A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

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The Models Don't Have Clouds

(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic guide)

This article has moved to ScienceBlogs

It has also been updated and this page is still here only to preserve the original comment thread. Please visit A Few Things Ill Considered there. You may also like to view Painting With Water, Coby Beck's original fine art photography.

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17 Comments:

  • At April 09, 2006 2:56 PM, Blogger Wag the Dog said…

    The earliest criticism of global climate models failing to consider cloud processes, that I can find so far, is from Professor Richard Lindzen in 2001, who explained how a heat vent may cool the planet by as much as two thirds of the projected global warming. Not sure what became of attempts to determine whether the "heat vent" effect was global. Prof. Lindzen believes climate sensitivity to doubling of CO2 is at 0.5 deg C -- much lower than the 1.5 deg C minimum (3 deg C average) that many other climate researchers now accept.

    You might be interested in recent attempts to narrow the uncertainty inherent in cloud modelling through distributed climate simulation where each computer in the network computes a simulation with a different set of cloud modelling parameters. This approach allows one to establish a definite range of climate sensitivities covering the wide variety of cloud/convection scenarios that may happen in the future. One result of running over 60,000 different simulations found that temperatures could rise between 2 to 11 degrees C over the next 100 years. Distributed simulation experiments are ongoing and you can enlist your computer right now at climateprediction.NET.

     
  • At April 09, 2006 3:15 PM, Blogger Wag the Dog said…

    Addenda to my previous comment:

    "Heat vent" is the wrong search term.

    Professor Lindzen's hypothesis is termed the iris effect -- that the Earth possessed an adaptive infrared iris that regulated temperature through a strong negative feedback. Little evidence has been found so far that shows the iris effect working on a global scale. Regional effects seem to be limited to tropical areas.

     
  • At April 09, 2006 4:06 PM, Blogger coby said…

    I think another mark against the Iris hypothesis is the existence of the glacial cycles. Why was this effect not regulating the climate then?

    I recall that study that had such a high high-range figure, but did not know it was about cloud parameters, thanks.

     
  • At April 11, 2006 8:25 AM, Anonymous Peter K Anderson aka Hartlod(tm) said…

    There is much invention of imposing labels within 'climate science', but the underlaying issue with these models is that the materials properties invoked are NOT those presented by the actual and present materials.

    Peter K Anderson aka Hartlod(tm)
    hartlod@bigpond.com

     
  • At April 11, 2006 3:15 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Given the success of hindcasts, and the fulfilled predictions from GISS in 1988, I'd say they seem to know what they are doing.

     
  • At April 16, 2006 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where has anyone claimed that "The Models Don't Have Clouds"?

    Link please.

    nanny_govt_sucks

     
  • At April 16, 2006 1:22 PM, Blogger coby said…

    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.environment/msg/2c1f370c9f67ce8b

    http://xtronics.com/reference/globalwarming.htm

    Granted it is more common to say that they are very badly modeled or their predicted effects are worng or some such. But people do make these stupid caims, sorry.

     
  • At May 29, 2006 11:13 PM, Blogger Peter K. Anderson said…

    A 'heat vent' concept? Double CO2, it will not produce any real warming effect still. There is more than 'uncertainty' that needs 'review' in the 'greenhouse' involved 'climate modeling' belief system.

    Consider that the gravitational stratification of the gas of the Atmosphere, by reduction in mass density, hinders the conduction of kinetic energy (KE) outwards. Gravity is also opposed to outward convective motion of mass, limiting convective actions within their vertical velocities.

    Interestingly this same reduction in density allows more easily the further outward motion of Photons as they attain increases in altitude, but Photons have no kinetic potential and do not represent the kinetic energy of the atmosphere that is measurable as temperature. Thus the escape of a Photon is NOT the loss of 'heat' nor is the retention of a Photon the retention of 'heat'.

    The confusion presented by clouds, so often repeated, is related to turbulence, and the situation that KE within the processes of turbulence is not measurable as Temperature. However when turbulence subsides, the reduction allows the now uninvolved KE to become discernable as 'heat' and measurable as Temperature.

    To notice the flaws in regarding humanistic time frames, as one example of paucity within 'greenhouse science', see the outline "Glaciers Reborn" (one of two only so far) within the link:-
    http://hartlod.blogspot.com/ (*)

    It is not only 'geological history' that is unsupportive of 'greenhouse' concepts, CO2 and those other materials involved in their actual behaviors do not support the 'greenhouse behavior' that the 'greenhouse theory' foists upon them.

    There is no point in any 'wow-gee' computing hardware or configuration when the basic computations are so far removed from both reality and SCIENCE. There is very little reason to give support to a consideration that 'they know what they are doing' in any reality attached to the one we exist within.

    Your's,
    Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com

     
  • At November 06, 2006 3:06 PM, Anonymous jb said…

    Personally, I suspect that "The models don't include clouds" is shorthand for "The models admittedly don't have a good idea of what is going to happen with cloud cover."


    The ultimate contribution to global temperature trends is very uncertain, but likely to be positive over the coming century.

    Given that you admittedly don't know what's going on with clouds, how can you make this claim? Where's the data?

     
  • At November 06, 2006 5:49 PM, Blogger coby said…

    To make a more interesting article, I did mostly discuss the objection that cloauds are a source of a great deal of uncertainty, but the objection in the title is not my fabrication,
    http://xtronics.com/reference/globalwarming.htm for example.

    Acknowledging uncertainty is not equivalent to saying nobody know a thing. One good bit of evidence is the climate's response to forcings in the past. If you follow up with the link to the TAR I am sure you will find the relevant research cited therein.

     
  • At February 02, 2007 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Clouds are a big negative feedback, since all Global Warmist solely involves surface temperature. Those thermometers at airports.

    To Global Warmists, the earth exists on a slim sliver of air at ground level, in cities, a tiny fraction of the Troposphere.

    So yup, Clouds a big negative feedback. Yup, indubidoubly. Indeed Watson.

     
  • At February 02, 2007 6:05 PM, Blogger coby said…

    So, let's see if I've got this straight: people don't live in the clouds therefore clouds are a big negative feed back. Rrriiight...

    BTW, have you never noticed how cloudy nights are much warmer in general than clear nights? That is a positive feedback of increased coudiness.

     
  • At February 20, 2007 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    BTW, have you never noticed how cloudy nights are much warmer in general than clear nights? That is a positive feedback of increased coudiness.

    ___________________________

    Look, now the global warmist is saying that clouds have an overall positive feedback.

    To the Global Warmists, earth is like a nuclear bomb, all feedbacks are positive and act as a chain reaction.

    The earth would have destroyed itself a long time ago, if Global Warmists were God.

     
  • At February 21, 2008 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    BTW, have you never noticed how cloudy nights are much warmer in general than clear nights? That is a positive feedback of increased coudiness.

    Yes it can be a few degrees warmer, but surface temperatures can be as much as several tens of degrees warmer on a clear day than when it's overcast. This strongly suggests that the feedback from clouds is more negative than positive.
    Oh and, while the water vapour content of air may be dependent on temperature, cloud cover certainly isn't

     
  • At June 01, 2008 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes it can be a few degrees warmer, but surface temperatures can be as much as several tens of degrees warmer on a clear day than when it's overcast. This strongly suggests that the feedback from clouds is more negative than positive.

    All this does is point out the obvious. If the incoming radiation is impeded by cloud cover, then the surface won't be as hot. When the sun goes down (coby's point), cloud cover traps heat welling up from the ground.

    In tropical areas, temperatures of 30C (say) can retain almost all the heat on cloudy nights. In desert areas, days of 30C can drop to zero with little water vapour after nightfall. This would suggest that cloudiness has a positive warming effect.

    But I would not make the mistake of assuming either on such simple approaches.

    Radiation budgets account for increased albedo (reflection of solar rays) and increased trapping of upwelling infrared radiation. Models calculate processes during the day and night As the blog owner says, there is much uncertainty. The 2007 IPCC summary does not include cloud cover as a radiative forcing for upwelling infrared, only as an abledo effect for downwelling solar radiation. Clouds have the strongest negative effect on the atmospheric heat budget of all the atmospheric components listed there.

    Oh and, while the water vapour content of air may be dependent on temperature, cloud cover certainly isn't

    No, not entirely, but increased water vapour is the main contributors to cloud formation, and, as you almost point out, increased temperature increases water vapour in the atmosphere.

    Also to consider is that clouds carry other particles - aerosols etc.

    It's worth checking out the IPCC commentary on clouds, where what is known and unknown is iterated.

     
  • At June 01, 2008 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is an ok place to start learning about clouds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud

     
  • At July 11, 2008 11:12 PM, Blogger yezi said…

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