The Models Don’t Have Clouds

This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


Objection:

Clouds are a very large negative feedback that will stop any drastic warming. The climate models don’t even take cloud effects into account.

Answer:

All of the Atmospheric Global Climate Models used for the kind of climate projections reported on by the IPCC take the effects of clouds into account. You can read a discussion about cloud processes and feedbacks in the IPCC TAR.

It is true however that clouds are one of the largest sources of uncertainty in the GCM’s. They are very complicated to model because they have both positive feedbacks, preventing surface heat from escaping back into space and negative feedbacks, reflecting incoming sun light before it can even reach the surface. The precise balance of these opposing effects depends on the time of day, the time of year, the cloud’s altitude, the size of the water droplets and/or ice particles forming the clouds, the latitude, the current air temperature and the cloud’s size and shape. On top of that, different types of clouds will interact, amplifying or mitigating each other’s effect as they co-exist in different layers of the atmosphere. There are also latent heat considerations as water vapour condenses during cloud formation and precipitation events and as water droplets evaporate when clouds dissipate.

The ultimate contribution to global temperature trends is very uncertain, but according to the best estimates is likely to be positive over the coming century. There is no indication anywhere that any kind of cloud processes will stop greenhouse gas driven warming, and this includes observations of the past as well as modelling experiments.


This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


“The Models Don’t Have Clouds” was first published here, where you can still find the original comment thread. This updated version is also posted on the Grist website, where additional comments can be found, though the author, Coby Beck, does not monitor or respond there.

111 thoughts on “The Models Don’t Have Clouds

  1. Looks like the snowman is on one of his irregular drive through visits, during which he proclaims that everyone is wrong – apart from deniers like Dick who he proclaims as brave and correct – and that we are all preening intellectuals – particularly skip!. No evidence or rational argument is ever presented – just proclamations of his ideologically driven worldview.

    Good contribution to the debate there snowman. I await your next visit with eager anticipation. (spoiler alert – his next visit will be pretty much like this one)

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  2. You’ve got that wrong, Mandas. Skip is a preening FAUX intellectual. I wouldn’t call you an intellectual of any type.

    Incidentally, I don’t know how much they pay you for herding those goats of yours, but shouldn’t you spend more time doing it and less time here posting nonsense such as that at 89?

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  3. I guess that’s the difference between you and me snowman.

    I am good at my job – very efficient. I do the same amount of work in far less time than people such as yourself. Just because you need to spend vast amounts of time trying to work out the basics does not mean we are all do.

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  4. I wouldn’t call [mandas] an intellectual of any type. –Snowman

    This from the guy whose agenda is set by Anthony Watts. Hehe.

    And thus does one who regards a statistically incompetent retired fireman as an intellectual “Mike Tyson” convince himself that one of the two or three strongest posters on this forum can be dismissed with a schoolboy insult. Hehe.

    Now I always love doing this because it delights me and tortures Snowman (I am not above petty, sadistic indulgences):

    So, Snowman, please quote mandas’s most fallacious post and explain how it shows him to be less than an even “FAUX intellectual.”

    Sorry for hogging bandwidth with this, but of course the liar will not answer and his reticence/evasion always titillates me.

    I have to make this fun for myself somehow . . .

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  5. “You know Wow, I was about to ask, in genuine disbelief”

    Yes, you do seem to have great disbelief in everything except your own intelligence.

    Pity it doesn’t exist.

    I note that you didn’t actually manage to answer the point or, indeed, make any coherent statement at all except to show your idiocy.

    So, I take it you have worked out that the clouds make a small correction either up or down in the temperature gradient and, since this tends more to the side of increasing global warming, have to jump over to the insane idea that just because we don’t know whether a small correction is positive or negative, that this must necessarily mean we don’t know that the trend is going to be one of warming.

    Don’t tar everyone with the lack of intelligence you have.

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  6. RE: Post 86 and 105:
    Promoted??? Well, I have to take back what I said earlier then when I called you a goat herder. I obviously should have addressed you as Chief Goat Herder. My apologies. Well done, I can imagine the competition for that position was immense.
    Would it were we could all do 4 hours a week as a government employee and pass it off as “being efficient”. I guess it doesn’t take too many minutes of your day to tell a friendless graduate student to spend 10 weeks out in the bush to check if all the wild camels are still beneath the shade of the same tree you found them in last time. “Struth Bruce, there’s unly neunty neun of de critters; I could sweir der was a hindred the list toime we cunted. Facker most’ve fackn evapiratid!!!”
    You report to a Minister??????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jesus wept, Australia!!! Tell me this ministry is nothing more substantial than the Ministry of Funny Walks? Or the Ministry of Vacuous Talks? [You could be promoted to the latter anytime.]

    RE: Post 85
    Skip, I wouldn’t go to any website for information on anything to do with the climate issue. I only come here to poke fun at deluded dickheads like yourself and Mandas who think that your opinions count for jack. But at least the number of visitors to this site is so close to zero that no one is likely to be harmed by your endless pontifications on matters you know nothing of substance about. Just the same sad handful of self-congratulatory bores saying the same things to each other over, and over, and over . . .

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  7. deluded dickheads like yourself and Mandas

    Ew! Got a rise out of the guy who now shows a peculiar fixation on goats. Hmm.

    So, I’ll ask you again, Mlax: Give an example of Mandas . . . or Coby . . . or myself, if you wish . . . giving an opinion that does not “count for jack” on a matter where it is obvious we “know nothing of substance”.

    Please feel free to use appellations such as “preening faux-intellectual” and “dickhead” as frequently as you wish, but also please quote directly when citing the not-counting-for-jack material. Otherwise it is your own bizarre need to berate this particular cite and its particular contributors that doesn’t count for jack.

    By the way, what “of substance” *do* you claim to know about climate science? Where *do* you get this substantive understanding? There has never been a clear answer to this question.

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  8. Oh dear – it looks as though Mlax is here on one of his irregular drive-byes. You know, the ones where he contributes nothing of substance to the debate, and just uses his marginal intellectual capacity in an attempt to insult people.

    Good job Mlax, I bet you mummy must be very proud of how you have grown. If we are so beneath your contempt, and if our opinions don’t count for jack, why are you even wasting your time commenting? Surely you have something better to do, such as to pat yourself on the back for your brilliantly thought-out critique of skip and myself. ‘Delude Dickheads’! ‘Self-congratulatory bores’! I’ve got to hand it to you – your intellectual prowess and rapier-like repartee sure showed us! I think I need to seek counselling because my ego just can’t take the damage you have inflicted. Oscar Wilde has nothing on you Mlax.

    Oh – and my official title is now “Grand Imperial Goat Herder – First Class”. You should get it right in future.

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