Update: As reported by Kevin O'Neill in the comments, As a result of a "peer evaluation carried out urgently yesterday", WIT Press has removed Bob Irvine's article from it's elibrary (see here, archived here).
Sou 12:53 am 16 October 2014.
Update 2: Now at Retraction Watch. (Sou 22 October 2014)
WUWT is getting worse by the day. Today there's an article by someone called Bob Irvine (archived here). It's Anthony Watts throwing a bone to the greenhouse effect deniers. Or perhaps it's just Wondering Willis' opinion being demonstrated - if Anthony had a year to read the article, he wouldn't be able to tell if it would stand the harsh light of public exposure.
Bob Irvine has written a "guest article" about an article he wrote for some obscure engineering publication. The article is listed as "open access" but you have to register to read it. (Let's hope it's as easy to unregister.)
The weird thing is that usually when Anthony Watts posts utter nutter articles like this one, a lot of his regulars with half a brain complain how dumb it is. It doesn't seem to have happened this time, suggesting that WUWT is sloughing off all but the nuttier fruitcakes.
Bob Irvine is explaining why he thinks that climate sensitivity to greenhouse warming is less than climate sensitivity to changes in solar radiation. He invokes an "experiment" by what looks to be a sky dragon slayer and regular commenter at WUWT, who goes by the name of Konrad. You may recall Konrad whose comments have featured here from time to time. Bob also acknowledges the work of Roger Tattersal, who blogs as "Tallboke". I guess that Anthony Watts is now rethinking his decision to label Tallbloke's blog as "Transcendent Rant and way out there theory".
About the Konrad/Tallbloke experiment, apparently it's all down to clingwrap and aluminium foil. Bob Irvine writes:
Basically, two tubs of warm water, one under a clear cling wrap roof and one under a reflective foil roof, are allowed to cool. In test A they are both free to evaporate and both cool at the same rate. In test B evaporation is restricted by placing cling wrap on the surface of the water in both tubs. In test B the tub under the foil sky is significantly affected by downward long wave radiation and cools more slowly.
Test B is how the IPCC models the oceans while test A indicates that long wave radiation does not significantly affect the temperature of a water body if that water is free to evaporate. I should at this point acknowledge the work of Konrad Hartmann and Roger Tattersal in developing the experiment. I have performed this experiment myself and confirmed their results.
You don't have to download Bob Irvine's paper to read about Konrad's "proof". He's posted an updated version in the comments at WUWT.
This is just a rehash of an article that appeared at WUWT in April last year (archived here) and probably beforehand, too. Who knows. Nick Stokes commented at the time:
April 6, 2013 at 2:40 am
stan stendera says: April 6, 2013 at 12:48 am “When [if] Mikey Mann reads this he won’t know what the post is talking about because he hasn’t done an experiment since college as an undergrad.”
The problem is to do experiments that tell you about the atmosphere or ocean. If you do an experiment on a little pot of water, it tells you about a little pot of water. If you want to relate that to the ocean/atmosphere, you need some theory.
That’s where this one breaks down. The sea is constantly in motion. It has waves. These induce a turbulence structure which is the main mode of transmitting heat in the top layers. That is totally lacking here. Blowing a fan at it doesn’t cut it.
But there’s another major lack. It’s actually true that IR does not generally produce a downward heat flux in the water. That’s because the water is heated by sunlight. That heat is conveyed over time to the surface (by that turbulent transport, mostly) and emitted (day and night) mostly as IR, with some evaporation. That’s easy to quantify – it’s measured by satellites.
But downward IR is still vital. The surface is at a temperature generally from 0 to 30 °C (if not freezing). The surface temperature is maintained by heat from below and downward IR. The heat from sunlight alone is not enough to sustain the IR emission from a surface at say 10°C in midlatitude. It would freeze without IR.
None of that is covered by this experiment.
Why Greenhouse Gases Warm the Oceans
Bob mentions RealClimate.org, so let's pop over there, where a few years back there was a discussion about why greenhouse gases warm the oceans. It's not too technical and may be considered overly simplistic for some of you. Still, I think it's a nice explanation. This is the key section (my paras, with current updated links):
Observations of ocean temperatures have revealed that the ocean heat content has been increasing significantly over recent decades (Willis et al, 2004; Levitus et al, 2005; Lyman et al, 2006). This is something that has been predicted by climate models (and confirmed notably by Hansen et al, 2005), and has therefore been described as a ‘smoking gun’ for human-caused greenhouse gases.
However, some have insisted that there is a paradox here – how can a forcing driven by longwave absorption and emission impact the ocean below since the infrared radiation does not penetrate more than a few micrometers into the ocean?
Resolution of this conundrum is to be found in the recognition that the skin layer temperature gradient not only exists as a result of the ocean-atmosphere temperature difference, but also helps to control the ocean-atmosphere heat flux. (The ‘skin layer‘ is the very thin – up to 1 mm – layer at the top of ocean that is in direct contact with the atmosphere).
Reducing the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer reduces the flux.
Thus, if the absorption of the infrared emission from atmospheric greenhouse gases reduces the gradient through the skin layer, the flow of heat from the ocean beneath will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced into the bulk of the upper oceanic layer by the absorption of sunlight to remain there to increase water temperature. Experimental evidence for this mechanism can be seen in at-sea measurements of the ocean skin and bulk temperatures.
Here's the diagram showing what happens, in simple terms:
The sun warms the ocean. Shortwave radiation penetrates some way below the surface. At the surface, the increased greenhouse forcing means that the there is not as great a temperature difference between the air and the ocean temperature in the water under the thin "skin" of the ocean. That means that less heat is conducted through the "skin" into the air, so more heat remains in the upper ocean.
Update: My paragraph above could be confusing. Here is a further explanation from Stefan Rahsmtorf from the comments at realclimate.org (my emphasis):
...the ocean surface is on average warmer than the overlying air, because the ocean absorbs a lot of heat from the sun, part of which it passes on to the air above. Your confusion arises simply because we are now discussing how the bulk of the ocean below the skin layer gets heated. Thus we are talking not about the gradient between sea surface and overlying air, but we are talking about the gradient through the skin - i.e., the water temperature difference between the top and bottom of the skin layer, which controls how heat flows across this layer, from the bulk of ocean water below to the surface. Obviously, if you heat the top of the skin layer, this reduces the heat flow across this layer from below. Clear? Or still confusing? -stefan
As always, the comments at realclimate.org are well worth reading. Well, some of them are, some not so much (it was before the borehole was created). They cover most questions one might think of. [Added by Sou, 13 October 2014]
Further readingSee especially text box on page 1200 of Donlon, Craig, N. Rayner, I. Robinson, D. J. S. Poulter, K. S. Casey, J. Vazquez-Cuervo, E. Armstrong et al. "The global ocean data assimilation experiment high-resolution sea surface temperature pilot project." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 88, no. 8 (2007): 1197-1213. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-88-8-1197
Donlon, C. J., P. J. Minnett, C. Gentemann, T. J. Nightingale, I. J. Barton, B. Ward, and M. J. Murray. "Toward improved validation of satellite sea surface skin temperature measurements for climate research." Journal of Climate 15, no. 4 (2002): 353-369. doi: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%282002%29015%3C0353%3ATIVOSS%3E2.0.CO%3B2
From the WUWT comments
Genghis is having trouble figuring out what's watt:
October 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm
George e. smith, I am still struggling with what watts mean exactly. I know a watt is one joule per second and a watt is a watt when it comes to heating, but I also know that a watt of SW radiation has a lot more energy and different properties than a watt of IR radiation. And it gets worse, watts has zero to do with specific heat or energy content and watts seems to have some reflective properties. It is so confusing :)
george e. smith has trouble distinguishing day from night from solar radiation averaged over the earth's surface (excerpt):
October 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm
Well watt is the SI unit of power, which is an instantaneous differential quantity, that describes the RATE of doing work using energy (measured in joule units), or rate of transport of energy. It does not measure the average rate of energy usage or conversion or transport. When the sun sets, the solar insolation on the night time earth drops to effectively zero, not to 342 W/m^2 that Kevin Trenberth et al claim.
nielszoo thinks that the earth doesn't radiate energy.
October 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm
I’ve said the same thing for years as well. Until you get way up in the atmosphere where the molecules are farther apart all energy transfer is mechanical via convection and NOT radiation. If CO2 was “back radiating” energy away and water vapor was doing the same thing, devices like FLIR, based on microbolometers, would not work because the atmosphere would be this opaque, thermal soup from all that radiation bouncing around. Funny, those devices work just fine for extremely long distances. Even if both CO2 and water vapor DID emit energy via radiation the only thing that’s going to absorb those wavelengths is CO2 and water vapor and you can’t transfer heat unless you have colder matter to transfer to.
The “greenhouse” garbage really needs to be completely tossed and the actual atmospheric energy transfers, according to Gas Law (pressure, temperature and constants for each gas) and gravity need to be substituted because they actually match up with the real world.
Michael Wassil is convinced that an ice age will cometh any day now, and icicles will hang from people's nostrils:
October 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm
In other words, Arrhenius was WRONG. Atmospheric radiative forcing is non-existent. Of course, Arrhenius was proven wrong in 1909 (Wood) and his radiative GHG claims rejected for half a century as based on refuted mid-19th century theories and bad math. Big Climate (TM) doesn’t care. They will not relent until icicles hang from their nostrils as they scream at us about imminent global warming catastrophe. Even then, it will take universal derision to shame them into admitting they were wrong. Hansen, for one, will never admit it.
That's enough. It's "head in vice" material in the article as well as the comments.