October, 2007 RESEARCH UPDATE: We have submitted a research paper to the Journal of Climate in which we used a simple climate model to demonstrate how natural climate variability in temperature and clouds can be mis-diagnosed as positive feedback (cloud changes with warming that are presumed to amplify the warming, an effect which is programmed into all leading computerized climate models). The misdiagnosis occurs because climate researchers look at cloud variability as a RESULT of temperature variability, when in fact some of the temperature variability is actually caused by the clouds. We also constrained the model with satellite observations in order to estimate the likely magnitude of this positive feedback bias.
August, 2007 RESEARCH UPDATE: Our peer-reviewed paper showing the natural cooling behavior of tropical cirrus clouds in response to warming was published on August 9 in Geophysical Research Letters. (The UAH news release is here.) In that paper we describe satellite evidence for a natural cooling mechanism (‘negative feedback’)that occurs when the tropical atmosphere heats up. This is in contrast to all leading climate models, which have cirrus clouds behaving as a positive feedback, amplifying warming tendencies. [In an unusual turn of events, absolutely no reporters contacted me about these important results. It will be interesting to see whether any climate modelers include this effect in their climate models — a change which would likely greatly reduce the amount of global warming those models predict for the future.]
Here I present a simplified (but hopefully accurate) explanation of the basics of global warming – call it a global warming primer. First, I will address the issue of how warm we are today, and some possible explanations for that warmth. Next, I’ll briefly describe the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and global warming theory. Finally, I will explain the “thermostatic control” mechanism that I believe stabilizes the climate system against substantial global warming from mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. Some of what I will present is an extension of Richard Lindzen’s “infrared iris” effect, support for which was published on August 9, 2007 (see August Research Update, above).
The bottom line is this: Precipitation systems ultimately control the magnitude of the Earth’s total greenhouse effect –which is mostly due to water vapor and clouds — and those systems change in ways that offset the small warming tendency from mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Read the entire article ‘Global Warming and Nature’s Thermostat:Precipitation Systems’ by Roy W. Spencer