Monday, April 18, 2011
The Zonal Potential Temperature plot above is from this Atmospheric Physics PDF. If you read it you will see there is a lot of stuff about atmospheric physics to learn. The big thing I want to look at on the plot is in the northern hemisphere, that up bump.
When I posted my crappy drawing, it was not to scale. The reason simple two dimensional radiation models are so popular is that they assume that the arc of the Earth at any point is pretty much flat with respect to any single point above the Earth. So my CO2 molecule would look more like a BB in a parking lot than a sphere above a sphere. The atmosphere ain't that simple though. Looking at the potential temperature plot, there is a big hump in the tropics and a smaller hump near the north pole. Think of them as high chairs for the CO2 molecule. The is a lot better view from the high chair which is more radiation window for the infrared heat to see.
These high chairs are also not fixed. The atmosphere is like a 60's lava lamp with stuff moving up and down in a somewhat random pattern. Each one of the up bubbles can dump tons of heat to the tropopause and there to space with the bigger picture window.
There are a lot more of these up bubbles in the northern hemisphere because of the land mass to sea surface ratio. As surface warming by either natural or Greenhouse gas forcing occur, the size and frequency of the up bubbles will increase. With in increase in water vapor due to warming, much more heat will be transported up. So this is a major part of the Earth's temperature control system.
Cloud cover increases are one of the big questions in climate change, will cloud cover increase? Of course it will, where it will is the bigger question in my mind. It is pretty obvious that it will increase at certain time of the year in the northern hemisphere. Should it increase near the tropics, it can completely wipe out the impact of greenhouse gas forcing. That is a bit unlikely. There will be negative forcing from increased cloud cover, but it is unlikely to be greater than 25% of the radiative forcing of greenhouse gas increase. Still, 25% is much greater than the less than 10% considered as natural unforced variation in the climate models. This will tend to greatly limit the positive water vapor feed back assumed by many climate scientists.
It kinda sorta brings Arrhenius' second estimate of 1.6 (2.1 with water vapor) degree C for a doubling back into the picture. That 1.6 estimated by Arrhenius has be reduced by most modern estimates to the 1 to 1.2 degree C range. Now all I have to do is prove it! Fat chance right?
The bugger is that data for the troposphere, especially in the Arctic, is pretty sparse and not very long time wise. There is a larger gap in the North Pole satellite data because of the orbits, so a good deal of what is happening in the far North is a mystery. Though there are more Arctic Tropopause maps available thanks to guys looking into the Wild and whacky Tropopause.
So while it will take me probably forever to even figure out how to solve this puzzle, I will keep playing with it. I will probably come back to this post to add some pretty pictures and hopefully an animation of the Tropopause Lava Lamp.
- Where is the Future?
- Our Hydrogen Home - Is it Worth it?
- The Trends?
- Scale Matters
- That Simple Greenhouse Effect
- It is Time to Pull the Trigger on Synfuels!
- More on that Whacky Tropopause
- More Natural Gas Pains
- Nuclear Power Thoughts with Fukushima in Mind
- Future Farming in Fukushima Prefecture
- The Zonal Potential Temperature plot above is fro...
- Things that Go Bump in the Twilight
- More on the Greenhouse Effect
- Sensitivity To Radiation - Things We Find When We ...
- That Silly Troposphere
- What the Frack! Now They Quibble About Natrual Gas...
- Even More Radiation Stuff From Japan
- Livin' in a Spherical World
- What's Going On?
- More on the Troposphere Sink
- How Did I Screw Up My Energy Budget Answer and Wha...
- My (incorrect) Answer to the Energy Budget Puzzle
- The Energy Budget Puzzle
- How to Take Something Simple and Really Complicate...
- Pondering Climate Change
- The Wind and the Pickens' Plan
- Back to the Future - Hydrogen Power Motor Coach
- So Where Did the Back Radiation Go?
- Fuel Cells, Electric Drives and Other Fun Stuff
- My Fuel Cell Tahoe
- More on Fukushima Response
- The RV of the Future
- More on Synthetic Fuels
- ▼ April (33)