Saturday, February 23, 2008

Climate Modelling Breakthrough?

From the .pdf to a Science magazine article behind their fire-wall:

Clouds have always given climate modelers fits. The clouds in their models are crude at best, and in the real world, researchers struggle to understand how clouds are responding to—and perhaps magnifying—greenhouse warming. As a result, cloud behavior is the biggest single source of uncertainty in climate prediction. But two new studies now show that much of the worry about clouds’ role in the warming has been misdirected. Clouds’ response to global temperature changes may be much quicker and more direct—and thus easier to study—than experts have thought.

[...]

“It’s a little bit of good news,” says climate researcher Brian Soden of the University of Miami in Florida. “People have been working on [the cloud problem] for 2 decades or more, and we haven’t done a lot to decrease the uncertainty. I’m a little more optimistic now about making progress on this problem.”

Researchers have always considered the cloud problem a matter of feedbacks. In a positive feedback, increasing greenhouse gases warm the surface, and the warmer surface then feeds back somehow to overlying clouds. The nature of the feedback remains mysterious, but if it’s positive, it would decrease global cloud cover. With fewer clouds reflecting solar energy back into space, more energy would reach Earth, amplifying the initial warming. But Earth’s surface and especially its oceans are slow to warm, so cloud feedbacks operate over decades—or so scientists assumed.

That's what they assumed. So what did they find?

Two groups have recently looked at just how quickly model clouds actually respond to an increase in greenhouse gases. Climate researchers Jonathan Gregory and Mark Webb, both of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Exeter, U.K., report in the January Journal of Climate (issue 1) that model clouds, at least, can respond quickly to added carbon dioxide—in months, not decades. In most of the models examined, the classic cloud feedback driven by change at the surface played only a minor role. The real action took place where the clouds themselves were, up in the air. Added carbon dioxide absorbs more long-wave energy radiating from the surface; the air holding that carbon dioxide warms, and clouds evaporate, letting more solar radiation in.

These new studies, alongside of this result, will make it hard to be a Warmocaust Collusionist in 2008.

PS. I've got the .pdf of the Science article. If anyone wants the whole thing, leave a comment with an e-mail.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

And it just so happens to fit so nicely with your intented results!

Paladiea said...

And if it didn't then we would have had to change the way we think about clouds. Come on Anon, we're not right wingers, we don't sweep reality under the carpet.

Anonymous said...

But we're always told: "The science is settled". ;) Wait, I forgot. Only accredited warmers may question any aspect of AGW orthodoxy. My bad.

I like this quote:

". . . model clouds, at least, can respond quickly to added carbon dioxide—in months, not decades. In most of the models examined, the classic cloud feedback driven by change at the surface played only a minor role."

OK, so we've got a disagreement between models. Any advancement in the knowledge of how real clouds behave?

- Paul S

Anonymous said...

Something that can't be questioned, a science which has no major vexing issues, nothing left for debate, because it is settled beyond a doubt,

experiences a "breakthrough!!"


You know there's something wrong with a movement when it lacks even basic rationality.

Anonymous said...

To the various Anonymouses ( Anonymoumi?? - hey, I'm an engineer what do you expect). The idea that the statement "the science is settled" means that all the details are settled is a strawman. In fact, I would not attach much meaning to the statement, but I would be willing to discuss the science.

Big City Lib: Yes, I would like a copy of the article john dot croix at hot mail dot com

Regards,
John Cross

Anonymous said...

It's a "BREAKTHROUGH!"

but just on a little detail, cuz just the little stuff needs to be sorted out, but

IT'S A BREAKTHROUGH!

All kidding aside, John, do you know what a breakthrough means?

Or are we at the point where we have to gymnastic word redefinition to make up for the lack of logic and reason with the AGW cultists.

Anonymous said...

=="The nature of the feedback remains mysterious, but if it’s positive, it would decrease global cloud cover."==

The science is so "settled" that they seem to imply they do not even know the answer to the fundamental question of whether clouds clouds are a positive feedback or not.

Reading an article like this reaffirms to me why I am indeed a skeptic.

- Paul S

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: I know what the word breakthrough means but do you know what the word strawman means? What about context?

Here is an exercise for you: I know of no documented case of the phrase "the science is settled" being actually used by proponents of AGW. There have been phrases used in the context that we now know that humans are responsible for at least part of the current rise in temperatures. For example President Clinton said "The science is clear and compelling. We humans are changing the global climate."

So, I throw a challenge to you to actually come up with a documented source (i.e. not a skeptical agency saying that so and so said this) for the quote you used!

Regards,
John Cross

Anonymous said...

Well, that the science is settled enough for strong policy action has been a defensible statement for at least ten years.

BCL, please send: spbloom at earthlink dot net

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So, have they now been able to model the fact that Kilimanjaro now has snow on it again? Or that hurricanes aren't linked to global warming (NOAA)? Or that the predicted sea level increase from 2004 hasn't materialised?

Oh wait, that's REALITY. The GCMs can't quite do that yet.

Anonymous said...

I would much appreciate a copy of that pdf.
TShaitanaku-at-comcast-dot-net
Thank-you