Archive for the ‘Clouds’ Category

Cloud cuckoo land in Silicon Valley

Posted: July 12, 2015 by oldbrew in Clouds, innovation, research

[image credit:]

[image credit:]

Are these people just mind-bogglingly naive, downright dangerous – or something else? You decide. And for the record we don’t support the ‘scientific consensus’ claim in this Mercury News report:

A team of elder Silicon Valley scientists is building an audacious device that might solve one of humanity’s most profound dilemmas — a “cloud whitener” designed to cool a warming planet.

The men — retired physicists, engineers, chemists and computer experts from some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies — have been meeting four days a week for seven years in the Sunnyvale lab of the Marine Cloud Brightening Project to design a tool that creates perfectly suspended droplets of water resembling fog.


[credit: NASA]

[credit: NASA]

A few weeks ago we put up a post to discuss the role of convection in the Earth’s atmosphere:
Beginner’s guide to convection cells

The introduction, linked to a short video, said:
‘When you warm air, it rises. Cool air will sink. This process of convection can lead to flows in the atmosphere, in a manner that we can illustrate [see video] on a small scale. Warm and cool air in a fish tank rise and fall; this motion is made visible by adding fog. Ultimately, the motion leads to a convection cell, with air rising, moving to the side, falling, and moving back. This heat-driven motion of air moves heat around in the atmosphere. It is also responsible for making the wind blow.’

That may have seemed straightforward to some, but a few hundred comments later controversy continues, so we’re starting a new post using this website for reference : Lapse Rate, Moisture, Clouds and Thunderstorms



Let’s put this up for discussion as the dominant role of WV often gets buried in all the focus on man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Originally posted on Musings from the Chiefio:

This posting just points to a very well done page that calculates the relative contributions to the greenhouse effect as used by the AGW thesis, by various gasses. In particular, it includes water vapor. The result is a conclusion that human caused CO2 is not relevant to global temperature. Something I have said before, but without the nice graphs and calculations.

It really is all about the water on our water world.

Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse System

Just how much of the “Greenhouse Effect” is caused by human activity?

It is about 0.28%, if water vapor is taken into account– about 5.53%, if not.

This point is so crucial to the debate over global warming that how water vapor is or isn’t factored into an analysis of Earth’s greenhouse gases makes the difference between describing a significant human contribution to the greenhouse effect, or a negligible one.


View original 2 more words

Making beer from fog in Chile

Posted: May 20, 2015 by oldbrew in Clouds, innovation

Made at The Fog Catcher Brewery [image credit: BBC]

Made at The Fog Catcher Brewery [image credit: BBC]

BBC News reports:
The dry, red earth could almost be mistaken for a Martian landscape. It is in fact the Atacama desert in Chile, one of the driest places on Earth.

Average rainfall here is less than 0.1mm (0.004 in) per year and there are many regions which have not seen any precipitation for decades.

But while there is little rain, the clouds here do carry humidity. Coastal fog forms on Chile’s shore and then moves inland in the form of cloud banks. The locals call it “camanchaca”.

Read the rest here.

Also from the report: ‘The largest expanse of fog catchers is located in Tojquia in Guatemala, where 60 fog catchers trap 4,000 litres of water a day.’

Global circulation of Earth's atmosphere displaying Hadley cell, Ferrell cell and polar cell [credit: NASA]

Global circulation of Earth’s atmosphere displaying Hadley cell, Ferrell cell and polar cell [credit: NASA]

Introducing by popular demand (?) [click to view]:
‘Convection Cells Move Air Around’ (short video) – Windows to the Universe.

When you warm air, it rises. Cool air will sink. This process of convection can lead to flows in the atmosphere, in a manner that we can illustrate [see video] on a small scale. Warm and cool air in a fish tank rise and fall; this motion is made visible by adding fog. Ultimately, the motion leads to a convection cell, with air rising, moving to the side, falling, and moving back. This heat-driven motion of air moves heat around in the atmosphere. It is also responsible for making the wind blow.

Cue discussion by Talkshop commenters :-)

This post arose from a discussion on another thread that seems to have started somewhere around here.

Larger version of the NASA graphic here.
Update – a newer post (2015/06/11) can now be viewed here:
Atmospheric convection – what does it mean?
[comments are now closed on this thread – see ‘Update’ above]

The Albedo of Earth

Posted: March 10, 2015 by Andrew in atmosphere, Clouds

image“An important new paper finds that the albedo of Earth is highly regulated, mostly by clouds, with some surprising consequences”.


Celestial light and earthshine

Posted: January 17, 2015 by tchannon in Astronomy, climate, Clouds, Measurement, moon, Uncertainty

This paper is about adding a further layer of correction to earthshine measurements and therefore albedo determination by terrestrial based observations.

Influence of celestial light on lunar surface brightness determinations: Application to earthshine studies
P. Thejll, H. Gleisner, C. Flynn
A&A 573 A131 (2015)
(open access with registration)


Aims. We consider the influence of celestial-sphere brightness on determinations of terrestrial albedo from earthshine intensity
measurements. In particular, the contributions from zodiacal light and starlight are considered.

Results. We find that celestial-sphere surface brightness can be so large that a considerable and unacceptable error level would have
an impact on half of typical earthshine-based albedo-determinations if left unaccounted for. Considering the empirical uncertainty on
ZL, we show that almost all our earthshine data can be used if a sky correction is made. In real observations we find up to a 1% effect
on albedo results of correcting for the celestial brightness.


Ferenc Miskolczi

Well here’s a nice surprise. Out of the blue, Dr Ferenc Miskolczi has dropped a link onto Tim Channon’s thread, which goes to his major new paper, published by the SEI. So we are privileged to be among the first to read it and start a discussion. It challenges the entire basis of the IPCC AGW theory by deriving a theoretical atmosphere which fits observations and demonstrates stability of the Earth’s radiative balance. Thanks Ferenc!

Ferenc Mikolczi 2014 Abstract


By Kelly Dickerson for Yahoo News:

ESA-Magnetospheres_600_MThe sun may be partly responsible for lightning strikes on Earth, and scientists think fluctuations in the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict lightning storms weeks in advance.

The sun’s magnetic field can bend Earth’s own magnetic field, and this twisting and turning may be allowing an influx of high-energy particles into the planet’s atmosphere. These particles can cause a buildup of electric charge that can trigger lightning strikes.

From 2001 to 2006, during a period when the sun’s magnetic field was severely skewing the Earth’s magnetic field, the United Kingdom saw 50 percent more lightning strikes than normal, according to the new study. This severe skewing happens regularly as the sun’s magnetic field shifts. Scientists say this suggests the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict the occurrence of lightning.


Forster_PiersWithout comment, an extract from a Guardian piece:

Prof Piers Forster, at the University of Leeds, led a project using in-computer models to assess six types of SRM (Solar Radiation Management). All reduced temperatures but all also worsened floods or droughts for 25%-65% of the global population, compared to the expected impact of climate change:

  • mimicking a volcano by spraying sulphate particles high into the atmosphere to block sunlight adversely affected 2.8bn people
  • spraying salt water above the oceans to whiten low clouds and reflect sunlight adversely affected 3bn people
  • thinning high cirrus clouds to allow more heat to escape Earth adversely affected 2.4bn people
  • generating microbubbles on the ocean surface to whiten it and reflect more sunlight adversely affected 2bn people
  • covering all deserts in shiny material adversely affected 4.1bn people
  • growing shinier crops adversely affected 1.4bn people


More videos have been added to the monthly series.

  • compare most of the wet winter of 2013/14 with 2012/2013
  • how a good English summer looks
  • the dry September 2014 but unfortuantely not all of a descent into colder weather (happened in two phases into October, missing so far)

This is kept on a Talkshop static page off top menu portal.
Here is a link


I’d not followed up on the saga of DMS, a reminder came up so I’ve dug out the tale up to 2003 or so. What then, can anyone add more? Because IPCC AR4 looks to me to be obfuscating. Best do a quick scan of the long article before dipping too deeply into links.

“Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) or methylthiomethane is an organosulfur compound with the formula (CH3)2S. Dimethyl sulfide is a water-insoluble flammable liquid that boils at 37 °C (99 °F) and has a characteristic disagreeable odor. It is a component of the smell produced from cooking of certain vegetables, notably maize, cabbage, beetroot and seafoods.”
And the smell of seaside. Stinky stuff is Sulphur.

Why mention this on the Talkshop?
Ocean critters produce the stuff, a very complex situation.
The C is produced from CO2. S probably from volcanoes. Predation of the critters is also involved etc. part of a food chain.  Sulphur is in short supply, so bad that farming often needs additional input wherein lies yet another sad tale of enviro own goals, perhaps too why volcanic soils are lauded as highly productive.

Dated 2000

  • Abstract. Continuous measurements of atmospheric dimethylsulfide (DMS) have been performed over a 10-year period (1990-1999) at Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean. Atmospheric DMSranges from 5 to1930 parts per trillion by volume (pptv) and shows a clear seasonal variation with a factor of 20 in amplitude between its maximum in January (austral summer) and minimum in July-August (austral winter). Important deviations from the 10-year monthly mean as high as 100% have been detected, which could not be explained by changes in meteorology and/or oxidation capacity of the atmosphere. Comparison with a three dimensional (3-D) chemistry/transport model revealed that changes in the source strength of DMS as high as a factor of 2 were required to account for such DMS interannual variations. In addition, DMS variability was found to be closely related to sea surface temperature anomalies, clearly indicating a link between DMS and climate changes.
    — [1]

Fig 7a from Sciare et al

From this I assume there is a strong positive cloud seeding temperature coefficient but suitable data for an attempt at computing effect does not seem to exist.



From the Guardian:

bare-arsedTwelve scientists and sceptics (sic) have met privately to discuss how to suck the venom out of the climate change debate.

It was one of science’s strangest social events to date.

Some of the best known names in the climate debate – including Mail on Sunday journalist David Rose, blogger Anthony Watts, and Met Office scientist Richard Betts – shared salmon and civilities at a dinner party last month.

Hosted by the sceptical scientist Nicholas Lewis at his house in Bath in September, the group discussed their similarities, differences, and how they might calm the debate that rages across the pathologically provocative medium of Twitter.

“Both sides are really fed up with the outrageous alarmists who are not representing science properly. Both don’t like those who shout about it and call people names and take a polarised point of view,” says David Whitehouse from the sceptic thinktank The Global Warming Policy Foundation.


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!