I have a Bsc in Physics and a PhD in High Energy Physics and have worked as a research fellow at CERN for 3 years, Rutherford Lab for 2 years and the JET Nuclear Fusion experiment for 5 years. Thereafter I worked at the Joint Research Centre in Italy until April 2008 being seconded to the African Union in Addis Adaba Nov 2007 until March 2008. I originally started this blog to record my experiences in Ethiopia. It started out as a travel blog, but has now morphed mainly into a science blog on climate. All results, views, opinions and errors are entirely my own fault and in no way reflect any stance of any previous employer.

I became interested in understanding the physics behind climate change after getting fed up with being told that the debate is over. Science is never a closed book and has a habit of turning round and biting those who think so.  This  explains why the blog now focusses on climate science.

I am basically a scientific sceptic but with a deep interest in other opinions and cultures.

105 Responses to About

  1. Dina says:

    I am a stock footage researcher with Apartment 11 Productions – an educational children’s television production company based in Montreal, Canada.

    We’d like to use your photo of King Lalibela in one of our shows in exchange for a credit. Could you please email me to discuss further? My email is dina2@apartment11.tv.

  2. Pingback: IPCC Models predict the exact opposite of what actually happens. No surprise there then. « The Septic Sceptic

  3. Mike Haseler says:

    Hi clive,

    I liked your post on predicted and actual temperature. I also like that you work at CERN and did real science!

    I’m trying to do something vaguely related for SCEF (Scottish Climate & Energy Forum), so I’d be very pleased if you could email me as I’d like to ask whether you can help us.

    Mike Haseler

  4. I’m in the process of revising a novel I wrote a couple of years ago. Would I be able to use in the novel an image that appears at

    The novel attempts to present a plausible scenario of what could happen to some of the basic circumstances of our lives as an uncertain future unfolds. Climate change is included as one of those changing conditions.

    Alan Detwiler

    • Clive Best says:

      Yes – for me it’a fine to use the image as you wish.
      One other possible scenario for you to consider is the switching of the Earth’s magnetic field which happens every couple of million years. No-one knows how fast the flip occurs. However it would disrupt the weather, UV protection and in principal electronic communications. http://rense.com/general26/poles.htm New Scientist writes: “Studies of ocean sediments and lava flows show the Earth has undergone several hundred field reversals, with the most recent confirmed flip occurring about 780,000 years ago. But their timing appears random and physicists do not understand what causes them.”

  5. Franco Oliveri says:

    I’m Franco Oliveri and I met you while you were working at the JRC.
    I’d like to be in touch with you on issues related to climate change and migration: could you please contact me:

  6. Martin Lack says:

    Clive, I respect the extent of your qualifications and experience in Physics, so I hope you will respect mine in Geology and Hydrogeology; and not (as so many have done) question the implications of my now also having an MA in Environmental Politics.

    I agree that, in certain respects, the conclusions of science are always provisional. However, do you accept that the scientific conclusions about the theory of gravity and that the Earth is an oblate spheroid are not now generally disputed? Presuming that you do not; you must accept that some things in science are “settled”

    Since the Second World War – and in the last 20 years in particular – the level of uncertainty regarding the primacy of excess atmospheric CO2 as the driver of change we are witnessing has reduced almost to vanishing point. Therefore, to dispute this today, despite all the accumulating evidence of unprecedented frequency and intensity of extreme weather events of all kinds (as predicted by atmospheric physics and models), seems to me to be evidence of willful blindness; and/or indicative of belief in a scientific conspiracy (for which there is no evidence) to foist environmental alarmism upon a credulous World? Can you please tell me if there is an alternative explanation?

    • Martin Lack says:

      To avoid confusion, please remove the word “not” from the final sentence in my second paragraph!

    • Keith Brown says:

      To which theory of gravity do you refer? Are you hopeful of an eventual discovery of the graviton, for instance?

    • Somebody says:

      Now climastrology is like theory of gravity? I’ll buy it when climastrology will be able of the same definite, falsifiable, precise predictions. Until then, look up ‘false analogy’. It’s a fallacy.

    • Can you please tell me if there is an alternative explanation?

      The consensus alarmist extremists must scare us so they can tax and control us.

      There is no alternative explanation!

    • Hello Martin,
      I would like to introduce my own research that I believe you will find challenging to your own ideas on this subject.

      In particular, I have been working to uncover our planet’s plate tectonic movement mechanism. This work has revealed a remarkable connection between Earth’s plate tectonic movement, our planet’s climate, and an underlying cycle connecting them both to the solar magnetic proxies used to calibrate both past and present climate variation.
      What makes this research so important is that it can make very precise predictions of when and how the planet’s tectonic plates have moved in the past, and where they will do in the future, and what the corresponding climate is predicted to be because of it, and this together, further revealing the underlying mechanism producing the plate movement energy and its residual short and long term forcing of the Earth’s variable climate history that occurs simultaneously with it.

      This combined evidence forms an inter-connected web of cross predictability, a virtual three dimensional model linking solar magnetic proxies, plate movement, geologic observations, and climate together into a very robust model of remarkable predictive abilities.

      Please take a look and let me know what you think about it. A friend of mine; https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jorge_Costa-De-Moura, called it the best explanation of plate tectonics he has ever seen. I am trying to get everyone on both sides of this debate to take a look at it and to see for themselves that this period of climate warming is predicted by this model to be of a natural forcing cycle that is intimately tied to the overall plate tectonic movement mechanism.
      It is called;

      Plate Tectonics: a history of a changing climate through geologic forcing.

      Marc Linquist

  7. Fred Voetsch says:

    Excellent site, Clive. It’s strange to me how some people seem bothered by skeptical thought but I, for one, appreciate what I have read so far and will make a point of returning.

  8. Cry Wolf says:

    Clive, great blog!

    I have been having a detailed look at climate records from 23 UK MET office stations and am particularly interested in sunshine and temperature co-variance (R2=0.8 on 5y means). I need the assistance of a physicist to convert observed sunshine variance to expected temperature variance at surface. I’m not even sure if this is possible to do. In essence, the UK got sunnier from 1985 to 2000 and it got warmer. I was wondering if you may be interested to help, if so please get in touch.

    The UK data are also interesting compared with variance in ISCCP global D2 cloud.

    • ann ceely says:

      Cry Wolf,

      I remember sunnier from 1974. I was having babies at that time, and remember April 1974 when 8 months pregnant as unbearably hot & sunny – followed by the rest of the summer. Whereas the summer of 1972 just before the baby was born beginning of Sept was comfortably cool, and her early months were horribly cold.

      I remember waking up my 5-year-old one evening in 1977/8 to see the first snow of her life – it hadn’t snowed for 5 years in Essex.

  9. Alex Henney says:

    may I suggest you make a submission to the Energy and Climate Change Committee which is considering the implications of AR5 for electric policies.Thus far I have encouraged Judith Curry,Bob Carter, John Christy and I hope Richard Lindzen to pitch in.If you would send me an e mail and telephone I can share my submission and material about the electric industry with you
    0207 284 4217

  10. Hello,
    Seeing that you’ve lived in Italy I wonder whether you’ve heard of Roberto Madrigali’s theory of the way climate is influenced by the moon. His book ‘The future of the earth is written on the moon’ was recently published, and I’m waiting to get a copy in English, but my girlfriend has just finished reading it in the Italian. http://www.meteoclima.net/it/index.php/item/29-il-futuro-della-terra-e-scritto-nella-luna-un-libro-rivoluzionario
    I found your site whilst doing a general search on that. I have no scientific background so all the technical stuff is way beyond me, but the few bits and bobs I’ve just read of yours are very interesting. Thanks,
    P.S. Madrigali is also predicting that a new ice age is just around the corner.

    • Clive Best says:

      Hi Simon,

      I had a quick look at Madrigali’s book description. His theory is that the moon changes the position of the Jet streams presumably through tidal effects on the atmosphere. There are indeed lunar tides near the poles at high altitude in winter. I don’t quite know how explains the ice ages though !

      I also looked at the moon’s effect on climate

      see this post

  11. Bob Peckham says:

    Hi Clive/Simon
    Also related to this, Piers Corbyn of Weather Action seems to have a very high rate of success in forecasting extreme weather events up to six weeks in advance using a technique which involves solar/lunar influence on the jet stream. However his technique seems to focus more on electromagnetic effects than tidal. I don’t think he publishes the full details of his method, probably because it is the basis of his livelihood, but some of the ideas can be gleaned from the website http://www.weatheraction.com
    He calls his method SLAT – Solar Lunar Action Technique – and it is based on solar activity (which is to some extent predictable) modulated by the moon (which is predictable).
    To quote directly from a very recent post on the Weather Action website:
    “ The R periods and wild behavior of the Jet Stream are driven from above and are associated with extra and extreme changes in electrical and magnetic activity above the stratosphere and in the ionosphere and the solar wind of charged particles coming from the sun and events on the sun itself**
    [**Note Ideas such as ‘temperature contrasts drive the Jet Stream’ are totally inadequate to explain or predict events. Such a picture cannot explain the relationship between Earth weather and events in the ionosphere, magnetosphere, the solar wind and on the sun and the simultaneity of extreme storm events across earth and their ~coincidence with (radio) storms on other planets. Indeed such a low-level Earth atmosphere centred view, notwithstanding certain feedbacks, is akin to suggesting the movement of tree branches causes winds.] “ (end of copy/paste)

    In view of the apparent success of this technique in forecasting extreme weather events I am inclined to think there must be some valid ideas behind it. Maybe worth taking a look at: http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=613&c=5
    If you scroll down you can see images of sunspots coming around to face the earth, and of the current “wild” jet stream.
    Bob P

  12. Rudy says:

    Thanks for your blogs and data and analysis of data Clive!

    I find this debate on AGW motivating and it inspires me to find a current model that can explain all the questions that everyone on both sides of the debate are asking. I am simply a high school physics and chemistry teacher. I stand on the shoulders of giants when I am having my best lesson or lab for my students.

    Great thinkers can solve this issue before it ends up creating a slew of bad scenarios. If AGW is as bad as some say it is, then we may have already done the damage to the globe and trying to reverse it now will be too late. But if it is not a significant factor in the climate variations the earth experiences, in response to things such as sun activity, tidal shifts influenced by the alignment of the sun, moon and earth in 100,000 year cycles or increased volcanic and geologic activity, dust particles in the atmosphere, and hot vents in the ocean that heat up ocean water, then from the regulations our government is placing on our energy and industry, we are likely to be creating a sociological crisis that will be spawned by a net decline in food production. Carl Sagan hit the nail on the head almost 2 decades ago.

    I know some scientific debates like evolution and the Big Bang are still unresolved and this debate on AGW is definitely unresolved. A more complete model, and a model that can predict climate response by variables such as geologic activity, solar activity, tidal activity, and particulates in the atmosphere. I have thought about it enough to come up with an equation that is not in the books and one I never really thought about before. It is a combined gas law version of the Ideal Gas Law, not the one we see in books. But it seems gravity will keep the container of earths atmosphere at a near constant volume. So it makes sense that with more gas molecules in the air, and an increased temp. of 1.5 K in the past 100 or so years, that the pressure would also have to go up. The equation becomes P1/n1T1 = P2/n2T2. It is intuitive from the gas law equation that the pressure today must be higher than it was before AGW. If you do the math it comes out to be about 5mmHg higher today than yestercentury. To solve it I needed to find the volume of the earth’s atmosphere and the number of moles of air in it both 100 years ago and today. I solved a bunch of back of the envelope calculations to obtain a number of moles of molecules in the atmosphere 100 years ago. Ironically I was looking up the answer to my question and got the same question that was not accurately answered on Yahoo Answers. So I answered it. I took this approach to solve. I assumed that CO2 acts like an ideal gas. The temperature of the atmosphere today is 1.5 K higher than it was 150 years ago. So Today if the temp. is 288 K then 150 years ago it was 286.5 K. The Atmospheric pressure I will use is 1 Atm, although the pressure goes down as we increase altitude. To k.i.s.s. I did not adjust for a changing pressure with altitude. I calculated the spherical volume of the solid earth with a mean volumetric radius of 6371 km and then the volume of the sphere using that same radius + 8.5 km of atmosphere we are focused on (higher altitudes have an insignificant amount of CO2). I took the difference of the larger volume with the atmosphere and the smaller volume of just the solid earth, for a volume of 4.34 x 10^9 km^3 of air in the atmosphere we are going to focus on. Convert that to liters for use in our gas law equation; you should get 4.34 x 10^21 L. Using Pv=nRT, where Pressure is 1 atm. and Volume for the 2 different scenarios of today’s concentration of CO2 and the concentration of CO2 150 years ago, would be (.000400 x 4.34 x 10^21 L ) and(.000250 x 4.34 x 10^21 L), if today there are 400ppm of CO2 and 100 years ago there were 250 ppm. Now the volume is 1.74 x 10^18L for the current atmosphere and 1.09 x 10^18 L for the atmosphere 150 years ago. Plug the correct values in the Ideal Gas Law equation for each scenario: 1 Atm (1.74 x 10^18L) = n (.0821 L.atm/mol.K)(288K) = 7.34 x 10^16 moles of CO2 1 Atm (1.09 x 10^18L) = n (.0821 L.atm/mol.K)(286.5K) = 4.61 x 10^16 moles of CO2
    Multiply each mole calculation by Avogadro’s number: you get 4.42 x 10^40 molecules of CO2 today and
    2.78 x 10^40 molecules of CO2 150 years ago. The difference is a scant (jk) 1.64 x 10^40 more CO2 molecules today in the atmosphere than there was 150 years ago. Any change in vegetation consumption of CO2 and rate of ocean limestone uptake of CO2 may actually change the value a bit, Yes if you check this on Yahoo Answers, I am Chem is Try. I answered it a few days ago, not finding someone’s answer on the internet, but stumbling on one of the same questions I have. I wanted to know this just so I could find the pressure difference. My next hunt is for the heat exchange rate between water and the atmosphere when the conditions exist that heat can travel according the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

    • Rudy says:

      whoops, I needed to mention that the number of total moles of all air molecules in the atmosphere today are 1.8355 e20 and the number of moles of air molecules in the atmosphere 100 years ago were 150 ppm less concentrated in CO2; giving a figure of 1.8342 e20 moles. Using 760 mmHg today for the pressure, I got 755.5 mmHg a century or so ago. What kind of effect will this pressure rise have? A higher pressure on water’s phase change diagram makes it more difficult to stay a vapor, but the effects of a higher temperature will also play a role in its ability to keep in its vapor state. I forgot to mention one other statement recently published in Scientific American. The editor wrote an article in which he state something to the effect that the more and more the sea ice in the arctic ocean melts, the warmer and warmer the sea gets. I contested this statement on 2 fronts. First of all the sea will have to lose heat to melt ice, and secondly, the Arctic Ocean is a very closed ocean with a limited area of which to freeze. If it is completely frozen in it 14,056,000 km^3 area, then when it does melt, and it never melts all the way, the highest its temperatures according to http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/ocean_temperature_salinity.html could go would be 0 deg. C to 4 degC. I kind of find that 4 deg C figure a bit hard to swallow, that would not be a surface temperature due to the fact water is its most dense at 4 deg. C, unless ocean water deviates from this. The lowest its temperature gets is -2 deg. C due to its salinity. So the range in temp is not more than 2 deg. C. This is a far cry from warmer and warmer. I posted a blog about that on FB and a career long Biology Teacher colleague and friend of mine proceeded to tell me where my confusion was; he said that the Albedo of open lower than Ice. And so the more Ice that melts the more heat is absorbed from the sunlight by the ocean. Although this is true, it still cannot heat the ocean above freezing until all the ice melts. I think this last fall over 3 million Km^3 of ice remained. Now in January over 89 % has returned. I just don’t accept the statement from a major Scientific magazine, from its own editor, that the more ice that melts, the more that ocean increases in temp. It is not thermodynamically feasible. People reading the magazine should be scientifically literate enough to analyze the statement. I think the conclusion is logical that the ocean does not heat up in conjunction with the more and more ice that melts, mainly due to the fact it takes heat to melt ice and that heat comes from the ocean water, so the water must lose a lot of heat to melt all that ice. I guess the water can only absorb so many kilojoules a day by the sun. I already did a back of the envelope calculation on that one as well,

    • Clive Best says:


      Thanks for your contribution. I also think it is very important that young students are taught that there is as yet no agreed science regarding climate change. The challenge is still open to them to resolve the science behind it. I fear that instead some school curriculum (including here in the UK) are more influenced by green propaganda than hard science. It is wrong to teach them that global warming will bring disaster.

      Your ideas on gravity effects and the prefect gas laws are similar to those of Stephen Wilde. See for example this post

      My position is more that of a luke warmer. The physics of radiative transfer is well established. What is not so clear is the complex feedbacks of the water cycle to any change in CO2 forcing. I suspect that this will make climate change a minor threat to mankind.

  13. TRG says:

    Just read your essay on “super tides and interglacials” over at WUWT. Very interesting discussion. Thanks very much.

  14. Colin Smith says:

    Hi, I am doing a research paper for university on temperature change and emissions per capita for several countries. I really like your temperature anomaly graphs however is there any way I would be able to access the raw data as I need to perform statistical tests on it. Any data would obviously be fully referenced.

  15. Clive Best,

    I tried to locate a direct email address for you to send you something I just received that is germane to your theory about atmospheric saturation/evaporation/humidity as THE driver of atmospheric warming.

    The premise is: reduced evaporation rate due to a change in solar gamma radiation resulting in drier air (with less heat transfer) as well as reduced IR transmission/radiance into space.

    I could not find your email, and so I am including a portion of the document in this comment block.


    Climate Change is the result of solar bi-flex. The term bi flex refers to the terminal
    exposure of the internal parts of the sun’s core itself to chemical and solar elements not
    usually associated with a star of this magnitude. Solar-Bi-flex occurs when elements of
    cesium and nitrogen combine to form dipoles of magnetic disruptions that retain enough
    heat to erupt as gamma rays and thereby expose (the Earths atmosphere) to excess gamma ray radiation.
    Gamma ray radiation, when absorbed by (the Earths atmosphere) causes water in
    (the Earths atmosphere) to fail to evaporate as it should. Consequently the water in (the
    Earths atmosphere) is losing its ability to become useable where it once could go as a gas
    that allowed cooling by evaporation processes mostly unknown to science.


    I Googled “graph humidity over time” to do a spot-check on the premise, and found a graph of yours, which lead me to your site, and I read your post about your theory, which sounds……sound…..to me, and so I thought you might like the info above.


    Seattle, WA – US

  16. Hello,
    I recently checked Roberto Madrigali’s meteoclima.net site and see that you’re now well represented there! All the best, Simon

  17. Ron Graf says:


    I just subscribed. If you have access to that email address now you can reply if you would allow me to send you some research coordinating information.

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  19. Pingback: L’ossigeno, la vita e un sistema che sì e no si accorge di noi | Climatemonitor

  20. ralfellis says:

    Re: Modulation of Ice Ages via Precession and Dust-Albedo Feedbacks

    A new paper proving that CO2 is a minor player in the drama that is the Earth’s climate.


    We present here a simple and novel proposal for the modulation and rhythm of ice ages and interglacials during the late Pleistocene. While the standard Milankovitch-precession theory fails to explain the long intervals between interglacials, these can be accounted for by a novel forcing and feedback system involving CO2, dust and albedo. During the glacial period, the high albedo of the northern ice sheets drives down global temperatures and CO2 concentrations, despite subsequent precessional forcing maxima. Over the following millennia CO2 is sequestered in the oceans and atmospheric concentrations eventually reach a critical minima of about 200 ppm, which causes a die-back of temperate and boreal forests and grasslands, especially at high altitude. The ensuing soil erosion generates dust storms, resulting in increased dust deposition and lower albedo on the northern ice sheets. As northern hemisphere insolation increases during the next Milankovitch cycle, the dust-laden ice-sheets absorb considerably more insolation and undergo rapid melting, which forces the climate into an interglacial period. The proposed mechanism is simple, robust, and comprehensive in its scope, and its key elements are well supported by empirical evidence.


    Ralph Ellis

    • Clive Best says:

      That looks very interesting. I think you may be right as the one missing link was the dust signal in the ice cores. Die off of vegetation in the NH due to low CO2 makes sense as the trigger for dust storms. Dust over ice sheets decreases albedo. Nice !

  21. Bob Peckham says:

    I would like to thank Ralph Ellis for pointing out this paper which for me has been the most interesting and intriguing article I have read so far this year!
    Naturally it raises quite a few questions. My first one stems from the final sentence which suggests that “the most effective way of controlling global temperature is through the modulation of soot particulates on ice sheets”.
    As it happens I have just finished reading “Travels through the Alps” by J. Forbes who travelled through the Alps in the mid 1800s, crossing passes and measuring the flows of glaciers. In this work it is very clearly and reliably reported that the maximum (recent) extension of Alpine glaciers occurred in about 1820. And we know they have been shrinking since then. So is it possible that the shrinking of Alpine glaciers was already being influenced by man’s activities in 1820 ? If so is it possible to quantify by how much ?

    • Clive Best says:


      I agree. This is the best new idea to explain the termination of ice ages that I have seen !
      The maximum extension of Alpine glaciers coincides reasonably well with a dip in UK temperatures where winters averaged only 3.5C. If the retreat in glaciers coincided with say rising soot pollution from coal fires, then I guess it should be possible to see this in the ice. I have no idea whether this has been looked at.



  22. bob Peckham says:

    Good point Clive. I just googled ” soot in Alpine ice ” and top of the list comes “How soot killed off the Little Ice Age” – and plenty of references to a paper in Nature from 2013.

    Seems we are the ones playing catch-up this time….

    Bob P.

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  24. daveburton says:

    You do a lot of very nice work, Dr. Best!

    I’ve linked to your blog on my site, and also borrowed a quote from you.

  25. daveburton says:

    I attempted to post a comment on your 2012 article about Effective Emission Height, but I get an error: “Invalid security token.”

    • Nick Stokes says:

      I’ve benn getting that too. I believe it is caused by a JetPack… anti-spam program

    • Clive Best says:

      If you include any tags in a comment such as HTML then Jetpack simply deletes them. Any URLs should be pasted without tags.

      • daveburton says:

        Thank you, Nick & Clive.

        I deleted all HTML tags and still got the error.

        So then I deleted a couple of ndash HTML special-character entities, and that solved it.

        I don’t know whether deleting all of the HTML tags was actually necessary. I had used three HTML tags: a, b, i

        JetPack seems pretty awful!

  26. Dear Clive,

    I was wondering if you could help me work out the solution to the following lunar puzzle:

    [please remove quotes]

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions or help on this topic.


    Ian Wilson

  27. Longtooth says:

    Clive, I’m quite impressed by your resilience and depth of answering the comments, questions, and issues raised on your blog. I think we would agree:

    1. Skepticism is a necessary part of almost all things considered sound or “commonly known”, or in this case “settled” .. from social relationships to economics to the sciences.
    2. Skepticism serves science (as in other fields) to modify, adjust, or refine hypothesis (or beliefs).

    So in that context, you say science is never “settled”, but you don’t define what “settled” actually means to you… and since, being a scientist yourself, having been trained or having natural tendencies to be analytic, and since the term “settled” is a subjective with infinite extent, I’m quite surprised, taken aback even, that you have not been at all objective by defining “settled in objective measurable or relative (to objective) terms.

    Since climate science relies in vey large part, in nearly all aspects in fact, upon what I would say every scientist ever trained would agree is settled science and their foundations, then there exists only some parts of climate science which you could consider to be not “settled”.

    So I have three serious questions I’m forced to ask you:

    a. What degree of the term “settled” is it, in your opinion, when something in science is actually “settled”? a response which is objective or relative to objective is requested.

    b. Which specific aspects of climate sciences basis for it’s present level of scientific consensus projections of temperature v. atmospheric CO2 concentrations do you not consider to be “settled” and specifically what is it about those aspects you don’t consider being yet “settled”?. I must assume you aren’t referring to the confidence intervals of uncertainties.

    c. For those aspects you don’t consider yet settled (and why) what remains in your opinion to put these items in your “settled” column? This is an especially critical part of my questions because in fact there may be aspects which you believe are not possible to be “settled” until sufficient time passes to show a definitive result. If that is indeed the case then your skepticism isn’t with the science, but with the result of science’s findings. There’s as huge difference as you are well aware.

  28. paulclim says:


    I like your blog because your scepticism has no agenda but is purely driven by curiosity. I also admire the unconventional way you approach tricky problems like the path you followed during calculating the CO2 forcing on your own.

    Recently, I found another study of a forcing calculation which seems quite convincing to me. But unfortunately my background as mech. engineer is far away from scientifically judging the validity of the claims made in the study.

    In fact the study challenges the 3.7 W/m2 that you verified. The main fault of the 3.7 W claim is, according to the author, Dr. F. K. Reinhart, that the probability of the energy states of CO2 in the atmosphere was not considered.

    I would be very thankful if you could have a look on this paper and maybe judge the validity of the claims.

    Link: http://www.entrelemanetjura.ch/BLOG_WP_351/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2017.01-20-FKR-sur-CO2.pdf

    Thanks for all the work you are doing.


    • Bob Peckham says:

      While waiting for Clive’s reply I would like to thank Paul for drawing attention to this paper which seems to be potentially very important.
      Like Paul I find the paper seems convincing, but I am not competent to comment on the detailed calculations of probabilities of energy states.
      But I do feel compelled to ask – has this paper been published anywhere else where it might get the greater exposure that it deserves?
      As far as I can see it has been rather modestly placed on a (French language) blog. It was posted in January ‘17, and it seems it has not received much attention since then. I looked through the Research News section of the host university ( EPFL ) website and could find no mention of it. One has to ask why does the EPFL not mention such a potentially important paper ? And how long is it going to be before the results in this paper are either verified or refuted ?

      • paulclim says:


        this paper left me undecided but interested. What I could easily verify is that there are probabilities of energy states that allow absorption or don’t. The tricky things are 1) Reinhart’s claim that the science did not consider these probabilities so far when calculating the forcing and 2) whether these probabilities and his other assumptions apply in the atmosphere in the same way as in the lab or in a CO2 laser.

        The latter is where Reinhart comes from and it is basically why I consider his calculation to be serious. If a physicist who builds an according to calcualtions working machine based on a certain radiation effect does not know about the effect in reality who else?

      • paulclim says:

        On the other hand: the claim that hundreds of climate scientists simply forgot to consider a well known physical effect and the angle between earth and emitter is unbelievable. It would be a sensation …

        In terms of publishing: Reinhart seems to have published the first version in 2014 and, according to him, nobody serious has refuted it so far (http://www.entrelemanetjura.ch/BLOG_WP_351/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014.07-25-Leuthard.pdf) This is a letter, dated July 2014, to a swiss politician (unfort. only in german) where he mentions his paper and the non refutation. But he does not mention where it was published. I also could not find anything in the internet except this link which also raises doubts …

        Hopefully Clive finds the post and some time to evaluate


        • Bob Peckham says:


          Thanks for your replies and the further info about the letter. I found the letter very interesting (with the help of Google Translate), and while it mostly discusses various aspects of Swiss energy policy, it also shows that Prof. Dr. Reinhart is confident that his calculations on CO2 absorption are sound.
          I note also that at the end of his paper Prof. Reinhart thanks 4 colleagues for stimulating discussions, and 4 other colleagues for critically reading the paper – all of which suggests there could be at least a few other competent scientists who agree with his conclusions (otherwise they would have persuaded him not to publish it wouldn’t they?). This leads me to think that this may be one of those areas of science which Longtooth above is asking about, i.e. is not yet properly “settled”.

          Bob P.

          • paulclim says:

            I am convinced that science is never settled in any area. A field with so much data lacking and part of the existing data contradicting the communicated consensus cannot be settled even more.

            The fact that other scientists reviewed the paper doesn’t prove that it is right, especially when they come from the same field or university or if they share common political ideas. If the paper was published in a respected journal and could not be refuted by scientists with opponent views (which is the majority in this case) it would change a lot.

    • Clive Best says:

      I have not had enough time to study it in depth but here goes.

      It looks like a convincing argument, but in the end no-one can really ‘calculate’ the greenhouse effect of increasing CO2 exactly. It is a balancing act. It seems to me that they have ignored convection, whereas the text books usually ignore H2O lapse rate feedbacks.

      The earth’s surface and to a lesser extent the atmosphere are warmed by the sun. The earth cools by IR radiation to space. Based on various assumptions of albedo the earth’s black body radiation, as measured from say Mars, is ~ 252K, whereas the surface is 288K. A lapse rate is generated by both the barometric drop in pressure and this difference in temperature through convection and evaporation. It is convection and latent heat that moves 90% of the heat up through the atmosphere to where the air is dry and thin enough to radiate directly to space. This is more of less the tropopause. The difference in temperature between the surface and the tropopause drive the heat engine that we call weather. However weather and convection would not exists without greenhouse gases. Otherwise the surface could radiate directly to space and in this case the surface temperature would be ~252K and there would be no lapse rate or weather, apart from small diurnal and seasonal effects.

      If we increase CO2 so the height of the tropopause increases. So the 252K layer increases in height, whose effect is to drag up the surface temperature slightly. If nothing else changes a doubling of CO2 produces a 1.1C increase, but of course things do change. Hence no-one really knows.

      This paper IMHO makes one false assumption early on.

      “Firstly, we consider an isothermal atmosphere of T = 288 K with an exponential barometric pressure dependence.”

      If the atmosphere was isothermal then the temperature would be 252K – not 288K.

      • paulclim says:

        Thank you very much for reviewing and explaining your view, Clive.

        I think I kind of understand your smart approach and your explanation with the change in height of the tropopause. An assumption of an isothermal atmosphere would probably not be compatible with such a model. Calculating the forcing without convection is something I also do not really understand but maybe it comes from their approach of wanting an easy worst case calculation without convection and with unrealistic, isothermal atmosphere.

        Nevertheless, I still do not understand why this admittedly wrong assumption could falsify their claim that the forcing is significantly lowered when considering the probabilities of the energy states of Co2 and the angle between emitter and earth (height). That means: In your calculations, Did you consider the energy states? And if not would that consideration affect the resulting height of the tropopause, the 3.7/4.7 Watts or the 1.1 degrees?

      • paulclim says:

        Basically, it comes back to the question, whether everybody so far used a 100% absorption rate of Co2 and whether it is right to reduce that rate according to the probabilities of the energy states of co2?

      • Clive Best says:

        I also tried to write this up in simple words. https://clivebest.com/blog/?p=6800
        Basically there is an assumption of a fixed lapse rate which does not depend on CO2 and that each level in the atmosphere is in ‘Local Thermal Equilibrium (LTE)’. CO2 molecules collide with N2,O2 to thermalise. Some of that thermal energy excites vibrational quantum states. These decay and emit photons which are absorbed by other CO2 molecules. However the net effect is simply to thermalise that radiative energy in the same way as N2, O2 collisions. It is only as the air thins due to barometric pressure that this breaks down and some of the photons can escape to space, thereby allowing the atmosphere to directly radiate heat to space. Only a small percentage of that net radiative heat loss is due to CO2, but it is still significant. The rest is from cloud tops, H2O, O3 and directly from the surface.

        The cross-section for absorption of photons by CO2 molecules is wavelength dependent which translates to different effective heights, each with a different temperature for radiation to space. The radiative heat loss flux depends on T^4 following Stefan-Boltzmann (LTE) and therefore slightly less energy is radiated to space if the concentration of CO2 suddenly increases. This energy imbalance means that the sun heats the surface slightly more than that which it looses by ‘radiative transfer’, mainly at night. So the surface warms a bit to re-establish energy balance. It is the sun that heats the surface, not some magic back radiation or other nonsense!

        • On the surface, evaporation cools the surface and warms the atmosphere. The warm moist air is carried by convection, up to the top of the clouds that are formed by this warm moist air. The clouds are formed by water vapor changing into water drops and ice, releasing the huge energy picked up from evaporation down below. The energy that is released is sent out with IR from the tops of clouds, way above most of the “so called heat trapping greenhouse gas layers”

          You never acknowledge that there is energy carried by convection up through the greenhouse layers. Since it is not even acknowledged, no one has even tried to figure out how much. Most cooling on the surface is by evaporation, most IR out at the top is from this energy that is carried up, totally not even considered!

    • Clive Best says:

      If you were measuring the black body temperature of the earth from the moon with an IR bolometer over the last few million years, the only change would be astronomic orbital effects. Everything else is about how heat flows from the surface through the atmosphere

      • paulclim says:

        I agree and this is why the thermalization process of the radiation captured by Co2 in the troposphere is so important. By how much is the radiation absorbed and thermalized? How much of the earth’s radiation measured at the moon comes from GHGes and how much is surface radiation?

  29. brianrlcatt says:

    I am writing a paper that may come as surprise, so I am checking it very carefully and minimising obvious errors before launching on the wide world of global change beliefs and pseudo science. I plan to use your valuable composite of all the major cycles over the Vostok et al interglacial cycles, but would like to refer to a published source in my refernces. Is there one I can use?

    The one I have is the anti-christ rationalist and pseudo science denier Euan Mearns, who is also fond of pointing out the absolute science denial that is UK energy policy, including regarding its inability to usefully reduce CO2 from fossil, or replace fossil when its gone, etc, on the hard facts of enrgy physics, or inded any of the objectives of energy policy – adeqaute, sustainable, affordable, decarbonising, etc..

    My main subject area is the legalised protection racket that is renewable energy. Planet’s can catch fire, so pay up – it’s the law.

    PS So the answer to everything is not 42……. but “Follow the money”, that answers every dichotomy in so called climate and renewable energy “science”. You may enjoy Deep Thought’s advice on such unprovable debates, 6min 30secs in…… “MIGHT I MAKE AN OBSERVATION AT THIS POINT?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2rS-ha8DbE

    • Clive Best says:

      Yes, Euan Mearns brings some common sense to discussions about Energy

      The data references to the Vostok composite’s are

      1. Benthic Fora (Ice Volume in plot): Lisiecki, L. E., & Raymo, M. E. (2005). A Pliocene-Pleistocene stack of 57 globally distributed benthic d18O records, Paleoceanography, 20, PA1003

      2. Epica (temperature, CO2, DUST) . e.g.
      Monnin, E., E.J. Steig, U. Siegenthaler, K. Kawamura, J. Schwander, B. Stauffer,
      T.F. Stocker, D.L. Morse, J.-M. Barnola, B. Bellier, D. Raynaud, and H. Fischer. 2004.
      Evidence for substantial accumulation rate variability in Antarctica during the Holocene,
      through synchronization of CO2 in the Taylor Dome, Dome C and DML ice cores.
      Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 224, 45-54

      EPICA community members. 2004.
      Eight glacial cycles from an Antarctic ice core.
      Nature, Vol. 429, No 6992, pp.623-628, June 10, 2004.

      3. Orbital effects on graphs (Insolation 65N, Eccenricity) : Laskar Calculations.
      A long-term numerical solution for the insolation quantities of the Earth, J. Laskar1, P. Robutel1, F. Joutel1, M. Gastineau1, A. C. M. Correia and B. Levrard, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 428, Number 1, December II 2004

  30. Hello!
    Nice blog of yours indeed!
    What is your copyright policy? Just now I am interested to use your pictures about ice age in my own blog
    if it is possible.
    I mean specifically this:
    but general princible is welcome.

  31. Brendan says:

    Clive, I’ve just read your blog on “Global Temperatures Rose As Cloud Cover Fell In the 1980s and 90s”. I read this as a filler for a number of other papers I’ve read on this. Namely that as the Sun goes into a Grand Minima, it’s magnetic fields weaken and that allows more Cosmic rays to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. These then seed clouds and we get more clouds during Grand Minima.

    I was interested in your graph “Global average cloud cover and Temperature”. You had Hadcrut4 global temperature chart. This chart appeared to use raw un-adjusted data. I’ve been searching for a source for a global un-adjusted Hadcrut temp chart for the past 100 to 150 years. The adjusted charts look ridiculous. Are you able to provide a link to a chart source?

  32. iskanderaka says:

    I invite all scientists to answer my next questions for the site CLIMADROM (https://climadrom.ucoz.net/load/):

    1. What is indisputable, what is controversal or not true at all in your opinion in climate science regarding climate change?

    2. What comes first: an increase in carbon dioxide emissions predetermines climate change or, on the contrary, climate change cause rising carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere?

    3. How the modern possibilities of mankind are great in order to have a noticeable and even decisive impact on such global aspects of the biosphere’s existence as climate?

    4. What should be the focus of humankind’s efforts at this time — to containing global warming, to adapt to it or to explain that AGW is a myth, as eminent Russian geophisicist Kirill Kondratiev stated many times two decades ago?

    5. How an ordinary person should treat the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — as a potential danger, as an obvious benefit or in some other way — and why?

    6. Do you consider it necessary to start now a broad planetary discussion of the climate change problem so that all points of view are heard equally attentively and impartially, since a great distrust of the IPCC reports has arisen?

    I would be very grateful if you not only send me (zhabskiy@mail.ru) your answers, but also send the questions to your colleagues who competent in this field of science.

    Thanks beforehand to everybody!

    Alexander Zhabskiy, editor of the International Network Resource for EnvironmentaL Education ECO.KNOW (http://ecoznay.ru/) and its thematic supplement CLIMADROM (https://climadrom.ucoz.net/load/)

    St.Petersburg, Russia.

    +7 904 632 21 32

  33. Jim says:

    Clive, I was following a lead I thought of about energy or displacement waves powered by orbiting and daily planetary rotations. I am interested in such things since I have a proposal for a new VTOL – Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft which will fly faster than conventional helicopters. I started a dialog with Paul Pukite – https://clivebest.com/?p=5937#comment-19659

    Your intro on this page suggested to me that what I discussed with Paul would be of interest to you. I believe that shock waves are a special case of displacement waves. They are puffs, curls, wind, and other air movement resulting from some mechanical or external force. The moon drags a bump of air around the planet. Some of this is supersonic and complicated by heating, Coriolis, ground terrain, not to mention geometry and inclined poles. My thought is that these waves moving or oscillating around the world are energy waves. Sound waves transmit energy without air being moved. These waves moving around the world move air as well. The speed of the air movement depends on the agent driving the air and not necessarily sonic properties of the air. Shock waves also travel with the object at sonic speeds. Shock waves must drag some air along as they move with the air. Subsonic displacement forms a wave on either side of an airfoil or wing. The difference in the “strength” of the “wave above” and the “wave below” provides a lift force. Since these are waves, there are trailing waves with opposite signs. They are also asymmetrical and are seen as circulation when passing clouds and so on. Since lift force is a result of asymmetric wave formation, one can look to another way of making an asymmetric wave. Lift is only the net pressure around the foil as it moves at velocity. The angle of attack and foil shape make an asymmetrical pressure distribution to provide a lift force.

    My thoughts are explained briefly as replies to Paul Pukite’s response to my initial question about applying Fourier Analysis to confirm wave cycles in atmospheric data. I assume that Fourier would show clear cycles from Lunar and Solar cycles as seasons and lunar cycles propagate against each other. The moon and sun have precise effects while the data is combined with ground effect and lingering systems. Clear frequencies – 24 hour – should come through the atmospheric data. Waves that move the air are different than sound or pressure waves. I assume Fourier analysis will only work if waves are present.

    Normal surface waves in water show minimal horizontal movement with strong vertical oscillations. A speeding boat produces a wake that has some horizontal movement since there is a drag force on the hull. Therefore some displacement is in the wave. The same boat traveling in a slight curve has an asymmetrical wake since there is a force required to make the curved trajectory. An airfoil does the same thing as gravity is countered by an asymmetrical wave traveling with the foil. It is a wave, but it has the same velocity as the foil. The asymmetric wave gets quite pronounced at sonic velocity. I believe that this is an energy or displacement wave and that it has the same units as torque. Torque gives circular patterns in the wake which one can see as a plane passes through a cloud. Torque also means “negative roots” and that is why there are wave mechanisms at work making the plane fly. Birds wave back and forth prying motions against the air as they push themselves into the air. Waves and circulation have connections to the imaginary plane. I have a proposal to elegantly make these “displacement” or “pressure” waves directly in still air to make an asymmetrical pressure distribution around the system. An inverted version could propagate a stationary pressure wave vertically which would interfere with the prevailing winds – perhaps causing rain if size and conditions are favorable. Ethiopia and other dry regions could benefit. Perhaps hurricane trajectory could be changed.

    My interest is in making a better aircraft – small ones for a single person and larger versions for commercial aviation. I would prefer not writing in this public forum even though nobody seems to think there is potential for what I am proposing. Thank you for you Blog and Post.

    If you are interested – Jim Campbell


    • Clive Best says:

      The moon & sun combined exert a tidal forces on the earth’s atmosphere and ocean. The moon completes one orbit of the earth roughly every 28 days. When the moon and sun align we get spring tides and when they are at roughly 90 degrees we get neap tides.

      The tidal wave is caused mostly by the rotation of the earth. In the ocean the movement is mostly vertical but there is a tractional component which causes a lateral movement of water. There are two tidal bulges each of which travels about 40,000km each day so that represents a speed of roughly 1600 miles per hour near the equator. A similar effect exists in the atmosphere but this is normally drowned out by weather and diurnal heating and convection. Tidal induced winds have been observed in the upper atmosphere but their bulk velocity is small ~10 m/sec.

      So yes tides move at large velocities affecting all areas of the earth. So these are really pressure waves in the atmosphere which get drowned out by everyday solar induced weather.

      If you are proposing to generate similar pressure waves, I don’t quite understand how you could do it on a small scale.



      • Jim says:

        Essentially I propose rolling a pair of cylinders in contact at sonic surface velocity creating a vacuum above the contact line and twice the ambient pressure below the contact line. I assume adiabatic with no seepage through the contact line. The air struggles to get to the contact line above since the surfaces are separating at sonic speed. Similarly, air struggles to get away below the contact line as the air is pinched. This will provide lift for an aircraft in still air. Inverting the apparatus will make a standing high pressure wave that could add to prevailing winds causing rain if scale and conditions are right. My email is more secure.


        It was truncated to may name by wordpress yesterday. I will send you my proposal if you are interested in this concept.

        Thanks for your reply.

  34. Jim says:

    Just so you know, your email notice that you answered me had two links “Reply” & “Comments” which were “error 404” so I had to go back to your “About” page to answer you this morning.
    I was a little hasty since I was on my way to work I hope you got my short response. The comments and replies on Paul’s post are more detailed, but my proposal with pictures would be helpful.

    Paul Pukite (@WHUT)

    The weather and climate aspect of my proposal are fairly new to my train of thought lasting several years. Dragging air from two directions so they collide at a “mirror” line will cause a maximum pressure at the roller contact line. A gradient will form above along a vertical mirror line. How far and how intense this “pressure field” will depend on ambient conditions and roller surface speed. This should form a “stationary pressure” wave extending vertically above the mirror line. The negative – low pressure – part of the wave would be near the ground and make an overall force down through supporting infrastructure. The force down would be matched by the force upward – exerted on the atmosphere. Since this is a “pressure wave” it will be more focused than using a fan with a vertical axis. The plane that the rolling cylinders axis are on could be inclined into the wind or with the wind. Therefore this wave could add or subtract from ambient wind velocity. For maximum vertical “bending” of the prevailing wind, I would guess that you would incline the wave artificially made slightly to add to the prevailing wind to prevent slowing the prevailing wind. I would think that we wouldn’t want to slow the wind but want to make it rise. The wind wouldn’t flow over the wave but it would flow with the wave. Perhaps it might be similar to a hydraulic hump. The rolling cylinders would form a pressure gradient in the flow. Since I am suggesting waves superposition, coastal setups could be tailor-made for specific locations. Low mountain ridges could be “artificially raised” with a flip of a switch. Forcing humid air up an extra 1000 feet/300 m could produce condensation and cloud formation in some conditions. That might cause more heating and elevation developing rainfall downwind.

    Empirical data or more accurate calculations of the pressures produced around rolling cylinders will give an estimation of the value of what I am proposing. As I said, I got an overall pressure per roller of twice the ambient pressure when considering a linear pressure distribution from 0 to twice the ambient. No seepage and adiabatic conditions are hard to achieve since the contrast of pressure across the contact line is like the pressure inflating a car tire.

    That is the potential – or maximum condition at M=1, but since everything is linear – the results change linearly as well. For M>1, the supply of air could be a problem. So you would aim the rollers forward so the airspeed ads to the airflow around the underside of the rollers. The roller axis would be aimed forward and airflow would “augur” from above to below the rollers. This all came from the study of the Magnus effect! I just added a mirror line where imaginary external flow met!

    Your comments would be appreciated,

  35. Rob Broadbent says:

    Dear Dr Best
    At the beginning of the last glaciation cycle, according to the charts I have seen, ocean levels were 10m higher than today and global mean temperature (GMT) was 2 degrees C warmer than the 1960 to 1990 average. During the first 5000 years of glaciation, from 125ka to 120ka (or so), sea level dropped 20m (one chart I have shows 40M in that period) and GMT dropped from 2C down to the average of the late 20th century. This has got to mean that while average temperatures were still very warm, warmer even than today, absolutely massive amounts of snow were being deposited on land; enough snow every year that not all of it melted during the summers that were (I assume) as warm as they are today. Obviously, for that kind of accumulation to happen, either snowfall was far greater (catastrophic) than today or summers were far cooler, or both.

    What could have caused this rapid change from ice melting to ice accumulating? And what could have caused the increase in temperature above today’s GMT when CO2 was no more than 300PPM? Because of the 100,000 +/- periods of glaciation in the last 4 glaciation cycles, it would seem that at least for warming, eccentricity of the earth’s orbit, as it’s periodicity is +/- 100,000 years, seems the most likely cause. While eccentricity. along with various positive feedback loops, almost certainly pushed warming to interglacial levels, there seems to be a good argument that the necessary cooling to cause the start of glaciation could not have come solely from orbital forcing because the changes in orbit are far too slow for a light switch like change (2-3,000 yrs) from warming and melting, to massive ice accumulation, as geologic records seem to show.

    So, regardless of the Milankovitch cycles, wouldn’t catastrophic snowfall have been required to achieve the level of annual accumulation needed to displace 20m of ocean onto the land in a mere 5,000 years, particularly while GMT temps were as warm or warmer than today?

    One way to calculate how much ice must accumulate per year is as follows: 20M of sea level drop over 5,000 years amounts to 4 millimeters per year. If land is 1/4 of the Earth’s surface, and 10% of the land surface is accumulating ice, it would require 40 times more ice accumulation in those areas than the associated sea level drop, or about 160 millimeters net per year (about 5 inches) of ICE.

    In south central Montana, at the 45th parallel, the Beartooth Highway runs from Montana into Wyoming at about 11.000 ft. At the top of the pass the road cuts through a drift that when the road opens in June, the snow depth is about 12 to 14 ft deep. That drift melts away completely by the end of August. I have picked up a snowball from the couple ft left in mid august and while the snow is quite dense it is not even close to being ice. I don’t know if 11,000 ft at the 45th parallel translates to 1500 ft at 65N but I would suspect it is at least a bit similar. Leaving the really big question still unanswered: How much snow, that has not compacted completely into ice, must remain on the ground at the beginning of the next winter season to eventually create that 5″ of ice?Keep in mind that that5″ of ice is across the entire extent of the glacial ice fields of the northern hemisphere

    Since an inch of rain translates to 12″ of snow, 12″ of snow will compress (eventually) to an inch of ice. Ignoring the difference in density of ice vs water, that calculation would suggest that if we also ignore summer melting, there would need to be at least 60″ of snow at the end of summer to create 5″ of ice. But the amount of snow left on the ground at the end of a summer would not have to be 60″, because whatever was left as snow cover would have compressed a lot already. So to calculate this, lets say that twelve inches of that snow on the Beartooth in August didn’t melt, ablate or sublimate any further because it was encased in the next year’s snow pack – even though in today’s climate it melts completely. Lets assume that that 12″ remaining, already having been sufficiently compacted, would compress further down to 5″ of ice in a 10,000 ft deep glacier. So then, how much snow must fall to leave that compacted 12″ of snow on the ground after a summer of melting?

    This calculation is going to be a little out there, but bare with me…

    At 10,000 ft in Jackson our winter snowfall of 500″, with no melting, compresses to a 100″ base snowpack. That snowpack, at the beginning of June at 10,000 ft, is down about 2/3, to 30″ and then gone by July. So to get 144″ at 11,000 ft, like on the Beartooth Hwy, by June, what level of snowfall would be required? 3 x 144 = 432″ of snow pack accounts for spring melting. Then, with only normal compression, 5 x that should tell us the total amount of snowfall required to end up with 12″ of dense snow at the end of the summer. 5 x 432″ = 2160″ of snowfall across 10% of the earths land surface every year for millenia! Even to me that seems nuts! However, the wettest places on earth receive 30ft of rain per year. if 6 months of that rain, or 15′ were snow, 1″ of rain = 12″ of snow, so that would be a total of 2160″ of snow per year! So that number is at least conceivable.

    Now that amount of snowfall, as I have pointed out previously, would be catastrophic for sure, particularly if that was happening across the entirety of Canada! Even half that gets pretty serious… and yet that may not even be enough in a climate warmer than today, as it was 125,000 years ago when ice started accumulating. Of course if it started snowing in Mid September and precipitation was all snow until June, then maybe the total snowfall would be less due to more accumulating and less melting… This calculation is extremely tough and relies on far too many assumptions, but I think it is fair to say the snowfall required to begin ice accumulation, with our current GMT or warmer, would be unlike anything we have ever seen.

    So my proposition is as follows;

    1) The levels of snowfall required for ice accumulation in the northern hemisphere to drop 20+m of sea level in 5000 years, as it did 120,000 years ago, would be absolutely catastrophic every year for millennia;

    2) Therefore, since the last 4 glaciation cycles began when GMT was 1 1/2 – 2C warmer than today; Catastrophic snowfall must occur at least at the beginning of the glaciation cycle.

    3) The Milankovitch cycles lining up and reducing summer insolation are not enough by themselves, in a climate warmer than today, to cause the start of glaciation, UNLESS catastrophic snowfall (monsoon precipitation) is already happening caused by a warmer climate. Once permanent snow cover begins, the GMT would begin dropping due to increased albedo.

    4) If monsoon rains and catastrophic levels of snowfall were present in the NH at the beginning of the last 4 glaciation cycles and are caused by a warmer climate, then we could experience the same fate once the climate warms enough, regardless of the position of orbital forcing – we just won’t see ice accumulation – probably due more to Green House Gases than (lack of) orbital forcing.

    Even though catastrophic levels of snowfall had to have happened consistently for millennia at the beginning of at least the last 4 glaciation cycles, I have never come across anyone that has considered it as a potential civilization altering natural disaster that might be looming on our horizon. Even if, on a geologic time scale, Co2 forcing pushes us past the point where moisture can even precipitate as snow and instead we have monsoon rains above the arctic circle, as it seems like we did during the Eocene, I would think there should still be a point where the northern hemisphere experiences catastrophic snowfall, caused by a warmer climate not a colder one, even if it does not turn into ice accumulation. Further I suspect that that level of snow fall could happen every winter for hundreds of years prior to the planet warming enough to the point where all the precipitation above the arctic circle is just rainfall.

    Dr. Best, am I missing something here? How do we get to 20m of sea level drop in 5,000 years without massive catastrophic snowfall every single year? I know being concerned about catastrophic snowfall seems counterintuitive in a warming world, but how else can 20m of sea level drop in 5000 years at the beginning of the last glaciation cycle be explained? Have you researched this problem or do you know of anyone that has researched this problem? What are your thoughts? I don’t see 3-5 ft of sea level rise per century as being an insurmountable problem for civilization to deal with, but the amount of snowfall required each year (whether it melts or not) to deposit 30-40 ft of ice across most of Canada in a mere 100 years is unthinkable!

    What are your thoughts? Am I ‘out to lunch’ on this? and if so why?


    Rob Broadbent

    • Clive Best says:

      No you are not out to lunch on this. The Eemian interglacial 120,000 years ago was warmer than today and sea levels several meters higher. The only real difference was that the eccentricity of the orbit was significantly higher than currently. This reduces the distance to the sun at perihelion increasing insolation. The tilt of the earth is perhaps more important since it changes the extent of the Arctic Circle and tropics, accentuating the seasons. This will also change rainfall ranges, so it is possible that snowfall at high latitude increases. Clearly something must explain such rapid ice accumulation.

      I don’t think anyone really understands why ice ages start. In the case of the Eemian the ice sheets increased while CO2 remained above 280ppm. However obliquity (tilt) was falling just as it is today.

      If rainfall (snow cover) increases year on year then albedo feedback kicks in as you say driving down temperatures, increasing ice volume and lowering sea levels. However eventually it must stop because the climate will become ever more arid. Vegetation dies off as CO2 levels fall and dust then accumulates on the ice sheets. The dust increases ice albedo, and might be the cause of terminating the ice age. When obliquity begins to rise coincident with a peak in eccentricity so the summer insolation increases and this time begins to melt back the ice sheets because they are embedded with dust.

      We are due for another glacial cycle to begin as obliquity is decreasing, but luckily for us we are at a minimum of the eccentricity cycle, so the holocene should last longer even without enhanced CO2. The most similar interglacial occurred 400,000 years ago – the Anglian which lasted about 40,000 years. Another ice age is due in 5-15k years time. Perhaps we should keep CO2 levels above 350 ppm indefinitely to avoid what would otherwise probably end modern civilisation.

      • Lyubomir ikonomov says:

        Dear Clive Best. I love your work, and I am very intrigued by your graphs! Your comparison of Angalian with the recent transition show incredible similarity of the recent YD event to similar event happen 425,000 years ago – can you confirm? If so – we are most likely looking at some climate event at the transition that is manifesting when the conditions are similar?

        I am very out of the true science field, but I wish to compere myself more of the D-O events, and just study the graphs in close – on completely amateur level, but I am just eager to see other similarities and differences from the Ice core records.

        Can you elaborate how can an amateur get hold of this data? Or can you share/export those graphs in some way – so they can be easily accessible?

        My respect, I hope you will answer me.
        I am not a bad 3D/digital artist, so If you need something done I can collaborate in reward – I love geology,science etc 🙂

  36. MOTM says:

    Well, the sea level had rapid fluctuations for the last 140,000 years, and the oceans went up and down by 20 m at 5,000 year intervals at least 5-10 times in the last 140,000 years. So, it is not really a big deal.

    Micro Interglacial Cycles and an Alternative Understanding to Sea Level Fluctuations from a Paleoclimatic Perspective the Last 140,000 Years


    Frankly, I think we are living in one of the calmest periods in history as far as sea level fluctuations..

    Global Climate and Sea Level: Enduring Variability and Rapid Fluctuations Over the Past 150,000 Years

  37. eddiebanner says:

    Clive, I should very much like to have your views on work I have recently been doing which is essentially a very simple alternative to the greenhouse gas theory, just 5 sides of A4 including figures. It is basically a “single equation” idea, but it provides the required results for the surface temperatures of the Earth both with and without greenhouse gases, and gives the “32 deg C rise”. It also shows that the effect of greenhouse gas increases is almost exhausted; perhaps 1 deg C might still occur, but this might already have happened, possibly 10 years ago.
    Five pages is no doubt too long for a comment here, so I should like to refer you to my post on my website https://hotgas.club “The post is Earth’s Atmospheric Window and Surface Temperatures”.
    Eddie Banner eddiebanner2@gmail.com

    • Clive Best says:

      Yes the atmospheric window is important on earth as it sits in the main part of the BB radiation curve. However it is still true that surface IR is absorbed in the 15 micron CO2 band. The greenhouse effect depends on convection. Atmospheric pressure falls with height so that emission of IR to space occurs at much colder temperatures than the surface. So if you suddenly double CO2 then the emission height increases to a lower temperature so less IR is radiated to space and the knock on effect is that the surface warms slightly to rebalance energy conservation. All levels in the atmosphere are at thermal equilibrium and the lapse rate is generated by convection. Increasing CO2 increases the height of the tropopause slightly. Convection/evaporation is the most efficient way for the surface to lose energy. It runs out once radiative cooling to space dominates.

  38. eddiebanner says:

    Thank you for your reply to my post about the importance of the atmospheric window, and for your interesting explanation about the Greenhouse Gas effect. But this theory has been debated for 30 years and no final acceptance has been achieved.
    So my post “Earth’s Atmospheric Window and Surface Temperatures” at https://hotgas.club is an attempt to offer a really simple way of calculating the effects of the greenhouse gases on the temperatures of Earth’s surface. This is done by energy balance considerations, but the detail of the “internal” workings of the atmosphere might well be explained by your post. I have shown that the GHGs are certainly involved in determining the surface temperatures, but their effect is now almost exhausted.
    My post depends significantly on the value of the power transmitted to space by the window, and on the proportion of energy in the atmosphere which can be absorbed/emitted by the GHGs present. It gives the surface temperatures both without GHGs and with the present concentrations, that is 256K and 288K, and hence the “32 deg C rise”. It is also found that the surface temperature is limited to about 289K because the effect of the GHGs is probably within 2% of absorbing/emitting all the energy in the atmosphere.
    However, there is a remaining threat from the increasing use of fluorine compounds, because they have high absorbing wavelengths within the window and this causes surface temperature increase, as shown.
    Eddie Banner

  39. The Radiative GreenHouse Effect theory three-legged stool toppled – together with all the pseudo-scientific, confirmation bias, correlation = cause, climate change, Gorebal warming rubbish stacked on top.

    Leg 1: By reflecting away 30% +/- of the incoming solar radiation the albedo, which could not/would not exist without the atmosphere, makes the earth cooler not warmer. Remove the atmosphere and the albedo goes with it, i.e. no water vapor or clouds, no snow or ice, no vegetation, no oceans, becoming a barren, airless, celestial rock much like the moon, albedo of 10% with 20% more kJ/h, hot^3 lit side, cold^3 dark. Nikolov, Kramm (U of AK) and UCLA Diviner mission all tacitly admit this refuting the RGHE claim that the naked earth would become a -430 F frozen ball of ice.

    Leg 2: The downwelling radiation “trapped” and “back” radiated by the GHGs must first be removed from the terrestrial system. Removing this “extra” energy would short-change & disrupt the balance at ToA so it must be balanced by some kind of “extra” upwelling energy.

    Leg 3: The “extra” upwelling LWIR comes from the assumption that the earth’s surface radiates as an ideal black body which, by THEORETICAL definition, with unitary emissivity absorbs ALL and emits ALL. However, because of the non-radiative heat transfer participation of the contiguous atmospheric molecules, radiation becomes accountable only for (ALL – non-radiative) which renders “extra” upwelling LWIR impossible. Emissivity is not 1.0 or .95 but (ALL – non-radiative)/ALL. In the case of the ubiquitous K-T power flux balance graphic: theoretical ?=63/396=0.16 or actual ?=63/160=0.39. There is no “extra” upwelling LWIR, no “extra” energy for the GHGs to “trap” and “back” radiate and no downwelling LWIR.

    The alleged up/down welling measurements are the result of incorrectly applied instruments and confirmation bias. Remember cold fusion.

    As demonstrated by experiment, the gold standard of classical science.


    Leg 1 + Leg 2 + Leg 3 = 0 RGHE + 0 GHG warming + 0 CAGW

    Nick Schroeder, BSME CU ‘78
    Colorado Springs, CO
    719 651 7383

  40. eddiebanner says:

    Further to my early work dealing with the atmospheric window, posted last January on WordPress, I have now, October 2020, posted an updated, revised piece which shows that the value of the
    atmospheric window varies with latitude and from month to month as the Earth orbits around the Sun. Please see “The Atmospheric Window” at https://hotgas.club
    This must have an effect on global warming calculations.
    A E Banner

  41. Steve says:

    Hello Clive, a very fascinating series of discussions. On climate I have been reading all of the information on your website and others, including the comments. During the lockdown I have been trying to understand the various climate mechanisms and have come up with an alternative view of where we are heading, is it possible to contact you directly to discuss what I have?

  42. Andy May says:

    Hi Clive,
    I’ve been a long time admirer. I tried to add a comment to your post on “CO2 GHE demystified,” but I don’t think it worked. I’m looking for your Fortran code and HITRAN data from that post. It would help me make some necessary illustrations. You said you would make it available, but I’ve not been able to find it. You can reach me at my website: https://andymaypetrophysicist.com/ or on linkedin.com.
    Thanks, Andy

    • Clive Best says:

      Hi Andy,

      I zipped up the code and data I used for that post. You’re welcome to use it. I can’t remember all the details but the Fortran code extracts and processes the CO2 lines and the Perl scripts analyse the results. The sharp lines are fuzzed out by thermal broadening.


      Let me know if you have questions. It is a few years ago that I did this so can’t remember off hand all the details .



  43. Ray says:

    Hi Clive,

    I’m no expert on anything but I would like your expert opinion on something and would be very thankful if you would indulge me. It’s an equation and I would like your opinion if it looks right or if I’ve bumbled into some kind of curve fitting mistake. I’ll start with the variables:
    I calculated blackbody temperatures angle by angle on a sphere (not using average radiation) and came up with Venus: 131.2849 K, Earth: 145.9635 K, Mars 121.5561 K, and Titan 47.96203 K. (emissivity included)
    I took the profiles I could find of the atmospheres and using 100m increments and PV=nRT got the average temp, average altitude, average pressure per mole, then got the average molar mass based on ingredients and gravity. And atmospheric masses.

    I started with the idea that the energy in an atmosphere is expressed by expansion against gravity and temperature. My idea was that this would be a function of pressure. Started out trying to express everything in joules.

    For expansion against gravity, work = force x distance and force would be mass x acceleration, so the joules involved in expansion would be (mass of atmosphere) x (gravity) x (ave height per mole)

    For the joules involved in temperature, since temp reflects the average speed of molecules, I took the rms speed, squared it, multiplied by kg/kg, and got Joules per kilogram: (3RT/M) Multiplied that by the mass of the atmosphere to get joules involved in temperature.

    As a starting point I used the joules that would be provided by blackbody (B) alone. So (3RB/M), again multiplied by the mass of the atmosphere.

    This led to an expression of change brought about by an atmosphere:

    ((Joules of temp) + (Joules of expansion) ) / (Blackbody joules)

    The mass of the atmosphere cancels out and it can be simplified to: T/B + ghM/3RB

    The T/B represents the change in temp due to an atmosphere and the rest is the expansion of volume in the atmosphere

    My idea is that these changes are a function of average atmospheric pressure: F(p)

    So T/B + ghM/3RB = F(p) Multiplying both sides by B (blackbody temp): T + ghM/3R = B*F(p)

    Solving for T: T = B*F(p) – ghM/3R

    The average temperature per mole of an atmosphere = Blackbody temp * a function of pressure minus the energy going into expanded volume ghM/3R

    I found the function of pressure is a quadratic: F(p) = -4.2672*10-12 p2 + 2.07166*10-5 p + 2.1375

    This yields the average temp per mole of Venus Earth Mars and Titan to within .1 degrees, but I’m worried as stated before that I’ve used some kind of circular reasoning or maybe quadratics can fit anything. Thanks so much if you choose to indulge me with your expert opinion. I come across your blogs often when searching these things. In one you discussed the change in lapse rate that might occur to compensate for reduced OLR. If the greenhouse effect acts that way and is only an internal mechanism of heat transfer, i wonder if the overall temp of a planetary atmosphere is set by the variables I mentioned above.

    Thanks, have a great day.

    • Clive Best says:


      Always good to see new ideas.

      I am not sure what you mean by black body temperatures here. I think you are using the observed atmospheres and then apply gas laws to derive average temperature.
      As I see it all energy comes from the sun including that in the atmospheres. Gravity keeps the atmosphere in place thinning in height, drives a density profile and convection drives the lapse rate. So the observed atmospheric profiles are a result of the incident solar radiation on the surface, that absorbed by the atmosphere and the radiation to space. Venus has very hot temperatures because clouds of sulphuric acid traps heat inside.

      However the gas laws still apply so you can deduce patterns from the observed atmosphere and temperatures.

  44. Colin Megson says:

    Dear Clive Best,
    I have done a couple of infographics from screenshots from Drax Electric Insights:

    They cover a 6 day period of wind and solar ‘drought’ ending 21 Dec 2021. Average wind + solar was 2.39 GW.

    I notice you use Gridwatch, so I put the same dates in on a download and the averages for wind + solar worked out at 1.722 GW, which is just 72% of the Drax figure.

    I can only imagine Gridwatch don’t ‘monitor’ as many generators as Drax, but would appreciate your ‘take’ on why such a huge discrepancy arises.

    Kind regards,

    Colin Megson

  45. HaPé says:

    Hello Clive!

    I hope you’re doing well!

    I have a question about Thomas E. Shula’s experiment with the Pironi gauge:
    pdf: https://tomn.substack.com/p/tom-shula-a-novel-perspective-on
    Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS55lXf4LZk
    German: https://eike-klima-energie.eu/2023/04/20/eine-neue-sichtweise-auf-den-greenhouse-effect/

    Unfortunately, I’m only a biologist, so I’m asking you whether this experiment makes sense. If so, then CO2 would be completely out of the running in global warming, wouldn’t it?
    In convection, it doesn’t matter whether divalent or trivalent molecules are involved, right?

    Otherwise, I’m excited every day what comes across from your pen next!


    • Clive Best says:

      I’ll look at the video later. However what doubling CO2 does as well is to increase the height of the tropopause. So the total height where convection efficiently cools the surface is raised a bit higher. Assuming the lapse rate stays the same then the surface temperature rises a bit more to compensate. The temperature at the tropopause remains constant. CO2’s only role together with water vapour is to keep surface warm enough and provide nutrients for life to flourish.

  46. Vishak J S says:

    Dear Clive,
    Good day!

    I am writing on behalf of McGraw-Hill Education, we would like to use El Niño 1998 & 2016 (https://clivebest.com/blog/?p=8113) image in ” THiNK by BOSS”, now in production at McGraw-Hill Education.

    If you have questions or concerns regarding terms or terminology, please feel free to contact Aptara’s Project Manager the U.S.: David Knowles, David.Knowles@aptaracorp.com , 512 587-6943, or we can put you in touch with a McGraw-Hill representative.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Vishak J S

  47. David Knowles says:

    Dear Clive,

    Thank you so much. Could you send an email address to me so we can send you the license agreement?


    David Knowles
    Project Manager | Content Research, Rights & Clearances
    (512) 587-6943
    Aptara, Inc. | Transforming Content into Knowledge

  48. Pete Rogers says:

    Dear Clive,

    Would you be so kind as to disabuse me of a simple obstinate theory that I have been arguing for many years to the annoyance of all true believers (in the AGW). I would be never wish to deceive anyone and will stop using this argument if it is wrong.

    My science does not exceed A-Level.

    The particulars of the argument I use, (and I used it successfully in an interchange with a lecturer from The Scott Polar Institute), go as follows.

    1. There is no real empirical evidence to confirm the thermal potency of Greenhouse Effect (GE)
    2. Both sides agree that without an Atmosphere the Earth would be at least 32K cooler. 32K being the Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE)
    3. The IPCC says the ATE is proof of the thermal potency of the GE, even though it is only circumstantial, because there can be no other explanation.

    This is where I come in

    4. If there were indeed no other explanation IPCC could be forgiven for the posion they take, but there is and it goes as follows
    5. If Atmospheric pressure was lower then the base of the attmosphere would be less compressed, therefore the heat energy being conducted into it from the surface would be less concentrated so the temperature would be lower.
    6.This means that the compressive force of Gravity accounts for some – or perhaps all – of the ATE
    7. In either case the AGW, which does not allow for the thermal effect of Atmospheric compression, is a false theory.

    Whilst nobody has been able to deal with this argument I am painfully aware that I am making very much as a layman and then “Proof” I use is mind-bogglingly simple, so unless it is endorsed by a proper scientist I am nervous of continually using it.

    I would deperately appreciate your kind advice.

    • Clive Best says:

      Sorry for delay. The surface temperature depends on a lapse rate caused by convection . Otherwise the temperature would be – 20C

      This is more or less what makes Earth special (IMHO).

    • Clive Best says:

      It’s complicated. If there were no greenhouse gasses and say the atmosphere was nitrogen then there would be no greenhouse effect and the earth’s temperature would be about zero degrees. The greenhouse effect is a very good thing for life on earth because it generates the lapse rate. Surface temperature is much warmer than it otherwise would be. The main effect is H2O because oceans cover 70% of the earth and allowed life to evolve. Nearly all the oxygen in the atmosphere was generated by photosynthesis (cyanbacteria). This allows animals to develop to feed on plants and emit CO2. Venus and Mars are totally different because life never evolved. So everything is a balance. So life is the key to earth’s climate and will always remain so. Humans currently are slightly affecting the climate which has seen far bigger changes in the past.

      Yes Gravity is essential to maintain the atmospheric pressure and temperature. Co2, H20 etc generate the lapse rate keeping the surface warmer than the tropopause. It is complicated but life is in charge of the climate . Mars has 70% CO2, Venus is also far hotter the Earth, niether have life

  49. Peter Duncan Grimshaw says:

    Hi Clive

    After chatting with yourself and the guys at SoD over a long period I seem to have come up with an Excel-based AGW equilibrium model, which ends up being a 3 line Excel energy balance equation I thought was quite fun. I would send it but didn’t have an email, if you are interested to tear it to pieces?
    One input
    The Sun = 240 W/m2
    3 IR outputs
    Earth’s surface
    H2O layer
    CO2 layer
    = 240 W/m2, or whatever the energy balance figure is.
    Input = Outputs in terms of long-term energy equilibrium.
    If it can be made to work, eg if we understand the change in the EEH (ergo the temp) for the CO2 layer from doubling the density of CO2, then this simple model could tell us the change in the surface temp to balance the CO2 EEH temp change.
    The power output from each layer is given by the SB equation ST4.
    I calibrated a value for s using a thought experiment with nil IR gas so the earth’s surface temp is -15C or whatever the figure is, no other gases to worry about. Power in = power out for just the earth’s surface gives you the constant s in sT4 = 240.
    And change one of the outputs, the other two need to rebalance to equilbrize
    So anyway, I think you get most of what I have written, but if you care to see the spreadsheet and are interested enough to want to help calibrate some of the factors in it which currently I am guestimating – I am a bit stuck – namely the EEH/AEH of the layers, then let me know and I can send you the spreadsheet.

    One weird thing this throw up is I think the earth’s surface is effectively backheated from the temperature inversion at the top of the troposphere, if that makes sense, so it would pay to understand how temperature inversion between the Troposphere and the Stratosphere works and is established. Does the Stratosphere cooling effect the temp of the top of Troposphere?

    What is interesting too is that Excel lets one simply to add more layers for more Greenhouse Gasses like CH4, N2O if need be.
    I would send the spreadsheet to play with if you are interested.
    It’s main functionality is predicated on the Average Height of Emission for the output layers. These needs lots of work to calibrate, I have guestimated those, CO2 high, H2O mid atmosphere (warmer)
    Thinking of H2O and CO2 as different ‘layers’ or ‘bands’ of IR output.
    And the IR window, or IR from earth as a separate ‘layer’
    And that might be an oversimplification or assumption too far.
    And wild oversimplifications of course.
    All the same, not sure if it has been done elsewhere, maybe has.

    At the moment I am guestimating the Average Emission Heights (AEH), but I think the math/science is out there to be more accurate than I am being, but I am not quite sure how to calibrate the AEH for each layer yet.


  50. Peter Grimshaw says:

    Your brilliant analysis of Power reduction from an increased EEH gives a figure of 4.7 W/m2 from the CO2 layer when it changes from 300 ppm to 600 ppm.
    (I just re-read this last night, on your other page).

    What needs to happen is that this reduced power needs to be taken up by the other power outputs from the earth to regain equilibrium. These other two layers are the H2O layer, and the earth’s surface, (the ‘IR Window’).
    IR output from the Troposphere is equalized with the energy input from the sun.
    240W/m2 in from the sun = 240 W/m2 out from the earth.
    Or whatever, I using extremely rough figures.
    You make this point yourself somewhere in your comments and writings.

    If we create a really simple spreadsheet to work out the power outputs redistribution it is possible to work out the probable heat increase at the surface?
    Fortunately, the Infrared window layer exhuding IR to outer space directly from the earth is at the surface?
    The whole scenario is about power redistribution at equilibrium.

    What we can see is the 4.7 W/m2 power reduction from the CO2 equates to a 6 degree drop in temp for the CO2 layer.
    What is happening is the the EEH of the CO2 layer is raised by around 1km which then equates to roughly 6 K, (the adiabatic lapse rate). We can work this out using SB to relate power to temp – using the figs on your other page.
    In figures 4.7 W/m2 roughly = a change from 230K to 224K if the CO2 layer accounts for 25% of all power leaving the Troposphere, ie 1/4 of 240 W/m2 or 60 W/m2.

    Spreading the heat output across the rest of the atmosphere, the H2O ‘layer’ IR outputs, and the earths surface, I think the H2O layer (which accounts for 50% (guestimate) of all IR outputs – 120 W/m2) raises by 1 degree K, and the earths surface (roughly 25% (guestimate) of all outputs, 60 W/m2) rises by 2 degrees K.

    One interesting observation is this means the water layer is appears to be a feedback loop than damps AGW rather than adds to it because of power output redistribution.

    These are very rough and ready calcs, in fact extremely rough and ready, but I think the principle is accurate, partly because you have outlined these principle in your work already.

  51. Clive Best says:

    Thanks for the comments. It will be difficult for us to “engineer” a restoration of energy balance but anything is possible. H2O has two competing components a) the greenhouse effect and b) cooling by clouds. My gut feeling is that clouds must win out long term since otherwise the oceans wouldn’t have survived for so long on earth during far warmer periods than now.

    One possibility would be to fertilise tropical oceans with cyanbacteria which pump down CO2 levels in the atmosphere. However despite the hype we are nowhere near dangerous levels of warming yet and my best estimate is a total warming of ~1.6 C for a doubling of CO2. Note that we may exceed this value for individual years but the long term trend can only be measured on decadal timescales.

  52. James Daily says:

    Hello Clive,
    I originally found your website from a 2016 post you made about the weight of the atmosphere increasing. This very much affected the work I do covering the biography of Eunice Foote, who in 1856 thought that the Carboniferous age would have had a much heavier atmosphere. (This is, only one of multiple points of her science that I work to relate on her relevance to modern Climate Change – where she is only known for her CO2 revelation).
    Since your 2016 post, I have not been able to find much about this topic. I am fairly darn expert on the science of the 1850’s, where I specialize in the history of Meteorology, so there are very limited things I have learned. Yet I remain a real novice in these modern areas.
    That being said, I theorize that you are correct. Here are a couple of my novice theories.
    1. I believe that the shape of thunderstorms has changed. NASA has a chart of the Keeling Curve and I was impressed by the levels of CO2 that have (of course) grown in the last 20 years. I only belabor that point to track where in time I thought I saw the shapes of thunderstorms changing. I think these storms are held under a pressure that works to slow the growth of their size, or, allowing the heated and rising air to elevate in the atmosphere. About 20 years ago I thought that storms appeared to be more confined, so that at the time they gain the force to overcome this downward pressure, the uplift is of a more violent nature. And then, even this uplift seems to be confined to a narrow channel of uplift. The analogy would be something like a bag of icing that is squished toward the opening and then is released, expanding. //// //// From seeing some modern Meteorology that has backed this model up, I am emboldened to reach out to you. It has been proven that at the top of Hurricanes there can be small columns of very rapidly rising air that climb very high in the atmosphere. Also recently shown is that the same thing occurs in Hot Air weather systems where a ‘pressure release’ will send a smaller column of Air very high. This could be related to a simile of how/why the Hawaiian Islands/volcanoes appear in the middle of the Pacific Plate. This is my non-developed theory from a non-expert. What I do fully contend is that what we see in the east of America is not the same thunderstorms of my youth, and a heavier atmosphere is what makes the most sense to me.
    2. Now to really step out of my realm; an atmospheric chemistry question. Apologies if your technical language of your 2016 post covers this already (I would not be able to understand the physics equations). Can Vapor Pressure be enough to repel the downward force of a heavier atmosphere? My Atmospheric Chemistry professor friend just looked at me when I asked him. (He did not call me crazy). To be careful, allow me to explain my thinking in case my understandings are wrong. Chemical gasses repelling each other electrically would be a force so strong that they would be able to push back against an atmosphere gaining in weight and thereby be able to fool our Barometers? Where I most question myself is if aviation altimeters (still a barometer) did change to become inaccurate, don’t you think we would have heard about this already? Or, does airline traffic operate at levels where this ‘fooling of the barometers’ still would be governed by the Vapor Pressure effect just described. //// //// My small research has uncovered other people thinking about this, mostly showing that CO2 has what comes down to subtle effects. Such as, Heating up faster than the Air it is in – thereby lifting the air it is surrounded by (among other factors achieving the same effect). I very much understand that most in the field are more worried about the integrity of the upper atmosphere being compromised by the heating effects of fine-particulates of CO2 creating heating where there has not been any/much before. I am fine with that, yet I still question if these two effects are/would be mutually exclusive.

  53. Clive Best says:

    The effect of an increased mass of the atmosphere is still relatively very small, but another effect of increasing CO2 is to rise the height of the tropopause. In fact this is the real reason why surface temperatures have risen slightly since the surface cools by convection at the lapse rate up to the tropopause.

    A higher tropopause also could enable a slight change in convective storms. It would be interesting to see if this has actually been measured.

  54. Peter J. Morgan says:

    Hello Clive
    I must confess that I first heard of you and your blog only today, when I read the Net Zero Watch email notification of its Webinar on Nuclear Fusion.
    Have you read the August 2020 paper by Prof. Emeritus Dieter Schildknecht and the August 2021 paper by Coe et al.?
    Nobody has been able to refute either paper.
    They both calculated that CO2 has an ECS of just 0.5 Celsius degrees, which is just 1/6th of the IPCC’s ‘best estimiate’ meaning that AGW is nonscience.
    Peter J. Morgan, BE (Mech.), Dip Teaching, Hon. CEO, Environomics Global Trust
    PJM.forensic.eng “at” gmail.com

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