The “enhanced” greenhouse effect that wasn’t

Update (March 24th) at the end of this post – a kind of response from Feldman.



There was much ado recently about a new paper published in ‘Nature’ (“Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010″ by Feldman et al.) claiming to have observed a strengthening in CO2-specific “surface radiative forcing” at two sites in North America going from 2000 to the end of 2010 (a period of 11 years) of about 0.2 W/m2 per decade, and through this observation further claiming how they have shown empirically (allegedly for the first time outside the laboratory) how the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration directly and positively affects the surface energy balance, by adding more and more energy to it as “back radiation” (“downwelling longwave (infrared) radiation” (DWLWIR)), thus – by implication – leading to surface warming.

In other words, Feldman et al. claim to have obtained direct empirical evidence – from the field – of a strengthening of the “greenhouse effect”, a result, it would seem, lending considerable support to the hypothesis that our industrial emissions of CO2 and other similar gaseous substances to the atmosphere has enhanced, and is indeed enhancing still, the Earth’s atmospheric rGHE, thus causing a warming global surface – the AGW proposition.

From the abstract:

(…) we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing that is directly attributable to the increase, between 2000 and 2010, of 22 parts per million atmospheric CO2.”

And,

“These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels (…) are affecting the surface energy balance.”

So the question is: Do these results really “confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions”?

Of course they don’t. As usual, the warmists refuse to look at the whole picture, insisting rather on staying inside the tightly confined space of their own little bubble model world. Continue reading

The greenhouse effect that wasn’t (Part 2)

A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD CASE STUDY:

DOES

“THE ATMOSPHERIC RADIATIVE GREENHOUSE EFFECT”

DO WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO?

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.


THE NEGATIVE “CLOUD GREENHOUSE EFFECT”

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

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

Why ‘atmospheric radiative GH warming’ is a chimaera


Science of Doom (SoD) has apparently issued a challenge of some sort to a commenter going by the name of ‘Bryan’. This is how SoD describes Bryan:

“Bryan needs no introduction on this blog, but if we were to introduce him it would be as the fearless champion of Gerlich and Tscheuschner.”

And the challenge appears to be a return to the ‘Steel Greenhouse’, a setup that is meant to convey in the simplest possible way the basic mechanism behind ‘atmospheric radiative greenhouse warming’ of the surface of the Earth.

The challenge goes as follows: Continue reading