Papers Show Low CO2 Climate Sensitivity

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NTZ reader and contributor Ed Caryl brings us his newest essay. This one is about the climate’s (low) sensitivity to CO2.

On CO2, Did You Know That… ?
By Ed Caryl

Nearly all the papers on CO2 and high global warming are based on climate models, not actual data.

  • Did you know that there is one paper that uses satellite data to actually measure CO2’s affect on climate?
  • Did you know that the temperature figure for CO2 doubling (climate sensitivity) found in that paper is 0.6°C?

Dr. Roy W. Spencer and Dr. John Christy are the “fathers” of satellite based global temperature measurements. Dr. Spencer is also the author of the book, The Great Global Warming Blunder. Dr. Spencer and Dr. William D. Braswell co-authored the above paper.

First, to prepare you, some mathematics:

The formula for the amount of warming due to a doubling of CO2 is:

X = ∆T * (3.7 W/m2)/∆F

Where X is the warming in °C,

∆T is the equilibrium temperature change measured in °C,

∆F is the sustained forcing in W/m2, that produced that change,

The 3.7 W/m2 figure is the radiative forcing due to doubled CO2 as measured at the top of the atmosphere. This figure is from the IPCC 2001 report, and is agreed on by most researchers, including Spencer in The Great Global Warming Blunder (page 48).

Any sustained forcing of less than 3.7 W/m2 is positive feedback, resulting in an X of 1°C or more. Any sustained forcing more than that figure is negative feedback, resulting in an X of less than 1°C. If there is no feedback, positive or negative, the figure for CO2 doubling is 1°C. The IPCC figures, 1.5 to 4.5°C, assume positive feedback, mostly from water vapor.

Most of the climate sensitivity calculations use climate models, rather than real-world data. All produce climate sensitivity numbers of more than 1°C, most centered around 3°C. Roy Spencer used actual satellite temperature measurement data to find the real-world climate sensitivity. In another paper, found here, he describes evidence that the forcing is between 6 and 8 W/m2, thus climate sensitivities for CO2 doubling of from 0.46 to 0.6°C, or 0.8 to 1°F. This low number is attributed to negative feedback from clouds. This is an inconsequential amount of warming, and even that may not be reached if CO2 does not double.

This low climate sensitivity along with ocean cycles like the AMO, ENSO, and PDO may be the reason for no warming since 1998. See Bob Tisdale’s post in WUWT here for reinforcement of that idea.

Have those figures been published in a peer-reviewed journal? Yes, in the Journal of Geophysical Research. See: Spencer-Braswell-JGR-2010.pdf

Is there any independent confirmation of such low climate sensitivity? Stephen E. Schwartz (2007) (also peer reviewed in the JGR) has studied the ocean heat capacity, and has produced two significant numbers: 1) the time constant for temperature changes is 5 ± 1 year, not the much longer periods touted by others. And 2) the climate sensitivity measured this way is 1.1 ±0.5°C, very close to the no feedback case, but not excluding Spencer and Braswell’s numbers. Schwartz uses GISS temperature data, not the somewhat lower satellite data, so his climate sensitivity number may be high.

Albert Einstein:

No amount of expeimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

Well, here are two. (Three, if you count Bob Tisdale’s post.) These are “experiments” that use actual real-world data, not models. The science is settled? You be the judge.

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7 responses to “Papers Show Low CO2 Climate Sensitivity”

  1. DirkH

    AGW mitigation will rumble on in the EU regardless; AGW is now a movement without a cause, and it doesn’t need a cause; shouting down non-believers is the ticket. Falsification will not impress them. Crazy Connie, the Climate Commissioner, is still in charge. The EU still has the target of reducing it’s 2020 CO2 emissions by 30% below 1990 levels.

    No German warmist i met in real life had any argument better than Mann’s hockey stick, if at all; they are not even informed about the basic tenets of their own religion, or just barely. The movement is as hollow as the Wizard Of Oz. The propaganda rags Stern and Spiegel don’t discuss the basic assumptions of Arrhenius or Fourier; that’s too complicated. The warmists never argue, so they can never be beaten by an argument.

    Reality will make them cave in – their temple will crash and they will not know why.

    1. DirkH

      Just dawned on me that European Commission and European Communism sound pretty similar; like European Commissioner and European Kommissar. The EU always spearheaded the Good Fight against CAGW; will the EU vanish with CAGW, as if CAGW was its lifeblood?

  2. Bruce

    More empirically measured values in the range 0.4-0.6 are summarised in this paper by David Archibald, with their citations:

    See page 24.

    1. Ed Caryl

      Interesting! That was two years ago, and so far his predictions are spot on. Perhaps in two more winters the AGW folks will have all frozen to death.

  3. Michael Cejnar

    Thank you – this is a good level of scientific discourse for general scientists such as me.

  4. Arno Arrak

    I hate to tell you guys but CO2 sensitivity to doubling at the top of the atmosphere is zero, not 3.7 watts per square meter. This follows from the work of Ferenc Miskolczi who determined that the infrared transmittance of the atmosphere remained constant for 61 years while carbon dioxide in air increased by 21.6 percent. He did that by analyzing the weather balloon data in NOAA’s database that goes back to 1948. It follows that the greenhouse absorption signature of that added carbon dioxide is not there. No absorption, no greenhouse effect, case closed. This has consequences. The enhanced greenhouse effect of the added carbon dioxide is fed into computers that run IPCC climate models. Since it does not exist the computers are stuffed with garbage. And if you put garbage in you get garbage out too. Or GIGO, as they say. It follows that predictions of dangerous greenhouse warming ahead that these computers produce are nothing but GIGO. Unfortunately this GIGO is fed to gullible governments that oblige by initiating various emission control programs. They cost not billions but trillions of dollars and do absolutely nothing to control the climate. What they do is tax us to stop imaginary warming, force us to use unreliable and expensive alternate power sources, and require us to brew alcohol from grain to run our cars. Total insanity has taken over the Western World. And done that with the help of the scientific establishment. The Royal Society, The National Academies of Science and dozens of scientific societies have hastened to record their approval to the global warming movement. Our scientific elite has not been so wrong since the eighteenth century when phlogiston was king. They renamed it caloric but it still wouldn’t fly and both imaginary substances ended up in the scrap heap of history. That is where the global warming movement belongs.

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