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The Thermostatic Throttle

December 29, 2013

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I have theorized that the reflective nature of the tropical clouds, in particular those of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) just above the equator, functions as the “throttle” on the global climate engine. We’re all familiar with what a throttle does, because the gas pedal on your car controls the throttle. The throttle on any heat engine controls the running conditions by limiting (throttling) the amount of incoming energy.

Similarly, in the climate heat engine, the throttle is the tropical albedo (reflectivity). The tropical albedo controls how much incoming solar energy is rejected back to space at the hot end of the heat engine. In other words, the albedo throttles the incoming energy to control the entire system.

I have further said that the tropical albedo is a threshold-based and extremely non-linear function of the temperature. So I thought I’d use the CERES satellite data…

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