The problem with existing climate models:
Those people who aver that man’s activity affects climate on a global scale rather than just locally or regionally appear to accept that the existing climate models are incomplete. It is a given that the existing models do not fully incorporate data or mechanisms involving cloudiness or global albedo (reflectivity) variations or variations in the speed of the hydrological cycle and that the variability in the temperatures of the ocean surfaces and the overall ocean energy content are barely understood and wholly inadequately quantified in the infant attempts at coupled ocean/atmosphere models. Furthermore the effect of variability in solar activity on climate is barely understood and similarly unquantified.
The models currently assume a generally static global energy budget with relatively little internal system variability so that measurable changes in the various input and output components can only occur from external forcing agents such as changes in the CO2 content of the air caused by human emissions or perhaps temporary after effects from volcanic eruptions, meteorite strikes or significant changes in solar power output.
If such simple models are to have any practical utility it is necessary to demonstrate that some predictive skill is a demonstrable outcome of the models. Unfortunately it is apparent that there is no predictive skill whatever despite huge advances in processing power and the application of millions or even billions of man hours from reputable and experienced scientists over many decades.
Virtually all climate variability is a result of internal system variability (though provoked from outside the Earth system by solar variation) and additionally the system not only sets up a large amount of variability internally but also provides mechanisms to limit and then reduce that internal variability. It must be so or we would not still have liquid oceans. The current models neither fully recognise the presence of that internal system variability nor the processes that ultimately stabilise it.
The general approach is currently to describe the climate system from ‘the bottom up’ by accumulating vast amounts of data, observing how the data has changed over time, attributing a weighting to each piece or class of data and extrapolating forward. When the real world outturn then differs from what was expected then adjustments are made to bring the models back into line with reality. This method is known as ‘hindcasting’.
Although that approach has been used for decades no predictive skill has ever emerged. Every time the models have been adjusted using guesswork (or informed judgement as some would say) to bring them back into line with ongoing real world observations a new divergence between model expectations and real world events has begun to develop.
It is now some years since the weighting attached to the influence of CO2 was adjusted to remove a developing discrepancy between the real world warming that was occurring at the time and which had not been fully accounted for in the then climate models. Since that time a new divergence began and is now becoming embarrassingly large for those who made that adjustment. At the very least the weighting given to the effect of more CO2 in the air was excessive.
The problem is directly analogous to a financial accounting system that balances but only because it contains multiple compensating errors. The fact that it balances is a mere mirage. The accounts are still incorrect and woe betide anyone who relies upon them for the purpose of making useful commercial decisions.
Correcting multiple compensating errors either in a climate model or in a financial accounting system cannot be done by guesswork because there is no way of knowing whether the guess is reducing or compounding the underlying errors that remain despite the apparent balancing of the financial (or in the case of the climate the global energy) budget.
The system being used by the entire climatological establishment may be fundamentally flawed.
A better approach:
We know a lot about the basic laws of physics as they affect our day to day existence and we have increasingly detailed data about past and present climate behaviour.
We need a New Climate Model (from now on referred to as NCM) that is created from ‘the top down’ by looking at the climate phenomena that actually occur and using deductive reasoning to decide what mechanisms would be required for those phenomena to occur without offending the basic laws of physics.
We have to start with the broad concepts first and use the detailed data as a guide only. If a broad concept matches the reality then the detailed data will fall into place even if the broad concept needs to be refined in the process. If the broad concept does not match the reality then it must be abandoned but by adopting this process we always start with a broad concept that obviously does match the reality so by adopting a step by step process of observation, logic, elimination and refinement a serviceable NCM with some predictive skill should emerge and the more detailed the model that is built up the more predictive skill will be acquired.
That is exactly what I have been doing step by step since April 2008.
I believe that I have met with a degree of success because many climate phenomena that I had not initially considered in detail seem to be falling into line with the NCM that I have been constructing.
In the process I have found it necessary to propound various novel propositions that have confused and irritated warming proponents and sceptics alike but that is inevitable if one just follows the logic without a preconceived agenda which I hope is what I have done.
I will now go on to describe the NCM as simply as I can in verbal terms (it is a conceptual model rather than a mathematical one).
1) At this stage I should mention the ‘faint sun paradox’ because it illustrates the power of our oceans in applying a negative system response to solar variations:
Despite a substantial increase in the power of the sun over billions of years the temperature of the Earth has remained remarkably stable. My proposition is that the reason for that is the existence of water in liquid form in the oceans combined with a relatively stable total atmospheric density. If the power input from the sun changes then the effect is simply to speed up or slow down the hydrological cycle.
An appropriate analogy is a pan of boiling water. However much the power input increases the boiling point remains at 100C. The speed of boiling however does change in response to the level of power input. The boiling point only changes if the density of the air above and thus the pressure on the water surface changes. In the case of the Earth’s atmosphere a change in solar input is met with a change in evaporation rates and thus the speed of the whole hydrological cycle keeping the overall temperature stable despite a change in solar power input.
A change in the speed of the entire hydrological cycle does have a climate effect but as we shall see on timescales relevant to human existence it is too small to measure in the face of internal system variability from other causes.
Unless more CO2 from human sources could increase total atmospheric density it could not have a significant effect on global tropospheric temperature. Instead, the speed of the hydrological cycle changes to a miniscule extent in order to maintain sea surface and surface air temperature equilibrium. A change limited to the air alone short of an increase in total atmospheric density and pressure is incapable of altering that underlying equilibrium because the oceans are dominant. The amount of energy that a planetary atmosphere can retain is set only by atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field and Top of Atmosphere insolation. All compositional variations only result in a change in the global air circulation such as is necessary to keep the Top of Atmosphere energy balance stable. Otherwise the atmosphere would be lost.
2) Secondly we must realise that the absolute temperature of the Earth as a whole is largely irrelevant to what we perceive as climate. Changes in the temperature of the Earth as a whole are tiny as a result of the rapid modulating effect of changes in the speed of the hydrological cycle and the speed of the flow of radiated energy to space that always seeks to match the energy value of the whole spectrum of energy coming in from the sun.
The climate in the troposphere is a reflection of the current distribution of energy within the Earth system as a whole and internally the system is far more complex than any current models acknowledge.
That distribution of energy can be uneven horizontally and vertically throughout the ocean depths, the troposphere and the upper atmosphere and furthermore the distribution changes over time.
We see ocean energy content increase or decrease as tropospheric energy content decreases or increases. We see the stratosphere warm as the troposphere cools and cool as the troposphere warms. We see the upper levels of the atmosphere warm as the stratosphere cools and vice versa. We see the polar surface regions warm as the mid latitudes cool or the tropics warm as the poles cool and so on and so forth in infinite permutations of timing and scale.
As I have said elsewhere:
“It is becoming increasingly obvious that the rate of energy transfer varies all the time between ocean and air, air and space and between different layers in the oceans and air. The troposphere can best be regarded as a sandwich filling between the oceans below and the stratosphere above. The temperature of the troposphere is constantly being affected by variations in the rate of energy flow from the oceans driven by internal ocean variability, possibly caused by temperature fluctuations along the horizontal route of the thermohaline circulation and by variations in energy flow from the sun that affect the size (and thus density) of the atmosphere and the rate of energy loss to space.
The observed climate is just the equilibrium response to such variations with the positions of the air circulation systems and the speed of the hydrological cycle always adjusting to bring energy differentials between all the many ocean and atmosphere layers back towards equilibrium (Wilde’s Law ?).
Additionally my propositions provide the physical mechanisms accounting for the mathematics of Dr. F. Miskolczi..”
He appears to have demonstrated mathematically that if greenhouse gases in the air other than water vapour increase then the amount of water vapour declines so as to maintain an optimum optical depth for the atmosphere which modulates the energy flow to maintain sea surface and surface air temperature equilibrium. In other words, the hydrological cycle speeds up or slows down just as I propose.
3) The global albedo changes necessary to produce observed climate variability and the changes in solar energy input to the oceans can be explained by the latitudinal shifts (beyond normal seasonal variation) of all the air circulation systems and in particular the net latitudinal positions of the three main cloud bands namely the two generated by the mid latitude jet streams plus the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
It now appears clear that when the sun is active the jets are more zonal (east to west) with short lines of air mass mixing and less clouds whilst when the sun is less active the jets are more meridional (waving north and south) with longer lines of air mass mixing and more clouds.
The net effect is to alter the amount of solar energy entering the oceans to fuel the climate system.
The average position of the ITCZ is situated north of the equator because most ocean is in the southern hemisphere and it is ocean temperatures that dictate its position by governing the rate of energy transfer from oceans to air. Thus if the two mid latitude jets become more meridional and shift equatorward at the same time as the ITCZ moves closer to the equator the combined effect on global albedo and the amount of solar energy able to penetrate the oceans will be substantial and would dwarf any other proposed effects on global albedo from changes in cosmic ray intensity generating changes in cloud totals as per Svensmark.
4) The sun causes latitudinal climate zone shifting with changes in the degree of jetstream zonality / meridionality by altering the ozone creation / destruction balance differentially at different height above the tropopause. The net result is a change in the gradient of tropopause height between equator (relatively high) and poles (relatively low).
The cause appears not to be raw solar power output (TSI) which varies too little but instead, the precise mix of particles and wavelengths from the sun which varies more greatly and affects ozone amounts above the tropopause.
That allows latitudinal sliding of the jets and climate zones below the tropopause leading to changes in global cloudiness and albedo which alters the amount of energy getting into the oceans.
The New Climate Model (NCM)
1) Solar activity increases, reducing ozone amounts above the tropopause especially above the poles.
2) The stratosphere cools. The number of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere increases due to the increased solar effects with faster destruction of ozone.
3) The tropopause rises, especially above the poles altering the equator to pole height gradient.
4) The polar high pressure cells shrink and weaken accompanied by increasingly positive Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.
5) The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move poleward and the ITCZ moves further north of the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle increases due to the cooler stratosphere increasing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.
6) The main cloud bands move more poleward to regions where solar insolation is less intense and total global albedo declines via a reduction in global cloud cover due to shorter lines of air mass mixing.
7) More solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as the subtropical high pressure cells expand.
8) Less rain falls on ocean surfaces allowing them to warm more.
9) Solar energy input to the oceans increases but not all is returned to the air. A portion enters the thermohaline circulation to embark on a journey of 1000 to 1500 years. A pulse of slightly warmer water has entered the ocean circulation.
10) The strength of warming El Nino events increases relative to cooling La Nina events and the atmosphere warms.
11) Solar activity passes its peak and starts to decline.
12) Ozone levels start to recover. The stratosphere warms.
13) The tropopause falls, especially above the poles altering the equator to pole height gradient.
14) The polar high pressure cells expand and intensify producing increasingly negative Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.
15) The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move back equatorward and the ITCZ moves nearer the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle decreases due to the warming stratosphere reducing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.
16) The main cloud bands move more equatorward to regions where insolation is more intense and total global albedo increases once more due to longer lines of air mass mixing.
17) Less solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as the subtropical high pressure cells contract.
18) More rain falls on ocean surfaces further cooling them.
19) Solar energy input to the oceans decreases
20) The strength of warming El Nino events decreases relative to cooling La Nina events and the atmosphere cools.
21) It should be borne in mind that internal ocean oscillations substantially modulate the solar induced effects by inducing a similar atmospheric response but from the bottom up (and primarily from the equator) sometimes offsetting and sometimes compounding the top down (and primarily from the poles) solar effects but over multi-decadal periods of time the solar influence becomes clear enough in the historical records. The entire history of climate change is simply a record of the constant interplay between the top down solar and bottom up oceanic influences with any contribution from our emissions being indistinguishable from zero.
We saw the climate zones shift latitudinally as much as 1000 miles in certain regions between the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. It would surprise me if our emissions have shifted them by as much as a mile.
Every serious hypothesis must be capable of being proved false. In the case of this NCM my narrative is replete with opportunities for falsification if the future real world observations diverge from the pattern of cause and effect that I have set out.
However that narrative is based on what we have actually observed over a period of 1000 years with the gaps filled in by deduction informed by known laws of physics.
At the moment I am not aware of any observed climate phenomena that would result in falsification. If there be any that suggest such a thing then I suspect that they will call for refinement of the NCM rather than abandonment.
For falsification we would need to observe events such as the mid latitude jets moving poleward during a cooling oceanic phase and a period of quiet sun or the ITCZ moving northward whilst the two jets moved equatorward or the stratosphere, troposphere and upper atmosphere all warming or cooling in tandem or perhaps an unusually negative Arctic Oscillation throughout a period of high solar activity and a warming ocean phase.
To be taken seriously the NCM must be seen to show more predictive skill than the current computer based models.
Their level of success is currently being questioned.
From a reading of my narrative it is readily apparent that if the NCM matches reality then many predictions can be made. They may not be precise in terms of scale or timing but they are nevertheless useful in identifying where we are in the overall scheme of things and the most likely direction of future trend.
For example, if the mid latitude jets stay where they now are then a developing cooling trend can be expected.
If the jets move poleward for any length of time then a warming trend may be returning.
If the solar surface becomes more active then we should see a return to a more positive Arctic Oscillation.