The Talkshop thrusts towards a new theory of climate

Posted: March 8, 2012 by Rog Tallbloke in atmosphere, climate, Energy, general circulation, Ocean dynamics

Hunting around for info on the timing of maxima and minima in annual sea surface temperatures I found the following snippet:

The annual range of surface temperature of the oceans is much less than that of the continents. The annual variation of the ocean surface temperature in any part of the world depends on the following factors:

a. Radiation income

b. Nature of ocean currents

c. Prevailing winds.

The annual variation of the surface temperature is not uniform; rather it changes from one area to another.

It is clear that the annual range of surface temperature is much greater in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific Oceans than in the oceans of the southern hemisphere. In the oceans of the northern hemisphere, the cold and dry winds blowing out from the interior of the continents during winter lower down the surface temperatures.

This is the most impor­tant factor responsible for the greater annual range in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific Oceans. It is worthwhile to remember that in the southern hemisphere oceans the annual range of the surface temperature is directly related to variation in the amount of energy received from the solar radiation.

Even in the oceans of the equatorial regions the an­nual range reflects the seasonal fluctuation in the amount of radiant energy received from the sun.

In the tropical areas of the oceans the annual range varies from 1°C to 2°C. In the Polar Regions also the annual range is always negligible. In the southern hemisphere at about 35°S latitude the annual range reaches a maximum of 5° to 6°C.

However, towards the South Pole there is a gradual decrease in it. In the adjoining seas of the Antarctic annual range of 2°C is recorded. In the Northern Pacific and Northern Atlantic Oceans the average annual variation touches a high of 9°C, but towards the Arctic Ocean there is a well-marked decrease in it.

The annual variation becomes gradually smaller towards the north. Such is the case in the North Pacific Ocean with the only difference that the northward decrease is slower. The subtropical high pressure belt, however, is characterised by the maximum annual temperature variation. The maximum temperature range near the Bermudas and near the Azores exceeds 8°C.

There is the absolute maximum surface temperature variation exceeding 15°C off the coast of North America and in the vicinity of the Newfoundland Banks. In these areas the annual variation is the result of the fluctuating seasonal movements of ocean currents.

In the North Pacific Ocean, the area extending from the Sea of Japan to the east coast of North America has the annual range of temperature greater than 9°C.

Similarly, off the west African Coast in the northern and southern hemispheres and off California, where there is upwelling of cold water the annual temperature range is also large i.e. from 8°C to 10°C.

In the equatorial regions at the time of equinoxes there are two maxima of the annual range of temperature. In the subtropical oceans the maximum is recorded in September and March respectively and in the temperate region in August and February respectively.

In the deeper layers beneath the surface, the annual temperature variation is caused by the effect of convection and turbulence in the ocean water. However, the temperature range goes on decreasing with the increasing depth until it finally disappears.

In the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans between 40° and 45°N latitude the temperatures of the surface water, particularly along the western coasts, are lowered due to the effect of cold continental air.

This results in greater annual range. However, the oceans in the southern hemisphere are free from such influences, so that the areas between 30° and 40°S latitude show the annual temperature range from 5° to 6°C only.

Because of the influence of the adjacent land areas the shallow coastal seas have greater annual variation of temperature than the open seas. For example, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf record 14°C as the annual range of temperature.

In those areas of the oceans where different water masses visit one after another the annual range of temperature is relatively greater.

————————————————–

This is of interest because the timing of the maxima and minima in ocean surface temperature indicates to me that the Sun can heat the ocean faster than it can cool down again. Why else would the maximum surface temperature occur three months after the longest day of the year when the maximum sunshine hours occur? Sunlight easily penetrates the ocean surface and heat the subsurface waters, unlike longwave radiation from ‘greenhouse gases’ which can’t penetrate the surface beyond their own wavelength. But for energy to get back out of the ocean, it has to be conducted and convected upwards. Radiation can’t do much below the surface, because the low temperature longwave radiation emitted by water molecules is almost immediately re-absorbed and re-scattered in all directions, including back down again.

This is crucial to the new theory of climate we have been developing here at the Talkshop with important contributions from Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller, Stephen Wilde, David M Hoffer, Ben WoutersDoug Proctor,  Tim Channon and others.

This annual demonstration of the Sun’s power to penetrate the ocean surface with its short wave radiance to a depth of 100 metres or so tells us something very important. If the ocean were cooler, it wouldn’t be able to evaporate,  conduct/convect, or radiate heat away into the atmosphere quickly enough to be in equilibrium. Its surface temperature has to rise to the point where these heat transfer processes can be in equilibrium with the rate of insolation at the surface and into the bulk of the ocean. This temperature is self evidently considerably higher than the freezing point of water.

The implication is that the primary role of atmospheric gases which have radiative properties is not to heat the surface with ‘back radiation’ but to cool it by radiating the oceanic heat they receive to space. Any ‘greenhouse effect’ from these radiative gases is negligible in comparison to this primary role and the massively greater heat capacity of the constantly cooling ocean.

There is a lot of evidence supporting this view via the chain of causality determined by the basic facts. The Sun heats the ocean, the average surface temperature of which is around 3C higher than that of the near surface air above it. Changes in the sea surface temperature precede the consequent changes in lower troposphere temperatures by around three months. Cause precedes effect, the ocean surface temperature drives the near surface air temperature. The tail does not wag the dog.

Plot showing sea surface temperature in green, leading changes in lower troposphere temperature in red, by around three months on average.

So how does the N&Z theory fit this picture? Well, if there  was less atmospheric mass, the consequently lower surface pressure would allow the ocean surface to evaporate at a lower temperature, and the Earth’s surface would consequently be colder at the temperature level where the oceans ability to shed heat matched the rate of incoming insolation. Simples. :)

Comments
  1. Stephen Wilde says:

    “if there was less atmospheric mass, the consequently lower surface pressure would cause the ocean surface would evaporate at a lower temperature, and the Earth’s surface would consequently be colder at the temperature level where the oceans ability to shed heat matched the rate of incoming insolation.”

    Agreed.

    The reason being that surface pressure controls the energy cost of the evaporative process and thus the rate at which previously acquired solar energy can be removed from the oceans as explained in detail here:

    “The Setting And Maintaining Of Earth’s Equilibrium Temperature”

    and as regards the importance of the oceans generally see here:

    “The Hot WAter Bottle Effect”.

  2. James says:

    Well IMHO you are correct to focus on the Oceans. As a sailor it never ceases to amaze me how little land there is on our planet but most climate “scientist” seem to concentrate on the land bit.

  3. Ulric Lyons says:

    The equator gets much more direct sunshine around the equinoxes.

  4. BenAW says:

    Posted: March 8, 2012 by tallbloke

    So how does the N&Z theory fit this picture?

    Isn’t it time to stop this fixation on the effect of gravity?
    You finally seem to accept my theory of a cooling earth, where the temp of the bulk of the oceans determine the base temp. of the earth. Sun is warming a small upper layer.
    Base temp is ~275 – 277K. So the difference with the avg 288K is just 11 – 13K.
    The sun is perfectly able to achieve this, so the effect of ATE (gravity) is not 133K as N&Z claim, but probably (very close to) zero.

    With regard to the temp differences, on an oceans only earth, the ocean currents would probably look something like this:
    – flow from tropics to the poles
    – due to the corriolis effect they turn east, resulting eventually in a “gyre” around the poles
    – backflow in the deeper oceans

    The continents disrupt this simple flow. Especially on the northern hemisphere the continents make this pattern impossible. In the southern hemisphere this flow is more or less possible with mostly South America being in the way.

  5. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    What happened to Part 2 of the N&Z post? Do they still plan to publish a paper for peer review?
    I hope I didn’t miss it…

  6. tallbloke says:

    Stephen: There is much we have agreed on over the last few years. :)

    James: Indeed, many of the most pre-eminent climate scientists seem to have been sat on their brains in offices for the last 30 years.

    Ulric: True, the effect is more evident where the semiannual difference in insolation is much higher.

    Ben: without gravity acting on the atmospheric mass and the consequent surface pressure the oceans would boil off into space and we would indeed be 133C colder as N&Z correctly calculate with their Tgb. However, I think that their ATE is not responsible for anything like 133K through warmer air directly heating the ocean. It is the weight of the atmosphere hindering evaporation which is the important effect IMO.

    SC: N&Z Part 2 is yet to come, but folk here have their own ideas too.

  7. Ulric Lyons says:

    semiannual difference in insolation ?

    Are we talking the same thing here ? At the equinoxes, the equator directly faces the Sun at midday, while at the solstices the equator is at its greatest angle away from the Sun at midday.

  8. tchannon says:

    This was done here by phase correlation, there is indeed a delay. A Lissajous figure of slightly filtered data is open.

    What the whole thing means I have no idea.

    As usual if you want data, ask. In this case I compute time series from gridded. In theory if I had a lat/long file I could extract only ocean, a lot of work.

    [ edit, sorry, mistake in the plot, didn't notice the global axis has autoscaled, if it worries anyone I'll redo --Tim]

  9. D J Cotton says:

    Willis wrote on WUWT: the guesstimated range of climate sensitivity hasn’t narrowed in any significant fashion. It’s still right around 3 ± 1.5°C per double of CO2, just like it was in 1979.
    _________________________________________

    Indeed, and they still don’t recognise, even though it’s been pointed out numerous times, that the sensitivity calculation is based on completely fabricated “physics” which assumes, firstly that the Earth’s surface only loses thermal energy by radiation – hence their 255K figure – and then they say that 33 degrees is due to water vapour and trace gases, when in fact it’s not 33 degrees at all (because the 255K is wrong) , and whatever it should be is due to the acceleration due to gravity, which determines the adiabatic lapse rate. Then, to cap it off, they put back evaporation and diffusion (wrongly named convection or thermals) into their energy diagrams, thus admitting their mistake in assuming that the surface only radiates like a perfectly insulated blackbody does.

    They also neglect the cooling effect due to absorption of solar radiation in the SW IR range, followed by upwelling “backradiation” to space. This SW IR has more energy per photon than does the LW IR from the surface. And backradiation to space does prevent warming, just like reflection, whereas backradiation downwards cannot transfer thermal energy to the surface – it can only slow the radiative component of surface cooling, not the evaporative of diffusion processes.

    Hence there is absolutely no basis whatsoever for any warming sensitivity when, in fact, carbon dioxide almost certainly has a very slight net cooling effect.

  10. Michael Hart says:

    I like the article, but I’m just going to stick my oar in, and speak up for water evaporation. People in the blogosphere such as Dave Springer often comment just how much of the incident solar radiation on the oceans is taken up by evaporation. About ~70% is a figure I commonly read. Pretty big, however you slice it.

    Stephen,
    What of the argument that the evaporation has the significant effect on pressure, because the vapour pressure of water rises exponentially with temperature. The external work done during evaporation (p*delta V where p=atmospheric pressure and delta V is the volume change achieved as work against that pressure) of water is probably very similar to many other liquids. But the ‘big money’ for water is breaking all those hydrogen bonds [in the liquid phase], not pushing back the atmosphere. I doubt if the p*delta V term rises exponentially in the same way. So while pressure may influence the rate of evaporation, the temperature would be more important vis-a-vis the total energetic cost. [Thinking out loud, might be interesting to try and add a vapour pressure correction to the graph for temperatures]

    Also, returning to rates of evaporation, what of mass transfer and mixing (i.e. wind speed and turbulence)? Evaporation rates can be greater even in gentle breezes even at high pressure, giving rise to significant temperature effects. Water evaporation is, I would of thought, the tail that really does wag the dog.
    [The water-dog has particularly large and bushy tail :) ]

  11. tchannon says:

    Oh whoops folks, what has fallen out of looking at the data poses a problem, I don’t want to upset this thread.

    Any newcomers please accept brief explanations, this is not the time to question tools.

    I have two monthly datasets Dec 1978 through Jan 2012. Decided to quickly run the data analyser on these as a quick look, all on automatic, 7 terms. Complete quickly. Only real comment is SST2 has a significant annual term. (couple of clicks, eyeballs as phased with solar insolation, dunno which phase, umm… anti-phase? Never mind, ignore it.)

    On looking at the result I notice a couple of the periods are very similar. Few clicks and SST leads UAH, maybe just under 7 months. Interesting.

    Then I notice a second pair. Same thing.

    Okay, turn all four on, oh my goodness., we got ourselves modulation, beating. Kind of familiar.

    Check the differences, gulp.

    We must assume the following is all chance, has no rational causal. The possibilities are tantalising.

    The above, in each case pairs of similar periods are beating.

    Doesn’t match particularly well but the analysis is not done to try and extract this kind of thing.

    So what is going on if anything?

    Not giving exact numbers, are 3 to 4 year terms. Now look at the phase delay plots I posted earlier, that is 36 to 48 months. Don’t understand.

    Difference the terms at it comes out 22 to 23 year in both cases, what we can see.

  12. wayne says:

    “This is of interest because the timing of the maxima and minima in ocean surface temperature indicates to me that the Sun can heat the ocean faster than it can cool down again. Why else would the maximum surface temperature occur three months after the longest day of the year when the maximum sunshine hours occur?”

    To me that lag is the precise point, in time, when incoming radiation absorption exactly balances the loss of energy by evaporation, conduction, and radiation at the current local temperature. That is a very important figure it seems… the lag. Thanks, it is one number I was missing.

  13. J. Seifert says:

    I truely think that the air mass loss into space is substantial….
    because see Anthony’s blog-post “A giant veil of cold plasma high over Earth….”
    which shows that the Sun with all solar activities and eruptions chews the atmosphere
    away into space ….. further, a recent post as well how air pressure (mass) measured
    over a century in Australia gets less and less…
    Not subtracting the air mass loss in GCMs, would increase the real warm air volume
    available and would up AGW forecast warming values….
    Another AGW mistake…
    JS

  14. Michael Hart says:

    Tim,
    By “beating” do you mean resonating, or that it has a sinusoidal frequency?
    2nd question, Would it be easy for you to post text files with the numbers, or point to where they can be easily obtained?

    Also, something you may be interested in if you don’t already know of it: I’ve recently downloaded the rather excellent 2nd generation free software “Eureqa-formulize” available from nutonian

    http://www.nutonian.com/eureqa-ii/

    Something I dreamed of having when I was a grad student. Still teaching myself how to use it. Slowly.

  15. tchannon says:

    This is sines, all simple at this stage.

    xls is the only allowed wordpress data format

    Basic data for this whole thread.

    XLS HERE

    Contains SST2 computed by me from gridded Dec 1978 to Jan 2012, this will probably not match the official time series exactly… ‘cos I don’t play games.

    Contain brand new UAH TLT (gridded released today) Dec 1978 to Feb 2012. This does match the official data except is not rounded. (same math used for both extracts)

    Point here: UAH data changed considerably couple of months ago (without) a version number change, very odd. The mismatch with RSS is a matter of post in preparation. (I have quite a few things which might see the light of day)

  16. D J Cotton says:

    Sunlight easily penetrates the ocean surface and heat the subsurface waters, unlike longwave radiation from ‘greenhouse gases’ which can’t penetrate the surface beyond their own wavelength. But for energy to get back out of the ocean, it has to be conducted and convected upwards. Radiation can’t do much below the surface, because the low temperature longwave radiation emitted by water molecules is almost immediately re-absorbed and re-scattered in all directions, including back down again.
    __________________________________________

    There’s really nothing new about this. Of course the ocean surface (and land surface) causes the first few mm of the air to follow its temperature due to diffusion and radiation – each helping to bring about near equilibrium. However, because the atmosphere cools faster than the surface at night (see http://principia-scientific.org/publications/New_Concise_Experiment_on_Backradiation.pdf ) and is usually 2 to 3 degrees cooler at the interface, there is no significant transfer of thermal energy from the atmosphere either by radiation or diffusion. (If LW radiation was converted to thermal energy underwater, (even just one wavelength down) that energy could exit by evaporation, and clearly the 2nd Law is violated by any such conversion – You’d better see my paper next week before making any incorrect staements which imply heat transfers from cold to hot.)

  17. D J Cotton says:

    As I said in the previous post, there’s nothing “new” about any of this. For example, see the second and third paragraphs of my original site written early last year http://earth-climate.com

    NASA sea surface temperatures follow a very regular annual pattern, so there is clearly very little noise factor. The underlying trend (with that pattern removed) is very clearly spelled out.

  18. Doug Proctor says:

    This post – and so many of the skeptics’ arguments – is based on returning to principles. Nullius in verba applies also: take no one’s word for it. If reasonable men (a principle in itself, gender blind) cannot at least backcheck conclusions against the basics, then there is something wrong. Observations, messy as they are, must fit theory, even if probabilities of outcome rather than specific determinations are as close as you can get to the “truth”. The lack of detailed predictability is itself a definitive conclusion, and one that a determined focus on principles may force upon us.

    Despite our general desire for hard facts, our overall wish to have the universe nailed to the floor, there is a limit to knowledge. It is not just in quantum mechanics that this shows itself to the observant, but in the largest questions. We err in thinking that we are left with only the details to describe, an error of hubris that has followed mankind for thousands of years. There are still fundamental ways unacknowledged by our grandfathers. Gore, Mann, Hansen stand upon pedestals and declare the firmament solid; by looking downward, we can see that some of that firmament is not solid, but sand, and seeping slowly away.

    I have read of “post-normal science” without really understanding what it means. What I think post-normal science is, actually, is expressed in blogs like Talkbloke’s Talkshop and Watts Up With That and others that space precludes me from listing. Today there are many, many well-educated, straight-thinking, non-professional (meaning paid for their specific work) citizens with access to huge amounts of quality data. A portion are more experienced in certain fields than their academic equivalents. And few are driven by publishing or peer pressures to maintain popular positions. The truth is, for this widespread group, what it is. Post-normal science is the process of scientific investigation by these non-traditional but completely qualified laymen.

    Thank you for allowing me to be part of this revolution – for that is what it is, a significant shift in where authority and power has lain since the industrial revolution. What “they” tell us isn’t always so, and we have the ability, the resources and the responsibility to point this out.

  19. Michael Hart says:

    Thanks Tim.

    Mr Cotton, is your much trailed paper going to be paywalled?

  20. Stephen Wilde says:

    Post- normal science means a ‘new’ approach whereby established, objective, observation based scientific principles and methods are at least partially suspended in favour of a subjective interpretation which is supposed to reinforce a social and/or political imperative for the so called ‘greater good’.

    Hence it is the precise opposite of the approach adopted here and at WUWT and it is a dangerous, easily corrupted process akin to the approaches to science that prevail (have always prevailed) in totalitarian regimes.

  21. Stephen Wilde says:

    MichaelHart said:

    “What of the argument that the evaporation has the significant effect on pressure”

    That is correct locally and regionally but not globally. More evaporation in one place will cause rising convection and lower pressure where it occurs but that will be offset by higher pressure elsewhere when the air descends again.

    Thus an intensified ITCZ will also expand the sub tropical high pressure cells either side and push the climate zones poleward provided the top down solar influence from the poles does not obstruct the process.

    “So while pressure may influence the rate of evaporation, the temperature would be more important vis-a-vis the total energetic cost.”

    I think temperature affects the rate of evaporation but pressure dictates the energy cost of a given amount of evaporation as per my linked article. The multiple of latent heat of evaporation taken up as compared to the amount of energy required to break the bonds betwen water molecules is directly related to surface pressure. Currently it is about 5 to 1.

    The inevitable consequence is that the higher the atmospheric pressure at rhe ocean surface the higher the energy content and equilibrium temperature of the oceans will become and of course with 70% of the surface in water form the ocean SSTs then control air temperatures and will negate anything that tries to alter the basic equilibrium by alterng the air circulation globally.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Michael, thanks for your observations on evaporation, food for thought. I’m not sure Dave Springer is right about 70% though, I think more solar energy gets mixed down into the ocean before it re-emerges and is transferred by various mechanisms. Mr Cotton has been sashaying round the blogosphere, picking up on other peoples ideas, and mashing together his own overview. Which is fine, though it would be nice if he was more explicit about crediting others, apart from Claes Johnson.

    Perhaps he’ll tell us which journal he is publishing in.

    Doug: The much abused term ‘post normal science’ was invented by Jerry Ravetz, who has published several essays here at the talkshop in the past. Because the original concept was bent to the service of the late Stephen Schneider’s agenda, it has become a ‘bette noir’ of the sceptical camp, and Ravetz has been savaged by Willis Eschenbach on WUWT in a couple of pretty vicious personal attacks. I’ve met Ravetz in person, and corresponded with him at length over a period of many months. He is a veteran historian of science, a mathematics scholar, and a gentleman. You have correctly intuited what I believe to be the most important aspect of what Ravetz says ‘post normal science’ means: The right of laymen to have a place at the table, and the recognition of the value of the findings of non-experts, investigative journalists and bloggers. Also the assessment of evidence in the face of deep uncertainty is addressed, and rather than being a prescription for subjectivity as Stephen Wilde mistakenly asserts, it calls for the explicit recognition that subjective judgements are frequently made, and that these should have input from the full cross section of those affected by them, rather than be the preserve of behind closed doors ‘expertise’. See also the work on decision making under uncertainty by Jeroen van der Sluijs. Climategate was the hoist on which Schneiders petard found itself elevated, and an eye opener for Ravetz himself, who despite his own philosophy, had been taken in by the global warming narrative.

    Tim, looks like you have the basis of a very interesting new post there. I think we may find that the links between changes in length of day, atmospheric angular momentum, and the changing evaporation rates Michael has reminded us about all come into play. The frequencies you are finding are very resonant ( :) ) of planetary and solar periods.

    Ulric, the equator is a ‘special case’ because it has two maxima in insolation per year, in contrast to all other latitudes above 5N and 5S.

  23. Hans says:

    Rog,

    I certainly appreciate that you discuss variations in regional climate factors. This leads to a discussion of what physical processes that are affecting climate change. People have always adapted to regional climate change and that have affected life stiles and survival strategies. Your discussion in the head facilitates the identification of these processes. It is of course important to identify the most prominent process at different locations and seasons. Global averages are not very important except for one crucial reason. Long term global averages can point to and prove extraterrestrial influences on climate change but let´s forget that for a while.

    You says:
    “This is of interest because the timing of the maxima and minima in ocean surface temperature indicates to me that the Sun can heat the ocean faster than it can cool down again. Why else would the maximum surface temperature occur three months after the longest day of the year when the maximum sunshine hours occur? Sunlight easily penetrates the ocean surface and heat the subsurface waters, unlike longwave radiation from ‘greenhouse gases’ which can’t penetrate the surface beyond their own wavelength. But for energy to get back out of the ocean, it has to be conducted and convected upwards. Radiation can’t do much below the surface, because the low temperature longwave radiation emitted by water molecules is almost immediately re-absorbed and re-scattered in all directions, including back down again.”

    Is there any chance to identify the most important physical process that affect climate change on earth on different time scales? Yes, there is and that is the reason why the title of my thesis is “Wind Controlled Climate”. You rightly emphasize the importance of convection in the head, both as wind and currents. Your observation of the seas as an energy trap is correct since about 95% of solar irradiation get absorbed by the sea surface. It is much less on land. Irradiation reaching land surfaces goes back to space quicker. This fact are causing what was once called maritime and continental climate zones. They certainly are for real.

    The oceans works as a thermostat during shorter time periods as years and hundreds of years but it gets less important at longer term time scales. There is an end to the energy reservoir in the upper layers of the oceans. In my thesis I show how the average winter temperature in the Atlantic west of Lisbon (41N 33W) has changed from around 0 C to 20 C between glacials and interglacials (any temperature averaged over about 1000 years). That is a large temperature span. There must be a physical reason for this very strong temperature variation between a glacial/interglacial periods (about 100000 years each) and there is. (See page 53).

    It has always surprised me how difficult it seems to realize that energy INPUT into the earth energy budget is not the only critical factor (Milankovitch variables) for understanding climate change. The obvious factor to investigate besides energy input is what physical processes controls the energy OUTPUT. It is simply average wind speed. High winds extract more energy quicker from the the ocean surfaces than no winds. The high energy release per unit area is proportional to wind speed squared. This is the reason why my thesis has the title “Wind Controlled Climate”.

    Forced convective heat transfer from ocean surfaces and land surfaces moves energy directly up in the air and it is easier for this energy to be radiated into space. Much wind during long time spans cools earth and shifts its energy balance. This factor is greater than the Milankovitch influence (+/- 3.5% solar irradiation). Observational evidence in ice cores shows that the accumulated amount of sea salt a and dust are more than 10 times larger during glacials than during interglacials which is very strong observational evidence supporting that the most important factor deciding earth long term climate change is average surface wind speed at the surface of earth. The next step in thinking is to check if the average surface wind speed on earth has to do with extraterrestrial factors and it has since these factors cause large scale motion of both air and ocean water. The unfortunate focus on energy input and the neglection of the importance of wind as deciding energy output from earth should be at the core of scientific interest. That is if there exists any sincere wish to solve the riddles with observed climate change on earth among professional climatologists.

    Hans Jelbring

  24. Markus Fitzhenry says:

    Tall bloke says:
    “Any ‘greenhouse effect’ from these radiative gases is negligible in comparison to this primary role and the massively greater heat capacity of the constantly cooling ocean.”

    Humpback whale migrates from around the east coast of Australia to the Antarctic oceans. Wonderful creatures, I’m confident they couldn’t give a fig about anthropogenic global warming, yet a changing ocean could cause a disruption for them.

    Because of their status, and the fact that Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area waters are nursery areas, these wonderful animals are now protected. The population of ‘east Australian’ humpback whales was as low as 500 animals when whaling ceased. The population in 2008 was estimated to have been more than 10,000 animals, half of the estimated pre-whaling population size.

    Humpback whales migrate from November to April to feed in Antarctic waters. They return to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area from May to September to calve and to build up strength over the winter before they return to the Antarctic oceans in summer. On average, a two month journey either way. They wait three months into a change of equinox to arrive at their destination.

    Greenhouse as a driver of climate is explained by Hansen so that if atmospheric opacity increases there is a increase in temperature until the planet again equals the absorbed solar energy.

    It seems you say, the heat capacity of the oceans is the primary driver of Earths climate, with pressure regulating the near SST temperature transport with insolation, cosmic rays and albedo and others as secondary causes. The cooler atmosphere is influenced by the thermal effect of the water surface with atmospheric absorption and emission of thermal energy as only a minor player in the climate temperature of a planet with atmosphere and whales.

    Are you suggesting Co2 increases the rate of cooling of the ocean’s surface?

  25. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    “Ben: without gravity acting on the atmospheric mass and the consequent surface pressure the oceans would boil off into space and we would indeed be 133C colder as N&Z correctly calculate with their Tgb. However, I think that their ATE is not responsible for anything like 133K through warmer air directly heating the ocean. It is the weight of the atmosphere hindering evaporation which is the important effect IMO”

    Do you actually believe that the “weight” of the atmosphere prevents the oceans from “boiling of into space” ?
    Atmospheric pressure is equal to about 10 meters of water pressure. How do you propose this pressure would keep the oceans from boiling?

    The surface temp of the earth keeps the atmosphere up. If the temp gets lower the atmosphere shrinks. See the altitude of the tropopause in the polar regions vs the tropics, almost double in the tropics.

    Why do raindrops in clouds at greater altitude (much lower pressure) not “boil of to space” ?

  26. BenAW says:

    Posted: March 8, 2012 by tallbloke

    “The implication is that the primary role of atmospheric gases which have radiative properties is not to heat the surface with ‘back radiation’ but to cool it by radiating the oceanic heat they receive to space. Any ‘greenhouse effect’ from these radiative gases is negligible in comparison to this primary role and the massively greater heat capacity of the constantly cooling ocean.”

    The role of the atmosphere is to SLOW the cooling of the surface.
    Assuming present avg surface temp is ~288K the surface radiates away 390 W/m^2 on avg.
    Since at the top of the atmosphere only ~240 W/m^2 is lost to space, the difference is kept in the atmosphere and explains is temperature.
    While water vapour “absorbs” much of the heat from the surface, CO2 and other radiative GH gasses probably expedite the cooling, by bypassing water vapours absorption of heat.

  27. Vuk says:

    Sun, ocean, atmospheric pressure and more:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GNAP.htm

  28. Stephen Wilde says:

    “it calls for the explicit recognition that subjective judgements are frequently made, and that these should have input from the full cross section of those affected by them, rather than be the preserve of behind closed doors ‘expertise’”

    I stand corrected as regards Jerry’s honourable intent but fear that in practice that ‘full cross section’ is unlikely to be practical and so would be open to manipulation.

    [Reply] Which is why he emphasises a need for ethical standards to be upheld by the scientific community, and notes that given the difficulty of setting preconditions for free ranging research, much of the onus for upholding those standards falls to the scientists themselves. A pretty problem…

  29. j.j.m.gommers says:

    The NZ unified gas theory is flawed and requires correction for rotation and tilt, see my comment at (3 march) NZ comments part 1.

    [Reply] Write us a guest post then. Joe will love the opportunity to get his stuff into comments.

  30. Brian H says:

    This is of interest because the timing of the maxima and minima in ocean surface temperature indicates to me that the Sun can heat the ocean faster than it can cool down again. Why else would the maximum surface temperature occur three months after the longest day of the year when the maximum sunshine hours occur?

    Wayne beat me to it, but to refine a little: as long as the incoming exceeds the outgoing, the ocean will continue to warm. Even if the incoming is declining from its peak.

    Edits (not comprehensive!):
    -However, towards the South Pole there is a gradual decrease in it. [temperature is the topic, and is assumed.]
    -but towards the Arctic Ocean there is a well-marked decrease in it. [Same]
    -range is also large–i.e., from 8° to 10°C. [readability]
    -In the north and south subtropical oceans the maximum is recorded in September and March respectively ['respectively' needs a reference]
    -show the annual temperature range from 5° to 6°C only. show an annual temperature range of only 5° to 6°C. [awkward prepositional ending of sentence]
    -the annual range of temperature is relatively greater. [redundant or lacking referent]

    [Reply] I didn’t write that part of the post, and I’m not going to edit it. So there. :p

  31. Brian H says:

    Seems to me the N&Z theory is compatible, but not terribly relevant. The near-surface air is dominated by SST, which modulates itself by evaporation. Cover a hundred sq. mi. with thin light oil, and what happens to those temperatures?

    Edit: and the Earth’s surface would consequently be colder, at the temperature level where the oceans ability to shed heat matched the rate of incoming insolation.
    -the comma is necessary for comprehension and to make the parallelism clear.

    [Reply] Too picky, null points.

  32. Brian H says:

    tallbloke;
    Bah! No, not even in joke do you get to say “Climategate was the hoist on which Schneiders petard found itself elevated,”
    A “petard” is a sapper’s bomb/satchel charge. Or, in French slang, a loud fart. “Hoist” is in this context a past participle, archaic for “hoisted”. Which is the same as “elevated”. So your sentence reduces to “Climategate was the elevated on which Schneider’s [note the apostrophe for the possessive] fart-bomb found itself elevated.”
    Picturesque, but syntactically perverse, pretty much meaningless.
    >:-p

    [Reply] OK, I’ll give you that one. :)

  33. Joe's World says:

    TB,

    No planetary rotation or even density difference of ocean water to atmosphere?
    Are you sure your not missing something?

    [Reply] We’ll catch up with you eventually Joe. Just getting the biggest building blocks the right way up and in the right order first. ;)

  34. tallbloke says:

    Ben AW says:
    Do you actually believe that the “weight” of the atmosphere prevents the oceans from “boiling of into space” ?
    Atmospheric pressure is equal to about 10 meters of water pressure. How do you propose this pressure would keep the oceans from boiling?

    The surface temp of the earth keeps the atmosphere up. If the temp gets lower the atmosphere shrinks. See the altitude of the tropopause in the polar regions vs the tropics, almost double in the tropics.

    Why do raindrops in clouds at greater altitude (much lower pressure) not “boil of to space” ?

    My dim memory of reading one of Chris Bonnington’sEverest expedition books 30 years ago is that water boils at around 80C at camp V (around 24,000 feet?). Presumably it evaporates at a commensurately lower temperature than at sea level too.

    Cooler air is denser air, so a lower tropopause at the poles doesn’t imply lower pressure at the surface there.

    Raindrops don’t boil off to space because they are in an atmosphere bound by gravity.

    The role of the atmosphere is to SLOW the cooling of the surface.

    The bulk mass of the atmosphere does that SLOWING by setting the limit to evaporation rates and reducing the temperature differential convection takes place in. I think those are the primary mechanisms. The so called GHG’s are primarily responsible for losing heat to space by radiation. Logically, their role in slowing surface cooling by radiative absorption is secondary and much smaller, because only a minority of the heat is lost from the surface via radiation, whereas all of the heat lost to space is by radiation.

  35. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    “My dim memory of reading one of Chris Bonnington’sEverest expedition books 30 years ago is that water boils at around 80C at camp V (around 24,000 feet?).”

    If correct that’s way below half the normal surface pressure. Where would the energy come from to “boil away” the oceans? Bulk temp ~275K.
    see http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/boiling-point-water-d_926.html
    Even at ~30mB pressure the boiling point is still > 300K.
    To warm 1,3 billion km^3 of ocean >25K is not going to happen.

    The 255K greybody temp of the earth means that the sun doesn’t have enough energy to warm the earth to our present temps. My theory explains how these temps are possible by using “old” energy from when the oceans were created and/or the last serious meteor impact.
    Since then the oceans have been COOLING. The sun can’t warm them above 255K, you need the existing 275K bulk temp. to explain the current surface temps.
    If accepted the effect of CO2 and ATE become effectively ZERO.
    On my framework classical meteorology becomes valid again.
    Svensmark etc etc. easily integrate in this setup.
    Lets finally start a serious discussion of my setup, and possibly get this whole CO2 mess out of the way.

    I understand you invested a lot of prestige in the N&Z theory, but it is not going to work.
    To many basic errors.

  36. tallbloke says:

    Ben AW says:
    I understand you invested a lot of prestige in the N&Z theory, but it is not going to work.

    I take exception to that remark. Science here stands or falls on its own merits, not on how much ‘prestige’ has been ‘invested’ in it. There is an important aspect I disagree with Ned Nikolov about, which this post opens up for discussion. I might be right or wrong, and I’ve opened it up for discussion to find out which it is.

    You claim their theory contains basic errors. OK, show them.

    The sun can’t warm them above 255K,

    Of course it can.

    It’s a matter of how much solar energy energy the oceans have to accumulate before they have a high enough surface temperature to be able to lose energy through the atmosphere to space at the same rate it is acquired from the Sun.

    you need the existing 275K bulk temp. to explain the current surface temps.

    Well, it seems our disagreement is about why the bulk of the ocean is at 275K. You think it’s because that’s the way they were created and maybe had their heat topped up by meteors later. (?)

    I think they have to rise to that temperature as they accumulate solar energy before they are able to radiate, evaporate and conduct energy away at a rate equal to the rate they acquire it from the Sun at. i.e. reach thermal equilibrium.

  37. JCrew says:

    Your article here and the comment on WUWT are excellent.

    It is refreshing to see solar radiance and oceans absorbance, circulation, and evaporation are fundamental controllers of atmospheric temperature. Where pressure is fundamental to evaporation and any radiative gases as part of the ocean cooling process.

    The new fundamental framework is looking good.

  38. Brian H says:

    To an individual molecule, boiling, evaporation, and sublimation are all one. Water ice condenses and sublimates in a cycle on Mars on top of the CO2 (dry ice) caps, which do the same on the bare rock and soil. There’s a phase change pattern to moggle your bind!

  39. Richard111 says:

    TB, your post reminded me of this site:

    http://www.venturaphotonics.com/GlobalWarming.html

    Might be some interest there for your brain storming session. Or not.

  40. tchannon says:

    There is a lot there Richard.

  41. Chris M says:

    Good to see mention of David Springer here. A Ctrl-F search for his comments on various threads – mainly on Judith Curry’s site lately – is well worthwhile. BenAW, while correct in emphasizing the importance of the oceans, seems to be missing the point that the equilibrium temperature of the oceans is a function of accumulated SW radiation in vs. (mainly) evaporative latent heat loss out, as tallbloke has already pointed out. The oceans are a massive heat reservoir and the predominant buffer of tropospheric temperature.

  42. Chris M says:

    I recommend the use of Ctrl-F because Climate Etc. is beset by a motley collection of resident left-wing warmists who clamour for Judith’s attention, perhaps in a effort to win over the “traitor to the cause” back to their side. I see it as analogous to the importunate suitors who camp themselves at Odysseus’ place to vie for the prizes of Penelope and the family assets (or in warmist terms, wealth redistribution and the decline of the West). Like the redoubtable Penelope, Judith is unswayed. And the ultimate fate of the suitors also needs to be remembered!

    (sorry if OT)

  43. tallbloke says:

    Actually Chris, it is entirely apropos to mention Judith’s site at this moment. I just left this comment there:

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/03/08/should-we-tell-the-whole-truth-about-climate-change/#comment-183748

    tallbloke | March 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply

    Inserted between these two statements in version 2, however, was the following addition: ‘Among the major weaknesses is the need for substantial corrections to the air-sea fluxes in order to reproduce the present climate. The impacts of these corrections on the ability to model GHG-induced climate change cannot be assessed a priori’ (stress added). Although neither version was eventually used intact, the caveats of version 2 were not included in the 1992 report.

    Uh huh. So the one bit of science referred to in this article reveals that the model wallahs have got around their complete misconception of how the climate system works by fiddling the figures, and then deciding not to reveal it.

    “Air-sea flux” is a euphemism for pretending that the atmosphere heats the ocean. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Sun heats the ocean, and the ocean heats the atmosphere. It would be hard to misconceive the true situation more completely. This is why we are abandoning all hope of steering mainstream climate science back onto the path of proper scientific enquiry and striking out to build a new paradigm from scratch.

  44. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    “You claim their theory contains basic errors. OK, show them.”

    The base for N&Z is the comparison between the moon and earth.
    Moon being a “reasonable imitation” of a greybody in the same situation as earth.
    Moons average temp ~155K, earths 288K. Earth has an atmosphere, with atmospheric pressure, so they conclude that the difference in observed temps must be due to atmospheric pressure.
    Why not consider other differences, like:
    – earth has oceans
    – earth has varying cloudcover
    – earth has a massive hot core and mantle
    – earth has polar bears etc etc ;-)

    They arrive at a formula fitting 8? planets, using local TSI and atmospheric pressure.
    If I remeber correctly 5 of those planets have no atmosphere worth mentioning, so their temperature is determined by local TSI only, and the formula works. Duh. Fitting the other 3? planets in a formula shouldn’t be too difficult.

    The physical process. They claim clair manifestations of the ATE are the Chinook winds on earth, and the creation of stars from interstellar clouds. They are supposedly vivid demonstrations of the effect of pressure on temperature. Imo they are both vivid demonstrations of the effect of exchanging potential energy for kinetic energy (dynamic process iso static).

  45. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    “The sun can’t warm them above 255K,”
    [Moderation note] tallbloke didn’t say this, Ben AW said it, and it was then quoted by tallbloke.

    According N&Z theory (which you mostly subscribe?) the greybody temp of planet earth is ~155K.
    How do you propose to warm the oceans above that temp?

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_water_on_Earth

    All of these theories seem to end up with (very) hot oceans.
    Where does your hump of ice come from that the sun is supposed to thaw and warm to it’s current temps?
    I think my idea of earth cooling from (very) high temps is much more likely then your idea.

  46. BenAW says:

    Chris M says:
    March 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    BenAW, while correct in emphasizing the importance of the oceans, seems to be missing the point that the equilibrium temperature of the oceans is a function of accumulated SW radiation in vs. (mainly) evaporative latent heat loss out, as tallbloke has already pointed out. The oceans are a massive heat reservoir and the predominant buffer of tropospheric temperature.

    I don’t think I’m missing much ;-)
    See http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/ben-wouters-how-the-earths-surface-maintains-its-temperature/

    Short version:
    – earths is mostly oceans, with a temperature for their bulk of ~275 – 277K, arrived at by COOLING from (much) higher temps.
    – sun is only able to warm a small top layer of the oceans from ~277K to ~290K and this warm layer warms the atmosphere by whatever process you fancy.
    -earth can only loose energy by radiating to space at the top of the atmosphere. Everything that happens inside the atmosphere, oceans and hot inner parts is just redistribution of INTERNAL energy.

    SInce incoming solar (avg 240 W/m^) and outgoing radiation at the TOP OF THE ATMOSPHERE match closely, system earth isn’t cooling or warming much.

  47. tallbloke says:

    Ben AW says:
    tallbloke says:
    March 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    “The sun can’t warm them above 255K,”
    [Moderation note] tallbloke didn’t say this, Ben AW said it, and it was then quoted by tallbloke.

    According N&Z theory (which you mostly subscribe?) the greybody temp of planet earth is ~155K.
    How do you propose to warm the oceans above that temp?

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_water_on_Earth

    All of these theories seem to end up with (very) hot oceans.
    Where does your hump of ice come from that the sun is supposed to thaw and warm to it’s current temps?
    I think my idea of earth cooling from (very) high temps is much more likely then your idea.

    Hi Ben. First of all, please be more careful about the way you attribute words to others when quoting previous comments. You said “The sun can’t warm them above 255K,” not me, remember?

    Secondly, my theory can account for both the ocean cooling from above 275K average and warming up from less than 275K average, whereas your theory is a one way ticket so far as I can tell. I agree they were warm when formed, and this avoids the difficulty of warming big blocks of ice.

    I don’t see how your theory can account for the oceans warming at the end of an ice age for instance, unless there are some lucky meteor strikes every 100,000 years?

  48. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

    “Hi Ben. First of all, please be more careful about the way you attribute words to others when quoting previous comments. You said “The sun can’t warm them above 255K,” not me, remember?”

    I do remember, was just continuing my answer on a new subject. Feel free to add the whole quote.

    “I don’t see how your theory can account for the oceans warming at the end of an ice age for instance, unless there are some lucky meteor strikes every 100,000 years?”

    See

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/ben-wouters-how-the-earths-surface-maintains-its-temperature/#comment-18471

    Ice builds up on the continents, shifting massive weight from the oceans to the (mostly northern) continents. This can either break the crust and release massive amounts of heat, or “melt” (part of) the crust, making warming from below possible.
    The rapid ending of the ice ages can’t be explained by solar imo.

    That we started experiencing ice ages “recently” supports my idea of a cooling earth.

  49. BenAW says:

    Another thing to consider is the Faint young sun problem. Fits nicely in my setup, GH theory tries to explain it with more CO2 in the early days.

  50. tallbloke says:

    Hi Ben,

    OK, well please observe the conventions of dialogue on this site and make it clear who said what. I don’t like words put in my mouth, even unintentionally.

    I don’t think the crust will fracture with the extra weight of ice on continents during ice ages, because the crust becomes more plastic with depth. There is no sudden discontinuity in temperature profile or phase state of the material.

    I agree though, that the sudden ending of ice ages needs further explanation beyond an increase in insolation to certainn latitudes a la Milankovitch theory. My own attempt at explaining this may interest you.

    I’m thinking of the increasing 65N insolation plus the simultaneous drop at the equator encouraging the ocean to go into a ‘super-El Nino’ mode is what does the trick to lift Earth out of glacial conditions into the interglacial epochs. It’s all a question of whether we can get our heads round the possibility of the ocean storing heat on those kind of timescales. I think it can do it, because it took the ocean millions of years to cool down after it warmed all the way to the bottom at an earlier epoch.

    To understand what I’m getting at you’ll need to have a think about my ideas concerning the links between the solar cycle and the occurrence of big el nino events. Basically, the last five big el nino’s have occurred at or just after solar minimum. I think this is because the ocean switches from an energy absorbing mode to an energy releasing mode when the insolation is less than the equilibrium value of around 40SSN. After a bit of a lag whilee internal current in the ocean get into gear, a large amount of energy gets released. I think the ocean does this because it can’t get rid of excess solar energy while the net flux is downwards into it during the higher part of the solar cycle, so it has to get rid of a lot of energy in a big hurry during the interval when the sun is quiet.

    I think there may be an analogy here to the changing shape of Earth’s orbit and the operation of the Milankovitch cycles and the effect they have on insolation. Maybe this rough plot will help you see what I’m talking about.

  51. Wayne Job says:

    Fortunate are we that the feed back mechanism of the tropics gives us an almost unvarying heat imput regardless of our varying sun and other factors. Unfortunately our varying sun and other factors do affect the polar regions. They are our radiators to space of excess heat.

    The poles have been busy lately belatedly dumping the excess heat taken in by our temperate zones by from a rampant sun, this lag in the heat dump is normal for the size of the system.

    The lag implies that the holiday that the sun is taking at the moment shall start to bite rather badly and soon, I for one would rather warm, but looking at the data I fear that is not going to happen.

    Playing semantics with clever figures will not change the data, CAGW is in the doldrums, political activism is the next target to stop the madness that is costing us billions.

    [moderation note] Edited for clarity

  52. tchannon says:

    BenAW says:

    “Another thing to consider is the Faint young sun problem. Fits nicely in my setup, GH theory tries to explain it with more CO2 in the early days.”

    Sorry Ben, GH theory _cannot_ solve the faint sun “paradox”, that is why it is called a problem/paradox.

    Keep in mind the faint sun theory is just that, we do not know, is zero evidence. Nor do with know the other characteristics. Whole thing is unsafe, might be right, might not.
    I think it is probably right, if likely to be a bit wonky, pure theory tends to do that.

  53. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

    “I agree though, that the sudden ending of ice ages needs further explanation beyond an increase in insolation to certainn latitudes a la Milankovitch theory. My own attempt at explaining this may interest you.”

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok_Petit_data.svg
    Looking at the relatively fast warming that ends each iceage, large amounts of suddenly released energy seem necessary. I think the heat of the mantle is a good candidate. To find a mechanism is something for geologist, I’m out my depths here.
    Your “super El-Nino” could be another candidate, although I doubt the oceans can supply this much energy this fast.
    Let’s conclude that we have considered the ending of the ice-ages and have multiple possible explanations.

  54. BenAW says:

    tchannon says:
    March 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    BenAW says:

    “Another thing to consider is the Faint young sun problem. Fits nicely in my setup, GH theory tries to explain it with more CO2 in the early days.”

    Sorry Ben, GH theory _cannot_ solve the faint sun “paradox”, that is why it is called a problem/paradox

    That’s why I wrote “tries”. I just mentioned the faint sun, because it fits in my setup, and seems to be considered a “problem”

  55. BenAW says:

    About the sun being able to heat all of the oceans.
    See http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/earthguide/diagrams/woce/
    select the Pacific profile.

    Everything below ~1000m is at 277K or colder.
    Between 40N and 40S above ~500m the water is much warmer.
    This is the layer that is directly heated by the sun, and is the basis for my climate setup.
    Notice the colder water around the equator, approaching the surface.
    Probably the replacement flow from below for the warm currents that flow from the tropics towards the poles.

    I think we have to conclude that the sun is just barely able to keep this shallow layer of ocean warm.

    With this setup I’m able to explain the current surface temperature, and thus reduce the effect of backradiation to zero, and with it any serious role for CO2. If anything it is probably a cooling one.
    The atmosphere just reduces the rate of cooling of the surface towards space.

  56. Anything is possible says:

    BenAW says:
    March 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    “Looking at the relatively fast warming that ends each iceage, large amounts of suddenly released energy seem necessary. I think the heat of the mantle is a good candidate. To find a mechanism is something for geologist, I’m out my depths here.”


    Having studied the end of the ice ages in some detail, my theory is that it is precipitation starvation which initially causes the demise of the continental ice sheets. However, even as accumulation ceases, the ice sheets continue to advance under the force of their own weight’ eventually arriving in climate zones where, even at the height of a glacial age, temperatures are too warm to sustain year-round ice cover – cue rapid melting.

    The other thing that always seems to be overlooked is that, once in place, ice sheets create their own topography : The surface of a 2-mile thick ice sheet is 10-12,000 above sea level. Think how much colder that would make Canada or Scandinavia, even in today’s warmer regime….

    To me, the real mystery of the ice ages is not why they persist so long, or end so quickly, but how the [snip] all that ice gets there in the first place…..

  57. tallbloke says:

    Ben AW says:
    I think we have to conclude that the sun is just barely able to keep this shallow layer of ocean warm.

    I disagree. The Sun is strong enough not merely to keep the surface waters warm but also has excess energy driving oceanic circulation which overturns the ocean on a timescale of a thousand years or so. If this wasn’t so, the depths would be anoxic and dead.

    We’ve come full circle and are back where we were two weeks ago with this debate, so I’ll stop.

  58. Hans K says:

    “Ben AW says:
    The sun can’t warm them above 255K,

    tallbloke says:
    Of course it can.
    It’s a matter of how much solar energy energy the oceans have to accumulate before they have a high enough surface temperature to be able to lose energy through the atmosphere to space at the same rate it is acquired from the Sun.”

    I would say that Ben’s view is an example of the wrong use of the SB-law and the unuseful energy budgets based on it in AGW science. SB can only be used for surfaces where there can be no accumulation of energy at all.
    Heat a pan of water on a stove without a thermostat so that it receives a constant flux each second, like the sun does. Heat it from above with radiation if you insist, but the water will get warmer and warmer and the temperature has no relation with the w/m2 from the heating device.

    An energy budget for the earth has no meaning anyway. It is that pesky Second Law that determines the energy distributions, without it the earth would not cool in the first place. There would be no fixed direction for any flux, and anything would be allowed to happen. Earth could get as hot as the sun.

  59. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Ben AW says:
    I think we have to conclude that the sun is just barely able to keep this shallow layer of ocean warm.

    I disagree. The Sun is strong enough not merely to keep the surface waters warm but also has excess energy driving oceanic circulation which overturns the ocean on a timescale of a thousand years or so. If this wasn’t so, the depths would be anoxic and dead.

    From my original “guest”post:
    “Ocean currents transport warm water from the equator towards the poles. Warm water at the equator expands, so this water will probably flow “downhill” towards the poles, turning east due to the corriolis effect. Backflow will be in the deeper oceans probably.”
    Why would my backflow make the depth of the oceans “anoxic and dead” and your ocean circulation not?

    Since at TOA system earth is losing about as much radiation to space as it receives from the sun,
    where would the energy come from to warm the oceans above current temps?
    Realise we are at the peak of an interglacial (already past peak?), so the temp profile I linked to shows just about how warm the oceans will get before we start cooling off again.

  60. BenAW says:

    Anything is possible says:
    March 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    “To me, the real mystery of the ice ages is not why they persist so long, or end so quickly, but how the [snip] all that ice gets there in the first place…..”

    It seems to take about 100.000 years for an ice age to fully develop. I can imagine this is enough time to build up the amounts of ice we are talking about, but didn’t look seriously into this.
    To end an ice age seems to take less then 10.000 years, so I assume an energy source apart from the sun would be required. We have one readily available in the hot inner parts of the earth.
    If needed the experts would have to work out a mechanism.

  61. BenAW says:

    Hans K says:
    March 12, 2012 at 2:07 am

    I would say that Ben’s view is an example of the wrong use of the SB-law and the unuseful energy budgets based on it in AGW science. SB can only be used for surfaces where there can be no accumulation of energy at all

    I’d like to hear where my view is wrong on the setup of earths climate system.
    Perhaps better to discuss this under the relevant post?

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/ben-wouters-how-the-earths-surface-maintains-its-temperature/

  62. tallbloke says:

    Ben, I didn’t say the oceans would get warmer than they are now, I said they have to be at the temperature they are now.

    It’s not a matter of ‘where will the energy come from?’, we know it comes from the Sun.

    It’s a matter of how long it accumulates in the ocean before it goes back into space. Once it’s at equilibrium, it goes back into space as quickly as it is arriving from the Sun. But in order to be able to get rid of heat at the same rate it arrives, the ocean holds solar energy until it has enough to be at a temperature where it can lose heat at the same rate it gains it, nothwithstanding the fluctuations caused by changing cloud cover, windspeed etc.

  63. A. C. Osborn says:

    Tallbloke, this is an interesting comment over on Judith Curry’s blog on 21st Century Cooling by incandecentbulb | March 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    “A study of the Earth’s albedo (project “Earthshine”) shows that the amount of reflected sunlight does not vary with increases in greenhouse gases. The “Earthshine” data shows that the Earth’s albedo fell up to 1997 and rose after 2001.”

    Have you looked at the data and fitted in to your current Theory?

  64. tallbloke says:

    ACO: I have looked at the data, and graphed it. The Earthshine data doesn’t start until late ’96 if I recall correctly. There is overlap with ISCCP data and when you calibrate Earthshine data to it, there is reasonably good agreement. If ISCCP data is good, then we saw a drop in cloud cover, particularly low tropical cloud cover (which is the area the ocean acquires most solar energy) from ~1983 – ~1998.

    This would explain the greater preponderance of El Nino in relation to La Nina over the last quarter of the C20th, and the consequent step changes in global average temp noted by Bob Tisdale, Alan Cheetham and others.

    Judging by records of Sunshine hours from earlier in the C20th, it probably explains the warming from ~1915 – ~1945 too.

  65. Anything is possible says:

    BenAW says:
    March 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    “It seems to take about 100.000 years for an ice age to fully develop. I can imagine this is enough time to build up the amounts of ice we are talking about, but didn’t look seriously into this.”

    Actually, the ice core reconstruction you posted the other day….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok_Petit_data.svg

    ……suggests that the cooling at the start of an ice age occurs almost as rapidly as the warming at the end.

    Since the reconstructions work (or not) by measuring O16:O18 ratios, and using them as a proxy for global ice volume and hence global temperature, this suggests, to me at least, that ice sheet accumulation also proceeds more rapidly than is generally assumed.

    The fact that glacial ages also seem to persist for 90,000 years, regardless of what Milankovitch cycles do in the interim, is another clue that the presence of the ice sheets and the attendant changes in atmospheric circulation is what causes that persistence.

    And no. I am not confusing cause and effect – I am hypothesising that they are, in the fullness of time, interchangeable. It’s one of the things that make climate so darned difficult to understand.

  66. tallbloke says:

    In his thesis, Hans Jelbring points upp some problems with using oxygen isotopes as a global ice mass proxy. Beware confounding factors.

  67. BenAW says:

    Anything is possible says:
    March 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    BenAW says:
    March 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    “It seems to take about 100.000 years for an ice age to fully develop. I can imagine this is enough time to build up the amounts of ice we are talking about, but didn’t look seriously into this.”

    Actually, the ice core reconstruction you posted the other day….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok_Petit_data.svg

    ……suggests that the cooling at the start of an ice age occurs almost as rapidly as the warming at the end

    That’s the temperature, the enormous amount of snow/ice will take longer to accumulate.
    Temp peaks rapidly, and bleeds off rapidly as well. Then the mass of ice builds untill it is heavy enough to do something with the crust, enabling release of internal heat of the earth.
    The relatively fast temperature rise made me look for an external energy source besides the sun.
    Imo is the hot inner part of the earth a serious candidate.

  68. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Ben, I didn’t say the oceans would get warmer than they are now, I said they have to be at the temperature they are now.

    It’s not a matter of ‘where will the energy come from?’, we know it comes from the Sun.

    It’s a matter of how long it accumulates in the ocean before it goes back into space. Once it’s at equilibrium, it goes back into space as quickly as it is arriving from the Sun. But in order to be able to get rid of heat at the same rate it arrives, the ocean holds solar energy until it has enough to be at a temperature where it can lose heat at the same rate it gains it, nothwithstanding the fluctuations caused by changing cloud cover, windspeed etc.

    According N&Z the earths temp from the sun would only be ~155K.
    How is the atmosphere with the heat capacity equivalent of 3,2meter of ocean going to heat the oceans to ~275K and higher?

    I think the 155K is not valid, but I don’t think the sun can heat the oceans above the 255K greybody temp, unless you block most of the outgoing radiation. At least presently earth is loosing about as much as the sun supplies, so there is not much blocking going on.

  69. tallbloke says:

    According N&Z the earths temp from the sun would only be ~155K.

    Yes, that’s the calculated grey body temperature of the Moon, which agrees with new empirical data to within 6C or so. And so, since the Earth is at the same distance from the Sun as the Moon is, the grey body temperature of the Earth with no atmosphere (and consequently no oceans either) would also be 155K. I don’t understand why you continue to dispute this.

    How is the atmosphere with the heat capacity equivalent of 3,2meter of ocean going to heat the oceans to ~275K and higher?

    It isn’t. That’s why this thread proposes a second mechanism in addition to N&Z’s ATE concept which also depends on surface pressure.

    I don’t think the sun can heat the oceans above the 255K greybody temp, unless you block most of the outgoing radiation.

    255K is not the grey body temperature. It is the theoretical maximum temperature a black body would reach at the limit of Holder’s Inequality, which would require that the perfect black body was able to instantaneously distribute energy evenly across it’s surface from the directional source, the Sun and re-emit it instantaneously at the same rate. The oceans however are nothing like a black body surface because while they can accept short wave radiation hundreds of feet into the upper region and warm rapidly, they can’t emit heat in the same way or as quickly. This will force the ocean to rise in temperature until its surface is warm enough to emit as quickly as it receives energy from the Sun. This temperature will be well in excess of 255K. More like 290K.

    At least presently earth is losing about as much as the sun supplies, so there is not much blocking going on.

    The blocking, or more correctly delay of energy exiting the ocean is still going on, but it is at a high enough temperature for the rate it can get rid of energy from its surface to match the rate at which it accumulates solar energy.

  70. Stephen Wilde says:

    Is this now the general ‘thrust’ ?

    i) N & Z’s new name for the warming effect at the surface from pressure plus insolation which is implicit from the Ideal Gas Law but not previously specifically named other than as the old fashioned greenhouse effect which predates the more recent radiative version. Henceforth to be known as the Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE).

    ii) A separate process also being pressure dependent whereby the ocean energy content and the rate of energy flow from oceans to air is fixed by the energy cost of a given amount of evaporation as explained by me in a past article.

    iii) The oceans controlling the air temperatures on our watery world the air circulation always adapts to minimise any temperature difference between sea surface and surface air temperatures.

    iv) Any changes in the energy content of the air alone (such as from GHGs) are unable to alter the equilibrium temperature of the oceans and so simply alter the temperature of the air which then has to alter its circulation to again minimse the difference between sea surface and surface air temperatures.

    v) There is an additional top down solar effect on cloudiness and albedo as described in an earlier article of mine which has the effect of changig the rates of solar shortwave input to the oceans thus skewing the balance between El Nino and La Nina.

    vi) There is a bottom up oceanic effect on the timescale of the Thermohaline Circulation which can either offset or supplement whatever the sun is doing at any particular time.

    vii) The air circulation changes involve latitudinal climate zone shifting and changes in the vertical atmospheric heights which results in a variable effective radiating height which keeps the entire system stable with little or no change in surface temperatures but instead a redistribution of warm and cold air masses around the globe.

    vIII) When combined with Milankovitch cycles all the above processes can result in the coming and going of ice ages given the current global landmass distribution and the consequent oceanic circulation.

    Do we need to add anything more ?

  71. tchannon says:

    Have some fun.
    Did you know that radiating area follows square law vs. sphere linear size?
    If you are going to lift radiation location off the surface, careful.

    Works the other way too.

  72. tallbloke says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Hans will probably want to add some stuff about longer term current patterns moving energy stored in southern ocean northwards across the equator on various timescales and have a fair bit to say about changes in atmospheric angular momentum too but I think we’re getting there.

    Further down the line I’d like to see the inclusion of solar variation and it’s effect on ENSO better worked out and integrated.

    Your earlier articles correctly talk about the pressure variability at the ocean surface acting to balance out energy flows from sea to air. My additional stuff as described to Ben above should cover the ability of the ocean to form an Earth covering layer which can rise to well above the maximum Holder’s Inequality value for a black body at Earth distance from the Sun due to the surface pressure constraint on evaporation. This is also where your intuition of a ‘hot water bottle effect’ kicks in.

    We’ve bounced these ideas around for several years off each other and others and this is the start of the fruition of our efforts. N&Z’s work has unlocked a lot for me and enabled me to pull all these concepts together and really see how they interweave and work together.

  73. Stephen Wilde says:

    Rog, thanks for your efforts in the integration process and offering a suitable venue without undue distraction from those withclosed minds.

    I see my work as providing a basic framework for the global energy transfer system upon which lots of others can then hang their particular insights.

    Once we get that framework right, and I think we have, then a whole shedload of other phenomena should slot in nicely once the supporting data has been accumulated and correctly interpreted.

    The disadvantage for the ‘consensus’ crowd is that their radiative concept is so limited and restricting that it cannot accommodate the wide range of real world phenomena that produce all the surprises.

    It is those surprises that will continually enhance the science so any useful framework must be able to accommodate them or be adjusted so as to do so.

    I think my proposed framework can do just that because it contains all the basic parameters and is infinitely adjustable depending on what new findings come up in the future.

    As regards the potential for atmospheric pressure in causing heat to accumulate in the oceans the S-B constraint can be easily broken. The higher that atmospheric pressure becomes the hotter the oceans must become to reach equilibrium between energy in and energy out because the amount of energy needed to break the bonds between water molecules becomes ever greater.

    The more I think about it the more I think that is the crucial point, more significant even than the Nikolov & Zeller ATE concept which is limited to the air.

    Not only is the water in the oceans a super greenhouse material which should be treated as part of the atmosphere but also its effect swamps all else by many orders of magnitude.

    Perhaps it is the atmospheric pressure on the ocean surface that is the ultimate energy budget controller for a watery planet and all else pales into insignificance.

    That would neatly sidestep everything that that consensus climatology bangs on about but would fit my framework, basic physics and real world observations perfectly.

    Nothing that changes in the air could have any effect on the global energy budget because all that matters is atmospheric pressure at the ocean surface and solar shortwave input past that surface.

    Should we all along have been applying PV=nRT to the body of the oceans and not the air ?

    After all, we do see changes in ocean volume as a consequence of changes in ocean energy content. Water may be relatively uncompressible as compared to a gas but with the oceans being so large it seems that there may be sufficient compressibility to control Earth’s energy budget when the power of evaporation is added to the mix.

    The air is just the continuation of the oceans by other means.

  74. Wayne Job says:

    The three month lag in the max ocean temperatures are the only thing that stops us from freezing to death in the winter. When electricity was cheap people installed heat banks in their homes or electrically heated slab floors. The ocean is our heat bank keeping us from harm.

    The cycles shown in various graphs show us the sine waves within sine waves of the various imputs to our planetary climate over shorter and longer periods giving us our varying climate, the only unreal perturbations being the input from the experts. where X is the unknown factor and a spurt is a drip under pressure. Keep up the real work you are winning the science, the politics are are another problem, but they can be side lined over time.

  75. Ray C says:

    Do we need to add anything more ?
    Sorry, but in addition to all your excellent hypotheses, I’m throwing aerosol at the greenhouse!!
    Can somebody help ,please. I’m confused. It says here;

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Aerosols/page1.php

    “Take a deep breath. Even if the air looks clear, it’s nearly certain that you’ll inhale tens of millions of solid particles and liquid droplets.”

    The confusion or rather the question I have is wouldn’t these SOLID and LIQUID aerosol play a major part in the transfer of energy in the air? They cannot be (directly) subjected to ‘gas laws’ but they do absorb radiation. There are so many of them that water vapour preferentially condenses onto them, the hygroscopic ones at least. This means without aerosol there would be no clouds or liquid water floating in the atmosphere.

    It seems likely that the quantity of the relatively large, dark, silt dust aerosol has been grossly underestimated. The darker they are the more energy they absorb.
    A scaling theory for the size distribution of emitted dust aerosols suggests climate models underestimate the size of the global dust cycle

    http://sitemaker.umich.edu/jasperkok/files/kok2011_pnas_scalingtheorydustpsd.pdf

    Aerosol constitute the biggest area of uncertainty in climate science and it seems estimates of their numerous effects, in quantity and forcing sign have be consistently underestimated.
    I don’t suppose these things could be doing what they say the ‘gas of death’ might be doing?

    Speaking of the life giving ‘gas of enrichment’, a higher concentration enables most photosynthesis to function better, this results in much higher numbers of ‘primary biological aerosol particles’ being produced, pollen is one and it is an excellent cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei. That’s proof that co2 causes cooling, too, by helping to increase albedo or whatever it’s called, from clouds or are clouds warming in this case?!!

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/biological-aersol-particles-are-a-larger-climate-forcing-than-considered-by-the-ipcc/

    Biological Aerosol Particles Are A Larger Climate Forcing Than Considered By The IPCC – A New Paper “Primary Biological Aerosol Particles In The Atmosphere: A Review” By Després Et al 2012
    Confused? I am! I thought that over periods of hundreds of years it has been stated that changes in cloud amounts would have a substantial effect on the energy budget. If that is the case then aerosol must play a substantial part in this because without them there would be no clouds.
    Only when the full ramifications of cloud microphysics and aerosol dynamics are understood can there be a full climate change theory, because the climate does change and aerosol change it,-along with all the other stuff you correctly espouse.

  76. Stephen Wilde says:

    Aerosols behave much like GHGs in that they have both a cooling effect via reflection or upward emission and a warming effect via absorption of energy or downward emission.

    The sign of the net effect in either case has not been demonstrated as far as I can tell.

    However, whatever the sign, the effect is limited to the air and I aver that the air temperature is controlled by the oceans via circulatory changes with the oceans controlled ultimately by atmospheric pressure and solar input (though internal ocean cycling does introduce variability).

    So, if GHGs or aerosols warm the air then all that happens is an increase in the volume of the atmosphere and a rise in the vertical heights (such as the tropopause) with the effect negated and if they cool the air then there is a decrease in the volume of the atmosphere and a fall in the vertical heights to negate the effect.

    That then leaves pressure and insolation in absolute control of surface temperature and system energy content as per observations.

    So, aerosols and GHGs are indeed relevant in that both are dealt with by circulatory changes but I have said several times in other places that the effects are miniscule when compared to the solar and oceanic changes that led to the MWP, LIA and current warm period.

    We saw the climate zones shift by about 1000 miles from MWP to LIA and LIA to date (or rather to about 2000) whereas I would guess that GHGs and aerosols might shift them by less than a mile unless someone can demonstrate otherwise.

    I had seen it said that our CO2 caused all the climate zone shifting during the late 20th century. That assertion is now in disarray with current shifting of those zones equatorward despite rapidly increasing CO2 emissions.

    The recent recurrence of Sahel droughts after a period of ‘greening’ is an indication that the Saharan sands are shifting equatorward again as the equatorial climate zones shrink and narrow with an ongoing cooling phase.

  77. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    “255K is not the grey body temperature. It is the theoretical maximum temperature a black body would reach at the limit of Holder’s Inequality, which would require that the perfect black body was able to instantaneously distribute energy evenly across it’s surface from the directional source, the Sun and re-emit it instantaneously at the same rate.”

    Yes, only you describe the blackbody temp without reflection which would be more like 279K.
    So I think 255K is the grey body temp after applying 30% reflection (remember earthshine? )

    So it seems we agree that earth wouldn’t be warmer than 255K by solar only.
    Your view seems that atmospheric pressure increases surface temp, and also keeps heat inside the oceans due reduced evaporation?

    My simple explanation is to assume the oceans have been cooling from higher temps, with the internal heat of the earth as source during their creation, during catrastrophic events when whole continents disappeared in the inner earth etc. AND another source being incoming meteors, supplying enormous amounts of kinetic energy and probably opening up the crust as well.

    With these high ocean temps we have no need for yet unproven ATE, oceans can transfer their heat to the atmosphere without problems and the atmosphere slows this cooling to radiate at TOA the same amount of energy as the sun supplies in our present times.

    Pse explain what is wrong in my setup, otherwise Occams Razor says my theory is the one to explore first, above more complicated ones using as yet unproven mechanisms.

  78. Stephen Wilde says:

    BenAW said:

    i) “Your view seems that atmospheric pressure increases surface temp, and also keeps heat inside the oceans due reduced evaporation?”

    That isn’t quite right.

    Increased atmospheric pressure raises the amount of energy required to break the bonds between water molecules to result in evaporation.

    Thus one gets less evaporation for a given amount of energy input and evaporation being the main cooling process less evaporation per unit of incoming energy results in a higher equilibrium temperature.

    ii) “My simple explanation is to assume the oceans have been cooling from higher temps, with the internal heat of the earth as source during their creation.”

    Applying Occam’s Razor please explain why that assumption is necessary in the first place. If the Earth were still shedding historical energy from its creation the rate of energy loss to space would remain constantly higher than solar incoming whereas in fact the two are on average in balance at the top of the atmosphere.

    iii) “So it seems we agree that earth wouldn’t be warmer than 255K by solar only.”

    The Earth could be warmer than 255C for the same solar input if atmospheric pressure increases because that would increase the energy cost of evaporation resulting in a higher requilibrium temperature for the oceans.

    There isn’t really a limit to the heat that could develop at the water surface with increasing pressure because the higher the pressure the higher the boiling point of water would become. I assume you are aware that boiling point is at less than 100C at the top of Everest and as low as only 3 Kelvin (a fraction above absolute zero) when exposed to the zero pressure of space ?

    Forget all the stuff about non GHG atmospheres and artificial planetary constructs such as the one proposed by Willis Eschenbach over at WUWT.

    We have a water planet. Water is a super effective Greenhouse Liquid because its surface is transparent to solar shortwave.. At present levels of solar input the Earth’s temperature is at a point where water can exist in all three forms of solid, liquid and gas depending on location.

    Water is unusual in the sheer size of the energy transfers involved in its phase changes.

    Nothing else comes close and if anything tries to upset the pressure/insolation relationship then the water cycle just speeds up or slows down a fraction and/or gets a fraction larger or smaller.

    Any non water vapour GHGs just don’t have a chance of effecting any significant changes in the face of such a responsive infinitely variable system which applies an immediate negative response to ANY disruptive influence.

    The changed speed of the water cycle from non condensing GHGs does have a miniscule climate effect in terms of shifting the surface air pressure distribution and reconfiguring the relative sizes, intensities and positions of the climate zones but unmeasurable compared to what sun and oceans achieve.

  79. Ray C says:

    Stephen Wilde, Thank you sir, for your reply.
    I agree with your analysis regarding the ocean to air temperature being controlled to a certain extent by the ocean circulations, atmospheric pressure and solar input. I also know that clouds maintain temperature too. The point, I think I am try to get across is the shear number of solid and liquid particles, not the ghg’s, which apart from whether they heat or cool play an essential role in cloud formation. The one to four percent water vapour present in the atmosphere preferentially condenses onto aerosol because there are so many of them.
    Do you agree with this point?

    In respect of both ghg’s and aerosol doing any additional warming and the fact that the atmosphere expands to accommodate this increase. I agree with to a point. I am just referring to the action of aerosols here, not ghg’s, when I would consider they absorb and radiate heat differently because they are either solid or liquid and because they are able to carry liquid water in the atmosphere, they would exchange and move energy differently. By that I mean their energy exchange would be closely related to the action of cloud dynamics.
    Then you say:
    “ That then leaves pressure and insolation in absolute control of surface temperature and system energy content as per observations.”
    It is the system energy content that I think is greatly influenced by the atmospheric loading, type and concentration of aerosol which dictate how clouds behave to some extent.

    These two points:

    Their essential role in cloud formation and the consequent role they play in weather formation.
    and
    The way that infers they move energy is why I raise the subject of aerosol,

    And why I do not consider their effect miniscule. “Take a deep breath. Even if the air looks clear, it’s nearly certain that you’ll inhale tens of millions of solid particles and liquid droplets.”

  80. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hi Ray,

    I agree with a lot of that. In fact the plentiful supply of aerosols is one reason why I am a bit doubtful that more cosmic rays as per Svensmark would make much difference.

    However, aerosols are so plentiful that I think they may have reached a saturation point at a much lower quantity than they are actually observed as regards their ability to add to cloud cover.

    I see global cloudiness as more a matter of air mass mixing along the boundaries of different air masses which are relatively homogenous within themselves, the intensity of convection along the ITCZ and the cooling of warm air advected across cooler surfaces.

    Hence my view that cloudiness changes globally are caused by more meridional or more zonal jetstream paths which greatly changes the length of the air mass boundaries for more or less air mass mixing globally and thus more or less clouds and a higher or lower global albedo.

    The Earthshine project confirms decreased cloudiness during the late 20th century and increasing cloudiness since the late 90s and it was around 2000 that I first became aware of a change in jetstream behaviour. I started commenting on it in early 2008.

    So, I agree that aerosols do affect cloud formation and cloud dynamics but the system has to present them with the initial conditions in the first place so I think aerosols are a secondary lower order aspect which has effects on the way things work out but not on the driving mechanisms.

  81. Ray C says:

    Hello again Stephen,
    I ,too, have my doubts about the action of ionisation in enabling aerosol growth large enough to form c.c.n. but I have read that aerosol size can ’build’ through various chemical processes within the atmosphere.

    It is precisely because they are so plentiful, and contrary to reaching a saturation point, with regard to the formation a cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei, I am of the opinion that their numbers are growing within the atmosphere. I gave a couple of examples in my first post. It is my impression that they are freely floating throughout the troposphere, the vast majority in dry air, and only when conditions of temperature and humidity are conducive do droplets form onto them through condensation. But this does not necessarily equate to either increased cloudiness or increased precipitation, deciding factors being the size and type of aerosol. For example, aerosol produced in biomass burning, ‘smoke aerosol’ are smaller in size than general forms, and have the effect of prolonging cloud lifetime and reducing precipitation rates.

    Yes, I agree, cloud formation is mainly due to changing air mass, and invariably these zones are where conditions of humidity and temperature change and become conducive for condensation. If, as I imagine, there is a reservoir of dry aerosol in say a high pressure system, at interface with a moist low pressure there is a ready supply of aerosol onto which water vapour will condense.

    This really gets to the crux of my contention, I consider them to be an integral and essential requirement of equal importance to all the other factor you correctly identify. As I have stated already I think aerosols need to be fully appreciated and incorporated into the fascinating theory you guys are putting into play. It is unfortunately a fact that human activities create an increase in the atmospheric loading of aerosol so we must be influencing the weather but it is in no way catastrophic but the effect they do have may be enabling the cagw’s to ride on the back of it and blame co2 instead. You see , I think there may not necessarily be an increase in cloudiness but the established systems may have greater energy and precipitation rates could be more intense or even less intense depending on the dynamics of the aerosols. Anyway I am just saying don’t dismiss them ‘out of hand’ because they really are influential in forming the weather at least and I have read somewhere that Glacial periods are dustier too.

  82. BenAW says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    ii) “My simple explanation is to assume the oceans have been cooling from higher temps, with the internal heat of the earth as source during their creation.”

    Applying Occam’s Razor please explain why that assumption is necessary in the first place. If the Earth were still shedding historical energy from its creation the rate of energy loss to space would remain constantly higher than solar incoming whereas in fact the two are on average in balance at the top of the atmosphere

    It’s not an assumption, it’s a given fact I build my theory on.
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretaceous especially:
    “A very gentle temperature gradient from the equator to the poles meant weaker global winds, contributing to less upwelling and more stagnant oceans than today. This is evidenced by widespread black shale deposition and frequent anoxic events.[12] Sediment cores show that tropical sea surface temperatures may have briefly been as warm as 42 °C (107 °F), 17 °C (31 °F) warmer than at present, and that they averaged around 37 °C (99 °F). Meanwhile deep ocean temperatures were as much as 15 to 20 °C (27 to 36 °F) higher than today’s.”

    That we have a balance between incoming solar and outgoing radiation at TOA means that the oceans ARE NOT COOLING ANYMORE.

    As I have stated many times now, what happens inside System Earth is only REDISTRIBUTION of energy, as long as we have a balance at the TOA.

  83. tallbloke says:

    Ray and Stephen. Particulates and aerosols are plentiful over continental masses, but much rarer over the open ocean. That’s where the Svensmark effect will be greatest: higher latitudes over oceans. I would therefore expect the largest effect in the southern hemisphere above 45S.

    This is precisely the region where the big storage of ocean bound energy occurs according to Hans Jelbring’s thesis. The effect could be operative over many thousands of years, with shorter term equator crossing pulses occurring as cycles within cycles. The most direct route from southern energy storage to northern radiative loss being via the north Atlantic.

    Hans left as a puzzle to solve the question of why the mechanism sometimes stops and restarts. I wonder if this might be where the Svensmark effect actually is effective. – Just a possibility to consider.

  84. tallbloke says:

    Ben AW says:
    Sediment cores show that tropical sea surface temperatures may have briefly been as warm as 42 °C (107 °F), 17 °C (31 °F) warmer than at present, and that they averaged around 37 °C (99 °F). Meanwhile deep ocean temperatures were as much as 15 to 20 °C (27 to 36 °F) higher than today’s.”

    That we have a balance between incoming solar and outgoing radiation at TOA means that the oceans ARE NOT COOLING ANYMORE.

    As I have stated many times now, what happens inside System Earth is only REDISTRIBUTION of energy, as long as we have a balance at the TOA.

    Hi Ben. Yes, I have noted several time on this blog over the last two years that the oceans took millions of years to cool down from the high Cretaceous temps. What is clear is that having cooled down to the point where the surface is at a global average of around 17C, they are not getting any cooler. In fact they periodically fluctuate (100kyr glacial/interglacials). This means they can get warmer as well as cooler. This means something maintains their temperature other than the ~0.15W/m^2 escaping from beneath the Earth’s crust.

    I think Stephen and I are more likely correct with our idea of what maintains that temperature. Big meteor impacts are too irregular to produce the regularity of Glacial/interglacials. Surface pressure and a water medium which absorbs short wave energy quickly whilst letting go of long wave energy slowly provides the explanation for the ocean being at the temperature it is, 20C above the maximum holder inequality theoretical limit.

    This is the real ‘greenhouse effect’.

    I appreciate what you are saying about our idea being as yet unproven, but I prefer to work on that idea than the idea of cooling ocean occasionally reheated by cataclysm.

    I guess I’m more of a steady state theorist. Maybe it’s the British temperament. ;)

  85. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hello Ray, I do accept what you say especially as to how aerosols might affect the specific weather that might accompany the negative system responses to anything that seeks to disrupt equilibrium.

    My only reservation is that once the negative system response has occurred then pressure and insolation remain in control so at base neither aerosols nor GHGs can have any significant destabilising effect on the equilibrium. They have some effect on the way the equilibrium is restored but no more than that and as far as I can see the effects of sun and oceans are way, way bigger.

    However, that is just a judgement call on my part and pending better data you can reasonably maintain your opinion that the effects might be more than I suggest.

  86. Stephen Wilde says:

    BenAW said:

    “That we have a balance between incoming solar and outgoing radiation at TOA means that the oceans ARE NOT COOLING ANYMORE.”

    Doesn’t that then dispose of the idea that residual energy from the formation of the Earth is having any current climate effect ?

    Whatever energy the oceans achieved from sources other than the sun in the past would no longer be a relevant factor.

  87. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    “Hi Ben. Yes, I have noted several time on this blog over the last two years that the oceans took millions of years to cool down from the high Cretaceous temps. What is clear is that having cooled down to the point where the surface is at a global average of around 17C, they are not getting any cooler. In fact they periodically fluctuate (100kyr glacial/interglacials). This means they can get warmer as well as cooler. This means something maintains their temperature other than the ~0.15W/m^2 escaping from beneath the Earth’s crust.”

    That something maintaining their temperature is the SUN. The sun warms a relatively small layer of the oceans ( I calculated ~100-150 million km^3, about 10% of the oceans volume).
    Since warm water tends to stay at the surface, the oceans below the thermocline aren’t doing anything temperature wise. They just sit there, BUT AT ~275K.
    (I know about upwelling cold water (La Nina) and other phenomena, I’m painting the big picture.)
    I assume ZERO heatflow from beneath the crust, but the oceans aren’t cooling through the crust either.
    As long as the sun keeps the shallow top layer at or above the temperature of the deep oceans, the deep oceans ARE NOT COOLING.
    This shallow layer is where most of the climate action is.
    If incoming solar is reducing, the layer shrinks, allowing the polar seas to freeze over.
    This layer is the BUFFER that explains our remarkebly stable climate.

  88. BenAW says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    “Whatever energy the oceans achieved from sources other than the sun in the past would no longer be a relevant factor.”

    Except that their temperature is ~275K, and that is a mere ~120K above what N&Z use as their base temperature for earth AFTER THE SUN HAS DONE IT’S HEATING WORK.
    (and 20K above the famous 255K, which is also after the sun has done it’s job.)

  89. Stephen Wilde says:

    BenAW said:

    “Except that their temperature is ~275K, and that is a mere ~120K above what N&Z use as their base temperature for earth AFTER THE SUN HAS DONE IT’S HEATING WORK.”

    Ah, I think I see the ‘problem’.

    You are contending that the warmth of the deep ocean above absolute zero is a consequence of energy being provided at the formation of the Earth and that it remains there because the sun currently maintains the surface temperature at a level which prevents that historical energy from departing.

    On that basis we can agree although there is some recycling of oceanic energy through the thermohaline circulation and probably some other processes that we don’t yet know about.

    However, stability having been reached, tallbloke and I are correct about the pressure/solar maintenance of current stability which you seem to agree with in your last sentence.

    I think we have been at cross purposes in that I thought you were contending that there is a current climate effect from that early energy source.

  90. Gareth says:

    BenAW said: “Even at ~30mB pressure the boiling point is still > 300K.
    To warm 1,3 billion km^3 of ocean >25K is not going to happen.”

    What is the atmospheric pressure on the moon?
    How hot does it get on the moon during the daytime?
    How many liquid oceans does it have?

  91. tallbloke says:

    Hi Ben, I pretty much agree with your post at 10.55, so that’s good.

    Now, you say:

    Except that their temperature is ~275K, and that is a mere ~120K above what N&Z use as their base temperature for earth AFTER THE SUN HAS DONE IT’S HEATING WORK.
    (and 20K above the famous 255K, which is also after the sun has done it’s job.)

    ~120K above: AFTER THE SUN HAS DONE ITS HEATING WORK on a bare grey surface with no oceans.

    Not: AFTER THE SUN HAS DONE ITS HEATING WORK on an ocean which can’t get rid of heat as quickly as it accumulates it unless it’s surface temperature is at ~290K. For the surface to be at ~290K, the deep ocean has to be at ~275K.

    That’s the hypothesis I’m trying to think of a way to find evidence for.

  92. BenAW says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    “I think we have been at cross purposes in that I thought you were contending that there is a current climate effect from that early energy source.”

    Well the only current climate effect is that we don’t need a GHE, ATE or whatever to explain the current surface temperatures. It’s the sun heating the top layer of the oceans from ~275K to ~290K.
    If you consider this as trivial, I don’t think we agree.

  93. tallbloke says:

    “It’s the sun heating the top layer of the oceans from ~275K to ~290K.”

    Hurrah!

    Peace at last. :)

    So we now agree that the Sun heats the oceans up to ~290K at the surface.

    I think the N&Z ATE is important too but we can leave that for now.

    My question for Ben is: Will he now agree with Stephen and me that the Sun is able to get the ocean surface up to ~290K because the atmospheric pressure prevents it from evaporating at a lower temperature?

  94. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    My question for Ben is: Will he now agree with Stephen and me that the Sun is able to get the ocean surface up to ~290K because the atmospheric pressure prevents it from evaporating at a lower temperature?

    The sun is able to warm the top layer I mentioned from ~275K to an average ~290K.
    This surface temp has to result in an average ~240 W/m^2 leaving system earth at TOA.
    Any realistic proces that explains this is fine with me. Remember we also have to warm the atmosphere.
    The GHE can now be used in it’s original meaning: slowing the COOLING of the surface.

    Realise that with this setup I have explained present surface temps without the use of backradiation, ATE or whatever.
    We can tag all kind of processes onto this framework, and everything seems easily explainable imo,
    serious exception being the ENDING of iceages.

  95. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Not: AFTER THE SUN HAS DONE ITS HEATING WORK on an ocean which can’t get rid of heat as quickly as it accumulates it unless it’s surface temperature is at ~290K. For the surface to be at ~290K, the deep ocean has to be at ~275K.

    That’s the hypothesis I’m trying to think of a way to find evidence for.

    I don’t get why this is necessary at this stage.
    If I can explain the oceans avg surface temp. with my setup, do you think the oceans can’t heat the atmosphere and end up radiating ~240 W/m^2 at the TOA?

    Can we finally begin a serious discussion of my setup, and try to demolish it?
    If demolished, I “crash and burn”, if not the whole GH theory is dead and the role of CO2 with it.

    Perhaps direct contact (you or Tim have my e-mail address) is in order?

  96. tallbloke says:

    Hi Ben,

    I prefer to keep this scientific discussion out in the open on the blog, where everyone can see who said what, and others can weigh in and contribute.

    The ‘dangerous co2′ argument is falsified if either of us is right, so lets just keep our ideas marching forward as alternative possibilities. I don’t think we have to decide on one or the other at this stage.

  97. BenAW says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    The ‘dangerous co2′ argument is falsified if either of us is right, so lets just keep our ideas marching forward as alternative possibilities. I don’t think we have to decide on one or the other at this stage

    Ok, can you be a bit more specific what this theory is?
    I understand the Ideal Gas Law + atmospheric pressure increases the surface temp. from ~155K to ~288K and atmospheric pressure also prohibits evaporation untill the oceans surface temps are ~290K. Is this about right?

    On the other hand I offer an embarisingly simple explanation why the oceans surface temps are ~290K on average, where after the atmosphere can easily be warmed from the surface, resulting in the earth loosing as much enregy at TOA as it receives from the sun.
    Why all the complicated mechanisms when a very simple and elegant one seems available?

  98. tallbloke says:

    Hi Ben,

    I think both ideas are elegant and simple. I’ve had another go at explaining the pressure on the ocean surface idea here:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/gaelic-dancing-part-two-arms-the-missing-half-of-the-greenhouse-effect/