A Critical Framework For Climate Change

This dialogue framework was proposed for a debate between William Happer and David Karoly sponsored by The Best Schools.  As you can see it reads like an high hurdle course for alarmists/activists.  There are significant objections at every leap in connecting the beliefs.

Happer’s Statement: CO₂ will be a major benefit to the Earth

Earth does better with more CO2.  CO2 levels are increasing

Atmospheric transmission of radiation: Tyndall correctly recognized in 1861 that the most important greenhouse gas of the Earth’s atmosphere is water vapor. CO2 was a modest supporting actor, then as now.

Radiative cooling of the Earth: Clouds are one of the most potent factors controlling Earth’ s surface temperature.

The Schwarzschild equation:  The observed intensity I of upwelling radiation comes from the radiation emitted by the surface and by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere above the surface. The rate of change of the intensity with altitude is given by the Schwarzschild equation.

Logarithmic forcing by CO2:  The intensity for a doubling of CO2 concentrations from the present value of 400 ppm to 800 ppm makes little difference, and simply leads to a slight broadening of the width of the band.

Convection:  Radiation, which we have discussed above, is an important part of the energy transfer budget of the earth, but not the only part.

Numerical Modeling:  Predictions about what more CO2 will do to the Earth’s climate are based on numerical modeling of the fluid flows in the atmosphere and oceans.  Including water vapor, clouds, and precipitation further complicates the modeling considerations outlined above. Climate model builders have a hard job.

Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity: If increasing CO2 causes very large warming, harm can indeed be done. But most studies suggest that warmings of up to 2 K will be good for the planet.  More than a century after Arrhenius, and after the expenditure of many tens of billions of dollars on climate science, the official value of S still differs little from the guess that Arrhenius made in 1912: S = 4 K. Could it be that the climate establishment does not want to work itself out of a job?

Overestimate of S:  Contrary to the predictions of most climate models, there has been very little warming of the Earth’s surface over the last two decades.  If one assumes negligible feedback, where other properties of the atmosphere change little in response to additions of CO2, the doubling efficiency can be estimated to be about S = 1 K. The much larger doubling sensitivities claimed by the IPCC, which look increasingly dubious with each passing year, are due to “positive feedbacks.”

Benefits of CO2:  More CO2 in the atmosphere will be good for life on planet earth. Few realize that the world has been in a CO2 famine for millions of years — a long time for us, but a passing moment in geological history.

More bogeymen: The earth has stubbornly refused to warm nearly as much as demanded by computer models. To cope with this threat to full employment, the climate establishment has invented a host of bogeymen, other supposed threats from more CO2.  One of the bogeymen is that more CO2 will lead to, and already has led to, more extreme weather, But extreme weather is not increasing.  We also hear that more CO2 will cause rising sea levels to flood coastal cities, large parts of Florida, tropical island paradises, etc.

Climate Science:  Too much “climate research” money is pouring into very questionable efforts, like mitigation of the made-up horrors mentioned above. It reminds me of Gresham’s Law: “Bad money drives out good.”

Summary

The Earth is in no danger from increasing levels of CO2. More CO2 will be a major benefit to the biosphere and to humanity.

Karoly’s Statement: Climate change is harming nature and humanity

1. Observed global warming is beyond reasonable doubt

2. Increases in greenhouse gases are due to human activity

3. Most of the observed global warming since the mid-twentieth century is due to human activity

4. Global warming will continue over the twenty-first century

5. Many adverse impacts result from global warming

6. Substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to minimize dangerous global warming

Summary

The key points presented above are just a small fraction of the vast body of evidence that support the scientific conclusions on global warming accepted by all the scientific Academies and by all the governments around the world.

Science has established that it is virtually certain that increases of atmospheric CO2 due to burning of fossil fuels will cause climate change that will have substantial adverse impacts on humanity and on natural systems. Therefore, immediate stringent measures to suppress the burning of fossil fuels are both justified and necessary.

Happer’s detailed response to Karoly on climate change

Dr. Karoly begins his Statement, not with evidence to support the title, “Climate change is harming nature and humanity,” but with a summary of what happened in the “21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December of 2015.” What a mouthful!

As I pointed out in my Interview and Statement, there is no scientific evidence that global greenhouse gas emissions will have a harmful effect on climate. Quite the contrary, there is very good evidence that the modest increase in atmospheric CO2 since the start of the Industrial Age has already been good for the Earth and that more will be better.

Some climate scientists, including Dr. Karoly, are doing praiseworthy work. I especially admire high-quality, year-by-year measurements of properties of the atmosphere and oceans. But if they have doubts about climate hysteria, most practicing climate scientists keep these to themselves because of the ferocity of the attacks they know will come to those who question the party line.

In my Interview, I mentioned the attacks on me by Greenpeace. No wonder there is a consensus of climate scientists, or that few scientists from other fields are willing to question the established dogma!  Even though creative scientists are not greatly impressed by them, claims of consensus work wonders with educated elites.

A brief discussion of those key points of Dr. Karoly’s Statement with which I disagree:

3. “The observed large-scale increase in surface temperature across the globe since the mid-twentieth century is primarily due to human activity, the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and other impacts on the human climate system.”  This statement is based on excessive faith in computer models.

Trends in global mean surface temperature. a. 1993-2012. b. 1998-2012. Histograms of observed trends (red hatching) are from 100 reconstructions of the HadCRUT4 dataset. Histograms of model trends (grey bars) are based on 117 simulations of the models, and black curves are smoothed versions of the model trends. The ranges of observed trends reflect observational uncertainty, whereas the ranges of model trends reflect forcing uncertainty, as well as differences in individuals model responses to external forcings and uncertainty arising from internal climate variability.

4. “There will continue to be significant global warming over the 21st century with its magnitude depending on the emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.”  Again, this is a statement based on computer models. No one knows how the temperature of the Earth will change over the twenty-first century. It is just as likely that the Earth will cool, since whatever mechanism caused the Little Ice Age could act again and could overwhelm the small warming expected from increased CO2. In both my Statement and my Interview, I pointed out how much most models overestimated the warming of the Earth since the year 2000, when there was a hiatus or pause in warming, which may not be over yet.

5. “There are substantial adverse impacts on human and natural systems from global warming.” I disagree. I don’t know of a single adverse impact that can be confidently ascribed to more CO2. There are plenty of phony claims of damage, which quickly fall apart when scrutinized.

6. “Rapid, substantial, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are needed to slow global warming and stabilize global temperature at a level that would minimize dangerous human influence on the climate system.”  I disagree. We are being exhorted to “reduce our carbon footprint,” although to Dr. Karoly’s credit, he does not use this silly slogan. To the extent that “carbon footprint” includes soot (small particles of elemental carbon), and CO, carbon monoxide molecules, I would be glad to be part of the crusade.

General Comments

My Statement had 64 citations. I, too, cited many government reports, including those of the IPCC, but I also cited at least 16 peer-reviewed papers by independent scientific researchers. Dr. Karoly’s overwhelming focus on government reports looks like fully developed groupthink. Or maybe it is better described by the old Russian proverb:

Сила есть, ума не надо.

We have power, no need for intelligence.

Trotsky refers to the old principle which St. Paul states in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3:10 “We gave you this rule: if a man will not work, he shall not eat.” And before that Deuteronomy 25:4: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”

Enormous imagination has gone into showing that increasing concentrations of CO2 will be catastrophic. Cities will be flooded by sea-level rises that are 10 or more times bigger than even the IPCC predicts. There will be mass extinctions of species; billions of people will die; “tipping points” will render the planet a desert.

If you wrote down all the ills attributed to global warming, you would fill up a very thick book. And all of this despite the fact that in the history of higher life forms on Earth (the Phanerozoic), CO2 levels were four or more times higher than today, but life nevertheless flourished at least as abundantly on land and in the sea as it does today. It’s an ill wind, indeed, that blows no good.

In summary, Dr. Karoly is a good scientist who means well. But he lives in an echo chamber of like-minded people who are convinced that they are saving the world.

The scholars of the floating island of Laputa had much in common with many promoters of global-­warming alarmism

 

 

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2019 Update: Climate Reductionism

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With all the fuss about the “Green New Deal” and attempts to blame recent cold waves on rising CO2, it is wise to remember the logic of the alarmist argument.  It boils down to two suppositions:

Rising atmospheric CO2 makes the planet warmer.

Rising emissions from humans burning fossil fuels makes atmospheric CO2 higher.

The second assertion is challenged in a post: Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

This post addresses the first claim.  Remember also that all of the so-called “lines of evidence” for global warming do not distinguish between human and natural causes.  Typically the evidence cited falls into these categories:

Global temperature rise
Warming oceans
Shrinking ice sheets
Glacial retreat
Decreased snow cover
Sea level rise
Declining Arctic sea ice
Extreme events

However, all of these are equivocal, involving signal and noise issues. Note also that all of them are alleged impacts from the first one.  And in any case, the fact of any changes does not in itself prove human causation.  That attribution rests solely on unvalidated climate models.  Below is a discussion of the reductionist mental process by which climate complexity and natural forces are systematically excluded to reach the pre-determined conclusion.

Original Post:  Climate Reductionism


Reductionists are those who take one theory or phenomenon to be reducible to some other theory or phenomenon. For example, a reductionist regarding mathematics might take any given mathematical theory to be reducible to logic or set theory. Or, a reductionist about biological entities like cells might take such entities to be reducible to collections of physico-chemical entities like atoms and molecules.
Definition from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Some of you may have seen this recent article: Divided Colorado: A Sister And Brother Disagree On Climate Change

The reporter describes a familiar story to many of us.  A single skeptic (the brother) is holding out against his sister and rest of the family who accept global warming/climate change. And of course, after putting some of their interchanges into the text, the reporter then sides against the brother by taking the word of a climate expert. From the article:

“CO2 absorbs infrared heat in certain wavelengths and those measurements were made first time — published — when Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States,” says Scott Denning, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University. “Since that time, those measurements have been repeated by better and better instruments around the world.”

CO2, or carbon dioxide, has increased over time, scientists say, because of human activity. It’s a greenhouse gas that’s contributing to global warming.

“We know precisely how the molecule wiggles and waggles, and what the quantum interactions between the electrons are that cause everyone one of these little absorption lines,” he says. “And there’s just no wiggle room around it — CO2 absorbs heat, heat warms things up, so adding CO2 to the atmosphere will warm the climate.”

Denning says that most of the CO2 we see added to the atmosphere comes from humans — mostly through burning coal, oil and gas, which, as he puts it, is “indirectly caused by us.”

When looking at the scientific community, Denning says it’s united, as far as he knows.

earth-science-climatic-change-Climate-System-3-114-g001

A Case Study of Climate Reductionism

Denning’s comments, supported by several presentations at his website demonstrate how some scientists (all those known to Denning) engage in a classic form of reductionism.

The full complexity of earth’s climate includes many processes, some poorly understood, but known to have effects orders of magnitude greater than the potential of CO2 warming. The case for global warming alarm rests on simplifying away everything but the predetermined notion that humans are warming the planet. It goes like this:

Our Complex Climate

Earth’s climate is probably the most complicated natural phenomenon ever studied. Not only are there many processes, but they also interact and influence each other over various timescales, causing lagged effects and multiple cycling. This diagram illustrates some of the climate elements and interactions between them.

Flows and Feedbacks for Climate Models

The Many Climate Dimensions

Further, measuring changes in the climate goes far beyond temperature as a metric. Global climate indices, like the European dataset include 12 climate dimensions with 74 tracking measures. The set of climate dimensions include:

  • Sunshine
  • Pressure
  • Humidity
  • Cloudiness
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Drought
  • Temperature
  • Heat
  • Cold

And in addition there are compound measures combining temperature and precipitation. While temperature is important, climate is much more than that.  With this reduction, all other dimensions are swept aside, and climate change is simplified down to global warming as seen in temperature measurements.

Climate Thermodynamics: Weather is the Climate System at work.

Another distortion is the notion that weather is bad or good, depending on humans finding it favorable. In fact, all that we call weather are the ocean and atmosphere acting to resolve differences in temperatures, humidities and pressures. It is the natural result of a rotating, irregular planetary surface mostly covered with water and illuminated mostly at its equator.

The sun warms the surface, but the heat escapes very quickly by convection so the build-up of heat near the surface is limited. In an incompressible atmosphere, it would *all* escape, and you’d get no surface warming. But because air is compressible, and because gases warm up when they’re compressed and cool down when allowed to expand, air circulating vertically by convection will warm and cool at a certain rate due to the changing atmospheric pressure.

Climate science has been obsessed with only a part of the system, namely the atmosphere and radiation, in order to focus attention on the non-condensing IR active gases. The climate is framed as a 3D atmosphere above a 2D surface. That narrow scope leaves out the powerful non-radiative heat transfer mechanisms that dominate the lower troposphere, and the vast reservoir of thermal energy deep in the oceans.

As Dr. Robert E Stevenson writes, it could have been different:

“As an oceanographer, I’d been around the world, once or twice, and I was rather convinced that I knew the factors that influenced the Earth’s climate. The oceans, by virtue of their enormous density and heat-storage capacity, are the dominant influence on our climate. It is the heat budget and the energy that flows into and out of the oceans that basically determines the mean temperature of the global atmosphere. These interactions, plus evaporation, are quite capable of canceling the slight effect of man-produced CO2.”

The troposphere is dominated by powerful heat transfer mechanisms: conduction, convection and evaporation, as well as physical kinetic movements.  All this is ignored in order to focus on radiative heat transfer, a bit player except at the top of the atmosphere.

There’s More than the Atmosphere

Once the world of climate is greatly reduced down to radiation of infrared frequencies, yet another set of blinders is applied. The most important source of radiation is of course the sun. Solar radiation in the short wave (SW) range is what we see and what heats up the earth’s surface, particularly the oceans. In addition solar radiation includes infrared, some absorbed in the atmosphere and some at the surface. The ocean is also a major source of heat into the atmosphere since its thermal capacity is 1000 times what the air can hold. The heat transfer from ocean to air is both by way of evaporation (latent heat) and also by direct contact at the sea surface (conduction).

Yet conventional climate science dismisses the sun as a climate factor saying that its climate input is unvarying. That ignores significant fluctuations in parts of the light range, for example ultraviolet, and also solar effects such as magnetic fields and cosmic rays. Also disregarded is solar energy varying due to cloud fluctuations. The ocean is also dismissed as a source of climate change despite obvious ocean warming and cooling cycles ranging from weeks to centuries. The problem is such oscillations are not well understood or predictable, so can not be easily modeled.

With the sun and the earth’s surface and ocean dismissed, the only consideration left is the atmosphere.

The Gorilla Greenhouse Gas

Thus climate has been reduced down to heat radiation passing through the atmosphere comprised of gases. One of the biggest reductions then comes from focusing on CO2 rather than H20. Of all the gases that are IR-active, water is the most prevalent and covers more of the spectrum.

The diagram below gives you the sense of proportion.

The Role of CO2

We come now to the role of CO2 in “trapping heat” and making the world warmer. The theory is that CO2 acts like a blanket by absorbing and re-radiating heat that would otherwise escape into space. By delaying the cooling while solar energy comes in constantly, CO2 is presumed to cause a buildup of heat resulting in warmer temperatures.

How the Atmosphere Processes Heat

There are 3 ways that heat (Infrared or IR radiation) passes from the surface to space.

1) A small amount of the radiation leaves directly, because all gases in our air are transparent to IR of 10-14 microns (sometimes called the “atmospheric window.” This pathway moves at the speed of light, so no delay of cooling occurs.

2) Some radiation is absorbed and re-emitted by IR active gases up to the tropopause. Calculations of the free mean path for CO2 show that energy passes from surface to tropopause in less than 5 milliseconds. This is almost speed of light, so delay is negligible. H2O is so variable across the globe that its total effects are not measurable. In arid places, like deserts, we see that CO2 by itself does not prevent the loss of the day’s heat after sundown.

3) The bulk gases of the atmosphere, O2 and N2, are warmed by conduction and convection from the surface. They also gain energy by collisions with IR active gases, some of that IR coming from the surface, and some absorbed directly from the sun. Latent heat from water is also added to the bulk gases. O2 and N2 are slow to shed this heat, and indeed must pass it back to IR active gases at the top of the troposphere for radiation into space.

In a parcel of air each molecule of CO2 is surrounded by 2500 other molecules, mostly O2 and N2. In the lower atmosphere, the air is dense and CO2 molecules energized by IR lose it to surrounding gases, slightly warming the entire parcel. Higher in the atmosphere, the air is thinner, and CO2 molecules can emit IR into space. Surrounding gases resupply CO2 with the energy it lost, which leads to further heat loss into space.

This third pathway has a significant delay of cooling, and is the reason for our mild surface temperature, averaging about 15C. Yes, earth’s atmosphere produces a buildup of heat at the surface. The bulk gases, O2 and N2, trap heat near the surface, while IR active gases, mainly H20 and CO2, provide the radiative cooling at the top of the atmosphere. Near the top of the atmosphere you will find the -18C temperature.

Sources of CO2

Note the size of the human emissions next to the red arrow.

A final reduction comes down to how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is there because of us. Alarmists/activists say any increase in CO2 is 100% man-made, and would be more were it not for natural CO2 sinks, namely the ocean and biosphere. The claim overlooks the fact that those sinks are also sources of CO2 and the flux from the land and sea is an order of magnitude higher than estimates of human emissions. In fact, our few Gigatons of carbon are lost within the error range of estimating natural emissions. Insects produce far more CO2 than humans do by all our activity, including domestic animals.

Why Climate Reductionism is Dangerous

Reducing the climate in this fashion reaches its logical conclusion in the Activist notion of the “450 Scenario.”  Since Cancun, IPCC is asserting that global warming is capped at 2C by keeping CO2 concentration below 450 ppm. From Summary for Policymakers (SPM) AR5

Emissions scenarios leading to CO2-equivalent concentrations in 2100 of about 450 ppm or lower are likely to maintain warming below 2°C over the 21st century relative to pre-industrial levels. These scenarios are characterized by 40 to 70% global anthropogenic GHG emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2010, and emissions levels near zero or below in 2100.

Thus is born the “450 Scenario” by which governments can be focused upon reducing human emissions without any reference to temperature measurements, which are troublesome and inconvenient. Almost everything in the climate world has been erased, and “Fighting Climate Change” is now code to mean accounting for fossil fuel emissions.

Conclusion

All propagandists begin with a kernel of truth, in this case the fact everything acting in the world has an effect on everything else. Edward Lorenz brought this insight to bear on the climate system in a ground breaking paper he presented in 1972 entitled: “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”  Everything does matter and has an effect. Obviously humans impact on the climate in places where we build cities and dams, clear forests and operate farms. And obviously we add some CO2 when we burn fossil fuels.

But it is wrong to ignore the major dominant climate realities in order to exaggerate a small peripheral factor for the sake of an agenda. It is wrong to claim that IR active gases somehow “trap” heat in the air when they immediately emit any energy absorbed, if not already lost colliding with another molecule. No, it is the bulk gases, N2 and O2, making up the mass of the atmosphere, together with the ocean delaying the cooling and giving us the mild and remarkably stable temperatures that we enjoy. And CO2 does its job by radiating the heat into space.

Since we do little to cause it, we can’t fix it by changing what we do. The climate will not stop changing because we put a price on carbon. And the sun will rise despite the cock going on strike to protest global warming.

Footnote: For a deeper understanding of the atmospheric physics relating to CO2 and climate, I have done a guide and synopsis of Murry Salby’s latest textbook on the subject:  Fearless Physics from Dr. Salby

Clashing Climate Paradigms

Global Warming/Climate Change is not formally debated any more since early on such proceedings made audiences more skeptical of alarmist claims. Instead, mostly it is on comment threads that True Believers (TB) of AGW can be found jousting with Climate Realists (CR). I recently came upon one from earlier in 2018 that illuminated how these two worldviews compare and contrast regarding the planetary climate functioning. There were numerous participants on both sides (unusually rich interchange), so I will organize my synopsis as a dialogue between Believer and Realist comprised of text from various comments in italics with my bolds. This is a shortened extract of a very long thread focusing on those comments generating more light than heat.

Structuring this argument along the lines of a Platonic dialogue seems right, but also ironic because Plato invented idealism, the basic stance of True Believers. That is, Plato invested eternal verity into objects of the mind, like Good and Evil, Beauty and Justice. Whereas, Climate Sceptics subscribe to objective realism, thus see the natural world as operating by its own devices, independent of what we think or know about it. This interplay of theoretical versus empirical orientations manifests throughout the commentary. And like Plato’s dialogues, the discussion sometimes returns to previous topics and repeats information in another context, which can also be instructive.

The comments were triggered by a post at Discover Magazine Here’s what real science says about the role of CO2 as Earth’s preeminent climatic thermostat. The article by Tom Yulsman concluded:

Earth’s climate is clearly an incredibly complex system. And climate scientists have never contended that they’ve understood all the details, or that their current understanding isn’t subject to revision when new evidence comes along. This is why they continue to do their research – to improve our understanding of how one of Earth’s key life support systems works.

They’ve also never contended that CO2 is the sole factor driving climate changes over geologic history. As we’ve seen, however, it plays a key role: Without the CO2 thermostat, Earth would likely be a proverbial snowball.

And now, we humans have turned the thermostat up, with predictable results that we’re already observing — such as changes to permafrost in the Arctic that got me going on this post to begin with.

The article prompted responses such as these.

Realist: Yulsman correctly states that “scientists actually have long known that something other than CO2 sets thing in motion when Earth enters and emerges from ice ages: shifts in solar radiation …” and “The bottom line is that a change in amount of solar energy reaching Earth may get things going”.

But he is just speculating when he goes on to say “but it’s CO2 that plays the dominant role”, because there is no empirical evidence that is true. It’s just the assumption of the CO2 hypothesis. The real world data shows is not true, as the 1940-1970 global cooling essentially reversed the 1910-1940 warming even though CO2 steadily increased from 1940-1970, and as there has been no CO2-induced warming over the last ~2 decades, even though human CO2 increase has been even higher during the most recent two decades.

There is much more evidence that H2O is the “thermostat”, as the Ramanathan 1981 paper cited below finds, ie., high SST during El Ninos causes more high cirrus clouds which regulate the max SST by blocking solar radiation.

Clouds, made of H2O, are the thermostat. When warming occurs this causes more clouds which reduces solar radiation reaching the surface to prevent ‘runaway’ warming. A negative feedback keeping the temperature within a limited range. When cooling occurs this causes fewer clouds which increases solar radiation reaching the surface to prevent ‘runaway’ cooling. Again, a negative feedback keeping he temperature within a limited range.

There is no physical reason that this cloud/water vapor negative feedback would stop working if there was no CO2 in the atmosphere. So Yulsman’s claim “if water vapor would rain out the result would be a very dramatic cooling” is wrong. If water vapor were to rain out, there would be fewer clouds and more solar radiation would reach the earth’s surface causing warming. It would never drive to an icehouse climate.

Believer: So you’re basically accusing the author of this article of fraud, if he’s perpetuating a “hoax,” as you call the well-established scientific principle that human greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to rising average global temperatures. Exactly what evidence would you use to support such a radical assertion?

Realist:  “well-established scientific principle that human greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to rising average global temperatures.”
What a mouthful. However, it isn’t ‘well established” (although it is widely believed that it is…)
…There is no observational evidence linking Mannkind’s burning of fossil fuels, and planetary warming. None. There are lots of big computer models that generate the appearance of “evidence” … but this is imaginary, existing only in the output of the models. Look a little deeper, and you’ll find large flaws in those models.

Believer: Wrong, as the article above, and over a century of scientific knowledge of carbon dioxide’s properties has shown. Please discuss the “flaws” in this science, if you’re so certain otherwise.

Realist: Trenberth, Fasullo, & Balmaseda 2014: ”All estimates (OHC and TOA) show that over the past decade, the energy imbalance ranges between about 0.5 and 1 W/㎡.

The concept of “Global Warming” is the supposed imbalance of Earth heat gain, and heat loss, measured in Watts per square metre of the Earth surface. In no particular order:

L’Ecuyer 2015 0.45 W/㎡, Trenberth and pals, 2009: 0.9 W/㎡; Stephens 2012: 0.6W/㎡; Lyman 2010: 0.64 ± 0.11 W/㎡; Hansen 2011: 0.8 ± 0.2 W/㎡; Loeb 2012: 0.5 ± 0.43 W/㎡; Allan 2014: 0.34 ± 0.67 W/㎡ from 1985 to 1999 and 0.62 ± 0.43 W/㎡ from 2000 to 2012; Dieng: 0.75 ± 0.52 W/㎡; Levitus 2009: 0.57 W/㎡; Llovel 2014: 0.67 ± 0.43 W/㎡; Wild 2017: 0.60 W/㎡; Johnson 2012 0.48 W/㎡; Church 2011 ~0.4 W/㎡ …von Schuckmann and Le Traon, 2011: 0.55 ± 0.1 W/㎡, so, about ½ Watt per square metre.

Schwartz 2008: ”Comparison with the natural greenhouse effect of about 300 W/m^2 … shows that this enhancement [greenhouse gas forcing] is well less than 1%.”

Wielicki 2013: ”Climate change, however, consists of very small changes in distributions of geophysical variables … Typical decadal changes are much less than 1% and clearly are small perturbations.”

Ollila 2014: “The changes are so small that they can be analyzed only by computational methods.”

Wick, Gary 2016: ”These climate change signals … are far below any expected observational accuracy globally or in polar regions. … .”

All these high-level climate scientists are telling you that these ‘Climate Change’ signals are really small… far below observational accuracy, can only be analyzed by computational methods, consisting of very small changes, much less than 1% … These folks are telling you that, in the twenty-first century. What “century of scientific knowledge” do you have, that these above-mentioned, high-level climate scientists have missed?

Believer: Very close to 1C surface warming in 137 years is substantial and very fast warming. There is no denying that.

Oceans heat content steadily increasing, with temps increasing as deep as 2,000 meters.
Season changing, shorter winters
Arctic rapidly losing sea ice and land ice on Greenland
Agricultural growing zones shifting north in northern hemisphere
Sea level rising

Realist: “Slight warming?”
Yes, slight warming over the last half of the 20th century, which is the only warming the IPCC claims is primarily human-caused. The satellite data shows that there has only been ~0.5C and most of that has been natural, due to El Nino and more solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface.
“is VERY fast warming”
There have been many previous natural warmings with greater rates of warming and greater absolute warming than recent warming of less than 1C/century, such as the following:
– 250 yrs BP 106yr natural warming of >1.5C/century
– 400 yrs BP 103yr natural warming of >1.5C/century
– 1600 yrs BP 119yr natural warming of >1.25C/century
– 2585 yrs BP 84yr natural warming of 2.0C/century
– 2760 yrs BP 90yr natural warming of 2.2C/century
– 2980 yrs BP 133yr natural warming of 1.5C/century
– 3511 yrs BP 89yr natural warming of 1.3C/century
– 4880 yrs BP 94yr natural warming of 1.5C/century
– 6385 yrs BP 98yr natural warming of 1.9C/century
– 8226 yrs BP 91yr natural warming of 3.2C/century
– 10.3K yrs BP 97yr natural warming of 1.9C/century
– 74.7K yrs BP 167yr natural warming of 1.3C/century
– 78.4K yrs BP 160yr natural warming of 1.9C/century
– 80.2K yrs BP 153yr natural warming of 1.8C/century
– 82.4K yrs BP 139yr natural warming of 1.7C/century
– 90.1K yrs BP 155yr natural warming of 1.3C/century
– 102K yrs BP 65yr natural warming of 1.4C/century
– 127K yrs BP 102yr natural warming of 1.3C/century
– 129K yrs BP 162yr natural warming was 1.9C/century
Sources: Mulvaney(2012) and this report

Believer: And you are saying the Earth’s energy balance change is not enough?
Offsetting some of the increased greenhouse effect from our emissions is human emissions of aerosols, having a cooling effect.

Then there is the fact that the net effect of all natural factors would have cooled the planet over the last 50 plus years, if not for our emissions.
Foster & Rahmstorf 2011
Lean and Rind 2008
and other attribution studies

Realist: All of the above, fast warming, OHC, shorter winters, ice loss, agricultural zones moving poleward, rising sea level … These are all just different manifestations of one single fact … It’s a bit warmer. These are not independent, separate facts … they are just one.
Trenberth, Fasullo, & Balmaseda 2014: ”Rising surface temperatures are just one manifestation. Melting Arctic sea ice is another.”
Shepherd, T, 2014: ”…surface temperature, upper-ocean heat content, sea level, Arctic sea-ice extent, glaciers, Northern Hemisphere snow cover, large-scale precipitation patterns (especially as reflected in ocean salinity), and temperature extremes (Figure 1a,b). All these global indicators are physically linked in a direct way to the first on the list, surface temperature, …”
von Schuckmann 2016: ”…global temperature rise, increased [ocean heat content], sea level rise, and the acceleration of the hydrological cycle (Fig. 2b). These are all symptoms of [Earth’s energy imbalance].”
this, theorized, energy imbalance has been quantified as about ½W/㎡. Beyond small, that is tiny. Relative to the average sunshine striking Earth … (½÷340)=0.001471 ≈0.15%
No, what I’m saying is that the imbalance is tiny. Too small for any direct measurement.

Believer: Every year since 2001 was warmer than any year in the 20th century, with the sole exception of 1998. – Globally 15 of the warmest years on record were in the last 16 years.

Realist: CO2’s “properties” are a “push” in the warming direction. Ramanathan 1981: ”Increasing CO2, while fixing all the other climatic parameters and variables, will cause a radiative heating of the surface-troposphere system.”

the trouble is, however, “fixing” all the other variables and parameters in place. Things change.

Plass 1956: ”The most recent calculations of the infra-red flux in the region of the 15 micron CO2 band show that the average surface temperature of the earth increases 3.6° C if the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is doubled, and decreases 3.8°C if the CO2 amount is halved, provided that no other factors change which influence the radiation balance.”

Plass 1956 didn’t warn us, just once. He told us, three different ways, three different phrases … Did you listen? “It is assumed that nothing else changes that affects the radiation balance when the CO2 amount varies.”

” It is also assumed here that no other factors change at the same time which can influence the radiation balance.”

Believer: There are about a half dozen peer reviewed attribution studies showing that the net effect of ALL natural climate forcings and feedbacks, as well as effects of solar and ENSO cycles, since 1960, would have Cooled the Planet, if not for human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) is one such study.

Lean and Rind (2008)
“None of the natural processes can account for the overall warming trend in global surface temperatures. In the 100 years from 1905 to 2005, the temperature trends produce by all three natural influences are at least an order of magnitude smaller than the observed surface temperature trend reported by IPCC [2007].”

According to this analysis, solar forcing contributed negligible long-term warming in the past 25 years and 10% of the warming in the past 100 years”

{Skeptical Science}

Realist: Believer, I want you to think for yourself. Please stop typing what SkS has written. Read the real science papers, take notes, quote the paper (not SkS) and provide citations. I won’t send you to What’s Up, please stop prattling on with SkS text.

Feel free to read the papers I quote. SkS is all backed up by selective choice of papers. You’ll not see many of the papers that I quote from, on SkS. That means, when real science has a disagreement, or a correction, SkS just lets that slide. Then again, I wouldn’t expect you to find and read those papers … so, read the references you find at SkS, and quote the reference paper … not the SkS text, please. Assemble your own thoughts, and support them with quotations from the papers.

Lean & Rind 2008, and the “none of the natural processes…” has several monstrously large flaws. The biggest, is that it is discussing the flawed computer models …these are known knowns, thorny problems that continue into CMIP6. But the second, is that not all the natural processes have been considered. These are known unknowns. Oh, and then, there are the unknown, unknowns.

As I was perusing the paper, Lean & Rind 2008: Influences on Surface Temperatures, I noticed the authors started off with a grand summary. In it, they mentioned, ”An exhaustive model- based study concludes that increasing anthropogenic gas concentrations (GHGs and tropospheric aerosols) produced 0.3–0.5 K per century warming over the 1906–1996 period, and are the dominant cause of global surface warming after 1976 [Allen et al., 2006].”

If some empirical, observational evidence, of this anthropogenic warming, existed prior to their publication in 2008, don’t you think that this review, would have mentioned it? …but, all they mentioned in this review, was this exhaustive model-based study by Allen 2006.
Lean, Judith L., and David H. Rind 2008. “How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006.” Geophysical Research Letters

Believer: Lean and Rind is one of several studies with the same conclusions. Of course, you believe climate models are not valid tools, which is nonsense.

Knutti and Huber is another such study

“Our results show that it is extremely likely that at least 74% of the observed warming since 1950 was caused by radiative forcings, and less than 26% by unforced internal variability.

Of the forced signal during that particular period, 102% (90–116%) is due to anthropogenic and 1% (−10 to 13%) due to natural forcing…. The combination of those results with attribution studies based on optimal fingerprinting, with independent constraints on the magnitude of climate feedbacks, with process understanding, as well as paleoclimate evidence leads to an even higher confidence about human influence dominating the observed temperature increase since pre-industrial times.”
——-
To test whether recent warming might just be down to a random swing in Earth’s unstable climate — another theory favoured by sceptics — Knutti and Huber conducted a series of control runs of different climate models without including the effects of the energy-budget parameters. But even if climate variability were three times greater than that estimated by state-of-the-art models, it is extremely unlikely to have produced a warming trend as pronounced as that observed in the real world, they found.

Realist: “you believe that climate models are not valid tools, which is nonsense.”

Climate models are not empirical data. They merely output what is programmed into them, and we know that what is programmed into them is wrong because 95% of them predict too much warming, and because they can’t project global temperature at even the 2% confidence level, “we find that the continued warming stagnation of fifteen years, 1998-2012, is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2% confidence level” – vonStorch(2013).

Knutti and Hueber is climate model based:

“based on a massive ensemble of simulations with a medium-complexity climate model we demonstrate…” – Huber & Knutti(2011) ‘Anthropogenic and natural warming inferred from changes in Earth’s energy balance’   And the only solar they use is at ToA, and do not include the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface, which invalidates that study as attempting to attribute warming to CO2 versus solar radiation.

There are no peer reviewed papers that empirically show that anthropogenic CO2 was the primary cause of the late 20th century warming like climate alarmists claim.

Believer: “Climate models are not empirical data. They merely output what is programmed into them, and we know that what is programmed into them is wrong because 95% of them predict too much warming”

Patently FALSE
The models do NOT show too much warming, except when deniers cherry pick their projection for worst case emissions scenarios and ignore the other one or two scenarios used in the models. In fact the projections are spot on when looked at honestly

Realist: “The models do NOT show too much warming . . .”
Patently FALSE. A scientist who is not a denier, but a believer in your CAGW-by-CO2 climate alarmism wrote a paper which confirmed that 98% of the latest CMIP5 climate models predict too much warming.

“we find that the continued warming stagnation of fifteen years, 1998-2012, is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2% confidence level … for the 15-year trend interval corresponding to the latest observation period 1998-2012, only 2% of the 62 CMIP5 and less than 1% of the 189 CMIP3 trend computations are as low as or lower than the observed trend.” – vonStorch(2013) ‘Can climate models explain the recent stagnation in global warming?’
“In fact the projections are spot on when looked at honestly”

Patently FALSE. That warmist scientist confirmed that 61 of the 62 CMIP climate models predicted too much warming.

And that warmist scientist’s paper confirmed that Dr. Roy Spencer’s graph was correct. And there was no cherry-picking by Roy Spencer, because he evaluated 90 CMIP5 models, ~50% more than vonStorch did!

You are just denying reality, evidently because of your ideological blindness and/or your inflexible belief in your climate alarmism belief system/religion.

Believer: “Later in the documentary he meets with climate scientist Hans von Storch, astrophysicist Piers Corbyn and physicist Freeman Dyson. Those in the loop will immediately recognize that this is not at all a fair representation of the scientific debate, but rather provides a very skewed vision thereof by emphasizing outlier views that are demonstrably false.”

Realist: “outlier views that are demonstrably false”
That’s exactly what your CO2-causes-global-warming view is: demonstrably false.

From 1940 to the 1970s, humans added 350 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, twice as much as had been added prior to 1940, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increased, yet global temperatures decreased by as much as they had increased since 1900. This is according to data from the U.S. National Center of Atmospheric Research:

When you add twice as much human CO2 to the atmosphere in 3 decades than had been added in the entirety of human history before that and the global temperature goes down by as much as it had increased over the previous 4 decades, that is irrefutable real world empirical data showing that CO2 does NOT cause global warming.

Why do you believe in a falsified CatastrophicAGW-by-CO2 hypothesis when there isn’t a single peer reviewed paper in existence which empirically shows that anthropogenic CO2 was the primary cause of the late 20th century warming like your climate alarmism religion says?

It’s just not rational.

Believer: That is because industrialization, before and after WWII, also greatly increased emissions of sulfur aerosols that cool the planet. When we put pollution controls on everything, those emissions were greatly reduced. This made the greenhouse gas warming stand out, which is why the warming increased after about 1975.

Those aerosols have a short resident time in the atmosphere of a few years. So it didn’t take long for their cooling effect to be greatly reduced.
The CO2 from back then is still in the atmosphere and will be for hundreds of years.

In fact, daily minimum temperatures rose during mid century cooling, even while daily maximum temps decreased.
——————
“Solar activity increased during that period, and of course greenhouse gases were also already on the rise – in fact already in the 1930s Callendar attributed warming to rising CO2 in the air. The “hump” during WW2 (which includes the subsequent cooling) is only in the SST data and not the land temperatures, so for that I suspect there is still some uncorrected issues in the SST data sets. It is well-known that methods of SST data collection changed during this time.” – stefan at Real Climate

Realist: Sorry, but that BS failed excuse doesn’t fly. Even the IPCC admits that aersols from humans in the lower troposphere are washed out in a few days with rain, and don’t impact global climate:

“Aerosols undergo physical and chemical transformations in the atmosphere, especially within clouds, and are removed largely by precipitation. Consequently aerosols in the lower troposphere typically have residence times of a few days.”- IPCC, SAR, WG1, p.20
In the 1940s-1970s they were too insignificant to have global impact. The only aerosols that can cause a global impact are volcanic aerosols that reach the stratosphere and are there for a year or two, and they only cause a small cooling, not the several tenths of a degree C that happened in the 1940-1970s, while the amount of human CO2 added to he atmosphere TRIPLED. Clear refutation of your CO2 causes global warming hypothesis.
Your argument totally fails.

“The CO2 in the atmosphere from back then is still in the atmosphere and will be for hundreds of years.”
No, you are just repeating the false propaganda of your climate cult religion that was made up out of whole cloth by the IPCC as they denied the peer reviewed science and made up their 100-200 year claim. Here is the peer reviewed science that they ignored:
“in fact already in the 1930s Callendar attributed warming to rising CO2 in the air.”
Callendar was also making an evidence-free claim, confirmed by his own 1938 paper. In that paper he admitted that few scientists at that time held that human CO2 could have “any influence” on our climate and weather.

“Few of those familiar with the natural heat exchanges of the atmosphere, which go into makings of our climate and weather, would be prepared to admit that activities of man could have any influence on phenomena of so vast a scale. … It is well known that the gas carbon dioxide has certain strong absorption bands in the infra-red region of the spectrum, and when this fact was discovered some 70 years ago it soon led to speculation on the effect which changes in the amount of the gas in the air could have on the temperature of the earth’s surface. In view of the much larger quantities and absorbing power of atmospheric water vapour it was concluded that the effect of carbon dioxide was probably negligible.” – Callendar(1938) ‘The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Influence on Temperature’

Since rates of human carbon dioxide release in the atmosphere were constantly increasing, Callendar expected that global temperature would increase during the next 20 years and would show that the CO2 hypothesis to be correct:

“The course of world temperatures during the next twenty years should afford valuable evidence as to the accuracy of the calculated effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide.” – ibid
In the next 30 years after Callendar’s paper, humans added more CO2 to the atmosphere than ever before. But the empirical data of temperatures over the next 30 years after Callendar’s 1938 paper showed that global temperature decreased by ~0.7C over the next 30 years:

So we see that the Arrhenius/Chamberlain /Callendar CO2 hypothesis failed the real world test, because global temperatures decreased over the next 30 years after Calander’s prediction, even though humans added over 2 times the total amount of human CO2 between 1938-1968 than had been added before 1938.

During that period of global cooling we come to 1951, where the world’s leading climatologists and meteorologists documented the then-current state-of-the-art climate science in the American Meteorological Society’s 1951 Compendium on Meteorology.

“The purpose of the Compendium of Meteorology is to take stock of the present position of meteorology, to summarize an appraise the knowledge which untiring research has been able to wrest from nature during past years, and to indicate the avenues of further studies and research which need to be explored in order to extend the frontiers of our knowledge.” – American Meteorology Society’s 1951 Compendium on Meteorology, Preface, p.v
It was in this state of climate science report that the world’s leading climate scientists and meteorologists stated that the CO2 hypothesis was never widely held and had been abandoned:

“Arrhenius and Chamberlain saw in this [variations in carbon dioxide] a cause of climate changes, but the theory was never widely accepted and was abandoned when it was found that all the long-wave radiation absorbed by CO2 is also absorbed by water vapor. In the past hundred years burning coal has increased the amount of CO2 by a measurable amount (from 0.28 to 0,30 percent), and Callendar [7] sees in this an explanation of the recent rise in global temperature. But during the last 7000 years there have been greater fluctuations in temperature without the intervention of man, and there seems to be no reason to regard the recent rise as more than a coincidence. This theory is not considered further. – American Meteorology Society’s 1951 Compendium on Meteorology, p.1016
You have swallowed the fake revisionist history that he peddlers of your CAGW-by-CO2 climate alarmism religion have fed you.

Believer: “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.”

“Overall, Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) find that ENSO has the largest impact on short-term temperature variations, followed by volcanic activity, with solar irradiance a distant third. However, the contributions of each factor to the 32-year temperature trends were very similar (Table 2, Figure 2). …..These factors contributed to very slight cooling of global temperatures over the past 32 years”

Realist: “and solar irradiance a distant third”
That’s only considering the change in TSI at ToA before it enters the earth’s climate atmosphere/ocean/land system. What is important to global temperature is how much of that solar radiation reaches the earth’s surface. This has been known in peer reviewed science for decades:

“It follows from the analysis of observation data that the secular variation in the mean temperature of the Earth can be explained by the variation of shortwave radiation arriving at the surface of the Earth.” – Budyko(1969) ‘The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the Earth’
And the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface increased by 2.7W/m² to 6.8W/m² during the late 20th century warming. This is documented in the following peer reviewed science:

“Significant increasing trends in DSR [DownwardSurface Radiation] and net DSR fluxes were found, equal to 4.1 and 3.7 Wm⁻², respectively, over the 1984-2000 period (equivalent to 2.4 and 2.2Wm⁻² per decade), indicating an increasing surface solar radiative heating. This surface SW radiative heating is primarily attributed to clouds” –
Title: ‘Global distribution of Earth’s surface shortwave budget’
Author: N. Hatzianastassiou, et.al.
Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
DoP: 01 Nov 2005
SRef-ID: 1680-7324/acp/2005-5-2847

“The decrease in the Earth’s reflectance from 1984 to 2000 suggested by Fig. 4, translates into a Bond albedo decrease of 0.02 (out of a nominal value of about 0.30) or an additional global shortwave forcing of 6.8W/m².”
Title: ‘Shortwave forcing of the Earth’s climate: Modern and historical variations in the Sun’s irradiance and Earth’s reflectance’
Author, P.R. Goode, E. Pallé
Journal: Journal of ATMOSPHERIC and SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL PHYSICS
DoP: Sept 2007
DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2007.06.011

“Long term variations in solar radiation at the Earth’s surface (S) can affect our climate … We observed an overall increase in S from 1983 to 2001 at a rate of 0.16 W per square meter (0.10%) per year … the observed changes in radiation budget are caused by changes in mean tropical cloudiness, which is detected in the satellite observations but fails to be predicted by several current climate models.” –
Title: ‘Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?’
Author: R.T. Pinker, et al.
Journal: Science
DoP: 6 May 2005
DOI: 10.1126/science.1103159
(0.16W/m²/yr x 18 years=2.88W/m² for 1983-2001)

“Applying a 3.6% cloud reflectivity perturbation to the shortwave energy balance partitioning given by Trenberth et al. (2009) corresponds to an increase of 2.7 Wm⁻² of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface and an increase of 2.4 Wm⁻² absorbed by the surface.” –
Title: ‘A net decrease in the Earth’s cloud, aerosol, and surface 340 nm reflectivity during the past 33 yr (1979-2011)’
Author: J. Herman, et al.,
Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
DoP: 27 Aug 2013
DOI: 10.5194/acp-13-8505-2013

“The temperature pattern for the period 1988-1997 appears to be generally consistent with the 7% reduction in total cloud cover that occurred across the period 1987-1999. Applying that reduction to the influence of clouds in the energy budget described by Trenberth et al. [34] results in an increased average solar forcing at the Earth’s surface of about 5 Wm⁻². This increase is more than double the IPCC’s estimated radiative forcing from all anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. … Conclusions Since 1950, global average temperature anomalies have been driven firstly, from 1950 to 1987, by a sustained shift in ENSO conditions, by reductions in total cloud cover (1987 to late 1990s) and then a shift from low cloud to mid and high-level cloud, with both changes in cloud cover being very widespread. According to the energy balance described by Trenberth et al. (2009) [34], the reduction in total cloud cover accounts for the increase in temperature since 1987, leaving little, if any, of the temperature change to be attributed to other forcings.” –
Title: ‘Late Twentieth-Century Warming and Variations in Cloud Cover’
Author: John McLean
Journal: Atmospheric and Climate Sciences
DoP: October 24, 2014
DOI: 10.4236/acs.2014.44066
The alleged increase in CO2 forcing during that time period was only ~0.5W/m². Clear empirical evidence that the late 20th century was overwhelmingly natural, not caused by human CO2.

Believer: I went to Skeptical Science and asked for clarification on the issues you brought up about CO2 increase mostly being natural, and clouds changes increasing solar energy.

Here are the responses

comment by Eclectic:

“The natural organic Carbon Cycle at the surface has been in mildly-fluctuating equilibrium for millions of years. Fossil CO2 (as represented by the approximately “4%” ) is a cumulative addition to the surface Carbon Cycle. Hence the AGW.

The friend appears to be suggesting that the solar radiation incidence increased significantly and/or the Earth’s cloud layer has become significantly less reflective, during the 20th Century.
Both such suggestions are unsupported by the evidence.”
——————————-

Comment by MA Rodger

” the egregious CO2 cycle nonsense in Harde (2017) has been rebutted at RealClimate and in the literature by Köhler et al (2017). The paper itself still sits for unsuspecting fools to feed from courtesy of the heatland of fiction-creation the Heartland Institute which pretty-much says it all.

Realist: “I went to Skeptical Science…”
There’s your problem. You will never get honest science from a dishonest propaganda website for climate alarmism. The “About Skeptical Science” webpage admitted: “I’m not a climatatologist or a scientist but a self-employed cartoonist and web programmer by trade.” –

Now on to expose the false claims that you got from SkS commenters.
1st false statement by Eclectic: “The natural organic Carbon Cycle at the surface has been in mildly fluctuating equilibrium for millions of years”. Totally false, as over millions of years the natural level of CO2 has varied from a few hundred ppm to 7,000ppm.

2nd false statement by Eclectic: “Fossil CO2 (as represented by the approximately “4%”) is a cumulative addition to the surface Carbon Cycle.” Totally false, because the natural CO2 sinks can not discriminate between natural and human FF CO2 and only sequester the natural CO2, leaving the excess consisting only of human FF CO2. There is no physical process by which that can happen. What really happens is that there is 96% natural and 4% human CO2 in the well mixed atmosphere. 98% of that mixture is sequestered each year, leaving a residual made up of 96% natural and 4% human CO2, to which the next year’s 96% natural and 4% human CO2 is added, which still makes the mixture 96% natural and 4% human, then 98% of that is sequestered away leaving a residual that is still 96% natural and 4% human, and on and on and on, and as far as you go, the atmosphere is made up of 96% natural and 4% human CO2.

MA Rodger’s 1st false claim is that Kohler(2017) refuted Harde(2017). It did not because it was fatally flawed with its assumption that atmospheric CO2 would be constant without a human pertubation. Harde(2017) has not been retracted. It stands unrefuted inspite of flawded attack pieces like Kohler(2017). Rodger is counting on scientifically illiterate people swallowing his whopper false claims.

MA Rodger next writes a lot of words, NONE of which refute the empirical data which shows that there was 2.7W/m to 6.8W/m more “energy in” to the climate system during the late 20th century.

MA Rodger’s 2nd false claim is that “but the actual values for global warming are measured at the top of the atmosphere”. That is patently false, as what matters is how much solar radiation enters the atmosphere and is transferred to the surface. THAT is the only thing that transfers heat/thermal energy to surface & into the oceans.

The absurdity of Rodger’s claim is seen by a simple example. Assume the TSI at ToA is constant for two decades. During the first decade assume that the earth’s albedo is 37%. Then during the second decade assume the albedo changes to 0%. According to Rodgers it wouldn’t impact the global mean temperature because the TSI at ToA was unchanged. That’s ludicrous. The ludicrousness is also seen if the albedo would have changed to 100% so that no net solar radiation would have reached the surface. Again, according to Rodger, the global temperature wouldn’t have changed because the TSI at ToA didn’t change.

Then Rodger goes on to make an OWN GOAL when he brings up Ocean Heat Content. He claims that OHC is a more reliable measure and says that the increases in OHC “are those to be expected by AGW”. That is totally false because the only physical mechanism which can transfer heat/thermal energy into the oceans is solar radiation. And since the climate alarmist admit that 93% of global warming is observed in the increase in OHC, they are admitting that global warming is natural, not human-caused, because there is no physical mechanism by which CO2 in the cold atmosphere can transfer heat/thermal energy into the warmer surface of the ocean.

Believer: Realist, I feel you go beyond the bounds of respectability, even here deep in a Disqus thread. For an unreconstructed AGW denialist, you throw your words around as liberally as your citations. Yet your account is not in any way representative of what you describe. That makes you an untrustworthy source of anything.

You insist CO2 has not been in rough natural equilibrium for millions of years. Yet the last time atmopheric CO2 topped 400ppm (as it has done within just the last three years) was probably 14 million years ago (with an outside chance of it recurring briefly 3 million years ago). And within 40 years that could be 500ppm and a 25million year record falling. You however talk of ” the natural level of CO2 has varied from a few hundred ppm to 7,000ppm” with no time-scale. Of course, such a variation can be seen to have happened in a matter of seconds, having occurred once over millions of billions of second. Your response to the world is saying “High CO2? That’s alright. CO2 has been much-much-much higher, right here on Earth (before animals existed).”

You defend the egregious nonsense of Harde (2017) by saying it has not been “retracted”. That is true. Harde has not admitted that the nonsense-first-class he presented was an abomination. The actual state of play is that Wilde’s attempt to respond to Köhler et al (2017) was refused as it was as nonsensical as his original offerings. And the journal has now reviewed its procedures to prevent such an abomination happening again.

You then accuse me of a “false claim” (a second one apparently) and back this up by ignoring all Top-of-the-Atmosphere measurement bar incoming solar radiation. Are you crazy suggesting this is my meaining? Think of the implications of what you set out. How could anyone accept AGW if the only factor in play was TOA TSI? You are crazy!!

And why would the reliability of OHC measurement have any connection with the drivers of OHC? Oh, I forget. I read the words of a total moron. “…there is no physical mechanism by which CO2 in the cold atmosphere can transfer heat/thermal energy into the warmer surface of the ocean.there is no physical mechanism by which CO2 in the cold atmosphere can transfer heat/thermal energy into the warmer surface of the ocean.” You’re a complete muppet. You’re a SkyDragonSlayer!!!

Yet you insist you are a mere messenger who sets out peer-reviewed literature, like Wilde (2017) perhaps, or even Budyko (1969), who by-the-way was talking ice ages and not AGW. Mind, if you believe “What is important to global temperature is how much of that solar radiation reaches the earth’s surface.” and if you insist “This has been known in peer reviewed science for decades.”, do you have something more recent that a 1969 reference? (Interestingly Budyko is usually mentioned as modelling a climate with an excessively high climate sensitivity, something which denialists argue as being tiny-tiny-tiny. That’s probably why they tend not to be so stupid as to cite Budyko. But for you, Budyko is a bit of a favourite.)

Realist: “I feel that you go beyond the bounds of respectability, even here in a Disqus thread”
I’m sorry you feel that posting cites and quotes from peer reviewed empirical science and explaining people’s fallacious arguments is beyond the bounds of respectability. I suspect the real issue is that the science that I have presented is contrary to your deeply held climate beliefs and it disturbs you that deep down you know that your beliefs are not supportable by empirical science.

Your baseless name calling weakens your case before you even begin. I haven’t denied anything that is supported by empirical science. But you are obviously denying the peer reviewed science which I have presented which shows that the late 20th century warming was caused primarily by natural climate forcing, because the only “energy in” to the climate system increased by 2.7W/m² to 6.8W/m², which was ~10 times greater than the increase in CO2 forcing during that same time frame. Why do you deny that when the only “energy in” to the climate system increases significantly, it is clear evidence for the cause of warming? That’s not rational. It’s a denial of reality. So it appears that you were projecting on your “denialist” accusation.

“Yet the last time atmospheric CO2 topped 400ppm … was probably 14 million years ago”
Peer reviewed science reveals that is a false claim. Beck(2007), http://disq.us/url?url=http… , documents hundreds of direct atmospheric CO2 measurements greater than 400ppm, taken from 180 published technical papers written between 1812 and 1961. And he documents the cherry picking of Callendar which rejected any high CO2 measurements which didn’t fit their CO2 narrative. This cherry-picking is documented in Fig.1 from Fonselius(1956):

Fig 1. Average atmospheric CO2 concentrations measured in the 19th and 20th centuries. Encircled are the values used by Callendar. Redrawn after Fonselius et al. 1956

Your RealClimate article on Harde(2017) was just snipe and gripe and refuted no science from Harde’s paper. About what you would expect from a PR website created to promote your climate alarmism.

“but the important thing is that they are losing the PR battle. That’s what the site is about. By the way, did Gavin come up with the name? … Mike”[Mann] … “Got the email about realclimate from Gavin… Phil Jones” – climategate email #1485

And your histrionics doesn’t change the fact that you made a ridiculous claim: “The changes in these energy fluxes are large but the actual values for global warming are measured at the top of atmosphere and such large levels of warming are not present”. Your clear intention was to dismiss the increase in solar radiation at the surface by claiming that the TSI at TOA was not large. No amount of handwaving on your part can change that.

I made a scientifically correct statement that solar radiation is the only physical mechanism that transfers heat into the ocean. That is supported by Columbia University:

“Sea-air heat exchange … On average the ocean is about 1 or 2 degrees warmer than the atmosphere so on average ocean heat is transferred from ocean to atmosphere by conduction. …
Solar heating of the ocean on a global average is 168 watts per square meter. …
Net back radiation cools the ocean, on a global average by 66 watts per square meter. …
On global average the oceanic heat loss by conduction is only 24 watts per square meter. …
On global average the heat loss by evaporation is 78 watts per square meter. …” – Columbia Univ. Earth & Environ. Science Lecture, ‘Ocean-Atmosphere Coupling’, http://eesc.columbia.edu/co…
Get that? The only ocean-atmosphere heat exchange process that adds heat to the ocean is solar radiation. Why deny reality. It only destroys your credibility, which is already in shambles.

“Budyko (1969) who by-the-way was talking ice ages and not AGW.”
Strawman. I never said it was talking about AGW. Budyko(1969) was not limited to glaciations, as it stated: “Thus it seems probable that present changes of the Earth’s temperature are determined mainly the atmospheric transparency variations“. Your attempt to dismiss Budyko fail.

“Do you have something more recent that[sic] a 1969 reference?”

Really? You need a cite to confirm the fact that the amount of SW solar radiation entering the climate system, most of which arrives at the surface, is the most important factor in determining global temperature? Al, solar radiation is the only “energy-in” to the climate system, just as the previously cited Ozawa(2003) paper showed in its Fig.5(a). That’s the only reference you need, even though there are countless others.

Believer: When you tell me ”the only physical mechanism which can transfer heat/thermal energy into the oceans is solar radiation” this can be considered in one of two ways. (1) The only thing of consequence that is warming the oceans is “the sun’s radiation” but this is rather sweeping and I assume it is not your intended meaning. (2) The energy entering the oceans comes from the sun directly in the form of solar radiation being absorbed by the water. That is untrue but appears to be your meaning. What a shambles you appear to create? By listing heat fluxes from a CU webpage you seem to be continuing with (2). Is this (2) what you intend to mean?

Realist: Al just handwaved to deny the scientific fact that solar radiation is the only physical mechanism that transfers heat into the ocean. Notice that he failed to offer any other physical mechanism that transferred heat into the oceans. Notice that he ignored the Columbia Univ. Lecture that I quoted from which confirmed my statement on ocean warming was true. In his handwaving he stated and dismissed two things that are in fact true:
(1) “The only thing of consequence that is warming the oceans is “the sun’s radiation”.” He dismissed that by saying it is rather sweeping, which it is, but it’s true.
(2) “The energy entering the oceans comes from the sun directly in the form of solar radiation being absorbed by the water. That is also true and exactly what I meant. NOAA confirms that sun is what transfers heat into the oceans in a webpage on “Layers of the ocean”:

“This surface layer is called the sunlight zone and extends from the surface to 200 meters (660 feet). … With the light comes heating from the sun.” – https://web.archive.org/web…

Note that this NOAA reference says nothing about ‘backradiation from the cold atmosphere transferring any heat into the ocean, which is the claim of climate alarmists. Science tells us that backradiation can’t transfer heat into the ocean because first, the atmosphere is colder than the ocean, and heat/thermal energy is only transferred from higher temperature objects to lower temperature objects. Second, energy absorption into water is governed by wavelength. The 15μm wavelength of CO2 ‘backradiation’ essentially can’t penetrate the surface of the ocean. This graph from peer reviewed science shows that that wavelength is only absorbed in the top ~3 millionths of a meter, which is ~1/10th the thickness of a human hair:

Idealized temperature profiles of the near surface layer (~10 m depth) of the ocean during (a) nighttime and daytime during strong wind conditions and (b) daytime low wind speed conditions and high insolation resulting thermal stratification of the surface layers.

Solar radiation from the 5500C sun penetrates up to 200m as NOAA stated. Then you must consider that that uppermost few microns of the ocean skin is always colder than the water just below it, so heat can’t conduct downward. That is shown in this graphic from Donlon(2001) ‘The character of skin and subsurface sea surface temperature’:

So if you want to continue this discussion, please stop playing games, talking in circles, and misrepresenting what has happened and address the original subject of this discussion; the peer reviewed science in my original comment. So you don’t have to go back, I’ll repeat it here:

“It follows from the analysis of observation data that the secular variation in the mean temperature of the Earth can be explained by the variation of shortwave radiation arriving at the surface of the Earth.” – Budyko(1969) ‘The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the Earth’
And the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface increased by 2.7W/m² to 6.8W/m² during the late 20th century warming. This is documented in the following peer reviewed science referenced earlier.

Believer: “When greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation, the energy heats the atmosphere which in turn re-radiates infrared radiation in all directions. Some makes its way back to the earth’s surface. Hence we expect to find more infrared radiation heading downwards. Surface measurements from 1973 to 2008 find an increasing trend of infrared radiation returning to earth (Wang 2009). A regional study over the central Alps found that downward infrared radiation is increasing due to the enhanced greenhouse effect (Philipona 2004). Taking this a step further, an analysis of high resolution spectral data allowed scientists to quantitatively attribute the increase in downward radiation to each of several greenhouse gases (Evans 2006).”

“From 1970 to 2003, the planet has been accumulating heat at a rate of 190,260 gigawatts with the vast majority of the energy going into the oceans. Considering a typical nuclear power plant has an output of 1 gigawatt, imagine 190,000 nuclear power plants pouring their energy output directly into our oceans. What about after 2003? A map of of ocean heat from 2003 to 2008 was constructed from ocean heat measurements down to 2000 metres deep (von Schuckmann 2009). Globally, the oceans have continued to accumulate heat to the end of 2008 at a rate of 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm?2, consistent with other determinations of the planet’s energy imbalance (Hansen 2005, Trenberth 2009). The planet continues to accumulate heat”

The enhanced greenhouse effect is confirmed by satellite and surface measurements. The planet’s energy imbalance is confirmed by summations of the planet’s total heat content and ocean heat measurements.”

Realist: Reinhart 2013: ” After an absorption event, the CO2 molecule is in an excited state with an estimated lifetime, τrad = (uj / ∆uj)2 / ν ≈ 6 µs for the 15 ㎛ lines. This corresponds to the spontaneous radiative decay rate, Rrad = 1.7×105 s-1. Collisions with the dominant gases of the atmosphere lead to a non-radiative decay. At sea level and T = 288 K, the collision rate of all gas molecules is approximately the inverse of the mean free time between collision. Its value is 7 x 10^9/s. The present CO2 concentration amounts to cco2 = 400 ppm. This leads to a non-radiative collision rate with the CO2 Rnon = 28 x 10^5/s. The chances of radiative emission in this situation is given by Rrad / (Rrad + Rnon ) ≈ 0.06. In the troposphere, where most of the absorption takes place, most of the absorbed energy, by the CO2, heats the dominant atmospheric gases. This is, however, no longer the case in the stratosphere and even higher levels, where the collision rate is dramatically decreased.”

NASA: ”Evaporation and convection processes in the atmosphere transport heat from the surface to the upper troposphere, where it can be much more efficiently radiated into space since it is above most of the greenhouse-trapping water vapor.”

“So in short, it is this convective overturning of the atmosphere – poorly represented in computer models of global warming – that primarily determines the temperature distribution of the surface and upper troposphere, not radiation balance.”

Realist: “Surface measurements from 1973 to 2008 find an increasing trend of infrared radiation returning to earth”
Infrared radiation returning to earth, DLR, varies directly with atmospheric temperature. Temperature went up.

Cho 2008: ”It has been shown that the downward longwave irradiance (DLR) is significantly correlated with three variables: air temperature, specific humidity, and cloudiness.

Dong 2006: ”Cloud fraction is the dominant modulator for determining insolation on the surface, nevertheless cloud-base height (temperature) is more important for downwelling LW flux.” 

Feldman 2015: ”Over the length of the observation period (2000–2010), the modelled spectra at both [Southern Great Plains] and [North Slope of Alaska] are dominated by trends associated with the temperature and humidity structure of the atmosphere rather than the smaller signal from CO2.” Temperature and humidity.

Philipona 2004: ”Longwave downward radiation is expected to increase with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, but also with the increase in temperature and cloud amount.” Temperature and cloud amount.

Dong 2006 found a decrease…

Cho 2008 found a decrease in DLR, in Antarctica, were there is supposed to be “polar amplification” of this DLR.

Believer: CO2 from fossil fuels has a different Carbon isotope than CO2 from other sources

sources of carbon:
land 120 Gt
ocean 90 Gt
human 7 Gt

sinks for carbon:
land 122 Gt
ocean 92 Gt
human 0 Gt
net change: 3 Gt source – And it’s all human!

Realist: “CO2 from fossil fuels has a different Carbon isotope than CO2 from other sources.”
False. Figure 1 in this ‘Plant Physiology’ journal article, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go… , shows that the δ¹³ C isotope ratio is exactly the same for coal, marine petroleum and land plants.

“And it’s all human!”
Peer reviewed science says that only 15% of the increased CO2 since the Industrial era is human, and 85% is natural:

“The anthropogenic contribution to the actual CO2 concentration is found to be 4.3%, its fraction to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era is 15%” – Harde(2017) ‘Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphere’

Believer: So by natural factors, CO2 stayed between 170ppm – 300ppm for at least the previous 800,000 years, but somehow nature magically increases CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution, to what is now 33% higher than in any of that previous time, at over 400ppm.

Here’s someone who thinks like me.

Tom Curtis at 12:40 PM on 5 April, 2012
tompinlb @1:

“1) CO2 concentrations over the holocene show little variation prior to the industrial era showing that the net natural CO2 flux is close to zero. Even the small 0.003 ppmv flux over the 7000 years prior to the industrial revolution is probably due to land use changes, partly from the desertification of the Sahara, but primarily due to human agriculture, particularly the cultivation of rice. The supposition that natural fluxes should increase 150 fold (conservatively estimated) by strange coincidence at exactly the time when humans started burning fossil fuels at a rate approximately double that which is required to explain the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere strains credulity, both in requiring human emissions to magically not effect atmospheric concentrations, and by requiring the vastly larger natural emissions from an undiscoverable source to magically coincide with the curiously ineffective human emissions.”

Realist: Repeating your false claim and finding someone else that believes it doesn’t refute Harde(2017).

“but somehow nature magically increases CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution … both in requiring human emissions to magically not effect[sic] atmospheric concentrations, and by requiring the vastly larger natural emissions from an undiscoverable source to magically coincide with the curiously ineffective human emissions.”

You and Curtis reveal your lack of science knowledge here. First, no one saying that human emissions don’t affect atmospheric CO2, as Harde(2017) shows. It’s just that all of the increase in CO2 is not due to humans, because nature can’t magically discriminate and only sequester natural CO2. There’s nothing magical about this, nor is there any “undiscoverable source” involved. Peer reviewed science shows it is natural laws such as Henry’s law that causes oceans to net outgas CO2 into the atmosphere when the oceans have warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age, which is coincident with the Industrial era.

“As the rate of net CO2 outgassing from the ocean is then affected by reduced solubility, this offers a simple physical explanation of the observed time lag” – Humlum(2011)  Peer reviewed science acknowledges that over 90% of global warming is observed in the increase in ocean heat content (OHC).

“The World Ocean accounts for approximately 93% of the warming of the earth system that has occurred since 1955.” – Levitus(2012) ‘World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0-2000m), 1955-2010’  The only physical mechanism that can transfer any significant amount of heat into the oceans on a global average basis is solar radiation. So again, nothing magical at all, just natural physical processes at work.

And the Humlum paper shows that this natural physical process of ocean outgassing happens because the increase in CO2 lags temperature increase. This shows that the temperature change is the cause and the CO2 increase/decrease is the effect because a cause must happen before the effect.

“Using data series on atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures we investigate the phase relation (leads/lags) between these for the period January 1980 to December 2011. Ice cores show atmospheric CO2 variations to lag behind atmospheric temperature changes on a century to millenium scale, but modern temperature is expected to lag changes in atmospheric CO2, as the atmospheric temperature increase since about 1975 generally is assumed to be caused by the modern increase in CO2. In our analysis we use eight well-known datasets: 1) globally averaged well-mixed marine boundary layer CO2 data, 2) HadCRUT3 surface air temperature data, 3) GISS surface air temperature data, 4) NCDC surface air temperature data, 5) HadSST2 sea surface temperature data, 6) UAH lower troposphere temperature data series, 7) CDIAC data on release of anthropogene CO2, and 8) GWP data on volcanic eruptions. Annual cycles are present in all datasets except 7) and 8), and to remove the influence of these we analyze 12-month averaged data. We find a high degree of co-variation between all data series except 7) and 8), but with changes in CO2 always lagging changes in temperature.

A main control on atmospheric CO2 appears to be the ocean surface temperature, and remains a possibility that a significant part of the overall increase of atmospheric CO2 since at least 1958 (start of Mauna Loa observations) simply relflects the gradual warming of the oceans as a result of the prolonged period of high solar activity since 1920 (Solanki et al., 2004). Based on the GISP2 ice core proxy record from Greenland it has previously been pointed out that the present period of warming since 1850 to a high degree may be explained by a natural c. 1100 yr periodic temperature variation (Humlum et al., 2011). …

Believer: There you go again “Where is this empirical, observational evidence?” We realize by now that YOU haven’t seen any, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

Obviously you have considerable difficult adding two and two, or even one and one. Otherwise you would look at the many experiments which show that increasing CO2 in a body of air (like in a greenhouse) raises the temperature. Then you would look at the measurements (usually considered empirical evidence) of CO2 in the atmosphere (around 280 in pre-industrial days and over 400 now) and you would say to your self “Could this possibly be the reason that temperatures are rising?”

Of course,you would have to accept the fact – shown by yet more empirical evidence – that temperatures are rising. If you were in any way connected to the climate sciences (which you clearly are not), you would do what scientists do and you would test this hypothesis in whatever way you could. And you would come to the conclusion that all the empirical evidence available pointed in one direction: the earth is warming because of humans’ love affair with fossil fuels.

You would, but you don’t because you are a stubborn old fool who thinks he knows better than nearly every climate-related scientist on the planet.

Realist: Even you (tacitly) admit, there is no observational evidence!

“many experiments … CO2 … temperature”
Consider Ramanathan & Collins 1991, where they observed, not only an increase in the greenhouse effect, but, as they termed it, a supergreenhouse effect. However, Earth reacted to it, and formed (a slight excess of) clouds, which cut off the incident sunlight, and stopped the warming.
Ramanathan & Collins 1991: ”Observations made … in the upper range of sea surface temperatures, … In response to this ‘super greenhouse effect’, highly reflective cirrus clouds are produced which act like a thermostat shielding the ocean from solar radiation. The regulatory effect of these cirrus clouds may limit sea surface temperatures to less than 305 K.” Yes, there are excellent measurements of atmospheric CO₂. There are bastardized measurements of global surface-air Tamperature. The correlation between the two isn’t so hot (pun intended) ‘cept for the last few years (when, the correlation is mediocre). In his awesome 1982 tome, called “Causation”, Barnard wrote: “That correlation, is not causation, is perhaps the first thing that must be said.”
Barnard, G. A. 1982 “Causation. Encyclopedia of Statistical Sciences” John Wiley, New York …
“Correlation is a necessary, but not sufficient condition, for a causal relationship” J Munshi
This is sage advice from learned, esteemed professors. 

CO₂ is easily demonstrated as opaque to certain wavenumbers, in a brass tube, as was done by John Tyndall, when he experimentally verified infrared opacity in various gases. However, the gases in Tyndall’s tube did not convect, advect, evaporate, condense, or freeze, as things do in a real atmosphere. It is this atmospheric motion …

Ramanathan & Collins 1991: “The required moisture for sustaining cirrus is not necessarily provided by the local evaporation, but instead, by large-scale transport within the lower troposphere, into the region of convection. These large circulation systems are the ‘Hadly’ and ‘Walker’ circulations. The sources [of energy] for these large-scale motions are the latent heat released by convection, the cirrus long-wave cloud forcing, and the spatial gradients in SST. Therefore, this convective large-scale system is self-sustaining. The large-scale convergence of moisture, into the warm oceanic regions, amplifies the warming, though the enhanced greenhouse effect, further driving the circulation. This continues, until the cirrus clouds, which accumulate during this process, reflect enough sunlight to arrest further warming. Thus, the [cirrus-cloud] anvils act like a thermostat.”

Believer: Face palm. I admitted nothing of the sort, tacitly or otherwise. There is a wealth of observational evidence. You are just too stupid to accept that.

And yes, I called you stupid. It takes a lot to make me say that, but, boy, have you earned the epithet.

Realist: Sure, there’s a wealth of observational evidence, of all kinds of things … but, none that show Mannkind’s CO₂ emissions cause planarity warming. We realize by now that YOU haven’t seen any, either, but that doesn’t stop you from believing it, simply because you are told it is so. Faith.

Lean 2018: ”IPCC’s finding that the globe would warm in the range 2–4 °C by the end of the 21st century unless greenhouse gas emissions were reduced significantly was based on simulations made by physical climate models, …”

Lean 2018: ”The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the IPCC (2007), charged with the detection and attribution of climate change for its Government stakeholders, stated that ❝Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid‐20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases❞. The basis for asserting a discernible human influence on climate is statistical comparisons of observed temperature with physical model simulations of the changes expected from anthropogenic and natural influences (Hegerl & Zwiers, 2011; Stott et al., 2010).”

Lean, Judith L. 2018 “Observation‐based detection and attribution of 21st century climate change.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

Believer: What evidence? The massive body of evidence going back to 1859. The huge number of peer reviewed research papers,

In the one year+ from November 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013, –
there were 2,225 peer reviewed papers published by 9,136 contributing scientists.
Only ONE of those 9,136 rejects AGW – [That’s just over 1/100 of 1%]
—–

Between 1991 -2012 there were 13,950 papers published.
24 of them reject AGW.
Of the 33,690 scientists who contributed to the 13,950 papers, only 34 reject AGW – [That’s 1/10 of 1%]
—–

Cook et al looked at 12,280 papers published, of which 4,011 papers addressed the cause.

* 3,933 papers endorsed AGW.
* 78 rejected AGW – 1.9%

98% of the authors of those 4,011 papers said they and their papers agree with AGW

Realist: 150 years of incorrect conclusions brought to the forefront as if they were uncontested. Recognize the errors of your worshipped gods, Tyndall and Arrhenius. Svante did not know about the water vapour’s far infrared radiation … neither did John Tyndall. See, John used rock salt to cap his brass tubes, when he observed that CO2 was opaque to some bands of infrared radiation. He knew not to use glass, because Silicon dioxide glass is widely opaque to infrared. At least, rock salt has some penetration into the IR (but not enough). Arrhenius used data from Langley’s prism, which was made from rock salt. Rock salt is opaque from 20㎛ past 100㎛. Neither Tyndall nor Langley nor Arrhenius could “see” or “measure” wavelengths longer than 20㎛. However, the cooling of the middle and upper troposphere is primarily from the water vapour rotational band (15㎛-100㎛ far-infrared). [Liou 1981 An Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation, 4.8, pg 109] … This is important, flighty, … about half of the infrared radiation that successfully escapes into space from water vapour, is in this long wavelength band. That means Arrhenius blundered, in his attempts to “subtract” water vapour’s effects from the combined atmosphere “greenhouse effect” … which means, he got a grossly wrong answer for the effects of CO2. Around 46% of water vapour’s radiation is in this band of longer wavelengths … Those scientists missed that. Even Plass, in 1956, laments the missing, far-infrared data:

Plass 1956: ”An accurate analysis of the effect of H,O on atmospheric radiation has not been made as yet because of the complexity of this spectrum and the difficulty of making experimental measurements beyond 20 microns. Considerable further work needs to be done on the effect of H2O. ”

Without detailed knowledge of the measure of water vapour in the far infrared, nobody could determine any balance or imbalance of the planet energy budget.

Believer: You don’t “get it”, do you?

Of course scientists document facts – all of them. Then other scientists look at the documentation. Some look at a small number of studies. Others do meta studies, looking at huge numbers of other studies. And pretty close to all of them have come to the same conclusion – when you look at all the data, the only possible explanation for rising temperatures is human activity.

Realist: Well, re-reading a paper that I had cited for other reasons, this paper by Judith Lean, I found a real nugget. She answered my question. I’ve been looking for observational evidence; her paragraph, rather succinctly, says that the only evidence is that from the computer models. There is no physical, observational evidence.

Lean 2018: ”The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the IPCC (2007), charged with the detection and attribution of climate change for its Government stakeholders, stated that ❝Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid‐20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases❞. The basis for asserting a discernible human influence on climate is statistical comparisons of observed temperature with physical model simulations of the changes expected from anthropogenic and natural influences (Hegerl & Zwiers, 2011; Stott et al., 2010).”

That’s it … quest, over. There is no observational evidence.

Believer: Some of these statements are true in a very limited way; others are just plain wrong.

For example, the climate has changed before. Of course. But never before at the rate of change we have seen in the past 50 years.

It’s the sun. Yes. Everything is the sun. But again, variations in solar activity take place on a different time scale. If we look only at incoming radiation from the sun, the earth should be cooling, but it is not.

It is bad – very bad, but I suspect you will choose not to accept that.

There is very definitely consensus in the scientific sense -all studies, all data, regardless of the source point to the same conclusion – human activity has caused the earth to warm.

Yes, it should be cooling, but it’s not.

The information derived from models changes with the input. That does not mean that they are unreliable. They are not expected to be perfect predictors of future climate conditions, but they give a reasonably accurate idea of what will happen if we continue with business as usual.

Temperature measurements become more and more accurate every day using a vast network of thermometers and satellites. It is possible that we are off on estimates of temperatures thousands and millions of years ago. However, it is clear that the current trend is inexorably upward. In my 34 years in the US, I have seen our temperature zone shift from Zone 5 to Zone 5B. This may not sound like much, but it translates to a difference in the frost free season of nearly two months. That is huge. Good for me trying to grow tomatoes in upstate New York, disaster areas that previously relied on a severe winter to control bugs.

Humans can probably adapt, but plants and most animals are having a hard time.

It has most definitely warmed since 1998. The RATE of increase stayed relatively stable, but the actual temperature continued to rise.

The Antarctic is gaining SEA ICE as are and more ice slips off the continental shelf. Overall there is a loss.

I challenge you to prove otherwise

Realist: You failed to mention what parameter you’re speaking of. Usually, alarmists speak of temperature rise rate, or the atmospheric CO2 rise rate.
Both are flawed concepts, as the modern instrumentation period cannot be compared to the non-instrumentation period, because … well, there were no instruments, then. You have to switch to proxy representations of temperature. Even if the proxy item could be considered as absolutely flawless in its ability to record temperature, the ability we have of determining the temporal resolution … what year it was, for example … is really poor. The temporal resolution of the instrumentation period is measured in minutes, perhaps a few hours. The ice core records have a temporal error amounting to dozens and dozens of years, even plus or minus a hundred years. The imprecise dating of the sample, introduces a skew of the (time, temperature) data point. Subsequent averaging of (time, temperature) data points (with dating errors) causes the obliteration of short-term temperature excursions, even though the peaks of the excursions might have been accurately recorded with individual proxies. This causes a low-frequency-pass (high-frequency-attenuation) “smearing” of the temperature reconstruction.

Believer: I get it now. You want someone to attach micro-thermometers to molecules of carbon dioxide so that you can actually OBSERVE a change in temperature. Great idea!

Realist: Well, we can do that, but in bulk. It is called “brightness temperature” and is observed with a microwave sensor. That’s how the satellites measure atmospheric temperature. What is reported, though is Oxygen brightness temperature, not CO2.

Believer: Why? You’ll have to explain to me why the satellites measure oxygen brightness and not CO2, if we can do that.

Realist: Just because CO2 is a GHG does nor mean that more CO2, causes planetary warming. Ramanathan & Collins 1991 showed, with real observations — no modelling — that (1) sunshine warms Earf, (2) Greenhouse gases intensify this warming, (3) the intensified warming causes more clouds (4) the clouds stop the sunshine that started the warming in the first place. End of points, reinforcement info follows.
Ramanathan & Collins 1991: ”… the greenhouse effect increases with surface temperature … In response to this ‘super greenhouse effect’, highly reflective cirrus clouds are produced which act like a thermostat shielding the ocean from solar radiation.”
The warmer ocean, thus, produces clouds, at higher altitudes. These clouds … have a larger greenhouse effect. … The sources [of energy] for these large-scale motions are the latent heat released by convection, the cirrus long-wave cloud forcing, and the spatial gradients in SST. …This continues, until the cirrus clouds, which accumulate during this process, reflect enough sunlight to arrest further warming. Thus, the [cirrus-cloud] anvils act like a thermostat.”
Ramanathan, Vi, and Wu Collins 1991. “Thermodynamic regulation of ocean warming by cirrus clouds deduced from observations of the 1987 El Nino.” Nature
http://ramanathan.ucsd.edu/…
MORE observational work by Lebsock 2010, Lloyd 2012 has supported this hypothesis.

Summary

Important skeptical understandings embedded in this dialogue:

There is no observational evidence showing human CO2 causes rising temperatures.  All studies claiming so are based upon computer models incorporating that supposition. See Also: Temperatures According to Climate Models.

The fraction of atmospheric CO2 is 4% human and 96% from natural sources, such as microbes, insects, and principally ocean outgassing.  The human share of the rise in CO2 is about 15%.  See Also Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The hypothetical GHG effect is too small to be detected, let alone quantified.  The claim depends on both a tiny CO2 signal and also on the supposition that nothing else changes in response to the minuscule perturbation.  See Also:  No GHG Warming Fingerprints in the Sky

The Arrhenius/Chamberlain /Callendar CO2 hypothesis failed the real world test in the decades following Callendar in the 1930s predicting future global warming .  In 1951 the world’s leading climate scientists and meteorologists stated that the CO2 hypothesis was never widely held and had been abandoned.

The evidence is much stronger for H20, not CO2, acting as climate thermostat.  Evaporation and clouds provide negative feedback to solar rays warming the surface.  See Also Nature’s Sunscreen

There is nothing unusual in the temperatures and weather patterns of the Modern Warming Period since the Little Ice Age.  Ice cores show dozens of previous periods with warming rates much faster and temperatures higher than we have seen.  See Also Does the Current Global Warming Signal Reflect a Recurrent Natural Cycle? by W. Jackson Davis and Peter Taylor

Thank you to RealOldOne2 and Damn Nitpicker for their strong contributions to the discussion and for providing many references to original sources supporting their assertions.

Footnote:

There is an old trial lawyers’ saying “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.”

Postscript:  Believing in a climate forcing too small to be discerned by our best observation instruments reminds of Bertrand Russell’s Cosmic Teapot:

To enlarge, open image in new tab.

 

GHGs Endangerment? Evidence?

 

 

Stanford sock4

Once again Stanford University (my alma mater) fills its stocking with coal instead of scientific gifts. It is often said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” As we will see, a recent Stanford climate change publication makes over-the-top claims based upon suppositions rather than evidence. The paper published in Science is Strengthened scientific support for the Endangerment Finding for atmospheric greenhouse gases, by Philip B. Duffy et al. Two of the leading (out of 15) authors are Christopher B. Field and Noah S. Diffenbaugh of Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The abstract makes extraordinary claims:

Abstract
We assess scientific evidence that has emerged since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 Endangerment Finding for six well-mixed greenhouse gases, and find that this new evidence lends increased support to the conclusion that these gases pose a danger to public health and welfare. Newly available evidence about a wide range of observed and projected impacts strengthens the association between risk of some of these impacts and anthropogenic climate change; indicates that some impacts or combinations of impacts have the potential to be more severe than previously understood; and identifies substantial risk of additional impacts through processes and pathways not considered in the endangerment finding.

The core of their argument is:

The EF was structured around knowledge related to public health and public welfare, with a primary focus on impacts in the U.S. The information on public welfare was grouped in sections on (1) air quality, (2) food production and agriculture, (3) forestry, (4) water resources, (5) sea level rise and coastal areas, (6) energy, infrastructure, and settlements, and (7) ecosystems and wildlife. We follow that organization here. In addition, some of the most important advances in understanding the risks of climate change involve sectors or impact types not highlighted in the EF. We summarize the evidence for four of these that are broadly important: ocean acidification, violence and social instability, national security, and economic wellbeing. We characterize changes since the EF in terms of (1) strength of evidence for a link with anthropogenic climate change, (2) potential severity of observed and projected impacts, and (3) risks of additional kinds of impacts, beyond those considered in the EF (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1
Summary of changes in the amount and implications of new evidence since the EF, on each of the impact areas discussed in the EF, and four additional impact areas where evidence of climate sensitivity has matured since the EF.
An upward pointing arrow indicates increasing evidence of endangerment. A downward pointing arrow indicates decreasing evidence of endangerment. A solid arrow indicates that the new evidence is abundant and robust. An outlined arrow indicates that the new evidence, in addition, comes from multiple approaches, is based on independent lines of information, or builds on a new level of mechanistic understanding. The left column refers to confidence in the impacts discussed in the EF. The middle column refers to impact areas that are discussed in the EF but where new evidence points to specific impacts that are fundamentally more severe or pervasive than those discussed in the EF. The right column refers to types of impacts not discussed in the EF.

What about the Warming?

Let’s start with their first theme: We characterize changes since the EF in terms of (1) strength of evidence for a link with anthropogenic climate change. Looking in the text we find the single point of evidence to be a projection from CMIP5 climate models, represented in this diagram:

Fig. 2 The frequency of years in 2080 to 2099 of the RCP8.5 scenario where the June-July-August (JJA) seasonal temperature equals or exceeds the warmest JJA value in the period from 1986 to 2005.

Now showing the globe in bright red colors is certainly in the Christmas spirit and would make a fine ornament for the tree. But there are several problems. We are supposed to believe they can predict summer temperatures 60 to 80 years from now, when trustworthy weather models become unreliable more than 10 days in the future. Next, on average CMIP5 models are configured to forecast future warming at a rate 5 times the past warming (historically observed). Then, the CO2 concentrations fed into the models come from the notorious RCP8.5 scenario.

People like Dr. Judith Curry who have looked into the suppositions comprising RCP8.5 have concluded that it is not only extreme, it is so unlikely as to be nearly impossible. Thus it serves as a scare tactic, but not for reasonable future projections. See: Is RCP8.5 an impossible scenario?

The burning world figure comes from this paper by one of the Stanford lead authors Climate change hotspots in the CMIP5 global climate model ensemble. Out of an array of various projection images, obviously the global warming ornament was chosen specifically for its cherry red color.

To see how they mislead with this model output, let’s consider comparable observations. For the same season (NH Summer), Berkeley Earth provides this global summary of recent warming:

So in the last century of observed temperatures, we get yellows and greens, warming of 0.0 to 1.0 degrees celsius. But the models say the next century we will be on fire. And there is another deception. Notice that the BEST globe shows only continents since that dataset is built on records from land stations. Figure 2 above smears warming also over the oceans (71% of earth’s surface), when we know that land temps are much more volatile than is the ocean. For example, here is a comparable representation of sea surface temperatures (SSTs):

This map displays seasonal standardized sea surface temperature anomalies for the season indicated.

The climatological base period used to calculate the sea surface temperature anomalies is 1971-2000, and the base period used for the standardization is November 1981 to present. Yellow to orange colors on the map indicate areas where sea surface temperature for the season shown is above the climatological value for that season of the year, and blue shades indicate where sea surface temperature is below normal. Shading and contours start at +/- 1.0 s.d., and the shading and contour interval is 0.5 s.d. Source: Columbia IRI climate monitoring (here)

Again, observations do not portend what the unvalidated climate models predict. There are some warm spots, cool spots, and a lot of neutral.

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What about the Impacts?

Turning to the main theme of this report: We characterize changes since the EF in terms of (2) potential severity of observed and projected impacts, and (3) risks of additional kinds of impacts, beyond those considered in the EF. The bulk of the text and all of the 281 references pertain to impacts expected from models’ supposed warming. The same research process is repeated ad infinitum: Plug the extreme scenario assumptions into models super-sensitive to GHGs, and then project the horrific impacts from such unlikely levels and supposed results. And the usual litany of disasters is covered (from Duffy et al.2018):

The information on public welfare was grouped in sections on (1) air quality, (2) food production and agriculture, (3) forestry, (4) water resources, (5) sea level rise and coastal areas, (6) energy, infrastructure, and settlements, and (7) ecosystems and wildlife.

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus.  But these are not what we have experienced and observed, rather they are the models’ imagined future.

Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Weather is not more extreme.
And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.
arctic-sept-2007-to-20181

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.

In fact our climate is remarkably stable.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

 

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

In conclusion:

Duffy et al. Omitted Recent Scientific Findings that Contradict their Alarms

You may have noticed that no downward arrows appeared in Duffy et al. summary of new science regarding GHG endangerment.  Let’s correct that now.  In addition to exhibits above, there are several findings refuting the link between CO2 emissions and global temperatures.

Why is there no mention of the CERES satellite data showing no effect of rising GHGs upon the radiative behavior of the atmosphere?

We once again observe a rather close match overall. At the very least, we can safely say that there is no evidence whatsoever of any gradual, systematic rise in DWLWIR over the TLT, going from 2000 to 2018. If we plot the difference between the two curves in Fig.9 to obtain the “DWLWIR residual”, this fact becomes all the more evident:

Why do they ignore the radiosonde data showing the temperature profile of the atmosphere has not shifted as GHG theory predicts?

Why do they not report that the optical density at the top of the atmosphere has not changed in 60 years despite rising CO2?

And why do they fail to point out that CMIP5 models only match temperature observations in the tropical troposphere when the CO2 sensitivity is turned off?

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations. Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

Summary:

This paper does not prove GHGs endanger the climate.  It repeats old suppositions and disregards contrary observational evidence, both new and long-established.

See also:  No GHG Warming Fingerprints in the Sky

Climate alarms are balanced on an array of suppositions.

 

 

No GHG Warming Fingerprints in the Sky

For several years I have pored over comments from Kristian (okulaer) and gained understanding from the effort. Here is his recent article on the absence of  “AGW warming” fingerprints in the CERES satellite data.  How the CERES EBAF Ed4 data disconfirms “AGW” in 3 different ways  by okulaer November 11, 2018. Excerpts below with my bolds.  Kristian provides more detailed discussion at his blog (title in red is link)

Background: The AGW Hypothesis

For those of you who aren’t entirely up to date with the hypothetical idea of an “(anthropogenically) enhanced GHE” (the “AGW”) and its supposed mechanism for (CO2-driven) global warming, the general principle is fairly neatly summed up here.

I’ve modified this diagram below somewhat, so as to clarify even further the concept of “the raised ERL (Effective Radiating Level)” – referred to as Ze in the schematic – and how it is meant to ‘drive’ warming within the Earth system; to simply bring the message of this fundamental premise of “AGW” thinking more clearly across.
Then we have the “doubled CO2” (t1) scenario, where the ERL has been pushed higher up into cooler air layers closer to the tropopause:

So when the atmosphere’s IR opacity increases with the excess input of CO2, the ERL is pushed up, and, with that, the temperature at ALL ALTITUDE-SPECIFIC LEVELS of the Earth system, from the surface (Ts) up through the troposphere (Ttropo) to the tropopause, directly connected via the so-called environmental lapse rate, i.e. the negative temperature profile rising up through the tropospheric column, is forced to do the same.

The Expected GHG Fingerprints

How, then, is this mechanism supposed to manifest itself?

Well, as the ERL, basically the “effective atmospheric layer of OUTWARD (upward) radiation”, the one conceptually/mathematically responsible for the All-Sky OLR flux at the ToA, and from now on, in this post, dubbed rather the EALOR, is lifted higher, into cooler layers of air, the diametrically opposite level, the “effective atmospheric layer of INWARD (downward) radiation” (EALIR), the one conceptually and mathematically responsible for the All-Sky DWLWIR ‘flux’ (or “the atmospheric back radiation”) to the surface, is simultaneously – and for the same physical reason, only inversely so – pulled down, into warmer layers of air closer to the surface. This latter concept was explained already in 1938 by G.S. Callendar. Feldman et al., 2015, (as an example) confirm that this is still how “Mainstream Climate Science (MCS)” views this ‘phenomenon’:

The gist being that, when we make the atmosphere more opaque to IR by putting more CO2 into it, “the atmospheric back radiation” (all-sky DWLWIR at sfc) will naturally increase as a result, reducing the radiative heat loss (net LW) from the surface up. And do note, it will increase regardless of (and thus, on top of) any atmospheric rise in temperature, which would itself cause an increase. Which is to say that it will always distinctly increase also RELATIVE TO tropospheric temps (which are, by definition, altitude-specific (fixed at one particular level, like ‘the lower troposphere’ (LT))). That is, even when tropospheric temps do go up, the DWLWIR should be observed to increase systematically and significantly MORE than what we would expect from the temperature rise alone. Because the EALIR moves further down.

Conversely, at the other end, at the ToA, the EALOR moves the opposite way, up into colder layers of air, which means the all-sky OLR (the outward emission flux) should rather be observed to systematically and significantly decrease over time relative to tropospheric temps. If tropospheric temps were to go up, while the DWLWIR at the surface should be observed to go significantly more up, the OLR at the ToA should instead be observed to go significantly less up, because the warming of the troposphere would simply serve to offset the ‘cooling’ of the effective emission to space due to the rise of the EALOR into colder strata of air.

What we’re looking for, then, if indeed there is an “enhancement” of some “radiative GHE” going on in the Earth system, causing global warming, is ideally the following:

OLR stays flat, while TLT increases significantly and systematically over time;
TLT increases systematically over time, but DWLWIR increases significantly even more.
Effectively summed up in this simplified diagram.

Figure 4. Note, this schematic disregards – for the sake of simplicity – any solar warming at work.

However, we also expect to observe one more “greenhouse” signature.

If we expect the OLR at the ToA to stay relatively flat, but the DWLWIR at the sfc to increase significantly over time, even relative to tropospheric temps, then, if we were to compare the two (OLR and DWLWIR) directly, we’d, after all, naturally expect to see a fairly remarkable systematic rise in the latter over the former (refer to Fig.4 above).

Which means we now have our three ways to test the reality of an hypothesized “enhanced GHE” as a ‘driver’ (cause) of global warming.

Three Tests for GHG Warming in the Sky

The null hypothesis in this case would claim or predict that, if there is NO strengthening “greenhouse mechanism” at work in the Earth system, we would observe:

1. The general evolution (beyond short-term, non-thermal noise (like ENSO-related humidity and cloud anomalies or volcanic aerosol anomalies))* of the All-Sky OLR flux at the ToA to track that of Ttropo (e.g. TLT) over time;
2. The general evolution of the All-Sky DWLWIR at the surface to track that of Ttropo (Ts + Ttropo, really) over time;
3. The general evolution of the All-Sky OLR at the ToA and the All-Sky DWLWIR at the surface to track each other over time, barring short-term, non-thermal noise.

* (We see how the curve of the all-sky OLR flux at the ToA differs quite noticeably from the TLT and DWLWIR curves, especially during some of the larger thermal fluctuations (up or down), normally associated with particularly strong ENSO events. This is because there are factors other than pure mean tropospheric temperatures that affect Earth’s final emission flux to space, like the concentration and distribution (equator→poles, surface→tropopause/stratosphere) of clouds, water vapour and aerosols. These may (and do) all vary strongly in the short term, significantly disrupting the normal temperature↔flux (Stefan-Boltzmann) connection, but in the longer term, they display a remarkable tendency to even out, leaving the tropospheric temperature signal as the only real factor to consider when comparing the OLR with Ttropo (TLT). Or not. The “AGW” idea specifically contends, resting on the premise, that these other factors (and crucially also including CO2, of course) do NOT even out over time, but rather accrue in a positive (‘warming’) direction.)

Missing Fingerprint #1

The first point above we have already covered extensively. The combined ERBS+CERES OLR record is seen to track the general progression of the UAHv6 TLT series tightly, both in the tropics and near-globally, all the way from 1985 till today (the last ~33 years), as discussed at length both here and here.

Since, however, in this post we’re specifically considering the CERES era alone, this is how the global OLR matches against the global TLT since 2000:
Figure 5.

This is simply the monthly CERES OLR flux data properly scaled (x0.266), enabling us to compare it more directly to temperatures (W/m2→K), and superimposed on the UAH TLT data. Watch how closely the two curves track each other, beyond the obvious noise. To highlight this striking state of relative congruity, we remove the main sources of visual bias in Fig.5 above. Notice, then, how the red OLR curve, after the 4-year period of fairly large ENSO-events (La Niña-El Niño-La Niña) between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012, when the cyan TLT curve goes both much lower (during the flanking La Niñas) and much higher (during the central El Niño), quickly reestablishes itself right back on top of the TLT curve, just where it used to be prior to that intermediate stretch of strong ENSO influence. And as a result, there is NO gradual divergence whatsoever to be spotted between the mean levels of these two curves, from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015.

Missing Fingerprint #2

The second point above is just as relevant as the first one, if we want to confirm (or disconfirm) the reality of an “enhanced GHE” at work in the Earth system. We compare the tropospheric temperatures with the DWLWIRsfc ‘flux’, that is, the apparent atmospheric thermal emission to the surface:

Figure 9. Note how the scaling of the flux (W/m2) values is different close to the surface than at the ToA. Here at the DWLWIR level, down low, we divide by 5 (x0.2), while at the OLR level, up high, we divide by 3.76 (x0.266).

We once again observe a rather close match overall. At the very least, we can safely say that there is no evidence whatsoever of any gradual, systematic rise in DWLWIR over the TLT, going from 2000 to 2018. If we plot the difference between the two curves in Fig.9 to obtain the “DWLWIR residual”, this fact becomes all the more evident:

Figure 10.

Remember now how the idea of an “enhanced GHE” requires the DWLWIR to rise significantly more than Ttropo (TLT) over time, and that its “null hypothesis” therefore postulates that such a rise should NOT be seen. Well, do we see such a rise in the plot above? Nope. Not at all. Which fits in perfectly with the impression we got at the ToA, where the TLT-curve was supposed to rise systematically up and away from the OLR-curve over time, but didn’t – no observed evidence there either of any “enhanced GHE” at work.

Missing Fingerprint #3

Finally, the third point above is also pretty interesting. It is simply to verify whether or not the CERES EBAF Ed4 ‘radiation flux’ data products are indeed suggesting a strengthening of some radiatively defined “greenhouse mechanism”. We sort of know the answer to this already, though, from going through points 1 and 2 above. Since neither the OLR at the ToA nor the DWLWIR at the surface deviated meaningfully from the UAHv6 TLT series (the same one used to compare with both, after all), we expect rather by necessity that the two CERES ‘flux products’ also shouldn’t themselves deviate meaningfully overall from one another. And, unsurprisingly, they don’t:

Figure 14.  Difference plot (“DWLWIR residual”)

Again, it is so easy here to allow oneself to be fooled by the visual impact of that late – obviously ENSO-related – peak, and, in this case, also a definite ENSO-based trough right at the start (you’ll plainly recognise it in Fig.14); another perfect example of how one’s perception and interpretation of a plot is directly affected by “the end-point bias”. Don’t be fooled:

If we expect the OLR at the ToA to stay relatively flat, but the DWLWIR at the sfc to increase significantly over time, even relative to tropospheric temps, then, if we were to compare the two (OLR and DWLWIR) directly, we’d […] naturally expect to see a fairly remarkable systematic rise in the latter over the former (refer to Fig.4 above).

Looking at Fig.14, and taking into account the various ENSO states along the way, does such a “remarkable systematic rise” in DWLWIR over OLR manifest itself during the CERES era?

I’m afraid not …

Four Lines of Evidence Against GHG Warming Hypothesis

The lack of GHG warming in the CERES data is added to three previous atmospheric heat radiation studies.

 

  1.  In 2004 Ferenc MIskolczi studied the radiosonde datasets and found that the optical density at the top of the troposphere does not change with increasing CO2, since reducing H2O maintains optimal radiating efficiency.  His publication was suppressed by NASA, and he resigned from his job there. He has elaborated on his findings in publications as recently as 2014. See:  The Curious Case of Dr. Miskolczi

2.  Ronan and Michael Connolly  studied radiosonde data and concluded in 2014:

“It can be seen from the infra-red cooling model of Figure 19 that the greenhouse effect theory predicts a strong influence from the greenhouse gases on the barometric temperature profile. Moreover, the modeled net effect of the greenhouse gases on infra-red cooling varies substantially over the entire atmospheric profile.

However, when we analysed the barometric temperature profiles of the radiosondes in this paper, we were unable to detect any influence from greenhouse gases. Instead, the profiles were very well described by the thermodynamic properties of the main atmospheric gases, i.e., N 2 and O 2 , in a gravitational field.”

While water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the effects of water vapour on the temperature profile did not appear to be related to its radiative properties, but rather its different molecular structure and the latent heat released/gained by water in its gas/liquid/solid phase changes.

For this reason, our results suggest that the magnitude of the greenhouse effect is very small, perhaps negligible. At any rate, its magnitude appears to be too small to be detected from the archived radiosonde data.” Pg. 18 of referenced research paper

See:  The Physics Of The Earth’s Atmosphere I. Phase Change Associated With Tropopause

3.  An important proof against the CO2 global warming claim was included in John Christy’s testimony 29 March 2017 at the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The text and diagram below are from that document which can be accessed here.

IPCC Assessment Reports show that the IPCC climate models performed best versus observations when they did not include extra GHGs and this result can be demonstrated with a statistical model as well.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

Atmospheric Observations Contradict Global Warming Theory

Update Nov. 13, 2018  H/T Yonason for linking to Blair Macdonald’s discussion of CO2 behavior in the atmosphere.  At the end is a video and link to his paper and website.

This paper just published Has global warming already arrived? by C.A.Varotsos and M.N.Efstathiou (H/T Dennis Bird) Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Highlights
•  The global warming during 1978–2018 was not more enhanced at high latitudes near the surface.

•  The intrinsic properties of the lower stratospheric temperature are not related to those in the troposphere.

•  The results obtained do not reveal the global warming occurrence.

Abstract

The enhancement of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases is often considered as responsible for global warming (known as greenhouse hypothesis of global warming). In this context, the temperature field of global troposphere and lower stratosphere over the period 12/1978–07/2018 is explored using the recent Version 6 of the UAH MSU/AMSU global satellite temperature dataset.

Our analysis did not show a consistent warming with gradual increase from low to high latitudes in both hemispheres, as it should be from the global warming theory. In addition, in the lower stratosphere the temperature cooling over both poles is lower than that over tropics and extratropics. To study further the thermal field variability we investigated the long-range correlations throughout the global lower troposphere-lower stratosphere region. The results show that the temperature field displays power-law behaviour that becomes stronger by going from the lower troposphere to the tropopause.

This power-law behaviour suggests that the fluctuations in global tropospheric temperature at short intervals are positively correlated with those at longer intervals in a power-law manner. The latter, however, does not apply to global temperature in the lower stratosphere. This suggests that the investigated intrinsic properties of the lower stratospheric temperature are not related to those of the troposphere, as is expected by the global warming theory.

Conclusions

From the analysis presented above the following conclusions could be drawn:

•  The temperature trend shows a decreasing warming from the lower troposphere up to the tropopause level and then reverses to cooling in the lower stratosphere. This trend at the tropopause can be considered almost zero. The latter can not support the increase in the height of tropopause, a fingerprint of global warming.

•  At the lower stratosphere there is a negative temperature trend which is lower over both poles (compared to tropics and extra-tropics) with the lowest value over the North Pole.

•  In the lower and mid-troposphere the temperature trend decreases with height and latitude

The above-mentioned three results do not agree with the global warming theory, namely, the gradual increase of tropospheric warming with latitude.

The DFA and MDFA analyses conducted on the possible association of warming in the global troposphere with cooling in the global lower stratosphere showed the following:

•  The temperature fluctuations in the global troposphere exhibit power-law behaviour with an exponent gradually increasing with altitude reaching the unity at the tropopause.

•  The global lower stratospheric temperature anomalies do not exhibit long-range correlation behaviour. In particular, the lower stratospheric temperature anomalies over tropics obey power-law behaviour, while it is not the case for the low stratospheric temperature anomalies over both poles. This may be attributed to the ozone dynamics in this region.

The two above-mentioned results lead to the main conclusion that the intrinsic properties of the thermal regime in the lower stratosphere are not associated with the thermal regime in the troposphere.In summary, the tropospheric temperature has not increased over the last four decades, in both hemispheres, in a way that is more amplified at high latitudes near the surface. In addition, the lower stratospheric temperature did not decline as a function of latitude. Finally,the intrinsic properties of the tropospheric temperature are different from those of the lower stratosphere.

Based on these results and bearing in mind that the climate system is complicated and complex with the existing uncertainties in the climate predictions, it is not possible to reliably support the view of the presence of global warming in the sense of an enhanced greenhouse effect due to human activities.

Update Nov. 13, 2018

MacDonald’s paper is Reinterpreting and Augmenting John Tyndall’s 1859 Greenhouse Gas Experiment with Thermoelectric Theory and Raman Spectroscopy 

Climate science’s fundamental premise – assumed by all parties in the great climate debate – says the greenhouse gases – constituting less than 2% of Earth’s atmosphere, first derived by John Tyndall‘s in his 1859 thermopile experiment, and demonstrated graphically today by infrared spectroscopy – are special because of their IR (heat) absorbing property. From this, it is – paradoxically – assumed the (remaining 98%) non-greenhouse gases N2 nitrogen and O2 oxygen are non-heat absorbent.

This paper reveals, by elementary physics, the (deceptive) role thermopiles play in this paradox. It was found: for a special group substances – all sharing (at least one) electric dipole moment – i.e. CO2, and the other greenhouse gases – thermopiles – via the thermoelectric (Seebeck) effect – generate electricity from their radiated IR. Devices using the thermopile as a detector (e.g. IR spectrographs) discriminate, and have misinterpreted IR absorption for anomalies of electricity production – between the sample gases and a control heat source.

N2 and O2 were found to have (as all substances) predicted vibrational modes (derived by the Schrodinger quantum equation) at 1556cm-1 and 2330cm-1 respectively – well within the IR range of the EM spectrum and are clearly observed – as expected – with Raman Spectroscopy – IR spectroscopy’s complement instrument. The non-greenhouse gases N2 and O2 are relegated to greenhouse gases, and Earth’s atmospheric thermoelectric spectrum was produced (formally IR spectrum), and was augmented with the Raman observations.

It was concluded the said greenhouses gases are not special, but typical; and all substances have thermal absorption properties, as measured by their respective heat capacities.

Bill Gray: H20 is Climate Control Knob, not CO2

William Mason Gray (1929-2016), pioneering hurricane scientist and forecaster and professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University.

Dr. William Gray made a compelling case for H2O as the climate thermostat, prior to his death in 2016.  Thanks to GWPF for publishing posthumously Bill Gray’s understanding of global warming/climate change.  The paper was compiled at his request, completed and now available as Flaws in applying greenhouse warming to Climate Variability This post provides some excerpts in italics with my bolds and some headers.  Readers will learn much from the entire document (title above is link to pdf).

The Fundamental Correction

The critical argument that is made by many in the global climate modeling (GCM) community is that an increase in CO2 warming leads to an increase in atmospheric water vapor, resulting in more warming from the absorption of outgoing infrared radiation (IR) by the water vapor. Water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere in large quantities. Its variability (i.e. global cloudiness) is not handled adequately in GCMs in my view. In contrast to the positive feedback between CO2 and water vapor predicted by the GCMs, it is my hypothesis that there is a negative feedback between CO2 warming and and water vapor. CO2 warming ultimately results in less water vapor (not more) in the upper troposphere. The GCMs therefore predict unrealistic warming of global temperature. I hypothesize that the Earth’s energy balance is regulated by precipitation (primarily via deep cumulonimbus (Cb) convection) and that this precipitation counteracts warming due to CO2.

Figure 14: Global surface temperature change since 1880. The dotted blue and dotted red lines illustrate how much error one would have made by extrapolating a multi-decadal cooling or warming trend beyond a typical 25-35 year period. Note the recent 1975-2000 warming trend has not continued, and the global temperature remained relatively constant until 2014.

Projected Climate Changes from Rising CO2 Not Observed

Continuous measurements of atmospheric CO2, which were first made at Mauna Loa, Hawaii in 1958, show that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen since that time. The warming influence of CO2 increases with the natural logarithm (ln) of the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration. With CO2 concentrations now exceeding 400 parts per million by volume (ppm), the Earth’s atmosphere is slightly more than halfway to containing double the 280 ppm CO2 amounts in 1860 (at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution).∗

We have not observed the global climate change we would have expected to take place, given this increase in CO2. Assuming that there has been at least an average of 1 W/m2 CO2 blockage of IR energy to space over the last 50 years and that this energy imbalance has been allowed to independently accumulate and cause climate change over this period with no compensating response, it would have had the potential to bring about changes in any one of the following global conditions:

  • Warm the atmosphere by 180◦C if all CO2 energy gain was utilized for this purpose – actual warming over this period has been about 0.5◦C, or many hundreds of times less.
  • Warm the top 100 meters of the globe’s oceans by over 5◦C – actual warming over this period has been about 0.5◦C, or 10 or more times less.
  • Melt sufficient land-based snow and ice as to raise the global sea level by about 6.4 m. The actual rise has been about 8–9 cm, or 60–70 times less. The gradual rise of sea level has been only slightly greater over the last ~50 years (1965–2015) than it has been over the previous two ~50-year periods of 1915–1965 and 1865–1915, when atmospheric CO2 gain was much less.
  • Increase global rainfall over the past ~50-year period by 60 cm.

Earth Climate System Compensates for CO2

If CO2 gain is the only influence on climate variability, large and important counterbalancing influences must have occurred over the last 50 years in order to negate most of the climate change expected from CO2’s energy addition. Similarly, this hypothesized CO2-induced energy gain of 1 W/m2 over 50 years must have stimulated a compensating response that acted to largely negate energy gains from the increase in CO2.

The continuous balancing of global average in-and-out net radiation flux is therefore much larger than the radiation flux from anthropogenic CO2. For example, 342 W/m2, the total energy budget, is almost 100 times larger than the amount of radiation blockage expected from a CO2 doubling over 150 years. If all other factors are held constant, a doubling of CO2 requires a warming of the globe of about 1◦C to enhance outward IR flux by 3.7 W/m2 and thus balance the blockage of IR flux to space.

Figure 2: Vertical cross-section of the annual global energy budget. Determined from a combination of satellite-derived radiation measurements and reanalysis data over the period of 1984–2004.

This pure IR energy blocking by CO2 versus compensating temperature increase for radiation equilibrium is unrealistic for the long-term and slow CO2 increases that are occurring. Only half of the blockage of 3.7 W/m2 at the surface should be expected to go into an temperature increase. The other half (about 1.85 W/m2) of the blocked IR energy to space will be compensated by surface energy loss to support enhanced evaporation. This occurs in a similar way to how the Earth’s surface energy budget compensates for half its solar gain of 171 W/m2 by surface-to-air upward water vapor flux due to evaporation.

Assuming that the imposed extra CO2 doubling IR blockage of 3.7 W/m2 is taken up and balanced by the Earth’s surface in the same way as the solar absorption is taken up and balanced, we should expect a direct warming of only ~0.5◦C for a doubling of CO2. The 1◦C expected warming that is commonly accepted incorrectly assumes that all the absorbed IR goes to the balancing outward radiation with no energy going to evaporation.

Consensus Science Exaggerates Humidity and Temperature Effects

A major premise of the GCMs has been their application of the National Academy of Science (NAS) 1979 study3 – often referred to as the Charney Report – which hypothesized that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would bring about a general warming of the globe’s mean temperature of 1.5–4.5◦C (or an average of ~3.0◦C). These large warming values were based on the report’s assumption that the relative humidity (RH) of the atmosphere remains quasiconstant as the globe’s temperature increases. This assumption was made without any type of cumulus convective cloud model and was based solely on the Clausius–Clapeyron (CC) equation and the assumption that the RH of the air will remain constant during any future CO2-induced temperature changes. If RH remains constant as atmospheric temperature increases, then the water vapor content in the atmosphere must rise exponentially.

With constant RH, the water vapor content of the atmosphere rises by about 50% if atmospheric temperature is increased by 5◦C. Upper tropospheric water vapor increases act to raise the atmosphere’s radiation emission level to a higher and thus colder level. This reduces the amount of outgoing IR energy which can escape to space by decreasing T^4.

These model predictions of large upper-level tropospheric moisture increases have persisted in the current generation of GCM forecasts.§ These models significantly overestimate globally-averaged tropospheric and lower stratospheric (0–50,000 feet) temperature trends since 1979 (Figure 7).

Figure 8: Decline in upper tropospheric RH. Annually-averaged 300 mb relative humidity for the tropics (30°S–30°N). From NASA-MERRA2 reanalysis for 1980–2016. Black dotted line is linear trend.

All of these early GCM simulations were destined to give unrealistically large upper-tropospheric water vapor increases for doubling of CO2 blockage of IR energy to space, and as a result large and unrealistic upper tropospheric temperature increases were predicted. In fact, if data from NASA-MERRA24 and NCEP/NCAR5 can be believed, upper tropospheric RH has actually been declining since 1980 as shown in Figure 8. The top part of Table 1 shows temperature and humidity differences between very wet and dry years in the tropics since 1948; in the wettest years, precipitation was 3.9% higher than in the driest ones. Clearly, when it rains more in the tropics, relative and specific humidity decrease. A similar decrease is seen when differencing 1995–2004 from 1985–1994, periods for which the equivalent precipitation difference is 2%. Such a decrease in RH would lead to a decrease in the height of the radiation emission level and an increase in IR to space.

The Earth’s natural thermostat – evaporation and precipitation

What has prevented this extra CO2-induced energy input of the last 50 years from being realized in more climate warming than has actually occurred? Why was there recently a pause in global warming, lasting for about 15 years?  The compensating influence that prevents the predicted CO2-induced warming is enhanced global surface evaporation and increased precipitation.

Annual average global evaporational cooling is about 80 W/m2 or about 2.8 mm per day.  A little more than 1% extra global average evaporation per year would amount to 1.3 cm per year or 65 cm of extra evaporation integrated over the last 50 years. This is the only way that such a CO2-induced , 1 W/m2 IR energy gain sustained over 50 years could occur without a significant alteration of globally-averaged surface temperature. This hypothesized increase in global surface evaporation as a response to CO2-forced energy gain should not be considered unusual. All geophysical systems attempt to adapt to imposed energy forcings by developing responses that counter the imposed action. In analysing the Earth’s radiation budget, it is incorrect to simply add or subtract energy sources or sinks to the global system and expect the resulting global temperatures to proportionally change. This is because the majority of CO2-induced energy gains will not go into warming the atmosphere. Various amounts of CO2-forced energy will go into ocean surface storage or into ocean energy gain for increased surface evaporation. Therefore a significant part of the CO2 buildup (~75%) will bring about the phase change of surface liquid water to atmospheric water vapour. The energy for this phase change must come from the surface water, with an expenditure of around 580 calories of energy for every gram of liquid that is converted into vapour. The surface water must thus undergo a cooling to accomplish this phase change.

Therefore, increases in anthropogenic CO2 have brought about a small (about 0.8%) speeding up of the globe’s hydrologic cycle, leading to more precipitation, and to relatively little global temperature increase. Therefore, greenhouse gases are indeed playing an important role in altering the globe’s climate, but they are doing so primarily by increasing the speed of the hydrologic cycle as opposed to increasing global temperature.

Figure 9: Two contrasting views of the effects of how the continuous intensification of deep
cumulus convection would act to alter radiation flux to space.
The top (bottom) diagram represents a net increase (decrease) in radiation to space

Tropical Clouds Energy Control Mechanism

It is my hypothesis that the increase in global precipitation primarily arises from an increase in deep tropical cumulonimbus (Cb) convection. The typical enhancement of rainfall and updraft motion in these areas together act to increase the return flow mass subsidence in the surrounding broader clear and partly cloudy regions. The upper diagram in Figure 9 illustrates the increasing extra mass flow return subsidence associated with increasing depth and intensity of cumulus convection. Rainfall increases typically cause an overall reduction of specific humidity (q) and relative humidity (RH) in the upper tropospheric levels of the broader scale surrounding convective subsidence regions. This leads to a net enhancement of radiation flux to space due to a lowering of the upper-level emission level. This viewpoint contrasts with the position in GCMs, which suggest that an increase in deep convection will increase upper-level water vapour.

Figure 10: Conceptual model of typical variations of IR, albedo and net (IR + albedo) associated with three different areas of rain and cloud for periods of increased precipitation.

The albedo enhancement over the cloud–rain areas tends to increase the net (IR + albedo) radiation energy to space more than the weak suppression of (IR + albedo) in the clear areas. Near-neutral conditions prevail in the partly cloudy areas. The bottom diagram of Figure 9 illustrates how, in GCMs, Cb convection erroneously increases upper tropospheric moisture. Based on reanalysis data (Table 1, Figure 8) this is not observed in the real atmosphere.

Ocean Overturning Circulation Drives Warming Last Century

A slowing down of the global ocean’s MOC is the likely cause of most of the global warming that has been observed since the latter part of the 19th century.15 I hypothesize that shorter multi-decadal changes in the MOC16 are responsible for the more recent global warming periods between 1910–1940 and 1975–1998 and the global warming hiatus periods between 1945–1975 and 2000–2013.

Figure 12: The effect of strong and weak Atlantic THC. Idealized portrayal of the primary Atlantic Ocean upper ocean currents during strong and weak phases of the thermohaline circulation (THC)

Figure 13 shows the circulation features that typically accompany periods when the MOC is stronger than normal and when it is weaker than normal. In general, a strong MOC is associated with a warmer-than-normal North Atlantic, increased Atlantic hurricane activity, increased blocking action in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific and weaker westerlies in the mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere. There is more upwelling of cold water in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, and an increase in global rainfall of a few percent occurs. This causes the global surface temperatures to cool. The opposite occurs when the MOC is weaker than normal.

The average strength of the MOC over the last 150 years has likely been below the multimillennium average, and that is the primary reason we have seen this long-term global warming since the late 19th century. The globe appears to be rebounding from the conditions of the Little Ice Age to conditions that were typical of the earlier ‘Medieval’ and ‘Roman’ warm periods.

Summary and Conclusions

The Earth is covered with 71% liquid water. Over the ocean surface, sub-saturated winds blow, forcing continuous surface evaporation. Observations and energy budget analyses indicate that the surface of the globe is losing about 80 W/m2 of energy from the global surface evaporation process. This evaporation energy loss is needed as part of the process of balancing the surface’s absorption of large amounts of incoming solar energy. Variations in the strength of the globe’s hydrologic cycle are the way that the global climate is regulated. The stronger the hydrologic cycle, the more surface evaporation cooling occurs, and greater the globe’s IR flux to space. The globe’s surface cools when the hydrologic cycle is stronger than average and warms when the hydrologic cycle is weaker than normal. The strength of the hydrologic cycle is thus the primary regulator of the globe’s surface temperature. Variations in global precipitation are linked to long-term changes in the MOC (or THC).

I have proposed that any additional warming from an increase in CO2 added to the atmosphere is offset by an increase in surface evaporation and increased precipitation (an increase in the water cycle). My prediction seems to be supported by evidence of upper tropospheric drying since 1979 and the increase in global precipitation seen in reanalysis data. I have shown that the additional heating that may be caused by an increase in CO2 results in a drying, not a moistening, of the upper troposphere, resulting in an increase of outgoing radiation to space, not a decrease as proposed by the most recent application of the greenhouse theory.

Deficiencies in the ability of GCMs to adequately represent variations in global cloudiness, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, long-term changes in deep-ocean circulation, and other important mechanisms that control the climate reduce our confidence in the ability of these models to adequately forecast future global temperatures. It seems that the models do not correctly handle what happens to the added energy from CO2 IR blocking.

Figure 13: Effect of changes in MOC: top, strong MOC; bottom weak MOC. SLP: sea level pressure; SST, sea surface temperature.

Solar variations, sunspots, volcanic eruptions and cosmic ray changes are energy-wise too small to play a significant role in the large energy changes that occur during important multi-decadal and multi-century temperature changes. It is the Earth’s internal fluctuations that are the most important cause of climate and temperature change. These internal fluctuations are driven primarily by deep multi-decadal and multi-century ocean circulation changes, of which naturally varying upper-ocean salinity content is hypothesized to be the primary driving mechanism. Salinity controls ocean density at cold temperatures and at high latitudes where the potential deep-water formation sites of the THC and SAS are located. North Atlantic upper ocean salinity changes are brought about by both multi-decadal and multi-century induced North Atlantic salinity variability.

josh-knobs

 Footnote:

The main point from Bill Gray was nicely summarized in a previous post Earth Climate Layers

The most fundamental of the many fatal mathematical flaws in the IPCC related modelling of atmospheric energy dynamics is to start with the impact of CO2 and assume water vapour as a dependent ‘forcing’.  This has the tail trying to wag the dog. The impact of CO2 should be treated as a perturbation of the water cycle. When this is done, its effect is negligible. — Dr. Dai Davies

climate-onion2

Correcting Flaws in Global Warming Projections

William Mason Gray (1929-2016), pioneering hurricane scientist and forecaster and professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University.

Thanks to GWPF for publishing posthumously Bill Gray’s understanding of global warming/climate change.  The paper was compiled at his request, completed and now available as Flaws in applying greenhouse warming to Climate Variability This post provides some excerpts in italics with my bolds and some headers.  Readers will learn much from the entire document (title above is link to pdf).

The Fundamental Correction

The critical argument that is made by many in the global climate modeling (GCM) community is that an increase in CO2 warming leads to an increase in atmospheric water vapor, resulting in more warming from the absorption of outgoing infrared radiation (IR) by the water vapor. Water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere in large quantities. Its variability (i.e. global cloudiness) is not handled adequately in GCMs in my view. In contrast to the positive feedback between CO2 and water vapor predicted by the GCMs, it is my hypothesis that there is a negative feedback between CO2 warming and and water vapor. CO2 warming ultimately results in less water vapor (not more) in the upper troposphere. The GCMs therefore predict unrealistic warming of global temperature. I hypothesize that the Earth’s energy balance is regulated by precipitation (primarily via deep cumulonimbus (Cb) convection) and that this precipitation counteracts warming due to CO2.

Figure 14: Global surface temperature change since 1880. The dotted blue and dotted red lines illustrate how much error one would have made by extrapolating a multi-decadal cooling or warming trend beyond a typical 25-35 year period. Note the recent 1975-2000 warming trend has not continued, and the global temperature remained relatively constant until 2014.

Projected Climate Changes from Rising CO2 Not Observed

Continuous measurements of atmospheric CO2, which were first made at Mauna Loa, Hawaii in 1958, show that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen since that time. The warming influence of CO2 increases with the natural logarithm (ln) of the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration. With CO2 concentrations now exceeding 400 parts per million by volume (ppm), the Earth’s atmosphere is slightly more than halfway to containing double the 280 ppm CO2 amounts in 1860 (at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution).∗

We have not observed the global climate change we would have expected to take place, given this increase in CO2. Assuming that there has been at least an average of 1 W/m2 CO2 blockage of IR energy to space over the last 50 years and that this energy imbalance has been allowed to independently accumulate and cause climate change over this period with no compensating response, it would have had the potential to bring about changes in any one of the following global conditions:

  • Warm the atmosphere by 180◦C if all CO2 energy gain was utilized for this purpose – actual warming over this period has been about 0.5◦C, or many hundreds of times less.
  • Warm the top 100 meters of the globe’s oceans by over 5◦C – actual warming over this period has been about 0.5◦C, or 10 or more times less.
  • Melt sufficient land-based snow and ice as to raise the global sea level by about 6.4 m. The actual rise has been about 8–9 cm, or 60–70 times less. The gradual rise of sea level has been only slightly greater over the last ~50 years (1965–2015) than it has been over the previous two ~50-year periods of 1915–1965 and 1865–1915, when atmospheric CO2 gain was much less.
  • Increase global rainfall over the past ~50-year period by 60 cm.

Earth Climate System Compensates for CO2

If CO2 gain is the only influence on climate variability, large and important counterbalancing influences must have occurred over the last 50 years in order to negate most of the climate change expected from CO2’s energy addition. Similarly, this hypothesized CO2-induced energy gain of 1 W/m2 over 50 years must have stimulated a compensating response that acted to largely negate energy gains from the increase in CO2.

The continuous balancing of global average in-and-out net radiation flux is therefore much larger than the radiation flux from anthropogenic CO2. For example, 342 W/m2, the total energy budget, is almost 100 times larger than the amount of radiation blockage expected from a CO2 doubling over 150 years. If all other factors are held constant, a doubling of CO2 requires a warming of the globe of about 1◦C to enhance outward IR flux by 3.7 W/m2 and thus balance the blockage of IR flux to space.

Figure 2: Vertical cross-section of the annual global energy budget. Determined from a combination of satellite-derived radiation measurements and reanalysis data over the period of 1984–2004.

This pure IR energy blocking by CO2 versus compensating temperature increase for radiation equilibrium is unrealistic for the long-term and slow CO2 increases that are occurring. Only half of the blockage of 3.7 W/m2 at the surface should be expected to go into an temperature increase. The other half (about 1.85 W/m2) of the blocked IR energy to space will be compensated by surface energy loss to support enhanced evaporation. This occurs in a similar way to how the Earth’s surface energy budget compensates for half its solar gain of 171 W/m2 by surface-to-air upward water vapor flux due to evaporation.

Assuming that the imposed extra CO2 doubling IR blockage of 3.7 W/m2 is taken up and balanced by the Earth’s surface in the same way as the solar absorption is taken up and balanced, we should expect a direct warming of only ~0.5◦C for a doubling of CO2. The 1◦C expected warming that is commonly accepted incorrectly assumes that all the absorbed IR goes to the balancing outward radiation with no energy going to evaporation.

Consensus Science Exaggerates Humidity and Temperature Effects

A major premise of the GCMs has been their application of the National Academy of Science (NAS) 1979 study3 – often referred to as the Charney Report – which hypothesized that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would bring about a general warming of the globe’s mean temperature of 1.5–4.5◦C (or an average of ~3.0◦C). These large warming values were based on the report’s assumption that the relative humidity (RH) of the atmosphere remains quasiconstant as the globe’s temperature increases. This assumption was made without any type of cumulus convective cloud model and was based solely on the Clausius–Clapeyron (CC) equation and the assumption that the RH of the air will remain constant during any future CO2-induced temperature changes. If RH remains constant as atmospheric temperature increases, then the water vapor content in the atmosphere must rise exponentially.

With constant RH, the water vapor content of the atmosphere rises by about 50% if atmospheric temperature is increased by 5◦C. Upper tropospheric water vapor increases act to raise the atmosphere’s radiation emission level to a higher and thus colder level. This reduces the amount of outgoing IR energy which can escape to space by decreasing T^4.

These model predictions of large upper-level tropospheric moisture increases have persisted in the current generation of GCM forecasts.§ These models significantly overestimate globally-averaged tropospheric and lower stratospheric (0–50,000 feet) temperature trends since 1979 (Figure 7).

Figure 8: Decline in upper tropospheric RH. Annually-averaged 300 mb relative humidity for the tropics (30°S–30°N). From NASA-MERRA2 reanalysis for 1980–2016. Black dotted line is linear trend.

All of these early GCM simulations were destined to give unrealistically large upper-tropospheric water vapor increases for doubling of CO2 blockage of IR energy to space, and as a result large and unrealistic upper tropospheric temperature increases were predicted. In fact, if data from NASA-MERRA24 and NCEP/NCAR5 can be believed, upper tropospheric RH has actually been declining since 1980 as shown in Figure 8. The top part of Table 1 shows temperature and humidity differences between very wet and dry years in the tropics since 1948; in the wettest years, precipitation was 3.9% higher than in the driest ones. Clearly, when it rains more in the tropics, relative and specific humidity decrease. A similar decrease is seen when differencing 1995–2004 from 1985–1994, periods for which the equivalent precipitation difference is 2%. Such a decrease in RH would lead to a decrease in the height of the radiation emission level and an increase in IR to space.

The Earth’s natural thermostat – evaporation and precipitation

What has prevented this extra CO2-induced energy input of the last 50 years from being realized in more climate warming than has actually occurred? Why was there recently a pause in global warming, lasting for about 15 years?  The compensating influence that prevents the predicted CO2-induced warming is enhanced global surface evaporation and increased precipitation.

Annual average global evaporational cooling is about 80 W/m2 or about 2.8 mm per day.  A little more than 1% extra global average evaporation per year would amount to 1.3 cm per year or 65 cm of extra evaporation integrated over the last 50 years. This is the only way that such a CO2-induced , 1 W/m2 IR energy gain sustained over 50 years could occur without a significant alteration of globally-averaged surface temperature. This hypothesized increase in global surface evaporation as a response to CO2-forced energy gain should not be considered unusual. All geophysical systems attempt to adapt to imposed energy forcings by developing responses that counter the imposed action. In analysing the Earth’s radiation budget, it is incorrect to simply add or subtract energy sources or sinks to the global system and expect the resulting global temperatures to proportionally change. This is because the majority of CO2-induced energy gains will not go into warming the atmosphere. Various amounts of CO2-forced energy will go into ocean surface storage or into ocean energy gain for increased surface evaporation. Therefore a significant part of the CO2 buildup (~75%) will bring about the phase change of surface liquid water to atmospheric water vapour. The energy for this phase change must come from the surface water, with an expenditure of around 580 calories of energy for every gram of liquid that is converted into vapour. The surface water must thus undergo a cooling to accomplish this phase change.

Therefore, increases in anthropogenic CO2 have brought about a small (about 0.8%) speeding up of the globe’s hydrologic cycle, leading to more precipitation, and to relatively little global temperature increase. Therefore, greenhouse gases are indeed playing an important role in altering the globe’s climate, but they are doing so primarily by increasing the speed of the hydrologic cycle as opposed to increasing global temperature.

Figure 9: Two contrasting views of the effects of how the continuous intensification of deep
cumulus convection would act to alter radiation flux to space.
The top (bottom) diagram represents a net increase (decrease) in radiation to space

Tropical Clouds Energy Control Mechanism

It is my hypothesis that the increase in global precipitation primarily arises from an increase in deep tropical cumulonimbus (Cb) convection. The typical enhancement of rainfall and updraft motion in these areas together act to increase the return flow mass subsidence in the surrounding broader clear and partly cloudy regions. The upper diagram in Figure 9 illustrates the increasing extra mass flow return subsidence associated with increasing depth and intensity of cumulus convection. Rainfall increases typically cause an overall reduction of specific humidity (q) and relative humidity (RH) in the upper tropospheric levels of the broader scale surrounding convective subsidence regions. This leads to a net enhancement of radiation flux to space due to a lowering of the upper-level emission level. This viewpoint contrasts with the position in GCMs, which suggest that an increase in deep convection will increase upper-level water vapour.

Figure 10: Conceptual model of typical variations of IR, albedo and net (IR + albedo) associated with three different areas of rain and cloud for periods of increased precipitation.

The albedo enhancement over the cloud–rain areas tends to increase the net (IR + albedo) radiation energy to space more than the weak suppression of (IR + albedo) in the clear areas. Near-neutral conditions prevail in the partly cloudy areas. The bottom diagram of Figure 9 illustrates how, in GCMs, Cb convection erroneously increases upper tropospheric moisture. Based on reanalysis data (Table 1, Figure 8) this is not observed in the real atmosphere.

Ocean Overturning Circulation Drives Warming Last Century

A slowing down of the global ocean’s MOC is the likely cause of most of the global warming that has been observed since the latter part of the 19th century.15 I hypothesize that shorter multi-decadal changes in the MOC16 are responsible for the more recent global warming periods between 1910–1940 and 1975–1998 and the global warming hiatus periods between 1945–1975 and 2000–2013.

Figure 12: The effect of strong and weak Atlantic THC. Idealized portrayal of the primary Atlantic Ocean upper ocean currents during strong and weak phases of the thermohaline circulation (THC)

Figure 13 shows the circulation features that typically accompany periods when the MOC is stronger than normal and when it is weaker than normal. In general, a strong MOC is associated with a warmer-than-normal North Atlantic, increased Atlantic hurricane activity, increased blocking action in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific and weaker westerlies in the mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere. There is more upwelling of cold water in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, and an increase in global rainfall of a few percent occurs. This causes the global surface temperatures to cool. The opposite occurs when the MOC is weaker than normal.

The average strength of the MOC over the last 150 years has likely been below the multimillennium average, and that is the primary reason we have seen this long-term global warming since the late 19th century. The globe appears to be rebounding from the conditions of the Little Ice Age to conditions that were typical of the earlier ‘Medieval’ and ‘Roman’ warm periods.

Summary and Conclusions

The Earth is covered with 71% liquid water. Over the ocean surface, sub-saturated winds blow, forcing continuous surface evaporation. Observations and energy budget analyses indicate that the surface of the globe is losing about 80 W/m2 of energy from the global surface evaporation process. This evaporation energy loss is needed as part of the process of balancing the surface’s absorption of large amounts of incoming solar energy. Variations in the strength of the globe’s hydrologic cycle are the way that the global climate is regulated. The stronger the hydrologic cycle, the more surface evaporation cooling occurs, and greater the globe’s IR flux to space. The globe’s surface cools when the hydrologic cycle is stronger than average and warms when the hydrologic cycle is weaker than normal. The strength of the hydrologic cycle is thus the primary regulator of the globe’s surface temperature. Variations in global precipitation are linked to long-term changes in the MOC (or THC).

I have proposed that any additional warming from an increase in CO2 added to the atmosphere is offset by an increase in surface evaporation and increased precipitation (an increase in the water cycle). My prediction seems to be supported by evidence of upper tropospheric drying since 1979 and the increase in global precipitation seen in reanalysis data. I have shown that the additional heating that may be caused by an increase in CO2 results in a drying, not a moistening, of the upper troposphere, resulting in an increase of outgoing radiation to space, not a decrease as proposed by the most recent application of the greenhouse theory.

Deficiencies in the ability of GCMs to adequately represent variations in global cloudiness, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, long-term changes in deep-ocean circulation, and other important mechanisms that control the climate reduce our confidence in the ability of these models to adequately forecast future global temperatures. It seems that the models do not correctly handle what happens to the added energy from CO2 IR blocking.

Figure 13: Effect of changes in MOC: top, strong MOC; bottom weak MOC. SLP: sea level pressure; SST, sea surface temperature.

Solar variations, sunspots, volcanic eruptions and cosmic ray changes are energy-wise too small to play a significant role in the large energy changes that occur during important multi-decadal and multi-century temperature changes. It is the Earth’s internal fluctuations that are the most important cause of climate and temperature change. These internal fluctuations are driven primarily by deep multi-decadal and multi-century ocean circulation changes, of which naturally varying upper-ocean salinity content is hypothesized to be the primary driving mechanism. Salinity controls ocean density at cold temperatures and at high latitudes where the potential deep-water formation sites of the THC and SAS are located. North Atlantic upper ocean salinity changes are brought about by both multi-decadal and multi-century induced North Atlantic salinity variability.

 Footnote:

The main point from Bill Gray was nicely summarized in a previous post Earth Climate Layers

The most fundamental of the many fatal mathematical flaws in the IPCC related modelling of atmospheric energy dynamics is to start with the impact of CO2 and assume water vapour as a dependent ‘forcing’.  This has the tail trying to wag the dog. The impact of CO2 should be treated as a perturbation of the water cycle. When this is done, its effect is negligible. — Dr. Dai Davies

climate-onion2

Courtroom Climate Science

atmprofile

This is an update to a previous post on the climate science brief submitted to Judge Alsup’s tutorial.  In a recent article, Dr. Fred Singer draws some implications from one of the many points in the brief written by Happer, Koonin and Lindzen.  The Singer essay is Does the Greenhouse Gas CO2 cool the climate? in the American Thinker.

First the pertinent paragraph from the legal brief.  In responding to Judge Alsup’s eighth question the scientists said this (my bolds):

On average, the absorption rate of solar radiation by the Earth’s surface and atmosphere is equal to emission rate of thermal infrared radiation to space. Much of the radiation to space does not come from the surface but from greenhouse gases and clouds in the lower atmosphere, where the temperature is usually colder than the surface temperature, as shown in the figure on the previous page. The thermal radiation originates from an “escape altitude” where there is so little absorption from the overlying atmosphere that most (say half) of the radiation can escape to space with no further absorption or scattering. Adding greenhouse gases can warm the Earth’s surface by increasing the escape altitude. To maintain the same cooling rate to space, the temperature of the entire troposphere, and the surface, would have to increase to make the effective temperature at the new escape altitude the same as at the original escape altitude. For greenhouse warming to occur, a temperature profile that cools with increasing altitude is required.

Over most of the CO2 absorption band (between about 580 cm-1 and 750 cm-1 ) the escape altitude is the nearly isothermal lower stratosphere shown in the first figure. The narrow spike of radiation at about 667 cm-1 in the center of the CO2 band escapes from an altitude of around 40 km (upper stratosphere), where it is considerably warmer than the lower stratosphere due heating by solar ultraviolet light which is absorbed by ozone, O3. Only at the edges of the CO2 band (near 580 cm-1 and 750 cm-1 ) is the escape altitude in the troposphere where it could have some effect on the surface temperature. Water vapor, H2O, has emission altitudes in the troposphere over most of its absorption bands. This is mainly because water vapor, unlike CO2, is not well mixed but mostly confined to the troposphere.

Dr. Singer picks up on this and comments (my bolds):

“Greenhouse gas” only means that CO2 absorbs some infrared (IR) radiation; it does not guarantee climate warming.

In fact, the outcome depends mostly on atmospheric structure, measured by balloon-borne radiosondes. It is expressed by the so-called atmospheric lapse rate (ALR), defined as change in atmospheric temperature with altitude.[ii] [Note that “lapse rate” has nothing to do with back-sliding alcoholics and smokers.]

Physicists who have examined our counter-intuitive hypothesis, all agree with the science — albeit somewhat reluctantly. Such is the power of group-think that even experts, with some exception, find the idea that CO2 might cool the climate difficult to accept.

STRATOSPHERE ALR is positive Temperature increases
with altitude
TROPOPAUSE ALR is zero Temperature is constant
TROPOSPHERE ALR is negative Temperature decreases
with altitude

The ALR is generally negative in the troposphere[iii] as much as [minus] -6.5 degree C per km of altitude. [The troposphere is the lowest atmospheric layer, from zero up to about 50,000 foot altitude.]

ALR goes through zero in the tropopause region, the layer that separates the troposphere from the overlying stratosphere. The ALR turns positive in the stratosphere, just above [see schematic nearby.[iv] [The warming of the stratosphere is produced by absorption of energy by stratospheric ozone.]

The key result

Adding a tiny increment of CO2 raises slightly the “effective” altitude for emitting Outgoing Long-wave (OLR), the Radiation (IR), going out to space from a CO2 molecule.

Because of the reversal in the atmospheric temperature structure, OLR is:

1. of lower energy than normal if the effective altitude remains in the troposphere; and

2. a bit higher than normal if this effective altitude is in the stratosphere.

In case 2., the stratospheric CO2 emission “borrows” some energy from the surface emission — hence “cooling” the surface.

The previous post Cal Climate Tutorial: The Meat appears below as background.

An overview of a submission by Professors Happer, Koonin and Lindzen was in Climate Tutorial for Judge Alsup

This post goes into the meat and potatoes of that submission with excerpts from Section II: Answers to specific questions (my bolds)

Question 1: What caused the various ice ages (including the “little ice age” and prolonged cool periods) and what caused the ice to melt? When they melted, by how much did sea level rise?

The discussion of the major ice ages of the past 700 thousand years is distinct from the discussion of the “little ice age.” The former refers to the growth of massive ice sheets (a mile or two thick) where periods of immense ice growth occurred, lasting approximately eighty thousand years, followed by warm interglacials lasting on the order of twenty thousand years. By contrast, the “little ice age” was a relatively brief period (about four hundred years) of relatively cool temperatures accompanied by the growth of alpine glaciers over much of the earth.

Tutorial 1

The last glacial episode ended somewhat irregularly. Ice coverage reached its maximum extent about eighteen thousand years ago. Melting occurred between about twenty thousand years ago and thirteen thousand years ago, and then there was a strong cooling (Younger Dryas) which ended about 11,700 years ago. Between twenty thousand years ago and six thousand years ago, there was a dramatic increase in sea level of about 120 meters followed by more gradual increase over the following several thousand years. Since the end of the “little ice age,” there has been steady increase in sea-level of about 6 inches per century.

slide12

As to the cause of the “little ice age,” this is still a matter of uncertainty. There was a long hiatus in solar activity that may have played a role, but on these relatively short time scales one can’t exclude natural internal variability. It must be emphasized that the surface of the earth is never in equilibrium with net incident solar radiation because the oceans are always carrying heat to and from the surface, and the motion systems responsible have time scales ranging from years (for example ENSO) to millennia.

The claim that orbital variability requires a boost from CO2 to drive ice ages comes from the implausible notion that what matters is the orbital variations in the global average insolation (which are, in fact, quite small) rather than the large forcing represented by the Milankovitch parameter. This situation is very different than in the recent and more modest shorter-term warming, where natural variability makes the role of CO2 much more difficult to determine.

Question 2: What is the molecular difference by which CO2 absorbs infrared radiation but oxygen and nitrogen do not?

Molecules like CO2, H2O, CO or NO are called a greenhouse-gas molecules, because they can efficiently absorb or emit infrared radiation, but they are nearly transparent to sunlight. Molecules like O2 and N2 are also nearly transparent to sunlight, but since they do not absorb or emit thermal infrared radiation very well, they are not greenhouse gases. The most important greenhouse gas, by far, is water vapor. Water molecules, H2O, are permanently bent and have large electric dipole moments.

Question 3: What is mechanism by which infrared radiation trapped by CO2 in the atmosphere is turned into heat and finds its way back to sea level?

Unscattered infrared radiation is very good at transmitting energy because it moves at the speed of light. But the energy per unit volume stored by the thermal radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere is completely negligible compared to the internal energy of the air molecules.

Although CO2 molecules radiate very slowly, there are so many CO2 molecules that they produce lots of radiation, and some of this radiation reaches sea level. The figure following shows downwelling radiation measured at the island of Nauru in the Tropical Western Pacific Ocean, and at colder Point Barrow, Alaska, on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

So the answer to the last part of the question, “What is the mechanism by which … heat … finds its way back to sea level?” is that the heat is radiated to the ground by molecules at various altitudes, where there is usually a range of different temperatures. The emission altitude is the height from which radiation could reach the surface without much absorption, say 50% absorption. For strongly absorbed frequencies, the radiation reaching the ground comes from low-altitude molecules, only a few meters above ground level for the 667 cm-1 frequency at the center of the CO2 band. More weakly absorbed frequencies are radiated from higher altitudes where the temperature is usually colder than that of the surface. But occasionally, as the data from Point Barrow show, higher-altitude air can be warmer than the surface.

Closely related to Question 3 is how heat from the absorption of sunlight by the surface gets back to space to avoid a steadily increasing surface temperature. As one might surmise from the figure, at Narau there is so much absorption from CO2 and by water vapor, H2O, that most daytime heat transfer near the surface is by convection, not by radiation. Especially important is moist convection, where the water vapor in rising moist air releases its latent heat to form clouds. The clouds have a major effect on radiative heat transfer. Cooled, drier, subsiding air completes the convection circuit. Minor changes of convection and cloudiness can have a bigger effect on the surface temperature than large changes in CO2 concentrations.

Question 4: Does CO2 in the atmosphere reflect any sunlight back into space, such that the reflected sunlight never penetrates the atmosphere in the first place?

The short answer to this question is “No”, but it raises some interesting issues that we discuss below.

Molecules can either scatter or absorb radiation. CO2 molecules are good absorbers of thermal infrared radiation, but they scatter almost none. Infrared radiant energy absorbed by a CO2 molecule is converted to internal vibrational and rotational energy. This internal energy is quickly lost in collisions with the N2 and O2 molecules that make up most of the atmosphere. The collision rates, billions per second, are much too fast to allow the CO2 molecules to reradiate the absorbed energy, which takes about a second. CO2 molecules in the atmosphere do emit thermal infrared radiation continuously, but the energy is almost always provided by collisions with N2 and O2 molecules, not by previously absorbed radiation. The molecules “glow in the dark” with thermal infrared radiation.

H2O CO2 absorption spectrums

The figure shows that water vapor is by far the most important absorber. It can absorb both thermal infrared radiation from the Earth and shorter-wave radiation from the Sun. Water vapor and its condensates, clouds of liquid or solid water (ice), dominate radiative heat transfer in the Earth’s atmosphere; CO2 is of secondary importance.

If Question 4 were “Do clouds in the atmosphere reflect any sunlight back into space, such that the reflected sunlight never penetrates the atmosphere in the first place?” the answer would be “Yes”. It is common knowledge that low clouds on a sunny day shade and cool the surface of the Earth by scattering the sunlight back to space before it can be absorbed and converted to heat at the surface.

The figure shows that very little thermal radiation from the surface can reach the top of the atmosphere without absorption, even if there are no clouds. But some of the surface radiation is replaced by molecular radiation emitted by greenhouse molecules or cloud tops at sufficiently high altitudes that the there are no longer enough higher-altitude greenhouse molecules or clouds to appreciably attenuate the radiation before it escapes to space. Since the replacement radiation comes from colder, higher altitudes, it is less intense and does not reject as much heat to space as the warmer surface could have without greenhousegas absorption.

As implied by the figure, sunlight contains some thermal infrared energy that can be absorbed by CO2. But only about 5% of sunlight has wavelengths longer than 3 micrometers where the strongest absorption bands of CO2 are located. The Sun is so hot, that most of its radiation is at visible and near-visible wavelengths, where CO2 has no absorption bands.

Question 5: Apart from CO2, what happens to the collective heat from tail pipe exhausts, engine radiators, and all other heat from combustion of fossil fuels? How, if at all, does this collective heat contribute to warming of the atmosphere?

After that energy is used for heat, mobility, and electricity, the Second Law of Thermodynamics guarantees that virtually all of it ends up as heat in the climate system, ultimately to be radiated into space along with the earth’s natural IR emissions. [A very small fraction winds up as visible light that escapes directly to space through the transparent atmosphere, but even that ultimately winds up as heat somewhere “out there.”]

How much does this anthropogenic heat affect the climate? There are local effects where energy use is concentrated, for example in cities and near power plants. But globally, the effects are very small. To see that, convert the global annual energy consumption of 13.3 Gtoe (Gigatons of oil equivalent) to 5.6 × 1020 joules. Dividing that by the 3.2 × 107 seconds in a year gives a global power consumption of 1.75 × 1013 Watts. Spreading that over the earth’s surface area of 5.1 × 1014 m2 results in an anthropogenic heat flux of 0.03 W/m2 . This is some four orders of magnitude smaller than the natural heat fluxes of the climate system, and some two orders of magnitude smaller than the anthropogenic radiative forcing.

Question 6: In grade school many of us were taught that humans exhale CO2 but plants absorb CO2 and return oxygen to the air (keeping the carbon fiber). Is this still valid? If so why hasn’t plant life turned the higher levels of CO2 back into oxygen? Given the increase in population on earth (four billion), is human respiration a contributing factor to the buildup of CO2?

If all of the CO2 produced by current combustion of fossil fuels remained in the atmosphere, the level would increase by about 4 ppm per year, substantially more than the observed rate of around 2.5 ppm per year, as seen in the figure above. Some of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions are being sequestered on land or in the oceans.

high_resolution1

There is evidence that primary photosynthetic productivity has increased somewhat over the past half century, perhaps due to more CO2 in the atmosphere. For example, the summerwinter swings like those in the figure above are increasing in amplitude. Other evidence for modestly increasing primary productivity includes the pronounced “greening” of the Earth that has been observe by satellites. An example is the map above, which shows a general increase in vegetation cover over the past three decades.

The primary productivity estimate mentioned above would also correspond to an increase of the oxygen fraction of the air by 50 ppm, but since the oxygen fraction of the air is very high (209,500 ppm), the relative increase would be small and hard to detect. Also much of the oxygen is used up by respiration.

The average human exhales about 1 kg of CO2 per day, so the 7 billion humans that populate the Earth today exhale about 2.5 x 109 tons of CO2 per year, a little less than 1% of that is needed to support the primary productivity of photosynthesis and only about 6% of the CO2 “pollution” resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. However, unlike fossil fuel emissions, these human (or more generally, biological) emissions do not accumulate in the atmosphere, since the carbon in food ultimately comes from the atmosphere in the first place.

Question 7: What are the main sources of CO2 that account for the incremental buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere?

The CO2 in the atmosphere is but one reservoir within the global carbon cycle, whose stocks and flows are illustrated by Figure 6.1 from IPCC AR5 WG1:

There is a nearly-balanced annual exchange of some 200 PgC between the atmosphere and the earth’s surface (~80 Pg land and ~120 Pg ocean); the atmospheric stock of 829 Pg therefore “turns over” in about four years.

Human activities currently add 8.9 PgC each year to these closely coupled reservoirs (7.8 from fossil fuels and cement production, 1.1 from land use changes such as deforestation). About half of that is absorbed into the surface, while the balance (airborne fraction) accumulates in the atmosphere because of its multicentury lifetime there. Other reservoirs such as the intermediate and deep ocean are less closely coupled to the surface-atmosphere system.

Much of the natural emission of CO2 stems from the decay of organic matter on land, a process that depends strongly on temperature and moisture. And much CO2 is absorbed and released from the oceans, which are estimated to contain about 50 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere. In the oceans CO2 is stored mostly as bicarbonate (HCO3 – ) and carbonate (CO3 – – ) ions. Without the dissolved CO2, the mildly alkaline ocean with a pH of about 8 would be very alkaline with a pH of about 11.3 (like deadly household ammonia) because of the strong natural alkalinity.

Only once in the geological past, the Permian period about 300 million years ago, have atmospheric CO2 levels been as low as now. Life flourished abundantly during the geological past when CO2 levels were five or ten times higher than those today.

Question 8: What are the main sources of heat that account for the incremental rise in temperature on earth?

The only important primary heat source for the Earth’s surface is the Sun. But the heat can be stored in the oceans for long periods of time, even centuries. Variable ocean currents can release more or less of this stored heat episodically, leading to episodic rises (and falls) of the Earth’s surface temperature.

Incremental changes of the surface temperature anomaly can be traced back to two causes: (1) changes in the surface heating rate; (2) changes in the resistance of heat flow to space. Quasi periodic El Nino episodes are examples of the former. During an El Nino year, easterly trade winds weaken and very warm deep water, normally blown toward the coasts of Indonesia and Australia, floats to the surface and spreads eastward to replace previously cool surface waters off of South America. The average temperature anomaly can increase by 1 C or more because of the increased release of heat from the ocean. The heat source for the El Nino is solar energy that has accumulated beneath the ocean surface for several years before being released.

On average, the absorption rate of solar radiation by the Earth’s surface and atmosphere is equal to emission rate of thermal infrared radiation to space. Much of the radiation to space does not come from the surface but from greenhouse gases and clouds in the lower atmosphere, where the temperature is usually colder than the surface temperature, as shown in the figure on the previous page. The thermal radiation originates from an “escape altitude” where there is so little absorption from the overlying atmosphere that most (say half) of the radiation can escape to space with no further absorption or scattering. Adding greenhouse gases can warm the Earth’s surface by increasing the escape altitude. To maintain the same cooling rate to space, the temperature of the entire troposphere, and the surface, would have to increase to make the effective temperature at the new escape altitude the same as at the original escape altitude. For greenhouse warming to occur, a temperature profile that cools with increasing altitude is required.

Over most of the CO2 absorption band (between about 580 cm-1 and 750 cm-1 ) the escape altitude is the nearly isothermal lower stratosphere shown in the first figure. The narrow spike of radiation at about 667 cm-1 in the center of the CO2 band escapes from an altitude of around 40 km (upper stratosphere), where it is considerably warmer than the lower stratosphere due heating by solar ultraviolet light which is absorbed by ozone, O3. Only at the edges of the CO2 band (near 580 cm-1 and 750 cm-1 ) is the escape altitude in the troposphere where it could have some effect on the surface temperature. Water vapor, H2O, has emission altitudes in the troposphere over most of its absorption bands. This is mainly because water vapor, unlike CO2, is not well mixed but mostly confined to the troposphere.

Summary

To summarize this overview, the historical and geological record suggests recent changes in the climate over the past century are within the bounds of natural variability. Human influences on the climate (largely the accumulation of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion) are a physically small (1%) effect on a complex, chaotic, multicomponent and multiscale system. Unfortunately, the data and our understanding are insufficient to usefully quantify the climate’s response to human influences. However, even as human influences have quadrupled since 1950, severe weather phenomena and sea level rise show no significant trends attributable to them. Projections of future climate and weather events rely on models demonstrably unfit for the purpose. As a result, rising levels of CO2 do not obviously pose an immediate, let alone imminent, threat to the earth’s climate.

Full text of submission is here

Our Goldilocks Climate

haze_archean_2_cropped_2In the fairy tale, Goldilocks entered the three bears’ house to find one bowl of soup too hot, another too cold, and one just right for her to eat. A new study of our planetary history suggests that since its beginning our climate has been self-regulating to avoid extremes, with much less variability in temperature and oceanic pH than previously thought.

An overview of the finding comes from an article in Phys.org and is followed by excerpts from the paper itself published in PNAS.

Introductory Comments from Phys.org article Earth’s stable temperature past suggests other planets could also sustain life  April 2, 2018, University of Washington. Excerpts with my bolds.

Theories about the early days of our planet’s history vary wildly. Some studies have painted the picture of a snowball Earth, when much of its surface was frozen. Other theories have included periods that would be inhospitably hot for most current lifeforms to survive.

New research from the University of Washington suggests a milder youth for our planet. An analysis of temperature through early Earth’s history, published the week of April 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports more moderate average temperatures throughout the billions of years when life slowly emerged on Earth.

“Our results show that Earth has had a moderate temperature through virtually all of its history, and that is attributable to weathering feedbacks—they do a good job at maintaining a habitable climate,” said first author Joshua Krissansen-Totton, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences.

To create their estimate, the researchers took the most recent understanding for how rocks, oceans, and air temperature interact, and put that into a computer simulation of Earth’s temperature over the past 4 billion years. Their calculations included the most recent information for how seafloor weathering occurs on geologic timescales, and under different conditions.

Seafloor weathering was more important for regulating temperature of the early Earth because there was less continental landmass at that time, the Earth’s interior was even hotter, and the seafloor crust was spreading faster, so that was providing more crust to be weathered,” Krissansen-Totton said.

The paper is by Joshua Krissansen-Totton el al., Constraining the climate and ocean pH of the early Earth with a geological carbon cycle model PNAS (2018). Excerpts with my bolds.

The existence of a negative feedback to balance the carbon cycle on million-year timescales is undisputed. Without it, atmospheric CO2 would be depleted, leading to a runaway icehouse, or would accumulate to excessive levels (34). However, the relative importance of continental and seafloor weathering in providing this negative feedback, and the overall effectiveness of these climate-stabilizing and pH-buffering feedbacks on the early Earth are unknown.

In this study, we apply a geological carbon cycle model with ocean chemistry to the entirety of Earth history. The inclusion of ocean carbon chemistry enables us to model the evolution of ocean pH and realistically capture the pH-dependent and temperature-dependent kinetics of seafloor weathering. This is a significant improvement on previous geological carbon cycle models (e.g., refs. 12 and 35) that omit ocean chemistry and instead adopt an arbitrary power-law dependence on pCO2 for seafloor weathering which, as we show, overestimates CO2 drawdown on the early Earth. By coupling seafloor weathering to Earth’s climate and the geological carbon cycle, we calculate self-consistent histories of Earth’s climate and pH evolution, and evaluate the relative importance of continental and seafloor weathering through time. The pH evolution we calculate is therefore more robust than that of Halevy and Bachan (29) because, unlike their model, we do not prescribe pCO2 and temperature histories.

The climate and ocean pH of the early Earth are important for understanding the origin and early evolution of life. However, estimates of early climate range from below freezing to over 70 °C, and ocean pH estimates span from strongly acidic to alkaline. To better constrain environmental conditions, we applied a self-consistent geological carbon cycle model to the last 4 billion years. The model predicts a temperate (0–50 °C) climate and circumneutral ocean pH throughout the Precambrian due to stabilizing feedbacks from continental and seafloor weathering. These environmental conditions under which life emerged and diversified were akin to the modern Earth. Similar stabilizing feedbacks on climate and ocean pH may operate on earthlike exoplanets, implying life elsewhere could emerge in comparable environments.

Schematic of carbon cycle model used in this study. Carbon fluxes (Tmol C y−1) are denoted by solid green arrows, and alkalinity fluxes (Tmol eq y−1) are denoted by red dashed arrows. The fluxes into/out of the atmosphere–ocean system are outgassing, Fout, silicate weathering, Fsil, carbonate weathering, Fcarb, and marine carbonate precipitation, Pocean. The fluxes into/out of the pore space are basalt dissolution, Fdiss, and pore-space carbonate precipitation, Ppore. Alkalinity fluxes are multiplied by 2 because the uptake or release of one mole of carbon as carbonate is balanced by a cation with a 2+ charge (typically Ca2+). A constant mixing flux, J (kg y−1), exchanges carbon and alkalinity between the atmosphere–ocean system and pore space.

The dissolution of basalt in the seafloor is dependent on the spreading rate, pore-space pH, and pore-space temperature (SI Appendix A). This formulation is based on the validated parameterization in ref. 36. Pore-space temperatures are a function of climate and geothermal heat flow. Empirical data and fully coupled global climate models reveal a linear relationship between deep ocean temperature and surface climate (36). Equations relating pore-space temperature, deep ocean temperature, and sediment thickness are provided in SI Appendix A.

Carbon leaves the atmosphere–ocean system through carbonate precipitation in the ocean and pore space of the oceanic crust. At each time step, the carbon abundances and alkalinities are used to calculate the carbon speciation, atmospheric pCO2, and saturation state assuming chemical equilibrium. Saturation states are then used to calculate carbonate precipitation fluxes (SI Appendix A). We allow calcium (Ca) abundance to evolve with alkalinity, effectively assuming no processes are affecting Ca abundances other than carbonate and silicate weathering, seafloor dissolution, and carbonate precipitation. The consequences of this simplification are explored in the sensitivity analysis in SI Appendix C. We do not track organic carbon burial because organic burial only constitutes 10–30% of total carbon burial for the vast majority of Earth history (40), and so the inorganic carbon cycle is the primary control.

We conclude that current best knowledge of Earth’s geologic carbon cycle precludes a hot Archean. Our results are insensitive to assumptions about ocean chemistry, internal evolution, and weathering parameterizations, so a hot early Earth would require some fundamental error in current understanding of the carbon cycle. Increasing the biotic enhancement of weathering by several orders of magnitude as proposed by Schwartzman (60) does not produce a hot Archean because this is mathematically equivalent to zeroing out the continental weathering flux (Fig. 4). In this case the temperature-dependent seafloor weathering feedback buffers the climate of the Earth to moderate temperatures (SI Appendix, Fig. S14). Dramatic temperature increases (or decreases) due to albedo changes also do not change our conclusions due to the buffering effect of the carbon cycle (see above). If both continental and seafloor weathering become supply limited (e.g., refs. 49 and 61), then temperatures could easily exceed 50 °C. However, in this case the carbon cycle would be out of balance, leading to excessive pCO2 accumulation within a few hundred million years unless buffered by some other, unknown feedback.

The only way to produce Archean climates below 0 °C in our model is to assume the Archean outgassing flux was 1–5× lower than the modern flux (SI Appendix, Fig. S12). However, dramatically lowered Archean outgassing fluxes contradict known outgassing proxies and probably require both a stagnant lid tectonic regime and a mantle more reduced than zircon data suggest, which lowers the portion of outgassed CO2 (SI Appendix C). Moreover, even when outgassing is low, frozen climates are not guaranteed (SI Appendix, Fig. S12).

We observe that modeled temperatures are relatively constant throughout Earth history, with Archean temperatures ranging from 271 to 314 K. The combination of continental and seafloor weathering efficiently buffers climate against changes in luminosity, outgassing, and biological evolution. This temperature history is broadly consistent with glacial constraints and recent isotope proxies (Fig. 3D). The continental weathering buffer dominates over the seafloor weathering buffer for most of Earth history, but in the Archean the two carbon sinks are comparable (SI Appendix, Fig. S1). Indeed, if seafloor weathering were artificially held constant, then continental weathering alone may be unable to efficiently buffer the climate of the early Earth—the temperature distribution at 4.0 Ga extends to 370 K, and the atmospheric pCO2 distribution extends to 7 bar (SI Appendix, Fig. S3).

In our nominal model, the median Archean surface temperature is slightly higher than modern surface temperatures. If solar evolution were the only driver of the carbon cycle, then Archean temperatures would necessarily be cooler than modern temperatures; weathering feedbacks can mitigate this cooling but not produce warming. Warmer Archean climates are possible because elevated internal heat flow, lower continental land fraction, and lessened biological enhancement of weathering all act to warm to Precambrian climate. These three factors produce a comparable warming effect (SI Appendix, Fig. S17A and Appendix C), although the magnitude of each is highly uncertain and so temperate Archean temperatures cannot be uniquely attributed to any one variable.

Conclusions

The early Earth was probably temperate. Continental and seafloor weathering buffer Archean surface temperatures to 0–50 °C. This result holds for a broad range of assumptions about the evolution of internal heat flow, crustal production, spreading rates, and the biotic enhancement of continental weathering. Even in extreme scenarios with negligible subaerial Archean land and high methane abundances, a hot Archean (>50 °C) is unlikely. Sub-0 °C climates are also unlikely unless the Archean outgassing flux was unrealistically lower than the modern flux.

The seafloor weathering feedback is important, but less dominant than previously assumed. Consequently, the early Earth would not have been in a snowball state due to pCO2 drawdown from seafloor weathering. In principle, little to no methane is required to maintain a habitable surface climate, although methane should be expected in the anoxic Archean atmosphere once methanogenesis evolved (ref. 62, chap. 11).

Ignoring transient excursions, the pH of Earth’s ocean has evolved monotonically from 6.6+0.6−0.4 at 4.0 Ga (2σ) to 7.0+0.7−0.5 at 2.5 Ga (2σ), and 8.2 in the modern ocean. This evolution is robust to assumptions about ocean chemistry, internal heat flow, and other carbon cycle parameterizations. Consequently, similar feedbacks may control ocean pH and climate on other Earthlike planets with basaltic seafloors and silicate continents, suggesting that life elsewhere could emerge in comparable environments to those on our early planet.