A reader question on OHC – discussion

clickable global map of SST anomalies

This comment seemed like a useful question to discuss, so I’m elevating it to post status

A. Patterson Moore says:

I see ocean heat content discussed here and elsewhere from time to time, but I have never seen a discussion of what causes it to increase. The clear implication is that it is increasing because of warmer atmospheric surface temperatures, but that makes no sense to me.

Surely the small increase in warming of the atmosphere to date could not transfer a significant amount of heat to the oceans. It seems obvious to me the only way that the oceans could accumulate much heat would be through direct heating from solar radiation. If that is occurring, wouldn’t that be direct evidence of a decrease in cloud cover, instead of evidence for AGW?

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128 thoughts on “A reader question on OHC – discussion

  1. A common sense question seemingly answered by the one doing the asking. Will we hear discussions on wave lengths of radiation or light; or other explanations that cause us to think of angels dancing on pinheads

  2. So in this case we care about the ability to transfer energy in the form of heat. So the question is, can more heat be directly irradiated into the ocean versus contact-transferred from the atmosphere, or vice versa?

    If we assume that the atmosphere transfers more heat into the ocean than sunlight, then we’re essentially saying that the ocean follows the atmosphere. This would mean that the total flow of energy through the atmosphere into the oceans would be larger than the total flow of energy from direct sunlight. This thinking has problems. Just off the top of my head, if the total flow of energy between atmosphere and ocean is larger than between sunlight to ocean then we’re saying the energy transfer through the atmosphere is larger than the direct sunlight to the ground. If this were the case, why would anyone seek the shade of a tree on a sunny day? Humans are mostly water, and if the flow of energy through the atmosphere (the air surrounding you) is greater than sunlight, why do you seek shade to cool down?

  3. Warm air or sunshine could be warming sea water, but notice that both would happen near the surface. Neither air nor light penetrate deeply. Air will more quickly exchange heat when there is wind, whether through flat surface contact or the much faster effects due to turbulent wave action. Wind which is generating foam would increase reflectivity and reduce solar heating.

    However, how would evaporating water affect the balance of heat?

  4. That’s a very good point, one that we have been puzzling over since the direct link between PDO-AMO and climate became apparent. In 1977, the Northeast Pacific had a cool PDO. In 1977, the PDO switched abruptly to warm and global climate began to warm immediately. Clearly the ocean did not warm because of warming atmosphere (it was actually the other way around). In 1999, the PDO switched from warm to cool, bringing the 1978-1998 warm event to a close. We obviously don’t yet understand why these things happen so rapidly. Might be nice to spend some of those billions of dollars now going to CO2 research to find out more about the real cause of climate change!

  5. Exactly.

    Change cloudiness to change albedo and energy input to the oceans.

    Change the air circulation systems to change cloudiness.

    Change the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere to change the air circulation systems.

    Change the ozone quantities in the atmosphere differentially at different levels to change the vertical temperature profile.

    Change the mix of wavelengths and particles from the sun to alter the ozone quantities differentially at different levels.

    Unless someone has a better idea ?

  6. I’m not going to propose any causal relationships,

    but measured trends show a decrease in relative humidity, and increase in specific humidity and an overall long term (> 15 year) trend in global temperature.

    You start with some warming which causes more water vapor which causes more warming, and evidently this causes decreased relative humidity which means less clouds which could cause more direct ocean warming due to solar irradiance.

    The reason it doesn’t runaway is Temperature to the fourth power relationship in the blackbody equation.

    And it doesn’t matter what caused the warming in the first place.

  7. Atmospheric CO2 absorbs radiative heat energy coming from below that would otherwise go out into space quickly. The CO2 re-emits this energy – half of which goes back down. The oceans absorb much of this. This extra energy heats the oceans and will eventually heat the atmosphere and will eventually go back out into space. The larger lag time from when the energy comes in to when it goes out into space determines the total increase in the Earth system’s thermal equilibrium energy. (How the warming distributed in the Earth system is complicated.) At least this is my non-expert understanding.

    Some ocean warming is also occurring because of decreased ice cover in the summer Arctic.

  8. Well, I have to agree 100% . The Air just cant warm the water in that manner. Otherwise the oceans would be much warmer all the time.

  9. Hmm, interesting question. A few points.

    (1) For ocean heat content to increase then more energy has to be retained in the Earth system than lost. In principle this could be either through more incoming solar radiation or through less outgoing longwave radiation.

    (2) The models – I know, but stick with me – suggest that the response of ocean heat content to a radiation imbalance is slow, taking hundreds of years to reach an equilibrium. It seems to me that this is consistent with the questioners observation that:

    “Surely the small increase in warming of the atmosphere to date could not transfer a significant amount of heat to the oceans.”

    This is one reason why the process is so slow.

    (3) I don’t know whether anyone has compared how fast the [model] reaction time is to an increase in solar radiation compared to a decrease in outgoing longwave radiation. So I don’t know whether it would actually be faster [in the models] as the questioner assumes it is in real life.

    One thing I would say is that a lot of solar energy bounces right off the ocean surface, particularly when incident at a shallow angle [think of the sun's reflection off a body of water], so it’s not obvious to me that you would expect this to be an easier way of warming up the ocean.

  10. I agree 100%! We have no idea how much heat is being pumped into the oceans from underwater volcanoes and rifts. We have no idea how much heat is being dumped into the oceans from river run off. We have no idea how much heat is produced by energy release in wave action.

    Conversely, we don’t really have a handle on the heat loss to evaporation (which changes dramatically depending on both temperature and wave action).

    We don’t have a handle on the mechanisms for heat transfer over long and short periods.

    I for one have never seen a calculation that proves the El Nino (hope I got the warm one here) can be generated from sun and atmosphere alone. The volume of water and joules required to raise that volume 1°C would indicate to me there is a underwater geological component that can be augmented by solar radiance increases (which is driven by cloud cover and precipitation over the surface area – not solar output).

    My opinion has been our climate is driven by plate tectonics more than anything else, at least in the Pacific basin.

  11. There are three ways I see air temperature transfer to the oceans, two of which are reasonably efficient:
    1) direct thermal conduction through contact (poor),
    2) a turbulent contact, i.e. waves breaking (moderate)
    3) rainfall (good).

    Worldwide precipitation is estimated at over 1100 mm/yr, though the oceans only rise by 1.8 – 3.2 mm/yr. There is something like (I forget the ratio) 9 cycle times over land, that is the rain that falls evaporates and falls >9 times before reaching the sea, where it evaporates and falls again. Each time energy is taken from the air and put into the water. So rain “washes” the heat out of the atmosphere. (This only occurs because there is still a cooler ocean below.)

    Hah! Maybe a rain/snow temperature record would show the downward movement of heat. Or not.

  12. If scientists assume that cloud cover hasn’t changed significantly and if solar output hasn’t changed significantly while ocean heat content is changing, then they will find a way to explain heat transfer from the atmosphere to the ocean since it is the only remaining option.

    If you assume heat transfer from the atmosphere to the ocean must be small, then you have to find an explanation for ocean heat content changes – which only leaves changes in cloud cover.

    Unless ocean heat transfer from the atmosphere or cloud cover changes can be accurately measured, neither is more likely to be true than the other.

  13. AJStrata says:
    May 11, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I agree 100%! We have no idea how much heat is being pumped into the oceans from underwater volcanoes and rifts.

    =======================================================

    In addition, we have no idea when each of these rifts have opened, or whether their flow rate is variable, or whether we’ve identified them all.

  14. What would be the most effective system to heat domestic water, solar water heating system or an air source heat pump?

  15. The ocean is heated by the sun, which can penetrate down through the ocean to depths of up to 100 meters. The ocean cools at the surface through a combination of evaporation (moist convection) and long wave IR (LWIR) emission. There is a ‘balance’ at the surface between the downward LWIR emission from the atmosphere and the upward blackbody LWIR emission from the surface, so the net LWIR emission is about 50 W.m-2 in round numbers. The evaporation increases significantly with ocean surface temperature. Long term average ocean evaporative cooling fluxes can reach 140 W.m-2. However, the evaporation and the LWIR exchange occur very close to the surface, within the first 100 micron or so over most of the LWIR region. Thiat is about the width of a human hair. Over the last 200 years, a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration has produced an increase in ‘clear sky’ downward LWIR flux of 1.7 W.m-2. This is ‘buried in the noise’ of the wind driven surface evaporation.
    The ocean can only cool at the surface. There are three ocean layers that form as the sun heats the ocean. There is a very thin ‘skin layer’ that is cooler that the bulk ocean surface temperature. This is where the evaporation and LWIR cooling take place. Below this there is a uniform diurnal mixing layer. The cooler water from the surface diffuses downwards (sinks) and produces a uniform temperature layer that varies in depth with season and latitude. The third layerbelow this, typically 50 m to 100 m is where the solar heat accumulates. A temperature gradient builds up during the spring and summer. As the solar heating diminishes in the fall and winter, the diurnal layer depth increases and ‘takes out’ the thermal gradient layer underneath.
    However, near the equator, the depth of the mixing layer is insufficient to remove the accumulation of heat below about 50 m. Heat is stored over long periods of time and gives rise to the ENSO oscillation etc. The details get complicated and are not very well understood. This is in part because of a lack of data and partly because this is not part of the usual global warming dogma.
    Small changes in the solar constant, of the order of 1 W.m-2 are sufficient to cause major climate change as this heat accumulates in th ocean over long periods of time. For example, 0.4 W.m-2 is sufficient to melt the ice from the last ice age – coupled into the ice sheet over 10,000 years.
    There is a more detailed description at Energy and Environment 21(4) 171-200 (2010) and on my website at http://venturaphotonics.com/GlobalWarming.html.
    (Hope this helps)

  16. Alistair Ahs’s point #1 is correct: it’s the net energy accumulation that matters. The presence of the radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere is an indication that the sea surface has not warmed up sufficiently to match the forcing.

  17. Ocean floor volcanoes, geothermal heat transfer, and ocean current changes could have an impact also.

  18. Heat from ocean-floor vulcanism is totally unmeasured and can go unnoticed, as did the 10 km2 pyroclastic flow at the Gakkel ridge in the Arctic ocean, which was only discovered after the fact in 1999. All reports I have seen on ‘Arctic thaw’ have neglected this unpredictable and impossible to model event.

  19. Add the refractive index too. I don’t know the RI of water off the top of my head (it is roughly 1.54 for quartz), but there will be a critical angle where the sunlight also reflects off of the water instead of penetrating it. Add that to the equations too. Expect heating to increase significantly as the sun transitions to an angle where it is no longer reflecting from the surface. That might be your isolating stat for the difference between heating by air vs heating by solar irradiance directly. Somewhere in the northern temperate zones there should be a place that transitions like this in the fall and spring?

  20. OK, how about a dumb idea?

    Ever see a liquid in a jar with two layers of nearly equal density? You can set up motion in the lower layer that moves with a strangely slow periodicity. Of course, you can describe this behavior perfectly with physical laws, it’s just that we don’t usually see things like that. Now imagine a similar oscillation in warm/cold layers of the Pacific Ocean (and others). With a large bowl, the oscillations could be very slow, and there might be a mix of deep waves of different frequencies and directions.

    What do we see with ENSO? It looks like upwellings of cold water, e.g. Humboldt from Chile/Peru/Ecuador. I find it hard to believe that the surface temperatures are driven primarily by surface phenomena. The temperature patterns on the SST map are very orderly, almost like the wake of a ship. How would a chaotic atmosphere produce such reproducible order? These temperature waves on the surface recur. It looks more like a circular ripple pattern stretched out by ocean current along the equator.

    Hey, I said it was a dumb idea.

  21. Throws hands up in the air. This is a complex non-linear mathematically chaotic system. Strange attractors aka Lorenz “owl eyes” plus lots of other stuff come to mind. Model all you want, but this system is exquisitely sensitive to initial conditions and assumptions about the physical processes involved. About all we can say is that Hansen’s tripe is worthless.

  22. I have never seen any good information (maybe someone can point us to it?) to demonstrate that a massive body of water can be heated to any meaningful extent by a diffuse body of air contacting the surface. It is almost always happens the other way around.

  23. AIR•For higher accuracy – a value of cp = 1.006 kJ/kg.K (equal to kJ/kg.oC)
    The average mass of the atmosphere is about 5 quadrillion (5×1015) tonnes

    SALT WATER Specific heat capacity, Cp . . . . . . . . . .
    3985 J kg−1 K−1
    3993 J kg−1 K−1
    The total mass of the hydrosphere is about 1,400,000,000,000,000,000 metric tons (1.5×1018 short tons)

    How is something (air) that has 1/4 the heat capacity and 3 orders of magnitude less mass going to heat the oceans?

    Sunshine works for me.

  24. I think that wind patterns can affect ocean temperatures.I know that air does not hold as much heat as water but it does circulate faster than ocean currents and can transfer heat/cold around over a period of time,we saw this during the recent blocking in the North Atlantic when the the normal west winds were replaced by cold winds from the North and the North sea gradually cooled.

  25. Global ocean-warming is not an atmospheric but a plate tectonic phenomenon. From the 1830s on, worldwide deep-ocean basins from the Arctic to Atlantic and Pacific have been subject to increasing “large magmatic episodes,” that is, the opening of extreme high-temperature vents surrounding continental landmasses at their margins.

    On this basis, we hypothesize that since Planet Earth is not merely an oblate spheroid but very slightly “pear-shaped,” minuscule instabilities cause Gaia to wobble geophysically, expand and contract by a factor of about half a mile (or less) on her 4,000-mile equatorial radius, ie. by ~.0125% (1.25 parts per 100,000).

    Geophysical effects tied to Earth’s marginally skewed departure from sphericity are the parsimonious explanation for observed bathymetric warming over nigh 175 years. Try submitting a grant application to depict and interpret this phenomenon in detail, and see how far you get.

  26. Roy Clark says:
    May 11, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I agree with Roy that extra warmth in the air from more downward infra red radiation or from warmer air above cannot significantly warm the ocean bulk due to an increased rate of evaporation and the net cooling effect of the evaporative process.

    I have been saying as much in various blogs for several years now.

    However Roy then goes on to say that the changes in solar irradiance are sufficient to achieve the observed changes in ocean heat content over time. I am more doubtful about that because proportionately the solar changes are very small so long periods of time would be involved yet we have seen changes in ocean heat content occur quickly.

    Thus I prefer the changes in cloudiness and albedo as the primary cause over short to medium timescales with solar variations other than raw TSI being responsible for shifts in the air circulation systems.

    It is nice to see these topics being taken more seriously now. I have up to now felt out in the wilderness against overconfident AGW proponents and certain solar ‘experts’ who deny any solar involvement in climate changes.

  27. I’m not a scientist, but an experienced life guard. I work at a city pool. On a sunny 90 degree summer day the pool is about 10 degrees warmer than it is on a cloudy 90 degree summer day.

    The pool temp is taken at the surface. At what depth is ocean temperature taken?

  28. This one is pretty simple to answer and the concept can be used for a science fair project for younger grade school students. When I was a kid, we used to make what we called sun tea. All that was needed was a glass container, water, and a few tea bags (of course, a couple mint leaves from the mint patch added just the right flavor enhancement!). When put out in the sun for a couple of hours, the water would heat enough to steep the tea and by dinner time, the tea would be ready. Place that same concoction in a shady area and you were out of luck. The tea would always have a higher temperature than the ambient air temp, so obviously the sun was heating the liquid more than the air temp. The one left in the shade would not always reach ambient air temp, though it would if left out there long enough. Regardless, the change in temp always occurred MUCH faster for the one in the sun than the one in the shade. Now, there are aspects of the physics of it all with the closed glass containers and all, but it became quickly obvious to me that the sun can heat much more and much faster than the air.

  29. What a wonderful post this is. Only WUWT has achieved a level of clarity that permits answering commonsense questions while fully respecting the scientific background.

    My approach to these questions is from scientific methodology. I’ll try to be brief. There is no known physical mechanism that would explain how the atmosphere can heat the ocean.

    As regards the Sun, there is a physical mechanism that can explain in general that radiation from the Sun does heat the oceans. However, no one has been able to formulate hypotheses based on this physical mechanism that enables prediction of the temperature changes in the oceans that we care about. In other words, no one has been able to rigorously formulate a set of physical hypotheses that explain the behavior that we want to explain.

    Voila! At this time, there is no physical science that enables explanation or prediction of the changes in ocean temperature that we wish to explain and predict. Warmista know this fact. That’s why all they offer are model runs and various collections of “temperature data” from proxies or whatever. Among all the Warmista, there is not one physical hypothesis that could serve to explain and predict ocean temperature changes. Yet they claim to be scientists. They would do better to claim to be Al Gore.

    If science is to produce a physical explanation of the ocean temperature changes that we care about then the first step is that scientists must describe the natural regularities upon which these temperature changes ride. To take an easy and familiar example, if we are to explain the temperature changes associated with La Nina then scientists must first identify and describe the physical processes occurring in the ocean, in the atmosphere, and at the boundary during the course of a La Nina event.

    Unfortunately, no one has ever attempted to describe the physical processes that make up La Nina. Much to their discredit, Warmista dogmatically claim that La Nina is statistical noise rather than a physical process. Others are happy to look at the temperature numbers associated with La Nina and call that a science. Of course, temperature numbers are no less in need of explanation through use of physical hypotheses than are the phenomena.

    Briffa is an excellent example of this point. After his tree rings began declining in 1960, he had no idea why they declined. Was it because of temperature? Moisture? Something else? Without a set of physical hypotheses which explain how the tree rings respond to changes in temperature, moisture, and everything else that affects them, the numbers that come from temperature readings are worthless.

    Let us all learn this one important lesson. In science, physical hypotheses that are not rigorously formulated and specify no data (particular phenomena that we care about) are useless. Data that are not explained by some physical hypotheses are unorganized nonsense.

    With the exception of Arrhenius’ CO2 hypotheses, today’s climate science has no physical hypotheses. Arrhenius’ hypotheses predict warming or cooling depending on the feedbacks from increased CO2. Yet no one has physical hypotheses which explain one or more feedbacks. Once the physical science of feedbacks are known, Arrhenius’ hypotheses predict nothing for Earth’s climate. Climate science will not advance out of infancy until climate scientists give up the computer models, the statistical arguments, and get into the field and develop techniques for detecting and describing the natural regularities that govern such phenomena as cloud formation, La Nina, and other wonderful things to study.

  30. Nicola Scafetta addresses the different rates at which the atmosphere and ocean react, as well as evidence for solar driven climate change. e.g.
    Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change

    “Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications”. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 72, 951–970 (2010), doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2010.04.015 PDF

    Solar/planetary modulation of magnetic fields when modulate cosmic rays which modulate clouds when change albedo/solar absorption is one model increasingly being studied by researchers.

  31. Hundreds of thousands of new undersea volcanoes have recently been discovered [millions, if volcanoes under 300 meters height are counted]. For some unknown reason, the number of undersea volcanoes is far out of proportion to the number of land-based volcanoes.

    Surely these undersea volcanoes must have some effect on OHC.

  32. This is weird.. some of the comments, I mean.

    Evaporation cools water surface. Ever jump into an unheated pool in the desert SW on a 95 degree afternoon?
    Seems to me that heat from that pool isnt lost, it’s added to the air around it by the vapor. Yep, heat goes from lower to a higher temp molecule. But that’s just a hunch and assumes LW IR radiation.

    Try heating your tea water with a hairdryer blowing on the water surface. THEN try aiming your hairdryer on the side of the pan.
    The only way temp can transfer close to efficiently from air to water is at 100% RH. And it’s STILL by LW IR, I would think.
    _________________________________

    “Half of CO2 absorbed heat” does NOT go back to the surface. The earth is still a GLOBE, is it not?. I’m not a scientist or anything but seems to me the higher in altitude the GHG, the less LW IR makes it back to the surface and it ALL ultimately ends up in space.

    But that’s just my guess.

  33. Sea drives land.

    A 2008 study – “Oceanic Influences on Recent Continental Warming”, by Compo, G.P., and P.D. Sardeshmukh, (Climate Diagnostics Center, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, and Physical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Climate Dynamics, 2008)
    [http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/CompoSardeshmukh2007a.pdf] states: “Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land. Atmospheric model simulations of the last half-century with prescribed observed ocean temperature changes, but without prescribed GHG changes, account for most of the land warming. … Several recent studies suggest that the observed SST variability may be misrepresented in the coupled models used in preparing the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, with substantial errors on interannual and decadal scales. There is a hint of an underestimation of simulated decadal SST variability even in the published IPCC Report.”
     
    This document describes the El Nino / Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

    Those interested in the Team’s take on this should Google ‘why the blip’ and see how the problem was smoothed away by an arbitrary adjustment when this simple truth got in the way of the narrative.

    JF
    It’s the Kriegesmarine effect. Betcha. But not a lot.

  34. Of course much of varied temperatures are caused by heat transfers but from water movement. I.e., the thermometer is stationary but the water is not, being in constant circulation.

  35. A. Patterson Moore:

    Sorry I missed your OHC question over on the UAH update thread. Natural factors can be shown to be the primary cause of the rise in global ocean heat content. These include the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), changes in sea level pressure, and multidecadal variability due to processes such as Atlantic Meridional Overturning. I illustrated these in posts over the past couple of years that Anthony cross posted here at WUWT. They include:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content-0-700-meters-data/

    AND:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/north-pacific-ocean-heat-content-shift-in-the-late-1980s/

    AND:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700-meters-is-governed-by-natural-variables/

    Regards

  36. Plate tectonic’s heat contribution is potentially huge. The water emanating from a ‘black smoker’ approaches 700 degrees C…and doesn’t boil due to the immense seafloor pressure. The mid-ocean ridge system is the world’s longest mountain range, at some 40,000 miles…some segments more active in spreading than others. Anomalous blisters like Iceland must be huge contributors. And what about CO2 contribution!

  37. The sea is at about 290K on average. It has a very high emissivity so it is radiating a huge amount of long wave energy upwards. Some of this is lost directly to space and some warms the atmosphere. It is also losing a lot of energy to the atmosphere through evaporation (particularly in windy conditions). There is some cooling by conduction and subsequent convection but it is small because the air close to the surface is at roughly the same temperature.The reason it does not cool continuously is that for some part of every 24 hours (except in the arctic/antarctic circles) it gets a huge burst of short wave energy from the sun. It also gets a smaller amount of long wave radiation from the atmosphere day and night.

    Sea temperature averaged over the globe and over the year is pretty constant so the losses and the gains are pretty much the same. We are roughly in energy balance. If this balance is lost the sea will either warm or cool. This can happen locally and at the surface but to heat or cool the bulk of the oceans significantly would take a very long time.

    There is no doubt that the vast majority of the energy absorbed by the sea is in the form of the direct short wave insolation. However small changes in the energy balance can come from anywhere. We can change the insolation at the top of the atmosphere we can change the albedo of the clouds or of the sea surface, we can change the relative amount of UV (active sun) which may effect ozone or the depth at which absorption in the sea takes place, we can change the evaporation rates. Or we can change the amount of heat radiated from the atmosphere, which is what the “models” do. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this latter hypothesis. Indeed as the warmists continuously point out the science supports such a possibility.

    So although it is a good question the answer is not really helpful. We are still in the situation of trying to decide whether there is a change in ocean heat content and, if there is, which of the many possibilities is the cause. As I have said before trying to argue that CO2 cannot be the cause is as silly as saying that it is the only possible cause.

    However the actual cause of the imbalance should leave a signature. Increased atmospheric warming (say due to CO2) should be detectable day and night and winter as well as summer. Increased insolation or reductions in cloud cover should lead to greater peak temperatures in summer. However the caotic nature of the system makes such signatures very difficult to read.

    For what it is worth my personal view is that the OHC plateau in the last 9 years suggests that, during this period, we have been in energy balance. That suggests that even if CO2 can be shown to be the cause of the previous imbalance its effect has already been neuralised by the surface temperature increase we have already experienced. This puts an upper limit on any CO2 effect and places it in the “why worry” category. That is assuming you are one of those who believe this is the best of all possible worlds and any change is for the worse. I personally would welcome another degree or so of warming in the winter and at night.

  38. When a clean water body is viewed from directly above with the Sun behind — that ocean surface appears black. Something of this nature is seen in the image linked below. (I did not find the explanation of the color for this image.)

    Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) acquired this image on 1 March 2005. Posted 14 April 2006 – 12:37 PM
    Earth from Space: The Gulf of Aden

    http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=66800

    An absence of returning wave lengths give the appearance of black. Earth is called the “blue” planet because of its atmosphere even though maps and globes provide, falsely, the notion of a blue ocean.

    Views from space show a lot of energy entering the world’s oceans.

  39. It seems to me that it is all about water. Not only the ocean liquid component and the cloud vapor component but also humidity that is still there on a clear sunny day. The relative humidity probably at various levels of the atmosphere.

    In measuring incident solar levels at different solar furnaces where I worked for several years (all of which were in the desert of New Mexico about 32 deg N), I noticed that incident levels on clear sunny days varied dramatically from day to day, week to week, and season to season. These levels were generally correlated to surface humidity levels but it would be interesting to see how balloon sonde data through higher altitudes might affect the values. Low humidity produced higher incident solar readings. Summers in the desert are very warm and and often during the monsoon periods humidity in the mornings is very high. Afternoon cloudiness with thunderstorms of course would drop incident solar input to very low to generally non existent levels. Peaks (at solar noon) for solar surface readings during the long hot humid days of summer were often only 850 watts per m^2.

    On clear dry fall days solar surface readings were often as high as 1050 watts per m^2. It is interesting to hear about CO2 forcing a few watts per m^2 while water in it’s “clear” vapor form (not clouds) seems to affect short wave incident solar radiation to the tune of up to 200 watts per m^2. This may only happen in desert areas but it is a very measurable day time effect of atmospheric (and stratospheric?) water vapor.

    Variation in humidity patterns over 60 to 100 years would help explain part of the long term natural climate cycles that we have started to identify during our emerging insight over the past 10 or 15 years. Perhaps driven in part by small long term variations in day time surface solar incident values?

    Bernie

  40. The specific heat of water (volumetric heat capacity) is about 3,200 x that of air, so the heat-exchange capability of air to water is miniscule.

  41. Consider a one square metre column of air over ocean water. The mass of that air will be about 10,330 kilograms. The specific heat of that mass of air will be the same as just 2.6 metres of ocean water under it. The oceans on average are much deeper than 2.6 metres. There is no way the atmosphere can heat the ocean. IR radiation in the range 3 to 100 microns does not penetrate water to more than a millimetre. Sunlight and especially UV can penetrate to 100 metres or so. Now that can heat a volume of water, not just the surface. Put a cloud in the way of the sun and that deep heat stops. James Lovelock pointed out back in the 1970s that phytoplankton will release DMS gas if they find the water too warm. This gas is an excellent cloud condensation nuclei. Those little beasties learned billions of years ago how to make a sunshade if things got too warm.

  42. “Atmospheric CO2 absorbs radiative heat energy coming from below that would otherwise go out into space quickly. The CO2 re-emits this energy – half of which goes back down. The oceans absorb much of this. This extra energy heats the oceans and will eventually heat the atmosphere and will eventually go back out into space.”

    This bolded portion seems questionable and overly simplistic to me. Assuming that the CO2 molecule re-radiates this heat equally in all directions, you get 360° of radiation. The 180° “half” do not all lead “down” to the ground. There’s a whole lot of “sideways” that you are assuming eventually makes it “down,” instead of outwards, and ultimately “up” back into space. Depending on the altitude of the subject molecule, the slice of its complete field-of-view occupied by the Earth’s surface would vary greatly. I would generously guess that this “one-half” estimate should be lowered to somewhere around “one-third.”

    Heh. Since the Earth is a globe, you have some significant “round-ing bias” indeed.

  43. A scenario that may be happening:

    The top layer of the ocean is being significantly warmed by solar radiation due to a number of factors. First, the direct sunlight heats up a sublayer of the top layer; wave action slightly increases this heat content and spreads it (horizontally and to a modest extent vertically); evaporation at the surface occurs and still warm water vapor is distributed throughout the air immediately above the ocean surface, some of it gaining enough heat to cause water vapor expansion and perhaps (basically ocean spray and near cloud formation yet not enough to be visible) some falling back into the ocean creating this layer of heat retention, or shield, above the ocean surface…this may in effect help to cause a decrease in cloud formation; near the coast vertical exchanges of water with cold water sinking and warming water rising and being mixed in with the top, warm layer of ocean water…then circulated around the globe by waves, wind, currents, and thermal convection across the oceans. This is from an informed, non-expert perspective.

  44. Bernie McCune, May 11, 2011 at 10:42 am : Ditto! The water. Would you be open for some more general data that might help you expand your thoughs even further? Could post it later here. I especially you words on the 850 and 1050 Wm-2 aspect, that keys right in with an hour-by-hour breakdown of both Kiehl-Trenbeth papers and diagrams (still working on Miskolczi’s). All of those papers seem to imply an ~62% mean cloud cover but TK seems way too low on the mean water content.

  45. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 11, 2011 at 9:16 am
    (See above.)

    Thank you Mr. Goodwin, Sir. Would that all scientists could express themselves with such clarity.

  46. Eric Anderson says:
    May 11, 2011 at 8:54 am
    “I have never seen any good information (maybe someone can point us to it?) to demonstrate that a massive body of water can be heated to any meaningful extent by a diffuse body of air contacting the surface. …”

    ———

    I don’t know Eric. But I do know that on those rare occasions when a warm air mass (15C/60F) makes it into Vermont in Winter, snow and ice cover melts at a truly impressive rate. Water is streaming everywhere. But on a day with equal sunlight and “enjoying” a cold Arctic airmass, there is little melting. This suggests to me that the air is capable of transferring a fair amount of heat (at least the heat of fusion of water — 79.9 cal/gm) to a lot of frozen water.

  47. Doug Proctor said

    9 times before reaching the sea, where it evaporates and falls again. Each time energy is taken from the air and put into the water. So rain “washes” the heat out of the atmosphere. (This only occurs because there is still a cooler ocean below.)”>

    This seems backward to me- evaporation of liquid to vapor absorbs a huge amount of heat, which is released at high altitude and radiated to space when the vapor condenses again. Rain is generally colder than surface water, and so heat is being removed from the water and carried through the air to space.

  48. To clear up all the argument about heat transfer from atmosphere to oceans. Get a heat gun and apply it to the surface of a bucket of water for about 5 minutes, enough to set wood alight. Result no heat transfer, water remains cold, reason: surface tension.

  49. Since I try to make a living fishing on the ocean, I may have a different perspective. Bob Tisdale spends a great deal of time on this subject, so he has a much better knowledge, I just have some fisherman kinda views.

    The oceans absorb roughly 94% of the sunlight the strikes their surface. (yes, absorb, it is the overall depth of the absorption that is important to me.) The depth of the absorption is partially responsible to the average depths of the intermediate thermoclines. I fish normally in the upper 300 feet, so I watch these as close as I can.

    Clearer water means deeper penetration so a deeper intermediate thermocline. For the offshore fisherman, the change in the depth of penetration is a lot due to changes in the concentration and type of microorganisms. The bottom of the food chain. When the second intermediate thermocline rises in the column that is an indication of more food, more bait, more big fish to eat the bait. When the second intermediate thermocline gets to around 150 feet, that is magic for tuna and marlin. Down here anyway. When that second intermediate thermocline reaches roughly 150 feet, it also kills the bite on the deeper wrecks.

    From a climate perspective, a shallow thermocline means a shallower,tighter mixing layer which can increase the release rate of ocean heat. conversely, the deeper penetration alls the ocean to retain more heat for a longer period. This is probably why fish stocks tend to change with climate.

    Cloud cover change of course changes the amount of solar energy absorbed, wind speed changes effect the rate of heat released/absorbed (La Nina makes for killer fishing in the Pacific off Central and South America) and to a lesser degree salinity can change the average depth of absorption.

    Cold fronts drop sea surface temperatures much faster than warm fronts (bigger temperature difference, more heat transfer).

    For the intermediate thermoclines: When there is calm weather and clear water, a pretty solid temperature break can be seen at roughly thirty feet (ten meters) The second intermediate is roughly at or above 450 feet, it is a little bit smaller temperature break, but a good sonar can pick it up. Ten meters just happens to be the depth where all of the red light spectrum is absorbed and 450 is where all of the yellow and most of the green is absorbed. (WOW physics and fishing!)

  50. Don K says:
    May 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    “I don’t know Eric. But I do know that on those rare occasions when a warm air mass (15C/60F) makes it into Vermont in Winter, snow and ice cover melts at a truly impressive rate. Water is streaming everywhere. But on a day with equal sunlight and “enjoying” a cold Arctic airmass, there is little melting. This suggests to me that the air is capable of transferring a fair amount of heat (at least the heat of fusion of water — 79.9 cal/gm) to a lot of frozen water.”

    This is one of those rare occasions where the weather/climate distinction is useful. When you are talking about snow melting, you are talking about the arrival of a front that might be 30 or 40 degrees warmer than the snow that it melts. When we are talking about the atmosphere warming the ocean, we are talking about an increase of .1 degree over a decade raising the temperature of the ocean. Not going to happen.

  51. Ken Harvey says:
    May 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Thank You, Sir. And may I offer a slightly different version. Would that all scientists STRIVE to express themselves with complete clarity. Climate scientists strike me as resembling a bunch of teenagers arguing about the basketball playoffs.

  52. Don K says:
    May 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    “I don’t know Eric. But I do know that on those rare occasions when a warm air mass (15C/60F) makes it into Vermont in Winter, snow and ice cover melts at a truly impressive rate. Water is streaming everywhere. But on a day with equal sunlight and “enjoying” a cold Arctic airmass, there is little melting. This suggests to me that the air is capable of transferring a fair amount of heat (at least the heat of fusion of water — 79.9 cal/gm) to a lot of frozen water.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I see this transfer of heat of condensation from the air to any objects that are below the dew point of the incoming more equatorial air masses in sync with the lunar and solar declinational atmospheric tides.

    If you watch the patterns of cloud condensation around the sea ice extent of Antarctica this effects becomes very noticeable, as does the damp concrete floor in your garage, and the way metal tools rust more in the shade over long periods of time.

  53. Richard111 says on May 11, 2011 at 11:42 am :

    James Lovelock pointed out back in the 1970s that phytoplankton will release DMS gas if they find the water too warm. This gas is an excellent cloud condensation nuclei. Those little beasties learned billions of years ago how to make a sunshade if things got too warm.

    This is incorrect and speculation. Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is rapidly oxidized by ozone to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), which is miscible with water. DMSO could be further oxidized to dimethly sulfone.

    CH3SCH3 + O3 —-> CH3SOCH3 +O2

    CH3SOCH3 + O3 —> CH3SO2CH3 + O2

    Ozone is soluble in water and these reactions can take place in the liquid phase.

    DMS is the principal odorant in nat gas and has an exceptionally low odor threshold.
    The air from an ocean breeze has no odor of DMS.

  54. ATTN: dallas

    You should invite the Team to go fishing for a few days. Perhaps they will learn a little bit about real climate.

  55. Someone else has a similar idea:

    Dr Roy Spencer, former NASA scientist
    “The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling.

    “How could the experts have missed such a simple explanation? Because they have convinced themselves that only a temperature change can cause a cloud cover change, and not the other way around. The issue is one of causation. They have not accounted for cloud changes causing temperature changes.”

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/04/the-great-global-warming-blunder-how-mother-nature-fooled-the-world%e2%80%99s-top-climate-scientists/

  56. The general consensus here seems to be that warmer air and/or extra downward IR cannot warm the ocean bulk.

    Well it must do something but what?

    If the ocean doesn’t warm up then it presents a ‘block’ to anything in the air significantly affecting the overall system heat content because for that the oceans rule.

    But the air has to adjust in some way. More energy is present in the air but the ocean controls the air temperature so something has to give.

    The answer is a speeding up of the water cycle and and a bottom up induced shift in the air circulation systems which then interacts with the top down effect of solar variability shifting the air circulation systems. But there are huge changes in energy transfer rates already involved in those two naturally variable forcing processes.

    Now we know that from MWP to LIA and LIA to date there was a large shift in the air circulation systems. Civilisations rose and fell as a consequence. Ships logs show how meridional and/or equatorward were the mid latitude jets in the LIA and in the MWP warm air regularly encroached into Greenland to help the Viking settlements.

    With that scale of natural variability in the air circulation (1000 miles or so latitudinally) what will a bit more CO2 do.

    Elsewhere I have suggested that more CO2 would just shift the jets a miniscule unmeasurable extra latitudinal distance for virtually no climate effect at all.

    So if one cannot get the extra energy into the ocean bulk it gets dealt with in the air for a near zero climate effect.

    And even if one could get the extra energy into the oceans the heat capacity of the oceans is so huge as compared to the air that we would see no climate effect for millennia.

    However one cuts it the AGW proposition has always been a dead duck (or parrot).

  57. Jimbo says:
    May 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm
    Dr Roy Spencer, former NASA scientist

    “How could the experts have missed such a simple explanation? Because they have convinced themselves that only a temperature change can cause a cloud cover change, and not the other way around. The issue is one of causation. They have not accounted for cloud changes causing temperature changes.”

    Warmista worship the God Manmade-CO2. For them, Manmade-CO2 has to be the cause of warming. They will consider nothing that departs from this most fundamental principle of their religious faith. That is why I compare them to Ptolemy for whom planetary orbits around Earth had to be in perfect circles even if those circles were mounted on other perfect circles ad infinitum. Kepler came along like a wrecking ball and broke the circles (literally stretched them into ellipses), had the planets engaging in the imperfect practice of changing speed, and expanded the size of orbits beyond what any follower of Ptolemy could comprehend. Kepler was a scientist who created physical hypotheses. That is what scientists do.

    As regards the quotation from the brilliant Spencer, it is not just a matter of causal direction. Even if Manmade-CO2 causes warming we know nothing until we have physical hypotheses explaining the behavior of clouds in this new environment. Warmista are not even working on those hypotheses.

  58. “I do know that on those rare occasions when a warm air mass (15C/60F) makes it into Vermont in Winter, snow and ice cover melts at a truly impressive rate. Water is streaming everywhere. But on a day with equal sunlight and “enjoying” a cold Arctic airmass, there is little melting. This suggests to me that the air is capable of transferring a fair amount of heat (at least the heat of fusion of water — 79.9 cal/gm) to a lot of frozen water.”

    Perfectly true, BUT:

    Ice will absorb huge amounts of energy from air to achieve the phase change from solid to liquid but that energy is then locked in the liquid as latent (unmeasurable) energy so in effect the energy disappears having been removed from the air at a rapid rate with the water temperature becoming no higher than the melt temperature.

    Then if one wants to take the next step to convert the liquid to vapour ANOTHER huge amount of energy is required for THAT phase change and again it ‘disappears’.

    BUT (again) if one puts all that energy into creating more water vapour then because water vapour is lighter than air it rises via convection up through the atmosphere and that energy is lost to space faster when it is released by condensation at a higher level.

    So instead of a temperature rise the ‘excess’ energy disappears (all that energy goes into latent non sensible invisible mode) and you just get an acceleration of the water cycle and it is the global oceans not the air or the greenhouse gases that set the equilibrium temperature for the system as a whole.

    The air and downward IR cannot affect the bulk ocean temperature. Only solar shortwave can do that.

    So it is a logical and physical impossibility for warmth in air to be maintained above a water or ice surface in an unsaturated atmosphere where the evaporation rate can readily increase.

    The current atmospheric pressure on Earth is what ensures that the evaporation rate can readily increase but that is another story.

  59. I have not a shred of evidence or authority to support any of these thoughts but (in the same way as the original question was posed, for debate) could it be that (a) in fact there has been no significant change to the historic heat content of the surface layer of the oceans, (b) the original question is therefore moot as there has been no significant change in cloud cover either, (c) little heat will flow from atmosphere to ocean (why would it flow downwards?) and (d) heat can fairly readily flow from a warmer ocean to a cooler atmosphere but this one-way only and generally will only happen at night, or in polar regions where an ice-free ocean warms a cooler atmosphere above.

    I accept this gives no explanation for the ocean cycles: just trying to stir debate!

  60. The TauTona gold mine in South Africa is 3.9km deep. The rock face temperature at that depth currently reaches 60°C. http://www.mining-technology.com/projects/tautona_goldmine/

    The average depth of the Atlantic, not including its adjacent seas, is 3.9km. The average depth of the Pacific is 4.2km. The average depth of the Indian Ocean is 3.9km.

    http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2006/HelenLi.shtml

    If I sit a pan of water on a stove at 60°C it will get warm. This is a constant, the stove runs 24/7. If I also suspend a heat lamp over the top of the pan for 12 hours a day then it will get warmer still. I don’t think warm air is going to add much heat to the pan in comparison.

    IanG

  61. Concerning the amount back-scattered

    I would generously guess that this “one-half” estimate should be lowered to somewhere around “one-third.”

    Evidence please.

    If you were right, do you think someone with some actual Maths – not an uninspired guess – might have worked this out by now?

    In any case, the proportion back-scattered is irrelevant. If the CO2 theory holds the amount backscattered will rise with increasing concentration.

    All this speculation about how air can’t warm water when no-one seriously suggests it does! If you wish to defeat the warmists, you need to not attack points that even they don’t believe. If you wish to posit that changes in cloud cover are making the difference, you are still left with explaining why that is changing. “Natural variation” is not an explanation btw: if you don’t know just say that.

  62. Doug Proctor says: “…So rain “washes” the heat out of the atmosphere….”

    It also washes CO2 out of the atmosphere.

    Eric Anderson says: “I have never seen any good information (maybe someone can point us to it?) to demonstrate that a massive body of water can be heated to any meaningful extent by a diffuse body of air contacting the surface….”

    The total heat capacity of the ocean is about 1100 times that of the atmosphere. The ocean is the dog, the atmosphere is the hair on the tail. The hair does not wag the dog.

    Green Sand asks: “What would be the most effective system to heat domestic water, solar water heating system or an air source heat pump?”

    A matte black, plastic-lined 55 gallon drum sitting on the roof. Seriously, if you’re talking cost effectiveness. Insulate the side of the drum where the sun doesn’t hit it.

  63. Harold Pierce Jr says: “The air from an ocean breeze has no odor of DMS.”

    The last ocean breeze I smelled reeked like dead fish, Harold. What does DMS smell like?

  64. The unsmoothed GLOBAL average lower atmospheric temperature varies by about 3.8 degrees C per year. The global average peaks during the Northern Hemisphere summer and drops to a minimum during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer (NH winter). This effect is because the majority of the Earth’s land mass is in the Northern Hemisphere and the fraction of land in the temperate zone, the zone between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, is even more biased toward the Northern Hemisphere.

    Land heats up faster than the ocean for the same solar input. During the NH summer, the NH land mass absorbs sunshine, transfers heat to the atmosphere, and the atmosphere net transfers heat to the ocean. There’s also heat flow directly from the atmosphere to the ocean, but the net goes from land to ocean, not the other way around. Heat flows in the SH during the SH summer from SH land to the atmosphere, and from the SH atmosphere to the SH ocean too, but because there’s less SH land there’s less total heat flow into the atmosphere during SH summer vs. NH summer. Therefore, the global average atmospheric temperature drops during the SH summer. The heat flows reverse during each hemisphere’s winter. In the NH winter, NH heat goes from NH ocean to atmosphere to NH land, likewise in the SH during SH winter. In equilibrium, the heat flows average out over the entire year to exactly balance. In equilibrium, the long term global average (over the whole year) of the ocean’s temperature and the atmosphere’s temperature will be stable. You still see this very large 3.8 degree globally averaged air temperature swing during the year, but the yearly averages are stable in equilibrium from year to year.

    Just knowing that the globally averaged air temperature swings so much from NH summer to SH summer, it’s easy to deduce that if the Earth was almost all land and very little ocean, the average atmospheric temperature would be several degrees hotter than it is now (and so would the smaller ocean’s temperature), and if the Earth was all ocean, air temperatures would be several degrees colder.

    Now, assume that the balance in the atmosphere is upset by CO2 (it has been to a small extent), so the atmosphere is in disequilibrium. The atmosphere will warm, but the rate of warming will be a function of both these heat flows and a function of non-linear feedbacks (CO2’s effect on water vapor and cloud formation). If the CO2 concentration were to stabilize at some level, a new equilibrium temperature in the atmosphere would be achieved but not for a very long time, because equilibrium can’t be achieved until the net annual heat flows (land to atmosphere to ocean and the reverse) averaged over the NH and SH and averaged over the seasons again sum to zero. Since we know that a part of the heat flow needed to bring the ocean back into equilibrium is convected by the atmosphere and we know that the atmosphere’s energy content (mass times its heat capacity) is about 1/3000th of the ocean’s energy content, it takes many, many convected atmosphere volumes moving back and forth between land and ocean, moving heat one way in the summer and the other way in the winter, to net raise the entire ocean’s temperature enough to come back into equilibrium. Remember, if the Earth only had ocean, its temperature would be lower, so to eliminate the disequilibrium some net heat has to flow from land to water until equilibrium is again achieved.

    In fact, it will take more than 3000 convected atmosphere volumes because the heat transferred at the interface between the air and the ocean must get distributed throughout the ocean and not all of the heat in the entire vertical atmospheric column will exchange at once. If CO2 were stabilized, the balance will eventually be reached and the ocean’s temperature will rise to equal the increase in lower atmospheric temperature, but the long-term balance can’t possibly be reached in even a few years because the average wind speed is far too low to be able to convect enough air between land and ocean. I would argue that it will take many decades or more for a true entire ocean volume equilibrium to be reached from a CO2 insertion simply because the convective transfer balance requires such a huge number of atmospheric volumes.

    However, if the top layers of the ocean don’t readily exchange heat with the ocean depths, the initial progression toward an atmosphere / ocean equilibrium temperature will be more rapid, whether the actual heat input is from AGW or solar input. It will still take a long time for a true, entire ocean equilibrium to be achieved, but with slow heat exchange to the depths, the ocean’s surface temperature will respond very quickly to changes. Since the sun’s output has been constant for about 50 years, if heat doesn’t distribute quickly the surface temp will already be near the equilibrium, but if heat gets moved to the depths quickly, the ocean might still be responding to the the large solar output change in the first 1/2 of the 1900s.

    Knowing how the ocean equilibrates, knowing how heat is convected within the ocean itself, is therefore critical to be able to separate solar forcing from AGW, and is critical to the understanding of non-linear feedback terms from AGW. To add to this critical data need, we also need to know how heat is circulated in the oceans from tropical latitudes toward the poles. A recent paper by Petr Chylek has shown that by not properly including the heat transport in the Atlantic and not accounting for the natural Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation the AGW non-linear feedback terms will be overestimated by a factor of 3. If climate models use the wrong feedback terms, the models will be faulty. Chylek argues that future temperatures have been severely overestimated because of the lack of fidelity in the ocean circulation part of the models.

    Since we only recently have data from Argo, data that will allow a better understanding of ocean circulation, we don’t have data over a long enough time to understand the PDO, AMDO, El Nino, la Nina, and ocean circulation flows. Therefore, it’s just not credible for anyone to conclude that they know enough to be able to separate AGW from solar forcing from differences in ocean circulation well enough to be able to deduce these non-linear atmospheric feedback effects, especially when faced with the added difficulty that arises from noisy data caused by natural fluctuations.

    In other words, with the limited ocean circulation data available, climate scientists cannot reliably predict future climate changes which are now assumed to be (but are not necessarily) dominated by these non-linear feedback effects.

  65. “Atmospheric CO2 absorbs radiative heat energy coming from below that would otherwise go out into space quickly. The CO2 re-emits this energy – half of which goes back down. The oceans absorb much of this.”

    Mike,
    That is a new one. Care to elaborate?

  66. I really think that if we had ARGO for the last 30-40 years, we would see virtually zero trend, or at best a very minor increase, in OHC. Like pretty much what we are seeing right now…

  67. Green Sand asked: “What would be the most effective system to heat domestic water, solar water heating system or an air source heat pump?”

    This looks to me like a “how long is a piece of string?” question. There are many variables, like the energy availability and the surface area of the heaters.

    IanM

  68. meab writes:

    “Knowing how the ocean equilibrates, knowing how heat is convected within the ocean itself, is therefore critical to be able to separate solar forcing from AGW, and is critical to the understanding of non-linear feedback terms from AGW. To add to this critical data need, we also need to know how heat is circulated in the oceans from tropical latitudes toward the poles.”

    You don’t have a data need here, you have a hypothesis need. You need physical hypotheses which describe the natural regularities upon which ocean temperatures ride. At this time, no one has such physical hypotheses and, shockingly, no one is out there trying to identify and describe the natural regularities. So, the long and the short of it is, there are no known mechanisms according to which the atmosphere could heat the ocean. We might know in some general way that the atmosphere can heat the ocean but in exactly that same general way we know that space travel to other galaxies is possible. Let’s get out of the metaphysics and back to the science. What our government and our educational establishment needs to do is lay down the law to climate scientists and tell them to get out there and do the necessary experimental work to identify and describe the natural regularities that drive the heat exchanges that interest us.

  69. Mooloo says:
    May 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    If you wish to posit that changes in cloud cover are making the difference, you are still left with explaining why that is changing.

    Bull****! There is no change except in the minds of a bunch of communists, where there is always change, frenetic, toxic change.

  70. Do the math on heat capacity of the ocean & heat capacity of the atmosphere. Not only does water have a 4x higher heat capacity than air, but it’s mass is orders of magnitude greater. From a simple thermodynamics standpoint, you quickly reach the conclusion the atmosphere (and it’s composition) have very little to do with it’s temperature. Now, I have to image that GCMs take this into account (right??? – that would be an extremely basic input to the model I would imagine) , but from a simplistic point of view, it seems that your point is extremely salient unless someone can explicitly explain how GCMs deal with this issue (clouds & radiational heating of the oceans & consequential heating of the atmosphere by the oceans). Comments anyone who knows something about the details of GCMs??

  71. Folks, The OHC changed because there was a large 4% decrease in cloud cover during the 1990s. The cause seems to be a shift from a meridional climate pattern to a zonal pattern which the russian have found to alternate in a multidecadal cycle . Meridional winds increase the transfer of energy/moisture and so cause cooling though increased heat loss at the poles and increased cloudiness particularly at mid latitudes. Polar vortexes and hence Solar UV/volcanoes could be a significant driver of the pattern.
    Zonal has the opposite effect.
    This can also be extended to longer time scales such as the 1000year cycle and even the ice age cycle.
    The ice ages started when the isthmus of panama blocked the the zonal ocean currents and created the meridional gulf stream/THC. It works just like a radiator.
    If you increase the flow of water the radiator (poles) cool the engine(equator) while also creating more cloud.
    The 1000 year cycle could be caused by variation in the salt density of the THC altering the flow rates.

    It may not have been mentioned but wind speed is an important cooling factor in ocean temp. El Nino is initiate by a westerly wind burst that disrupts trade winds and hence evaporative cooling.

  72. Wayne writes-
    Bernie McCune, May 11, 2011 at 10:42 am : Ditto! The water. Would you be open for some more general data that might help you expand your thoughs even further?

    Of course, it is always interesting to me to take observational data and see how it fits the theory. I suspect that the devil is in the detail and I cannot quite see how to globalize a data set from a single normal incident pryheliometer instrument in the NM desert. More likely this tiny data set might serve to open up a new avenue for us to explore and better quantify these “clear air” humidity effects on incoming SW solar radiation so that the present global “on average” values that are always used can be quantified in space and time with finer precision in order to gain the actual picture of this aspect of the earth’s thermal environment. And see how it really fits in the thermal balance scheme. I have observed these short term (periods of months) large fluctuations in SW solar input into a tiny point on the planet and I know that in the end it is the sun stupid so I just want to know if this is another significant iris effect like the clouds are. How do we measure it on a global basis and how do we fit it into the equation if it really is significant? Always more questions.

    Bernie

  73. Undersea volcanoes and vents could do serious heating of the oceans upon an increase in tectonic activity.
    At the same time, volcanoes over land get more active. It would be silly to assume that increased vulcanism only takes place undersea or on land.

  74. Yes, the “multiplier” for cloud cover changes is higher than any other. I think that’s the driver!

  75. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 11, 2011 at 9:16 am
    What a wonderful post this is. Only WUWT has achieved a level of clarity that permits answering commonsense questions while fully respecting the scientific background.

    I’ll second that!
    And I agree with the rest of your comments…excellent.

  76. dallas says:
    May 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    “Clearer water means deeper penetration so a deeper intermediate thermocline. For the offshore fisherman, the change in the depth of penetration is a lot due to changes in the concentration and type of microorganisms. The bottom of the food chain. When the second intermediate thermocline rises in the column that is an indication of more food, more bait, more big fish to eat the bait. When the second intermediate thermocline gets to around 150 feet, that is magic for tuna and marlin. Down here anyway. When that second intermediate thermocline reaches roughly 150 feet, it also kills the bite on the deeper wrecks.

    From a climate perspective, a shallow thermocline means a shallower,tighter mixing layer which can increase the release rate of ocean heat. conversely, the deeper penetration allows the ocean to retain more heat for a longer period. This is probably why fish stocks tend to change with climate”

    I love your website, by the way.

    But I misread your final sentence in the above, in anticipation of what appeared to be a completely different line of reasoning..

    I misread your final sentence as:

    ‘This is why fish stocks probably tend to change the climate!’

    And I thought your line of reasoning went like this:

    ‘The concentration of bottom-of-food-chain, ocean-dwelling microorganisms between the ocean’s surface and 100m depth controls the depth of penetration of sunlight and thus the depth of ocean heating by sunlight. In particular it controls the amount of longer-term heating that occurs below the shallower mixing layers. The more microorganisms there are, the less sunlight gets to these depths, and so the less deeper, longer-term heating occurs there’.

    And then, um… ‘So the more that fish stocks are depleted, the the less predation will occur at the top of the food chain, so the more little beasts will remain further donw to eat the even littler microorganisms, so the less microorganisms there will be, so the more heat will penetrate to depth, be retained for the long term..’ and so on and so on.

    And then a whole new branch of science opened up, in which the human population has plunged global climate into crisis, not by burning coal, smoking joints, choofing out CO2, etc., but by fishing!

    And that’s before you even start to think of the effects on deeper ocean solar penetration of the huge clouds of human sewage, deforested tropical soil, etc. that spread out from every major tropical rivermouth in the world (eg. the Kapuas in Western Kalimantan, or the Ciliwung at Jakarta, to name a couple that I fly over and look down on fairly regularly).

  77. Chris Colose writes “The presence of the radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere is an indication that the sea surface has not warmed up sufficiently to match the forcing.”

    This is nonsense Chris. The sea surface temperature takes minutes to hours to warm up in the sun and varies considerably. There is no long term radiative imbalance at the sea surface. Your argument can only be about the bulk and thats a much more complex argument with some important considerations such as what heating below the thermocline really means to the climate.

  78. A long read after a demanding day. Never the less most interesting. Thanks all for such a lucid and diverse discussion. This does harken back to the “missing heat” discussion of some months ago. What we do is we think we might have a partial list of what we don’t know. Admitting that we don’t know stuff and trying to list that stuff is a great start making a plan that might some day put us in a position of knowing more then we don’t. Well maybe.

  79. Devout ocean fans, loyally preoccupied with the heat capacity of water vs. that of air:

    The sunshade is located in the ATMOSPHERE.

  80. Heating water 101 (freshman course).

    Sun tea warms up in a closed jar from SW IR. This an ocean does not make. The ocean churns like the water in a bathtub filled with three toddlers. Just try to warm that up with LW IR. I dare ya. You might keep the toddlers and the air in the bathroom a bit warmer (all those kids screaming, you get my point), but the water will continue to cool. Trust me. I know this to be a fact.

    Out at the cabin (no electricity), if you want to warm the water back up, you shoosh the kids outa the bathroom and either add hot water, or let the Sun beam down on the calmed water for a bit.

    All climate scientists need to be mothers of at least three children born close together. This ocean warming from CO2 business would get sent to bed early with no dessert in short order.

  81. By the way Chris Colose, your fundamental misunderstanding comes from one of my bugbears which is that there is a common mistaken belief that CO2 (or any GHG) warms the ocean when in fact it only slows the rate of cooling.

    I dont know how many times I’ve been told by warmists that is makes no difference to think of it as an equivalent “warming”. Because clearly it does when it allows people to misunderstand fundamental processes.

  82. “The CO2 re-emits this energy – half of which goes back down. The oceans absorb much of this.”

    Any heating of the ocean surface leads to increased vertical convections and evaporation which cools the ocean and reduces the convection. The “extra heating” is thus temporary.

    It is gravity acting on the mass of the atmosphere, that gives rise to the lapse rate, which controls the long term difference in temperature between the surface and the upper atmosphere. Thus the absence of the “tropical hot spot” as predicted by the GHG models.

    There is no need to “prove” the GHG theory in computer models. If the theory is correct, then it should be able to reliably predict the surface temperature of real planets outside of earth. We have the data. For both high and low CO2 atmospheres, for both dense of sparse atmospheres. And thus can separate the relative effects of CO2 and gravity on surface temperature.

    That is where we should be spending taxpayers money to validate the models. Looking at real planets and analysing real data. Not phony baloney computer models that have demonstrated zero skill at predicting future climate, in spite of hundreds of billions of dollars invested. Imagine what we might have achieved had this been invested in real science.

  83. “By the way Chris Colose, your fundamental misunderstanding comes from one of my bugbears which is that there is a common mistaken belief that CO2 (or any GHG) warms the ocean when in fact it only slows the rate of cooling.”

    It doesn’t even slow the rate of cooling. The extra CO2 increases downward IR which increases the rate of evaporation. Since evaporation has a net cooling effct it has the power to use up all that extra IR and switch it to latent heat in water vapour with no effect on the ocean bulk.

    In the process the top few microns of the water surface gets a fraction warmer but the rate of energy flow from the ocean bulk is unaffected.

  84. My personal favourite is the coupling of time varying solar magnetic field energy into the oceans by induced currents in the same way as they do most noticably into pipelines and power grids during solar storms. The really interesting feature of this mechanism is the skin depth (1/e) is just a few hundred meters which is just enough to buffer ocean surface temperatures through solar minima but to result in longer term average cooling through periods with much reduced solar maxima (like the current one). This mechanism definitely does exist but I hasve been unable to obtain any numbers. What if the amount of energy coupled into the Earth’s climate system is this way was say 0.2% of the total? It could then explain a good deal when added to the increase in cloud cover due to increased cosmic rays and the solar intensity variations which are now looking significantly more variable than the IPCC guessed.

    Anyone got any numbers here?

  85. sorry as usual with such scientific discussions I can only sit and watch, although I could play devils advocate and try and frame a question from the AGW side, ‘La, La, La I’m not listening’, sticks fingers in ears.

    Not sure if I got the tone right?

  86. A littoral explanation. On-shore breezes start as the sun heats up the land causing the air above the land to rise, drawing in replacement air from the sea and a leeshore ensues. At night, as the land cools, the sea is relatively warmer than the land. The air over the sea rises gently setting up gentler off-shore breezes which can chill the back as you sit and watch the sunset (west coast watchers only). Cuddles begin.

    None of the above would occur if the air warmed land and sea, in preference to the sun. Were the air to pass its warmth to land and sea, the air would cool and we’d be too cold to watch sunsets. No sunsets, no cuddles, no more humans. Simples!

  87. Ocean temperatures are fed by solar input but the seeming abrupt area temperature changes need research to find out why. There is also vertical mixing but this invariably introduces cold lower water to warm surface water. El Nino /La Nina are a case in point but why this happens when it happens is the mystery.

  88. Stephen Wilde writes “The extra CO2 increases downward IR which increases the rate of evaporation.”

    That is one effect of the DLR but not the only one. It can also contribute to the Upward Longwave Radiation that the ocean must be constantly radiating according to the Stefan-Boltzman law and those two effects will each take a proportion of that DLR.

  89. Stephen Wilde:
    “By the way Chris Colose, your fundamental misunderstanding comes from one of my bugbears which is that there is a common mistaken belief that CO2 (or any GHG) warms the ocean when in fact it only slows the rate of cooling.”
    Quite correct, and I have seen a few warmistas admit this and the consequence that the warming will tke place mainly in higher latitudes, mainly in winter, and mainly at night, with mostly beneficial results.
    So we will not all fry after all!

  90. It is hard to understand how anyone can place any energy source above the sun,The CO2 theory seems so pathetic, there is this vast atomic motor, and then it is deemes insignificant but a few mollecules extra of a trace gas, one essential for life its self, is proffered as the culprit, isnt that a bit insane?

  91. The atmosphere exists between two temperatures; an average +15C at ground level and -273C above exosphere level, a delta T of 288C, so there must be a high energy transfer from earth’s lower atmosphere to the exosphere and out into space. The delta T between atmosphere and ocean surface is practically zero on average, hence energy transfer both ways is minimal on average except for the evaporation effect which must surely cool the ocean somewhat, transferring energy from the oceans to the atmosphere and then out into space.
    Meanwhile the sun is shining, replacing all this energy lost to space in a perfect balance, give or take approx 1C change over a millenium while the warming scientists have absorbed billions of dollars to try to produce computer models, telling us that we are doomed to oblivion or thereabouts.

    WUWT and its readers, in this post have achieved in a few hours and at no financial cost, what many scientists paid by our taxes have not achieved in 30 years of scientific grants, endless peer-reviewed reports and climate- and other gates.

  92. Pamela Gray says:
    May 11, 2011 at 9:41 pm
    “Heating water 101 (freshman course).
    Sun tea warms up in a closed jar from SW IR. This an ocean does not make. The ocean churns like the water in a bathtub filled with three toddlers. Just try to warm that up with LW IR. I dare ya. You might keep the toddlers and the air in the bathroom a bit warmer (all those kids screaming, you get my point), but the water will continue to cool. Trust me. I know this to be a fact.”

    A folksy way of making a very important point. The oceans have their own processes that cause temperature changes. When you are talking about the atmosphere heating the oceans, you are talking about the atmosphere interfering to some degree in these processes. Given that we do not know what the processes are (do not have a description of the natural regularities that make them up) we can say nothing about how the atmosphere might interfere in a given process.

  93. If you view the earth from space the oceans look dark and the land looks bright.

    When my black and white dog lays in the sun the white parts are cool and the black parts are hot.

    Simple answer but true.

  94. Dennis Nikols, P. Geo. says:
    May 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Right on the money, no maybe.

  95. I’ve also long pondered how the physics works when you consider that the oceans contain ~ 3500 times more heat storage capacity than the atmosphere.

    Someone needs to ask this question over at ‘Real Climate’ !

  96. While the main supply of heat probably comes from the sun, it would be interesting to know how much originates from volcanic action. I have read that, for instance, ‘smokers’ can have a temperature of several hundred degrees. we do not know just how many of these there are and how much direct heating originates from the earths crust in the vicinity of volcanoes.

  97. The sun heats the ocean. The atmosphere can throttle how much sunlight reaches it through, for instance, clouds. The atmosphere can also throttle how much heat leaves it through, for instance, water vapor acting as a greenhouse gas.

  98. Holy cow, so many responses…I can’t read them all. I have a question, which I hope is pertinent. What is the largest source of water in-flow to our oceans? Is it direct precipitation or flows from rivers? The reason I ask is that the thought occurred to me that perhaps if it was river flow then maybe the rivers are picking up extra heat from the land that it courses through and which the water that it is sourced from has picked up along the way? Could it be that with increasing levels of urbanization, for example, and all the ashphalt and concrete that are hallmarks of ubanization, maybe the rain water/snow melt is picking up slightly extra heat, which in turn flows eventually into all the oceans? I don’t know if my idea is off base, but I thought I’d just ask.

  99. As I understand it the heat capacity of the ocean is 1000 x that of the atmosphere. So it seems to me that in this dog-tail wagging situation, the dog is the ocean and the tail is the atmosphere. This is easy to see with the wild temperature swings we get during El Nino and La Nina.

    I have no evidence for the above of course. The ocean could be heated by a giant underwater Atlantis barbecue for all I know.

  100. “The atmosphere can also throttle how much heat leaves it through, for instance, water vapor acting as a greenhouse gas.”

    Well yes, but the amount of water vapour varies very little.

    The speed of the water cycle varies instead and cloud quantities would be involved in that.

    So the clouds/water cycle adjust the energy flow through the system, either accelerating or decelerating as necessary to try and maintain the temperature equilibrium between sea surface and surface air against disruptive variable forcings from sun and oceans.

  101. Normally forty percent of the earth is not cloud-covered and a receives a full dose of solar radiation. But that is statistics. It could and I am sure it does vary. Why don’t we have satellites tracking the percentage of cloud cover on the sunlit side of the earth and reporting it? It seems like it could be a vital statistic. We don’t know how much it can vary and on what time scales but if we did it could probably tell us much about the climate and the weather.

  102. Alex the skeptic says:
    May 12, 2011 at 4:25 am
    “WUWT and its readers, in this post have achieved in a few hours and at no financial cost, what many scientists paid by our taxes have not achieved in 30 years of scientific grants, endless peer-reviewed reports and climate- and other gates.”

    Right on the money. Nothing more important can be said in climate science today.

  103. Gordon Walker says:
    May 12, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Stephen Wilde:
    “By the way Chris Colose, your fundamental misunderstanding comes from one of my bugbears which is that there is a common mistaken belief that CO2 (or any GHG) warms the ocean when in fact it only slows the rate of cooling.”

    “Quite correct, and I have seen a few warmistas admit this and the consequence that the warming will tke place mainly in higher latitudes, mainly in winter, and mainly at night, with mostly beneficial results. So we will not all fry after all!”

    Warmista are incapable of holding this point in the mind’s eye for more than a moment because its destructive consequences are disastrous for their Manmade-CO2 “hypothesis” (actually hunch). The disaster is that any increase in daily high temperatures cannot be attributed to the effects of manmade CO2 and must be attributed to something else. Of course, that fact means that the unaccounted for increase in daily high temperatures must be subtracted from any increase in night time minimum temperatures – because that part also cannot be attributed to manmade CO2.

  104. fred houpt says:
    May 12, 2011 at 6:34 am
    Holy cow, so many responses…I can’t read them all. I have a question, which I hope is pertinent. What is the largest source of water in-flow to our oceans? Is it direct precipitation or flows from rivers? The reason I ask is that the thought occurred to me that perhaps if it was river flow then maybe the rivers are picking up extra heat from the land that it courses through and which the water that it is sourced from has picked up along the way? . . .

    Don’t know the answer, but as a thought experiment, assume that it rained equally all over the Earth. Since land is only about a 30% of the Earth’s surface, and since the rivers all stem ultimately from precipitation, then rainfall would account for 70% of the inflow to the seas. Of course, it may be that land topography triggers more precipitation than the expanse of the sea, and the rivers may indeed pick up some warmth—but a significant amount? I’ll leave that to the experts here to elucidate.

    /Mr Lynn

  105. Hi Anthony. I recall seeing a heat change profile of the oceans and was struck by indications that, while the upper 700 m of the ocean is fairly constant there has been a slight increase in heat content below that.

    At that depth I think we can count out solar effects and heat conduction from the surface. That leaves physical and chemical processes. There has been a good deal of geological and tectonic activity in recent years; I don’t know if there is a change in output of heat vents. So this is one thing to look at.

    But I think a large, overlooked factor is the chemical input. As we know carbonates are being formed continually deep in the ocean. Further, this process is exothermic — i.e., it produces heat. The only thing that’s missing is knowledge of the actual scale. If this produces negligible heat in comparison to the observed changes, then I suppose it can be ignored. But I haven’t seen any analysis of this. Perhaps some visitor to the site has knowledge of such things.

  106. I’m afraid the AGW myth will never die. Just because it is useful for corporations and politicians.

  107. I’d add to Roy Clark’s excellent explanation above,

    The theory is that increasing atmospheric CO2 and other GHGs warms the atmosphere, and a warmer (and more humid) atmosphere retards heat loss from the oceans, and hence the ocean’s heat content increases.

    Increasing ocean heat content is therefore a secondary effect of increasing atmospheric CO2.

    As the oceans warm, a new equilibrium is eventually reached where the oceans release as much heat as they gain from solar heating.

    I stress this is the theory and there is limited data to confirm this process is actually happening.

    So, increasing ocean heat content is confirmation that GHG atmospheric warming is occuring. Although there could be, and likely are, other contributing factors such as changes in solar insolation.

    Were ocean heat content not increasing, then this would be strong evidence that GHG warming is not occuring.

    We only have good ocean heat content (Argo) for less than 10 years and we need quite a few more years data to be sure the warming that is occuring isn’t due to ocean cycles and is in fact a signature of GHG warming.

  108. Can anyone explain the physics of how greenhouse gases warm the oceans by backradiation?
    This has been talked about for so long there should be reams of papers available on the web that explain this phenomenon so a layman like myself can understand how it works.
    Just one link will do for starters please.

  109. “Can anyone explain the physics of how greenhouse gases warm the oceans by backradiation?”

    It can’t, but one scientist tried to set up a theory involving the ocean skin. However I think I have explained why that theory doesn’t fly.

    The subject was canvassed in some detail here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4245

    Since then I have come to the conclusion that the net effect of DLR on the ocean surface as regards the rate of energy flow from ocean to air is zero rather than net warming or net cooling.

    The reason being that the increased evaporation from more DLR is a self limiting process. When the DLR has been used up the increase in the rate of evaporation stops.

    You might also like to consider this:

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

    “the molecules in liquid water are held together by relatively strong hydrogen bonds, and its enthalpy of vaporization, 40.65 kJ/mol, is more than five times the energy required to heat the same quantity of water from 0 °C to 100 °C (cp = 75.3 J K−1 mol−1). ”

    In other words the process of evaporation removes from the local environment (in the form of latent heat) five times the amount of energy required to induce that evaporation.

    In the face of that energy imbalance the extra DLR has no opportunity to heat up anything other than the specific molecules that then evaporate earlier than they otherwise would have done.

    The reason for the size of that imbalance is atmospheric pressure and the relative densities of air and water but that is for another day. Just note that water boils at a lower temperature at the top of Everest.

  110. If ocean heat were rising there would be thermal expansion, resulting in accelerating sea level rise. But that is not happening, so the typical data massaging is applied.

  111. Richard111 says:
    May 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Can anyone explain the physics of how greenhouse gases warm the oceans by backradiation?
    ;——————————————————————————————————

    The existence of a greenhouse gas is an urban legend.

    Or stated slightly differently, how a greenhouse works has absolutely nothing to do with the heat capacity of a gas.

    All gas molecules have translation and rotational degrees of freedom – polyatomic molecules have additional vibrational degrees of freedom.

    The degrees of freedom are used to calculate the heat capacity of a gas.

    The rotational degrees of freedom are excited by microwave radiation.

    The vibrational degrees of freedom are typically excited by infrared radiation.

    However, for vibrational degrees of freedom, since the thermal energy at room temperature is small compared to the spacing between vibrational energy levels, for all practical purposes, you can ignore the vibrational degrees of freedom for temperatures below 30C.

    Note, gases can not cause heating – heat causes heating. They can, however, retain heat for short periods of time by virtual of their heat capacity.

    Backradiation is a conjecture which violates both the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics.

  112. What about the mid-ocean trench? It’s 80,000kms of active, undersea volcano. Surely it must act like a heating element in a kettle?

  113. There is only one mechanism that can warm the surface sea/ocean from the atmosphere and that is by convection. This convection only occurs when winds blow warm air from land over onto the coasts towards to sea/ocean. This is limited to so many miles away from the coast and will have no affect once reached a certain distance away. The rest of the ocean surface (~98 percent of it) convection has no affect and the atmosphere can’t warm the surface because the temperature is less than 0.5c difference between the surface and 2m above it (with the 2m temp normally cooler – gets cooler with increasing height).

    Latent heat always has much larger influence then any change this 0.5c has. Therefore this comes about to the only possibilty, can the 2% warm the entire world oceans. The simply answer is no because energy gained during the Summer months is lost during the Winter by convection, but of course with much cooler air. (this can be observed by looking at SST’s through the years) Depending on weather patterns and tropics, the 2% warming or cooling of coastal areas is never reached anyway.

  114. Increasing ocean heat content is not confirmation that GHG atmospheric warming is occuring. This is due to other factors do cause the ocean heat content to rise and there is no evidence that GHG’s can increase the actual heat content. The only evidence so far is it can retain energy a bit longer in the skin layer. This tiny energy gain is easily lost and therefore balanced out during the night period, when there is of course no SWR to maintain it. Nevermind, as mentioned before that evaporative cooling exchanges, far larger energy amounts on a daily basis (orders higher).

    El Ninos and albedo have a large influence on short wave radiation (SWR) reaching the ocean surface and therefore do change the ocean heat content. Global cloud albedo has declined over recent decades until this century, when it had stabilised, until a very recent increase. Too much a coincidence that global temperatures have also stabilised too? (I don’t think so) A one percent change in global cloud levels is easily enough to have influence on ocean heat content and global atmospheric temperatures. Especially when SWR not only warms the ocean, but also controls them too, with El Nino and La Nina there common sign of energy transfer around the ocean via albedo.

  115. Increasing ocean heat content is not confirmation that GHG atmospheric warming is occuring. This is due to other factors do cause the ocean heat content to rise and there is no evidence that GHG’s can increase the actual heat content. The only evidence so far is it can retain energy a bit longer in the skin layer. This tiny energy gain is easily lost and therefore balanced out during the night period, when there is of course no SWR to maintain it. I’m not the first that mentioned evaporative cooling exchanges, far larger energy amounts on a daily basis (orders higher).

    El Ninos and albedo have a large influence on short wave radiation (SWR) reaching the ocean surface and therefore do change the ocean heat content. Global cloud albedo has declined over recent decades until this century, when it had stabilised, until a very recent increase. Too much a coincidence that global temperatures have also stabilised too? (I don’t think so) A one percent change in global cloud levels is easily enough to have influence on ocean heat content and global atmospheric temperatures. Especially when SWR not only warms the ocean, but also controls them too, with El Nino and La Nina there common sign of energy transfer around the ocean via albedo.

  116. The oceans actually have a low albedo, the average albedo of the earth’s surface is about 0.14. Sunlight penetrates 10s of meters into the ocean and there is some speculation that some gets deep enough that there could be kelp forests at 200 meters depth:

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/25450094

    Meanwhile, CO2 infrared wavelengths penetrate mere microns a surface or skin effect. Unfortunately most models couple CO2 to the whole mixing layer as if it were at short wave wavelengths. Perhaps this is why models under represent the precipitation and the negative feedback from speedup of the water cycle.

  117. Sorry I didn’t mean the actual albedo of the ocean, itself does have a low value. It was suppose to mean El Nino’s and changing cloud albedo over the ocean. Thats why this text leads to global cloud levels.

  118. Added to previous post.

    The albedo of the planet is around 0.3 with global cloud cover about 65/66 percent.

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