Wondering Willis Eschenbach is wondering about rainfall and the role of the water cycle in regulating weather (archived here). In his article he made the false claim that he makes often, probably because no-one at WUWT has the wit to challenge him on it. He wrote:
My hypothesis is that the earth has a thermoregulatory system keeping the global temperature within narrow bounds (e.g. ±0.3°C over the 20th century).What I'd like to know is what planet Willis lives on. Where does he get his "±0.3°C over the 20th century" from?
Here is a chart of surface temperature, including over the twentieth century (highlighted box) and using the entire twentieth century as the baseline. I've also shaded the area bound by ±0.3°C:
|Data source: GISS NASA|
How could any person claim that in the twentieth century, global mean surface temperature stayed "within narrow bounds (e.g. ±0.3°C over the 20th century)". Look at how it jumped out of all bounds in the 1970s. How the span from the beginning of the century to the end was in the order of 1°C. The only time it fluctuated around ±0.3°C was for a few years mid-century. Over the whole century it just kept going up and up and up.
Three and a bit questions:
- Why does Willis keep making that claim when it's easily shown to be complete nonsense?
- Why doesn't anyone at WUWT challenge him on it? (I discovered in the comments that some people have challenged him on ice ages, but not directly challenged his false claim about temperatures of the twentieth century)
- Is Willis aware that there have been glacials and interglacials and hothouse climates on Earth? And if so, how does he explain why his thermoregulatory system broke down? (He doesn't. See below.)
Willis' Thermoregulatory Mechanism = the Hydrologic Cycle
An afterthought: Willis ±0.3°C and the Holocene
Here's another thought - looking at Willis' ±0.3°C limit over the Holocene, and compared to now. Bear in mind that for most of the Holocene, until recent decades, global surface temperatures are described as fairly stable. I've shaded his ±0.3°C so you can compare:
From the WUWT comments
For a change, Willis' article got a few challenges. Still, no one picked him up on his false claim about the twentieth century temperatures. I guess that would be a step too far for deniers.
August 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm
Nice work. More evidence the tuned positive feedback of water vapor forcing in the GCMs is dead wrong.
Have looked over Dr Roy Spencer’s latest blog post on his work in regards to water vapor feedbacks measured with the AMSU and its comparison to a GCM tuned water vapor forcing?
August 18, 2015 at 2:36 pm (I've put the quote in italics)
My hypothesis is that the earth has a thermoregulatory system keeping the global temperature within narrow bounds (e.g. ±0.3°C over the 20th century). A major part of this thermoregulatory system is that the tropical cumulus and thunderstorms act to limit the tropical
Willis says but the only problem is it does not work in the long run, or even in the short run as is evidenced time and time again by the many abrupt past climatic changes, and the changes from a glacial to inter-glacial state.
Talk about insane here Willis has a theory that is PROVEN to be wrong by the historical climatic record and yet he goes right ahead and criticizes al other climatic theories that conform to the historical climatic record such as the one I have proposed.
Now that does not make sense to me.
Martin Clark also pops up with a challenge.
August 18, 2015 at 2:38 pmAnother Martin Clark complains that it wasn't him who wrote that comment.
Willis, you write: “My hypothesis is that the earth has a thermoregulatory system keeping the global temperature within narrow bounds ”
Can you tell us how your hypothesis accounts for/allows glaciation?
How can “Snowball Earth” happen?
Joe Born, who is very critical of Christopher Monckton, is a fan of Willis' wonderings:
August 18, 2015 at 3:01 pm
Thanks very much not only for the work in the main post but also for pulling together the previous posts on the same subject. I have almost always found them compelling.
This one gets bookmarked.
And another challenge, this time from Myron Mesecke
August 18, 2015 at 3:33 pm
My hypothesis is that the earth has a thermoregulatory system keeping the global temperature within narrow bounds (e.g. ±0.3°C over the 20th century). A major part of this thermoregulatory system is that the tropical cumulus and thunderstorms act to limit the tropical temperatures on both the warm and cool ends.
I understand the daily processes you describe but there must be larger forces that overwhelm or cancel out this thermoregulatory system outside of the tropics since the earth has seen multiple ice ages.
Or are you saying that for short periods of time this system works to maintain whatever climate/temperature the earth happens to be experiencing?
Willis Eschenbach repeats his false claim here. I've noticed that he doesn't ever put up a chart of twentieth century temperature trends. It would blow his claims of no change and stability to smithereens.
August 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm
Thanks, Salvatore. It’s clear that you don’t understand what an amazing thing it is that the 20th century temperature varied by only ± 0.3°K. Since the average global temperature is on the order of 290K, that means that this is a system which is thermally stabilized to within a tenth of a percent....We can debate just what kept the temperatures so stable over the 20th century … but it’s obvious that something kept them stable.
In addition, for unknown reasons, about a million years ago the climate took up a condition we can describe as “bi-stable”. Although it is statistically related to the Milankovic cycles of the earth’s orbit, it is not clear why this change to ice ages and interglacials happened a million years ago, and not five or fifty million years ago.
And even the variation ice age to interglacials to ice age is only about ± 2.5°K, or about ± 1%. So in the interglacial the regulation is to ± .1%, and over the last million years the regulation is still to ± 1%.
John Francis is possibly one of the wilfully ignorant and a fake sceptic:
August 18, 2015 at 4:08 pm
Bravo Willis. This is real climate science. Obviously it is not the final word, but the regulation mechanism is highly plausible and fits well with observations.
TimTheToolMan offers Willis some advice:
August 18, 2015 at 8:35 pm
“My hypothesis is that the earth has a thermoregulatory system keeping the global temperature within narrow bounds (e.g. ±0.3°C over the 20th century)
In principal I like the theory but I think you’ve spent long enough finding reasons to believe in it. I think to give it credibility you need to think of reasons why it might not be true and try your hardest to prove your own theory wrong.
The fact we move in and out of ice ages, on the surface, disproves it. Long term warming or cooling trends also seem to disprove it at some level. You concentrate on the tropics with its thunderstorms but cant really say with any confidence whether non-tropics changes rule the overall climate. There are quite a few areas you could consider.
Just a suggestion…
References and further reading
Video lectures on global warming from David Archer
Tropical Cyclones (Hurricanes) - a good overview by Prof. Stephen A. Nelson of Tulane University
From the HotWhopper archives
- Wondering Willis Eschenbach's Thunderstorm at WUWT - October 2013
- On forcing and feedback with Willis Eschenbach - August 2015
- Marginalised, alienated and put upon: climate science deniers are not innocent - August 2015