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Unforced Variations: Apr 2021

Filed under: — group @ 1 April 2021

This month’s open thread for climate science discussions. Be nice, it’s Earth month.

361 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Apr 2021”

  1. 201
    William B Jackson says:

    180….I hope you are a joke, as the other possibility…that you are serious suggests that you need help. You are a complete waste of time!

  2. 202
    John Pollack says:

    Killian @150, 191 I did find the paper on Pine Island Glacier tipping points interesting, but it took me a while to work through it – thus demonstrating that I’m no expert in the subject material either.
    As best I can tell, the +1.2C ocean warming required for an irreversible collapse refers to an initial equilibrium state. “The initial melt rate factor (f) is chosen such that the model finds a steady state with a grounding line approximately coincident with its position as given in Bedmap2.” This would be a steady-state basal melting rate that would allow the recent grounding line to remain stable. Given that the PIG is instead in rapid retreat, this might well be a pre-industrial initial state. Considering that something like 3 centuries of gradually increasing basal melting rate (the control parameter in the model) was required to detect the early warning indicators, it seems to me that we’re going to get a very late warning that we’re well past the tipping point.
    Another piece of real-world evidence that we’re blowing past a big tipping point for ice-sheet meltdown is a consideration of what we know about the last interglacial. There was indeed a rapid sea-level rise to roughly 9m above present levels, something that couldn’t happen without PIG and a lot of other big outlet glaciers (including Greenland) retreating rapidly: see https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo1890?proof=trueMay for example.
    Of course, the Milankovitch cycle was in a different phase back then, with a lot more polar insolation in the NH summer. Hard to believe that we won’t be getting just as warm at the poles, and hotter in the tropics, than the last time around, especially with much higher CO2 levels. To me, the key is rapid change, since there is apparently even a natural ability to zip past a tipping point to produce a fast sea-level rise. “Fast” meaning that shallow water coral couldn’t grow fast enough to keep up with the sea level rise, and had to relocate on previously dry land.

  3. 203
    jb says:

    Re: z1 at 187

    So, Nikolov and Zeller’s 2017 paper opens with the following passage: “In a recent study Volokin and ReLlez [1] demonstrated that the strength of Earth’s atmospheric Greenhouse Effect (GE) is about 90 K instead of 33 K as presently assumed by most researchers.” I went looking for these guys Volokin and ReLlez and I found that they had filed an erratum notice in 2016 (before publication) because they had published the paper under false names. In fact, their names are Nikolov and Zeller. I’m going to suggest something radical – that maybe it is fraudulent to make an assertion that independent parties had “established” something, when in fact it was you.

    It also appears that Volokin/Nikolov goes by another name:

    Galileo

    https://retractionwatch.com/2016/09/13/u-s-govt-researchers-withdraw-climate-paper-after-using-pseudonyms/

    As to z1, when he resurfaces a paper like this, does it give the aroma of good-faith that he seems to be trying to foist on the audience? What about his insistence that the “greenhouse effect” must act exactly like a greenhouse?

    A more appropriate response to him might be to analyze what type of troll he is and what techniques he is employing. In a world where online subterfuge is such a pervasive problem, that would be far more interesting.

  4. 204
    Mr. Know It All says:

    109 – z1
    “0.75mm/yr sea level rise at Sydney doesn’t sound like a “climate crisis” and has been constant since 1890:…”

    True, but it’s worse than that. In many locations around the world, sea level is going DOWN locally because the land is rising faster than the sea level. The earth is not a static ball so how do scientists know how much sea level is actually rising? There is no fixed point on earth – it’s all moving.

    112 – Piotr
    “They waste the time they otherwise may have used to discuss new climatological papers,….”

    Do you have some to offer for discussion?

    112 – Piotr
    “or to discuss political and technological strategies for mitigation….”

    There is another thread for mitigation.

    114 – MA Rodger
    ” But do you really believe that the temperature record has been manipulated in some global conspiracy to pervert climate science and construct a fake climate emergency? Really?”

    Nah, no need to manipulate it – the geological records clearly indicate that temperature and CO2 levels go up and down constantly and THAT is why some doubt today is any different. Temps and CO2 have been way higher before we burned fossil fuels.

    115 – MA Rodger
    “Have you factored in the full set of surface energy fluxes. Maybe this would help your semantics along.”

    It appears that outgoing and incoming flux is balanced in that graphic, thus temps should be balanced, right? I think I saw a graph where the balance was off by something like 0.6 W/m^2 indicating warming. Someone should produce a complete set of those graphs labeled with the CO2 concentration, and with the new calculated fluxes. Do one at 400 ppm, 410 ppm, 420 ppm, 430 ppm, etc all the way up to 2X pre-industrial and label each graph with calculated earth temperature. Might be educational?

    130 – Piotr
    “…. I’ll step out in my Northface Arctic Dawn Parka, and you in your favourite pajamas (guessing from you grasp of basic science – SpongeBob SquarePants?): ​we will test your claim that you can last as long as I do,….”

    Alex, take a page from Democrats: cheat! Take Piotr up on the wager, and show up with a bucket of water – dump it down his Parka! You’ll win. Bet the farm on it!
    :)
    :)

    139 – mike
    “Thoughts on methane measurements at Barrow?”

    Gas leak in nearby NG meter? Winds blowing NG from Prudhoe Bay to Barrow? USPS just bought new NG powered trucks?

    146 – z1
    “…Seems like anyone who even asks the question here is immediately accused of trolling or shilling since apparently any honest person would have already realized that the answer is “settled science”.”

    Remember – the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked. That’s because someone else may have the same question. ;)

    147 – Ray
    “…The key is in understanding how the change results in different energy flow from the constituents….”

    Not only how, buy by how MUCH if you want your climate models to be taken seriously since ~70% of the earth is covered by water.
    ;)

    152 – TYSON MCGUFFIN
    “The sanctimony and low reading comprehension in some of these replies are off the charts.”

    Can you post some examples of those charts for the scientific discussion?
    :)

    155 – CCHolley
    “….Another reason for optimism is that although conservatives mostly remain against specific actions for reducing fossil fuel use such as carbon fees, conservatives do not, in general, dislike the proliferation of green energy–especially if it makes economic sense.”

    I suspect most folks don’t give a sheet how their electrical power is generated as long as it is reliable and cheap, although some have legitimate concerns with wind turbines killing birds, and they are ugly and possibly noisy. I suspect more resistance is found in the idea of electric cars that are expensive, possibly self-driving, and have limited range. Americans like FF-powered freedom because it works FAR better for longer trips than EVs. They may catch up, but they’re not even close today. Show me an EV pulling a 40′ camper trailer up the Alcan. ;)

    OK, now for a real climate science question. Scientists: GULP! “UH-OH!” Before climate scientists write code for their climate models, do they make “flow-diagrams” or “flowcharts” showing “how” the model is to work, like programmers did in the old days? Anyone know where you can see such flowcharts for the latest, most highly regarded climate models? I’d just like to see WHAT they include in the calculations. Thanks!

  5. 205
    jgnfld says:

    @187

    Short FYI for those who won’t expend the necessary skullsweat: The “greenhouse effect” is so named to describe a result, not a mechanism. It’s an analogy not a simile. It is a shorthand, not a full explanation.

    Should you ever actually read the science and start to understand the science (takes hard work, btw…over a period of years) you might see EVERY actual scientific discussion of the _effect_ is prefaced by this caveat. But it’s clear you don’t consult such sources. Even wiki states:

    “The term greenhouse effect is a slight misnomer, in the sense that physical greenhouses warm via a different mechanism. The greenhouse effect as an atmospheric mechanism functions through radiative heat loss[9] while a traditional greenhouse as a built structure blocks convective heat loss.[2] The result, however, is an increase in temperature in both cases.[10][11]”

    Sorry for the length and highly technical nature of this response.

  6. 206
    jgnfld says:

    @187

    Short FYI #2: PV really does equal nRT for an ideal gas (which is also a simplified analogy since no gas is ideal). So, what happens when the atmosphere as a whole heats? Well, n (# of molecules in the atmosphere) doesn’t change. R is a constant and cannot change. T rises. P doesn’t change. What value does that leave free?

    Exercise for the student: So what happens in the atmosphere?

  7. 207

    z1 187,

    Nikolov and Zeller are crackpots of the purest ray serene. Here’s a quick response to their nonsense:

    https://bartonlevenson.com/pressure.html

    Also, we’ve known since at least 1904 that the atmospheric greenhouse effect does not work like an agricultural greenhouse. Nobody is saying it does. When greenhouses are used to illustrate the greenhouse effect, at best it’s an analogy. BTW, although agro greenhouses work mostly by suppressing convection, there is an additional heating effect from the glass absorbing IR.

  8. 208
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Z1@187
    Hoo Boy, Zeller and Nikolov. I believe the appropriate term for their research is “bullshit of the purest ray serene.” You can find some debunking here:
    https://skepticalscience.com/climate-denial-matrix-red-pill.html

    and here
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2017/08/making-elephant-dance-as-performed-by.html

    but suffice to say that when you start including terms for galactic cosmic rays in your global energy balance, you’ve lost the thread. Other clue is that they are publishing an really questionable journals and under assumed names, that neither is an atmospheric scientist, that they are darlings of the denialist community and that they claim that the reason for the rejection of their work is purely the conservatism of the climate science community.

    That is not how science works. If there were any merit in their paper, someone in the climate science community would have adopted it if only out of pure self interest. These guys are trying to overturn nearly 2 centuries of established climate science that they haven’t even bothered to try to understand.

  9. 209
    MA Rodger says:

    z1 @159,
    Your questions are not properly answered without some lengthy dedicated answering which is why the assembly here have been selective with their serious responses. So to answer them properly, are you sitting comfortably?

    To answer your last question first.
    YOUR LAST QUESTION “Is there a link that answers the above questions?”
    There were apparently 120 trillion links in 2015 and presumbly that number is a gross underestimate today. So you would think that within those many many trillions there there would (or should) be one “that answers the above questions.” Thus I would suggest the real questions are firstly ‘How do you trawl trillions of URLs to find it?’ and secondly ‘Will those answers when found on that link be in a form useful to you?

    It is actually a lot easier finding links that talk ‘complete bollocks’ [this is the technical term for it] than it is to find the factual honest ones. A case of such ‘complete bollocks’ is the <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317570648_New_Insights_on_the_Physical_Nature_of_the_Atmospheric_Greenhouse_Effect_Deduced_from_an_Empirical_Planetary_Temperature_Model&quot;Nikolov & Zeller paper you cite @187. They are a pair of ne’er-do-wells who should only be trusted on advisement from a accompanying grown-up. (The paper is simple puerile curve fitting (like this) with added maths to assist in their dissemblement.)

    And I would say that the interweb is poorly served with in-depth explanations of AGW with the more technical aspects (which you are asking about) too often buried deep in technical accounts of the subject, sometimes so deep as to be beyond reach of all but the most determined searcher.

    YOUR QUESTION ONE “Isn’t the energy that’s trapped by a co2 molecule free to be exchanged with its surroundings, making it warmer?”
    Yes. A photon of the correct frequency encountering a CO2 molecule will be absorbed and this will set the CO2 molecule ‘flapping’ (this the 15 micron frequency band – other frequencies that do not impact AGW get the CO2 giggling in different modes). The energy of the photon now transferred to the ‘flapping’ requires on average a significant period (measured in parts of a second) to convert the ‘flapping’ back into a photon and send the energy off on another stage of its journey through the atmosphere. But that doesn’t tend to happen as the CO2 molecules are in collision with other air molecules far far more frequently (measured in parts of milli-seconds) so the ‘flapping’ energy will almost-always be transferred to a colliding air molecule, transferring the photon energy into the thermal energy of the air.
    A far bigger effect than collisions robbing CO2 of its ‘flapping’ are the air molecules collisions with CO2 which set the CO2 ‘flapping’. There are many many more ‘flapping’ CO2 molecules caused by collision than by photons, the number of collisions dependent on the temperature of the air. And it is from this larger population of ‘flapping’ CO2 that creates almost all the photon emissions from CO2, the level of emission thus being dictated by air temperature.

    YOUR QUESTION TWO “Is it realistic to model the Earth surface and the co2 molecules as two mirrors that bounce (reflect, radiate) energy (fluxes) between each other, making each other warmer?”
    Not really.
    The idea of the atmosphere being a reflector fails on a number counts but the surface is a more reasonable consideration.
    So consider the surface as the reflective walls of a pot (with no need for sides, just a bottom ‘wall’) containing GHGs that amongst other things, bombard the surface/’wall’ with photons and which in turn receive a bombardment in the opposite direction. However this is not the radiation bouncing-off the surface. The emitted photons are not even directly caused by the absorbed photons. The word ‘reflection’ suggests the photons do not affect this surface when in the real world the re-emission of photons from the surface is dependent on the surface temperature and while the absorbed photons do have a bearing on the surface temperature, the relationship is not really strong enough to call it “reflection”.

    YOUR QUESTION THREE “Has the Greenhouse Effect been demonstrated to exist by an experiment?”
    The Moon a rather good example of what happens if there is no (or minimal) atmosphere. Without GHGs there would be nothing preventing IR exiting planet Earth although the average temperature would not be as low as the Moon’s (~200K) even though the Moon is less reflective than the Earth so absorbs more irradiation. The Moon’s slow rotation is the reason for it being far colder than a GHG-less Earth would be.
    The energy absorbed by our GHGs can be readily seen in satellite-derived spectra of the IR reaching space (eg here which is Fig 3 from Tuckett 2016). The biggest bite is CO2 with the smaller one is ozone.
    If the atmosphere were just N2/O2/Ar with no GHGs, these bites and other lowered parts of the spectrum would be absent. But the area under the trace has to be maintained so the rest of the spectrum would have to drop to compensate and to achieve this the Earth has to be colder.

    YOUR QUESTION FOUR “But what would its [the Earth’s] temp have been with an atmosphere (of equal quantity and density of gas molecules) containing zero greenhouse gasses? Wouldn’t mere gravity, producing pressure on the gas molecules create heat in the atmosphere and warm the Earth’s surface?”
    On the gravity thing, a definite No!!
    You cannot just “create heat.” The energy has to come from somewhere. Jupiter has a very hot core and it is speculated that this is due to pressure slowing collapsing the planet’s core but there is no such mechanism at play on Earth.
    That is not to say that the N2/O2/Ar doesn’t have a role to play in the GH-effect. The Martian 0.088 psi atmosphere contains 95% CO2 = 0.086psi(CO2) which is ten-times more than Earth’s 0.063% CO2 (by weight) in a 14.7psi atmosphere = 0.0093psi(CO2). But without the N2/O2/Ar on Mars there is no pressure at the surface and you need that pressure to get a decent temperature drop with altitude (called the lapse rate). Without that temperature drop, there will be very little GH-effect.

    This perhaps leads on to comment you make @187. “There are no glass enclosures blocking energy exchange anywhere in this system so I have a difficulty establishing the greenhouse analogy for it.”
    The Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t need glass to be tightly sealed and static.
    The Earth’s atmosphere is incredibly balanced vertically. This is good. If it wasn’t, if there weren’t such balance and instead strong circulations vertically, the trade winds would become perpetual mega hurricanes tearing across the surface of the planet. About half the vertical movement up to the tropopause is down to big storms which are very rare events. The rest which power the trade winds etc, are vertically very gentle as the atmosphere is very flat – vertically just 12km on a planet 40,000km in circumference. It actually takes about two weeks for a packet of air to drift up to the tropopause, this meaning that the atmosphere is far tighter than any greenhouse or any blanket.

  10. 210

    #187, z1–

    There are no glass enclosures blocking energy exchange anywhere in this system so I have a difficulty establishing the greenhouse analogy for it.

    The analogy is widely considered to be pretty imprecise, but here’s the applicability: In both systems, solar radiation is allowed relatively free entry by the relevant material constituents, while the exit of heat (be it radiant or sensible) is relatively impeded by same. That’s it.

    But why do you care? Surely the very limited aptness of the analogy is basically a pedagogical issue. Are you planning to teach a course in this? For most of us, the issue is understanding the phenomenon enough to feel assured that we’re not being misled.

    And speaking of misled, you ask about the Nikolov & Zeller paper. I’m not qualified to mount an in-depth technical critique, so I’ll await commentary from those who are. But there are upper-level observations and questions that come to mind.

    1) I note that this is in an open access journal ‘low rent’ journal; thus, it has probably not passed a meaningful peer review. That doesn’t make it wrong, but given the author’s determination to share their results, it strongly implies that they were unable to satisfy peer reviewers that their results were correct, or rather “correct enough to argue publicly.” (If they had, they presumably would have published in Nature or something of that order.)

    2) There’s a saying that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” This paper certainly presents extraordinary claims, right up front. “…these findings call for a paradigm shift in our understanding of the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’ as a fundamental property of climate.” In terms of foundation, this apparently relies on a single preceding study: “A recent study has revealed that the Earth’s natural atmospheric greenhouse effect is around 90 K or about 2.7 times stronger than assumed for the past 40 years.” Well, that could be basically true for all I know, but not the verb “assumed,” because I do know that there has been considerable, nay, voluminous examination of the strength of Earth’s greenhouse effect during that time. Maybe that’s reading too much into a single poorly-chosen word, but it makes me suspect that the authors don’t actually know the literature as well as the size of their bibliography might suggest.

    3) And what about that previous study, which appeared in 2014, and also in what appears to me to be an open access journal? I’ll look at that a bit, but there’s an interesting erratum that came out six months later:

    As authors of this article (Volokin and ReLlez 2014) we would like to clarify that our real names are Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller. We created the pseudonyms Den Volokin and Lark ReLlez by spelling our names backward. Ned Nikolov is a physical scientist with the USDA Forest Service; he had been instructed by his employer not to engage in climate research during government work hours, nor to reveal his government affiliation when presenting results from his climate studies. Karl Zeller is a retired USDA Forest Service research scientist with no restrictions. Ned Nikolov worked on this manuscript outside of his assigned official work duty hours. Because of the controversial subject matter and the novel findings previously associated with Nikolov and Zeller, we felt that the use of pseudonyms was necessary to guarantee a double-blind peer review of our manuscript and to assure a fair and unbiased assessment. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused the Editorial Board and the readership of SpringerPlus.

    Ah. Self-citation–not improper, but also not a priori of great evidentiary weight–and deception, spiced with hints of previous rejection during peer-review. Not a good look–in fact, this is rather what scientific crackpottery tends to look like–though in principle it still doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

    4) Speaking of citation, ‘Volokin & ReLlez’ was resoundingly ignored by climate science in general. Again, doesn’t mean it was wrong, but it does mean that nobody who did read it found it interesting enough to provoke new research. Kinda disappointing for a ‘new paradigm,’ one would think.

    5) But let’s leave the ‘meta’ stuff and look at the logic a bit. Volokin & ReLlez (2014) argues that the GE is much larger than previously thought because it has been calculated from the wrong baseline:

    Earth’s total ATE must be evaluated with respect to Earth’s hypothetical airless self.

    They show, or purport to show–I can’t judge the math, though others here certainly could–that the “hypothetical airless self” mentioned is much cooler that traditional calculations indicate, using the Moon as test bed. This is due, they say, to much lower efficiency of heat transfer on an airless body:

    …a substrate of similar particle size distribution and bulk density as the lunar regolith is over 100 times more conductive to heat on Earth than it is on the Moon. A moisture-saturated soil of the same type on Earth has over 700 times greater thermal conductivity than the lunar regolith… thanks to the presence of a tangible atmosphere, Mars has a nearly 50-time higher thermal conductivity than the Moon. Hence, it is the presence of an effective vacuum and the related lack of gaseous micro-convection within the lunar regolith that makes the Moon such a poor heat conductor…. The current Earth surface is vastly more conductive to heat than either lunar regolith or Martian soil because of the sizable atmospheric pressure present on our planet. Earth’s thermal conductivity is further boosted by moisture (liquid water)…

    So far, so good AFAICT. In fact, I thought this was pretty interesting.

    But then they go off the rails, in my view. What they do, in summary, is to estimate the strength of the greenhouse effect in this manner.

    First, they derive the estimated hypothetical Earth temperature, which they put at 197.6 K. Then there’s a fairly pointless discussion of albedos, which results in adjusting that to a range of 195.4-200.6 K. (I suspect effective peer review/editing would have ended up cutting to the chase here and saving several hundred words.)

    Second, they estimate a second ‘reference temperature’ by arbitrary values of heat storage and albedo, which are partially offsetting. These values are justified nowhere in the text; it is only said that:

    This thermal enhancement is caused by a 7.7-fold increase of η e above the corresponding lunar value. The larger heat storage fraction reflects the presence of an atmosphere and is a consequence of a much higher surface thermal conductivity on Earth due to air pressure.

    OK, so why an enhancement of only 7.7, in view of previous statements about empirical Martian and Terrestrial values? Now, “heat storage” and “thermal conductivity” are not really the same thing, to be sure. But there seems to be a discrepancy of potentially 2 orders of magnitude here. I don’t feel confident that their values are well-chosen, based on what they do say. And that’s a big problem for the next step or two.

    Third, they “decompose” their calculated “atmospheric thermal enhancement” (i.e., the difference between their new, lower ‘baseline’ airless temperature and observed global surface temp) into a portion attributed by them to “thermodynamic (pressure-controlled) processes” and a residual, attributed by them to the greenhouse effect.

    I must say, the more I read the paragraph in which this is accomplished, the less sense it makes to me. It reads, in part:

    …the daytime storage of heat by landmasses and oceans on Earth significantly contributes to our planet’s ATE by raising the average nighttime temperatures. This implies that Earth’s atmospheric effect has a sizable thermodynamic component that is independent of the greenhouse infrared back radiation. In other words, ATE includes more than just the radiative effect of greenhouse gases (GE), i.e. ATE = GE + TE, where TE is a Temperature Enhancement caused by thermodynamic (pressure-controlled) processes. The thermal effect of radiatively active gases is then obtained as a residual, i.e. GE = ATE – TE.

    Do you see a relation between “daytime storage of heat” and “(pressure-controlled) processes”? Because respect for the truth obliges me to say that I don’t. In fact, it looks to me like a huge unsupported leap.

    Here I will note that mainstream thought in climate science acknowledges two broad classes of factors determining temperature: forcings and feedbacks. Again, I am no expert, but it would appear to me that the heat storage and thermal conductivity issues discussed would tend to fall under the latter. That means that in principle, the supposedly mysterious ‘TE’ can in fact be accounted for within existing theory. (Whether in practice it is, taking into account the proposed lower ‘reference temperature’, would require considerable familiarity with the literature, I think.)

    6) So to summarize thoughts on V & R (2014), it looks to me that a couple of amateurs have, with impressive attention to metaphorical ‘trees’, managed to seriously miscategorize the ‘forest’.

    WRT N & Z (2017), I only have time to say a little. {Sounds of muted cheering!}

    1) They basically admit their model cannot explain climate change:

    Equation (10b) describes long-term (30-year) equilibrium GMATs
    of planetary bodies and does not predict inter-annual global temperature
    variations caused by intrinsic fluctuations of cloud albedo and/or ocean
    heat uptake. Thus, the observed 0.82 K rise of Earth’s global temperature
    since 1880 is not captured by our model, as this warming was likely
    not the result of an increased atmospheric pressure. Recent analyses of
    observed dimming and brightening periods worldwide suggest
    that the warming over the past 130 years might have been caused by a
    decrease in global cloud cover and a subsequent increased absorption of
    solar radiation by the surface. Similarly, the mega shift of Earth’s climate
    from a ‘hothouse’ to an ‘icehouse’ evident in the sedimentary archives
    over the past 51 My cannot be explained by Eq. (10b) unless caused by
    a large loss of atmospheric mass and a corresponding significant drop
    in surface air pressure since the early Eocene. Pleistocene fluctuations
    of global temperature in the order of 3.0–8.0 K during the last 2 My
    revealed by multiple proxies [100] are also not predictable by Eq. (10b)
    if due to factors other than changes in total atmospheric pressure and/
    or TOA solar irradiance.

    2) That passage seems quite at odds with this:

    The equilibrium surface temperature of a planet is bound to
    remain stable (i.e. within ± 1 K) as long as the atmospheric
    mass and the TOA mean solar irradiance are stationary. Hence,
    Earth’s climate system is well buffered against sudden changes
    and has no tipping points…

    One must note that that last paragraph would seem to falsify their model, as larger excursions than that exist in the record, without evidence of sufficient change in the variables specified, and (puzzingly) as the authors themselves acknowledge in the previously-quoted excerpt.

    3) There is also a serious contradiction between this paper and V & R (2014), which as we’ve seen is by the same team. V & R’s “Discussion” concludes with a paragraph beginning thus:

    We surmise that the radiative portion of ATE controlled by greenhouse gases might be larger than 33 K in reality. Such a conjecture is supported by a recent simulation study of Russell et al. (2013)…

    (The paragraph concludes with discussions of a possibly increased climate sensitivity, which the authors link with the idea of a stronger greenhouse effect.)

    Contrast with this the following, from N & Z (2017):

    • The ‘greenhouse effect’ is not a radiative phenomenon driven
    by the atmospheric infrared optical depth as presently believed,
    but a pressure-induced thermal enhancement analogous to
    adiabatic heating and independent of atmospheric composition;

    • The down-welling LW radiation is not a global driver of surface
    warming as hypothesized for over 100 years but a product of
    the near-surface air temperature controlled by solar heating
    and atmospheric pressure…

    You’ll note that the first paragraph completely denies the existence of any radiatively-driven GE whatever, and is thus at odds with their first paper. As previously noted, the “pressure-driven” model is inconsistent with basic thermodynamics. Nor is it obviously supported by anything in either paper.

    4) As to the second of those bullet points, please note that (as I previously explained to TM) the predominant mechanism hypothesized for the radiative GE is not downwelling IR as seen at the surface, but rather the *upwelling* IR at TOA. While these are intimately linked phenomena, the mischief done to the author’s theorizing becomes visible in this passage:

    The hypothesis that a freely convective atmosphere could retain
    (trap) radiant heat due its opacity has remained undisputed since its
    introduction in the early 1800s even though it was based on a theoretical
    conjecture that has never been proven experimentally. It is important to
    note in this regard that the well-documented enhanced absorption of
    thermal radiation by certain gases does not imply an ability of such gases
    to trap heat in an open atmospheric environment. This is because, in
    gaseous systems, heat is primarily transferred (dissipated) by convection
    (i.e. through fluid motion) rather than radiative exchange. If gases of
    high LW absorptivity/emissivity such as CO2, methane and water vapor
    were indeed capable of trapping radiant heat, they could be used as
    insulators.

    This only makes any kind of sense if the assumption is that GHGs serve primarily impede radiative access to TOA from the ground and/or lower atmospheric layers. But that’s not the primary mechanism. The actual hypothesis that has predominated is that the optical depth at TOA modulates the height of the mean radiating altitude. (I think I’ve inadvertantly modified the actual jargon term used, but bear with me here.) Greater IR opacity near TOA means that the MRA effectively rises to a greater altitude, with correspondingly colder temperatures and therefore reduced radiative efficacy. Surface temperature follows from that because it is linked via convection, which essentially determines lapse rate.

    So, the mainstream hypothesis actually incorporates the convective transport which N & Z raise as an objection. Convection, however, can’t act above the TOA (effectively, above the tropopause, where the lapse rate inverts.)

    5) This ignorance of the relevant literature also hurts the authors in other ways: for instance, they seem utterly anaware of the many planetary greenhouse modeling studies carried out from the early 1960s, when Carl Sagan and others began investigating Venusian atmospheric composition and temperature. I cite just one later study’s conclusion:

    …the greenhouse effect can account for essentially all of Venus’ high surface temperature. The prime sources of infrared opacity are, in order of importance, CO2, H2O, cloud particles, and SO2, with CO and HCl playing very minor roles.

    There is also no shortage of work on Martian temps and atmosphere.

    N & Z seem to think that in regard to planetary temperatures they are explaining something that conventional theory fails to explain. But that is simply not so.

    6) To sum up, it appears to me that N & Z fail to understand the theory they seek to supplant; fail to read the requisite literature; fall into a “perpetual motion” violation of basic thermodynamics; fail to support conclusions at key points; and at times contradict themselves or empirical observations. I also suspect that they drastically overfit their data, although definitive determination of that would take more stats chops than I can boast.

    Sorry for the inordinate length of this comment… but I will say, I could’ve gone on considerably longer.

  11. 211

    NB.–Since I somehow busted the link for the “later study,” let me say that it was Pollack et al. (1980), “Greenhouse models of Venus’ High surface temperature, as constrained by Pioneer Venus measurements.”

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/JA085iA13p08223

    Possibly some of the really knowledgeable here may have other, or more seminal, citations to suggest.

  12. 212

    TM, #192–

    It’s not an idle concern to wonder whether the rhetoric around the Anthropocene is so extreme, so dispiriting, and so fatalistic that it could simply paralyze us. That has certainly been the case with some recent and notable responses: In 2015, the literary scholar Roy Scranton published a book with the cheery title Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization, while David Wallace-Wells’s 2019 book, The Uninhabitable Earth, documents a litany of catastrophes terrifying, and paralyzing, to contemplate. And these are just two of the more prominent and popular accounts of the consequences of the Anthropocene.

    I’m not for a moment questioning either the reality of the crisis these authors describe or the sincerity of their responses. But it’s fair to wonder whether the way the Anthropocene has come to dominate Westerners’ imagination of the future is even accurate or helpful.

    Which was more or less the point of some previous discussions here, in particular WRT ‘doomerism’, especially of the Guy McPherson brand. And the David Wallace-Wells piece was certainly discussed in some depth here as well.

    So, TM, noted. But the concern isn’t new here.

    As to your motives, personality traits, and politics, I’m content to await the event. But if you’re concerned about what people less content may speculate, there’s always the option to declare whatever you’re comfortable stipulating to.

  13. 213

    Roger Coppock noticed some important data from NOAA. Here are unique tornado observations for the United States from 1950 to 2019:

    Year N
    1950 201
    1951 260
    1952 240
    1953 421
    1954 550
    1955 591
    1956 504
    1957 858
    1958 564
    1959 604
    1960 616
    1961 697
    1962 657
    1963 463
    1964 704
    1965 897
    1966 585
    1967 927
    1968 657
    1969 608
    1970 653
    1971 889
    1972 741
    1973 1102
    1974 945
    1975 919
    1976 834
    1977 852
    1978 789
    1979 855
    1980 866
    1981 782
    1982 1047
    1983 930
    1984 907
    1985 684
    1986 765
    1987 656
    1988 702
    1989 856
    1990 1133
    1991 1132
    1992 1297
    1993 1173
    1994 1082
    1995 1236
    1996 1173
    1997 1148
    1998 1424
    1999 1339
    2000 1075
    2001 1214
    2002 933
    2003 1374
    2004 1817
    2005 1263
    2006 1103
    2007 1095
    2008 1689
    2009 1156
    2010 1280
    2011 1692
    2012 938
    2013 906
    2014 886
    2015 1177
    2016 976
    2017 1428
    2018 1126
    2019 1517

    The linear regression is:

    N = -25165.65639 + 13.15017059 Year (Student’s t -10.396 and 10.78109 for the constant and the coefficient, respectively).

    with r^2 = 0.63 and F = 116.2319 (p < 2.31 x 10^-16).

    So yes, natural disasters are getting worse. Any guesses as to why?

  14. 214
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    @192McGuffin:

    from the article, prominent placed as stopper:

    Isn’t it a little grandiose to project ourselves onto geological history in the way that the Anthropocene supposes?

    ahhh, yeah, of course, human hybris, right. thanks, thats enough for me from this guy.

  15. 215
    Eliot Axelrod says:

    @Tom Nelson #7 – As someone who has grandchildren I care a lot about the fact that we are in the process of radically changing the climate, creating an extinction level event for other species as bad as any other, acidifying the seas and potentially wiping out important food stocks, not to mention fish species that have survived for many many millions of years.

    Yes the climate has always changed, that doesn’t mean that we should actively change it a way harmful to ourselves and future generations.

  16. 216
    Piotr says:

    Re: (187) And how exactly you came across this particular “paper”, z1? Obviously not from your understanding of the climatological literature, since the level of your questions obviously precludes such a possibility. Which leaves two possibilities:

    1. you picked it up from a deniers website (what were the keywords to find it “we are not responsible for the global warming”?)
    2. you got it in list of topics from your Troll Farm supervisor?

    And if you post on RC – have the decency to check, if this wasn’t already discussed on RC, so you don’t litter the public space with the already disproven garbage. Goes for your other “questions” as well.

  17. 217
    Piotr says:

    TYSON MCGUFFIN (81): “ Where did the idea of “back radiation” originate?

    Piotr (91) “in a secret underground lab of Bill Gates, while drinking the blood from the children abducted in a pizza parlor from tall glasses?”

    MCGUFFIN (a … week (?!)later, 196) jsut to say: ” And… that’s where I stopped reading. It has a Jeffrey Dahmer vibe. No thanks.”

    Huh? You read “Bill Gates” and “drinking the blood from the children abducted in a pizza parlor” and you think that I refer to some killer from the previous century?

    To not have heard about the QAnon theories you must have lived under a stone,
    or somewhere far, far, away. Don’t you get the briefs on America on your troll farm in Saint Petersburg? (Without exports of oil and gas, Russia’s economy and ability to project power abroad would have collapsed).

  18. 218
    John Pollack says:

    BPL @213 The U.S. tornado statistics are getting worse mainly because the observational standards have changed. In the earlier years of the time series, there wasn’t much effort devoted to compiling careful tornado statistics. This improved gradually over the years. The big step-up in effort came in the early 1990s, when doppler radar was installed at NWS offices, and statistics began to be kept on warning times and false alarm ratios. After that, it was routine to utilize spotters, send out storm surveys, and scour for reports of tornadoes and other severe weather. I was an NWS forecaster during that transition, and the increase in effort in finding and verifying small tornadoes was dramatic. This is reflected in the large and persistent step-up in tornado numbers beginning around 1990.

    It is routine for researchers who want to document changes in tornado trends to focus on “significant” tornadoes. Since these were larger and more damaging, it is thought that there is less chance that they were missed in earlier years.

  19. 219
    Piotr says:

    KIA(204): Alex, take a page from Democrats: cheat!

    So to show his loyalty to Trump, put KIA … threw his friend Alex under the bus – by implying that the only way Alex could win his denier argument is to “cheat!”.
    With friends like these, who needs enemies.

  20. 220
    Killian says:

    198 Piotr says:
    17 Apr 2021 at 5:34 PM

    Killian (91) ” I see nobody wants to talk about more relevant climate science as they’d rather measure penises over the nature of back radiation than discuss Pine Island Glacier tipping points noted here “

    Maybe because the vulnerability of that glacier has been known for a while, and to say something insightful on the new things in that paper – quantification of the melting, would require expertise we don’t have?

    But you’re qualified on all the other aspects of climate. Right…

    Perhaps if you came up with some interesting questions about the paper we can discuss it more?

    Why do you need me to point out what is important about it? Oh, but… I did.

    This looks like a very important paper on identifying PIG tipping points, reversibility and irreversibility.

    First two tipping points are reversible with significant ocean cooling back to previous stable temp zone, third is irreversible.

    The paper said irreversibility can happen at +1.2C. We’re at +1.1C. If the paper meant 1.2C over baseline, that indicates we are at the irreversible tipping point now. I would be unavoidable. If +1.2C from now, we have some wiggle room.

    One of the things I wanted to know is which others think it is.

    Regardless, this paper makes the time remaining issue all the more urgent as well as identifying specific tipping points, which certainly matters for policy discussions.

    ********

    Dramatic claims (“We’re Ripping the Heart Out of Life on Earth“) require dramatic proofs, and I don’t think Umair Haque succeeds with his use of the PNAS paper for it:

    I don’t give the slightest damn about his rhetoric. This is not Forced Responses.

    on land, where tropics are indeed the heart of life – global warming ain’t the main heart ripper; while in the ocean, where climate is the ripper – there is no (well-defined) heart.

    This is all nonsensical. Climate Change is always a symptom. It is all driven by resource abuse, land or sea.

    So, conclusions:
    – We are losing species in the equatorial oceans most likely due to the synergistic impacts of several climatic factors
    – Some of the species move north or south, increasing species-richness there
    in a bimodal distribution
    – This response is not symmetrical – northern “mode” gained more initially than the southern one, but then dropped down below it
    – Would be interesting to figure out why this asymmetry of the response
    – However, for the main reason Killian brought it up – I don’t think it well extrapolates onto ripping the heart out of the entire Earth.

    The intensification of the dip in species richness at the equator, especially for pelagic species, suggests that it is already too warm there for some species to survive.

    So….. ecosystems have been so altered they are already broken, but that’s not ripping the heart out? You think fish can just go anywhere and the ecosystem up the road will support them, it seems, which completely ignores how ecosystems work and trophic cascades.

    The one thing the article author did say that is really worthwhile is that this is certainly not just happening in the oceans. This is global, pervasive, even if not stated specifically in this paper.

    But he is also right about this:
    The basic functions of our civilisation are going to collapse right alongside the implosion of the distribution of life on planet earth…

    Bang. Our civilisation collapses right alongside the distribution of life on planet earth.

    But I get that people who are silo-issue-based don’t get why the functioning of the planet is the most important aspect of all this and don’t understand the implications of the climate science they read.

  21. 221

    KIA 204: how do scientists know how much sea level is actually rising?

    BPL: Google “geoid.”

  22. 222
    Killian says:

    202 John Pollack says:
    17 Apr 2021 at 11:38 PM

    Killian @150, 191 I did find the paper on Pine Island Glacier tipping points interesting, but it took me a while to work through it – thus demonstrating that I’m no expert in the subject material either.
    As best I can tell, the +1.2C ocean warming required for an irreversible collapse refers to an initial equilibrium state. “The initial melt rate factor (f) is chosen such that the model finds a steady state with a grounding line approximately coincident with its position as given in Bedmap2.” This would be a steady-state basal melting rate that would allow the recent grounding line to remain stable. Given that the PIG is instead in rapid retreat, this might well be a pre-industrial initial state.

    Right. But I suspect they intentionally chose “a” steady state rather than “the” 1850’s-ish steady state to avoid controversy over claiming we are all about to die?

    it seems to me that we’re going to get a very late warning that we’re well past the tipping point.

    That is the nature of such beasts – though I think it’s pretty clear we have hit at least one, if not two, reversible tipping points. And they theorize there are other possible tipping points at different forcing levels.

    Another piece of real-world evidence that we’re blowing past a big tipping point for ice-sheet meltdown is a consideration of what we know about the last interglacial. There was indeed a rapid sea-level rise to roughly 9m above present levels, something that couldn’t happen without PIG and a lot of other big outlet glaciers (including Greenland) retreating rapidly

    Yes. And yet, gosh, 1 meter is all we will see this century! Those corals off the coast of Texas beg to differ.

    Of course, the Milankovitch cycle was in a different phase back then, with a lot more polar insolation in the NH summer. Hard to believe that we won’t be getting just as warm at the poles, and hotter in the tropics, than the last time around, especially with much higher CO2 levels.

    Indeed. But, hey, don’t worry! We’re only on track for 2C… Not sure how that logic works…

    To me, the key is rapid change, since there is apparently even a natural ability to zip past a tipping point to produce a fast sea-level rise. “Fast” meaning that shallow water coral couldn’t grow fast enough to keep up with the sea level rise, and had to relocate on previously dry land.

    The coral off of Texas indicates 1.5 meter rises on less than century time scales.

    And the kicker for me is that these transitions were purely natural in the past, so things changed slowly due to hystereses in the system. I have long suggested on these pages and elsewhere that a key element of the situation WRT Rapid Climate Change is that we have destroyed ecosystem functions as we have added GHG’s, so we cannot expect the same responses as in the past. It should be *much* faster, possibly orders of magnitude faster, w/o any hystereses.

    Those who are sanguine about the rate of Climate Change are not thinking clearly, IMO.

  23. 223
    Killian says:

    214 DasKleineTeilchen says:
    18 Apr 2021 at 4:46 PM

    @192McGuffin:

    from the article, prominent placed as stopper:

    Isn’t it a little grandiose to project ourselves onto geological history in the way that the Anthropocene supposes?

    ahhh, yeah, of course, human hybris, right. thanks, thats enough for me from this guy.

    Indeed. I am getting close to the point of considering those who help denialists keep their Big Lie criminality front and center should be considered complicit…

    Do we consult rapists on feminism? Pedophiles on child abuse? Murderers on NVC?

    Nope.

    But maybe this point fails because we do accept econmists’ opinions, who have impoverished billions, on economics, politicians who have skewed the law to enhance their own power and wealth on policy and laws…. etc.

  24. 224
    James Charles says:

    Why ‘today’ is ‘different’?
    “ . . . this cool
    04:00 stable temperature arose once during the
    04:04 last 2 billion years
    04:05 of planetary history it also arose once
    04:08 during the 320 000 years or so
    04:10 of our existence as a species . . . “
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcamLd-3kug

  25. 225
    TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    204 Mr. Know It All

    Reply
    “Most folks” care first and foremost that when they flip the switch the lights come on. They’ll worry about the cost when the bill comes, and if they saved a few dollars they’ll spend them on some other activity that increases their carbon footprint. The same goes for their EVs, spending their fuel and maintenance savings on more and longer road trips, or flying to some far away vacation paradise. And If/when we do see that EV pulling a camper I assure you that there will be a diesel or propane generator along for the trip.
    All of the above are examples of Jevons’ paradox. This incongruity leads to the sensible conclusion that the only effective approach to reducing carbon emissions is via command and control.

  26. 226
    TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    197 CCHolley

    Reply
    So, are you not going to thank me for pointing you to Professor Petty’s book which you had obviously never heard of? (# 157 CCHolley: I’d like to know exactly where in Petty’s book he uses a single layer model to describe atmospheric radiation.)
    Such a phony ingrate CCHolley is.
    You wrote in # 197: downward flux (sun) + downward flux (atmosphere) = upward flux (surface)

    I wrote in # 120: Incoming shortwave Flux (F1) + Downwelling IR Flux (Fa)= Upward Flux from the surface (Fs)
    At equilibrium the LHS equals the RHS. Since F1 is fixed for practical purposes, changes in either Fa or Fs forces the other to adjust seeking to re-establish equilibrium.
    So?

    P.s.: well wishes to Professor Petty.

  27. 227
    TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    195 MA Rodger To be clear, what I’m saying is that if you were normal, if you were even just a little less ridiculously stupid, you may have read the following line (it being in the second paragraph so not difficult to spot) and been a little less eager to embrace David Sepkoski as one of your bosom buddies:-

    Reply:
    Because you are here you did not grasp the larger point that if in fact the Holocene has ended and we have entered the Anthropocene a much broader strategy of disseminating this information is needed beyond simply enshrining it in the geologic timescale. The profession of Geology needs to be front and center in coordinating with other disciplines to contextualize the findings from climatology, physics, biology, etc. into what it means to be living in the Anthropocene.
    IMHO.

  28. 228
    z1 says:

    Thanks everyone for your responses and links about the greenhouse effect and Nikolov/Zeller paper. I spent quite some time reading the replies here, linked articles, and links/comments therein.

    I’m left somewhat confused and with a sense of being a mark in a Three-card Monte as energy balance analyses inevitably end up making assumptions, eliminations, and approximations about energy transfers (radiation, convection, etc.) that I’m not sure could/should be so easily made.

    I may be way off base but I’ll try to sublimate my problem as simply as possible:

    Assume two equal planets (blobs of rock + water + gasses) irradiated by the same Sun with the only difference being that Blob1 has no GHG in its atmosphere and Blob2 has a decent % of GHG in its atmosphere. After energy equilibrium is established in both cases, how can Blob2 surface temperature be higher than the surface temp of Blob1 when the TOTAL radiation of energy back into open space for both blobs must be equal to the total energy input they both receive from the Sun? Where would the extra energy come from to keep the rock part of Blob2 warmer than the rock part of Blob1? And if the rock part of Blob2 is warmer than its equivalent in Blob1, then wouldn’t this imply — from energy balance perspective — that the water + gas parts of Blob1 must be warmer than the water + gas parts of Blob2?

    Each part (rock, water, gasses) of each blob will radiate energy if its temperature is above 0 K. Each part DOES have temps above 0 K as energy transfer caused by temp gradients within them and between them is completely unimpeded. This is where the greenhouse analogy (with its assumed impediment to convection) falls apart at a fundamental level for me. Is it prudent and scientifically justified to only focus on IR (back-)radiation of GHG’s and exclude all other ways by which energy eventually balances out across the rock + water + gasses blob and between the blob and open space? Can energy balance analysis be performed without accounting for all modes of energy transfer in the system?

    I’ll use reductio ad absurdum to make my point/question clearer. If I exclusively focus on radiative fluxes and exclude all other modes of energy transfer I could put a raw chicken in an oven whose walls are lined with mirrors. As long as the initial temp of the chicken is >0 K and the chicken radiates some energy out, can I expect the back-radiation from the oven mirrors to raise the chicken’s temp, which would cause it to radiate more energy out, which would get radiated back to it by the mirrors, resulting in a baked chicken after some time? Serious question.

  29. 229
    Killian says:

    Back in 2007 I remember the IPCC saying SLR would be a few centimeters, 30-something at worst or some such. A large part of the reason was the two Arctic regions were supposed to lack teleconnections. I knew: Bull. A planet quite simply could not work that way. I had no idea exactly how but I knew there had to be energy transfer in some way, shape or form. At least one cryoscientist said SLR had to be much higher.

    Turns out…

    This new paper says the connection is SLR triggered in the NH.

    Article:
    https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/04/researchers-examine-how-world-apart-ice-sheets-influence-each-other/

    we show that AIS dynamics are amplified by Northern Hemisphere sea-level forcing. As a result of this interhemispheric interaction, a large or rapid Northern Hemisphere sea-level forcing enhances grounding-line advance and associated mass gain of the AIS during glaciation, and grounding-line retreat and mass loss during deglaciation.

    Paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2916-2

  30. 230
    CCHolley says:

    RE. Mr. Know Nothing @ 204

    I suspect more resistance is found in the idea of electric cars that are expensive, possibly self-driving, and have limited range. Americans like FF-powered freedom because it works FAR better for longer trips than EVs. They may catch up, but they’re not even close today.

    Not a surprise that Mr. Know Nothing knows nothing about electric cars or peoples’ attitudes towards them.

    Expensive? Not yet cheap, but no more than any of the Lexuses or BMWs I’ve owned in the past. And basically zero maintenance costs nor the hassle of having to take it in to a dealer for expensive service. Not to mention cheap fuel. Also, unless on a long distance trip NEVER have to stop for fuel…NEVER. And I can blow most any other car off the road if I so desire…even cars that cost three times as much. Base price of EVs are declining rapidly and expected to reach parity to FF-powered in the next several years. When that occurs, game over. Advantages are just too significant.

    Limited range? Really? FF-powered freedom because it works better for longer trips? Total B.S. I’d much rather take my Tesla on a cross country trip than any fossil fuel car that I’ve owned. Much less tiresome to operate and more than enough range….REALLY, more than enough. And not only that, plenty of rapid charging available along the way all of which is planned for and identified by the on board computer. And most hotels let me charge for FREE. I regularly drive mine 1600 miles twice a year when migrating from the north to south and back. FF just ain’t better for those trips.

    Resistance? Pshaw, a fair number of my friends also own Teslas and claim “best car I ever owned” and those that don’t yet own one say they will seriously consider electric for their next vehicle. There is a reason Tesla sold more than double their volume first quarter of ’21 versus ’20. Electric IS better. Sure some resistance remains for the uninitiated, but that resistance doesn’t equate to anti-electric. AND that resistance is rapidly going away as costs go down and auto makers prepare for an all EV future: “Consumers will also see a deluge of new models entering the market in the next 11 months: 30 EVs from 21 brands, up from 17 models in 2020, according to Edmunds.”

  31. 231
    CCHolley says:

    RE. Mr. Know Nothing @ 204

    Nah, no need to manipulate it – the geological records clearly indicate that temperature and CO2 levels go up and down constantly and THAT is why some doubt today is any different. Temps and CO2 have been way higher before we burned fossil fuels.

    Yup, CO2 levels and temperatures have been higher in the past…along with significantly higher sea levels. But who cares about the 16,000 square miles that WILL be flooded by 20 feet of sea level rise and the 400 million people that will be displaced?…people that didn’t exist when CO2 levels were higher in the past…there is no doubt that’s different today, we have lots of people. And that sea level rise is already in the bank due to anthropogenic CO2 rise with likely much more sea level rise than that 20 feet to come as a result of that CO2 already emitted by mankind. Screw em, tho, CO2 levels and temperatures have gone up and down in the past so why should anyone give a crap.

  32. 232

    JP 218,

    Is there a time series available for “significant” tornados?

  33. 233

    z1 228: After energy equilibrium is established in both cases, how can Blob2 surface temperature be higher than the surface temp of Blob1 when the TOTAL radiation of energy back into open space for both blobs must be equal to the total energy input they both receive from the Sun? Where would the extra energy come from to keep the rock part of Blob2 warmer than the rock part of Blob1?

    BPL: No extra energy is required. The total amount of energy is the same in each case. Energy is conserved, but temperature is not. The energy is merely being redistributed among the parts before it goes out.

  34. 234
    Ray Ladbury says:

    z1, I think that the source of your confusion is that you haven’t considered the nature of thermal radiation. If a body is in thermal equilibrium, then yes, energy out must equal energy in. However, they needn’t be at the same temperature even if energy in is the same.

    The body with greenhouse gasses (provided again that temperature decreases with altitude) will have large chunks of IR radiation missing from its otherwise blackbody spectrum. It will heat up, causing more energy to radiate outside of the greenhouse gas absorption lines. So the total energy radiated by the warmer body, including the missing chunks due to greenhouse gas absorption, will be radiating away the same amount of energy as the cooler non-greenhouse body. Same amount of energy, different spectrum.

  35. 235

    z1, #228–

    Assume two equal planets (blobs of rock + water + gasses) irradiated by the same Sun with the only difference being that Blob1 has no GHG in its atmosphere and Blob2 has a decent % of GHG in its atmosphere. After energy equilibrium is established in both cases, how can Blob2 surface temperature be higher than the surface temp of Blob1 when the TOTAL radiation of energy back into open space for both blobs must be equal to the total energy input they both receive from the Sun?

    Let me ask what I hope will be a clarifying question:

    Assume two people–since I don’t want to call them ‘blobs’ I’ll call them Alicia and Billie–both of whom have exactly balanced personal budgets, and identical incomes of $3000 a month. Yet Alicia has $500 in savings, while Billie has $5,000.

    “Savings”–or planetary temperature–is not solely determined by “income”–or incoming shortwave radiation. You’ll undoubtedly point out that that may be, but Alicia and Billie must not have had identical histories all along, as while this model happily accommodates a difference in savings that continues indefinitely, it can’t account for the manner in which it arose.

    However, the problem there isn’t with the analogy I constructed; it simply arises from your condition: “After energy equilibrium is established.” If we wish to extend the analogy, we might for instance posit that Billie’s expenditures have been lower in the past, and that for 100 months she spent only $2,950 monthly, accumulating the difference. In fact, that reflects rather well the Earth’s current state, as (IRRC) we are currently exhibiting an energy imbalance of a tad less that 1 W/m2.

    You also ask:

    Where would the extra energy come from to keep the rock part of Blob2 warmer than the rock part of Blob1?

    Where does the “extra energy” that warms you come from when you pull up that extra blanket in the night? Do you imagine that the additional pressure of its weight causes your metabolism to speed up? Of course not. The blanket decreases the temperature gradient at your skin by creating a quasi-static layer of warm air and largely blocks direct thermal radiation. In other words, it slows the escape of heat from your body. Your metabolism remains pretty close to stable. Similarly the ‘blanket’ of GHGs.

    It would seem that Nikolov and Zeller stumble a bit on this same obstacle, by the way:

    …measured magnitudes of the global down-welling
    LW flux on planets with thick atmospheres such as Earth and Venus
    indicate that the lower troposphere of these bodies contains internal
    kinetic energy far exceeding the solar input. This fact cannot
    be explained via re-radiation of absorbed outgoing thermal emissions
    by gases known to supply no additional energy to the system. The desire
    to explicate the sizable energy surplus evident in the tropospheres of
    some terrestrial planets provided the main impetus for this research.

    Did you catch that? “This fact cannot
    be explained via re-radiation of absorbed outgoing thermal emissions
    by gases known to supply no additional energy to the system.”

    But it can easily be explained by the alteration of the ‘residence time’ of a quantum of energy in the system.

    One more example with Alicia and Billie. Let’s suppose their incomes and expenditures are as in the previous instance, but other details are slightly different. They now both work for the same employer, who has a remarkable pay structure in which employees receive 30 equal daily payments each month. Alicia pays every bill upon receipt, but Billie (slyly) pays hers 30 days later, at the last possible moment before they become overdue.

    What do their bank balances look like after two months, if they both begin with $1000? Well, Alicia’s is easy–it’s still $1000. Billie’s is harder, because it depends on the amounts and timing of her expenditures. But if we assume (unrealistically, to be sure) that these approximate income fairly closely, then she’s going to have something like $1900 in the bank. And since she’s now at equilibrium (assuming nothing else changes) then she’s always going to have about $900 more in her account than Alicia does.

  36. 236
    John Pollack says:

    z1 @228 I can see that you are indeed confused by the detailed consideration of energy transfers. My compliments on being able to admit it, and keep trying to understand.
    I will attempt to answer your questions (as no doubt others will.) You don’t need to first focus on the details of what allows Blob2 with GHGs to be warmer at the surface than Blob1 without. The essence of your paradox is that they somehow maintain different temperatures, even though the amount of energy that they receive, and ultimately radiate back into space, is the same. The paradox is resolved by realizing that any physical process that impedes the smooth and rapid flow of heat from the surface back into space will allow the surface and the nearby layers to maintain a higher equilibrium temperature than they would if the flow of heat away from the surface was not impeded.
    The excess heat near the surface of Blob2 came from the sun, but it got held back for a while until the surface could warm up more than it would have been in the case of Blob1. The surface will heat up until the impeded energy transfer processes speed up from the higher temperature. Blob2 reaches equilibrium at a higher temperature when the energy transfer processes speed up until they are operating at the same overall rate as the more efficient processes that allow heat to escape from Blob1 rapidly.
    Since the chicken in your example isn’t receiving any excess heat from an outside source, it won’t heat up any more – at least until you turn the oven on. Once the oven is on, the chicken might cook more rapidly with the mirrors.

  37. 237
    MA Rodger says:

    TYSON MCGUFFIN @227,
    I’m tempted to run through the two servings of gobshite you have so-far presented over this 3000-word David Sepkoski article you referenced @192. But your second installment is so away-with-the-fairies (so much so, I found it more humorous than anything else), it yet again strongly suggests that such comment would be wasted on you.

    So let me pick you up on just one small part of your gobshite.

    An ad hominem (which is not always a logical fallacy) is when an argument is dismissed simply because the agent making the argument is considered unreliable (legitimately or otherwise).
    So to say that ‘this troll TYSON MCGUFFIN sets out an argument that must be wrong because he is a swivel-eyed moron’ would be an ad hominem and a logical fallacy.
    However, I didn’t make such an argument @195. I showed that ‘this troll TYSON MCGUFFIN sets out an argument that is wrong and thus we have yet more evidence that the troll is a swivel-eyed moron.’

    I hope you understand the difference.

  38. 238
    jgnfld says:

    @228

    Re. your reductio ad absurdum “reasoning” (which you certainly accomplished)…

    Blob 2 is heated by BOTH the sun directly and indirectly from a portion of the outgoing radiation coming back down. As Tyndall correctly noted over nearly 200 years ago now (1857), “[T]he atmosphere admits of the entrance of the solar heat, but checks its exit; and the result is a tendency to accumulate heat at the surface of the planet.”

    You are suffering from being unable to comprehend the “green plate” effect. Eli Rabett discussed this some years ago in a post which drew some SEVERELY serious cranks out of the woodwork: https://rabett.blogspot.com/2017/10/an-evergreen-of-denial-is-that-colder.html and some following blog posts.

    Your infinitely heating oven is a perpetual motion machine as you seem to recognize at some level. What you seem not to realize is that when your reasoning leads to you a contradiction such as that, your reasoning and/or assumptions is/are off, you have gone off track somewhere and need to examine where your error is coming from.

  39. 239
    CCHolley says:

    RE. McGuffin and back radiation.

    Trying to make sense of McGuffin’s question and claims by reviewing his posts.

    @81

    Where did the idea of “back radiation” originate? I see mention of back radiation warming the surface of the earth but have not been able to trace its origin.

    Seems to have been well explained–”back radiation” is that portion of the radiation absorbed by the atmosphere from the surface that is reradiated back towards the surface.

    We know that the atmosphere radiates according to S-B law which does not require a radiation balance; the atmosphere radiates by virtue of its temperature.

    Correct

    @105

    The upward flux from the surface and the downwelling flux from the atmosphere are proportional to the 4th power of the surface and atmosphere temperatures respectively.

    Correct

    However, the half-and-half proposition implies that this proportionality does not hold in the case of the atmosphere.

    It does? Nope. It does not imply that at all.

    @120

    I’m arguing that the downwelling IR is given by the 4th power of the temperature of the atmosphere. The half-and-half approach implies that the portion of the surface emission that doesn’t escape directly to space is not extinguished in the atmosphere but rather, part is back-radiated to the surface part radiated to space.

    Well the half-and-half approach doesn’t imply it—it is a FACT.

    If you’ll indulge this thought experiment to illustrate. Instantaneously turn off surface emission by setting Ts to absolute zero while maintaining the atmosphere’s temperature at Ta, say 255K, the atmosphere will continue to emit proportional to the 4th power of Ta, whether looking up from the surface or down from the TOA that emission will be the same, not half down half up.

    Correct.

    Incoming shortwave Flux (F1) + Downwelling IR Flux (Fa)= Upward Flux from the surface (Fs)
    At equilibrium the LHS equals the RHS. Since F1 is fixed for practical purposes, changes in either Fa or Fs forces the other to adjust seeking to re-establish equilibrium.

    Also correct.

    @149

    I never said that! I said that the atmosphere will continue to emit by virtue of it being at temperature Ta; all to emphasize the existense of downwelling radiation absent surface radiation.

    Correct.

    @151

    That makes absolutely no sense. If I measure the emission from above I get:
    Eup = σT(sh)^4 and If I measure the emission from below I get Edown = σT(sh)^4. No need to double or half anything i.e. no need to fudge the numbers.

    Correct again.

    @152

    Regarding your comment about “actual units.” I’ve been speaking of fluxes; it is well known, by those who know it well, that fluxes are expressed in W’s unless you are a meteorologist in which case it means flux density.

    Aha! Well finally. Here is the problem (the reason the question was asked I’m sure)–don’t know how I missed it before.

    The flux everyone else is referring to is energy per unit time per unit area—-flux density. In SI units that’s Watts per square meter. Flux is often used as a contraction for flux density in both meteorology and climate science.

    For example, the S-B formula is used to calculate radiant emittance from a surface at a given temperature which is a flux density usually given in watts per square meter….it is NOT WATTS. Energy balance charts either show the numbers in percent of the energy flow or in watts per meter squared—flux density.

    So in the single layer atmospheric model, the top surface and the bottom surface of the atmosphere are emitting at the same flux density—watts per meter. Half of the energy being emitted is upward and half downward. Per the S-B law. There is no contradiction. Energy is conserved.

    MCGUFFIN’s confusion, which makes him look silly, is that we are talking about energy flows per unit area—NOT WATTS.

  40. 240
    jb says:

    z1 at 228:

    re: “After energy equilibrium is established in both cases, how can Blob2 surface temperature be higher than the surface temp of Blob1 when the TOTAL radiation of energy back into open space for both blobs must be equal to the total energy input they both receive from the Sun? Where would the extra energy come from to keep the rock part of Blob2 warmer than the rock part of Blob1?”

    1. The extra energy comes from the time that Blob 2 was not in equilibrium. Blob 1 will have never been out of equilibrium.

    2. The TOP of atmosphere temperature will be the same for both Blobs – after equilibrium is established.

  41. 241
    jb says:

    z1 at 228: Is it prudent and scientifically justified to only focus on IR (back-)radiation of GHG’s and exclude all other ways by which energy eventually balances out across the rock + water + gasses blob and between the blob and open space? Can energy balance analysis be performed without accounting for all modes of energy transfer in the system?

    There is only one way for heat to get into outer space. Conduction and convection won’t do it. Everything has to come from radiation.

  42. 242
    nigelj says:

    TYSON MCGUFFIN, I’ve read some of your comments. You seem to be confusing the back radiation issue with the energy budget of the atmosphere as a whole. These are two different things.

    Anyway putting that aside, its not clear where you are coming from on the climate issue as a whole. You do come across a bit like a denialist troll, but not entirely. So what’s you basic point of view? Do you accept human activities, particularly fossil fuels, are the dominant cause of the modern global warming period? (a simple unambiguous answer would be appreciated).

    Do you accept solutions should be energy substitution, electric cars etc? Are you someone who worries about climate mitigations effects on poor people? ( my instincts say you might). What point are you trying to convey about the Anthropocence apart from it being wider than the article suggested?

  43. 243
    Mr. Know It All says:

    213 – BPL
    “So yes, natural disasters are getting worse. Any guesses as to why?”

    I’m not sure they are getting “worse”. There may be more of them, but the increase in numbers may be due mostly to greater number of observers, calling dust-devils tornados, etc? John Pollack in #218 said it way better than I did – it is not only more observers but since the 1990s more sensitive observers (doppler radar). In the 50s and 60s you might have an F5 tornado go all night in the farmland and nobody would notice much because it didn’t hit buildings and nobody saw it. Country was sparsely populated compared to today.

    224 – James Charles
    Good 6 minute video. He claims it’s over – we’re done, cooked. He could be right, or he could be full of it. The earth is large – there are places where heating will be welcomed. Plus, Bill Gates has a plan to cool the earth. Lots of “the sky is falling” predictions throughout history that never resulted in the sky falling. ;) History repeats.

    225 – Tyson McGuffin
    “This incongruity leads to the sensible conclusion that the only effective approach to reducing carbon emissions is via command and control.”

    That’s why the founding fathers of the USA included the Bill of Rights. They got sick and tired of living under command and control of kings and bureaucrats. That pesky 2A is the only thing that keeps us free; and is why the left is working 24/7/365 to eliminate it. Be careful what you wish for – you may get it.

    230 – CCHolley
    “And not only that, plenty of rapid charging available along the way all of which is planned for and identified by the on board computer. And most hotels let me charge for FREE. I regularly drive mine 1600 miles twice a year when migrating from the north to south and back. FF just ain’t better for those trips.”

    That’s awesome that they can satisfy your needs. They do so for many folks, particularly city dwellers, and those who stick to well-traveled routes. There are many in the burbs where I live and more all the time. They’d be great for a commute to work as long as they have good heat in the winter. I know they are fast – once there was a Tesla in front of me at a light waiting to turn left – we had to wait forever, he got pissed and goosed it – that thing took off like a rocket-sled on rails! :)

    I like to travel rarely-traveled routes. Usually in the middle of nowhere, when it’s 100 F in the shade or 0 F in the winter. How does full-blast AC or heater affect your range? I don’t stay in hotels. Tent and my -20 F down bag and I’m good to go. Say you stop and camp in your Tesla, temps are 0F, you get up in the AM with cold batteries – does that affect your range? We will be forced into them eventually, but right now they are not the best for remote travel.

    231 – CCHolley
    ” And that sea level rise is already in the bank due to anthropogenic CO2 rise with likely much more sea level rise than that 20 feet to come as a result of that CO2 already emitted by mankind.”

    If it’s already in the bank, then no need to worry, right? OR maybe time to get the CO2 sequestration machines going? Does Biden have money for any of that in his many $Trillions of proposed pork? Trillion trees planting initiative???
    ;)

  44. 244
    John Pollack says:

    BPL @232 There probably is a clean time series of “significant” EF2 and above tornadoes, but I’m not a severe storms researcher. I did find some free files posted at the bottom of Storm Prediction Center’s WCM page https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data entitled U.S. Tornadoes (1950-2019) They
    are Excel formatted, and column K, entitled “mag.” seems to be the EF scale rating. You could filter for 2 and above.

  45. 245
    z1 says:

    Thx everyone for your responses! Things are slightly clearer but still having difficulty following all the card movements in this Energy Monte.

    The blanket analogy doesn’t apply either since (like the greenhouse glass) the blanket impedes/prevents convection & conduction whereas those are not impeded within the atmosphere, not between the atmosphere and the Earth, and not between the atmosphere and the oceans.

    I understand that both Blobs can only RADIATE energy back into open space (zero energy leaves via convection and conduction). This implies that the outer layer of the atmosphere for both Blobs must have the same temperature. (Yes?). The question remains: Could two Blobs with EQUAL propensity for energy exchange via convection and conduction within their rock, gasses, and water parts (and between those parts) have (significantly) DIFFERENT internal temperature distributions, regardless of their differences in radiative transfer caused by GHG in Blob2? After all, if some part becomes warmer for whatever reason, the increased temp gradient would increase convection/conduction with its surroundings which would drive the temp change in the opposite direction, no? No glass or a blanket to stop this from happening anywhere in the system.

    Of course, I understood that the chicken wouldn’t get baked by back-radiation from the mirrors (hence, reductio ad absurdum). But the analogy with the GHE remains since the claim there is that CO2 back-radiation in Blob2 somehow makes its rock, atmosphere, AND water parts warmer than their Blob1 counterparts even though the same energy comes into both Blobs from the Sun and gets radiated back into open space. The Blob2 “chicken” somehow gets baked whereas the Blob1 “chicken” doesn’t even though they’re plugged to the same power source (the Sun) and radiate the same energy back into space.

    This format is extremely cumbersome for quoting and responding. Is there a more convenient forum (with basic forum features) where these things could be more easily asked/discussed?

  46. 246
    MA Rodger says:

    zi @245,
    You are correct that the cooling of GHG-less BLOB1 and GHG-carrying BLOB2 into space is by radiation. You are correct that at equilibrium the temperature of the ‘outer layer’ will be the same (effectively) as it is temperature that defines the level of radiation emitted and note it is the effective radiative ‘outer layer’ here.

    But importantly for this radiative cooling of both BLOB1 & BLOB2, the location of the radiative outer layer is different.

    In BLOB1 that radiative out layer is the rocky surface as the atmosphere is transparent to radiation. In BLOB2 that radiative outer layer will be defined by the types and concentraions of the GHGs within the atmosphere. And on BLOB2, any temperature drop between its surface and its radiative outer layer (which has the same effective temperature as the rocky surface of BLOB1) is also conversely a temperature ‘rise’ between the BLOB2 radiative outer layer and the rocky surface of BLOB2. BLOB2’s surface is thus warmer than BLOB1’s at equilibrium.

    Your counter-argument is that such a temperature difference between the BLOB2 rocky surface and the BLOB2 radiative outer layer is negated by conduction/convection. Note these are both mechanisms that rely on a temperature difference to operate so there must always be a temperature difference.
    The question thus becomes ‘How big is that temperature difference?’
    Thus your counter-argument rests on how efficient the conduction/convection mechanisms are at moving energy up through the atmosphere to the radiative outer layer as the temperature gradient that drives them reduces. And the answer is that they are not very efficient which is why the vast majority of energy moved up (and at the same time down and sideways) below that radiateive outer layer on BLOB2 is radiation.

    And that temperature difference results in a significantly warmer surface on BLOB2 and also the poor chicken rotting faster (as neither BLOB1 nor BLOB2 are likely warm enough to cook it).

  47. 247
  48. 248
    Mr. Know It All says:

    232 – BPL
    “Is there a time series available for “significant” tornados?”

    As John Pollack indicates, the data before the 1990s will be incomplete. Back in the 50s and 60s people probably saw many tornados and did not report them. Lot of those people probably didn’t know who to report them to, and phone service was poor for a lot of them. I knew folks in the 60s with the crank wall phones – as long as the tornado didn’t damage their property why report it?

  49. 249
    zebra says:

    z1 #245,

    Around here, I’m the “annoying simplified model and thought experiment guy”, so let me help you out.

    You have to design your thought experiment, just like a real experiment, so that there is an easily changed variable and everything else is constant. And your simple model has to be simple, and stated in a simple way so there is no confusion.

    Then, you have to explain your reasoning…how you arrive at your conclusions. You can’t just make assertions.

    How about this:

    -There is an electric heating element in space, with a constant energy input.
    -It is surrounded by a shell, but there is a vacuum inside the shell as well as out.

    Are you saying that the temperature of the heating element will be the same no matter what the composition or thickness of the shell is? If so, why, using physics.

  50. 250
    TYSON MCGUFFIN says:

    239 CCHolley
    ”back radiation” is that portion of the radiation absorbed by the atmosphere from the surface that is reradiated back towards the surface.

    Reply
    Wrong.

    Here is how it works. The outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) received by the atmosphere is partly absorbed (by the GHGs) and partly transmitted. The portion of OLR that is absorbed is annihilated and converted to kinetic and potential energy of the molecules.

    In the lower altitudes (higher pressures) of the atmosphere, where collisional processes are dominant and the collisional deexcitation time is shorter than the lifetime of the excited molecular state, the excited molecules transfer their kinetic energy to other molecules. Because following a collision the colliding molecules are moving faster than before, the increased velocities are a measure of increased temperature in the atmosphere. Thus higher GHG concentrations in the atmosphere result in increased collisions and net warming.

    In the upper atmosphere OLR photons are again extinguished by absorption by GHG molecules, but here their spontaneous emission lifetimes are shorter than the collisional deexcitation times. These new emitted photons do not result in any net warming.

    In summary, OLR absorbed by the atmosphere is not “reradiated back towards the surface.” The confusion may come from a misinterpretation of the global energy budget diagrams by bloggers and their statistical climatologist followers.