Anthony Watts has

uncovered some data from the NOAA website that appears to show water vapor levels have been decreasing for the last sixty years.

Strangely, a number of recent peer-reviewed publications claim that water vapor is increasing:

Water Vapor Feedback is Rapidly Warming Europe

Elevated surface temperatures due to other greenhouse gases have enhanced water evaporation and contributed to a cycle that stimulates further surface temperature increases, according to a report in Geophysical Research Letters. The research could help to answer a long-debated Earth science question about whether the water cycle could strongly enhance greenhouse warming.

The following paper finds a positive trend but contradicts the findings over Europe.

Trends and variability in column-integrated atmospheric water vapor

The main region where positive trends are not very evident is over Europe, in spite of large and positive trends over the North Atlantic since 1988.

The following also finds positive feedback:

The moistening of the upper troposphere by deep convection leads to an enhanced positive water vapor feedback, about 3 times that implied solely by thermodynamics.

Is water vapor increasing or decreasing? Is feedback positive or negative? The graph below by Ken Gregory shows a clear decreasing trend at all atmospheric levels.

Water vapor levels are another worrisome variation between the ‘consensus’ view as represented by the IPCC reports and real world data.

The decline in water vapor with an increase in greenhouse gases is one clear prediction of Miskolczi’s theory of semi-transparent atmospheres. In contrast, decline in water vapor is not predicted by the theory of infinity thick atmosphere which maintains that temperatures increase for every incremental increase in greenhouse gases, and in fact the ‘consensus’ is that water vapor increases in a positive feedback loop.

Miskolczi states:

Since the world oceans are virtually unlimited sources and sinks of the

atmospheric water vapor (optical depth), the system – depending on the time

constant of the different energy reservoirs – has many ways to restore the

equilibrium situation and maintain the steady state global climate. For

example, in case the increased CO2 is compensated by reduced H2O, then the

general circulation has to re-adjust itself to maintain the meridional energy

flow with less water vapor available. This could increase the global average

rain rate and speed up the global water cycle resulting in a more dynamical

climate, but still the energy balance equations do not allow the average surface

temperature to rise. The general circulation can not change the global radiative

balance although, changes in the meridional heat transfer may result in local or

zonal warming or cooling which again leads to a more dynamical climate.

Note that there are accumulating evidence of long term negative surface

pressure trends all over the southern hemisphere, (Hines et al., 2000), which

may be an indication of decreasing water vapor amount in the atmosphere.

Miskolczi concludes:

On global scale, however, there can not be any direct water vapor feedback mechanism, working against the total energy balance requirement of the

system. Runaway greenhouse theories contradict to the energy balance

equations and therefore, can not work.

One should not be surprised. It has been proven mathematically that “Most Published Research Findings Are False”.

**Update:** Anthony Watts posts a followup post containing graphs showing rising specific humidity at the surface, and falling humidity at the higher (greenhouse relevant) altitudes. The obvious questions is why do the esteemed climate scientists above create the impression in their publications that increasing water vapor levels are proof of an increasing greenhouse effect? It’s very worrying.

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