Talk:Radiative forcing

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On Forcing and GHG listings[edit]

Since Forcing is used as ∆F, it should be fined as earth's radiative energy loss to space in reference to some base condition. This could be the pre-industrial CO2 levels, or present 400 ppm CO2 level, or earth's blackbody radiation at current average surface temperature, for examples. The listing of GHG's excludes H2O vapor, which has the greatest effect on forcing.

I can demonstrate, using ModTran5, that 1.) the constant λ varies with cloud conditions and 2.) has a value of 0.7 C/watts-m^2 with 0.017 C/watts-m^2 std. dev, corresponding to climate sensitivity (400 ppm to 800 ppm) of 0.70C with 0.075 C std. dev. The effect of increased water vapor pressure adds about 0.10 C to climate sensitivity.Czorba (talk) 00:24, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

IPCC definition problems[edit]

The IPCC definition requires behavior which is different than what is presently known. Douglas Hoyt and Peter Dietze independently point out that a theory which considers the radiative effect of a doubling of carbon dioxide as only a reduction within carbon dioxide's absorption frequency does not include induced changes in radiation from other frequencies. Other materials will be caused to increase their radiation rate. The IPCC estimates the radiation flux decrease at 3.5, while these estimates are significantly less, with one at 1.3 watts per square meter and the other has a range of 1.4 to 1.9. The smaller decreases indicate less warming.

(George2wiki (talk) 20:58, 15 April 2009 (UTC)) Changing it to this might help clarify the problem:

The IPCC definition violates Conservation of Energy by counting energy more than once. Energy is counted as 'forcing' both as it arrives from the Sun and as surface energy captured by greenhouse gases is re-radiated back to the surface. Only any direct effect CO2 might have on the albedo can be considered a 'forcing' influence. This is why some models predict runaway warming and very large temperature increases.

External links[edit]

Why IPCC problems removed?[edit]

What is so wrong with the above that they were removed? SEWilco 16:42, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 18:18, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)) The Hoyt link is a gross oversimplification, and appears to show only one frequency band, which is odd. Further, the idea that the science summarised in IPCC does what Hoyt says it does is nonsense.
It seems to me that Hoyt shows only one frequency band because he says that is all that is being used for some purpose. So showing only one does not seem odd. What about Dietze? (SEWilco 08:28, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC))
(William M. Connolley 10:40, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)) Dietze's paper is nonsense. If you're interested in predicting the actual T change for 2*CO2 then you should look at the climate model output, not Hitran, which is totally unsuited to the task.
Hoyt is saying that "held fixed" is an error. Doubling carbon dioxide to 580 ppm while holding tropospheric state fixed makes the temp and radiation inconsistent and not in equilibrium. Such an instantanenous forcing defines a radiation flux which can not exist thus the change in flux values is meaningless. And in reality, radiation will increase in other bands. Looks like two issues: "held fixed" is not useful, and radiation won't be limited to one band. So whether this is relevant to IPCC depends upon whether IPCC is using either concept. (SEWilco 08:49, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC))
(William M. Connolley 10:40, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)) This is not simple stuff. First, the IPCC definition is a *definition* so it cannot possibly be in error (uness it was internally inconsistent - but it isn't). You could criticise it for not being useful, but that would be odd, because any number of climate scientists do find it useful. Secondly, its only use is as an aid to diagnosing various effects. It is not used in a predictive sense - thats what GCMs are for. I don't understand what you mean by "whether IPCC is using either concept". IPCC is using the concept as it defines it, in the places where than concept is useful. Fourth, I'm fairly sure the entire point is to capture the non-equilibrium forcing.

Why William M. Connolley´s technical statements in Wikipedia´s pages are not removed when they are wrong?

(William M. Connolley 10:40, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)) I should admit: I don't understand all this. But I don't think you do, I'm sure Dietze doesn't, and I think Hoyt is shaky too. Thats why I stuck to just putting in the IPCC definition - I'm certain thats what they mean by the concept.
(SEWilco 06:28, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)) First, I added a date to Hoyt because I realized the HTTP info gave me an idea of the file time. The page is different than when I looked at it a few days ago, so I put the file date in the above link. ...and you should look at the new version so we're on the same "page".
Let's see what I understand here... Most is atomic transition and spectral absorption physics. I think the actinic light behavior is mostly limited to the stratosphere, other than smog-type reactions of volatiles, so not much chemical bond activity within troposphere.
  1. The sun, as most stars, have a blackbody radiation with a peak around the visible spectrum.
  2. The light is in those frequencies because at those high energy states the outer electrons are being forced to higher states, and emit those photons when they drop to a lower state.
  3. There are narrow frequencies with less light due to absorption by less-energized (cooler) atoms in the solar atmosphere.
  4. As the sunlight passes through the Earth's atmosphere, some is absorbed and the energy in those frequencies is reduced.
  5. The cooler Earth atmosphere has various molecules, most of which absorb due to vibrational frequencies of the atomic bonds within the molecule, and rotation of atoms in the molecule. ( Infrared spectroscopy, Energy level ) Heavier molecules and weaker bonds have smaller vibrational frequencies. Rotation frequencies are based upon relative masses of bonded atoms and distances between them.
  6. Some solar light is absorbed on the way down -- fortunately a significant percent of the UV energy is absorbed by ozone. Various gases absorb various frequencies. (We're ignoring clouds in this discussion)
  7. Surfaces on Earth are much cooler than the Sun, so their blackbody radiation is at a much lower frequency. This happens to have a peak in the infrared, so the gases which allow visible light to reach the surface do not also allow that energy to radiate upward.
  8. Gases which absorb in the infrared range block specific frequencies from radiating to space.
  9. After a gas molecule absorbs energy, it releases it in three ways: A bond alteration (ie. O2 -> O3), emission of a photon (fluorescense), and thermal (bumping into another molecule). (Let's ignore fusion "energy release")
  10. Radiation is reemitted in all directions, so about goes half upward and half downward. This is what reduces upward radiation.
  11. The CO2 molecule absorbs in 3 main frequencies, of which 15 µm is of most interest because it is in the frequencies with the most energy from Earth's blackbody radiation temperature.
  12. Hoyt points out the IPCC requires CO2 IR absorption to increase based on the amount of gas. That's the Beer-Lambert law, simple gas absorption behavior.
  13. Hoyt also points out, however, that if CO2 is absorbing more energy then it will be releasing more energy. That energy is released among other gases, which will absorb and release in their frequencies, so the emission spectra decreases around carbon dioxide's but may increase in other frequencies.
  14. The IPCC states that only the CO2 changes, so the other frequencies stay unrealistically fixed. The CO2 somehow absorbs the energy but never transfers it.
  15. Dietze seems to cover the above first, then examines other factors.
Looks like a lot of the Wikipedia entries related to the above have pieces of that puzzle but aren't woven together.

(William M. Connolley 20:24, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)) There are two possible things you might be worried about. One is the IPCC defn or radiative forcing. The other is the reliability of the radiation codes used in GCMs. I don't know which: you need to say. They are quite separate however. Hoyt appears to be mixing the two up. But at least he has got rid of that stupid picture.

(SEWilco 10:26, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)) Here we're talking about the IPCC definition. If they are using this definition, then it and conclusions from it are in error because holding the state fixed blocks secondary effects. The stratosphere is allowed to react, but it is pointed out by others that other gases in the troposphere should be allowed to react. GCMs may behave that differently, but giving the IPCC definition as an example of a radiative forcing definition requires pointing out problems with the definition. Most problems with resulting conclusions should be in other articles. Earth: The Flat Earth Society definition is: ... Kitchen Table: The quantum physics definition of a table is: ...
(SEWilco 10:26, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)) These two articles are pointing out a problem with the IPCC best guess. I'll have to reread the flow from definition to the disputed radiative flux to check the linkage again.
(William M. Connolley 18:47, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)) GCMs may behave that differently... indeed I think this is your problem. You are confusing a diagnostic tool with GCM predictions. Please tell me which IPCC conclusions are in error from the "problems" you see with their rad forcing defn.

What Is Forced?[edit]

(SEWilco 08:33, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)) A positive forcing tends to warm while a negative forcing tends to cooling. What's wrong with saying that forcing occurs to what is under the point at which it is measured? I know that forcing happens whether it is measured or not. And overall forcing actually happens for everything within the atmosphere, although some things only happen in certain vertical or geographical regions. But merely saying that positive forcing warms something is ambiguous -- does it warm only the surface, troposphere, clouds, or the Moon? There should be phrasing which indicates what is affected by forcing.

(William M. Connolley 08:42, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)) But your phrasing is wrong. If I apply a radiative forcing - say heating only the 500 hPa level - then warming will occur both under and above that level. The phrase you quote does nothing other than establish the sign convention.
(SEWilco 09:21, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)) Ah. The forcing is the actual change, wherever it is. I've been discussing the forcing measurement which might take place anywhere. Measurement above or below the location of forcing affects the direction of the change. In the IPCC definition, CO2 warming happens in the troposphere, causing a reduction in that frequency at the IPCC level, but the increased blackbody radiation due to a warmer surface causes an overall increase in energy at the IPCC level. Hmm... but the blackbody radiation is a secondary effect, and if only the CO2 absorption+emission is considered then less energy is going upward. If a warmer sun evaporates more water and causes more clouds, which reflects the sunlight and causes a cooler surface -- at the stratosphere that is a positive forcing but has a cooling effect at the surface, so is that positive or negative forcing? (I said "IF" -- the issue is energy flux and not cloud behavior; for one thing I know clouds also absorb some energy but here I'm treating it as a mirror) Is a forcing considered as being the total change after all effects are considered, at the place of measurement? Or is a forcing only the immediate effect before secondary effects?
(William M. Connolley 18:47, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)) I'm not really sure, on a quick reading, what you are saying here. Do you understand that their is a distinction between the natural-language conept "radiative forcing" - which is just the idea that changing the radiation incident on a system changes its properties - and the IPCC defn, which is a science concept. And that the bit we're talking about is the former concept.

(George2wiki (talk) 20:50, 15 April 2009 (UTC)) Forcing means something that effects the energy entering the system. Greenhouse gases only influence the response of the system to that forcing influence. The Earth is in energy equilibrium, where the energy radiated by the planet is equal to the energy arriving from the Sun, independent of the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases affect the system response by deferring the re-radiation of incident solar energy and do not trap it forever or add new energy to the system. The time constant of this delay, relative to CO2, is evidenced by the rate of radiation cooling on a clear, dry winter night.


I'd like more information about clouds in this article. I've read some laymen's treatments suggesting that variations in the sun's output affect cloud cover, which in turn affects how much sunlight warms the earth's surface. White stuff reflects not just visible light but infrared too.

Where in Wikipedia is there information on factors affecting cloud formation? I'm intersted in the following:

I dimly recall some papers linking variations in the solar cycle length to terrestial temperature. Did those papers mention a forcing? Dr. C., please comment. --Uncle Ed 01:44, 15 March 2007 (UTC)


The image "Radiative Forcings" is too small in the aricle to be useful. The image expand button brings up an image maintenance page lacking a caption, and revealing a background pattern in the image having to do with maintenance.

Wikipedia needs to change its policy of relying on the image mainenance page for the end user's expanded view. The expanded view must be part of the article content. It must retain the text caption from the article and allow for further caption detail, and allow for a third level of image size expansion.

The discussion on the image page is very good. --Rtdrury 21:01, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Word (or 3) missing from this sentence?[edit]

"the net effect of these feedback mechanisms is to amplify temperature increases CO2, roughly by a factor of two in most models."

Should this read "the net to amplify THE temperature increase DUE TO CO2, roughly by a factor of two..." Or perhaps something like "The net effect of adding these feedbacks roughly doubles the temperature increase due to atmospheric CO2." Todd Johnston 22:57, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

If the no-feedback sensitivity is about a degree and the CIMP5 median with feedbacks is about three degrees, shouldn't this be "roughly by a factor of three"? Vaughan Pratt (talk) 17:02, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Radiant energy[edit]

I recommend changing "radiation energy" to "radiant energy," unless that would change the meaning. D021317c 05:23, 6 September 2007 (UTC)


Rather than editing the following text, I'd like to nit-pick about it:

"In climate science, radiative forcing is (loosely) defined as the difference between the incoming radiation energy and the outgoing radiation energy in a given climate system. A positive forcing (more incoming energy) tends to warm the system, while a negative forcing (more outgoing energy) tends to cool it. Possible sources of radiative forcing are changes in insolation (incident solar radiation), or the effects of variations in the amount of radiatively active gases present."

"Loosely," assuming it belongs there, doesn't require parentheses. The "difference" referred to might be better characterized as that between the amounts of radiant energy entering and leaving the system. "System" ought to be given a link to the thermodynamic usage of the term ("closed system"). "Given" and "climate" are unnecessary. "A" implies that "forcings" are countable things, an unnecessary complication. I'd prefer "Positive forcing tends to warm the system; negative forcing tends to cool it." The "while" is unnecessary, and may suggest, at first glance, that the two kinds of forcing must occur simultaneously, which is probably false.

Unless one is considering changes in radiative forcing (or I misunderstand the term itself), "changes" and "variations" are inappropriate. In other words, when forcing is constant, isn't it wrong to attribute it to changes of any sort?

"Sources," it seems to me, is being wrongly used to mean "causes." Only two are given, and I suspect that both are possible (either separately or together), so "or" should be changed to "and." I wonder whether it is actually wrong to say that one cause may be (1) "variations in the amount of radiatively active gases present," (2) "the amount of radiatively active gases present," (3) "radiatively active gases present," or even (4) radiatively active gases," -- as opposed to the "effects" thereof, and if so, what sort of effects they might be.

Finally, "insolation" and "radiatively active," it seems to me, deserve links of their own.

D021317c 06:19, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

A real phenomenon[edit]

Isn't radiative forcing a real phenomenon? Assuming it is, how can one say it "is intended" somehow? Or that it's "a useful way" to do something? Or that it's comparable to "possible tools" which "can be constructed"? We don't speak of gravity or clouds that way. D021317c 06:40, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Its both. The article does say that, though perhaps not too clearly William M. Connolley 09:34, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Wikiproject Earth[edit]

Hello i have recently proposed the Wikiproject Earth. This Wikiproject`s scope includes this article. This wikiproject will overview the continents, oceans, atsmophere and global warming Please Voice your opinion by clicking anywhere on this comment except for my name. --IwilledituTalk :)Contributions —Preceding comment was added at 15:36, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Basic problem with intro[edit]

The first sentence uses the term irradiance properly to describe incoming power. The second sentence talks about (net) irradiance as energy. This is a basic (sophmoric) misuse of terms. I just don't understand how such blatant errors get into articles, and manage to stay in them. Where are the critical thinkers/observers? blackcloak (talk) 06:41, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Because people prefer grandstanding to actually fixing the problems? William M. Connolley (talk) 07:20, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Having been reverted by you, and many others, with poor, little or no justification, I no longer try to fix (well, mostly) the problems others create. I'll just point out the problems, when I have the energy, and let others decide what they'll fight for. Frankly, I haven't learned how to deal with the frustration. So, what you might see as grandstanding is really closer to venting. See Giving up in blackcloak (talk) 05:08, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

"radiance" is joules/energy per m2 per second, or watts/power per m2. if you switch to joules/energy per m2 the relevant term is "fluence". But, you know, not everyone knows the term "fluence" and I think it reads OK as it is —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:37, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

What's just plain forcing?[edit]

I don't think the climatologists who came up with the term "radiative forcing" were just making up a natural-language phrase to refer to sunlight. I think they were talking about something in the math that's an instance of a more general concept of forcing in some branch of mathematics. But I don't know whether the concept is best described as forcing (dynamical systems) or forcing (differential equations) or forcing (physics) or forcing function or something else. Here are a couple references to the term in other mathematical contexts [1] [2]. Currently, forcing function is a disambiguation page with only one link, which is to something unrelated.

Based on those, my inclination is to create forcing function (differential equations), and have the lead in this article begin In climate science, radiative forcing is (loosely) defined as the change in net irradiance at the tropopause. But I don't know whether making part of the main term into a link is acceptable style, and I have too many pages open already about this. For now I'll go ahead and create forcing function (differential equations) . --Dan Wylie-Sears 2 (talk) 20:09, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Modtran image[edit]

I added the modtran image. Perhaps the captions should be expanded, for example to identify the Planck curves. Incredio (talk) 05:08, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

IPCC λ Units[edit]

The page says "where λ is the climate sensitivity, usually with units in K/(W/m2)", surely by the definition given it always has to have these units? Ezshay (talk) 15:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Anon OR[edit]

So, we have a variety of anons - presumably the same person - adding this [3]. Anybody like it? dT = l dF is the *defn* of radiative forcing [4] so can't be wrong. I don't quite know what the anon is trying to say William M. Connolley (talk) 21:10, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

The anon is saying that "the... estimate [of] climate sensitivity [used by the IPCC] is... overestimated" because of the "factor [of] 4... [in] the Stefan–Boltzmann law." And then goes on to cite Monckton and RealClimate as supporting that. -Atmoz (talk) 21:28, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah. This is the Monckton nonsense again, then? Well I can see that you can cite M for that, though obviously not a RS. I'm puzzled as to how he can cite RC for it though. In fact finding any scientific fact that you could cite both RC and M for would be tricky William M. Connolley (talk) 22:17, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I thougth that it is important to mention that sensitivity without feedback is (very good known and easy to calculate/demonstrate) about 0.2 K/(W/m2) and the gain (of waver vapor feedback) estimations increase it in the range from 0.3 to 1 K/(W/m2) for different studies - It is the largest contribution to the greenhouse effect and its uncertainty (more than direct radiative forcing). And more - forcing is non-linear - see: i.e. "CO2 doubling" introduce an additional overestimate. The value 0.8 K/(W/m2) looks overestimated as was shown for examle in —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:39, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I can't see any great objection to mentioning the sesitivity without feedback somewhere - possibly even in this article. However, that has nothing to do with Thus the following linear estimate (and the corresponding climate sensitivity) is erroneous, which is what you were adding. The equation given is the IPCC defn of sensitivity - you understand this? It *defines* the meaning of lambda, and one can observationally or via models then try to find its value. Being a definition, it cannot possibly be erroneous. Incidentally, if you are indeed relying on Monckton for your sources you should be aware that his "scientific" wrok is worthless, so trying to import it here will certainly fail William M. Connolley (talk) 17:27, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Hold on. Did you even bother *read* the Kirk-Davidoff paper you cited? *Schwartz* is the guy who wrongly thinks the sensitivity is low - and even he gets 0.3, not the 0.2 you're quoting. The K-D paper you're citing is a smack-down of S's nonsense. In the unlikely event of you being interested in a more informal demolition of S, try [5]. Or [6] if you want some refs to me :-) William M. Connolley (talk) 17:35, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Ok. But I can not get a sensitivity like 0.8 from observations. For example: Satellite measurements [7] of global temperature shows that annual variations does not exceed 0.2K (correct?). But variation of incoming solar radiation due to eccentricity is about 92/4=23 W/m2. With damping of 5 year time constant of climate (It can not be more to obtain a reasonable seasons change.) remains a variation 4W/m2. Thus climate sensitivity can not be more than 0.2K/(W/m2). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:38, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I asked you a question: did you actually read K-D? Please reply before we go any further William M. Connolley (talk) 16:44, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes. And how you can explain my problem? (calculation only - without any article) It is useful to deduce sensitivity from a periodic behavior. If the solar irradiance varies by 23 W/m2 and we use "your" sensitivity 0.4 K/(W/m2), we obtain (1 year period) variation by about 10K (without attenuation). But the observed variation is below 0.2K (It can not be one order underestimated.). It must by suppressed 50-times (or more). Although measured variation by seasons (with the same 1 year period) is about 20K in average and with the same suppression factor 50 this gives unrealistic driving temperature 1000K. Where this rationale is wrong? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:53, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, bear with me just a moment while we explore K-D. You read it, you say. And you cited it in support of a position to which is what diametrically opposed. So... you read it but totally failed to understand it? Or what? William M. Connolley (talk) 20:52, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I will not explore some exploration (I am experimental physicist and I know how it works.). If you are not able to answer to my simple question (What is wrong? The climate sensitivity or the global satellite temperatures.) I will stop this talk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:41, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
The paper you cited (Kirk-Davidoff) states:

"2. Estimates of climate sensitivity using real global mean temperature variations are consistent with those using output data from the 20c3m IPCC AR4 model runs. There is no inconsistency between the model climate sensitivities and the observed global mean temperature decorrelation timescales, as claimed by Schwartz (2007).


4. The large variability of the estimated climate sensitivity derived from these runs, even for multiple runs of the same model, confirms our prediction that estimation of climate sensitivity from a time series of a single variable requires much longer climate records than exist for the real world."
From pgs. 12424-12425 Does that clarify? Wevets (talk) 18:49, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Graph Inaccuracy[edit]

Carbon Dioxide accounts, typically, for less than HALF the radiative forcing of water vapor, yet the chart doesn't even list the latter. It is therefore so grossly inaccurate that it needs to be replaced. --Kaz (talk) 12:55, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

No. will enlighten you if you let it William M. Connolley (talk) 13:17, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
First, linking to an article you wrote where you refer to people who disagree with you as "septic" (in the second sentence) is not appropriate and should be considered a violation of your current sanction on that type of terminology. Otherwise, it is a good overview of why water vapor is not included.
[Kaz] The chart is fine, but the title is a little misleading. If it was "Anthropogenic Radiative Forcing Components", then it would be clear why water vapor is not, and should not, be included. I suggest clicking on the image to see the full description which makes it clear that the chart contains only anthropogenic factors. Q Science (talk) 18:12, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
I told you the truth but you didn't read it so it didn't set you free :-(. Perhaps you got distracted by the naughty words. WV isn't a forcing, if you want the short version William M. Connolley (talk) 21:37, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
"Carbon Dioxide accounts, typically, for less than HALF the radiative forcing of water vapor...."
That is false. Before and during industrialized humanity, atmospheric CO2 has accounted for and is accounting for less than half the warming than atmospheric CO2 does.
"... yet the chart doesn't even list the latter."
Which chart? --Desertphile (talk) 19:43, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Force (disambiguation)[edit]

Someone ought to add an entry for this use of force at the disambiguation page - sorry, I have no idea of the proper format myself. (Or of the parameters in radiation physics in which the terms force or forcing are appropriately applied.) Milkunderwood (talk) 00:53, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Include[edit] (talk) 03:51, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Who writes this shit?[edit]

The answer is Geoffrey.landis, I'm sorry to say [8] William M. Connolley (talk) 10:11, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Table on forcing doesn't include water - why[edit]

The table summarizing global radiative forcing does not include water. Given that water is a pretty important greenhouse gas, this would seem to be a glaring omission. Were water to be included, the statement " CO2 dominates the total forcing" would be patently false. The greenhouse effect and the impacts of increasing CO2 are well understood scientific phenomena. Rigging a table to make the effect of CO2 seem larger than it is will only serve the sky dragons. For those not familiar with the term, those are people who state that CO2 has no impact on climate. I realize that the source for this is NOAA and that their site is the source for the table as is, but just because it is a "Reliable Source" doesn't mean it should be included without question. At least a note concerning the fact that the table does not include water. While I'm at it, why is this a climate centric page? Climate is only one of the many fields that look at radiative forcing. Hottel was quantifying the effects of CO2 and H2O in the 1940's, long before anyone cared about climate change. I will not make any changes to this page myself. Too many bad stories about edit wars in anything to do with climate.John G Eggert (talk) 21:20, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment. The article specifies which forcing agents are included:
"The table includes the contribution to radiative forcing from carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH
), nitrous oxide (N
); chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) 12 and 11; and fifteen other minor, long-lived, halogenated gases.[1] The table includes the contribution to radiative forcing of long-lived greenhouse gases. It does not include other forcings, such as aerosols and changes in solar activity."
NOAA state [9]:
"Because we seek an index that is accurate, only the direct forcing has been included. Model-dependent feedbacks, for example, due to water vapor and ozone depletion, are not included. Other spatially heterogeneous, short-lived, climate forcing agents, such as aerosols and tropospheric ozone, have uncertain global magnitudes and also are not included here to maintain accuracy."
When I have time, I may add this information. You, of course, are free to make your own changes to the article. I should note that the important role of water vapor is discussed in greenhouse gas#Impacts on the overall greenhouse effect.
Enescot (talk) 08:11, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
"The table summarizing global radiative forcing does not include water." Increased water vapor due to human activities is a very tiny positive forcing: it has been insignificant. The only area where increased water vapor is measurable is the stratosphere, and it is less than 0.1 watt per square meter. --Desertphile (talk) 19:27, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Water wapor is certainly a very effective greenhouse gas. It is, however, not considered a radiative forcing but a feedback caused by the changes in atmospheric temperature. If for instance the climate is forced by a 1 W/m2 increase in solar irradiance the lower troposphere begins to warm. Therefore it can contain more water wapor which will cause the temperature to increase even more. Torben.schmith (talk) 20:13, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Question about first sentence[edit]

The article starts out with "In climate science, radiative forcing or climate forcing, is defined as the difference of insolation (sunlight) absorbed by the Earth and energy radiated back to space." That's a commendably clear and understandable definition.

Unfortunately it is not remotely like the definition provided by AR5, which (a) references the concept to 1750 (per p.13 of AR5 WG1's Summary for Policymakers, or see the official definition in the Glossary on p.1460) and (b) classifies forcings according to their several causes (Figure SPM.5 on p.14).

Would someone please propose either a plausible interpretation of this sentence for which 1750 would be a relevant date and that furthermore explains how "the" climate forcing thus defined can be apportioned between causes, or (better yet) a reliable source reconciling the two definitions? Otherwise I'm going to flag the offending sentence with a cn tag. Vaughan Pratt (talk) 05:05, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

 * Hear, hear!!  This article uses the term that it is supposed to define ("radiative forcing") in different ways at different places.  This needs to be fixed.  L. Hinkelman, 6/17/2015

Graphic is not labeled correctly[edit]

The graphic labeled "Radiative Forcing Components" is incorrectly labeled. The graphic shows anomalous changes in radiative forcings--- two completely different things. Eight out of the nine anomalous changes are due to humans. The graphic needs its label changed to reflect the fact that it shows anomalous changes in radiative forcings. It correctly lists all known forcings (which is its function), but the scale is wrong: it shows anomalies, not the entire watts per square meter per forcing. The word "anomalous" needs to be added. --Desertphile (talk) 19:46, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Introductory section[edit]

Presently, the first sentence of the intro reads:

”In climate science, radiative forcing or climate forcing is defined as the difference of insolation (sunlight) absorbed by the Earth and energy radiated back to space”

However, what is described here is not the climate forcing, but the the radiative balance, which is the sum of the climate forcing and the radiative feedback

Some days ago, I changes the sentence to:

” In climate science, radiative forcing or climate forcing is defined as the change in downward energy flux caused by natural or anthropogenic drivers of climate change relative to a reference state in which climate is assumed to be in radiative balance. ”

This is indeed, what is described in the presentation by Drew Shindell (sheet no. 3) referred to at the end of the sentence

I also removed the illustration, since it illustrates incoming shortwave radiation and not climate forcing.

For unknown reasons, my editing was reverted the following day. I would encourage argumentation for why this was done.

Best regards

Torben.schmith (talk) 21:42, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Senior scientist, Danish Meteorological Institute

  1. ^ CFC-113, tetrachloromethane (CCl
    ), trichloromethane (CH
    ); hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) 22, 141b and 142b; hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 134a, 152a, 23, 143a, and 125; sulfur hexafluoride (SF
    ), and halons 1211, 1301 and 2402)