We must begin by confessing that we have resorted to digitizing. The first CERES data were garnered by mousing over the visualization tool, writing in a notebook, and typing into Excel. We discovered that if we right clicked the tool and “inspected the element”, the data was there in a weird bracketed format that could be copied. By doing this we saved lots of time copying and pasting a few series rather than scribing and typing, but this caused the visualization tool to crash. Subsequently, access to the data this way has been denied.
Since CERES “Net” data is defined as incoming minus outgoing, positive numbers indicate energy retention. The “Flux” data is all outgoing, and indicates energy loss. To correct for this we initially multiplied the flux data by -1. This pointed the data in the proper direction, but caused all sorts of confusion in comparison with Net Cloud Radiative Effect data, which uses the same definition of “net”, but is all negative numbers.
All the graphics in this series have been changed so the net flux axis is in positive numbers, but inverted to point the data correctly.
The above two graphics are the same with the net flux axis inverted so the trends make sense in terms of cooling or warming the planet. This format will be used henceforth.
The data above is doing everything wrong according to greenhouse theory. The slopes are small, and probably not statistically significant, but they are definitely not pointed in the “right” direction. The “right” direction would be a decrease in Longwave and Net radiation to space, and an increase in Shortwave (reflected from increasing clouds) radiation to space.
How does the net flux increase when the SW flux decreases more than the LW increases?
This quandary is illustrated well above. SW and LW outgoing fluxes are added together and compared with inverted net flux. The SW flux decrease is twice the all sky longwave flux increase. Since incoming solar is fairly constant, and the SW outgoing decrease increases the net, SW+LW is a reasonable approximation of inverted Net.
There is a consistent aberration in 2005. Aberrations often hold important lessons, and the 2005 aberration may be the topic of a future post.
It turns out that solar variation becomes important at the subtle scales we are working with here. The solar variation adjustment to LW+SW outward flux above improves the correlation with inverted Net, but exacerbates the 2005 aberration. Another clue.
You have probably noticed that this is an adventure, not a script. We will get to prior promises, but the next post must deal with cloud radiative effects.