Kyle Swanson on climate variability and climate sensitivity

More comments on this by Swanson:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/

Climate variability and climate sensitivity are flip sides of the same coin.

Picture an equatorial ocean. In the morning not to much is happening but then the sun rises and its solar power start to work on the surface. We go from low variability and sensitivity to high variability and sensitivity. The water that didn’t evaporate earlier now is more sensitive and starts an upwards circulation as vapor. An ocean is probably one of the most stable things I can think of with its vast thermal reserves. This switched on variability as the sun rises I’ll describe as a war between the stable and the agile unstable. I’ll say the earlier boring average stable surfacewater synchronizes and evaporates. It goes from low correllation to high correllation and forms an updraft of water vapor. We could say if there was a weaker correllation, we’d get a weak updraft or none at all. Perhaps what I am trying to do is apply Swanson’s observation to smaller parts of the climate. The climate as a whole would seem to have to deal with the ocean’s thermal mass. We could ask are the oceans included in his observation? He may have been referring to the global average temperature (GAT). I think that the GAT is highly sensitive to what the oceans do. Perhaps the ocean suface is highly sensitive but the rest of it isn’t. I guess this post is work in process.

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