By Warren Meyer
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Extra resources for A Skeptical Layman’s Guide to Anthropogenic Global Warming
Except in climate, it seems, where everyone assumes positive feedback is common. In global warming models, water vapor plays a key role as both a positive and a negative feedback loop to climate change. Water vapor is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, so its potential strength as a feedback mechanism is high. Water comes into play because CO2 driven warming will put more water vapor in the atmosphere, because greater heat will vaporize more water. If this extra vapor shows up as more humid clear air, then this in turn will cause more warming as the extra water vapor absorbs more energy and accelerates warming.
Climate models will never be credible, and will always overshoot, until they start building in these offsetting forcings. Climate Models had to be aggressively tweaked to match history A funny thing happened when they first started running climate models with high CO2 sensitivities in them against history: The models grossly over-predicted historic warming. 5. 5 or higher sensitivity fit that history. So it is no surprise that one can see in the IPCC chart below that the main model cases are already diverging in the first five years of the forecast period from reality, just like the Superbowl predictors of the stock market failed four years in a row.
In fact, it was one of my criticisms earlier that AGW theory seems overly intent on finding positive feedback loops, while not considering negative feedbacks seriously enough – one such potential negative feedback is that on a warmer Earth, more water is evaporated into clouds, in turn cooling things back off. But recently, an interesting new theory on cloud formation has emerged. In short, it holds that cosmic rays, which are the high energy particles that arrive at Earth from supernovas, spur cloud formation by ionizing air molecules that act as seeds for water condensation and cloud formation.