Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissent

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rwetmore
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Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissent

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 1:58 pm

"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 3:18 pm

This is good example of biased an inaccurate reporting from the media, but that aside - am I the only one who sees the flaw in the logic of the issue and argument as it is presented here? Sometimes I wonder if I'm in the twilight zone, as I just can't believe I'm alone in thinking this.

Clouds, including all the various types and their different effects, are one of the most dynamic and continuously varying components of the entire atmosphere. That there net effect is to substantially cool is itself the aggregate of their dynamic behavior. The way the issue is presented is more like clouds are a static steady-state variable whose behavior upon a change from the current averaged state is unknown or a big mystery.

One of the best tools in both logic and science is Occam's razor. The simplest explanation (supported by very good data) is that the net effect of clouds is to cool because the surface as a whole is less reflective to solar energy than the clouds are, so more energy is reflected away than is delayed beneath the clouds. In a warming world, if anything, there would less ice than at present - making an even larger fraction of the surface less reflective than the clouds, so if anything, the net effect of clouds would be to cool a little more in a warming world (not less as claimed).
Last edited by rwetmore on Sat May 05, 2012 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

living_stradivarius
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by living_stradivarius » Sat May 05, 2012 4:15 pm

rwetmore wrote:This is good example of biased an inaccurate reporting from the media, but that aside - am I the only one who sees the flaw in the logic of the issue and argument as it is presented here? Sometimes I wonder if I'm in the twilight zone, as I just can't believe I'm alone in thinking this.
You're not alone :D. We need more discussion on this and there just isn't enough in any forum right now.
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by jbuck919 » Sat May 05, 2012 4:29 pm

Some politicians have welcomed that message, regularly calling Dr. Lindzen and a handful of other contrarian scientists before Congressional committees. During a hearing before a House subcommittee, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican and vocal global warming skeptic, complained that “in the scientific community, there are people trying to tell us that we have got to accept draconian changes in our way of life mandated by law because the CO2 that we are emitting is going to cause drastic consequences to the planet’s climate.”
His concern for people's way of life is touching. :roll: In fact, responsible scientists and the leaders who do listen to what they have to say (as opposed to some green extremists who really think we should stop driving cars) are telling us that government is going to have to institute policies which are financially inconvenient to big business, which now largely owns the Republican Party. It is true that addressing this problem properly will affect everyone in some way, but we should be frightened of the consequences of ignoring it rather than those of dealing with it. The people who are concerned about their corporate bottom line will because of their wealth be largely unscathed by the worst case of global warming developments; the rest of us don't stand a chance.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 6:40 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:You're not alone :D. We need more discussion on this and there just isn't enough in any forum right now.
Well I'm glad I'm not alone, as basic stuff like this apparently continues to be completely and callously ignored - both in the climate science community and throughout the blogosphere. Frankly, I'm surprised more skeptics or deniers haven't thought of and/or pointed these kinds of things out.

In general, and not just in that article but in the climate debate in general, the way the issue of clouds is framed has substantial logical flaws and gaps in it. There have to be specific physical reasons why the net effect of clouds is to cool in the current climate. Some relatively simplistic physics and data combined with Occam's razor provides an answer which is very likely correct.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 7:03 pm

Moreover, if the climate science community doesn't really know why the net effect of clouds globally averaged is to cool, then what do they have ultimately? Nothing, except a guess.
Last edited by rwetmore on Sat May 05, 2012 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
Posts: 3042
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:24 pm

Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 7:51 pm

BTW, here is follow-up article which is a little better:

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/ ... stingillis

This plot below, which I've referenced before, is alone enough to show that clouds acting to further warm on incremental warming is almost certainly wrong.

http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_ca.png

It's a scatter plot of 25 years of individual satellite measurements from ISCCP (1983-2008). The green and blue dots are the averages for each 2.5 degree slice of latitude in each hemisphere.

What makes this plot and data unique is it's just the total cloud amount independent of cloud type or combination of cloud types. The inflection point around 0C is where the net effect of increasing/decreasing clouds switches from warming to cooling. The net effect at and above the current global average temperature is unambiguously to cool.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

jbuck919
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by jbuck919 » Sat May 05, 2012 8:02 pm

rwetmore wrote:[In general, and not just in that article but in the climate debate in general, the way the issue of clouds is framed has substantial logical flaws and gaps in it.
It certainly does, but not the way you mean. It is contrarian scientists like Lindzen who are defying reason in exploiting an area of uncertainty and still-open debate. (There is nothing new about renegade academicians from institutions with the highest reputation devoting their intellect to doing an end-run around science in service to some clever but bogus alternative--I'll just throw out the name of William Shockley.)

Many unpleasant things in life are less certain than death. That does not mean that our best bet is to grasp at the straw which appears, and only appears, to offer the possibility of making them go away rather than tackle the reality that they are overwhelmingly likely to happen.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

nut-job
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by nut-job » Sat May 05, 2012 8:33 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
rwetmore wrote:[In general, and not just in that article but in the climate debate in general, the way the issue of clouds is framed has substantial logical flaws and gaps in it.
It certainly does, but not the way you mean. It is contrarian scientists like Lindzen who are defying reason in exploiting an area of uncertainty and still-open debate. (There is nothing new about renegade academicians from institutions with the highest reputation devoting their intellect to doing an end-run around science in service to some clever but bogus alternative--I'll just throw out the name of William Shockley.)

Many unpleasant things in life are less certain than death. That does not mean that our best bet is to grasp at the straw which appears, and only appears, to offer the possibility of making them go away rather than tackle the reality that they are overwhelmingly likely to happen.
Didn't you get the memo, rwetmore discovered that someone who had a license as a financial planner didn't know much about financial planning, therefore climate scientists do not know much about climate. Airtight logic no?

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 9:17 pm

Here is another scatter plot from ISCCP data:

http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_wc.png

The 'water column' is the water vapor amount (or H2O density) in the atmosphere. The data unambiguously confirms that warmer temperatures result in increased water vapor in the air as frequently claimed; however, notice how as the water vapor increases the temperature increase is not equally proportional throughout the range. Above the current global average temperature (about 288K), the water vapor content increases by a much greater amount than the temperature increases.

The conventional wisdom in climate science is that water vapor acts as the primary positive feedback in response to warming because it's also a greenhouse gas. The idea behind this is warming from CO2 causes more water to evaporate, which causes more warming and so forth (i.e. positive feedback). If this is the case, then the temperature above the current global average should increase by an amount proportionally greater and greater than the water vapor amount, yet the data shows the opposite.

Now, think about the significance this in conjunction with the data in the cloud amount vs. temperature plot, and keep in mind that clouds are made up of water.

Pay very careful attention to these two plots everyone (hint, hint), as they very likely provide the answer to the fundamental question of not just the net effect of clouds themselves, but to the net feedback acting on the climate system (i.e. the combined feedback of water vapor and clouds).
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 9:37 pm

jbuck919 wrote:It certainly does, but not the way you mean. It is contrarian scientists like Lindzen who are defying reason in exploiting an area of uncertainty and still-open debate. (There is nothing new about renegade academicians from institutions with the highest reputation devoting their intellect to doing an end-run around science in service to some clever but bogus alternative--I'll just throw out the name of William Shockley.)
Yeah I know, Lindzen is an easy target. BTW, if he's really that much on the fringe, why does the opposition focus so obsessively on everything he does and says? All he really continues to argue is the evidence and logic in support of net positive feedback is extremely weak, which is hardly an extraordinary claim in general.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

jbuck919
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by jbuck919 » Sat May 05, 2012 9:55 pm

rwetmore wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:It certainly does, but not the way you mean. It is contrarian scientists like Lindzen who are defying reason in exploiting an area of uncertainty and still-open debate. (There is nothing new about renegade academicians from institutions with the highest reputation devoting their intellect to doing an end-run around science in service to some clever but bogus alternative--I'll just throw out the name of William Shockley.)
Yeah I know, Lindzen is an easy target. BTW, if he's really that much on the fringe, why does the opposition focus so obsessively on everything he does and says? All he really continues to argue is the evidence and logic in support of net positive feedback is extremely weak, which is hardly an extraordinary claim in general.
What he continues to argue is that every half-witted idea a clueless Republican comes up with in regard to this issue is (coincidentally, scientifically) correct almost to the point of requiring congratulations. Of course he has to be met with opposition, I don't know about "obsessively." It was also necessary, with reluctance I'm sure, for William Shockley to be met in debate by scholars and thinkers of the highest order to defeat his ideas which were lent artificial authority by his academic status. I think Timothy Leary tripped out before he had to deal with that, but otherwise he'd be another good example.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 10:10 pm

jbuck919 wrote:What he continues to argue is that every half-witted idea a clueless Republican comes up with in regard to this issue is (coincidentally, scientifically) correct almost to the point of requiring congratulations. Of course he has to be met with opposition, I don't know about "obsessively." It was also necessary, with reluctance I'm sure, for William Shockley to be met in debate by scholars and thinkers of the highest order to defeat his ideas which were lent artificial authority by his academic status. I think Timothy Leary tripped out before he had to deal with that, but otherwise he'd be another good example.
I thought it was the other way around - that Republicans were arguing his 'half-witted' ideas?

At any rate, Lindzen has debated many times thus far, and as best I know is perfectly willing to debate again under reasonable conditions. You might ask yourself why James Hansen refuses to ever debate anyone or even participate in an interview where any tough questions can be asked.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sat May 05, 2012 10:33 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
rwetmore wrote:[In general, and not just in that article but in the climate debate in general, the way the issue of clouds is framed has substantial logical flaws and gaps in it.
It certainly does, but not the way you mean.
Getting back to this point, yes I think it most certainly does. How can the highly dynamic net cooling effect of clouds which contributes to the maintenance of the current energy balance be arbitarily separated from the net dynamic effect of clouds acting on incremental warming? How would the physical processes driving clouds have any way of distinguising an imbalance that occurs from increased CO2 or any other varying component of the atmosphere that results in an imbalance (either globally or somewhere more locally)?

I assume you are aware that the current energy balance and resulting globally average surface temperature is extremely dynamically maintained, right? That the climate is not a static steady-state system?
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sun May 06, 2012 1:45 am

Also, there seems to be some kind of notion out there that clouds have both long-term and short-term feedbacks that are somehow different from one another. This was somewhat eluded to in the article. This makes absolute no sense at all, and I know of absolutely no physical or logical reason why this would be the case. The cloud and water vapor feedbacks are both very fast acting - on the order of hours to days for the most part. This is just yet another glaring flaw in the basic reasoning and framework of the issue.

Then there is this notion of decreased low level clouds in response to warming for positive cloud feedback (i.e. Clement et al. 2009). For this to be correct, increased water vapor from warming would have to somehow cause decreasing clouds. Does this make even the slightest physical sense being that evaporated water is the ultimate source of cloud formation? No. Can the authors explain the fundamental physics behind their conclusion? Not really. (Hint: this is good indication that their conclusion is wrong)

On a positive note, it's good that the article references the Spencer/Dessler debate, as well as provides a link to Spencer's summary of his position on the issue. I can imagine reading all of this it would be really easy for most people to get lost and have no way to accurately assess credibility. That's why it's important to try to keep the broader fundamental things in mind, as if you don't, you'll have no way of seeing the forest through the trees.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

John F
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by John F » Sun May 06, 2012 6:04 am

My brother, a top-notch scientist who retired as a vice president of Bell Labs, had this to say when he received his school's Alumni Award of Merit last Friday:
Samuel Francis wrote:If [our school's] students graduate with a sense of wonder about the natural world, and with the confident knowledge that science and the scientific method ― rather than intuition, myth, common sense, or common nonsense ― is the key to understanding that natural world, then we’re helping to create, not only the next generation of scientists, but also a scientifically literate citizenry, which is not what we have now.

What do I mean by scientific illiteracy?

The domains of science, faith, and politics exist side by side in an uneasy truce, with border skirmishes where they intersect. At the intersection of faith and science, myth trumps fact, to the eternal frustration of scientists. Evolution through natural selection is more firmly established than the theory of gravity, yet only 40% of Americans believe in evolution, and only 25% of churchgoers. To most churchgoers, evolution is an inconvenient truth, to be warded off by the artificial concept of intelligent design, un-testable and barren.

Another example: At the intersection of politics and science, wishful thinking and self-interest trump fact. Consider global warming. 97% of scientists believe in man-made global warming, compared with 70% of Democrats and 29% of Republicans. That gaping political chasm tells you that politics trumps fact. To many politicians, global warming is an inconvenient truth, conflicting with favored political goals and therefore rejected, regardless of the facts..

This is the kind of stuff that drives scientists nutty, if they let it. Why does it happen? It’s partly special pleading for favored views, of course. But it’s also partly a seductive reliance on common sense as the ultimate arbiter. Common sense is the easy way out, avoiding analysis and objective scrutiny. But in the world of natural law, common sense misleads much more often than it helps.
John Francis

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by lennygoran » Sun May 06, 2012 6:26 am

John F wrote:My brother,
Wow, great stuff here--NJ Samuel definitely trumps NJ Rwetmore! Regards, Len :) :) :)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sun May 06, 2012 9:00 am

John,

Has your brother actually done any critical research on the science of man-made global warming? The only reason I ask is because a lot of scientists have not, and more or less have just assumed the purported science to be correct (which is a reasonable thing to do, BTW).

I know over the years I've seen countless examples of scientists who intially made the same assumption only to change their minds after a more critical examination of the evidence.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:24 pm

Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sun May 06, 2012 10:21 am

lennygoran wrote:
John F wrote:My brother,
Wow, great stuff here--NJ Samuel definitely trumps NJ Rwetmore! Regards, Len :) :) :)
Come'on, Len. Give me some credit here. I believe in evolution and generally not a big fan of religion.
Last edited by rwetmore on Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
Posts: 3042
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:24 pm

Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sun May 06, 2012 6:33 pm

I would like to address a few other sections of the original article. From page 1:

"Yet in recent years, the climate change skeptics have seized on one last argument that cannot be so readily dismissed. Their theory is that clouds will save us.

They acknowledge that the human release of greenhouse gases will cause the planet to warm. But they assert that clouds — which can either warm or cool the earth, depending on the type and location — will shift in such a way as to counter much of the expected temperature rise and preserve the equable climate on which civilization depends.

Their theory exploits the greatest remaining mystery in climate science, the difficulty that researchers have had in predicting how clouds will change. The scientific majority believes that clouds will most likely have a neutral effect or will even amplify the warming, perhaps strongly, but the lack of unambiguous proof has left room for dissent."


First of all, this is not an accurate characterization. Myself and other skeptics/deniers do not feel that clouds will 'save us'. Our position is more we think that the effects and/or feedbacks of water vapor and clouds cannot be arbitrarily separated from one another and net positive feedback from the combined effects of the two cannot be supported and/or has never had a genuine physical foundation. And also that net positive feedback (let alone net positive feedback of 300% or more as claimed) is the extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary proof -- proof we think does not exist and never has.

Furthermore, the so-called 'scientific majority' does not 'believe' that clouds likely have a neutral effect (i.e. no feedback in response to warming). All of the IPCC computer models have positive cloud feedback of varying amounts, and as I've pointed out the official report states that most of the 'enhanced' positive feedback warming (about 60% on average) comes from clouds.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

nut-job
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by nut-job » Sun May 06, 2012 8:44 pm

rwetmore wrote:First of all, this is not an accurate characterization. Myself and other skeptics/deniers do not feel that clouds will 'save us'. Our position is more we think that the effects and/or feedbacks of water vapor and clouds cannot be arbitrarily separated from one another and net positive feedback from the combined effects of the two cannot be supported and/or has never had a genuine physical foundation. And also that net positive feedback (let alone net positive feedback of 300% or more as claimed) is the extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary proof -- proof we think does not exist and never has.
This is fascinating. You've added a whole new dimension to your psychosis, that the cohort of climate change deniers have a consistent consensus view, and that you speak for this consensus. I must say again, fascinating.

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sun May 06, 2012 9:04 pm

nut-job wrote:You've added a whole new dimension to your psychosis, that the cohort of climate change deniers have a consistent consensus view, and that you speak for this consensus.
Actually, no - I wouldn't say that. I just meant in broad general terms. I cannot and do not claim to represent all skeptics and/or deniers.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sun May 06, 2012 9:12 pm

BTW, instead of throwing insults, why don't you participate in the discussion? Do you think any of the points I've raised are legitimate? If not, let's hear why.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by nut-job » Sun May 06, 2012 9:24 pm

rwetmore wrote:BTW, instead of throwing insults, why don't you participate in the discussion? Do you think any of the points I've raised are legitimate? If not, let's hear why.
There is no discussion here. At times I find myself tempted to point out errors in your 'scientific' statements, but in the end I find it impossible because they are not sufficiently defined to even say what is wrong with them.

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Sun May 06, 2012 9:31 pm

nut-job wrote:There is no discussion here. At times I find myself tempted to point out errors in your 'scientific' statements, but in the end I find it impossible because they are not sufficiently defined to even say what is wrong with them.
Try me. Ask a question. Maybe I haven't explained some things accurately or clearly enough.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

nut-job
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by nut-job » Sun May 06, 2012 10:42 pm

rwetmore wrote:
nut-job wrote:There is no discussion here. At times I find myself tempted to point out errors in your 'scientific' statements, but in the end I find it impossible because they are not sufficiently defined to even say what is wrong with them.
Try me. Ask a question. Maybe I haven't explained some things accurately or clearly enough.
The problem is that you don't understand the things that you are purporting to explain, and you don't understand any of the criticisms that are made of your explanations. You are evaluating descriptions of scientific work without understanding the fundamental scientific principals involved, and you are mistaking descriptions of scientific research for the research itself. Unless you have a PhD in a relevant field and several years experience doing actual climate research you have no basis for criticizing the work of a climate scientist.

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 7:04 am

nut-job wrote:The problem is that you don't understand the things that you are purporting to explain, and you don't understand any of the criticisms that are made of your explanations.
It's awfully hard to understand criticisms that you don't lay out.
nut-job wrote:You are evaluating descriptions of scientific work without understanding the fundamental scientific principals involved
What fundamental scientific principles are you referring to?
nut-job wrote:and you are mistaking descriptions of scientific research for the research itself. Unless you have a PhD in a relevant field and several years experience doing actual climate research you have no basis for criticizing the work of a climate scientist.
This is silly. Why not? Science is not limited to only those with PhDs. Ultimately, it must stand on the evidence and logic - evidence and logic anyone should be able to analyze if he or she is willing to put in the time to evaluate it.

I think we can agree there is only one physical reality. Either the net effect of clouds on incremental warming will remain to cool or will switch to warm. Whichever it is, there has to be a physical reason why.

Rather than throwing insults and arbitrarily declaring everything I put forth as wrong, why don't you take some time to examine the evidence out there on the issue?
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by lennygoran » Mon May 07, 2012 8:08 am

rwetmore wrote: Give me some credit here. I believe in evolution and generally think religion is a scam.
Credit given! Regards, Len :)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by John F » Mon May 07, 2012 9:15 am

Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissent
Is that a promise? Because it appears that Dr. Lindzen's cloud theory isn't persuading many climate scientists, whose informed opinion is what really matters - or ought to. Lindzen has been peddling his theory to whoever will listen since 2006 at least, without affecting the huge majority of scientists - 97% at last count - who accept the existence and seriousness of man-made global warming. It appears that only those with axes to grind, mainly non-scientists, give Dr. Lindzen's theory the time of day. Bastion indeed!
John Francis

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by nut-job » Mon May 07, 2012 12:44 pm

rwetmore wrote:
nut-job wrote:The problem is that you don't understand the things that you are purporting to explain, and you don't understand any of the criticisms that are made of your explanations.
It's awfully hard to understand criticisms that you don't lay out.
nut-job wrote:You are evaluating descriptions of scientific work without understanding the fundamental scientific principals involved
What fundamental scientific principles are you referring to?
nut-job wrote:and you are mistaking descriptions of scientific research for the research itself. Unless you have a PhD in a relevant field and several years experience doing actual climate research you have no basis for criticizing the work of a climate scientist.
This is silly. Why not? Science is not limited to only those with PhDs. Ultimately, it must stand on the evidence and logic - evidence and logic anyone should be able to analyze if he or she is willing to put in the time to evaluate it.

I think we can agree there is only one physical reality. Either the net effect of clouds on incremental warming will remain to cool or will switch to warm. Whichever it is, there has to be a physical reason why.

Rather than throwing insults and arbitrarily declaring everything I put forth as wrong, why don't you take some time to examine the evidence out there on the issue?
There was a previous instance where you quoted paper by a darling of the denier blogsphere claiming to blow a hole in global warming science. I drew attention to the fact that a solid climate science researcher (a diligent researcher, not the type to seek attention) had pointed out that the equation upon which the paper was based violated conservation of energy and showed how this led to faulty results. What was your response? You more or less stated that you didn't understand the objection, and dismissed it.

At that point, I gave up on you. You don't understand how the conservation of energy applies to the atmosphere, yet you consider yourself competent to critique climate science research. The bottom line is that you have no interest in learning, only in justifying your ideology and feeding your own conceit. Your endless posts here are a manifestation of defective logic of the conspiracy theorist. The slightest inconsistency in the established theory is taken as proof that the alternate theory is right. Yet the must glaring inconsistency in the alternate theory is ignored.

I will not engage you on this nonsense about clouds. Clouds can cause cooling by reflecting incident energy from the sun and they can cause warming by reflecting radiation that would otherwise escape from the earth. Whether they provide net warming or cooling will depend on the detailed balance of these two effects. There is no simple argument which will prove it one way or the other.

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon May 07, 2012 1:38 pm

From a scientific perspective I will be always consider competing theories. As of right now, there isn't a clear refutation of Lindzen's theory, but scientists can and should discuss this outside the political arena.

From a risk-analysis perspective, obviously it makes sense to err on the side of caution in matters concerning the manipulation of nature.
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 2:46 pm

lennygoran wrote:Credit given! Regards, Len :)
Well, thank you.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by nut-job » Mon May 07, 2012 4:17 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:From a scientific perspective I will be always consider competing theories. As of right now, there isn't a clear refutation of Lindzen's theory, but scientists can and should discuss this outside the political arena.
You don't consider Dessler's work convincing?

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 4:35 pm

nut-job wrote:There was a previous instance where you quoted paper by a darling of the denier blogsphere claiming to blow a hole in global warming science. I drew attention to the fact that a solid climate science researcher (a diligent researcher, not the type to seek attention) had pointed out that the equation upon which the paper was based violated conservation of energy and showed how this led to faulty results. What was your response? You more or less stated that you didn't understand the objection, and dismissed it.
First of all, I really didn't reference the paper your referring to (S&B 2011). I'm pretty sure it was brought into the thread in some other way (I forget exacty how). Besides, I'm really not basing my views on the cloud issue from that paper anyway. Dessler was more or less shooting from the hip on the COE violation claim. If I recall, the phrase he used was 'apparent violation of COE'. If this was really as glaring a flaw as you seem to think, why even write the rest of the rebuttal paper? The jounal editor that resigned in protest didn't even mention it either if I recall. I could be mistaken, but I think Dessler and Spencer may even have come to agreement on the equation in question.
nut-job wrote:At that point, I gave up on you. You don't understand how the conservation of energy applies to the atmosphere, yet you consider yourself competent to critique climate science research.
Come'on, you can't be serious with this. I fully understand COE as it applies to the climate system really well. It's one of the easiest things to understand. Energy in = Energy out (minus geothermal energy out).
nut-job wrote:The bottom line is that you have no interest in learning, only in justifying your ideology and feeding your own conceit. Your endless posts here are a manifestation of defective logic of the conspiracy theorist. The slightest inconsistency in the established theory is taken as proof that the alternate theory is right. Yet the must glaring inconsistency in the alternate theory is ignored.
As I've said before, I don't think it's a conspiracy. You don't seem to realize or understand that some kind of grand conspiracy is not even remotely required for it to still be wrong (even totally wrong). BTW, you're the only one talking about conspiracy - I'm trying to discuss the evidence and logic surrounding the issue.
nut-job wrote:I will not engage you on this nonsense about clouds. Clouds can cause cooling by reflecting incident energy from the sun and they can cause warming by reflecting radiation that would otherwise escape from the earth. Whether they provide net warming or cooling will depend on the detailed balance of these two effects.
Yes, you're correct, but there must be a physical reason why the net effect of clouds in the current climate is to cool (by about 20 W/m^2 on global average), right? Generally, understanding why the net effect currently is to cool would be important if one is trying to figure out what the net effect will be on incremental warming, would it not? Can you at least agree with this?

Let me ask you. Do you understand what this graph below is depicting?

http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_ca.png

Maybe I didn't explain it well enough. The x axis is the surface temperature in degrees K and the y axis is the cloud covered percentage of each individual measurement's sample section. For example, if the y axis is 0.6, this means that 60% of the sampled section was cloud covered and 40% was cloudless or clear sky. The 'surface temperature' is literally just the actual surface temperature of the sample section at the time each individual measurement was taken. The 'freezing point' reference (if it isn't obvious) is just 273K (0C).

Do you see how at temperatures above about 0C the net effect of clouds on average is to cool, and below 0C the net effect of clouds is to warm? That is above 0C, the more clouds there are the cooler it is on average, and below 0C, the more clouds there are the warmer it is on average?

Do you agree that ice and snow are roughly as reflective to solar energy as clouds are? Do you agree that ice and snow generally only persists at temperatures at or below 0C? Do you agree that on global average, most of the Earth is not snow and/or ice covered? Is it just a coincidence that the net effect of clouds switches from warming to cooling at about the same point that the surface becomes less reflective than the clouds above?

Can you see the fundamental physical mechanism behind this? Above 0C, clouds are more reflective than the surface, so the net effect of clouds is to cool by reflecting more incoming energy away than is delayed beneath them (i.e. re-directed back toward the surface). Below 0C, clouds are about equally reflective to solar energy as the surface is (due to snow and ice), so the net effect of clouds is to warm by delaying more energy beneath them than is reflected away in total. Clouds on average are much more opaque to outgoing infrared radiation emitted from the surface than the clear sky is.

In a warming world, if anything, less of the surface would be snow and ice covered (not more). Hardly a case for the net effect of clouds acting to warm instead of cool on incremental global warming.
Last edited by rwetmore on Mon May 07, 2012 5:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 4:48 pm

nut-job wrote:There is no simple argument which will prove it one way or the other.
Maybe not, but in lieu of some really good evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation is most likely correct. I challenge you to find any climate researcher who can come up with a better explanation (let alone any explanation at all) than the one I outlined above for why the net effect of clouds globally averaged is to cool by about 20 W/m^2.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 4:54 pm

nut-job wrote:You don't consider Dessler's work convincing?
No, I don't.

I doubt he can even give you an explanation for why the net effect currently is to cool. He certainly doesn't offer any explanation in his paper:

http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler10b.pdf
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 6:00 pm

nut-job,

BTW, if you haven't, why don't you watch the debate between Dessler and Lindzen and tell us why you think Dessler is so right and Lindzen is wrong. I've read both of their papers and to me what Lindzen has done is far, far more sophisticated and advanced:

Lindzen and Choi 2011:

http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen ... i-2011.pdf

Debate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Sh1B-rV60
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon May 07, 2012 6:20 pm

nut-job wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote:From a scientific perspective I will be always consider competing theories. As of right now, there isn't a clear refutation of Lindzen's theory, but scientists can and should discuss this outside the political arena.
You don't consider Dessler's work convincing?
Right now the entire debate involves a cacophony of data I don't have time to wade through.
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 6:22 pm

Also, I really have nothing against Dessler. Earlier last year, I asked him a few questions via email about his paper -- all of which I felt he answered thoroughly and directly. In no way did he try to exaggerate, overstate or misrepresent anything. As I said though, he openly acknowledged that he can't explain the physical mechanism(s) behind his results and conclusion.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by nut-job » Mon May 07, 2012 9:54 pm

rwetmore wrote:Let me ask you. Do you understand what this graph below is depicting?

http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_ca.png

Maybe I didn't explain it well enough. The x axis is the surface temperature in degrees K and the y axis is the cloud covered percentage of each individual measurement's sample section. For example, if the y axis is 0.6, this means that 60% of the sampled section was cloud covered and 40% was cloudless or clear sky. The 'surface temperature' is literally just the actual surface temperature of the sample section at the time each individual measurement was taken. The 'freezing point' reference (if it isn't obvious) is just 273K (0C).

Do you see how at temperatures above about 0C the net effect of clouds on average is to cool, and below 0C the net effect of clouds is to warm? That is above 0C, the more clouds there are the cooler it is on average, and below 0C, the more clouds there are the warmer it is on average?

[...]
OK, let's take this as a case study. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the data is accurate. The graph shows that above 0 degrees C the cloud cover is higher in regions of low temperature. Your assumption that the increase in cloud cover causes lower temperature is unjustified. It could be, or it could be the other way around, that the low temperature allows clouds to accumulate (which makes physical sense because clouds will form when warm humid air is cooled). It is more likely that both cloud cover and temperature are controlled by a third variable, such as the latitude of the location where cloud cover and temperature are measured. That also makes physical sense. Clouds might typically form when warm moist tropical air invades the cooler latitudes.

Aside from that, the graph tells about the distribution of clouds and temperature as a function of position for a given state of the climate. Just because there are less clouds in the hotter regions does not prove that cloud cover would get even lower if it were hotter. If it were hotter, there might be an increase in clouds everywhere, even though there would continue to be of cloud cover in the hotter regions than the cooler regions.

Finally, your argument that clouds reflect energy and would cool applies in the daytime. It ignores the fact that in the night time there is no sunlight for clouds to reflect, and clouds definitely increase retention of heat at night. To decide which effect is stronger requires detailed calculation.

To sum up, the problem is not that you "didn't explain it well enough." The problem is what you are explaining makes no sense.

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Mon May 07, 2012 10:18 pm

nut-job wrote:OK, let's take this as a case study. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the data is accurate. The graph shows that above 0 degrees C the cloud cover is higher in regions of low temperature. Your assumption that the increase in cloud cover causes lower temperature is unjustified. It could be, or it could be the other way around, that the low temperature allows clouds to accumulate (which makes physical sense because clouds will form when warm humid air is cooled). It is more likely that both cloud cover and temperature are controlled by a third variable, such as the latitude of the location where cloud cover and temperature are measured. That also makes physical sense. Clouds might typically form when warm moist tropical air invades the cooler latitudes.

Aside from that, the graph tells about the distribution of clouds and temperature as a function of position for a given state of the climate. Just because there are less clouds in the hotter regions does not prove that cloud cover would get even lower if it were hotter. If it were hotter, there might be an increase in clouds everywhere, even though there would continue to be of cloud cover in the hotter regions than the cooler regions.

Finally, your argument that clouds reflect energy and would cool applies in the daytime. It ignores the fact that in the night time there is no sunlight for clouds to reflect, and clouds definitely increase retention of heat at night. To decide which effect is stronger requires detailed calculation.

To sum up, the problem is not that you "didn't explain it well enough." The problem is what you are explaining makes no sense.
OK, now you're thinking and we're having a conversation. Isn't this better?

But it's late and I need to call it a night, so I'll address your points tomorrow. In the meantime I suggest you continue to spend time thinking about the data in the graph. Some of your comments indicate to me that you might not quite understand what the data is a measure of.

BTW though, the 20 W/m^2 estimate of net cooling is a 24 hour global average. In other words, it includes diurnal fluctuations of solar energy.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Tue May 08, 2012 2:32 pm

nut-job wrote:OK, let's take this as a case study. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the data is accurate. The graph shows that above 0 degrees C the cloud cover is higher in regions of low temperature. Your assumption that the increase in cloud cover causes lower temperature is unjustified. It could be, or it could be the other way around, that the low temperature allows clouds to accumulate (which makes physical sense because clouds will form when warm humid air is cooled). It is more likely that both cloud cover and temperature are controlled by a third variable, such as the latitude of the location where cloud cover and temperature are measured. That also makes physical sense. Clouds might typically form when warm moist tropical air invades the cooler latitudes.

Aside from that, the graph tells about the distribution of clouds and temperature as a function of position for a given state of the climate. Just because there are less clouds in the hotter regions does not prove that cloud cover would get even lower if it were hotter. If it were hotter, there might be an increase in clouds everywhere, even though there would continue to be of cloud cover in the hotter regions than the cooler regions.
This data itself doesn't directly imply anything about causation in either direction, or even why the percentage of cloud coverage is what it is. It shows that above about 0C, the more clouds there happen to be in a particular area the cooler it is on average, and below about 0C, the more clouds there happen to be the warmer it is on average. Can we agree on this point?

Also, the data only includes the surface temperature - not the temperature of the clouds or the temperature of the air at the altitude of the clouds that might affect or influence cloud formation. I certainly agree there are a confluence of factors that contribute to the formation of clouds as well as why the average cloud coverage is what it is in a particular area, latitude or hemisphere.

What we are trying to determine here is what net effect clouds as a whole have globally on the surface temperature (i.e. the surface energy balance), right? Or more specifically, why the net effect of clouds globally is to cool by about 20 W/m^2, right?
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

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–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

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rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Tue May 08, 2012 10:18 pm

Another way of explaining this which may be easier to see and understand is as clouds increase at temperatures above about 0C, the surface temperature cools and as clouds decrease the surface temperature warms. At temperatures below about 0C on the other hand, as clouds increase, the surface temperature warms and as clouds decrease the surface temperature cools. The signature of this in the data itself is independent of why the clouds increase or decrease, though if you can grasp the somewhat counterintuitive nature of how feedback works, the direction of causation is that above 0C increasing cloud coverage causes cooling and decreasing cloud coverage causes warming.

If this is hard to see or grasp, take a look at these gain plots from the same ISCCP data set:

http://www.palisad.com/co2/plots/wbg/nh/gain.png
http://www.palisad.com/co2/plots/wbg/sh/gain.png

As the surface temperature increases, the cloud coverage increases, and as the surface temperature decreases, the cloud coverage decreases. Notice how in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the surface temperature (i.e. the 'surface out') stays well above 0C (273K = 315 W/m^2) throughout the entire year. The 'gain' in the plots is just the dimentionless ratio between the surface emitted energy and the post albedo incident solar energy (or power in W/m^2). Notice also as the temperature increases and the cloud coverage increases, the 'gain' decreases, and as the temperature decreases and the cloud coverage decreases, the 'gain' increases. As the cloud coverage increases, the decreased gain reduces or attenuates the surface temperature increase, and as the cloud coverage decreases, the increased gain reduces or attenuates the surface temperature decrease. This is negative feedback in response to a surface temperature change. If the feedback was positive, as the surface temperature and cloud coveraged increased, the gain would increase - forcing or amplifying temperatures even higher.

Can you see how this is working? That cloud coverage appears to be modulating the temperature changes? That is, overall, when clouds are increasing the surface is too warm and trying to cool, and when clouds are decreasing the surface is too cool and trying to warm.
Last edited by rwetmore on Wed May 09, 2012 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Wed May 09, 2012 10:32 am

Also - just to clarify, if the cloud feedback is positive as claimed, it doesn't mean that the overall effect of clouds will swich from cooling to warming - it just means that clouds will cool somewhat less overall on global average.

The purpose of looking at the issue from the broad perspective I've put forth is to see the big picture. Trying to understand the complex dynamics of clouds physics on a more micro and/or localized level is extremely difficult - practically impossible perhaps even, and it's really easy to get lost and be unable to see the forest through the trees.

One other thing to take note of is the dimentionless gain in those plots above quantifies the same thing and has the exact same physical meaning as how they define feedback in climate science. The average gain is how they calculate the so-called 'zero-feedback' response from a doubling of CO2. The globally averaged gain is just the absolute surface response to solar forcing or about 1.6 (288K = 390 W/m^2 and post albedo solar forcing = 240 W/m^2; 390/240 = 1.625). For warming, a response less than the absolute response indicates negative feedback and a response more than the absolute response indicates positive feedback.

As an example, let's take the sensitivity results from Lindzen's most recent paper. Right or wrong, if the result is shared with the whole earth, he's getting a global sensitivity of about 0.8C from 2xCO2, or a net negative feedback reduction of about 25% acting on the climate to temperature increases. +0.8C from S-B = 4.4 W/m^2 net increase at the surface from a 'forcing' of 3.7 W/m^2, and 4.4/3.7 = a dimentionless gain of 1.19 , which is less than the absolute solar response or 'zero-feedback' gain of 1.625 (1.1C = 6 W/m^2; 6/3.7 = 1.625). The dimentionless gain going down as the forcing and temperature goes up physically means and defines the exact same thing in regards to the net direction of the feedback and resulting temperature increase at the surface - be it net negative (less than 1.625) or net positive (greater than 1.625).

In the end, all Lindzen is really claiming is the net feedback is negative, which is completely consistent with the hemispheric gain plots and the hemispehric cloud amount vs. surface temperature plot.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Thu May 10, 2012 5:31 pm

nut-job (or anyone else),

Let me ask you. If water vapor is the primary amplfier of warming as claimed, what then is the controller? How is the planet's energy balance and average surface temperature even maintained if clouds also act as a strong amplifier of warming? Think about how incredibly dynamic and chaotic the system is - yet the globally average surface temperature barely moves by more than only a few tenths of a degree from month to month and year to year. All the dynamic chaos converges to maintain a really tightly constrained energy balance. Is this consistent with net positive feedback acting in response to warming and cooling (regional or global)? Let alone net positive feedback of 300% or more coming from the two most dynamic components of the whole atmosphere (water vapor and clouds)?

Conceptually, in your mind, does this make physical and logic sense?

Is it just a coincidence that energy from the Sun warms the oceans and ultimately drives evaporation of water out of the oceans?

Is it just a coincidence that the evaporated water condenses to forms clouds, and as the clouds form they reflect incoming solar energy?

Is it just a coincidence that clouds are more reflective to solar energy than the vast majority of the Earth's surface?

Is it just a coincidence evaporated water is ultimately removed from the atmosphere as precipitation that emanates from clouds? In particular low clouds, whose net effect is to cool rather than warm?
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
Posts: 3042
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:24 pm

Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Fri May 11, 2012 7:11 am

John F wrote:Consider global warming. 97% of scientists believe in man-made global warming,
John,

I too believe in at least some man-made global warming, as do most scientists. The question is the magnitude of the effect. There is nothing implicit in the 97% figure that they all believe in the magnitude predicted (about 3C or more per CO2 doubling).
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by lennygoran » Fri May 11, 2012 7:29 am

rwetmore wrote:nut-job (or anyone else)...
Is it just a coincidence evaporated water is ultimately removed from the atmosphere as precipitation that emanates from clouds? In particular low clouds, whose net effect is to cool rather than warm?
Without getting into all this theoretical stuff I have no time or desire to study let me ask this if I may--I saw a wonderful PBS show on water rising in Norfolk Va--people are getting flooded in some areas much more than in the past--any take on this--is it just coincidence?

Regards, Len anyone :)

"Rising tide in Norfolk, Va.
By
William Brangham
April 27, 2012

When the presidential candidates talk about the long-term economic security of the US, they often talk about the national debt, the viability of Medicare and Social Security, and the rise of China.

But there’s another issue that could have major implications for the nation’s economy, and it’s barely mentioned at all: the soaring costs America might face in generations to come from climate change. More specifically, the very damaging and very costly effects of sea level rise.

According to recent research put out by Climate Central, close to four million Americans now live in coastal communities that could see increased flooding caused by sea-level rise. The kind of flooding that was once considered extremely rare could happen more and more often, with devastating economic consequences...."

See more at
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/en ... -va/13739/

rwetmore
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by rwetmore » Fri May 11, 2012 5:58 pm

lennygoran wrote:Without getting into all this theoretical stuff I have no time or desire to study let me ask this if I may--I saw a wonderful PBS show on water rising in Norfolk Va--people are getting flooded in some areas much more than in the past--any take on this--is it just coincidence?
Many sections of the Earth's land masses are rising or subsiding due to tectonic activity, which is entirely independent of global mean sea level change. It's also the main reason why accurately measuring mean sea level change is so enormously difficult to do.

Ultimately, you would have to do some geological research on the apparent subsidience of Norfolk, VA if you really wanted to know. Even if some of the rise was due to global warming, it would be extremely difficult to establish a connection, let alone an anthropogenic connection.

Remember, even if global mean sea level was decreasing, there would still be many areas of subsidience that would be inundated.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

lennygoran
Posts: 12999
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by lennygoran » Sat May 12, 2012 4:55 am

rwetmore wrote: Even if some of the rise was due to global warming, it would be extremely difficult to establish a connection, let alone an anthropogenic connection.
But if the water is rising at an unusually higher rate than usual and there's a possibility that global warming is responsible for some of it shouldn't we try to take some action? Regards, Len

John F
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Re: Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dis

Post by John F » Sat May 12, 2012 12:16 pm

Sure - build dykes along all the seacoasts of the world, and station volunteers along the dykes to plug any leaks with their thumbs. :roll:

Oh, and don't use any government money. Leave it to private enterprise and make it voluntary. :roll: :roll:
John Francis

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