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Unforced Variations: Oct 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 October 2020

This month’s open thread.

98 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Oct 2020”

  1. 51
    Karsten V Johansen says:

    Supplying my own questions in #43 above:

    It seems to me that M. Mann is overlooking this (when he hypothesizes this: “Using new, more elaborate computer models equipped with an interactive carbon cycle, “what we now understand is that if you stop emitting carbon right now … the oceans start to take up carbon more rapidly,” Mann says. Such ocean storage of CO2 “mostly” offsets the warming effect of the CO2 that still remains in the atmosphere. Thus, the actual lag between halting CO2 emissions and halting temperature rise is not 25 to 30 years, he explains, but “more like three to five years”.
    This is “a dramatic change in our understanding” of the climate system that gives humans “more agency”, says Mann. Rather than being locked into decades of inexorably rising temperatures, humans can turn down the heat almost immediately by slashing emissions promptly. “Our destiny is determined by our behavior,” says Mann, a fact he finds “empowering”.”

    “So if we stop emitting carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels today, it’s not the end of the story for global warming. There’s a delay in air-temperature increase as the atmosphere catches up with all the heat that the Earth has accumulated. After maybe 40 more years, scientists hypothesize the climate will stabilize at a temperature higher than what was normal for previous generations.
    *This decades-long lag between cause and effect is due to the long time it takes to heat the ocean’s huge mass*. The energy that is held in the Earth by increased carbon dioxide does more than heat the air. It melts ice; it heats the ocean. Compared to air, it’s harder to raise the temperature of water; it takes time – decades. However, once the ocean temperature is elevated, it will release heat back to the air, and be measured as surface heating.” (My exclamations with *s KVJ).

    Or has Mann been misinterpreted by the Guardian journalist?

  2. 52
    zebra says:

    BPL #48,

    Big mistake, pedagogically/rhetorically.

    This to me is a common problem. The trolls just want to trigger a response to create an illusion of equivalency, and you play into it perfectly. You let them do the framing, instead of correcting the language and explaining the fundamentals precisely.

  3. 53
    zebra says:

    Susan Anderson #46,

    Sound exactly like what could be said about art and artists, eh.

  4. 54

    #33, MAR–

    Thanks for some interesting observations. I’m more than usually grateful, as your comments–or rather, my attempt to respond to them–clearly revealed to me (some of?) the limitations of my mental picture of what happens during the seasonal cycle of the Arctic sea ice. And, it must be admitted, also of my initial careless reading of the question you posed:

    Why would the SIV be seeing a dipping anomaly pre-minimum while SIE sees it post-minimum?

    I actually wrote some lengthy commentary, only to decide it needed to be scrapped and recycled. (Some of the ideas are good, I think, but the overall post is just plain confused.)

    Some necessary considerations, which I’m still chewing on:

    –seasonal temperature anomalies (freezing season has warmed, melting season not so much)
    –poleward shift of mean ice edge over time
    –fragmentation of ice edge/pack over time
    –relation of all of the above to daylight hours

    However, one result is still, I think, worth mentioning, and that is that if you look at thickness products, such as the JAXA AMRS-2, or even Neven’s amateur index, PIJAMAS (which just divides PIOMAS volume by JAXA extent), you see a qualitatively similar picture. First, the respective links:

    For convenience of comparison, here’s a conversion table for day-of-the-year versus calendar date; awkwardly, the two use different conventions:

    In both, you see a linear increase in thickness during most of the freeze season. Per PIJAMAS, it starts at about Day 300 (~Oct. 28); per JAXA, it’s more like Day 319. This then runs til Day 150 (May 30) per PIJAMAS, or Day 166 (JAXA). During this time extent and volume are growing more or less proportionately, and moreover, the thickness is dropping pretty consistently over time even though these are very short records in climatic terms.

    I connect this, rightly or wrongly, to the fact that the warming of the Arctic is predominantly a freeze season phenomenon; as has often been observed, during melt season air temps are largely ‘clamped’. See, for instance, the imperfect but convenient DMI80 index:

    During the melt season, figurative hell breaks loose, and variability increases dramatically. But one can discern a ‘double-humped’ response curve, in which thickness falls rapidly, then levels out or rebounds toward a peak around the time of the annual minimum (both data sets). After that, there is another fall in mean thickness, until the cycle begins anew.

    (One can also observe that the ‘rebound’ toward the second peak is much reduced in recent years. This makes sense; it probably reflects the fact that there is precious little thick old ice left to melt these days. I.e., in previous years, the thickness would have tended to grow because the thinner ice is apt to go first.)

  5. 55

    #37, et seq–

    A small addition, based on my observations in Kershaw county, SC, where forestry is a big deal, and clearcuts can appear almost anywhere without warning.

    This bit needs a little reconsideration:

    A forest that has been recently cut is easy to defend from fire. Each year of growth makes it harder, probably all the way to the next cutting time.

    I think the first couple of years after the typical clear-cut are not so easy to defend. The total biomass is of course much lower, but typically there is dead ‘slash’ lying everywhere. And it’s both highly flammable–being dead and usually dry!–and very awkward to traverse.

    Timber companies could, of course, be required to do post-harvest controlled burns to mitigate this, but that wouldn’t be The American Way, would it?

  6. 56
    mike says:

    The Arctic is in a death spiral. How much longer will it exist?

    The region is unravelling faster than anyone could once have predicted

    This is happening faster than anyone could have predicted? I have a name for you: Peter Wadhams.

    Oct. 12, 2020 410.89 ppm
    Oct. 12, 2019 408.37 ppm
    1 Year Change 2.52 ppm (0.62%)

    Warm regards


  7. 57
    Oscar Wehmanen says:

    On the matter of economics and climate change from last month:
    The short term costs of climate change are driven by catastrophes. The economic analysis is based in regression analysis. Regression is a very strong smoothing tool. It is designed to remove catastrophes.
    The economists who work climate change are at insurance companies. Ask Munich-RE about the economics of climate change! They are paying attention.

  8. 58
    Mack says:

    @48 BPL

    I hope I’m a “competent person”, BPL, to give you some imput.
    The 2LOT generally applies to two OBJECTS… causing confusion. What we have here is simply a SUN, EARTH, SPACE system. Energy comes into the system from the Sun….it’s timeless, so no time units are necessary in the physics. The energy (strictly speaking, POWER) strikes an object…. any object..atom, molecule, cloud, Earth surface… and from there dissipates to space. SPACE also applies to the “space(s)” between atoms or molecules, and there’s quite a lot of “space” between the molecules of the atmosphere. So there is continuous movement of energy to space, even at the surface and troposphere.
    Earth sciences needs to stop compartmentalising…Stop drawing stuff on the blackboard which says this is the land, this is the ocean, this is the atmosphere, this is space. Stop the… ATMOSPHERE…NO ATMOSPHERE nonsense.
    And there’s no wacko “heat trapping” in the atmosphere, either.
    Hope that helps, BPL.

  9. 59
    nigelj says:

    Killian @45, fyi:

    “Glacier retreat has knocked the dynamics of the whole ice sheet (Greenland) into a constant state of loss,” study co-author Ian Howat, an Earth scientist at The Ohio State University, said in a statement. “Even if the climate were to stay the same or even get a little colder, the ice sheet would still be losing mass.”

  10. 60
    zebra says:

    Mack #58,

    “I hope I’m a competent person.”

    Sorry, no. One fundamental rule of science is that we all speak the same language; you don’t get to make up meanings for words and jumble them all together in an incoherent rant.

    And, you know, the ALL CAPS stuff might indicate a different type of ‘issue’ with respect to ‘competence’, if you take my meaning. Too few meds, too much self-med, whatever. (I know, I know, it’s not PC to point that out.)

    Try putting down a sober, reasoned argument, using physics terms as they are defined in physics. You may be right, you may be wrong, but so far I have no clue what you are trying to say.

  11. 61
    William B Jackson says:

    #58 Do please inform NASA of their error as they say of the atmosphere ” It creates the pressure without which liquid water couldn’t exist on our planet’s surface. And it warms our planet and keeps temperatures habitable for our living Earth.” I am sure they will be grateful to you for saving them from this “error”! See..
    Let me see now whom should we trust hmmm there is you or there is NASA?

  12. 62
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mack@58, Based on that exposition, no, you are not a competent person. That is Time-Cube level weird. It is also utter nonsense. Energy is mass*distance^2/time^2. You DO have to specify units, unless you are working specifically with dimensionless units. And to say energy is “timeless” wtf does that even mean? Please. You are embarrassing yourself.

  13. 63
    Mike says:

    News update from the great white north:

    This is happening with our new normal heat buildup. I think 2020 is not an unusually warm year, it’s just the new baseline for global temp at 410 ppm. The next ENSO warm cycle is going to be a wild one.


    September 2020 411.26 ppm 411.26 ppm
    September 2019 408.54 ppm 408.55 ppm
    September 2018 405.52 ppm 405.59 ppm
    Last Update: October 6, 2020 October 6, 2020

    warm regards,


  14. 64

    #58, Mack–

    Mack begins:

    I hope I’m a “competent person”…

    And proceeds to:

    Energy comes into the system from the Sun….it’s timeless, so no time units are necessary in the physics. The energy (strictly speaking, POWER) strikes an object….

    Thereby disproving his fond hope, and giving a good laugh to anyone with even a faint clue.

    Hint: “In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time.”

    (The mods must keep him out of the Bore Hole for the entertainment value.)

  15. 65
    Western Hiker says:

    Al Bundy 37

    Your idea, basically, is to organize clearcuts into firelines. Makes sense to me! As it is, they are a willy-nilly patchwork and not particularly useful in that respect.

    Along similar lines (pun intended), FDR envisioned a giant fireline along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California. Would have been a reality if not for WW2.

  16. 66
    MA Rodger says:

    NOAA has posted for September with a global anomaly of +0.97ºC, up a little from Aug’s +0.94ºC. The 2020 monthly anomalies for the year-so-far sit in the range +0.92ºC to +1.18ºC.

    September 2020 is the warmest September on the NOAA record, sitting above Septembers 2015 & 2016 (both +0.95ºC), 2019 (+0.94ºC), 2017 (+0.86ºC), 2018 (+0.83ºC), 2014 (+0.79ºC) & 2012 (+0.74ºC).
    September 2020 has the =18th highest anomaly on the NOAA all-month record.

    With three-quarters of the year gone, 2020 is sitting in 2nd place in the rankings of warmest year-so-far tabulated below. To gain top-spot for the full calendar year from 2016, the 2020 Oct-Dec anomaly would have to average above +0.92ºC and to drop to 3rd spot below 2019 would require Oct-Dec to average less than +0.73ºC.

    …….. Jan-Sept Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +1.06ºC … … … +1.00ºC … … … 1st
    2020 .. +1.03ºC
    2019 .. +0.95ºC … … … +0.95ºC … … … 2nd
    2017 .. +0.94ºC … … … +0.91ºC … … … 4th
    2015 .. +0.89ºC … … … +0.93ºC … … … 3rd
    2018 .. +0.82ºC … … … +0.83ºC … … … 5th
    2010 .. +0.76ºC … … … +0.73ºC … … … 7th
    2014 .. +0.74ºC … … … +0.74ºC … … … 6th
    1998 .. +0.70ºC … … … +0.65ºC … … … 10th
    2005 .. +0.67ºC … … … +0.67ºC … … … 9th
    2013 .. +0.66ºC … … … +0.68ºC … … … 8th

  17. 67
    nigelj says:

    Mack @ 48 says “And there’s no wacko “heat trapping” in the atmosphere, either.” Our moons temperatures at night and in shadow areas during the day are much colder than the same areas earth. The lack of an atmosphere and greenhouse effect on the moon explains it rather nicely.

  18. 68
    Mack says:

    @ 62 Ray Ladbury,

    You notice I mentioned the word POWER instead of energy, Ray. Power is the amount of ENERGY per unit TIME . The time factor is removed because the Sun’s energy is timeless. What part of the word TIMELESS do you not understand? The unit of power is the joule/sec known as the WATT.
    It’s WATTS is what we’re talking about. Watts/sq.m …no time factor in Watts. When I go and buy an electric light- bulb they tell me the WATTAGE of the time factor mentioned.
    For a seemingly intelligent person, you sure are a fuckwit, Ray.

  19. 69
    Mack says:

    @61 WB Jackson

    “And it (atmosphere) warms our plant and keeps temperatures habitable…”

    Aahahahahaha … you’ve really guzzled the Koolaid, Jackson. The atmosphere COOLS the surface….nothing in the atmosphere warms.
    Some basic gas physics for you. Gases in the atmosphere do not add energy to the atmosphere but disperse it. ALL gases just dissipate heat.

  20. 70
    Killian says:

    crazy nigel:

    You must be insane. You keep repeating the same error and expecting it to turn out better than all the other times. Don’t challenge me; prove you’re sane. I said:

    you ***start stabilizing the poles within decades

    I know of two studies that say this. And I do not posit a “little colder,” I posit a return to 260ppm, which would be more than 1C colder over time. At that temp, the poles can stabilize. No guarantee they will soon enough to avoid massive rise, but they damned sure won’t stabilize if we *don’t* return to at least 300; they started melting at approximately 315ppm.

    350ppm is a stupid goal.

  21. 71
    Adam Lea says:

    Kevin@64: Yes that sentence you quoted doesn’t make sense to me. Energy/power strikes an object???

    There is one scenario with work done (the physics definition) which I have always been slightly confused about. Hold a couple of moderately heavy objects at arms length at shoulder height and keep your arms still. As everything is stationary, there is no work being done, so why do your arms/shoulders fatigue to the point where you will have to drop the objects? Your muscles have to apply a force against gravity, but there is no movement.

    Second thing that sounds counterintuitive, consider a cyclist cycling 10 miles at 20 mph on the flat in zero wind. Consider another cyclist cycling 10 miles at 10 mph with a 10 mph headwind. The work done by the two cyclists is the same, yet cycling a set distance in a headwind feels harder than cycling the same distance in zero wind, and the cyclist in the second case will be cycling against the same wind resistance for twice as long, so how come he does the same amount of work?

  22. 72
    Killian says:

    57 Oscar Wehmanen: On the matter of economics and climate change from last month:
    The short term costs of climate change are driven by catastrophes. The economic analysis is based in regression analysis. Regression is a very strong smoothing tool. It is designed to remove catastrophes.
    The economists who work climate change are at insurance companies. Ask Munich-RE about the economics of climate change! They are paying attention.

    Or ask me. I’ve been promoting risk as the proper framing of climate for a very long time. Part of that has been stating one reason the effects of climate will be sooner than expected is exactly that issue of extremes vs averages. Climate doesn’t shift by averages, it jumps in fits and starts because of extremes triggering sudden phase changes.

    The sceintists are a decade late in switching to risk-based climate conversations. Hope they all wake up soon.

  23. 73

    M 58: And there’s no wacko “heat trapping” in the atmosphere, either.

    BPL: Yes, the atmosphere “trapping heat” is an analogy which doesn’t actually explain how the greenhouse effect works. Heat isn’t trapped; energy is absorbed and radiated.

  24. 74
    MA Rodger says:

    Forgetting that the GISTEMP webpage gets updated later that the last-month anomaly is posted, I see GISTEMP has posted for September with a global anomaly of +1.00ºC, up on August’s anomaly of +0.87ºC which was the lowest anomaly of the year-to-date, the highest being Feb’s +1.25ºC.

    September 2020 is the warmest September on the GISTEMP record (as per NOAA), sitting above Septembers 2019 (+0.93ºC), 2016 (+0.91ºC), 2014 (+0.88ºC), 2015 (+0.86ºC), 2018 (+0.81ºC), 2017 (+0.78ºC) & 2013 (+0.78ºC).
    September 2020 has the =23rd highest anomaly on the GISTEMP all-month record (=18th in NOAA).

    With three-quarters of the year gone, 2020 is sitting in 2nd place in the rankings of warmest year-so-far tabulated below. To gain top-spot for the full calendar year from 2016, the 2020 Oct-Dec anomaly would have to average above +0.92ºC and to drop to 3rd spot below 2019 would require Oct-Dec to average less than +0.79ºC.

    …….. Jan-Sept Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +1.06ºC … … … +1.02ºC … … … 1st
    2020 .. +1.05ºC
    2019 .. +0.97ºC … … … +0.99ºC … … … 2nd
    2017 .. +0.93ºC … … … +0.93ºC … … … 3rd
    2018 .. +0.83ºC … … … +0.86ºC … … … 5th
    2015 .. +0.83ºC … … … +0.90ºC … … … 4th
    2014 .. +0.75ºC … … … +0.75ºC … … … 6th
    2010 .. +0.75ºC … … … +0.73ºC … … … 7th
    2007 .. +0.71ºC … … … +0.67ºC … … … 10th
    2005 .. +0.67ºC … … … +0.68ºC … … … 9th
    2013 .. +0.66ºC … … … +0.68ºC … … … 8th

    A graph of the last decade’s monthly anomalies for the different temperature records is here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) and a year-on-year plot of GISTEMP monthly anomalies is here (2 clicks).

  25. 75

    #66, MAR–

    So, just to highlight a bit:

    1) “To gain top-spot for the full calendar year from 2016, the 2020 Oct-Dec anomaly would have to average above +0.92ºC and to drop to 3rd spot below 2019 would require Oct-Dec to average less than +0.73ºC.”

    2) “The 2020 monthly anomalies for the year-so-far sit in the range +0.92ºC to +1.18ºC.”

    Therefore, basically, we’d need a significant 3-month cool spell (relative to the year so far) to *avoid* a 2020 becoming the record-warmest year to date.

    Which takes my mind to ENSO, because what can reliably cool the ol’ planet like a nice La Nina? (Well, a really hearty volcanic eruption, of course, but “reliably”?) Haven’t paid ENSO state much mind lately…

    …oh. We’ve been in a La Nina since August or so.

    Never mind.

  26. 76

    Okay, with a little research I’ve figured it out.

    For a given body, losing energy means entropy is negative. Gaining it means entropy is positive.

    Body T F S Out S In Net
    Atmosphere 255 239.7575818 -0.940225811 1.529823749 0.589597938
    Ground 288 390.1050559 -1.354531444 0.832491604 -0.522039841
    Sum: 0.067558097

    The atmosphere, assumed to be at 255 K, radiates 240 W m^-2. The ground, assumed to be at 288 K, radiates 390 W m^-2. We analyze one second of radiation so that we can takes watts as joules, since 1 W = 1 J s^-1.

    The atmosphere decreases in entropy -0.94 J K^-1 by radiating, but gains 1.53 J K^-1 receiving radiation from the ground, for a net entropy of 0.59 J K^-1. So far so good.

    The ground decreases in entropy -1.35 J K^-1 by radiating, but gains 0.83 J K^-1 receiving radiation from the air. Net entropy -0.52 J K^-1. Entropy has decreased for the ground.

    But it has increased more for the air. The net entropy of the whole system is 0.07 J K^-1, so overall entropy has increased and the second law of thermodynamics is not violated.

  27. 77

    And as usual, the blogging software utterly louses up the spacing, making the table unintelligible. Oh, well. Take my word for it, it works out.

  28. 78
    mike says:

    again at AB at 32: I think of the s.harris cartoon

    “then a miracle occurs” with the professor saying: I think you should be a little more explicit here in step two.

    the miracle in this instance would be our species existing on the planet in a netzero state, Mann’s thoughts on time lag for heating are interesting and stand alone as a realm of scientific inquiry, but I feel like the professor in the cartoon: I think you have jumped over the big problem here in step 2. How do you think we could attain a netzero civilization? How long do you think that will take to achieve? (the discussion that takes place on forced variations thread)

    I suppose Mann may be trying to dangle a carrot out there in a carrot or stick routine. As in, see, if we do the miracle, we get better really fast.

    But in the spirit of the unforced variation discussion, our species is part of the natural world that has stumbled on to a huge labor-saving device (fossil fuels) and we have utilized them to a degree that has initiated an extinction event (again, a not unnatural event on a small blue planet such as ours), I think a scientific approach to this set of circumstances needs to hypothesize a path to a netzero civilization that is acceptable to enough human beings so that we could follow that path and not watch human civilization (such as it is) collapse and coincidentally, stop gathering important the scientific data about this very interesting real world experiment. That endeavor is also a feature of the natural world and exists as an interesting subset realm of the natural world for science, human engineering and technology and deserves its own thread for discussion, but fits in unforced variations in the form of the “natural miracle” that needs to happen if we want to slow or stop the extinction event that we have launched.

    The idea and image of flattening a dangerous curve has been delivered by the Covid pandemic, but that image is also completely appropriate to discussion of CO2 emissions and the graph commonly described as the Keeling Curve. Back to the natural world phenomena: is there any indication that our species can flatten that curve?

    Again, in the real world application sense of a carrot or stick, I would suggest that our species be directed back to the Keeling Curve when folks suggest that we have handled the big problem in a meaningful way. Chatter about falling emissions, or breakthrough technologies, etc. are just chatter to my ears unless the data from the falling emissions or breakthrough technologies can be seen to be flattening the Keeling Curve.

    As Churchill said when looking at an existential threat: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, sweat and tears.

    We need Churchillian leadership to help us walk the path through that miracle at step 2.


  29. 79
    Barry Finch says:

    The Arctic Ocean surface/air gets its heat from 2 sources that provide almost equal amounts of heat to it as follows, in w/m**2 at latitude 75N for 2016 AD:
    spring & autumn annual
    summer & winter average
    ”159 ””””””” 11 ””””” 85 ”””’ Sunshine absorbed
    ”’ 66 ”””””” 121 ””””’ 93.5 ”’ Warm air (mostly by far) & water from the south
    ” -10 ””””””” 10 ”””””” 0 ”””’ Heat into or out of the Arctic Ocean
    ” -19 ””””””” 19 ”””””” 0 ”””’ Ice—>water or water—>ice latent heat
    ”’ —- ”””””” —- ”””” —-
    ” 196 ”””””” 161 ””’ 178.5 ”’ Total
    The following average semi-annual surface/air temperatures are supported by those heat quantities:
    w /
    m**2 degrees
    196 ”””” 1.1
    161 ”” -12.1
    178.5 ”’-5.3
    When there is no Arctic Ocean sea ice on March 13th then add 30 w/m**2 to the “159” above and alter the other numbers in the ways that you think they will alter based on your studies.
    The huge uncertainty in the above is that Kevin Trenberth actually shows 164 w/m**2 rather than the “121” above but 164 w/m**2 is way too much heat for the actual surface/air temperature and thus my assumption that 43 w/m**2 gets radiated to space without affecting surface/air temperature because it arrives at high altitudes (much tropospheric thermal inversion). That is just an assumption to get the quantity total to the correct sort of scale.

  30. 80
    Barry Finch says:

    @48 Barton Paul Levenson: “deniers often say the greenhouse effect “violates the second law of thermodynamics””. There’s no merit in it. The second law of thermodynamics (entropy) states “…the total entropy of an isolated system…” or various synonyms. Some have “closed system” instead of “isolated system”. The Earth’s ecosphere is open thermodynamically at the bottom to Earth’s interior and is open thermodynamically at the top to the Universe, so you request that the “greenhouse effect” second law of thermodynamics (entropy) police officer resubmit their entropy calculations to you but this time include also:
    – Change in entropy of the Earth’s interior,
    – Change in entropy of the Sun,
    – Change in entropy of the Universe.
    When you get those check the numbers and if correct and show entropy decrease then they’ve invalidated the “greenhouse effect”. This is what I requested when a “Thorpe” tried that one on in a Greenman Web Log post comment. It never did get back to me with those 3 additional items calculated though so maybe my advice on the isn’t the best. It definitely needs those 3 items above included though because Earth’s ecosphere is definitely thermodynamically associated with the Universe & the other small items I listed.

  31. 81
    Barry Finch says:

    @58 Mack “SUN, EARTH, SPACE system” doesn’t describe any so-called “greenhouse effect” because it is absent what’s vital, namely the tropospheric temperature lapse rate. The fact that tropospheric temperature decreases with altitude is what causes the IR-active “greenhouse gases” with their springy covalent bonds to have an effect on the energy-balanced temperature of Earth’s ecosphere so the troposphere must be described as a separate item from surfaces at the bottom of it.

  32. 82
    William B Jackson says:

    Really cannot understand why Mack is not sent to the borehole…the amusement factor is totally lacking.

  33. 83
    nigelj says:

    Killian @70,

    “350ppm is a stupid goal.”

    I never said anything about 350ppm. Neither did the authors of the article I referred you to. Its obviously desirable to get under that number, regardless of the arctic issue.

    The article just suggested it looks like it could be too late to stop the arctic melting, and for all you know they meant a little colder being 1 degree colder. Unfortunately they didn’t define exactly what they meant. Send them an email. Stop blaming the messenger. Take it all up with the people who wrote the research.

    Call them crazy, not me. By the way you are gaslighting, and doing exactly the same thing to me that you complain others do to you.

  34. 84
    jgnfld says:

    A watt is a derived unit. It is defined as W = Joule/sec. It is not “timeless” by definition. It is also high school physics…hell it’s JUNIOR high physics for advanced science students.

    A joule, BTW, isn’t “timeless” either. It is defined in terms of newtons a unit which uses time in it’s definition as well. Fully expanded in SI units the definition of a watt is: W = kg⋅m2⋅s−3. Not only are watts (and joules) not “timeless”, time enters in exponentially and inversely.

    I suspect mack is trying to get at some hazy, crank notion of “equilibrium” where, once an equilibrium is established, time can be ignored (barring any change whatsoever in parameter inputs). But the whole point is that there are in fact changes in the input parameters occurring which are shifting the equilibrium. A shift in equilibrium brings time right back to the fore as a key parametric input.

    Why is mack’s drivel allowed to pollute a science site?

  35. 85
    MA Rodger says:

    Kevin McKinney @54,
    Those plots of calculated Arctic Sea Ice Thickness (eg JAXA AMSR2 & Arctic Neven’s PIJAMAS) do appear to require some explanation that I haven’t seen in an authoritative form. Taking the yearly cycle running from the September Minimum, I have explained it to myself something like:-

    (1) From the Minimum SIE, ice-edge expands with very thin ice reducing average thickness.
    (2) After a couple of months the ice-edge expansion slows as it overflows the Arctic Basin allowing the thickening ice to increase average thickness.
    (3) As the Arctic Extent is reversed in March, the Arctic Basin still contains most of the ice which is still thickening (As DMI analysis shows, although temperatures are starting to rise they remain well below freezing). Also the thinner peripheral ice beyond the Arctic Ocean is the first to melt, again resulting in an increase in average thickness.
    (4) It is only in June (days 150-180) that the Arctic Ocean temperature rises above freezing and the thickness of all ice begins to melt away, reducing thickness despite thinner Arctic Ocean ice being likely the first to melt out (which would increase average thickness).
    (5) In the Arctic Ocean, the thicker multi-year ice becomes more of a factor within thickness as the thinner ice melts out, and with a month-or-so to go, this factor results in an increase in average thickness as the September Minimum (~day255) approaches (this more obvious in AMSR2 than it is in PIJAMAS).

    Then, of course, the impact of AGW has to be factored in to explain the changes found in that SIThickness cycle. What I don’t myself see is an explanation within the SIThickness cycle for the SIE and SIV minimums sticking at the same value despite continuing AGW. And deeper consideration – it’s all becoming a bit to complex and lacking in quantifiable checking.

    On the subject of those resilient Minimum SIE values, I note a paper hot-off-the-press Francis & Wu (2020) ‘Why has no new record-minimum Arctic sea-ice extent occurred since September 2012?’ that argues for a climatic change in weather patterns caused by the early melt of NH Snow cover as the factor preventing those AGW-forced lower Minimums. Francis & Wu conclude saying “We hypothesize that these observations are connected,” so we are still entirely at the work-in-progress stage.

  36. 86
    MA Rodger says:

    Kevin McKinney @54,
    And with the slow start to the Arctic freeze-up apparently becoming the new normal, I see the JAXA SIE numbers for 2020 continue to be lowest on record for day-of-year. This could all be come very bothersome. Will I have to change the scaling of my JAXA SIE Anomaly graph? (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’)

  37. 87
    Mack says:

    @73 BPL

    “Yes, the atmosphere “trapping heat” is an analogy which doesn’t actually explain how the greenhouse effect works.” “Heat isn’t trapped….”

    Well, you had better run off and tell the guys at Skeptical Science that their “greenhouse gases” are not actually “heat trapping” when they said on their Hiroshima bomb widget… “This warming is due to more heat trapping gases in the atmosphere”.
    And while you’re at it, you need to straighten out NASA too…
    “The heat trapping nature of CO2 and other gases was demonstrated in the mid 19th Century”
    There was a thin attempt of red-herring deception by using the word “nature”, but as long as the “heat trapping” meme was implanted in their heads, the pseudo-science became fact.
    Besides, the work for the “heat trapping”,”insulation”,”blanket”, meme had already been accomplished way back in primary school…
    “Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane surround the Earth like a blanket and stop it freezing to death”
    Well, as I might have said further upthread, all gases in the atmosphere just dissipate heat. You can find this out for youself, BPL, by holding a REAL blanket closely above your head and using your hair-dryer from beneath.

  38. 88
    zebra says:

    BPL #76,

    Not sure what you think you are demonstrating here.

    Let’s go back to before we humans messed things up, when the system was in equilibrium, and the temperature was constant. (And, the GHG effect was operating, obviously.)

    Was entropy increasing?

  39. 89
    Richard Creager says:

    Mack, 58 Let me see if I get this. So, all the energy we’re concerned with comes from the sun. We don’t need to worry about time units because it’s all going to go away anyway so how fast it comes doesn’t matter. The sun’s energy transfers to “any object..atom, molecule, cloud, Earth surface… and from there dissipates to space. SPACE also applies to the “space(s)” between atoms or molecules” “. So the energy transitions to the hard vacuum, external or internal to atoms, where it just….goes thru planck-scale wormholes to another universe (my speculation)? Help me with the conservation of energy part.

  40. 90
    Mack says:

    @89 Richard Creager

    Yes, Richard, I said…”So there is continuous movement of energy to space”

    Perhaps a better wording of that should have been “So there is continuous LOSS of energy to space”

    Hope that helps you in your understanding.

  41. 91
    Ravenpaw says:

    Mack 87

    ‘Heat trapping’ needs to be changed to ‘heat slowing’. Problem solved.

    If 2 apples/second are placed on the south end of a 100 meter long conveyor belt, how many apples will have accumulated on the conveyor belt at steady state? The answer depends entirely on how fast the apples are moving. The slower, the more apples.

    The math is simple and instructive. How many apples at steady state if the conveyor belt velocity is…
    a) 100 meters/second?
    b) 10 meters/second?
    c) 1 meter/second?
    d) 0.1 meters/second?

    Likewise, there are conveyor belts of energy moving from Earth’s surface to the tropopause. GHG’s act to slow some of them down.

  42. 92

    z 88: Let’s go back to before we humans messed things up, when the system was in equilibrium, and the temperature was constant. (And, the GHG effect was operating, obviously.) . . . Was entropy increasing?

    BPL: Yes, the second law of thermodynamics applies at all eras in history.

  43. 93

    #87, Mack–

    …all gases in the atmosphere just dissipate heat.

    Which would explain why the moon, with its notoriously dense atmosphere, is so much cooler than Venus with its few gaseous wisps.

  44. 94
    zebra says:

    “Heat Trapping”…is just fine,

    So, first, definitions.

    “Heat” is the energy that is transferred from a volume at a higher temperature to a volume at a lower temperature.

    So, it is reasonable to think of the photons of IR as ‘the heat’. (The random kinetic energy of molecules in either volume is not heat, nor is any other form of energy.)

    “Trapping”, applied to a moving object, means to prevent further motion. So, the CO2 molecule does ‘trap’ the heat, which would otherwise continue to space. That the energy is converted in form to internal molecular or kinetic energy doesn’t negate the terminology, since the energy can again become heat by being radiated.

    It becomes ‘potential heat’, if you like; it is not permanently trapped, and the description “heat trapping gases” is still correct.

    This is why I keep pointing out that you can’t do/discuss science if you don’t all agree to use the correct definitions, or at least agree on some terminology that is clearly explained.

  45. 95
    zebra says:

    BPL #92,

    Perhaps someone with a better background in thermodynamics will correct me, but if there is no net transfer of energy…the two volumes remain at the same temperatures…then entropy should be constant.

    My original response to you was that you were accepting an incorrect description of the system (from the trolls). As others have pointed out, there is actually a (constant but for CO2 increase) temperature gradient in the troposphere, which we might visualize as showing a constriction of the flow of energy, rather than a transfer.

    But, I am using a simplified model in my conceptualization; the people who actually construct actual models could better answer this.

  46. 96

    #91, Ravenpaw–

    Nice instructive example! Mack won’t get it, but there are lots of ‘lurkers’ who will.

    BTW, the same essential dynamic applies to population growth; the length of the belt could be analogous to reproductive life, and the speed of the belt to the mean spacing of births per woman. (I kind of got schooled on that here, some time back–less fun that figuring it out on your own, but in some ways just as instructive.)

  47. 97
    Barry Finch says:

    @87 Mack FTIR spectral analysis from the IRIS and HIRS infra-red spectrometer instruments on some of the Nimbus satellites:
    Nimbus-1 (1964 – 1964)
    Nimbus-2 (1966 – 1969)
    Nimbus-3 (1969 – 1972)
    Nimbus-4 (1970 – 1980)
    Nimbus-5 (1972 – 1983)
    Nimbus-6 (1975 – 1983)
    Nimbus-7 (1978 – 1994)
    Nimbus-3 (1969 – 1972) IRIS-B Infra-Red Interferometer Spectrometer – B
    Nimbus-6 (1975 – 1983) HIRS High-resolution Infra-Red Sounder
    Example measured FTIR power flux vs wave-length spectra with the notches, H2O broad-band suppression & atmospheric window at: (IRIS-C spectrum on the Nimbus 3 satellite over the Sahara Desert to demonstrate the U.S. Armed Forces MODTRAN model’s general accuracy);;doc.view=print (Sahara Desert as observed by IRIS-D instrument on the Nimbus-4 satellite) at 18:07 (4 FTIR samples for western tropical Pacific Ocean, Sahara Desert, Antarctica & southern Iraq)

  48. 98
    James McDonald says:

    A technical question:

    If the absolute quantity of atmospheric CO2 were left unchanged, what effect would there be on the lapse rate and/or surface temperature if the quantity of non-greenhouse gases (N2, O2, Ar) was increased or decreased by say a factor of ten?

    I assume there is a clear quantitive answer, but don’t quite see how to calculate it (maybe it requires some kind of fixed-point emulation?). On the one hand they are not greenhouse gases, but on the other hand they do mediate energy transfer to and from CO2 molecules, so presumably have some mediating effect. They also would add some heat capacity to the atmosphere itself, to the extent that is relevant.

    Is there an intuitive explanation of the effect such a change would have? What mechanism would dominate?

    Thanks in advance…

    [Response: This has been looked at, but it’s generally discussed in terms of increasing atmospheric pressure (and normally via N2 or O2). This affects radiative transfer via the impact on pressure broadening, but there are also dynamic effects that have climatic impacts. There was a paper in 2015 that looked at that (this is a summary). Note the impacts are not generally because of any GH effect of N2 or O2, but rather that they impact the radiative transfer of water and CO2. – gavin]

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