Monday, August 27, 2007

Climate Science Needs To Go Underground

I have been doing some more thinking about how to measure climate change. If we actually want to measure if the earth is heating, we ought to actually measure the temperature of the earth.

If climate was my interest, I’d find the “constant” temperature transition point in the ground and string thermometers (electronic of course) at, above, and below that level below ground. From watching the change in those temperatures over time climate change could actually be determined. Heat flows too. Similarly for the sea. Let the earth or water do your averaging for you.

From that and satellite measurements it ought to be relatively easy from first principles to figure out what is going on. We will have some measure of the heat flows. Which will give us a much better idea of what is going on than measuring the daily high and low air temperature for a given day.

If we are going to measure the air we need to measure it much more frequently than at two unknown times to get just the high and low. Because the heat capacity of air is so low, you can’t determine heat flows very well unless the recording frequency of temperature measurement goes way up.

Measurement 4 ft above ground (or what ever the standard is) to get the high and low for the day has so little climate information that it is tantamount to useless for climate observation. Or heat flows either. The only reason to keep doing it that way is that we have always done it that way.

Cross Posted at Classical Values and at The Astute Bloggers

1 comment:

LarryD said...

A lot of people don't realize that the Earth generates ~23 Tera Watts of thermal energy by itself. Plus another 3 Tera Watts from tidal friction.

Granted that's less that the uncertainly in insolation, but it has its effects.