Reflection of sunlight from cloud at 5-8km in elevation (Cirrus).


The EPIC data also helped confirm that the flashes are coming from a high altitude, not simply water on the ground. Two channels on the instrument are designed to measure the height of clouds. According to the observations, high cirrus clouds—5 to 8 kilometers (3 to 5 miles) up in the atmosphere—appeared wherever the glints were located.

“The source of the flashes is definitely not on the ground,” Marshak said. “It is definitely ice, and most likely solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles.”

Marshak is now investigating how common these horizontal ice particles are, and whether they are common enough to have a measurable impact on how much sunlight passes through the atmosphere. If so, it is a feature that would need to be incorporated into computer models of how much heat is reaching and leaving Earth.

Perhaps we should admit that it will take time to get ‘the science’ properly settled.

There is a notion in IPCC  ‘climate science’ that high altitude cloud has a warming influence on the surface.    A manurial notion if ever there was one.

As to whether there will be ice cloud at elevation or not….then the ozone content of the air will be a factor of importance because ozone absorption of infrared from the Earth itself determines air temperature and therefore relative humidity and the degree and extent of precipitation.


18 thoughts on “Reflection of sunlight from cloud at 5-8km in elevation (Cirrus).

  1. Hi Erl, I read this with interest too. With regards to theory of ozone raising air temp via radiation (light) from earth, I still struggle how it can do that when overall Intensity (ev) leaving earth is only about 0.1 eV and ozone only absorbs in one tiny fraction of that spectrum. Compare that to IR of about 1ev and visible 3eV. Both these hardly felt on our skin let alone influencing water. Seems too dilute, like trying to get a tan at night or from under an umbrella. I prefer the physical pressure induced driver of temperature than earth IR. note. Since radiation has no temperaure until it hits matter (mass) and is thermalised. Then convection and conduction takes over and the rest of your theory holds.

    Ps. Hope all is well with your building project and health. Cheers. Macha


    1. eV is joules – or energy – it really doesn’t tell you anything.

      It’s the Wattsr/meter^2 – or the flux – at a specific frequency which counts – but the most important parameter is the frequency.

      It’s possible to have 1000 Watts/meter^2 of IR and not excite a single CO2 molecule.


  2. Hi Macha, thanks for the comment but I am afraid I cannot agree.

    Lets acknowledge that radiation comes to the Earth over a wide variety of specta. It returns to space primarily in the infrared spectra. The most abundant energy (considering ingoing and outgoing together) is available smack bang around the 9-10um wavelength where ozone absorbs.

    But for the absorption of energy by ozone there would be no ‘stratosphere’. The absorption of outgoing infrared energy by ozone and the resulting, instantaneous, continuous, day and night warming of all adjacent molecules is responsible for the reversal of the decline of temperature with elevation.

    Do you want to deny the existence of the stratosphere?


  3. We are in agrement until the end..the line of questioning was along the lines “is it enough?” rather than “does it occur”.
    Btw. There is no need to be disingenuous by asking that last question because we both know we read fairly widely and try to think- deeply rather than simply accept mainstream.


  4. We are in agreement until the end. Let’s be more specific…..what’s the point of disagreement?

    The question at the end of my reply is candid and sincere so not disingenuous at all. It poses the question: Why is the stratosphere, (ozonosphere) warm? What is the agency of the warming? It is a counter to your assertion that ‘With regards to theory of ozone raising air temp via radiation (light) from earth, I still struggle how it can do that’.

    By the way, infrared is not ‘light’. Light is defined in Wikipedia… ‘Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres (nm), or 4.00 × 10−7 to 7.00 × 10−7 m, between the infrared (with longer wavelengths) and the ultraviolet (with shorter wavelengths).


  5. Am going to leave this thread Erl. You know I am a degree chemistry science background and a process engineering modeler, yet you (again) disingenuiously pick on my wavelength of light (all the spectrum frequencies move in the same way) by quoting wiki back to me. I am amazed you know could not follow the intended theme. Same goes for knowing when and where the stratosphere is warmest, from either vertical or horizontal global slice. You know I have followed this site since chapter1 and read counter views on others. Is this back-tracking for the benefit of other followers/readers? If so, sorry I missed the cue.
    Ps. Check out a site called. Thunderbolts. Interesting stuff on electrical atmosphere and cosmos. Unlikely to help grow grapes though. Bye.


  6. Hi Erl,

    You might like to slip on over to Tallblokes Talkshop. They are discussing a new paper on: the Foundations of Greenhouse Theory Challenged by New Analysis of Solar System Observations. Interesting stuff.

    Cheers, RobR


    1. Thanks Rob,
      The thesis represents common sense. The denser the medium the greater its capacity to store energy, the slower will be its radiative and convective escape.

      The more blankets one puts on the bed the warmer it is between the sheets.

      The closer one gets to the fire, the more the energy is absorbed.

      Meanwhile Clive James, in a potent attack on climate alarmists like Tim Flannery says:
      “I still hear the wombat in the night and wake shaking,” he writes. “As my retirement changed to illness and then to dotage, I would have preferred to sit back and write poems than to be known for taking a position in what is, despite the colossal scale of its foolish waste, a very petty quarrel. But it was time to stand up and fight.

      And so introducing a trenchantly effective piece of writing that appears in the weekend Australian that you might (if they let you without subscribing ) find by searching on: ‘Western climate alarmists wont admit they were wrong’.


  7. Erl,
    Over at wattsupwiththat there is a new interesting guest article on the temperature of the upper atmosphere. There are some interesting issues to resolve. I couldn’t help wondering if changes in ozone distribution might be part of the solution.


  8. Erl,


    Over at Tallblokes Talkshop there is a new guest article by Stephen Wilde on the temperature effect of atmospheric mass.


  9. Posts by cinaed and Macha and Erl remind me that we have not settled the questions of mechanism and energetics yet. Weak IR is caused by work being done to matter (here below for instance). If it can induce kinetic vibrations in stratospheric ozone, should the -ve 4th power rule apply? What would the result be, compared to what is?. Also, what about the incoming UV and indeed the pile of solar IR?


    1. I think you referring to the Stefan–Boltzmann law which relates the energy flux through a surface to the T^4 assuming black body radiation. And sometimes the surface isn’t where you think it is. The only true black body radiators are ones which are black – otherwise they only behave like black body radiators for a small range of frequencies.

      And if you estimate the temperature of a surface using the Stefan–Boltzmann law, you still have to measure it to ensure it’s correct.

      The atmospheric gases – with the exception of ozone and water – are radiative gases , i.e., they absorb a photon and then emit a lower energy photon – or one with a longer wavelength – where the difference in energy goes into kinetic and rotational energy of the molecule. Ozone and water in addition to be radiatiive and also trap heat .


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