It’s early to say it, but I’ll say it early — Willis Eschenbach has achieved an earth-shaking breakthrough that’ll have him hailed a hero for years to come.
His fame will live on long after he has gone. He hasn’t merely found that carbon dioxide doesn’t control the temperature. He’s provided a reason to discard the very notion that any single forcing controls the surface temperature. The climate is a complex system.
His achievement is a triumph.
I don’t have a local church door to nail this thesis to, so I’ll nail it up on WUWT typos and all and go to bed. I think it is the most compelling evidence I’ve found to date that the basic climate paradigm of temperatures slavishly following the forcings is a huge misunderstanding at the core of current climate science … but I’m biased in the matter.
So that’s it, that’s the whole story. Let me highlight the main points.
• Volcanic eruptions cause a large, measurable drop in the amount of solar energy entering the planet.
• Under the current climate paradigm that temperature is a slave to forcing with a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling of CO2, these should cause large, lingering swings in the planet’s temperature.
• Despite the significant size of these drops in forcing, we see only a tiny resulting signal in the global temperature.
• This gives us two stark choices.
A. Either the climate sensitivity is around half a degree per doubling of CO2, and the time constant is under a year, or
B. The current paradigm of climate sensitivity is wrong and forcings don’t determine surface temperature.
Based on the actual observations, I hold for the latter.
• The form (a damped oscillation) and speed of the climate’s response to eruptive forcing shows the action of a powerful natural governing system which regulates planetary temperatures.
• This system restores both the temperature and the energy content of the system to pre-existing conditions in a remarkably short time.
The first and most important conclusion is that the climate doesn’t work the way that the climate paradigm states — it is clearly not a linear response to forcing. If it were linear, the results would look like the models. But the models are totally unable to replicate the rapid response to the volcanic forcings, which return to pre-existing temperatures in 18 months and restore the energy balance in 48 months. The models are not even close. Even with ridiculously small time constant and sensitivity, you can’t do it. The shape of the response is wrong.
I hold that this is because the models do not contain the natural emergent temperature-controlling phenomena that act in concert to return the system to the pre-catastrophic condition as soon as possible.
The second conclusion is that the observations clearly show the governed nature of the system. The swing of temperatures after the eruptions and the quick return of both temperature and energy levels to pre-eruption conditions shows the classic damped oscillations of a governed system. None of the models were even close to being able to do what the natural system does—shake off disturbances and return to pre-existing conditions in a very short time.
Third conclusion is that the existing paradigm, that the surface air temperature is a linear function of the forcing, is untenable. The volcanoes show that quite clearly.
A corollary of this hypothesis is that although the signal may not be very detectable in the global temperature itself, for that very reason it should be detectable in the action of whatever phenomena act to oppose the volcanic cooling.
So that was my prediction, that if my theory were correct, we should see a volcanic signal in some other part of the climate system involved in governing the temperature.
And so it proved. I think this deserves mention even in the mainstream media. Are they listening?