Oh noes! Wind driven global warming hot spots

From CSIRO  - Warming in the Tasman Sea a global warming hot spot

Oceanographers have identified a series of ocean hotspots around the world generated by strengthening wind systems that have driven oceanic currents, including the East Australian Current, polewards beyond their known boundaries.

The hotspots have formed alongside ocean currents that wash the east coast of the major continents and their warming proceeds at a rate far exceeding the average rate of ocean surface warming, according to an international science team whose work is published in the journal Nature Climate Change today.

Paper co-author, CSIRO’s Dr Wenju Cai, said that while the finding has local ecological implications in the region surrounding the hotspots, the major influence is upon the ocean’s ability to take up heat and carbon from the atmosphere.

In Australia’s case, scientists report intensifying east-west winds at high latitudes (45º-55ºS) pushing southward and speeding up the gyre or swirl of currents circulating in the South Pacific, extending from South America to the Australian coast.  The resulting changes in ocean circulation patterns have pushed the East Australian Current around 350 kilometres further south, with temperatures east of Tasmania as much as two degrees warmer than they were 60 years ago.

“We would expect natural change in the oceans over decades or centuries but change with such elevated sea surface temperatures in a growing number of locations and in a synchronised manner was definitely not expected,” said CSIRO’s Dr Wenju Cai.

“Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations we have been able to reconstruct an ocean history in which warming over the past century is 2-3 times faster than the global average ocean warming rate,” says Dr Cai, a climate scientist at CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Research Flagship.

The changes are characterised by a combination of currents pushing nearer to the polar regions and intensify with systematic changes of wind over both hemispheres, attributed to increasing greenhouse gases.

Dr Cai said the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been the major driver of the surface warming of the Earth over the 20th century. This is projected to continue.

He said the research points to the need for a long-term monitoring network of the western boundary currents. In March next year, Australian scientists plan to deploy a series of moored ocean sensors across the East Australian Current to observe change season-to-season and year-to-year.

Lead author of the paper was Dr Lixin Wu, of the Ocean University of China, with contributing authors from five countries, many of whom are members of the Pacific Ocean Panel working under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation.

The research was partly funded by a grant from the Australian Climate Change Science Program supported by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

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78 thoughts on “Oh noes! Wind driven global warming hot spots

  1. This says it all: The research was partly funded by a grant from the Australian Climate Change Science Program supported by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

  2. Sounds like yet another negative feedback.
    By moving the heat poleward, it’s easier to get rid of it.

  3. Not very creative in their brainstorming methods for trying to determine the drivers for these changes in currents, are they?

  4. CSIRO is a notorious Quango (Quasi Non-governmental Organization) which does not march unless the Aussie government says go! Jump? How high?

    If there is a partitioning of a fluid into a “hot spot” then there must be a concomitant “cold spot” of equal and opposite strength to bring us a mean. But, of course, they won’t search for the “cold spot”.

  5. “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations

    I quite reading right about there.

  6. It’s the windfarms. Sucking power out of the wind in one place leads to unpredicable changes elsewhere. Must do. Should have used the precautionary principle before putting them up. However, a little grant money should point the way.

  7. Let’s see… Argo era vs. pre-Argo era. It couldn’t have anything to do with our increased knowledge of ocean temps, could it? Nah…

  8. “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations we have been able to reconstruct an ocean history…”

    Observations? Real data? Who needs them when you have computer models.

  9. Eve Stevens says:
    January 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

    “This says it all: The research was partly funded by a grant from the Australian Climate Change Science Program supported by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.”

    Yes – that is ALL you need to know about this “study.” Research funded by “BIG CLIMATE.” Follow the money!

  10. Oh dear how inconvenient and devastating Oh wait?–
    Hot spots> are they unprecedented? woe is us..
    Any previous info/affirmation on those currents that were supposedly 350 whatsits further north at some point in the past?
    Synchronized?, methinks Bloveld is involved here.
    “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations” Oh noes, does that mean what I think it does?
    “He said the research points to the need for a long-term monitoring network of the western boundary currents.” Hey man, gotcha drift there matey.
    “Dr Cai said the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been the major driver of the surface warming of the Earth over the 20th century. This is projected to continue.” [Trimmed. Such language doesn't contribute ... Robt]



  11. Dr Cai said the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been the major driver of the surface warming of the Earth over the 20th century. This is projected to continue.

    [emphasis added]
    Well of course, this goes without saying; what else could possibly be the cause? /sarc
    Waddaloadacr#p

  12. I agree with bubbagyro:
    “If there is a partitioning of a fluid into a “hot spot” then there must be a concomitant “cold spot” of equal and opposite strength to bring us a mean. But, of course, they won’t search for the “cold spot”.”
    I think this goes for the cherry picking the warmers are citing with receding glaciers also. There are large glaciers that are increasing also.

  13. Having sail the Tasman many times I have sailed over an underwater volcano ( south east of Norfolk Island ) which distorted the horizon, sailing through it the water temp. changed 8c in 4/5 miles, the height of the water in the center must have been at least 20 feet higher as you could see it miles away, the depth we measured at just over 2 miles, that one hell of a lot of heat !

  14. So is the wind pushing the ocean currents or is it the ocean currents pushing the wind? Where is the historical data? Surely this has happened before?

  15. “This says it all: The research was partly funded by a grant from the Australian Climate Change Science Program supported by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.”

    I thought funding could only be used to indict skeptical studies.

  16. “”””” MarkW says:

    January 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Sounds like yet another negative feedback.
    By moving the heat poleward, it’s easier to get rid of it. “””””

    Actually, that makes it harder to get rid of. The rate of radiation loss at the poles is much lower that it is in the tropical deserts; T^4 and all that.

  17. They seem to miss the obvious. By these currents pushing closer to polar regions, they result in greater heat dissipation. The overall result will be an increased loss of heat from the oceans. This is probably part of a natural feedback that helps to maintain the overall heat content of the oceans. Notice how the heat content in the upper 700 meters of the ocean has flattened out over the past few years.

  18. “He said the research points to the need for a long-term monitoring network of the western boundary currents. ”

    Please, allow me to translate for the non-Scientists:

    “He said the research points to the need for long-term grant funding, so he can continue to pay his mortgage and feed his children”.

  19. “Dr Cai said the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been the major driver of the surface warming of the Earth over the 20th century. This is projected to continue.”

    Well, I guess that makes it an indisputable fact. Dr. Cai said it’s so.

    “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations”

    Aha, can’t be wrong here! We have simulations.

  20. Australian Science went down the drain a long time ago, probably nearly every discipline. They haven’t produced ANYTHING since the 60’s. Just look at having someone like Tim Flannery as a “Climate scientist”. The guy is a shill responsible for billions of damage to the Queensland economy for advising that it would never rain there again. Anyway, these kind of articles are killing the whole AGW movement so keep them coming LOL

  21. As I keep saying, the jetstreams and the rest of the weather systems did move poleward in both hemispheres during the late 20th century.

    So of course there would be an effect on ocean surface circulation.

    The trouble is that the poleward movement stopped around 2000 and now the climate zones are drifting back equatorward again hence all the recent cold air incursions into the mid latitudes.

    This data is already 10 years out date.

  22. Millions of people spend billions of dollars seeking out hotspots every winter. What’s the downside? Hundreds of climate scientists spend millions of dollars every year seeking out hotspots to convene and bitch about hotspots … What’s the downside? Oh, the humanity…

  23. “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations we have been able to reconstruct an ocean history in which warming over the past century is 2-3 times faster than the global average ocean warming rate,””

    Can we give up on the friggin models and just observe, please?

  24. If these people were murderers instead of climate scientists and had murdered someone in broad daylight the press would come to their defense. They’d report that, because there were only a dozen witnesses, the vast consensus is that nobody saw the murder happen so those few witnesses are all just a bunch of evil lying blood libelers, (and then they’d probably go on to defame the decedent as well…)

    We need someone to make a pie chart with only two colors showing the percentage of climate scientists employed by government or receiving federal funding versus the percentage employed in the private sector. I’m guessing at least 99% versus 1% ? Getting any number of people behind a ’cause’ is relatively easy when you have …..billions of dollars to pay them to do it.

  25. I love it, it’s just sooo predictable. Firstly they make a declaration that the ocean is going to hell in a handbasket three times faster than it should be – because a computer simulation told them so.

    Then they casually throw in the old assertion that the fundamental cause is CO2, despite the fact that this study has nothing – absolutely NOTHING – to do with investigating the effects of CO2.

    I just wish these crappy scientists would stick to the facts of their own studies, instead of regurgitating the CAGW line at every opportunity. But then, that’s Big Government-funded science for you. We wouldn’t expect anything else.

  26. Pofarmer nailed it.
    “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations we have been able to reconstruct an ocean history in which warming over the past century is 2-3 times faster than the global average ocean warming rate,””

    translation:
    We didn’t notice these changes before because of limited data. We used a model to fill in the missing data, and lo and behold, we found an increase in the warming of the oceans.

  27. “The research was partly funded by a grant from the Australian Climate Change Science Program supported by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.”

    I would love to see the Vegas odds on anything funded by this group showing something other than Catastrophic Man Made Climate Change. Probably similar to the odds of being gored to death by a unicorn.

  28. Super computers are trying to take over the planet by fooling scientists. It’s time to get back to pen and paper!

  29. So wind driven ocean hotspots, which we think are hotter now then when we didn’t measure them, can save us from a slumbering sun?

  30. Actually, that makes it harder to get rid of. The rate of radiation loss at the poles is much lower that it is in the tropical deserts; T^4 and all that.

    Polar air is much drier, making it easier for heat to escape.

  31. This study is a pile of crap. I’m sorry to be so crude, but really, the Climate Liars will say anything. They haven’t a clue as to whether this phenomenon is natural or not, but lo n behold, without any historical data or facts it’s all because of Global Warming. *Eye roll* The journal that published this tripe should rename themselves – The National Enquirer of Science.

  32. ///Begin satire///

    10 PRINT “Is Global Warming Real?”
    20 PRINT “Press Enter to see: “;
    30 INPUT A$
    40 PRINT “Yes, it’s real!!!!”
    50 END

    Yes, our computer simulation proves it!!!!

  33. “He said the research points to the need for a long-term monitoring network of the western boundary currents.”

    Huh. The publically funded research points to the need for more publically funded research.

    Fancy that.

  34. Look at this every day and watch the “spots” hot and cold move around!

    At present the Tasman Sea “hot spot” is on holiday, on the beach in Argentina

  35. Mike Robinson says:
    January 30, 2012 at 10:41 am
    “The research was partly funded by a grant from the Australian Climate Change Science Program supported by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.”

    I would love to see the Vegas odds on anything funded by this group showing something other than Catastrophic Man Made Climate Change. Probably similar to the odds of being gored to death by a unicorn.
    ===================================================================
    I’ll take the unicorn and the points, Mike.

  36. we find that the post-1900 surface ocean warming rate over the path of these currents is two to three times faster than the global mean surface ocean warming rate.
    =============================================================
    ROTFL,,,,,,and every one of their graphs show much more cold water behind it

    When you have no warming for a “global mean surface ocean warming rate”

  37. David, UK says:

    I just wish these crappy scientists would stick to the facts of their own studies, instead of regurgitating the CAGW line at every opportunity. But then, that’s Big Government-funded science for you. We wouldn’t expect anything else.

    In the US, you cannot expect anything else. Big Government funding of science does not permit the scientist (crappy or otherwise) to stick to the science of their own studies. US government contracts for environmental science work frequently contain a requirement that the results be interpreted in the context of “climate change”.

  38. You should have heard the ABC (australian) Radio National ‘news’ yesterday…they dedicated half their program to this, the other half was ‘anti-fracking’ and ‘micro-plastic’ in the environment. (I kid you not.)
    The ABC and the australian CSIRO are funded by the Green/Labor Coalition…they ‘always’ give the right answers!

  39. “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with … computer simulations we have been able to reconstruct an ocean history in which warming … is 2-3 times faster than the … average … rate.”

    NEW RULE: Computer simulations shall no longer be allowed as the basis for Climate Science articles! From now on, only empirical data shall be allowed!

    Thanks to Russ in Houston, Goracle, Mike Worst, Jim G., Pofarmer, and Steve M. from TN and of course, uber skeptic Bill Maher.

  40. Although this piece is paywalled the Supplemental Information is available for view

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/extref/nclimate1353-s1.pdf

    I found most interesting the two graphs S1(i) and S3(i) which show SST trends for 8 datasets for 1900-1950 S1 and 1950-2008 S3. I’ve only done an eyeball analysis, but it appears to me that there is considerably more variation between the datasets than between either the different eras or the separate currents and the global mean. The trend for the Gulfstream actually seems to have declined distinctly in the later set and only the Brazil Current seems to have a somewhat higher range there, The EAC seems about the same in both

  41. Nice photo. My children liked to jump from the cliffs into that cove, and I’ve a speared a few Latridopsis forsteri in it. Tassie was hit by a gale last night. Power outages in many towns. Mother Nature has reminded us Tassie devils that the warm breeze from the north east is not meant to last. There’s a dusting of snow on Mt Mawson. The water felt warm over the weekend; no wet suit required, but what will happen to the sea temperature after a couple of days of howling southerlies? Where are all the fish from northern waters? No snapper, just the occasional drift of blue bottles, which we see every year at this time. That warm current will be blown back to New South Wales, and I’ll have to flush out my wet suit to get rid of the spiders that took up residence in it during our warmer than average January. It would be nice if the waters around here warmed up, but the truth is the warm current does a left turn at Flinders Isalnd, and if NE winds persist the south of Tassie enjoys a few days of warmish surface water, but then the cold water from the south returns with a vengeance. I have to stop rambling. I need to call a contractor to fix a flapping piece of roof guttering.

  42. With no ‘Global Warming’ for more than a decade they must look at smaller pieces of the globe for shorter periods of time to sustain the myth that carbon dioxide causes ‘Global Warming’.

    I expect that in the not too distant future we will see peer-review papers about how carbon dioxide caused a 0.02 degree temperature increase in front of the entrance of a shoe store in Omaha Nebraska from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm on June 17th in 2008.

    Smaller and smaller, shorter and shorter.

  43. As an earth scientist in Oz I am getting more and more disenchanted with trivial BS being put up as “climate science” these days.

    There are hot and cold spots that can occur in the ocean quite often. Back in 2007 on the Northern beaches of Sydney in the middle of summer there were days of ocean temps 3 to 4 C below normal with offshore pools of cold water.

    But what happens in the longer term? Well, we have been measuring temperatures of both the ocean and local pool water everyday since 2000. And a plot of the results (you guess it) shows an absolute flat trend in the temperature record to date. But of course I have to admit we did not use any post-normal computer model to “verify” our measurements!

  44. The warm East Australian Current comes down the East coast of Australia, past Tasmania and then across to the West coast of New Zealand and around the southern tip of NZ, bringing the Great White sharks to the beaches of Dunedin.

    At the following link, we have a list of major shark attacks in New Zealand. Near Dunedin, these are concentrated in the 1960’s with none later than 1971. It either got too cold for the sharks, or maybe too cold to swim! Either way, this is clear proxy proof that there was warming in this current back in the 60’s, and it doesn’t appear that that warming has yet returned.

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/sharks-and-rays/6/1

    Looking at all the dates for all of NZ, there are a number of attacks between 1880 and 1920, then none till the 1960’s. There is only one attack after the 1970’s in 1990. Data goes to 1997, and I am unaware of any recent reports of increasing shark activity. Dunedin was once the most populous city in NZ, and has had a fairly stable population over time.

  45. Surely this says it all :-

    “Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations we have been able to reconstruct an ocean history in which warming over the past century is 2-3 times faster than the global average ocean warming rate,” says Dr Cai, a climate scientist at CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Research Flagship.

    Read – we had no real data but still were able to produce scary results thanks to our computer models which require almost no data to produce the right answers.

    I once asked CSIRO if Nitrogen and Oxygen in the atmosphere became heated and emitted IR and, if so, wouldn’t the amount of IR from ~98% of the atmosphere reduce the GHG contribution to mere trace levels – insignificant ?

    Here is part of their response to a simple question :-

    “If you read through the resources I provided, you will learn that Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon are not greenhouse gases. Therefore, it is outside of our resources to scientific address your questions.”

    The rest went on to ignore my request do N2 and O2 absorb heat in any form and emit IR – of course the only heating mrchanism in the atmosphere is radiation and the only gases which absorb heat are GHGs while the rest of the atmosphere apparently remains stony cold – funny we can’t observe that though.

  46. Australian scientists plan to deploy a series of moored ocean sensors across the East Australian Current to observe change season-to-season and year-to-year.

    more of our tax money being wasted!

  47. Just a simple question from a mere simpleton:

    Doesn’t a La Nina push Pacific Ocean heat into the Coral Sea which would be sucked down into the East Australian Current? Oh, and isn’t the cause of La Nina increased east-west jetstream?

    I smell a lot of BS (and I don’t mean Bad Science).

  48. Ah! the once were great CSIRO. It is many years since this organisation did anything that affected anything real. They just huddle around the coffee machine discussing the impacts of global warming and what hand out the government will give them this year.

  49. George E. Smith; says:
    January 30, 2012 at 9:54 am

    “”””” MarkW says:

    January 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Sounds like yet another negative feedback.
    By moving the heat poleward, it’s easier to get rid of it. “””””

    Actually, that makes it harder to get rid of. The rate of radiation loss at the poles is much lower that it is in the tropical deserts; T^4 and all that.

    But convection trumps radiation every time. That is why holding your hand over a ‘radiator’ makes it much warmer than holding it in front of the radiator. At the poles, the cold air will allow the warmed air to rise more rapidly, thus cooling the planet faster, methinks.

    There is so much we do not know, and so many assumptions made.

  50. I love the idea that a ‘newly’ discovered (read: not noticed before) current is not only caused by Global Warming, it is indeed going to cause more Global Warming!

    Talk about self-reinforcement! The climate must be so terribly unstable that it swings from -50C to +50C all the time! Surely does, and we evil humans are making it ‘tip’ once again ….

    Dolts is too polite a word for these guys.

  51. “Australian Science went down the drain a long time ago, probably nearly every discipline. They haven’t produced ANYTHING since the 60′s.”

    Ummm, no…Australian science invented Wifi for one.

  52. If anybody wants to find the cool spot, look no further than Sydney. These last two months have averaged about 23C max, and the historical average is 26C. Sure nights have been a bit warmer because of the clouds (also causing daytime cooling) but not much.

    I am still being told it is the warmest summer evah! Dang, my pool has not even warmed enough for my taste, and summer is nearly over! Yesterday and today are a brief warming period in an otherwise cool summer.

  53. George E. Smith; says:
    January 30, 2012 at 9:54 am
    “”””” MarkW says:

    January 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Sounds like yet another negative feedback.
    By moving the heat poleward, it’s easier to get rid of it. “””””

    Actually, that makes it harder to get rid of. The rate of radiation loss at the poles is much lower that it is in the tropical deserts; T^4 and all that.
    =======================================================================

    George’s claim makes no sense. Of course the equator emits more radiation than the poles, but it also receives more radiation. The poles, while they receive the highest max TOA radiation (during the summer solstices), receive the lowest average. Accordingly their balance of outgoing minus incoming radiation is the highest on the globe, and any heat transfer from the tropics will more easily escape at the poles than in the tropics. The tropics are like an auto engine; the poles are like its radiator. –AGF

  54. Frank K put it nicely earlier: “Research funded by “BIG CLIMATE.” ”

    The wicked warmists love to trumpet the myth that “big oil” is financing climate scepticism. I hope that Frank’s expression will gain currency. These big bucks have corrupted climatography.

  55. “We would expect natural change in the oceans over decades or centuries but change with such elevated sea surface temperatures in a growing number of locations and in a synchronised manner was definitely not expected,” said CSIRO’s Dr Wenju Cai.

    Thank you Dr for proving again the intensification of atmospheric circulation. However the fact that you “did not expect” its synchronicity proves beyond doubt that Dr Cai should read Leroux before making a fool of himself! LOL

  56. What about the undersea volcanic activity. Have they never even heard of this? there are vents in numerous spots in the ocean that we know about pumping out 750F water continuously. many more have been discovered the last few years. maybe some new ones opened up in the area of concern.It would be nice if these idiots would stop fudging their false computer models and go and take a look for a change, but then they would find a real answer and reason..no, better yet, let them stay in the office where they belong. Ignorance is bliss.

  57. “Dr Cai said the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been the major driver of the surface warming of the Earth over the 20th century. This is projected to continue.”

    Ooops, that breaks it. I now do not believe that they found what they claim. They have drunk the Kool Aid and assume CO2 drives climate.

  58. The East Australian Current is wind driven [but opposite direction to the wind] and when the wind reverses with the reverse monsoon, the temperature and direction also reverse. If you check the sailor’s pilot charts, that happens for a fair proportion of the year.

  59. Wind blowing over the oceans will increase evaporation with wind strength but evaporation requires heat, the old latent heat of evaporation, which will cool the water/air interface.

  60. Sun dims in UV band as it goes sleepy.

    Lower UV lets Stratosphere / Tropospheric top lower (air column gets shorter).

    This causes more active polar vortex. From that we get both a ‘loopy jet stream’ in the N. Hemisphere (and our more variable weather, rather like it was in the 1950’s) and, for the S. Hemisphere, a faster Circumpolar Current from higher wind speeds.

    THAT then whacks into Drake Passage and sends a cold shiver of excess water up the coast of Chile (as the ‘gap’ can only carry so much). This heads out into the center of the Pacific at the Equator as the deep blue dagger of cold we saw a year or so ago. This also pushes the hotter water back toward the pole on the other side (what they saw in their ‘model’…)

    On the OTHER side of Drake Passage, the slightly faster ‘jet’ through the gap speeds up the gyre in the South Atlantic. Same effect. West coasts get cool shot, east coasts get warmer water flowing past a bit more.

    Over time this moves more warm water toward the poles.

    Per the poles not being where the heat leaves due to IR 4th power: At the poles, the water content of the air is much less. Two things happen. IR leaves through the water window. The added warm water is stormier on the way to there and dumps more heat at altitude via convection / condensation / precipitation. Net more heat leaves. If you look at a graph of net energy flux, all the ‘leaving’ net is done at the poles. At the Equator (and near it) is net gain.

    One image from the ‘movie’ here:

    http://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/

    It is very helpful to let go of the IR theory fixation and look at the actual net flux. Looking at actual weather / thunderstorms / hurricane processes helps too…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/outgoing-vs-land-vs-water-vapor/

    You see all the water action near the equator where net heat gain happens, then the stratosphere moves that air to the poles where it dumps heat as it forms a downward vortex in the cold dark winter… Along the way we get a lot of weather stuff near the surface. Then from the vortex we get all that cranky winter lenses of cold air weather as it comes back…

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