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New satellite analysis fails to find the hot spot, agrees with millions of weather balloons

Here I go, harping on about the missing hot spot again.

Roy Spencer has been hunting for the famous missing hot spot (like half the climate world) but he’s been looking in the UAH satellite temperature data. Last week Sherwood et al claimed they finally found it (again!) in an iteratively reiterated homogenized and adjusted version of radiosondes. Spencer was not impressed with the black box statistics approach. As I pointed out here, the Sherwood results was adjusted so much it did not look like the original data, and they somehow found the hotspot by adding in data from years when a hot spot shouldn’t occur. They mushed the data to fit one part of their model, but it broke in other parts.

Roy Spencer has used new methods to improve the satellite signal of the hot spot, and is “increasingly convinced” the all important mysterious hot spot is really not there, which fits with 28 million weather balloons and humidity data too.  Satellites are not particularly good at finding the hot spot because it is a very thin layer over the tropics and satellites peering down from on high find it difficult to measure signals from 10km up and separate them from signals, say 8km up. Radiosondes are much better at resolving the different layers, which is really what matters — only the uppermost layer of water vapor counts, not the total column. Having said that, satellites are pretty handy over the oceans where not many weather balloons get released, and it would be good if we could use them.

See my last post on the missing hot spot if you can’t figure out why I go on and on about this mythical zone. It’s the key flaw in the models that amplifies the effects of CO2, but which study after study, and millions of measurements, show is probably just a bad guess that ought to have died properly long ago.

What Roy Spencer found was confirmation for the twentieth time that the models are wrong about this their major, most important feedback.

“…what is really striking in the above plot is how strong the climate models’ average warming trend over the tropical oceans is in the upper troposphere (+0.35 C/decade, dark red), which I calculate to be about 1.89 times the models’ average surface trend (+0.19 C/decade, dark green). This ratio of 1.89 is based upon the UT weighting function applied to the model average temperature trend profile from the surface to 100 mb (16 km) altitude.

So, what we see is that the models are off by about a factor of 2 on surface warming, but maybe by a factor of 5 (!) for upper tropospheric warming.

hot spot, satellites, UAH, water vapor,

This is “preliminary” so needs confirmation, but the results are pretty stark.

Spencer combines two channels to narrow down the satellite bands to 7 – 13km. See his site for the details.

Since we now have a tropopause (“TP”) product, we can combine that with our lower stratosphere (“LS”) product in such a way that we pretty well isolate the tropical upper tropospheric layer that is supposed to be warming the fastest.

tropospheric hot spot, water vapor, satellite detection, UAH

The layer just below the tropopause should warm much fast than the surface. It’s called the “hot spot”.

Roy Spencer explains that evaporation drives the water vapor up, but precipitation brings it down, and the models are not good with precipitation.

 I am increasingly convinced that the hotspot really has gone missing. And the reason why (I still believe) is most likely related to water vapor feedback and precipitation processes, which largely govern the total heat budget of the free-troposphere (the layer above the turbulently mixed boundary layer).

His whole post includes more discussion as well as links to the data.

h/t Ted M

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