Water Vapor vs. CO2 as a Climate Control Knob

Published May 13, 2021

Let’s start with Occam’s razor.

Occam’s razor is a scientific and philosophical principle that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.  This is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex, or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities

Next let’s look at Le Chatelier’s principle.

Le Chatelier’s principle states that if a dynamic equilibrium is disturbed by changing the conditions, the position of equilibrium shifts to counteract the change to reestablish an equilibrium. If a chemical reaction is at equilibrium and experiences a change in pressure, temperature, or concentration of products or reactants, the equilibrium shifts in the opposite direction to offset the change. …..(This is) why catalysts have no effect on the equilibrium position.

One would have to disregard these principles to accept blindly the introduction of more Co2 to the system now is the prime control of the system. Hence skepticism to weighting attribution is warranted.

Lets look at the temperatures in the arctic where a lot of the warming has taken place. But lets look at WHEN to see if it gives us clues as to the WHY.

The warming is during the winter. There has been virtually no change in the summer. Now what are the reasons for that?

Well one is the ice melting and water freezing processes. When ice melts it takes energy from the air so in effect it retards warming. That would be occurring in the summer season. When there is a refreezing it’s the opposite. One can watch a freezing rainstorm with no wind or temperature advection. If its sleeting (ice pellets) temperatures will remain below freezing, but once the changeover to rain occurs, absent cold advection, temperatures will rise quickly to 32, which is not only the freezing point of water, but the melting point of ice. Many an ice storm in protected valley areas occur with little if any wind going on and the temperature hovering near 32.

But why would the winter arctic temperatures be so much warmer? The answer is water vapor. Slight increases in water vapor produce greater increases in temperature correlation. We can see that by looking at saturation mixing ratios, of grams per kilograms of WV.

(Note: I show this in my book, The Weaponization of Weather in the Phony Climate War, in the chapter on Weaponizing the global temperature)

What this says is if you add more water vapor to the air, temperatures have to go up much more where its cold and dry, than where its warm and wet. Look at the change that correlates from -40 F to -30F. Only.09 grams/kg correlates to 10 degree change. So lets do the same thing centered around the earths temperature. (lets use 60) you need almost 5 grams/kg. So slight increases in WV affect where its cold and dry much more. Hence, the idea that the earth is burning up is nonsense since where human life thrives (lets again center it around the so called average temperature of the planet), the increase is so small in water vapor that it has had much less effect on the global temperature than the contribution from the Arctic and Antarctic winters!

But right off the bat, if we can visibly link water vapor to the temperature and changes in the weather and climate, and we have no such linkage of co2 to temperature, how is it co2 would have the finger pointed at it for what is plainly the domain of water vapor?

You can understand this very easily on a cold morning. You breathe out, you “see” your breath. That is because less water vapor is needed to form that “cloud” at lower temperatures. You are still exhaling the same amount of WV on a hot day, but you do not see it.

Now lets circle back to the principles above. Occams razor: What is the simplest answer to the problem? Is it the complexity of the addition of 1.5 gram/kg of co2 over what is almost century to the atmosphere, that is perfectly capable of adapting, or the dominant forcing mechanism of WV? ( note that same addition of WV at -30F is correlated to a 40 degree rise).

And then circling back to that word, adapting. That is Le Cheteliers. But who knows what the true equilibrium is anyway, just like who knows what the perfect temperature or amount of co2 in the air optimum for plant and animal life? No one. How is it what was a climate optimum in previous years is somehow a climate Crisis now? So why would we spend trillions of dollars chasing something that has not been defined? The old definition of weather and climate simply being nature’s attempt at finding a balance to a chaotic system where balances are impossible to maintain because of the design of the system, says of course there will be ups and downs ranging from hours to centuries. But as in all things in nature, the dominant forcing has the dominant effect

A few practical examples.

Lets just take US Summer temperatures over the last 10 years.

Using the temperatures vs the averages from 1961 to 1990 you can see how much warmer it is.

However, when we look at max temperatures we see the warming is not as great as min temperature, except in the west.



Nightime lows are visibly higher

Now why would this be?

Well lets look at precipitation:

Contrary to all the yelling and screaming about a dust bowl it has been wetter in much of the nation where we grow our food. To refresh your memory, a look at the dust bowl years summer precipitation is in order:

The West has been drier so it is hotter by day. The eastern and southern warmth at night is a product of higher moisture content in the air. The heavier precipitation means the dreaded heat dome that occurred in the 1930s aloft (btw just how did that occur with co2 so low?) has not developed. So, as I mentioned above the higher amounts of WV due to the cyclically warmed oceans, is putting more WV in the air, which affects temperatures more when they are lower. It also means it can not be warming as fast aloft since if it were, there would not be as much precipitation. If it remains cool enough the condensation processes are such that it rains more. If it warms more in the mid and upper then the increase in WV is offset enough and it dries out. This was the missive in 2013 after the 3 hot dry summers. Yet no one called the people out that made a forecast that was almost laughable (and I said so at the time given it mimicked almost perfectly the 3-year drought of the early1950s, including in the way it reversed). But that’s the game agenda driven zealots and their willing partners in the media play. They never get called out on their busts, and this was a spectacular one. In fact, the world is growing more food than ever, the US included. The planet is Greener than its ever been in the satellite era, a true Green New Deal that benefits mankind.

But let us not cherry pick the US. The last 10 years are the “hottest decade” on record correct? Well since when is a degree warmer over as long a period of time and mostly in places cold and dry, hot? Anyone go swimming at 59 degrees? When someone uses terms like hot or it burning up describing the earths temperature it is purposeful deception or ignorance, and no matter which, its simply to push a phony agenda. Its that simple.

But lets look at this

In the past 40 years we have warmed about .14C/decade

So taking a half degree C intervals, where can all of this warming be seen?

Mainly in the arctic (this is the entire year):

But lets look at the details. N hem Winter months.

Wow it’s the arctic. How about that?

What about summer?

Not nearly as much.

Now here is another question Do you really think this is so out of control rapid that we are not adapting to it? And given the nature of heat, the warmer it gets the harder it is to make it warmer, why isn’t that looked at? SST’s have gone up which means both more WV AND CO2 is being released into the air. Yet why do climate alarmists not quantify the increase of WV to where the temperatures are warming, when they are warming, and by how much? Because there is no provable linkage to co2, just a hypothesis that is being accepted in the face of what may be a simple, demonstrative cause and effect, the much larger GHG, WV. It would cast major doubt on their argument and is certainly a reason for skepticism.

Let me state my bias. I will use my chess playing prowess as the example. It is very difficult to beat me in 15 second chess. Its still hard at 30. But people I would clean off the board in short clock games would smoke me once they got to a minute or above. Most of the people I would play in college and beyond were much better students than me. But I could see the simple quicker. So that is a known bias. I am using basic simple knowledge (Occams razor, Le Chetiliers principle) to provide an answer to a question that if we are going to get back to co2 feedback roles is more complex. The idea they are pushing is that co2’s attribution to the climate is far more important than the larger members of the system, the sun, oceans, stochastic events, (try a couple of well placed volcanoes sending ash into the stratosphere over the tropics) and the very design of the system which is always at odds with itself. So I admit my bias to what is a 15-30 second clock chess game idea. And of course the simple thwarting the complex means those that live and die by the complex are rendered useless in their mission. Which questions their value. So simple ideas such as Occams razor and Le Chateliers are a big threat, and so are people who try to use them. As the agenda gets more extreme, the canceling of skeptical voices grows. But at least I understand (and admit) my bias as to opposed to a zealot driven intolerant agenda that is a form of tyranny, one that grows harsher daily.

Finally a link for those of you that really want to see more than just my “cherry picked” ( ah but the orchard is so ripe) WV examples. This from Dr Willie Soon and Dr. Sallie Baliunas


A Brief Review of the Sun-Climate Connection, With a New Insight Concerning Water Vapour

Its well worth your time.

BTW Dr Soon can probably whip me at all levels of chess. ( Dr Baliunas also).

[Originally posted on Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)]