Cloud feedbacks

When I try to model cloud feedbacks, I start getting some startling figures with likely warming for a doubling of CO2 is as low as 0.1-0.2C. Clearly this is the reason they “can’t” model clouds – because this whole scam falls apart.
Note :all figures unless otherwise stated are in W/m-2
As you will see from previous articles:

I’ve been looking at the greenhouse effect and have moved onto the Trenberth climate model:

Typical climate model as shown on many alarmist websites.

Typical climate model as shown on many alarmist websites.

Mainly from a view of modelling the “greenhouse effect”, but I’ve also been trying to understand those white fluffy things. It’s quite strange that “clouds” are shown in three separate places:

  1. Left: As reflecting 28% of incoming radiation (77)
  2. Middle: As being caused by H20 evaporation (centre “latent heat” 78) .The main heat flow compared to thermals 24
  3. Right: The infra-red car crash of figures. (40 + 350-324 etc.)

The Infra-red right hand car crash
The figure on the right imply that 350 out of 390 or 89% of surface IR radiation is stopped by the atmosphere leaving 40 to continue. But then supposedly the same IR radiation leaving this area has to be distinguished between sources from clouds (30) and atmospheric (165). There is something wholly unphysical about this. If this “thing” on the right stops 89% of IR coming, then it is solid enough to emit 89% of what goes out. Moreover if it emits 324 “backradiation”, then it will also emit 324 “Forward radiation”.
So, let’s assume this is a gas, we know it absorbs 89% of radiation from below leaving 11% to continue through. So, the emissivity is 0.89. We know that it emits 324 down, so based on Stephan Bolzman the temperature is (324/0.89σ)0.25 = 282K (9.5C) which if average surface temperature is 15k and adiabatic lapse is 6.5k/km is just under 1km high (cloud level?).
Now using the same assumption of emissivity, the outgoing radiation is 165+30 which this time comes to 248.8K or -24.2C or 6km. So this “thing” on the right drops the radiative temperature from 9.5C to -24.2C or 33.7C … which magically happens to be the same as the “greenhouse effect” of the earth.

Perhaps its a skydragon?

But clouds dramatically affect “backradiation”
Go out two nights – one with cloud and one without – and the difference is very obvious. Cloudy nights are a lot warmer than cloudless ones. Using a cheap IR thermometer, and pointing it at clouds and clear sky, I got around 6C pointed at clouds and around -40C at the clear sky (it didn’t read lower than -40C). At this time of year in Scotland, cloudless means frosts: so less than zero, and cloudy means 5-8C, so around 7C warmer. That suggests radiation levels of 310 and 280 respectively or around 30 difference in energy flow per square meter. Where is this cloud “backradiation” in the diagram above?
What’s this 67 “absorbed into atmosphere”
So, now I’m considering clouds, what is this “67” that comes off the downward energy flow from sunlight of the left?
Conceptual model
It appears to me this model is attempting to split the energy flows into:

  1. Left (visible)
  2. Middle (convection)
  3. Right: IR

But in reality there appears to be a 33C drop within the right which must in some way be an adiabatic drop in temperature which in turn needs a convection flow to sustain it. (If there’s no flow, eventually the temperature would equalise out).
So in reality the diagram should be partitioned:

  1. Left (visible)
  2. Right (IR)

And if so, this 67 appears to me to belong in the right hand side and effectively represents IR radiation from the sun which is captured by the atmosphere. And furthermore, if 40 out of the 390 of IR from the surface passes straight through the “thing” on the right then the same fraction of this downgoing IR from the sun must pass straight through and so the total downgoing IR must be about 75 of which 67 is captured and 8 passes to the ground.
IR Feedbacks
Something like 90% of all the radiation from the ground is already stopped leaving 40 left available for additional IR active gases. Let’s take a wild guess (based on seeing spectra) that CO2 is active in 10% of all IR bands. That suggests massive increases in CO2 might cause an addition 4 increase in “captured radiation”. Let’s assume this were to happen and this is called “catastrophic doomsday alarmists were right sceptics are deniers – warming“.
Visible Feedbacks
Now notice that figure of 77 “reflected from clouds”. Let us assume that the additional warming causes a modest 10% increase in convection currents and that causes a 10% increase in clouds. So, that 77 increases by 7.7 to 84.7 reflected.  So “catastrophic doomsday alarmists were right sceptics are deniers – warming” has suddenly disappeared by a few extra of those fluffy things.
What I’m saying is that even a very modest change in convection and increase in water to the atmosphere complete nullifies even the worst possible scenario of CO2 warming.
Let’s try to quantify this feedback
At 10C air holds 7.8 grams of water per KG
At 15C air holds 10 grams of water per KG.
At 20C air holds 15 grams of water per KG.
So, the holding capacity rises about 0.72gram/KG per degree rise in temperature  around 15C which is 7.2%/degree
Assuming that all condenses out as cloud, that equates to a 7.2% increase in cloud which reduces incoming solar radiation by 7.2% of 77 or 5.5W/m2
According to Connolley-paedia the radiative “imbalance” from CO2 is 0.58 ± 0.15 W/m².
Therefore, we can simply work back from the cloud feedback mechanism from this connolley figure back to work out how much the surface temperature would need to rise for the additional cloud to exactly offset connolley’s “catastrophic doomsday alarmists were right sceptics are deniers – warming”.

And that is 0.58 / 5.5 = 0.1054 C

Another myth busted!

Oh *@#$!!

That figure is so so so much larger than this “catastrophic doomsday alarmists were right sceptics are deniers – warming”, that it seems pointless to even add the “but it might be a bit lower as the cloud would not be evenly spread”.

That figure is 1/30 of the IPCC estimate. In other words rather than positive feedbacks of 5x the direct CO2 warming effect (Harde), the cloud feedback mechanism inherent in these alarmist climate models, the climate seems to have an inherent  negative feedback reducing the 0.6C warming down to 1/6.

That means that even a minuscule change in cloud cover massively completely annihilates the total alarmist claptrap about CO2. Which means, if we should be concerned about anything, it’s cosmic radiation on clouds and e.g. stuffing contrails in the air that warm the world by around up to 1C (as shown by the drop in temperature when planes were grounded after 911).

The missing figure

This is why I’m now searching for a way to model the change in IR radiation between cloud and cloudless skies. Unless the climate academics are totally incompetent (which one can’t just assume), the figures of IR from the ground should be an average.

Based on my figure of 30 between cloud/cloudless skies. And if the reflectance is 30% – this suggests equivalent of 30% cloud (ish). Then splitting the 30 1:3 (because engineers do things like that) … we get 20 warming during the 1/3 of skies with clouds and 10 cooling during the 2/3 cloudless skies.

A 10% increase in cloud would cause around 10% of 30 warming increase in energy retained or about 3 which is less than half the cooling effect of increased solar blocking of 7.7 for a 10% increase in clouds.

That would suggest connolley’s “catastrophic doomsday alarmists were right sceptics are deniers – warming” would cause around 0.2C warming. Oh my … that is really frightening! It might mean that we all have to spend a lot more money buying much more sensitive thermometers so that we can see the rise in temperature so we can be frightened!

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6 Responses to Cloud feedbacks

  1. Pingback: Simplified atmospheric model | Scottish Sceptic

  2. Robert G Shaw says:

    I think you are about right
    I have come to the same answer by a different route
    There is no doubt that the total water feedbacks are negative and we will only get another 0.2 degrees of warming for a doubling of the atmospheric co2 ppmv. According BP statistical review that is about when the world exhausts its reserves of fossil fuel. So we do not have to worry about global warming but fossil fuel exhaustion will stretch our ingenuity!
    Rob Shaw

  3. So I went to Wiki for GHG theory basics.
    1,366 W/m2 at the outer atmosphere.
    235 W/m2 at the surface.
    “However, recent measurements indicate that the Earth is presently absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 W/m2 more than it emits into space (Hansen et al. 2005).”
    Imbalance of .85 W/m2 +/- .15 W/m2 (That’s +/- 17% uncertainty for crying out loud.) attributed to man.
    .85 is .36 %! of the 235, 0.062%! of the 1,366. 0.85 is nothing but noise in the data!!!!
    0.85 watts is 2.89 Btu/h. That much heat could be absorbed by raising the RH at 60 F from 20% RH to 44% RH. No increase in dry bulb temperature.
    More clouds. Big deal.

  4. Scottish-Sceptic says:

    Robert, no this isn’t the only strong evidence for negative feedbacks. I’ll be writing on the other evidence in due course, but just in case it is different I’d be interested to hear more.
    Nick, the big issue is that the IPCC take a small change in radiation balance that used to give 1C warming (but latest spectral data for CO2 gives 0.6C) and then they multiply by some number picked out the air to get up to 6C warming. They then claim this is “science” because there’s 1C (now 0.6C) of warming which is scientific.
    What they have done, is to ascribe the whole of natural variation in the last half of the last century to humans – tried to hide natural variation before that to “proof” the last half of the last century was “unprecendeted” (it wasn’t it warmed as much from 1910-1940 as it did 1970-2000). The reality is that natural variation is much larger than any human influence and it is doubtful that we have seen anything in the climate that is human-caused – except perhaps con-trail cooling, air-pollution cooling, warming due to urbanisation.

  5. Robert G Shaw says:

    Scottish and Nick
    0.6 w/m2 seems a more popular estimate of TOA energy imbalance although this cannot be measured accurately. All this heat is presently going the oceans. 0.6 is equivalent to 9.6 zeta joules per year for the whole planet. There are 1400 zeta grams of water in the oceans, spec heat 4.0 joules per gram, so the oceans are warming at 9.6 /(1400 x4.0) = .0017 degrees per year at present fossil fuel usage (10 GtC per year). There is about 1000 GtC of fossil fuel left or 100 years worth at present consumption. 100 x .0017 = 0.17 degrees more warming. At Nicks 0.85 w/m2 it comes to 0.24 degrees more warming. Too simple?
    I find it difficult to see how we can further warm the planet without bringing ocean temperatures up because the temperature difference between the sea surface and the deep ocean has gone up 10%. Ocean warming is a major negative feed back although I think latent heat transfer is perhaps the largest. It is all very hard to quantify precisely
    I am not a climate scientist. Just retired chemical engineer.

  6. To the surface: 168+324=492
    From the surface: 390+24+78=492
    Entering: 342
    Leaving: 107+235=342
    Where did that 150 come from? The CO2 re-back-radiator flux capacitor?

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