Archive for the ‘Clouds’ Category

Igloo time [image credit: Ansgar Walk / Wikipedia]

Igloo time
[image credit: Ansgar Walk / Wikipedia]

This is worth a look just for the last paragraph, which undermines most of the rest of it. Under the optimistic sub-heading ‘Warming to recommence’ we find:

‘Despite the warming hiatus, Knutti is convinced there is no reason to doubt either the existing calculations for the climate activity of greenhouse gases or the latest climate models.’

“Short-term climate fluctuations can easily be explained. They do not alter the fact that the climate will become considerably warmer in the long term as a result of greenhouse gas emissions,” says Knutti.

‘He believes that global warming will recommence as soon as solar activity, aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere and weather phenomena such as El Niño naturally start returning to the values of previous decades.’ [bold added]

Translation: as soon as the sun, the weather and volcanoes – all natural factors – allow, the world will start warming again. Who knew?

Farsnews report: Why Global Warming Is Taking a Break

Good to hear a warmist trashing his own theory in order to explain the lack of temperature rise this century – without realising it.

hh-p3Image from NOAA press release

NOAA operate a number of hurricane hunter aircraft including three venerable P3-Orion turboprops for low level long duration surveillance.

Taking two out of service for maintenance work as the peak of the hurricane season approaches looks remiss.

I suppose that depends on the true role in 2014 in an era of satellites, radar and alternate aircraft. However according to wikipedia there is also the USAF 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron  flying into tropical storms, perhaps that is sufficient.

There again perhaps NOAA believe the season will be quiet… NOAA superstitious? That’s more like it, remove resource, the gods respond.

The story comes from Reuters

Retrofit leaves one plane to fly into U.S. East Coast storms


Paul’Vaughan posted a link to this plot on the tail end of a long running thread which has dropped off the front page now, so I thought I’s give it prominence today. It’s a ‘food for thought’ starter – the main course will be served as and when Paul has time.


It’s all coming together. Both Paul and I have been working on the sunspot integral over the last several years. Back in 2009 I found that by subtracting the average sunspot number at which the ocean neither gains nor loses energy from the monthly value and summing the running total, I could make use of the sunspot integral as a proxy for ocean heat content (OHC).


turbine-failH/T to Glenties WiG for this Yachting Monthly report:

Wind turbine blaze scandal

Up to 120 wind turbines catch fire annually, according to the journal of Fire Safety Science. This is 10 times the number reported by the industry, The figures, compiled by engineers at Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh, make fire the second-largest cause of accidents after blade failure.

The researchers claim that out of 200,000 turbines around the world, 117 fires take place annually, many more than the 12 reported by wind farm companies.


The mainstream climatologists are fond of telling us that additional co2 increases the ‘Effective Height of Emission’ of radiation to space by ‘Greenhouse Gases’, and that this must cause a rise in surface temperature because the lapse rate from the average temperature of 255K at the ‘EEH’ to the surface will mean a higher temperature. That lapse rate is what is shown by the slanting red line from surface to tropopause in Fig 1 below.


Figure 1: The atmospheric temperature profile of Earth

But there are some problems with this theoretical scenario.

The 255K figure is derived from the 240W/m^2 solar shortwave radiation incoming to the Earth’s climate system AFTER a proportion has been removed to account for reflection by clouds. But the models underestimate the amount of solar radiation absorbed by clouds because the fundamental physics of light scattering in clouds is poorly understood.

Although we are told a change in the EEH ‘must’ change the surface temperature, no viable mechanism is offered to explain how this imperative ‘must’ will be enforced.  The more rational proponents of the enhanced greenhouse effect hypothesis long ago abandoned trying to claim ‘downwelling longwave radiation’ heats the ocean, since nearly all LW emitted in wavelengths absorbed by water vapour and co2 is absorbed with a kilometre of the surface, all downwelling longwave from above a kilometre above the surface will be absorbed, converted to sensible heat, and convected back  upwards before reaching the surface too. In any case, the 10% of LW reaching the surface from on high can’t penetrate the ocean surface by more than a few nanometres.

So much for radiative theory, but what can a look at the data for the vertical temperature profile shown in Fig 1 tell us that might be really useful?


OCO2, NASA’s co2 measuring platform is in orbit. Third time lucky. Bits of the original ended up in the southern ocean. The replacement’s launch was aborted several times due to technical hitches. This from El Reg:

Artists rendition of OCO2 – Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) not only managed to lift off today, it also achieved successful separation from its booster stack and got into orbit.

The satellite – which will study the absorption of sunlight by carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere – is the third attempt to get a CO2-measuring craft into space by the American space agency. The OCO-1 in 2009 and follow-up Glory in 2011 both failed when they weren’t able to complete their first stage separation.

I came across this paper today while searching for the heat capacity of Venus near surface atmosphere, which is actually an ocean-like (in thermodynamic terms) supercritical fluid. It presages Harry Dale Huffman’s ‘rediscovery’ of the lapse rate calculation by four decades. Another paper, much more recent, (Bolmatov et al 2013) contains some theory which raises yet more questions about the reasons for Venus’ high surface temperature. So, greenhouse due to radiative proerties of co2 as Sagan claimed, lapse rate due to gravity and pressure as Nikolov and Zeller maintain, or the thermal properties of supercritical fluids and geothermal energy having a hard time escaping the lower atmosphere? Let the debate recommence!




I’m of the opinion that before getting into the complexity of numerical modelling, it’s wise to put considerable effort into trying to understand the physical processes at work in the climate system, and the origins of the energy flows that drive them. David Evans’ recent series of posts over at Jo Nova’s site have generated a lot of interesting discussion (despite being roundly ignored by Anthony Watts at WUWT), and I think we can shed some light on the ‘mysterious 11yr lag’ between solar input and climate response.


From 16th May 2014 CERN newswire, I missed it

CERN Experiment Sheds New Light on Cloud Formation

Geneva, 16 May 2014 – In a paper published in the journal Science today, CERN’s* CLOUD** experiment has shown that biogenic vapours emitted by trees and oxidised in the atmosphere have a significant impact on the formation of clouds, thus helping to cool the planet. These biogenic aerosols are what give forests seen from afar their characteristic blue haze. The CLOUD study shows that the oxidised biogenic vapours bind with sulphuric acid to form embryonic particles which can then grow to become the seeds on which cloud droplets can form. This result follows previous measurements from CLOUD showing that sulphuric acid alone could not form new particles in the atmosphere as had been previously assumed.

“This is a very important result,” said CLOUD spokesperson Jasper Kirkby,…


Clouds [image credit: Wikipedia / Reprise records]

Clouds [image credit: Wikipedia / Reprise records]

In the late Sixties Joni Mitchell wrote the Grammy Award winning song ‘Both Sides Now’ that included the line:
‘I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now’.

[ Lyrics and link to the Judy Collins version that won the Grammy here ]

Nowadays the climate controversy is closely linked to the question of cloud feedbacks: are they net positive or net negative, i.e. does the reflection of incoming sunlight play a bigger part than the alleged ‘heat-trapping’ effect of water vapour – or vice versa?

The Hockeyshtick reports the latest findings here



‘The ocean…is by far the dominant reservoir of climate system heat changes’.

An exclusive from Climate Etc.

Originally posted on Climate Etc.:

by Roger A. Pielke Sr., Richard T. McNider, and John Christy

The thing we’ve all forgotten is the heat storage of the ocean – it’s a thousand times greater than the atmosphere and the surface.  – James Lovelock

View original 1,636 more words

CO2 chart [image credit: Wikipedia]

CO2 chart
[image credit: Wikipedia]

Well-known climate expert and global warming sceptic (apologies for the cliche) Dr Roy Spencer has by his own admission stirred up a hornet’s nest here.

It’s a list of ‘skeptical arguments’ (US spelling) that he considers to be erroneous. Without further ado: enjoy (?).

Update: some Talkshop commenters seriously question nos. 6 and 7 on the list.

From the Hockey Schtick, via the GWPF, news of a new paper supporting the Svensmark hypothesis:

10/04/14 The Hockey Schtick

cloudsA paper published today in Environmental Research Letters corroborates the Svensmark cosmic ray theory of climate, whereby tiny 0.1% changes in solar activity are amplified via the effect on cosmic rays and cloud formation, which in turn may control global temperatures.

The authors find cosmic ray variations due to changes over solar cycles may have as much as 10 times larger effect than previous studies have estimated. The paper also finds that a tiny 0.2C temperature increase increases the cosmic ray induced cloud condensation nuclei by around 50%, thus acting as a natural homeostatic mechanism. 


meh-officeFrom the Times:

“The Met Office has admitted that it overstated the threat from air pollution yesterday and said that people had been panicked partly because it had just introduced a new forecasting system. On Tuesday the Met Office forecast that there would be high or very high levels of air pollution across southern England and the Midlands yesterday.

However, results from 130 monitoring sites showed that it remained low or moderate for most of the day over most of the country.
In the late afternoon, air pollution reached 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 in the South East and East.”

Then on the BBC’s ‘PM’ program yesterday, after spending some minutes worrying the public further with talk of keeping children and ashsmatics indoors, some truth finally emerged:

Well our scale of 1 to 10 can’t be compared to China’s… their 10 would be a hundred on our scale.


This is first art from access to the Chilbolton Observatory datasets.

Note: autoscaling has been allowed.

Data source Chilbolton Observatory and BADC archive [Ref1]


This is a major new paper published in the March issue of prestigious journal ‘Solar Physics’ by solar-planetary theorists Ken McCracken, Jurg Beer and Friedhelm Steinhilber, which makes a newer and more extensive analysis of planetary motion in relation to the Carbon 14 and Beryllium 10 Glactic cosmic ray proxies than the 2400 yr Hallstat cycle study we looked at yesterday. The paper has been in the works a long time (submitted in July 2012), achieving final acceptance in late February this year. I can’t make the whole paper available due to copyright restrictions, but the abstract gives a clue as to the content. I’ve added one of the figures up to help convey some of the more important results. I’ve also appended the bibliography, as this isn’t part of the paper’s main text, it’s great to see Geoff Sharp and Ian Wilson getting citations. We can discuss other parts of their paper in comments. Boy is Martin Rasmussen going to look stupid in the future, by axing PRP for publishing our solar-planetary special edition.



On UCLA’s main website there is a ‘space missions’ page. On it there is a section for the Diviner mission, which mapped the Moon’s surface temperature. We covered it in a series of posts a while back, as it is crucial to our understanding of Earth’s climate:

divops_lroflybyDiviner: The Diviner Lunar Radiometer is one of seven instruments aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, which was launched on June 18, 2009. It is the first instrument to create detailed, global maps of surface temperature over the lunar day and year. Diviner’s measurements are also used to map compositional variations, derive subsurface temperatures, assess the stability of potential polar ice deposits, and infer landing hazards such as roughness and rock abundance. Read more here.

But the links to the diviner subdomain are broken, and although references to other pages about the mission such as press releases and news articles are found by searching the UCLA site, the science has gone. OK, so websites get changed, links get broken, servers crash and don’t get rebooted for a while. So what?  Why does this matter?


A new paper in press at Elsevier finds air pressure changes linked to Forbush Decreases in the extra-tropics. These can affect the regime of blocking highs and the landfall of cyclonic weather systems. The paper marks a further step forward in understanding solar-terrestrial relations.

Atmospheric pressure variations at extratropical latitudes associated with Forbush decreases of galactic cosmic rays
I. Artamonovaa,a  S. Veretenenkoa,b
a St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg 198504, Russia
b Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute, St. Petersburg 194021, Russia


Changes of troposphere pressure associated with short-time variations of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) taking place in the Northern hemisphere’s cold months (October–March) were analyzed for the period 1980–2006, NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data being used. Notice- able pressure variations during Forbush decreases of GCRs were revealed at extratropical latitudes of both hemispheres. The maxima of pressure increase were observed on the 3rd–4th days after the event onsets over Northern Europe and the European part of Russia in the Northern hemisphere, as well as on the 4th–5th days over the eastern part of the South Atlantic opposite Queen Maud Land and over the d’Urville Sea in the Southern Ocean. According to the weather chart analysis, the observed pressure growth, as a rule, results from the weakening of cyclones and intensification of anticyclone development in these areas. The presented results suggest that cosmic ray vari- ations may influence the evolution of extratropical baric systems and play an important role in solar-terrestrial relationships.


John Christy has been interviewed by ‘Talking about the weather‘:

christyJohn Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.John Christy is a climate scientist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Along with Roy Spencer, he developed the first satellite temperature record of the Earth. Skeptical about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, he has been invited to speak before Congress several times. He is the director of the Earth System Science Center at UAH.

TATW: What would be the single piece of information that you would convey to people who have strong opinions about climate and little knowledge?

CHRISTY: A fundamental aspect of science is that when we scientifically understand a system, we are able to predict how the system evolves in time. The comparison of model output with observations indicates we have much less understanding than what is needed to predict it with any confidence. I certainly don’t see the predictive skill necessary for policy determination.