Question: If I add heat to something, how much does the temperature rise? Answer: It depends.
If you add heat to ice water, you melt ice, but the temperature remains constant until all
the ice is gone. The same amount of heat that would raise the temperature of a kilogram
of water by 1ºC would, if delivered rapidly, easily be enough to set a tree leaf on fire. If
heat were added to a rocky surface, the surface temperature would depend on how much
heat would be re-radiated and how much heat would be conducted through the rock to
the cooler ground beneath it. Heat added to a square meter of a puddle would have an
entirely different effect than the same amount of heat added to a square meter of ocean
Therein lies the problem with climate models that attempt to estimate temperature rise
due to increases in CO2 and H2O, or more specifically to increases in heat retention due
to those greenhouse gases. You can get anything you want.
There are, however, some unambiguous simplifications that arise from simply asking
Continue reading: Some Climate Simplicities by Howard “Cork” Hayden.