Ocean Heat Content: Dropping again

I found Bob’s Arctic Ocean Heat Content graph quite interesting as it may explain why we are seeing a recovery in sea ice for the last two years. It also reminds me a lot of the graph seen of the Barents Sea water temperature plotted against the AMO which WUWT recently covered here.

Update of NODC (Levitus et al 2009) OHC Data Through June 2009

Guest post by Bob Tisdale

INTRODUCTION
On October 1, KNMI updated the NODC Ocean Heat Content (Levitus et al 2009) data that’s available on Climate Explorer.
http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

These updates are not shown on the NODC’s Global Ocean Heat Content webpage:
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/index.html

The updates also aren’t shown in the table of Global Analyzed Fields (ASCII files):
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/OC5/3M_HEAT/heatdata.pl?time_type=yearly700

But the single 22.4 MB dataset at the top of the table does contain the January through March and the April through June data, which were updated (added) on September 14, 2009:
ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/heat_3month/HC_0-700-3month.tar.gz

GLOBAL, HEMISPERIC, AND OCEAN BASIN GRAPHS

Global OHC has dropped back to its 2003 levels.
http://i34.tinypic.com/dev5ld.png
Global OHC

North Atlantic OHC is continuing to decline from its 2004 peak.
http://i36.tinypic.com/ddkeas.png
North Atlantic OHC

The recent drop in the South Atlantic OHC was sizeable, but not outside of the range of its normal variability.
http://i36.tinypic.com/2m5fais.png
South Atlantic OHC

And of the remaining OHC datasets, the only two that showed increases over the past six months are the South Pacific and Southern Ocean OHC
http://i35.tinypic.com/1ys415.png
South Pacific
############
http://i38.tinypic.com/34f19p2.png
Southern Ocean

Here are the remaining OHC subsets without commentary.
http://i38.tinypic.com/j79h1i.png
Northern Hemisphere
############
http://i35.tinypic.com/cqr13.png
Southern Hemisphere
############
http://i37.tinypic.com/2wlxz09.png
North Pacific
############
http://i38.tinypic.com/6e0oax.png
Indian Ocean
############
http://i38.tinypic.com/9u417d.png
Arctic Ocean

CLOSING

Two earlier posts illustrated the impacts of natural variables on OHC. These included the ENSO-induced step changes in the OHC of numerous oceans and the effects of the NAO on high-latitude North Atlantic OHC:

1. ENSO Dominates NODC Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Data
2. North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Is Governed By Natural Variables

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190 thoughts on “Ocean Heat Content: Dropping again

  1. They probably think of the downwards trend line as half of a cycle. They’ll add it to their charts when the reverse leg appears.

  2. I am very grateful for Bob Tisdale’s consistent posting on the ocean; thanks to Anthony for your choice of excellent contributors. Bob, you have answered my question before, but I also hope you will keep some comments going regarding how accurately you think the raw data — not that stuff well cooked and seasoned — on ocean heat content is being put forward. For example, do you have good, somewhat good, some doubts, etc., about the data you are working with and with which you provide us these amazing charts? Do you have any thoughts you might like to share as to why the NODC and the table of Global Analyzed Fields are not updated? Strange that! Yeah, sure!

    Also, I agree with Matt N, where is 1998 super El Nino in this data? How does the data connect with the AMO and PDO?

    I just returned from Japan, having to “try” to travel directly after the worst of Typhoon Melor. It came at us as a “5″, but thankfully hit most of Japan as a “3″. Our pilot flew from Nagoya to Narita, without a secure destination to land the craft. We came in like a bucking bronco, or like riding a bull, which ever was worse. Today I see that 2 million Tokyo commuters were stranded. From my limited perspective, the damage was minimal, but it could have been much worse. Trying to sleep through this force of nature (nature here being the power of the oceans) is impossible — and also awesome.

  3. MattN (19:30:26) :

    Why do we not see the 1998 super El Nino? Was that just on the surface?

    It appears to be limited to the southern hemisphere.

  4. Ocean weather, not climate… but that’s a whole lotta cold water.
    If this keeps up, the Titanic anniversary cruise might be overly interesting.

  5. Great post Bob Tisdale, I keep wanting to call you PhD “doctor” Tisdale but reflecting on some of the prominent “doctors’ Studying climate I fear you might be offended. I can understand the points that you are making. I wonder if MattN’s question would be related to the fact that many of the graphs that you reference are to a depth of 700 meters or about 2250 feet. It would seem that the heat of the El Nino would take a couple of years to mix down to a depth that would reflect enough content to effect the measurement of the heat content of that much water. Sea Surface temps aren’t measured very deeply at the most about 30 feet depending on the method used. I do notice that a few years after the 98 event that there was a slight uptick in the heat content of several of the ocean areas. I guess to this older lesser educated mind it just seems to make sense.

    Again a very informative post and very understandable. I love coming to this blog and reading everyday often more than once. It is good to see some folks that don’t mind people the unwashed commoner or the peers of the realm asking questions.

    Anthony you are doing a wonderful job regardless of what the trolls say.

    Bill Derryberry

  6. You’ve got to be kidding.

    ONE post on the elimination of data at CRU?!!??!

    Still hacking away at El Nino, Solar cycles, placement of monitoring stations, polar ice, clouds, sea levels, hurricanes, and on, and on, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

    Are you afraid to admit that you’ve misspent your blogging career (and possibly your life) whining about irrelevant issues?

    The CRU/Phil Jones data is THE SOURCE. THE ORIGIN. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.

    Everything you discuss is entirely dependent upon accepting the truth and validity of Jones’ claim that the earth warmed over the last 150 yrs.

    With that debunked or disproven, the entire theory falls apart. ALL other global warming claims are thus falsified.

    THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE AFRAID OF.

    You and your site are a pathetic, AGW-enabling, JOKE.

  7. The bright red NODC chart (North Atlantic) had a nice parabolic shape heading into 2005. Now, it looks like a bubble has burst.

  8. The South Pacific OHC correlates well with the ENSO SST’s, so the super El Nino of 98 shows in one of the graphs.

    We could see a sizable drop if the Southern Ocean starts on another down-swing while El Nino fades while the short-term trends continue for the rest of the oceans.

  9. I’m sorry, but when I see hockey stick like graphs and the word “anomaly” I now just glaze. There have been so many “cooked books” and the anomaly processing has been used to paper over so many ills… Is there truth in this? Is it just tilting at tarmac and islands with thermometers in the sun? Do we have any idea if the thermometers were sited well?

  10. Anthony:
    an interesting article re Captain Cooks sea temperature logs from his voyages in the 1700′s and others in the 1800′s

    Ships’ logs from Cook’s Discovery and Resolution, William Bligh’s Bounty and 300 other 18th and 19th-century explorers’ vessels are being transcribed and digitised in a project that will allow climatologists to trace changing weather patterns.

    The records, stored in the National Archives at Kew, contain a unique and highly accurate account of temperature, ice formation, air pressure and wind speed and direction in remote locations all over the world.

    There are plenty of land-based weather reports from this period, but very little is known about the climate history of the three quarters of the world’s surface covered by sea.

    Times Archive, 1890: Captain Cook’s journals
    The book covers two years and ten months of the most brilliant achievements in the history of British nautical adventures

    The UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks project, a partnership that includes the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of Sunderland, aims to make all the logs available online. The weather reports are being charted to allow instant comparisons between past observations and current conditions.

    The log from HMS Isabella, which set out in 1818 to seek the fabled Northwest Passage, reveals that there was a small but significant decline in the sea ice in Baffin Bay over the past 190 years. Until now, scientists tracking sea ice formation have largely relied upon observations from satellites. However, some of the logs suggest that there has been little or no change in sea temperatures elsewhere in the Arctic. Climate change sceptics are likely to seize on these records as evidence that man-made greenhouse gases are having less impact than many scientists have claimed.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6862384.ece

  11. I have not read the comments, although the last few that i glimpse seem a bit overheated. If this information proves true and remains so for even a relatively brief period, the Northern Hemisphere is in for some very bad weather. Cold and deadly.

  12. Uriel (20:39:00) :

    You’ve got to be kidding.

    ONE post on the elimination of data at CRU?!!??!

    Got anything new to add? I’m sure Anthony will be ready to print a new article if you have.

    Everything you discuss is entirely dependent upon accepting the truth and validity of Jones’ claim that the earth warmed over the last 150 yrs.
    With that debunked or disproven, the entire theory falls apart. ALL other global warming claims are thus falsified.

    So what’s your evidence that the Earth hasn’t warmed over the last 150 years?

    THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE AFRAID OF.
    You and your site are a pathetic, AGW-enabling, JOKE.

    LOUD words; show us you are something more than an empty vessel.

  13. Bob, great post. Yet another confirmation of my own thoughts and calculations on ocean heat content in relation to solar input – or lack of it. Heat content drops while SST’s climb at solar minimum. The oceans going into heat emission mode when there are few sunspots.

    When will someone start listening?

  14. Uriel said
    “The CRU/Phil Jones data is THE SOURCE. THE ORIGIN. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.”

    Such blind fanaticism is fascinating. There is a total rejection of rational analysis as ‘Science’ is perverted in a Faith of Certainty, and, as always, a hate of ‘outsiders’. The choice of a minor Jewish Angel as a soubriquet seems obscure, but presumably supports fantasies about “Swords of Righteousness”.

  15. MattN: You asked, “Why do we not see the 1998 super El Nino? Was that just on the surface?”

    Looking at the tropical Pacific OHC graph, it’s a release of heat.

    Keep in mind that ENSO events also redistribute heat within the Pacific and cause changes in atmospheric circulation that result in lagged increases in OHC in other ocean basins.

    The impacts of the 1997/98 El Nino are easier to see in the first of the linked posts:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

    In that post I’ve included NINO3.4 SST anomaly data in the graphs to show the timing of ENSO events and I’ve also divided the oceans into subsets that help isolate the impacts.

  16. ” The CRU/Phil Jones data is THE SOURCE. THE ORIGIN. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. ”
    If that isn’t faith I have never seen it. Honestly Uriel who is pathetic here? and do you really need to shout? Seems like you are pounding sand. Is data from the topics you list such a joke? Data is all this post is. Deal with it. And does it really matter that the earth has warmed over the past 150 years? I think that the crux of the matter is whether or not the temperature increases over the last 30-50 years are due to man made CO2 or if are they due to other factors such as increasing UHI, incorrect methods of temperature readings, solar trends, biased correction factors, etc? At any rate does a 150 year warming trend (which interestingly starts at the end of the LIA) somehow prove that we need to follow some clown who will tell us the “correct” way to live? i.e. CO2 free (or perhaps put another way “stop breathing you capitalist pig”). If you follow history you might consider the cooling scare of the 70s, did that somehow rely on “the source the orgin the only thing that matters”? General history might also teach you a few things as well especially if you think about soviet agricultural practices and the real fallout of misplaced and hokey but accepted “scientific” theory.
    And finally thanks for your opinion but many of us here like Anthony’s site and think he does a great job. If you don’t like it why dont you start you own blog? I suggest you call it “Pounding Sand.”
    APE

  17. I’m just going to add, for the record, that my model doesn’t show such a steep climb in OHC around 2003, nor does it predict such a steep fall around now. Either something anomalous happened with cloud cover or maybe Syd Levitus has been cooking the books.

    As the Earthshine data doesn’t show anything too exciting 2003-2009 I’m inclined to believe it may be the latter. Particularly as my earlier calculations on OHC show wild changes between Levitus 2000 and Levitus 2005.

    I have no doubt however that OHC has been falling increasingly quickly since late 2003, just not in the abrupt manner the graphs show.

    Perhaps Craig Loehle is keeping an eye on the latest ARGO dtata and will tell us more presently.

  18. Uriel 20:39:00

    Good to hear the voice of calm reason at last. Of course Phil Jones is a demi-god. Now be a good boy and go away and play while the grown-ups talk.

  19. If ocean heat content is declining then the amount of energy released to the air is, overall, greater than the amount of energy coming in from the sun.

    This brings solar issues back into contention again despite the smallness of solar variability.

    From 1975 to 2000 ocean heat content increased DESPITE several large El Ninos and at the same time the sun was rather active.

    Now we have merely a weak El Nino and negative oceans elswhere but despite that the ocean heat content is declining.

    The effect of an EL Nino event (or a La Nina event) on ocean heat content SEEMS to depend on the activity level of the sun.

    In my recent posts on another thread I have pointed out that the climate changes we observe could be generated entirely within the system by variable ocean energy release without a significant solar variation. However I do not actually exclude a solar contribution and have always said that I suspect there is one on the basis of an admittedly rather irregular historical connection.

    Perhaps we shall soon see.

  20. Bob,

    As I look at most of the graphs, there is a step change up around 2003. I seem to recall reading from both yourself and others that this coincided with the change over to the ARGOS buoys. If I recall you had views on this. Could you do a quick recap.

    Also, can one assume that Ocean Heat Content has been trending down ever since modern recording equipement (The Argos Buoys) were installed.

    40 Shades

  21. pyromancer76: You asked, “For example, do you have good, somewhat good, some doubts, etc., about the data you are working with…”

    Levitus et al illustrated the data with the confidence levels in Figure S13 here:
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
    You just have to remember that the data is a reconstruction and is based on decreasing numbers of readings as you travel back in time. Also if you compare the Levitus et al (2009), Domingues et al. (2008) and Ishii and Kimoto (2008) and Wijffels et al (2008), you can see that there’s little agreement on the year-to-year variability:

    You asked, “Do you have any thoughts you might like to share as to why the NODC and the table of Global Analyzed Fields are not updated?”

    I don’t think it’s anything ominous. I included the discussion in the beginning to prevent comments about the webpage not illustrating the last six months of data. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was creating data.

    You asked, “How does the data connect with the AMO and PDO?”

    Hopefully the second of the linked posts in the Closing answers your question on the AMO.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html

    And if the PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO, then the other linked post answers part of that question. I still haven’t looked at the North Pacific in detail, though.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

  22. Uriel: Your rant begins with, “You’ve got to be kidding. ONE post on the elimination of data at CRU?!!??!”

    Please advise how your comment pertains to this post.

  23. The lack of sea ice likely contributes to cooling. As September rolls in, you have a huge expanse of exposed water, unblanketed by ice, unabatedly radiating its heat into the cold atmosphere.
    I think this radiative heat loss outwieghs the heat absorbed by the open water during the summer.

  24. Lindsay H. – Cook was the Star Trek of his day – venture into the unknown and he did.

    He should be Australia’s hero instead of Ned Kelly IMHO.

  25. Uriel (20:39:00) : Wow, that is, without a doubt, the wackiest post I’ve ever seen on WUWT. I don’t even know where to begin.

    Golly, you mean to tell me that you think there is a snowball’s chance in hell that ALL-every last bit-of the warming in the last 150 years is due to some chicanery in the Hadley record? I’ve got news for you buddy, the good ship “there’s no such thing as global warming” is a lonely vessel that left port long ago. NOBODY who is anybody believes that.

    And I say this as a Denier for god’s sake.

  26. 40 Shades of Green: You wrote, “As I look at most of the graphs, there is a step change up around 2003. I seem to recall reading from both yourself and others that this coincided with the change over to the ARGOS buoys. If I recall you had views on this. Could you do a quick recap.”

    That was a post by Craig Loehle:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/02/anomalous-spike-in-ocean-heat-content/

    You asked so I’ll list a few of my comments on that thread:
    #####
    The anomalous spike [in 2003] does NOT appear in the Domingues et al (2008) or the Ishii and Kimoto (I believe it was 2008 also) OHC reconstructions:

    I noted the divergence in my post “The Latest Revisions to Ocean Heat Content Data” here:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/03/latest-revisions-to-ocean-heat-content.html

    #####
    And:
    #####
    Craig Leihle noted that the 2003 spike in OHC did not appear in global SST anomaly. Here’s a graph of OHC versus Global SST anomaly.

    It’s from this post:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/11/revised-ocean-heat-content.html

    #####
    But as you’ll note in the tinypic link, 40 Shades, that anomalous rise occurs ~1 1/2 years before in the SST data.

    You asked, “Also, can one assume that Ocean Heat Content has been trending down ever since modern recording equipement (The Argos Buoys) were installed”

    There’s actually a slight increase in OHC trend from January 2003 to June 2009:

    But if you delete the last six months, the trend go up considerably:

  27. Stephen Wilde: You wrote, “If ocean heat content is declining then the amount of energy released to the air is, overall, greater than the amount of energy coming in from the sun.”

    Wouldn’t that depend on the cause of the decline in OHC? If it was due to an increase in cloud cover, wouldn’t there be a decrease in heat released to the atmosphere as well as a decrease in DSR?

    You wrote, “The effect of an EL Nino event (or a La Nina event) on ocean heat content SEEMS to depend on the activity level of the sun.”

    The upward step changes in OHC in the individual oceaan basins appear to depend on the magnitude of the El Nino event and the length of the subsequent La Nina. Refer to:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

    I haven’t checked to see if TSI increasing or decreasing during the upward steps. Maybe you’d like to plot them.

  28. Mr. Tisdale,

    I was wondering if the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and ensuing Tsunami affected the Indian Ocean by enhanced mixing of the deeper colder water with the warmer surface water?

    Intuitively I would think that the mixing would result in lowering the surface temperature reducing the heat radiation from the water with a corresponding increase in heat content later in the year.

  29. Stephen Wilde: I wrote in my reply to you, “I haven’t checked to see if TSI increasing or decreasing during the upward steps. Maybe you’d like to plot them.”

    Beat you to it. Here’s a graph of the Tropical South Atlantic OHC (very discernable step changes) and scaled sunspot numbers.

    The rise in the late 1970s occurs while sunspots are increasing, but the rise in the early 2000s occurs while sunspots are decreasing.

  30. Bob Tisdale (03:57:28)

    Bob, I don’t want to engage with you on the detailed workings of ENSO because you would tie me up in knots every time.

    I am taking a boad conceptual overview and there are many underlying variables that need to be measured and evaluated to see whether there is anything fatal to that overview.

    I am aware of the two edged effects of variations in cloudiness and albedo but I deal with that by suggesting that what matters for the overall global energy budget is the netted out effect of all such variables and that netted out effect seems to best noted from observations of the latitudinal positions of all the worlds air circulation systems at any one time. It is likely that the position of the ITCZ might serve as an adequate proxy for that and thus an indicator of the speed of the hydrological cycle globally at any given moment.

    I am also aware of your contention that the PDO is merely a statistical artifact of the ENSO phenomenon. I deal with that by suggesting that in fact there is a real oceanic oscillation behind the PDO phase shifts. How that would impact on your ENSO ideas I have no idea and it doesn’t really matter from my point of view.

    I also noted your reaction to my suggestion of a longer 500/1000 year oceanic oscillation and that you thought I was connecting it with ENSO in some way. As far as I am concerned it need not be connected to ENSO or PDO at all but if it is connected then again that matters not from my point of view.

    I see evidence for oceanic effects on energy release from oceans to air on all three timescales and it is up to you to decide whether that evidence can fit your ENSO ideas without conflict.

    If there is something in what I say which you think is clearly disproved from something within your knowledge then please say so and I will consider it. I do not consider either my ideas or yours to be complete or incontrovertible at this stage.

    I think TSI or other solar influences change act very slowly and so need not be linked to individual ENSO events at all. I take cognisance of what Leif says on that and am keeping an open mind as to the timescale at which solar influences become significant.

    The main point of my earlier and lengthy post was that if one does accept a 500/1000 year oceanic cycle behind those of ENSO and PDO then all our climate observations can be dealt with via an internally driven process without the need for any external forcing.

    That is not to deny an external forcing, it just means that such an external forcing is not required to explain what we see and record.

    The issue of getting extra energy in the air from extra CO2 into the oceans is a seperate matter but if that cannot happen in any meaningful quantity on any meaningful timescale then instead of changing the equilibrium temperature of the globe it will just be dealt with by a small change in the speed of the hydro cycle. A change far far smaller (indeed miniscule) compared to the size of the changes regularly occurring to deal with the consequences of the varying rates of energy release from those ocean cycles.

  31. FerdinandAkin: You asked, “I was wondering if the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and ensuing Tsunami affected the Indian Ocean by enhanced mixing of the deeper colder water with the warmer surface water?”

    I’d have no way to verify this?

  32. Bob Tisdale (04:47:32)

    Thank you for that link.

    The ocean heat content started it’s rise around 1980 in response to powerful solar cycles 21. 22 and 23. It rose despite strong El ninos venting energy to the air so I have to assume that those strong cycles were putting in more than the El Ninos were releasing.

    The fall in solar activity from the peak of cycle 23 appears to be now having an effect on ocean heat content even though the current El Nino is weak and other oceans are negative. Presumably not enough energy is being put into the oceans to maintain ocean heat content even though the oceanic conditions suggest it should be rising.

    As you point out at first sight the period 1955 to 1980 does not seem to fit the pattern. However what we had then was an even stronger solar cycle19 followed by a weaker cycle 20 combined with a negative oceanic phase.

    Thus the weaker cycle 20 appears to have prevented the combination of cycle 19 and the negative ocean phase from building up the ocean heat content in the way that would have been expected. Instead it remained approximately stable.

    Now that is all logical and fits the observations but is it true ?

    One difficulty with that analysis is that it signifies a much greater effect on ocean heat content than should take place if Leif is right about the size of solar variability. It could be a matter of amplification as per Svensmark and others.

    I’m not sure how it impacts on your ENSO theories, however and no doubt you can clarify that.

    Nevertheless whether or not Leif is right and whether or not your ENSO ideas are right the fact is that all these observations do fit my general climate description which relies on a broad global interplay between all the indivdual components of the system.

    How those individual components vary or interact between themselves can be fought over between all those who have an interest in those individual components. Whatever the outcome of the various territory struggles the final outcome will still fit my overview.

  33. Great stuff Bob.

    This data is key to what is going on with global warming. It is the canary in the coalmine.

    They are actually trying to update the Ocean Heat Content data on a continuous basis (rather than waiting years to come up with different ways to adjust it). I imagine Josh Willis has said he will continue to make the data available so he forced the issue.

    The pro-AGW researchers say the reason surface temperatures are not rising anywhere near as fast as predicted by the theory is that it is being absorbed by the oceans.

    For the oceans to be absorbing the energy away (so that it is not available to heat the surface) it has to go through the 0-700M region first. This data is the canary in the coalmine. [It is possible that some could just be going through the Arctic and Antarctic polar oceans only on their way to the deep oceans but your data shows this is not occurring either].

    If there is no increasing temperatures in the 0-700M OHC, then we are already at equilibrium and there will be no lagged warming to come from this level of CO2. The new data (decreasing temps) shows there is in fact some cycles in this data and we have been at equilibrium for some time now.

    [It is possible this is raw data that needs some adjustment first but they shouldn't be putting it in the database if that were the case].

  34. FerdinandAkin (03:57:40) :
    I was wondering if the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and ensuing Tsunami affected the Indian Ocean by enhanced mixing of the deeper colder water with the warmer surface water?

    Intuitively I would think that the mixing would result in lowering the surface temperature reducing the heat radiation from the water with a corresponding increase in heat content later in the year.

    It’s certainly a noticable jump from late 2005 to late 2008 in Bob’s Indian ocean graph, and it goes contrary to the general flatness and decline in OHC in the other basins. I wonder if undersea volcanism has anything to do with it.

  35. Just to follow up on Manfred’s point:

    If one cuts out the step change in 2003 due to the switch to ARGO, then OHC would appear to have declined in 2009 not to 2003 levels but to levels last seen in the mid-1990s.

  36. How strong are the westerlies? Do we have churning seas releasing heat during westerly equatorial wind conditions while the subsequent easterly equatorial wind condition peels away what warmth is left to reveal the cold depth?

  37. When one takes into account that this data is plotted using differing vertical scales, the ramp up in the North Atlantic 1990 – 2004 becomes even more striking. The Arctic Ocean anomaly is returning to its longer term range, but not the North Atlantic, as yet. The North Atlantic must be making a major contribution to the World anomaly.

    Is there any reasonable theory covering the North Atlantic increase in that period compared to the other sectors? Has there been a change in the circulation?

  38. In my post (05:38:54) I did not deal fully with the period 1980 to about 2003 due to a local distraction.

    From 1980 to 2003 there was a step upward in ocean energy content but then a plateau even though air temperatures (not shown) continued to rise.
    I would say that the step change occurred as the oceans switched from negative to positive and a new equilibrium was set between solar input and ocean energy release. There was a high solar input and a high ocean output so the ocean heat content was for a while after the step up roughly in balance but the air kept getting warmer due to the energy venting in strong El Ninos.

    From 2003 to date the oceans turned negative again so energy release fell and we saw another upward step change in ocean heat content because solar input was still high in historical times but as we now know destined for a fall.

    Now (2009) the sun is not even putting enough in to replace the relatively small rate of energy loss to the air in current ocean conditions so at last ocean heat content is falling even as air temperatures are falling (albeit irregularly).

  39. Uriel,

    Nobody here disputes that the world has warmed over the last 150 years; in fact, opver the last 300 years. But it was warmer 1000 years ago and has been even warmer before.

    We call natural cycles. We are trying to figure them out.

    As to Phil Jones, I do not believe he has any data, otherwise he would make it available. Are you a relative of his?

  40. Doug in Seattle (20:10:41) :

    MattN (19:30:26) :

    Why do we not see the 1998 super El Nino? Was that just on the surface?

    It appears to be limited to the southern hemisphere

    It is not here. SOI is positive (average:+3.9 for the last three months). And if you see:

    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

    you will observe, along the southamerican west coast, a cold SST that reaches the equator line, this is the Humboldt´s cold current surfacing (el Nino area 1+2).
    All this is indicative of La Nina back. Positive anomalies are restricted along the equator line.
    Also the characteristic PDO horseshoe pattern is back. Then all the pacific ocean is cold.

  41. Bob Tisdale (04:47:32) :
    The rise in the late 1970s occurs while sunspots are increasing, but the rise in the early 2000s occurs while sunspots are decreasing.
    So, clearly [on that flimsy evidence], sunspots have little [if any] measurable impact.

  42. As the El Nino is warm surface water returning eastward in a Kelvin wave when the trade winds weaken, how can it alter the ocean heat content? Surely all it does is redistribute the heat from the West Pacific to the East Pacific there is no heat added into the surface waters. Therefore, if there is a spike in OHC when there is an El Nino – it shows an error in the methodology for determining the OHC.

  43. Stephen Wilde (07:11:00) :
    solar input was still high in historical times but as we now know destined for a fall.
    Solar activity in the mid-19th century and mid-18th century was not significantly lower than in the mid-20th century. And solar activity 108 years ago was just what it is today. The coldest part of the LIA was during the high solar activity around 1600. The variation of solar ‘input’ is of the order of 0.1% and account for 0.07K. Even with an amplification factor of, say, 3, that is still only 0.2K. It cannot be much more that that because we don’t see a solar cycle signal larger than that. You mention SC20, but temperatures were declining well before that, so unless you postulate that our climate is a good predictor of future solar activity …

  44. Ian W: You wrote, “As the El Nino is warm surface water returning eastward in a Kelvin wave when the trade winds weaken, how can it alter the ocean heat content? Surely all it does is redistribute the heat from the West Pacific to the East Pacific there is no heat added into the surface waters. Therefore, if there is a spike in OHC when there is an El Nino – it shows an error in the methodology for determining the OHC.”

    Your explanation misses some of what transpires during an El Nino event, because the heat is added during the recharge portion, the La Nina. Refer to the OHC of the tropical Pacific compared to NINO3.4 SST anomalies:

    El Nino events release heat from the tropical Pacific to the atmosphere, lowering OHC. During El Nino events, warm water is also redistributed from the tropical Pacific to the extratropics of the Pacific, lowering OHC in the tropical Pacific but raising it in the extratropics. And the subsequent La Nina recharges the lost heat in the tropics. If there is a multiyear La Nina, the tropical Pacific OHC rises in a “step”.

  45. Leif Svalgaard (08:15:14) : So, clearly [on that flimsy evidence], sunspots have little [if any] measurable impact.

    Hi Dr. Svalgaard,

    Two questions:

    1. Do you also think that cosmic rays have little [if any] measurable impact?
    2. What is the most reliable available cosmoc rays data we have for the period 1850-2009?

    Best Regards,

    Invariant

  46. Leif: You wrote, “So, clearly [on that flimsy evidence], sunspots have little [if any] measurable impact.”

    It is flimsy. But it appears the significant upward shifts occur regardless of the solar cycle.

  47. Stephen Wilde: That graph was an example of the El Nino-induced step changes in many of the ocean basins. They don’t exist in the North Atlantic or the North Pacific. Here’s a comparison of Global OHC versus sunspot number.

    Global OHC started rising in 1970, around the peak of SC#20.

  48. My freezer is about 20 degrees. It takes about 3 hours to make a batch of ice from start to finish. It seems cold air removes heat from water pretty quickly.

  49. Bob,

    Can we see the chart without the big jump from 2002 to 2003 (adjust it out).

    These are actually two different datasets. One is based on the Argo bouy system from post-2003 which was specifically designed to measure OHC. The other pre-2003 data is based on a variety of different sources.

    There is no weather/ocean change reason for the big jump other than the two datasets did not match up. Levitus presumably did this properly but then one never knows. Does the detailed data show there may have been a mismatch or is the timing just coincidental.

  50. Invariant (09:14:12) :
    1. Do you also think that cosmic rays have little [if any] measurable impact?
    Yes, basically because the cosmic flux has been rather constant [apart from the dips caused by high solar activity] since we have good data [1952]
    2. What is the most reliable available cosmoc rays data we have for the period 1850-2009?
    We don’t have reliable cosmic ray data before 1952.

    Bob Tisdale (09:14:31) :
    It is flimsy. But it appears the significant upward shifts occur regardless of the solar cycle.
    Just my point.

  51. Another AGWier claim destroyed… since their claim that the atmosphere was warming up was destroyed they switched to the oceans were warming up (due to us of course!) but with this… they don’t have a standing argument.

  52. Bob Tisdale (09:32:59)

    Each ocean behaves differently because of the lag which you have mentioned whereby the initial conditions in the Pacific then spread around the world.

    The global chart smooths all that out and so we just see a relatively steady rise in OHC throughout the period of high solar activity.

    The solar changes should not be that influential as Leif says so we must wait and see.

    Makes no difference to the energy in versus energy out proposition though and makes no difference to the fact that the oceans create variations in energy flow to the air which causes climate variability.

    I currently think the oceans can do it all on their own if need be but I remain puzzled on the scale and timing of the solar effect, if any.

  53. Bob Tisdale (09:08:33) : In the year 1991 there was simultaneously a big low in low altitude cloud cover and GCR (p.77 H.Svensmark “The Chilling Stars”)
    and, six years later, the 97-98 big el Nino.
    All hockey sticks make use of this Nino event as an INCREASE while it was, as you say, a big lose in heat content.

  54. Invariant (10:37:34) :
    In other words you think that CERN paper is nonsense?

    Certainly the following statement from your link is nonsense:
    “Although the evidence for a cosmic ray-climate connection grows greater by the day”

    By the day?

    The fact remains that cosmic rays at solar minimum [when they should have the largest effect - because there are more of them] have been nearly constant since 1952, while temps have not.

  55. Do you think that it is really possible for anything to have an exact target; such as hitting the moon with a rocket since the moon is in a constant orbiting motion plus a very slow ratation on it’s axis? The earth orbits the sun with the speed of light, the moon is smaller than earth, earth rotates on it’s axis at 1,000 miles in one hour, all planets in our galaxy are insync with earths rotation and the gravity of the sun; all this stuff is traveling so fast in the universe that it seems almost impossible to be able to hit a target since there is constant motion.

    The earth orbits the sun at the speed of light, the moon orbits the earth; plus all these other planets are in constant orbiting motion, yet connected to the rotation of the earth.

    It looks in my mind like all this stuff works like the internal structure of a big wrist watch.

  56. Ocean heat content plunges immediately before an El Nino – if you look at 1998 in the first graph, it drops like a rock.

    The fact that ocean heat has dropped one of the reasons that NOAA is still projecting a moderate to strong El Nino this year. Which is one of the reasons that GISS et al are projecting this year to be much hotter than 2008 and maybe as hot as 1998.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

  57. So here is my problem at this point in time…

    What can we attribute the current rise in temperature rise to over the last 150 years. Also what can we attribute the temperature fall to during the little ice age. At this point in time I have to agree with Dr. Svalgaard that there is next to no correlation between anything measurable with the sun and temperature fluctuations that we have experienced. We know that certain aerosols can and do have an effect on temperature by reflecting sun light back into the atmosphere. However I cannot find any correlation that would explain either the current rise ( lack of particulate matter in the atmosphere vs an increase in temperature at the same time )

    CO2 does not seem to be a correct correlation because historically we know temperatures have fluctuated despite man being involved in its production. Which is the main thing that causes me to doubt it as being the driver of temperature change at this time as well…

    While I have heard discussion of clouds being the primary cause of cooling/warming I have only heard a few mechanisms used to describe how this can be the case, cosmic rays being one, which however do not seem to be able again to explain the lack of serious rise or fall of these either.

    Forgive me for stating the obvious but, what are we really left with? Based on Anthony’s research as to the surface stations from which we have derived the temperature data in the first place even that data is suspect as to if there is a significant rise in temperature as well…

    So… is most of this just an exercise in futility? Is the temperature really increasing? If so can anyone actually refute the CO2 correlation other then historical lack of causality?

    Sun is out, Co2 is out, aerosols are out ( other then temporary variations due to volcanic activity ).

    Also up to this point in time I seem to recall that the average temperature is what either 14 or 16 degrees Celsius? and to date the highest fluctuation up has been .6 degrees , again based on possibly flawed input stations? which for 14 degrees average that would be a 4.5% variation to the max and if 16 degrees a 3.75% fluctuation.

    I guess what I am trying to say is nothing to date fits… Based on what I am seeing from Leif the sun does not even get close to varying as much as 1%… am I correct? So the sun is out…

    Sorry I am a skeptic I suppose so I just don’t see where any of the theories advanced to date actually reaches a good conclusion, not to say stop looking but every theory seems be like a sock full of holes.

    Interesting information Bob, but the one thing we still don’t have is a reason for either the heat build up to begin with or now the sudden drop.

    If anyone can set me straight on this and show how my thinking is flawed please do so… Again this is looking at all the information from a birds eye view, listening to what others are both saying and what their opponents are saying and seeing that no one has really been able to correlate temperature to anything.

  58. I think most of you have basically misunderstood URIEL. Here is an excerpt from his contribution above:
    Quote
    The CRU/Phil Jones data is THE SOURCE. THE ORIGIN. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.

    Everything you discuss is entirely dependent upon accepting the truth and validity of Jones’ claim that the earth warmed over the last 150 yrs.

    With that debunked or disproven, the entire theory falls apart. ALL other global warming claims are thus falsified. Unquote

    My interpretation is that he is the ultimate AGW denier to beat us all. He is basically saying that the CRU/Phil Jones data is the basis for the AGW theory and now that it has been debunked etc. there is nothing to debate any more. At least this is my interpretation. With the disappearance of the original data the time series has been debunked etc. and the AGW proposition dead. Maybe I am wrong but that is how I read it. He is actually ciding Mr Watts for only having one blog on this crucial issue. I am not sure he is right in view of Mr McIntyre’s efforts, but maybe this issue needs to be repeated and repeated with the advent of Copenhagen December 2009. On that he is right. Not enough is being done to highlight this major deficiency in the underlying HAD/CRU time series “justifying” the AGW proposition.

  59. Yaakoba (11:03:16) :
    It looks in my mind like all this stuff works like the internal structure of a big wrist watch.
    Most of your facts are a bit wrong [that's OK, we can't all be experts], but I would add to your image of a watch, that it seems to have been run over by a truck, as thing are really messy out there.

  60. Innocentious (11:35:45) :
    the sun does not even get close to varying as much as 1%… am I correct?
    Less than that: 0.1%

    date the highest fluctuation up has been .6 degrees , again based on possibly flawed input stations? which for 14 degrees average that would be a 4.5% variation to the max and if 16 degrees a 3.75% fluctuation.
    You should calculate the percentages based on the absolute temperature which is C+273, so they become: 0.6/(14+273)*100 = 0.2%

  61. Leif Svalgaard (12:00:49) :
    Innocentious (11:35:45) :
    “You should calculate the percentages based on the absolute temperature which is C+273, so they become: 0.6/(14+273)*100 = 0.2%”
    Which is still about 10 times as high as we expect from the Sun, as the temperature goes with the one-fourth power of the energy.

  62. Hans Verbeek (10:52:01) :

    Wow, all that water cooling down so quickly.
    I wonder where all that heat is now ?

    Warming up the rest of the universe.

  63. KBK: You asked, “Is there any reasonable theory covering the North Atlantic increase in that period compared to the other sectors? Has there been a change in the circulation?”

    The Atlantic Multidecal Oscillation is known to impact SST, but I haven’t seen it mentioned in a discussion of the OHC of the North Atlantic. I guess we’ll find out its impact on OHC over the next couple of decades. In addition, in the second post linked in the closing of this post are discussions of the impacts of ENSO and the NAO on the North Atlantic OHC.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html

  64. Stephen Wilde (07:11:00) :

    From 2003 to date the oceans turned negative again so energy release fell and we saw another upward step change in ocean heat content because solar input was still high in historical times but as we now know destined for a fall.

    FWIW the sunspot count dropped below 40 at the start of 2004. I think there is a splicing problem between ARGO and the prior data, but who knows, maybe there was a big cloud anomaly in 2003. It wasn’t picked up by the Earthshine project though. Syd Levitus has a history of playing fast and loose with data too…

    Your analysis which takes account of the 60 year ocean cycles as well as the solar cycles is plausible. Much more of interest than the dismissive oversimplification coming from elsewhere. None of this stuff is happening in isolation. We cannot expect neat correlations between two variables. It’s a lot more complex than that.

    Temperature change due to solar variability over the cycle is also much greater than a facile simplistic perusal of the data reveals.

  65. Ok I’m having great problems with the oceans controlling temperature.

    There are people saying that the oceans heat content is increasing at especially at 700m. At this sort of depth the temperatures are coler than the air temperatures.
    To reach 700m sw sunlight will have to travel through 700m of water which will all absorb some of the UV and warm.
    At 700m the water temperature is 12C approx and 4C below 900m and 22C surface. (presumably tropical seas?)

    http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Water/temp.html&edu=high

    If the 700m water is going to warm the air then it must increase the surface temperature of water to greater than the air temp. You cannot transfer heat from cold to hot

    I.E. if the 700m water gets heated to 13C the surface temp is 23C assuming thermal link. If 23C is cooler than the air temp then heat will still be flowing from air to water. This is likely the case during the day so there is a possibility of transfer from air to ocean at night perhaps?

    The other possibility is for the cool waters with the additional heat content to get transported to cooler latitudes via the THC.

    In both these cases the effect of heat content lowering in the oceans should be measurable at the ocean surface or at the turnover point of the THC by an increase in surface temperature.
    But of course the THC takes centuries to transit from warm to cool waters so temperature increases we are seeing now are due to events occuring before industrialisation.

    Stephen Wilde (10:06:09) : says

    … makes no difference to the fact that the oceans create variations in energy flow to the air which causes climate variability.

    But i can see no way that energy stored at low temperature can transfer to the air at a higher temp in any sort of controlled manner.

    Explanations on a post card please.

  66. Bill Illis: You asked, “Can we see the chart without the big jump from 2002 to 2003 (adjust it out).”

    Here ya are. I lopped off 0.1 GJ/m^2 from April 2003 to present.

    Keep in mind, though, that as shown previously, there was a significant rise in SST a year and a half before the rise in OHC:

  67. Kum Dollison (13:10:13) :
    Well, Leif, please ’splain to me your take on this post
    First, read the comments to that post. No need for me to repeat them all here.

    For a perspective, perhaps read http://www.leif.org/EOS/muscheler07qsr.pdf
    From their conclusion: “The tree-ring 14 C record and 10Be from
    Antarctica indicate that recent solar activity is high but not exceptional with respect to the last 1000 yr.”
    or this one: http://www.leif.research/EOS/2009GL038004.pdf
    “Recent 10Be values are low; however, they do not indicate unusually high recent solar activity compared to the last 600 years.

    Nor do they indicate unusually low solar activity. For the cosmic ray record over the last 50+ years, the Thule station is a good marker, [since Thule at its high latitude have less factors disturbing the record]: http://www.leif.org/research/thule-cosmic-rays.png or here [if you don't trust my plot] http://www.leif.org/research/Bartol-Thule-Cosmic-Rays.png

    The quote from the link does not accurately describe the facts, namely that the MODULATION [which is only ~10%] of cosmic rays has varied that much in the past.

  68. John Peter: You wrote, “Not enough is being done to highlight this major deficiency in the underlying HAD/CRU time series ‘justifying’ the AGW proposition.”

    But the NCDC and GISS also have global land and ocean temperature anomaly datasets so the underlying problem is not HadCRUT. The problem is the manufactured correlation of anthropogenic forcings and global temperature anomaly. The global temperature anomaly curve can be reproduced with natural variables. If I can do it, the powers that be can’t be trying too hard:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/reproducing-global-temperature.html

  69. tallbloke (2:33:17)

    I meant to type ‘historical terms’ rather than ‘historical times’ which has caused some confusion especially to Leif.

    I take Leif’s instruction on solar issues seriously but remain puzzled by the contradiction between his clearly correct comments on the smallness of solar variation over time and the contradictory but equally clearly correct historical correlation between solar activity and climate changes.

    As I did say elsewhere, but perhaps it was missed, it may just be that by coincidence the solar cycle troughed at around the same time as my proposed 500/1000 year oceanic cycle troughed at around 1600 AD.

    I’ve previously said that solar and oceanic influences can either supplement or offset each other so it is possible that at other times than around 1600 AD there could have been occasions when solar influences were high from an active sun but the climate was nevertheless cool due to negative oceans.

    I am now reasonably sure that solar influences are weak except on long timescales and that oceanic variability is strong on shorter timescales but I remain open minded on the precise timescale at which solar influences become significant.

    My doubts on the issue arise because it is quite easy to describe relatively short term multidecadal climate changes or changes in ocean heat content by juggling the solar and oceanic contributions (I have done that in my responses to Bob Tisdale) but from what Leif says that should not be possible.

    It may be that there are amplification factors such as the hypotheses by Svensmark and others but whatever the reality my proposed general climate description remains unaffected. I’d like to know the answer though.

  70. bill (13:42:40) :

    “Ok I’m having great problems with the oceans controlling temperature.”

    Maybe this will help:

    Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the product of oceanic respiration due to the well‑known but under‑appreciated solubility pump. Carbon dioxide rises out of warm ocean waters where it is added to the atmosphere. There it is mixed with residual and accidental CO2, and circulated, to be absorbed into the sink of the cold ocean waters. Next the thermohaline circulation carries the CO2‑rich sea water deep into the ocean. A millennium later it appears at the surface in warm waters, saturated by lower pressure and higher temperature, to be exhausted back into the atmosphere. [source]

  71. Bob Tisdale: I can see that part adjusted out making the graph look more in line with temperature trends before 2008, and I can see where the adjustment would be needed to take in the fact of the ARGO data taking more accurate measurements which then shows OHC could’ve been higher than what the older measurements were getting.

    El Nino is removing OHC, the South Pacific OHC showing the El Nino, like I said if current downtrends in the other regions continue after El Nino disappears we could see enough of a drop to make the trend not seem near as significant as we see South Pacific OHC drop as the ENSO region cools.

    There’s still the Southern Ocean OHC but apparently the swings mean what goes down must come back up to an extent, but here we see it going up and basing it on the up and down movement what goes up will probably have to come back down.

  72. bill: You wrote, “Ok I’m having great problems with the oceans controlling temperature.”

    Normally, that discussion pertains to Sea Surface Temperature (not Ocean Heat Content) and oceanic processes like El Nino and La Nina events and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

  73. innocentious (11:35:45)

    You have hit on the points that confused me some years ago.

    However I had by then already noted the latitudinal shift in the air circulation systems that always follows changes in sea surface temperatures.

    I considered the possible reasons why the air circulation systems might shift latitudinally in response to sea surface temperature changes and decided that it must be something to do with the net global energy balance.

    I had previously noted the shift poleward shortly after the global temperatures started to rise in the late 1970s and was surprised that in 1988 Hansen and others announced that the whole thing was anthropogenic. I went along with that until about 2000 because I’m just an amateur and what would I know ?

    Anyway around 2000 I noted the systems shifting back equatorward again (apparently before anyone else noticed) and that created a dissonance in my mind which caused me to doubt the professional diagnosis.

    About two years ago it became clear to me if not to others that something was seriously awry in contemporary climatology because no one was linking the return equatorward of the air circulation systems to anything happening in the climate as a result of natural variability. As it happened that coincided with a cessation of the apparent warming trend so I was pretty sure that I had spotted something significant.

    I noticed that the drift of the systems back equatorward was being ignored and the earlier poleward drift was being attributed to irreversible human influences.

    So, there was a clear and obvious discrepancy between real world events and generally accepted climate theory.

    Hence my entry onto the scene as a climate theorist.

    I think I now have a grip on the overall scenario by creating a conceptual overview based on observations and basic physical principles.

    There are two fundamental isues which remain unresolved:

    1) the extent to which external forcings affect the system (mainly solar variation). I have explained previously why I think internal oceanic forcings could account for all observed climate changes in any event so I am not unduly concerned about that aspect and the current weak solar cycle should resolve the issue for us.

    2) the question whether changes in the composition of the air alone are capable of changing an equilbrium temperature initially set by the sun/sea interaction.

    I aver that because the air temperatures always move towards sea surface temperatures and because the effect of increased evaporation and a faster hydrological cycle always offsets the warming effect of any increased downwelling infra red radiation created by more greenhouse gases then more CO2 in the system cannot alter the equilibrium temperature set by sun and oceans. AGW theory relies on such additional downwelling IR raising the ocean temperature but I have not found corroboration of that assertion anywhere other than in sources influenced by James Hansen who started the whole AGW scare back in 1988.

    If it can be shown that extra downwelling infra red radiation from human sources can affect ocean temperatures on a timescale meaningful to humanity (say less than 500 years) then I would accept that as evidence in favour of AGW theory.

    However the fact is that currently the air circulation systems have moved back equatorward from the positions adopted during the recent late 20th century warming spell despite increased CO2 in the air and temperatures are no longer rising so at present AGW theory is distinctly shaky.

    Furthermore our most recent and most advanced sensors show that ocean heat content is currently falling rather than rising whereas according to AGW theory the increased CO2 in the air should have caused increasing ocean heat content.

    I hope that assists you.

  74. Joe Romm at Climate Progress has a post up this morning on ocean heat content supposedly proving that warming is continuing . He makes a big argument based on this figure

    Your plot showing global OHC falling below 2003 levels really blows him away.

  75. Leif Svalgaard,

    the sun does not even get close to varying as much as 1%… am I correct?
    Less than that: 0.1%

    date the highest fluctuation up has been .6 degrees , again based on possibly flawed input stations? which for 14 degrees average that would be a 4.5% variation to the max and if 16 degrees a 3.75% fluctuation.
    You should calculate the percentages based on the absolute temperature which is C+273, so they become: 0.6/(14+273)*100 = 0.2%

    Thank you for correcting my math, you of course are correct to do it as C + 273 ( silly me thinking in terms of 0 C ) again begging the question is this fluctuation really that much on a scale of magnitudes and is it that much when it comes to climate… I understand glacier build up and that we are on the edge as far as the temperature goes of having it ( in other words our planet is just barely able to sustain life without freezing over ) but is movement in the positive direction truly that bad. Again I still am not convinced of the data sources as being pure in the first place and we really are talking about a very small change in temperature to date… as Leif said about 0.2%…

    Still wondering if we are asking the right questions…

  76. tallbloke (23:58:58) :

    “When will someone start listening?”

    Is the BBC starting to listen?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm

    QUOTE: “What happened to global warming?”

    “This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.
    But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.”

    This seems to be the first almost semi-neutral article so far; is the BBC getting
    ready to switch sides?

    The article goes on to discuss the oceans heat storage.

    “What is really interesting at the moment is what is happening to our oceans. They are the Earth’s great heat stores.

    According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated.”

    The most funny thing in the article is,,,,,,

    “The Met Office says that warming is set to resume quickly and strongly.
    It predicts that from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be hotter than the current hottest year on record (1998).”

    Maybe a second hand store will give them Ten Dollars for that “Super Computer”
    that they just bought!

  77. Molon Labe (14:58:46) :

    Joe Romm at Climate Progress has a post up this morning on ocean heat content supposedly proving that warming is continuing . He makes a big argument based on this figure

    Just posted to Romms blog. Funnily enough, it seems to have gone straight up without the usual ‘your post is awaiting moderation’ Can someone check they can see it for me?

    1.
    tallbloke says:
    October 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I can see you’ve had the crayon box open again Joe, but have you seen the latest OHC data?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/ 2009/ 10/ 09/ ocean-heat-content-dropping/

  78. Smokey (14:09:36)
    Your response and reference ties to my personal hypothesis:
    a) A graph of the three data sets shows there is no correlation between CO2 increase, atmospheric temperatures, and fossil fuel consumption.
    b) The increase in atmospheric CO2 from ~280 ppm about 200 years ago was steady until ~1965, when the rate increased about 25% and has been steady for the past 45 years.
    c) The Vostok core studies tell us that CO2 increases lag temperature increases by 700-800 years.
    d) The MWP peaked about 1200 AD.
    e) The oceans can, and do, hold far more CO2 than the atmosphere.
    f) Warm water retains less CO2 than cold water.
    g) Therefore, by undefined natural processes (perhaps the slow conveyor referred to in the rsj), the MWP triggered a deep water release of CO2, which is only now being noted. Such a release would be so defuse that it would be near impossible to detect, particularly if you were looking at auto tailpipes.
    The rsj article may deal with this question directly, but my last physics course was about 50 years ago. I follow WUWT and other sites for continuing education, but some of the math and methods remain beyond my grasp.
    Any clarification, even refutation will be welcome.

  79. Bob Tisdale (15:33:28) :

    Molon Labe: Thanks. I just ran across Joe Romm’s post, too. Your link to Climate Progress didn’t make it through though. So here it is:

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/10/skeptical-science-global-warming-not-cooling-is-still-happening-ocean-heat-content/

    The graph he uses ends in 2004, and the data appears to end in 2003.

    It fails to illustrate the flattening of OHC from 2003 to 2008 and it misses the drop in 2009.

    Bob, of greater interest is the paper Joe Romm links, in draft form, for free.

    http://www.euro-argo.eu/content/download/49437/368494/file/VonSchukmann_et_al_2009_inpress.pdf

    This does show OHC through 2008, and down to 2000m

    Still misses the drop in 2009 though.

  80. @tallbloke (16:03:09) : Yes your post is there. He kept it because he added some snark to it.

    He’s trying to argue that the 0-2000m data shows the signal better than the 0-700m. Which is strange considering the forcing is supposedly coming from the surface, hence the shallower data must necessarily lead the deeper data. Also the 0-700 data has not had magic pixie-dust peer review sprinkled on it.

  81. If OHC is declining, while SSTs are not then this means the Earth’s climate is cooling, as the oceans (where 99.x% of the Earth’s climate’s heat is) are losing more heat than they are gaining.

    It also means the current atmospheric temperatures merely reflect the lag (delay) in the solar input to oceans, heat release to atmosphere, heat loss to space, cycle.

    I feel pretty confident that this data points to sharpish falls in atmospheric temperatures over the next couple of years.

  82. Leif Svalgaard (11:01:41) have been nearly constant since 1952, while temps have not.

    Certainly you are looking through your standard “any-impact-from-outer-space-have–instant-on-earth-effect-glasses” (without any delay). We have many predominant oscillations here on our planet that has characteristic time constants in the range from a couple of years to a century. Thus I suggest that you should instead try to answer the question I asked – is the paper from CERN nonsense?

  83. Invariant said:

    Leif Svalgaard (11:01:41) have been nearly constant since 1952, while temps have not.

    As far as I am aware there is only one Leif Svalgaard, but what does the constancy of his presence since 1952 have to do with temperatures.

  84. When I did research, my resultant thesis, which is still in the library at OSU in Corvallis, has a number of weaknesses in it, as well as points to consider that could be argued with. There are other sections that are pretty solid. My hunch is that the CERN paper is likewise. The entire thing is not nonsense, but parts can and should be called into question, just like my original thesis.

    Fortunately for me, a colleague who happened to be wicked smart, considered my thesis and data as a “gold mine” (his words, not mine). He brought out aspects of the study that I was unable to due to my lack of sufficient background in electrical signal speed along the axis of brain cells, and detailed (as in electron microscopic details) neuroanatomy in terms of the physical properties of the auditory pathway in the brainstem.

    The best scientists in the field find gold where it can be found and offer critique that is meant to improve knowledge. If my colleague had called my paper nonsense, we probably could not have collaborated in a second reading of the data and come up with truly solid insights and discoveries that had not been published before. The result is a published paper in a major journal that I remain proud of and humbled by. All due to a colleague imbued with both smarts and diplomacy.

  85. What I noticed first about the Arctic Ocean graph is it hit rock bottom just as satellites started being used to monitor polar ice. Coldest water just as we started taking pictures. Too bad we didn’t have satellites 30 years earlier. Might have helped a lot of people get a clue and admit things run in cycles.

  86. Ocean heat content plunges immediately before an El Nino – if you look at 1998 in the first graph, it drops like a rock

    Proof that oceans affect atmospheric temps and not vica-versa?

    “For the oceans to be absorbing the energy away”

    For me this is a really key point. I’d love it if someone could answer this. Does the temperature of the atmosphere affect the temperature of the ocean (beyond, say, the top meter or so)?
    Another related question – to heat 1 meter cubed of water from absolute zero to 10 degree Celsius would take a lot more energy than it would take to heat 1 meter cubed of our sea level atmosphere to this temp, yes? One more – can one think of the oceans as being a “store” of all the sunlight it took warm it from absolute zero (not that it was ever at absolute zero… and yes, geothermic influences were probably fairly important at the stage when the oceans were forming!) to its current temp? Or would it be simpler to say they are a store of sunlight, otherwise they would be frozen? I wish I could say this more clearly. Is it really possible that the thin, insubstantial atmosphere can ever “warm” the oceans? Put it this way, if you wanted to heat a container of water, would you blow hot gas at it? Here is a thought, if the oceans were frozen, what would reheat them? A warming atmosphere or the direct sunlight?

    Further, if the atmosphere controlled the oceans’ temps and CO2 warmed the atmosphere, in other words if both conditions were true, surely we’d have had a runaway greenhouse sometime in the last 600 million years? As in CO2 warms atmosphere, atmosphere warms the ocean, ocean outgases CO2 which warms the atmoshere and so on? I understand the AGW theory even throws in more postive feedbacks to do with water vapor. What am I missing?

  87. Invariant (18:13:53) :
    (without any delay). [...] Thus I suggest that you should instead try to answer the question I asked – is the paper from CERN nonsense?
    Svensmark claims there is no delay [or perhaps a few days (from his Forbush Decrease analysis)]. Now, to the question: First, the paper is not from CERN. It is in no way instigated, funded, or otherwise endorsed by CERN. Svensmark and Co were permiited to use some vacant CERN facility, is all.
    Nonsense? Obviously, one can find much [background] material in the paper that is not nonsense. The real question should be: “did the recent experiment establish their wider case?” and it is clear that it did not [perhaps, yet]. And what is the experiment really about? Whether or not the cosmic rays detritus can serve as condensation cores. This in itself does not establish the sufficient part of their assertion, only the necessary part. On a nonsense scale from 1 to 9, the paper is perhaps a 5. Your question may be a 7, :-)

  88. Roddy Baird (19:55:52) :
    Does the temperature of the atmosphere affect the temperature of the ocean (beyond, say, the top meter or so)?
    The atmosphere is heated from below as it is basically transparent to sunlight [in the visible where by far most of energy is].

  89. “The atmosphere is heated from below as it is basically transparent to sunlight [in the visible where by far most of energy is].”

    So you would agree that the notion that heat being transmitted from the atmosphere into the ocean is, as part of an understanding of earth’s climactic system, not valid?

  90. Tim,

    I only have access to the Schruckman(2009) abstract and it doesn’t make much sense.

    For example, It says Strong … decadal changes superimpose long-term changes at northern midlatitudes..

    How decadal changes and long-term changes can be determined from 6 years of data is not clear, to say the least (except i assume through the magic of models).

    It then says,

    Global mean heat content and steric height changes are clearly associated with a positive trend during the 6 years of measurements.

    I interpret associated with a positive trend to mean the data aren’t positive but again through the magic of models we can make something (unstated) look positive.

    Perhaps they meant to say ” associated in a positive trend”, ie OHC and ocean currents increase together, which would make more sense. But hardly a surprising conclusion.

  91. Bob Tisdale I have the following questions:

    Am I correct in assuming that the heat content of the Ocean in the layer 0 to 700 metres could drop for two reasons a) greater transfer of heat to the colder layers below or b) greater radiation and /or convection from the surface layers into the atmosphere?

    If this be so, can we assume the transfer of heat between the surface and deeper layers to be more or less constant? and most of the heat loss due to loss of heat content from the surface layers into the atmosphere?

    If this be so what would be the effect on the air temperatures? What is the relationship between the Ocean heat content and Global temperatures? Have you tried to plot the correlation region-wise and globally?

    Why do we take the heat content of the ocean upto a depth of 700 metres? The layers closer to the surface would have increasingly greater influence on Global temperatures.

    Also Bob Tisdale (05:35:28) :
    FerdinandAkin: You asked, “I was wondering if the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and ensuing Tsunami affected the Indian Ocean by enhanced mixing of the deeper colder water with the warmer surface water?”
    “I’d have no way to verify this?”

    I suggest maybe you do. If indeed such a thing had happened wouldnt it show a lowering of the heat content in the Indian Ocean in 2005? From the graph above the heat content started getting lower early in 2004, well before the tsunami, and it seems to have had no significant impact on the graph?

  92. Brian Angliss (11:11:05) : Ocean heat content plunges immediately before an El Nino – if you look at 1998 in the first graph, it drops like a rock.

    .. GISS et al are projecting this year to be much hotter than 2008 and maybe as hot as 1998.

    The first graph is the heat content of the Arctic Ocean which has nothing to do with the El Nino. And it doesnt drop “like a rock”in 1998. It started dropping in 1996 and there have been far greater drops than this in other years, even in the Arctic. The global ocean heat content wasnt much affected.

    2009 will be warmer than 2008 which was a very cool year but so far it is nowhere near as warm as 1998. Here are the average temperature anomalies from Jan to Sept (UAH):
    1998 0.59
    2002 0.33
    2003 0.24
    2004 0.18
    2005 0.33
    2006 0.24
    2007 0.32
    2008 0
    2009 0.23

    2009 as you can see is nothing exceptional so far. For 2009 to catch upto 1998 it will have to the really warm in the next 3 months, which looks unlikely.

  93. I too found Joe Romm’s post.

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/10/skeptical-science-global-warming-not-cooling-is-still-happening-ocean-heat-content/

    In his updated post in response to tallblokes crayon comment Joe claims to have up dated his information to 2008. He speaks with such confidence. It is difficult to know who to believe. Can anyone show Mr.Romm’s Fig.1 “Earth’s Total Heat Content” up dated to 2009.

    PS I have had a run in with Joe in the past. In the end he simply censored my reply, which was both polite and measured. I was surprised to see he permitted a link to WUWT.

  94. Tim: You wrote, “This data supports what others have argued recently (on Pielke Sr.’s blog for instance) but seems out of sync with what Schruckman (2009) is saying.”

    There are no two OHC reconstructions that are exactly the same:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/07/ohc-trends-presented-by-levitus-et-al.html

    Schuckmann et al (2009) limits the data to the period of 2003 to 2008. If we look at the NODC data for same period, it also shows an upward trend:

    But when you include the past six months, the trend flattens considerably:

    Schuckmann et al (2009) also studies the depths to 2000 meters, where the long-term reconstructions focus on 0 to 700 meters.

  95. Roddy Baird: Ocean heat content plunges immediately before an El Nino – if you look at 1998 in the first graph, it drops like a rock.”

    First, the El Nino in question started early in 1997. It’s better to think of it as the 1997/98 El Nino. If we look at a comparison graph of NINO3.4 SST anomalies and OHC of the tropical Pacific…

    …we can see that tropical Pacific OHC drops in sync with the rise in NINO3.4 SST anomalies. That graph is from this post:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

  96. Molon Labe (17:13:54) :

    @tallbloke (16:03:09) : Yes your post is there. He kept it because he added some snark to it.
    #
    tallbloke says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 11, 2009 at 4:32 am

    UPDATE: Yes, I am aware of the recent upper-ocean heat content data on the web. Please note that plots of very recent, highly variable upper-ocean content heat data down to 700 meters from unpeer-reviewed sources

    Joe, please explain how the deeper ocean is warmed while the upper ocean cools or stays static if the energy that it is heating it up is (allegedly) coming from longwave radiation from heightened levels of co2 in the atmosphere.
    By the way, the KNMI provided data is actually the same series as used by Syd Levitus et al 2009. Let the unpeers know.

  97. Leif Svalgaard (20:49:13) :

    Roddy Baird (19:55:52) :
    Does the temperature of the atmosphere affect the temperature of the ocean (beyond, say, the top meter or so)?
    The atmosphere is heated from below as it is basically transparent to sunlight [in the visible where by far most of energy is].

    Hi Leif, how much of TSI is in the infrared compared to visible please?

    “As for the sun, the earth receives the full spectrum. Most of the radiation
    above visible light is reflected back by the ozone layer of our atmosphere.
    The ultraviolet light that does get through causes sunburn. Radio waves
    don’t have enough energy to be noticed: some pass right through the earth.
    The two parts of the spectrum that have greatest effect are infrared and
    visible. Since visible light is such a narrow range of frequencies,
    infrared does provide a great deal of the heat we receive.”

    Dr. Ken Mellendorf
    Illinois Central College

  98. Roddy Baird (19:55:52) :
    Does the temperature of the atmosphere affect the temperature of the ocean (beyond, say, the top meter or so)?

    Since Leif answered you with a non-sequiteur I’ll have a go:

    So far as we can tell, it doesn’t affect it at all, because longwave radiation from the atmosphere can’t penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond it’s own wavelength. This means a lot of energy gets focussed into the top few nanometres of water, and causes prompt evaporation. This cools the water surface.

  99. Stephen Wilde, you need to be more specific when you say,

    all the worlds air circulation systems at any one time. It is likely that the position of the ITCZ might serve as an adequate proxy for that

    Do you mean the position of the ITCZ, its width, or some other property?

    In addition, it would be nice to see some empirical data on the ITCZ compared with the positions of the world’s atmospheric circulation systems.

  100. I think that understanding the effects of the ITCZ should be the most urgent project for real climatologists.
    The simple shade/reflection of tropical insolation needs to be estimeasured but much more challenging is the evaporative cooling effects of these monster Cu-nims.
    The hypothesis that the ITCZ provides a primary day-scale negative feedback on climate needs looking at.

  101. tallbloke (02:18:29) :

    So far as we can tell, it doesn’t affect it at all, because longwave radiation from the atmosphere can’t penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond it’s own wavelength. This means a lot of energy gets focussed into the top few nanometres of water, and causes prompt evaporation. This cools the water surface.

    Then how come the sea surface can maintain a temperature of 16 C if it is only heated by the 160 W/m2 sunlight absorbed by it?
    Perhaps Stephen can help us?

  102. “Doug in Seattle (20:10:41) :
    MattN (19:30:26) :

    Why do we not see the 1998 super El Nino? Was that just on the surface?

    It appears to be limited to the southern hemisphere.”

    I haven’t yet read all the way down the comments so my reaction may be superfluous. If it is a southern hemisphere anomaly it sure had an effect on much of the atmosphere (and why not?), see NH graph: http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/UAHMSUNHem.html
    Polar regions show no response to the 1998 EL NINO
    Northern polar: http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/UAHMSUNPol.html
    Southern polar: http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/UAHMSUSPol.html

  103. lgl (04:26:03) :

    Then how come the sea surface can maintain a temperature of 16 C if it is only heated by the 160 W/m2 sunlight absorbed by it?
    Perhaps Stephen can help us?

    Well the sun has been shining down on the ocean for a few billion years, so it will have reached an approximate equilibrium between energy in and energy out, notwithstanding the century – millenium scale variation which it seems to possess.

    If I stick an infrared lamp kicking 160w/m^2 over a shallow metre square dish of water in the dark, what temperature will it reach before the loss to the (average temp) air equals the input from the heat source? 16C doesn’t seem out of the way to me.

  104. Philip_B (17:22:04) :

    SST leads OHC (700m) by a couple of years and since SST is now back to a very high level “I feel pretty confident that this data points to sharpish” rise in OHC over the next couple of years.

  105. I tried following the links, but can only find processed data. Does anyone know if this data comes from the Argo array?

  106. tallbloke (05:13:57) :

    Seems very far off to me. Stefan-Boltzmann law states that a body of 16 C will radiate 396 W/m2 and on the Earth there is around 100 W/m2 in addition from other heat transfers, so that’s close to 500 W/m2 up and only 160 W/m2 down.
    Looking forward for you or Stephen to explain where the missing 340 is coming from.

  107. Leif Svalgaard (20:04:17) : Svensmark claims there is no delay [or perhaps a few days (from his Forbush Decrease analysis)]. Now, to the question: First, the paper is not from CERN. It is in no way instigated, funded, or otherwise endorsed by CERN. Svensmark and Co were permitted to use some vacant CERN facility, is all.

    Sorry, but I do not understand why you mention Svensmark here? The paper is written by Kirkby (CERN), not by Svensmark.

    Kirkby, J. 2008. Cosmic rays and climate. Surveys in Geophysics 28: 333-375. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CLOUD

  108. lgl (05:47:27) :

    Philip_B (17:22:04) :

    SST leads OHC (700m) by a couple of years and since SST is now back to a very high level “I feel pretty confident that this data points to sharpish” rise in OHC over the next couple of years.

    A bald assertion with no data to support it and unphysical as ocean heat transport is overwhelmingly upward toward the surface.

    Bob Tisdale’s link above clear shows OHC leading SSTs.

  109. tallbloke (02:13:35) :
    Hi Leif, how much of TSI is in the infrared compared to visible please?
    UV 100 W/m2, visible 660 W/m2, IR 600 W/m2. But the atmosphere is also mostly transparent to near IR. The absorption [mostly by CO2] really begins at 2000 nm, and the part above 2000 nm is 80 W/m2.

  110. lgl (06:15:57)

    Satellites show that energy entering the Earth system from the sun matches energy leaving the Earth to space.

    Oceans clearly try to disturb that equilibrium by varying their rate of energy release to the air, often substantially.

    Equally clearly the oceanic variability fails to disturb the equilibrium and the only way that can be achieved is via an equal and opposite response in the air. I have described the proposed mechanism in some detail.

    I fail to see how your incomplete summary of the global energy budget has any bearing on that issue.

    I am unaware of any ongoing and developing imbalance arising as a result of the increasing CO2 in the air. The satellites are not recording it, the ocean heat content is not recording it, the current trend in global air temperatures is not reflecting it.

    The variations in energy flow at the sea/air interface and at the air/space interface would appear to be the cause of observed climate change so the issue is one of internal variability whereas the Stefan – Boltzman law deals wth the relationship between the temperature of a body and the temperature of space. It does not deal with internal variability.

    The processes of downwelling IR with consequent increased evaporation are internal to the system and appear to be cancelling each other out via a variable rate of energy transmission from surface to space.

  111. steve: You asked, “I tried following the links, but can only find processed data. Does anyone know if this data comes from the Argo array?”

    The ARGO data does appear in the NODC/Levitus et al (2009) OHC data. But it’s limited to this decade. Levitus et al (2009) describe the source of the remainder of the data back to 1955 in the following paper, which I forgot to link in the above post (Sorry). Here ye go:
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

  112. I posted a link to a geology 101 website that appears to have been placed in the spam file.

    [Rescued & posted. ~ dbs, mod.]

  113. Invariant (06:28:49) :
    Sorry, but I do not understand why you mention Svensmark here?
    You mentioned that there are delays involved. And Svensmark is the one asserting that the delay is only a few days. Anyway, the result so far [from the summary]: “the exploratory measurements provide suggestive evidence for ion induced nucleation but the experimental variables were neither sufficiently well controlled nor sufficiently reproducible to quantify the conditions under which ion processes become significant.” does not seem convincing [yet].

  114. Leif Svalgaard (07:01:11) :

    tallbloke (02:13:35) :
    Hi Leif, how much of TSI is in the infrared compared to visible please?
    UV 100 W/m2, visible 660 W/m2, IR 600 W/m2. But the atmosphere is also mostly transparent to near IR. The absorption [mostly by CO2] really begins at 2000 nm, and the part above 2000 nm is 80 W/m2.

    Thanks Leif. Do you think most of the IR absorbed by co2 get re-emitted in the forward direction like light interacting with hydrogen, or is it different because of the more complex electron geometry of the bigger co2 molecule?

    If the latter, would it be fair to say that roughly half of the absorbed-by-co2 incoming solar IR would be bounced back into space?

    If so, is this accounted for in radiative forcing calcs for additional co2, and if not, why not?

    Lots of questions and maybe directed at the wrong person, if so, sorry.

  115. Philip_B (06:57:23) :
    A bald assertion with no data to support it and unphysical as ocean heat transport is overwhelmingly upward toward the surface.

    The data is all over. Here is Bob’s OHC together with NCDC ocean temp from Junkscience: http://virakkraft.com/OHC-SST.jpg
    and it’s of course physical that most variations start at the surface and is delayed at 700 meters.

  116. tallbloke (08:20:16) :
    would it be fair to say that roughly half of the absorbed-by-co2 incoming solar IR would be bounced back into space?
    Yes, i would think so.

    If so, is this accounted for in radiative forcing calcs for additional co2, and if not, why not?
    You can count on people [scientists] doing these calculations to do it correctly. Just like you can count on us [measuring solar magnetic fields] to do it correctly ['correctly' means to the best of available knowledge].

    Lots of questions and maybe directed at the wrong person, if so, sorry.
    definitely not something I would pontificate [more than I already have] on. If you have disagreements with some people on this, better direct your questions to them.

  117. Richard: You asked, “If this be so, can we assume the transfer of heat between the surface and deeper layers to be more or less constant?”

    I don’t believe that’s a reasonable assumption. Meridional overturning circulation occurs in all oceans but it’s most significant and most studied in the North Atlantic. As the surface and subsurface temperature of the North Atlantic vary over a period of 50 to 80 years (the AMO), the heat transfer between the upper and lower ocean would vary with time, too. The volume of water transported by AMOC also varies with time.

    You continued, “…and most of the heat loss due to loss of heat content from the surface layers into the atmosphere?”

    Based on the above reply, the answer should be that it’s not a reasonable assumption.

    You asked, “What is the relationship between the Ocean heat content and Global temperatures? Have you tried to plot the correlation region-wise and globally?”

    Beyond the comparison graphs of OHC and NINO3.4, NOA, and Sato Index data in the links in the closing of the post above, I have only plotted OHC and SST:

    Here are the links to those posts again:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html

    You asked, “Why do we take the heat content of the ocean upto a depth of 700 metres?”

    It appears to be based primarily on data availability. In “Global Decadal Upper Ocean Heat Content as Viewed in Nine Analyses”, Carton and Santorelli (2008) write, “A second limitation of the historical temperature data set is its changing vertical sampling. MBTs measure temperature above 280m, while XBTs generally extend to 400m or 700m. Thus, of the 1.1 million profiles collected during the 1960s when MBTs were the primary instrument, only 100,000 extended to 500m (Boyer et al., 2006).”

    And in “Warming of the World Ocean, 1955-2003” Levitus et al (2005) write, “Figure 1 shows yearly estimates of ocean heat content for the upper 300 and 700m layers and pentadal estimates for the upper 3000 m of the world ocean. It shows that a large part of the change in ocean heat content during the past 50 years has occurred in the upper 700 m of the world ocean.” Here’s a copy of their Figure 1.

  118. Stephen,
    I fail to see how your incomplete summary of the global energy budget has any bearing on that issue.

    No bearing on your strawman, no, but the real issue is what’s keeping the ocean at 16 C. My energy budget is almost complete regarding the surface, only missing 340 W/m2 downwelling. Where does it come from and why?

  119. We have a very nice and consistent account of C02 in the atmosphere, and a good record length. My understanding of C02 is that is quickly disperses and mixes with any addition/reduction.
    What about H20 and how much is that varying globally?
    What Leif suggests is that C02 reflects 1/2 of what IR is incoming, and that’s a qualitative assessment. Need one of those for H20 molecules airborne.
    What is missing is a quantitative assessment.
    We know how much C02 is up there and can give it a reasonable quantity.
    Do we have anything for, say, the last 5 years on H20 content?
    You can see what I am after: The density of C02 & H20 available to pre-screen and how much is reflected out to space before it hits. The retention on the nightside is then part of the budget.

  120. When solving the heat equation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_equation

    for a plane wall, cylinder or sphere, we usually can obtain an approximation on the form:

    T(t) = T1 + [T0 – T1] exp(-t/tau), where the characteristic time constant is something like:

    tau = 1/2•(r•cp/k)•L^2

    Applying water properties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_(properties)

    r = 1000 kg/m³
    cp = 4200 J/kg K
    k = 0.6 W/m K
    L = 700 m (characteristic depth of oceans)

    We obtain:

    tau = 1/2•(r•cp/k)•L^2 = 1/2•(1000•4200/0.6)•700^2 = 55000 years.

    Obviously this is wrong due to the low thermal conductivity of water. Actually a better approach would be to use the Nusselt number and an effective thermal conductivity,

    k_eff = k•Nu

    But what Nusselt number should we use for the oceans with a characteristic depth of L=700 m? I have no idea! Guessing that the Nusselt number could be 1000, we obtain:

    tau = 1/2•(r•cp/k)•L^2 = 1/2•(1000•4200/600)•700^2 = 55 years,

    This in the same range as the natural oscillations in our oceans:

  121. CO2 is not well-mixed. It does not lay in an even carpet throughout our atmosphere. Neither is ozone well mixed. CO2 is relatively heavy and tends to move in globular bunches along jet stream tracks. It can dissipate but our atmosphere just doesn’t do a good job of that due to the frontal systems and pressure gradients that define our climates and weather patterns.

  122. Leif Svalgaard (08:46:56) :

    tallbloke (08:20:16) :
    would it be fair to say that roughly half of the absorbed-by-co2 incoming solar IR would be bounced back into space?
    Yes, i would think so.

    If so, is this accounted for in radiative forcing calcs for additional co2, and if not, why not?
    You can count on people [scientists] doing these calculations to do it correctly. Just like you can count on us [measuring solar magnetic fields] to do it correctly ['correctly' means to the best of available knowledge].

    Lots of questions and maybe directed at the wrong person, if so, sorry.
    definitely not something I would pontificate [more than I already have] on. If you have disagreements with some people on this, better direct your questions to them.

    Thanks Leif, most helpful.

    I would like to think as you do that we can rely on climate scientists to get it right. Unfortunately there seem to be some sloppy, some secretive, and some downright bad apple practitioners out there. I’ll check this one out.

  123. Invariant (09:02:29) :
    “does not seem convincing [yet].”
    I like the word yet. ;-)

    As is evident, I’m a reasonable guy. Always willing to be convinced, once the evidence is there, which it isn’t [yet].

  124. tallbloke (11:30:31) :
    I would like to think as you do that we can rely on climate scientists to get it right. Unfortunately there seem to be some sloppy, some secretive, and some downright bad apple practitioners out there. I’ll check this one out.</i?
    They usually monkey with the data [or their proxies] rather than with the radiative properties of gases, which are well-known from fundamental theory and direct laboratory experiments.

  125. tallbloke (11:30:31) :
    I would like to think as you do that we can rely on climate scientists to get it right. Unfortunately there seem to be some sloppy, some secretive, and some downright bad apple practitioners out there. I’ll check this one out.
    They usually monkey with the data [or their proxies] rather than with the radiative properties of gases, which are well-known from fundamental theory and direct laboratory experiments.

  126. Ok, someone help me out here: why are the units on the graphs GJ/m^2? If we are talking about heat content in the oceans, shouldn’t it be energy/volume?

    Thanks

  127. Re: Pamela Gray (19:22:52)

    My M.Sc. thesis contains errors. I was aware of them (some are substantial) and I wanted to fix them, but the powers wanted to rush me through. I did not sign the consent forms – and yet somehow…

    My experience of grad-school was that it is 85% politics & funding issues. The “education” I got was not the one for which I (thought I) signed up.

    -
    You make an important point about research inspiration-sparks. Had your work (weaknesses & all) been obstructed (for whatever reason), an important seed might not have been sown. Thanks for the note.

  128. Grad school wasn’t the issue. I then to went to work as a research Audiologist in a major medical facility. The research facility was the issue. It is a dog eat dog system geared towards preditorial carnage.

  129. Pamela Gray (16:23:36) “It is a dog eat dog system geared towards preditorial carnage.”

    Charming Pamela – thanks for the delightful warning.

  130. rbateman (10:01:30) :
    What Leif suggests is that C02 reflects 1/2 of what IR is incoming, and that’s a qualitative assessment. Need one of those for H20 molecules airborne. What is missing is a quantitative assessment.
    For both of them it is exactly 50%. The incoming is from a definite direction, but the outgoing is radiated in a random direction, thus half goes out and half continues in. so it is very quantitative. This is AFAIK. And it is not ‘reflected’, but absorbed and re-emitted.

  131. Leif Svalgaard (18:07:17) said:

    rbateman (10:01:30) :
    What Leif suggests is that C02 reflects 1/2 of what IR is incoming, and that’s a qualitative assessment. Need one of those for H20 molecules airborne. What is missing is a quantitative assessment.

    For both of them it is exactly 50%. The incoming is from a definite direction, but the outgoing is radiated in a random direction, thus half goes out and half continues in. so it is very quantitative. This is AFAIK. And it is not ‘reflected’, but absorbed and re-emitted.

    Although, at some point, the mean-free-path is small enough that they would have a higher probability of transferring that energy to another molecule in the atmosphere, wouldn’t they?

  132. Richard Sharpe (18:26:35) :
    Although, at some point, the mean-free-path is small enough that they would have a higher probability of transferring that energy to another molecule in the atmosphere, wouldn’t they?
    True, but that other molecule would eventually radiate away that energy, wouldn’t it, and in a random direction, half up, half down.

  133. The BBC says “One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over.”

    What next? The science is NOT settled?

  134. Bob T. wrote (regarding my comment about Schruckman 2009):

    “There are no two OHC reconstructions that are exactly the same:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/07/ohc-trends-presented-by-levitus-et-al.html

    Schuckmann et al (2009) limits the data to the period of 2003 to 2008. If we look at the NODC data for same period, it also shows an upward trend:

    But when you include the past six months, the trend flattens considerably:

    Schuckmann et al (2009) also studies the depths to 2000 meters, where the long-term reconstructions focus on 0 to 700 meters.”

    Thanks for the follow-up Bob. I guess it is true that there is an upward trend from 2003 – 2008, although not if one picks mid-2003 as the starting point (http://i33.tinypic.com/2ynq7v8.png). Hard to know what it all means, isn’t it!?

  135. Leif Svalgaard (12:34:44) :

    tallbloke (11:30:31) :
    I would like to think as you do that we can rely on climate scientists to get it right. Unfortunately there seem to be some sloppy, some secretive, and some downright bad apple practitioners out there. I’ll check this one out.</i?
    They usually monkey with the data [or their proxies] rather than with the radiative properties of gases, which are well-known from fundamental theory and direct laboratory experiments.

    True. It’s more a question of whether the ‘offset’ would slip through the net because it’s subject to the same radiative calculations but works in the opposite direction if you see what I mean. So if it’s calculated that co2 has a radiative forcing of 1.7W/m^2 it may be that when that figure is applied to the real world, account needs to be taken of the fact the co2 is preventing some solar energy arriving as well as preventing some earth radiated energy leaving.

    Looking at the famous diagram by Trenberth

    It talks about 77W/m^2 being reflected by the atmosphere and clouds.
    In view of your observation to Rob Bateman above about re-emission not reflection, it seems possible Trenberth missed it, unless it’s just sloppy terminology.

    If incoming solar IR in the waveband in question is 80W/m^2 at TOA, and a 1/4 of TSI makes it to the surface, we are looking at maybe 10-40W of incoming TSI which is going straight back out. This is not insignificant. Maybe you could help me tighten that estimate with your greater knowledge of the way Trenberth arrived at his figures.

  136. Jerry: You asked, “If we are talking about heat content in the oceans, shouldn’t it be energy/volume?”

    It appears I forgot to list the depth (0-700m) on the graphs…again.

  137. The only evidence for AGW that still seems rather convincing to me, is sea level rise. Is there any evidence that global sea levels are starting to drop now that OHC drops?

  138. Leif Svalgaard (07:01:11) :

    tallbloke (02:13:35) :
    Hi Leif, how much of TSI is in the infrared compared to visible please?
    UV 100 W/m2, visible 660 W/m2, IR 600 W/m2. But the atmosphere is also mostly transparent to near IR. The absorption [mostly by CO2] really begins at 2000 nm, and the part above 2000 nm is 80 W/m2.

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/3/2027/2003/acpd-3-2027-2003.pdf

    Page 25 fig 1 seems to show quite a big absorption band for co2 around the 6000-7500nm band. Could you comment on that please, and give figures for the part of TSI in that part of the spectrum.

  139. lgl (09:05:04) :

    Stephen,
    I fail to see how your incomplete summary of the global energy budget has any bearing on that issue.

    No bearing on your strawman, no, but the real issue is what’s keeping the ocean at 16 C. My energy budget is almost complete regarding the surface, only missing 340 W/m2 downwelling. Where does it come from and why?

    I think Stephen is correct to point out that the SB law deals with temperature differential between black body and space.

    You say a body at 16C radiates at 350W/m^2 but ask yourself this:

    If you stood in a 3m^2 pool of 16C water, would you feel the heat of a 1kw electric bar fire coming off it?

    I don’t think so, but maybe you disagree.

  140. tallbloke,
    I think Stephen is correct to point out that the SB law deals with temperature differential between black body and space.

    No, SB law deal with radiation emitted from a black body. It doesn’t matter what’s ‘above’. (and I said 396, not 350 but that’s a detail)

    Your experiment is a bit troublesome. Firstly you should not stand in the water because that introduces heat transfer by conduction in addition to transfer by radiation. Secondly it’s i bit difficult to direct all the radiation from the water to the surface of your body and visa versa. Suppose that was possible and you were not in direct contact with the water, then you would receive 1200 W from the water and the water would receive 1000 W from you, if your surface area is about 2 m2 and your skin temperature 33 C, i.e. a net transfer of 200 W to you. If the water was 2 m2 too, then there would be 200 W net from you to the water.

  141. “lgl (11:09:38) :

    tallbloke,
    I think Stephen is correct to point out that the SB law deals with temperature differential between black body and space.

    No, SB law deal with radiation emitted from a black body. It doesn’t matter what’s ‘above’.”

    If we are considering Earth and Space my comment is correct.

    If we were considering Earth and another body then you would be correct and I would have used different wording.

    Anyway that quibble distracts from my main point. The SB law does not deal with internal variability resulting from movements of the circulations in ocean and air.

  142. Stephen
    If we are considering Earth and Space my comment is correct.

    But we are not. We are considering the Earth’s surface.
    Your point (or one of them) is that IR does not heat the ocean, and your problem is that it is impossible to explain the high temperature of the ocean without the energy from IR. For the third time, what else is there? Your internal variability does not create energy.

  143. lgl (13:59:43)

    You were considering energy radiated from the Earth’s surface to space when you mentioned the SB Law. I referred to internal variability within the Earth system in relation to which the SB Law is irrelevant.

    The temperature of the ocean is adequately explained by the length of time it takes for solar energy input to be absorbed and then released again to the air.

    That solar input gets past the evaporative barrier (unlike IR) and remains in the oceans for variable periods of time as it is moved around within the oceans.

  144. Thanks Paul, I keep forgetting my mobile provider does daft things like munging URL’s.

    lgl, it’s a good puzzle. :-)

  145. Stephen,
    You were considering energy radiated from the Earth’s surface to space when you mentioned the SB Law

    No, I said “Stefan-Boltzmann law states that a body of 16 C will radiate 396 W/m2″ and 16 C is obviously at the surface and not at top of atmosphere.

    Delay is no issue here. The temp has remained fairly constant (a few deg) for several thousand years. Yes or No and your suggestion if No please:
    1. Is the SST 16-17 deg C?
    2. Does the ocean surface radiate 390-400 W/m2 IR?
    3. Is the emissivity of the surface close to 1?
    4. Is the surface absorbing 160-170 W/m2 sunlight?

  146. lgl (08:46:48) :

    The data is all over. Here is Bob’s OHC together with NCDC ocean temp from Junkscience: http://virakkraft.com/OHC-SST.jpg
    and it’s of course physical that most variations start at the surface and is delayed at 700 meters.

    Posting a link of a graph with no labeled x or y axis isn’t a convincing argument.

    I don’t know what ‘most variations’ means.

    Anyway, the oceans absorb huge amounts of solar radiation. In the tropical and subtropical oceans it’s in excess of 90% of all incoming solar insolation. If this energy input were not transported upward to the surface and then into the atmosphere, the world’s oceans would boil away within a matter of years.

    IMO your error is to think that a temperature gradient of warmer to cooler downwards in the ocean is evidence of heat transport downwards. It isn’t. It results from the absorbtion gradient of sunlight in the ocean.

  147. Philip_B (06:57:23) : A bald assertion with no data to support it and unphysical as ocean heat transport is overwhelmingly upward toward the surface.

    Sure. Please see my calculations of thermal time constant of oceans being ~55 years with a Nusselt number of ~1000. We all know that buoyancy forces are upward toward the surface.

  148. lgl (15:31:46)

    As regards 1), 2), 3) and 4) the answer is no because of internal variations in the system caused by varying rates of energy release from the ocean to the air geographically and more importantly over at least 2 and probably 3 time scales which are clearly linked to global air temperature variability.

    Those internal variations are not accommodated by the models or taken into account in the standard energy budget calculations yet they are what causes climate changes to cycle as per our observations over the past couple of thousand years and they would probably cover most climate changes right back to the last ice age.

  149. Further to my post (03:03:57) I note that lgl gives ranges not specifics so on that basis the answer to 1), 2), 3) and 4 from his earlier post would be yes, approximately, in each case but subject to the variability in each which causes climate shifts and I don’t exclude occasional shifts beyond the limits which he sets.

  150. tallbloke (05:13:57) :

    If I stick an infrared lamp kicking 160w/m^2 over a shallow metre square dish of water in the dark, what temperature will it reach before the loss to the (average temp) air equals the input from the heat source? 16C doesn’t seem out of the way to me.

    Do it in the Sahara desert at night with a cooled IR filter above to remove the downwelling IR from the atmosphere and it will probably freeze.

  151. Philip_B

    The only purpose of the graphs was to show that OHC troughs 1-2 years after SST. To do that the scale on the y axis is irrelevant and you do see the years on the x axis.

    Yes, the oceans absorb huge amounts of solar radiation, most of it in the upper few meters, the near IR in the first centimeters.

    No, I don’t think heat transport by conduction is important in the ocean and I never said that. The heat is mostly transported by mixing, both upwards and downwards within the well mixed layer, and the ocean is both heated and cooled from the top i.e. the impact is more delayed the deeper you look.

  152. Stephen

    Right, both yes and no to be on the safe side. The figures I gave is of course on average for the whole globe and there are huge seasonal and zonal variability but the point is that on average you are missing 340 W/m2 in your ‘theory’ and you have obviously decided not to understand this.

  153. lgl

    If the variability that gives rise to cyclical climate shifts is internal to the system then there is no ‘missing’ energy.

    You have obviously decided not to understand that.

    The internal mechanisms which keep the system stable despite that internal variability work just as well whatever causes internal variability to arise whether it be more GHGs from enhanced ocean evaporation or more GHGs from other sources.

  154. Phil. (07:41:56) :

    Do it in the Sahara desert at night with a cooled IR filter above to remove the downwelling IR from the atmosphere and it will probably freeze.

    Not been in many deserts have we? Without the heat source it will freeze for sure

    DaveE.

  155. Hotter than it is now. The oceans would vaporize until equilibrium was reached and we would have an atmosphere almost entirely of water vapor – a potent GHG.

  156. Further reply on Joe Romms blog: We’ll see if Joe allows through ‘moderation’.

    #
    tallbloke says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    John Cook says:
    October 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    “Mark, the sun isn’t heating up the oceans because the sun has been cooling since the solar maximum in 2001.”

    I beg to differ with John Cook.
    Through some simple modeling I have arrived at an ocean equilibrium estimate of a TSI level equivalent to around 40SSN. The sun fell below this level in early 2004. The Cazenave et al paper I linked above re-examines the JASON/TOPEX satellite altimetry data and finds that since 2005, the rate of increase in sea level rise fell from around 3mm/year to around 1mm/year. Furthermore, they estimate that since 2003, the steric component of sea level rise has fallen to 20% of the total.

    This means that the oceans have risen only 0.8mm due to temperature increase since 2005. I put it to john that when error margins are considered, it is possible that the oceans are not warming.

  157. Lindsay H. (23:31:50) : “…The records, stored in the National Archives at Kew, contain a unique and highly accurate account of temperature, ice formation, air pressure and wind speed and direction in remote locations all over the world…”

  158. lgl (11:14:31) : No, I don’t think heat transport by conduction is important in the ocean and I never said that.

    Sure. Please take a look at my calculations earlier in this thread where I calculate the characteristic time constant of the oceans to be 55 000 years by conduction alone and ~55 years with mixing and convection. What does this mean? It means that if the heat balance of the oceans suddenly is changed dramatically enforcing the equilibrium temperature in the oceans to decrease by 10 C, it would take ~55 years for the temperature to drop 3.68 C.

    [T0 – T1] exp(-t/tau) = [10 – 20] exp(-55/55) = -3.68 C.

  159. So what DID cause the 1998 high temperature anomaly? I look at some places in the South Pacific like Macquarie Island and it is not there.
    Was it simply an upwelling of a hot pocket of ocean water? Hard to believe as it seems to have appeared on regional surface records in diverse parts of the world about in the SH Winter June July Aug 1998. (My work is in progress so more examples would be greatly appreciated, especially of different monthly dates for their peak temps).

  160. Geoff, read round Bob Tisdales site. Accumulation of heat in the PWP from the sun, followed by spreading out of warm water raising sst’s. I would add my theory that oceans globally start releasing stored heat 12-18 months after the solar minumum.

    Invariant: Interesting, we should barnstorm my calcs on OHC and steric sea level with your time constants. We have been sold a dummy by the warmista. OHC is underestimated to fit their 1.7W/m^2 radiative forcing. 1993-2003 it was more like 4W/m^2. Solar max plus low cloud.

  161. Dear Bob,
    this was very interesting to me.

    I took the values from Baltic Sea, North Sea, Eastern Mid Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea from these areas from KNMI and did compare it to my LT numbers of Central Europe (in my case, Frankfurt, Germany and around).

    About six month ago, I was suggesting a possible rather warm winter of 2009/2010, simply by going the solar cycles (but, whilst SC 24 is rather anemic, I reviewed my opinion). Now it looks alike as if 09/10 will be the fourth winter with decreasing temperatures, compared to the previous one.

    Seems to be, my heating bill will be f$@#ed again. Anyway, did buy enough
    for 18 month, last time, can live with that since March 2010.
    I do always appreciate your articles. Go on, please!

    Best Regards

    KlausB

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