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Sunday, March 6, 2016

That Danged Mid-tropospheric Hot Spot Deal

The blogosphere is alive with talk about the troposphere.  I borrowed this chart from wattsupwiththat via Climate Etc., RSS's new paper indicates that the troposphere is warming at a rate of 0.125 C per decade!  There is a discussion on the changes at Climate Etc.titled, End of the satellite data warming pause?  Imagine that?  No sooner than I finished my Raising the lid on models post.

In my opinion, the Tropical Troposphere Hot Spot has issues because of pole ward advection not being properly simulated in the models.  It is really more a a northern hemisphere mid to low troposphere warm spot because Arctic Winter Warming and Sudden Stratospheric Warming are not all that easy to model nor is the break down in the Arctic polar vortex during high "wall energy" transfer.  A stable vortex helps retain heat and an unstable vortex releases lots of heat and that heat is what should be causing the warming of the tropical middle troposphere.

This dovetails with my concerns about how useful "average" surface temperature anomaly is when small amounts of energy can cause a large change in temperature anomaly during the extremely cold winter months at the poles.  We are stuck with the data we have but we really don't have to hype things that are spurious.

The "warming" is caused by latent "cooling" where warming or cooling really depends on your frame of reference.  If the tropical troposphere "warming" stays in the tropical troposphere then it would be real warming of the system but if it advects to the poles that "warming" is actually "cooling" since there isn't any heat uptake associated with it.  You could argue that it reduces the rate of cooling, but that is wrong because the outward flow increases, i.e. it is a heat loss from the system.  I don't expect many people to understand that since it would require changing one's frame of reference or "looking at the puzzle" differently.

However, the mid-troposphere should warm at a faster pace than the "surface" based on the models and the increase in the rate should be in the 70% faster range.  So the indicated 0.125 C/dec. should be scaled down to about 0.0875 C per decade at the "surface", in this case the lower troposphere which isn't really the same as the "surface" based on land and sea direct measurements.

Land "surface" temperature anomaly should be higher than satellite derived lower troposphere temperature because land is based on Tmax minus Tmin and lower troposphere is based on a "fixed" time of day.  The adjustments being made by RSS are adjustments to the "effective" time of day because the satellites can change speed a bit over time and there is also an internal calibration issue with the older satellite platforms.  I still think it is a pretty remarkable feat of engineering for the satellite data to be as good as it is, but there is no such thing as "prefect" data.

There could be better agreement if the "time of day" was made to be roughly the same.  The land surface temperature guys like local midnight while the satellites are closer to 7:30 AM local if I read the comments correctly.  Don't expect that to be discussed anytime soon either.  IMHO though, the less adjustment required the better.

Unfortunately, the RSS adjustment this time may have a little miscue similar to the Karl et al. miscue of leaning towards less "state of the art" data which happens to be a great reason to defund projects if the Climate Gurus are going to ignore billions of dollars worth of advanced remote sensing investment.  I love the space program but absolutely despise the way some are thumbing their nose at space based technology.  It is going to take a while for all this to get sorted out and I doubt that corrections if coming, will get much in the way of high dollar, high impact press.

This is where firing folks gets to be a requirement if you want progress, but of course "firing" is just so capitalistic and leaving no scientist behind is so progressive.  Funny, you cannot progress because of progressives :)

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