Archive for the ‘Clouds’ Category

I’m delighted Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller have chosen the Talkshop as the venue for the publication of this new open peer review paper on climate sensitivity. Scientific advance at the cutting edge has always been the most important aim of this blog, and I think this paper truly is an advance in our understanding of the climate system and the factors which support and modulate surface temperature on Earth and other rocky planets. 

The paper is mathematically rigorous, but is also accessible to everyone, thanks to Ned and Karl’s exemplary effort to fully explain their concepts and definitions in terms which can be understood by any interested reader who has some familiarity with the climate debate. Building on the bedrock of their 2014 and 2017 papers, this new work extends the applicability and validates the postulates of those previous papers by examining the causes of variability in planetary surface temperature and incorporating the previous findings in quantifying and deriving equations to model them. They find that Earth is sensitive to changes in cloud cover, which affects the amount of solar shortwave radiation reaching the surface, but not very sensitive to changes in Total Solar Irradiance arriving at the top of the atmosphere. They also find that the sensitivity to changes in CO2 levels has been heavily overestimated by current climate models. They show that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 280 ppm to 560 ppm will cause an undetectable global warming of 0.004K.

A PDF of the paper can be downloaded here:  ECS_Universal_Equations.

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Exact Formulas for Estimating the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity of Rocky Planets & Moons to Total Solar Irradiance, Absorbed Shortwave Radiation, Planetary Albedo and Surface Atmospheric Pressure.
Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. and Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
April, 2022

1. Introduction

The term “Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity” (ECS) has become a synonym for the steady-state response of global surface temperature to a modeled long-wave radiative forcing caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration with respect to an assumed pre-industrial level of 280 ppm. According to climate models based on the Greenhouse theory, an increase of atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm would produce a net radiative forcing (i.e. an atmospheric radiant-heat trapping) of 3.74 W m-2 (Gregory et al. 2004) resulting in a global surface warming between 2.5 K and 4.0 K with a central estimate of 3.0 K according to IPCC AR6 (see p. 11 in Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policymakers). This implies an average unit ECS of 3.0/3.74 = 0.8 K / (W m-2) with a range of 0.67 ≤ ECS ≤ 1.07 K / (W m-2). Contemporary climate science and IPCC Assessment Reports do not discuss global temperature sensitivities to changes in cloud albedo, absorbed solar radiation or total surface atmospheric pressure. Consequently, no equations have been derived/proposed thus far to calculate these sensitivities. The reason for such an omission is the implicit assumption made by IPCC based on the 19th-Century Greenhouse theory (Arrhenius 1896) that the observed warming during most of the 20th Century and especially over the past 40 years was chiefly caused by an increase of industrial CO2 emissions, which are believed to trap outgoing long-wave radiation in the Earth’s troposphere and reduce the rate of surface infrared cooling to Space.

However, a plethora of studies published during the past 15 years have shown through both satellite and surface observations that the absorption of solar radiation by the Earth-atmosphere system has increased significantly since 1982 due to a decreased cloud cover/albedo, a phenomenon often referred to as “global brightening” (e.g. Goode & Pallé 2007; Wild 2009; Herman et al. 2013; Stanhill et al. 2014; Hofer et al. 2017; Pfeifroth et al. 2018; Pokrovsky 2019;  Delgado-Bonal et al. 2020; Dübal & Vahrenholt 2021;  Yuan et al. 2021). This implies a global warming driven by a rising surface solar radiation rather than CO2.

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Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica


It’s noted that ‘Getting clouds right…is important for calculating how much solar radiation reaches Earth.’ A difference of 10 watts per square metre could be involved in some zones, the researchers found.
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Clouds come in myriad shapes, sizes and types, which control their effects on climate, says Phys.org.

New research led by the University of Washington shows that splintering of frozen liquid droplets to form ice shards inside Southern Ocean clouds dramatically affects the clouds’ ability to reflect sunlight back to space.

The paper, published March 4 in the open-access journal AGU Advances, shows that including this ice-splintering process improves the ability of high-resolution global models to simulate clouds over the Southern Ocean—and thus the models’ ability to simulate Earth’s climate.

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Several types of cirrus clouds [image credit: Piccolo Namek @ Wikipedia]


Headline: ‘Airborne study reveals surprisingly large role of desert dust in forming cirrus clouds’. Researchers found ‘Even at low concentrations dust was found to play a big role in controlling cloud properties’. One said: “These results are a striking message to the aerosol and cloud science community, that we need to improve our treatment of dust and cloud formation in climate models to more accurately predict current and future climate.” Not much faith can be put in predictions of the future climate if predicting the present one is known to be inaccurate?
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Every year several billion metric tons of mineral dust are lofted into the atmosphere from the world’s arid regions, making dust one of the most abundant types of aerosol particles in the atmosphere, says Phys.org.

Now, scientists are learning that tiny bits of dust from the hottest and driest parts of the Earth are a surprisingly large driver in forming the delicate, wispy ice clouds known as cirrus in the cold, high-altitudes of the atmosphere.

While scientists have known that desert dust particles can seed certain clouds, the extent of that relationship has been a long-standing question.

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Arctic sea ice [image credit: Geoscience Daily]


Funny how climate science is so insistent on its dogma without knowing enough about aerosol effects, or cloud cover effects for that matter. Talk of ‘better understanding climate change’ is fine, but all we hear in the media is that the debate is over and it’s all cut and dried as far as alarmists are concerned?
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Scientists at EPFL and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have studied the chemical composition and origin—whether natural or anthropogenic—of aerosols in a region spanning from Russia to Canada, says Phys.org.

Their findings provide unique insights for helping researchers better understand climate change in the Arctic and design effective pollution-mitigation measures.

The work was made possible thanks to the joint effort of scientists from three continents.

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Arctic sea ice [image credit: cbc.ca]


One finding was that snow cover variability was more ‘extreme’ than expected, pointing to the need for further research as well as improvements to climate models. Whether the recent Arctic weather/climate history is a reliable guide to future conditions remains to be seen.
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Hundreds of international researchers are currently analyzing observations from the one-year MOSAiC expedition, during which hundreds of environmental parameters were recorded with unprecedented accuracy and frequency over a full annual cycle in the Central Arctic Ocean, says Phys.org.

They have now published three overview articles on the MOSAiC atmosphere, snow and sea ice, and ocean programs in the journal Elementa, highlighting the importance of examining all components of the climate system together.

These results present the first complete picture of the climate processes in the central Arctic which is warming more than two times as fast as the rest of the planet—processes which affect weather and climate worldwide.

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An Outburst of Noctilucent Clouds

Posted: January 27, 2022 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Clouds, volcanos

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Possible volcanic origin of these NLCs?

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 25, 2022: On Jan 24th, skies above Argentina suddenly filled with noctilucent clouds (NLCs). A video camera in Rio Gallegos (Patagonia) captured the outburst:

“What a surprise!” says Gerd Baumgarten of Germany’s Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics, who operates this remote camera to minotor southern skies for unusual events. “We haven’t seen NLCs all year. Now, suddenly, they are very bright.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when wisps of water vapor rise up from the poles to the edge of space. Water crystallizing around specks of meteor dust create the electric-blue structures. NLCs are, literally, frosted meteor smoke.

Normally at this time of year, NLCs are confined inside the Antarctic Circle. So it is a surprise to see them bursting out to mid-southern latitudes; Rio Gallegos is at 51.6oS.

To confirm that these are truly NLCs, Natalie Kaifler of the German Aerospace Center (DLR)…

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Credit: NASA

H/T Tallbloke
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By Dr. Rudolph Kalveks — As the media, politicians and climate activists continue to circulate hysterical hot air from the Cop26 conference, the topic of climate change or anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has become an emotional one, increasingly detached from the thoughtful and meticulous process of theory development, calculation and observation that is supposed to characterise scientific endeavour.

It may come as a surprise to some that “The Science”, as expounded in the IPCC Summaries for Policymakers that inform conference participants, is not uncritically accepted by all scientists in the field, and that widely different views are held by a substantial cadre of experienced and eminent researchers.

Moreover, a multitude of peer-reviewed papers contradict many aspects of the IPCC’s alarmist narrative.

Furthermore, a coherent theory about the impact of changes in greenhouse gases (GHGs) is starting to emerge, one that is built up from the underlying physics, rather than extracted from fanciful computer simulations.

My aim here is to highlight some of the relevant papers and to inform any motivated layman who wishes to explore outside the dogmatic strictures of the mainstream narrative.

Let us start with an irrefutable example of the inability of climate models (general circulation models, GCMs) to provide meaningful projections.

Continued here.

Credit: Institute of Physics

This looks like progress, although more research will be needed to try to better understand how the relevant effects work in practice.
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A new study published in Nature Scientific Reports by researchers at the Danish National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem suggests that the Sun’s activity in screening cosmic rays affects clouds and, ultimately, the Earth’s energy budget with concomitant climatic effects, says David Whitehouse @ NetZeroWatch.

This research, by Henrik Svensmark, Jacob Svensmark, Martin Bødker Enghoff, and Nir Shaviv supports 25 years of discoveries that point to a significant role for cosmic rays in climate change.

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Halfway through this article we see the study’s findings were made ‘where increases in sea surface temperatures have been recorded because of the reversal of a climatic condition called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, with likely connections to global climate change’. So the PDO has changed, which it regularly will do as its name (‘decadal’) indicates, and they want to tie the consequences to humans? That seems to be implied, although left vague by the usual catch-all term ‘climate change’.
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WASHINGTON—Warming ocean waters have caused a drop in the brightness of the Earth, according to a new study, says Eurekalert.

Researchers used decades of measurements of earthshine — the light reflected from Earth that illuminates the surface of the Moon to find that there has been a significant drop in Earth’s reflectance over the past two decades.

The Earth is now reflecting about half a watt less light per square meter than it was 20 years ago, with most of the drop occurring in the last three years of earthshine data, according to the new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters, which publishes high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences.

That’s the equivalent of 0.5% decrease in the Earth’s reflectance. Earth reflects about 30% of the sunlight that shines on it.

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Solar power: Busting the problem of cloud cover?

Posted: September 18, 2021 by oldbrew in Clouds, Energy
Tags: ,
MIT_solar

Image credit: MIT

Of course ‘busting the problem’ of zero nighttime output isn’t going to happen. Vague references to ‘other sources’ of power attempt to gloss over such glaring issues.
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The downside to solar power is that it’s not always sunny and so grid operators have to compensate for energy drops by bringing alternative generation sources online, says TechXplore. [Talkshop comment – every time clouds appear?].

New research in the International Journal of Powertrains, looks at how short-term forecast of sunshine using satellite images could offer one tool to help power companies maintain a steady supply.

A. Shobana Devi of the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, in Chennai, India and colleagues explain how solar irradiance forecasting currently represents a major challenge to companies hoping to integrate solar energy resources into the existing structures of energy supply.

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An IPCC scientist on twitter alerted me to this animation created by Chris Rentsch which analyses the data from the AIRS satellite measuring outgoing longwave radiation.

Here’s a still from the end of the video sequence.

As we can see, by 2019, there is a decrease in OLR at the wavelengths absorbed by CO2 (13-15um) as its atmospheric fraction increases. But we can also see that there is a much bigger increase in OLR at the wavelengths within the ‘atmospheric window’ (10-13um) where it isn’t absorbed by any atmospheric gases.

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NLCs Setting Records

Posted: July 23, 2021 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Clouds, research, solar system dynamics

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NASA’s AIM Mission Overview says: ‘The primary goal of the mission is to determine why these night-shining clouds form. They are of special interest to scientists because the increased occurrence may be related to climate change.’ But it admits they’re ‘mysterious clouds’.
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Spaceweather.com

July 21, 2021: Noctilucent cloud (NLC) season is now 8 weeks old. This animation from NASA’s AIM spacecraft shows everything that has happened since the first clouds appeared in late May:

The last frame says it all: Noctilucent clouds are still bright and abundant. In fact, at the highest latitudes they are setting records.

“We’re seeing more clouds at 80°N than in any other year since AIM was launched,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Research. “Cloud frequencies at 80°N are around 85%, whereas it’s more typical to see frequencies of about 75%.” (‘Frequencies’ are a measure of patchiness. 100% is complete coverage; 0% is no clouds at all.)

“This morning, I watched a fantastic display, the best of the year so far ,” reports Marek Nikodem, who photographed the clouds from Szubin, Poland (53°N) on July 21st:

“It’s not the end of…

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The obvious question being – why?

Spaceweather.com

June 3, 2021: No it’s not your imagination. Noctilucent cloud (NLC) season really is getting longer. New data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft show the first NLCs of summer have been trending earlier since the spacecraft was launched in 2007. This plot prepared by Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics shows the change:

Each little blue box shows the day of year when AIM’s CIPS sensor detected the first NLC of northern summer. “The season appears to be starting earlier, which is making it longer by about 5 days,” says Randall.

Interestingly, the season is not also ending later; it still stops in August. Nevertheless, the early start is giving sky watchers an extra 5 days a year of noctilucent clouds.

The first NLCs of the season typically appear inside the Arctic Circle. Then, they spin outward to lower latitudes–a process which is…

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Quote: ‘Pro tip for northern sky watchers: Look west 30+ minutes after sunset.’

Spaceweather.com

May 27, 2021: Something unusual is happening at the top of Earth’s atmosphere. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are forming, and people are seeing them from the ground even though it is only May. Andy Stables sends this photo from the Isle of Skye, Scotland, taken May 26th:

The electric-blue ripples “were clearly visible to the unaided eye,” says Stables. “This is the earliest I have ever seen them here in Scotland.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. Seeded by meteoroids, they float at the edge of space about 83 km above the ground. The clouds form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up to the mesosphere, allowing water to crystallize around specks of meteor smoke. The season for bright naked-eye NLCs typically stretches from June through August.

This year NLCs are getting an early start. We’ve already received multiple reports of sightings in Europe from latitudes as low as…

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Anvil_Cloud

Anvil of a thundercloud over Columbia [image credit: Eulenjäger @ Wikipedia]

But that’s not the whole story. It seems from long-term data ‘that these super-cold thunderstorms may be increasing in frequency. There have been as many such events across the globe in the past three years as there were in the 13 years before that.’ Could this be in some way related to the big decline in sunspot activity over the last two solar cycles?
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We’ve all seen those majestic anvil storm clouds that form on a hot summer’s day, but what do you think is the temperature right at the very top? – asks BBC News.

It’s very cold, obviously; at high altitude it is well below freezing.

But would you be surprised to learn it is sometimes below even -100C?

Indeed, scientists have just published research showing the top of one tropical storm cloud system in 2018 reached -111C. This is very likely a record low temperature.

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Cloud formation [image credit:NASA]


‘Challenges’ is a polite way of putting it. Is the alleged human-caused climate problem really more of a human-caused climate models problem?
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Increased reflection of incoming sunlight by clouds led one current-generation climate model to predict unrealistically cold temperatures during the last ice age [Source: Geophysical Research Letters].

Key to the usefulness of climate models as tools for both scientists and policymakers is the models’ ability to connect changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels to corresponding shifts in temperature, says Eos.

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Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. Has written to me with news of the presentations he made at this years AMS meeting. It’s vital we get people to understand the implications of the discoveries he and Karl Zeller have made. With our western governments jumping aboard the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘NetZero’ bandwagons, we will need to work hard to rise awareness of viable alternative hypotheses for ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ which better explain the phenomena we can measure around us. Ned and Karl’s work should be given proper attention, because it strives for universality and general application of physics solar system wide, rather then treating Earth as a ‘special case’.

Two studies presented at the American Meteorological Society’s 34th Conference on Climate Variability and Change in January 2021 employed a novel approach to identify the forcing of Earth’s climate at various time scales. The new method, never attempted in climate science before, relies on the fundamental premise that the laws of nature are invariant across spacetime.

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Another pillar of ‘settled’ climate science trembles. It’s described as ‘one of the largest uncertainties faced by climate scientists.’ Is there a list of these uncertainties somewhere?
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The impact of atmospheric aerosols on clouds and climate may be different than previously thought, reports Phys.org.

That is the conclusion of cloud researcher Franziska Glassmeier from TU Delft. The results of her study will be published in Science on Friday, January 29th.

Cloud decks cover vast stretches of the subtropical oceans. They cool the planet because they reflect incoming sunlight back to space.

Air pollution in the form of aerosols—particles suspended in the atmosphere—can increase this cooling effect because it makes clouds brighter.

The cooling effect of pollution offsets part of the warming effect of greenhouse gases. How much exactly, is one of the largest uncertainties faced by climate scientists.

Ship tracks

A striking illustration of clouds becoming brighter as a result of aerosols, is provided by shipping emissions in the form of “ship tracks.” These are visible as bright lines within a cloud deck that reveal the paths of polluting ships that travel beneath the clouds.

“Such ship tracks are a good example of how aerosol effects on clouds are traditionally thought of, and of how they are still represented in most climate models,” says Glassmeier.

But according to the cloud researcher, ship tracks do not tell the whole story.

Continued here.

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The NLCs are playing a game of hide-and-seek this season, bemusing regular observers.

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 8, 2021:

They’re back. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), recently missing, are once again circling the South Pole. And, in an unexpected twist, they’ve just appeared over Argentina as well.

“This is a very rare event,” reports Gerd Baumgarten of Germany’s Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, whose automated cameras caught the meteoritic clouds rippling over Rio Grande, Argentina (53.8S) on Jan. 3rd:

A second camera recorded the clouds at even higher latitude: Rio Gallegos (51.6S). At this time of year, noctilucent clouds are supposed to be confined to the Antarctic–not Argentina. In the whole history of atmospheric research, NLCs have been sighted at mid-southern latitudes only a handful of times.

“Personally, I am thrilled to see NLCs in Argentina, as I had not expected them to occur so far north,” says Natalie Kaifler of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), who operates a lidar (laser radar) alongside one of Baumgarten’s…

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Is it a coincidence that we’re just past the end of the lowest sunspot cycle for over a century?

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 28, 2020: Something strange is happening 50 miles above Antarctica. Or rather, not happening. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which normally blanket the frozen continent in December, are almost completely missing. These images from NASA’s AIM spacecraft compare Christmas Eve 2019 with Christmas Eve 2020:

“The comparison really is astounding,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “Noctilucent cloud frequencies are close to zero this year.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up from the poles to the edge of space. Water crystallizing around specks of meteor dust 83 km (~50 miles) above Earth’s surface creates beautiful electric-blue structures, typically visible from November to February in the south, and May to August in the north.

A crucial point: Noctilucent clouds form during summer. And that’s the problem. Although summer officially started in Antarctica one week…

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