December 18, 2012

"By far the most important debate about climate change is taking place among scientists, on the issue of climate sensitivity..."

"How much warming will a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide actually produce?"
The conclusion... is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F).

This is much lower than the IPCC's current best estimate, 3°C (5.4°F)....
A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good... Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland's ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.
The difficulty has to do with water evaporating from the warmed up seas, and the way water vapor counts greenhouse gas. But how does it count? We're talking about clouds, and clouds also have cooling effects.

44 comments:

Methadras said...

Yeah, let's see how they can stop water vapor. Well, they can always claim it's a pollutant. The EPA has already made the claim that water is a pollutant.

chickelit said...

I saw a report the other day about Antarctic Ice sheet melting and its contribution to sea level rises. The melting contributed 0.6 mm/yr to the total 3 mm/yr observed rise. The thought occured to me that they could have restated the number as 600 µm/yr if they wanted to sound more alarmist. But I guess they chose to back off.

chickelit said...

Progressive Sullivanists may disagree, but I'm still not seeing the need for massive carbon taxes and wealth transfers to Africa. We're doing badly enough as it is.

Methadras said...

chickelit said...

I saw a report the other day about Antarctic Ice sheet melting and its contribution to sea level rises. The melting contributed 0.6 mm/yr to the total 3 mm/yr observed rise. The thought occured to me that they could have restated the number as 600 µm/yr if they wanted to sound more alarmist. But I guess they chose to back off.


Nothing says alarmist like big numbers. To bad low hanging fruit voters don't care. .6mm is .023 inches for the metrically challenged. .023 inches is basically 6 sheets of paper thick in rise. WOW!!! Staggering... ROFL!!!

Expat(ish) said...

Let me summnarize: our computer models are too complicated to understand and they use incomplete data that is poorly maintained.

Frankly, if they're going to get all "never mind" I'm going to start investing in water wings and beach front property in UT. Just saying.

-XC

The Drill SGT said...

I'll remind folks that the last time we had a good warm spell, the Medieval Warm Period, it was such a boon to the economies of Europe, that it got us out of the great depression (aka, the Dark ages)

we farmed in greenland and iceland was a great spot to immigrate to.

also note that it got colder later. without co2 being involved (around 1600)
How do the Climate alarmists explain both periods?

By ignoring them and faking data to explain away the historic records...

Big Mike said...

We're talking about clouds, and clouds also have cooling effects.

Clouds reflect solar radiation back out into space (the albedo effect) but H20 molecules also absorb IR radiation, which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Answer: no one knows.

That doesn't stop people who want to see their name in print from publishing apocalyptic wild guesses.

The Drill SGT said...

Expat(ish) said...
Let me summnarize: our computer models are too complicated to understand and they use incomplete data that is poorly maintained.


I', not a climate guy, but I am a computer modeler. All models have knobs (as we say). Input variables that ultimately impact greatly the outpits. Some knobs are labeled and on the front of the box and others on on the backside. I think that the climate alarmists, play with the knobs to create the results that are pleasing to them and their sponsors...

Big Mike said...

BTW, sensitivity analysis is one of the first things real scientists are supposed to do.

Eric said...

In other news, India and China are building three coal power plants every week for the next few decades. Nothing we do in the US is going to matter.

Patrick said...

I'm sorry, this must be wrong. Al Gore assured us about ten years ago that the science was settled. 5.4 degrees F it is. Stop talking about this.

chickelit said...

Water has relatively high heat of vaporization, meaning that it cools the oceans when it evaporates, especially on a global scale. I hope the modellers are taken this into account. Of course the heat isn't "lost" but carried with until the water decides to nucleate and make clouds. Are clouds modeled well as heat absorbers and insolation reflectors? I suppose it also matters how much cloud there is. Like someone already noted, clouds are the white elephant in the AGW story.

Dante said...

When I was a kid, grew up in SF and Marin county (in CA). I always wanted ice and snow. At some point I realized that clear nights cooled things down, and cloudy days cooled things down, so I wished for both.

n.n said...

First, a global metric is both irrelevant and fraudulent.

Second, carbon dioxide is good for the Plant Kingdom. Water is good for the Plant, Animal, and Human Kingdoms. Both plants, animals, and humans in the overwhelming majority thrive in warmer, wetter conditions. Also, our technology is overwhelmingly poorly suited for colder conditions.

That said, with an incompletely characterized and unwieldy system, any claims to predict or forecast beyond a very limited frame of reference is tantamount to consulting a crystal ball. Neither the knowledge nor the skill is present.

There is only circumstantial evidence that the weather we have experienced is caused by anything other than natural variability.

Dante said...

Hi chickelet,

The modelers haven't dealt much with clouds. Or 10,000 other factors that affect this chaotic system. What they feel certain of, and what they have managed to obtain tens and tens of billions of dollars, is that C02 is increasing the earth's temperatures.

Jerry Brown is so Certain of this, he is willing to spend about $60B to get to "renewables," the magic term that, despite their environmental hazards, are "good" for the earth.

traditionalguy said...

The lack of any temperature rise for the last 17 years is one heck of fact for the model of CO2 sensitivity feedback.

The big hoax rolls along anyway.

Science based on corrupted facts and political big lies is not a science at all. Ergo there are no climate scientists. Judith Curry at Georgia Tech is the closest to a scientist in that field and she admits they know almost nothing about the sensitivity plugged into the fake models to get a fake result.

Dante said...

nn:
There is only circumstantial evidence that the weather we have experienced is caused by anything other than natural variability.

I think it's pretty clear there is no link between "Global Warming" and weather. Droughts, floods, hurricanes, fires, cyclones, all have low or no correlation with the recent warming, since about 1900 (or 1850). Even the draft of AR5 states this. It's the politicians, like Al Gore, whom we almost elected president, who sensationalize normal events to link to us dumb plebes to make us understand the truth of the theory.

The theory advocates of AGW are proposing is that man is altering one major factor in temperature, the ability of the earth to shed heat through the atmosphere. To them, there is no chaotic system, there is a single variable in an equation that does not interact with any other, and it is so dominate that temperatures will climb in this predictable way, nudging temperatures skyward.

They may be right. They may have drawn focus to a very important effect man has on climate, and it will have the effects Al Gore trumpets, like 50 Million climate refugees by 2010 (meanwhile, he got his millions [I used to hate the word "got," and still do, but it is appropriate here, as it signifies uneducated people using imprecise language, the good professor excluded, of course.]

So that's the deal. Short term variation (weather) is affected by climate (long term characteristics). And it makes sense, except that the folks who are AGW advocates rushed to chicken little meltdown.

The atmosphere, as of 2012, is lower than any of the AR4 estimates. The AR4 estimates do not include error bars, so according to them it could be an ice age and we should still stop using C02, and other such nonsense it makes no sense to go on about. Including one article (study?) that claimed Global Warming would increase infidelity, as there would be more beach goers.

Wish I could say it shorter, I'm going to try harder.

EDH said...

The difficulty has to do with water evaporating from the warmed up seas, and the way water vapor counts greenhouse gas.

The mold! What about the fuckin' mold!

Arrrggg!!! I can't breathe, I can't breathe.

Steve Koch said...

Big Mike said,

"H20 molecules also absorb IR radiation, which contributes to the greenhouse effect."

I have a theory about the effects of clouds on oceans. When water molecules in clouds are heated by sunlight, they radiate infrared subsequently so one effect of clouds over oceans is to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the oceans. Since sunlight penetrates into the ocean up to around 200 meters while infrared hardly penetrates at all, it seems reasonable that clouds reduce the efficiency of heating the ocean. Since the vast majority of climate energy is stored in the ocean and the oceans have an enormous effect on climate, substantially reducing the efficiency of heating the oceans over an extended period because of increased cloud cover should cool the climate.

Steve Koch said...

Big Mike said,

Clouds reflect solar radiation back out into space (the albedo effect) but H20 molecules also absorb IR radiation, which contributes to the greenhouse effect."

OK, but the atmospheric water molecules are getting heated whether or not they are part of a cloud. The water molecules store heat because they are water molecules, not because they are part of a cloud.

The net effect of organizing the water molecules into clouds should be to cool because they reflect sunlight and because they facilitate precipitation, which releases energy from the water to the atmosphere where it can more easily eventually escape out of the earth's atmosphere.

Dante said...

OK, but the atmospheric water molecules are getting heated whether or not they are part of a cloud. The water molecules store heat because they are water molecules, not because they are part of a cloud.

It's actually an interesting deal. The issue is that the sun transmits down all kinds of radiation, but the earth predominately transmits back Infra Red. H20 and C02 are like a window to many of the Sun's frequencies, but not to IR. They absorb IR.

When a CO2, or H20 molecule absorb the outgoing radiation, they will retransmit it as a photon in a random direction in the sphere. So instead of going out into space, some percentage will be intercepted, and be retransmitted back to earth. That's the Greenhouse effect.

H20 Absorbs more frequencies than does C02, and so it is a far more potent greenhouse gas than H20.

The theory goes, you add some C02, and it raises the earth's temperature a bit, and that increases the amount of H20 in the atmosphere. The H20 is a more potent greenhouse gas, in that it absorbs more important wavelengths, and that produces a multiplier on the C02. That's called "Climate Sensitivity."

The IPCC and Climate Scientists predict a multiplier of 3. That is, if it were 1, then H20 would make it 3.

So of course, if that number is wrong, as in suppose it is less than 1, or even 1, no big deal.

Steve Koch said...

Dante said:
"The IPCC and Climate Scientists predict a multiplier of 3. That is, if it were 1, then H20 would make it 3."

The IPCC doesn't do science per se, they just collect science done by others. The IPCC reports are basically the world's largest grossly politicized survey paper.

Climate scientists have a wide variety of climate sensitivity estimates, there is no consensus that 3 is the correct number.

You address your response to a sentence I wrote but don't actually respond at all to what I said.

tim in vermont said...


We are spinning around on a rock whose past has been ever changing expecting that if we leave it alone, its future will be stable. This is ridiculous. It is possible that we staved off an ice age.

Marshal said...

How can there be any debate? The science is settled.

AJ Lynch said...

Post-Sandy, "rising sea levels" has become the conventional wisdom in most stories being written by our brainwashed journalists. I even saw itused in a story last week about some Calif treehuggers planning to measure water levels during the rainstorms that hit there last week.

chickelit said...

The water molecules store heat because they are water molecules, not because they are part of a cloud.

Have you ever looked at an IR spectrum of water vapor vs. condensed water? Sharp lines vs. broad absorption. Plus in the condensed phase, a water molecules translational and rotation degrees of freedom become frustrated vibrational frequencies and store more heat energy. So water vapor (clouds) are a better store of energy. Now, the question might be how much water is in clouds vs. as water vapor.

Steve Koch said...

IIRC,the estimate for rise in sea level is something like 3 mm/year which is 300 mm/century or about 1 foot/century. 3 mm/year is 1/10 inch/year. Such a tiny rise is extremely difficult to measure accurately.

Re: sunlight efficiently heating water, I saw in wikipedia that swimming pools capture 75% to 85% of the energy from the sunlight that shines on the pool. That is extremely efficient. If you keep the sunlight from hitting the pool directly, the water in the pool stays much cooler. I knew this from personal experience with trying to keep the water in my pool cooler.

As the amount of water in the air increases, the probability that sunlight hits and warms water in the air increases. That sunlight heated water in the air will radiate infrared energy, which is orders of magnitude less efficient at heating the ocean.

What this all means is increasing the amount of water in the air is not just a positive feedback, there is also an associated negative feedback.

This is just my theory anyway.

Steve Koch said...

Chickelit,

That would make clouds more efficient at converting sunlight energy into lower frequency infrared energy that is way less efficient at heating the oceans than direct sunlight.

My idea is that the efficiency of heating the oceans is what mostly determines climate change (because the oceans contain the vast majority of the earth's climate energy). If sunlight hits the ocean directly, it can be stored in the ocean for a long time.

Sunlight that does not hit the ocean directly (that hits water in a cloud, for example), is not going to heat the ocean efficiently and will exit the earth's energy system much faster than if that sunlight had directly hit the ocean.

Seeing Red said...

I thought the latest IPCC report actually mentioned solar radiation as a cause?

Steve Koch said...

Seeing Red said...
"I thought the latest IPCC report actually mentioned solar radiation as a cause?"

That report is not out yet so what it will contain is not yet finalized. IIRC, the expert review process has completed but the IPCC will continue to accept more inputs and changes until March 15. I guess, by definition, those late arriving inputs won't go through the IPCC expert review process.

Steve Koch said...

Seeing Red said...
"I thought the latest IPCC report actually mentioned solar radiation as a cause?"

IIRC, you are correct but I don't remember exactly what the preliminary version of the latest IPCC report says about solar radiation and there is no guarantee that that particular content won't be drastically changed or even deleted in the final version. As one of the Climategate emails illustrated, the politicians have the final say about what goes in to IPCC reports.

Peter said...

'Expat(ish)' said, "Let me summnarize: our computer models are too complicated to understand and they use incomplete data that is poorly maintained."

The complexity of the computer models and incomplete data may be problems, but the major problem is hte assumptions that must be baked into those computer models.

That is, the models assume various amounts of negative and positive feedback, many of which (e.g., warming of ocean water) have significant delays in their feedback loops. Adjusting the feedback gains by just a tiny bit tends to result in wildly varying predictions.

In short, a reasonable the models (and possibly the actual systems being modeled?) are unstable.

Hagar said...

The computer models they are playing with and "adjusting" are very complicated indeed, but the earth is still vastly <more complicated and still poorly understood.

And then there is the sun, which we have barely begun to study. On the earth there is a lot of evidence of past behavior that could be collected and studied to give us clues if the subject had not been so politicized, but how to you figure out what the sun has done in past ages?

Steve Koch said...

Here is an interesting graph that shows that the earth's average global temperature over the last 600 million years has been between 12 degrees C and 22 degrees C:
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/co2_fairytales_in_global_warmi.html

Something has been keeping the earth's temperature relatively stable for the last 600 million years.

Lindzen thinks that the clouds regulate the earth's climate: when the earth starts getting hot, more clouds are formed which cools off the earth. When the earth gets too cool, fewer clouds are formed, permitting the world to heat up.

Quaestor said...

So water vapor (clouds) are a better store of energy

Are clouds water vapor or droplets? In my understanding clouds are aerosols -- water droplets or water ice crystals. Water vapor is invisible and is expresses as humidity.

chickelit said...

Quaestor quoted me:
So water vapor (clouds) are a better store of energy

That was sloppy of me. Water in clouds is condensed.

My 8:21 should be amended to read:

Have you ever looked at an IR spectrum of water vapor vs. condensed water? Sharp lines vs. broad absorption. Plus in the condensed phase {as in clouds], a water molecule's translational and rotation degrees of freedom become frustrated vibrational frequencies and store more heat energy. So water in clouds is a better store of energy. Now, the question might be how much water is in clouds vs. as water vapor.

jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jim said...

Referencing the WSJ on global warming is about as credible as linking to Stormfront on the topic of "The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion."

I'm still trying to figure out exactly how Al Gore made the Arctic icecap shrink so much so fast - or how he manipulated nearly every thermometer on Earth to say exactly what his "An Inconvenient Truth" thesis predicted ... the power of Liberal Fascism must indeed be mighty.

The current changes in world climate are without precedent in modern history. Ocean levels will not rise evenly, as refugees in the Pacific & Bangladesh are already discovering the hard way. The number of such refugees will rise exponentially in decades to come, along with an attendant risk of new resource wars.

Love the comment reminding everyone how awesome the Medieval Warm Period was - because a world with well under a billion people & abundant arable land is a perfect model for how well one with about seven billion & circa zero acres of untilled farmlands will do.

As for Greenland, go see Chasing Ice to find out just how "slowly" its glaciers are receding.

The reader will also kindly ignore the growing evidence that AGW is now massively accelerating the release of Arctic methane - a gas 20 times as effective at producing warming as CO2. Ignoring the devastating effect of CO2 on oceanic Ph levels is also mandatory - if all those plankton, coral reefs & fish didn't want to be wiped out, they should've found a different planet to live on!

Also please ignore that those notoriously left-wing bong-huffing hippies, the Pentagon, have repeatedly identified climate change as the most grave national security threat the US will face in this century. Not China, not Iran, not Russia - climate change.

That locomotive heading straight at us? Yeah, by all means, let's all argue some more over whether it's real or not. What could possibly go wrnog?

Michael K said...

The rapid retreat of glaciers that Braeshears mentions may say more about glaciers than about warming. At the same period , the P 38s that landed on Greenland in WWII were covered with 268 feet of ice by the time they were found, and one was rescued, in 1992. The rescued plane, named Glacier Girl was restored and is flying.

If warming is melting the glaciers why were the planes covered so deeply ?

Michael K said...

"I'm still trying to figure out exactly how Al Gore made the Arctic icecap shrink so much so fast - or how he manipulated nearly every thermometer on Earth to say exactly what his "An Inconvenient Truth" thesis predicted ... the power of Liberal Fascism must indeed be mighty."

No, they just "adjusted" the actual temperatures recorded and threw away the raw data.

Dante said...

Steve Sez:

The IPCC doesn't do science per se, they just collect science done by others. The IPCC reports are basically the world's largest grossly politicized survey paper.

Could be. In fact, probably. I understand they aren't supposed to include non-peer reviewed environmentalist kinds of articles as fact, anymore.

However, they do provide best guesses for climate sensitivity, and I think in AR-4 they chose a number close to 3. But it doesn't matter, as no one knows, the surface temperature isn't cooperating, as aren't a number of other phenomenon the models predict.

All I'm trying to do is help explain what's behind the AGW theory, which is more energy is reflected back to earth.

Cheers.

Jack Wayne said...

Dear Warmist Jim,

So little time, so many scare tactics to use. I've gotta say that you covered a lot of the usual nonsense but the one about Arctic Methane is a really nice touch. Thanks for the laugh.

chickelit said...

jim writes: Ignoring the devastating effect of CO2 on oceanic Ph levels is also mandatory

I'm preparing a blog piece on pH and how it has single-handedly discouraged/destroyed more chemistry students than anything else.

chickelit said...

Arctic methane...

...polarized farts?