Working out where the energy goes: Part 1

Posted: December 13, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

I’ve been playing around with some Outgoing Longwave Radiation time series and I think this may be useful. I subtracted the NCEP reconstruction of ‘surface’ OLR from the satellite measured Top of Atmosphere OLR from KNMI and then subtracted the Southern Oscillation Index from the result (Blue curve). Then I compared it to detrended global temperature (red curve).  Wiggle matching is one of my favourite hobbies. 🙂

here is the result.

I think this shows a few interesting features. One is the exent of the effect of and the recovery time from the Pinatubo eruption. Another is a clue about the importance of cloud albedo changes in regulating the loss of heat from the system, and the rate of cooling of the ocean.  I don’t want to say more at this point because I would like interpretations from comments unprejudiced by my own observations.

Have at it.

Update: Erl Happ thinks the NCEP OLR dataset won’t be for ‘surface’ but should be TOA as well. But it’s completely different to the KNMI OLR dataset, so I’m hoping someone can clarify.

Here’s the two side by side. Much smaller swings in the KNMI curve:

The NCEP dataset is from here:

The KNMI dataset is from here:

But the KNMI data is also from NOAA. Maybe I’ve done something stoopid, wouldn’t be the first time. But if I have, how have I ended up with a curve which matches detrended global temperature reasonably well?

Update: Mystery partially solved. I wasn’t setting the lat/long fields on the NOAA site correctly, so my graph is of OLR at the equator south of Greenwich minus SOI. 🙂

So now I’ll try rerunning it with the Lat/Long between Tahiti and Darwin to match it to the SOI better.

  1. Where the energy goes…
    Interesting to read the following patent of Nikola Tesla:
    “Apparatus for the utilization of radiant energy”

  2. Joe Lalonde says:

    I may be one of a very few guys that may help OR generate far more questions than answers.

    First are these longwave radiation waves compressed or relaxed molecules? Are they vibrating and moving straight? Are they being pulled or are not effected by outside interferance? Only long distance measurement will be able to tell you that.

    I think you may be looking at a string of waves.Some that can be disruted by a planet going through and some that may be wrapping itself around the atmospheres and deflected.
    Distance will allow the waves to either have spaces or move back and forthe to fill in the distance where the waves would be dispersing.

    Is this helping?

  3. Joe Lalonde says:
    December 17, 2010 at 1:18 pm
    All those “waves” are really currents, as there is nothing neutral.

  4. tallbloke says:

    Hi Joe and Adolfo.
    We conceptualise radiant energy as the motion of particles called photons. When you step back at a distance and observe, the characteristics of waves appear. So there is some ‘organisation’ imparted to great numbers of these tiny ‘particles’. Magnetism can do that, and the Earth has lots of it, which is modulated by solar activity.

    People like Tinsley do in depth work in this area, and I have a hard enough time understanding what they’ve written, let alone making up my own theories about it! 🙂

    It is time well spent thinking about the basic flows of energy though, because the whole thing is up for grabs.

  5. Joe Lalonde says:

    Tanks! Ops, sorry thanks.

    The thinking about energy, we have made a great many mistakes in physics. It is far easier to wipe the slate clean and focus on ALL the players and what their properties.
    You will find that energy per say has no motion itself with out physical influence.

    Now this is extremely complex as including ALL the players will also have to include that distant star that may give a couple of molecule of energy traveling that distance. What energy(debris, comets, matter,etc.). is our solar system traveling through and the speed it is travelling. Add in the sun, rotation, rotation around the sun, etc.
    See the complexity?

  6. Joe Lalonde says:


    It is very interesting to watch you slowly grow in understanding of science was not what you thought it was.
    How much manipulation has been infused into the current science to generate bad theories and bad science.
    Very hard not to hold on to what you were taught as facts crumble when hard questions are brought forth.

  7. Brian H says:

    Nice that you provided legend/color coding on the last two graphs. Nasty that you didn’t on the first.

    JL, mentalautoinfarcation is gonna getcha.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Brian, read the info above the first graph.