Willis Eschenbauch comment
Quote:Willis Eschenbach says:
August 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm
In a piece called It’s Not About The Feedback, I have discussed how the current climate paradigm is as mechanistic and predictable as balls on a pool table. Unfortunately, Lindzen and Choi take that mechanistic paradigm as their starting point as well, with their Equation 1:
∆T = sensitivity * ∆Q Equation 1
Same old same old, the very equation I had discussed in my cited post. They go on to equation 2, to discuss the effect of feedback on that equation, but for the reasons in my citation, I’ve already parted company with them at equation 1. The climate is not linear and mechanistically predictable, that doesn’t accord with reality.
I think that equation 1 is the result of highly suspect mathematics, and has no physical meaning.
I think, and have given (what I see as) good reasons for thinking, that sensitivity is a function of temperature, particularly in the tropics. When it is cool, sensitivity is high, and vice versa. This does not progress linearly, but shifts abruptly at the crossings of a series of thresholds.
So I fear that much of Lindzen and Choi’s work, while fascinating, is based on an incorrect assumption. This is the assumption of equation 1 as the basic state. I don’t accept that assumption. I say that the thermal stability of the planet, and particularly the tropics, is the result of the dependence of sensitivity on temperature.
Lindzen and Choi are repeating the same mistake as the AGW folks, only from the other side of the aisle. They’re trying to analyze a system of heat-sensing self-generating surface cooling machines that spring up as needed to put the cool-water fire-hose on the local hot spots, as if it were analyzing a system of forces acting on a lever.
Which is why I’m a heretic. I say the underlying paradigm, the root description, the claimed linearity and the magic formula Temperature Equals Sensitivity Times Forcing are an incorrect description of the reality of the climate system.
The reality is that the climate system has preferred states and preferred temperatures as a result of a host of homeostatic mechanisms. Chief among them are thunderstorms, the active part of the Great Hadley Solar Powered Air Conditioning, Water Cooling, Ice Making, and Global Circulation Machine.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and see the Hadley wonders in action. You think that heat only flows from hot areas to cold areas? The Great Hadley Ice Making Machines flip that on its head. They make cold flow instead of heat. And to complete the trick, they make the cold flow from cold areas to hot areas. To do it, they take water vapor from the surface. They condense and freeze out the water in the frigid upper atmosphere. Then they deliver the frozen water back from the icy altitudes to the very surface from which it left … how’s that for a neat trick? They make cold flow from cold to hot … including what might be laughingly termed “Latent Cold”, since it will cool the surface even further to have to melt the ice.
As a result of that and a host of tricks involving cloud albedo and local wind generation and the like, thunderstorms are able to regulate the surface temperature, springing up as necessary, in ever increasing numbers, to cool out any local hot spots or areas.
Nor do thunderstorms resemble feedback. They do not just slow down a temperature increase, like a negative feedback.
Instead, their dual-fuel nature allows them to actually cool the surface down to a temperature below that at which they started. When they kick into existence, the surface gets not just a slowed warming, but a good cooling.
Now, this situation can be analyzed and it can be modeled … but only by admitting that it is a self-regulating, self-organized, threshold-based system, which is regulated inter alia by active temperature-generated independent refrigeration cycle units springing up as needed and chilling out surface hot spots with cold water and cold air. It’s not easy to model, but it can be done.
You can’t model it or analyze it, however, by claiming that it’s like balls on a level pool table. Temperature doesn’t equal some magic number times the forcing, maybe you can believe that if it helps you to sleep, but the real climate is infinitely more complex and ingenious.
So no … equation one, that idea that temperature is some unspecified number times the forcing?
Not so much. I’m a heretic.
It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.
–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952