Bob Irvine is bringing engineers into disrepute

Bob Irvine is touting his new paper at WUWT. He seems very happy with himself. He shouldn’t be: the paper comparing the efficacy of solar and greenhouse forcing is awful.

The first indication that the paper is going to be bad (other than it being recommended on WUWT), is where it is published: WIT Transactions on Engineering Sciences is not the obvious journal to publish a climate science paper in. Climate sceptic often publish in an off-topic journal, where the editor and the usual set of reviewers have little background in climate science and so cannot properly evaluate the manuscript. Not a good sign.

Of course it is possible to publish a good paper is an inappropriate journal, just as it is possible to publish a bad paper in a relevant journal.

The next indication that the paper is bad is in the second sentence of the abstract.

Most Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) climate models assume that the efficacy of a solar forcing is close to the efficacy of a similar sized greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing.

Irvine makes no attempt to substantiate the claim that the models make this assumption. He cannot, for this claim is simply wrong and demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of how coupled climate models work. Irvine could read the code of a climate model from end to end and he would not find the line that codes the relative efficacy of different forcings, nor of  climate sensitivity, because they are not there. Climate sensitivity and the efficacy of different forcings are not inputs to the model, they are the properties that arise from the basic physics represented in the model.

Irvine argues that solar forcing has a much higher efficacy than greenhouse gas forcing, that is, one watt of solar forcing causes more heating than one watt of greenhouse gas forcing. Coupled climate models suggest that the different forcings have similar efficacies despite their different geographical and seasonal distribution, and physical mechanisms.

Irvine disputes this. Instead he argues that forcing with short and long wave (IR) radiation has very different effects on climate. IR re-emitted from CO2 in the atmosphere is absorbed by the top millimetre of the ocean. Irvine claims that this energy is “returned almost immediately to the atmosphere and space as latent heat of evaporation.”

Short wave radiation direct from the Sun penetrates the ocean more deeply.

For energy of 418nm, light drops to one thousandth of its original intensity after travelling about 1570 meters in pure water.

Irvine goes on to make a “crude forcings model” that matches the observed instrumental climate record much better than a CMIP5 model and performs a simple experiment aimed to show that downwelling IR has little impact in slowing the cooling of water.

So what are the problems.

First the depth which the 0.1% of blue photons reach in pure water is irrelevant and misleading. What matters is where the bulk of the short wave photons are absorbed and warm the ocean: the upper fifty metres in clear ocean, much less where the water is turbid. This is still much deeper than IR, but well over an order of magnitude shallower than the depth Irvine gave.

The “crude forcings model” is discussed at length, but bizarrely, the model is never specified.  The results are apparently just too exciting to bother with tedious details like methods. This is a failure of the peer review process (if any) at the journal. From what is written, the model appears to be a curve-fitting exercise with the observed temperature being a linear function of solar, greenhouse gas and aerosol forcing plus internal variability. The internal variability is included as the sum of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. This sum of two indices has little if any physical meaning, but gives Irvine’s model a help in matching the instrumental data. This means that the comparison with the CMIP5 model is not remotely fair as the model’s internal variability is unlikely to be in-phase with the internal variability in the real climate.

Further, Ivine’s model generates decadal mean results which are compared with decadal mean instrumental data, so short term variability such as the El Nino is removed. The CMIP5 model results are presented at an annual resolution and of course the timing of the El Nino in the model and real climate do not match. You would not expect them to even in a perfect model.

I’m not sure that it is possible to meaningfully compare the results of a CMIP5 model with a curve fitting exercise, but if it is, Irvine has done a bad job of it.

Irvine finds that solar forcing has a climate sensitivity of 1.4°C/wm-2 [Irvine’s unit notation] and that greenhouse gas forcing has a climate sensitivity of 0.35°C/wm-2. In appendix B, the sensitivity for greenhouse gas forcing is given as 10 times higher but the units are wrong. If I fit a linear model to the numbers in appendix B, only greenhouse gas forcing is a statistically significant predictor of temperature. There is insufficient information to work out what Irvine has done here.

Next the experiment. Irvine takes two bowls of warm water, each beneath a shelter. One shelter is transparent to IR emitted by the water, the other reflects it, while computer fans provide a draft. Initially the water in the bowls is free to evaporate. The cooling rate is the same in both bowls. Then evaporation is stopped by placing cling film over the bowls. The bowl under the IR reflector now cools more slowly. Irvine argues that this experiment shows that the energy from the reflected IR immediately lost as latent heat by driving evaporation.

It is not a well designed experiment, at least not one that resembles reality. Blowing dry air over the water is bound to cause such a large amount of evaporation that the reflected IR will have minimal impact on the rate of cooling.

If Irvine was correct, and that incoming IR is immediately lost by the ocean, it is unclear how the natural greenhouse effect that warms the Earth 33 °C over what is expected for a blackbody this far from the Sun with the current albedo could arise.

So what really happens to downwelling long wave radiation? It warms up the top millimetre of the ocean. By adding energy at the surface it slows down the rate of energy loss by emission of long wave radiation and evaporation. As the net rate of energy loss is reduced, the equilibrium temperature is warmer. Simple. Irvine’s notion that the ocean can recognise the energy added to the surface of the ocean by IR and treat this energy differently from other energy, immediately directing it into evaporation or long wave emission, is simply absurd. An engineer should know better.


About richard telford

Ecologist with interests in quantitative methods and palaeoenvironments
This entry was posted in climate, Fake climate sceptics, Silliness, WUWT and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Bob Irvine is bringing engineers into disrepute

  1. Raymond Arritt says:

    Digging through the WIT Press web site, it appears this is a contributed conference abstract. Thus it’s not likely that it has undergone peer review, at least in the sense of a journal paper.

    • Yes you may be right. It is certainly looks like it is a conference paper.

      But who would travel so far to present something unrelated to their work. Won’t have been cheap either, especially to go open access.

      • Raymond Arritt says:

        Yes, attending a conference on the coast of Spain must have been quite a burden…
        Looking at an upcoming WIT conference in Spain, registration is EUR 890 and the open access charge is EUR 150. So as you say not cheap. I don’t know if Australian tax law allows writing off all or part of the cost as in the U.S.

  2. Konrad. says:

    while discussion continues at other sites, feel I should add a comment here. I am the one who designed the initial experiment and later refinements. I did not collaborate with Bob Irvine on this paper, he found experiment on the web and replicated for himself. While it was not my intention to have this, or any of the series, published in a journal, a later variant may have been more appropriate –

    – this uses more controlled air flow and constant LWIR sources. This means the divergence in the second stage of the experiment is more pronounced.

    Before criticising, I would advise you search the web and literature for a comparable experiment. The only thing I ever found was Minnett’s study which was at sea, not in the lab. It only found an effect from DWLWIR at least an order of magnitude less than what the standard maths indicated.

    But it is not enough to say that DWLWIR is not having the effect supposed. The question of why ocean temps are above 255K still needs to be answered. Here I ran a second series of experiments into why water should be treated as a greybody or selective surface not a near blackbody. Here you will see that Bob was indeed correct to say that the effect of LWIR and SW radiation on the oceans is different. To a selective surface all watts are not identical. Frequency and depth of absorption matters. Asymmetry of absorptivity and emissivity matters. This is where the standard SB equations fail, and this is why the foundation assumption of 225K for “surface in absence of atmosphere” is in such grave error.

    On the use of the SB equations, the first problem is that the short form treats emissivity as equal to absorptivity. This is not true for most real materials. For materials like polished aluminium (e less than a) and white titanium dioxide (e greater than a) the long form with separate variables for e & a should be used.

    For example, if we had an isothermal sphere of each of those materials in vacuum receiving 240w/m2 and used the short form of the SB equation we would calculate equilibrium temperature as 255K for each. The more correct answer is 453K for the aluminium and 167K for the titanium dioxide.

    The situation for surfaces becomes far more complex when introducing transparency or translucency to differing frequencies, specific heat capacity and, worst of all, liquids that convect. This is what “selective surface experiment 1” is all about. It demonstrates why the oceans get so hot without DWLWIR having a role. –

    These two blocks have equal ability to absorb SW or IR and emit LWIR, the only difference is the depth of SW absorption. Illuminate both with 1000w/m2 if LWIR and they will both rise to ~80C in under 3 hours. Try again with 1000w/m2 of SW. Block B will again rise to ~80C, but Block A will rise to ~100C. This physics is missing from the “basic physics” of the “settled science”

    It gets far more complex when convecting fluid or intermittent illumination (diurnal cycle) is introduced. And more complex again when emissivity is asymmetric with absorptivity. But this simple experiment should be a clear indication that SB equations should never have been used on the oceans covering 71% of the planet’s surface. CFD (Computational fluid dynamics) should have been used.

    I have further experiments that demonstrate the selective surface effect in moving liquids and that IR emissivity (effective not apparent) is lower than SW absorptivity for water. (but this comment is already way too long) But the bottom line is this, you should not be asking how the atmosphere raises surface temp from 255K to 288K, but rather how it is lowering surface temp from 312K to 288K. Bob’s working is not perfect, but given he understood that all watts are not equal for the oceans, he got closer than most climate scientists. I would not call that bringing engineers into disrepute by any measure.

    And the moral? Don’t assume, always check the priori. (or if all else fails, ask an engineer.)

    • Minnett would seem not to agree with your interpretation.

      Last time I checked, the ocean was not made from polished aluminium, titanium dioxide or painted acrylic, but water. Hence it it the emissivity and absorptivity of water that matter. The emissivity of water is ~0.95, the total proportion of light absorbed (1-albedo) is 0.94. There is not a great deal of difference between these numbers. Of course, the depth at which IR and SW are absorbed differ, and that will have physical effect, but the first order effect of increases in IR or SW will be the same – to heat the ocean.

      I don’t know where your 312K comes from, but my guess is that you are forgetting albedo. The 33K estimate of the greenhouse effect is for a planet this far from the Sun with the albedo of the Earth. Your titanium dioxide planet would have a very high albedo, after accounting for that, I suspect standard SB would not be far off.

      • Konrad. says:

        Thank you for posting my comment with the edit.

        As to Minnetts study, at first blush the concept was good. The idea was to measure how sea surface temperature responded to the strong variation in DWLWIR from passing cloud. The experiment was confounded by being conducted in the “noisy” conditions of the real environment. Further there was no wind speed/air temp measurement close to the sea following thermometer, the observation angle of the IR sensor was off vertical and the readings were taken in the day with low angle of incidence SW scattering. While the readings did indicate a response to LWIR, it should have been nearer 0.1K per 1w/m2. AFAIK this study was not finally published in the literature.

        With regard to water there are two factors that make it a selective surface, it is SW transparent and IR opaque and emissivity and absorptivity are asymmetric. 0.95 is a good emissivity instrument setting for IR measurement of surface temperature. But this apparent emissivity ie: within the Hohlrumn of the atmosphere and accounting for surface cavity effect (IR is being emitted from within the first 100 microns). The method to determine effective emissivity requires background radiation to be cancelled. I have only been able to drop background down to near -50C but that was enough to determine effective IR emissivity of less than 0.8.

        As to the SW transparent / IR opaque selective surface effect, the results of the two block experiment shown above are dramatic. This is what is heating our oceans above 255K despite DWLWIR having little effect.

        The 312K figure is a best estimate for “planet surface in absence of atmosphere”. (This, like the 255K figure used by climate scientists, assumes the oceans don’t boil into space). 335K for the oceans (71%) and 255K for land (29%). This does include albedo, but the figure for the oceans incorporates the SW selective surface effects and intermittent illumination. The traditional 255K figure on the other hand assumes surface opacity to both SW and LWIR and symmetrical emissivity and absorptivity, which disagrees with empirical experiment.

        I would note here that after having done the experiment, the SW selective surface effect for water was old news –
        Harris, W. B., Davison, R. R., and Hood, D. W. (1965) ‘Design and operating characteristics of an experimental solar water heater’ Solar Energy, 9(4), pp. 193-196.
        – they found the same dramatic temperature differential when trying to make the surface layer of an evaporation constrained solar pond black instead of clear.

        An error near 60C in the base assumptions of the radiative GHE calculations may seem dramatic, but it should be remembered that the same thing occurred with SB estimates for the Lunar regolyith compared to the empirical measurements from Diviner. Surface properties matter.

      • The results from Harris et al are only relevant if a) your ocean is only 10 cm deep and b) is resting on a cold substrate that will conduct heat out of the ocean. In the ocean, SW is effectively absorbed over the top few tens of metres. The water in a solar water heater is much shallower. Most SW would pass through.

        Irvine was arguing that downwelling IR was absorbed and immediately shunted into evaporation or re-emission. This is aphysical.

        You appear to be arguing that water has a low emissivity in IR and hence is an inefficient radiator and so loses heat slowly so downwelling IR is not needed to maintain the temperature. Is this the correct interpretation of your claim?

        If water had a low emissivity in IR it would also absorb poorly and have high IR reflectance. It does not.

      • Konrad says:

        I fear you misinterpret what part of Harris et al I was referencing. While they were working on shallow solar ponds, their work on surface effects is entirely applicable to to 255K base assumption underlying not just AGW but the entire radiative GHE. Lets look at a simple convecting, evaporation constrained solar pond –

        – For best average temperatures over a diurnal cycle, Harris et al demonstrated that layer 2 clear and layer 3 black worked better than layer 2 black. Exactly as I show with “selective surface experiment 1”

        Look again at the standard SB calcs. They treat the oceans as opaque to both SW and IR ie: layer 2 black. Big mistake. Hideous mistake. Fist-biting mistake? Try wincing so hard while biting your fist you find you have swallowed your eyes and are missing fingers. Yes, that bad!

        As to whether IR emissivity/absorptivity is as low as 0.7? A curiosity, best left to crazed military types trying to develop multi spectral imaging in the wet Hohlrumn of the jungle. If you’ve got a fast response IR sensor I could show you some of it, but who has the tech to cool the Hohlrumn to 3K?

        Richard, in the end, nothing I showed you was “lies” or “false”. AGW is quite simply a physical impossibility.

        Do you own a car Richard? I may be sceptic but I am an environmentalist. kayaks, mountain bikes. That’s it in my household.

        You drive a petrol burning ego box don’t you Richard? I can smell you…..

      • I don’t see how what I drive affects the laws of physics. But in the imaginary world where Kirchhoff’s Laws don’t apply and the greenhouse effect does not exist, anything is possible.

        CGMs do not assume that the skin of the ocean is opaque.

      • Konrad says:

        the comment about cars was only to show that I like most sceptics care about the environment. Despite working in design and engineering, I believe that the private car has been one of the most problematic inventions of all time. I was one of those who was initially happy to see a scientific reason to curtail our negligent use of hydrocarbon fuels. However I now have to accept that AGW is not a reality. As always the ends don’t justify the means.

        Your comment regarding CGMs and their treatment of water is in part correct. A good example of attempts to improve parametrisation for depth of SW absorption for CGMs is Sweeny et al –

        Click to access SWpen_Sweeney.pdf

        the climate modeling community has been slow to implement these parameterizations in OGCMs. As a first step, most models assume that all of the solar irradiance is absorbed at the surface in the same way that latent and sensible heat are passed across the air-sea interface.

        – but the problem remains. These parametrisations are but adjustments to a base assumption. This parametrisation is the critical fault with GCMs as it is with simpler models. While GCMs have great power, they waste it. That is to say they run computational fluid dynamics in the horizontal not vertical. Vertical energy flows both mechanical and radiative are parametrised not computed, yet it is the vertical transports that are most critical to determining the effects of radiative gas concentration on surface temperatures.

        A example of the errors in GCMs is atmospheric radiative convective modelling. Prior to 1990 radiative subsidence was well accepted in meteorology as half the motive force in tropospheric convective circulation in the Hadley Ferrel and Polar cells. Post 1990 there was a flurry of papers essentially replacing radiative subsidence with what could best be called “immaculate convection”. This eliminated diabatic processes such as radiative cooling from a role in driving vertical circulation in the troposphere. This circulation is the primary energy transport away from the surface. If GCM parametrisation holds it static for increased radiative gas concentrations then the model will certainly show increased near surface warming.

        Kirchhoff’s Laws do apply, and nothing in my experiments is in violation. For a material in thermal equilibrium energy gained must equal energy lost. A material that absorbs at a particular frequency will also be able to radiate at that frequency. Water certainly does absorb and radiate LWIR, but because it also cools by the physical loss of molecules from a layer LWIR cannot penetrate, incident LWIR does not slow cooling in the same way it would for a solid material.

        Kirchhoff’s Laws also apply to the selective surface experiments. But for semi transparent materials the incoming frequency, whether the illumination is intermittent, depth of absorption and internal non radiative transports must be included to determine equilibrium temperature. With selective surface experiment 1 shown above, the simple way to get the greatest surface temperature differential is to make the SW illumination intermittent. Another simple example is selective surface experiment 2 –

        – again the only difference between samples is depth of SW absorption. Here convective circulation causes a significant surface temperature differential even with continuous SW illumination, which gets greater again with intermittent illumination. For our oceans all these factors are in play, UV/SW absorption at depth not the surface, convective circulation and intermittent illumination.

        It is fair to say that the basic physics of intermittent solar heating of SW transparent fluids was not properly considered in making the base “surface without atmosphere” assumption of 255K. It should have be around 312K, and that means no AGW. This also means I will have to find other reasons to demonize cars, but there’s plenty to pick from 😉

      • Sweeney et al is a decade old. Do you have any evidence that the current generation of ocean models assume that SW is absorbed by the ocean skin?

        So you do think that downwelling IR is absorbed and immediately shunted into evaporation. That somehow the ocean can distinguish the quanta of energy from IR and treat them differently from the heat already in the ocean. Next you will be telling me that homoeopathy works as it is also based on fantasy physics.

      • Konrad. says:

        Richard, the current generation of climate models do make adjustment for depth of SW absorption and turbidity, but these are parametrisations. They do not have the power to run CFD in the vertical dimension. Minor adjustment to the base near blackbody assumption cannot give the correct answer. The oceans are –
        – SW translucent
        – IR opaque
        – Intermittently illuminated
        – Internally convecting
        – Have effective (not apparent ) IR emissivity lower than SW absorptivity
        My experiments show the same thing as those from 1965. The 255K basic assumption for “surface without atmosphere” is in error by around 80C for the oceans. The climate models instead show the radiative atmosphere warming not cooling the oceans, therefore they disagree with empirical experiment.

        As to the incident LWIR on water that evaporatively cools experiment, there is no “fantasy physics”. Just boring old molecular/kinetic theory of fluids –

        Kinetic theory is what best explains why the empirical experiments show incident LWIR has a negligible effect on ocean temperatures.

        Just as with gases, molecules in water all have different kinetic states. Some have higher velocity, some lower. When we measure the temperature of water we are simply measuring the average of these velocities.

        At the gas/liquid interface of the skin evaporation layer, if an individual molecule has high enough velocity, it can break surface tension and evaporate. In doing so it reduces the average of the velocity of the remaining molecules ie: cooling.

        When an IR photon is intercepted by a water molecule in the skin evaporation layer it will increase the velocity of that molecule. Slower molecules will have their velocity increased but remain constrained by surface tension thereby increasing average molecular velocity. Faster molecules however will be “tripped” into evaporation as their velocity will be increased enough to break surface tension, thereby reducing average molecular velocity.

        If a faster molecule is tripped into evaporation by an IR photon, it will remove not just the original kinetic energy of the molecule but also the energy of the intercepted photon from the skin evaporation layer.

        This does mean that for warmer water, DWLWIR could have a slight cooling effect, and for colder water a slight warming effect. However globally the effect will be negligible. DWLWIR cannot be raising ocean temperatures by 33C. SW selective surface effect alone is sufficient to explain ocean temperatures being above theoretical blackbody temperature.

  3. REMOVED – A Comparison Of The Efficacy Of Greenhouse Gas Forcing And Solar Forcing

    I questioned WIT on the paper and received this response:

    “I have now received the result of a peer evaluation carried out urgently yesterday on the paper you brought into question, and have decided to withdraw it from our eLibrary.

    We appreciate you bringing the matter to our attention.”

    • Wow.

      Strange that they publish before they receive the peer review.

      Do let know. This will interest them.

      • dikranmarsupial says:

        As it was effectively a volume representing the proceedings of a conference, rather than a normal journal issue, it is possible it was not originally peer-reviewed, and the peer-evaluation was instigated after concerns were raised after publication.

    • Konrad says:

      Kevin & Richard,
      as you may be aware, I had no collaboration with Bob Irvine on this paper. It was not my intention that any of my series of experiments be published using the peer review process, indeed the whole point is make sure the correct answers appear elsewhere first.

      When contacted by a website owner who indicated that they recognised an early variant of this experiment, I advised that I felt the paper lacked focus and could be significantly improved. I advised against it being published on their site. Unfortunately another site, WUWT, chose to do so.

      But to every cloud….In the fallout, many have started to look at the difference between blackbodys, greybodys and selective surfaces. More physics can’t be a bad thing 😉

  4. John Mashey says:

    Richard: to calibrate Konrad’s views, you might want to see Pseudoskeptics Exposed In The SalbyStorm, to which is attached a PDF of the blog comments.
    PDF Search: {Konrad} yields 5 hits, assuming this is the same (essentially anonymous) Konrad.
    One comment included: “Sceptics will never forgive and the Internet will never forget.”
    That is true: pseudoskeptics desperately wanted to believe Salby’s ideas and then that he was a Galileo martyred by Macqaurie U. Some wrote insultigng letters … but oddly, when it turned out otherwise, apologies were not forthcoming. I thank all the commenters for their voluntary contributions to a dataset that will be useful for a long time.

  5. Konrad. says:

    thank you for the links. I have added the pdf to my archive. Those were indeed my comments and I stand by them.

    A point I would raise here concerns the term “pseudosceptic”. I would point out that many sceptics are like myself, individuals working on our own dime and time to correct what we view as a grave scientific mistake. I build an run those experiments with my own funds. There are a great number of sceptics, just like me who lend their individual strengths to the debate and they all do it for free.

    There truly is no central control, and herding sceptics would be like trying to herd cats. We are perhaps the first genuine grass roots movement of the Internet age. Sceptic sites mostly run off tip jars, there are no millions of dark dollars from big oil etc. We are fighting because we genuinely care about science. While sceptics may at times seem politically motivated, this is most often a response to the unfortunate politicisation of science this debate has created and a consequence of the clear political divide that has occurred in many democracies on the issue.

    As to “pseudosceptic”, there were a few and some still frequent sceptic sites. A prominent example was the PSI group, with many of those linking or contributing to that site being “falseflag”. They got not traction on sceptic sites, being easily disproved by empiricists like myself. There are now only a few “sleepers” left on sceptic sites, trying to herd the cats to a “lukewarm” soft landing position.

    In contrast sceptics do not (despite Lewendowskys attempts to show otherwise) believe that the AGW thing is a giant conspiracy. Instead we see, misplaced environmental concern, common purpose, fellow travellers and groupthink. And above all one huge scientific mistake.

    John, If you think that sceptics are intentionally arguing a position they know to be wrong you would be mistaken.

    • Marco says:

      “many of those linking or contributing to that site being “falseflag”.”
      But really, folks, Konrad most assuredly isn’t a conspiracy theorist. He just told us so himself!

      • John Mashey says:

        As per Pseudoskpetics are not skeptics, Sauron-class Morton’s Demons are well-represented, sometimes in the (relatively small number of people) who get paid for doing anti-science, but especially in the much larger group who don’t get paid, but are in this for all sorts of other reasons,
        If I ever update that, I might add conspiracy theory, although it does overlap with some of the others.
        Richard: please, Bob Irvine may bring himself into disrepute, but that is not strong evidence for tarring us all 🙂 I wouldn’t say Will Happer’s ideas bring physicists into disrepute.
        I’ve not yet seen a well-controlled study of beliefs by engineering disciplines, except possibly within the petroleum-related societies like AAPG or AIPG. Silicon Valley has large numbers of some kinds of engineers and anecdotally, it’s hard to see them less-informed on climate science than the general population.

  6. John Mashey says:

    Richard (and Dikran:
    Bob Irvine has replied to Retraction Watch.

  7. Bob Irvine says:

    You make a good point. My use of the word ” assume” in your first quote above was not accurate. Your point is well made that “efficacy of different forcings are not inputs to the model etc”.
    Here is the relevant quote in 4AR ;
    ” Efficacy (E) is defined as the ratio of the climate sensitivity parameter for a given forcing agent (λi) to the climate sensitivity parameter for CO2 changes, that is, Ei = λi/λCO2 ……….
    Many of the studies presented (4AR) find that both the geographical and vertical distribution of the forcing can have the most significant effect on efficacy (Boer & Yu 2003b, Sokolov 2006, Joshi 2003, and Stuber 2005).
    Nearly all studies that examine it find that high latitude forcings have higher E than tropical forcings. E has also been shown to vary with the vertical distribution of an applied forcing (Hansen 1997, Christiansen 1999, Joshi 2003, Cook & Highwood 2004, Roberts & Jones 2004, Forster & Joshi 2005, Stuber 2005, Sokolov 2006).
    Forcings that predominantly affect the upper atmosphere are often found to have smaller E compared to those that affect the surface ……………..Overall there is medium confidence that the direct solar E is within the 0.7 to 1.0 range.”
    There is a similar conclusion in the AR5. The point I was trying to make was that they only looked at vertical and geographical distribution when comparing the efficacy of solar and GHG forcings. They did not, I believe, properly allow for the significant differences in absorption at the ocean surface between these two forcings. They “assume” that this difference in absorption has no significant effect on climate sensitivity.
    Your point about the difference between pure and sea water is simply nit picking. As you say “this is still much deeper than IR” and, therefore, does not effect my argument that the vast difference in water absorption between short wave solar radiation and long wave GHG radiation may affect their efficacy.
    Most climate sensitivity studies are essentially curve fitting exercises. They get a figure for a change in forcing and compare it to a change in temperature after attempting to filter out as much noise as possible. For example, a change in forcing during the last glacial maximum was compared to a temperature change or similar was done with volcanic episodes etc.
    The model in the paper was deliberately described as crude. It included the four main climate inputs and each of these had a history described and a sensitivity applied to that history. I don’t know what else I can do “to specify” the model.
    There are, of course, many other complicating inputs to the earth’s climate. It should, however, be of interest that a model using these sensitivities can match the measured temperature so well. As I made clear in the paper, it should be possible to change these sensitivities slightly as our knowledge of internal variability, or other factors, increases.
    Konrad has defended his experiment very well, above. I would like to see Richard actually do the experiment to his own satisfaction. He would then have a better feel for the conclusions drawn.

    • The models treat IR and short wave differently. These components of the ocean energy budget are not assumed to have identical responses – that is an emergent property of the model.

      Most modern climate sensitivity studies are not simple curve fitting exercises. See for example Schmittner et al. 2011. The LGM temperature difference/LGM CO2 difference is a poor estimate of sensitivity as we are not now in a glacial. Climate models with known modern sensitivity are used, the ones that best match LGM differences are assumed to have the best estimate of sensitivity.

      A simple test of whether the model is sufficiently replicated is to see if you could repeat the analysis just from reading the text. In this case you cannot.

      The experiment is a terribly poor model of how the oceans behave. You don’t need an experiment to show that the evaporation shunt is aphysical. It can be demonstrated by observational data of the Earth’s energy budget, or by a consideration of the physics of IR absorption and evaporation. (Hint, only IR absorbed in the Knudsen layer can directly cause evaporation, and half of all excited molecules will have a downwards motion so cannot evaporate).

  8. Bob Irvine says:

    The IPCC certainly does treat GHG and Solar forcing differently as you say. My quote from the 4AR above says clearly that they believe the climate to be equal or marginally more sensitive to a change in GHG forcing than it is to a similar change in Solar forcing. I obviously agree with you on this so what is the point of the comment? My point was that they do not take the large difference in absorption into account. If you can give me a properly referenced quote in the AR5 that mentions and takes into account the different water absorption characteristics when calculating sensitivity, I’ll stand corrected.
    The physical mechanisms involved in climate sensitivity are very poorly understood. For example cloud changes and aerosol effects are very poorly constrained and it is doubtful whether TOA radiation flux changes due to changing GHG concentrations can be isolated accurately enough. For this reason most sensitivity studies, based on real world measurements, are essentially curve fitting exercises. They attempt to neutralize factors that are poorly understood so that a known forcing change can be compared to a known temperature change and produce a sensitivity estimate. In my case, I combined two unknown sensitivities with the IPCC’s aerosol sensitivity to come up with a very close match with our 120 year temperature record, including the current hiatus. It was interesting to me that the approximate sensitivities I came up with are the only ones that can possibly produce the relevant temperature series. It is simply impossible to produce this known temperature record without assuming GHG sensitivity is a lot lower than Solar, unless your prepared to invoke unrealistic internal variability that is not consistent with our current understanding.
    My last point is, that I never said nor do I believe that GHG radiation does not effect OHC. Of course it does, to some extent. The point I’ve consistently tried to make is that this effect will, likely, be different to a similar change in Solar radiation and that this difference will, likely, result in different sensitivities for these two forcings.

    • AR5 reviews recent advances in climate science rather than attempting to be comprehensive. If you want to know how the models treat radiation being absorbed by the ocean you will need to look in the literature describing the models. One might think that this would be a sensible thing to do before writing a paper saying that the IPCC gets it wrong. Take for example an early version of the GISS model described in Russell et al (1995).

      Absorbed solar radiation on the open ocean surface penetrates through the first three layers of the ocean according to the formula of Paulson and Simpson (1977).

      You can even download the code for the GISS model if you really want to find out how it works. But its much more fun running irrelevant experiments isn’t it.

      When you don’t describe you model and the values in the appendix differ by a factor of ten from those in the text, you cannot expect to be taken seriously. You also make some absurd assumption.

      Of course the sensitivity of climate to different forcings are going to be different. But you need to do a much better work to persuade anyone other than the gullible.

  9. Bob Irvine says:

    Your quote, above, refers only to SW solar radiation and is not relevant to this discussion of LW GHG radiation. Could you give me a link or reference that shows how LW in the ocean is handled by the models or IPCC that takes account of the large difference in absorption. If not I can only assume you have been deliberately misleading.
    The experiment shows a clearly that, when a water body is free to evaporate, LW radiation does not significantly effect it’s heat content probably for the reasons pointed out by Konrad in your post above. Excessive evaporation, due to the fans, swamping the radiation is not an issue as you would quickly find out if you did the experiment. When I did the experiment, I introduced a control for this by running the experiment with evaporation but without the false ceilings (Cling Wrap and Foil) and found the rate of cooling to be the same as when the ceilings were used. The LW radiation made no difference to the rate of cooling of the tubs of water despite the fan effect being equal.
    The glib way that you dismiss this experiment indicates to me that you come at this from an entrenched inflexible position. When you were younger and your mind a little more open, you may have taken some interest in a factor that could help explain the models failure to predict the current air temperature levelling. As a scientist, you must be just a little suspicious of people using atypical ocean warming as a plug to explain every model failure. At least I hope you are.
    One last point, you say “Of course the sensitivity of climate to different forcings are going to be different.” . Here is the AR5 position on this,
    “Using fixed-Sea Surface Temperature (SST) simulations Hansen et al (2005) found that Effective Radiative Forcing (ERF) is virtually identical to Radiative Forcing (RF) for increased CO2 , tropospheric Ozone and solar irradiance…” and

    “The various studies demonstrate that RF provides a good estimate of ERF in most cases, as the differences are very small, with the notable exception of Black Carbon (BC) related forcings.”

    In other words they see no difference in sensitivity of climate between LW GHG forcing and SW solar forcing despite the huge difference in water absorption coefficient.

    • LW is all absorbed in the top layer of the model ocean. Obviously. You will not find a model that does otherwise.

      You will find much less discussion of LW than SW as SW absorption depends on many factors making it interesting.

      Really cannot believe that anybody would try to publish a critique of the climate models without understanding them. If you want to know exactly what they are doing, you can download the code and read it line by line. Otherwise read the manuals – many of the models have manuals online.

      You know that the marine boundary layer is almost saturated don’t you. This means that if you ran your experiment under dry air, the results will be meaningless. It would be almost meaningless anyway as there is no turbulent mixing in your experiment. So many problems with it – and you wonder why I think it junk.

      Another thing, you know how thick the Knudsen layer is don’t you and what that means for your aphysical evaporative shunt?

  10. Quaestio says:

    It seems Bob Irvine’s paper is back again in a revised version at WIT press

  11. Pingback: Bob Irvine’s zombie paper (hide the tin foil) | Musings on Quantitative Palaeoecology

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