolute effect would seem to be rather small on a global/GCM scale.

    Perhaps the increase in Antarctic sea ice is a related phenomenon and could provide a test for the negative-GHE hypothesis in contrast to (or as an addition to?) the hypothesis that the ozone “hole” alters polar wind patterns.

    • Perhaps the increase in Antarctic sea ice is a related phenomenon

      Makes one wonder.

      Other implications such as if the Antarctic cools in absolute terms while the winter Arctic warms ( and is ‘amplified’ ), the pole to pole gradients intensify and is the ITCZ pushed Northward?

  25. Prof. Curry writes:
    “I find this to be pretty astonishing: The adjusted forcing for 4 × CO2 ranges from roughly 5.5–9 W m−2 in current models.”

    That is a huge number.
    I’m not completely clear on this issue. Would this be from some minimum base level like 280 ppm, zero or current levels of 400 ppm?

    Second question: If by some means we stay on our current CO2 emissions trajectory would that not also imply that all the other secondary effluents both gaseous and chemical will also cause additional forgings? If so, do the models exaggerate their influence too?

    • I’m not completely clear on this issue. Would this be from some minimum base level like 280 ppm, zero or current levels of 400 ppm?

      The effects of added GHG’s are usually modeled as logarithmic. IOW, it would (AFAIK) be true from either or any base level. Within certain bounds, of course. If the effective thermal surface is raised into the stratosphere, where temperature increases with height, the effect would be opposite. AFAIK

  26. So, IPCC throws out a range of uncertainty, but Chung and Soden intimate that half of the variance is artificially introduce by the gcms from inaccurate radiative transfer application.

    Now, the traditional 3.7W/m^2 per doubling ( 7.4W/m^2 per quadrupling ) does lie neatly in within the 5.5 to 9 W/m2 rate suggested.

    But the variance among models may be very misleading.

  27. I’ve seen the cooling effect over Antarctica somewhere before, and I’ve calculated the effect on South Pole soundings, but it did not appear in GFS runs ( perhaps the GFS has Antarctic surface temperatures incorrect? ).

    Also, when intense thunderstorms reach the tropopause, the dense cloudiness at the lowest temperature (trop) means earth emits at that temperature but adding more CO2 means more emission comes from the warmer levels above the cloud tops, so the RF over high thunderstorm tops is also negative.

    • […] adding more CO2 means more emission comes from the warmer levels above the cloud tops, so the RF over high thunderstorm tops is also negative.

      I wonder how the effect compares in magnitude to changes in the extent of the anvil (in average) due to changed surface evaporation.

      • Well, the amount of earth covered by such storms is probably small, and the effect of variation of anvil smaller still. Never the less, especially since such things occur at sub-grid scale, they may not be well represented in the gcms.

  28. So Chung and Soden reference offline double-call radiative transfer calculations .

    I’m not particularly clear by what’s happening in ‘double call’.

    I assume they’re running the gcm and calling again after dynamic calculations, but the definition of RF as it has evolved is before the troposphere responds.

  29. Another interesting statement from Ching and Soden:

    “Moreover, nearly all of the spread in adjusted forcing can be accounted for by differences in the instantaneous forcing and stratospheric adjustment, implying that tropospheric adjustments to CO2 play only a secondary role.”

    If true, this would indicate that the “ERF” ( Effective Radiative Forcing ) concept that the IPCC trotted out for AR5 is not all that relevant.

    But it also seems to me the conclusion suffers from believing the models are ground truth. Lack of variance amongst models doesn’t necessarily imply that tropospheric adjustments are small because it could be that all the models are incorrect in the same manner.

  30. Do any models take account of the latitudinal distribution of water vapour?
    I get the picture than WV cools the surface in the tropics by absorbing more solar near infrared, warms the higher latitudes as it increases the GHG effect there, and the deficits of WV in the horse latitudes allows more surface heating there because of the reduced solar NIR absorption:
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Earth/action?opt=-p&img=vapour.bmp
    (tick “No night” and then click “Update”)

  31. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    Great discussion summarizing three studies on radiative transfer. Also, a link to Judith Curry’s 1983 thesis.

  32. Holger Schmithusen does an interesting thought experiment in his PhD thesis but gets it wrong.

    “Say, there were no GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere. Clouds shall be neglected as well, to make things easier. The planet gains energy over the tropics (positive budget) and loses this extra energy over the poles (negative budget). The energy transport in-between is carried out by the atmosphere. The ocean, of course, also contributes to this meridional transport of energy, but this is not of importance here.

    The energy gained over the tropics, which is then transported to the poles, must enter the ground in the polar regions before it can be emitted to space. This is because no GHGs and no clouds, also no aerosol, shall be contained in this hypothetical atmosphere. The atmosphere cannot emit energy directly to space, as it lacks long-wave emitters. Consequently, any “imported” energy that shall leave the Earth-atmosphere system in the polar regions, must be transported via sensible heat flux into the ground. From there it can then be emitted to space.”

    First off, if there are no clouds, aerosols, nor GHGs the atmosphere is completely transparent to UV, visible, and infrared radiation. This means that on the daylight side of the earth, there is a 36 degree spherical cap, 19% of the daylight side, centered under the sun where the surface blackbody temperature is at least 373 K, the boiling point of water, up to 394 K directly under the sun. Everything inside the 77 degree spherical cap that covers 77% of the daylight side is at a surface temperature of at least 273 K, the freezing point of water.

    The atmosphere will heat by conduction where it touches the surface and rise. At the equator it will heat to 394 K and to lower temperatures further away from the equation. All of the atmosphere will be affected as the earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours. The hot air will rise to the top of the atmosphere and never cool down since there is no radiation to expel the heat to space. Over time, as the air heats up at ground level and rises, the entire atmosphere will become isothermal at a temperature of 394 K. There will be a narrow transition zone near the earth’s surface where the air can equilibrate with the surface, which can radiate to space. The transition zone is narrow because convection is suppressed since the surface is colder than the atmosphere. The net result is an exceedingly hot isothermal atmosphere if there are no GHGs or clouds, especially clouds and the rain that comes with them.

    Adding a GHG will change things. Suppose CO2 is added. This will initially will heat up the surface even further by back radiation but it will also initiate atmospheric convection since the CO2 molecules can radiate heat to outer space and cool the top of the atmosphere. Convection at the ground will set up the usual lapse rate and it will also reduce the effect of heating by the back radiation since the atmosphere will no longer be in radiative equilibrium, that is, radiation is no longer the only way energy can be transferred in the atmosphere. Adding H2O will do even more since it not only can radiate at the top of the atmosphere, it forms clouds and rain, and increases convection significantly. The extra convection will reduce if not eliminate the heating due to back radiation, the “greenhouse effect”. After all, a parcel of air at STP that is 1 K warmer than its surroundings and moving at 1 m/s is equivalent to a heat flux of 1 kW/m^2 compared to the solar flux of 1.36 kW/m^2.

    • Paul says “The extra convection will reduce if not eliminate the heating due to back radiation, the “greenhouse effect”. After all, a parcel of air at STP that is 1 K warmer than its surroundings and moving at 1 m/s is equivalent to a heat flux of 1 kW/m^2 compared to the solar flux of 1.36 kW/m^2.”

      Agreed.

      • angech2014

        Pekka “Adding GHG’s to the atmosphere reduces OLR, when the atmospheric and surface temperatures (and cloud cover) are kept unchanged, because the radiation that exits the tropopause gets emitted, on the average, higher up in the troposphere and because the fraction of radiation from the surface that escapes is reduced.”

        Pekka, after the CO2 goes up and heats up the OLR is exactly the same as before. The extra CO2 does not keep trapping energy and adding it to the sea or elsewhere and reducing OLR. The energy coming into the earth has to go out.

        HS, you said something way back about 2 scenarios for the 33 degree rise in temp and said one or the other has to be correct.
        Could it not be that both theories are mutually compatible and just different ways of expressing the same 33 C?
        Your graphs and descriptions are compelling but so is the standard GHG theory.
        The “laws of physics” may also be the “laws of GHG” just like you can do a geometric and an algebraic solution.
        Perhaps you and Pekka could reach some common ground.

      • angech2014 says, “HS, you said something way back about 2 scenarios for the 33 degree rise in temp and said one or the other has to be correct.
        Could it not be that both theories are mutually compatible and just different ways of expressing the same 33 C?”

        Wish that was true, but it isn’t, and if it was true the GHE from the ERL to surface would be 66C instead of 33C. The 3 greatest physicists in history on the topics of heat & radiation Maxwell/Clausius/Carnot all showed that the atmospheric temperatures are a function of mass/pressure/gravity/ratio of heat capacities/adiabatic processes, & none of which are a function of GHG back-radiation.

        For example, here are excerpts from Maxwell’s 1872 book Theory of Heat, all of which was subsequently proven to be absolutely correct not only for Earth, but all planets in our solar system with thick atmospheres, and proves overwhelming evidence that the gravito-thermal GHE is correct.

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/05/maxwell-established-that-gravity.html

        The Arrhenius GHE confuses the cause with the effect. Radiation from GHGs is the effect, not the cause of the GHE. Arrhenius, who was quite an inferior physicist, completely “forgot” or simply didn’t understand that convection dominates atmospheric radiative-convective equilibrium and falsely claimed surface temperature was only a function of GHG back-radiation. It is not, and the ‘greenhouse equation’, Chilingar et al, The US and International Standard Atmospheres, Maxwell/Clausius/Carnot, etc. etc., provide overwhelming evidence the gravito-thermal GHE is correct.

        Nobody on the last thread could answer my question on why the base of the troposphere on Uranus is +35C warmer than the base of the troposphere on Earth, despite Uranus only receiving ~2W/m2 solar insolation. Absolutely impossible for the Arrhenius radiative GHE to explain this, but piece of cake for the gravito-thermal GHE to fully explain.

        “The “laws of physics” may also be the “laws of GHG” just like you can do a geometric and an algebraic solution.”

        Yes, the gravito-thermal GHE is really quite simple to derive from pure mathematics only using basic physical chemistry & physics known since the 1800s. Compare that to all the contortions the ‘experts’ go through here & elsewhere, and still cannot even agree with each other, or provide any mathematical derivations to support their opinions!

        “Perhaps you and Pekka could reach some common ground.”

        Well, let’s hope, that would be great. But if this thread continues to have absolutely false claims about the HS greenhouse equation, US Std Atm, Chilingar et al, and just consists of non-rebuttals containing absolutely no evidence/mathematics/references/etc to refute all of the evidence/mathematics/references I’ve provided, just “you’re wrong” with nothing whatsoever to back up such claims, I’ve got better things to do.

      • It was especially easy for Chilingar because he added 288 K as a surface temperature as an input parameter. QED right there.

      • Jim D: “It was especially easy for Chilingar because he added 288 K as a surface temperature as an input parameter. QED right there.”

        1. Not really, Chilingar used the 288K observation to derive the adiabatic exponent for his equation [2], which obviously differs based upon atmospheric mass/pressure/gravity differences between Earth & Venus, or any other planet with a thick atmosphere. There is nothing wrong about using an observation to derive a model, and in fact that’s the basis of all types of models, including the Arrhenius ‘model’, and today’s climate models.

        2. The HS greenhouse equation, however, does not know the surface temperature in advance, only the solar constant & albedo is used to calculate ERL temperature, from which the surface temperature is derived from atmospheric mass/gravity/density. QED right there.

      • Could both theories be correct?

        Certainly not.

        The “theories” of HS have nothing to do with the real physics, they are artifacts of his imagination and erroneous throughout. Real physics has been developed over centuries, and has been verified by innumerable empirical comparisons. In contrast the “theory” of HS is just a collection of claims and equations that have not been justified at all, contain contradictions, and miss all empirical confirmation.

    • What Paul writes is, in part, similar to what I have speculated both here a long time ago and at SoD. My speculation agrees on the observation that in case of totally transparent atmosphere the warmest spot on the Earth surface will determine the temperature of the atmosphere and that the atmosphere will ultimately become isothermal. I do not, however, agree on the temperature of 394K, because the Earth rotates fast enough and and conducts heat effectively enough to result in a maximum temperature closer to that determined by the average power of solar radiation at equator than that corresponding to the maximum power obtained with sun in zenith. The average power is 1/pi times the maximum power and would lead to an absolute temperature 25% less than that obtained from the maximum. The surface albedo would also lower the temperature to some extent.

      Furthermore all the rest of the surface would be cooler and the average surface temperature extremely low.

      Adding GHG’s would, indeed, change everything. An extremely small amount of absorption and emission is enough to result in the adiabatic lapse rate and a tropopause at an altitude somewhat lower than the present tropopause. More GHG’s are needed to warm high latitudes through energy transfer from the low latitudes.

      The GHE does warm polar regions during the winter, not only slow down the energy transfer from the surface to space, but really warm. Even in the summer the high albedo results in relatively weak warming by solar SW, and thus to an important role for the IR from the atmosphere to the surface that absorbs and emits LW effectively.

      • Pekka says “the atmosphere will ultimately become isothermal.”

        Clearly, billions of years hasn’t been long enough for that to occur, and all planets in our solar system with thick atmospheres have tropospheric lapse rates that are remarkably similar, including Uranus which only receives ~2 W/m2 solar insolation, but the base of the troposphere on Uranus is ~35C warmer than Earth, and temperatures in huge storms at the top of the Uranus atmosphere are hot enough to sometimes melt steel. How can this be if your theory is correct?

        Pekka, do you know whether climate models correct for the 23.44 degree precession angle of Earth, since the TSI/4 paradigm should really be TSI/3.5 after correcting for zero insolation at each pole one-half of each year?

      • Pekka, I missed where you said “a totally transparent atmosphere,” however Chilingar et al have calculated a pure N2/O2 atmosphere would still maintain a lapse rate and the surface ~6C warmer than the present.

      • Absorptivity of O2 may be enough for maintaining a lapse rate, because the decisive question is whether radiative heat transfer is stronger than conduction. As conduction is really weak, not much absorption/emission is needed to win it.

        The surface of a pure N2/O2 atmosphere would be really cold. It would be colder than the present surface everywhere and close to that only in a narrow band closed to equator. The average would be several tens of degrees colder. The assumed albedo would determine how many tens of degrees.

        You should forget papers as erroneous as Chilingar et al.

      • Pekka, as you know, the lapse rate = dT/dh = -g/Cp

        Thus, heat capacity at constant pressure (Cp) is inversely related to temperature, and CO2 very slightly increases Cp. Surely you agree that a pure N2/O2 atmosphere does in fact have essentially the same Cp as the present N2/O2 atmosphere + 0.04% CO2? Therefore, the lapse rate -g/Cp would be essentially the same in a pure N2/O2 atmosphere vs. N2/O2 atmosphere + 0.04% CO2.

        Plus, additional CO2 preferentially transfers absorbed IR to collisions/kinetic energy of the remaining 96.6% of the atmosphere, thereby accelerating convection.

        The addition of 0.04% CO2 trace CO2 has a negligible effect upon atmospheric mass/pressure/heat capacity, and that is why the 100s of rocket and atmospheric scientists who developed the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere calculated the effect of CO2 on the temperature profile of the entire atmosphere, determined it was negligible, and therefore completely removed it from their 1D mathematical model of the atmosphere. Why do you think they did so if your theory is correct?

        Please tell me specifically where you claim Chilingar et al is “erroneous” & please let me know, if you know, about the precession angle question. Thanks.

      • I agree that heat transfer within the troposphere is not affected much by GHGs, but heat transfer from the troposphere through the tropopause is. That’s where Chilingar et al fail and that makes their whole point totally wrong.

      • Arrgh… another typo, meant to say CO2 transfers absorbed energy preferentially to the other 99.96% of the atmosphere within the troposphere rather than by emitting photons.

      • Sorry Pekka, I still don’t understand what you are saying re “heat transfer from the troposphere through the tropopause is [affected by GHGs]. That’s where Chilingar et al fail and that makes their whole point totally wrong.”

        The temperature of the tropopause is ~220K and it is isothermal with a lapse rate of ~zero. How does CO2 raise the temperature of the tropopause and then immediately become a cooling agent of the stratosphere?

        Secondly, the Chilinger et al gravito-thermal model does exactly reproduce the observed temperature profile of the atmosphere all the way from the surface to 50km, including the temperature of the isothermal troposphere (Fig 2, p 823). Therefore, how can this be “totally wrong”?

        Thirdly, the ERL is located at ~5.5km geopotential altitude, not the troposphere.

      • Yet another typo…

        Should read “Thirdly, the ERL is located at ~5.5km geopotential altitude, not the tropopause.

      • Moderation note: This is NOT the thread to discuss theories of the greenhouse effect or its nonexistence. Keep such discussion on the Week in Review thread.

        I have already violated this request too much – and so have some others. It’s time to stop.

      • the conversation going on is reasonable, i’m ok with it continuing here

      • “Keep such discussion on the Week in Review thread.”

        OK, please post your reply there so I can at least understand the claims you have made on this thread. Thank you.

      • angech2014

        My speculation agrees on the observation that in case of totally transparent atmosphere the warmest spot on the Earth surface will determine the temperature of the atmosphere and that the atmosphere will ultimately become isothermal.
        I do not, however, agree on the temperature of 394K, because the Earth rotates

        If you insist on a rotating earth this will set up circulation patterns in the totally transparent atmosphere which must prevent an isothermal atmosphere ever developing. Even if the earth stood still the differences in temp underneath that spot would result in air currents that would also prevent total isothermal conditions.
        Only way to get a mass of air isothermal would be to totally enclose it and even then a turbulent eddy might develop.

      • hockeyschtick,

        How does CO2 raise the temperature of the tropopause and then immediately become a cooling agent of the stratosphere?

        This is an important question.

        I started to write a reply but it becomes very detailed so I’ll try again with a shorter one with a picture.

        Radiative transfer depends mostly on the constituents ( in this case CO2 ) and the vertical temperature profile. Other constituents are important but let’s keep things simple. Every molecule of CO2 absorbs and emits, but in practice, one calculates radiative transfer using layers ( bounded by levels ) of atmosphere. These layers are semi-transparent ( like looking through fog ). Also, bear in mind that the warmest level tends to be the surface and temperatures tend to decline to the coldest level at the tropopause.

        The layers have mass and can experience a net increase or decrease of energy based on net absorption. When there is a change in the absorbed energy of a layer, it is reflected in the so called heating rate.

        It turns out that the heating rate of the layers of the troposphere don’t change very much at all when CO2 is increased. However, because all layers become more opaque with more CO2, less net upward radiative flux reaches the tropopause. This implies that the troposphere as a whole is running a surplus of energy.

        In the stratosphere, things are different. The individual layers do experience a negative change in heating rate. This is easiest to understand in terms of the very top layer. As this layer becomes more emissive, it sends more energy upward and downward, but still receives (next to) nothing from space and like all the stratospheric layers, receives less from the layers in the troposphere below.

        Here is the result of a calculation for various concentrations of CO2 for an idealized tropical atmosphere:

        The point labeled a. is of the difference of outgoing longwave radiation for more CO2. I’ve got the sign different than is customary (downward instead of upward ) so the amount indicates the flux that is kept by the troposphere ( reduced OLR ). The point labeled b. is the ‘Heating Rate’
        for the upper stratosphere. You can see that the imposed cooling is very intense ( 5K per day ).

        Clear as mud? The important parts are that temperature profile determines what the effect of increased apsorption/emission will be, and that the layers are semi-transparent so there’s complicating overlap of effects, and lastly that the implied warming of the troposphere by reduced OLR is different from the calculated change of cooling rate for the individual layers of the upper stratosphere.

      • “The average power is 1/pi times the maximum power and would lead to an absolute temperature 25% less than that obtained from the maximum.”

        This correct for computing the average temperature of the surface because the insolation is delivered as a half wave rectified sine and the surface has a heat capacity that stores the energy. Regardless, the temperature at noon when insolation is at its maximum is going to be determined by the maximum insolation not by a 1/pi fraction. Just where does the extra 1 – 1/pi fraction, about two thirds, of the incident energy flux go to? You can’t wave it away by invoking some unknown albedo. The peak temperature at the equator will be 394 K at high noon.

      • Turbulent Eddie, thanks for your reply. I’m very familiar with the conventional n layer Arrhenius radiative GHE, have been studying it for over 6 years now, and have over 300 posts on the reasons why it confuses cause with effect. Obviously only one of these 2 greenhouse theories can possibly be correct, otherwise the 33C GHE would be double (66C):

        1. The Arrhenius 33C radiative GHE
        2. The Maxwell/Clausius/Carnot gravito-thermal 33C GHE (which preceded the Arrhenius GHE by 24 years & I’ll let you decide which of these physicists you choose to believe)

        I can’t post the 300 links here on all the reasons, and won’t try to monopolize Dr. Curry’s site with another long comment, but ask you to consider the following:

        Over 100 of the top rocket and atmospheric scientists produced the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere document, which remains the gold standard today. The description document is an absolute goldmine of basic mathematical atmospheric physics & has 50 pages describing why the entire atmospheric profile surface to 100km is a linear function of kinematic viscosity (which has absolutely nothing to do with concentrations of GHGs), and contains the only 1D atmospheric model ever verified with literally millions of observations.

        Yet, they never did one single radiative transfer calculation for any greenhouse gas or the atmosphere as a whole in their computations of the entire atmospheric temperature/pressure/thermal conductivity profile from the surface to edge of space. In fact, they calculated the effect of CO2 as negligible & then completely discarded it from their mathematical calculations & model. Please take a look, since it provides overwhelming evidence that the gravito-thermal 33C GHE is correct and that GHG radiation is the EFFECT of, and not the CAUSE of the entire 33C GHE. Here is the entire document:

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/12/why-us-standard-atmosphere-model.html

        So, can you, or anyone else, tell me why radiative transfer calculations do not appear even one single time in the entire 1976 US Standard Atmosphere document (or in the International Standard Atmosphere document, which uses the exact same mathematical derivation)?

      • Paul Linsay | July 7, 2015 at 9:11 pm |
        ” The peak temperature at the equator will be 394 K at high noon.”
        No.
        O c IS 273.16 K.
        394 K is 121 C.
        Maximum insolation at 12.00 noon so maximum incoming energy ie highest heat in but but peak temperature will be a little later due to heating of already hot air so later in afternoon.
        Do not believe you can get 121 C temperature anywhere without a very strong magnifying glass. Happy to be corrected though.

        Turbulent Eddie | July 7, 2015 at 8:53 pm | How does CO2 raise the temperature of the tropopause and then immediately become a cooling agent of the stratosphere?
        This is an important question.I started to write a reply but it becomes very detailed.
        See what Gavin said in 2004.
        Very, very, very complicated and even then he got it wrong though he was in very good company.
        Will reread your effort. Thanks

      • HS,

        Heat is transferred from the surface to open space by a combination of convective processes and radiative heat transfer. The last step that ends in open space is always by radiative heat transfer. (The situation is essentially the same when stratosphere is involved rather than open space, because convection is not effective in the stratosphere.)

        The surface temperature is determined by the requirement that the net energy transfer to the space must be equal to incoming solar radiation. Considering only the surface and troposphere, the requirement is that net LWIR flux out trough the tropopause must be equal to SW absorbed in the troposphere or by the surface. The second essential constraint is the shape of the temperature profile of the troposphere, i.e. the lapse rate.

        Adding GHG’s to the atmosphere reduces OLR, when the atmospheric and surface temperatures (and cloud cover) are kept unchanged, because the radiation that exits the tropopause gets emitted, on the average, higher up in the troposphere and because the fraction of radiation from the surface that escapes is reduced. These changes are totally determined by properties of radiative heat transfer as all other influencing factors were assumed to remain unchanged. To restore balance the other factors must change, and one unavoidable part of that is an increase in the surface temperature.

        The changes in convective processes have a different role as they help in keeping the lapse rate essentially unchanged.

        The most important initial changes concern radiation that exits trough the tropopause. Discussing convection is irrelevant for that but enters at another step in the full analysis as I discuss above. Chilingar et al did not take these facts correctly into account and reached therefore totally wrong conclusions.

      • Paul
        It takes time to heat the surface. The temperature rises during the day and falls during the night. The average is less than 295K if the emissivity is the same for SW and LW. With realistic surface albedo it’s 5-10K less. The daily surface temperature swing depends on the properties of the surface, but the maximum reached during the day is surely closer to the average than the to the theoretical value of 394K that would be reached with zero albedo if the same side of the Earth would always face the sun.

        The heating and cooling of the equatorial surface would always lead to some local convection that reduces further the diurnal variability in the surface temperature.

        (The factor 1/pi is the ratio of the diameter of the Earth to the circumference. The amount of solar energy that hits the equator is proportional to the diameter, the area that emits LWIR is proportional to the circumference with the same coefficient given by the width of the band considered.)

      • I appreciate your reply Pekka, and agree with what you said except for the following:

        1. The temperature of the ERL is a fixed constant = equilibrium temperature with the Sun = 255K. Even if the ERL moves up from the present ~5.5km geopotential altitude, the temperature of the ERL must stay the same as the equilibrium temperature with the Sun = 255K.

        2. The emission temperature of the ERL of 255K is much, much warmer (62K) than the fixed 193K emission temperature of 15 micron CO2 radiation, therefore even if there was some physical way the ERL could become say 3K cooler at 252K, this would not affect the much colder CO2 emission temperature of 193K.

        3. The mathematical description of the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere proves the height of the ERL where T=Te=255K at ~5.5km (which happens to be the exact location of the center of mass of the entire atmosphere) is dependent on a linear function of kinematic viscosity, which has nothing to do with GHG radiative forcing. The exact location of the ERL can be “triangulated” using only atmospheric/mass/gravity/pressure + center of mass + equilibrium temp with the Sun, without any GHG radiative forcing calculations whatsoever, i.e. GHG radiative forcing has nothing to do with the height of the ERL. Do you think the above is just a coincidence? (The same is also true for the closest Earth analogue Triton, and even Venus in the portions of the T/P profile that overlap)

      • The temperature of the ERL is a fixed constant = equilibrium temperature with the Sun = 255K

        Maybe right under the Sun, but the other 115k some sq degrees of the surface is in equilibrium with space.
        Pekka, you’re right my IR thermo doesn’t pickup Co2 forcing, but even adding the full 22w/m2 to the measured temp, from the surface it’s still very cold, over the winter it read -90F, sure it was 10 or 20 below zero, but the surface radiates to a very cold surface regardless, everywhere except directly towards the Sun.

      • I don’t really like the concept of ERL, because it gets used in a misleading way. The only mathematically correct definition is a reverse one:
        1) calculate first the effective radiative temperature
        2) find the altitude of that temperature.

        All attempts to calculate the ERL more directly are bound to result in inaccurate results, which may lead to wrong conclusions as well.

        Your concept of fixed radiation temperature of 193K cor CO2 must be based on some severe misunderstanding of the physics. No emission line corresponds to any particular temperature. Planck emission spectrum presented using wavelength on the x-axis has an maximum at 15µm at 192K, but that’s not at all the same thing and no conclusions of the type you present can be drawn from that. It would be equally justified (and is equally incorrect) to say that the 15µm line has an temperature of 330K, because the distribution peaks at the CO2 line for that temperature, when frequency is used on the x-axis. Your point 2 has nothing to do with correct physics.

        Your third point is also totally wrong as can be concluded from my first paragraph above.

      • The E in ERL is “Effective” which is subject to interpretation. It is nice to see Pekka considering average power TSI/pi. That provides another temperature/energy range to consider, 295K@433Wm-2(day only) and 244K@216Wm-2 (night/day) with the first being for a perfectly insulated “surface” and the second a perfectly emissive surface.

        When you use TSI/4 and allow for albedo you would be estimating the value of a perfect “Effective” Radiant Layer which doesn’t consider mass, specific heat capacity, or any of the “sub”-ERL thermodynamics. The original Stefan-Boltzmann Law includes ~0.926 as an average correction factor for less than ideal conditions.

        A problem with TSI/4 would be that the TOA and ERL would have to be the same. When you have about 10% of the TSI/4 absorbed above the ERL you have an inconsistent reference. If you try to correct for that above ERL absorption you get into messy atmospheric refraction and anisotropic absorption, variation in polar advection and other details that pretty much screw up an up/down simplification.

        Thermo is all about having reliable frames of reference where you hope to avoid using terms like “effective”.

      • Pekka says, “I don’t really like the concept of ERL, because it gets used in a misleading way. The only mathematically correct definition is a reverse one:
        1) calculate first the effective radiative temperature
        2) find the altitude of that temperature.
        All attempts to calculate the ERL more directly are bound to result in inaccurate results, which may lead to wrong conclusions as well.”

        The ‘greenhouse equation’ solves both of these “steps” simultaneously, as it should be done for an atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium, and without any ‘radiative forcing’ from GHGs, and perfectly reproduces the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere, which also did not use one single radiative transfer calculation whatsoever. In fact, the SB Law is not even listed in the table of all equations used by the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere! Why not?

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/12/why-us-standard-atmosphere-model.html

        Pekka says, “Your concept of fixed radiation temperature of 193K or CO2 must be based on some severe misunderstanding of the physics. No emission line corresponds to any particular temperature. Planck emission spectrum presented using wavelength on the x-axis has an maximum at 15µm at 192K, but that’s not at all the same thing and no conclusions of the type you present can be drawn from that. It would be equally justified (and is equally incorrect) to say that the 15µm line has an temperature of 330K, because the distribution peaks at the CO2 line for that temperature, when frequency is used on the x-axis. Your point 2 has nothing to do with correct physics. Your third point is also totally wrong as can be concluded from my first paragraph above.”

        I already stated above that CO2 is not a TRUE blackbody, is a mere line-emitter without a Planck curve, and doesn’t follow SB Law (or Planck’s or Kirkhoff’s Law). However, assuming that CO2 is a true blackbody (which is what climate science does ALL the time and constantly assumes CO2 is a blackbody that follows SB Law), by Wein’s Displacement Law, the peak emission temperature of CO2 is FIXED at 193K. The fact that CO2 is a mere line-emitter instead of a true blackbody means that CO2 is emitting considerably less energy than a true blackbody.

        Your statement that a line-emitter of ONLY ~15 micron radiation (CO2) [i.e. not a true blackbody] could possibly have an emission temperature of 330K is absolutely disproven by Wein’s displacement law, SB Law, Plancks’ Law, etc. Fifteen microns line-emission corresponds to ~193K emitting temperature only, & cannot be higher due to basic radiative (& quantum) theory.

      • Your statement that a line-emitter of ONLY ~15 micron radiation (CO2) [i.e. not a true blackbody] could possibly have an emission temperature of 330K is absolutely disproven by Wein’s displacement law, SB Law, Plancks’ Law, etc. Fifteen microns line-emission corresponds to ~193K emitting temperature only, & cannot be higher due to basic radiative (& quantum) theory.

        I agree in general, and I think you could come up with a 2 body example that would prove this, but, and this is a big but, while a 15u has a defined energy, and Wein displacement calculates it at 193K, you can also define it in joules, and you can increase the flux rate to deliver an excess of energy that when thermalized would lead to a higher temperature.

        Now maybe if you had a 15u monochromatic solid state laser into a cloud of pure Co2, and then measure the temperature of the Co2, you might be able to relate it to a specific temp, that might be an interesting experiment…

      • Many applications have been suggested for CO2 lasers, but only a few of these have been given serious consideration and analysis. This is partly because little engineering has been done at 10 microns. Photon energy of about 0.1 eV is only about five times room temperature. Therefore it is impossible to use photoelectric emission to detect this radiation, and cryogenically cooled photoconductors are necessary to achieve fast, low-level detection.

        Here you go.
        http://www.laserk.com/newsletters/whiteCO.html

      • HS,

        The US Standard atmosphere is nothing more than a simple parametrization of typical empirically observed properties of the real atmosphere in some parts of the Earth. It cannot be used as basis for deriving anything in the way you use it.

      • HS,

        As I wrote, 15µm line cannot be assigned to 330K, but it cannot be assigned to any other temperature either, including 192K.

        CO2 molecules radiate at 15µm, whatever the temperature of the gas. Single emission lines do not have any temperature, the ratio of radiation intensities at different wavelengths tells about temperature, but depends also on other factors. Wien displacement law applies to black bodies, not to separate emission lines.

        CO2 emits the more radiation at 15µm the higher the temperature of the gas. At very high temperatures it radiates in addition very strongly at some shorter wavelenghts.

      • CO2 emits the more radiation at 15µm the higher the temperature of the gas.

        But this is based on more than a single molecule, I presume (with some additional flexibility) molecules also have a quantized energy levels, and that once excited, without the proper additional energy a single molecule isn’t going to emit any other wave length of photon when it radiates that energy away. What you’re describing is a gas with multiple Co2 molecules that based on temperature is excited and then emits all the same wave length of photon based on the temp of the gas. Quantum theory allows for a cold gas to radiate below a specific excited state by aggregating enough energy to allow some molecules to become excited and then emit in one of the allowed wavelengths.

        At very high temperatures it radiates in addition very strongly at some shorter wavelenghts.

        And this is an example of the exact same thing, Co2 rarely radiates at the shorter wavelength, until it has access to enough energy to jump to a higher excited state.

      • Pekka says, “The US Standard atmosphere is nothing more than a simple parametrization of typical empirically observed properties of the real atmosphere in some parts of the Earth. It cannot be used as basis for deriving anything in the way you use it.”

        No it is not “nothing more than a simple parametrization of typical empirically observed properties of the real atmosphere in some parts of the Earth.” Did you not read the 50 pages of basic mathematical atmospheric physics in the Std Atm document that were first mathematically derived and used to create a 1D mathematical model (without any radiative transfer from GHGs whatsoever), i.e. NOT “parameterized” fudge factors like today’s climate models use, following which was verified with millions of observations including radiosondes and rocket launches from all over the world.

        “It cannot be used as basis for deriving anything in the way you use it.”

        False. Please prove your claims. Please prove where the US Std Atm made a mathematical error or where I made a mathematical error in applying the center of mass concept to to the work of the US Std Atm to show the ‘greenhouse equation’ mathematically triangulates the ERL to the center of mass, equilibrium temperature with the Sun, and atmospheric mass/pressure/density/gravity and has nothing to do with GHG RF. Please take a look to see why the US Std Atm mathematically proves temperature is a LINEAR function of kinematic viscosity, which has nothing to do with GHG RF.

      • HS,
        It’s clear that the US Standard atmosphere has been constructed to be in agreement with known physics. That known physics is the same physics that forms the basis of main stream understanding of the atmosphere. That known physics is fully compatible with standard theory of radiative heat transfer and of GHE. Everything is explicitly made to be compatible with the theory that your writings contradict.

        All that does not mean that the final outcome, the US Standard atmosphere could be derived from standard physics. That might be done with the help of a fully accurate computer model of the atmosphere, but we all know that GCM’s are not that perfect. Therefore US Standard atmosphere is only a parametrization of empirically observed properties constrained to be compatible with known physics.

      • micro6500,

        Gas emits radiation when the molecules are excited through collision to a higher energy state, a vibrational state in this case. The lowest energy excited states are rotational and emit at microwave frequencies. They are not important for this consideration. The next lowest energy state of CO2 is the vibrational state that corresponds to 15µm radiation. The share of molecules in that excited state grows exponentially until a large fraction of all molecules is in some vibrational state. that requires a temperature much higher than that of the atmosphere. In atmosphere the share of CO2 molecules in that vibrational state is roughly 7%, still low enough to allow for essentially exponential growth with temperature.

        The strength of emission at 15µm increases therefore approximately exponentially over the whole range of temperatures that occur in the atmosphere. Nothing special takes place at 192K or 330K or any other specific temperature, only smooth increase in the rate of emission.

      • The strength of emission at 15µm increases therefore approximately exponentially over the whole range of temperatures that occur in the atmosphere. Nothing special takes place at 192K or 330K or any other specific temperature, only smooth increase in the rate of emission.

        But this is only because the population of molecules with enough energy at that state increases.
        Now, even at 192k that could be not enough energy (it sounds like it in this case), but this is due to the difference between the kinetic energy at that temp, and a photon with whatever amount of joules that works out to. I wouldn’t be surprised that there are some with enough energy, but as they become excited and then emit a photon, that photon could just become captured by the first co2 molecule it goes by, so while they could be radiating away in the cloud, from the outside of this collection of gas there are so few photons escaping you couldn’t be able to detect them.

        Note, the reference for the Co2 laser I quoted and linked to, it is saying the same basic thing both HS and myself are saying.

      • micro6500,

        Yes, the increase in intensity is totally due to the larger number of molecules in the excited state, that’s the only thing that matters. The photons will always have the same energy and will always have identical properties, when they are emitted from the same excited state. The temperature affects only the number of molecules in such a state.

        How soon the emitted photons get absorbed by another molecule depends on the partial pressure of CO2. The temperature has very little influence on that.

        At 192K the average kinetic energy of particles is significantly less than the energy required to excite a CO2 molecule to the vibrational state, but the kinetic energies vary and some molecules have enough energy. The share of CO2 molecules in the excited state at any moment is proportional to the number of molecules that have enough kinetic energy. At 290K this share is much higher and at 330K still higher.

      • Yes, the increase in intensity is totally due to the larger number of molecules in the excited state, that’s the only thing that matters. The photons will always have the same energy and will always have identical properties, when they are emitted from the same excited state. The temperature affects only the number of molecules in such a state.
        How soon the emitted photons get absorbed by another molecule depends on the partial pressure of CO2. The temperature has very little influence on that.
        At 192K the average kinetic energy of particles is significantly less than the energy required to excite a CO2 molecule to the vibrational state, but the kinetic energies vary and some molecules have enough energy. The share of CO2 molecules in the excited state at any moment is proportional to the number of molecules that have enough kinetic energy. At 290K this share is much higher and at 330K still higher.

        And none of this has anything to do with the “Temp” (energy) of the photon.
        The Wien displacement law allows you to assign a “temp” to a specific energy of a photon, I’ve learned this is not a normal application of the law, but it isn’t wrong, where it’s probably more appropriate is in monochromatic emitters, not the temperature of a gas.

      • The Wien displacement law tells only one thing. The location of the maximum of the node (maximum) of the distribution of photon wave lengths of black body radiation. Nothing on individual photons. It cannot be applied to emission from a gas like CO2.

      • The Wien displacement law tells only one thing. The location of the maximum of the node (maximum) of the distribution of photon wave lengths of black body radiation. Nothing on individual photons. It cannot be applied to emission from a gas like CO2.

        With some algebra, you can reformat it to relate that same maximum wave length to a temperature.
        How would you relate the color temp of a laser to a BB?

      • HS,
        It’s clear that the US Standard atmosphere has been constructed to be in agreement with known physics. That known physics is the same physics that forms the basis of main stream understanding of the atmosphere. That known physics is fully compatible with standard theory of radiative heat transfer and of GHE. Everything is explicitly made to be compatible with the theory that your writings contradict.

        All that does not mean that the final outcome, the US Standard atmosphere could be derived from standard physics. That might be done with the help of a fully accurate computer model of the atmosphere, but we all know that GCM’s are not that perfect. Therefore US Standard atmosphere is only a parametrization of empirically observed properties constrained to be compatible with known physics.

        Pekka says, “It’s clear that the US Standard atmosphere has been constructed to be in agreement with known physics. That known physics is the same physics that forms the basis of main stream understanding of the atmosphere. That known physics is fully compatible with standard theory of radiative heat transfer and of GHE. Everything is explicitly made to be compatible with the theory that your writings contradict.”

        Thanks for acknowledging that the US Std Atm is not as you (incorrectly) claimed above to merely be based upon empirical observations, but rather basic physical chemistry & atmospheric physics, and “fully compatible with standard theory of radiative heat transfer and of GHE.”

        Therefore, assuming what you said is true, how was it possible that their mathematical derivation of the temperature profile of the entire atm surface to 100km never once uses a single radiative transfer calculation? Please read where they calculated the effect of all 0.04% CO2, determined to be negligible, and then completely discarded CO2 from their mathematical model. According to claims of the radiative GHE, CO2 accounts for 20% of the 33C GHE, so if it is true as you claim that radiative forcing from CO2 has any significant importance anywhere in the atmosphere, why wasn’t that included in their mathematical model? Why did they not use the Stefan-Boltzmann Law one single time if GHG radiative forcing or the Arrhenius GHE is significant??

        FYI, I have a degree in physical chemistry, and a grad degree, and have published over 25 peer-reviewed papers in top/high-impact scientific journals, so I would appreciate if you would kindly consider this to be a conversation with a physical chemist & scientist, and discontinue the low-information, baseless & unsupported claims such as “totally wrong” & “Everything is explicitly made to be compatible with the theory that your writings contradict.” These false claims by you are baseless, not backed up by you with any actual physical or mathematical proof, and absolutely false. On the contrary, the HS ‘greenhouse equation’ perfectly replicates the verified 1976 US Std Atmosphere mathematical model without knowing the surface temperature in advance, any without radiative forcing from GHGs.

        Do you seriously believe that it is just one amazing, huge, & incredible coincidence that this equation perfectly replicates the US Std Atm temperature profiles of Earth, Triton, and even the bizarre atmosphere of Venus (for overlapping areas of interest on Venus/Earth T/P profile) without ever once using radiative forcing from GHGs??

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/11/quick-and-dirty-explanation-of.html

        And, once again, you are absolutely incorrect in claiming that the CO2 15 micron line-emission can ever ever under any circumstance or concentration of CO2 exceed an emitting temperature of 193K, much less 330K as you claimed above. If you seriously believe otherwise, please provide me with a published reference supporting your claim.

      • It is sad that Pekka knows so little about meteorology.

        His expertise in other areas is leading him to be overconfident in his (incorrect) responses to HS.

        It is all very simple.

        Atmospheric mass around a spherical body, held within that body’s gravity field, subjected to insolation and maintained at hydrostatic equilibrium will always produce a density and pressure gradient with height. Greater density naturally develops with depth towards the centre of a gravitational field.

        Density controls the proportion of insolation passing through which is taken up by conduction so that leads to a temperature gradient from surface to space.

        The ‘ideal’ lapse rate slope (the one that allows an atmosphere to be retained) is set by that process.

        Various other features of an atmosphere seek to upset that ‘ideal’ lapse rate slope by creating radiative imbalances which , in the absence of a correcting mechanism, would cause the atmosphere to be lost since hydrostatic equilibrium could not be maintained.

        Convection is the correcting mechanism and in the process of correction the actual lapse rate gets distorted one way or the other from place to place and from height to height so that everything still averages out to the ‘ideal’ lapse rate slope, hydrostatic equilibrium is maintained and the atmosphere is retained.

        The cell structure of atmospheric overturning is the correcting mechanism in progress and that gives us climate zones, jet streams and weather.

        It is the mass of an atmosphere, engaged in conduction and convection from the surface, that elevates the surface temperature 33K above S-B and the radiative characteristics of atmospheric constituents are cancelled by convective adjustments for a net zero thermal effect.

      • Stephen Wilde says, “It is the mass of an atmosphere, engaged in conduction and convection from the surface, that elevates the surface temperature 33K above S-B and the radiative characteristics of atmospheric constituents are cancelled by convective adjustments for a net zero thermal effect.”

        Exactly, agreed.

        The Pekka & Arrhenius radiative GHE confuses cause with effect, incorrectly claiming the dominance (91.5%) of convection & WV latent heat transport over radiative-convective equilibrium in the troposphere cannot accelerate enough to erase the small (~8.5%) contribution of radiation to heat transport in the troposphere up to P~0.1 atm.

        Stephen says, “It is sad that Pekka knows so little about meteorology. His expertise in other areas is leading him to be overconfident in his (incorrect) responses to HS.”

        Agreed, and it is also sad that he doesn’t understand that the absolute maximum possible emission temperature of CO2 15 micron line emission is 193K, no matter what the temperature of the ERL or any other level of the surrounding atmosphere is (as long as it is >=193K), and no matter what the concentration of CO2 is. Since CO2 is only a line-emitter that is not a true blackbody, does not have a Planck curve, does not follow SB law (in fact, observations from Hottel et al proves CO2 behaves the opposite of a true blackbody in that emissivity decreases with temperature, opposite of a true blackbody), the emission from CO2 is actually much less than a true blackbody. An emission temperature of 193K can only transfer HEAT to bodies colder than 193K (i.e. space, not anywhere else in the troposphere/tropopause which has a minimum temp of 220K). I’ve asked Pekka to provide a published reference demonstrating his (false) claim that is it ever possible, but he obviously could not. This is fundamental basic physical chemistry and electron orbital/quantum physics folks, covered extensively in freshman chemistry & physics textbooks.

        Before this very disappointing ‘conversation,’ which consisted of avoiding lots of very inconvenient scientific questions I asked Pekka about basic physical chemistry, adiabatic processes, radiative & quantum physics, US Std Atm, etc. I respected his opinion. I no longer do, since his non-rebuttals are completely devoid of any supporting evidence/mathematics/references, and littered with countless absolutely false statements, evasion, and ad homs. He has clearly joined the AGW religion, and it’s not about science anymore, if it ever was. Sad indeed.

      • left out a critical word in last comment:

        (in fact, observations from Hottel et al proves CO2 behaves the opposite of a true blackbody in that emissivity decreases with increased temperature, opposite of a true blackbody),

      • HS,

        Your problem is in this case that you apply concepts that are useful for a non-transparent surface to gas, where the same concepts are not useful, and where using them leads you to totally wrong conclusions.

        You also invent concepts that do not exist in normal physics and apply them in a way that results to totally wrong conclusions again. You cannot reinvent physics, that’s too difficult for you. You must use the physics that has been developed by great scientists over centuries and that has been documented in textbooks by further competent scientists. (I don’t mean that our understanding of physics has stopped from changing, but a very large part of the knowledge is mature enough for being considered confirmed knowledge, unlikely to change significantly in future.)

        When we are considering gas, the important facts about emission and absorption have been collected to the Hitran database combined with the physical formulas that contain the coefficients stored in the database. The data lists emission/absorption lines, their location and so called Einstein coefficients that tell, how strongly each line absorbs or emits. This data can be used directly in a line-by-line (LBL) radiative transfer model. One example of such a model is the model Scienceofdoom has presented in his blog, more refined and efficient models have been developed by specialists of radiative heat transfer. As Judith and also SoD have told in this thread, there are still some uncertainties in the details of those models (SoD mentioned continuum absorption, I could add to that the tails of the line shape, which are crucial in calculations of dense atmospheres like that of Venus). LBL models are, however, known to be close enough to truth for a wide range of applications, including radiative transfer in the Earth atmosphere. More problems enter, when they are replaced by less accurate band models for more computational efficiency.

        Coming back to absorptivity and emissivity. LBL models include a related coefficient for each emission line. In gas the strength of absorption is different for each wavelength, and so is the strength of emission. The strength of absorption at a given wavelength is independent of the temperature of the gas, but the strength of emission increases with temperature. There are no upper temperature limits for that, and that’s an essential ingredient in the GHE.

        You may write formulas that indicate decreasing emissivity, when you consider the gas as if it were a non-transparent surface, because beyond some given temperature the emission from a blackbody increases faster than the emission from a single emission line, but that’s irrelevant. What’s is relevant is that also the emission from the single line is increasing with temperature, while strength of absorption does not depend on the temperature of the gas.

        You can easily find all the correct theory from innumerable sources. You are welcome to show errors in that theory, if you can. There’s, however, no reason to give any value for your attempts to replace that correct theory with your alternative physics, because you have no change of reaching far enough in that approach. With your approach you end up with a readership that consists only of a small group of people thinking that they understand physics better than all the worlds physicists do. (Look, who contribute to the discussion on your site.)

      • Pekka,
        Did you see my posts on the topic of Co2 lasers?
        That post shows the same concept of beam temp.

      • I don’t think that the issues that concern CO2 lasers have much to do with understanding radiative transfer in the atmosphere.

        The relevancy of CO2 for the atmosphere is almost solely due to the 15µm absorption/emission line (or more precisely to the large number of narrow lines that combine to form the broader peak around 15µm). The temperature of the gas affects emission from that line according to Planck’s radiation law.

        Planck’s radiation law tells, how the temperature and the wavelength enter. The formula does not involve any thresholds or maximum temperatures.

      • hockey gone Wilde, “Stephen Wilde says, “It is the mass of an atmosphere, engaged in conduction and convection from the surface, that elevates the surface temperature 33K above S-B and the radiative characteristics of atmospheric constituents are cancelled by convective adjustments for a net zero thermal effect.”

        Exactly, agreed.”

        This is a perfect example of leaps of faith instead of science. Stefan-Boltzmann Law provides an estimate for an ideal black body radiant “shell” or surface (it was actually based on a hole in a furnace) and doesn’t consider size, shape, composition or any of the boring thermodynamic details involved in maintaining T or some degree of equilibrium. LBL radiant models use actual data accumulated over many years to document exceptions to “ideal” blackbody or S-B estimates. The two of you are basically saying, “there are exceptions to S-B!!” Well Duh.

        If you want another poor analogy, consider Earth as a spherical battery (or cow) with a solar charger. If the battery was provided by Dell, it might only charge to 50% so you can pick your preferred charging efficiency and charge capacity then estimate what your “average” shell energy might be.

        If for the power in from the charger you choose TSI/4, you will be amazed at how the Earth battery “manufactures” energy. Perhaps you picked the wrong charging voltage? You could use TSI/pi and find that the Earth still manufactures energy but not as much. But if you choose TSI, the peak energy applied, you would find that your battery and charger starts making sense. If you have a perfect charger and battery you could reach an “average” voltage of TSI. In reality you have a remarkably average efficiency of 30% at the “surface” and 17.6% at some theoretical effective radiant layer where no one lives. (TSI-reflected energy)/4 gives you an estimate of the “average” energy at the theoretical radiant layer where no one lives. TSI/pi gives you an estimate of the average energy at the surface where people do live. Neither one considers how efficient your Dell battery might be. The more efficient your battery/charging system is, the more residual energy you have which would be like adding a DC offset to your choice of DC or half-wave rectified input power reference. If your reference choices indicate that the system is creating energy, you picked the wrong references.

        So should you pick a reference that allows for inefficiency, changes in specific heat capacity and various internal losses or some ideal reference at some theoretical surface with about 200,000 exceptions to the rule?

      • Curiously I just created this surface stations with at least 360 samples per year.

        It’s the annual sum of the day to day change of max temps.
        Tmx1-Tmx2 + Tmx2-Tmx3 + …. + Tmx364 – Tmx365/ Wsolarforcing1 +Wsolarforcing2 … + Wsolarforcing365
        The average surface forcing is 3471 Watt hours/day based on the average of measured solar constant

      • Tmx1-Tmx2 + Tmx2-Tmx3 + …. + Tmx364 – Tmx365

        Dang, should be
        Tmx2-Tmx1 + Tmx3-Tmx2 + …. + Tmx365 – Tmx364

      • Pekka, that was a non-rebuttal consisting of lots of words filled with appeals to authority, vague & totally false claims of me inventing “new physics,” false claims about basic physics/physical chemistry/basic radiative & quantum physics, and completely devoid of any evidence, mathematics, or published references.

        1. Clearly, as Stephen Wilde pointed out, you don’t understand basic meteorology, adiabatic processes, the Poisson relation, Maxwell’s gravito-thermal GHE, barometric formulae, physical chemistry, etc. Both the US & International Standard Atmospheres, and the HS greenhouse equation use these exact same mathematical relations well-known since the 1800s, and thousands of other references. These are apparently “new physics” to you, but not to science. Not one single radiative transfer equation exists in the mathematics of the US or International Standard Atmospheres, and you still continue to not answer my question why not. You instead made another absolutely false claim above that the Standard Atmosphere utilizes radiative transfer calculations. The reason is that radiation from GHGs is the effect, not the cause (gravito-thermal GHE) of the 68K temperature gradient of the troposphere from 220K to 288K. You also refuse to answer why the Std Atm states the effect of CO2 upon atmospheric temperatures 0-100km is negligible and completely discarded it from their mathematical model.

        2. The one and only “new” concept added by HS to mathematics of the barometric formulae & Poisson relation is using the atmospheric center of mass concept with Newton’s Second Law of Motion F=ma=mg, which is not “new” at all and is critical in application of Newton’s 2nd Law to a system of particles (i.e. the atmospheric adiabatic processes). Unlike you, I provide references to every scientific statement I assert:

        http://www.colorado.edu/physics/phys1110/phys1110_sp01/Notes/Chap10.htm

        3. You continue to ignore very inconvenient questions such as if my mathematics/physics are “new” or “totally wrong,” how is it possible the HS greenhouse eqn perfectly replicates the US Std Atm, the temperature profiles of Earth, Triton, and overlapping parts with Venus. You apparently believe this is just one huge, amazing, incredible coincidence despite the step-by-step mathematical proof and output that matches the US Std Atmosphere, and observations.

        You also apparently believe it’s just one huge, amazing, incredible coincidence that the ERL, center of mass, and equilibrium temperature with the Sun all happen to be at the exact same geopotential altitude of ~5.5km, on both Earth and Triton, and close with a small tweaking factor of on 1.17 on Venus.

        4. For the 3rd or 4th time, the absolute maximum possible emitting temperature of a 15 micron line-emitter is 193K by Wein’s Law, which is derived from Planck’s Law for blackbodies. I’ve asked you several times for a published reference that a line-emitter’s emitting temperature can ever under any circumstance exceed that of a true blackbody at the same wavelength, and you have repeatedly failed to do so. I wonder why you just want me to take that falsehood on your authority.

        You also apparently don’t understand that a maximum emitting temperature of 193K (CO2) can only transfer HEAT to bodies colder than 193K (2nd LoT), falsely claiming if you have a lot more CO2 & 193K line-emitters, that will transfer more HEAT to bodies warmer than 193K. Absolutely false! The HEAT transferred by a 193K emitter to a body warmer than 193K is ZERO, whether we are talking about one molecule of CO2 or one million molecules of CO2 all emitting at 193K.

        I’ve also pointed out 3 or 4 times above that climate scientists falsely assume CO2 is a true blackbody for which SB & Planck’s Law apply, and constantly & incorrectly use SB Law for GHG calculations, even though CO2 is far from a true blackbody and emits LESS ENERGY E=hv than a BB at 193K. Not only is CO2 not a BB, it behaves the opposite of a BB in that emissivity decreases with increasing temperature, OPPOSITE to a TRUE BB:

        Sad you don’t understand basic radiative, atmospheric, chemical, and quantum physics, and that YOU are the one inventing “new physics.”

        Please provide published references, mathematics, & observational evidence to back up your claims, as I have done.

  33. Do the models adequately account for the concentration of warming at the top of thunderheads? Remember that 70-mile grid blocks even out the energy but the same energy when unevenly distributed emits more efficiently.

    Thunderheads pump huge amounts of latent heat up, bypassing the lapse rate, and warm the upper troposphere with condensation and freezing of vapor.

    • The top of a thunderhead is usually cooler than the surrounding air.

    • We can say from the new adaptive iris paper (two posts a few weeks ago) that they do not. But IMO the effect is more than lifting latent heat toward the ERL. There is water detrainment which effects upper troposphere specific humidity (drier, less WVF) and albedo (cirrus).

  34. Jouzel, et al. (2007) reconstructed the temperature record of eight ice ages and eight interglacials. The four previous interglacials were all warmer than the present by up to 2.5 K… [The] atmosphere – a tenuous fluid medium – is sandwiched between two near-infinite heat-sinks, the ocean below and outer space above. No doubt there might be significant changes in the temperature of the atmosphere if there were significant changes in the input temperature from the Sun above or from the Earth’s molten core below; but, taking these inputs as broadly constant, such little heat as we are able to generate in the atmosphere will either be radiated harmlessly off to space or taken up into the ocean, which appears to have warmed during the ARGO decade at a rate equivalent to just 0.05 K decade(-1) – well within the very large measurement and coverage uncertainties (each ARGO buoy has to try to monitor 200,000 km³ of ocean). ~MoB

    • Given that the other interglacials were up 2.5K warmer the AGW claims that more warming is bad and the current temperature is unusual look increasingly absurd.

  35. It sounds like turbitity calculations in the 70s that I never found interesting enough to look into but that seemed to be complicated.

  36. For clear sky, the increase in instantaneous solar absorption is about 9%–13% (12Wm−2) among which the H2O continuum produces the largest increase, while the contributions from O2 and CO2 rank second and third, respectively.

    Isn’t that a very large change, in this context?

  37. Holger Schmithusen: . For this region, it is shown that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is around zero or even negative. Moreover, for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the earth-atmosphere system.

    That strikes me as a provocative statement that could apply anywhere there is little water and little sunlight, say the Andes and Himalayas at night.

    It has also been hypothesized that extra CO2 has a net cooling effect at high altitudes despite a net warming effect near the surface. I expect lots of research and spritely debates on the differential effects of CO2 in different regions of the climate.

    These papers are thoughtful contributions to the analysis of the sources and sizes of the GCM approximation errors. That strikes me as progress.

  38. The argument is not so much about what kind of forcing increases in CO2 may have ,but rather do CO2 concentrations govern the climate or are they a result. .

    If it turns out that the GHG effect is a result of the climate all of these studies on the GHG effect versus will be obsolete and meaningless.

    Yet the amount of time and effort in this area and the attention these kind of studies keep receiving in the absence of any data to give credence to the points these kinds of studies are trying to convey is amazing.

    They are going in the wrong direction and are not going to solve why /how the climate may change.

    A waste of time and efforts in my opinion when applied to trying to show how the climate will change as a result of all the assumptions they make in the face of blind faith absent and hard data.

    Our assessment of the intermodel spread in the instantaneous forcing from CO2 is similar to that obtained by Collins et al (2006) for both the shortwave and longwave components. Collins et al (2006) documented that at the top of model the range of instantaneous forcing for a doubling of CO2 is ∼1.2Wm−2 for the longwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum and ∼0.5Wm−2 for the shortwave part. These ranges, respectively, correspond to ∼2.4Wm−2 and ∼1.0Wm−2 for a quadrupling of CO2 if the curve of growth of forcing withCO2

    • You aren’t suggesting we redirect Climate Change science funding to funding real science are you?

  39. My take on how the climate may change is far superior to the flawed no data to back it up with AGW theory.

    Given my reasoning below and my check list for items that may influence the direction of the climate if the climate does not cool going forward I will reconsider all of my positions.

    First my check off list for the climate trend going forward.

    Solar Variability – favorable for strong cooling and increasing as the maximum of solar cycle 24 comes to an end.

    Geo Magnetic Field – in a weakening mode which should enhance solar effects and contribute to a cooling trend.

    Milankovitch Cycles- in contrast to 8000 years ago more favorable for cooling. N.H. summers now corresponding to aphelion.

    Land/Ocean Arrangements- very favorable for cooling.

    Ice Dynamic- neutral.

    PDO/AMO/ENSO phase going forward should feature the cold phase with more La Nina’s.

    Finally the secondary effects associated with very low solar activity from an increase in geological activity, to a more meridional atmospheric circulation to more clouds as some examples will favor cooling.

    Let me try to approach it in this manner. The shortfall when it comes to climate is many are unable to intergrade all the various factors that are involved when it comes to the climate that will not result in a given item (the sun) changing in a given way resulting in an x climate outcome. Somehow this opinion prevails that an x change in solar variability has to immediately translate to an x change climatic response. In addition lag times need to be incorporated into the equation of the climate.

    I will add, climate regime change, and natural variation of the climate within a climatic regime are entirely two different things. What throws many off is the natural climatic variations within a particular climatic regime. This is what obscures the solar climate connection.
    In addition I will go so far to say the climate can not change into another climatic regime without the aid of solar variability but that does not mean it can not fluctuate within a given climate regime.

    Here are the four factors (Milankovitch Cycles, Solar Variability ,Geo Magnetic Field Strength ,Land/Ocean Arrangements/Ice Dynamic ) which govern the climate of the earth and give it a beat of 1500 years or so but never in an exact regular cycle.

    The factors that govern the big picture when it comes to the climate are Milankovitch Cycles, Solar Variability, and these last three, the Geo Magnetic Field Strength of the Earth , Land /Ocean Arrangements/ Ice Dynamic those last three (geo magnetic field, land/ocean arrangements/ice dynamic) determining how effective Milankovitch Cycles and Solar Variability will be when it comes to impacting the climate.

    This explains why the 1470 year climate cycle is there but it varies so much over time.

    In addition the evidence is mounting that the climate changes in sync in both hemispheres which eliminates a redistribution of energy within the climatic system for the reason why the climate changes ,which is on weak grounds to begin with ,and strengthens the fact that it is only changes in the total energy coming into the climatic system that can change it enough to bring it into another climate regime.

    Further I maintain that all Intrinsic Earth Bound climatic factors are limited as to how much they can change the climate due to the total amount of energy in the climatic system they have to work with. Hence, they have the ability to change the climate within a climate regime( maybe plus or minus 1c) but they can not bring the climate from one regime to another regime. They refine the climate.

    Then finally the rogue asteroid impact or maybe super nova explosion some where off in space that at times had a big impact on the climate system which would further obscure or even eliminate the 1470 year semi cyclic cycle.

    THE CRITERIA

    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.

    NOTE 1- What mainstream science is missing in my opinion is two fold, in that solar variability is greater than thought, and that the climate system of the earth is more sensitive to that solar variability.

    NOTE 2- LATEST RESEARCH SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING:

    A. Ozone concentrations in the lower and middle stratosphere are in phase with the solar cycle, while in anti phase with the solar cycle in the upper stratosphere.

    B. Certain bands of UV light are more important to ozone production then others.

    C. UV light bands are in phase with the solar cycle with much more variability, in contrast to visible light and near infrared (NIR) bands which are in anti phase with the solar cycle with much LESS variability.

    .

    • Salvatore del Prete | July 7, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Reply
      This is going to be resolved before this decade ends.PA if you read my theory it makes much more sense then AGW.

      Well…

      I tend to think that the CO2 effect is significant but not dominant and the change in CO2 PPM needed to make it a player just isn’t going to happen.

      You seem to think that there will be cooling in the near to midrange future and that seems possible.

      It will be interesting when the La Nina arrives. If the ocean stops warming CAGW theory wouldn’t seem to have a future.

  40. Judith,

    You really do know how to provoke a debate. I enjoy your dispassionate voice in this noisy world of science, politics and political science.

    “We had to go ahead and discover everything ourselves.”

    Orville Wright

  41. I can see from the threading that someone has already pissed off our hostess.

  42. Mike Flynn

    PA and others,

    Threading knackered, I suspect. Apologies for overlooking massy particles.

    A thousand pardons! I grovel in mortification! Woe, woe, thrice woe!

    Thanks.

  43. David Springer

    No such thing as a totally transparent atmosphere. Hence no such thing as an isothermal atmosphere.

  44. Prediction:

    Following on from the Schmithusen thesis, there will soon be papers published that carry out re-analyses of historical Antarctic temperature data, and in doing so discover a definite regional cooling trend. These papers will be lauded as having revealed yet another ‘fingerprint’ of AGW.

    That they will be totally at odds with previous papers that were lauded for demonstrating ‘dangerous’ warming across Antarctica will not be an acceptable topic of conversation among ‘consensus’ climatologists.

  45. I was surprised to learn that a group of solar physicists decided four years ago, in 2011, to revise the historical sunspot record:

    http://ssnworkshop.wikia.com/wiki/Home

  46. Pingback: Un effetto serra al contrario che raffredda l’Antartide | Climatemonitor

  47. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #187 | Watts Up With That?