Climate science

This page is for discussion of climate science in general not covered by other threads.

208 Thoughts on “Climate science

  1. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2011 at 7:49 am said:

    Popular Skeptic Writer Fired for Exposing Carbon Climate Fraud

    By John O’Sullivan


    I write to announce my employment with my publishers, Suite101 was terminated today without prior notice or explanation and all my articles published over a two-year period with them are now removed from the Internet. I believe this is in retaliation for my latest article ‘New Satellite Data Contradicts Carbon Dioxide Climate Theory’ revealing the shocking fact that the Japanese ‘IBUKI’ satellite measuring surface carbon dioxide emissions shows that Third World regions are emitting considerably more CO2 than western, industrial nations.


    It appears a self-serving and influential clique of zealots, fearful that the story may go viral, is desperate to kill it. This morning my Suite101 article had already gotten over 400,000 crosslinks a mere two days after publication. This evening a Google search shows that number cut to 297,000; so much for free speech and easy access to information on the Internet.

    But what these ecoloons fail to understand is that they may shoot down one or two bloggers, but there are legions more waiting to step up to the plate. By such egregious censorship they merely draw more attention to their eco fascist attack on our freedoms.

    Along with my skeptic colleagues, I will continue with our work to expose the climate fraud and to defend our freedoms. We will tirelessly fight to expose those global warming gatekeepers who cynically try to control the worldwide web as perniciously as they have the mainstream media.

    The struggle for truth continues!


  2. It appears that one of the outlets for his articles,, has finally noticed his tenuous connection with reality and removed all his posts. The real pity is that they allowed them on their servers in the first place. I wonder if Treadgold will run that bit of news as well?

    That was a quote from GR at HotTopic

  3. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2011 at 11:19 am said:

    GR hasn’t got a clue. He thinks Ibuki/GOSAT is “really talking about” reducing estimation error of ground observations and cites H. Takagi et al — “a rather technical read, to be sure, and not at all the thing for bedtime reading” (all of 4 pages counting References). But that paper is just a spin-off from the project titled “On the Benefit of GOSAT Observations to the Estimation of Regional CO2 Fluxes”.

    It’s no different to using satellites for any other metric that is also measured by ground stations e.g. GAT and reducing estimation error (or introducing more – whatever the case may be).

    smartypants may be on to something though “The graphics that Sky Dragon is showing are actually showing levels of uncertainty for CO2 measurement, NOT absolute measurements of emissions”. O’Sullivan has a problem if that is true but but all anyone has to do is look at this Press Release:-

    May 28, 2009 (14:00)
    Initial Analysis of Observation Data (Greenhouse Gas Concentrations) from “IBUKI” Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT)

    “While data is currently in the preliminary stages of being calibrated and validated, an initial analysis of carbon dioxide and methane concentrations was recently obtained for clear-sky scenes over land.”

    Attachment 1:
    Carbon dioxide (column averaged dry air mole fraction) initial analysis (April 20-28 observation data)

    “High concentrations are observed over continental China and Central Africa, which may be caused by measurement interference due to the presence of atmospheric dust. Asian dust (yellow sands) were observed over continental China during the observation period, and the existence of dust storm-like and smoke-like phenomena were observed in the relevant locations in Africa. Future investigation is required to understand these errors.”

    “Data calibration, processing parameter adjustment, and product validation required for quantitative discussion of the analysis results, will be carried out in the future.”

    (Note 2) Southern Hemisphere values were on average approximately 17 ppm lower than the model calculation, while Northern Hemisphere latitude band average values were approximately 7-12 ppm lower.

    [There’s nothing to indicate that developed countries are emitting more than under-developed but everything to indicate that human emissions are of little consequence ]

    Attachment 2:
    Methane (column averaged dry air mole fraction) initial analysis (April 20-28 observation data)

    [Highest concentrations are over China and Africa.]

    In the words of GR “Total fact-checking time? About five minutes. Obviously far beyond the capabilities of [Renowden]”

  4. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2011 at 11:44 am said:

    Update plots in this October 30, 2009 Press Release:-

    Figure 2: Column averaged dry air mole fraction distribution of carbon dioxide
    for the month of September, 2009, obtained from IBUKI observation data (unvalidated)

    Figure 3: Column averaged dry air mole fraction distribution of methane for the month of September, 2009, obtained from IBUKI observation data (unvalidated)

    The evil emitters seem to be Northern China, Central India and North-Central Africa. Shame on them.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on November 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm said:

    JAXA Ibuki/GOSAT

    CO2 jpg plot

    CH4 jpg plot

    The most heinous CO2 emitter on the planet seems to be a secret Australian fossil fuel installation in the Great Victoria Desert on the WA-SA border.

    Where’s James Bond when you need him?

  6. It appears that one of the outlets for his articles,, has finally noticed his tenuous connection with reality and removed all his posts. The real pity is that they allowed them on their servers in the first place. I wonder if Treadgold will run that bit of news as well? – GR at Hot Topic

    Ah, Gareth Renowden, our local champion of free speech. But only his own. Not an inspiring hero, is he: “the real pity is that they allowed them on their servers in the first place”? What the hell are you afraid of, Gareth, you jellyfish — someone pointing out the flaws in your climatic fantasies? Someone suggesting (perfectly reasonably) that no ETS in Kiwiland will change the climate anywhere? Someone stating as a fact that closing down the entire NZ economy and requiring each of our 4.4 million people to subsist on what they might find or grow in their own neighbourhood will go spectacularly unnoticed by the global climate? That’s only using the IPCC’s view of things, which is that carbon dioxide is the supreme driver of weather. Or are you afraid of something else? Like not making enough money out of this lovely climate rort? Selling carbon footprint certificates, perhaps? But I digress.

    Why wouldn’t I run that story? It highlights yet another injustice against those whose only crime — listening? Whose ONLY crime — is to be sceptical of alarmist claims made about global warming and to ask for evidence. Which is no crime at all. Sure, I’ll run it, Renowden. Why ever not?

  7. Richard C (NZ) on November 11, 2011 at 8:21 am said:

    Reply to article from Joe Bastardi: Heidi Cullen – Stop pretending it’s not climate change-

    Open question for Heidi Cullen and her ilk by Joe Bastardi:

    Do you even follow what is going on beyond anything that serves your agenda. Have you even looked, or even thought about, the physical implications of the energy loss that the cold PDO creates to the entire climate system?


    How can we cool the central tropical Pacific, and then the atmosphere above, and then come to the conclusion that warmth is occurring and leading to the perceived increase in extremes. If defies all logic of any rational, free thinking person, yet alone scientist.

    You need to explain this, and also need to tell us if you even look at these things. I can not believe you have watched these levels and it not present a major challenge to your thinking on this!

    Stop pretending it’s not climate change


    The fact is: Human-caused climate change has increased the odds of extreme, even unprecedented weather events. Senior scientist Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) puts it this way, “Just as steroids make a baseball player stronger, and increase his chances of hitting home runs, greenhouse gases are the steroids of the climate system.” So in the case of climate, the extra juice (greenhouse gases, not performance-enhancing drugs) doesn’t result in more home runs but in the greater likelihood that heat waves and other forms of extreme weather will occur.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on December 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm said:

    Understanding The Missing Heat

    Posted on December 20, 2011 by Steven Goddard

    If the heat is where Spencer says it is and where our radiative transfer models say it is, we lose our funding. More likely a bunch of lower density warm water sank to the bottom of the ocean – undetected by sensors on its way down.

    -Kev T

  9. Richard C (NZ) on February 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm said:

    Precipitation within the Waikato Region of New Zealand

    Dravitzki, S. and McGregor, J. 2011. Extreme precipitation of the Waikato region, New Zealand. International Journal of Climatology 31: 1803-1812.

    The authors write that “Trenberth (1999) proposed that globally, extreme precipitation events would account for a larger proportion of annual precipitation as the globe warmed,” as was additionally suggested by Trenberth et al. (2003). And they state that “this is also supported by the fourth IPCC report (IPCC, 2007),” which “expects the change in the intensity of precipitation events to be proportional to changes in total precipitation.” Thus, they decided to see if any of these projections have occurred over the past century or more in New Zealand’s Waikato region, which is an important farming district that also produces 13% of the country’s electricity by means of hydro-generation.

    What was done
    Working with data from 18 meteorological observation stations located in and about the Waikato region, Dravitzki and McGregor developed daily precipitation time series covering the period 1900-2007, where they averaged the precipitation values, as they describe it, “both spatially and temporally to approximate the total volume of precipitation within the region,” and where they defined heavy precipitation statistically, using 95th and 99th percentile threshold values, in order to be “consistent with the IPCC climate indices of precipitation extremes,” while they also looked for any relationships that might exist between extreme precipitation events and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), which relationships have been suggested by others in the past.

    What was learned
    In the words of the two New Zealand researchers, “since 1900 there have been no significant variations in the total annual precipitation nor in the occurrence or magnitude of extreme precipitation events,” and they say that these events “were also uncorrelated to the large-scale IPO, ENSO and SAM, indicating that the seasonal probability of extreme precipitation is independent of these circulations.”

    What it means
    In discussing their findings for the Waikato region of New Zealand, Dravitzki and McGregor write that “the consistency of the precipitation totals suggests that the current economically important water supply is secure within the region.” And we would add that their finding of no evidence for the projections of Trenberth and the IPCC over a 107-year period — when climate alarmists claim the world warmed at a rate and to a level of warmth that were unprecedented over the past millennium or more – suggests that the projections of Trenberth and the IPCC are not what they are cracked up to be, at least for this important part of New Zealand.
    New paper shows no correlation between CO2 and rainfall

    Another tenet of AGW theory bites the dust in the face of real-world data: AGW theory proposes that increased CO2 levels lead to increased water vapor in the atmosphere (despite empirical data which shows the opposite) and therefore supposedly lead to increased rainfall in most regions. A paper published today in the Nature Climate Change February 2012 edition studied rainfall over the Indian subcontinent 1813-2006 and finds rainfall has decreased since the 1930s as CO2 emissions markedly increased with industrialization. The data instead shows a natural, cyclical variability in mean annual rainfall that peaked in the 1870s and 1930s with absolutely no correlation to levels of CO2.

    [No link available to full paper]
    Email 1614, Oct 1998: Mike Hulme to an EDF researcher who wanted to blame CO2 for Southern Africa drought: “Avoid this one – and indeed avoid pretty much all climate indicators related to precipitation. The large natural variability of precip. makes it very hard for a human-induced climate change trend to be picked up”

    Email 1614

    1. Southern African rainfall. Avoid this one – and indeed avoid pretty much all climate indicators related to precipitation. The large natural variability of precip. makes it very hard for a human-induced climate change trend to be picked up.

  10. Richard C (NZ) on February 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm said:

    New paper supports Miskolczi’s theory of saturated greenhouse effect

    A paper published today in the Journal of Climate finds that relative humidity has been decreasing 0.5% per decade across North America during the 62 year period of observations from 1948-2010. Computer models of AGW show positive feedback from water vapor by incorrectly assuming that relative humidity remains constant with warming while specific humidity increases. The Miskolczi theory of a ‘saturated greenhouse effect’ instead predicts relative humidity will decrease to offset an increase in specific humidity, as has just been demonstrated by observations in this paper. The consequence of the Miskolczi theory is that additions of ‘greenhouse gases’ such as CO2 to the atmosphere will not lead to an increase in the ‘greenhouse effect’ or increase in global temperature.

    Journal of Climate 2012

    Surface Water Vapor Pressure and Temperature Trends in North America during 1948-2010

    V. Isaac and W. A. van Wijngaarden

    Over 1/4 billion hourly values of temperature and relative humidity observed at 309 stations located across North America during 1948-2010 were studied. The water vapor pressure was determined and seasonal averages were computed. Data were first examined for inhomogeneities using a statistical test to determine whether the data was fit better to a straight line or a straight line plus an abrupt step which may arise from changes in instruments and/or procedure. Trends were then found for data not having discontinuities. Statistically significant warming trends affecting the Midwestern U.S., Canadian prairies and the western Arctic are evident in winter and to a lesser extent in spring while statistically significant increases in water vapor pressure occur primarily in summer for some stations in the eastern half of the U.S. The temperature (water vapor pressure) trends averaged over all stations were 0.30 (0.07), 0.24 (0.06), 0.13 (0.11), 0.11 (0.07) C/decade (hPa/decade) in the winter, spring, summer and autumn seasons, respectively. The averages of these seasonal trends are 0.20 C/decade and 0.07 hPa/decade which correspond to a specific humidity increase of 0.04 g/kg per decade and a relative humidity reduction of 0.5%/decade.

  11. Richard C (NZ) on March 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm said:

    Ya gotta love this from NASA:-

    “Carbon dioxide and nitric oxide are natural thermostats,explains James Russell of Hampton University, SABER’s principal investigator. “When the upper atmosphere (or ‘thermosphere’) heats up, these molecules try as hard as they can to shed that heat back into space.”

    For the three day period, March 8th through 10th, the thermosphere absorbed 26 billion kWh of energy. Infrared radiation from CO2 and NO, the two most efficient coolants in the thermosphere, re-radiated 95% of that total back into space.

    From ‘Solar Storm Dumps Gigawatts into Earth’s Upper Atmosphere’

  12. Richard C (NZ) on July 12, 2012 at 11:12 am said:

    Carbon dioxide intake soars

    Using data from 1958 and mathematical techniques that haven’t been widely used in the field, scientists took the amount of emissions and subtracted what was retained in the atmosphere and what the oceans took up, leaving the land component for the study.

    They noticed the abrupt shift in 1988, when the intake of 0.3 billion tonnes of carbon per year surged to one billion tonnes.


    Kevin Tate, research associate at Landcare Research, said he was ”intrigued” by the findings.

    ”One thought struck me and that is that perhaps to this point we have underestimated the size of the terrestrial sink, and this work may be correcting that.”

  13. Mike Jowsey on July 12, 2012 at 11:22 am said:

    Or another possibility:

    If phytoplankton respond like most plant species do, we may find that the modest increases in CO2 levels we have experienced over the last 50 years may actually create a bounty of micro plant growth in the oceans, which would in turn create the food supply necessary to support an increase in the oceans’ animal population.

    At the same time, it would explain where the excess atmospheric CO2 has been going; much of it converted into additional biological matter, with only a limited existence as raw CO2.

  14. Jim McK on July 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm said:

    The science is beyond me but in the calculation of Global Warming Potential of minor gases “Radiative Efficiency” is one of the parameters. Numbers universally quoted are
    CO2 0.01584
    CH4 0.37
    NO2 3.1

    Any views on the credibility/appropriateness of these parameters?

  15. Richard C (NZ) on July 13, 2012 at 11:45 am said:

    Jim, I had a look at RE in the “Methane methane” thread. Remember this:-

    The Astrophysicists compute “radiative efficiency” simply as per the definition I gave up-thread, that was:-

    Radiation efficiency: At a given frequency, the ratio of the power radiated to the total power supplied to the radiator. [energy in : energy out]

    I found myself reading (with an element of disbelief that I was) “DIRECT CALCULATION OF THE RADIATIVE EFFICIENCY OF AN ACCRETION DISK AROUND A BLACK HOLE”

    But the IPCC’s RE is NOT the conventional radiative efficiency ratio used in Astrophysics. Down-thread, I got this far on it:-

    Note the exclamation “Ye gads, this is painful”

    I think I found the provenance of the IPCC’s RE in the next comment here in the paper that Andy dredged up:-

    RE revisions are detailed in Myhre et al 1998 that are determined by.LBL model, NBM model and BBM model.

    Also this caution:-

    We need to be VERY careful with units and state when necessary e.g.

    Radiative efficiency of CO2 from Chap 6, 6.12.2 is 0.01548 Wm−2 ppmv−1.

    Radiative efficiency of CH4 from Chap 6, Table 6.7 is 3.7×10−4 Wm−2 ppb−1

    Note that these two values are NOT directly comparable as they stand in those units.

    But I could be wrong on that – suggest you check this out carefully.

    The Myhre paper can be accessed here:-

  16. Richard C (NZ) on July 13, 2012 at 11:59 am said:

    Also, don’t forget the RE of WV:-

    Calculating the global-warming potential

    “A diligent search of sources other than Climate Change 2001 reveals that the radiative efficiency of water vapor is fifty to sixty percent greater than that of CO2.”

  17. Jim McK on July 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm said:

    Thanks richard,

    Yes I got the units sorted some time ago. I have just been accepting that the use of RE is appropriate and accepted science and wanted to know whether thinking has moved on at all.

    Will get into those refs over the weekend.

  18. Richard C (NZ) on July 14, 2012 at 11:22 am said:
  19. Richard C, you know more about this than I do. Jim does, too! Could you comment when you get a minute on the relative merits of Thayer Watkins’s site Saturation, Nonlinearity and Overlap in the Radiative Efficiencies of Greenhouse Gases and Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse System at

    Also, Geocraft gives water vapour’s relative contribution to the “greenhouse effect” as 95.000% and carbon dioxide’s as 3.618%, which seems to make WV about 26 times more effective than CO2. Which is orders of magnitude away from 60%. What do you think?

  20. Richard C (NZ) on July 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm said:

    First the Geocraft question:-

    Geocraft gives water vapour’s relative contribution to the “greenhouse effect” as 95.000% and carbon dioxide’s as 3.618%, which seems to make WV about 26 times more effective than CO2.

    I think this is reasonable given the references for the figures as long as it’s not taken as hard-and-fast (“about” as you say). As numerous experts and laymen (myself) continually point out, this is easily demonstrated using the dry Sahara – humid Singapore example.

    Which is orders of magnitude away from 60%. What do you think?

    Be careful to make like-for-like comparisons here, I think you might be using radiative efficiency (RE) for your 60% figure as in Watkins’ “the radiative efficiency of water vapor is fifty to sixty percent greater than that of CO2″ but Geocraft’s Table 3 is “Relative Contribution to the “Greenhouse Effect””.

    Radiative efficiency and relative contribution are two very different concepts. The first is a term in a parameter of the Beer Lambert Law, the second is nominal relative quantities.

  21. Ah. The contribution of each gas is weighted by its relative abundance. Naturally. Thanks.

  22. Richard C (NZ) on July 15, 2012 at 12:19 am said:

    Now the Thayer Watkins article.

    I can’t identify anything untoward where he works through the saturation, nonlinearity and overlap situations. I can’t recall any dispute elsewhere of what he covers either.

    What he highlights is where the IPCC (IGCC typos in text unless there really is an IGCC I haven’t heard of) constructs get weird and the glaring omissions. That’s in the sections (my numbering):-

    1) The Radiative Efficiencies of the Greenhouse Gases,

    2) Radiative Forcing and Global Warming Potential

    And paragraph at bottom of page,

    3) Cloudiness

    So the merits of those 3 sections as I see them (actually IPCC demerits) are:-

    #1 Omission of H2O (liquid and vapour) from the radiative efficiency table. As Thayer puts it:-

    It is incredible how the scientific works on global warming can leave H2O entirely out of the picture

    #2 GWP is a weird construct that sets CO2 to 1 and all others relative to it. This presupposes that the workings for CO2 are rock solid because if it’s out, so are all the others.

    Andy is bothered with it (GWP) because he has not found how methane gets set to 23 x CO2. That might be in Myhre et al somewhere and we might get around to nailing it down someday.

    Again there’s the omission of water vapour from the GWP table. I can’t improve on what Thayer says:-

    “The questions call for a numerical answer [for water vapour]. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a technical term widely used in the literature on global warming. The babbling answers suggests that the numerical value is not readily available even to people who are specialists in global warming. This ignoring of the technicalities of the role H2O in the climatology of the Earth is mind boggling”.

    Radiative forcing (RF) methodology is a dodgy IPCC construct too but that’s an issue in itself and another story (calculation discussed previously here). As Jo Nova puts it in her NZ Scientists “stunned”, “shocked” by mere 1% rise in CO2 absorption. What spin! post:-

    “…simply distracts attention from the failure of their predictions that the world would warm quickly from 1990 on due to rising CO2 levels (awkward reminder: 0.30C per decade was the 1990 IPCC estimate)

    #3 Neglect of the role of cloudiness and any anthro effect or as Thayer puts it:-

    “[…] anthropogenic changes in water vapor in the atmosphere are necessarily accompanied by changes in cloudiness”

  23. Richard C (NZ) on July 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm said:

    I’ve just read Myhre et al again and it ONLY deals with radiative forcing (RF) revisions. It does NOT deal with radiative efficiency (RE), I had my wires crossed thinking there was something in there about RE.

    Neither does Myhre go into GWP at all.

    Since this puts us back at square one I suggest looking at Climate Change 2001: The Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Table 6.7, p. 388 because that is the source of the GWP for 100 years table in the Thayer Watkins article here:-

    There should be references in TAR p.388 or thereabouts for the workings of the GWP values. Can’t find page 388 but 6. Radiative Forcing of Climate Change 6.12 Global Warming Potentials is a good start:-

    The GWP has been defined as the ratio of the time-integrated radiative forcing from the instantaneous release of 1 kg of a trace substance relative to that of 1 kg of a reference gas (IPCC, l990):

    where TH is the time horizon over which the calculation is considered, ax is the radiative efficiency due to a unit increase in atmospheric abundance of the substance in question (i.e., Wm-2 kg-1), [x(t)] is the time-dependent decay in abundance of the instantaneous release of the substance, and the corresponding quantities for the reference gas are in the denominator. The GWP of any substance therefore expresses the integrated forcing of a pulse (of given small mass) of that substance relative to the integrated forcing of a pulse (of the same mass) of the reference gas over some time horizon. The numerator of Equation 6.2 is the absolute (rather than relative) GWP of a given substance, referred to as the AGWP. The GWPs of various greenhouse gases can then be easily compared to determine which will cause the greatest integrated radiative forcing over the time horizon of interest. The direct relative radiative forcings per ppbv are derived from infrared radiative transfer models based on laboratory measurements of the molecular properties of each substance and considering the molecular weights. Updated information since the SAR is presented for many gases in Section 6.3. Many important changes in these quantities were recently reviewed in WMO (l999) and will be briefly summarised here. In addition, some gases can indirectly affect radiative forcing, mainly through chemical processes. For example, tropospheric O3 provides a significant radiative forcing of the climate system, but its production occurs indirectly, as a result of atmospheric chemistry following emissions of precursors such as NOx, CO, and NMHCs (see Section 6.6 and Chapter 4). Indirect effects will be described below for a number of key gases.

    It is important to distinguish between the integrated relative effect of an emitted kilogram of gas which is represented by a GWP and the actual radiative forcings for specific gas amounts presented, for example, in Section 6.3 and in Figure 6.6. GWPs are intended for use in studying relative rather than absolute impacts of emissions, and pertain to specific time horizons.

    The radiative efficiencies ar and ax are not necessarily constant over time. While the absorption of infrared radiation by many greenhouse gases varies linearly with their abundance, a few important ones display non-linear behaviour for current and likely future abundances (e.g., CO2, CH4, and N2O). For those gases, the relative radiative forcing will depend upon abundance and hence upon the future scenario adopted. These issues were discussed in detail and some sensitivities to chosen scenarios were presented in IPCC (l994).

    A key aspect of GWP calculations is the choice of the reference gas, taken here to be CO2. In IPCC (l994), it was shown, for example, that a particular scenario for future growth of CO2 (S650, see Chapter 3) would change the denominator of Equation 6.2 by as much as 15% compared to a calculation employing constant pre-industrial CO2 mixing ratios.

    The atmospheric response time of CO2 is subject to substantial scientific uncertainties, due to limitations in our knowledge of key processes including its uptake by the biosphere and ocean. When CO2 is used as the reference, the numerical values of the GWPs of all greenhouse gases can change substantially as research improves the understanding of the removal processes of CO2. The removal function for CO2 used for the GWPs presented here is based upon carbon cycle models such as those discussed in Chapter 3. The CO2 radiative efficiency (ar) used in this report has been updated since the SAR, as discussed in Section 6.3 (see below).

    The lifetimes of non-CO2 greenhouse gases are dependent largely on atmospheric photochemistry, which controls photo-lysis and related removal processes as discussed in Chapter 4. When the lifetime of the gas in question is comparable to the response time of CO2 (nominally about 150 years, although it is clear that the removal of CO2 cannot be adequately described by a single, simple exponential lifetime; see IPCC (l994) and the discussion below), the GWP is relatively insensitive to choice of time horizon, i.e., for N2O. When the lifetime of the gas in question differs substantially from the response time of the reference gas, the GWP becomes sensitive to the choice of time horizon, which in turn implies a decision regarding the climate processes and impacts of interest, as noted above. For longer time horizons, those species that decay more rapidly than the reference gas display decreasing GWPs, with the slope of the decay being dependent mainly on the lifetime of the gas in question. Gases with lifetimes much longer than that of the reference gas (e.g., C2F6) display increasing GWPs over long time horizons (i.e., greater than a hundred years). We emphasise that the GWP is an integral from zero to the chosen time horizon; hence the values presented in the table for 25, 100, and 500 years are not additive.

    Note at top of page that “The formulation of GWPs, reasons for the choice of various time horizons, and the effects of clouds, scenarios, and many other factors upon GWP values were discussed in detail in IPCC (1994)“.

    6.12.2 Direct GWPs

    Table 6.7: Direct Global Warming Potentials (mass basis) relative to carbon dioxide (for gases for which the lifetimes have been adequately characterised).

    I don’t see references for the provenance of the Table 6.7 values except this in 6.12.1 Introduction

    As in previous reports, here we present GWPs for 20, 100, and 500 year time horizons. The most recent GWP evaluations are those of WMO (l999) and the SAR, and the results presented here are drawn in large part from those assessments, with updates for those cases where significantly different new laboratory or radiative transfer results have been published. The sources used for input variables for the GWP calculations are indicated in this section and in the headers and footnotes to the tables, where sources of new estimates since the SAR are identified.

    So looks like it’s back to SAR in combination with sources “in this section and in the headers and footnotes to the tables”. Sigh, what a mission.

  24. Richard C (NZ) on July 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm said:

    Should be:-

    “….back to SAR [and WMO (l999)] in combination with sources “in this section and in the headers and footnotes to the tables” “

  25. Jim McK on July 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm said:

    Hi Richard,

    Attached is the latest version of my replication of the IPCC GWP numbers

  26. Richard C (NZ) on July 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm said:

    I get Not Found Error 404 Jim.

  27. Richard C (NZ) on July 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm said:

    “WMO 1999″ from the only reference stating the full title I can find (couldn’t even get to it at the WMO website) is:-

    WMO Report No. 44, “Scientific Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone”, WMO Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project, 1999

    Found here at The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy Worth browsing through this report.

    About the Alliance Focus is HCFCs and HFCs and the Membership List seems to be all the big industry players.

    WMO 1999 is no use for our purposes so can discard and look at SAR.

  28. Richard C (NZ) on July 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm said:

    SAR refers to the book: IPCC, 1994: Climate Change 1994. Radiative Forcing of Climate Change and an Evaluation of the IPCC IS92 Emissions Scenarios.

    TAR WGI have copied from page 215 the screed I posted from 6.12 Global Warming Potentials . That begins:-

    “The GWP has been defined as the ratio of the time-integrated radiative forcing from the instantaneous release of 1 kg of a trace substance relative to that of 1 kg of a reference gas (IPCC, l990):”

    “IPCC 1990″ is FAR so I should have gone there in the first instance. Chapter 2 of FAR has 2.2.7 A Global Warming Potential Concept for Trace Gases on page 58 text.and pdf.

    This has all the references we need but another day for this, there’s only so much IPCC guff I can take at a time.

  29. Jim McK on July 16, 2012 at 10:31 am said:

    Hi Richard & Andy,

    It is difficult blogging with an excel which is the easiest way to deal with this but here goes

    Andy, this is how I believe IPCC calculate GWP for methane of 23

    Inputs to the calculation are

    • Molecular mass of Methane (16)
    • Molecular mass of CO2 (44)
    • Radiative Efficiency of Methane (0.37) – IPCC
    • Radiative Efficiency of CO2 (0.01584) – IPCC
    • An arbitrary choice of time horizon (100 yrs) – IPCC (IPCC)
    • Lifetime of CO2 in atmosphere 150 yrs – IPCC
    • Half life of Methane (7.25 yrs)
    • Numerous adjustments as per IPCC

    The calculation is (RE CH4/Mass CH4) x Decay function of CH4, divided by the same calc for CO2.
    The Decay functions (in excel form) are calculated as:
    “Decay function = –(lifetime)x(EXP(-horizon/lifetime)-1).”
    This formula was from a teaching model left by mistake on Wikipedia since removed.

    Steady State or Burden Life – Half life of Methane in troposphere 7.25 years

    Pulse Adjustment 1 + 40% (IPCC/TEAC page 140)
    The primary calculations for GWP were performed in the late 1990,s when there had been a decade of rapid increase of methane. A theory was developed around the effect of large pulses and how long they took to work themselves out of the troposphere. The difference between steady state (burden) oxidisation lifetime and pulse oxidisation lifetime was estimated at 40% because of the pulse caused a reduction in the number of OH radicals available. Pulse Half Life of Methane 11.2 years

    Pulse Adjustment 2 + 26% (IPCC/TEAC page 140)
    There are several chemical oxidation pathways available for CH4 and there is a apparently a tendency with a large pulse to go to the pathway with the longest time frame. E-fold, the point of 63.2% depletion is chosen rather than half life (50%)
    Pulse e- fold life of Methane 12.83 years

    Use formula at this point for GWP calculation GWP 11.3

    Pulse Adjustment 3 (indirect effect no 1) +40% (Tar 6 page 365)
    A pulse will cause the background level of OH radicals in the troposphere to reduce causing an indirect effect of 40% of the direct effect. (haven’t they done that already?) GWP 15.8

    Pulse Adjustment 4 (indirect effect no 2) +40% (Tar 6 page 365)
    A pulse of CH4 in the presence of N2O will cause the level of O3 in the troposphere to increase (bad). However where N2O is very low, a pulse of CH4 will cause ozone to be reduced (good). Add 40% just to be sure. GWP 22.1

    Pulse Adjustment 5 (indirect effect no 3) +4% (Tar 6 page 365)
    Some of the pulse of CH4 will leak to the stratosphere and will create water vapour causing a 4% indirect effect. GWP 23.0

    There are clearly a number of issues that arise.

    The appropriateness of comparing two very different gases.
    The concept of Pulse Model is clearly inappropriate now that Methane is nearer Steady State and OH radicals have been found to be very resilient. Without any contrived IPCC adjustments Methane GWP using their dubious methodology is 6.4.

  30. Thanks Jim. I have bookmarked this and will come back to it when I get time.
    I think your figure of 6.4 for GWP is close to that derived by Wilson Flood who calculated it at 7.3

  31. Jim McK on July 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm said:

    Hi Andy,

    Dr Flood’s number of 7.3 came from simply dividing the headline number of 20 by the mass difference of 2.75. It was pointed out to me by a NIWA scientist who looked at my calcs that while we tend to drop the units in GWP calcs, as they cancel out, Radiative Efficiency is apparently calculated in mass terms so it is not correct to remove mass from the calculation. (see above)

  32. Richard C (NZ) on July 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm said:

    Acknowledged too Jim. I’ve only been searching the provenance and development of the methodology so until I’ve read FAR and it’s references linked above that everything leads back to, I can only comment from limited background.

    I’m a bit confused, you add 3 “indirect” effects to the “direct” effect to arrive at the “direct” GWP of 23 as tabled in TAR:-

    6.12.2 Direct GWPs

    Table 6.7: Direct Global Warming Potentials

    I realize that indirect effects are detailed in TAR but why (if I’ve got this right) do the IPCC term GWPs that are indirect effect adjusted as direct GWPs? Seems to me that 23 is Direct + Indirect 1 + Indirect 2 + Indirect 3 i.e. a Cumulative Indirect Effect Adjusted GWP.

  33. Jim McK on July 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm said:

    Yes the terms direct and indirect are possibly confusing. It is more that the number was developed in stages

    Basically I think the initial group manipulated the time in atmosphere for 7.25 yrs to 12.83 years as above and produced the GWP of 11.3.

    I then think that the formula was essentially locked away. In the form I found it in a US University Chemistry course it was considerably less approachable that the unbundled version above.

    Later ‘Researchers” then took the GWP number and competed in the TAR over hypothesising further corrections they could make to the GWP number without revisting the basic calculation.

    Sounds crazy but there are the numbers.

  34. Jim McK on July 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm said:

    My interpretation is that Table 6.7 as it applies to CH4 and NO2 includes direct and indirect influences and not just direct as shown in the header. If this was not the case IPCC would be screaming from the roof tops

    With inputs of 3.7 x 10-4 and adjusted lifetime of 12.0 years the GWP calculates to about 11 slightly different from above.

  35. Richard C (NZ) on July 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm said:

    “Radiative Efficiency is apparently calculated in mass terms so it is not correct to remove mass from the calculation”

    No don’t agree with this, there’s another reason not to drop RE and that is that in TAR equation 6.2 for GWP(x) found in 6.12 Global Warming Potentials 6.12.1 Introduction, ax is the radiative efficiency due to a unit increase in atmospheric abundance of the substance in question (i.e., Wm-2 kg-1) and ar is the reference.

    RE (ax) with units (Wm-2 kg-1) is peculiar to climate science and the reason that IPCC REs can ONLY be used for GWP calculations. The parameter a is the product of two terms. One is the concentration ρ of the absorber and the other is a characteristic of the absorber α, called its radiative efficiency.

    Except that climate science does not calculate a simple energy in to energy out unit-less efficiency ratio as any other discipline would e.g. astrophysics, radio or mechanical engineering, they even use a different symbol for efficiency. For example, Thermal Efficiency: (η) = the simple ratio of Output / Input

    In this paper, Cherubini et al you can see in Equation (0.2) how climate science calculates the radiative efficiency (α) of CO2 as per Forster et al., 2007 (which is a contribution to AR4 WGI) or at least they say it is.

    αCO2 = 5.35 ln { [CO2] / [CO2*] } W m-2 ppb-1

    Where [CO2] is the concentration in the atmosphere after small perturbation and [CO2*] is the initial concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. These are concentration terms, not mass terms.

    Now it gets really weird. The equation for αCO2 is EXACTLY the same as for ΔF CO2.(simplified first-order approximation expression)

    ΔF CO2 = 5.35 ln C / Co

    Where C is the CO2 concentration in parts per million by volume and C0 is the reference concentration. This from Wiki Radiative Forcing

    So the change in forcing (ΔF) of CO2 “as a function of changing concentration” is no different to the radiative efficiency (α) of CO2 as a function of changing concentration, i.e. αCO2 = ΔF CO2.

    It could be though, that Cherubini et al has the wrong calculation for αCO2.

  36. Jim McK on July 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm said:

    Hi Richard C,

    I am getting a bit lost with the arguement around RE and mass.

    What I have been focusing on is replicating the IPCC calculation as per the formula above as I have not seen this published before and everyone has been bandingly around all sorts of numbers and arguements.

    Once that is accepted there is a separate debate to be had around its reasonableness.

  37. Richard C (NZ) on July 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm said:

    I’m a bit lost with the GWP formula.

    Is your formula a simplification, rearrangement or alternative to the GWP(x) 6.2 formula from TAR?

    GWP(x) 6.2 here

    Where TH is the time horizon over which the calculation is considered, ax is the radiative efficiency due to a unit increase in atmospheric abundance of the substance in question (i.e., Wm-2 kg-1), [x(t)] is the time-dependent decay in abundance of the instantaneous release of the substance, and the corresponding quantities for the reference gas are in the denominator.

    No mass and integration 0 – TH. That does not look like anything that can be rearranged to what you have:-

    RE CH4/Mass CH4) x Decay function of CH4, divided by the same calc for CO2

  38. Jim McK on July 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm said:

    Hi Richard C

    Its a re- arrangement – the Decay Function is my term, defined above – which brings in “decay in abundance” as variuously defined for each gas and chosen TH. Mass is there

  39. Richard C (NZ) on July 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm said:

    Yes Jim, mass is in your formula but it’s not in IPCC TAR GWP(x) 6.2.

    Also 6.2 is an integration with respect to time (dt) in both numerator and denominator but yours is not. Decay functions occur in both yours and 6.2 but are included in the integrations of 6.2.(numerator and denominator) whereas yours are cumulative adjustments to an initial calculation.


    I think what you have is an approximation of 6.2 or alternative calculation that returns the same values by some quirk but I don’t see how it can be a rearrangement.

  40. Richard C (NZ) on July 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm said:

    Guys, I urge you to read FAR WGI Chapter 2, Radiative Forcing of Climate, page 58, 2.2.7 A Global Warming Potential Concept for Trace Gases

    The term “radiative efficiency” does NOT occur. What is referred to in TAR, Wiki etc as “radiative efficiency” (α) is merely “instantaneous radiative forcing” (a) in FAR. This tallies with my assessment that αCO2 = ΔF CO2. and that (α) has NOTHING to do with the conventional concept of efficiency (η).

    The FAR GWP expression on page 58 is similar to TAR 6.2 except for the description of terms, quoting:-

    “……where a1 is the instantaneous radiative forcing due to a unit
    increase in the concentration of trace gas, 1, c1 is
    concentration of the trace gas, 1, remaining at lime, t, after
    its release and n is the number of years over which the
    calculation is performed The corresponding values for
    carbon dioxide are in the denominator”

    No “radiative efficiency”in there. I think we can forget about the unconventional “radiative efficiency” along with it’s phony symbol (α) being anything more than just the same old “radiative forcing” with a different name.

    We still have to accept the nomenclature for pragmatic reasons but we have the knowledge of what it really is and how obtained. The radiative forcing revisions detailed in Myhre et al 1998 are determined by.LBL model, NBM model and BBM model hence ΔF CO2 = 5.35 ln C / Co. In FAR Chapter 2, Table 2.2, page 52 it was ΔF CO2 = 6.3 ln C / Co

  41. Jim McK on July 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm said:

    Richard, think you are testing me.

    The TAR was written by a committee as a summary document and is full of inconsistencies and various views on the adjustments required. I doubt very much that you could replicate a GWP calculation solely from the Tar – indeed that is why no one outside IPCC has done so.

    I agree that the cummulative adjustments to the initial calculation are not science just IPCC politics but the alternative would have been to create an improbably long atmospheric life time for CH4 (27 years).

    Happy to provide the original model from Chemistry Dept Hope University MI I unbundled if you are interested. The calculation above also works fine for NO2 so this is not a co-incidence.

  42. Richard C (NZ) on July 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm said:

    That “The calculation above also works fine for NO2 so this is not a co-incidence” is what has got me flummoxed.

    I need a better explanation for the differences between your formula and IPCC TAR Equation 6.2 that I’ve identified here

    I’m not testing you Jim, I’m testing the equations for GWP (yours vs the IPCCs) one against the other and the provenance of both. Although FAR Chapter 2 gives some references to early attempts at defining a concept of GWP, the provenance of the expression the IPCC uses is FAR WGI Chapter 2. The following people came up with it:-

    AJ. Apling; J.P. Blanchet; R.J. Charlson; D. Crommelynck; H. Grassl; N. Husson;
    GJ. Jenkins; I. Karol; M.D. King; V. Ramanathan; H. Rodhe; G-Y. Shi; G. Thomas;
    W-C. Wang; T.M.L. Wigley; T. Yamanouchi

    I cannot determine the provenance of your formula to the same degree even though it seems to come up with the same values – this is really curious.

    Andy if you see this, can you explain why these two different mathematical expressions return the same values.

  43. Richard C (NZ) on July 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm said:

    Jim this is wrong

    “……the cummulative adjustments to the initial calculation are not science just IPCC politics”

    You are NOT using the IPCC GWP expression. The IPCC GWP expression here does NOT make “cumulative adjustments to the initial calculation”.

    It is your formula that does that Jim, not the IPCC’s.

  44. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2012 at 12:18 am said:

    OK I’ve tracked down the provenance of your model Jim and the reason for the two different equations returning the same values becomes clear (see below). Here’s the paper:-

    Greenhouse Warming Potentials from the Infrared Spectroscopy of Atmospheric Gases

    Matthew J. Elrod
    Department of Chemistry, Hope College, Holland, MI 49423
    J. Chem. Educ., 1999, 76 (12), p 1702
    DOI: 10.1021/ed076p1702
    Publication Date (Web): December 1, 1999


    The greenhouse warming potential is a relative measure of the capacity of a specific chemical species to trap infrared radiation as heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, and is a scale that has been used to establish regulatory strategies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. A model is described that allows a straightforward, spreadsheet-based determination of greenhouse warming potentials from the infrared spectra of atmospheric gases. On the basis of the numerical results of the model, students are able to investigate the molecular properties that are characteristic of greenhouse gases and thus are able to understand the rationale behind the recent agreement by the world’s industrialized nations to reduce certain greenhouse gas emissions.

    The paper is here:-

    Elrod states the IPCC FAR GWP equation (but he’s referenced Seinfeld et al 1998 as the source) as:-

    Equation (3) on page 2.

    Then he makes the following modifications:-

    “Although the actual form of the time decays for the relevant
    chemical species can be complicated (particularly for CO2),
    a simple exponential decay function will be used in the
    following analysis to allow for an easily integrable form of eq 3″


    “Because the radiative forcing function above is derived on a
    per-molecule basis, eq 3 must be modified to place the
    radiative forcing on a per-mass basis”

    “Therefore, the form of the GWP to be used in this analysis is”

    Equation (4) on page 2

    “where MW is the molecular mass in g mol{1 and t is the
    atmospheric lifetime in years for the GHG and CO2, respectively.
    To summarize, the required information needed
    to calculate the GWP includes the path length of the IR cell,
    the partial pressure of the GHG in the cell, the atmospheric
    lifetime of the GHG, the molecular weight of the GHG, and
    the integrated absorption data in 10-cm{1 intervals.”

    So the difference between the equations, IPCC 6.2/Elrod 3 and Elrod 4, is:-

    Equation (3) per-molecule basis as per TAR Equation 6.2

    Equation (4) per-mass basis as per TAR Table 6.7 Direct Global Warming Potentials (mass basis)

    Mystery solved.

    Elrod’s .xls spreadsheet “Greenhouse Warming Potential Model.” can be downloaded from Reference 2 bottom of page here

  45. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2012 at 12:24 am said:
  46. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2012 at 12:30 am said:

    The above comment is irrelevant now that I’ve solved the mystery here

  47. Jim McK on July 17, 2012 at 8:42 am said:

    Hi Richard,

    Yes I thought over night I should point out the use of EXP being a standard excel function (exponential) used in my calc.

    So where have we got to. Are you happy with the model above?

    If you set up a working spreadsheet it becomes obvious that there had to be post calculation adjustments.

  48. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2012 at 9:59 am said:

    Jim you could have saved me a great amount of time and angst simply by linking to (as I have done):-

    A) Elrod’s paper where everything is explained, and

    B) The spreadsheet model.

    Please don’t lead me on a wild goose chase like this ever again when you could easily have shortened the process considerably by A and B – life is too short.

    Yes I am satisfied with the model because now I can see its basis in Elrod’s paper (mass), it’s provenance (IPCC FAR via Seinfeld et al), the formula and why it was different to TAR 6.2, modifications and simplifications to it by Elrod, and the parameters. The decay adjustments are documented in TAR so that’s where I’ll go for those.

    I’m not set up for Excel at the moment (long story, I’ll get it back one day) but I did load the model into Google Docs spreadsheet to have a look. I couldn’t use it as I would Excel but I could see what it is all about. I’m more interested in the historical development and evolution of GWP to be honest and my discovery that αCO2 = ΔF CO2 (RE = delta RF).

    Andy will probably look at the paper and spreadsheet eventually now that we have access to it.

    I stumbled across a WMO report on their website while researching the provenance of GWP.

    Quoting from page 7:-
    7. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment
    Reports – Dr Jim Salinger

    Working Group I has proposed that a AScenario Evaluation Tool for Policymakers be
    considered that would complement and possibly replace use of Global Warming Potentials for
    comparing emissions of different greenhouse gases. In response to concerns expressed, the
    implications for policymaker use of such a tool will be approached cautiously.
    TAR WGI were considering a tool that would “possibly replace” GWPs.

  49. Jim McK on July 17, 2012 at 10:34 am said:

    Richard C

    “Please don’t lead me on a wild goose chase like this ever again when you could easily have shortened the process considerably by A and B – life is too short.”

    Well I beg your pardon -that was certainly not my intention. I posted the spread sheet model to Google docs which referenced Elrod but you were not able to pick it. I wrongly assumed the excel format I gave would be self explainatory.

    Incidentally I have been trying to get this reviewed for about 2 years so thanks for making the effort and confirming you are happy with the model. I will put the working excel version through to Richard T.

  50. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2012 at 11:32 am said:

    Caveats being:-

    The GWP per-mass basis in Elrod’s paper and model.

    Elrod’s GWP equation 3 provenance (IPCC FAR via Seinfeld et al 1998).

    Elrod’s GWP equation 4 per-mass basis and why it was different to TAR 6.2 per-molecule basis (modifications to TAR 6.2/Elrod 3 by Elrod for Elrod 4)

    Simplifications to Elrod 4 by Elrod.for his spreadsheet model.

    The whole caboodle (GWPs) still all hinges on (are relative too) the initial values for CO2 (set at 1) and the accuracy of CO2 forcing (and therefore “efficiency”) determination (note RF revisions and therefore RE revisions in Myhre et al 1998, and 1998b I think).

  51. Jim McK on July 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm said:

    Thats good enough for me.

    At least we now have a simple spreadsheet model that can easily produce a number and we can examine the spurious adjustments made to get to the number 23.

    I agree with you whole heartedly that the whole caboodle of GWP’s is flawed but while it is still recognised by governments it needs attention.

  52. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm said:

    More caveats this time from Wikipedia wrt the GWP(x) expression

    The radiative efficiencies ax and ar are not necessarily constant over time. While the absorption of infrared radiation by many greenhouse gases varies linearly with their abundance, a few important ones display non-linear behaviour for current and likely future abundances (e.g., CO2, CH4, and N2O). For those gases, the relative radiative forcing will depend upon abundance and hence upon the future scenario adopted.

    Since all GWP calculations are a comparison to CO2 which is non-linear, all GWP values are affected. Assuming otherwise as is done above will lead to lower GWPs for other gases than a more detailed approach would.

    Possibly why TAR WGI were considering a replacement for GWPs

    Also, where RF “CAPACITY” fits into GWP from the same Wiki article:-

    GWP is based on a number of factors, including the radiative efficiency (infrared-absorbing ability) [actually radiative forcing “capacity” below] of each gas relative to that of carbon dioxide, as well as the decay rate of each gas (the amount removed from the atmosphere over a given number of years) relative to that of carbon dioxide.[3]

    The radiative forcing capacity (RF) is the amount of energy per unit area, per unit time, absorbed by the greenhouse gas, that would otherwise be lost to space. It can be expressed by the formula:

    RF = \sum_{n=1}^{100} Abs_i * F_i / (path length * density)

    where the subscript i represents an interval of 10 inverse centimeters. Absi represents the integrated infrared absorbance of the sample in that interval, and Fi represents the RF for that interval [actually ΔF, see below].

    Here to confuse everyone (well, me anyway) they use the same abbreviated nomenclature (RF) for “radiative forcing”, “radiative forcing capacity” and “change in forcing” in the one equation.

    Then, to add to the confusion (mine), they use three different nomenclatures and two different symbols for the same concept and term in GWP(x) that being a:-

    radiative efficiency = infrared-absorbing ability = radiative forcing capacity = RF = a

    Note that the formula for radiative forcing capacity (I propose RFC) above is quite different to the formula for ΔF as a function of changing concentration which for CO2 is (simplified first-order approximation):-

    ΔF CO2 = 5.35 ln C / Co W.m2

    Where ΔF = RF = change in forcing

    Feel free anyone to correct me on all of this.

  53. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm said:

    “I propose RFC” for radiative forcing capacity.

    Something like IRaa for “infrared absorbing ability” would be a better descriptive perhaps, just as a mental aid and to define what’s being talked about in discussion.

    Anything is better than using RF for everything.

  54. McKinlay GWP model

    Jim McKinlay has sent me version 4 of his GWP model spreadsheet and asks me to make it available here. I’m very pleased to do so.

    Anybody interested can download the model here from our Downloads folder.

    Now also available from the sidebar.

  55. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2012 at 9:17 am said:

    Isn’t it the Elrod model?

    Also I get “Not found” at the link above.and at the sidebar.

  56. Jim McK on July 18, 2012 at 10:48 am said:

    I agree, however I am pretty sure that Dr Elrod will not appreciate this rearrangement of his model being used to show up IPCC manipulation. Your call Richard T.

  57. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2012 at 11:25 am said:

    Just a matter of stating that Jim’s model is an adaption of Matthew J. Elrod’s “Greenhouse Warming Potential Model.” and citing this paper that documents it:-

    Greenhouse Warming Potentials from the Infrared Spectroscopy of Atmospheric Gases

    Matthew J. Elrod
    Department of Chemistry, Hope College, Holland, MI 49423
    J. Chem. Educ., 1999, 76 (12), p 1702
    DOI: 10.1021/ed076p1702
    Publication Date (Web): December 1, 1999

  58. McKinlay GWP model

    Let me try this again.

    Jim McKinlay has sent me version 4 of his GWP model spreadsheet and asks me to make it available here. I’m very pleased to do so. The file is now in the right place, and my apologies for the inconvenient 404 errors.

    Readers can download Jim’s latest model from the sidebar.

    Jim’s model is an adaptation of Matthew J. Elrod’s “Greenhouse Warming Potential Model” from Greenhouse Warming Potentials from the Infrared Spectroscopy of Atmospheric Gases, Matthew J. Elrod, J. Chem. Educ., 1999, 76 (12), p 1702. DOI: 10.1021/ed076p1702. Publication Date (Web): December 1, 1999.

    Thanks for your help and advice with this, Jim and RC. Let me know if the citation needs correcting.

  59. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm said:

    Bonza RT. The citation’s from the source so I don’t see how there can be any problem and the download links work fine.

  60. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm said:

    I’m looking at GWP-modelling-v-4 via Google Docs Jim, so if there’s another sheet other than “Methane 100 yrs” that Docs hasn’t given me can you let me know please.

    I’ll have to look up the rationale for cumulative adjustments because that’s what cranks up the number, but as of now I haven’t got a clue about it.

    From my background, alarm bells always go off when I see anything cumulative (as in the NZT7).

  61. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm said:

    The direct link to Elrod’s model from his paper is

    Excel, Version 7.0

  62. Jim McK on July 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm said:

    Hi Richard,

    I had models with different time horizons for testing but removed them as they a just confusing and IPCC has adopted 100years.

    In the lower table (adjustments removed) you will find that you need to put a half life of 27 years for methane (rather than 7) to get to a GWP of 23. Hence the need to use post calc adjustments.

    The adjustments described in notes above in some cases are averages of the range of possible numbers quoted as Tar 6 doesn’t exactly say the number adopted.

    The main problem is the contrivances around a pulse of methane throwing out the natural balance of OH radicals and therefore lengthening its life. And the adjustment is made twice- we can see that by the use of 12.0 in table 6.7 as discussed earlier. Now methane is more or less steady state this has to be corrected.

  63. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm said:

    OK I’ve got it all then, thanks Jim.

    It will take me some time to catch up with your level of understanding of the adjustments because I keep going off on missions (see below) but you’ve given me a head start for what to look for when I do actually get around to the IPCC process in detail.

    I’ve only just started looking beyond v4 as received but I see the major effects in the 2 calcs:-

    Pulse => GWP => GWP (mass)
    Steady => GWP => GWP (mass) including the need to use half life 27 to get GWP 23.

    I set Radiative Efficiency CO2 to the AR4 value of 0.00001413 (CH4 is unchanged at 0.00037, Elrod used 0.000011 for CO2) and get GWP CH4 25.8 vs 25 AR4.

    There’s been a ton of revisions since Myhre et al and TAR e.g. from AR4:-

    Since the TAR, radiative efficiencies have been reviewed by Montzka et al. (2003) and Velders et al. (2005). Gohar et al. (2004) and Forster et al. (2005) investigated HFC compounds,
    with up to 40% differences from earlier published results. Based on a variety of radiative transfer codes, they found that uncertainties could be reduced to around 12% with well-constrained experiments. The HFCs studied were HFC-23, HFC-32, HFC-134a and HFC-227ea. Hurley et al. (2005) studied the infrared spectrum and RF of perfluoromethane (CΩF4) and derived a 30% higher GWP value than given in the TAR. The RF calculations for the GWPs for CH4, N2O and halogen-containing well-mixed greenhouse gases employ the simplified formulas given in Ramaswamy et al. (2001; see Table 6.2 of the TAR).

    I’ve run into a snag in that I can’t load Elrod’s model from his paper into Google Doc’s to get a workable spreadsheet but I have been able to load the data sheet ITS GWP Data. I’ll have to get Excel back up but my computer is bursting at the seems with apps so I’ll have to blow something away. I was going to wait until I get a new machine but that’s on the back burner for a while (sigh).

  64. Richard C (NZ) on July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm said:

    Received Elrod Model (unbundled).xls by email, thanks guys. It’s in Dropbox here:-

    It loads into Google Docs spreadsheet no problem as did the former (bundled) ITS GWP Data so I’m still in the game.

    However, in Elrods paper, the model link is to GWP.xls so we have:-

    ITS GWP Data.xls => Elrod Model (unbundled).xls

    But there’s also,


    It is GWP.xls that I cannot load into Docs and I will have to re-install Excel for. The internet address for GWP.xls is:- (Excel, Version 7.0).

    Or (Mathcad,Version 6.0+)

    Question is: what is the difference between GWP.xls and ITS GWP Data.xls ?

    Until I get Excel back up I don’t know but if you guys can make a comparison via Excel it would speed up the process.

    ITS GWP Data.xls is in Dropbox here:-

  65. Richard C (NZ) on July 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm said:

    For some reason the blog wont hyperlink the full Elrod Model (unbundled).xls Dropbox address but if you append “.xls” in the browser address box you should be able to get to it (I can).

  66. Jim McK on July 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm said:

    Hi Richard C,

    No don’t seem to be able to but If you can see the red box ” replicating cf3ch2f ” which is the unbundling thats fine. Not sure anyone else would be particularly interested.

  67. Richard C (NZ) on July 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm said:

    Did you append “,xls” as per my following comment Jim?

    Anyway, I’ve got Excel back up on my system (even tried getting an old version of Mathcad running but couldn’t) and I see the red box ” replicating cf3ch2f ”

    What you’ve done Jim, is fulfilled Elrod’s objective. In his paper he describes how the model is a learning tool for students to fill in the necessary data and in the process, learn a great deal.

    By your doing so you’re way ahead of the rest of us (well me anyway but I’m learning too).

  68. Richard C (NZ) on July 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm said:

    For the record and for anyone that stumbles on the preceding comments, the 3 model files are:-

    gwp.xls – this is Matthew Elrod’s “Greenhouse Warming Potential Model”

    Elrod Model (unbundled).xls – this is Jim McKinlay’s enhanced and extended interpretation (see the red box ” replicating cf3ch2f ”) of gwp.xls as per Elrod’s aims in his documenting paper linked up-thread and accessible here:-

    ITS GWP Data.xls – this is a bare-bones version of gwp.xls and particularly useless – ignore it.

  69. Richard C (NZ) on July 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm said:

    The 4th GWP model titled “McKinlay GWP model” is:-

    GWP-modelling-v-4.xls – this is Jim McKinlay’s very much more useful multipurpose model compiled in a format that demonstrates the sequence of GWP computation that Elrod’s model does not clearly and simply do.

    There are 2 sections:-



    STEADY STATE MODEL – IPCC adjustments removed

    Both sections demonstrate how an initial GWP is massively boosted by subsequent adjustments.

    As accessed, the model will have TAR values e.g Radiative Efficiency CO2 0.01584 but any user can access the latest IPCC values in the most recent Assessment Report and adjust accordingly.

  70. Richard C (NZ) on September 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm said:

    How the temperature datasets tell us extra CO2 has little effect by TallBloke

    Since the sun went quiet and cloud cover consequently increased again, not as much sunshine has got into the oceans, and consequently they have started cooling slightly since 2004. This makes the sea surface has cool down, and since land surface temperatures mimic what the sea surface does a few months later, they have cooled too. But the lower troposphere higher up above the ground has warmed, because the excess energy stored in the oceans while the sun was very active and cloud diminished between 1975 and 2004 is now being emitted back out, warming the atmosphere at cloud level, and from there heading out to space.

    But how come this energy being emitted into the atmosphere from the oceans isn’t being trapped by the extra co2 and then re-radiated back down to the surface and warming it up?

    The answer is that it is trying its best, but the effect is much less powerful in relation to the effect of a more active sun in the warming period and a less active sun now, than the warmist theoreticians believed. This is because they didn’t take into account the effect of the active sun causing diminishing cloud cover, and so the sea surface and ground is cooling and the heat is escaping back to space now the sun has become much less active, but is keeping the troposphere at cloud level warm on its way.


    Exemplary presentation.

  71. Rob Taylor on September 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm said:


  72. Richard C (NZ) on October 11, 2012 at 7:04 am said:

    Josh Willis under the scope at Jo Nova.
    October 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    There are, in fact, a number of engineers working on calibrating, testing, and perfecting the floats — that’s why they work as well as they do.

    Willis, however, used none of this information in deciding which floats to remove from his data set. According to his own testimony [Hotlinked], his sole criteria for rejecting a float’s data was that it conflicted with his colleagues’s models. He reported no attempt to correlate his rejected floats with any other calibration data. He rejected no floats that were reading suspected anomolously high temperatures — only low temperature ones.

    His goal, pure and simple, was to get the ‘right’ answer (coincidentally, I’m sure, also the answer that would most likely get him follow-on grants), whatever he had to do to the data to get there.

  73. New paper confirms findings of Lindzen & Spencer of very low climate sensitivity to CO2
    A paper under review for Earth System Dynamics uses a novel technique based on satellite data and surface air temperatures to find that global warming due to increased CO2 is is much less than claimed by the IPCC. According to the author, the findings confirm those of Spencer & Braswell and Lindzen & Choi that a doubling of CO2 levels would only lead to an increase in top of the atmosphere temperature of 0.67°C, or global surface temperature of about 0.18°C, instead of the alleged 3°C claimed by IPCC computer models.

    The observations indicate a climate feedback parameter of 5.5 Wm−2 K−1, which is in very close agreement to that found by Spencer and Braswell (2010) of 6 Wm−2 K−1, as well as that found by Lindzen and Choi (2011). A climate feedback parameter of 5.5 Wm−2 K−1 corresponds to global warming at the surface of only [1 Wm-2]/[5.5 Wm−2 K−1] = 0.18 °C per doubling of CO2 levels [or 3.7/5.5 = 0.67°C at the top of the atmosphere], far less than the 3°C global warming claimed by the IPCC.

  74. Richard C (NZ) on February 3, 2013 at 10:27 am said:

    Makarieva, A. M., Gorshkov, V. G., Sheil, D., Nobre, A. D., and Li, B.-L.: Where do winds come from? A new theory on how water vapor condensation influences atmospheric pressure and dynamics,


    Phase transitions of atmospheric water play a ubiquitous role in the Earth’s climate system, but their direct impact on atmospheric dynamics has escaped wide attention. Here we examine and advance a theory as to how condensation influences atmospheric pressure through the mass removal of water from the gas phase with a simultaneous account of the latent heat release. Building from fundamental physical principles we show that condensation is associated with a decline in air pressure in the lower atmosphere. This decline occurs up to a certain height, which ranges from 3 to 4 km for surface temperatures from 10 to 30 C. We then estimate the horizontal pressure differences associated with water vapor condensation and find that these are comparable in magnitude with the pressure differences driving observed circulation patterns. The water vapor delivered to the atmosphere via evaporation represents a store of potential energy available to accelerate air and thus drive winds. Our estimates suggest that the global mean power at which this potential energy is released by condensation is around one per cent of the global solar power – this is similar to the known stationary dissipative power of general atmospheric circulation. We conclude that condensation and evaporation merit attention as major, if previously overlooked, factors in driving atmospheric dynamics.

  75. Richard C (NZ) on April 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm said:

    New data falsifies basis of man-made global warming alarm, shows water vapor feedback is negative

    Physicist Clive Best has analyzed the latest NASA satellite and radiosonde data to find that global water vapor has declined despite the consensus belief among climate scientists that it would rise in response to man-made carbon dioxide. Dire predictions of global warming all rely on positive feedback from water vapor. The argument goes that as surface temperatures rise so more water will evaporate from the oceans thereby amplifying temperatures because H2O itself is a strong greenhouse gas. The fact that water vapor has instead declined indicates water vapor feedback is negative, overwhelming alleged warming from CO2, and accounting for the stall in global temperatures over the past 16+ years. As Dr. Best notes, “All climate models (that I am aware of) predict exactly the opposite. Something is clearly amiss with theory. Is it not now time for “consensus” scientists to have a rethink?”

    H2O decreasing while CO2 rises !

    Reblogged from Clive Best by Clive Best


    Fig1: Total precipitative H2O (running 30 day average) compared to Mauna Loa CO2 data in red. The central black curve is a running 365 day average.

    There is indeed some correlation in the data from 1988 until 1998, but thereafter the two trends diverge dramatically. Total atmospheric water content actually falls despite a relentless slow rise in CO2. This fall in atmospheric H2O also coincides with the observed stalling of global temperatures for the last 16 years. All climate models (that I am aware of} predict exactly the opposite. Something is clearly amiss with theory. Is it not now time for “consensus” scientists to have a rethink?

  76. Richard C (NZ) on June 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm said:

    ‘Cause of the Southwest Heat Wave: Too Little Water Vapor’

    by Carl Brehmer, PSI.

    […] As of now, the Southwestern United States is threatened with a heat wave and for good reason: there is not enough water vapor present in the air to keep the temperature down. Take a look at this snapshot of the distribution of water vapor over North America taken June 27th.

    As you can see there is a dearth of water vapor in the Southwestern United States at this time and without the presence of water vapor to keep the lower atmosphere refrigerated the temperature predictably goes up, just like what happens when you don’t put water in your swamp cooler. Humidity low = temperature high; Humidity high = temperature low. Thankfully for the people living in Kentucky and Tennessee they have plenty of water vapor present in the air to keep their June temperatures moderate this year. […]

    It is well understood that as the daytime sun heats the ground, which, in turn, heats ground level air that this high-energy air expands, becomes less dense and ascends skyward. This, in turn, draws cooler, more-dense air from aloft down to the ground to replace the ascending air. […]

    Climatology textbooks also explain why. “The most common atmospheric adiabatic phenomena are those involving the change of air temperature due to change of pressure. If an air mass has its pressure decreased, it will expand and do mechanical work on the surrounding air . . . the energy required to do work is taken from the heat energy of the air mass, resulting in a temperature decrease. When pressure is increased, the work done on the air mass appears as heat, causing its temperature to rise. The rates of adiabatic heating and cooling in the atmosphere are described as lapse rates and are expressed as the change of temperature with height. The adiabatic lapse rate for dry air is very nearly 1 °C per 100 m.

    “Large-scale atmospheric motions are approximately adiabatic.”
    —Fairbridge, Rhodes, w., Columbia University, The Encyclopedia of Climatology, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co, New York 1987

    As the air descends in both locations, “the work done on the air mass appears as heat”, but in the more humid climate a portion of that work energy is diverted to keeping the water vaporized, i.e., it turns into “latent heat” and “latent heat” does not raise the air’s temperature.

    Thus standard Climatology explains why heat waves only occur during times of low humidity, as is the current situation in the Southwestern United States. I understand that this runs counter to the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis, which asserts that water vapor “traps” heat in the air and therefore the more humid climate should be the warmer climate, but science is not about what might be a popular belief at any particular point in time, rather it is about what is seen to happen in the real world.

    # # #

    When there’s a flood we are told that it is because the air holds more water vapour in a “warmer world”.

    When there’s a heat wave or a drought we don’t hear about that but only that it is because it’s a “warmer world”.

  77. Fascinating. Thanks, Rich.

  78. Richard C (NZ) on July 17, 2013 at 10:39 am said:

    ‘Southwest U.S. Heatwave Cancelled. Reason? Too much Water Vapor’

    by Carl Brehmer

    Good news! The 2013 Southwestern US heat wave has been cancelled because a deluge of water vapor has moved into the region and cooled everything down.


    This, of course, is opposite what the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis predicts. It asserts that water vapor is a “heat trapping gas” that is suppose to cause at least 22 degrees C (40 degrees F) of atmospheric warming. Here are a just a few statements that conflict with the above empirical observation that water vapor actually cools rather than warms surface level air.

    From NASA:

    “Water vapor is known to be Earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas . . . Increasing water vapor leads to warmer temperatures.


    “Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which can trap more heat. This creates a positive feedback loop.”

    From NOAA:

    “As a greenhouse gas, the higher concentration of water vapor is then able to absorb more thermal IR energy radiated from the Earth, thus further warming the atmosphere.”

    From the Union of Concerned Scientists:

    “Water vapor is the most abundant heat-trapping gas.”

    From the EPA:

    “Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, so more water vapor in the atmosphere leads to even more warming.”

    From the University of Michigan:

    “Burning fossil fuels produces water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, known collectively as greenhouse gases, because they trap heat in the lower atmosphere, just as the glass roof of a greenhouse keeps heat from escaping.”

    From Harvard:

    “The greenhouse effect from the added water vapor will exacerbate the warming.”

    From University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:

    “The largest contribution to the greenhouse effect [33 °C of presumed ground level atmospheric warming] is provided by water vapor.”

    More >>>>>>>

  79. Richard C (NZ) on September 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm said:

    ‘The influence of water vapor absorption in the 290-350 nm region on solar radiance: Laboratory studies and model simulation’

    Juan Du, Li Huang, Qilong Min, Lei Zhu


    [1] Water vapor is an important greenhouse gas in the earth’s atmosphere. Absorption of the solar radiation by water vapor in the near UV region may partially account for the up to 30% discrepancy between the modeled and the observed solar energy absorbed by the atmosphere. But the magnitude of water vapor absorption in the near UV region at wavelengths shorter than 384 nm is not known. We have determined absorption cross sections of water vapor at 5 nm intervals in the 290-350 nm region, by using cavity ring-down spectroscopy. Water vapor cross section values range from 2.94 × 10-24 to 2.13 × 10-25 cm2/molecule in the wavelength region studied. The effect of the water vapor absorption in the 290-350 nm region on the modeledradiation flux at the ground level has been evaluated using radiative transfer model.


  80. The Rob Wilson thread on Bishop Hill is interesting

    Rob Wilson is a climate scientist who dared to crticise Mann and is now getting blasted by Mann on Twitter

  81. Richard C (NZ) on October 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm said:

    I liked David Rose’s response:

    “The new climate orthodoxy: if you question the work of Mike Mann, you must be a “denier”. At least it has the virtue of simplicity.

  82. Richard C (NZ) on October 22, 2013 at 8:39 pm said:

    ‘The ocean is broken’

    Nothing could have prepared Ivan Macfadyen for the devastation all around him as he sailed the Pacific.


    They told us that this was just a small fraction of a day’s by-catch. That they were only interested in tuna and everything else was rubbish. It was all killed, all dumped. They just trawled that reef day and night and stripped it of every living thing.”


    ”After we left Japan it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen says. ”We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles, there was nothing alive to be seen.”

    But garbage was everywhere.

    ”Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea. And it’s still out there, everywhere you look,” Macfadyen says.

    His brother Glenn, who boarded at Hawaii for the run into the US, marvelled at the ”thousands on thousands” of yellow plastic buoys. The huge tangles of synthetic rope, fishing lines and nets. Pieces of polystyrene foam by the million. And slicks of oil and petrol, everywhere. Countless hundreds of wooden power poles are out there, snapped off by the killer wave and still trailing wires in the middle of the sea.

    On other voyages, when their boat was becalmed, the Macfadyens would just crank the motor and chug off. Not this time.

    ”In a lot of places we couldn’t start our motor for fear of entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable. That’s an unheard of situation out in the ocean,” Ivan Macfadyen recalls. ”If we did motor we couldn’t do it at night, only in the daytime with a lookout on the bow, watching for rubbish. In the waters above Hawaii, you could see right down into the depths. I could see that the debris isn’t just on the surface, it’s all the way down. And it’s all sizes, from a soft-drink bottle to pieces the size of a big car or truck. We saw a factory chimney sticking out of the water. ”We were weaving around these pieces of debris. It was like sailing through a garbage tip.”

    Read more:

  83. A fascinating dialogue is developing amongst knowledgeable scientists regards residence time of C14 CO2,,,, (Be sure to read the comments),

  84. Richard C (NZ) on January 18, 2014 at 9:39 am said:

    Good for a giggle.

    ‘Climate change: The case of the missing heat’

    Sixteen years into the mysterious ‘global-warming hiatus’, scientists are piecing together an explanation.

    * Jeff Tollefson, 15 January 2014, Nature | News Feature

    # # #

    First they allude to an alternative explanation for the IPCC’s 1976 and 1998 anthro warming period”,

    Blowing hot and cold

    “An analysis of historical data buttressed these [NCAR’s} conclusions, showing that the cool phase of the PDO coincided with a few decades of cooler temperatures after the Second World War (see ‘The Pacific’s global reach’), and that the warm phase lined up with the sharp spike seen in global temperatures between 1976 and 1998 (ref. 4).”

    Then it’s back to GHGs again for post 1998.

    Heated debate

    “That opens the door, he [Mark Cane, Columbia Univ.] says, to the possibility that warming from greenhouse gases is driving La Niña-like conditions [post 1998] and could continue to do so in the future, helping to suppress global warming. “If all of that is true, it’s a negative feedback, and if we don’t capture it in our models they will overstate the warming,” he says.”

    Can’t wait to find out what these guys discover in the next sixteen years.

  85. Finally some serious questions being asked by some serious climate scientists at the American Physical Society in an open and public forum. I thoroughly encourage everyone to read this:

    About time these question were asked, and we all know the ramifications the answers will have.

  86. Magoo, this is a spectacular development. I’m elevating your comment and link to a post so it’s more visible and hope to have time for more comments on it soon. Thank you!

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