A Few Things Ill Considered

The missing hotspot misses the point

A recent comment here brought up the frequent contrarian argument that there is a signature patern to enhanced greenhouse gas warming that is missing in the observational data despite showing up in the models. This is notably absent from the How to talk to a climate sceptic guide, something I hope to rectify Real Soon Now(tm).

I left a comment response but thought I may as well put it here in a new thread as it is OT over there.

Here is the referenced graph:

i-abd0ef61187be2334990be546e495673-zonal-forcing-patterns.jpgFigure 9.1. Zonal mean atmospheric temperature change from 1890 to 1999 (°C per century) as simulated by the PCM model from (a) solar forcing, (b) volcanoes, (c) wellmixed
greenhouse gases, (d) tropospheric and stratospheric ozone changes, (e) direct sulphate aerosol forcing and (f) the sum of all forcings. Plot is from 1,000 hPa to 10 hPa
(shown on left scale) and from 0 km to 30 km (shown on right). See Appendix 9.C for additional information. Based on Santer et al. (2003a).

My response was this:

crakar,

I had a look at your AR4 link (AR4WG1_Print_Ch09.pdf) and the graphs you referenced. I think you, or the site your are getting this from, are misinterpreting them. They show six images, one for each of solar, volcanic, GHG, ozone, sulphates and all forcings, images of the zonal warming by height in the atmosphere.

I believe that these are produced using the observed forcings, and therefore are not what we would expect to see if, for example, all of the recent warming were from solar, or all from ozone etc. So you can not take the observed warming pattern and meaningfully compare it to any one of the individual forcing graphs.

For a comparison of solar forcing vs CO2 forcing of equal and large magnitudes see this Real Climate article and the graphs in that.

I think that the real signature of an enhanced greenhouse is a cooling stratosphere, and this observation is much clearer than the observations of only mild warming in the tropical troposphere (findings of which are already being contradicted).

While we are all talking about patterns of warming, doesn’t the stratospheric cooling strike any of the denialist websites as requiring some explanation? Because that is the real signature of an enhanced greenhouse effect, and on that point the observations and the models are in very strong agreement.

Comments

  1. #1 Gray Gaffer
    August 7, 2009

    “stratospheric cooling” – Am I right here about why it happens and is important?

    Because less energy gets up that far to be absorbed on its way out of the atmosphere. So, in itself, the loss of thermal energy in the stratosphere is proportionally related to the extra energy trapped below it by all mechanisms without needing to enumerate them. And this can be justified purely on the basis of the Fundamental Thermodynamic Relation formulation of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

    Then yes, it is sufficient to show we are warming up. And probably also necessary.

    So the short answer would be:

    “Stratospheric cooling demonstrates Global Warming via the First Law of Thermodynamics”.

  2. #2 Gray Gaffer
    August 7, 2009

    Forgot one thing: assuming energy input to the Earth essentially remaining constant (solar, for example). Alternatively Stratospheric cooling coupled with warming lower down shows by the shift in balance.

  3. #3 Dan Satterfield
    August 7, 2009

    Coby,
    The take away point I got from this is that if it were solar causing the warming, there would be little or no stratospheric cooling. With greenhouse gases, you would expect to see cooling, which is exactly what is observed. (and pretty much what you said actually!)

    These fingerprint studies are really illustrative and interesting. Makes it very hard to blame any significant portion of the observed 20th century warming on the sun, doesn’t it.

  4. #4 dhogaza
    August 7, 2009

    Forgot one thing: assuming energy input to the Earth essentially remaining constant (solar, for example).

    That’s the key, as Dan Satterfield points out above. If it were the sun heating the earth, or some mysterious sky fairy, we’d expect to see this reflected in rising temps in the troposphere and stratosphere.

  5. #5 bluegrue
    August 8, 2009

    Another source relevant to the subject
    Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.1
    Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences

    Especially chapter 5.5

    Another noticeable difference is that the HadAT2 [radiosonde based] data show a relative lack of warming in the tropical troposphere,66 where all four models simulate maximum warming. This particular aspect of the observed temperature-change pattern is very sensitive to data adjustments (Sherwood et al., 2005; Randel and Wu, 2006). Tropospheric warming in the observations is most obvious in the NH extra-tropics, where our confidence in the reliability of radiosonde records is greatest.

    (emphasis added)

  6. #6 barry
    August 8, 2009

    I’m not sure if I read you aright in the top post, Coby, but them at realclimate say that enhanced warming in the high tropical troposhpere (hotspot area) is a signature of general warming at the surface, no matter what the source.

    The basis of the issue is that models produce an enhanced warming in the tropical troposphere when there is warming at the surface. This is true enough. Whether the warming is from greenhouse gases, El Nino’s, or solar forcing, trends aloft are enhanced.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/

    It bears stating again that the expected amplification has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect – it is just a function of the surface warming.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/tropical-tropopshere-ii/

    The common error in the skeptiverse is to posit that this hot spot is meant to be a signature of greenhouse warming, implying some sort of radiative connection between greenhouse gases and this phenomenon. If there really were a ‘missing hotspot’, this would call into question the understanding of heat distribution in a warming atmosphere, not the general physics of so-called greenhouse warming. I’d consider clearing this up the first stop in a rebuttal.

    The other, more common tack is to posit the models are ‘wrong’ due to the supposed lack of a hot spot. The best responses to that are the ones I found at RC – the two links above and the latest post;

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/10/tropical-tropopshere-iii/

  7. #7 barry
    August 8, 2009

    My previous post is on the moderated list and may appear after this one.

    My eyes are a little bit colour challenged. I cannot distinguish the colours in the colour bar from 0 – 0.2, and from 0.4 – 0.6. Are they respectively green and orange?

    I’d like to know, because if there is a mild hot spot (yellow?) in the solar forcing graph, then that is consistent with what we’d expect. Solar forcing for the period represented by those graphs (1890 – 1999) is deemed to be small, so we’d expect to see only a slight warming overall, and for the enhanced hot spot signature to be correspondingly slight compared to the rest.

    Can someone – preferably crakar – confirm the colouring for my poor eyes?

    If it’s as I imagine, then you are right, Coby. These model runs are from observed forcings and the discrepancy between the solar and GHG profiles is a consequence of the different strength of forcing for each, and not directly comparable regarding the hot spot. Still, if I’m guessing the colours right, the hot spot is there in both, and enhanced where the forcing is stronger (GHGs).

  8. #8 crakar14
    August 10, 2009

    Coby unfortunately you left out the most important graph, the one that shows the actual real world observed temp readings. I thought this graph would be the most relavent and am suprised you have not included it.

    If supplied what would this graph show? Well this graph would show broad stratospheric cooling and broad tropospheric warming and a little more warming in the Nth hemisphere than in the Sth. What we dont see is a hotspot at the top of the troposhere as per your supplied IPCC graph F.

    In fact this graph would have broad similarities with your supplied graph D. From which we can conclude that maybe ozone depletion was a significant cause of the warming from 1979 to 1999, have the ozone levels dropped or been dropping over those years? I seem to recall the “hole in the ozone layer” is quite large these days.

    To the extent that the signature of increased GHG warming includes a hot spot (refer graphs C and F above) the carbon emissions were not a significant cause of the warming. However if the IPCC’s climate theory is so broken that the true signature of increased non water vapour GHG does not include a hotspot, then carbon emissions might have played a large role in the recent global warming. Having said that if so then the IPCC’s theoretical water vapour feedback is wrong.

    In other words, To Grey gaffer (as per IPCC)the hot spot in the tropics is caused by the increase in WV if the hotspot is not present then the magical WV +ve feedback does not exist so yes you maybe correct and the troposphere may have warmed and stratosphere cooled but not by WV and so the IPCC theory is incorrect as i said the observed signature is similar to a reduction in ozone.

    To Barry, it sounds like your eyes are not poor but in fact you are color blind, but i will be glad to help you out.

    Lets see (pardon the pun) it depends on what altitude and latitude you are talking about. I will assume the equator OK?

    For the sun it goes from 0 to 0.2 from 0 to about 7K’s, then from 7K to 12K it goes from 0.2 to about 0.4 then cools again. The color is a funny light yellow and not a green or orange which does agree with your initial deductions that there has been a slight increase, does this help Barry?

    What is interesting though Barry is that the two graphs with great big red blotches in them dont actually exist as i said before it is a shame Coby forgot to reproduce the real world observed data so we could use as a comparison.

    I will leave you all with this question,

    Do you acknowledge that the signature of an increased greenhouse effect includes a hotspot at the top of the tropical troposphere?

    If not, do you acknowledge that the water vapor feedback must therefore be much diminished—so the IPCC model’s predictions of temperature rises due to rising CO2 must also be much reduced?

  9. #9 barry
    August 10, 2009

    Thanks for the colour coding, crakar.

    First point – we see a hot spot in the solar and GHG forcings graphs. These are graphs of estimated forcings from 1890 – 1999, with solar having had a slight influence, hence a slighter enhanced warming in the hot spot area. Thus,

    Do you acknowledge that the signature of an increased greenhouse effect includes a hotspot at the top of the tropical troposphere?

    No – enhanced warming in the higher tropical troposphere is a signature of surface warming no matter what the source, whether it be GHGs, solar or el Nino. It is not a signature perculiar to ‘greenhouse warming’. What is a signature perculiar to greenhouse warming is warming of the troposphere concurrent with a cooling stratosphere (over climatically significant periods).

    The alleged lack of a hot spot there is not a blow to GHG warming. Rather, it would suggest two things.

    1) The dynamics of atmospheric heat transfer between regions are not well understood.

    2) [hardly likely] There has been no warming at all – surface measurements showing warming are belied by a lack of enhanced warming in the higher tropical troposphere.

    I think we can discount the 2nd conclusion immediately.

    While I think 1) is possible, it seems unlikely. Other expectations have been met (cooling of the strat, enhanced polar warming – particularly NH, which is more suceptible to heat transport than SH, lower tropospheric warming greater than mid-tropospheric), and these are reckoned from pure physics. It is reasonable to expect an enhanced signal in the higher tropical troposphere – for reasons best explained at realclimate (I’m hardly an expert, but I get the concepts).

    A lot of recent attention has been focussed on…

    3) Problems with observational data.

    While large discrepancies have been accounted for by cross-referencing independent data and methodologies, there is still some uncertainty. Realclimate reflects this when they say that it’s too early to make firm conclusions on the matter. While skeptics cannot reasonably use the hotspot issue to close the book on greenhouse warming, proponents cannot likewise claim the matter is sewn up.

    Few complex issues are resolved by a single paper or in short order. Serving science properly requires us to be patient with this one.

    You asked for a graph of the ‘actual’ (estimated is a better word) anomalies throughout the atmosphere to be posted. Is there one in AR4, or do you have a reputable source for comparison? (I’ve not found one of the ilk in the top thread accounting for recent adjustments to the data – acknowledged by John Christy, the fellow who brought up the missing hot spot in the first place).

    Actually, a bit more on that parentheses. Christy is on record acknowledging that GHG increases are responsible for much of the warming in the late 20th century, and that the planet will continue to warm while they rise. Like you, he thinks the projections are too uncertain/(too high?) to warrant action proposed by the mainstream. But I disagree. Assuming that the bevvy of economic reports are more or less right – that ‘drastic’ action to cut GHG emissions will cost 1% of GDP, then I do not think that now is to early to lay in those changes. Fossil fuels are finite, we are wedded to unsavoury regimes for our current (and future) requirements, new technologies provide market impetus, and Christy et al may well be wrong. Prudence recommends we bite the bullet, and not just for global warming. I say this feeling pretty confident that governments of the world will continue to drag their heels. I am, in fact, quite pessimistic that recommended changes will be laid in a timely manner, so keeping the pressure on now will result in a slower rate of change that just might be timely enough for Christy (et al’s) lower expectations.

    IOW, if we take it that the globe will warm more slowly, a la Chrsity etc, we will change our habits more slowly and still not prevent what we might. Governments are already slow and unwilling (in practise – never mind the rhetoric). There’s no help for us if we let them off the hook. Luckily, business is picking up the slack a little, and in some cases is well ahead of the mouldy governments. Viva les entrepreneurs!

  10. #10 Ian Forrester
    August 10, 2009

    Crakar said:

    Coby unfortunately you left out the most important graph, the one that shows the actual real world observed temp readings. I thought this graph would be the most relavent and am suprised you have not included it.

    I referred to a paper by Santer et al (2008) on the thread “Open thread for ‘There is no Evidence'” which shows that recent data are in agreement with results from models.

    Here is the abstract from that paper:

    A recent report of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) identified a ‘potentially serious
    inconsistency’ between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates (Karl et al., 2006). Early versions of satellite and radiosonde datasets suggested that the tropical surface had warmed more than the troposphere, while climate models consistently showed tropospheric amplification of surface warming in response to human-caused increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs). We revisit such comparisons here using new observational estimates of surface and tropospheric temperature changes. We find that there is no longer a serious discrepancy between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates.

    This emerging reconciliation of models and observations has two primary explanations. First, because of changes in
    the treatment of buoy and satellite information, new surface temperature datasets yield slightly reduced tropical warming relative to earlier versions. Second, recently developed satellite and radiosonde datasets show larger warming of the tropical lower troposphere. In the case of a new satellite dataset from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), enhanced warming is due to an improved procedure of adjusting for inter-satellite biases. When the RSS-derived tropospheric temperature trend is compared with four different observed estimates of surface temperature change, the surface warming is invariably amplified in the tropical troposphere, consistent with model results. Even if we use data from a second satellite dataset with smaller tropospheric warming than in RSS, observed tropical lapse rate trends are not significantly different from those in all other model simulations.
    Our results contradict a recent claim that all simulated temperature trends in the tropical troposphere and in tropical lapse rates are inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on use of older radiosonde and satellite datasets, and on two methodological errors: the neglect of observational trend uncertainties introduced by interannual climate variability, and application of an inappropriate statistical ‘consistency test’.

    The paper can be found at:

    https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2008/NR-08-10-05-article.pdf

  11. #11 coby
    August 10, 2009

    crakar, before we move on I would like to hear you acknowledge that those graphs do not show what you thought they showed and that a tropical tropospheric hotspot is not a signature pattern of ghg warming rather it is common to any surface warming.

    Extra points if you admit that a cooling stratosphere is peculiar to an enhanced greenhouse and we are in fact observing that.

    Your penchant for changing topics makes it difficult to resolve anyting.

  12. #12 crakar14
    August 10, 2009

    Well what a suprise, two polite well written rebuttles congrats to you both (and yes i am being sincere).

    To Barry first, in response to “Do you acknowledge that the signature of an increased greenhouse effect includes a hotspot at the top of the tropical troposphere?”

    You answered No, even though the IPCC simulations say there should be? (refer to graph C)

    According to the IPCC climate theory, a hotspot is present to some degree in the signature of any cause of global warming that heats the earths surface due to water vapor (WV) feedback. This lies at the heart of the IPCC theory.

    The part of the atmosphere that contains WV is called the troposphere (TS), WV is a GHG, each molecule absorbing radiation and later reradiating it in a random direction at a WV absorption frequency. Thus the TS is effectively a blanket at the WV absorption freq. The TS is partitioned into the lower and upper TS by the characteristic emissions level (CEL). Above the CEL radiation at the WV freq effectively radiate straight out into space, but below the CEL it effectively does not therefore the lower TS is IN the warming blanket and is warmer, while the upper TS is increasingly OUT of the blanket and gets colder as you go higher. The CEL tends to be at a constant temp fixed by the radiation balance to and from space.

    Theoretically, according to IPCC climate theory:

    Any increase in surface temps increases ocean evaporation, which increases WV in the atmosphere (AT)

    The extra WV adds to existing WV, thereby enlarging the lower TS and pushing the CEL higher

    This extends the warmer lower TS into volume previously occupied by the colder upper TS. That volume was previously partly outside the WV warming blanket and above the CEL, but is now inside the warming blanket and below the CEL, so that volume is now warmer and it constitutes a hot spot.

    This occurs mainly in the tropics, which are much moister than the temperate and polar regions. So a hot spot developes at the top of the tropical lower TS.

    WV is a GHG that traps heat, enlarging the lower TS traps more heat and thus causes the world to warm further. This temp rise is in addition to the initial rise that caused the extra WV in the first place.

    The increased WV decreases the moist-adiabtic lapse rate of the lower TS, that is, there is a drop in the rate at which temps decrease with hieght between the ground and the top of the lower TS.

    So if the lapse rate drops then the top of the lower TS must rise to compensate , this creates the hotspot.

    Now i must stress the above is what the IPCC predict should/could/would of happened, but in fact it is wrong as demonstrated by the lack of the hotspot during the warming period of 1979 to 1999, refer Fig E page 116.

    w.w.w.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-chap5.pdf

    In reality any extra WV due to warming did not form a hot spot, and presumably therefore did not amplify the initial temp rise and will not amplify any future temp rises due to increasing C02. So therefore the IPCC needs to re evaluate in a downward direction its prediction of temps by 2100, and therein lies the problem.

    Which is why Santer, Sherwood et al go to great lengths to try and dispute (not very successfully i might add) the observed TS temps.

    To Ian i will see your paper and raise you this one

    h.t.t.p://arxiv.org/abs/0905.0445v1

    Click on download PDF only top right corner.

  13. #13 crakar14
    August 10, 2009

    Sorry Coby just noticed your post (i took a bit of time typing the last one), in answer to your questions

    Graph C is labelled well mixed GHG’s and shows a very large temperature increase in the troposhpere and a cooling in the stratosphere.

    Here is the quote straight out of Chap 9 of AR4

    “Greenhouse gas forcing is expected to produce warming in
    the troposphere, cooling in the stratosphere, and, for transient simulations, somewhat more warming near the surface in the NH due to its larger land fraction, which
    has a shorter surface response time to the warming than do
    ocean regions (Figure 9.1c).”

    So in answer to your first question, “crakar, before we move on I would like to hear you acknowledge that those graphs do not show what you thought they showed and that a tropical tropospheric hotspot is not a signature pattern of ghg warming rather it is common to any surface warming.

    In light of the above quote from the IPCC i would have to say that you are incorrect in your summation Coby, the IPCC state quite explicitly that GHG’s will cause the troposhpere to warm, when you consider the latest Sat and Radiosonde data show no warming (as per graph 9C) then it should be obvious that the IPCC graph (9.1C) does not reflect reality. The only part which does reflect reality is that the NH surface has warmed slightly.

    In answer to your second question, “Extra points if you admit that a cooling stratosphere is peculiar to an enhanced greenhouse and we are in fact observing that.”

    Here is another quote from Chap 9 AR4 in relation to Fig 9.1d.

    “The combined effect of tropospheric and stratospheric
    ozone forcing (Figure 9.1d) is expected to warm the troposphere, due to increases in tropospheric ozone, and
    cool the stratosphere, particularly at high latitudes
    where stratospheric ozone loss has been greatest.”

    Could it be possible that the cooling of the stratosphere and warming of the troposphere that you speak of is caused by Ozone? According to the IPCC this is what is happening so why dont we assume this to be the case?

    Now if you compare graph 9.1d with the real world observations you will see they are similar just as you have said, however if you compare graph 9.1C with real world observations you can clearly see the major difference is the hotspot the IPCC predict does not exist.

    I suspect if the IPCC turned down the +ve feedback from WV in their model (9.1C) until the big red blotch is gone then all their graphs would reflect reality. But as i have said before that would mean that the IPCC’s very large temp rise by 2100 would have to be adjusted downward quite a bit and therein lies the problem.

    By the way what does this mean “Your penchant for changing topics makes it difficult to resolve anyting.” We started discussing the hot spot and as far as i can tell we still are so what is your problem?

    Cheers

    Crakar

  14. #14 coby
    August 11, 2009

    crakar, my problem is you are seemngly being delibrately argumentative, and yes we are on the general topic still but we are never able to clearly resolve what seem to me are simple points. For example, by analogy first: you say A causes B, I say yes but C and D also cause B. You provide a quote from the IPCC saying A causes B and claim this shows C and D don’t cause. B is a tropical tropospheric hot spot, A is GHG forcing C and D are other forcings.

    Your quote does not refute the argument of this post.

    Likewise, your quote about ozone does not imply your conclusion that ozone is the one and only cause of stratospheric cooling. It is already part of the mainstream science that ozone depletion contributes to stratospheric cooling as does an enhanced GHE.

    Now, in you conspiracy riddled alternate reality, if tuning the models is so easy, why don’t “they” just fix the models so the hotspot disappears and make sure catastrophic warming remains? Should be cake considering how easy you claim it is to mimic the 20th century observations of more than 12 different forcings and the global/hemispheric temperature trends.

  15. #15 Vernon
    August 11, 2009

    Coby,

    I think your missing the point. Crakar can correct me if I am wrong but the theory that GCMs are based on is that global warming will cause a upper tropospheric hot spot. That any warming will cause that hot spot, not just CO2, however, there is no hot spot. There has not been a hot spot.

    Since there is no hot spot from global warming, but there was warming, then it stands to reason that either the theory or the implimentation of the theory by the GCMs is wrong. Just add this to another reason the models are not worth basing policy on.

    There is a whole thread hear that lists some of the failings of the GMCs. http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2009/05/comment_on_unproven_models.php

    This does not mean that CO2 does not cause warming, it just means that the models are not right.

  16. #16 Ian Forrester
    August 11, 2009

    Vernon said:

    there is no hot spot. There has not been a hot spot.

    Vernon, do you ever read what other people post to this blog? Why do you completely ignore comments which prove that you are wrong?

    I have given a link to a paper by Santer et al. which shows that you are, once again, completely wrong. [redacted]

    Once again here is a link to a paper which shows how wrong you are:

    https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2008/NR-08-10-05-article.pdf

  17. #17 Vernon
    August 11, 2009

    Ian,

    Why do you ignore anything that shows that you are wrong? As to that link, crakar addressed it, why do I have to address it again? Crakar posted this link arxiv.org/abs/0905.0445v1 to a study that is coming out that refutes the Santer et al study.

    “As S08 reported, their d1 * statistic was insignificant in all four cases at the 97.5th percentile in 1999. However, that is not the case for more up-to-date data. The d1*
    statistic for the UAH T2 series has exceeded the 97.5th percentile in all years since 2003 (and the 95th percentile since 2001).”

    Santer 2008 is only right if old data, pre 2000, is used. If he uses the current data, his argument fails. So, what is your point? I do not see where cherry picking data that will give the result you want and ignoring the data that will not is some thing that you could agree with. Are you now saying it is ok to cherry pick?

    The fact is that there is no hot spot, which as Santer says, has significant scientific implications, which it appears, it does.

  18. #18 Ian Forrester
    August 11, 2009

    Vernon, you have no idea about science yet you think that a “paper” by two well known deniers “proves” that the work of real climate scientists is wrong. You are pathetic and are so arrogant and selfish. Do you have children? Do you wish them to have a far lower standard of living and health? Because that is what you deniers are trying to do with your dishonest ways.

    Continued global warming will cause great decreases in the level of our important agricultural crops plus tropical diseases are spreading into areas where they have been unknown until now.

  19. #19 Vernon
    August 11, 2009

    Ian,

    So only people that publish papers that you like and support your position count. This is a religion to you and you will not look at any actual studies that do not agree with your dogma. You refuse to look at the fact that Santer(2008) only dealt with 1999 and earlier data that supported his position when the current data shows that he was wrong. I see that when the science goes against you, you do not show where the paper is wrong, you attack the authors.

    “On the you have no idea about science yet you think that a “paper” by two well known deniers “proves” that the work of real climate scientists is wrong.” I am pretty sure that Mann would disagree with you since they destroyed his house of cards and the Hockey Stick had to be retired as bunk.

  20. #20 barry
    August 11, 2009

    crakar,

    So if the lapse rate drops then the top of the lower TS must rise to compensate , this creates the hotspot.

    Now i must stress the above is what the IPCC predict should/could/would of happened, but in fact it is wrong as demonstrated by the lack of the hotspot during the warming period of 1979 to 1999, refer Fig E page 116.

    w.w.w.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-chap5.pdf

    I read the report and viewed the graph – just what I asked for. Thanks.

    Allow me to quote from other sections of the report.

    6. In the tropics, surface temperature changes are amplified in the free troposphere. Models and observations show similar amplification behavior for monthly and interannual temperature variations, but not for decadal temperature changes.

    [...]

    • On monthly and annual timescales, amplification is also a ubiquitous feature of observations, and is very similar
    to values obtained from models and basic theory.

    • For longer-timescale temperature changes over 1979 to 1999, only one of four observed upper-air data sets has
    larger tropical warming aloft than in the surface records. All model runs with surface warming over this period
    show amplified warming aloft.

    • These results could arise due to errors common to all models; to significant non-climatic influences remaining
    within some or all of the observational data sets, leading to biased long-term trend estimates; or a combination
    of these factors. The new evidence in this Report (model-to-model consistency of amplification results, the
    large uncertainties in observed tropospheric temperature trends, and independent physical evidence supporting
    substantial tropospheric warming) favors the second explanation.

    There have been quite a number of papers published that corroborate that finding, as well as some that dispute it. The consensus seems to favour the notion that observational problems account for the discrepancy. Therefore, you cannot reasonably say “it is wrong as demonstrated by the lack of the hotspot”, because that is by no means settled.

    Unlike Ian and yourself, I am not prepared to say that there is a definite conslusion on this matter. I would suggest that a link war only reflects the predilections of those engaged, not an accurate summary of the science to date.

    The IPCC emphasis is on ‘greenhouse’ warming, and should not be confused with the general expectation of enhanced tropical tropospheric warming no matter what the forcing. This is reflected in the solar graph above (from IPCC), where a milder hot spot appears concurrent with a milder forcing. IOW, a possible missing hot spot does not say anything about GHG warming. We know the surface has warmed (whatever the cause) sufficient to enhance warming in the tropical troposphere, so if there is a missing hot spot, then that means either that there is poor understanding of heat transport in the atmosphere, or problems with the observations. The investigation is ongoing, leaning to the latter conclusion just now.

    I do not think action to mitigate needs to be put on hold until this discrepancy is resolved. The pracuationary principle applies.

  21. #21 Ian Forrester
    August 11, 2009

    The paper you support so religiously has not been published. it has been sumitted to a third or fourth tier journal. Scientists know about how shoddy work can be published in any junk journal if you shop it around enough (I doubt that the authors even tried to get it into a reputable journal and just sent it to IJC which is only slightly better than E&E).

    That “paper” will not even be discussed in the Physicsforum site (a site where real science is discussed,even though a few denier types post there but are soon shown to be completely ignorant of most of the science).

    You only compound your ignorance and dishonesty by continuing to slander Michael Mann.

  22. #22 crakar14
    August 11, 2009

    Coby i am a little suprised at the tone of your post, you seem more intent on attacking my integrity rather than debating the issue of the hot spot.

    The more i read your post Coby the less sense it makes, you seem either reluctant to debate an issue that may destroy your beliefs or you are just simply confused. You need to remember we are debating the theory of AGW promoted by the IPCC and nothing more.

    The graphs supplied by you above are straight out of AR4, these graphs are simulations of the warming signatures of each forcing that the IPCC expects to see under certain conditions. For example graph A is what we would expect to see from a known change in TSI, graph B is what we would expect to see from a known change in volcanic activity, graph C is what we would expect to see from a known change in well mixed GHG’s and so on.

    Now of course we cannot measure the atmosphere for each individual warming signature, so we need to try and combine all warming signatures into one (graph F). So if we were to measure the atmosphere we would need to compare it to graph F.

    Graph F is dominated by a big red blotch, this big red blotch is from the simulated warming signature of well mixed GHG’s. As we all know by now the big red blotch does not exist, therefore graph C is incorrect. The big red blotch in graph C is generated by the assumption that there will be an accumulation of WV in the TS, as there is no big red blotch there is no accumulation of water vapour in the TS as per the model predictions/simulations.

    So therefore without the accumulation of WV the IPCC’s projected temp rises by 2100 which rely heavily on an accumulation of WV will not be achieved.

    Coby, real world data shows slight (light blue)stratosphere cooling and slight (light yellow)TS warming which is what we would expect to see via changes in Ozone (graph D), these changes have been observed.

    Slight TS warming would also be caused by a slight increase in TSI, increases which have been observed.

    Real world data also shows slight surface warming predominately in the NH which could be a sympton of increases in GHG’s (CO2 etc)but what we do not see is the big red blotch caused by an accumulation from WV.

    Yes Vernon what i am saying is the models are wrong.

    Now in my conspiracy riddled alternate reality if the over exaggerated +ve feedback to WV was reduced the IPCC’s own graphs (graph C and F)would come closer to reflecting reality.

    You claim i am being argumentative but in reality i am merely stating the facts, facts that will not change no matter how many names i am called.

    To Ian, you may have missed what i wrote at the bottom of post 12, so here it is again

    To Ian i will see your paper and raise you this one

    h.t.t.p://arxiv.org/abs/0905.0445v1

    Click on download PDF only top right corner.

  23. #23 crakar14
    August 11, 2009

    Barry,

    Interesting thoughts, however i do disagree somewhat.

    You say “The IPCC emphasis is on ‘greenhouse’ warming, and should not be confused with the general expectation of enhanced tropical tropospheric warming no matter what the forcing. This is reflected in the solar graph above (from IPCC), where a milder hot spot appears concurrent with a milder forcing.”

    Sorry Barry with all due respect this is not correct, CO2 by itself cannot achieve the temps predicted by the IPCC come 2100, a vast majority of this warming will come via the increase of WV (the most powerful GHG)in the tropical troposphere, this increase in WV will be achieved due increased evaporation caused by the slight warming via CO2 in other words WV is a strong +ve feedback according to the IPCC.

    Therefore ‘greenhouse’ warming and tropical tropospheric warming are the same thing, re graph C, WV will cause greenhouse warming and will be seen as warming primarly in the tropical troposphere. As we have had global warming for many many years now the hot spot should be where the IPCC says it should be.

    You then say “We know the surface has warmed (whatever the cause) sufficient to enhance warming in the tropical troposphere, so if there is a missing hot spot, then that means either that there is poor understanding of heat transport in the atmosphere, or problems with the observations. The investigation is ongoing, leaning to the latter conclusion just now.”

    A “poor understanding of heat transport in the atmosphere” in laymans terms means the theory is incorrect, so to put what you say another way, either the theory is wrong or man in the 21st century does not have the ability to measure the temp of the atmosphere.

    So we have a choice we can either throw all our equipment in the bin because it must be junk and believe in a theory that cannot be proven or we can trust our equipment is correct and re examine the theory to see where we went wrong.

    Santer and Sherwood believe in the unfalsifiable theory, they have dismissed the radiosonde data based on very strong religious grounds, the first objection was that the hotspot was there but we just missed it and the second was that the thermometers that can measure down to at least 1 decimal place was not accurate enough and we should use the wind shear data from the very same sonde to measure the temps.

    So we can believe in our equipment or we can believe in a theory the choice is ours.

  24. #24 barry
    August 12, 2009

    crakar,

    Therefore ‘greenhouse’ warming and tropical tropospheric warming are the same thing, re graph C

    You have a strange way of putting it. It is expected that warming at the surface from any cause will produce enhanced warming in the atmospheric region we’re discussing. Yes, that includes GHG forcing, or solar, or el Nino etc.

    WV will cause greenhouse warming and will be seen as warming primarly in the tropical troposphere.

    Fair enough.

    As we have had global warming for many many years now the hot spot should be where the IPCC says it should be.

    This is where we part company. we have different reports on this, but you seem to favour one side of the argument, and the only defense you’vfe given opf your position is that Santer et al’s opinion is ‘religious’. That’s not just unconvincing language, it’s specious.

    A “poor understanding of heat transport in the atmosphere” in laymans terms means the theory is incorrect

    What theory? That GHGs will warm the earth? No, that’s just physics. Do you mean “the theory of heat transport in the atmosphere”? Then yes, a missing hot spot would make a big dent in an important component of expectations.

    so to put what you say another way, either the theory is wrong or man in the 21st century does not have the ability to measure the temp of the atmosphere.

    Yes, that’s more or less what I said.

    So we have a choice we can either throw all our equipment in the bin because it must be junk and believe in a theory that cannot be proven or we can trust our equipment is correct and re examine the theory to see where we went wrong.

    We don’t trust that our equipment gives accurate readings. John Christy authored a chapter for CCSP explaining in detail why there are large uncertainties with TOA obs.

    What kinds of atmospheric temperature variations can the current observing systems measure and what are their strengths and limitations, both spatially and temporally?

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-chap2.pdf

    I mention that the lead author is John Christy because he is the main promulgator of the missing hotspot. Even he acknowledges that the uncertainties are too large to attach much confidence to them. I wouldn’t describe his concerns with the TOA data as ‘religious’.

    Can you read that chapter and acknowledge that there is no call to be certain about this issue?

    Santer et al is only one of a number of papers purporting to clear up the discrepancy.

    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2008JCLI2287.1
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL029875.shtml
    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2008JCLI2320.1
    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2007JCLI1733.1
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n6/abs/ngeo208.html

    Then there is the Santer paper

    https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2008/NR-08-10-05-article.pdf

    Christy et al has also written at least one rebutting paper.

    Santer and Sherwood believe in the unfalsifiable theory, they have dismissed the radiosonde data

    No one has ‘dismissed’ any data. A number of independent groups – including Douglass and Christy – acknowledge that there are problems with the data, and come to different conclusions about that. I doubt you have the requisite training to assess the validity of any of these approaches. I know I don’t. The reasonable position to take is that the matter is not settled, right?

    So we can believe in our equipment or we can believe in a theory the choice is ours.

    There is a third way. We can attempt to correct the data our instruments give us to remove problems. This is an ongoing feature of pretty much all data sets that are poorly gridded, timed or whatever, and not just limited to climate data.

    It is possible that the hot spot is missing. I see no reason at this time to say that this is unequivocally so, and, if we leave aside conspiracy theories and religious characterisations, it would appear that the weight of science is tending towards a vindication of atmospheric models (which is what the missing hot spot would undermine, not the ‘theory’ of GHG warming).

    For me, the jury is still out on the hot spot. I don’t see how it could be seen any other way if one takes a balanced view of all the evidence to date, which is based on data with serious problems.

  25. #25 Dave X
    August 12, 2009

    A few lines of R code will get a graph to show cooling of the stratosphere since 1978:

    R:
    system(‘wget http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/uahncdc.ls‘) # from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/msu.html
    system(‘cat uahncdc.ls |head -n -3 >uahncdc_mod.ls’) # chop trailer
    x<-read.table(‘uahncdc_mod.ls’,header=TRUE,fill=TRUE)
    x.ts<-ts(x[,3:5],start=c(1978,12),frequency=12)
    plot(x.ts)
    # or
    plot(stl(x.ts[,1],s.window=’periodic’))

  26. #26 Dave X
    August 12, 2009

    and with &lt;s…

    R:
    system('wget http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/uahncdc.ls') # from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/msu.html
    system('cat uahncdc.ls |head -n -3 >uahncdc_mod.ls') # chop trailer
    x<-read.table('uahncdc_mod.ls',header=TRUE,fill=TRUE)
    x.ts<-ts(x[,3:5],start=c(1978,12),frequency=12)
    plot(x.ts)
    # or
    plot(stl(x.ts[,1],s.window='periodic'))

  27. #27 crakar14
    August 12, 2009

    Hello Barry,

    It would seem we tend to agree on most things, the differing of opinions may lie in the data or accuracy of said data.

    You say that the hot spot is missing from the data but the data may not be correct, so once we correct the data the hot spot may appear or words to that effect, and until then we cannot make any assumptions. Is this about right?

    Whereas i am saying the data shows there is no hot spot, therefore the accumulation of WV as per the predictions does not exist so therefore our theory/model is incorrect.

    The missing hot spot is an enormous problem for the IPCC because it;

    1. Proves that IPCC climate theory is false
    2. Undermines the theory that CO2 causes global warming

    The usual practice when observations and theory disagree is that the theory must yield to the observations. However in this case the IPCC choose instead to attack the observations and to preserve their theory and models without modification.

    Santer is the IPCC’s foremost expert on the observed warming pattern, emphasized the uncertainties in the data from the RS thermometers, he stretched the error bars. On the basis of a complex statistical argument he argued that it was possible that the hotspot might be present and yet went undetected.

    h.t.t.p://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_release/2008/NR-08-10-05-article.pdf

    BUt while the uncertainties in temp measurements from a RS are indeed large enough for a single RS to maybe miss the hot spot, hundreds of RS have given the same answers, so statistcally it is extremely unlikely that they collectively failed to notice the hotspot.

    Here is a good rebuttle of santer

    w.w.w.climateaudit.org/?p=4101

    RS are designed to detect temp differences of 0.1C whereas the hotspot shown in AR4 should be between 0.6 and probably around 1C, Santer is simply saying that it might be there but we may have missed it.

    Steven Sherwood, another leading IPCC scientist thinks we should throw away the data from the thermometers in the RS and use the wind data from the radio sondes instead. When combined with a theory about wind shear, he estimated the temps on his computer abd says that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hot spot.

    lubos.motl.googlepages.com/sherwood-allen-ngeo-2008.pdf

    Thermometers are designed to measure temperature how do you think a wind gauge would be better at it?

    Barry it is important to note that the IPCC scientists never claimed to have found a hotspot, only that we might have missed it. This is an important distinction, they wrote serveral densely worded papers suggesting to a casual reader that the hotspot had indeed been found. However on careful scrutiny those papers always stop just short of claiming to have found it.

    Having said that it is important for the IPCC scientists to raise objections because we need to see the best possible arguments from both sides bt their attempts to say the hotspot might not be missing is plainly weak.

    cheers

    Crakar

  28. #28 barry
    August 13, 2009

    crakar,

    You say that the hot spot is missing from the data but the data may not be correct

    Everyone is saying the data is not *correct*. Christy, Douglas, Santer, Sherwood etc etc. You seem to be the only one who maintains it is.

    so once we correct the data the hot spot may appear or words to that effect, and until then we cannot make any assumptions. Is this about right?

    Nearly. There are a range of studies that say various things. Some say the uncertainty is large enough to allow that the hot spot isn’t missing (this is your descritpion of my view), some say the data range clearly shows a missing, or very slight hot spot (slighter than expected), others say that the hot spot is there having corrected for the data (the language is usually “no significant discrepancy” between models and corrected obs).

    Whereas i am saying the data shows there is no hot spot

    If you are basing your opinion on Douglass and Christy, then the correct way to say it is that the hot spot is still missing even after correcting the raw data. No one in the literature is saying the raw data is sound. Christy wrote a comprehensive article in this, which I linked to above.

    What that means is that all the groups are interpreting the data differently (and using different methodologies, proxies etc) to come up with various conclusions.

    their attempts to say the hotspot might not be missing is plainly weak.

    Why? Are you able to quantitively assess the work? If not, you have no cause to make a claim about the validity of these papers. I certainly am not, so I can only reasonably weigh the conclusions, which I’ve done. If you cannot assess the material competently for yourself, you are in no position to say that Douglass and Christy’s views are better than Santer or Sherwoods (et al).

    We must be wary of attaching superior confidence to this paper or that just because it says what we prefer.

  29. #29 barry
    August 13, 2009

    I should cite Chirsty et al saying there are problems wit the data. This is from their 2007 paper – the latest on the subject, I think.

    Christy et al. (2007) specifically examined this aspect for the tropical tropospheric layer and indeed confirmed a spuriously negative trend component in composited, unadjusted daytime data

    http://ephysics.fileave.com/Climate/Douglass-IntJClimatol.pdf

    They come to their conclusions after further adjusting the data. You argued upthread that we should ‘throw away the equipment’ if the data is not accurate. Would you recommend that Douglass and Christy’s papers should be dismissed because they haven’t ‘thrown out’ the equipment they acknowledge has problems?

  30. #30 barry
    August 13, 2009

    I was a little unclear in a couple of things:

    What that means is that all the groups are interpreting the data differently (and using different methodologies, proxies etc) to come up with various conclusions.

    I mean, they are (all) adjusting and interpreting the data differently.

    This is from their 2007 paper – the latest on the subject, I think.

    I mean, the latest that Christy et al have published (I think).

  31. #31 crakar14
    August 13, 2009

    Barry,

    The line about throwing out the equipment was written with a bit of sarcasm, sorry maybe i should remember you are not Australian i feel a bit like Pough now if only i could talk Lithuanian (sp).

    So in the end we have radio sonde data which produces a result, it does not matter what the result is. But how do we know the results are accurate?

    Well before you launch a radio sonde you calibrate it with calibration equipment. What this does is that it ensures that the PTU measurements the sonde records are accurate.

    But how do we know the calibration equipment is accurate? Well there will be a calibration sticker on the equipment which tells us when the equipment was last calibrated and will also tell us when the equipment is out of calibration.

    What happens if the equipment is out of calibration? Well we send the equipment away to a facility that is authorised to calibrate the calibration equipment.

    Therefore if the calibration equipment is calibrated and we calibrate the sonde using said calibration equipment then we know the sonde can accurately measure the PTU at any given height, well at least until the balloon bursts which is a function of how much helium you pump into it.

    So in other words the accuracy of the equipment is known to be good and therefore the accuracy of the results are known to be good so is there any reason to “adjust” the data?. So if they do not measure a hot spot then there is no hot spot to measure.

    But here we have people “adjusting” the data, on what basis are they adjusting the data? How do they know the data needs “adjusting”? What reference are they using as a baseline to “adjust” the data?

    Surely they are not saying the data needs “adjusting” because it does not match a theory?

    You said the following;

    Why? Are you able to quantitively assess the work? If not, you have no cause to make a claim about the validity of these papers. I certainly am not, so I can only reasonably weigh the conclusions, which I’ve done. If you cannot assess the material competently for yourself, you are in no position to say that Douglass and Christy’s views are better than Santer or Sherwoods (et al).

    Sherwood cannot find the hotspot which should be almost 1C hotter than its surrounds via a thermometer that reads down to one decimal place, so he decided the whole data set is no good and then used the wind shear data from the very same sonde (GPS data) with a bit of soft ware he showed the hot spot may exist after all.

    Now the GPS in a sonde does not have the P codes in it and does not use differential data so the accuracy of the GPS data is not very good at least not good enough to measure wind shear accurately enough to be able to measure the temps of greater accuracy than a calibrated thermometer down to one decimal place.

    So please Barry explain to me how sherwood can stoop to this level write a paper saying the hot spot MIGHT be there but we may have missed it whilst ignoring the fact that the sonde did not measure it.

    Santer tortured the sonde data looking for a hot spot for the years from 2000 to 2008 but the best he came up with was a tendentious claim that the hot spot could possibly be there but went undetected.

    So all they have left now is to “adjust” the sondes readings, it is a sad day when science has come to this.

  32. #32 crakar14
    August 16, 2009

    Barry

    Does your silence mean we are in agreement when it comes to use of wind shear data? Or are you just terribly busy at the moment?

    Cheers

    Crakar

  33. #33 crakar24
    November 17, 2010

    Looks like the battle to find or not find the hot spot continues.

    Just to recap.

    Douglas 07 claimed to have found the hot spot does not exist by using the temp data from the radio sondes (RS).

    Santer 08 then refuted Douglass 08 by saying the temp data is no good and used the GPS data from the RS to calulate the wind shear, he then used the wind shear data to show there was in fact a warming.

    Sherwood had a go but after finding nothing he colored his “hotspot” graph with the 0.0C trend a “fire engine red” to give everyone the impression he found something.

    MMH 10 then produced a study to refute Santer 08 by claiming the models are in error by up to 200% in the lower troposhpere and in error by up to 400% in the mid troposphere.

    h.t.t.p://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/mmh_asl2010.pdf

    To the best of my knowledge this study has not yet been refuted.

    While all that was going Paltridge 09 claimed the RS data shows the humidity decreasing which suggests the water vapour is decreasing.

    This study was refuted by Dressler and Davis 2010 by claiming the RS data as spurious.

    h.t.t.p://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/Dessler10.pdf

    Now we have a study aptly titled “Tropospheric temperature trends:history of an omgoing contrversy”.

    h.t.t.p://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.80/pdf

    They find the hot spot does exist although they simply review some studies to prove it.

    Note: remove the dots in http (attempt to defeat spam filter, sorry Skip).

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