Has anyone seen a physical explanation for it? Or is it just something that appeared in the models?
Why should there be a hot spot?
That doesn't explain to me why there's a hot spot in the tropics, but that's the only explanation I've found. Perhaps gcnp can expand.
By the way if the hot spot really is dependent on water vapor as you say, then it would seem indisputable that it would exist for any kind of warming. Water vapor increases with temperature, so the only way to say that the hot spot is unique to GHG's would be to argue that only GHG's can cause warming. And I have a feeling that idea wouldn't make them very happy.
As for honest skeptics, it depends on your definition. By the real definition, almost all scientists are honest skeptics (with some exceptions like Lindzen, of course, who I think is very intellectually dishonest). But if you mean 'skeptics' as in contrarians, well, then it depends what you mean by honest.
Like eric, he really believes that the hot spot has to be an anthropogenic signal because he needs there to be something wrong with AGW. It's not that he's dishonest, it's just that his denial leads him to believe things which aren't correct, and it's impossible to convince him otherwise.
Perhaps it's more accurate to say that there don't seem to be any logical or reasonable "skeptics" (contrarians/deniers/what have you).
There is just no way that a truly open minded skeptic could think at the moment that AGW is very likely or certainly wrong, yet almost every "skeptic" does. The science for such a strong and backwards opinion just isn't there. A true skeptic would see that AGW is probably right, but there is a chance that it is not. That's pretty much my stance on it, and I don't see how anyone could have stronger negative feelings than that unless they were driven by something other than science. And I don't consider making a scientific conclusion based on politics or something else to be very honest. They're lying to themselves as much as to everyone else.
It's funny, one of my co-workers stopped by my office yesterday to ask about global warming out of the blue. Very conservative, but a good guy. Right off he asked if I 'believe in global warming' and was shocked that I said yes. So then he was asking me questions about orbital cycles and why I thought AGW was correct, easy questions to answer. Then at the end he asked "so did I convince you global warming is wrong?".
I think he was mostly joking, but it's that same mindset that people start off convinced that AGW has to be wrong and then look for a reason to support that belief. It's exactly the wrong approach, but that's how almost all 'skeptics' operate. That's why they accept such lame arguments like 'global warming has stopped'. I've always said deniers form a political opinion before understanding the scientific basics, and they continually confirm that statement.
I agree, they start off by lying to themselves. The problem is when they take it a step further and start lying to other people. That's what ticks me off. People who don't even understand the difference between weather and climate but who are going out of their way to answer other peoples' questions with misinformation.
Sometimes skeptics will point out that relative humidity isn't changing, which is true, but also irrelevant. This is because the important parameter to track is the specific humidity, or total mass of water per volume in the atmosphere. In a warming situation with surface warming, specific humidity at the surface increases (and I believe this trend has been measured), leading to the increase in the latent heat flux aloft.
But as everyone points out, this happens regardless of how the surface warms, be it solar forcing, GHG forcing, or some weird unknown ocean circulation that takes heat from cold water in the deep ocean, brings it to the surface and warms both the poles and equator (this last situation is what skeptics appear to believe happens).
The cold deep water warms the surface because, and I am trying to intuite skeptic science (there is an oxymoron for you!), there are special heat particles that want to be where it is already warmer. We'll call these morons. The moronic heat flow from cold deep oceans to warmer tropical regions, where it is then transported to the poles, is what is really driving the observed warming. The forcing from the GHGs is completely counterbalanced by the secondary moronic heat flow, which takes energy from the GHG forcing and transports it directly to space where it can do no harm. I know, it's complicated, but that's the moronic explanation of global warming for you.
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It's my understanding this is what's causing that hot spot As you can see most of the old analog systems are closed down and been replaced with digital systems Hear is what started it of Science back in the 30's new this process would heat the atmosphere so why hasn't it been brought forward to now and the theory revisited makes a whole lot of sense to me because what we are talking about is man made magnetic waves interacting with the natural flows and creating changes through proses of Action Reaction Result Here's a couple of links to get u started Also the hockey stick graph lines up with the introduction of this technology I actually started looking at this process before global warming/ climate change was promoted I do believe that CO2 play's it's roll as do all greenhouse gasses in reacting to frequency abuse from satellites as well as ground base units. Here's the links