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Discussion > Does Climate Science Exist?


Sorry to break it to you, but your analogies (eg 'volume of stalectites' ≍ 'downwelling radiation') are distracting rather than helpful. Like the late C.A.G. LeMay trying to explain his concept for an multi-layer adaptive pattern recognition system, with feedback between layers, and using complicated multi-dimensional coordinate transformations suddenly telling me "Just think of a monkey climbing a stick; that will make it perfectly clear!"

EM: "The IPCC definition refers to radiative forcing under standard conditions as a change in downwelling radiation with time. The tropopause reference is because downwelling radiation can often be easier to measure from orbit as the difference between the OLR and the black body radiation at TOA."

No EM. If I have understood what you are saying, then you are confused on this or you are just making it up.

The IPCC is referrring to the net 'downwelling' radiation at all wavelengths (including visible) - not just the IR. And the troposphere/stratosphere distinction is made for reasons having nothing to do with ease of making satellite measurements.

Box 8.1 | Definition of Radiative Forcing and Effective Radiative Forcing
The two most commonly used measures of radiative forcing in this chapter are the radiative forcing (RF) and the effective radiative forcing (ERF). RF is defined, as it was in AR4, as the change in net downward radiative flux at the tropopause after allowing for stratospheric temperatures to readjust to radiative equilibrium, while holding surface and tropospheric temperatures and state variables such as water vapor and cloud cover fixed at the unperturbed values

Hansen himself, relatively recently, stated that satellite measurements gave values of 'forcing' too large to be credible so climate science was obliged to use values from models to compute current 'forcing'. (I never understood why they did not catch on that maybe the "missing heat" was nature's way of giving them a hint that their calculations were based on wrong assumptions...)

What I am really interested to know is where the numbers for the different mechnisms for energy leaving the Earth's surface came from. The "Earth's energy budget" diagrams seem to be an established chapter in the prayer book of climate science and seem to be generally accepted as established fact.

But can the figures be anything than somebody's (Hansen's?) guess?

I can see that *if* you knew the total global rainfall over a year (and total precipitation of ice) you could make a very rough estimate of the heat leaving ground level as latent heat of evaporation. But the total via convection? What global surveys exist to give that?

Jul 5, 2015 at 9:24 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Sandy S

Unfortunately something more important did come along!

"At a time when we should be drifting cooler,"

Proxy temperature data shows a steady cooling of 0.5C/millennium from 5000BP to 1910.(our old friend Marcott et al)

Milankovich forcing is flat.

Increasing pollution is a negative forcing.

Above average vulcanism is a negative forcing.

Solar physicists are expecting a grand minimum, another negative forcing.

Apart from increasing CO2 there are no large positive forcing at present.

All you need to convert me into a CO2 sceptic is to describe another positive forcing which meets the following criteria.

1) Consistent with the rest of physics.
2) Measurable and measured, with numbers and confidence limits.
3) Sufficient energy to produce the observed 1C change in surface temperatures and the observed increase in ocean heat content since 1880.

Martin A

If you want information on Trenberth's energy budget, go to the source.

Look in the text of the paper or the reference list.

When was Hansen's comment? With more recent measurements showing that the missing heat ended up in the oceans, the high forcings are looking more credible

Jul 5, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Sorry, that should have been 0.1C/millennium.

Jul 5, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - thnaks for the link.

When was Hansen's comment?

Not sure - I'll have to search my stuff when I'm back home.

Hansen's comment was not (so far as I can see) relevant to "it must be hiding in the ocean" although I think it was before that meme was made up discovered.

His comment alluded to the difference from satellite measurements being perhaps an order of magnitude out - not just a bit too big. I'll try to find it. If it is no longer valid that would surprise me - the fact would surely have been trumpeted.


On looking quickly at the paper you pointed to I noticed:

There is a TOA imbalance of 6.4 W m−2
from CERES data and this is outside of the realm of current
estimates of global imbalances
(Willis et al. 2004;
Hansen et al. 2005; Huang 2006) that are expected
from observed increases in carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The TOA energy
imbalance can probably be most accurately determined
from climate models and is estimated to be 0.85 ±
0.15 W m−2 by Hansen et al. (2005)

I'll have to look further but it seems to confirm that was the state of things at least in 2009 ie the current estimates of "forcing" come from models, not measurements.

[The output of an unvalidated model illustrates a hypothesis. It is not observational data.]

Jul 5, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The Hansen 'order of magnitude' comment would appear to have been taken up by Trenberth as the latest version of his energy flow imaginings shows 0.6 in place of the previous 0.9 W m-2.

Jul 5, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

EM: I still do not understand why you are so fixated on CO2 as being the Bad Boy of this fiasco. Can you not consider the possibility that there might be other factors that we either do not know about or are completely ignoring? What about the “cosmic waves” of Svensmark (sp?)? Perhaps they might seem a bit too sci-fi for you, not enough cli-fi; however, they do fit in where CO2 does not – consider that, when it was warmer in the geologically recent mediaeval warming period, atmospheric CO2 concentrations were lower. There is also the observation that the various ice ages have coinciding with our system’s position within the galactic arms; linked, or not? There may well be other factors that we have yet to discover, or we presently discount; CO2, though, has been thoroughly done to death, and the likelihood of it being a significant factor do not seem particularly high.

The only reason I can see for your fixation is that your fear of the unknown is such that you need to have factors in otherwise chaotic systems which you can have some perceived control over. You have determined that CO2 is the only factor which we might be able to influence; hence, you are determined that this is the principle (if not ONLY) factor, and it is one that needs to be addressed with urgency. Naturally, you are aware that you can make little difference by your own personal sacrifices, so are prepared to insist everyone else proceeds down your path before you make such commitment, yourself.

Jul 5, 2015 at 1:39 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent


EM is a proxy for climate science as a whole. Its demons are his demons. What it think it understands, he thinks he understands. What it disregards, EM disregards.

For climate science, CO2 is the villain of the piece and it is the element it thinks it understands. Climate science thinks that CO2 can be controlled and that doing so will control the climate. If the climate is not controlled, climate doom looms.

EM's fixation simply reflects the fixation of climate science.

Jul 5, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

I refrained from asking until after you had spent a couple of days posting here which indicated things were getting back to normal. In which case an answer for which you'd been asked several times didn't seem an unreasonable request, as far as I can see it (Martin A's five questions) remains unanswered.

Marcott showing a steady decline possibly but in that steady decline there have been several climate optimums, which doesn't yet include the current warmish period which hasn't reached previous highs within that 5000 years, and several colder spells.
Milankovitch flat will not be unusual, I don't have the data off the top my head, but changes tend not to be rapid. Not all cycles have fitted the theory, the 100,000 year problem.
Solar physicists are expecting a grand minimum, another negative forcing. expecting doesn't actually mean there's anything negative at the moment. Solar cycles can only be judged after the event, this current cycle may be an exception rather than a precursor, you cannot predict the future.

Total volcanic activity has been increasing since the 19th century, and has fallen sharply during the 21st century. This covers warming, cooling and pauses. In fact if you were a believer in volcanic activity creating warming the "pause" could be assigned to falling volcanic activity. volcanic activity

The case against pollution is perhaps Not Proven rather than guilty.

As for CO2 how about UHI, urbanisation shows a better/as good as match to rising temperatures than CO2

Jul 5, 2015 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I believe that you're correct.

Jul 5, 2015 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Martin A

6W/m2 is definitely too high.

You don't need a model, unless you call calculations based on standard physical constants a model.

I have done my own energy budget calculations based on observations of ice volume changes, air temperatures, sea level rise and ocean heat content.They were consiatent
with the Hansen 2005 figure of 0.85Wm-2, though my confidence limits were closer to +/-0.5.


I wrote the above this morning. She wasn't well tonight, but keep the discussion going. I welcome the distraction

Jul 5, 2015 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Martin A, I have not heard that anything much has changed since 2009.

Here is SoD in 2011, quoting Loeb (2009)

This is about accuracy – considering that ERBE was followed by CERES..

From Toward Optimal Closure of the Earth’s Top-of-Atmosphere Radiation Budget, Loeb et al, Journal of Climate (2009)

"While the radiances from instruments like ERBE and the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) are stable to a few tenths of a W/m2 per decade (Loeb et al. 2007a) and provide excellent regional coverage of the distribution of reflected solar and emitted thermal radiation from the earth, the absolute calibration is known to 2% in the shortwave (SW) and 1.5% in the longwave (LW) at the 95% confidence level.

Instruments that measure total solar irradiance, such as the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) instrument (Kopp et al. 2005), are also far more stable than they are absolutely accurate.

Consequently, it is not surprising that satellite observations produce larger net TOA flux imbalances than expected."

Here is a comparison of various measurements between different measuring systems. One of the important points being [SoD's bold, not mine] that the absolute accuracy is not accurate enough to be used for trend analysis between ERBE and CERES:

[the table won't reproduce at BH, so you'll need to click on the link to visit SoD to view it.]

It still seems to be the case that direct earth energy budget measurements are stable but not accurate, requiring longer periods to draw conclusions about trends. The usual Cli-Sci supporters may say that "It's the best we've got" as if that makes it true, but that still doesn't make it good enough by standards in other fields. (I shudder to think about their second best.)

Back in 2010 Roy Spencer also squared off with Trenberth about this. I think the context was about feed-backs, but he made the point that the observed energy surplus (such as it was) was due to a decrease in reflected short wave, not due to decreased out-going long wave.

We've had five more years, yet this area seems to have gone strangely silent.

Jul 5, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Entropic man
When you have time and the inclination I'd still like to see your answers to Martin A's five questions on the other thread, possibly on that thread rather than here as things will get very confusing otherwise.

Pass on my best wishes for a speedy recovery to your wife.

Jul 6, 2015 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS - didn't he give his answers here ?

I think that climate scientists should contact EM for guidance on their work. He says things like "You don't need a model, unless you call calculations based on standard physical constants a model" where the papers themselves refer to the results from GCM's.

Jul 6, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A
You're quite right he did, I missed it and I don't think EM linked there when answering possibly because I'd confused him! Sincere apologies to EM.

I said a couple of years ago that EM posts information such as

Above average vulcanism is a negative forcing.
without a reference and when you research it it is only half the story. It may be above average globally but looks more like a positive forcing when eyeballing the chart.
This one almost doesn't warrant a reply
Proxy temperature data shows a steady cooling of 0.5C/millennium from 5000BP to 1910.(our old friend Marcott et al)

Jul 6, 2015 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Martin A, Michael hart

One of the recent papers on this is Allen et al 2014. Full text available.

They used two observational datasets and models to derive two average figures for the imbalance over two time periods. 90% confidence limits.

1985-1999 0.34Wm-2 +/- 0.67

2000-2012 0.62Wm-2. +/- 0.43

With respect, neither of you seem to know what the imbalance should be.
May I suggest a fag packet calculation.

Most of the incoming energy ends up in the ocean, about 94%. Ignore everything else and forget the details.

Use specific heat capacity and thermal expansion coefficient to calculate the amount of energy necessary to produce the observed annual rate of sea level rise. Convert that energy input in Joules into Wm-2 imbalance.

To get you started, sea level rise has averaged 3.3mm/year since 1993.

Each 1mm of sea level rise represents a volume increase of 360 cubic kilometres, giving an annual overall increase of 1188 cubic kilometres.

Approximately 500 cubic kilometres of that comes from melting ice, leaving an annual volume increase due to thermal expansion of 688 cubic kilometres.

I have to go. You should be able to do the rest of the calculation.

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I have to go.
Jul 6, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man"

I'm sure some others would agree with you.

You should be able to do the rest of the calculation.

You are still suffering from the delusion that you can take a multivariate problem and make juvenile assumptions about what they all add up to without knowing what many of them are individually. It is a basic problem of simultaneous equations that I was taught in school maths around the age of 13. I have no interest in your calculations.

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Sandy S

Did you spot my 11.06am correction? The 0.5C/millennium cooling rate was a typo. It should have been.0.1C per millennium. The total change over 5000 years was 0.5C.

I am short of time at present. I can pull up references I already have bookmarked. Others take too long.

Your response to the Holocene cooling reference , Marcott et al, 2013 was "This one almost doesn't warrant a reply".

If your response to references is sarcasm, why should I bother?

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Yes but the thrust remains the same steady cooling for 5 millenia. Which it blatently isn't, it's a general cooling with warming and cooling excursions.
No not sarcasm, just that the period you selected 5000BP to 1910. includes periods which are acknowledged as being warmer/having climate optimums than the times before and after. Say for example the Minoan Warm Period which from wiki lasted very approximately from about 3500 BP to about 3000BP, the Roman Warm Period 2300BP to 1500BP depending on your view of starts and ends. At the peak of those warm excursions the cooling would not have been as great just as appears not to be today as per your 1910. So you could have said A cooling from 5000BP to 3500BP which would also have been half the story.

What I was trying to imply with that response was one almost doesn't need to research to identify the that it is half the story which is not the case for the vulcanism or pollution where without a reference a search is required but I do check anyway hence the almost.
BTW have you looked at the chart of total vulcanism and how it matches, in broad terms, the recovery from the Little Iceage?

Appreciate your time problem with your current situation, but it's not a new feature in your postings.

Jul 6, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

"This one almost doesn't warrant a reply". EM _ I don't think that was sarcasm. Marcott himself disqualified himself from consideration with his antics later conceded as 'not robust' and which even the Met Office stopped quoting.

The paper you kindly pointed to gives loads of stuff on heat loss from ground/sea level by radiation. Much less on heat transport as latent heat or by convection.

For latent heat it points to a body of work on annual evaporation/precipitation, making the (reasonable) assumption that latent heat transport is proportional to precipitation. Although a weak point is that (so far as I could find) they did not discuss the difference between rain and snow. Clearly if water vapour that leaves ground/sea level returns as ice, then it leaves appreciably more latent heat up there than if it returns as liquid water. They did not seem to address that point at all.

On heat transport by convection, all it has to say is (again so far as I found):

The SH is available from the reanalyses for all
years, and ranges from 15.7 and 18.9 W m −2 globally,
from 26.3 to 27.5 W m −2 over land, and from 11.8
to 16.0 W m −2 over the ocean. The value in KT97
was computed as a residual and was unrealistically
high at 24 W m −2 . Here we adopt values of 17, 27,
and 12 W m −2 for the globe, land, and ocean, and
even with uncertainties of 10%, the errors are only
order 2 W m −2 .

Referring back to "KT97" reveals how SH was computed:

The remaining heat flux into the atmosphere from
sensible heat is deduced as a residual from the condi-
tion of the global energy balance at the surface,
SW − LW − LH − SH = 0

Basically, they don't have a clue how much heat leaves ground level by convection, other than as a fiddle factor to make the rest of the stuff balance.

Jul 6, 2015 at 12:29 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


" unless you call calculations based on standard physical constants a model"

That is called a model. You've made some (probably quite a lot) of assumptions.

Jul 6, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

You are using millennial trend lines and comparing them to trends of less than 200 years and demanding skeptics explain why it isn't CO2?

Jul 6, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Entropic Mann: you have previously stated quite categorically that you do not do “belief”. However, you show, time and time again, that you do: your belief is that you are right, you only “do” science, and that the CO2 is the cause of all our woes. Nothing can shake you from that belief. Most on here, myself included, are not so sure of your belief, and are prepared to question it, in the forlorn hope that you will actually wake up and “do” some science – i.e. look at the evidence and formulate a conclusion, NOT have a conclusion and find the evidence that supports it.

I can understand part of your reasoning, as I have found myself indulging in confirmation bias; pandering to my own belief, if you will – I mean, what if I am wrong?! Often, when reading an article or paper “proving” the warmist side, I get somewhat uncomfortable, as it can often look rather plausible. Luckily, I do force myself to read further, in case there really is some truth in it; invariably, the article or paper eventually collapses in on itself. I then admonish myself for my self-righteous smugness.

If I might take on the mantle of the unelected spokes-person for many on here, the belief of most of us is that it is not quite as clear-cut as you would like for your belief; the evidence against CO2 is not quite so damning; the possibility that there might be other factors, as yet undiscovered or, perhaps, ignored, involved should not be discounted so wilfully; evidence of outright lies or fraud should not be dismissed so lightly. Most fear that the policies being pursued by governments around the globe based upon such shoddy evidence is a travesty at best, utter criminality at worst, as it involves the destruction, subjugation and death of huge segments of society for the benefit of very few – but, coincidentally, those few who are actually attempting to enact the folly! As has been shown throughout history, the best way to subjugate the people is to convince them that subjugation will be for their benefit; when many believe that, then the crime may be committed without hindrance. You are an aider and abetter of this crime, and may the deaths of the poor in need of the cheap energy that is available rest easy on your conscience; they do not rest so easy on mine, and I will continue to help unmask this vile deed as long as I am able.

My belief is that the Truth will survive, but that Science will suffer a terrible battering in the storms to come, its survival depending upon severe pruning of its branches, and its many suckers being ripped off and discarded. Will “climate science” be one of the branches, or one of the suckers?

Jul 6, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

EM, lest you should misunderstand my words, I think this short (27 seconds) video from the 1980's is a perfect analogy for the current state of the art of climate model calculations.

Jul 6, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

With respect, neither of you seem to know what the imbalance should be.
Jul 6, 2015 at 11:00 AM Entropic man

'Should be' or 'is'? Either way, I think that is something on which we (I'm guessing what michael hart thinks) are in complete agreement with you, EM. As things I have said before imply I think there are a lot of other people in that state too. Including some who have published peer-reviewed papers on the subject.

I'm always intrigued by the range of EM's views. On the one hand, he seems to regard the 5.35 ln(C/C0) formula (obtained by fitting a log curve to the output of numerical models over a limited range) virtually as a physical law.

On the other hand (I remember from a discussion quite some time back) he thinks that the statement "the resistivity of silver is less than the resistivity of iron" is a hypothesis, rather than a fact.

Jul 6, 2015 at 2:53 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

You guess correctly, Martin A.

Jul 6, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart