June 15, 2009

"Climate governing system"

I am very much intrigued by this guest post by Willis Eschenbach at Anthony Watts' blog, The Thermostat Hypothesis:

Abstract: The Thermostat Hypothesis is that tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. This keeps the earth at a equilibrium temperature.

Several kinds of evidence are presented to establish and elucidate the Thermostat Hypothesis — historical temperature stability of the Earth, theoretical considerations, satellite photos, and a description of the equilibrium mechanism....

The interesting words there are "actively regulate." It has long been considered plausible that there is negative feedback caused by clouds. That is, more heat > more evaporation > more clouds > more sunlight reflected away from the earth > less heat. But Eschenbach is not just thinking of negative feedback...

(also, you might want to keep in mind that AGW (the theory of Anthropogenic—man-made—Global Warming) is entirely based on computer models, none of which can model clouds!)

...The tropical sun is strong, and despite the negative feedback from the cumulus clouds, the day continues to heat up. The more the sun hits the ocean, the more warm, moist air is formed, and the more cumulus clouds form. This, of course, reflects more sun, the throttle closes a bit more. But the day continues to warm.

The full development of the cumulus clouds sets the stage for the second part of temperature regulation. This is not simple negative feedback. It is the climate governing system. As the temperature continues to rise, as the evaporation climbs, some of the fluffy cumulus clouds suddenly transform themselves. They rapidly extend skywards, thrusting up to form pillars of cloud thousands of meters high in a short time. These cumulus are transformed into cumulonimbus or thunderstorm clouds. The columnar body of the thunderstorm acts as a huge vertical heat pipe. The thunderstorm sucks up warm, moist air at the surface and shoots it skyward. At altitude the water condenses, transforming the latent heat into sensible heat. The air is rewarmed by this release of sensible heat, and continues to rise.

At the top, the air is released from the cloud up high, way above most of the CO2. In that rarified atmosphere, the air is much freer to radiate to space. By moving inside the thunderstorm heat pipe, the air bypasses most of the greenhouse gases and comes out near the top of the troposphere. During the transport aloft, there is no radiative or turbulent interaction between the rising air and the lower and middle troposphere. Inside the thunderstorm, the rising air is tunneled through most of the troposphere to emerge at the top.

In addition to reflecting sunlight from their top surface as cumulus clouds do, and transporting heat to the upper troposphere where it radiates easily to space, thunderstorms cool the surface in a variety of other ways, particularly over the ocean...
Posted by John Weidner at June 15, 2009 7:35 AM
Weblog by John Weidner