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Discussion > An experimental demo of GHE.

Off topic musing.


Shub, funny you should mention rotation. As I was saying to Professor Jones only the other day (!!!) rotation matters. He said it didn't and the convo spun away into the TOA. However, I always wonder why the Nikolov and Zeller theory doesn't seem to address length of day when assessing what 'average temperature' planets 'should be'. It seems to me in my dull housewife way that the surface on the dark side of a non-atmospheric planet will tend towards absolute zero, will approach asymptotically the temperature of outer space (a little above zero, apparently), whille the temp on the hot side will rise until it reaches radiative balance, severely limited by T to the fourth.. I don't see how that average temp will be the same independently of the length of day. And that means that the 33k they always talk about is not independent of length of day either, and that any daft sum depending on so many doublings giving 33K with so much CO2 with this much insolation giving a useful figure for future doublings iis founded on dubious assumptions. In short, the 33K is wrong, and N&K aren't right unless their formula includes length of day.

Aug 25, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Do you know that Chris highly recommended SkS to his readers! Quel surprise!
geronimo, he's actually an occasional contributor as far as I can make out. If you google him and then look at some of his replies to complaints about SkS and others he gives the impression of being very "in" with the right people and he's quite prepared to have a quiet word with them about your complaint and he's sure it can all be sorted out and it can't have been So-and-So who was rude to you it must have been one of the other contributors................
I've met more people like that in my life than I care to remember. Some are genuinely on "the inside track" and just have an unfortunate manner. Most wouldn't know the inside track if they fell over it but like (you) to believe they're part of it all and are just sad inadequate prats.
Not that I'm making a value judgment here.

Sorry about BBD. Not that he's been banned; that was becoming inevitable. More that his overbearing sense of superiority and rightness was getting in the way of what little objective judgment he had left which wasn't much, I'm afraid.
His final comments seemed to suggest he was losing it completely, which is sad because, as someone commented a few days ago, at his best he makes sure this place isn't just an echo chamber. Unlike some other pains in the backside I could name who have never but forward a proper scientific view on any aspect of anything we discuss on here but feel confident in telling us all what we think, how we should think and how to run our lives — all done in a sort of peevish whine which is almost audible.

Aug 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

" all done in a sort of peevish whine which is almost audible."

Yes Mike, that's how it strikes me. Why do they never do humour or levity (except in a Brigstockian sneer), after all, it's not the end of the world. Is it?

Aug 25, 2012 at 9:31 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

it's not the end of the world. Is it?
Oooh! Are you sure about that, rhoda?

Aug 25, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike, I missed BBD the first time he was banned, but he's been getting more, shall we say sinister, more arch, in his replies. For a long time, because I'm slow and ponderous, I wondered how he'd read so many alarmist papers and then while looking to see one of his references I tracked it, or were there two? I can't remember, to SkS and the penny dropped. He hadn't read any of them, of course, he'd gotten them from other sources and quoted them as though he'd read them. The Chris Colose article he referred to was pretty basic stuff except for the bit where he tells us within two paragraphs that the consensus should be accepted, and that Arrehenius' paper of 1906 wasn't accepted by the majority of scientists until the 1950s, apparently missing the irony that if his first statement was to be accepted then we still wouldn't believe Arrhenius prognostications and there'd be no global warming scare.

Aug 25, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Perhaps now is the time for a recap. What we know and what we would wish to see demonstrated. I do not doubt the absorption of IR by CO2. Nor the radiation at a different wavelength. I'd like to see demonstrated in the lab that this in fact leads to the back-radiation scenario, that the presence of CO2 in some concentration affects the rate of radiation by the surface. The Klein experiment claims to show that the mylar bags of greenhouse gas do not have any effect on the surface. I'd like to see that reproduced or someone explain why it does not apply and propose a better method. I want to see a differing effect depending on the concentration of CO2, and preferably see that effect in concentrations equivalent to plausible atmospheric scenarios. I really do not understand why this sort of experiment is not in the logical chain used to produce the hypothesis in the first plce. It is plain to me that theory is not enough. Handwavers who dismiss the need for testing seem to take far too much on trust or have an investment in the consensus which will not admit failure.

If the hypothesis fails the lab test we don't really need to go any further. If it passes, we do need to go outside and to test that lab results are reflected in the real atmosphere. Without water, in the Atacama or similar, and with it, everywhere else. How much does a high humidity affect what CO2 does? My guess is that it will not be the sum of each effect taken separately (I know this is the mydog/spartacus/AlecM theory, but it seems no less plausible for that). My guess is that water dominates, but I could be wrong. Length of day also has a strong effect on the relationship of theory to reality. And averaging, my bete noir. The same process are having different and possible opposite effects on each square metre. What is a positive feedback here is a negative there and makes no difference somewhere else. You can't average. You can model it, but the first thing you ought to do is check model results against local reality. In my view climate models are too global. If they can't do the square metre, they can't do the world. Whereas if they CAN do the square metre there's a pretty good chance they still can't do the world. Strangely, I made no progress trying to explain that to Richard Betts.

Aug 25, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Rhoda
Marginally off topic but I'm wondering if we created a new character called My Spart Alec he would finally come clean and decide which name he actually plans to use to publish this long-awaited paper which would put this thread of yours out of its misery?
I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you but I suspect that the experiment you are looking for is not possible. Jonathan Jones tried at some length to explain the principle but he insisted on the pure physics approach of treating the earth as a black body - which it isn't.
All we ever got from BBD (apart from his fetish for abbreviations) was the assertion that CO2 absorbed radiation and reflected a percentage of it back down to earth thereby warming the earth. (This seems to me unlikely though as a non-scientist I am struggling to explain why though I am sympathetic to My Spart Alec's argument which seems to me (put in layman's terms) to say that the radiation has already done its heating of the surface job and can't do it again.)
I don't recall hearing any mention from BBD of convection, which I understand is more significant than radiation in surface heat loss. Is this properly taken into account by those who insist on the back radiation hypothesis or are they "over-assuming" the amount of radiation?

Aug 25, 2012 at 5:09 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike, there is supposed to be a physical mechanism going on. To claim that there is no experiment which could show it is to claim that there is no effect. If you can't measure it, don't ask me to believe it. I am just a little confused now about back-radiation. The other side appears to be backing off from it, or more accurately the use of it as a concept to explain GHE, just as the old CO2 blanket story was not meant to be accurate but merely illustrative to the proles. What they are using now is this TOA story, which I don't fully understand. I can see that an imbalance at TOA leaves some energy to be accounted for, but I wonder whether any 'natural' warming would not also imply a TOA imbalance. I find in general experience that when an explanation changes whenever you get close to understanding it that is an indication of faith-based reasoning.Or epicycles.

Aug 25, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

but I wonder whether any 'natural' warming would not also imply a TOA imbalance. I find in general experience that when an explanation changes whenever you get close to understanding it that is an indication of faith-based reasoning.Or epicycles.

Aug 25, 2012 at 5:39 PM | rhoda>>>>

It would be helpful if AGW pushers would explain exactly what THEY mean by the term TOA.

Is it the Stratosphere, the Mesosphere or higher because other than the heating effect of solar uv, any heating effect must be as a result of radiation/convection from the surface/lower atmosphere.

I cannot see how conditions at this height can be due to GHG's, which are pretty much a tropospheric occurrence with CO2 being at it's maximum density close to the surface, and that conditions at this height can affect surface temperature.

It's like the so called missing heat, back radiation is looking a bit of a non starter lately as it's so hard to prove so they're now trying another approach.

So let's get a proper explanation of exactly what TOA means, because I can find no explanation for it in Wikipedia, aka the AGW bible.

Aug 26, 2012 at 3:16 AM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS, I was reading climate papers yesterday trying to discover a bit more about TOA. I stumbled across a nominal height of 20km. Of course there is no actual boundary, but 20km is well within the limits of heavier-than-air flight. I believe global hawk drones go up there. So it can all be measured all the way up, with radiation balance, temps and actual air samples. Some of this is being done. I found no relevant results though. It ain't easy comparing the one-day one-place observation of reality with the averaged stuff we are fed as illustrations of the problem. That's why I want modellers to do one-day one-place, simplest conditions they can find. I'll bet they can't match model with reality even at that scale. So refine the model until you can do it, then expand it. They do check models against observations, but not it appears on less than regional scale. Which they can't actually get right.

Aug 26, 2012 at 8:56 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

"So refine the model until you can do it..."

It seems to me that if they are going to do that there can be no known unknowns and no unknown unknowns. As a for instance, and excuse me Richard Betts for the oversimplification but I am a great admirer of Rutherford's Law that says, "If you can't explain your theory to an Oxfordshire housewife it probably isn't good physics.". Where was I? Oh for instance in order to prove the overall effect of CO2 on temperatures they remove the CO2 forcings from the models, hence the IPCC suggestion that most of the 20th century warming has occurred because of CO2, presumably because the temperature drops dramatically.. Yet we've had 15 years or so of increasing CO2 and flatlining temperatures. In any other branch of science this would lead to an all hands to the pump exercise to find unknown unknowns, whereas in climate science they tell us that it's the Chinese burning coal increasing the aerosols in the atmosphere - in other words they make it up because they don''t know.

So, here's the point, they don't know enough about the way climate works to make reliable models, otherwise this thread would have had just two posts, your question and someone from the Met Office answering it in a way that makes it easy for an Oxfordshire housewife to understand (I've set the bar high for the rest of us comprehending the answer, but you know what I mean).

Aug 26, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

RKS, I was reading climate papers yesterday trying to discover a bit more about TOA. I stumbled across a nominal height of 20km. Of course there is no actual boundary, but 20km is well within the limits of heavier-than-air flight. I believe global hawk drones go up there. So it can all be measured all the way up, with radiation balance, temps and actual air samples. Some of this is being done. I found no relevant results though. It ain't easy comparing the one-day one-place observation of reality with the averaged stuff we are fed as illustrations of the problem. That's why I want modellers to do one-day one-place, simplest conditions they can find. I'll bet they can't match model with reality even at that scale. So refine the model until you can do it, then expand it. They do check models against observations, but not it appears on less than regional scale. Which they can't actually get right.

Aug 26, 2012 at 8:56 AM | rhoda>>>>

Thanks for the info.

I still question how the virtually non existent level of [supposed AGW causing] CO2 at that height can affect surface temperature. It's just another red herring, like the Chinese aerosols excuse geronimo referred to, designed to muddy the waters and gain extra research funds for yet another dead end.

Aug 26, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

I have another question - sorry for general uselessness

Does the greenhouse effect in climate models emerge as a consequence of such a property being programmed into the gas molecules swirling in the modeled atmosphere?

Aug 26, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Registered Commentershub

I have another question - sorry for general uselessness

Does the greenhouse effect in climate models emerge as a consequence of such a property being programmed into the gas molecules swirling in the modeled atmosphere?

Aug 26, 2012 at 3:46 PM | shub>>>>

"RKS: no, the last 15 years cannot be ignored. To date, this flatlining is still (just about) within the range of natural variability simulated by the models, so on the face of it, it doesn't disprove the models. However, it is part of our research programme to understand the reasons for this - is it just internal variability, or negative external forcing (sun, aerosols, etc) - or indeed is it the case that the positive forcing has been overestimated? There are genuine scientific questions here, which should not be dismissed.

Aug 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Richard Betts"

I think the line where Richard Betts says "or indeed is it the case that the positive forcing has been overestimated?" pretty much answers your question about how they set up their models.

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

To say that radiative forcing does not matter is to say that the GHE does not matter. To start talking about TOA is a new theory, CAGW depends upon the GHE existing so if our opponents have ditched the GHE then they have ditched CAGW.

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:28 PM | Registered CommenterDung

To return to the original request by Rhoda, the Earth has already done this experiment and if ice core records are being interpreted correctly (or even close to correctly), there is no GHE.
The ice core records from Vostok and the Dome give the following results:

The 4 interglacials before this (Holocene) one were warmer but with lower CO2 (just over half of current CO2 levels).

There were periods within the interglacials where CO2 rose for thousands of years and temperatures fell.

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

A suggestion:

Maybe a parallel thread or an inclusion in this thread of the large number of papers recently which claim to explain the recent warming without AGW.

Anthony Watts has a paper which suggests
that the warming is totally explained by incorrect adjustments of actual temperatures.

Papers that claim that bog standard solar radiance can explain it.

Recent measurements of low cloud during the last 50 years show that it has been reducing and therefore allowed the warming.

etc etc ^.^

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Registered CommenterDung

A suggestion:

Maybe a parallel thread or an inclusion in this thread of the large number of papers recently which claim to explain the recent warming without AGW.

Anthony Watts has a paper which suggests
that the warming is totally explained by incorrect adjustments of actual temperatures.

Papers that claim that bog standard solar radiance can explain it.

Recent measurements of low cloud during the last 50 years show that it has been reducing and therefore allowed the warming.

etc etc ^.^

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Dung>>>>

I did mention a couple of articles dealing with the solar effect on unthreaded:-

More Than One in Ten Chance of Colder UK Winters
ScienceDaily (July 4, 2011) — As the Sun enters a period of low solar activity over the next 50 years, new research has calculated the probability of unusually cold winter temperatures occurring in the UK.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705071743.htm

Link Found Between Cold European Winters and Solar Activity
ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2012)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120823143833.htm

And N&Z regard the latter 20th century rise as due to lower cloud cover. I don't know where they got their data but it must be available on the web somewhere.

Aug 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

A paper discussing decreasing cloud cover in the second half of the 20th century:-

http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/12/10815/2012/acpd-12-10815-2012.html

Aug 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS

What I am saying is; lets get a definative list together ^.^

Aug 27, 2012 at 1:31 AM | Registered CommenterDung


As seen from space, the earth’s temperature is not defined at earth surface, nor can it be defined at the TOA (Top of Atmosphere). Photons escaping from earth to space can originate at any altitude, and it is the average of these that defines the “effective black body temperature of earth” which turns out to be about -20 C (253 K), much colder than average temperatures at earth surface. If we plug that value into the equation we get:

253K = 232.3 w/m2
254K = 236.0 w/m2

236.0 – 232.3 = 3.7

A very interesting article up at WUWT. It may go towards answering some of your recent questions as to where the average temperature and energy imbalance is calculated from.

Aug 27, 2012 at 8:59 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

David Hoffer at WUWT has put in numerical terms what I have been trying to say about averages on this thread and others. Now it may well be that the climate crew give us averages as a simplification for the masses, but sometimes things can be simplified too far. Although as I understand it the derivation of 3.7 watts/sq m/ doubling is not derived in the way Hoffer illustrates it is clear that it cannot stand for successive doublings no matter what or if it did it would not lead to an anomaly temp rise which was also repeated over successive doublings. It would be nice if we understood how the 3.7 gets into the models.

Leaving this thread for the so-far fruitless search for an experimental demo, I am planning a new one on CO2 theory, about which I need some clarity.

Aug 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

"I am planning a new one on CO2 theory, about which I need some clarity."

Good idea. I'm still really puzzled what assumptions are made in the ~1C warming for double CO2 are made.

Also related to your greenhouse experiment a lot of the explanations don't fit in with how energy enters and exits the Earth system. Basically the sun heats the surface during the day (mainly in the summer in the UK) and IR cools the Earth at night. As people can quite clearly see the insulating properties of clouds or a humid night quite clearly traps heat at the surface. Also equally evident is that without the clouds or mugginess the CO2 itself is pretty useless at trapping the heat at night.

As you and others have pointed out how about some experiments up on the Altiplano in Bolivia on the edge of the Atacama where surely water vapour must be extremely low.

Aug 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Rob/rhoda
I've read Hoffer's post at WUWT and if nothing else it sounds plausible.
One of the things I've always struggled with is the concept of average temperature. The old joke about your head in the fire and your feet in a bucket of ice "but on average, I'm fine" resonates with me as does the idea that we should be worried by a 2 degree change in this "average" temperature given that at any time of day the surface temperature of the earth can be anywhere in the range of -40C to +40C and in my own backyard a weekly max/min variation of 20C is not uncommon.
I also find the CO2*2=1C equation just a bit glib and can never work out exactly where the starting point for this doubling is or why we aren't seeing any of the disastrous effects it's supposed to have given that the effect is supposedly logarithmic and we must be at least halfway there by now.
Every time the question is asked the answer appears to be along the lines of "That's a very interesting question and I'm glad you asked. By the way, did I ever show you the photos of my grandchildren. This is Angela; she's the youngest. And this is .... goodness! is that the time? I must go. So glad we had this little talk."
In cats it's called displacement activity!

Aug 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

RKS

What I am saying is; lets get a definative list together ^.^

Aug 27, 2012 at 1:31 AM | Dung>>>>

A bit at a time.

I thought it was supposed to be a group effort. Nobody could possibly have a complete definative list at their fingertips, not even the trolls who spend 110% of their time looking up obscure climate papers.

Aug 27, 2012 at 5:13 PM | Registered CommenterRKS