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Because the world needs another opinion

The Problem with Ocean Heat Uptake

Posted by Jeff Id on February 12, 2014

A recent article on the global warming hiatus  garnered a bit of attention in blogland and the substantially less technical mainstream media. It was published in Nature Climate Change: Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus.   Of course the media ate up the work as though it were a perfect explanation for the utter failure of climate models and inaccurately assume that it means business as usual for them.

The abstract is reproduced below:

Despite ongoing increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases, the Earth’s global average surface air temperature has remained more or less steady since 2001. A variety of mechanisms have been proposed to account for this slowdown in surface warming. A key component of the global hiatus that has been identified is cool eastern Pacific sea surface temperature, but it is unclear how the ocean has remained relatively cool there in spite of ongoing increases in radiative forcing. Here we show that a pronounced strengthening in Pacific trade winds over the past two decades—unprecedented in observations/reanalysis data and not captured by climate models—is sufficient to account for the cooling of the tropical Pacific and a substantial slowdown in surface warming through increased subsurface ocean heat uptake. The extra uptake has come about through increased subduction in the Pacific shallow overturning cells, enhancing heat convergence in the equatorial thermocline. At the same time, the accelerated trade winds have increased equatorial upwelling in the central and eastern Pacific, lowering sea surface temperature there, which drives further cooling in other regions. The net effect of these anomalous winds is a cooling in the 2012 global average surface air temperature of 0.1–0.2 °C, which can account for much of the hiatus in surface warming observed since 2001. This hiatus could persist for much of the present decade if the trade wind trends continue, however rapid warming is expected to resume once the anomalous wind trends abate.

There are several issues with the work that I find interesting.

An “unprecedented” trade wind in the past two decades leaves a skeptical mind questioning how this was determined and documented.   We are all too familiar with flatly false examples in climate science of claims stating “unprecedented” ala Michael Mann’s hockey stick.  The moment the word is used with weather, I am already on edge.  But it leads me to wonder just what the cause of this unprecedented wind is.   Could this wind be driven in whole or in part by warmer than average air?  An  unexpected negative feedback?

Of course a wind mixing the ocean would create cooler air.  There is massive of heat capacity in the ocean which has been discussed at this blog and at many others.  If the ocean is mixed, the cold water is exposed and more heat transfer ensues.  I’m much more concerned about cold air from a mixed ocean than I am about any form of warming.  Bob Tisdale did a WUWT post on the matter pf ocean temp in models vs observations a couple of years ago.  He showed that in particular the East Pacific was falling way behind model projections.


Bob Tisdale – East Pacific Surface Temp Models vs Observation

As people are just now becoming aware, almost one hundred percent of the government funded climate models have a global mean surface temperature trend (not jsut ocean) which is higher than observation.  This is very bad news for models but according to this graph below the trend in the East Pacific is a whopping 6X less than the IPCC A1B model (likely from AR4).  The situation is so bad that scientists who have staked their careers on massive warming are digging deep for explanations for the problems.

What is interesting about this paper to me is what it means if the scientist are actually right.  What sort of implications does it have if a wind came by and knocked global temps down by 0.1 – 0.2 degrees Celsius. This graph below tells the temperature side of the story but immediate temperature change isn’t the only implication.


Dr. Roy Spencer Models VS Observations

Since subtracting from the spaghetti plot of models is difficult, if I visually add 0.1 C to either the red or blue observation line, that would mean that about 80% of the climate models were running too hot.  If I add 0.2, the maximum correction from the paper, HadCRUT4 still falls short of the mean so this paper does not explain the differences between models and observations alone.  From the half dozen other articles and blog posts, even at 1.5C, many of them would still be outside of the CI’s of the over-hot climate models.

Dr. Spencer, not so tongue in cheek for climate science, writes in the graph above that observations must be wrong.  This ocean heat paper actually doesn’t explain the entire model problem but unless you are looking at the data, you would think that it explained everything.

Another implication is that the heat from the air has been trapped in an ocean heatsink resulting in a water temperature rise of probably tenths of a thousandth of a degree.   Basically nothing.   Basic thermodynamics tells us that the temperature change isn’t sufficient for the rate of energy transfer from the now microscopically warmer ocean back to the air to measurably increase.   As far as our Gaian prognosticating scientists are concerned, the heat is functionally lost to their modeled plans.  The observations cannot simply jump back into alignment with models, although the trend could possibly resume as the next hilarious quote shows:

This hiatus could persist for much of the present decade if the trade wind trends continue, however rapid warming is expected to resume once the anomalous wind trends abate.

Ok so lets translate the whole mess so that it is understandable.

 – The scientists didn’t predict the trade wind and so don’t know the cause.

  – Basic common sense will tell us that this wind or a similar wind event very likely happened before and the “unprecedented” claim is likely unrealistic.

 – They modeled the wind mixing the ocean and managed to say that the heat went into the water with the same kinds of swag’s that led to missing the apparently huge pacific “wind” factor.

 – They then claim that perhaps in a decade when the winds stop, the original predictions of warming rate will come true.

The Guardian and many other unbiased sources of knowledge for the thinking public, reported the paper as though it was certain knowledge.  It even contained the typical refrain of all signs pointing to accelerating warming which is a flatly fraudulent statement considering that they are simultaneously composing an article explaining why warming isn’t happening.   No questioning of logic, no notice of the inconsistency with their own or other articles they are publishing about the amazing quality of government science.  And it is all placed right next to the articles bashing “skeptics” like me and you who just happen to be able to read a graph.

Eventually the data will decide the argument but it is very very strange that the data is so heavily on our side and we’re the ones who are marginalized by those who hold themselves out as the intellectuals of our time.

130 Responses to “The Problem with Ocean Heat Uptake”

  1. timetochooseagain said

    People really ought not put any stock in, at the very least, the extreme models that give really high amounts of warming, but as long as the politically motivated need that magic phrase “up to” they will stick around, even though they are obviously wrong.

    Judging from at least 5 different methods I’ve done so far, the short term feedback for the present climate state is something like -1.4. You need ridiculous non-linearity of response to get to +.5 and warming in the future that would actually cause even a tiny amount of harm.

    I can’t prove that’s impossible, but then it is impossible to prove that something is impossible. I do have to share your frustration, though, given how weak the case for climate alarm is, it is incredible that we’re the ones that are treated as if we’re crazy.

  2. Iain Hall said

    Nicely argued Jeff. When I first heard about this my first thought is just how much it demonstrates the weakness of the alarmists models, not that this was the way that the likes of the Guardian interpreted it.
    What amazes me is that they then went on to insist that once those “unprecedented” winds die down then it will be right back to thermal Armageddon.

  3. Jeff,
    There is gross cherrypicking in Spencer’s plot. He has aligned the model and UAH/Had anomalies not by an average over 30 years or some such, but by a single year. And not coincidentally, he chose an El Nino year which has a marked peak, especially for UAH. You can see that if he had aligned on 1986, say. then UAH and model mean would track very well up to 2003, and much better thereafter. Or indeed, most any other year but 1983.

    The Tisdale plot is contrived. He has plotted E Pacific observed against global model mean. And of course E Pac is known to have dived (La Nina) but that doesn’t mean the SST global has.

    I think the trade wind story is just saying what we knew – that there have been a lot of La Nina years. This is basically the ENSO mechanism; La Nina has a SLP gradient from E to W and piles up a warm pool in W Pacific. El Nino drops the winds, and the warm water shows up in E Pacific.

    • Andrew said

      Nick, that’s pure nonsense. The models and observational data are 5 year running means, whether the year was an El Nino doesn’t matter. Additionally offsets don’t matter, do what you suggest is just a really good way to make it hard to make heads or tails of the chart. There is a clear trend in the differences.

      If I do have to fault Roy for one thing, it’s that I think he hasn’t accounted for atmospheric amplification. Which wouldn’t help you, by the way.

    • Andrew saidFebruary 13, 2014 at 2:54 am
      “Nick, that’s pure nonsense. The models and observational data are 5 year running means, whether the year was an El Nino doesn’t matter.”

      No, observation at least are annual. They go up to 2013. Anyway, you can see it just looking at the graph. Move along three years and do the alignment. Very different. Or 4,5,6…

      The UAH downslide of 0.15°C between 1983 and 1986 is just a guaranteed offset exaggerating the difference.

      • Andrew said

        You are being really dumb, Nick. It would take you two second to plot up annual values for yourself of both datasets and see they don’t look like that. A running mean will go to the end of the data, and start at the nth year. They are 5 year running means.

        • “A running mean will go to the end of the data, and start at the nth year. They are 5 year running means.”
          Well, he should have centered them. But I think you’re right. It’s irrelevant to my point, though. He has chosen to align the model mean to a local peak year of observations. He should have used an average, but even choosing any year from 1986 on, rather than 1983, would reduce the UAH differential by about 0.15°C.

          • Andrew said

            Your point is still totally spurious so it being irrelevant doesn’t matter.

            What can be seen when comparing the data this way, is that there is a trend in the differences.

            It’s amazing how many people will jump all over anyone who doesn’t understand why datasets with different base periods will show different values but agree on trends, literally suddenly think baseline offsets matter, as soon as it is convenient to the argument they want to make.

          • The statement here isn’t about trends. It is about how many models lie above or below the observations. Roy says 95%; Jeff says that allowing for heat uptake it might be 80%. Those claims are highly affected by the pick-the-peak manoeuvre.

          • Jeff Id said


            I don’t have much choice for start point here do I?

            The models stink and we all know it are you still holding out hope that they somehow don’t?

          • Carrick said

            Nick, you’re criticizing Jeff and Roy for something you did yourself, the same thing that Cowtan and Way did, namely pick 1997 as a starting year in order to maximize the apparent magnitude of a trend.

            Not interested in your explanation of why, so this is just an observation, since what you are doing is obvious.

          • Carrick,
            Well, I was showing an alternative to C&W and comparing over their interval. They chose 1997 trying to pin down what is being spoken of as the pause. “Santer’s 17 years”, Moncktons “17 years and five months” – been reading WUWT?

            And I don’t think it does maximise a trend – quite the contrary. Steve McI’s complaint was that the action was all since 2005.

          • Jeff,
            You don’t have much choice, but Roy did. And it relates to your 80% calc.

            My own view is that what we’ve seen is a run of La Nina’s, and models can’t be expected to track that. They do ENSO, but with no way of getting the phase coinciding with Earth.

          • Nick Stokes,
            “My own view is that what we’ve seen is a run of La Nina’s, and models can’t be expected to track that. ”
            The average ENSO state has declined slightly since 1997… the 48 month trailing average Nino 3.4 anomaly has fallen by ~0.38C. Based on the correlation of Nino 3.4 with global average temperature, a drop of ~0.38C corresponds to a global average impact of about -0.036C. So yes, the ‘run of La Nina’s’ accounts for a small part of the divergence between the models and reality, but nothing like the 0.1C to 0.2C claimed in the paper. See:

          • timetochooseagain said

            Asking how many models are above or below one data point at the end of the series isn’t the right way to say the correct number of models that look good or bad. But that’s not your beef, because apparently you think that is the right way to do it…as long as one selects the offset to make the number smaller.

            Shifting the series…es…to have the same mean during the period of overlap, would reduce the number currently above the value, and increase the number below the value at the beginning of the series.

            That’s why the important thing is the trend difference. And I do think Roy should have counted how many had trends higher or lower than the observed data, instead of doing it the way he did. But that’s not the way you want the comparison done. The way you want the comparison done, is just stupid.

          • Carrick said

            I hope you would agree that we shouldn’t simply look at one particular interval, especially one that has an extreme events near *both* ends, and use that to determine the trend. Without regard to the question of “does this make my, er, my trend look big” or not. First pick the right methods, then look at the results.
            You are correct about the issue with Spencer using 1983. You should be able to admit the same issue applies for 1997.
            [I would hope that competent researchers wouldn't select what Chris Monckton does as "gold standard". I don't have a problem with looking at that as a discussion point, but the "17 year pause" shouldn't be the basis for the period to analyze.]
            On a similar note, you correctly criticize Jeff for talking about one trend being a factor “x” greater than another trend:

            Well, the question there is whether the trends are significantly different. The fact that one is 6x the other just says that one happens to be near zero.

            However, this same criticism should be applied equally to e.g., Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half.
            Oddly I couldn’t find your comments on RealClimate either on the interval selection or on the choice of metric for comparing trends.

          • Carrick said

            Part of that comment was cut off. Here’s another try. Sorry for the duplication.


            Well, I was showing an alternative to C&W and comparing over their interval. They chose 1997 trying to pin down what is being spoken of as the pause. “Santer’s 17 years”, Moncktons “17 years and five months” – been reading WUWT?

            You say you are “showing an alternative to C&W”. If you are using a different interval than C&W, where do you state this? Your graph says 1997-2012. What’s different?
            As I said, though, I didn’t want to get into “lawyering” over why they choose the interval they choose. My point is you’re very selective about when it’s okay to pick an interval and when it isn’t.
            I hope you would agree that we shouldn’t simply look at one particular interval, especially one that has an extreme events near *both* ends, and use that to determine the trend. Without regard to the question of “does this make my a$$, er, my trend look big” or not. First pick the right methods, then look at the results.
            You are correct about the issue with Spencer using 1983. You should be able to admit the same issue applies for 1997.
            [I would hope that competent researchers wouldn't select what Chris Monckton does as "gold standard". I don't have a problem with looking at that as a discussion point, but the "17 year pause" shouldn't be the basis for the period to analyze.]
            On a similar note, you correctly criticize Jeff for talking about one trend being a factor “x” greater than another trend:

            Well, the question there is whether the trends are significantly different. The fact that one is 6x the other just says that one happens to be near zero.

            However, this same criticism should be applied equally to e.g., Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half.
            Oddly I couldn’t find your comments on RealClimate either on the interval selection or on the choice of metric for comparing trends.

          • TTCA,
            No, I don’t at all advocate Roy’s way. I just point to a big thumb on the scales. As said, I think there has been a run of La Nina’s which models have no way of predicting (in phase), and so the ones that did happen to track reasonably did so by pure chance.

          • Carrick,
            ” If you are using a different interval than C&W, where do you state this?”
            I’m not. I’m demonstrating an alternative method. I want to compare with C&W – in fact, to plot mine and theirs on the same plot. Since I can’t do the kriging etc for a different time, I have to use the same time interval as they did.

            But I can’t see the beef over 1997. The main Arctic divergence was after 2005. 1997 is a sceptics’ choice – it makes the trends look low. C&W trends are low too; just not so much.

          • Carrick said


            But I can’t see the beef over 1997. The main Arctic divergence was after 2005. 1997 is a sceptics’ choice – it makes the trends look low. C&W trends are low too; just not so much.

            You have a problem with using 1983, an ENSO positive year, but not 1997, an ENSO positive year, but with a much larger magnitude?

            I have a problem with you not seeing a problem. You have whole posts dedicated to why cherry picking is a bad idea.

            As to “The main Arctic divergence was after 2005. 1997 is a sceptics’ choice – it makes the trends look low”, I view “1997 is a skeptics’ choice” as a rhetorical diversion:
            You also don’t pick methods based on the answer you want to see.

            And if you want to play Rasmus’s trick of claiming that “Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half”, obviously you want the “uncorrected” trend to be as small as possible. That’ makes the effect of the C&W putative correction look bigger, not smaller.

          • hmmm said

            “My own view is that what we’ve seen is a run of La Nina’s, and models can’t be expected to track that.”

            therefore the whole theory needs to be twerked since they weren’t accounting for the run of El Nino’s during the 80’s and 90’s heating, gives a much larger share to natural taken directly from CO2. Also demonstrates model’s inability to capture physics of known natural cycles, or even at the least simulate the phases numerically up to now.

      • Andrew said

        By the way, this statement:

        “The Tisdale plot is contrived. He has plotted E Pacific observed against global model mean. And of course E Pac is known to have dived (La Nina) but that doesn’t mean the SST global has.”

        Is wrong. That’s really what the ensemble mean does in the ENSO region. It’s not global.

        • Yes, on checking the original post, I see that is true. It is a particularly selected dive, however. A model average is necessarily much smoother, and can’t be expected to emulate such behaviour. Neither can individual models be expected to; they generate synthetic weather in response to forcings, but the timing of events like this is random. Models produce ENSO oscillations, but those are not linked in phase to any Earth data.

        • Here is Bob Tisdales latest E Pacific plot. The 2011 dip was temporary; for a while now it has been right back above the trend line, and that would put it very close to the models.

          • Andrew said

            So on a timescale of 30 years, natural variability can cancel anthropogenic forcing.

            The trends disagree. By quite a bit. And you realize really want to argue that recent points are close.

          • Well, the question there is whether the trends are significantly different. The fact that one is 6x the other just says that one happens to be near zero.
            But why not show the latest data? It’s not as if Tisdale graphs are in short supply.

          • Jeff Id said

            “But why not show the latest data?”

            Because that is what I found late last night and you know me well enough by now Nick not to insinuate that I would hide evidence.

          • No, Jeff, I’m not insinuating. I understand that. I’m rebutting Andrew’s defence. The E Pacific comparison is of a model mean with a single instance (Earth) and the latter is much more variable. And what looked like a big divergence was transient.

          • timetochooseagain said

            No, your rebuttal is still totally spurious. You say “What look like a big divergence was transient,” but in reality what looks to your faithful eyes like a convergence is transient.

            Weather noise doesn’t make 30 year trends-unless you are suddenly a denier.

  4. Translated for the layman to:

    “Sorry! We forgot about the wind!”

    (…in our climate change predictions.)

  5. Andrew said

    Hm, dumb question, if the wind slowed down, to what form exactly was the mechanical energy converted?

    • Paul_K said

      Not a dumb question at all. The answer is that, over short periods, there is an excellent correlation between Atmospheric Angular Momentum (AAM) and the Earth’s Rotational Velocity as measured by Length of Day (LOD). So a lot of the change in atmospheric momentum is translated into kinetic rotational energy of the Earth mantle-plus-core as well as oceanic current change plus some assumed frictional heat from the applied torques. Try or

      Over longer timeframes, there is a missing energy component, which Nasa JPL seems to believe is associated with variation in the rotation rate of the liquid core. I think they are over-fixated on this idea. I am now fairly certain that there is an orbital signal as well, something I am still working on.

  6. If the relative lack of recent warming is due to greater ocean heat uptake, then why is this not plainly evident on the ARGO heat content data? ( see panel for 0-2000 meters)
    There seems to be no clear observational evidence for a rapid run-up in ocean heat from sea level either: where if anything, the trend in satellite based sea level shows a modest decrease since 2001 compared to earlier. For vast quantities of heat to be ‘hiding’ in the deep ocean, there would have to be a concurrent reduction in melting of land supported ice…. and there is no evidence for that either (multiple publications indicating fairly uniform to slightly increasing melt contribution). So the paper is, well, almost certainly just plain wrong. The contortions that the authors (and Nature Climate Change!) will go through to try to maintain the plausibility of high temperature sensitivity to GHG forcing are mildly amusing, much like a poorly made horror film.

    Reality will not be convinced by these machinations, and in the end this and all similar arm-waves in support of high climate sensitivity will fail. Climate scientists would be prudent to accept the mounting evidence of much lower sensitivity and move on. The sooner this happens, the sooner foolish and wasteful public energy policies can be avoided, and where those are already in place, eliminated.

  7. Carrick said

    I do happen to agree with Nick on the weakness of Tisdale’s and Roy Spencer’s work, though Nick is certainly aware that models that were originally tuned to match the warming from circa 1980-2000 have to be running too hot, since the circa 2001 knee-point in the data.

    How many individual models are consistent with the last 12+ years of data?

    It’s a practical question, and I would have guessed the answer is somewhere around 5%. Here is Lucia’s latest figure, which shows one out of 17, or 6%, or 2 out of 17, or 12%. The errors shown are “weather plus noise”, but I happen to think Lucia’s method inflates the uncertainly slightly, so I’m not very keen on being overly generous here.

    I think Tisdale misses the bigger problem for ENSO is matching the amount of of observed variability in models, and the point that he is actually making is a very weak one (long-term ENSO trends are strongly coupled to global trends). If you have a model that gets the right amount variability for ENSO (and right periodicity), it also happens to run hot.

    A comparison of both internal variability & periodicity of ENSO simultaneously with a trend comparison wouldn’t probably yield favorable results (in AR4 at least, models that matched ENSO ran way too hot, models that matched temperatures tended to have too small variability in ENSO).

    On the other hand, I don’t think the error bars shown e.g. for the multi-model mean accurately reflect all of the real uncertainty associated with parameter and data selection in the models. A better method for examining the parameter space of the models is needed.

    • timetochooseagain said

      “long-term ENSO trends are strongly coupled to global trends”

      I don’t understand, is this your reading of Tisdale, or your own assertion?

      I’m asking because I don’t agree with it.

      And I know I don’t agree with Tisdale about many things. I do think his model-data comparison charts are good, though, although lacking in accompanying statistical analysis.

      • Carrick said

        It’s an empirical observation.

      • Carrick said

        I should clarify what I meant here. If you look at the long-term ENSO3.4 temperature, it tracks with global mean temperature. This is based on my own study using HadCrut4.

        • timetochooseagain said

          I don’t but a huge amount of stock in the very old sea surface temperature data buuuuut….Nino 3.4 was selected as a region that maximizes correlation with the atmospheric component of ENSO (that is, the Southern Oscillation). So if ENSO trends follow global temperature trends strongly, There should be a significant trend in SOI-unless one wants to dispute the significance of HadCRUT4’s trend, which is fine by me. But there is no significant trend in SOI going all the way back to 1876.

          There may or may not be a drift in the background sea surface temperature in the ENSO region that more or less comports with the global trend, and diverges from the actual ENSO phenomenon, but I don’t think that qualifies as a “strong coupling” between the two. It think it is more like a weak coupling-especially relative to the short term coupling in the opposite direction.

          • Carrick said

            SOI is a measure of air pressure, definitely not the same thing as temperature, and it has it’s own issues that you have to deal with.

            Of course I didn’t make any particular claim about SOI, but clearly ENSO tracks with global mean temperature.

          • timetochooseagain said

            What sea surface temperature dataset are you using? When I try to get sea surface temps from the region from HADSST3, there are huge gaps in most of the 19th century (that is, 1850-1900). One needs to take care here, to recognize how bad the sea surface temperature record for many regions is going back too far in time.

            But ENSO stands for El Nino Southern Oscillation, so yes, the atmospheric component of the phenomenon is included in ENSO.

            At any rate, I did say there might be a background drift of NINO 3.4 SST. But I don’t think this is really a part of the ENSO phenomenon. It think it’s just a part of global warming. I don’t think that qualifies as strong coupling. But then we might not be able to agree about that unless we determine a clear definition of “strong” and “coupling.”

            And, apparently, ENSO.

          • Carrick said

            I did specify what I meant, which is ENSO 3.4 temperature, not another index, and certainly not a pressure-derived one that may or may not be detrended.

            I was using “coupled” in the generic sense, not implying a particular arrow of causality. If you say two things are coupled, that’s just another way of saying they tend to covary.

            Shorter period, there is strong evidence for a causal relationship between ENSO and tropical temperature (±20°), in the sense that the linear correlation is high (> 0.5) with a positive lag between ENSO variation and tropical temperature variation. But I wasn’t referring to that.

          • timetochooseagain said

            SOI is not detrended. It’s just the pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin:


            As for whether you were specific, yes, in your clarification you were. However I am pushing back on defining ENSO as the same thing as NINO 3.4 for a reason. One of which is exactly that the sea surface temperature might drift due to warming, in a way that actually has very little, or even nothing, to do with the ENSO phenomenon. This renders the original statement in your original post incorrect in an important way.

          • TTCA,
            “One of which is exactly that the sea surface temperature might drift due to warming, in a way that actually has very little, or even nothing, to do with the ENSO phenomenon.”
            The data appear to say otherwise. The raw Nino 3.4 data (not the anomaly) are relatively flat over the last 32 years, with a slight downward trend (-0.015 C per year). The anomalies are calculated by subtracting the average monthly values for the whole period from the individual monthly values. The anomalies have a very similar downward trend (-0.0143 C per year), just as you would expect. Of course, starting and ending years can make a small difference in the trend (it is a cyclical region, temperature-wise), but even if you de-trend the Nino 3.4 anomaly, the correlation with average temperature in the tropics is very strong, with a modest time lag (~3 months). The physical mechanism for changes in the Nino3.4 anomaly is pretty clearly understood (trade winds moving warm surface water westward), so it is not at all speculative (IMO) to say that the Nino 3.4 anomaly is a good diagnostic of the ENSO.

          • timetochooseagain said

            Steve, your disagreement with Carrick seems to be even stronger than mine is. He would, I think, argue that long term trends of HadCRUT4 and NINO 3.4 line up with one another. I merely was stating that, even if this were true, it doesn’t mean that the ENSO phenomenon itself shows such trends. You seem to be arguing that isn’t even the case.

          • Carrick said

            Steve, I plotted the actual data from HadCRUT4 above. Are you saying the data are wrong?

            TTCA, we’ve beaten this horse enough, don’t you think?

          • timetochooseagain said

            Yeah, it’s really not that interesting.

          • Carrick,
            I don’t have any disagreement with you. I think Nino 3.4 anomaly is a very good proxy for ENSO… we have of course discussed this before.
            The global temperature data DO line up very well with the Nino 3.4 anomaly, with some lag; I was not trying to suggest otherwise. The only reason for my comment was to note that there is not much long term trend in the raw data, so your concern about a general trend contaminating the Nino 3.4 anomaly appears to be not supported by the data.

        • timetochooseagain said

          I think you are confusing timescales. We all agree-of course-that short term ENSO fluctuations are apparent in global temperature data. But Carrick wasn’t referring to that-except when he digressed a bit to talk about a different timescale where he did, in fact, make an assertion of a causal relation. But the statement that my “concern about a general trend contaminating the Nino 3.4 anomaly” not being supported by the data is contradicted by Carrick’s plot above. So if you don’t disagree with Carrick, this is something you should have (admittedly minor) concern about.

          I don’t really wish to bother one way or the other about using sea surface temperatures that may or may not have warming induced drift to represent ENSO, which is why I typically-though not exclusively-use the pressure based SOI. The trend in it is not statistically significantly different from zero-and that’s without even accounting for autocorrelation.

          Carrick seems to give indication that there should be a significant trend in NINO 3.4 sea surface temperatures. Is there? I don’t know.

          • Carrick said

            I didn’t make a statement about causality did I? I used the word “coupled”, which you interpreted as a statement of causality. Two things can covary because they have a common forcing agent, you don’t have to assume that one is causing the other to vary.

            I think there is an actual disagreement because SW Pacific raw ocean temperatures do show a positive trend at least if you use enough years to resolve it.

            SOI is an interesting index to discuss on its own merits. It takes more energy than my tired brain has left to do it justice though. But one thing you might want to think about is that for a static (no wind) atmosphere in equilibrium, the pressure on the surface can be show to be equal to the weight of the air column above it, divided by the cross-sectional area of the column. I can see how changing the temperature of the column can lead to a pressure change (change in height of the column of air), and moving the column vertically (sea level change, isostatic rebound, others?) can lead to a pressure change. Theses get written on this problem, so no way to do it justice in one paragraph.

          • timetochooseagain said

            Carrick, I was careful to say that you had only made a statement about causality for the short term. Did I misinterpret:

            “Shorter period, there is strong evidence for a causal relationship between ENSO and tropical temperature”

            I guess that answers which sea surface temperature data you are using though. Nothing against NOAA, but ERSST really needs to do something about the 1945 problem.

          • Carrick said

            Thanks, yes I did assert that. I had the long-term trend still in mind. I was thinking of this data, which is dominated by the 2-5 year spectral structure of ENSO variability.

            I really don’t take the temperature reconstructions seriously previous to 1950. I would have just plotted that portion, but then somebody would probably ask me why I withheld data that I don’t own. ;-)

          • timetochooseagain said

            Fair enough, that’s more or less what I meant when I said I don’t put much stock in the very old sea surface temperature data.

            Which, again, cries out for a good way to measure ENSO going back pre-1950. Which is another reason I prefer SOI.

            Then again I could easily be persuaded that the pressure data are unreliable, too, but I’d need an explanation why, and a pretty good one.

          • Carrick said

            Then again I could easily be persuaded that the pressure data are unreliable, too, but I’d need an explanation why, and a pretty good one.

            I don’t know that they are unreliable, if what you are looking at is short period variability. I don’t think the secular trends can be directly related to temperature or even climates change for the reasons I discussed above. For example, I’ve seen claims you can use the long-term variability in pressure to estimate the change in mean sea surface level.

  8. Carrick said

    Back on point of discussing cherry picking of end points, I think 2001 is a more typical starting point for where temperature was actually flat. For example in Matthew England’s latest paper, the topic of this post, he writes “Despite ongoing increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases, the Earth’s global average surface air temperature has remained more or less steady since 2001″.

    Why wouldn’t a peer-reviewed publication focus on actual dates that get discuss in the research community as the start of a pause? Simply because you have an extreme event in 1997-98 that you can use to create a nearly flat trend, doesn’t mean that the trend line is telling you anything meaningful

  9. John F. Hultquist said

    Better late than never, I think.

    Just under the Roy S. chart of “Models VS Observations” you have:

    “ . . . if I visually add 0.1 C to either the red or blue observation line,

    The HadCRUT4 plot is bright green! Well, at least to my eyes on my monitor.
    Could be I’m not looking where you were looking.
    Now back to reading and trying to catch up.

  10. Kenneth Fritsch said

    The recent pause in warming has been submitted to several modes of explanations by the climate modelers and their defenders. It has been argued that the “weather noise”, as Lucia terms it, can produce infrequently but at statistically significant levels (0.05) rather lengthy periods of no trends (15 years) using some climate models. Climate models also are not capable of the timing of these weather events. These propositions are quite true and admits for those of us willing to do so the uncertainty inherently involved in climate predictions and also in hindcasting and validating the climate models. You also have the inherent limitation of the observed temperature record being only a single realization of a chaotic system and over a relatively short time period. Some of these limitations can be mitigated by using ARMA models of the climate model and observed temperatures, but that is something that you seldom see performed in the peer-reviewed literature. Actually by using all the CMIP5 model historical trend results and comparing with the observed going back to 1964 it can be shown that the mean of the climate model trends is significantly greater than the observed – thanks in part to the use of added degrees of freedom in the calculation that going back in time permits.

    The latest explanation appears to be related to an “unprecedented” change in prevailing winds and resultant heat capture into the deep ocean. This would appear to be the deterministic counter explanation to the stochastic and chaotic one described above. It is a phenomena that was apparently entirely overlooked by the climate models or in the analyses of the model outputs. A cyclical phenomena like prevailing winds could imply that past warmth and cooling were caused by it and that it was something totally hidden from the models. Again all these manifestations point to much uncertainty – for those of us willing to admit it. Of course, the term unprecedented is required to sell the idea that the phenomena was not acting in the past. This situation reminds us that when the proxies in temperature reconstructions and particularly tree rings were found to diverge in response to the late modern instrumental temperature record that phenomena had to be labeled “unprecedented” for admitting that it operated back in time would throw all these reconstructions into doubt. In fact the divergence had to made a cause of the recent warming to fit the consensus view of things.

    Now when JeffID proposes that the “unprecedented” change in the prevailing winds could be a manifestation of the recent “unprecedented” warming and as such providing a negative feedback on global temperature, we need only look to the divergence issue for a precedent.

  11. Kenneth,
    I find it at least mildly funny that mutually exclusive explanations for the recent slow rate of warming are being offered with increasing frequency…. the longer slow warming continues, the more urgency to ‘explain it away’. Of course, the really funny part is that the single most plausible explanation… that the models are way wrong on aerosols and sub-grid phenomena (like clouds)… is never seriously considered as a plausible explanation, no matter how obvious that may be to people outside of the climate temple. I suspect this will eventually change, but it may be a very long time before the models are ‘adjusted’ to better fit reality. It seems to me that preservation of the plausibility of very high climate sensitivity is, and has always been, the most important consideration for climate modelers and their minions. I have thought for a while that they would eventually start facing reality, if only because the horrible model projections will soon become an embarrassment, but there is not much sign of that so far.

    • Kenneth Fritsch said

      My reaction to journalists putting a second hand and most often uninformed certainty spin on scientific and even economic findings is what, like it evidently does for JeffID, bothers me about what I read these days in the media or that some uninformed politician spews. A good and honest scientist knows when even a pet theory or conjecture can only be supported within very wide uncertainty limits and will testify to that state of affairs, while, on the other hand, the advocate/scientist and advocate/journalist will tend to mention it only in passing or not at all. That situation calls for ever more vigilant and at the same time clear headed skepticism.

  12. omanuel said

    Today I am pleased to report that sixty-eight years (2014 – 1946 = 68 yrs) of magical, pseudo-scientific models are crumbling in the face of reality.

    That game is over. World leaders and their armies of pseudo-scientists have encountered a Higher Power.

    It is now time to rejoice,
    - Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    • omanuel said

      Chapter 3 of my autobiography will show that:

      A strong, short-range force of neutron repulsion causes condensed nuclear matter to fragment, emit neutrons as seeds of atomic matter to fill interstellar space as the universe expands. Then a weak, long-range force of gravitational attraction causes dispersed atomic matter to collapse back at the end of one cosmic breath. Thus were life and breath built into the operation of the universe.

  13. timetochooseagain said

    Hm, actually, how wind behaves is very important for the surface heat balance-and since surface heat imbalance = top of the atmosphere imbalance, it follows that how wind behaves, and getting it right in models, is crucial to getting feedbacks correct.

    Why? Because Evaporation is, essentially:

    E = D*u*L*q(T)*(1-rh)

    Where D is the drag coefficient, L is the latent heat of vaporization, q is the saturation vapor pressure at the temperature T, rh is the relative humidity of surface air, and u is turbulent velocity.

    Now, why the heck should that matter? Because, evaporation is one of the important ways in which the surface cools. Specifically, it cools evaporatively at a rate of 86.4 W/m^2. As it happens, on long enough timescales, basically longer than a month, there has to be a balance between evaporation and precipitation. So an increasing trend in precipitation would indicate an equal in magnitude increase in evaporation. Space and ground based observations indicate that from 1987-2006, precipitation increased by 1.4% per decade, which should mean 1.2096 W/m^2 additional evaporative cooling per decade. The average of the three surface temperature datasets shows a linear trend of .2 per decade over the same period-it’s inflated relative to the thirty year trend due to end points, but then, the precipitation trend should be too. That’s a feedback flux from evaporation of 6.048 W/m^2/K. That’s huge. For reference, in models it’s closer to 0.864 W/m^2/K to 2.592 W/m^2/K. This happens to correspond pretty well to the model range of sensitivities (although because other surface flux effects vary between models, it’s not one to one). If it similarly corresponds in the real world, we get a sensitivity 0.6 K per doubling. If the surface temperature trend is biased, the value is even lower.

    Why is it so different in reality relative to models? Apparently because the models get u wrong. They predict decreasing wind with warming, globally, slightly, decreasing the rate of increase of evaporation with temperature from what one would expect if u were fixed (roughly 5.7%/K). It actually increased over the period in question.

    So yeah, looks to me like Jeff is exactly right, wind is acting as a feedback, and a strongly negative one at that.

    • “That’s a feedback flux from evaporation of 6.048 W/m^2/K.”
      No, the water condenses again, releasing the heat.

      • timetochooseagain said

        Into the atmosphere, from whence it is radiated to space.

      • Only if the atmosphere warms. Then there’s no net cooling effect.

        In fact outgoing thermal IR is pretty much constrained to match absorbed SW.

        • timetochooseagain said

          Nick, the surface energy balance and the top of the atmosphere balance have to match. You are in effect saying they don’t. You are wrong.

          In the first place, if you want to take into account the effect of increase in back radiation from a warmer atmosphere, you need to take into account the increase in radiation loss by the surface. That’s not included in my above calculation, in case that wasn’t clear. Those are the effects that nearly cancel. See in models: 3.7/2.592 = 1.43, 3.7/0.864 = 4.28.

          Very roughly, evaporative cooling = top of the atmosphere radiative cooling.

        • Carrick said

          Nick, if you google it, there’s a fair amount of research on the effects of evaporative cooling, and it generally agrees with what TTCA says here. This is one that made the rounds a few years ago:

          Forests and Climate Change: Forcings, Feedbacks, and the Climate Benefits of Forests
          Gordon B. Bonan

          The world’s forests influence climate through physical, chemical, and biological processes that affect planetary energetics, the hydrologic cycle, and atmospheric composition. These complex and nonlinear forest-atmosphere interactions can dampen or amplify anthropogenic climate change. Tropical, temperate, and boreal reforestation and afforestation attenuate global warming through carbon sequestration. Biogeophysical feedbacks can enhance or diminish this negative climate forcing. Tropical forests mitigate warming through evaporative cooling, but the low albedo of boreal forests is a positive climate forcing. The evaporative effect of temperate forests is unclear. The net climate forcing from these and other processes is not known. Forests are under tremendous pressure from global change. Interdisciplinary science that integrates knowledge of the many interacting climate services of forests with the impacts of global change is necessary to identify and understand as yet unexplored feedbacks in the Earth system and the potential of forests to mitigate climate change.

        • Carrick,
          “Nick, if you google it, there’s a fair amount of research on the effects of evaporative cooling, and it generally agrees with what TTCA says here.”
          What TTCA says here is:
          “That’s a feedback flux from evaporation of 6.048 W/m^2/K.”
          The entire LH of evaporation is counted as atmospheric cooling, with no allowance for the subsequent condensation. I don’t believe any published research agrees with that.

          • Andrew said

            Nick, again, the condensation warms the atmosphere. The warmer atmosphere radiates more both up and down. The warmer surface radiates more up. The up from the ground and the down from the atmosphere are about the same-the up from the atmosphere is approximately equivalent to the evaporative flux from the surface. This isn’t hard to understand.

        • Andrew said
          “This isn’t hard to understand.”
          No. But it’s completely wrong.
          First, as I explained above, OLR is constrained. Long term, it matches absorbed SW. So there’s just no room for extra condensation LH to just radiate away.

          Second, your simple arithmetic is not even consistent. Half would radiate up, half down. Down LW would counter the evap cooling. But radiative balance in reality doesn’t work like that. For one thing, the radiated heat (from condensation) is in bands subject to great absorption (Kirchhoff).

          All extra evap achieves is in internal transfer of some heat, from surface to a few km alt. What then happens is subject to the other heat transfer mechanisms in the atmosphere. It may enhance Hadley circulation. It may, indeed, have an anti-greenhouse effect, in that it adds a flux pathway where GHG’s are blocking. You could even try to quantify that. But it isn’t just heat that goes poof out into space.

          • Andrew said

            “OLR is constrained. Long term, it matches absorbed SW. So there’s just no room for extra condensation LH to just radiate away.”

            Nick, we are talking about a feedback here, as in an effect restoring radiation balance. The fact that temperature is changing means that the outgoing longwave doesn’t match the absorbed shortwave.

            The rest of what you say is an attempt to muddy the waters, based on that beginning misunderstanding. In effect it is saying evaporation can never act as a feedback. My interest in explaining to you, of all people, why you are wrong is just not strong enough. I think sensible people can see that if you were even close to correct, I shouldn’t even get within the right order of magnitude for model sensivities. Instead I reproduce their range to within 5%. If it doesn’t work the way I say that’s a hell of a coincidence. More likely you just don’t know what the hell you are talking about since you still don’t understand that surface balance = toa balance.

  14. Visiting Physicist said

    What you people don’t yet realise is that the energy stored in the ocean is primarily determined by the supporting temperature at the base of the atmosphere, just as the surface temperature is also. The temperatures in the troposphere are pre-determined by the thermodynamic equilibrium which corresponds with the environmental lapse rate. The isentropic state is modified by inter-molecular radiation so that a net state of thermodynamic equilibrium evolves, as per the Second Law of Thermodynamics. (I am not talking about thermal equilibrium, by the way.)

    When climatologists noted some correlation of temperatures with carbon dioxide levels late last century it became a case of “We can’t think of anything else.” The problem is not that there is nothing else – but just that they can’t think.

    The “something else” is a combination of natural climate cycles, possibly regulated in some as-yet-unexplained mechanism relating to planetary orbits.

    Carbon dioxide does not add to this natural trend. In fact, like water vapour, it reduces the gradient of the temperature plot in the troposphere, so the whole plot rotates and intersects the surface at a lower supporting temperature.

    What you people don’t understand is that the thermal gradient (lapse rate) is a state of thermodynamic equilibrium. It would be steeper in the absence of radiating gases, but inter-molecular radiation has a temperature levelling effect and thus reduces the gradient.

    This happens on all planets. When Venus cools by 5 degrees during its 4-month-long night it loses a lot of energy in both its surface and the whole troposphere.

    If the Sun did not shine again, it would cool right down in a few centuries. But the Sun does warm it the next Venus day – back up by 5 degrees. However, the vast majority of the energy going into the surface to do this warming is not by radiation, but by “heat creep” which is diffusion of kinetic energy at the molecular level – wait for it – up the temperature plot from cold to hot.

    Sounds crazy, doesn’t it. But there is a valid reason in physics why this is so, as I have explained in my book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” which will be available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble by the end of April, if not sooner.

  15. omanuel said

    Thanks to a few brave souls like Jeff, the real purpose of fudging global climate data has now been exposed:

    John F. Kennedy and his brother were two politicians who would not be bluffed into submission.

    Both were assassinated before Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon conceded to the USSR and China in 1971 and ended the Apollo Space Program.

    The rest is history.

    With deep regrets,
    - Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  16. Visiting Physicst said


    The greenhouse radiative forcing conjecture starts with an assumption that there would be isothermal conditions in a troposphere that was free of radiating (so-called “greenhouse”) gases, including water vapour, or free of direct solar radiation.

    There are similar conditions in the Uranus troposphere where there is very little methane except in a layer in the uppermost regions. Virtually all the very weak solar radiation reaching the planet (nearly 30 times the distance from the Sun that Earth is) is absorbed and re-emitted back to space by this methane layer where the temperature is a very cold 60K or so, that being the radiating temperature of the planet. There is no internal energy generation that can be convincingly detected, yet the core is at about 5,000K and the base of the troposphere (where there is no surface being heated by any direct Solar radiation) is hotter than Earth’s surface.

    The existence of isothermal conditions would be in violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that a state of maximum entropy will evolve spontaneously. Such as state is isentropic, and so the sum of molecular kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy for each molecular has a propensity to be equal at all altitudes. This means that there is a temperature gradient, because temperature depends upon the mean kinetic energy, not the gravitational potential energy.

    If there were isothermal conditions (an impossibility) then what is the sensitivity for each 1% of water vapour in the atmosphere above any region? Perhaps you would say something like at least 10 degrees of warming. Hence you would say in a dry desert (with say 0.5% water vapour the warming would be 5 degrees, but in a rain forest with 4.5% water vapour it might be 45 degrees, making the rainforest 40 degrees hotter than the dry desert.

    Need I say more about this ludicrous travesty of physics?

  17. timetochooseagain said

    The important constraint:

    -dABS/dT + dEBS/dT – dBR/dT + dCV/dT + dLH/dT = dSW/dT + dOLR/dT

    Where ABS is the solar absorbed by the surface, EBS is the long wave emitted by the surface, BR is the “backradiation” to the surface, CV is the convective-conductive cooling of the surface, LH is latent heat from the surface, SW is the reflected shortwave at the top of the atmosphere, OLR is the emitted longwave at the top of the atmosphere. The derivatives of ABS and SW cancel out. This leaves:

    dEBS/dT – dBR/dT + dCV/dT + dLH/dT = dOLR/dT

    Note that dEBS/dT is calculated readily, since T is explicitly the surface temperature. The answer is about 5.531 W/m^2/K.


    11.579 W/m^2/K – dBR/dT + dCV/DT = dOLR/dT

    now, I think there are some arguments that CV should increase (convection increases in models, as I recall, something like 2% per K?). But let’s just think of it as nothing for now, since it’s probably small. If it does increase it’s going to make the amount of increase in BR we need larger. So in order to get no net feedback from evaporation you need increase in BR of ~8.279 W/m^2/K (of surface temperature change. Note that the existing BR is 340.3 W/m^2, characteristic temperature of ~278.3 K. That much increase in BR requires that characteristic temperature rise to ~280.0 K, a temperature change of ~1.7 K. That’s a large change in the lapse rate and/or enhancement of the greenhouse effect. What’s weird about that, though, is that the lapse rate is usually taken to be a negative feedback. Hm.

    At any rate it should be obvious that, at first glance, it isn’t useful to know evaporation if we can’t place the BR feedback (cloud and water vapor). Besides which the fact that the shortwave terms canceled out doesn’t mean we don’t need to know them for sensitivity. Well, let’s ask models.

    In models, we know:

    dSW/dT + dOLR/dT = ~0.82-2.46 W/m^2/K

    We also know that in models

    dP/dT = dE/dT = 1-3%/K

    And we know-ish in reality that the latent heat flux is 86.4 W/m^2 (which is the basis on which we get 6.048 W/m^2/K)

    Now I would expect models be tuned to have about the right latent heat flux, climatologically. So in models that should mean:

    dLH/dT = 0.864-2.592 W/m^2/K

    Which…is very close to dSW/dT + dOLR/dT! Why? Probably because – dBR/dT + dCV/dT + dEBS/dT very nearly cancels out. This leaves our 2-5% underestimate of the model range, and the scatter in model results, to be caused by a weak positive cloud feedback and ice albedo that exists in models-that is, the short wave terms. Either way, models show that the sensitivity will be, approximately, that we can deduce from the evaporative cooling alone.

    So the question for modelers and model defenders to address is, if the sensitivity is even to fall at the bottom of the model range, which of the terms above is also much larger than in models and in the direction of positive feedback?

    it’s probably not to be found in the BR term. Water vapor feedback appears to be about where models have it, and it’s apparent that the temperature increase necessary to increase BR would be way larger than is consistent with the observations, or even with the models…and in any case the BR term can’t reasonably increase from increase in atmospheric temperature without the portion of OLR from atmospheric temperature increasing, too. Keep in mind that if we assume model like lapse rate and water vapor feedbacks, dEBS/dT – dBR/dT ~ 0. Those effects need to be stronger than in models, to do away with the stronger than in models evaporative cooling feedback. It probably doesn’t come from the CV term, since as I understand it, it increases in models with temperature, but the amount is small, you’d need a huge percent change in convection with temperature, and it would need to be a decrease, which is pretty much the opposite of current understanding. Very strong shortwave cloud feedback? Not likely. Note that everyone pretty much agrees there is no clear evidence for any shortwave feedback-regressions have slope not significantly different from zero. If you want to argue otherwise you are getting into Spencer and Lindzen territory. Oops, wrong direction, we need a strong positive shortwave feedback. It clearly doesn’t exist.

  18. Visiting Physicist said

    Climate models that are based on the completely false physics that radiation from a colder atmosphere can actually help the Sun in raising the temperature of Earth’s surface are a complete fiction. It cannot do so. Physicists will tell you (if you even bother to ask a specialist in thermodynamics like myself) that such radiation undergoes what they call “pseudo scattering” in which it is immediately re-emitted in a resonating process, without any of its electro-magnetic energy being converted to thermal energy. This provides some of the electro-magnetic energy in the SB calculation for the warmer surface, and thus slows radiative cooling, but it can have no effect on molecules colliding at the interface and transferring thermal energy by conduction and evaporative cooling.

    But none of this is what really determines planetary surface temperatures anyway. The base of the Uranus nominal troposphere is hotter than Earth, and yet it receives no direct solar radiation worth mentioning.

    Valid physics can be used to confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that a gravitationally-induced temperature gradient will always evolve spontaneously in a vertical plane in any solid, liquid or gas that is exposed to a gravitational field. This happens at the molecular level where molecules swap kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy when in free flight between collisions. No one has correctly rebutted this, and wires outside cylinders also develop thermal gradients so no perpetual motion can occur.

    There is a predetermined thermal profile in Earth’s atmosphere caused by gravity which, without water vapour or greenhouse gases, would intersect the surface in the vicinity of 25C, but then water vapour reduces the gradient (due to inter-molecular radiation, not the release of latent heat) and we end up with a mean of about 15C.

    It is natural cycles, probably regulated by planetary orbits, which are the primary determinants of climate. That’s why it’s not carbon dioxide after all.

    • Jeff Id said

      ” a specialist in thermodynamics like myself” — There are a lot of people right here on this thread that know thermodynamics to a greater degree than yourself….

      • Jeff Id said

        On quick review of the names here, I’m pretty sure all of them do.

      • Visiting Physicist said

        Sure? Then I’ll throw down the gauntlet.

        [SNIP] We have already spent a month on this Doug. You are getting better, I’ve seen the changes in your arguments but you are still way off the mark. If you were more willing to learn thermodynamics than call yourself an expert, we would have finished a long time ago. As before, you need to read thermo, not type about it.

        • Visiting Physicist said

          The evidence for the gravitationally-induced thermal gradient is staring you in the face in the data for the tropospheres of Uranus and Venus. The Venus surface temperature rises by 5 degrees if and only if the thermal gradient is in fact the state of thermodynamic equilibrium with maximum entropy and thus isentropic conditions. Heat can transfer by diffusion up this thermal gradient. You cannot explain the warming of the Venus surface or the temperatures on Uranus by any other process.

          Watch for the book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” in late April through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

          As I expected, neither you nor any reader has been able to prove me wrong, and never will on this issue.

          Loschmidt was right and no one has ever proved him wrong with any argument based on valid physics. Neither can you or any reader prove him wrong. Because of this we need no greenhouse effect to explain observations.

        • Ball4 said

          Visiting Physicist 3:22am: “..neither you nor any reader has been able to prove me wrong…”

          You are so easily proved wrong in your theory that many just do not bother, it is easier to just grin and move on to learn from the texts and papers by informed, critical writers. For example, Visiting Physicist writes:

          “Valid physics can be used to confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that a gravitationally-induced temperature gradient will always evolve spontaneously in a vertical plane in any solid…where molecules swap kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy when in free flight between collisions.”

          Molecules within solid granite curling rocks, any solid diamond et. al. are not in free flight between collisions. Molecules in a solid vibrate in place. QED; you are proven wrong. I’ll take my compensation in bitcoin, thank you.

  19. robr said

    Probably too tale on this thread now, but if anyone would like to see something very funny, and strangely relevant the search youtube using two terms: “Peter Cook” and “will this wind”. Good luck, you are in for a treat.

  20. Visiting Physicist said

    The evidence on Uranus proves there is a gravitationally induced temperature gradient.

    “The energy balance of Uranus is therefore E = 1.06 ± 0.08; ” [1]

    The above is a percentage of about 3.7 W/m^2 of incident solar radiation at Uranus TOA. [2]

    So energy imbalance on Uranus is a mere 0.04W/m^2

    That’s quite a small amount, so if you think the 5,000K core is still cooling then I would expect far more imbalance than that.

    But it isn’t still cooling and it won’t cool significantly in a billion years unless the Sun also cools significantly.

    So how is the thermal gradient maintained (very close to the -g/Cp value) when no significant direct solar radiation gets down below the absorbing methane layer near TOA and the mostly hydrogen and helium atmosphere extends for thousands of kilometres above the small solid core that is about 55% the mass of Earth?

    This is highly relevant to what happens on Earth, because physics is universal and we do in fact have a thermal profile that supports our surface temperatures also.



  21. Visiting Physicist said

    Sorry – I should correct that reference to 1.06 ± 0.08. It is the ratio of emitted to absorbed flux for Uranus, but note that it could be less than 1.0, with more absorption. Neither does it necessarily have to reflect what is coming from the core, because it could be due to a small compression of the atmosphere.

    Note this statement …

    ‘The temperature of Uranus’ atmosphere is consistent with heating only by absorbed sunlight … .’ [3]

    [3] Fix, J.D., Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier, WCB/McGraw-Hill, New York, p. 286, 1999.

  22. Visiting Physicist said

    Jeff says “You are getting better, I’ve seen the changes in your arguments.”

    For goodness sake, Jeff, I’ve been explaining the gravitationally-induced thermal gradient since 2012, and am probably the first in the world to explain the “heat creep” mechanism which restores thermodynamic equilibrium to its isentropic state of maximum entropy, and also the first to explain the concept of a supporting temperature at the base of the troposphere.

    I am not “way off the mark,” Jeff. You are, if you still think radiative forcing is the primary determinant of Earth’s surface temperatures. I’m spot on with a hypothesis that explains all known Solar System atmospheric, surface and sub-surface temperatures. It’s all in the book the text for which was finalised a few weeks ago.

    • Visiting Physicist said

      And speaking of radiation, even my March 2012 paper is still spot on with a correct explanation as to how electromagnetic energy is (or is not) converted to thermal energy in a target. I suggest you have still not come to grips with the fact that radiation from a cold atmosphere cannot add thermal energy to the warmer surface and thus raise its temperature.

      • Jeff Id said

        complete BS

        • D J C said

          [snip - asked and answered ad nauseum]

          • D J C said

            No – you haven’t rebutted the gravity-induced gradient with any valid argument. Post a link to whatever comment you think does so – perhaps I missed it, as I don’t visit this backwater blog very often.

          • Jeff Id said

            as I asked before doug, I have no idea who refutes the lapse rate. Care to clarify?

          • D J C said

            Sure. There is no need for any lapsing process to occur in order for there to be a gravity-induced thermal gradient in the Earth’s crust, or the Moon’s core, or the Uranus troposphere, or on Venus, or in the waters of Don Juan Pond in the middle of winter in Antarctica .

            And because the gradient is in fact the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, heat can “creep” up that gradient when the equilibrium is disturbed with new energy at the top.

            How about you explain how else you think the required energy gets into the surface of Venus and raises its temperature by 5 degrees over the course of its 4-month-long day.

          • Jeff Id said

            first, see the definition of lapse rate -

            I have no idea what a “lapsing process” is but there are some basic dry air calculations in the link I gave which might help you.

            Despite your apparent impression, you have made too many wildly erroneous statements in the past here so I (and most other educated people) have been totally disinterested in your theories. I cannot associate your claims about lapse rate with your claims about Venus without more information. It isn’t possible because you fail at much more basic levels.

          • D J C said

            Why bother giving a temperature gradient in the Earth’s crust (or wherever) any other name? It is the gradient of temperature plotted against height (or depth) is it not? We all learnt that definition in high school.

            You haven’t answered the question about Venus, because you can’t,

          • D J C said

            “I cannot associate your claims about lapse rate with your claims about Venus without more information.”

            That’s because you don’t comprehend the relevant thermodynamics.

            There’s plenty of information about Venus in the public domain – do your own research. But you won’t find the answer to my question there. It was in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” but PSI has been prohibited from publishing that now because much of the content is copyright in my book. It was on their PROM menu from November 2012 to August 2013, so you had plenty of time to read it and learn from it, Jeff my boy.

          • Jeff Id said

            “Why bother giving a temperature gradient in the Earth’s crust (or wherever) any other name?” — I didn’t give it the name Doug. Just like a resistor, when you study the field, you find the names are already assigned.

            IF you studied instead of typing, you MIGHT already know that. Do you have any idea how ignorant you look when you pontificate about atmospheric thermal gradients without even knowing the most basic terminology used in weather – even when they are pointed out to you? You apparently aren’t even aware that the defining equations already exist. I actually recall seeing the ‘lapse rate’ terminology used for the first time and my response wasn’t to tell someone it doesn’t exist or no lapsing need occur, rather I asked what they meant.

            It didn’t hurt my feelings one bit to ask and learn. You should try it.

          • D J C said

            And “lapse” is used in the sense of decreasing. In contrast, in the troposphere of Venus during its daytime, thermal energy (mostly absorbed in the upper troposphere and above) is moving up the thermal plane, and thus the process is not remotely like the Sun striking the surface and causing convection from that surface with subsequent cooling. None of this happens on Uranus either.

        • D J C said

          As Wikipedia says, meteorologists use the term lapse rate only for atmospheric variables that decrease with altitude. What has that to do with temperatures that increase with depth in the Earth’s crust?

          Don’t you get it Jeff? Do you seriously think I am not aware that they like to use the term lapse rate? It’s just not general enough for my hypothesis which is about regions below planetary surfaces as well. Why do you think the word “Core” was in the title of that paper? I could point you to numerous comments where I have written “thermal gradient (aka lapse rate)” – so stop bringing in your red herrings and explain in simple terms your answer to my question about Venus, which is very relevant and essential for an understanding of what happens above and below Earth’s surface.

    • Jeff Id said

      Why is it that I don’t snip this?

  23. omanuel said

    Physicists could not comprehend the incredibly talented engineering that allowed the whole universe to have life and breath:

    1. The strong, short-range force of neutron repulsion is opposed by

    2. The weak, long-range gravitational force of attraction.

    Engineering completely beyond the comprehension of wannabe scientists. What an engineering feat !

    • D J C said

      So you are saying engineers can comprehend all this are you?

      Good. Then how about you also explain how the required energy gets into the surface of Venus and raises its temperature by 5 degrees over the course of its 4-month-long day, because the same process keeps Earth’s surface at a temperature wherein you and I can “have life and breath.” I can at least comprehend why that is so.

  24. D J C said

    Why don’t you and your readers join the other blogs and argue with me in a more public arena where I can show you up, as in this comment to Mike Flynn …

  25. D J C said

    Jeff’s link to the Wikipedia Lapse Rate page reminded me that there they claim that “Because the atmosphere is warmed by convection from Earth’s surface, this lapse or reduction in temperature is normal with increasing distance from the conductive source.”

    That’s where climatologists, and probably some of you, get it wrong. Where is there any conductive surface at the base of the Uranus troposphere where it’s hotter than Earth’s surface and yet no significant solar radiation or internally generated energy reaches there, let alone causes any gas to rise by convection?

    A thermal gradient in a solid, liquid or gas in a gravitational field does not require any of this warming by convection or conductive surfaces. It evolves spontaneously at the molecular level because the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that thermodynamic equilibrium evolves spontaneously whilst entropy never decreases.

    If back radiation from a colder atmosphere could penetrate even 2mm below the surface of warmer water and raise the temperature of that water then entropy would have decreased in violation of the Second Law. Back radiation, despite its intensity, does not even melt frost in the shadow of a tree all day long, whereas the Sun could melt it in minutes.

  26. D J C said

    A quote from Chapter 5 of my book now in production, the text for which was finalised several weeks ago….

    “The implication in the NASA Energy Budget diagram mentioned in the previous chapter is that the surface is warmed and then energy flows into the atmosphere, where warm air then rises and cools as it does so. This supposedly explains the “lapse rate” (with connotations of water running downhill) which is nothing more nor less than the observed temperature gradient in a planet’s troposphere.”

  27. kuhnkat said

    D J C,

    why do you want to damage Jeff’s blog. Is there something here you are afraid of??

    • Jeff Id said

      As you probably already know, Doug has a particular dislike for this blog because we have explained his fallacies several times in the past forcing him to change. I just snipped two nonsense comments because of his hobby of moving on when direct points are made regarding his errors.

      Since his ignominious return, he can’t even explain lapse rate consistently with science. In the snipped comments he mis-described blackbodies but it seems worthless to continue any discussion with someone so narcissistic that they can’t recognize their own failures.

  28. Alex Hamilton said

    The oceans affect the temperature of the adjoining air via molecular collisions at the interface. Bearing in mind the length of the free path between collisions, it is more than adequate to treat just the first 1mm of the oceans (and the solid surfaces) as being a 1mm high “body.” But that body is transparent because some solar radiation reaches greater depths, and so does conducted thermal energy in the solid surface.. So, because a black or gray body is not transparent (by definition) any calculations of surface temperatures using the Stefan-Boltzmann equation are meaningless and straight out wrong.

    Radiative balance is not what determines mean surface temperatures on Earth or any planet.

    Instead, gravity sets up an autonomous “lapse rate” which is just the gradient of a plot of temperature against altitude in the troposphere. The whole plot moves up and down (in parallel positions) during the day and night respectively, and newly absorbed thermal energy can move in any direct (including downwards) as it restores thermodynamic equilibrium.

    Where the plot intersects the surface represents (roughly) the minimum temperatures usually occuring at night. The Sun can then raise temperatures from this “springboard” temperature, but conduction and back radiation will slow cooling at night, but not determine or alter the temperature where the plot intersects the surface. Inter-molecular radiation causes the plot to rotate so that the surface temperature is cooler – as has been measured in regions with higher rainfall than other similar regiions with similar latitude and altitude.

    That’s it in a nutshell. Carbon dioxide, like water vapour, cools rather than warms.

    • Jeff Id said

      I can’t follow this. It starts with a comment about how oceans conduct heat to the air leaving out radiation, then we jump from conduction to radiation looking at only 1mm of ocean surface. Am I understanding that there are assumptions in blackbody calculations which are imperfect so therefore the whole concept is wrong? None of this leads me to the bolded conclusion in any way that I can see.

      Then we have a discussion of lapse rate which seems reasonable. The comment that the temperature is not ‘altered’ by radiation doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever and a sentence about intermolecular radiation that doesn’t recognize the conduction based energy transfer of evaporation. Then we have a conclusion that carbon dioxide cools which is entirely stand-alone, and appears unsupported by any of the sentences above it.

      • Departing Physicist said

        Of course you can’t follow it Jeff, because your understanding of thermodynamics is so limited. How about getting out of your little vented closet here and arguing in the real world of the major climate blogs?

        The radiation from the ocean goes to various levels in the atmosphere and to space, the vast majority going well beyond the first 1mm at the base of the troposphere. Weather station temperature measurements are affect far, far more by the thermal energy that passes back and forth across the interface of the ocean and atmosphere, and that is why the temperatures of the 1mm layers of water and air are so similar. We can indeed leave our radiation in this exercise because its effect is so insignificant. This is yet another example of your lack of understanding of physics, regardless of how many laws and equations you can rattle off.

        Yes, of course there are prerequisites for the SBL to apply. The bodies have to be black or gray bodies. And to be a black or gray body it has to absorb radiation, not transmit most of it as the 1mm layer at the top of the ocean does. Do you ever see that layer getting anywhere near as hot as a similar layer of black asphalt would? No. And a blackbody would get even hotter than the asphalt.

        There is no latent heat release reducing the gradient on Venus or Uranus or in the outer crust of Earth. Yet all these gradients are reduced by the temperature levelling effect of inter-molecular radiation which only ever transfers heat from warmer to cooler regions. Carbon dioxide cools on Venus and Earth because, like water vapour, it makes the gradient less and the temperataure plot rotates and so the supporting temperature at the surface is lower. Have you never wondered why surface cooling slows down so much as th etemperature gap between the surface and the supporting temperature narrows in the early pre-dawn hours? No you probably haven’t, because you have not spent thousands of hours studying and, more importantly, thinking about atmospheric thermodynamics and what the laws of physics can explain, all of which is supported by observed data.

        • Jeff Id said

          Doug, when I blogged regularly this closet ran over 10K views/day. Most of the readers were highly educated professionals who have an interest in climate science rather than your religious – CO2 can’t warm dogma. You still can’t explain the function of a bolometer nor have you admitted how wrong you were with that Claes Johnson nonsense you used to spout every other sentence. In fact, you still don’t know that the temperature of the moon, warms the earth.

          Holding yourself out as an actual physicist is the biggest joke of all. IF you actually did teach and IF you were educated in science 5 decades ago or whatever you claim, you really, really need to go back to the roots, understand standard thermodynamics and clearly describe where you differ. So far all we have received is mountains of errors (like the basic description of lapse rate), never admitted, followed by minnow like changes in direction whenever reality splashes the surface of your dream.

          by by

          • Departing Physicist said

            A bolometer depends upon the fact that radiation from an object that is warmer than the sensor will raise the temperature of the sensor, whilst radiation from an object which is cooler than the sensor will slow the rate of radiative cooling of the sensor. This was explained in the Appendix of my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” which was published on several websites in March, 2012. But I don’t suppose you ever read and understood that paper. Your “thousands” of silent readers can use this TallBloke link

            Do you ever wonder why your readers drifted off? The science herein is wrong. A survey showed over 50% of Australians believe the “science” is wrong. I show interested readers precisely why it is wrong. And I am investing thousands of hours (in my semi-retirement) writing and talking to meetings of people, and many thousands of dollars putting my money where my mouth is. Too bad if it affects the income of those who have thrived on the scam at the expense of many lives that could have been saved with such funds.

          • Jeff Id said

            I don’t read tallbloke’s blog as often as I should, was he mocking you?

  29. Departing Physicist said

    Jeff likes to call upon authority, and laps it all up, citing references he thinks I don’t understand, despite about half a century of studying and teaching physics.

    Of course I understand what their arguments are, and I understand exactly where their arguments fail. It only takes one weak link in the chain, you know. The 1mm thick layer of water at the top of the ocean is not heated by the Sun to anywhere near the temperature that a 1mm layer of black asphalt would be. If the difference is, say, 20 degrees, then your climate predictions from models based on false physics could be out by as much. There’s your weak link.

    Yes, when you realise that the Venus surface is about 400 degrees hotter than the 20W/m^2 of direct solar radiation could explain, it is not surprising the Earth’s surface could be a mere 20 degrees hotter – all due to the fact that gravity traps thermal energy acquired over the life of a planet “under” the gravitationally induced temperature gradient.

    How else could so much energy remain trapped in the Uranus core, or the core of the Moon, or Venus, or Earth, or any planet or moon without there being any evidence of the rate of cooling which would occur if there were no such “gravity” gradient?

    Yes, Jeff, I still refuse to call it a “lapse” (meaning “declining”) rate, because most of the newly absorbed energy in most tropospheres goes up this gradient, not down, because it gets down the gradient and out of the atmosphere by radiation from the “holes in the blanket” like water vapour, carbon dioxide and its colleagues which all have a cooling effect when they reduce the gradient with inter-molecular radiation.

    I could teach you so much, Jeff, but you bury your head in the carbon dioxide and are not willing to even try to understand.

    • Jeff Id said

      Doug, I can’t even make sense of your words. I can read any science book, paper, and usually figure out what people are saying so it is clearly your fault.

      We all know you are a self-ordained jenius but if you really are intending to contradict basic science, you must first be able to explain basic science. For instance, “most of the newly absorbed energy in most tropospheres goes up this gradient, not down,” If you are right, on an individual photon level, the emitted light somehow must know which way to go right? Just how does that particular miracle work?

      • Departing Physicist said

        Why do you suppose I am saying the energy goes up the temperature gradient in the form of photons? If you don’t even understand that I’m not saying that, then you have no grounds for assuming I’m contradicting basic science. I’m using the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Do you have a problem with my using such in its modern entropy form?

        • Jeff Id said

          I don’t kare if you think it was carried on the backs of mouses, how does it happen douggie?!

        • Jeff Id said

          I’m also curious what happened to the it can’t go downward nonsense you used to preach but let’s stick with whatever post-modern science you are working on now.

          • Departing Physicist said

            I wrote a detailed paper in 2012 about why radiation cannot transfer thermal energy from cooler to warmer regions. Is the only heat transfer mechanism you have ever heard of radiation?

            But does the Second Law of Thermodynamics say thermal energy only transfers from hot to cold by non-radiative processes? No it doesn’t.

            You’re a beggar for punishment, Jeff, but I’ll keep it up if you keep inviting it with your failure to understand and totally irrelevant statements such as those above.

            The best thing you could do to learn what I’m talking about is to go through all the comments (including the deleted ones) and think about what it is that enables the required energy to get into the surface of Venus in order to raise its temperature 5 degrees. Hint: it is not radiation, but the answer is in the comments.

      • Departing Physicist said

        I expect that only those who genuinely understand thermodynamics would understand my hypothesis from my relatively brief comments in blogs. About three or four have done so and agreed, as you could find out if you read the main blogs. A proper explanation requires the diagrams and logical development in my book.

        Such blog comments are designed to arouse curiosity prior to the publishing of the very comprehensive explanation (covering more than 20 pages) in the book due out in April.

        • Jeff Id said

          So again, we find you can’t describe Doug thermo. Odd considering that everyone else in science can describe their theories.

          Were you able to understand and describe standard thermodynamics, I would have more interest in your ideas of how to fundamentally change it.

          • Departing Physicist said

            I’ve described it all right. But the more detailed explanation (complete with diagrams) for those like yourself who don’t fully understand thermodynamics, takes 20 pages in my book, and I have no intention of reproducing such here.

            I think it best if we both just wait until the book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” is printed and distributed by late April.

            I’m signing out now.

          • Jeff Id said

            I call shennanigans sir!

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