I don’t get ‘the gravito-thermal effect’

Lately there’s been a bit of back-and-forth discussion going on on the so-called ‘Gravito-Thermal Effect’ (GTE) at a few notable climate blogs, like The Hockey Schtick, Tallbloke’s Talkshop, Clive Best and even Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. (in fact, this is where the lengthiest discussion thread on the subject is to be found).

To me the whole thing appears to arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of the adiabatic process (see the end of the post).

Something called the ‘Loschmidt Effect’, after a proposal in the 1870s by the Austrian scientist Josef Loschmidt, seems to lie at the heart of the GTE argument. Tallbloke brought it out from relative obscurity in a post in early 2012. A quote from a textbook describes the proposed effect as follows: Continue reading

The greenhouse effect that wasn’t (Part 2)





First, what is the rGHE supposed to do?

It is supposed to make the surface below a radiatively active atmosphere warmer than if this particular kind of atmosphere weren’t there. By extension, one could claim – and this is after all what the ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis’ is all about – that the stronger the rGHE, the stronger its warming effect.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, this is a prediction that should be possible to test. Or else, what good is it?

Again, what is the strictest definition of the rGHE? What is its ‘surface warming mechanism’ supposed to be, in the simplest of terms? We went through this in Part 1, where what was defined as the “greenhouse effect” of clouds was overwhelmed by their opposing “albedo effect”, leading to an overall – net – cooling effect.

It is found simply and solely in the reduction in outgoing radiative (LWIR) flux from the surface to the top of the atmosphere (ToA) – the surface flux minus the ToA flux. (The surface flux is calculated directly from the surface temperature (based on a blackbody assumption, through the Stefan-Boltzmann equation), while the ToA flux is rather estimated from actual measurements made by satellite-borne instruments.)

The prediction, then, would go as follows: Continue reading

The greenhouse effect that wasn’t (Part 1)

This turned out to be a longer post (the first of two) than what I had originally planned. The actual presentation and analysis of data starts only about halfway through. If you don’t much care for my ranting about how ‘the climate establishment’ deliberately employ specious arguments and methods to try and make us believe and perceive that clouds somehow massively warm the Earth even when they’re not, then please feel free to scroll past the first three or four sections.


Yes, we have all experienced how clouds covering the sky on a sunny day will tend to cool things down. Heck, shade or sunshine, which is hotter? Likewise, I think most of us can attest to the experience of how a cloudy night will be milder than a clear one.

These two different ‘cloud effects’ work in opposite directions. During the day, the heat comes in from the Sun: Qin. If you then pull a blanket or something similar between you and the heat source, you will (hopefully) avoid being overheated. People living in deserts know all about this principle. They wear their long, loose, bright garments not to stay warm, but in order to stay cool. Note, there is also heat going out (from the surface) during the day (Qout) – a direct consequence of the original solar heat input. But in most cases, this is totally overwhelmed by the incoming solar heat, so much so that it’s normally forgotten about, unless you happen to step onto a hot pavement or sand. Since the outgoing heat is also very much dependent on the original solar heating, reducing Qin during the day would also necessarily reduce Qout.

During the night, there is no more heat coming in from the Sun. There is only the heat going out, at this point from excess solar energy having accumulated during the day. So the surface is no longer being heated. Its temperature is dropping. It loses energy (as heat). Cooling. It cools directly to space, but also substantially to the air/atmosphere above it, which then in turn cools to space from higher up on its behalf, so to say. What happens if we now pull a blanket over the scene? Well, the remaining heat source, the ground, is now obstructed from direct access to its ultimate cold reservoir, space. The heat being expelled is to a much lesser degree able to go straight to the outer, icy cold heat sink, it goes rather to the more warmish layer in between. Reducing the overall gradient, thus reducing the cooling rate. People living in cold places know all about this principle. They wear thick, heavy, fluffy clothes in multiple layers, not to stay cool, but to stay warm.

The wonders of insulation! It works both ways. You only need to figure out where the principal heat is coming from.

OK, so this should be our starting point: Clouds exert both an indirect ‘cooling’ and an indirect ‘warming’ influence on surface temperatures. They take away from the solar input during the day (>Qin), and they reduce the ground’s cooling rate during the night (>Qout).

So which of these contrary ‘cloud effects’ is stronger?

Well, the heading above should give you an inkling of sorts. But I fear we will have to wind our way forward a bit before reaching final enlightenment.

First we need to revisit an old friend. Yes, that old friend … Continue reading

What of “The Pause”?

I have previously shown how global temperatures rose in three distinct and abrupt steps from the 70s to the 00s – one in 1979, one in 1988 and one in 1998 – and at all other times, not at all. These three steps occurred relative to the SSTa curve of the NINO3.4 region in the equatorial zone of the central-eastern part of the Pacific Ocean. Before, between and after the three steps, global temperatures appear simply obediently to follow NINO3.4 without any sign of a continued slow, but steady upward drawing away as if from a ‘steady rising background forcing':

Warming steps

Figure 1.

My opinion on the much talked about “Pause” or “Hiatus” in ‘global warming’ still said to be going on (the considerable final, level stretch of the upper blue curve in Figure 1), is thus naturally coloured by this understanding of how global temperatures normally progress through time, as exemplified by the period from 1970 till today.

Within this perspective, the “Pause” is but one of many temperature ‘plateaus’ between sudden steps up or down (the last time it went down was back in 1964, before the ‘modern warming’). The relevant questions are: When did the last step occur? When will the next one take place? And will it go up? Or down?

At the present time, I would still maintain that the last well-established step in global temperatures happened in 1998, following directly in the wake of the mighty 1997/98 El Niño. Simply because not enough time has passed to be able to say anything for certain about more recent events.

But there are definitely a couple of things at work today that deserve some close attention. Continue reading

The Great Magical ‘Greenhouse Effect’ Self-Amplifying Loop

Anyone with even a slight interest in the whole climate issue thing should be familiar with the iconic ‘Earth energy budget diagrams’ allegedly quantifying – by accounting for the various energy transfer fluxes to, from and within the Earth system – the so-called “atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect” (rGHE) and how it forces the global surface of our planet into a mean steady state temperature much higher than at a pure solar radiative equilibrium. The prototype of these diagrams appeared in the Kiehl and Trenberth 1997 paper (K&T97) “Earth’s annual global mean energy budget” (Figure 1), apparently already there setting the gold standard for compiling these budgets, for its successors have all essentially been showing the same thing, with only minor modifications to the original.

Figure 1.

At first glance, the diagram might seem a bit confusing. What are we actually looking at here? What are we looking for? How to make any sense of it all? How to extract its core substance, its central message to the world? Robert A. Rohde of ‘Global Warming Art’ attempted to present the gist of the K&T97 Earth energy budget diagram like this:

Figure 2.

You will notice how, in Rohde’s rendition of the K&T97 budget, the energy being continuously supplied to the surface from the Sun appears to be completely disconnected from the energy later going out from the surface. 168 W/m2 come in, but 492 (!!!) W/m2 go out. And by all means, you will find that same peculiar decoupled relation in the original diagram too, even though it might be a bit harder to immediately hone in on. Continue reading

The pressing need for ever-upward temperature adjustments … A matter of life or death to the AGW hype.

In July I wrote a blog post where a strange and very conspicuous step change indeed in global mean temps relative to the trended AMO (North Atlantic SSTa), occurring across the 8-year period of 1963-70, was pointed out:


Animation 1.

As you can clearly see, the two curves generally follow each other in remarkable style all the way from 1860 till today, except for the relatively sudden and substantial global upward shift taking place across the last half of the 60s, being firmly established by the end of 1970. After this point, the curves are back to tracking each other to an equally impressive degree as before the shift, only now with the global raised 0.25 degrees above the North Atlantic.

So why this step change? How did it occur? Continue reading

A case to prove a point: The claims of major (ongoing) Antarctic Peninsula warming

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

H.L. Mencken (1918)

It is chronically advanced by the members and fans of the climate establishment as an ostensibly documented (and hence undeniable) Truth – one of many such ‘Truths’ typically laid down as premises considered facts in argument by the warmists, one of many cornerstones of the ongoing promotional campaign for their ‘CO2 global warming hobgoblin':

‘The Antarctic Peninsula endures some of the highest warming rates of any region of the world, warming several times (three, at least) as fast as the globe at large. Major events such as the breaking apart of the Larsen A and B ice shelves in 1995 and 2002 respectively are clear indicators of this calamitous warming.’

From wikipedia:

“(…) the Larsen Ice Shelf is a series of three shelves that occupy (or occupied) distinct embayments along the [eastern] coast [of the Antarctic Peninsula]. From north to south, the three segments are called Larsen A (the smallest), Larsen B, and Larsen C (the largest) by researchers who work in the area. The Larsen A ice shelf disintegrated in January 1995. The Larsen B ice shelf disintegrated in February 2002. The Larsen C ice shelf appeared to be stable in 2008, though scientists predict that, if localized warming continues at its current rate, the shelf could disintegrate at some point within the foreseeable future.

The Larsen disintegration events were unusual by past standards. Typically, ice shelves lose mass by iceberg calving and by melting at their upper and lower surfaces. The disintegration events are linked to the ongoing climate warming in the Antarctic Peninsula, about 0.5 °C per decade since the late 1940s, which is a consequence of localized warming of the Antarctic peninsula. This localized warming is caused by anthropogenic global warming, according to some scientists through strengthening of the winds circling the Antarctic.

(My emphasis.)

Such statements clearly indicate a continuing warming going on. Continue reading