Frankenstorm-itis: Five degrees of Separation from Reality and Eleventy Gazillion Joules Under the Sea

Guest post by David Middleton

This is a sort of sequel to my most recent guest post.   Any and all sarcasm is purely intentional.

I ran across this really bizarre blog post from “The Energy Collective” on Real Clear Energy…

This bit is just “nutty”…

Five degrees:

The Atlantic ocean is five degrees warmer than is was when most of you were born. Let that sink in for a minute. The entire Atlantic ocean averages five degrees warmer.

What does that mean for hurricanes? Hurricanes get their power by feeding on the warm water under them. That means that a warmer Atlantic has a lot more fuel to contribute. How much more? Hard to say for sure but the the number is astronomical. Take the top inch of ocean surface below hurricane Katrina (125,000 sq. miles) then run out the math to heat that volume by five degrees. What you get is an amount of energy in that water eight times greater than was released in all the nuclear tests in the history of the world.

[...]

“The Atlantic ocean is five degrees warmer than is was when most of you were born.” Really?

I was born in 1958. I don’t have a handy temperature plot of the Atlantic Ocean, but the folks a the UK Hadley Center & Climategate CRU do have a plot of Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperatures. If the Atlantic has warmed by 5 degrees since 1958, it should show up on this plot, unless the North Pacific Ocean has been cooling…

Figure 1. HadSST Northern Hemisphere (Hadley/CRU via Wood for Trees)

I get a warming of 0.3-0.5°C since I was born… And only about 0.6°C of warming since the last time a Whig held the presidency…

Figure 2. HadSST… What five degrees?

The author noted that, “We’ve only been aware that the earth revolves around the sun for some 500 years.” This is true. It’s also true that New England was hit by at least four storms, rivaling Sandy, between 1300 and 1650 AD. But our temperature records only go back to about 1850.

Fortunately, there are little critters living in the oceans called “Foraminifera,” or Foram’s as we tend to call them in oil exploration. Foram’s have the capacity to act as geochemical thermometers. Globigerinoides ruber is a particularly good geochemical thermometer. Back in 1996, Lloyd Keigwin of WHOI published a really good paper in which he reconstructed a 3,000-yr record of the sea surface temperature of the Sargasso Sea.

Keigwin was able to calibrate his proxy temperature series to a 50-yr long instrumental record (Station S). Station S matches the HadSST NH quite well…

Figure 3. HadSST and Sargasso Sea Station S (Keigwin, 1996)

If we add in the Foram proxy record, we can see how warm the Atlantic Ocean was back when those pre-1650 monster storms hit New England…

Figure 4. HadSST, Sargasso Sea (Keigwin, 1996) and Major New England Hurricanes (Donnelly, 2001)

The 1351 AD (±56-yr) storm occurred when the Atlantic was most likely a bit cooler as when I was born. The 1425 (±21-yr) storm occurred when the Atlantic was most likely a bit warmer than I was born. The 1635 and 1638 storms occurred when the Atlantic was a lot cooler than when I was born. And the 1815 storm occurred when the Atlantic was a bit cooler than when I was born.

It appears to me that the climatological state of the Atlantic Ocean hasn’t really been a controlling factor in the frequency of major storms hitting New England. If a climatologically warm Atlantic was the cause of these monster storms, the Medieval Warm Period must have been a veritable hurricane nightmare…

Figure 5. HadSST, Sargasso Sea (Keigwin, 1996) and Major New England Hurricanes (Donnelly, 2001)

And the Minoan Warm Period must have been an absolute hurricane apocalypse, even though the Atlantic was only about 2°C warmer than when I was born.

Well, that’s enough on the “five degrees”… On to the really nutty bit…

Gazillions of joules!

A five degree rise for just the first inch of ocean, for a static area 900 miles in diameter (the size of hurricane Sandy) requires 95-million terajoules of energy. If we assume it gets used the most efficiently it can be, a ton of coal gets you about 35 gigajoules. That means we’d need a cube of coal .9 of a mile/side to generate the energy needed to heat just that first inch of water five degrees. All that energy is a fraction of the heat being trapped, just a fraction. We’re going to see a lot more storms get charged up this way.

The best way to alarm the scientifically illiterate is to convert 0.8°C into eleventy gazillion joules.

Ocean Heat Content for the upper 700 meters of the oceans increased by about 16 gazillion (10^22) Joules over the last 40 years or so! 16 gazillion is a huge number! Unfortunately for Warmists, 16 gazillion is a very tiny number relative to the volume of the top 700 meters of the oceans and the heat content that normally resides in the oceans…

Figure 6. Change in Ocean Heat Content from Levitus et al., 2009 via Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations (http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/the-warming-of-the-world-oceans-0-700-meters-in-degrees-c/)

16 gazillion Joules is enough heat to increase the average temperature of the upper 700 meters of ocean by a whopping 0.168 degrees Centigrade.

The average temperature of the upper 700 meters of ocean is somewhere in the ballpark of 10 degrees Centigrade…

Figure 7. Approximate average oceanic thermocline (Windows to the Universe).

How much heat content is required to raise the temperature of the upper 700 meters of ocean from 0 to 10 degrees Centigrade?

A bit less than 950 gazillion Joules.

16 gazillion is less than 2% of 950 gazillion.

More fun with gazillions of Joules

This is a graph from a Skeptical Science post…

Figure 8. An unreliable representation of recent changes in Earth’s total heat content (Skeptical Science).

Frightening, right?

In addition to lacking any context, the title of the graph is amazingly and ignorantly wrong. There’s a lot more to the Earth than water, ice and air… There’s that whole solid(ish) thing in the middle.

The heat flow at the surface (the coolest part of the solid Earth) of the Earth is ~47 Terawatts (TW). A Joule is 1 Watt*second of power. 47 TW is 47,000,000,000,000 joules per second (47*10^12 J/s). Over the 40-yr period (1969-2008) the Earth’s heat flow transferred 6 gazillion (10^12) Joules of heat from the interior to the surface. That 6 gazillion is a very tiny fraction of the total heat content of the Earth (~12,600,000,000 gazillion Joules). So the SkepSci graph doesn’t even come close to capturing the “change in the Earth’s total heat content.”

Here’s a little more context… Unsurprisingly, ocean heat content and sea surface temperature are highly correlated…

Figure 9. Cross-plot of ocean heat content (Levitus, 2009) and sea surface temperature (Hadley/CRU via Wood for Trees).

So, we can very easily estimate OHC from SST to see what the OHC was
doing before we started measuring it…

Figure 10. Historical ocean heat content calculated from HadSST and OHC (Levitus, 2009).

Wow!!! The OHC had to have increased by 13 gazillion Joules from 1910-1941. How did that happen? CO2 was mired in the “safe” range of 310-320 ppmv (assuming Antarctic ice cores are accurate sources of paleo-CO2 data).

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80 thoughts on “Frankenstorm-itis: Five degrees of Separation from Reality and Eleventy Gazillion Joules Under the Sea

  1. Sane people with more than 2 brain cells to rub together, know this is complete and total bullshit. Unfortunately, there are millions of people who only have 1 brain cell and that one is totally occupied with breathing and other bodily functions. And even more unfortunately, they also vote.

  2. can we please have a real unit of measurement, as opposed to this ‘gazillion’ nonsense? there is no quantifiable number to correlate to ‘gazillion’. for 10^12, use 1 billion (long scale) or 1 trillion (short scale), just define which scale you’re using!

  3. The site is sponsored by Siemens, a multinational company with large interests in the renewable energy sector. There are “pro-science” blogs that claim that skeptics are just parroting the opinions of oil and coal interests. Here is direct evidence of the opposite.

    http://www.siemens.com/sustainability/en/

  4. I love the way they think they can get away with making such outright BS claims such as the 5 degree temp rise. And of course all the usual suspects will mindlessly lap it up and repeat it as if it is true…

  5. If the ocean is 5 degrees warmer than when I was born (1947) because of general warming, would not my local lakes and ponds exhibit the same increase? Stange that I notice no increase. And the ice goes out at about the same time every year give or take a week. Some years sooner, some years later.

  6. Whenever that “Change in Earth’s Heat Content’ chart from Skeptical Science is shown (an increase of 230 X10^21 joules), I try to remind everyone that GHG increases should have produced 1730 X10^21 joules over the same period. Where did the 1500 10^21 joules go?

    The chart is just a line going up (much less than it is supposed to – and I work in 10^22 which is what everyone is supposed to).

  7. Delightful or terrifying, winds on earth are convection, which results from differences in temperatures. Knowing about changes in environmental temperatures tells us nothing about storms unless we also know about changes in distributions of temperatures. The Energy Collective piece makes no effort to talk about distributions and is thus content free as to the likelihood of future storms.

  8. Where did the convention that a gazillion is 10^22 come from?

    Just a joke, or did someone start using it and it caught on?

  9. Just a small quibble, Celsius is the proper word for measured temperatures using the centigrade units (Kelvin uses these units as well) and centigrade is used for differences / anomalies, though officially k is supposed to be used, but I won’t quibble about that.

  10. Nice article David!

    I really thought most averagely intelligent people would be rolling their eyes at the blatant attempts to link one storm to AGW, but, from the comments in newspapers there are still a stack of pre-programmed warmists out there, and they are embracing any mention of the storm with glee.

    I like to quote Levitus etal: Where they show those marvelous ocean energy charts, then inform us the top two thousand meters of the entire world’s oceans have warmed 0.09 degrees C in the last 55 years. (With no indication of how they achieved that degree of accuracy in measurement then or now).

  11. >>The author noted that, “We’ve only been aware
    >>that the earth revolves around the sun for some
    >>500 years.”

    Not true.

    The Greeks had long known that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and probably the Egyptians before them. Here is a quote from Nonnos of the 4th century about the design of the Cosmos.

    Beside the socket of the axle were the poles of the two
    heavenly wagons, never touched by water … Between the two
    wagons he made the serpent, which is close by and joins the
    two separated bodies.
    Dionysus, Nonnos XVII:135

    The heavenly wagon wheels were the celestial and ecliptic poles, which rotate in the northern hemisphere but never dip below the horizon (into the sea). The snake that intertwined these cosmic wheels is the constellation of Draco(n) – the snake-dragon. If you know that the celestial and ecliptic poles rotate, which are quite complex elements of astronomy, then you likely to know that the Earth rotates.

    This tradition was even continued in Arthurian legend, where the Great Bear was known as Arthur’s Wagon.

    .

  12. Well, a tiny part of the North Atlantic Ocean outside the US east coast, is actually 5 C warmer than “normal”: http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom_new.gif – but as you can see, a large part of the South Atlantic is quit a bit cooler than normal, and there are also large cooler than normal areas in the Pacific and Southern Oceans.

    The most interesting thing about that SST anomaly map is that a colder than normal area has appeared in the wake of Sandy: From Cuba over the Bahamas and along the US east coast.

  13. Where’s John Balusi when you need him (Animal House – Germans and Pearl Harbor, etc)

    The facts aren’t important to these guys, it’s the message! Scare the hell out of the ignorant so they’ll buy your snake oil!

    Bill

  14. All this joule talk is lost on me – can someone convert it to the Hiroshima Bomb standard unit, as used by JC.

  15. I plotted global ocean temperatures (HADSST2) and land (HADCRUT3) for the first time after reading your post. The correlation is so high it leads me to believe the oceans are responsible for global warming. I have a feeling this has been discussed here before and I imagine I’m about to be lessoned by Roy Spencer. But I was surprised by how highly correlated they (land and sea temps) are.

  16. Excellent post, David! I love to read an article like that, which totally skewers a warmist. I knew that after Sandy skeptics would have a field day debunking all the crapola coming from the CAGW alarmists. Good work!

  17. Since Brian Reynolds runs a company that cashes in on taxpayer subsidies for uneconomic renewable energy generation, you would expect him to to indulge in scaremongering to keep his income stream alive. One could question whether he is merely ignorant of the facts or is deliberately being misleading?

  18. Those kinds of alarmist claims are the sceptics’ best weapon because they’re so full of BS that one suspects the propagators of lying rather than of simply being ignorant. And that generates disgust. I really feel disgusted right now. And that’s no sarc.

  19. If warm water was so good at powering anything, we would have warm water power station all over the ocean.

  20. So some “scientist” walking along some Atlantic beach one day decided to stick his pocket thermometer into a seaside pool and noted how much warmer the water was?

    I see….

  21. And another thing! Brian Reynolds said, “Rev your engine to 5000 RPM in “Park” and you’ll run out of gas as quickly as someone racing around a track with their tachometer in the same spot.” This is NOT true! It takes only a little throttle to maintain 5000 RPM on an engine pulling no load (in neutral), while it takes lots of throttle to maintain 5000 RPM on a loaded engine (racing around a track). It will burn gas much faster racing on the track. This is a testable claim.

  22. Unsurprisingly, ocean heat content and sea surface temperature are highly correlated.

    In that case, there seems to be nothing to worry about!
    With the sea surface anomaly for September at 0.453, the average for the first nine months of the year is (0.203 + 0.230 + 0.241 + 0.292 + 0.339 + 0.352 + 0.385 + 0.440 + 0.453)/9 = 0.326. This would rank 10th if it stayed this way. 1998 was the warmest at 0.451. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in August of 1998 when it reached 0.555.
    As well, the slope for sea surface temperatures is flat since February 1997 or 15 years, 8 months (goes to September). See

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.08/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.08/trend

  23. This is off topic but for a good reason:

    Friday Funny – global warming home experiment kit

    Has evidence of Malware in it and should be checked for it as my computer Malware detection software detected it in all three ways of entering the blog post.

    I did not continue to enter as I believe it is an infection that is sitting there ready to exploit and spread.

    I am not kidding at all!

    I know this is a repeat post but posted here as well to make sure a moderator got this warning.

  24. You said it all with “the scientifically illiterate”. To these folks emotion is what’s important. If you can convert the issue into “eleventy gazillion million billion” and tie it to their children’s future, you’ve not only “set the hook” but you landed them and they are flopping helplessly on the deck waiting for the final blow from the legislative club.

  25. Aside and with regard to the expression “Frankenstorm”:

    Surely that term should better be reserved for the sort of confusion and upheaval resulting from a contested election, as in the case of weeks-long litigation promoted by a TV comedian named Franken?

  26. Yes the average American is one braincell short of a synapse and that one is hypoxic. I have always wondered how you heat an ocean with air. Even if the evil CO2 heated the air the oceans would not warm enough to matter for a 100000 years. I always tell these people its like heating an Olympic sized swimming pool with a blow dryer.

  27. I love the paragraph below the heading ‘Just the Facts’, which contains a lot of emotional rhetoric, but no facts!

    I also not that Brian has chosen to work in a business that is 100% dependent on catastrophic global warming. If we apply the same judgement to Brian as warmists do to those who disagree with them, we can simply dismiss everything Brian says as a product of his pure, overwhelming greed!

    On the other hand, his writing is so outrageously inaccurate that we do not need to resort to personal attacks. I guess they need to play the ‘greed’ card because they cannot argue with our facts.

  28. I am confused by the term “gazillion”. It is my understanding that it is a purely fictional name used to signify a very large number. Have I spent a life time as an engineer living under an illusion. I’ll suspend my disbelief however and grant Mr Middleton the right to define that term as he chooses. He should at least be consistent in its use. Is a gazillion 10 to the 12th power or is it 10 to the 22nd power? Is this a typo or am I being dull in not seeing his intended meaning here.

    “Ocean Heat Content for the upper 700 meters of the oceans increased by about 16 gazillion (10^22) Joules over the last 40 years or so!”

    Then, just a few paragraphs later:

    “Over the 40-yr period (1969-2008) the Earth’s heat flow transferred 6 gazillion (10^12) Joules of heat from the interior to the surface.

    This is a huge difference! On order of “kagillion” if I am not mistaken. Wink, Wink.

    This is a blog for science minded folks. Educated people DO read these posts in detail looking critically at what authors say. Let’s keep our orders of magnitude straight.

  29. To prove he is a math and science ignorant D-bag… as a car guy, and one who actually worked hard to understand the laws of thermodynamics, I offer this:

    “The process is analogous to the gears in a car. Rev your engine to 5000 RPM in “Park” and you’ll run out of gas as quickly as someone racing around a track with their tachometer in the same spot. ”

    I haven’t bothered reading the comments on his article but I cannot believe he wont be humiliated into dumping it down the memory hole. I took screen-caps of course. I’m sure LOTS of folks have.

  30. Excellent analysis of the uncertainty in heat content. I’ve been through a number of hurricanes. The first I remember was Hazel in 1954. I event went through a few in New Orleans. None big. The only thing remarkable about this one was location and damage caused by high density population and lack of preparation.

  31. “The author noted that, “We’ve only been aware that the earth revolves around the sun for some 500 years.” This is true.”

    +++++++
    The heck it is. The Aztecs, the Mayans, the Druids, the Egyptian and even the Greeks knew the Earth went round the sun. It was Aristotle who put the Earth in the middle and that was taught until it became the consensus. The Catholic Church, having been hoodwinked into endorsing the consensus, set about persecuting heretics, of course. Denialists, you could call them.

    Today, we have hoodwinked chatechistic newspapers playing the role of inquisitor. Friday’s English language paper in Phnom Penh reprinted an outrageous article from the New York Times yammering on about Sandy and global warming blah-blah-blah and how Eskimos don’t have a word for ‘robin’ and other BS-button tripe. The author was so ignorant it was actually shocking. I kept a copy to show my grandchildren the level of stupidity to which a major newspaper can sink when they stop bothering to independently investigate the truth.

  32. Curiousgeorge, me thinks you should be careful with the color you paint others with. Often, you end up with more paint on you than the people you think you are painting.

    As a teacher, I can attest to the nearly universal habit of painting parents as being less than adequate for the job. I used to think that way too till I noticed I was getting an awful lot of that paint on me.

  33. Actually it is apparent that at least some Greek mathematicians were aware that the Earth revolved around the sun.

  34. garymount says:
    November 3, 2012 at 6:12 am
    >>
    Just a small quibble, Celsius is the proper word for measured temperatures using the centigrade units (Kelvin uses these units as well) and centigrade is used for differences / anomalies, though officially k is supposed to be used, but I won’t quibble about that.
    >>

    centigrade is old fashioned name for degree celcius, it is not used for anything in S.I. system .
    The units are “degree celcius” or “kelvin” (NOT capitalised) abbreviated to deg. C and K (capitals). The units of temperature differences or anomalies are exactly the same as whatever you preferred to measure the original temperatures.

    So you were just about wrong as you possibly could be in all you said. Well done.

    Just a small quibble.

  35. Crispin in Singapore says: The heck it is. The Aztecs, the Mayans, the Druids, the Egyptian and even the Greeks knew the Earth went round the sun. It was Aristotle who put the Earth in the middle and that was taught until it became the consensus… etc good stuff etc.

    There was a fascinating article in Physics Today a few years back titled “The Copernican myths”:

    http://physicstoday.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_60/iss_12/48_1.shtml?bypassSSO=1

    “The real story of how the scientific and religious establishments greeted the Copernican revolution is quite different from the folklore. And it’s a lot more interesting.”

    The article examines the popular notion of the extreme reaction of religious authorities to the idea of a non-earth centric universe, and presents the actual history that is rather more complicated. A very interesting read for anyone curious about the history of scientific advancement.

  36. So all that lovely warmth has been sucked out of the gulf stream ocean current ,- it is supposed to to be keeping us warm over winter on this side of the pond , We want it put back please , warming holds no fear for us folk , we need as much as we can get !!

  37. Marc77 says:
    November 3, 2012 at 6:43 am
    If warm water was so good at powering anything, we would have warm water power station all over the ocean.
    ======================================================
    Warm ocean water can. (kind of)
    If you lower the atmospheric pressure of warm water, it will boil.
    But like other forms of non conventional energy, it takes too much energy to make energy.
    The French came up with a plan for this in the 1920’s

  38. Sadly, most humans have no idea how to compute the Enthalpy (not heat!) content of anything. In fact, most humans don’t know what either Enthalpy or heat are in the first place. Most humans are probably a bit sketchy on just what a Joule is. Most humans aren’t aware that almost all of the ocean is at 4 C (or slightly below that) and almost completely isolated and insulated from warming and cooling at the surface (although the figure above does a lovely job of illustrating that).

    There is, of course, a substantial amount of “heat” (really Enthalpy) in the surface layer of the ocean, and it does, in fact, drive hurricanes and other tropical storms as heat engines. However, those storms cool the ocean, by lifting its heat up to where it can radiate away to space. They are part of the negative feedback cycle that responds to warming by increasing the efficiency of cooling.

    In the end, argue all you like: there is no empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that tropical storms in the North Atlantic are either more frequent or more violent now than they were twenty, fifty, a hundred, or more years ago. To the extent that we have data, they appear to be more or less the same — a Poissonian distribution per year, with a probability that is weakly modulated by ENSO.

    rgb

  39. I don’t care if it rains or freezes
    ‘long as i got my plastic Jesus
    standing on the dashboard of my car

    Terr’ble rain and wind and thunder
    causes some to steal and plunder
    neighbors swamped by big waves from afar

    They’ll try to tax me for my share
    ’cause wind messed up the mayor’s hair
    Global Warming needs my last dinar

    My plastic Jesus’ head unscrews
    he’s hollow inside and filled with booze
    for the road, NYC I bid you au revoir

  40. Interesting observation in the link above by PaulH @November 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Articles
    The Copernican myths

    http://physicstoday.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_60/iss_12/48_1.shtml?bypassSSO=1

    That’s an important point about scientific revolutions. At the start, the new theory rarely gives convincingly better results than its predecessor. What usually happens is that it has some appeal, often aesthetic, that attracts others to work within the new model. And if, over time, the new model proves fruitful in resolving many puzzles, it gains adherents.6

    It could be applied to the global warming theory and it’s adherents. The concept was attractive for various reasons, both logical and sociological/physiological and many people followed the fad and began working in that model. At first they thought they were producing useful results and ground out papers and studies and made predictions that at first blush appeared to be on reasonably solid ground.

    Over time however their results have remained stagnant and unremarkable, giving no better results than the long standing assumption of natural variability. Over time one point after another has been found to be superficial and not based on sound research, and like other theories is slowing being discarded as the public at large (first due to practical considerations) detects that it provides no useful information and produces lots of collateral damage to both the economy and governmental action in private affairs.

    Like numerous other failed theories like the Miasma theory of disease, and Phlogiston theory it may have been useful from a practical view but over time found to be better explained by other mechanisms. The Miasma theory of disease for example moved us away from the idea of diseases being some sort of divine curse to a cause based approach that eventually led to our discovery of (some) of the real causes of disease (ie bacteria, viruses, toxin etc.)

    Likewise I think CAGW will be foot noted in history books as a useful step with lots of undesirable consequences, that eventually forced intense sound research to be conducted.

    Like alchemy, and attempts at making gold from lead eventually led to modern chemistry. It will also be seen like alchemy as a fools errand that, eventually led to positive results (some time in our distant future) when we remove the religious zeal and propaganda and start to examine the experiments we should have been doing 20-30 years ago when all this nonsense started to take hold.

    Larry

  41. PaulH says:
    November 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

    “There was a fascinating article in Physics Today a few years back titled “The Copernican myths”:

    http://physicstoday.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_60/iss_12/48_1.shtml?bypassSSO=1

    “The real story of how the scientific and religious establishments greeted the Copernican revolution is quite different from the folklore. And it’s a lot more interesting.”

    I would suggest to simplify “Physics Today a few years back” to “Physics a few years back” as the “today” adds no information. Just kidding.

    What I really wanted to say, thanks for the link, I was just about to ask for one after Crispin’s comment.

  42. I’ve been thinking and discussing the human animal’s proclivity for not just believing but acting upon the most outrageous of ideas. From those who sit in their houses while the witchhunting assaillants progress down their streets, saying “They are my neighbours, it can’t happen to me!”, to the blogger here who, eyes-wide is shock, says that the Atlantic is 5 degrees warmer than 50 years ago, I get the same sense of a refusal to think critically when reality threatens a fundamental tenet of their self. Outside of these narrow points, they can think critically very well. But not with regard to these items.

    I am concluding that there is a pathological problem with (perhaps most of) us: core values are unconsciously defended with whatever resources one has, be it intellectual rationalization or angered rebute. Hansen, Mann and Romm cannot discuss rationally as a rational discussion is a give and take, a recognition that the other side has some points that have some validity, and that one’s own position might be modified by their inclusion. If the more pathological view is correct, there may be a hypothamalic-type mechanism that prevents these considerations. Hansen doesn’t consider the worthiness of what Watts says not because he is being perversely stubborn but because his brain cannot physically perform the act.

    Before you respond that I am pathologizing dissent like the warmists are doing for the skeptical position, consider that what I am saying is that the mechanisms of defense for a self-identity are beyond the pschological and into the physical. That certain individuals are so prone to this problem that, like Paul Erhlich, no matter what observations show, they can hold firm to their prior assertions (and also deny that they made incorrect predictions, even when faced with the written word). Recall that Harold Camping claimed the world would end on March 21 (or thereabouts) of 2011, and then October 18, 2011 when the dawn of March 22 arrived without change. If the non-end of the universe does not shake your belief system, nothing else could.

    The implication of what I am suggesting is immense: it is that we, as a species, will always be subject to bizarre, reality-denying claims by vehement, compelling alphas. The situation is like that of the sociopath, the one who has no emotional attachment or connection to others. They exist very much amongst us, and become successful businessmen, artists, generals and politicians for their very ability to move without disturbance to their agendas regardless of their external impact. They can be very good providers as mothers and fathers, except that their childrren find them distant. A sociopath like this is not evil, as harming others is of no interest. It is when the sociopath is ALSO one who enjoys, i.e. derived benefit from, harming others, that the killer is born. It is the melding of a broken human virtue with a nasty disposition that causes the harm. So when the “broken”, socially concerned who cannot, really cannot think critically about what he proposes is inhabiting a strong, influential, charismatic individual, we get a dangerous demagogue.

    Is that not what we are seeing in Hansen et al? Demagogery? The push of an agenda supported by evidence that others find not just non-compelling but actually false?

    The Atlantic is warmer by five degrees today than it was fifty years ago? Anyone at, connected to, or having visited a seaside resort along the New England coast would know this to be false. Yet this fellow can hold it, nay, grasp tightly to this harbinger of disaster as it strongly supports both his beliefs and his ardent convictions. Roswell is where the alien technolgoy of Kodak, Apple and Xerox came from. The only reason we don’t have an anti-alien task force patrolling our skies is the Roswell conspiracist isn’t also the type to be successful at the polls.

    Cynicism or realism? Strange days, indeed.

  43. This is relevant. An article just up on Popular science stated, “I myself spoke to a hurricane expert about three hours before I spoke to Mampel who told me that the roughly two-degree increase in the water temperature in the Atlantic could have had a major effect on Hurricane Sandy’s strength in the northeast. Mampel doesn’t care. He wasn’t going to mention climate change.”

    Here’s what Wikipedia says about the warming of the North Atlantic, in the article on the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which indicates that the SSTs may decline after 2015 due to a downturn in the AMO (and implies that current warming is partly due to the AMO):
    ————–

    “The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is a mode of variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean and which has its principal expression in the sea surface temperature (SST) field.
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
    “Relation to Atlantic hurricanes
    “In viewing actual data on a short time horizon, sparse experience would suggest the frequency of major hurricanes is not strongly correlated with the AMO. During warm phases of the AMO, the number of minor hurricanes (category 1 and 2) saw a modest increase.[9] With full consideration of meteorological science, the number of tropical storms that can mature into severe hurricanes is much greater during warm phases of the AMO than during cool phases, at least twice as many; the AMO is reflected in the frequency of severe Atlantic hurricanes.[6] The hurricane activity index is found to be highly correlated with the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.[9] If there is an increase in hurricane activity connected to global warming, it is currently obscured by the AMO quasi-periodic cycle.[9] The AMO alternately obscures and exaggerates the global increase in temperatures due to human-induced global warming.[6] Based on the typical duration of negative and positive phases of the AMO, the current warm regime is expected to persist at least until 2015 and possibly as late as 2035. Enfield et al. assume a peak around 2020.[10]“

  44. OH, I just scanned the site, it appears all this is “The New Math:”

    You know, the one where they don’t teach you how to count any more. Poor old Brian probably doesn’t realise that it matters where you put the little dot.

  45. PaulH
    “The real story of how the scientific and religious establishments greeted the Copernican revolution is quite different from the folklore. And it’s a lot more interesting.”
    —————————————————————

    It had long been known that Copernicus was merely regurgitating ancient knowledge. That is why the UK comedy series called Copernicus the “greatest liars in the world”.

    .

  46. Doug Proctor says:
    November 3, 2012 at 10:56 am
    So when the “broken”, socially concerned who cannot, really cannot think critically about what he proposes is inhabiting a strong, influential, charismatic individual, we get a dangerous demagogue.

    I agree with you in some respects but I am not sure it is a “human failure” just a quirk.
    For example the characteristic of altruism is destructive to the individual who possesses if if he is placed in a position where he is the only member of the tribe in position to stand and fight the cave bear while the rest of the clan retreats, but it is beneficial to the preservation of his genetic heritage if others in the clan survive to pass on his genetic heritage. So the characteristic to sacrifice ones self to ensure the survival of the group over all is beneficial to the society.

    As a result all human groups will have a small number of individuals that when push comes to shove will stand and fight the cave bear even at the cost of their own life.

    I think you could view that blind stubbornness of defense of belief system as an analogous trait, as over time if every human group has a few folks predisposed to defend old beliefs to the end, they act as a storage of diversity of thought that at some future time might benefit the group. For example the person who hordes food even though all the others in the group keep near empty shelves, could be the life line that keeps the group alive during an unanticipated famine.

    In this case it is a pathological quirk of a trait that over the long term has some group survival benefit. Like genetic diversity it is probably beneficial over all for a society to have a few people who refuse to change their beliefs or conform to new ways of thinking as they provide a bridge back to other behaviors and beliefs that in some circumstances could spell the survival of the group.

    I bet that among the survivors that kept the human genome alive during the genetic bottle neck, there were a few who would not give up and change beliefs just because it seemed there was no way they could survive what ever calamity befell human kind at that time.

    Sort of different horses for different courses problem, what is a major liability in climate research, among a large group in comfortable circumstances, might be very useful if you are the leader of a band trying to walk across a desert and persist despite unimaginable hardships.

    Larry

  47. rgbatduke says:
    November 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

    … weakly modulated by ENSO …

    Most humans don’t know what modulation is either :)

  48. DaveA says:
    November 3, 2012 at 6:25 am

    All this joule talk is lost on me – can someone convert it to the Hiroshima Bomb standard unit, as used by JC.

    I have done the math, and eleventy gazillion joules = 1.75271 x 10 to the 86, 418 hiroshima blasts.
    Give or take.

  49. “If we assume it gets used the most efficiently it can be, a ton of coal gets you about 35 gigajoules”. How would anybody get less than that?

  50. “Brian Reynolds is a serial entrepreneur. He comes from three generations of manufacturers and spent years in the Owens Corning network before opening the doors at Global Power Solutions,LLC. Global is a clean power company that specializes in connecting stakeholders at opposite ends of solar power projects. Brian currently spends the majority of his time consulting with the NIST’s.”
    Follow the money! But it did provide the excuse for a very intersting article by David Middleton so perhaps Mr. Reynolds should be thanked rather than ridiculed.

  51. Bam, Kapow, holy warmistas Bat Man there must be gazillions of them.
    No time to lose Robin, to the Bat Cave…….

  52. The possible “source” for the 5 degree claim:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/31/3076655_p2/did-climate-change-play-a-role.html

    “Sandy resulted from the chance alignment of several weather systems, including a winter storm that dumped snow on Colorado, said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a federally funded research and development center.

    But a human influence was present, too, he said. From the Carolinas to Canada, sea surface temperatures just before the storm were about 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the 30-year average for this time of year. About 1 degree is “very likely a direct result of global warming,” Trenberth wrote in an article explaining the role of climate change in the storm.”

    Ahhhhhhhh, Trenbeth.
    That could explain it.

  53. I stopped by TheEnergyCollective web site, I figured I’d see what the original article stated, here is a reply Brian Reynolds gave to questions on the source of the 5 degree warming of the Atlantic:

    Thank you all for you comments, they are certainly appreciated.

    The point of this piece isn’t the exact temperature of the ocean, which is admittedly hard to calculate (You’ll note in reading one other comments that you don’t agree with me or one another after all) but rather that the earth isn’t a closed system. The vast preponderance of energy into and out of the system is in the form of solar radiation the day side and energy loss on the night side. The albedo effect that retains a healthy portion of that energy is the result of a tremendously small amount of the atmosphere. Human activity on this planet is not so great that we have massively changed the constitution of the whole atmosphere but it is great enough that we have made a substantial change to the very tiny part of the atmosphere responsible for a stable climate.

    In the piece above you’ll note that the facts stipulated are 5 degrees, the first inch of ocean water and a stable area. Under these three criteria I’ve said that Sandy was energized substantially. If you would prefer we look at a 0.5 degree change (or any other change) that’s fine but any refinement of these numbers should also address the facts you’ve chosen not to challenge. Sandy drew energy from an area an order of magnitude larger than the one stated and from ocean waters of far greater than one inch. Refining these will only serve to increase the total energy available to fuel this horrible storm.

    If anyone produces a conclusion based on a better mathematical model of the energy in the Atlantic for this storm on the dates in question vs. historic norms I will gladly eat my words. Sadly, there will be no such model. We will continue to have larger, less frequent, more devastating storms fueled by much warmer oceans and breaking all previous records for damages. Last night on the telethon for Sandy this was referred to as “What will surely be remembered as the storm of the century”. There is no question, there will be far worst storms.

    Thanks again for you attention.

    Brian

    I will say that he still had not answered the original question of the origin of the 5 degrees, other than pointing out he stated the first inch of the ocean.

    He does make the statement that:

    We will continue to have larger, less frequent, more devastating storms fueled by much warmer oceans and breaking all previous records for damages.

    More devastating and breaking all previous records can easily be stated because more and more people are living in those effected areas AND the cost will always increase because of inflation.. I believe previous storms have been shown to be more costly once inflation is adjusted. But the loss of human life has decreased as science improves forecasting and people start to heed the warnings.

  54. “‘We’ve only been aware that the earth revolves around the sun for some 500 years.’ This is true.”

    Whattaya mean “we”?

  55. Imagine the headlines reading “Storm Sandy causes 5 foot storm surge above the expectedl high tide resulting from a full moon along with a normal high tide”.

    Does someone have the facts to back it up? Probably so.

  56. @PaulH

    Much appreciated. I read a fascinating account of how Galileo got into so much trouble. He really brought it all on himself by humiliating a Cardinal at a party. He was apparemtly a loudmouth entertainer and the moves against him were personally motivated.

    I am correcting myself above, it was Ptolomy as the system is the Ptolemaic one (Earth-centered). Prior to that the Greeks thought the Earth went round the sun as is obvious from the movements of the planets in the sky.

    Most people forget a) that the church only applied current thinking amongst scientists, and b) that most science was supported by the church. It is the modern hostility to theism that drives the defective and improper attitude to what happened with Copernicus and Galileo.

  57. @MikeH

    Thanks for the update. The guy is still talking through his hat. That is why his answer sounds like bafflegab with a terrible warming of how it will end. When it comes to eating his words, he will show you at that time they were not really his words so he doesn’t have to eat them.

    There is no reason known to science why hurricanes should be less frequent in a warming world, seeing as there is ‘all that extra energy in the ocean’, right? What a load of bunk. He confuses energy with temperature and ignores specific humidity and so one and on. The damage was caused mostly by the storm surge and that was because it took place on the New York Bight. The disaster in Rhode Island years ago was for similar reasons: local architecture and bad luck.

    When a proper hurricane hits New York late in the year, what superlatives will he choose? He has already used them all. Cat 4’s land on NYC. Let’s see what happens then. The ‘Superstorm’ will be quickly forgotten.

  58. Just a quick note re Celcius. The original Celcius scale had freezing point at 100C and freezing at 0C. One of the many reasons I stick to Fahrenheit.

  59. Steve from Rockwood says:
    November 3, 2012 at 6:25 am
    I plotted global ocean temperatures (HADSST2) and land (HADCRUT3) for the first time after reading your post. The correlation is so high it leads me to believe the oceans are responsible for global warming. I have a feeling this has been discussed here before and I imagine I’m about to be lessoned by Roy Spencer. But I was surprised by how highly correlated they (land and sea temps) are.

    Of more interest is that this is contrary to what GHG warming predicts. It predicts the atmosphere warms ahead of the oceans and then the oceans warm with an equalization lag measured in years. I recall 8 years is the best estimate.

    That the SSTs and near surface temperatures warm together indicates they are warm simultaneously by the same process, and that would be increased solar insolation.

  60. The most interesting thing about that SST anomaly map is that a colder than normal area has appeared in the wake of Sandy: From Cuba over the Bahamas and along the US east coast.

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

    In a curious way, hurricanes may be the Atlantic’s response to being cut off from ENSO.

  61. timbrom says:
    November 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Just a quick note re Celcius. The original Celcius scale had freezing point at 100C and freezing at 0C. One of the many reasons I stick to Fahrenheit.

    Nonsense. It’s “Celsius“. and 100°C was and is boiling.

  62. This gazillion joules stuff worries me,I work only in calories and the new measure of olympic pools, I need the conversion factors for one gazillion joules in calories /olympic pools or calories/ Hiroshima equivalent , these conversions need to be in fractions as my computer can not understand decimals in the post normal sense as the pundits measure global warming to the third decimal place, which seems to me a rather unlikely outcome. 22/7 works perfectly, doing that in decimals will cause your computer some pain for years. Real old measures with no fudges works for me. These alarmist idiots really cause pain and suffering to the people that least need it.

  63. Some / much / most of the warming in the NW Atlantic is due to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is due to reverse in 2015 / 2020 / 2035.

    =====
    Regarding the Celsius scale:

    He [Celsius] proposed the Celsius temperature scale in a paper to the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, the oldest Swedish scientific society, founded in 1710. His thermometer was calibrated with a value of 100° for the freezing point of water and 0° for the boiling point. In 1745, a year after his death, the scale was reversed by Carl Linnaeus to facilitate more practical measurement.

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

  64. Steve from Rockwood says:
    >>
    I plotted global ocean temperatures (HADSST2) and land (HADCRUT3) for the first time after reading your post. The correlation is so high it leads me to believe the oceans are responsible for global warming.
    >>
    Perhaps the oceans are responsible for being 70% of the Earth’s surface !

    Maybe you need to find out why HADCRUT is called HADCRUT (hint HAD+CRUT)

    It really is quite helpful to understand what data you are looking at before drawing conclusion about what it means.

  65. Brian H says:
    November 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm
    “Nonsense. It’s “Celsius“. and 100°C was and is boiling.”

    Celsius himself started with assigning 100 to the freezing point of water and 0 to the boiling point. Later people found it more sensible to reverse that.

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

    “He founded the Uppsala Astronomical Observatory in 1741, and in 1742 he proposed the Celsius temperature scale which takes his name. The scale was inverted in 1745 by Carl Linnaeus, one year after Celsius’ death from tuberculosis.”

  66. Hang on a minute…

    If the sea contributed eleventy million zillion trillion or whatever joules to the storm, does that mean it lost that energy and is therefore cooler now?

    Or am I being stupid?

  67. Brian Reynolds, founder of Global Power Solutions LLC, in the comments under his blog post: “The vast preponderance of energy into and out of the system is in the form of solar radiation the day side and energy loss on the night side. The albedo effect that retains a healthy portion of that energy is the result of a tremendously small amount of the atmosphere. ” Albedo?

    So this particular example of “the world’s best thinkers on energy and climate” hasn’t bothered to familiarize himself with the most basic physics (5000 RPM comment), data (5 degree of atlantic warming), or nomenclature of energy and climate.

    Or maybe he just thinks of albedo the way progressives think of taxes. Albedo actually retains energy in the atmosphere by deigning to not take all of it away? Whatever energy remains after albedo is a gift from albedo?

  68. David Middleton says:
    November 4, 2012 at 5:50 am
    In response to the questions & comments about “gazilliobs, ” I adopted it from Dr Roy Spencer:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/05/weak-warming-of-the-oceans-1955-2010-implies-low-climate-sensitivity/

    I figure any scientific notation large enough to make me think more than three seconds about its English name, must be a gazillion.
    ==================================================================
    Maybe it should be “gobsandgobsofzillions”?
    (Sorry.8-)

  69. Please pardon this ignorant nimrod…but would’t you need a gazillion little thermometers stuck in styrofoam donuts and evenly floated over the entire surface of the ocean to get an accurate temperature reading? Just sayin’. A good day to you all.

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