Tag Archives: global warming

The uncloudy Cretaceous

The planetary albedo (the percentage of the incoming solar radiation that is reflected back to space) plays a large role in the Earth’s radiative balance. The planet currently reflects about 30% of the incoming radiation back to space (clouds, particles in the atmosphere, ice sheets). If the albedo of the planet were 0 (all of it were absorbed) the planet would be over 20 degrees C hotter.

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March 2008 cancels out the cancellation of Global Warming

The March 2008 temperature data is available now.  While some sources like Anthony Watts blog made a big deal out of anomalous January 2008 cooling (largely due to La Nina), and a DailyTech article went as far as to say that January 2008 cooling “cancelled out” a century of global warming. March 2008 recovered, but also jumped much higher than expected.

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How not to discuss the Water Vapor feedback

I want to do a post soon on feedbacks, but just a quicky here

There is a lot of discussion about climate feedbacks in climate science, notably the role of water vapor. In short, the total amount of atmospheric water vapor should go up in a warmer climate under the assumption of approximately fixed relative humidity, at an increase of ~7% per degree Celsius warming, as per the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. Water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas, and so increases in water vapor will amplify any temperature changes from any initial forcing (e.g., CO2). However, many times the “water vapor feedback” being discussed on the internet is not the water vapor feedback at all. For example, in a recent web blog by Roger Pielke Sr., entitled Third Follow Up To Climate Metric Reality Check #3 – Evidence For A Lack Of Water Vapor Feedback On The Regional Scale or here, Dr. Pielke discusses how the WV feedback may not be showing up on the regional level and thereby questioning our understanding of how the climate reacts to temperature increase.

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