New Blog

I have retired this blog, now but for those who still wish to follow me, I have a new site at http://www.climatephys.org;.  This site will be exclusively focused on a mildly technical discussion of climate physics.

Retirement

As readers are aware, this blog has been inactive for some time, so I figure I should formally put it into retirement.  I will not be posting here anymore, but will leave up my old posts, and may check back to moderate comments once in a great while.

I am continuing to blog.  You can check out the Times Union Weather and Climate blog, where I will continue to talk about some general climate issues, although at a laymen´s level. I hope to see lots of commenters, and we´re free in the comment section to discuss more technical details on a certain subject. I am one of several contributors to this blog, although most others will be discussing weather issues.

I also periodically guest post for SkepticalScience.

Judith Curry on ‘dogma’ and ideology

Prof. Judith Curry has been the subject of a large degree of blogospheric talk recently. She has her own site here where the last week or so has seen considerable discussion of the ‘IPCC dogma’ or ideology. I would recommend people who haven’t followed to read essentially all of her posts in November to follow this since I’m not going to give a detailed summary here. Curry’s posts have essentially boiled down to the fact that the IPCC “insiders” have acted as dogmatic or as ideologues.
Continue reading

Adding up the Greenhouse Effect: Attributing the contributions

For most people who study global warming only casually it is well known that the greenhouse effect acts to increase the surface temperature of the planet (currently) by about 33 K (or 60 F) above the so-called “effective temperature”; this is the temperature value that a planet would need to have in order for the infrared energy it emits to space to balance the energy it absorbs from the sun (assuming the sun is the only important source of energy, which is true enough for Earth and neighboring planets like Venus and Mars). This is simple enough, yet there are still many popular misconceptions out there concerning the relative roles of individual greenhouse gases and the total mean climatology of the greenhouse effect, and some of these confusions have admittedly not been explicitly corrected in the literature very well.

A matter of curiosity from this point is to decide how much of the total greenhouse effect is partitioned between various radiatively active substances in our atmosphere. That is, how much of the natural greenhouse effect is fractionally supported by water vapor, by CO2, etc
Continue reading

Climate Feedbacks: Part 1

Update: I have recently done a guest post on feedbacks at RealClimate. Part 1 is similar, but not the same as this post. I will not be doing a Part two on this site, instead it will be over at RC.

In light of recent attempts to describe the physics of climate change from first principles and in an accessible way (see Rasmus’ recent posts at RealClimate on the greenhouse effect and the troposphere) (also , here and here) it is worthwhile reviewing one of the greatest uncertainties surrounding climate change science and future predictions in a similar fashion: climate sensitivity and feedbacks. Feedbacks can behave in odd and counter-intuitive ways, some of which require some mathematics to really appreciate. In order to help facilitate an understanding for those who receive information at different levels of understanding, this will be a 2-part endeavor, where part 2 will be the more ‘technical version’ which may not necessarily be for everyone but will help demonstrate claims in part 1 quantitatively.

Continue reading

NAS Report: Advancing the Science of Climate Change

There is a new Report from the National Academies worth sifting through.

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12782

The Greenhouse Effect for different audiences

RealClimate has recently added a post by Rasmus Benestad concerning the simple physics of the greenhouse effect. The post was a good read, except that its description of “simple” has been criticized throughout the comments, which has led readers to wonder exactly who the target audience was. The aim, after all, was to find an explanation for global warming that could be communicated effectively and understood without the necessity to invoke reliance on full-blown General Circulation Models. Presumably (so the comments go…) it was too technical for the general reader and too simple for those already initiated into the subject-matter, leaving a relatively small audience that can take much of substance from it. I’d like to elaborate on those criticisms below and agree and disagree with various points.
Continue reading