Climate system as heat engine

Here’s an interesting reflection on the climate system which at a stroke highlights the complexity of climate and puts to one side (at least for a moment) the belief that it must have a single controller, such as a minor atmospheric gas.

Dr Vincent Gray explained today:

The idea that the Earth has a “radiation budget” is inherently wrong.

The climate is a heat engine. The energy comes in from the sun. The exhaust goes out to space.

The exhaust must be less than the input because in between some work must be done. This would include maintenance of all living creatures plus erosion and other changes in the surface.

A scientist comments that the concept of a budget is both sound and useful, even if not strictly applicable all of the time. The energy budget approach is at the heart of modern climatology and is not controversial.

I wonder if any papers have addressed the total work done by the climate system? Maybe this one:

The second law of thermodynamics and the global climate system: A review of the maximum entropy production principle, 2003, by Ozawa et al., available (behind a paywall) at the Wiley Online Library.

The long-term mean properties of the global climate system and those of turbulent fluid systems are reviewed from a thermodynamic viewpoint. Two general expressions are derived for a rate of entropy production due to thermal and viscous dissipation (turbulent dissipation) in a fluid system. It is shown with these expressions that maximum entropy production in the Earth’s climate system suggested by Paltridge, as well as maximum transport properties of heat or momentum in a turbulent system suggested by Malkus and Busse, correspond to a state in which the rate of entropy production due to the turbulent dissipation is at a maximum. Entropy production due to absorption of solar radiation in the climate system is found to be irrelevant to the maximized properties associated with turbulence. The hypothesis of maximum entropy production also seems to be applicable to the planetary atmospheres of Mars and Titan and perhaps to mantle convection. Lorenz’s conjecture on maximum generation of available potential energy is shown to be akin to this hypothesis with a few minor approximations. A possible mechanism by which turbulent fluid systems adjust themselves to the states of maximum entropy production is presented as a self-feedback mechanism for the generation of available potential energy. These results tend to support the hypothesis of maximum entropy production that underlies a wide variety of nonlinear fluid systems, including our planet as well as other planets and stars.

Perhaps someone knowledgeable in thermodynamics might comment?

The main point is that, from the perspective of a complex heat engine, it’s mighty hard to claim the entire gargantuan system is controlled by a single factor — much less a greenhouse gas capable of a mild warming.

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75 Thoughts on “Climate system as heat engine

  1. Nick on 10/01/2013 at 2:35 pm said:

    Is Dr Vincent Grey suggesting that doing work somehow destroys energy?

    Or that this work done is somehow storing energy somewhere on our planet? Did he mention where exactly?

    • Storing energy in lifeforms would be one example

    • Nick,
      Not “destroys” energy, he’s a scientist. He mentioned that energy is stored all over the place — behind dams, in living things and in oil and coal, for example. Also, energy moves things like air, rocks and water, achieves chemical changes and damages or erodes things. Someone else observed that we remove electrical energy from generators and solar panels, also provided by the sun.

    • Nick on 10/01/2013 at 3:45 pm said:

      Energy is stored in lots of places, sure. But Dr Gray appears to imply that it must be accumulating. I would like to know where exactly. Certainly not in oil or coal as you seem to suggest.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 5:05 pm said:

      >”But Dr Gray appears to imply that it must be accumulating. I would like to know where exactly.”

      The oceanic heat sink is the greatest accumulation of energy by far Nick. Even SkS understands that:-

      Also see Dr David Stockwell’s Accumulation Theory:-

      “…the 20th century temperature rise can be explained by the accumulation of an above average solar forcing of 0.1 W/m2 in the ocean over the period”

      Something the IPCC solar “experts” (Joanna Haigh et al) haven’t a clue about as evidenced by their responses to Alec Rawls (solar activity levels – Maunder grand minimum vs recent grand maximum, not the GCR argument).

      More pertinent excerpts from the Stockwell paper here:-

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 6:03 pm said:

      From Stockwell’s paper:-

      “Natural and modeled systems contain a mix of fast and slow equilibrating components. They have a crucial di fference. If fast, then continued forcing at the same average level does not cause any additional warming; forcing is directly related to response. If slow, constant high levels can cause ongoing warming until equilibrium is reached. In the slow case, the forcing cannot be directly related to the response….”

      Haigh and other Rawls detractors demand a fast response citing the divergence of TSI and temperture e.g. SkS here:-

      ‘Solar activity & climate: is the sun causing global warming?’ – “What the science says…” [according to SkS]

      Note the preference for PMOD TSI (down trending) over other similar TSI composite estimates e.g. ACRIM (up trend) or IRMB (flat). That these composites are cobbled together from disparate satellite platforms and include the ACRIM I/II “gap” (Challenger disaster) escapes their notice. Solar satellites and TSI composites graphed here:-

      I don’t think anyone viewing those plots can honestly say PMOD (or ACRIM or IRMB) is definitive.

      Given there’s something like 130 years of solar energy accumulation in the ocean, they (the detractors) might ask themselves how that would ever be dissipated if the only response was by a fast component.

    • Nick on 10/01/2013 at 3:10 pm said:

      Do you have a reference to show that the total energy stored in life forms is increasing?

    • No, but did anyone say that it was?

    • Nick on 10/01/2013 at 3:43 pm said:

      If energy out is less than energy in then the difference must be accumulating somewhere. If not in life forms then where?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 5:09 pm said:

      >”If not in life forms then where?”

      In the ocean. See this comment above:-

    • The total number of humans on the planet is increasing.

    • and they are getting fatter.
      More humans + more fat = stored energy.

      (I’ll get my coat)

    • Are you feeling cold?

    • Robin Pittwood on 12/01/2013 at 12:22 pm said:

      The world is getting greener, increased photosynthesis, human population increasing, polar bear population increasing …

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 12:12 am said:

      >”Is Dr Vincent Grey suggesting that doing work somehow destroys energy?”

      No. The heat engine process transfers heat Q (J) but some heat is CONVERTED to work done W (J), not destroyed:-

      Heat Engine as Part of a System

      Heat engines enable heat energy to be converted to kinetic energy through the medium of a working fluid.

      The diagram opposite shows the system heat flow.

      Heat is transferred from the source, through working fluid in the heat engine and into the sink, and in this process some of the heat is converted into work.

      The sink of Dr Grey’s system is space and the source is the sun but the “working fluid” is all planetary energy transfer mediums. Some work is done on the system (see below).

      The sink of a heat engine as part of that system could be the polar ocean say, and the hot reservoir (source) is the tropical ocean. The only major “working fluid” in this subsystem is water. Again, some work is done on the subsystem (see below).

      In both cases if the heat source varies, the quantity of heat transferred varies but this is considered to be different systems in thermodynamics (e.g. 2 climate systems a century apart where there has been energy accumulation in the oceanic subsystem over the time span between the 2 systems as has been the case in earth’s oceanic subsystem over last 100 years, or energy loss if the reverse had been the case and probably will be so in the future as the sun goes into recession).

      >”Or that this work done is somehow storing energy somewhere on our planet?”

      The work done during energy transfer is the CONVERSION (not storage) of some of the heat energy Q (J) to work done W (J). At this point the thermodynamic concept moves to Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics:-


      The concept of entropy is useful for understanding system energy conversions, energy flows and the workings of heat engines. The word “entropy” comes from the Greek “transformation”. Although entropy was first defined for thermodynamic applications, the concept has been used in other branches os science, notably electrochemistry and communications. There are thus many definitions of entropy some of which are contradictory or confusing. The following three examples are consistent and used in the context of heat engines.

      * Entropy a measure of the disorder of a system.
      * Entropy a measure of the amount of energy which is unavailable to do work.
      * Entropy S is a state variable for a reversible (loss free) process whose change at any point in the cycle is defined as:

      dS = dQ/T

      Where Q is the heat in Joules entering the system at any point in the cycle

      and T is the temperature in °K at the point of heat entry

      An example is the temperature of an enclosed volume of gas being raised by heat from an energy source or reservoir.

      As the temperature of the gas increases the disorder or kinetic energy of its molecules increases which means that its entropy has increased. This is accompanied by a change of state of the gas whose volume or pressure to increases depending on the nature of the enclosure.

      Second Law of Thermodynamics

      The second law concerns changes in entropy. It can be stated in different forms as follows;

      * The entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value when the system is in equilibrium
      * In any cyclic process the entropy will either increase [sic, or decrease] (or in ideal system remain the same).

      The climate (and ocean heat in particular) is a cyclic process determined by the source (the sun) that will not be at maximum (or minimum) entropy until the ocean equilibrates to the maximum (or minimum) solar input after thermal lag. The work done in the climate heat engine is a minor factor compared to thermal equilibration IMO but is obviously the major factor in electricity generation heat engines as for the quotes above.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 9:19 am said:

      >”Or that this work done is somehow storing energy somewhere on our planet?”

      On reflection I think Dr Grey overstates the scope of the heat engine in his system. His system includes radiation as a “working fluid” (transfer medium) so that radiation is converted to heat (Q) and work (W) but that subsystem cannot strictly be described as a “heat” engine because energy in the form of radiation is being transferred, not heat. The work done (W) by the radiation includes photosynthesis so I suppose the work energy can be considered to be “stored” in land and marine vegetation and living organisms. Some storage, as in the case of trees, for hundreds of years. Horticulture and agriculture is basically harvesting the work done by sunlight (but sunlight is radiation, not heat).

      NASA defines the climate heat engine as only the coupled atmosphere and ocean circulation system (the heat-only system):-

      The Sun doesn’t heat the Earth evenly. Because the Earth is a sphere, the Sun heats equatorial regions more than polar regions. The atmosphere and ocean work non-stop to even out solar heating imbalances through evaporation of surface water, convection, rainfall, winds, and ocean circulation. This coupled atmosphere and ocean circulation is known as Earth’s heat engine.

      The work done (W) by energy in the form of radiation and energy in the form of heat is very different and I’m not sure that Dr Grey’s system scope that includes radiation in his “heat” engine is an appropriate use of the concept.

      Hence some cross-purposes in this thread on my part Nick.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 11:27 am said:

      Re work done by radiation and the “storage” aspect of harvesting sunlight – it gets very complex:-

      Scientists find quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis — A team of University of Toronto chemists have made a major contribution to the emerging field of quantum biology, observing quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis in marine algae.

      “There’s been a lot of excitement and speculation that nature may be using quantum mechanical practices,” says chemistry professor Greg Scholes, lead author of a new study published this week in Nature. “Our latest experiments show that normally functioning biological systems have the capacity to use quantum mechanics in order to optimize a process as essential to their survival as photosynthesis.”

      Special proteins called light-harvesting complexes are used in photosynthesis to capture sunlight and funnel its energy to nature’s solar cells – other proteins known as reaction centres. Scholes and his colleagues isolated light-harvesting complexes from two different species of marine algae and studied their function under natural temperature conditions using a sophisticated laser experiment known as two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy.

      “We stimulated the proteins with femtosecond laser pulses to mimic the absorption of sunlight,” explains Scholes. “This enabled us to monitor the subsequent processes, including the movement of energy between special molecules bound in the protein, against a stop-clock. We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy. Our result suggests that the energy of absorbed light resides in two places at once – a quantum superposition state, or coherence – and such a state lies at the heart of quantum mechanical theory.”

      “This and other recent discoveries have captured the attention of researchers for several reasons,” says Scholes. “First, it means that quantum mechanical probability laws can prevail over the classical laws of kinetics in this complex biological system, even at normal temperatures. The energy can thereby flow efficiently by—counter intuitively—traversing several alternative paths through the antenna proteins simultaneously. It also raises some other potentially fascinating questions, such as, have these organisms developed quantum-mechanical strategies for light-harvesting to gain an evolutionary advantage? It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans,” says Scholes.

      More information: The findings are presented in a paper titled “Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature”, to be published February 4 in Nature.

      Read more at:

      # # #

      I’m certain this process cannot be described as any type of “heat” engine as Dr Grey apparently does but it is an energy conversion process nonetheless – photons to dual state charged particles (I think, someone correct me on this) – that has similarities to a mechanical engine albeit in the quantum realm (I think going by the article, again someone correct me. Andy?).

  2. Warwick Hughes on 10/01/2013 at 3:01 pm said:

    Greeting Kiwis and the very best for 2013.

    IPCC says Maori are not equally represented politically – is climate change a “hot topic” around the iwi and Maori society in general ?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 5:29 pm said:

      >”IPCC says Maori are not equally represented politically”

      Huh? Equal to NZ Europeans? NZ Pacific Islanders? NZ Chinese? NZ South Africans? Who?

      The IPCC should acquaint themselves with the Treaty of Waitangi (Maori have sovereignty over NZ, the Crown has the right to govern) and say, the Maori Party. Even if every Maori voted Maori Party (they don’t), they could never be represented “equally” because their numbers are not equal to non-Maori. They vote in a democracy like everyone else but not necessarily as a block.

      >”…is climate change a “hot topic” around the iwi and Maori society in general ?”

      Don’t think so. They’re focussed on Treaty reparations and Court actions to determine what rights they may be able to claim e.g. ownership of hydro water should the govt sell – as they propose to – state owned electricity generators that have hydro assets.

      I’m wondering, if they’re successful, could they then be sued for hydro water shortages or hydro river flooding for example. I suspect climate change would become a hot topic very quickly in that case.

    • Happy New Year, Warwick. Thanks for passing on the bit about the Maoris. Amazing distortions by the IPCC! Though politically correct, of course!

    • I think we should congratulate Warwick on trawling through the Santa data and finding these mind-numbingly PC pieces of turgid prose, and somehow presenting it to the world without falling asleep.

      I feel empowered now to reach out to my Bro’s in arms and apologise for my reckless abuse of the climate system, and hope that their climate-exposed brothers and sisters feel some compassion for me, as I get led to the gallows in Graz

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 12:55 pm said:

      I see what you mean, I’ve only just got to read the blog post beyond Warwick’s comment here (that was enough for me at the time).

      Hard to get past the opening stanza:-

      “The projected impacts of climate change on Maori society are expected to be highly differentiated reflecting complex economic, social, cultural, environmental and political factors (high confidence).”

      That’s probably among the reasons why they migrated here in the first place.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 7:01 pm said:

    >”I wonder if any papers have addressed the total work done by the climate system?”

    Here’s a pdf copied from a book I think:-


    Peter H. Stone, MIT

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 7:18 pm said:

      Lecture series turns out. Doesn’t say much about work done except to account for it in the Atmospheric Heat Balance (page 2).

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 7:27 pm said:

    >”I wonder if any papers have addressed the total work done by the climate system?”

    Not total but here’s one on mechanical work done by wind:-

    ‘Climatic variations of the work done by the wind on the ocean’s general circulation’

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 7:33 pm said:

    >”I wonder if any papers have addressed the total work done by the climate system?”

    Here we go:-

    Entropy Budget of an Atmosphere in Radiative–Convective Equilibrium. Part I:
    Maximum Work and Frictional Dissipation

    Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
    NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
    (Manuscript received 12 September 2000, in final form 19 June 2001)

    The entropy budget of an atmosphere in radiative–convective equilibrium is analyzed here. The differential heating of the atmosphere, resulting from surface heat fluxes and tropospheric radiative cooling, corresponds to a net entropy sink. In statistical equilibrium, this entropy sink is balanced by the entropy production due to various irreversible processes such as frictional dissipation, diffusion of heat, diffusion of water vapor, and irreversible phase changes. Determining the relative contribution of each individual irreversible process to the
    entropy budget can provide important information on the behavior of convection.
    The entropy budget of numerical simulations with a cloud ensemble model is discussed. In these simulations, it is found that the dominant irreversible entropy source is associated with irreversible phase changes and diffusion of water vapor. In addition, a large fraction of the frictional dissipation results from falling precipitation, and turbulent dissipation accounts for only a small fraction of the entropy production. This behavior is directly related to the fact that the convective heat transport is mostly due to the latent heat transport. In such cases, moist convection acts more as an atmospheric dehumidifier than as a heat engine. The
    amount of work available to accelerate convective updrafts and downdrafts is much smaller than predicted by studies that assume that moist convection behaves mostly as a perfect heat engine.

    • Great work, RC. For tirelessness you rival the Energiser bunny.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 8:29 pm said:

      See below a few comments RT. That paper above is just for an atmosphere system (not including ocean or geo).

      “Total” work done would look at a system including the ocean, sun and geo mechanisms, in which case the paper you referenced (Ozawa et al) is the more useful. The pdf of Ozawa et al is here:-

      From page 3:-

      [7] Despite the seeming plausibility of the maximum
      entropy production (MEP) hypothesis and its potential
      importance to a wide variety of nonlinear systems including
      our planet, as far as we know, there is no review
      paper on this subject. We shall therefore start this paper
      with a definition of thermodynamic entropy so that a
      nonspecialist can follow the basic concepts in this subject
      (section 2). Then we shall see how the MEP hypothesis
      can explain the mean properties of various kinds of fluid
      systems, e.g., the Earths climate (section 3), climates on
      other planets (section 4), mantle convection (section 5),
      and transport properties of turbulence (section 6). In
      section 7 we shall discuss conditions to be satisfied for
      fully developed turbulence, i.e., stability criteria for turbulence
      and time constants of the fluid system and the
      surrounding system. Prigogines principle of minimum
      entropy production [Prigogine, 1947] is shown to be a
      different case in this respect. In section 8 we shall
      examine a generation rate of available potential energy
      in the atmosphere proposed by Lorenz [1955]. It will be
      shown that the available potential energy is dissipated by
      thermal and viscous dissipation (the turbulent dissipation)
      in the fluid system. In a steady state the generation
      rate is balanced by the dissipation rate, and Lorenzs
      conjecture on maximum generation of the available potential
      energy [Lorenz, 1960] is shown to be akin to MEP
      due to the turbulent dissipation. Finally, we shall present
      a possible mechanism by which a turbulent fluid system
      adjusts itself to the MEP state on the basis of a feedback
      process for the generation of the available potential
      energy. It is hoped that the present attempt to unify the
      thermodynamic properties and the maximum principles
      will be an apt starting point toward a general understanding
      of the nature of the forced-dissipative systems
      in general, including our planet.

  6. Nick,

    If energy out is less than energy in then the difference must be accumulating somewhere. If not in life forms then where?

    No. Work is also done. Water is lifted several thousand feet, photosynthesis occurs, muscles turn sugars into movement and strain, and proteins form new bones, tissue, wood, hair and skin. Energy is not necessarily stored anywhere.

  7. Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2013 at 7:57 pm said:

    >”I wonder if any papers have addressed the total work done by the climate system?”

    Looks like climate “system” can refer to total planetary system (including geo) or just atmosphere and components of atmosphere (wind) or just ocean and components of ocean (I’m guessing), depending on the particular research.

    A study of “total” work done would be an exhaustive treatise in that case I suspect. That’s not to say it hasn’t been done but that if it has I haven’t found it.

  8. Clarence on 10/01/2013 at 9:31 pm said:

    Those who work on energy budgeting presumably make an allowance for all the work that is done by the incoming solar energy in this busy world. I’m sure they can’t measure the actual work in w/m2.

    So what are the allowances made by the CSMs? One suspects that they use some constant, which may not make allowance for such changes as the massive growth in photosynthesis over the past 20 years.

    I hope they remember to make an allowance for all the energy captured by solar and wind generation nowadays. It would be ironic (not to mention “a travesty”) if Kevin Trenberth were to assume that the equal of all renewable energy is accumulating in the ocean depths!

  9. Nick on 11/01/2013 at 11:09 am said:

    Richard T & Richard C,
    Energy cannot be converted to work and so magically disappear.

    Work is a measure of useful energy transfer from one system or state to another but energy does not disappear just because work is done.

    Most of the time it becomes heat energy or some kind of potential energy.

    If you are claiming that the energy imbalance that Dr Gray proposes as being normal is because energy is being stored in the deep ocean can you please explain why the oceans didn’t boil away thousands of years ago?

    • CO2 causes warming and warming causes CO2 to rise, so why didn’t the oceans boils away thousands of years ago in a positive feedback loop of runaway warming?

      Of course, rather than second guess what Vincent Gray was trying to say, we could ask him personally. He is in the phone book I think

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 12:41 pm said:

      >”Energy cannot be converted to work….”

      Yes it can. That is what a heat engine does and how electricity is generated at thermal power stations and how petrol and diesel auto engines work for example. The difference between those systems and the climate system is that say auto engines are designed for the work dove (W) and the inefficiencies e.g. friction, rob the engine of work and are budgeted as heat losses (Q). The climate heat engine on the other hand, is heat-centric (Q) and the “losses” are work-centic (W) i.e. vice versa to auto engines. The conservation of energy and the accounting for “losses” (as i understand) is in terms of entropy (see upthread).

      “….and so magically disappear”

      You’re the one saying it “magically disappears” not us. See previous response re entropy.

      >”Work is a measure of useful energy transfer from one system or state to another but energy does not disappear just because work is done.”

      Correct. some energy is transferred without conversion (Q) in the ocean-atmosphere and auto engine heat engine examples and some is converted to work (W), the relative proportions depending on whether it’s an auto engine or a climate engine say.

      >”Most of the time it becomes heat energy or some kind of potential energy.”

      In Dr Grey’s engine yes (I disagree with his inclusion of radiation in a “heat” engine, see upthread) but not strictly in a “heat” engine because the initial energy (hot reservoir) is already energy in the form of heat and the heat is transferred by the “working fluid” (air and ocean) to the cold reservoir, but some work is done in that process e.g. work against gravity by tropical storm cloud systems.

      >”If you are claiming that the energy imbalance that Dr Gray proposes as being normal…”

      It’s not so much an imbalance, it’s just that some energy (W) has been diverted by conversion from the heat transfer process (Q) to do work e.g. photosynthesis. That energy is “stored” as you put it, until further conversion occurs which may take centuries or never e.g. methane trapped underground. I think energy budgets neglect this as negligible in instantaneous energy “snapshots” (not sure about this) i.e. there’s no accounting of it. This is probably the point Dr Grey is making in the main.

      >”…is because energy is being stored in the deep ocean can you please explain why the oceans didn’t boil away thousands of years ago?”

      Why deep? No-one has claimed that specifically but energy is definitely stored in ocean vegetation, living organisms, heat (mostly in the upper ocean), etc. The oceans don’t “boil away” because energy is dissipated eventually and the energy that does accumulate as heat (or vegetation/lifeforms i.e. total entropy increase) never reaches those temperatures because solar, celestial and hydrological cycle changes modulate the energy input. Obviously the dissipation rate is overtaken by the accumulation rate when the solar input increases from grand minimum to grand maximum as evidenced by recent ocean heat accumulation. Accumulation will reverse eventually now that the recent grand maximum has passed. The climate therefore, varies between ice age and warm period but never runaway in either direction.

      If the climate heat engine under consideration is just the heat-only coupled ocean-atmosphere system (not Dr Grey’s system), the energy diverted to work is minimal compared to that transferred (as compared to a steam turbine say) but does exist as studied by the papers referenced here e.g. Ozawa et al.

  10. Why don’t we ask the guys at Hot Topic? They know everything over there
    Unfortunately, any questions about the cold weather in China/Russia/USA/Ukraine/Alaska etc are now being snipped

    We are expected to believe that the cold in China is caused by AGW, and anyone who disagrees or questions it is a “denier troll”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 1:59 pm said:

      Some interesting developments Andy. It’s easy not having to hand them a rope, they seem quite capable of hanging themselves unassisted.

      I see SkS and HT are digging themselves further into the hole (it’s metaphor day) already very deep (‘Still warming after all these years (again)’), claiming they can “Take out the impact of the three biggest factors driving natural variations in the global average temperature — volcanoes, the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the solar cycle”.

      They might be able to “take out” volcanoes but not ENSO or solar because solar stores energy in the oceanic heat sink that fuels ENSO. They’re ignoring decadal/multi-decadal slow responses – again.

      There’s a misconstrual I think, even by sceptics, that the GCMs don’t model ENSO. OK they don’t mimic the actual events but they certainly account for the solar energy going into the ocean that fuels El Nino energy output say. They can’t “take out” that energy because one short sharp EL Nino event (e.g. ’98) is actually the release of years of solar energy accumulation and even then there’s residual energy left over. I think even some non-AGW aligned scientists are guilty of that (Scafetta is one I think I recall).

      There’s 3 or 4 CMIP5/AR5 GCMs that mimic 7 year smoothed GAT (and therefore the energy input/output) reasonably well this century (INM-CM4 perfectly) including the inflexion early on that you don’t see in the Foster and Rahmstorf contrivance they (SkS and HT) are touting where it’s “taken out”. How do SkS and HT explain that no-warming, energy-left-in model success in terms of their still-warming. energy-left-out meme I wonder?

      Tricky for them too now that the UKMO is going with essentially a continued no-warming forecast for the next 5 years to 2017.

    • The UKMO is an interesting development. 5 years from now takes us to 21 years of potentially no warming (using the old school empirical approach of actual data) which happens to be about the same length of time of modern warming (1976-1998)

      Where does that leave us?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 3:14 pm said:

      >”Where does that leave us?”

      The prediction is still for elevated levels that I’m inclined to agree with for the next 5 yrs or so to a degree (depends how the solar recession works out in terms of ocean heat accumulation and release) but I don’t see any reason for the El Nino-like peak at 2016.

      It leaves me questioning what their rationale for the 2016 peak is and even what the rationale for their forecast of this yr’s average level (2013) is:-

      It all leaves us having to seek explanations as to why most of the GCMs have gone off on a tangent and why CO2 forcing is not the driver it was thought to be. In other words, nothing much has changed for us except to watch some surreptitious institutional repositioning in the face of reality and improved understanding of natural cycles. And to witness a new round of warmist self-validation despite reality and the aforementioned institutional repositioning.

      In short, it’s good to be us.

    • Good work, Richard. I agree.

      It all leaves us having to seek explanations as to why most of the GCMs have gone off on a tangent and why CO2 forcing is not the driver it was thought to be.

      It’s not our hypothesis that searches for proof. If there’s anything for us to do, it’s simply to describe what you say and to keep describing it.

      What would be a good approach to refute/disprove/mock the HT discussion? Not that I’ve seen it yet.

    • There isn’t a discussion as such. The Australian heat wave is bad (agreed), but any mention of the cold weather in the NH gets met with derision and/or attributed to AGW

      As my non-appearing comment tried to state, there may be a plausible explanation as to why changes in the polar ice cap may be changing the jet stream etc
      There may also be plausible explanations that the cold weather is just that, and part of the cycles that we see all the time.

      The post hoc reasoning that forces all changes into the AGW mold doesn’t seem much like science to me. We used to form an hypothesis, and then test it against nature. Now it seems anything nature does can be forced into the hypothesis with enough fudge factors and assumptions built in. Consequently, it seems more like dogma and religion than science, but I stand to be corrected.

    • Thanks, Andy. You make it sound eminently ignorable.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/01/2013 at 9:37 pm said:

      >”It leaves me questioning what their rationale for the 2016 peak is and even what the rationale for their forecast of this yr’s average level (2013) is”

      From Climate Realists:-

      ‘Decadal Forecasting – What is it and what does it tell us? by the Met Office’

      The 5 yr forecast linked in the above comment seems to be (guessing from the Figure 1 plot below) just an average of an ensemble of 10 HadGEM3 simulation runs (some rationale that is if so):-

      I’m at a loss to know why a supercomputer is necessary to produce that spaghetti plot just to be averaged – I suspect – to arrive at this forecast:-

      For added randomness, they’ve included a comparison of the superseded 2011 HadCM3 spaghetti with 2012 HadGEM3 spaghetti (Figure 5):-

      How exactly do we know HadGEM3 spaghetti is an improvement on HadCM3 spaghetti?

      For some inexplicable reason, the HadGEM3 anomaly values in Figure 1 are centred around 0.45 but in Figure 5 are centred around 0.6 and the spaghetti looks different in each Figure.

      On the bright side, the Figure 1 forecast might indicate that HadGEM3 is one of the 3 or 4 CMIP5 models that actually mimic the 21st century observations reasonably well (INM-CM4 perfectly). If so I think that deserves some acknowledgment. Or alternatively, HadGEM3 could be one of only 3 or 4 CMIP5 models that are the only models worth consideration for AR5 – the rest are irrelevant.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/01/2013 at 10:52 am said:

      I’m struggling to reconcile the above two “spaghetti” plots of HadCM3 vs HadGEM3 with the “synthesized” UKMO 2011 vs 2012 decadal forecast comparisons around.

      First the spaghetti plots (the HadGEM3 spaghetti doesn’t reconcile between these two either):-

      Now the synthesized plots.

      From The Australian (a UKMO plot apparently):-

      From SkS (again, UKMO plots):-

      Note that in the second of those SkS plots, the blue forecast (from 2011) doesn’t simply carry on from the red forecast indicating that even the 2011 forecast was itself a revision of (possibly) an earlier red forecast.

      The spaghetti plots show only a minor alteration but the change to the synthesized plots is radical (does anyone see what I’m getting at?). What I am I missing or misinterpreting here?

      RT, a request. Can we have the 5 plots linked in this comment laid out sequentially in a post for comparison and comment by others please? I for one would be very interested in what others make of this.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/01/2013 at 11:15 am said:

      >”Note that in the second of those SkS plots, the blue forecast (from 2011) doesn’t simply carry on from the red forecast indicating that even the 2011 forecast was itself a revision of (possibly) an earlier red forecast”

      John Mason at SkS states:-

      “In 2012, the Hadley Centre (the climatology section of the UK Met Office) introduced its latest multi-year forecast model, HadGEM3, into the decadal forecasting system, replacing the earlier HadCM3 (figs. 2 and 3, below), developed in the earliest years of the 21st Century. HadGEM3 represents the product of many years of detailed research and involves a better understanding of the many variables that work together to bring us the climate we experience. Running the model involves a phenomenal amount of number-crunching, to such an extent that it is only run out to T+ 5 years — to run it out further would hog too many computing resources.”

      This may explain why the 2011 blue forecast doesn’t carry on from the earlier (I think) red forecast. Perhaps the red forecast was a longer run where T was 2000 and the run T + 20 but for the blue forecast T is 2011 (I’m guessing) and the run T + 5.

      There is an element of cheating in this I think if that is so, or at least the lack of acknowledgment that the red forecast was wildly wrong and starting over with a new T is somewhat less than forthright.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/01/2013 at 2:37 pm said:

      To clarify, Paul Homewood has identified a separate issue to the ones I have. He is pointing out the revision of the red forecast in the latest 2012 forecast from 2005 onwards (the 1990s is also quite different):-

      Previous red forecast.

      Latest red forecast,

      I.e. there are FOUR forecasts (red, red, blue, blue) and TWO forecast revisions (red-red AND blue-blue), not just one (blue-blue).

      My issues on the other hand were with the blue forecasts from 2010 onwards (spaghetti to synthesis issues) and that they didn’t “carry on” from the 2011 red line not realizing that the Met had revised the red line in the 2012 forecast (“jiggery pokery” as Paul puts it).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/01/2013 at 4:20 pm said:

      Oops, correction from up-thread.

      From SkS (again, UKMO plots):-

      Should be,

      From SkS (again, UKMO plots):-–forecast-1.jpg [this link corrected]

      Paul Homewood’s revelation that the red forecast was revised explains why the 2012 blue forecast didn’t “carry on” from the 2011 red. I didn’t realize the red had been revised between 2011 and 2012.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/01/2013 at 4:47 pm said:

      Jan 10, 2013 at 9:47 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

      The white lines [average of red] show hindcasts, ie: model simulations started from older initial conditions and then run onwards, and compared with the observations to see how well the model does. The point here is that the hindcasts with the new model (HadGEM3) compare better with the observations than the old model (HadCM3) and so this gives us more confidence in the new model.

      These decadal forecasts use “initialised forecasting” techniques, ie: the models are started at the observed state for the current time – as distinct from the long-term climate projections that start back in pre-industrial times, run through the 20th Century and then on into the 21st Century, meaning that they can’t be expected to capture the exact year-by-year variations that the initialised forecasts are attempting to capture. Because the initialised forecasts are started off at, say, the right place in an ENSO cycle, they potentially can capture the natural variations arising from ENSO and other modes of variability. This is still early days of course, there is still a lot more work to do, but you can see from the 2012 figure that the hindcasts show the model agreeing with the observations reasonably well (and better than the HadCM3 hindcasts as shown in the 2011 figure).

      The first time that these initialised forecasting techniques were used for decadal forecasting was this paper published in 2007. So this was the first time there was actually a proper forecast looking forward in time – anything before then is a hindcast. This is the case for all versions of the decadal forecast that you might find.

      + + +

      January 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm · Reply

      The BMO initially used the phrase “retrospective forecast”

      Because this is a perfect example of a complete oxymoron, I asked Richard Betts if this really meant “hindcast”

      YES, he answered (see the BH website thread)

      # # #

      At least Richard Best explains the red (and white) revisions. It’s like car company advertisements for a new “better” “more refined” model that effectively consigns the previous model to clunker status.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/01/2013 at 5:15 pm said:

      Interesting. HaroldW at BH observes:-

      “HadGEM3 is not listed on KNMI Explorer among the CMIP5 models”

      This goes against my “On the bright side…” comment that these last comments on this thread reply to.

      Basically, the “better” HadGEM3 model (as Richard Betts puts it) is not a CMIP5/AR5 model but presumably supersedes the UKMO CMIP5 model, rendering the UKMO contribution to CMIP5 obsolete. Richard Betts effectively confirms this:-

      Hi HaroldW

      1) Because HadGEM3 is much more computationally expensive to run than HadCM3, being higher resolution and having much more detailed equations, so the hindcasts to check the model’s performance were only done for 5 years as opposed to 10 years. Notice that the red bands (the hindcasts) are only 5 years in length in the 2012 figure, but 10 years in the 2011 figure.

      2) HadGEM3 is still under ongoing development so couldn’t be included in CMIP5 – models had to be “frozen” (ie: no more changes) in order to included in the comparison. So, it’s not been used for those scenarios yet

      Jan 10, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

  11. Richard C (NZ) on 15/01/2013 at 6:18 pm said:

    For the record.

    Richard C2 January 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    SkS are out on a limb now that the UKMO has revised its decadal forecast. The Foster and Rahmstorf trajectory follows the 2011 HadCM3 forecast but the 2012 HadGEM3 forecast is no longer on that trajectory now that the new model accounts for natural variability better (apparently) than the obsolete model:-

    I would point out too that the new HadGEM3 (too late for AR5) forecast is about 0.2 C below the lower StDev dotted line for most of CMIP5/AR5 ensemble at 2017 going by this incomplete graph here:-

    Admittedly, the 2012 forecast is a synthesis of a 10 run spaghetti plot but what does the divergence of CMIP5 ensemble average from observations AND from at least two improved models (see below) say about the CMIP5/AR5 ensemble?

    Most of the CMIP5 ensemble have failed to mimic the 21st century trajectory of observations let alone absolute level. Any model that fails to mimic observations is superfluous i.e. UKMO obviously decided HadCM3 was rubbish and had to be discarded in view of HadGEM3 results. By that reasoning, all but about 4 CMIP5 ensemble projections are now redundant and should be discarded from AR5.(INM-CM4 is the best, right between RSS and UAH in an update plot) – how did they achieve that?.

    Furthermore, at 2017 the 2012 UKMO prediction has peaked at 2016 and is on a down phase. Now, UKMO have (apparently) introduced the influence of natural cycles to HadGEM3. Given that there is no cycle (e.g. solar, PDO, AMO) that would boost temperature above 2016, what possible mechanism is there to take temperatures back up above 2016 remembering that GHG forcing (valid or not) is simply recycled solar energy?

    And why the peak at 2016? Have UKMO gained the ability to predict El Nino for example? That 2016 peak is totally reliant on the release of residual ocean heat now that the sun is going into recession but that residual heat will not just keep boosting temperatures higher and higher if the solar force for accumulation is removed will it?

    The new utility (possibly) of HadGEM3 underscores the flawed F&R rationale i.e. El Nino energy say, cannot be “taken out”. The way to deal with it is smoothing over time (as in the 7 yr smoothing in the above model vs observations plot) for like-for-like comparison but not taken out because although models don’t mimic El Nino events but they DO account for the solar input and accumulation of ocean energy that is released by El Nino via the atmosphere after lag time which can be decades i.e. there are fast responses and slow responses from solar input and not all prior accumulation is released by an El Nino, there is residual energy carried over to subsequent release. There’s still accumulation from the solar grand maximum of the late 2000s to be released in the future but the accumulation phase (high solar levels) is over.which tends to negate the possibility of further rise in the future.

    The acid test will be fully on the notion of continued warming over the next 5 years or that improved models are not only mimicing the 21st century flat trajectory but are forecasting a continuation of it too.


    Richard C2 January 15, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.


    “(INM-CM4 is the best, right between RSS and UAH in an update plot) – how did they achieve that?.”

    Should be,

    (INM-CM4 is the best, right between RSS/UAH and GISS/NCDC/HadCRUT in an update plot) – how did they achieve that?.

    That is, INM-CM4 is between satellite and land-based series, and on the same trajectory.

    # # #

    I’m also putting this to the JoNova trolls e.g. here:-

    • Your comment is in the twilight zone.

      Mind you, there are some unsavoury comments about hunting down “climate criminals” Maybe you are better off there.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/01/2013 at 9:59 pm said:

      Heh, must have been unpalatable. First time in The Twilight Zone for me.

      BTW Andy, did you see it come through by email via the ‘Still warming after all these years (again)’ thread originally? All is not lost if you did, I would have liked Chris Rennie to see it (food for thought for a thinker at least).

      I’ll post something like it in a national online newspaper at the next opportunity (more eyes) so it’s not wasted effort anyway. One like it at the NZ Herald on Monday didn’t see the light of day either.

      RT, is it (see comments above) worth cobbling into a post e.g. ‘The Comment Gareth Renowden Found Unpalatable’?

    • Andy on 15/01/2013 at 10:10 pm said:

      I got the email from the twilight zone. Sounds funny saying that, but that is what it said.

      Two weeks into a new year, I am tired of all the BS already.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/01/2013 at 10:28 pm said:

      >”I got the email from the twilight zone” – Ha! Yes funny, not often you see that.

      Shame, but the issue isn’t going away for Gareth. Much as he would like it to.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/01/2013 at 10:15 pm said:

      The Twilight Zone

      by Gareth on March 3, 2011

      Introducing The Twilight Zone: a repository for comments that are off-topic, obvious trolling, or from the terminally bemused — a feature of Hot Topic’s new comments policy. Do not expect to find good sense herein — consider it a record of failed communication and fantasy.

      “consider it a record of failed communication and fantasy” – Or consider it a record of censored comments of the unpalatable kind – I might just comment there directly from now on to save Gareth the effort. My comment and following correction below it here:-

    • Richard C,

      RT, is it (see comments above) worth cobbling into a post e.g. ‘The Comment Gareth Renowden Found Unpalatable’?

      Quite likely, but I don’t understand the matter. Could you summarise for the blogger in the street?

    • It is possible the comment went into that thread by default. I wouldn’t read too much into it, and do we want to start another flame war? We are having such fun here

    • Well, I can understand that quite well, and my answer is “no.” Thanks, Andy.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/01/2013 at 11:01 am said:

      >”Could you summarise for the blogger in the street?”

      OK RT. It could just be a post to highlight the general situation that has emerged since Christmas Eve and not necessarily directed at Gareth and his Twilight Zone setup. In fact you could leave him out of it completely as Andy suggests because the issue is much bigger than him anyway.

      The state-of-play as I see it.

      There is now a very significant split among players involved in A) modeling climate for the IPCC and for their respective national institutions, and B) AGW-aligned players promoting the notion that warming has not ceased because there is still a “true background global warming signal”.

      Note the word “background” – that is a fallback in the absence of an overt warming trend this century and so in order to keep the notion that temperatures continue to rise and warming is continuing there has to be either a major data torture exercise (see Ba) or some other very tenuous indicator (see Bb).

      The players of note.

      Aa) The UKMO quietly released a revised decadal forecast (actually for 5 years 2013 – 2017) on Christmas Eve that synthesized the results of 10 forecast simulations and hindcasts (known as spaghetti) run with a new and very much improved model (possibly) that includes more influence from natural variation and cycles that sceptics have been wanting for yonks. This is known as the 2012 forecast and the model is HadGEM3. This prediction essentially exhibits no rise as previously so that by 2017 the level is only marginally higher than 2012.

      The new UKMO prediction supersedes the 10 year 2011 HadCM3 prediction that went off at a divergent rise away from observations that from 2010 onwards looked like confirming the “background” signal if it was validated (it wasn’t obviously).

      Note that HadGEM3 will NOT be included in AR5 because they missed the cut off date for CMIP5. The UKMO AR5 contribution therefore, is with superseded models.

      Ab) Meanwhile as a few of us have noticed including Matt Ridley at WUWT, there are only 2 (maybe 3) CMIP5/AR5 models that have actually been able to not only mimic the 2002 inflexion in observations but also to track the subsequent flat trajectory and absolute level as well. Those 2 then project a flat trajectory for some years as HadGEM3 does, making only 3 apparently valid models right now worth any attention. The rest are practically useless and can be ignored.

      One of the 2 apparently valid models is the Russian Academy of Sciences INM-CM4. Their effort is right between the RSS/UAH satellite series and the GISS/NCDC/HadCRUT surface series. The other is at surface series level but I don’t know what model it is. There is one other (the “maybe 3”) but that doesn’t get the trajectory right. There are also others that get the trajectory right but are too warm.

      Ba) Skeptical Science have been touting a data torture exercise by Foster and Rahmstorf that was recently updated by Foster, Rahmstorf and Cazenave (FR&C). Their technique involves “taking out” “exogenous” factors e.g. volcanism (OK not a problem), solar and ENSO (bogus). The latter cannot be “taken out” because that neglects the oceanic heat sink and thermal lag effect. There is some criticism of models by sceptics that they don’t mimic ENSO events but they DO account for the solar energy input to the ocean and release it to the atmosphere over time so that a 7 year smoothed average of model simulations is pretty much directly comparable to 7 year smoothed observations for validation of trajectories i.e. with the solar/ENSO energy left in.

      The resulting FR&C linearly rising residual is now touted at every warmist/alarmist blog and even their MSM connections like the Guardian as the “true background global warming signal”. It is everywhere. SKS made a video for it and that is embedded wherever AGW is defended. Gareth Renowden featured it.

      The problem for them now though is that the FR&C trajectory keeps rising from the 2010 El Nino but observations do not and neither does the new UKMO decadal prediction. Their “background” trajectory is now not only at odds with observations, it is also at odds with the best model projections

      Bb) Hansen, Sato and Ruedy (GISS) have just released a temperature update through to end of 2012 that also “concludes” there is still “background” warming even though they concede the “standstill” this century. They do NOT however, cite FR&C to support their conclusion. They instead describe in very few words how if you just look at minimum La Nina years, there’s been a rise. That doesn’t hold up when you look at series that capture ENSO events the best e.g. the radiosondes (HadAT2) or satellites (RSS/UAH).

      # # #

      I hope this is a useful synopsis. I can provide links to the relevant graphics and articles if you decide to run with this and as you need them when you get to grips with situation and want knowledge gaps filled. The story can be told simply with only about 3 or 4 plots (jpgs) because the reader needs to be able to make comparisons.

      There are some complications over some shonky spaghetti graphs at the UKMO website and UKMO’s revised hindcasts but they are peripheral issues to the big picture situation in my view.

    • Ken has also put up a post with the SkS video in it, so it is certainly doing the rounds.

      No one explains how they come to these conclusions though.

      Good synopsis Richard C

    • By the way, Gareth has just put up an open thread and the starter for 10 is Hansen’s Global Temp Update 2012 which Richard C linked to here and I subsequently linked to over there.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/01/2013 at 12:14 pm said:

      RT, ignore John Christy’s EPW Figure 2.1 models vs observations plot linked upthread (http://curryja.files….). There is now an updated Fig 2.1 plot available from John’s EPS testimony here:-

      The blue INM-CM4 line was not included in the EPW plot

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/01/2013 at 12:38 pm said:

      A “William S” turned up at Hot Topic, said this:-

      “For example, actual empirical data obtained by the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) satellite shows that when the Earth warms, more heat is radiated back into Space, in other words, a strong negative feedback which cancels out the initial temperature rise.”

      He gets it wrong next para with this though:-

      “All computer models predict a net positive feedback that amplifies the initial warming. Therefore, the models programmed with the unverified assumption that there is a net positive feedback are fundamentally wrong”

      Not so now.

      In a recent paper (Stephens et al probably, or Wild et al, can’t remember) there was a comparison between about half a dozen models of performance indicators. One of those indicators was ‘OLR sensitivity’ (I think it was). The Russian INM-CM4 model was the only model in the CMIP5 group sampled that exhibited positive OLR sensitivity, it is also only one of two CMIP5 to mimic observations.

      OLR sensitivity is the mechanism William S describes and INM-CM4 conforms to the ERBE observations i.e. the model releases increasing energy to space as temperatures rise. The other models in the sample all exhibited negative OLR sensitivity i.e. they “trap” energy and are therefore too warm.

      This is the major point-of-difference that I’ve identified so far that sets INM-CN4 apart and goes some way to explaining the apparent success of the RAS and failure of all but one other CMIP5 models (and now UKMO HadGEM3 since CMIP5)..

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/01/2013 at 1:30 pm said:

      >”In a recent paper (Stephens et al probably, or Wild et al, can’t remember)”

      Found it. It was a dozen models, not half a dozen.

      ‘An update on Earth’s energy balance in light of the latest global observations’

      Graeme L. Stephens1*, Juilin Li1, Martin Wild2, Carol Anne Clayson3, Norman Loeb4, Seiji Kato4, Tristan L’Ecuyer5, Paul W. Stackhouse Jr4, Matthew Lebsock1 and Timothy Andrews6

      Page 694 (4 of 6):-

      Figure 2 | The change in energy fluxes expressed as flux sensitivities (Wm–2 K–1) due to a warming climate. TOA flux (a) and surface flux (b) sensitivities derived from a 12-model ensemble from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 150-year model simulations forced by a 1% per year increase in carbon dioxide. Also included are multi-model mean values (also in Wm–2 K–1). All-sky short- and longwave fluxes refer to the fluxes from Earth that combine both clear and cloudy skies. The TOA flux sensitivities include the clear-sky OLR (OLR-C), the all-sky OLR (OLR), the clear-sky outgoing solar radiation (OSR_C) and the all-sky outgoing solar radiation (OSR). The NET TOA sensitivity is the sum of the short- and longwave all-sky flux sensitivities at the TOA with positive values implying a gain of heat within the system. The NET at the surface is the combination of the net (downward minus upward) all-sky short- (SW_NET) and longwave (LW_NET) fluxes plus the sensitivities of the sensible (SH) and latent heat (LH) fluxes.

      INM-CM4 is the only model exhibiting positive sensitivity for all-sky OLR in the TOA flux (a) comparisons (top, second from left).

      William S might be right about the “NET” TOA sensitivity though (is that feedback? not sure). I’m a bit confused about this I have to admit – have to think about it.

    • If you go to the Australian Climate Commission website

      that is referenced by Gareth in his assertion that Chris de Freitas is “lying”, you will see that the trolls have bombed the twitter feed

      ILuvCO2ILuvCO2: @ClimateComm Yeah right. Old temp records not broken. warmist stunt. NSW highest 50ºC 70 years ago. Victoria’s highest 50.7ºC 103 years ago

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/01/2013 at 2:11 pm said:

      >”Gareth has just put up an open thread and the starter for 10 is Hansen’s Global Temp Update 2012″

      Re Gareth’s response to your opening comment Andy:-

      Gareth January 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Hansen is nothing if not honest. We need a lot more data on aerosols and their impact. It may well be that the increase in pollution caused by the rapid expansion of the economies of China and India is helping to mask warming. What happens when that pollution is cleaned up? A pulse of rapid warming… It’s a Faustian bargain.

      I see this at the bottom of an article covering the BC paper (H/t Climate Depot):-

      “Fahey also acknowledges other uncertainties in the study. Although black carbon contributes to warming, the impact of aerosol emissions on climate could end up being significantly positive or negative. “It’s not over yet, he says.” ”

      “…could end up being significantly positive or negative”

      Now THAT’S uncertainty.

  12. “Our warming world” a new app from the New Scientist

    Shows the “warming” that NZ has received in the last 3 decades quite graphically

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/01/2013 at 3:33 pm said:

      Wizzo! You can get the locations e.g. Auckland, Kaitaia, Stewart Island.

      But take a look at Sydney and Hobart. BEST uses Hobart as the NZ proxy early on but Hobart looks nothing like any of the NZ locations.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on 17/01/2013 at 3:58 pm said:

    From the ‘Hansen concedes’ thread at WUWT:-

    tallbloke says:
    January 16, 2013 at 8:16 am

    The energy imbalance isn’t in the direction Hansen fondly believes:

    + + +

    Peter Berenyi took on all comers at SkS back in April 2010.

    + + +

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Unfortunately, Hansen in Figure 4 continues the myth that TSI at the latest minimum was lower than at previous minima. It is now known that this is not correct, the reason being uncompensated degradation of the sensors on which PMOD is based.


    and more importantly the admission here:

    slides 31-33:

    “Observed data do not support a measurable TSI trend between the minima in 1996 and 2008″

    + + +

    PMOD is the favourite of solar detractors (even solar “specialists”) because it exhibits a downward trend. They (esp SkS) of course then demand an instantaneous (fast) response in atmospheric temperatures (cooling), but are completely oblivious to solar=>ocean=>atmosphere lag (the slow response) and the fact there are 2 other major TSI composites (ACRIM and IRMB) that either have a very small rising trend (ACRIM) or are flat (IRMB).

    + + +

    david says:
    January 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I absolutely agree with Bob Tisdale. In addition ,Hansen’s quote “despite much of the year being affected by a strong La Nina.” is wrong. The 2011/2012 la nina reached a max value of -1.0, which is much BELOW normal/average: the long term average +/- stdev of all La Ninas (1949-current) is -1.3 +/ 0.4, and with a median of -1.4… That’s error number 1.

    Second error is that only the first 3 months in 2012 had la nina conditions, the rest were neutral. Although the last season is not in yet; the first 11 seasons of 2012 were on average -0.1, with a median of 0.0… Not near a strong la nina, anywhere. I’d rather say 2012 was ENSO neutral.

    + + +

    I picked that up too just from a quick skim, couldn’t believe the rubbish I was reading from 3 supposedly competent climate scientists.

    # # #

    The Hansen, Sato and Ruedy report certainly has generated some “talking points”.

  14. Andy on 17/01/2013 at 8:51 pm said:

    Off topic, but I think it is great that NZ science blogs have got off to a great start to 2013

    Perrott is droning on about deniers, as always, and Hot Tooic are conducting the usual witch hunt against Chris de Freitas

    How much of my taxpayer money goes into sponsoring this crap via SciBlogs, I ask myself?

    Is it any wonder that no self respecting young person wants to bother studying science in NZ anymore?

  15. Solar vs Anthropogenic, a 37 min video of Nir Shaviv

  16. Richard C (NZ) on 03/02/2013 at 10:37 am said:

    Condensation-driven winds: An update

    by Anastassia Makarieva, Victor Gorshkov, Douglas Sheil, Antonio Nobre, Larry Li


    In other words, all work performed by the non-condensable gases as they ascend and expand is fully spent on elevating their respective molar shares of total air mass in the gravitational field. Nothing is left to generate kinetic energy.

    By contrast, if we consider the saturated water vapor, condensation means that we have

    [Equation 2]

    That is, the work of the partial pressure gradient of water vapor greatly exceeds what is needed to overcome gravity. The main physical statement behind our new view is that this net remaining power

    [Equation 3]

    is available to generate kinetic energy and drive the Earth’s atmospheric dynamics. Roughly speaking it is the power that remains after the water vapor has “lifted itself”. The value of q represents the volume-specific power of the “motor” that drives the atmospheric circulation.


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