Thermal pollution causes global warming

4 views
Skip to first unread message

Dr. Convection

unread,
Mar 2, 2004, 7:47:51 PM3/2/04
to
More controversy from Union activists:

From:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VF0-49FGSB1-1/2/3f3278a30392b
879fe1f7212cbeef07a

Global and Planetary Change
Volume 38, Issues 3-4 , September 2003, Pages 305-312

Thermal pollution causes global warming

Bo Nordell
Division of Water Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology,
SE-97187, Luleå, Sweden

Received 14 December 2001; accepted 27 January 2003. ; Available online 3
September 2003.

Abstract

Over longer time-scales there is no net heat inflow to Earth since incoming
solar energy is re-emitted at exactly the same rate. To maintain Earth's
thermal equilibrium, however, there must be a net outflow equal to the
geothermal heat flow. Performed calculations show that the net heat outflow
in 1880 was equal to the geothermal heat flow, which is the only natural net
heat source on Earth. Since then, heat dissipation from the global use of
nonrenewable energy sources has resulted in additional net heating. In, e.g.
Sweden, which is a sparsely populated country, this net heating is about
three times greater than the geothermal heat flow. Such thermal pollution
contributes to global warming until the global temperature has reached a
level where this heat is also emitted to space. Heat dissipation from the
global use of fossil fuels and nuclear power is the main source of thermal
pollution. Here, it was found that one third of current thermal pollution is
emitted to space and that a further global temperature increase of 1.8 °C is
required until Earth is again in thermal equilibrium.

Author Keywords: Global warming; Cause; Thermal pollution; Geothermal; Heat
flow


Article Outline
1. Introduction
2. Global temperature
3. Net heat sources
3.1. Geothermal heat flow
3.2. Thermal pollution
4. Earth's radiative balance
4.1. Net OLR
5. Nature counteracts global warming
6. Steady-state global warming
7. Discussion and conclusions
Acknowledgements
Appendix A
References


w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 3, 2004, 5:20:45 AM3/3/04
to
Dr. Convection <Conve...@convection.org> wrote:
>http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VF0-49FGSB1-1/2/3f3278a30392b879fe1f7212cbeef07a

>Global and Planetary Change
>Volume 38, Issues 3-4 , September 2003, Pages 305-312

>Thermal pollution causes global warming

>Over longer time-scales there is no net heat inflow to Earth since incoming


>solar energy is re-emitted at exactly the same rate. To maintain Earth's
>thermal equilibrium, however, there must be a net outflow equal to the
>geothermal heat flow. Performed calculations show that the net heat outflow
>in 1880 was equal to the geothermal heat flow, which is the only natural net

>heat source on Earth...

This seems odd to me. The GHF is so small that I can't see how one could
calculate the net heat flow in 1880 accurately enough to say that they
were equal.

-W.

--
William M Connolley | w...@bas.ac.uk | http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/wmc/
Climate Modeller, British Antarctic Survey | Disclaimer: I speak for myself
I'm a .signature virus! copy me into your .signature file & help me spread!

Michael Tobis

unread,
Mar 3, 2004, 11:02:00 AM3/3/04
to
w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in message news:<4045...@news.nwl.ac.uk>...

> This seems odd to me. The GHF is so small that I can't see how one could
> calculate the net heat flow in 1880 accurately enough to say that they
> were equal.

Agreed.

The estimated change in temperature also appears to be wrong. The
forcing from direct anthropogenic forcing, while locally significant
in urban areas, is easily seen to be about two orders of magnitude
smaller than anthropogenic greenhouse forcing globally.

Doubled CO2, for instance, is known to first order to result in a
surface forcing of 4 watts per square meter. It's easy to estimate how
much per capita energy consumption would compete with this. The
surface area of the earth is 127 e 12 m^2 so doubled CO2 is about 5 e
14 watts. The population of the earth is a bit more than 5 e 9.

So per capita energy consuption to compete with greenhouse forcing on
present understanding is on the order of 0.1 megawatt per capita, much
larger than any realistic estimate.

So the calculations are greatly at odds with contemporary science.
Does the author explain why the system is so much *more* sensitive to
direct heat inputs and so much *less* sensitive to infrared flux than
conventional physics would have it?

mt

H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 8:25:48 AM3/5/04
to
On 3 Mar 2004 08:02:00 -0800, m...@3planes.com (Michael Tobis)
wrote:

>w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in message news:<4045...@news.nwl.ac.uk>...
>
>> This seems odd to me. The GHF is so small that I can't see how one could
>> calculate the net heat flow in 1880 accurately enough to say that they
>> were equal.
>
>Agreed.
>
>The estimated change in temperature also appears to be wrong. The
>forcing from direct anthropogenic forcing, while locally significant
>in urban areas, is easily seen to be about two orders of magnitude
>smaller than anthropogenic greenhouse forcing globally.
>
>Doubled CO2, for instance, is known to first order to result in a
>surface forcing of 4 watts per square meter.

Can you please give actual measured data references for these
figures. Thank you.

>It's easy to estimate how
>much per capita energy consumption would compete with this. The
>surface area of the earth is 127 e 12 m^2 so doubled CO2 is about 5 e
>14 watts. The population of the earth is a bit more than 5 e 9.
>
>So per capita energy consuption to compete with greenhouse forcing on
>present understanding is on the order of 0.1 megawatt per capita, much
>larger than any realistic estimate.
>

Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 8:51:02 AM3/5/04
to
H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
>On 3 Mar 2004 08:02:00 -0800, m...@3planes.com (Michael Tobis)
>>w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in message news:<4045...@news.nwl.ac.uk>...
>>
>>Doubled CO2, for instance, is known to first order to result in a
>>surface forcing of 4 watts per square meter.

>Can you please give actual measured data references for these
>figures. Thank you.

Like almost everything else worth knowing about cl ch, its in
IPCC:

http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/219.htm

These are not direct measurements, of course, since apart from
anything else we haven't got there.

>Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
>Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.

Yes, but the ratio of effect from heat (direct) vs heat (indirect
via co2 emitted) remains much the same.

Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 9:49:48 AM3/5/04
to
In article <srvg40l180vni0i0f...@4ax.com>, hd...@zworg.nospamcom says...

>
>On 3 Mar 2004 08:02:00 -0800, m...@3planes.com (Michael Tobis) wrote:
>>w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in message news:<4045...@news.nwl.ac.uk>...
>>
>>> This seems odd to me. The GHF is so small that I can't see how one could
>>> calculate the net heat flow in 1880 accurately enough to say that they
>>> were equal.
[cut]

>
>>It's easy to estimate how
>>much per capita energy consumption would compete with this. The
>>surface area of the earth is 127 e 12 m^2 so doubled CO2 is about 5 e
>>14 watts. The population of the earth is a bit more than 5 e 9.
>>
>>So per capita energy consuption to compete with greenhouse forcing on
>>present understanding is on the order of 0.1 megawatt per capita, much
>>larger than any realistic estimate.
>>
>
>Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
>Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.

According to the US EIA, the world energy consumption of energy in all forms
in 1998, including biomass and hydro (which don't add to the thermal load)
was about 400 Quads/year. 1 Quad = 10 e 15 Btu = 2.93 e 11 KWhr.

So, this works out to 1.172 e 14 KWhr per year.

Check your numbers, as you appear to be off by 4 orders of magnitude.....

--
Eric Swanson --- E-mail address: e_swanson(at)skybest.com :-)
--------------------------------------------------------------

Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 9:51:53 AM3/5/04
to
In article <srvg40l180vni0i0f...@4ax.com>, hd...@zworg.nospamcom says...
>
>On 3 Mar 2004 08:02:00 -0800, m...@3planes.com (Michael Tobis) wrote:
>>w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in message news:<4045...@news.nwl.ac.uk>...
>>
>>> This seems odd to me. The GHF is so small that I can't see how one could
>>> calculate the net heat flow in 1880 accurately enough to say that they
>>> were equal.
[cut]

>
>>It's easy to estimate how
>>much per capita energy consumption would compete with this. The
>>surface area of the earth is 127 e 12 m^2 so doubled CO2 is about 5 e
>>14 watts. The population of the earth is a bit more than 5 e 9.
>>
>>So per capita energy consuption to compete with greenhouse forcing on
>>present understanding is on the order of 0.1 megawatt per capita, much
>>larger than any realistic estimate.
>>
>
>Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
>Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.

According to the US EIA, the world energy consumption of energy in all forms

in 1998, including biomass and hydro (which don't add to the thermal load)

was about 400 Quads/year. 1 Quad = 1.0 e 15 Btu = 2.93 e 11 KWhr.

H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 3:57:51 PM3/5/04
to
On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 14:51:53 +0000 (UTC), swanson@nospam_on.net
(Eric Swanson) wrote:

>
snip


>>
>>Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
>>Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.
>
>According to the US EIA, the world energy consumption of energy in all forms
>in 1998, including biomass and hydro (which don't add to the thermal load)
>was about 400 Quads/year. 1 Quad = 1.0 e 15 Btu = 2.93 e 11 KWhr.
>
>So, this works out to 1.172 e 14 KWhr per year.
>
>Check your numbers, as you appear to be off by 4 orders of magnitude.....

Thank you.. You are correct of course. Late night sloppiness on
my part. The statement "Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat"
still stands

Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 4:14:11 PM3/5/04
to
In article <faqh40d9btk9tlums...@4ax.com>, hd...@zworg.nospamcom says...

Yes, a lot of energy from the perspective of industrial mankind, but a
trivial quantity compared to the solar energy flow over the past 100 years.

H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 4:47:23 PM3/5/04
to
On 5 Mar 2004 13:51:02 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>
snip


>
>Like almost everything else worth knowing about cl ch, its in
>IPCC:
>

That's an opinion..

>http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/219.htm
>
>These are not direct measurements, of course, since apart from
>anything else we haven't got there.
>

Does "there" mean the science and technology to obtain some
supporting experimental data?

>>Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
>>Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.
>
>Yes, but the ratio of effect from heat (direct) vs heat (indirect
>via co2 emitted) remains much the same.
>

Per the CO2 forcing "estimate" in IPCC 6.3.1 Carbon Dioxide?

H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 5, 2004, 4:56:52 PM3/5/04
to
On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 21:14:11 +0000 (UTC), swanson@nospam_on.net
(Eric Swanson) wrote:

>
>
>Yes, a lot of energy from the perspective of industrial mankind, but a
>trivial quantity compared to the solar energy flow over the past 100 years.

Obviously, but (relatively?) constant solar energy flow wasn't
the point.

Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 9:37:26 AM3/6/04
to

Well, you were discussing thermal pollution from mankind's energy use.
So, just how much solar energy hits the Earth?

The Earth intercepts sunlight constantly with cross sectional area roughly
that of a disc of diameter 12,740 km. The area of the disc is about 1.275 e 8
km^2, or 1.275 e 14 m^2. The solar energy is almost a constant at 1.366 kw/m^2,
thus there is a solar input to the top of the atmosphere of 1.74 e 14 kw.
Over a year, that works out to 1.526 e 18 kwhr.

The human contribution is around 1.172 e 14 kwhr per year, so our impact is
only 0.000077 that of the sun. The area of the Earth, is about 5.10 e 14 m^2,
so the thermal pollution works out to about 0.23 w/m^2. It's been calculated
that doubling CO2 from pre-industrial levels works out to the equivalent of
4 w/m^2 at the Earth's surface.

charliew2

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 11:11:44 AM3/6/04
to

Eric Swanson <swanson@nospam_on.net> wrote in message
news:c2cnn5$cal5$1...@news3.infoave.net...

> >On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 21:14:11 +0000 (UTC), swanson@nospam_on.net
> >(Eric Swanson) wrote:
> >>
> >>Yes, a lot of energy from the perspective of industrial mankind, but a
> >>trivial quantity compared to the solar energy flow over the past 100
years.
> >
> >Obviously, but (relatively?) constant solar energy flow wasn't the point.
>
> Well, you were discussing thermal pollution from mankind's energy use.
> So, just how much solar energy hits the Earth?
>
> The Earth intercepts sunlight constantly with cross sectional area roughly
> that of a disc of diameter 12,740 km. The area of the disc is about 1.275
e 8
> km^2, or 1.275 e 14 m^2. The solar energy is almost a constant at 1.366
kw/m^2,
> thus there is a solar input to the top of the atmosphere of 1.74 e 14 kw.
> Over a year, that works out to 1.526 e 18 kwhr.
>
> The human contribution is around 1.172 e 14 kwhr per year, so our impact
is
> only 0.000077 that of the sun. The area of the Earth, is about 5.10 e 14
m^2,
> so the thermal pollution works out to about 0.23 w/m^2. It's been
calculated
> that doubling CO2 from pre-industrial levels works out to the equivalent
of
> 4 w/m^2 at the Earth's surface.

(cut of sig file)

This calculation assumes that everything other than outgoing solar radiation
will remain constant, doesn't it? For a system as complicated as the
earth's climate, one would hope to see variable interactions included in the
calculation.


Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 12:04:03 PM3/6/04
to
In article <104ju4h...@corp.supernews.com>, char...@ev1.net says...

>
>
>Eric Swanson <swanson@nospam_on.net> wrote in message
>news:c2cnn5$cal5$1...@news3.infoave.net...
>> >On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 21:14:11 +0000 (UTC), swanson@nospam_on.net
>> >(Eric Swanson) wrote:
>> >>
>> >>Yes, a lot of energy from the perspective of industrial mankind, but a
>> >>trivial quantity compared to the solar energy flow over the past 100 years.
>> >
>> >Obviously, but (relatively?) constant solar energy flow wasn't the point.
>>
>> Well, you were discussing thermal pollution from mankind's energy use.
>> So, just how much solar energy hits the Earth?
>>
>> The Earth intercepts sunlight constantly with cross sectional area roughly
>> that of a disc of diameter 12,740 km. The area of the disc is about 1.275e 8

>> km^2, or 1.275 e 14 m^2. The solar energy is almost a constant at 1.366 kw/m^2,
>> thus there is a solar input to the top of the atmosphere of 1.74 e 14 kw.
>> Over a year, that works out to 1.526 e 18 kwhr.
>>
>> The human contribution is around 1.172 e 14 kwhr per year, so our impact is
>> only 0.000077 that of the sun. The area of the Earth, is about 5.10 e 14 m^2,
>> so the thermal pollution works out to about 0.23 w/m^2. It's been calculated
>> that doubling CO2 from pre-industrial levels works out to the equivalent of
>> 4 w/m^2 at the Earth's surface.
>
>(cut of sig file)
>
>This calculation assumes that everything other than outgoing solar radiation
>will remain constant, doesn't it? For a system as complicated as the
>earth's climate, one would hope to see variable interactions included in the
>calculation.

The calculation of the net impact of greenhouse gases lumped into an equivalent
CO2 doubling is the result of various models which attempt to include the
other effects you mention. For solar, the energy flows thru the atmosphere and
back out involve many different local relationships, but they all begin at the top
of the atmosphere with a nearly constant(?) solar input. I just wanted to show
the relative magnitude of the thermal pollution versis solar and AGW.

charliew2

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 2:12:20 PM3/6/04
to

Eric Swanson <swanson@nospam_on.net> wrote in message
news:c2d0a2$ceft$1...@news3.infoave.net...

Thanks for the clarification.

> I just wanted to show
> the relative magnitude of the thermal pollution versis solar and AGW.
>


I definitely "got it" regarding this point. Thanks.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 3:08:50 PM3/6/04
to
H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
>On 5 Mar 2004 13:51:02 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>>Like almost everything else worth knowing about cl ch, its in
>>IPCC:
>>
>That's an opinion..

It sure is, fully justified in this case.

>>http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/219.htm
>>
>>These are not direct measurements, of course, since apart from
>>anything else we haven't got there.
>>

>Does "there" mean the science and technology to obtain some
>supporting experimental data?

In this case, it means you haven't bothered to read the link. But no,
"there" means 2xCO2.

>>>Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
>>>Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.
>>
>>Yes, but the ratio of effect from heat (direct) vs heat (indirect
>>via co2 emitted) remains much the same.

>Per the CO2 forcing "estimate" in IPCC 6.3.1 Carbon Dioxide?

Per anyones, AFAIK. Do you have a different one?

H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 11:50:41 PM3/6/04
to
On 6 Mar 2004 20:08:50 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
>>On 5 Mar 2004 13:51:02 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>
>>>Like almost everything else worth knowing about cl ch, its in
>>>IPCC:
>>>
>>That's an opinion..
>
>It sure is, fully justified in this case.

"Like almost everything else worth knowing.."? Sounds familiar.
The IPCC is not my God nor Koran although all three sometimes have
much to commend them. And whoever said words to the effect "all
that will be ever discovered etc." some time ago -- his name
escapes me just now.. This, however, is better:

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/john_kessler/giordano_bruno.html
>

So, can you kindly educate and elucidate on the empirical
justifications?

>>>http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/219.htm
>>>
>>>These are not direct measurements, of course, since apart from
>>>anything else we haven't got there.
>>>
>
>>Does "there" mean the science and technology to obtain some
>>supporting experimental data?
>
>In this case, it means you haven't bothered to read the link.
>

Your statement is in fact, of course, mere uninvestigated
conjecture. For your information you are quite incorrect but it
probably isn't worth knowing I'm sure Doctor. I was being
facetious for which my apologies..


>But no,"there" means 2xCO2.

But as you say" we haven't got there yet" so a tautology hence my
naughty request to verify your precise meaning. Why wait till
the magical 2xCO2 to empirically ascertain the matter?


>>>>Global energy consumption has grown to roughly 10e17KWhrs/year.
>>>>Taken over 100 years -- a lot of heat.
>>>
>>>Yes, but the ratio of effect from heat (direct) vs heat (indirect
>>>via co2 emitted) remains much the same.
>

Presuming you mean by "heat (direct)" the abstract's "thermal
pollution" then that is an estimate based on physical and
scientific evidence, e.g. fuel etc., being compared to CO2 based
heat emission _models_. Another tautolgy since the thermal
pollution argument would appear (I do not have access to the
paper) to be that it and not CO2 is the GW culprit so comparing
the two is pointless until CO2 emission contribution can be
empirically verified.

But using your argument, by analogy, we might as well dismiss even
these ppm CO2 changes as trivial since even the IPCC states it is
water vapor that is by far the major determinant of the greenhouse
effect. Even the 10% drop in the magnetic field in the past
century would have thus a far greater effect since its complete
disappearance would signal an _estimated_ doubling of surface
radiation (as I recall so please don't ask for cites)...
.


>>Per the CO2 forcing "estimate" in IPCC 6.3.1 Carbon Dioxide?
>
>Per anyones, AFAIK. Do you have a different one?
>

No and one continually funded expensive highly debated carefully
fine tuned running _estimate_ should be enough I would think.

>-W.

H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 12:21:00 AM3/7/04
to
On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 14:37:26 +0000 (UTC), swanson@nospam_on.net
(Eric Swanson) wrote:

>>On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 21:14:11 +0000 (UTC), swanson@nospam_on.net
>>(Eric Swanson) wrote:
>>>
>>>Yes, a lot of energy from the perspective of industrial mankind, but a
>>>trivial quantity compared to the solar energy flow over the past 100 years.
>>
>>Obviously, but (relatively?) constant solar energy flow wasn't the point.
>
>Well, you were discussing thermal pollution from mankind's energy use.
>So, just how much solar energy hits the Earth?
>
>The Earth intercepts sunlight constantly with cross sectional area roughly
>that of a disc of diameter 12,740 km. The area of the disc is about 1.275 e 8
>km^2, or 1.275 e 14 m^2. The solar energy is almost a constant at 1.366 kw/m^2,
>thus there is a solar input to the top of the atmosphere of 1.74 e 14 kw.
>Over a year, that works out to 1.526 e 18 kwhr.
>
>The human contribution is around 1.172 e 14 kwhr per year, so our impact is
>only 0.000077 that of the sun. The area of the Earth, is about 5.10 e 14 m^2,
>so the thermal pollution works out to about 0.23 w/m^2. It's been calculated
>that doubling CO2 from pre-industrial levels works out to the equivalent of
>4 w/m^2 at the Earth's surface.

Your ensuing posts have clairfied why you reiterated the details
above.

But (I repeat) solar energy equilibrium was not the question. The
original post (abstract) reads:


"Over longer time-scales there is no net heat inflow to Earth
since incoming solar energy is re-emitted at exactly the same

rate. To maintain Earth's thermal equilibrium,..."

Nothing new there. Solar energy and equilibrium before
considering factors such as CO2 mix changes or "thermal
pollution".

Your own figures above; 0,23w/sqm, a plausible estimate based on
verifiable data e.g., fuel consumption: and 4w/sqm, a
theoretical calculation based on a future projected doubling of
CO2 , show thermal pollution (if I read the abstract meaning
correctly) input is/was in fact very significant ,especially taken
over a century.

The assumption (again if I interpret the abstract correctly) is
that the 4w/sqm theory is not the important factor in GW. You
presuppose the contrary.

Despite references here to other links -- CO2's actual empirical
impact has not been shown to have been verified -- only modeled,
albeit as well and precisely as the art, and science alllows.


w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 7:09:56 AM3/7/04
to
H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
>On 6 Mar 2004 20:08:50 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>>H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
>>>On 5 Mar 2004 13:51:02 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>>>>Like almost everything else worth knowing about cl ch

>"Like almost everything else worth knowing.."?

***about cl ch***. To clarify: it doesn't represent the ultimate
state of human knowledge, but does summarise well what is known
now (or at about 2001).

>>>>Yes, but the ratio of effect from heat (direct) vs heat (indirect
>>>>via co2 emitted) remains much the same.

>Presuming you mean by "heat (direct)" the abstract's "thermal
>pollution" then that is an estimate based on physical and
>scientific evidence, e.g. fuel etc., being compared to CO2 based
>heat emission _models_.

More or less, though they aren't really cos heat emission models.

Another tautolgy since the thermal

No, its not a tautology

>pollution argument would appear (I do not have access to the
>paper) to be that it and not CO2 is the GW culprit so comparing

That appears to be (from the abstract of the paper) to be its argument.
Which is odd, because a multitude of other calculations show that the
thermal pollution effect is smaller than indirect via co2.

>But using your argument, by analogy, we might as well dismiss even
>these ppm CO2 changes as trivial since even the IPCC states it is
>water vapor that is by far the major determinant of the greenhouse
>effect.

No its doesn't. You've misunderstood IPCC. Water vapour is the major GHG
but not determinant, since its reactive.

H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 10:26:05 AM3/7/04
to
On 7 Mar 2004 12:09:56 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>
snip


>
>***about cl ch***. To clarify: it doesn't represent the ultimate
>state of human knowledge, but does summarise well what is known
>now (or at about 2001).
>

But so much of it's content is actually policy-model driven as a
science summary there is a lot to sift through first.

>>>>>
snips


>
>No its doesn't. You've misunderstood IPCC. Water vapour is the major GHG
>but not determinant, since its reactive.
>

Tar-01.pdf page 88:
".. Water vapour is the strongest greenhouse gas. For
these reasons and because the transition between the various
phases absorb and release much energy, water vapour is central to
the climate and its variability and change."

Tar-07.pdf page 421
" The range in estimated climate sensitivity of 1.5 to 4.5°C for a
CO2 doubling is largely dictated by the interaction of model
water vapour feedbacks with the variations in cloud
behaviour among existing models"
Page 423 and 7.2.1.1
"Determination of the new equilibrium is complicated
that water vapour is itself a potent greenhouse gas",
And that entire section.

Please therefore clarify what ".but not determinant, since its
reactive." means? Thank you.

charliew2

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 11:10:30 AM3/7/04
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

(huge cut)


>
> No its doesn't. You've misunderstood IPCC. Water vapour is the major GHG
> but not determinant, since its reactive.
>

William,

could you give me more of a clue regarding your last sentence? Thanks.

Thomas Palm

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 12:03:40 PM3/7/04
to
"Dr. Convection" <Conve...@convection.org> wrote in
news:Htz67...@campus-news-reading.utoronto.ca:
> Global and Planetary Change
> Volume 38, Issues 3-4 , September 2003, Pages 305-312
>
> Thermal pollution causes global warming
>
> Bo Nordell
> Division of Water Resources Engineering, Luleå University of
> Technology, SE-97187, Luleå, Sweden

I just received a copy of this article and is trying to understand it. Some
early comments: Nordell states that convection is unimportant in the
Earth's atmosphere assuming all heat transport is done by radiation. To
calculate the climate sensitivity he then start by dividing the atmosphere
into a number of shells acting as blackbodies, i.e. absorbing all heat and
reemitting it. I haven't checked his mathemetics yet, but those two faulty
assumptions by themselves seems to invalidate his result.

Thomas Palm

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 1:34:46 PM3/7/04
to
Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote in
news:Xns94A5B7B7940AAT...@212.83.64.229:

> "Dr. Convection" <Conve...@convection.org> wrote in
> news:Htz67...@campus-news-reading.utoronto.ca:
>> Global and Planetary Change
>> Volume 38, Issues 3-4 , September 2003, Pages 305-312
>>
>> Thermal pollution causes global warming
>>
>> Bo Nordell
>> Division of Water Resources Engineering, Luleå University of
>> Technology, SE-97187, Luleå, Sweden

OK, I'm finished reading and it seems Nordell's result can be summarized:
The difference between the surface of the Earth and space is 33 degrees.
Geothermal heat produces about 0.07 W/m^2 heat. and if this causes 33
degrees heating the climate sensitivity must be 470 K/W/m^2. Thermal
pollution is 0.02 K and will thus give a heating of 0.02*470= 9 K.
The mathematics he uses reduces this by a factor of 3, but essentially
this is his argument.

Make of it what you wish.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 2:34:18 PM3/7/04
to
H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
>On 7 Mar 2004 12:09:56 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>>No its doesn't. You've misunderstood IPCC. Water vapour is the major GHG
>>but not determinant, since its reactive.

>Tar-07.pdf page 421


>" The range in estimated climate sensitivity of 1.5 to 4.5°C for a
>CO2 doubling is largely dictated by the interaction of model
>water vapour feedbacks with the variations in cloud
>behaviour among existing models"

>Please therefore clarify what ".but not determinant, since its
>reactive." means? Thank you.

Because water vapour (no matter how much AMcD may wish it to) doesn't
go off and cause climate change by itself. The climate system is
roughly in long-term equilibrium, pre anthro forcing. Increasing CO2
(etc) increases temperature which then causes feedbacks which increase
to water vapour which is itself a greenhouse gas. Thats what the
quotes you present but don't understand are saying.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 2:38:21 PM3/7/04
to
Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:

>> "Dr. Convection" <Conve...@convection.org> wrote in

>>> Global and Planetary Change
>>> Volume 38, Issues 3-4 , September 2003, Pages 305-312

>OK, I'm finished reading and it seems Nordell's result can be summarized:


>The difference between the surface of the Earth and space is 33 degrees.
>Geothermal heat produces about 0.07 W/m^2 heat. and if this causes 33
>degrees heating the climate sensitivity must be 470 K/W/m^2. Thermal
>pollution is 0.02 K and will thus give a heating of 0.02*470= 9 K.
>The mathematics he uses reduces this by a factor of 3, but essentially
>this is his argument.

But that is twaddle. How did it get published? Is G&PC going the way
of Climate Research?

ps: does it address the in-balance-at-1880 comment that we didn't
believe either?

Thomas Palm

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 2:56:47 PM3/7/04
to
w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk:

> Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:
>
>>> "Dr. Convection" <Conve...@convection.org> wrote in
>>>> Global and Planetary Change
>>>> Volume 38, Issues 3-4 , September 2003, Pages 305-312
>
>>OK, I'm finished reading and it seems Nordell's result can be summarized:
>>The difference between the surface of the Earth and space is 33 degrees.
>>Geothermal heat produces about 0.07 W/m^2 heat. and if this causes 33
>>degrees heating the climate sensitivity must be 470 K/W/m^2. Thermal
>>pollution is 0.02 K and will thus give a heating of 0.02*470= 9 K.
>>The mathematics he uses reduces this by a factor of 3, but essentially
>>this is his argument.
>
> But that is twaddle. How did it get published? Is G&PC going the way
> of Climate Research?

I have no idea how it got published. I have sent a letter to Nordell with
some comments and will see what he has to say. It seems to me as this is a
case of the common phenomenon of an academic going outside his own field
and screwing up badly. The department is working with heat storage in the
ground and similar problems, and presumably understands heat in the ground
a lot better than heat in the atmosphere.
http://www.sb.luth.se/fe/research%20RE.htm

> ps: does it address the in-balance-at-1880 comment that we didn't
> believe either?

Not in any way that will satisfy you. I left out a stage where Nordell
claims to have derived the climate sensitivity (although he never uses
the term) and finds that the needed heatflow to create a 33 K gradient
approximately matches the geothermal heat.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 4:21:45 PM3/7/04
to
Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:
>w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk:
>> Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:
>>
>>>The difference between the surface of the Earth and space is 33 degrees.
>>>Geothermal heat produces about 0.07 W/m^2 heat. and if this causes 33
>>>degrees heating the climate sensitivity must be 470 K/W/m^2.
>>
>> But that is twaddle. How did it get published? Is G&PC going the way
>> of Climate Research?

>I have no idea how it got published. I have sent a letter to Nordell with
>some comments and will see what he has to say.

Would be interesting. But it still doesn't explain how G&PC got it
through review. I don't know that journal, though.

>> ps: does it address the in-balance-at-1880 comment that we didn't
>> believe either?

>Not in any way that will satisfy you. I left out a stage where Nordell
>claims to have derived the climate sensitivity (although he never uses
>the term) and finds that the needed heatflow to create a 33 K gradient
>approximately matches the geothermal heat.

Ahh... so 1880 is just a random date. He means, pre-industrial.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 8:05:58 AM3/8/04
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

> H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
> >On 7 Mar 2004 12:09:56 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>
> >>No its doesn't. You've misunderstood IPCC. Water vapour is the major GHG
> >>but not determinant, since its reactive.
>
> >Tar-07.pdf page 421
> >" The range in estimated climate sensitivity of 1.5 to 4.5°C for a
> >CO2 doubling is largely dictated by the interaction of model
> >water vapour feedbacks with the variations in cloud
> >behaviour among existing models"
>
> >Please therefore clarify what ".but not determinant, since its
> >reactive." means? Thank you.
>
> Because water vapour (no matter how much AMcD may wish it to) doesn't
> go off and cause climate change by itself.

That is a gross distortion of what I am saying. I thought only David Ball
could stoop so low, or should I say is so stupid as not to comprehend
my arguements.

> The climate system is
> roughly in long-term equilibrium, pre anthro forcing. Increasing CO2
> (etc) increases temperature which then causes feedbacks which increase
> to water vapour which is itself a greenhouse gas.

I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of the
feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback. As the climate
warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
sudden collapse of the sea-ice. It is this sudden collapse which
triggers the water vapour runaway. I am not arguing that the
water vapour "... go[es] off and cause[s] climate change by itself."

The only argument against those ideas is that the climate models
do not show that. The reason is that the climate models are wrong.
Their error is in the RC parameterisation, as can be seen by the
fact that they are using a fixed lapse rate. Not only does a fixed
lapse rate not occur in nature, the use of a fixed lapse rate is the
reason that the MSU results do not agree with the models. If the
atmosphere was dry, then there would be a fixed lapse rate. So
it is true that I am blaming water vapour both for abrupt climate
changes and for errors in the models, but in the first case it does
not act alone. It is triggered by sea-ice. In the second case the
errors are not really due to water vapour. They are caused by
a failure in climate modelling (or should I say modellers?-)

Cheers, Alastair.

David Ball

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 8:43:32 AM3/8/04
to
On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 13:05:58 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
<alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>
><w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk...
>> H. Dziardziel <hdzi> wrote:
>> >On 7 Mar 2004 12:09:56 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>>
>> >>No its doesn't. You've misunderstood IPCC. Water vapour is the major GHG
>> >>but not determinant, since its reactive.
>>
>> >Tar-07.pdf page 421
>> >" The range in estimated climate sensitivity of 1.5 to 4.5°C for a
>> >CO2 doubling is largely dictated by the interaction of model
>> >water vapour feedbacks with the variations in cloud
>> >behaviour among existing models"
>>
>> >Please therefore clarify what ".but not determinant, since its
>> >reactive." means? Thank you.
>>
>> Because water vapour (no matter how much AMcD may wish it to) doesn't
>> go off and cause climate change by itself.
>
>That is a gross distortion of what I am saying. I thought only David Ball
>could stoop so low, or should I say is so stupid as not to comprehend
>my arguements.

One has to stoop low in order to disagree with you? Doesn't
that imply that you're lying flat on your back? Maybe if you stood up
and looked around you'd find that your viewpoint isn't supported by
the science.

>
>> The climate system is
>> roughly in long-term equilibrium, pre anthro forcing. Increasing CO2
>> (etc) increases temperature which then causes feedbacks which increase
>> to water vapour which is itself a greenhouse gas.
>
>I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of the
>feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback.

Huh?? Do you mean that the retreat of sea-ice produces a
positive feedback? Sea-ice is sea-ice. It cannot be a feedback.

>As the climate
>warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
>warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
>sudden collapse of the sea-ice.

Citation please - and nothing from a 1920's vintage text.

> It is this sudden collapse which
>triggers the water vapour runaway. I am not arguing that the
>water vapour "... go[es] off and cause[s] climate change by itself."
>
>The only argument against those ideas is that the climate models
>do not show that. The reason is that the climate models are wrong.

Citation please.

>Their error is in the RC parameterisation, as can be seen by the
>fact that they are using a fixed lapse rate. Not only does a fixed
>lapse rate not occur in nature, the use of a fixed lapse rate is the
>reason that the MSU results do not agree with the models.

Hmmm...It couldn't be that the MSU results are questionable,
could it? Is it possible that both the models AND the MSU are wrong?

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 8:16:41 AM3/8/04
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk...
> Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:
>
> >> "Dr. Convection" <Conve...@convection.org> wrote in
> >>> Global and Planetary Change
> >>> Volume 38, Issues 3-4 , September 2003, Pages 305-312
>
> >OK, I'm finished reading and it seems Nordell's result can be summarized:
> >The difference between the surface of the Earth and space is 33 degrees.
> >Geothermal heat produces about 0.07 W/m^2 heat. and if this causes 33
> >degrees heating the climate sensitivity must be 470 K/W/m^2. Thermal
> >pollution is 0.02 K and will thus give a heating of 0.02*470= 9 K.
> >The mathematics he uses reduces this by a factor of 3, but essentially
> >this is his argument.
>
> But that is twaddle. How did it get published?

Some pretty daft ideas get published. Take the idea that heat escaping
from the top of the atmosphere affects the temperature at sea level.
We all know, as Nordell pointed out, that the incoming radiation must
match the outgoing. So if the solar constant remains unchanged then
the radiation leaving the atmosphere will remain the same no matter how
much the greenhouse gasses increase. It is only at the base of the
atmosphere where temperature rises or falls.

Cheers, Alastair.


Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 9:07:08 AM3/8/04
to

"David Ball" <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:bhto40l9udrvkhl7e...@4ax.com...

Here are twenty;
http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/csrl/pub_albedo.html

> > It is this sudden collapse which
> >triggers the water vapour runaway. I am not arguing that the
> >water vapour "... go[es] off and cause[s] climate change by itself."
> >
> >The only argument against those ideas is that the climate models
> >do not show that. The reason is that the climate models are wrong.
>
> Citation please.

Chase, T.N., Pielke Sr., R.A., Herman, B. and Zeng, X. 2004.
Likelihood of rapidly increasing surface temperatures unaccompanied by
strong warming in the free troposphere. Climate Research 25: 185-190.

> >Their error is in the RC parameterisation, as can be seen by the
> >fact that they are using a fixed lapse rate. Not only does a fixed
> >lapse rate not occur in nature, the use of a fixed lapse rate is the
> >reason that the MSU results do not agree with the models.
>
> Hmmm...It couldn't be that the MSU results are questionable,
> could it? Is it possible that both the models AND the MSU are wrong?

Yes. But that make no difference to my arguments.

HTH,

Cheers, Alastair.


H. Dziardziel

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 10:33:42 AM3/8/04
to
On 7 Mar 2004 19:34:18 GMT, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>
snip


>
>>Please therefore clarify what ".but not determinant, since its
>>reactive." means? Thank you.
>
>Because water vapour (no matter how much AMcD may wish it to) doesn't
>go off and cause climate change by itself.

Ah, I should known or deduced the terminology.
AMcD(?) wishing for something here seems to be irrelevant

>The climate system is
>roughly in long-term equilibrium, pre anthro forcing

Sounds frightening.

> . Increasing CO2 (etc) increases temperature

How much? Verified experimentally?. And frankly, to interject,
so what. Some CO2 ppm change and its slight temperature effect
if any the next century aren't _the_ _problems_ for Earth and
man. That will all be resolved or accomodated for by then.
The real problems, current and future, are much much deeper than
that.

> which then causes feedbacks which increase
>to water vapour which is itself a greenhouse gas.

Yes that's what IPCC says and you have further detailed this by
the determinant and reactive labeling, thank you.

It doesn't change water vapor's magnitude in the greenhouse
effect.

You appear to linchpin all to only anthropogenic CO2 alone even
though its exact contribution has not been verified empirically
and, totally ignore water vapor and other factors not related to
anthropogenic CO2 including the natural ones..
Which brings us full circle to this thread's original thermal
pollution too.

>Thats what the
>quotes you present but don't understand are saying.
>

You must teach too? Don't be so bloody pedagogic. Now sounding a
tad pompous too. Determinant and reactive are merely labels for
components encompassed in the CO2- water vapor feedback
description-model. It's still water vapor that is the most
important.




Thomas Palm

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 12:14:52 PM3/8/04
to
David Ball <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in
news:bhto40l9udrvkhl7e...@4ax.com:

> On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 13:05:58 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
> <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>>I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of the
>>feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback.
>
> Huh?? Do you mean that the retreat of sea-ice produces a
> positive feedback? Sea-ice is sea-ice. It cannot be a feedback.

Of course it can, just as water vapor can be a feedback, or melting
permafrost releasing methane or CO2 can be a feedback, or clouds can be a
feedback. Anything that changes in response to climate change and in turn
causes further climate change acts as a feedback. Do you make these kind of
comments just because you have to disagree with Alastair?

>>As the climate
>>warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
>>warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
>>sudden collapse of the sea-ice.
>
> Citation please - and nothing from a 1920's vintage text.

Why not go all the way back to Milankovitch? That is at least 1940's.
To what extend the ice-albedo feedback is important in the climate of today
is an open question, but you can't just dismiss it.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 1:36:44 PM3/8/04
to
Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
><w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

>> Because water vapour (no matter how much AMcD may wish it to) doesn't


>> go off and cause climate change by itself.

>That is a gross distortion of what I am saying. I thought only David Ball
>could stoop so low, or should I say is so stupid as not to comprehend
>my arguements.

It wasn't intended as a gross distortion. In this case, clearly I don't
understand what you are saying about water vapour. IPCC, etc etc, say its
reactive and a positive feedback on warming. But the feedback is limited,
to about ?4-5? x the CO2 forcing I think.

>I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of the
>feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback. As the climate
>warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
>warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
>sudden collapse of the sea-ice. It is this sudden collapse which
>triggers the water vapour runaway. I am not arguing that the
>water vapour "... go[es] off and cause[s] climate change by itself."

So you are arguing for a "water vapour runaway", triggered by seaice.
What do you mean by "runaway"? In what way is it different to what IPCC
would predict from a collapse in sea ice?

>The only argument against those ideas is that the climate models
>do not show that.

No. The other (more obvious) arguement against is that in the last
10 kyr the real world doesn't show this.

Ian St. John

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 1:36:12 PM3/8/04
to

"Thomas Palm" <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote in message
news:Xns94A6B9A417B3ET...@212.83.64.229...

> David Ball <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in
> news:bhto40l9udrvkhl7e...@4ax.com:
>
> > On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 13:05:58 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
> > <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> >>I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of the
> >>feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback.
> >
> > Huh?? Do you mean that the retreat of sea-ice produces a
> > positive feedback? Sea-ice is sea-ice. It cannot be a feedback.
>
> Of course it can,

Nope. Thomas. You apparently had trouble reading Davids response. He said
"do you mean the *retreat* of sea ice", pointing out that a section of sea
ice, remaining the same section of sea ice, cannot change it's response as a
positive feedback. Only a CHANGE in the sea ice can do that.

I hope that this is just a temporary slip. I would hope that you are not
slipping into the sloppy statements of Alistaire and ilk.


Thomas Palm

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 2:30:27 PM3/8/04
to
"Ian St. John" <ist...@noemail.ca> wrote in
news:t233c.10506$6y1.3...@news20.bellglobal.com:

>
> "Thomas Palm" <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote in message
> news:Xns94A6B9A417B3ET...@212.83.64.229...
>> David Ball <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in
>> news:bhto40l9udrvkhl7e...@4ax.com:
>>
>> > On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 13:05:58 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
>> > <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>> >>I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of
>> >>the feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback.
>> >
>> > Huh?? Do you mean that the retreat of sea-ice produces a
>> > positive feedback? Sea-ice is sea-ice. It cannot be a feedback.
>>
>> Of course it can,
>
> Nope. Thomas. You apparently had trouble reading Davids response. He
> said "do you mean the *retreat* of sea ice", pointing out that a
> section of sea ice, remaining the same section of sea ice, cannot
> change it's response as a positive feedback. Only a CHANGE in the sea
> ice can do that.

That is exactly what Alastair wrote: " The point is that one of the
feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback. As the climate


warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
warming."

David just chose to pick out half a statement and bash it. (Actually sea
ice can even be a feedback while remaining as sea ice. Its albedo changes
depending on whether it is covered by snow or meltwater.)

> I hope that this is just a temporary slip. I would hope that you are
> not slipping into the sloppy statements of Alistaire and ilk.

I think it is more constructive to view statements in the most positive
way possible, not pick them apart trying to find errors in every word.

Ian St. John

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 5:41:42 PM3/8/04
to

"Thomas Palm" <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote in message
news:Xns94A6D09FD581DT...@212.83.64.229...

> "Ian St. John" <ist...@noemail.ca> wrote in
> news:t233c.10506$6y1.3...@news20.bellglobal.com:
<snip>

> > I hope that this is just a temporary slip. I would hope that you are
> > not slipping into the sloppy statements of Alistaire and ilk.
>
> I think it is more constructive to view statements in the most positive
> way possible, not pick them apart trying to find errors in every word.

David (to my reading) requested a clarification, which may have been a
tactic to focus the thread on a different topic, or may have been legitimate
uncertainty about what Alistaire was really saying.. Nothing he said was
wrong.

Note: I don't see how albedo from minor changes in areas melting, caused by
a minor change in temperature in local weather, can be more significant than
the major changes in sea ice extent which occur from the accumulation of
those minor temperature differences over a season in controlling the extent
of sea ice development and timing of retreat. In fact, I would venture to
say that such albedo changes of existing ice due to weather events are
insignificant compared to the climate change induced sea extent changes.

Melt ponds can only exist during the period of near freezing temperatures
when the ice is melting anyway, and this is a small part of the year. Beyond
that, the melt ponds would be dependent, more on local meterology than
climate, and thirdly, melt ponds may drain into the sea, obviating any
change in albedo. If you go on to extend this to earlier melting of the ice
itself, you are, in effect, switching to the point of reduced sea extent!

Now, as to not picking apart the errors, that is a mistake. Science must be
precisionist, in order to transfer the meaning from one person to another.
It cannot accept 'sort of' or 'nearly right'. Look at how the trolls use the
newspapers slight distortions to attack the facts? Presenting the distorted
facts as 'science' and then picking it apart on the errors that the
newspapers incorporated. Alistaire may be more annoying than most because he
does use some science facts, mixed in with his inventions.

However, I usually leave the response to Alistaire up to David. I just
wanted to point out that you are 'nitpicking' and separating Davids "do you
mean" from his point which is exactly what you accused David of doing to
Alistaire....


Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 7:01:07 PM3/8/04
to
In article <CE63c.11766$6y1.4...@news20.bellglobal.com>, ist...@noemail.ca says...

>
>
>"Thomas Palm" <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote in message
>news:Xns94A6D09FD581DT...@212.83.64.229...
>> "Ian St. John" <ist...@noemail.ca> wrote in
>> news:t233c.10506$6y1.3...@news20.bellglobal.com:
><snip>
>> > I hope that this is just a temporary slip. I would hope that you are
>> > not slipping into the sloppy statements of Alistaire and ilk.
>>
>> I think it is more constructive to view statements in the most positive
>> way possible, not pick them apart trying to find errors in every word.
>
>David (to my reading) requested a clarification, which may have been a
>tactic to focus the thread on a different topic, or may have been legitimate
>uncertainty about what Alistaire was really saying.. Nothing he said was
>wrong.
>
>Note: I don't see how albedo from minor changes in areas melting, caused by
>a minor change in temperature in local weather, can be more significant than
>the major changes in sea ice extent which occur from the accumulation of
>those minor temperature differences over a season in controlling the extent
>of sea ice development and timing of retreat. In fact, I would venture to
>say that such albedo changes of existing ice due to weather events are
>insignificant compared to the climate change induced sea extent changes.

Don't forget that the sun is above the horizon all day long at the North Pole
from 22 March to 22 September. The 24 hour sun light can melt the surface of
he sea-ice and keep it melted for a long time. Also, any snow added on top of
the melt ponds would sink in and thus the albedo would not increase, whereas
snow on top of dirty sea-ice would increase the albedo.

>Melt ponds can only exist during the period of near freezing temperatures
>when the ice is melting anyway, and this is a small part of the year. Beyond
>that, the melt ponds would be dependent, more on local meterology than
>climate, and thirdly, melt ponds may drain into the sea, obviating any
>change in albedo. If you go on to extend this to earlier melting of the ice
>itself, you are, in effect, switching to the point of reduced sea extent!

Melt ponds would be the result of melting sea-ice, but the melt season is
almost 6 months long. As for draining, don't forget that the surface of the
sea-ice is only slightly above sea level, thus there is nowhere for the
water to go, unless the meters thick sea-ice breaks up, as would be most
likely near the edge of the ice cover. There were 2 web cams set up at
(near?) the North Pole last summer and I looked at the pictures several
times. There were melt ponds in view every time I looked. The cameras
eventually fell over as the ice below melted away.

Ian St. John

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 7:22:51 PM3/8/04
to

"Eric Swanson" <swanson@nospam_on.net> wrote in message
news:c2j1g1$fbvn$1...@news3.infoave.net...

Not forgetting that. As I said, local meteorology is *dominant* in these
local processes and the *differences* would be minor.

>
> >Melt ponds can only exist during the period of near freezing temperatures
> >when the ice is melting anyway, and this is a small part of the year.
Beyond
> >that, the melt ponds would be dependent, more on local meterology than
> >climate, and thirdly, melt ponds may drain into the sea, obviating any
> >change in albedo. If you go on to extend this to earlier melting of the
ice
> >itself, you are, in effect, switching to the point of reduced sea extent!
>
> Melt ponds would be the result of melting sea-ice, but the melt season is
> almost 6 months long.

The period and location is the edge of the melting ice, relatively small in
extent and time.

> As for draining, don't forget that the surface of the
> sea-ice is only slightly above sea level, thus there is nowhere for the
> water to go,

It goes into the sea.

> unless the meters thick sea-ice breaks up,

The *melting* ice *does* break up. The contiguous ice sheets during winter
are too cold to be affected by small variations in temperature. Only the
cracked and disintegrating ice would be much affected by a single degree of
temperature change.

> as would be most
> likely near the edge of the ice cover. There were 2 web cams set up at
> (near?) the North Pole last summer and I looked at the pictures several
> times. There were melt ponds in view every time I looked. The cameras
> eventually fell over as the ice below melted away.

The chagnes in albedo of the sea ice surface would be (at least) one order
of magnitude smaller than the effect of sea ice extent changes.


Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 7:53:50 PM3/8/04
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404c...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> ><w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk...
>
> >> Because water vapour (no matter how much AMcD may wish it to) doesn't
> >> go off and cause climate change by itself.
>
> >That is a gross distortion of what I am saying. I thought only David Ball
> >could stoop so low, or should I say is so stupid as not to comprehend
> >my arguements.
>
> It wasn't intended as a gross distortion. In this case, clearly I don't
> understand what you are saying about water vapour. IPCC, etc etc, say its
> reactive and a positive feedback on warming. But the feedback is limited,
> to about ?4-5? x the CO2 forcing I think.

I realised later when looking for a reference by Broecker that you were
thinking of the Broecker article I posted. He proposed that the climate
is driven by the greenhouse effect of water vapour not carbon
dioxide. What he has not spotted yet is that the changes in water
vapour are triggered by changes in albedo. Well actually he has,
but he has not put two and two together. As Richard Alley said, when
ever he has a good idea he always finds that Wally had got there first.
That is what I am finding, but he has not made the connection.

> >I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of the
> >feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback. As the climate
> >warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
> >warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
> >sudden collapse of the sea-ice. It is this sudden collapse which
> >triggers the water vapour runaway. I am not arguing that the
> >water vapour "... go[es] off and cause[s] climate change by itself."
>

> So you are arguing for a "water vapour runaway", triggered by sea-ice.


> What do you mean by "runaway"? In what way is it different to what IPCC
> would predict from a collapse in sea ice?

I mean a large global abrupt temperature rise which only ends
when temperatures have risen so that the atmospheric system
reorganises itself to create as much albedo from clouds as has
been lost through the melting of the sea-ice.

> >The only argument against those ideas is that the climate models
> >do not show that.
>

> No. The other (more obvious) argument against is that in the last


> 10 kyr the real world doesn't show this.

But if you go back another 500 years to 10.5ka the real world does
show it! When the YD ended and the Holocene began, the ice in the
Norwegian Sea suddenly disappeared, the dry climate with dust storms
ended, and temperatures rose by 10C in Britain in only three years.

People are quite willing to believe we can get a repeat of what
happened 12ka when the YD started and the world suddenly
cooled. Why do you not believe what happened more recently
10.5ka ago could be repeated, and the climate could warm to
the temperatures seen in the previous interglacial?

HTH,

Cheers, Alastair.


David Ball

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 8:19:17 PM3/8/04
to
On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 14:07:08 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
<alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:


>>
>> Huh?? Do you mean that the retreat of sea-ice produces a
>> positive feedback? Sea-ice is sea-ice. It cannot be a feedback.
>>
>> >As the climate
>> >warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
>> >warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
>> >sudden collapse of the sea-ice.
>>
>> Citation please - and nothing from a 1920's vintage text.
>
>Here are twenty;
>http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/csrl/pub_albedo.html

Could you provide the citation where it states that you get a
sudden collapse of the sea-ice? I'm particularly interested in how
temperatures are going to stay above freezing year-round at the pole.

>
>> > It is this sudden collapse which
>> >triggers the water vapour runaway. I am not arguing that the
>> >water vapour "... go[es] off and cause[s] climate change by itself."
>> >
>> >The only argument against those ideas is that the climate models
>> >do not show that. The reason is that the climate models are wrong.
>>
>> Citation please.
>
>Chase, T.N., Pielke Sr., R.A., Herman, B. and Zeng, X. 2004.
>Likelihood of rapidly increasing surface temperatures unaccompanied by
>strong warming in the free troposphere. Climate Research 25: 185-190.

Yes, I read the article. Very interesting. Did you happen to
notice where the author's state:

However, in a test of model predictive skill, a comparison with
observations shows no warming of the free troposphere over this
period.

That's interesting, since the MSU clearly shows strong warming
taking place in the troposphere. How do you suppose they arrived at
the conclusion that warming wasn't taking place?
In addition, they state...

We find that it is extremely unlikely for near-surface air
temperatures (surface temperatures) to increase at the magnitude
observed since 1979 without a larger warming in the mid-troposphere.

That, too, is interesting on a couple of different levels:

1. It is quite easy to generate strong warming at the surface
with little or no change in tropospheric temperature. It's called an
inversion. They happen with great regularity during the winter. Cloud
cover will also generate significant warming by altering the radiation
properties of a given column. Particularly effective is strato-cumulus
or stratus, often topped as low as 2 or 3 thousand feet. That cloud is
going to have little impact on the overall temperature of the column
above it, most of it being in the free troposphere.
2. The author's statement: We assessed the likelihood that
such a disparity between model projection and observations could be
generated by forcing uncertainties or chance model fluctuations, by
comparing all possible 22 yr temperature trends in a series of climate
simulations is rather odd. Apparently, according to the authors, they
considered random model fluctuations and forcing uncertainties. I
wonder if they looked for systematic model errors? You know, bad
physics package, land scheme, ... Think that might have had an impact?

>
>> >Their error is in the RC parameterisation, as can be seen by the
>> >fact that they are using a fixed lapse rate. Not only does a fixed
>> >lapse rate not occur in nature, the use of a fixed lapse rate is the
>> >reason that the MSU results do not agree with the models.
>>
>> Hmmm...It couldn't be that the MSU results are questionable,
>> could it? Is it possible that both the models AND the MSU are wrong?
>
>Yes. But that make no difference to my arguments.
>

LOL. Of course it does. You have to look at ALL the
possibilities, not just the ones that you think prove your point.

David Ball

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 8:37:37 PM3/8/04
to
On Mon, 08 Mar 2004 17:14:52 GMT, Thomas Palm
<Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:

>David Ball <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in
>news:bhto40l9udrvkhl7e...@4ax.com:
>
>> On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 13:05:58 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
>> <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>>>I agree with what you are saying there. The point is that one of the
>>>feedbacks is sea-ice. It acts as a positive feedback.
>>
>> Huh?? Do you mean that the retreat of sea-ice produces a
>> positive feedback? Sea-ice is sea-ice. It cannot be a feedback.
>
>Of course it can, just as water vapor can be a feedback, or melting
>permafrost releasing methane or CO2 can be a feedback, or clouds can be a
>feedback. Anything that changes in response to climate change and in turn
>causes further climate change acts as a feedback. Do you make these kind of
>comments just because you have to disagree with Alastair?

I make these statements because I want clarification on his
comments. That's why I asked a question, one that he didn't answer. In
the context of temperature feedbacks, Thomas, sea-ice cannot be a
feedback. The feedback is produced by changes in the albedo of the
surface. Ice is not the feedback. That would be like saying that a
cornfield is the feedback, or that a lake surface is the feedback or a
downtown street is the feedback. The feedback is produced by changing
the extent of the ice and altering the albedo. Ice is merely the
surface.
In the broader context you are speaking about, yes, CHANGES in
sea-ice can be considered a feedback. As temperatures increase, the
sea-ice extent will change and this will further..., but again, you'll
notice that I was quite specific in stating that it was CHANGES in
sea-ice that were the feedback, something you yourself say above.
My question to you is, if you and I agree, why are you
suggesting that we don't?

>>>As the climate
>>>warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
>>>warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
>>>sudden collapse of the sea-ice.
>>
>> Citation please - and nothing from a 1920's vintage text.
>
>Why not go all the way back to Milankovitch? That is at least 1940's.
>To what extend the ice-albedo feedback is important in the climate of today
>is an open question, but you can't just dismiss it.

I'm not dismissing anything, Thomas. Indeed, I would suggest
that you have to look a hell of a lot deeper to understand what is
going on. Simplistic arguments about this one thing or that one thing
being the culprit are just that: simplistic. Will changing sea-ice
have a positive feedback temperature-wise. Of course. Do I believe
that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free year-round anytime soon? No.
Indeed, all the scholarship I've read is unequivocal in stating what
we DON'T know about the possible outcomes.

David Ball

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 10:42:35 PM3/8/04
to
On Tue, 9 Mar 2004 00:53:50 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
<alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>
><w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404c...@news.nwl.ac.uk...
>> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>> ><w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404b...@news.nwl.ac.uk...
>>
>> >> Because water vapour (no matter how much AMcD may wish it to) doesn't
>> >> go off and cause climate change by itself.
>>
>> >That is a gross distortion of what I am saying. I thought only David Ball
>> >could stoop so low, or should I say is so stupid as not to comprehend
>> >my arguements.
>>
>> It wasn't intended as a gross distortion. In this case, clearly I don't
>> understand what you are saying about water vapour. IPCC, etc etc, say its
>> reactive and a positive feedback on warming. But the feedback is limited,
>> to about ?4-5? x the CO2 forcing I think.
>
>I realised later when looking for a reference by Broecker that you were
>thinking of the Broecker article I posted. He proposed that the climate
>is driven by the greenhouse effect of water vapour not carbon
>dioxide. What he has not spotted yet is that the changes in water
>vapour are triggered by changes in albedo. Well actually he has,
>but he has not put two and two together. As Richard Alley said, when
>ever he has a good idea he always finds that Wally had got there first.
>That is what I am finding, but he has not made the connection.

And changes in water vapour cannot be triggered by such things
as evaporation, say? How about transpiration? Does that have an
impact? How about advection?


w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 4:49:21 AM3/9/04
to
Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>wmc:

>> No. The other (more obvious) argument against is that in the last
>> 10 kyr the real world doesn't show this.

>But if you go back another 500 years to 10.5ka the real world does
>show it! When the YD ended and the Holocene began, the ice in the
>Norwegian Sea suddenly disappeared, the dry climate with dust storms
>ended, and temperatures rose by 10C in Britain in only three years.

It occurred, under very different boundary conditions to today. YD and
D/O type events are generally ascribed to events related to the
Laurentide ice sheet, which no longer exists.

Once upon a time (during the last glacial) rapid warming (then cooling)
events occurred, its not clear if this happened "by themselves" or
related to external forcing. But this has not occurred at all during
the holocene.

>People are quite willing to believe we can get a repeat of what
>happened 12ka when the YD started and the world suddenly
>cooled.

People are prepared to consider the possibilities. I think its unlikely.

>Why do you not believe what happened more recently
>10.5ka ago could be repeated, and the climate could warm to
>the temperatures seen in the previous interglacial?

The standard GW seems quite likely to do this.

Phil. Felton

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 8:42:15 AM3/9/04
to

Eric Swanson wrote:

OK what angle is the sun at? Care to consider the albedo of a pool of liquid with a
refractive index of 1.33 at low angles of incidence?

Phil.

Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 10:11:31 AM3/9/04
to
In article <404DC9B7...@princeton.edu>, fel...@princeton.edu says...
>OK what angle is the sun at? Care to consider the albedo of a pool of liquid with a
>refractive index of 1.33 at low angles of incidence?

I did.
I presented a paper on that very subject back in 1992.
The albedo of the ocean is around 0.05 to 0.07 with high elevation (low zenith) angles.
As the sun sinks lower in the sky, the albedo increases considerably, to as much
as 0.4 or 0.5. At these high zenith angles, the impacts of surface roughness,
which is a function of wind speed, becomes important.

Payne, R. E., "Albedo of the Sea Surface", J. Atmos. Sci. 29, 959 (1972).

At the same time, the albedo of clouds is a function of zenith angle.

Couple that with the effects of age and melt ponds upon sea-ice albedo, and you
may find that the ocean/sea-ice albedo feedback is not very strong in the Arctic.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 8:01:42 PM3/9/04
to

"David Ball" <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:756q40h34v9v5ao8v...@4ax.com...

> On Mon, 8 Mar 2004 14:07:08 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
> <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
> >>
> >> Huh?? Do you mean that the retreat of sea-ice produces a
> >> positive feedback? Sea-ice is sea-ice. It cannot be a feedback.
> >>
> >> >As the climate
> >> >warms it retreats, reducing global albedo which causes further
> >> >warming. Because it is a positive feedback it will lead to a
> >> >sudden collapse of the sea-ice.
> >>
> >> Citation please - and nothing from a 1920's vintage text.
> >
> >Here are twenty;
> >http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/csrl/pub_albedo.html
>
> Could you provide the citation where it states that you get a
> sudden collapse of the sea-ice? I'm particularly interested in how
> temperatures are going to stay above freezing year-round at the pole.

If you have a strong positive feedback, of cours there is a sudden
collapse. You don't need a reference for that.

Where did I say temperatures would stay above freezing
year-round at the pole because the ice collapses?

Well then try this reference;
Broecker, W.S. (2000) "Abrupt climate change: casual constraints provided by
the paleoclimate record", Earth-Science Reviews 51, 137 - 154.
He writes "... because they lack the required powerful non-linear feedbacks,
no general circulation model forced by orbital periodicities is capable of
reproducing the observed glacial -interglacial climate swings,"

> >> >Their error is in the RC parameterisation, as can be seen by the
> >> >fact that they are using a fixed lapse rate. Not only does a fixed
> >> >lapse rate not occur in nature, the use of a fixed lapse rate is the
> >> >reason that the MSU results do not agree with the models.
> >>
> >> Hmmm...It couldn't be that the MSU results are questionable,
> >> could it? Is it possible that both the models AND the MSU are wrong?
> >
> >Yes. But that make no difference to my arguments.
> >
> LOL. Of course it does. You have to look at ALL the
> possibilities, not just the ones that you think prove your point.

Well thee is one possiblity that perhaps we should both consider
and that is that your objections are ".. like a tale told by an idiot. Full
of sound and fury signifying nothing!" Since you demand
references it is Shakespear "Macbeth".

Cheers, Alastair.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 8:16:25 PM3/9/04
to

"David Ball" <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:80fq405ie5qu6cb0u...@4ax.com...

I don't think you understand. Removing the ice allows evaporation
and increases the water vapour. Did I have to explain that?

There is no transpiration in the Arctic wastes, so no! It does not
have an impact.

How about advection! From the ice or to it? Dry air or moist air?
Or just the hot air that you continually spouting?

Cheers, Alastair.


Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 8:29:48 PM3/9/04
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404d...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> >wmc:
>
> >> No. The other (more obvious) argument against is that in the last
> >> 10 kyr the real world doesn't show this.
>
> >But if you go back another 500 years to 10.5ka the real world does
> >show it! When the YD ended and the Holocene began, the ice in the
> >Norwegian Sea suddenly disappeared, the dry climate with dust storms
> >ended, and temperatures rose by 10C in Britain in only three years.
>
> It occurred, under very different boundary conditions to today. YD and
> D/O type events are generally ascribed to events related to the
> Laurentide ice sheet, which no longer exists.
>
> Once upon a time (during the last glacial) rapid warming (then cooling)
> events occurred, its not clear if this happened "by themselves" or
> related to external forcing. But this has not occurred at all during
> the holocene.

What I am arguing is that all these events (except those due to the
release of methane from clathrates) were all caused by sudden
changes in sea-ice cover triggering water vapour runaways. There
have been no sudden changes in ice cover during the Holocene
so there have been no rapid climate changes. By locking in or
releasing the source of atmospheric water it has a greater effect
on humidity than land ice.

> >People are quite willing to believe we can get a repeat of what
> >happened 12ka when the YD started and the world suddenly
> >cooled.
>
> People are prepared to consider the possibilities. I think its unlikely.
>
> >Why do you not believe what happened more recently
> >10.5ka ago could be repeated, and the climate could warm to
> >the temperatures seen in the previous interglacial?
>
> The standard GW seems quite likely to do this.

Yes, eventually by the end of the century. I am saying it could
happen by the end of the decade.

Cheers, Alastair.


Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 8:08:39 PM3/9/04
to

"Eric Swanson" <swanson@nospam_on.net> wrote in message
news:c2kmr1$8j3$1...@news3.infoave.net...

The point about ice melt water albedo is that when the sun is at its
highest is when the melt water is there. Early in the season when
the sun is low on the horizon and the melt water would reflect suns
rays there is no melt water. By the time the melt water puddles appear
the sun is high in the sky and the melt water absorbs the heat.

HTH,

Cheers, Alastair.


>


Eric Swanson

unread,
Mar 9, 2004, 9:03:17 PM3/9/04
to
In article <c2lr6e$538$2...@news7.svr.pol.co.uk>, alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk says...
>> As the sun sinks lower in the sky, the albedo increases considerably, t o as much

>> as 0.4 or 0.5. At these high zenith angles, the impacts of surface roughness,
>> which is a function of wind speed, becomes important.
>>
>> Payne, R. E., "Albedo of the Sea Surface", J. Atmos. Sci. 29, 959 (1972).
>>
>> At the same time, the albedo of clouds is a function of zenith angle.
>>
>> Couple that with the effects of age and melt ponds upon sea-ice albedo, and you
>> may find that the ocean/sea-ice albedo feedback is not very strong in the Arctic.
>
>The point about ice melt water albedo is that when the sun is at its
>highest is when the melt water is there. Early in the season when
>the sun is low on the horizon and the melt water would reflect suns
>rays there is no melt water. By the time the melt water puddles appear
>the sun is high in the sky and the melt water absorbs the heat.

The sun is NEVER high in the sky in the Arctic.......
At the North Pole, it never gets higher than 23.5 degrees above the horizon.
Early in the melt season, when the sun is very low, the cosine effect means that
there is only a small amount of energy available (watts per meter) to the surface.
The same is true in the middle of summer, when the sun may be above the horizon
all day, but the amount of energy on a horizontal surface is still small....

Hey, I went thru the geometry 12 years ago....

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 4:56:36 AM3/10/04
to
Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>What I am arguing is that all these events (except those due to the
>release of methane from clathrates) were all caused by sudden
>changes in sea-ice cover triggering water vapour runaways.

You could get some idea of the likelyhood of this by considering seasonal
changes. Antarctic ice "collapses" each year.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 6:38:34 AM3/10/04
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404e...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >What I am arguing is that all these events (except those due to the
> >release of methane from clathrates) were all caused by sudden
> >changes in sea-ice cover triggering water vapour runaways.
>
> You could get some idea of the likelyhood of this by considering seasonal
> changes. Antarctic ice "collapses" each year.

The trouble is to get a clear picture I really need the Antarctic ice sheets
to collapse as well :-(

The amount of ice that collapses has to have a greater effect that the
natural variability. I mean presumably the air temperature at a coastal
Antarctic station will depend on the strength of the polar vortex, and the
temperature of the offshore winds, rather than on the amount of sea ice.

Cheers, Alastair.


David Ball

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 8:37:03 AM3/10/04
to
On Wed, 10 Mar 2004 01:16:25 -0000, "Alastair McDonald"
<alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

So, evaporation cannot increase through other mechanisms, say
by the temperature going up?

>
>There is no transpiration in the Arctic wastes, so no! It does not
>have an impact.

There isn't? That will come as something of a surprise to the
wildlife that lives in the barrens.

>
>How about advection! From the ice or to it? Dry air or moist air?
>Or just the hot air that you continually spouting?

Alistair, you're proposing a theory that has GLOBAL impacts.
Correct me if I'm wrong - I haven't been following your every word
with baited breath - but it is your contention that an abrupt regime
shift in the planet's climate can be triggered by changes in sea-ice
extent passing some yet unknown threshold. Along the way, you've made
a number of very questionable statements that I'm seeking
clarification on. One of them was:

He proposed that the climate is driven by the greenhouse effect of
water vapour not carbon dioxide. What he has not spotted yet is that
the changes in water vapour are triggered by changes in albedo.

First of all, the first sentence is plain silly. Of course
water vapour drives the greenhouse effect. Depending on who you ask,
it accounts for 70+% of the effect. CO2 has a much lower overall
impact. In this case, however, its abrupt increase is driving the
current changes. That doesn't always have to be the case.
Your second is even worse. The changes in albedo do not have a
direct influence on the atmospheric constituents of a given column of
air. You cannot directly increase the amount of water vapour in a
column simply by changing the reflectivity of the surface. It is a
question of cause and effect and making sure that the causal chain
leading from 1. retreating sea-ice to say 5. changes in the
precipitable water in a given column have steps 2, 3, and 4 filled in.
Among the things to consider are changes in evaporation, advection and
transpiration. If a change in planetary albedo produces a local
temperature increase at step 2. what are the impacts? Could that lead
to more evaporation? Likely. Could it lead to a change in
precipitation regime over the area? Possibly. Could it produce a
change in long-wave steering flow affecting the weather in other
areas, thereby affecting advection patterns? Could temperature
increases make it more viable for different plants to be supported
which would alter transpiration patterns. What are the impacts of all
those things on precipitable water in a given column? Do we know?
Since you are considering a GLOBAL increase in water vapour
driven by something happening locally, it is entirely reasonable to
ask whether or not it is possible that other effects come into play or
in fact dominate the process. More to the point, you have to ask
whether it is possible that the changes you contend are happening as a
result of retreating sea-ice could in fact be caused by other factors,
factors coming into play well away from the high arctic, and having
nothing at all to do with sea-ice.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 11:17:09 AM3/10/04
to

"David Ball" <wra...@mb.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:fh4u4096pc5fn1k4p...@4ax.com...

Yes!

> Correct me if I'm wrong - I haven't been following your every word
> with baited breath - but it is your contention that an abrupt regime
> shift in the planet's climate can be triggered by changes in sea-ice
> extent passing some yet unknown threshold.

Yes!

> Along the way, you've made
> a number of very questionable statements that I'm seeking
> clarification on. One of them was:
>
> He proposed that the climate is driven by the greenhouse effect of
> water vapour not carbon dioxide. What he has not spotted yet is that
> the changes in water vapour are triggered by changes in albedo.
>
> First of all, the first sentence is plain silly. Of course
> water vapour drives the greenhouse effect. Depending on who you ask,
> it accounts for 70+% of the effect. CO2 has a much lower overall
> impact. In this case, however, its abrupt increase is driving the
> current changes. That doesn't always have to be the case.

Sorry, I forgot that there would be some people reading that post
who were not familiar with paleoclimatology. It all starts with the
"faint young sun paradox." The first hit with Google is;
http://paos.colorado.edu/~fasullo/pjw_class/faintsun.html

To solve the problem of how life could start on such a cold
planet, becasue the sun was a third cooler, it was proposed
that the level of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere was much higher than it is now, and that the
green-house effect from it made the Earth habitable. Since
then, the climate of the Earth has been dependant on the levels
of CO2 in the atmosphere. (The Gaia Theory proposes that
life automatically adjusts the CO2 level to keep the planet
habitable.) Recently (3bp) there was a paper published in Nature
which proposed CO2 did not control climate. See;

Evidence for decoupling of atmospheric CO2 and global climate during the
Phanerozoic eon
Ján Veizer, Yves Godderis, Louis M. François
SUMMARY: Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are believed to drive
climate changes from glacial to interglacial modes, although geological and
astronomical mechanisms have been invoked as...
Nature408, 698 - 701 (07 Dec 2000) Letters to Nature

In other words it is generally thought that water vapour levels are driven by
the warmth of the greenhouse effect from CO2. What Broecker suggested, and
what I am saying, is that it is water vapour which drives the climate not
CO2. It seems that you are inclined to agree. Certainly it is water vapour
which drives the weather not CO2, and part of what I am saying is that water
vapour can be just as violent a player in the climate as in the weather.

> Your second is even worse. The changes in albedo do not have a
> direct influence on the atmospheric constituents of a given column of
> air. You cannot directly increase the amount of water vapour in a
> column simply by changing the reflectivity of the surface.

Strictly speaking you are correct. But you can change the GLOBAL
water vapour concentration by changing the PLANETARY albedo. We,
the human race, and meteorologists are not immune, tend to imagine
the world as formed from land. Changing its albedo will not change
the humidity of the air in the column above it. In fact, most of the
surface of the earth(sic) is water. If you change the albedo of the
land, its temperature changes. That alters air temperature which in
turn changes sea temperatures and that affects evaporation. There
are other cycles and feedbacks going on, but that is the main one.
For instance, as the Laurentide ice sheet grew during the last glacial,
the Atlantic would have been cooled and evaporated less, so
increasing the cooling the northern hemisphere.

> It is a
> question of cause and effect and making sure that the causal chain
> leading from 1. retreating sea-ice to say 5. changes in the
> precipitable water in a given column have steps 2, 3, and 4 filled in.
> Among the things to consider are changes in evaporation, advection and
> transpiration. If a change in planetary albedo produces a local
> temperature increase at step 2. what are the impacts? Could that lead
> to more evaporation? Likely. Could it lead to a change in
> precipitation regime over the area? Possibly. Could it produce a
> change in long-wave steering flow affecting the weather in other
> areas, thereby affecting advection patterns? Could temperature
> increases make it more viable for different plants to be supported
> which would alter transpiration patterns. What are the impacts of all
> those things on precipitable water in a given column? Do we know?
> Since you are considering a GLOBAL increase in water vapour
> driven by something happening locally, it is entirely reasonable to
> ask whether or not it is possible that other effects come into play or
> in fact dominate the process. More to the point, you have to ask
> whether it is possible that the changes you contend are happening as a
> result of retreating sea-ice could in fact be caused by other factors,
> factors coming into play well away from the high arctic, and having
> nothing at all to do with sea-ice.

I am being consistent, and talking only about the global climate system.
A change in albedo will alter global temperatures. That will initiate a
positive feedback because the change in global humidity (if there
is such a thing) will altering the greenhouse effect of water vapour,
which will in turn alter global temperatures.

In some regions of the earth the weather patterns may oppose
the global trend, with a warmer globe bringing more cloud and so
coolling to some regions. I have heard it said that global warming
will bring more snow to Antarctica. The slight global cooling
which happened in the mid Holocene dried up the Sahara and
made it warmer by removing its cloud cover! The local effects
you are describing are irrelevant to the global picture. You make
the same point regularly.

HTH,

Cheers, Alastair.


w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 11:45:09 AM3/10/04
to
Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>The amount of ice that collapses has to have a greater effect that the
>natural variability. I mean presumably the air temperature at a coastal
>Antarctic station will depend on the strength of the polar vortex, and the
>temperature of the offshore winds, rather than on the amount of sea ice.

You'll have trouble removing more sea ice in the Antarctic than disappears
each summer, because it almost all goes already.

T at various places in Antarctica depend on various things... you
can have fun correlating them.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 1:15:30 PM3/10/04
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:404f...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> >The amount of ice that collapses has to have a greater effect that the
> >natural variability. I mean presumably the air temperature at a coastal
> >Antarctic station will depend on the strength of the polar vortex, and the
> >temperature of the offshore winds, rather than on the amount of sea ice.
>
> You'll have trouble removing more sea ice in the Antarctic than disappears
> each summer, because it almost all goes already.

It is not the sea-ice I want removed, though disappearing major ice shelves
would be interesting. It is the continetal ice sheets that I need melted.

> T at various places in Antarctica depend on various things... you
> can have fun correlating them.

Yes, that is why I am not starting.

Cheers, Alastaari.