Reproducing Global Warming

A month or so back, in Strange Journey I described an experiment that I’d conducted with my orbital simulation model, where I’d dropped a ball bearing on the surface of the rotating Earth, and watched it roll (or rather, bounce) westwards from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere and back again, over and over again, solely under the influence of the gravitational attraction of the Earth, Moon, and Sun.

This gave me an idea for a novel global atmospheric circulation model. What if I dropped hundreds of balls or bubbles of air on the surface of the Earth, and let them roll over its surface, and bounce off each other when they collided? How would they behave? Would the air bubbles form circulation patterns like those in the Earth’s atmosphere? Might I be able to reproduce global warming?

So for the past month, on and off, I’ve been writing the code to get it all working.  I’ve treated the collisions between the air bubbles like the collisions between beachballs, which become compressed when they collide, and push each other apart elastically. At some point I intend to add friction forces between the bubbles and the surface of the Earth, and also features like mountain ranges for the bubbles to (try to) roll over. I’m also planning to have the Sun heat up the bubbles and make them swell and move faster, and then allow them to cool at night.

inefficient-climate-model-tessellationThis isn’t how atmospheric and climate scientists construct their Global Circulation simulation models. What they do is to divide the surface of the Earth into layers of fixed cells, and calculate the flow of air and heat and so on from one cell to the next. That’s to say, they don’t have bubbles of air bouncing all over the surface of the Earth. But I can’t, at the moment, see what’s wrong with modelling the atmosphere using bubbles. Because, as best I understand it, the atmosphere actually does consist of masses of air moving around on the surface of the Earth, under the influence of gravity and sunlight and  friction. And these air masses do collide with each other, and block each other from moving.

In my prototype there are only 162 bubbles, with each bubble 100 km in diameter, but I’m hoping – if my poor old computer can manage – to increase the number of bubbles to something around 1000. If I had a supercomputer, I’d create many thousands of smaller bubbles, bouncing not only on the surface of the Earth, but also on top of each other. High pressure zones would have lots of bubbles packed closely together, and piled on top of each other, and low pressure zones would have fewer bubbles in them. With luck, I’d find that the bubbles moved in circles around these high and low pressure zones, like winds do. Who knows, I might even be able to replicate a few jet streams.

I started my model with the 162 bubbles dispersed evenly over the Earth, with each bubble having the same speed as the patch of earth beneath it. As expected, they all began to roll westward, and converge on the equator, where a large high pressure area developed, and the bubbles started bouncing off each other.

After that, the bubbles moved off in different directions, and dispersed over the surface of the Earth, and continued to collide with each other. The 2:45 minute long video below shows (a bit too briefly) the initial westward motion of the bubbles, as seen from geostationary MeteoSat 7 above the Indian ocean. Bubbles nearer MeteoSat 7 appear larger than those on the far side of the Earth. After they’ve been colliding with each other for a while, the bubbles are then shown moving in various different directions, but still occasionally colliding with each other (0:10 to 2:05).

And finally (2:06 to 2:40) some of them are shown flying the surface of the Earth, and disappearing into outer space.

The atmosphere boils off.

And that’s global warming!!!!

I’ve managed to get global warming on my very first attempt! Without adding any CO2. And after only 10 days in real time.

collisionThe reason this happens in this model is because it’s using an 8 second time step, and calculates the positions of the air bubbles every 8 seconds. This means that, when they collide, the bubbles will overlap each other quite a lot (below right), instead of just touching at their surfaces, like beachballs (above right). And since they’re closer together, the model assumes that the compression forces pushing them apart are stronger, and gives them both a higher acceleration apart, and a higher speed.

If I’d used a shorter time step of 1/10th or 1/100th of a second, they wouldn’t overlap so much, and wouldn’t accelerate so much. But even if I’d used a time step of a microsecond, the bubbles would still accelerate very, very slowly. And after a few years, the atmosphere would boil off. The bubbles will never get slower; they’ll only ever get faster.

And I bet that something like this is happening  in the climate scientists’ Global Circulation Models. All simulation models are approximations. They all have small errors. My orbital simulation model has a small error: the planets are never exactly where they are supposed to be. If the error is 100 km after one year, the cumulative error after 10 years will be 1000 km, and after a century 10,000 km, and so on. Eventually the planets will be nowhere near where they should be. And the same applies to heat flow and air mass flow simulation models. They’ll all have slowly growing cumulative errors.

So I strongly suspect that global warming is an artefact of the simulation models. And if they started off predicting global cooling back in the 1970s, I suspect it was because the early GCMs tended to under-estimate heat flows in the atmosphere, and they saw cooling. Then, when they’d improved their models a bit, they saw warming, so now they’re predicting that. But I now think that whatever improvements they make in the future, they’ll always see either warming or cooling.

I’m very pleased that I’ve managed to produce my own GCM, which generates global warming at least a hundred times faster than the climate scientists’ GCMs. But at least I know why my model is generating global warming. It seems they still don’t know why theirs do.


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19 Responses to Reproducing Global Warming

  1. C.F. Apollyon says:

    >>>>And after a few years, the atmosphere would boil off.
    Q1: What’s missing?
    A1: Hint: It ain’t “the atmosphere” that “boiled off.”
    Q2: Are you sure?
    A2: What’s missing?

    >>>>The bubbles will never get slower; they’ll only ever get faster.
    What would drive such a “series of events”…as it were? I mean, assuming that your predictions are correct. I only ask this, because you are vague about your times and timelines. If you think more in terms of “being right” over terms, meaning periods, that should help a bit with respect to the quanta and quantum mechanics/physics/whatever. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. Or…right is left and left is right. Maybe even…correct and/or incorrect.

    I agree with you in regards to atmospheric modeling/current modeling, in that there are probably inconsistencies. That’s what learning is all about. But the assumption that “an accurate model” can be created? That’s incorrect. A “more correct” model/modeling? Sure. Why not? The problem is predictability in an unpredictable system. It’s only go be so long before science is once again trading in it’s electronic gadgets for crystal balls, because those arcs can and will cross. They are always crossed. Sometime we can see it, and sometimes, not so much. When we start to deprecate and replace and “improve” the stepping stones that allowed us to progress? Um…not so good.

    Heat, is hot. Cold? Not so much. ;-)

    And also?
    It’s not so much as what we are looking for, as much as it is what we find while looking…eh?

    ^ATTLAS – Avenue Road^

    • Frank Davis says:

      What would drive such a “series of events”…as it were?

      As I explained in the text, the bubbles always overlap when they collide, and this serves to continually accelerate them. The bubbles can’t ‘underlap’ and slow down. But there are other ways of handling collisions, for example by ensuring the momentum is always conserved. I might consider simple reflections of bubbles off each other, if that conserves momentum.

      A “more correct” model/modeling? Sure. Why not?

      I’m sure the models can be improved. But they’ll always have limited accuracy.

      • C.F. Apollyon says:

        Q: And what is your role?

        I’m certainly not trying to depreciate your work, nor be unappreciative for it. But at the same time, yeah…I’m trying to be exactly that. I’m simply asking as to the perfection of imperfection. Have you tried to wrap your noodle around that one? The perfect perfection…sure. We can accept and calculate and quantify and qualify the perfect perfection. But the perfect imperfection? Good luck. ;-)

        It’s work like this that makes me think…makes me smile…makes me cheer you on…makes me be glad and thankful who I am…when I am. <3

        ^Depeche Mode – Something to Do^

  2. jameshigham says:

    This gave me an idea for a novel global atmospheric circulation model. What if I dropped hundreds of balls or bubbles of air on the surface of the Earth, and let them roll over its surface, and bounce off each other when they collided?

    Mind boggles. Good luck.

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  4. garyk30 says:

    Warm air masses, being lighter, will over ride the cool( denser) air masses.
    Sometimes for many miles.

    Seems the vertical flow/circulation of air masses would be almost impossible to show in a 2 dimensional presentation. 😡

  5. Clicky says:

  6. Joe L. says:

    This story nicely ties together today’s post and Tuesday’s post, “Do We Need Universities?”:

    Professor Resigns Due to “Craziness” Over Climate Science

    Dr. Judith Curry, the former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, announced her resignation from her tenured faculty position in a January 3 post on her blog Climate Etc. Curry, who has been described as both a “climate realist” and a “climate denier” (depending on the perspective of the individual describing her) said, “A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science.” (Emphasis in original.)
    In her post explaining the reasons for her resignation, Curry — whose research has earned her appointments to and awards from the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, NASA, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation — continued:

    “Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.”

  7. jaxthefirst says:

    Completely off-topic, but did anyone watch QI this evening? There was a humorous article about “nostalgia,” and how it was once classified as an illness. In the course of the conversation which ensued, one guest commented on how often a particular smell could spark off nostalgia like nothing else, and Alan Davies piped up: “Aah yes – cigarettes in a pub.” I thought at first that he was being sarcastic and it was supposed to be one of those jokey-type “well, we don’t want to go back to those bad old days, do we?” comments, but when Sandy Toksvig, the new host, asked “Oh, do you miss that?” Davies replied, with genuine seriousness: “Yes, I do.” I was both staggered and pleasantly surprised that such a heretical comment had made it to air!

  8. slugbop007 says:

    Speaking of bubbles, are you aware of this newly discovered phenomenon in our solar system?


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