the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Required Reading

Posted by Jeff Id on October 24, 2012

For those seriously interested in climate sensitivity, Paul K has a very interesting post up at Lucia’s.

Pinatubo Climate Sensitivity and Two Dogs that didn’t bark in the night


7 Responses to “Required Reading”

  1. Matthew W said

    Speaking as a layperson here, I think most of us non technical folk got the “deer in the headlight ” stare with this:

    “DK2005 fitted a single capacity linear feedback model to the temperature data and concluded that the results showed a total feedback of 5.56 W/m2/oC, which corresponds to an Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) for 2XCO2 of 0.67oC, implying a strong negative feedback relative to the Planck response.”

    I will have to wait for the debating in the comments here to understand what’s the meaning of all that !!!

    • page488 said

      Facts don’t start with statistics; it’s the other way around – you have to unearth the so-called facts that are fed in to the statistical models and analyse those before you can even begin to accept the results of the models!

    • I haven’t done the work myself so I cannot give it a rubber stamp but when the observations of energy imbalance are included, he found that sensitivity is very low on two different papers. In both cases, the work for the estimate was 98% completed but for some reason, not presented.

      It is extremely interesting but requires some thought. The thread discussion mostly seems to revolve around time lag for feedbacks which is always the response to these things.

    • Mark T said

      I have not read the discussion but I’m not sure how lag means anything for a near DC input.

      The lack of understanding of feedback by the climate know-it-alls in many such discussions typically makes my head explode so I stay away…


  2. ScienceAuthor said

    Scientific debate should never be decided by consensus. It should be “decided” by empirical evidence that validates, or otherwise, the hypothesis in question.

    Joseph Postma’s new paper (22 October 2012) looks for empirical evidence of a GHE, and finds none. He puts forward cogent arguments as to why this lack of evidence is to be expected. All should read this ground-breaking work, which also cites my paper (March 2012):

    Click to access Absence_Measureable_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf

  3. Natural_Cyclist said

    RichardSCourtney gives a detailed explanation in this post explaining how there may be slight net warming of oxygen and nitrogen molecules resulting from prior absorption of IR by carbon dioxide molecules. Clearly he agrees that the effect is only slight.

    But what then happens to the additional kinetic energy in the oxygen and nitrogen molecules? Well, firstly, assuming they are cooler than the surface below, the thermal energy cannot be transferred back to the surface by non-radiative processes. One way or another it must eventually escape to space.

    But why to space? Don’t the energy diagrams show (more than) half being returned to the warmer surface by radiation? This is where the biggest misunderstanding occurs. Radiation from a cooler source can do one and only one thing when it strikes a warmer surface. It slows the rate of that portion of surface cooling which is due to radiation. It does not do this by transferring heat to the surface. Because there is no heat transfer, there can be no slowing of non-radiative cooling processes. In fact, these processes can and do accelerate to compensate for the slower radiative cooling. What happens is that the energy in the radiation from the cooler atmosphere can only be used to supply equivalent energy to the surface which can only be used for the purpose of creating equivalent upwelling radiation with the same frequencies and intensities. This energy is thus used by the surface (instead of some of its own thermal energy) to meet some of its Planck “quota” of radiation. Its own Planck curve always fully contains the Planck curve of the radiation from the cooler atmosphere. But the radiation corresponding to the area above the cooler Planck curve, but under the warmer one will transfer heat. This is an empirically confirmed result, demonstrated over and over again. The area between the Planck curves represents the one-way heat transfer from the warmer body to the cooler one. There is no physical heat transfer the other way. The radiation from the cooler body is immediately re-radiated without any of its electro-magnetic energy ever being converted to thermal energy in the target.

    Hence most of the observed (or calculated) upwelling radiation from the surface is not actually transferring heat from the surface. Rather it is merely sending back the energy that was in the backradiation. The whole process is very-similar energy-wise to diffuse reflection.

    What then are the consequences of this discussion? Well, firstly the heat that is transferred from the surface to the atmosphere is mostly transferred by non-radiative physical processes such as molecular collisions which may be called conduction or diffusion. Using K-T energy diagrams, and remembering that that the amount of backradiation should be deducted from the upwelling radiation from the surface (because this amount is not transferring energy from the surface) then we can calculate that less than 15% of all energy transferring from the surface to the atmosphere does so by radiation.

    Now we start to see the role of carbon dioxide in perspective. For a start it probably has less than 1% the effect of all the water vapor which radiates with far more spectral lines and thus slows radiative cooling much more effectively. (Yes, low clouds do slow radiative cooling noticeably, but that doesn’t mean carbon dioxide’s effect will be noticeable.)

    But, more importantly, the non-radiative cooling processes significantly dominate the actual transfer of energy from the surface to the atmosphere. Any slowing of radiative cooling will leave a bigger temperature “step down” between the surface and the adjoining air. So non-radiative cooling processes will simply accelerate (as physics tells us) and have a compensating effect. So there will be absolutely no net overall effect on surface cooling. That is reality.

    The 33 degree of warming claim has been absolutely rubbished in various PSI papers. Just browse the publications menu on our Home page.

    There is no such thing as a greenhouse gas, because there is absolutely no atmospheric greenhouse effect caused by any gas or water vapour. The temperature of the surface is determined by incident solar radiation levels and the adiabatic lapse rate, the latter being a function of gravity.

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