dave burton

daveburton | December 14, 2021

angech, it is specifically where the in going and outgoing energy fluxes are equal.
You know that.

Actually, I don’t know that, angech. That definition is new to me.
There is not necessarily any altitude at which the incoming and outgoing radiant energy fluxes to and from a particular location on the Earth’s are equal at any given time. On the night side, at most latitudes, outgoing flux is much greater than incoming (which is why temperatures cool after sunset). Conversely, on the day side, the outgoing flux is generally much less than the incoming flux.

Those are good points.
I think we should talk more about the definition of TOA to clear it up as others are definitely not understanding it

The problem is that TOA is actually a specific average flux figure for the whole of the planet,so the value does not vary depending on which side of the planet or which pole you are at.
Are you happy with that?

The TOA does vary in average height over the world depending firstly on the input radiation.
If the sun goes up a notch the TOA goes up a notch both in value and height.
Agreed on that?

I would guess that if albedo goes up so there is less incoming radiation that TOA value and average height go down.

Three out of three?

Now the tricky bit .
While the average height of the TOA is a specific figure the amount of energy going out increases as the amount of energy coming in increases during the day due to the sun being overhead.
The amount of energy hence the height of the TOA under the sun is quite large in value and quite high in altitude.
But it is in balance as it is measured where the two are in balance always
The TOA refers to the height of the atmosphere where the air is thin enough to allow as much energy out as came in.

Now the night side. though you do not see it, there is no heat source external to the atmosphere. The atmosphere still contains energy that is escaping to space all night long.
As long as the amount of energy going out

Nor are even the average fluxes necessarily balanced. Some places have positive average net radiative fluxes, and others have negative average net radiative fluxes, because air and water currents also transport heat.

Overall, the Earth is believed to have a current slight net energy imbalance at TOA (which NASA estimates at 0.6 W/m², but that’s pretty clearly too high).
No it is specifically where the in going and outgoing energy fluxes are equal.
You know that.
It therefor can be well within the earths atmosphere [night time cold side] but never above or outside the atmosphere.

Taken literally, it suggests some unspecified distance/displacement from the Earth’s surface or orbital path.

Not unspecified. It exists everywhere the fluxes are equal in and out all around the earth in the atmosphere.

Attribution ATTP

“I’m starting to better understand why some reasonable people are often concerned about the way in which the impact of extreme weather events are sometimes framed.”

How does one demonstrate that climate change has influenced the severity of an extreme weather event?
Are there politics involved in attributing extreme events and disasters to climate change?
Should we really be worried about the extreme events which by definition are bad and rare or as
smallbluemike might say worry more about the persistent long term general effects which are bad?

These are the questions that arise.
We have covered this ground a number of times before but it is still relevant.
Usually it is on the basis of assessment by Roger Pielke Jun v the assessment, usually bad, of a new paper on this subject.

Severity [of the event].
Damage now, compared to past and future.
Influence [once attribution is established].

I have argued, in the past, that extreme and severe weather events evade labeling and pigeonholing of these events in a useful manner.
Better to stick to the overall general changes that occur and cause problems if that is what one is looking for.

The problem with attribution is that general weather patterns due to climate change do not lead to predictable outcomes.
Because, weather.

Every argument that a cyclone or tornado might have been made worse falls on the side that the same changes might have made it better [less harmful].
The butterfly flapping its wings causes an event that though catastrophic could have been made better or worse by one flap more or less. No one can know. Speculation, worse rife speculation can be entered into but it is always, individually, a coin toss..

Warming we say has increased in the last 20 years.
Anecdotally I would say that tornadoes have been less frequent and deadly up till now over the last 15 years and cyclones the same.
When one calls out these extreme weather events as attributable to global warming now, and uses the example of the last 20 years, the argument falls flat.
This point can and will be soundly debated but the only result will be noisy opinions.
Not attribution.

Damage is another issue which is difficult to qualify for the reasons that ATTP put up plus population growth and the growth of more expensive things to damage.

Influence is the most interesting.
Once attribution is insisted upon , and damage, one can look at influence.
Here the jury has the option of looking at conditions and causation.
Two questions.
Does colder weather increase tornado frequency?
Does warmer weather reduce Hurricane frequency?