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Why the continued interest?

Filed under: — rasmus @ 9 October 2009

I believe the idea that galactic cosmic rays (GCR) play a role for the present global warming is unlikely to fade soon, despite a growing number of scientific arguments that normally would falsify a hypothesis and lay it dead (see links here and here). Despite all the arguments against the role of GCR, there was a solicited talk about ‘cosmoclimatology’ at the European Meteorological Society’s (EMS) annual meeting in Toulouse. Henrik Svensmark is further invited by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (NASL) to provide an introduction to their seminar on climate. So why is the GCR-hypothesis still perceived as an interesting explanation?

My impression from the solicited talk, is that the confidence in the GCR hypothesis now rests on two points that were made explicit in the presentation, and that we have not adequately addressed here. So, here they are:

Point I: When I asked Svensmark why he presented a curve describing low cloud-cover from the ISCCP – used for correlation study with GCR (link) – that differed from the curves presented at the ISCCP web site (link), he informed me that he used a corrected version that has been published. Nevertheless, the ‘correction’ of the curve is controversial, and the ISCCP team is clearly not convinced, despite the likelihood of instrumental degradation.

Good practice would then be to present all the curves that cannot be ruled out because of errors. When asked why he didn’t present the other cures too, he said that he only wanted to show the one curve. Not a very convincing answer, and not very reassuring.

Point II involves a ‘remarkable’ correlation, meant to demonstrate a link between high GCR flux and cold conditions. This analysis is based on a comparison between band-pass filtered ice-rafted debris from iceberg drifts (Bond, 2001) and Carbon-14 (a cosmogenic isotope) over the last 12,000 years (e.g. after the most recent ice age).

The relationship between temperature and drifting icebergs, however, is complicated and not so straight forward. Icebergs are formed when chunks of ice break off glaciers and icesheets – a process known as ‘calving’.

On the one hand, icesheets and glaciers grow when the accumulation of precipitation at below freezing temperatures (snow) exceeds the summertime melting. Very low temperatures, tend to be associated with low precipitation, however. One the other hand, iceberg calving does not require very low temperatures (as long as the ice is present), but is favoured by reduced friction at the base of ice caps, resulting in a faster flow towards the sea. Melt water can lubricate the ice sheets and hence affect the ice flow.

Once the icesheets have calved and produced icebergs, they will drift according to the winds and ocean currents. The most influential ocean currents for iceberg drift in the North Atlantic include the East Greenland Current EGC), which follows the east coast of Greenland and flows from northeast to southwest, the West Greenland current (WGC) into the Labrador Sea, and the Labrador current (LC), a coastal current following along the perimeter of the Labrador sea basin in an anti-clockwise fashion.

North Atlantic ocean current systems Many of the cores used to study the ice-rafted debris were from locations away from these currents. It is not clear whether anomalous cold conditions produced more southerly winds and ocean currents. However, many of the core locations are associated with a surface flow from the south in the present climate, so it is possible that the icebergs transported by the EGC, WGC, and LC end up in the North Atlantic current. One explanation is that the icebergs got caught in the warm currents from the south, and melted on their way north, but that does not necessary imply cold conditions in that region, as these warm ocean currents provide a heat transport and the melting of icebergs suggest higher temperatures.

Cold conditions favour the formation of sea-ice, which have very different characteristics to icebergs. Sea-ice forms when the sea surface freezes, and can affect the ocean circulation through their effect on salinity. However, sea-ice does not create debris of rocks and minerals, as the icebergs do when the bottom of the sliding icesheets scrape the rocks.

It is plausible that very cold conditions can produce thick sea-ice that will lock icebergs in place near their sources in the Labrador sea and along the east coast of Greenland, but seasonal variations in the sea-ice may also imply open water in the summer. Nevertheless, very cold conditions may not necessarily favour the production of icebergs, as freezing temperatures will prevent the formation of melt water acting as lubrication and the accumulation of ice is expected to be less due to lower precipitation.

In summary, the ‘remarkable’ correlation does not seem to support the hypothesis that high flux of GCR produces a very cold climate. The question is rather whether the ocean and atmospheric circulation were influenced by the level of solar activity and associated changes in the total solar irradiation (TSI) – without involving GCR. After all, GCR is affected by the level of solar activity through its influence of the inter-planetary magnetic field, and anti-correlated with the sunspots.

When taken in the context of the global warming, there are other problematic issues such as the lack of trend in GCR (here and here), stronger warming during nighttime than daytime, large unknowns regarding the physical mechanisms involved in the growth of ultra-small molecule clusters to much larger cloud condensation nuclei (here and here), and questionable data handling and statistical analysis (here). In addition, it is difficult to statistically distinguish between the apparent response to solar forcing in the observations and GCM which do not take GCRs into account (link to a recent paper by Gavin and myself), implying that GCRs are not needed to explain past global temperature trends.

So what makes the GCR-hypothesis so convincing that warrants a solicited talk at the EMS annual meeting and an invited presentation at the NASL? Is the support based on the attention in media, or does it have a scientific basis?

I want a response from the community still supporting the GCR hypothesis, explaining why they find it convincing after all these misgivings. The spirit of science is about discussing different ideas and challenge unconvincing points of view. So far, I feel that many of these issues have gone unheeded outside the climate research community. Perhaps an improved dialogue between various research communities can help resolving these issues – the counter-arguments and GCR hypothesis represent a paradox that should be sorted out if the science is to progress. Either the supporters of the GCR hypothesis should convincingly explain why these misgivings are unfounded or irrelevant, or the GCR hypothesis should be buried. However, I feel that there is a lack of dialogue and willingness to listen, so I think that progress is not likely to happen regarding a commonly accepted solution on the GCR hypothesis.

Update: According to a recent (October 16) news relsease from the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG), over 1,200 icebergs drifted into the trans-Atlantic shipping lanes in 2009, making the iceberg season in the North Atlantic the eleventh most severe since the tragic loss of the RMS Titanic in 1912.

P.S. So far in 2009, three articles have been published in the arXhive on GCR and clouds (here, here, here). It is possible that such articles are more accessible to communities other than climate research, and hence enhances the awareness about the controversy surrounding the GCR-hypothesis.

506 Responses to “Why the continued interest?”

  1. 351
    William says:

    I would assume some are aware the sun is moving towards a deep solar magnetic cycle minimum. The magnetic field intensity of new individual sunspots has been declining linearly. To survive the trip from the tachocline (name for the interface of the radiative zone and the convection zone)through the convection zone, the magnetic ropes are hypothesized to required a minimum field strength of 1500 gauss. Livingston and Penn estimate if the magnetic field strength of new sunspots continue to linearly decline there will be no sunspots sometime around 2015.

    There are two mechanisms by which the sun is hypothesized to modulate cloud cover and planetary temperature. Changes to the strength of heliosphere and solar wind bursts. The solar wind bursts create a space charge in the ionosphere which Tinsley and Yu hypothesize removes cloud forming ions via a process they call electroscavenging. So if there are solar wind bursts it makes it appear GCR cloud cover does not correlate with planetary cloud cover.

    Now as the heliosphere is currently the weakest in roughly 170 years and solar wind bursts are starting to abate it should become evident as to whether GCR does or does not affect planetary cloud cover.

    Looking at the satellite data it would appear there should be an increase in low level cloud cover and a reduction in high level cloud cover.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JA014342.shtml

    If the Sun is so quiet, why is the Earth ringing? A comparison of two solar minimum intervals.

    “Observations from the recent Whole Heliosphere Interval (WHI) solar minimum campaign are compared to last cycle’s Whole Sun Month (WSM) to demonstrate that sunspot numbers, while providing a good measure of solar activity, do not provide sufficient information to gauge solar and heliospheric magnetic complexity and its effect at the Earth. The present solar minimum is exceptionally quiet, with sunspot numbers at their lowest in 75 years and solar wind magnetic field strength lower than ever observed. Despite, or perhaps because of, a global weakness in the heliospheric magnetic field, large near-equatorial coronal holes lingered even as the sunspots disappeared. Consequently, for the months surrounding the WHI campaign, strong, long, and recurring high-speed streams in the solar wind intercepted the Earth in contrast to the weaker and more sporadic streams that occurred around the time of last cycle’s WSM campaign.”

    “In response, geospace and upper atmospheric parameters continued to ring with the periodicities of the solar wind in a manner that was absent last cycle minimum, and the flux of relativistic electrons in the Earth’s outer radiation belt was elevated to levels more than three times higher in WHI than in WSM. Such behavior could not have been predicted using sunspot numbers alone, indicating the importance of considering variation within and between solar minima in analyzing and predicting space weather responses at the Earth during solar quiet intervals, as well as in interpreting the Sun’s past behavior as preserved in geological and historical records.”

  2. 352
    William says:

    This is a link to Livingston and Penn’s paper that notes solar cycle 24 appears to be anomalous.

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009EO300001.pdf

    Are Sunspots Different During This Solar Minimum?

    “But something is unusual about the current sunspot cycle. The current solar minimum has been unusually long, and with more than 670 days without sunspots through June 2009, the number of spotless days has not been equaled since 1933 (see http:// users . telenet .be/ j . janssens/ Spotless/ Spotless .html). The solar wind is reported to be in a uniquely low energy state since space measurements began nearly 40 years ago [Fisk and Zhao, 2009].”

    “The same data were later published [Penn and Livingston, 2006], and the observations showed that the magnetic field strength in sunspots were decreasing with time, independent of the sunspot cycle. A simple linear extrapolation of those data suggested that sunspots might completely vanish by 2015.”

    “Yet although the Sun’s magnetic polarity has reversed and the new solar cycle has been detected, most of the new cycle’s spots have been tiny “pores” without penumbrae (see Figure 1); in fact, nearly all of these features are seen only on flux magnetograms and are difficult to detect on whitelight images.”

  3. 353

    John Millett:

    The atmosphere is mostly void (we know this if only because of the 200+ atmospheres needed in liquefying air). Of the 1.5% of atmospheric volume occupied by matter, absorbent matter (greenhouse gases) accounts for 1%. That is greenhouse gases exist in the atmosphere at 150ppmv. Assuming 0.9 absorbance efficiency, overall atmospheric opacity would be 0.000135 cm2g-1. A simple average of atmospheric density at 5km intervals over 15km is 0.00064 gcm-3. This atmosphere would absorb 12% of radiation from the surface, a much lower figure than the AGW energy budget’s 90%.

    It doesn’t work that way. What matters is the absolute amount of absorber in the path, not its volume fraction. The Beer-Lamber-Bouguer law is (ignoring scattering):

    I = Io exp(-k rho ds)

    here,

    I is the intensity of radiation received at the end of the path (in watts per square meter of area per meter of wavelength per steradian of solid angle).

    Io is the original intensity at the start of the path (same units).

    k is the absorption coefficient (in square meters per kilogram).

    rho is the density of the absorber (kilograms per cubic meter).

    ds is the distance along the path (meters).

    For example, the absorption coefficient of carbon dioxide in the wavelength range 14.3 to 16.0 microns is 163 m^2 kg^-1. There are 5.9 kg of CO2 above every square meter of Earth’s surface. Earth’s surface, at a mean global annual temperature of 288.15 K and an emissivity of 0.95, emits 371 W m^-2, of which 7.85% or 29.1 W m^-2 is in the wavelength range 14.3-16 microns (from the Planck curve). So if we make the problem one-dimensional (F in W m^-2 instead of I in W m^-2 m^-2 sr^-1) and consider the first ten meters of atmosphere above the ground, a beam of infrared light in that wavelength range from Earth’s surface would be attenuated such that

    F = 29.1 exp (-163 0.00072 10)

    where 0.00072 is the density of carbon dioxide at sea-level conditions. This works out to I = 9.0 W m^-2. Therefore (29.1 – 9) / 29.1 or 69% of the beam was absorbed in the first ten meters.

  4. 354
    Mark says:

    And Beer’s law only applies in a medium with no temperature gradient.

    It also assumes that the absorption is a step function, not (as in reality) a curve that goes mathematically to infinity.

    The first point is important because “it’s all saturated” means naff all in a REAL atmosphere (don’t you find it ironic that denialists say that Arrhenius’ experiment isn’t applicable to a real atmosphere because it’s done in a jar, whilst Beers law, done in a jar, IS applicable? Selective credulity.) where there’s a temperature difference and temperatures that add to the flux being obscured themselves.

    The second one is important because CO2 isn’t saturated through the entire depth of the atmosphere on the wings of the absorption spectra. And those absorption lines go asymptotically to zero absorption.

  5. 355
    William says:

    The papers above that allege to disprove the solar magnetic cycle modulation of planetary cloud cover do not consider solar wind bursts. Planetary cloud cover did track GCR intensity and GCR energy levels (The penetrating power and number of ions produced by the secondary particles that are produced by GCR collisions in the upper atmosphere “muon” (heavy electron) is related to the GCR energy levels which in turn is inversely related to the strength of the solar heliosphere.), until solar wind bursts stated to appear, particularly late in the solar magnetic cycle.

    There is correlation of planetary temperature changes (temperatures move up and down) with the geomagnetic parameter Ak. The solar wind bursts causes a change in the geomagnetic field which is measured Ak.

    When Svensmark states he is adjusting the GCR vs Cloud cover data, he is adjusting it for solar wind bursts which are alleged to remove cloud forming ions and hence making it appear that GCR does not modulate planetary cloud cover.

    Due to practical issues with measuring cloud cover by satellite and with measuring the planet’s albedo it has been difficult for the two sides to definitively prove or disprove the mechanisms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muon

    The proof or disproof of the GCR and solar wind burst mechanisms will be determined in the next few years as the heliosphere is weakening and solar wind bursts are abating.

    http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MSAIt760405/PDF/2005MmSAI..76..969G.pdf

    “Once again about global warming and solar activity K. Georgieva, C. Bianchi, and B. Kirov”

    “We show that the index commonly used for quantifying long-term changes in solar activity, the sunspot number, accounts for only one part of solar activity and using this index leads to the underestimation of the role of solar activity in the global warming in the recent decades. A more suitable index is the geomagnetic activity which reflects all solar activity, and it is highly correlated to global temperature variations in the whole period for which we have data.”

    “In Figure 6 the long-term variations in global temperature are compared to the long-term variations in geomagnetic activity as expressed by the ak-index (Nevanlinna and Kataja 2003). The correlation between the two quantities is 0.85 with p<0.01 for the whole period studied. It could therefore be concluded that both the decreasing correlation between sunspot number and geomagnetic activity, and the deviation of the global temperature long-term trend from solar activity as expressed by sunspot index are due to the increased number of high-speed streams of solar wind on the declining phase and in the minimum of sunspot cycle in the last decades."

  6. 356
    Peter Taylor says:

    In answer to pjclarke (304)

    I was pointed to your comment on this blog. Unfortunately I have very limited time for blogging – but I will answer some of your questions and in a week’s time – if RealClimate would wish, I could post something for discussion (I am travelling til the end of the week).

    Who am I to write a book on climate change? I have no academic or institutional base – I am a working ecologist, mostly in the field of biodiversity policy and planning – but have at times been commissioned (by a government agency) to look into climate change, its potential impacts (on community as well as wildlife) and also on the integration of renewable energy with other sustainability objectives. My website [edit] will show you my work in these fields – as well as provide a means to contact me if you wish to discuss my work.

    However, between 1980-1993 I was rather more active in the fields of energy policy, toxic and radioactive waste disposal, and the critical review of global circulation models – about half my work was supported by Greenpeace International, and the other, at times, by the UK government, several other governments, the EU and the UN. In the latter case I was involved in developing both the Precautionary Principle in international conventions and Clean Production Strategies – by way of finding good people to develop the ideas and using my experience to push against the resistance (all written up and published in peer-review). In 1993 I wrote a critique of the UN’s ocean protection system – and it was published in the peer-reviewed literature.

    I undertook to write ‘Chill’ because it had become evident that the UN had not learned its lessons from the bad old days of carefully selected panels and secretariats and the marginalisation of dissenting voices when it came to putting out simple messages for policy makers.

    In my view, the IPCC’s Summary for Policy Makers is a travesty of the science found within the technical reports (and my view is shared by some very senior scientists – I quote them). In my book I outline several key areas of the science where there is no consensus within the Panel – but it is covered over in the Summary.

    You mention my claim that the IPCC underestimates the power of natural cycles and that this is demonstrably false. I would like to see you refer to the IPCC’s work on those cycles and also how you can demonstrate this. In my reading, IPCC admits openly that its knowledge of natural cycles is very poor. Yet, it argues from a key graph of computer simulations that if natural cycles alone had operated, there would have been no warming in the late 20th Century – since 1950 – (its the Wigley graph, my figure 1 in Chill). Given that in 2007 (AR4), IPCC had no computer studies to refer to that attempted to specifically model ocean oscillations (30 year cycles) such as the PDO and AMO, they were being honest. Since then, there have been at least two such attempts – one at Hadley, the other in Kiel (Germany) – the latter published in Nature and updated recently at a conference in Geneva. These studies predict that there will be no warming in the next decade because ‘natural variability’ (cycles – and if you doubt that, look at my figure 18 on Arctic temperatures – where 1940 has a peak to rival that of 2005-2007 – and if you don’t want to buy the book, you can get the same data, more up to date to show the falls in 2009, from the Arctic Report Card – google will find it – I think NOAA host it).

    [Response: This is a complete misreading of the situation. Neither of the two papers you are referring to use different models from those used in the attribution by IPCC. If they have AMO and PDO-like modes of variability, then they did when they were used before as well. In fact, all the models have such internal variability. The difference with Smith et al and Keenlyside et al (as we have discussed extensively) is that they were initialised differently in order to try and sync up the phases of their internal oscillations with those in the real world. It’s not very clear whether they succeeded (and in the Keenlyside case, they almost certainly didn’t), but in neither case did they put in any physics that wasn’t already in the model. – gavin]

    I would say that the latest peer-reviewed studies demonstrate that natural cycles are more powerful than previously thought by IPCC (but not by a great many oceanographers and paleontologists who are not part of the IPCC, and who have studies other longer term cycles – 400/800 years, on top of which these shorter cycles have peaked). If you have other studies, I would be happy to receive details.

    [Response: Where are yours? Blanket statements like this are worthless. People have been reporting on natural variability in climate for hundreds of years. It is the size of the anthropogenic signal that has increased, not the natural ones. – gavin]

    Regarding Christopher Monckton – if you read the relevant section you will find that I was referring to the absence of any broader discussion outside of the IPCC and very restricted laboratories and obscure journals of the crucial ‘gain factors’ that James Hansen argued for at the outset of building the atmospheric models. I had a hard time accessing any material that would show a) the range of options for those factors, b) the evidence for choosing them. Monckton had asked the same question but more publicly – in the pages of a journal of the American Physical Society – an organisation I have, over my years as an environmental analyst, come to revere – in part because of the quality of its work, and in other part because it holds open and frank discussions about awkward things with awkward people.

    Response: Quoting Monckton as any kind of source of information (expect perhaps on the decline of the English upper class) completely disqualifies you as someone with whom sensible discussions can be had. Monckton is a charlatan of the highest order. – gavin]

    I am well aware of how complex are the issues and the literature relating to sensitivity studies – and I was quite shocked to discover how simple were Hansen’s formulae and how basic the potential error when the gain factor (around 3) was assumed without any direct evidence or supporting argument. Was this not the substance of Richard Lindzen’s criticism of at its very first report. Without that factor – the so-called water vapour amplifier, doubling CO2 has very little potential to warm the globe – somewhere between 0.5 and 1 degree.
    [edit]
    But I wrote about this more to show some history – I brought things up to date with reference to a discussion at NASA by Takmeng Wong in 2008 on the satellite data. By the way – the reason my own studies have not been published is because all I have done is to pick over NASA’s published data to see if it corroborates a string of peer reviewed papers in Science in 2005 that seemed to show the whole of the 1980-2000 warm period can be explained by an excess of short-wave radiation to the ocean surface due to thinning cloud. It does. Maybe I should try and publish this – but the last time I did such a thing it took me a year and cost me ($20,000) and I only did that when the UN Panel I was addressing refused to discuss the science until it was published – rather like George Monbiot did – but those UN scientists had a much better idea of how difficult it is to get any kind of meta-analysis published unless you are an acknowledged expert in the field.

    In any case, Takmeng Wong, who has recently reviewed and updated all the satellite data, makes the issue clear: either the clouds were thinned by warming oceans (possibly warmed by GHGs) or they thinned naturally and warmed the oceans (and hence GHGs have little power). Other work (Compo and Sardeshmukhe) reviews the computer studies and finds that almost all land-warming is down to heat transfer from the oceans.

    [Response: Another gross misreading of the science. If you take an atmospheric model and drive it with only a warming trend in the sea surface temperature, the land temperatures will of course follow, but it doesn’t come any where close to to showing why the oceans are heating in the first place. – gavin]

    These authorities are the ones I refer to in the book. I used the woodfortrees graph to show the recent ‘flatline’ or ‘cooling’ whatever you wish to call it because it was accessible and clear – the data are available to anyone and they are taken from the four main data sets on global temperature – all of which show the same pattern. Of course it does not mean ‘global warming’ has ceased – the ‘greenhouse effect’ from emitted CO2 cannot cease…..but it does show, in my view, that the percentage of the driving force has been seriously over-estimated. The IPCC says ‘most’ of the late 20th century warming is anthropogenic – I do not think the data supports that statement. My estimate is a maximum of 20%.

    [Response: The IPCC bases its estimate on published studies that anyone can read and replicate. Yours…. not so much. – gavin]

    If that is right – and another decade will tell, then halving emissions will have no significant impact on what the climate does for the next century. The misdirected mitigation strategies (biofuels, megaturbines, barrages, nuclear reactors) will all have serious and certain impacts upon community, economy (I think Stern was exceptionally naive) and biodiversity.

    I think there is a strong argument for a no-regrets strategy of doing things that adapt to climate change (which I see as largely natural and highly dangerous given the precarious food, water, population and biodiversity situation) – yet less than 1% of resources are devoted to adaptation. Secondly, oil will become very expensive and scarce by 2030, and we need to look at coal and gas and how to make them cleaner (renewable energy sums do not add up – which marks me out from my ‘green’ compatriots) – as well as a massive investment in reducing demands. I am not hopeful of an orderly transition – but I fear that the focus on CO2 emissions is directing resources away from the most urgent issues. This is a rational and valid debate.

    It is for these latter reasons that I investigated the science of global warming. So far, every scientist who has read the book, has given positive feedback – it has caused them to think again. It is being read behind the scenes – in many different realms, but what is shocking to me, and a sign of these times, is that the climate science community do not wish to engage in discourse, and moreover, in the realms of the media and academia where my book is read, people tell me they have to keep their heads down because of the dogma that the science is settled, the UN is the authority, and any dissent is denial.

    And in case anyone really does believe the UN has a reputation for sound science – they should read those chapters of the book recounting my experiences around its licensing system for toxic and nuclear waste disposal in the ocean, or the 15 years that its special panels (100% consensus) opposed the findings that X-raying pregnant women was not a good idea. The UN is not all-bad, but it has a chequered history.

  7. 357
    dhogaza says:

    It is for these latter reasons that I investigated the science of global warming. So far, every scientist who has read the book, has given positive feedback – it has caused them to think again. It is being read behind the scenes – in many different realms, but what is shocking to me, and a sign of these times, is that the climate science community do not wish to engage in discourse, and moreover, in the realms of the media and academia where my book is read, people tell me they have to keep their heads down because of the dogma that the science is settled, the UN is the authority, and any dissent is denial.

    Nothing like rounding out your argument with the standard denialist conspiracy theory crap to convince people who understand the science …

  8. 358
    Patrick 027 says:

    Peter Taylor –

    “and I was quite shocked to discover how simple were Hansen’s formulae and how basic the potential error when the gain factor (around 3) was assumed without any direct evidence or supporting argument.”

    Sorry Peter Taylor, but you discovered nothing. The feedbacks in a simple formula are not picked out of a hat; they are based on the results of complex models that use physics; they are corroborated by observations and data, and the paleoclimatic record. The simple formula is not the origin of the conclusions; it is a synopsis of the results of modelling and the analysis of data.

    We don’t dismiss Christopher Monckton because of his conclusions; we dismiss his conclusions because his arguments don’t hold water.

  9. 359
    John Millett says:

    #347
    Patrick, Dr Smith presented 3 models of increasing reality. The first one was a non-rotating, atmosphere-free sphere which gives an average effective temperature of 255K, replicating the figure used in calculating the AGW natural greenhouse effect. This results from averaging the sun’s flux and extracting the fourth root. This is the reverse of the physical reality that temperature gives rise to the flux. The model also produces the correct average temperature of 144K by averaging the effective temperature of the sun’s flux.

  10. 360
    John Millett says:

    #335
    Barton Paul Levenson, being programming illiterate regrettably I can’t use the code; thanks anyway. You’ll have to ask Gavin for my comment on your opposing granite block radiators.

  11. 361
    John Millett says:

    #348
    “Blackbody radiation is isotropic”. Point taken, Patrick.
    The 0.9 figure simply reflects GHG’s being good absorbers. The 0.000135 is the product of 0.9 and the density of the absorbers.

  12. 362
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 259 – John Millet, you’ve lost me.

    (
    “This is the reverse of the physical reality that temperature gives rise to the flux.”

    Well, that’s how you solve for equilibrium temperature. What’s the problem?

    “The first one was a non-rotating, atmosphere-free sphere which gives an average effective temperature of 255K”

    No, the isothermal sphere gives a temperature of 255 K (and the temperature variations on the Earth as it is are sufficiently small (as important as they are) that it shouldn’t make much more of a difference than roughly 1 K. The nonrotating sphere with no horizontal heat transport is the colder one (144 K according to another comment above).
    )

  13. 363
    John Millett says:

    #325 and #331 Hank Roberts and dhogaza.

    Imbuing an imaginary, atmosphere-free planet with the same reflectance as the real one looks anomalous, removing which increases the imaginary planet’s surface temperature to 279K and reduces the temperature difference between the real and imaginary planets to 9 degrees. The further reduction reflects probable warming bias in the real observed temperature due mainly to UHI. The 9 degree difference can’t come from the atmosphere for reasons I am not permitted to say. It must be due to the planet’s internal energy field.

  14. 364
    dhogaza says:

    The 9 degree difference can’t come from the atmosphere for reasons I am not permitted to say.

    Oh, gosh, we have a genuine Secret Agent Man who’s been whispered data, unknown to science, which he can’t repeat!

    Who’s whispering? Aliens in Roswell, NM?

  15. 365
    dhogaza says:

    Barton Paul Levenson, being programming illiterate regrettably I can’t use the code; thanks anyway.

    Well, your efforts to overturn most of modern physical science are going to be stymied if you can’t understand a simple program like that, and additionally simply blow it off because you’re not interested in learning modern scientific tools (and BASIC is called BASIC for a reason, dude).

  16. 366
    John Millett says:

    Observational evidence missed in post #363. If cattle relied on the sky above for evening warmth they would flop down wherever they were grazing. Instead they expend energy seeking bare earth – roads are very popular – where the internal energy flux is strongest.

  17. 367
    Mark says:

    “The 0.9 figure simply reflects GHG’s being good absorbers. The 0.000135 is the product of 0.9 and the density of the absorbers.”

    Poe!

    CO2 is a much better absorber than its percentage size would give.

    [edit – calm down]

  18. 368
    Rene Cheront says:

    Is there or is there not some correlation between cloud cover and temperatures? And is there or is there not some correlation between sun cycles and cloud cover?

  19. 369
    Mark says:

    This is OT for the thread (but what the heck, this is gone well OT for a while).

    The conservapedia tagline is “The trustworthy encyclopedia”.

    Much like WUWT tag themselves as the TRUE story of AGW.

    But have a look at this short (well…) escapade:

    http://conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:Lenski_dialog

    Note how this trustworthy encyclopedia doesn’t read the papers, demands the raw data (and touts freedom of information and tax dollars to demand it) and makes the contention that he’s just a fraud.

    Very similar to the denialists all round, really.

  20. 370

    What the heck is the planet’s “internal energy field?”

    LT. MATSUMOTO: But how does this defense work, Professor?

    PROFESSOR TAKAHASHI: It makes use of the Earth’s internal energy field! I call it “Gaia energy!”

    LT. MATSUMOTO: But will it stop Godzilla?

    PROFESSOR TAKAHASHI: HAI! Godzilla depends on Gaian energy for his own strength! Once it is disrupted, he will be compelled to return to the depths from whence he came!

    ENSIGN NAKAMURA: I don’t believe it! It sounds like pseudoscience. For that matter, how can Godzilla be 130 meters tall in light of the square-cube law?

    LT. MATSUMOTO: Shhh!

  21. 371
    Peter Taylor says:

    hmm – my first introduction to RealClimate blogging is salutary – I was quite hopeful on reading the first part of this thread which argued for open rational discussion (in relation to the GCR correlations). I have a chapter on that issue in my book – and will comment below – but comments such as ‘denialist conspiracy crap’ do not encourage dialogue!

    Gavin:

    you say I have ‘completely misread’ the science – that the two new attempts at modelling variability have no new physics, but are simply ‘initialised differently’ and ‘sync up the phases of their internal oscillation’.

    Well – there are two choices – either we leave all of this discussion to experts such as yourself, who have access to the models and a wealth of programming experience (and contrary to one comment, models that not ‘anyone can replicate’), OR

    people like me who do not have such access, attempt to review the situation from outside because from past experience I know that if a prior commitment develops in the modelling fraternity (for example, the ‘dilute and disperse’ models for toxic metals that were then coupled to licensing procedures), there then develops a psychological disincentive to change the models – it is human nature – not conspiracy but blindspot and groupthink – and I am an intelligent, scientifically literate person with some experience of the use of models that are rather similar to the climate models and suffer from a huge level of prior commitment and developed vested interests, both political and financial – not to accept this is also denialist and very naive.

    And if there is to be respect for the latter path of outsider-critical- reveiew as preferable to the public, of which I am a part, having blind faith in science insitutions and the UN, then there also needs to be a way of preventing ‘complete misreadings’ – that can only come about by furthering discourse – and so far a great many of my overtures in that regard have been rebuffed (mostly within my own conservation science community that have uncritically accepted the projections of future warming).

    [Response: Hmm… well maybe people who realise that they don’t know what they are talking about should refrain from writing books about the subject and declaring the whole peer-review system to be corrupt? – gavin]

    If I had had the resources I would have visited Hansen’s labs and asked to be shown in detail how the formulae were derived – not expected at all that they would have been ‘picked out of a hat’ – but certainly that there would have been a range of possible gain factors and I could then ask which were used and what the graphs would look like if the outliers (ie near zero gain) had actually been the case. This is not so outrageous an exercise when you consider that in 2001 the IPCC were still ascribing a 30% probability that the ’cause’ of the warming was natural (i.e. either random variability or as I would argue, peaking cycles). By 2007, the probability didn’t improve enough to confirm a null hypothesis (ie above 95%) but I will be the first to admit, I found IPCC’s wording hard to comprehend as it was replete with double negatives.

    [Response: Again, in your shoes I would have hesitated to criticise what I didn’t understand. Hansen’s work is very clearly discussed in his papers and does not require a personal visit to the lab to understand. – gavin]

    As I stated above – I do not use Monckton as any kind of authority – nor as far as I know, does he pretend to be one. He simply asked questions – and these were good enough for the American Physical Society to give him the space to do so.

    [edit – unsubstantiated accusations of fraud and corruption are not permitted]

    Patrick: you state with some certainty that these gain factors were derived from models and analysis of data – but as the discussion by Wong to which I referred shows, there are two main choices from the data as to what the mechanism and main driver is – and when someone intones ‘what heats the ocean (dummy)?’ – perhaps they would have the grace to read Wong and the chapter on satellite data in my book – it is clear what has heated the oceans – short-wave radiation coming through from clearer skies (both cloud and aerosol). There is no clear signal of infra-red that stands out above the natural variability. The question then is what thinned the clouds and cleared the air of (largely natural) aerosol?

    To return to the model synchronisation. This has been a main criticism of the previous suite of models – they use a starting point at equilibrium – which is not an aspect of the real climate world but a virtual reality of the model. In my limited understanding this is not in order to downplay natural cycles, but because the periodicity of those cycles is not regular enough to be used for relatively short-range predictions (over the next 100 years, for example). And of course, the driving mechanisms for those cycles are not understood. The models thus have to mimic that variability and they do so assuming it is random but within certain naturally observed bounds. This approach has been criticised by other modelling communities – for example, those involved in hydrology (Koutsoyannis and colleagues – http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/850/- ) which I found very cogent – it was about starting points.

    Now Keenlyside and Smith may simply, as you say, have adjusted their models to sync up the internal oscillation to match the AMO – and that would imply that the AMO was there in the beginning (if only in the variability generator – however that was done) – I would love to have had the resources to go and ask them. But that does not address longer term cycles – which some think do not exist and others think do – and in my reading, they deserve equal treatment. The problem with these is that at 400/800 years with a larger irregularity (100+) nobody really knows where the starting point would be. I think it at least feasible (and I would say likely) that between 1980 and 2005 – the period of high temperatures – all of the cycles peaked together – the PDO/AMO/AO on top of the longer cycle (up from the Little Ice Age) with ENSO riding on top of that – and it is the thesis of my book that this ‘seventh wave’ was the signal taken to confirm the global warming hypothesis that rested upon those gain factors in the model. If there had been no evidence of those natural peaks – then I for one would have agreed the global warming hypothesis and resumed my work on energy strategies. If I am right, then vast resources will be devoted to preventing something that can’t be prevented – reason enough to engage in the argument.

    On the GCR thread:

    I have followed the GCR controversy and deal with it in ‘Chill’ not from a perspective of wishing it were true – but from a policy perspective – that a) there is a body of science that makes it into the peer-reviewed literature, b) the researchers were for many years unable to get funds and were openly denigrated for their efforts at explaining a long-standing mystery of what drives natural cyclic variability that can be correlated with solar activity, c) after publishing their theories in the journal of the Royal Society, they received significant research funds from the European Space Agency. That’s good enough for me to consider they might be on to something.

    I can see however that their correlations appear to break down after cycle 22. That other work both does (Usoskin) and does not (Wolfendale) corroborate their thesis (but the latter actually does corroborate an effect, but on a lower scale than claimed). And I am aware that the effect may be small and that anything that parallels the GCR flux may also be contributing. In my book I argue that the cyclic variability of the solar magnetic field is the likely ultimate cause acting via effects of UV and electrical phenomenon on the polar vortex and the tracking of the jetstream. Thus – a multiplicity of factors is at play – as often in a complex Earth environment.

    The tracking of the jetstream affects the build up and decline of heat in the upper oceans – and the shorter term oscillations redistribute that heat with various phase interactions. If you look at the current ‘quiet sun’ you get an indication of what happened for 50 years during the Maunder Minimum and the Little Ice Age – the spotless state is associated with very low geomagnetic readings and a southward shift of the jetstream – and if you look at where the excess heat of the late 20th century warming is stored (80% according to IPCC) in the top 200m of the oceans, it is not uniformly distributed – but concentrated in the northern Pacific and Atlantic gyres – they will lose heat according to the interplay of cloud cover and extractive cyclones. Thus, I was able to predict, in contrast to the UK MetOffice, that the 2007 wet-summer would be repeated – it was, twice; that the summer-ice would start to recover (now three years in a row) and that the UK would begin to experience some harsh winters (the first was last winter). I also predicted that because of the impact on the northern hemisphere grain belt, food security would be a major issue long before predicted shortfalls from the IPCC warming scenarios.

    If the quiet sun heralds another Maunder type minimum, then correlations at the very least suggest we should be preparing for a cold future and one in which ironically carbon dioxide would work to ameliorate that (but not much, I fear).

  22. 372
    dhogaza says:

    Shorter Peter Taylor …

    I don’t understand the science, don’t have the background to understand the science, yet I am more qualified to judge the science than scientists or laypeople who understand the science.

    Ballsy, I must admit.

  23. 373
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Peter Taylor, By all means, if you want to critique the science, you are welcome. However, your efforts might be a bit more productive and informative if you bothered to actually LEARN THE SCIENCE. All of the science is publicly available. Given that you express interest, there is no excuse for remaining an ignoramus.

  24. 374
    Mark says:

    “[edit – calm down]”

    Well since you can’t slap some sense into people over the internet, what can I do but get ratty?

  25. 375

    #371 Peter Taylor

    Peter, did you notice that your own argument that temperature is tracking the ‘electromagnetic energy of the sun’ meme has been so thoroughly debunked that it is now completely boring to talk about?

    Peter Taylor, Science Policy Analyst

    Author of ‘Chill’… Taylor thinks we have to prepare for global cooling?

    Geez where do you start. Between the argument to authority, the straw man constructs, the red herrings and the veiled references to Svensmark (“discussion at very high levels within science on these issues”).

    I dunno, Gavin, I’d love to see you go through this one on a line by line, but of course I’d love to see all the varied discussions about just how far Peter Taylor, the “highly trained analyst, and scientist” is from the reality of the myriad arguments he presents. I could take a lot of this part myself, but I think Mr. Talyor should defend his positions on the science here.

    My favorite is this one is the one about solar radiation hitting the oceans with many hundreds of W/m2 while CO2 effect is measured in “one or two W/m2 average”.

    Statements from Peter Taylor:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdTfgz_WGtI

    “I began to examine the models upon which these assumptions were based, and quite frankly I was shocked by what I found. I’m a highly trained analyst, and scientist, and from the very beginning that there was not a consensus amongst climate scientists on what was causing what we’ve seen.

    I’m not a global warming denier, there’s no doubt that the planet has warmed up over the last hundred years. But a number of other things have happened at the same time, not just carbon emissions. We’ve also had a 200% increase in the electromagnetic energy of the sun. And many scientists have noticed a correlation between the magnetic cycles of the sun and temperatures on the planet.

    And that is the area that I’ve investigated. And there are significant lack of consensus among scientists. And actually if you read into the technical working groups of the IPCC, you can see this lack of consensus. You can see it in the number of scientists that have pointed out that virtually all of the increase in temperature first of all is not linear, its cyclic.

    There are a series of peaks and troughs. those peaks and troughs correlate with the electromagnetic energy of the sun. There are scientists working on the mechanisms whereby electromagnetic cycles can effect cloud cycles. The cloud changes are noticed by satellite data.

    There’s other satellite data which measures the amount of solar radiation hitting the surface of the planet in particular the oceans. And there you see increases in sunlight reaching the surface of the ocean. Many hundreds of watts are absorbed by the ocean per square meter, according to whether there are clouds, or whether its clear sky. The difference between the two can be a hundred watts easily.

    The carbon dioxide effect is measured in one or two watts per square meter average.

    So what’s happening to clouds is very, very important. There are discussion at very high levels within science on these issues, but they don’t surface, they don’t come through the process of advice to policy makers. The IPCC issues a summary for policy makers and it’s this upon which the politicians, and properly more important the environmental groups, react to this supposed consensus. There isn’t such a consensus.”

    Peter, have you ever actually looked up the definition of the world consensus?

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

    1 a : general agreement : unanimity b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned
    2 : group solidarity in sentiment and belief

  26. 376

    I forgot to say context is key!

    Peter, what is your understanding of thermal equilibrium in the climate system?

  27. 377
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 368 Rene Cheront (and this is also for Peter Taylor)- “Is there or is there not some correlation between cloud cover and temperatures? And is there or is there not some correlation between sun cycles and cloud cover?”

    Yes, of course, and yes, of course (at least through TSI changes, possibly UV-ozone-stratosphere-troposphere interaction? – I’m not sure about that last one, though). It isn’t that the effect is zero but that it is likely small (the TSI is certainly much smaller) compared to anthropogenic forcings (because the changes in forcings themselves have been small in comparison).

    (A method of Scaffeta and West to estimate solar cycle contribution to global warming based on shorter-cycle correlations is of the sort that could easily overestimate the climate sensitivity so solar forcing, but on the other hand, perhaps it could be used to set an upper limit (baring solar changes that are not represented in the shorter cycles), and this upper limit still requires a majority role for anthropogenic forcings, and that itself is smaller than the anthropogenic greenhouse forcing alone due to anthropogenic aerosols, the later not likely to keep growing in proportion to the former. Anyway, there is the known physics that still must be dealt with – we very reasonably expect greenhouse gas changes to result in x amount of change; theory (models) and paleoclimatic evidence do not disagree with each other. Any changes to the understanding have to come in groups – how something else affects climate + how things we understand have less effect than otherwise. See Occam’s Razor. Also, burden of proof: the effect of CO2, etc, and feedbacks have been established as at least existing; the remaining uncertainties do not toss the burden of proof all the way back to square 1.)

    —————————

    Re 361,363,366 John Millett –

    “The 0.9 figure simply reflects GHG’s being good absorbers. The 0.000135 is the product of 0.9 and the density of the absorbers.”

    You don’t seem to know what the physical relationship actually is. Here’s an experiment for you to try (or at least think about) – take some food dye and put it in a cylindrical transparent container, so that it evenly fills the circular cross section. Look down through it. Dilute with a little water. Look down through it again. Dilute with more water. Look again. You’re looking through the same total amount of food dye each time and so it should look about the same, unless there is a source of light coming into the container sideways, or… But you get the point? Note that if the container were wide enough so as to not constrain your viewing angles, you would look through more dye at larger angles from the vertical (assuming the container is upright – you know what I mean), but at a fixed angle, the total amount you look through is still the same as you dilute with more and more water. It only changes if you make the experiment so big that you can swim around in it – as with the atmosphere, a greater portion of radiation emitted upward from higher in the atmosphere can reach space than from lower down or at the surface, and a greater portion of that emitted downward can reach the surface from nearer the surface, etc. (And even if opacity is such that not much more radiation from the surface can be blocked from reaching space, there can still be room for blocking more radiation emitted from higher in the atmosphere from reaching space. Although it is true that at some wavelengths, the CO2 effect is saturated for tropopause level radiative forcing, but given such an amount of CO2 to start with, adding more continually expands the width of the wavelength interval that exceeds a given opacity, thus blocking radiation over more and more wavelengths.) The main difference between this experiment and the atmosphere is that the spectra of gases are altered a bit by changes in temperature and pressure (and even composition itself), so an amount of CO2 in a layer of air at the tropopause will be less opaque at most wavelengths and more opaque at some wavelengths than the same amount of CO2 in the same mass of air near the surface. But note that this is all known by the scientists who study atmospheric radiation or apply it to climate science.

    “Imbuing an imaginary, atmosphere-free planet with the same reflectance as the real one looks anomalous, removing which increases the imaginary planet’s surface temperature to 279K and reduces the temperature difference between the real and imaginary planets to 9 degrees.”

    279 K is the equilibrium temperature for no greenhouse effect and zero albedo.

    But

    1. Even if the Earth had no atmosphere, it would have some nonzero albedo. There is snow and ice, and sand and bare rock. Even deep water is not perfectly absorbing.

    2. And that being beside the point – the ~ 33 K from the total greenhouse effect is from the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect does not include albedo; albedo is a seperate thing. There are feedbacks, yes – they are not completely independent causally – as is the case for parts of the greenhouse effect (water vapor, clouds). But they are still identified as distinct entities.

    “The further reduction reflects probable warming bias in the real observed temperature due mainly to UHI.”

    No; UHI is real but the instrumental temperature record is corrected for it before looking for climate trends; furthermore, the UHI does not explain the warming oceans, the warming expanses of land, the melting ice, and various ecological signals, and the large scale shifts in weather patterns. UHI is a local effect that has a very small (in the larger scale context) amount of heat flow associated with it so spreading that heat perturbation out over the globe results in negligable change. On the other hand, the UHI does exist in Atlanta Georgia, whereas ***(as I recall) the regional temperature trend of the Southeastern US has recently been small so far (correct?)*** in comparsion to the global average change. Furthermore, the UHI would have to be changing in order to affect temperature record trends – the most obvious way to do this is via the expansion of cities/towns/built up land toward and around weather stations.

    “The 9 degree difference can’t come from the atmosphere for reasons I am not permitted to say. It must be due to the planet’s internal energy field.”

    You mean geothermal heat.

    The average geothermal heat flux through the surface is something less than 0.1 W/m2. Most of that is through conduction through the crust (groundwater might carry some of that in some places (not just the obvious hydrothermal activity), although it still has to conduct to get to the ground water or get out of ground water), and can’t fluctuate much over short time periods.

    Removing a heat source of 0.1 W/m2 would result in a cooling likely around 0.2 to 0.4 (or 0.45) K, at least without land ice sheet feedback, and vegetation albedo feedback and carbon cycle feedback. For zero atmosphere, no feedbacks, and 255 K equilibrium temperature, removing 0.1 W/m2 is a change of about 0.042 % in the absorbed solar radiation and would thus result in a about a 0.01 % temperature change, a cooling of roughly 0.027 K.

    By the way, 0.1 W/m2 is about 50 TW over the globe; the geothermal heat flux is a bit less than that; tidal heating is a whole order of magnitude smaller. Anthropogenic primary energy consumption is globally about 0.02 W/m2.

    Now, take away solar heating, and then 0.1 W/m2 (which is rounded up from geothermal heating) could sustain a surface temperature of (0.1 W/m2 / (5.67*(10^-8) W/(m2 K4)))^(1/4) ~= 36 K. But the difference 0.1 W/m2 can make is much much much much smaller when the temperature is just a bit larger due to other much larger heat sources.

    “If cattle relied on the sky above for evening warmth they would flop down wherever they were grazing. Instead they expend energy seeking bare earth – roads are very popular – where the internal energy flux is strongest.”

    No expert on cattle behavior, but that could be because heat is stored in the upper layer of soil/rock from daytime heating. The ground can also be used as a heat sink – I think Kangaroos do this (saw it on “Planet Earth”).

  28. 378
    Hank Roberts says:

    > cattle

    Sun-warmed bare dirt is warmer than grassland in the early evening.
    conduction =/= convection =/= radiation

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/05/20/notes-from-underground/
    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/bore1.jpg

    “… a borehole temperature profile enables us to reconstruct the ground surface temperature history at that location.

    In fact this is a remarkably reliable way to reconstruct temperature history. Most ‘proxy indicators’ of temperature depend on many factors besides just temperature. Tree ring growth, for example, depends on temperature, but also on the availability of rainfall, the length of the growing season, and other factors. Unlike most proxy indicators, borehole temperature profiles don’t depend on these ‘other factors.’ They’re a simple reflection of the temperature history.”

  29. 379
    Patrick 027 says:

    Peter Taylor, as quoted by John P. Reisman – “We’ve also had a 200% increase in the electromagnetic energy of the sun.”

    You (Peter Taylor) would have to mean energy besides a chunk of the solar UV, all of solar visible visible and solar infrared, which makes up the vast majority of all solar energy, and is much much much less variable.

    Re 371 Peter Taylor –
    “I was quite hopeful on reading the first part of this thread which argued for open rational discussion”

    Many would like an open rational discussion.

    …”I know that if a prior commitment develops in the modelling fraternity”…”there then develops a psychological disincentive to change the models – it is human nature – not conspiracy but blindspot and groupthink” … ” – and I am an intelligent, scientifically literate person with some experience of the use of models that are rather similar to the climate models and suffer from a huge level of prior commitment and developed vested interests, both political and financial – not to accept this is also denialist and very naive.”

    If you don’t know how the ‘gain factors’ (feedback values contributing to climate sensitivity) are determined, then you are not familiar with climate models or how they work. Even given human nature such as it is, it is hard to see how groupthink, blindspots, etc, could actually make a big dent in model results, or paleoclimatic studies, or observations of the 20th centurty, or studies of other planets, etc. I will soon give you a couple links that might show you what I mean.

    “it is clear what has heated the oceans – short-wave radiation coming through from clearer skies (both cloud and aerosol). There is no clear signal of infra-red that stands out above the natural variability. The question then is what thinned the clouds and cleared the air of (largely natural) aerosol?”

    1. clouds
    I’m not sure exactly what you’re describing, but it might be a shift in cloud cover due to a shift in midlatitude storm tracks (to higher latitudes, where the albedo effect is reduced while the greenhouse effect might not be, depending on tropopause height, humidity and temperature, etc.), or a reduction in subtropical marine stratocumulus.

    The former (poleward shift of midlatitude storm track with expansion of Hadley cells and shift in subtropical dry belts) is actually a general expectation (with potential or expected regional variations, of course) of atmospheric circulation change in response to a generic warming, whether through GHGs or solar forcing – although changes in stratospheric circulation associated with ozone depletion, volcanic forcing changes, GHGs, and maybe (not clear on this) solar forcing, and maybe in particular solar UV forcing, could affect this (there’s a LOT I don’t know myself, but there is (A LOT OF) information out there).

    (Exactly why would midlatitude storm tracks shift? Well, I still don’t know, but based on things I do understand, there will be a general tendency to reduce vertical static stability at higher latitudes, particularly in winter, with an opposite change at lower latitudes, I think in all seasons – this would increase system growth (intensification) rates through dry baroclinic instability at higher latitudes and reduce it in lower latitudes – the greater role of latent heating would add to the change in growth rates at higher latitudes but tend to cancel out the effect at lower latitudes, though to a first approximation, for cyclones only, not for anticyclones. Meanwhile, there is the increase in meridional temperature gradient in the upper troposphere, a decrease of the temperature gradient nearer the surface that is not at all latitudes and not in every season, and a general upward shift in the tropopause. The underlying changes I have mentioned that will contribute to changes in atmospheric circulation patterns are easily understood as consequences of the distribution of latent heating changes and surface albedo feedbacks, and the way a change in greenhouse forcing acts at different vertical levels (increased greenhouse effect tends to cool the stratosphere, etc.). There is something in particular that must be understood about the Southern hemisphere, that continued upwelling of colder water at some latitudes will (until the warming has sufficiently penetrated through the deep ocean) tend to drive atmospheric circulation so as to enhance itself.)

    I recently became aware of a study that suggested the later (subtropical marine stratocumulus reduction) might be a positive feedback to global warming. The study was based on data from natural variations. Maybe I’ll get around to posting something about it here if I have the time later.

    “To return to the model synchronisation. This has been a main criticism of the previous suite of models – they use a starting point at equilibrium – which is not an aspect of the real climate world but a virtual reality of the model.”

    Natural forced variations can be simulated as with any forced climate change. That leaves internal variability, which by its nature tends to fluctuate with characteristic texture so that, within a given longer term climatic state, different sufficiently long time periods will appear quite similar in the same way that two lawns of grass will appear similar if they use the same grass variety, are mowed the same way, have the same sun, rain, soil, etc. But they will not have the exact same blades of grass. And so on with specific events that occur within a climate state, such as a single El Nino.

    The exact timings of such events are not necessary to characterize a longer-term state, and it isn’t necessary to predict the specific trajectory of internal variability in order to predict forced climate change – the climate change is a change to a new climate state that has different time averages, for the globe, for the year, and for different regions, etc, for each season, time of day, etc, … and possibly a different texture of internal variability, but it is a climate state that generally will still have some internal variability. Even without knowing, for example, the precise timing of each phase of AMO, a projected climate state can be characterized as being a certain way during any particular phase of AMO, and having particular tendencies for AMO intensity and period, etc.

    In other words, for example, for any particular region, there will be droughts of some intensity/length that are 100 year droughts – they occur on average once every hundred years – but if the climate changes, the same intensity/length of drought might occur once in 50 years or once in 500 years, depending, and the new 100-year drought will have a different intensity/length, and that is important and useful and interesting, even without knowing the precise timings of those droughts – whether one occurs in the year 2087 or 2115, it is not so important in so far as knowing the longer term climate that shapes the risk of such a drought happenning sometime between 2080 and 2180, or 2080 and 2120, etc..

    …”In my limited understanding this is not in order to downplay natural cycles, but because the periodicity of those cycles is not regular enough to be used for relatively short-range predictions (over the next 100 years, for example).”

    Okay…

    … “And of course, the driving mechanisms for those cycles are not understood. The models thus have to mimic that variability and they do so assuming it is random but within certain naturally observed bounds. ”

    Not everything is understood, of course, but there are things that are understood, and even if not understood by a human mind, can be simulated by models based on underlying physics that is known. Also, inability to predict specific events is not necessary to understanding how and why events happen. For example, much of weather (day-to-day variations), such as the timing, trajectory, and strength of a tropical cyclone or an extratropical cyclone, can’t be predicted much beyond about 2-weeks, but there is a general understanding of the mechanisms that make these things happen – the role of thermal gradients, wind, latent heating, the coriolis effect, potential vorticity and Rossby waves, jets (not all independent of each other – potential vorticity in particular is a variable that is a fucntion of thermal and momentum fields that can be used to reconstruct thermal and momentum fields but at the same time changes following the motion of the air only as latent heating/cooling, radiative heating/cooling, and smaller-scale eddy mixing and viscosity cause it), etc.

    … “(if only in the variability generator – however that was done) ”

    This indicates a lack of understanding of how the models generally work. Of course, it may be instructive for some purpose to make a model in which an entire large-scale phenomenom such as ENSO or NAM or the Hadley cell is parameterized, but the computer models generally used are based on underlying physics that is mostly rock solid (conservation of energy, conservation of (angular and linear) momentum, force = mass * acceleration, gas laws, physical properties of water and air, etc, optical properties of gases – and clouds (in some cases, the exact properties might be uncertain but the consequences of the property are known and the value can be estimated to some accuracy).

    Some approximations are made, but with very good reason. Relativistic effects just aren’t important to the processes within the climate system, for example, so Newtonian mechanics is used.

    The uncertainties come in with processes that cannot be explicitly resolved by the grid scale used, which itself cannot be arbitrarily small because of limited computing power. Such processes must be parameterized. But that is not a guessing game – the possible relationships can be constrained by other modelling excercises and by observations.

    So far as I know, significant internal variabilily larger than grid scale (as opposed to the growth of individual cloud droplets and ice crystals, or turbulent eddies a few meters across or smaller that evolve over seconds, two extreme example of things that must be parameterized on a global scale model that simulates hundreds of years) is not parameterized by arises from the model physics. It helps support confidence in models that they can produce such behavior as ENSO, as well as such climatological seasonal averages as the ITCZ, without being explicitly told to do so.

    Website on climate models will wait for next comment…

    “and it is the thesis of my book that “this ’seventh wave’ was the signal taken to confirm the global warming hypothesis”

    There’s a lot of reason to think it works that way even without the 20th century record.

    “In my book I argue that the cyclic variability of the solar magnetic field is the likely ultimate cause acting via effects of UV and electrical phenomenon on the polar vortex and the tracking of the jetstream. Thus – a multiplicity of factors is at play – as often in a complex Earth environment.”

    Sounds interesting, but explain how. What does change in the E-region dynamo do to the EP flux so as to produce a signal that somehow propagates downward to significantly affect tropospheric circulation and move clouds around, in spite of the insignificant mass of the E-region dynamo itself in comparison – or whatever it is you might be thinking of? (Because everything could be connected to everything, but not equally, so you can’t just say, well, this could happen, without considering the math and physics in some sufficiently specific manner to justify a level of suspicion of significance. ie Occam’s Razor.)

  30. 380
    Mark says:

    “Re 371 Peter Taylor –
    “I was quite hopeful on reading the first part of this thread which argued for open rational discussion”

    Many would like an open rational discussion.”

    In fact, Peter, could you do us a favour and START being rational?

    “Internal energy waves” indeed…

  31. 381
    Mark says:

    “Thus – a multiplicity of factors is at play – as often in a complex Earth environment.”

    Peter, could it be that one of those factors is CO2?

    Could it be that the biggest single contributor after solar radiation and water vapour (another greenhouse gas) is CO2?

    If it cannot, please explain why.

  32. 382
    MG says:

    I work in a tangentially-related field, so take these initial impressions with a grain of salt and correct me if I am wrong. My impression is that the notion that periods of higher cosmic ray intensities cause long-term cooling has not been proven, and that suggestions that mechanisms have been found to explain the historical and pre-historical correlations with presumed climate indicators are considered controversial. It is unlikely, but possible, that they have found a mechanistically-based correlation. At the same time, the correlations are interesting – almost compelling – which suggests that variations in solar intensities (perhaps even cosmic rays) may influence the climate in a way that is much larger than proportional to TSI variations. I haven’t a clue why, but I do think the temperature reconstruction vs. CR correlations show that investigation is needed, to learn more about poorly-understood ways in which the Sun affects the climate.
    Furthermore, I personally feel that just as AGW-skeptics are quick to accept theories contrary to the hegemonic belief that CO2 drives most of the modern warming, the AGW-faithful are too quick to demonize alternative theories. Svensmark’s controversial work is precisely the type of work that should be presented at conferences, to be dissected, discussed, refuted and/supported as appropriate. I would even go so far as to say that if his theory were to be proven true and significant (I personally happen to feel that this is unlikely), that it might be handy for the AGW-faithful. Why? CO2-induced warming is a well-understood and accepted phenomenon within the climate community. If the climate is not cooling right now even though solar variations are of significance, then this is further observation-based evidence of global warming. After all, my take on Svensmark’s curves is that the correlation starts to break down a bit after 1985. If the Sun’s variations affect climate, then this deviation might even be evidence of AGW! So, relax, let him have his show, and don’t even worry if he turns out to be right!

  33. 383
    CM says:

    comments such as ‘denialist conspiracy crap’ do not encourage dialogue!

    Mr Taylor, people here are all for dialogue. It’s the denialist conspiracy crap we don’t like. We find it gets in the way of dialogue. Want to discuss the models, the sun, the clouds? You’ve come to the right place. Want to invoke all those unnamed scientists intimidated into silence? Please pick up after yourself.

  34. 384
    Patrick 027 says:

    Peter Taylor –

    Climate Models:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii/
    (if you want English and it comes up in a different language, click on the flag.)

    Anything else under the same category at RealClimate.

    See also links (such as “AIP: Discovery of Glob. Warm.” under “Science Links” on the right-hand side of this window).

  35. 385
    Patrick 027 says:

    Correction: so far as I know, “significant internal variabilily larger than grid scale”…”is not parameterized, *BUT* arises from the model physics.”

  36. 386
    RichardC says:

    371 peter T said, ” If the quiet sun heralds another Maunder type minimum, then correlations at the very least suggest we should be preparing for a cold future and one in which ironically carbon dioxide would work to ameliorate that (but not much, I fear).”

    How so? we’re already in an extended minimum and yet temperatures are at an all-time high. I am reminded of the scarecrow’s lament.

  37. 387
    Rene says:

    383 CM,
    Is the “the denialist conspiracy crap” you don’t like, the notion that science can get shaped by its funders?

  38. 388

    Unless I am totally misunderstanding the GCR hypothesis – that more GCRs cause clouds and hence cooling – doesn’t this report from NASA totally knock the thing on the head? Small quote: “In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we’ve seen in the past 50 years”. And the trend has been strongly up since 2001. Meanwhile we’ve also hit the deepest solar minimum in almost 100 years. Shouldn’t we be at all-time lows (in the instrument record), not near all-time temperature highs?

    If GCR, the sun and ENSO are all taken into account, assuming all these have the effect claimed (GCR) or known (the others), 2007-8 should be pretty much the coolest years we can expect under current levels of CO2. Reverse all these things (El Niño on top of peak of solar cycle; forget GCR, it’s probably noise at best) and we could be at something more like 1°C above preindustrial temperatures. (Allowing that there are other apparently chaotic terms in a real model; but still, I’m solely relying here on the views of those who make such a big deal of natural variation.)

  39. 389
    Patrick 027 says:

    “383 CM,
    Is the “the denialist conspiracy crap” you don’t like, the notion that science can get shaped by its funders?”

    Duh. Details? Who funded the study that suggests energy is still conserved in a closed system? What agency funded the study that shows that ice has a higher albedo than bare rock or ocean? Who gave George Soros a time machine to go back and tell Tyndall and Arrhenius (sp?) what their results should be? And who pays Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer to avoid coming up with arguments that actually hold water and are rooted in actual facts?

    Meanwhile, who funds CEI, CATO, the Heartland Institute? Is it true that the Reverend Sung Myung Moon (sp?) is associated with the Washington Times? Who did George W. Bush put in charge of editing EPA documents, and where did he go to work when he left that post?

  40. 390
    Mark says:

    MG, the problem is that you have to explain why then CO2 isn’t having the effect that mathematics and the known science says it should.

    ALL of that is missing from your post.

    And if such wondrous occurrences are strong evidence with you, take a look at BPL’s work on the proof that 74% of the variation in temperature is correlated with the log of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

    ALL of that GCR change has to take its slice of the remaining 26%.

    If the slice GCRs take give you such intense feelings that there’s something more to it, then that monumental correlation of CO2 must hit you with the blinding light of the divine.

  41. 391
    Mark says:

    Patrick, it looks like its saying something other than your reading: Not “Is the …” but “It’s the …”.

    Your and his post seem to say the same thing.

    Quick reading is a bugger.

    I’ve been on both sides of that. ‘cept all I get are yells of STFU. Go figure.

  42. 392
    Mark says:

    Ah, now I’m doing it. Thought I wasn’t for a while, but it’s rene you were quoting not CM.

    I wonder if Rene thinks that money is sooo powerful it can change reality?

    Because just like Pons and Flieshmann (I never can remember, silly phonemes…) found out: it doesn’t matter what your work comes up with, eventually people will find out.

    And either you bribe the entire world, or you’re found out.

    Which is why so many denialist papers are published on blogs.

  43. 393
    John says:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122597017/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    It is a near certainty that you will discredit this study – why doesn’t all of the scientific community come to you first to have you screen what is worthy, and what is not.

    [Response: There aren’t enough hours in the day…. – gavin]

  44. 394
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re Mark 391-392

    – yeah, I could have been clearer there. That was quoted from and in response to Rene.

  45. 395
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    The world especially the US should heed the words of PM Gordon Brown for if we compromise in copenhagen the catastophic consequences of our in)action will undoubedly massively exceed the global impact of both world wars. If America has some perverse sense of its own perceived importance it will jeaporise the deal and screw us all. If the US fails in joining the copenhagen fray with hard hitting emission reduction targets it will endure global condemnation for the rest of the borrowed time we have on this dying planet. The famous american ego is hopefully based on its ability to lead..well now is the chance to prove that once and for all OR rightfully disappear for into social and ecomomic obscurity. Many are saying this is our LAST chance to get this right..and the way the arctic is vanishing before our eyes and the consequent increase in methane levels over this area would give me complete confidence in supporting this veiw. Don’t we ALL agree!!

  46. 396
  47. 397
    Patrick 027 says:

    Peter Taylor –

    I forgot to point out as part of comment 379 that there is an IR-signal.

    1. We know there has to be some signals in the range of 12 to 18 microns caused by increased CO2. At 15 microns, at the tropopause level, the signal would be minimal, while from space, that signal should be an increase in outgoing LW radiation (if the increase in CO2 were sudden – read on) – this combination is an example of how a greenhouse gas increase causes stratospheric cooling, although stratospheric cooling results generally from increased opacity at other wavelengths except perhaps if the gas is concentrated in the stratosphere … depending. But sufficiently far from 15 microns, the effect of a CO2 increase which would dominate space-based observation is a reduction in outgoing LW radiation from below the tropopause – at some intermediate wavelengths, the two effects would cancel (at first – read on) leaving no net change in outgoing LW radiation to space – but the consequences are not zero at such wavelengths, rather it is that there would be surface+tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. Of course, the consequent cooling of the stratosphere
    —-
    (it is not convectively coupled to the surface, including in particular the ocean, and so isn’t tied to a large heat capacity, and can achieve radiative equilibrium on a sub-seasonal time scale (exactly how fast, I forget, but it’s shorter than a whole season)
    —-
    would counteract the increased outward LW flux from the stratosphere, so perhaps the net effect for a change in CO2 occuring over years wouldn’t produce an increase in outgoing LW radiation to space at any wavelength. (?)

    This can all be calculated with great confidence, by the way, so actually taking measurements from space to confirm the physics is just icing on the cake. The spectrum of CO2 in outgoing LW radiation is distinct enough (by the way, also observable for other planets, as so for other gases), so it’s a no brainer really that adding CO2 will adjust this effect except at those wavelengths where the effect is saturated, etc. My understanding has been that climatologically significant changes are still small enough that they are hard to measure with satellites (there are issues about callibration and drift), however, I believe recently it has been done (right? – anyone remember that?).

    And of course one can measure radiation reaching the surface emitted by the atmosphere.

    I think space-based and surface measurements of LW radiation have been used to look at the water vapor feedback. I’m not up on all the details of what has been done, but I do know that radiation data can be analyzed to determine both temperature and composition, because gases have spectra where opacity at different wavelengths have some relationship to each other, and I think some wavelengths are actually based on oxygen (not a significant greenhouse gas, but then, in general some measurements are made at wavelengths where the energy is not climatologically significant).

    ———-

    What I really want to emphasize, though, is that climate models are not explicitly told to produce an ITCZ, monsoons, jet streams and their undulations, midlatitude storm tracks, nor are they told to produce ENSO, NAM, SAM, etc. They are given some information about the thermodynamics of gases, water, etc, optical properties (may need to be parameterized over wavelength intervals, see “FAQ on Climate Models”), the geography of the Earth (grid-resolved topography and bathymetry, the layout of the continents and oceans, etc.), and so on. The models then produce jet streams, deserts, precipitation patterns and cloud patterns, humid and dry air masses, cold and warm air masses, midlatitude storms and jet streams, the ITCZ and monsoons, and ENSO, etc. Not that they do so perfectly, but perfection is not necessary for usefulness. For example, why would a model that can’t simulate the MJO necessarily be way off on climate sensitivity overall?. Also, a model might not allow all things to be variable. Earlier models had oceans fixed in some way (a boundary condition), so the results only showed how the atmosphere would behave if the oceans behaved in a specific way. That does not make such a model useless, however, because that is still knowledge. Now, carbon-cycle feedback and maybe vegetation and ice-sheet feedback (I’m not quite sure where the state of the art is just now) might be left out of the interactive part of the model, if only for remaining uncertainty in how to put that in or to use computing power efficiently, so they would be treated as boundary conditions. But that is still useful information – we know what the models do given A, B, C, now we can consider what happens if A does this and B does that… etc.

    And so the model can react to a forcing, and produce some overall global average surface temperature change, along with characteristic spatial-temporal patterns in temperature, water, and wind, and the results imply a climate senstivity which requires some net feedback, whose components (clouds, water vapor) can be found in model output (and compared to measurements and paleoclimatic data).

  48. 398
    Patrick 027 says:

    Actually, I think the study (of outgoin LW radiation) I was thinking of was measuring the total radiant flux, but that may have involved measurements at different wavelengths.

    There is an IR, specifically LW, signal

    (LW, not to be confused with solar IR, although water vapor will affect that too. Actually, CO2 also has some absorption of solar IR, although it is not the main feature of CO2 (but it is included in climate modelling so far as I know) (the instantaneous effect of absorption of solar IR in the stratosphere would tend to warm the stratosphere and cool the troposphere; with stratospheric equilibration (as with the LW stratospheric cooling and surface+tropospheric warming), the forcing at the tropopause level is reduced by the change in downward LW radiation from the stratosphere; complete equilibration will further result in changes in the stratosphere in response to surface and tropospheric changes, by the way) (tropospheric solar IR absorption will instantaneously act to cool the surface and heat the air, but the convectively coupling will counteract that effect by spreading temperature changes vertically. Meanwhile, any increase in solar radiation absorption in the air will tend to decrease the albedo by intercepting photons either before or after reflection from the surface or lower-lying cloud, thus reducing the solar energy reflected back to space – although some high albedo surfaces are more reflective in the visible wavelengths (water, snow, clouds) – but the opposite is true of at least some vegetative cover; see Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology”, 1994, pp. 88-90).

  49. 399
    sidd says:

    I disagree with almost every one of Mr. Taylor’s points.

    In fact, I was stunned to see a claim that was almost plausible, that the 80% of heating of the late twentieth century was confined to the upper 200 meters of the ocean, specifically to the N. Atlantic and N. Pacific. Mr. Taylor, as usual, did not see fit to provide a citation, except a phrase ascribing the statement to the IPCC.

    So amazed was I by this evidence of acuity, that I unearthed Levitus et al. (GRL, v32, L02604, 2005). Alas, as usual, I discovered that Mr. Taylor was incorrect, as Table A-1 of the supplementary material shows.

    However, this was not a complete waste of time. (Although I do wish I hadn’t had to read all of Mr. Taylor’s comments to get to the semi-sane bit.) It led me to reread Schuckmann et al. (JGR, v114, C09007, 2009) and I see the pattern continues with large warming at depth as seen in Figure 5.

    The deep ocean is warming quickly.

    And the Southern Ocean is freshening, and I wonder how much of that is due to ice melt ? I estimate from the color coding in Fig. 5 that ice melt from Antarctica is too small by two orders of magnitude, but perhaps someone here has better data and calculation ?

  50. 400

    #371 Peter Taylor

    Peter, did you know that a maunder minimum event at this point in time would be a wonderful and welcome event, but would not stop global warming.

    Solar variance in the Schwabe cycle adds and removes 0.2 W/m2 from the forcing budget. We are varying 1.6 to 1.8 W/m2 now (which is 1.6 to 1.8 over budget). So at solar peak it’s 18. W/m2 and we are at minimum (1.6 W/m2).

    1.6 is still positive, so we continue to warm.

    As I asked previously, what is your understanding of thermal equilibrium in the climate system?