A New And Effective Climate Model

A New And Effective Climate Model“. A 5,699 word guest post by Stephen Wilde, who has falsely identified himself as a meteorologist, states that existing climate models have “no predictive skill whatever despite huge advances in processing power and the application of millions or even billions of man hours from reputable and experienced scientists over many decades“. That’ll surprise the climatologists who have been predicting things pretty well for some time now.

But he’s here to set it all right. He’s got a “serious hypothesis”! It involves talking about “Solar surface turbulence”, boiling pots and sandwiches. Backed up by newspaper article references. Groan. Looks like textbook example of the Dunning–Kruger effect.

Why is Anthony posting this goof-ball rubbish? Oh I see. This line, buried 3/4 of the way down – “The contribution of the Greenhouse effect is miniscule.

In spite of the generally credulous welcome given to this nonsense in the WUWT comments, Solar Physicist Leif Svalgaard makes this authoritative and entertaining comment, taking two sentences to address Wilde’s 5,699 words:

I think the first two points:
1: Solar surface turbulence increases causing an expansion of the Earth’s atmosphere.
2: Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation reduces, energy is lost to space faster.

are wrong, and hence the rest.
The part of the atmosphere [the thermosphere] that expands and contracts is 1 centimeter thick [if at same pressure as at the surface] and contains 1/1000,000 the number of molecules, so has no measurable effect on point 2.

16 thoughts on “A New And Effective Climate Model

  1. I figure this guy is a friend of Anthony or else Anthony is running out of stuff to post.

    I thought at first that it was a send-up of the vague attempts by people like Willis. (The post stated that it’s been mathematically proven that ‘if greenhouse gases in the air other than water vapour increase then the amount of water vapour declines’.)

    I’m not 100% certain of it’s intention, but it didn’t have the ‘satire’ tag, so it indicates Watts took it as a serious post. To their credit, not too many responders accepted his ‘theory’. It had too many holes in it for even the Watts brigade (except for the most ardent deniers who support anything that concludes that increasing CO2 is not warming the earth).

    [The best satire is always unintentional! – Ben]

  2. Thank you for drawing attention to my work. I’m content for readers to make up their own minds.

  3. Thanks for letting my comment through the moderation process.

    Perhaps I can now make a couple of further comments.

    Firstly I am not a ‘friend’ of Anthony Watts so my article was selected on merit.

    Secondly Leif Svalgaard is godlike as regards solar issues but not quite so authoritative as regards the Earth’s response to solar forcing. For the sake of fairness you really should have set out my reply as follows:

    “I agree that not only does the atmospheric height increase when the sun is active but also the tropopause rises during a warming spell and falls during a cooling spell. As Leif has said previously if it were down to an increase in TSI then the height at which radiative balance occurred would fall not rise hence my observation that what is effecting the changes in height is solar activity levels combined with the rate of energy release by the oceans and not raw solar power output.

    The same applies to all the other layer boundaries so the surface area at every boundary is variable and that must affect rates of energy transfer upwards as per my model. Leif is fixated on the thermosphere which rather misses the point in my opinion.

    The contentious issue is whether a portion of the rises and falls can be attributed to solar activity changes as well as changes in the rate of energy release by the oceans. That is where I disagree with Leif at present.

    The oceanic effect is always dominant but the fact is that on 500 year timescales (not necessarily on shorter time scales due to interference from lesser cycles and chaotic variability) the sun is less active as per the Maunder Minimum and at the same the oceans were independently releasing energy at a low rate. During the Maunder Minimum the jets were well equatorward compared to now as was the ITCZ and I have difficulty accepting that there was not a strongly negative AO at the same time. If there were a strong AO in the depths of the LIA then the weak solar activity causing the atmosphere to contract and intensify the polar high pressure cells would be a more likely explanation than saying the cooler ocean surfaces alone had that effect.

    After all if the ocean surfaces were cool then less energy was going up into the air to feed those high pressure cells. The solar quietude must be a candidate for intensifying those high pressure cells and pushing the jets equatorward at the time of weak oceanic opposition.

    Anyway that is my rationale for questioning Leif’s assertions despite his undoubted superiority in the field of solar studies.

    [The “merit” by which Anthony Watts selects topics has literally nothing to do with true scientific utility. I’m not an atmospheric physicist so I can’t effectively critique your proposal, but my reading is that the effects you are proposing as serious influences are in reality inconsequentially small. – Ben]

  4. Thanks for your comment Ben.

    Whether the effects I propose are inconsequentially small or not remains to be seen. Whether or not the effect proposed by me is inconsequentially small I am happy to consider alternatives.

    The whole point of my top down climate model is that it accords with observations. The mechanisms by which the real world arrives at such observed phenomena is wide open for discussion and if you or anyone else knows better then if shown to be true your or their explanations can be incorporated into my model.

    [“Remains to be seen” is right. It’s not for us to shoot down, it’s for you to prove. Otherwise it’s no better than the Pirate theory of global warming… – Ben]

    There is a problem for the CO2 point of view that the observed phenomena do not fit the anthropogenic warming scenario. In particular the lack of statistically significant warming since 1995 as admitted by Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit needs explanation. [Puh-leese! Please don’t expect to be taken seriously if you parrot this kind of mendacious statistical nonsense. – Ben]

    My scenario explains it by attributing the overwhelming climate driving force to a combination of solar and oceanic cycles with the speed of the hydrological cycle adjusting to remove any climate effect from changes in the air alone (such as more CO2).

    I’m open to well supported alternative explanations but so far they have not been forthcoming. [If you exclude the last 100 years of scientific climatology. – Ben]

    I appreciate the opportunity to comment here.

  5. Sorry, Mr. Wilde, but someone who makes the comment “density per unit volume” is really really difficult to take seriously or to have any credibility.

    Too bad you’re far too late to contribute to CMIP5. That would have been, uhhhh, *interesting*.

  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm

    The burden is on the proponent of a theory to do the proving. That means you and Dr. Jones.

    [Aren’t you the one with the paradigm shattering new theory? The source and purpose of the questions asked in your link have been discussed thoroughly elsewhere and are fundamentally inconsequential. – Ben]

  7. And the problem with ‘density per unit volume is ?

    [I’m going to take a wild guess and say that density is derived from volume. – Ben]

  8. Density per unit volume distinguishes between the density within a specific unit of volume of atmosphere which varies and the total atmospheric density which is the same however much the atmosphere expands and contracts.

    I don’t see my work as a paradigm shattering new theory. It is simply a list of events that are seen to occur and a linking narrative setting out my current best guess as to how it might all fit together.

    The top down observation driven approach has a number of advantages over the data driven computer approach and it will assist if taken seriously since it can be amended as necessary as long as it still fits the observations.

    There is even room in it for the CO2 theory but first you need to observationally demonstrate any CO2 effect seperate from natural effects.

    The established science about CO2 only concerns the trite observation that a CO2 molecule holds more energy than Oxygen and Nitrogen molecules. There is no evidence that that translates to a measurable climate effect after accounting for natural internal system variability.

      • I suggest you investigate the difference between absolute density and total density.

        [You might have better luck making your case if you avoid cryptic statements like this. – Ben]

  9. Density is defined as “mass per unit volume”. What is “absolute density”, and what is “total density”?

    Which of either mass or volume (or both) changes such that these two kinds of density are different?

    Wouldn’t a change in one or the other (or both) merely change the density itself, and thus there’s no need for an arbitrary distinction?

    It’s still unclear to me what mass per unit volume per unit volume means.

    [I’ve been scratching my head over his apparently subtle distinction… The only thing I can come up with is maybe he’s differentiating between the density of a volume and the density of the substance occupying the volume, which may not fully occupy that volume. Kind of like the density of sandstone vs the density of the actual quartz grains making up a chunk of sandstone. But that’s really bending over backwards. – Ben ]

    • That’s close enough Ben.

      Obviously in usual parlance absolute density (or often just density) is a function of the number of molecules and their masses in a given volume.

      Hence density per unit volume which means just that. That will vary if an atmosphere expands or contracts.

      However we often hear talk of the total density of a planetary atmosphere which is used to compare the total number of molecules and their masses from one planet to another. That obviously does not change if the atmosphere expands or contracts.

      My formulation was simply intended to distinguish which aspect I was discussing.

      [Inventing your own amateur terminology is frankly another scientific red flag. Perhaps you should re-express yourself in terms of something like partial pressures. Aren’t the climate implications of your theory based on atmospheric expansion? I think you’re correct that the number of molecules doesn’t change with a postulated expansion, but the result would be that the physical or chemical conditions would also be virtually unchanged. – Ben]

      • Changing the volume of the atmosphere merely means that the density is changing – no need to introduce odd concepts like “kg m-6”.

  10. Changing the volume of the atmosphere changes the density of individual units of volume but not the total density. If you do wider reading you will find the distinction to be in general if not frequent usage. [Two examples, please. – Ben]

    It is my habit to express myself as clearly as possible for ordinary readers. Introducing the concept of partial pressures would add nothing. [This sounds like an admission that your “theory” isn’t intended for experts, but for readers that are unable to usefully assess it. – Ben]

    We all have our own styles and should not be discredited because they differ.

    In my article and in my replies to Leif Svalgaard I and others make it clear that a three dimensional expansion of an atmosphere and/or increased turbulence at layer boundaries might well affect the rate of upward energy transfer.

    The fact is that variations in the rates of upward energy transfer are actually observed because the layers of the atmosphere never vary their temperatures in parallel. If you have a better explanation for that then lets hear it. [Neither one of us has any a credibility as an atmospheric scientist, so it’s not a game we should be playing. – Ben]

    The CO2 theory doesn’t work because that proposes a warming troposphere with a cooling stratosphere yet since the sun started getting weaker in the mid 90s the stratosphere has stopped cooling and has warmed a little. [The “weakening” of the sun amounts to a variation of less than 0.1% – Ben]

    • For ‘getting weaker’ I should have said ‘becoming less active’.

      Saying that we should all rely uncritically on professional scientists is naive and dangerous. We should always ask questions.

      It is arrogant and snobbish to assume that ordinary readers are unable to usefully assess a proposition.

      For examples just use google to find your own. I had no difficulty and I’m not going to repeat the exercise.

      [The arrogance lies in claiming a superior climate theory with only a limited understanding of the related physical sciences. – Ben]

  11. Pingback: Stephen Wilde « the Climate Denier List

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