Monday, June 25, 2007

Another good spanking

One of the authors of Taken By Storm, Essex, has written a short article for Canada's National Post on why the "global temperature" concept doesn't make sense.

In previous postings here, we've used it in an idealized climate model that is horizontally homogeneous (except for clouds). In that world, it's always early morning not long after spring or fall equinox, everywhere. Without drastic squashing and simplification, that's not our world. It's a thought experiment designed to illuminate basic climate mechanisms and the workings of thermodynamics. But it's a caricature of our climate. Used to analyze and aggregate actual measured temperatures of the air and ocean, spatially averaging temperature is not legitimate.

During the spring, Essex and two co-authors also published a technical article in Journal of Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics on what's wrong with the global temperature average. It's not as funny as the National Post article, but worth reading if you understand some basic thermodynamics.

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