Regional Analysis of 2011. Part 2

In part 1 I focused on the temperature of the Boise area.  In the year 2011 the average temperature was 0.07 °C below average, or it had a temperature anomaly of -0.07 °C.  That is a meaninglessly small deviation from the average temperature.  That most years are so close to average is an important clue to how stable the Earth’s climate really is.  Any reader will know that I am not a fan of using temperature anomaly as a measure of climate and today I am going to demonstrate why it is a generally a worthless measure of the Earth’s climate.

All climate on Earth is regulated by the local geography and the relationship of that region with the Sun.  If I add the average daily insolation from Sun for Boise to the normal temperature graph that I use, it is clear what the region’s relationship with the Sun is.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Red) Daily High Temperature, (Blue) Daily Low Temperature, (Green) Insolation

It is the energy from the Sun that causes the temperature of the region to change.  As the energy that the region gets from the Sun increases, so does the temperature.  Just like each day warms up slowly in the morning and reaches the peak temperature in the afternoon, the year behaves in the same way.  The warmest part of the year takes place shortly after the peak energy from the Sun is reached.

What is not discussed in the Global Warming debate is the idea that as the temperature of an object increases, it loses energy at a faster rate.  While I will focus on radiative heat transfer in this article, it is important to remember that it is all forms of energy transfer are greater at higher temperatures.  Water evaporates faster at higher temperature and there is more convection at higher temperature.  All of these will ensure that warmer objects lose energy faster than cooler objects.

This is clear in the difference between the day and night time temperatures that take place locally.  In the winter, there is a small change in temperature that takes place during the night.  In January of 2011 the average difference was 8.0 °C, in August the difference was all the way up to 17.3 °C.  That is more than a doubling of the diurnal temperature between January and August.  This shouldn’t surprise anyone, until you also take into account that the night is almost half as short during the summer than it is in January.

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(Orange) Diurnal Temperature, (Blue) Length of Night

From this it is possible to show how much temperature is lost per hour during the night.

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The hourly rate of temperature change each night.

The peak rate of temperature loss took place in August.  It should be no surprise that August is the month that had the highest night-time temperature.  Since I have the average monthly low temperatures, I can directly determine the blackbody transmission (radiative flux) for the regions surface during the night.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Blue) Rate of night-time temperature loss, (Brown) Radiative Flux based on night-time temperature

This is a direct cause and effect relationship.  The warmer Earth surface loses energy at a faster rate and hence cools down at a faster rate.  That is the science of the climate and even at a single location it is possible to show that when the Earth gets warmer, it cools down more quickly.  The same thing happens when the Earth as a whole warms up.

Even if the Earth does warm up, that puts the Earth in a position of always losing more energy and that will always cause the Earth to cool at a faster rate.  Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will not change this.  Hidden inside of the temperature information for a single year, at a single place was everything needed to show why the Earth’s temperature is stable.

When the Earth is colder, it warms up more easily because the Earth is losing less energy, so the excess energy causes warming.  The reverse happens when the Earth’s climate is warm, much like it is today.  It is far more likely that the Earth will cool over the next 1,000 years than it is to warm.

None of this can be determined using temperature anomaly data.  When it comes to temperature and energy, the relationship requires that the actual temperatures be used.  Understanding the science of the climate requires the real temperatures, not the meaningless anomaly.

Posted in Anomaly by inconvenientskeptic on January 16th, 2012 at 7:35 am.

1 comment

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  1. Richard Jan 17th 2012

    I think that these graphs clearly show the main cause and effect cycle. The insolation figure climbs (though I do wish it was a daily calculation that was plotted – not monthly – as that makes it difficult to see the precise curve). This in then bled away by two fractions, the daily day time losses and the daily nightime losses and that leaves a deltaT that then drives the change in temperatures plotted. The rate of rise in temperatures has a lower slope than the rate of fall in temperatures. I am not sure where to put the balence/central points in all this given the fourth power in the equations though. It would seem that it is unlikely to be at the arithmetic mean of any of them.

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