Subaqueous volcanism: ocean vents and faulty climate models

WUWT reader Pethefin writes:

Finally someone addresses the really big elephant in the room: the ocean vents and their role in climate modelling:

I covered this possibility in a previous post:  Do underwater volcanoes have an effect on ENSO? and I have updated that post with this animation showing a heat plume disconnected from the ENSO pattern and Google Earth graphic showing possible subaqueous volcanism sources (you may have to click the top graphic to get it to animate).
ENSO_volcanic_heat_plume_Animation possible_ocean_heat_plume_sounce

This excerpt from an essay published on Quadrant Online by John Reid also explores the question.

It hardly needs to be said that climate modelling is a far-from-settled science, despite what its practitioners would have us believe. Just how flawed becomes even more apparent when you consider that massive heat sources on the ocean floor have been entirely omitted from the warmists’ calculations

THE TOTAL power expended in volcanic heating of the ocean is well in excess of the power dissipated by wind stress and tidal friction. There is growing evidence for the existence of volcanically generated megaplumes both from satellite imagery and from direct observation. Although the physical detail remains to be explored there is growing evidence that megaplumes are, at times, responsible for variations in climate, ocean productivity and ocean export of CO2.

There is a vast amount of CO2 stored in the ocean: 38,000 gigatonnes compared with 380 gigatonnes generated by human activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution. It is doubtful whether mankind’s modest one percent contribution has made very much difference. Nevertheless oceanographers seem quite reluctant to acknowledge the role of subaqueous volcanism in influencing ocean circulation, ocean ecology, climate variation and CO2 flux. Why should this be so?

One possible explanation is that oceanography and climate science have come to be heavily dependent on numerical fluid dynamic modelling. “Ocean-atmosphere general circulation models” or OAGCMs have become the preferred means of investigating ocean circulation. The ocean-atmosphere model is tuned to settle down, after “spin-up”, to a steady state where it remains until deliberately perturbed by some external factor such as changing the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. According to these models the ocean in its natural state is a sort of machine, a conveyor belt steadily carrying heat, salt and dissolved gases around the planet’s oceans in the same unvarying manner until it is disturbed by humankind.

Volcanic activity does not fit this neat picture. Volcanic behaviour is random, i.e. it is “stochastic” meaning “governed by the laws of probability”. For fluid dynamic modellers stochastic behaviour is the spectre at the feast. They do not want to deal with it because their models cannot handle it. We cannot predict the future behaviour of subaqueous volcanoes so we cannot predict future behaviour of the ocean-atmosphere system when this extra random forcing is included.

To some extent, chaos theory is called in as a substitute, but modellers are very reticent about describing and locating (in phase space) the strange attractors of chaos theory which supposedly give their models a stochastic character. They prefer to avoid stochastic descriptions of the real world in favour of the more precise but unrealistic determinism of the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics.

This explains the reluctance of oceanographers to acknowledge subaqueous volcanism as a forcing of ocean circulation.  Unlike tidal forcing, wind stress and thermohaline forcing, volcanism constitutes a major, external, random forcing which cannot be generated from within the model. It has therefore been ignored.


 

Well worth reading the entire story here:

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2014/05/ocean-vents-faulty-models/

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117 Responses to Subaqueous volcanism: ocean vents and faulty climate models

  1. maccassar says:

    Fascinating reading. Well worth much research.

  2. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    maccassar says:
    May 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Yes, much research needs to be done. And perhaps an acknowledgement, especially from the ocean acidification goons, that 40,000 miles of coughing mid-ocean ridges and a similar amount of subduction-arc volcanics are doing their thing…whether they like it or not.

  3. TomR,Worc,MA,USA says:

    If there are 5 or 6 “Supervolcanoes” on the land surfaces of the earth, wouldn’t it stand to reason there are 3 times as many under the sea? What effect might they have to ocean tempatures?

  4. Steve Garcia says:

    I have been saying this for at leaast two years now. YES, it is the elephant in the room.

    All that heat, and in a concentrated area of the East Pacific Rise and the Galapagos RIft – right where El Niño effects are seen over and over. But we don’t even KNOW most of the vent locations. HUGE amounts of earth entering the ocean-atmosphere system, and they don’t account for it in any way at ALL in the climate models or climate THINKING.

  5. Alan says:

    There is actually a strong correlation between solar activity and vulcanism. There’s been quite a bit of research on how an electromagnetic earth interacts with cosmic rays and how this has an effect on telluric currents which, in turn, drives ohmic heating and earthquakes/volcanoes. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/st07500u.html

  6. Brad says:

    This is an excellent corollary to what I find in building energy use. Operator actions cannot be input into an energy model, therefore the model cannot predict energy usage based on original design, or modifications. Commercial office buildings use ~30% of the electricity generated in the US. Based on my experience, poor operations and maintenance can account for up to 30% of that 30%, so 9% of total generation. An amazing number no one looks at….because they would have to stop modeling altogether and get into every building to find out what is going on.
    Look up NEEA nightwalks videos at http://www.betterbricks.com. 6 two minute videos showing actual conditions found in class “A” high rise buildings.

  7. mjmsprt40 says:

    Same old same old– Climate Change has happened and is going to happen regardless of anything we do or don’t do about it because of forces we still don’t understand. Man really thinks he can control the climate, and he still hasn’t got a clue what exactly drives the climate to begin with. But, men are pretty sure– read “the science is settled”– that we’re the sole cause of climate catastrophe.

  8. S.E.Bailey says:

    This absolutely made my day. What wonderful Sunday reading. The wealth of knowledge that can be gained from this post is only exceeded by the inspiration to pursue the answers to questions it reveals. The very essence of “Science”. The commenters, as always, bring even more knowledge to the endeavor… as well as a premier source of sarcasm and wit(current commenter excluded save the sarcasm)
    As for the sarcasm.. an enjoyable example to follow….
    (Sarcasm on)
    There is no reason to believe volcanoes play any role in climate models .. just because it can alter geography, change oceanic currents and force the release of gigatonnes of sequestered CO2 in massive eruptions doesn’t mean if can affect the climate

    (Sarcasm off)

  9. Keith Distel says:

    I asked this question several years ago on here and was poo-poohed by the guest poster. Glad its getting some thought. I can only imagine how hard to model.

  10. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Who on earth could ever miss the Oceans/Seas out of an analysis of the Earths Climate ?

  11. Mark Cavalier says:

    I remember seeing a series on TV where a woman scientist said..’ the mid-ocean ridge puts more heat into the oceans in one 24-hour period than all the sunshine and human activities do in a year’. I have not been able to find it since first seeing the program. I would hate to think a programming director deleted that part of the series due to the implication of minimal AGW influence with respect to ocean warming.

  12. The Obvious Answer says:

    BAN TECTONISM!!!!

  13. Bob Tisdale says:

    The article reads, “THE TOTAL power expended in volcanic heating of the ocean is well in excess of the power dissipated by wind stress and tidal friction.”

    Please confirm this with data. Otherwise it is nothing more than conjecture…baseless conjecture.

  14. ferdberple says:

    wouldn’t it stand to reason there are 3 times as many under the sea?
    ============
    probably much more that 3x, because the crust under the ocean basins is quite thin as compared to under the continents.

  15. SIGINT EX says:

    Out of the cellar: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/25/science/hot-vents-in-the-sea-floor-may-drive-el-nino.html

    This one’s been around since I was an undergraduate in the 70′s.

    Much of the “climate and climate change” beliefs need a physical basis that unfortunately the text, ‘Theory of Climate’ in Advances in Geophysics did not provide and the Geographer’s “Climate and Climate Change” dovetailed into astrology driven numerology by Lotus 1-2-3 then Microsoft Excel (the “Super Computers”) of the current class of Astro-Numerologists-Druids prevailed.

    ;-)

  16. Athelstan. says:

    How can you model chaos?

    The solar wind, oceanic volcanic activity and so much ‘unfathomable’ science, as yet and mankind’s puny scratchings, which leave no trace.

    Indeed, how can you model anything to do with climate science when the mechanisms are barely understood and the inputs/outputs are not yet even remotely quantified?

    Garbage in = Garbage out, all the same.

  17. Steve says:

    Video – Joel McHale’s comedic performance at the 2014 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

    http://commoncts.blogspot.com/2014/05/video-joel-mchale-at-2014-white-house.html

  18. ferdberple says:

    Please confirm this with data.
    ================
    Wikipedia puts sea floor spreading at 8 x 10^{-7} m2/sec, and the mass of the crust as 1.913×10^22 kg. While not all the crust in in motion, it still looks like quite a bit of energy to move this, even before allowing for thermal transfer.

  19. Ashby Manson says:

    I’ve been wondering about this for a while. I would expect subsurface volcanoes must be a vast and irregular source of heat and CO2, but I don’t think we can quantify the effects until we have a better understanding of them…and the magnitude of the effects seem to be overlooked and under appreciated at present. Without further investigation and cataloging on a monumental scale, I don’t see that changing.

  20. ferdberple says:

    8 x 10^{-7} m2/sec – hmmm, the units on this look wrong. could be the wrong value here.

  21. Aphan says:

    Every time I bring up sub marine volcansim I get treated like a child who cannot comprehend science or told some version of “the climate modelers/researchers have proven that the influence of underwater volcanoes/vents is minimal at best.” Yet we all know there has been NO in depth mapping of even 10% of the planets ocean floor, so how could anyone possibly know??

    I loved seeing this here!

  22. Peter Dunford says:

    A known unknown being treated as an unknown unknown.

  23. TomR,Worc,Ma,USA says:

    The Obvious Answer says:

    May 4, 2014 at 11:13 am

    BAN TECTONISM!!!!
    =================

    No, Tax it!!

  24. Aphan says:

    Bob, I’m sure the data you need is located the the papers footnoted in the published article.

  25. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Although poor in nutrients, the Cromwell Current is rich in dissolved inorganic carbon with the result that, when this current comes to the surface near the Galapagos, excess carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. A simple calculation shows that three gigatonnes of carbon dioxide are outgassed per year, i.e. equal to about half the calculated human contribution per annum

    Hmmm ….

  26. Berényi Péter says:

    Also, geothermal heat flux is enormous in the South-Eastern Pacific, much higher than global average, it is some 300 mW/m² at the Western margin of Nazca plate.

  27. goldminor says:

    Brad says…”Commercial office buildings use ~30% of the electricity generated in the US. Based on my experience, poor operations and maintenance can account for up to 30% of that 30%, so 9% of total generation. An amazing number no one looks at””
    ——————————————————————————————————-
    Imagine if all of the wasted billions spent on cagw had instead gone into retrofitting these same commercial buildings and probably government buildings as well. That would have been an economic boost, instead of being a drain on the economy. Then there would also be the benefit of surplus energy to aid in future development and growth.

    I noticed in reading business news yesterday that a lot of money has been going into energy related stocks. There will be a lot of money to be made if the climate scare tactic works, coming from the ensuing higher costs through new regulations and taxes on the consumer.

  28. Aphan says:

    Bob…the article states-
    “Known HTV’s release 17 terawatts of power into the ocean as heat, about the same as global human usage of energy.” (JUST the ones we know of)

    So what is the yearly amount of power “dissipated by wind stress and tidal friction”?

  29. Greg says:

    I recently spent some time going through an animation like you have above, cataloguing these “fire balls” running out from the coast of Mexico. I never got to determine the cause : storms, other weather systems, ( or perhaps volcanism?).

    One thing I did note was that there are runs of at least a dozen and they seem very regular in time. They come in bursts that last a month or so. The major runs I noted were:

    Apr 1993 run of 3 , 15N
    Jan 1995
    Nov 1996 15N
    Dec 1998 series of waves at equator
    Oct 2003 15N
    Sept-Oct 2005 , equatorial
    Sept 2007 , equatorial
    Sept 2010
    Oct 2010 strong run 10 deg North.

    Now I was just pausing the anim, labelled in months so time is approximative. However, the last five were grouped around the autumnal equinox. I didn’t get around to looking deeper. Butr if anyone is interested, there are a few periods where you should find clear examples of these hot spots running from mexico to the equatorial mid Pacific , let’s say Nino34 region ;)

  30. faboutlaws says:

    Is it possible that all the molten rock from these volcanoes could be responsible for some of the observed small rise in sea level both from a volume and thermal expansion viewpoint?

  31. Dear Pethefin,

    thank you for your interesting observations!

    The “giants” among sub sea mounts :
    http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0718-560X2009000300017&script=sci_arttext#img01

    Could some of these be of interest?

    K.R. Frank Lansner

  32. Brad says:

    Goldminor,
    The energy service industry would have to lose maybe half it’s capacity, no longer selling projects with low realization rates. Savings persistence would be much greater, and the operations industry could easily add over a million good paying jobs(~10 million bldgs in the US), maintaining the asset value.

  33. ES says:

    A phreatic eruption, also called a phreatic explosion or ultravulcanian eruption, occurs when magma heats ground or surface water. The extreme temperature of the magma (anywhere from 500 to 1,170 °C (932 to 2,138 °F)) causes near-instantaneous evaporation to steam, resulting in an explosion of steam, water, ash, rock, and volcanic bombs.
    It is believed that the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, which obliterated most of the volcanic island and created the loudest sound in recorded history, was a phreatic event.

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

    Steam has an expansion rate of 1700 to 1. One square foot of water at
    150 psi at 366F will expand to 1700 square feet of water vapor at 0 pressures.
    Even a hot water heater can be dangerous. With increased pressures at the bottom of the ocean it could really go boom.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8055475/Familys-old-heater-explodes-like-bomb

  34. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    Don’t tell the warmongers that there are oodles (terrajoules..) of heat coming out of the ocean floor ridges all of the time for crying out loud! They’re bad enough in their eternal ignorance as it is..

  35. AussieBear says:

    Hasn’t this already been modeled or at least guesstimated by the kidz at SkS? Isn’t it something like two Hiroshima bombs of heat per second? Admittedly, they got the direction wrong, its coming up from the bottom not into the oceans from the atmosphere… /sarc

  36. Rob Dawg says:

    Don’t you mean Anthropogenic Subaqueous volcanism?

  37. A few remarks on this:

    I don’t know how much CO2 the underwater volcanoes emit, but if it is of the same order as what land volcanoes do, then it is negligible. Land volcanic CO2 is estimated around 1% of human emissions. CO2 outgassing of underwater volcanoes seldom will reach the surface, because the cold deep ocean waters are undersaturated in CO2, thus most will dissolve in the bulk 38,000 GtC already present in the deep oceans.

    The 3 GtC/year CO2 released near the Galapagos islands is only a small part of ~40 GtC/year that circulates between the deep ocean upwelling places and the cold polar sink places. The net balance of this part of the carbon cycle is ~3 GtC/year more sink than source. The 380 GtC released by humans indeed is only 1% of what resides in the deep oceans. The problem is that it hasn’t reached the deep oceans yet and still halve of it (in quantity) is in the atmosphere…

  38. This article point out that hydrothermal vents add 17 terawatts worth of energy to the oceans each year. The IPCC (AR5) estimates that anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gas emissions result in approximately 2.29 watts per meter squared increase in annual radiative forcing relative to 1750. This amounts to 1167.9 terawatts of net energy per year entering the atmosphere and oceans. Even if the estimate of ocean geothermal heating is an order of magnitude higher, its still a small fraction of anthropogenic forcing. So I doubt its that significant globally, though I could certainly see significant local effects.

  39. John F. Hultquist says:

    It will be nice to know more about how volcanism influences oceans. That won’t tell much about changing climate or global warming. If subaqueous volcanism increased by 100% or stopped the results would be interesting. Volcanism as we currently know it has been operating for several hundred thousands of years. Earth’s systems are used to this. On an ocean-wide basis significant heat and gas contributions need to change. Have they? If not a volcanic event under water is just a disturbance as is a volcanic event above water.
    Incorporating more ocean processes into OAGCMs won’t do a thing regarding the new religion of CAGW now well entrenched in powerful houses.

  40. PaulH says:

    I echo Bob T’s sentiment.
    “THE TOTAL power expended in volcanic heating of the ocean is well in excess of the power dissipated by wind stress and tidal friction.”

    I am not sure what the above means, or how it is relevant.

  41. sleeping bear dunes says:

    SIGNET
    Thanks for the interesting link. It gives me a whole new puzzle to learn about. What great fun to think about.

  42. John says:

    The notion that undersea volcanism might cause or influence El Ninos was also the subject of a Feb. 2012 WUWT link:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/do-underwater-volcanoes-have-an-effect-on-enso/

    Daniel Walker, now retired, published several articles suggesting that El Ninos were highly correlated with increased vulcanism on the sea floor in the East Pacific Rise, in particular near Easter Island, where he had installed instrumentation to measure earthquake activity, a likely proxy for increased volcanism on the sea floor. Here is a link to a 1995 article on the subject, “Hot Vents in the Sea Floor May Drive El Nino”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/25/science/hot-vents-in-the-sea-floor-may-drive-el-nino.html?pagewanted=all

    Note that Walker’s work is a correlation study. Correlation doesn’t mean causation, as so many WUWT readers understand well.

    As Bob Tisdale correctly pointed out in comments to the WUWT Feb. 2012 entry, the east Pacific rise near Easter Island, where Walker put his seismographs, is thousands of miles from the coast of Costa Rica. So there is the obvious difficulty of no direct relationship that we can see between warming of very deep waters well south of the equator and warming surface waters off western Central America.

    But….suppose that a large increase in warmth of deep waters rose to the surface in the areas south and east of the Galapagos. Perhaps this might in some way cut off the rise to the surface of the cold Humboldt current, which in La Nina makes waters around the Galapagos cold. In El Nino years, the Humboldt current cold area is limited to a narrow band of the Chilean and Peruvian coast.

  43. Steve P says:

    It hardly needs to be said that climate modelling is a far-from-settled science, despite what its practitioners would have us believe. Just how flawed becomes even more apparent when you consider that massive heat sources on the ocean floor have been entirely omitted from the warmists’ calculations
    [...]
    Although the physical detail remains to be explored there is growing evidence that megaplumes are, at times, responsible for variations in climate, ocean productivity and ocean export of CO2
    [...]
    the reluctance of oceanographers to acknowledge subaqueous volcanism as a forcing of ocean circulation. Unlike tidal forcing, wind stress and thermohaline forcing, volcanism constitutes a major, external, random forcing which cannot be generated from within the model. It has therefore been ignored.

    –(from the article)

    In addition to the unfactored value for submarine volcanism discussed here, there is also the additional unresolved question of the role played in Earth’s climate by the atmospheric electrical network.

    How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate.
    –Wikipedia

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

    Climate science is so settled, it could almost make your head spin.

  44. Bill Illis says:

    This is just the Tehuantepec upwells. The ocean here has three or four very strong upwelling currents and it can be very warm water: 32C or 33C water can surface for one week followed by cold 24C upwells. There isn’t a really good explanation for it (as in where this warmth comes from) but the Pacific plate is subducting under the Americas here and there a very steep rise from 6 kms deep to the continental shelf – ie. complex ocean currents.

    Animation of the last year.

    http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycom1-12/navo/tehuansst_nowcast_anim30d.gif

  45. Neil says:

    38,000 gigatonnes vs 380 gigatonnes since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution sounds like only 1/10 of one percent. Even a smaller impact.

  46. “Ocean-atmosphere general circulation models” or OAGCMs have become the preferred means of investigating ocean circulation. The ocean-atmosphere model is tuned to settle down, after “spin-up”, to a steady state where it remains until deliberately perturbed by some external factor such as changing the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.
    This steady state Earth pops up all the time, except in reality; It never happens, has never happened. This is an ever-changing planet, from internal causes and the occasional externals, plus astronomical.

  47. Jimbo says:

    Less than two weeks ago I put up some papers on this very subject. I can’t find it in the mountain that is WUWT. So here they are again.

    “Magmatic heat and the El Niño cycle – 2011″
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/88EO01176/abstract

    “More evidence indicates link between El Niños and seismicity – 2012″
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/EO076i004p00033-01/abstract

    Some time back vulcanism in the Pacific sea floor was covered on WUWT but dismissed as being to small of an effect. I have no idea.

  48. Green Sand says:

    Not sure if this is relevant but have been watching the following ocean “anticyclonic” currents:-

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/surface/currents/orthographic=-110.16,9.69,1348

  49. Chuck Nolan says:

    Looking at the wind currents I wonder if the warm water in Asia is on its way back east?
    cn

  50. FrankK says:

    Willis is sceptic, Bob T, it would appear is a septic (about a significant subterranean heat source), Roy Spencer says “it is craziest idea since continental drift” (i.e. it is possible! I take from that comment) in a previous WUWT item. But there is very little real data available apart from some isolated measurements but mainly ‘tough-in-cheek’ estimates.

    As I have indicated before given the billions spent on the human CO2 bogy some real extensive measurement research is definitely worthwhile to explore whether sea floor venting is indeed significant or not in affecting ENSO and beyond.

    I find it interesting that we criticise the warmists for their dismissive dialogue and appears we can do the same even though there remains uncertainty about of all of the causes of ENSO and climate change.

  51. Jimbo says:

    Here is the missing heat and settled science.

    Instead, subaqueous volcanism takes the form of hydrothermal vents (HTVs). These were first discovered in 1977……….Known HTVs release 17 terawatts of power into the ocean as heat, about the same as global human usage of energy……..Only a small fraction of the 50,000 km of mid-ocean ridges has been explored…………

  52. Candice Hanson says:

    Question…If “THE TOTAL power expended in volcanic heating of the ocean is well in excess of the power dissipated by wind stress and tidal friction.” Why aren’t the oceans boiling? The earth is over 4 billion years old. Seems to me the heating must not be too great, or life as we know it would not exist.

  53. Bob Tisdale says:

    FrankK says: “…Bob T, it would appear is a septic (about a significant subterranean heat source)…”

    That’s funny. I don’t feel septic.

  54. Bob Tisdale says:

    Aphan says: “Bob, I’m sure the data you need is located the the papers footnoted in the published article.”

    Nope. We aren’t monitoring the monthly or annual fluctuations in the contribution of subsurface “volcanic heating” of the oceans, and without data, the entire discussion presented in the article is nothing more than conjecture. A volcano recently breached the surface of the ocean near Japan. Where’s all of data to note it’s contribution to the warming of the ocean there? It’s been forming for a long time.

  55. Geoff Sherrington says:

    It follows quite logically that almost every past paper on sea level change and GHG heating is wrong and should be withdrawn.
    School level physics teaches that all parts of the oceans need to be measured for thermal expansion before there is any meaningful conclusion about changes in surface levels. The deeper 50% of the oceans are badly undersampled. We simply do not know if mechanisms like hydrothermal vents are causing thermal expansion or contraction changes that show in surface level changes.
    Even my old Mum used to stir the soup before sipping it, lest there be a patch at the bottom that was too hot.
    Studious-looking papers on satellite altimetry are ok for extending the art of measuring change. They have no scientific basis for linking change to GHG global warming when they ignore other warming.

    Should such papers be labelled as sham? I think so.

  56. mosomoso says:

    Here’s an idea. Instead of dogmatising on the basis of some flimsy data (adjusted by revelation) and the test tube behaviour of CO2, let’s have this new thing we do and call it “climate science”. First up, we recognise that the world is mostly hot and plastic and that the great bulk of it is unvisited and poorly understood. Furious heat (though not as furious as Al thinks when selling geothermal) + constantly moving mass + unstable crust…any possibilities there? We recognise that the vast hydrosphere (also pretty much unknown) may well interract with with the hot and plasticky stuff, and that all may be affected by orbits, magnetism, influences beyond earth…

    This “climate science” could be a branch of something called The Enlightenment, whereby you explore, enquire and experiment, and facts form notions rather than the other way around. For example, you have Antarctic expeditions to find out stuff, not to “demonstrate” stuff. I dunno, I just thought it might be worth trying.

  57. Paul Westhaver says:

    How in God’s name did you catch that thermal blip in view of the mega-terabytes of data you are exposed to?

    Who had their beady eyes on that?

    Seriously.

  58. Engineer Ron says:

    Guys,

    You want to bring some thought to this party?
    Read this essay (of course sub-oceanic volcanoes effect climate. The terrestrial ones certainly do. Likely 3-5X as many sub-oceanic ones do too in about 3-5X as large a way).
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ygv83mwpytn4p65/AN%20ENGINEER%E2%80%99S%20TAKE%20ON%20MAJOR%20CLIMATE%20CHANGE%20F.53.pdf

  59. ldd says:

    So if the geysers in Yellowstone go off/on on fairly regular basis – could that not be extrapolated to one of these vent systems partially shutting down on a regular basis on a long term scale like in ice age time scale?

  60. Carla says:

    Wondering aloud..
    What effect would the chemical release of the plumes, volcano eruptions in the case of Gakkel Ridge have on ice production? near term?

    Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition (AGAVE)
    ”’In 2001 researchers with the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge Expedition (AMORE) to Gakkel Ridge detected thermal characteristics in the water column that indicated volcanic plumes almost everywhere along the ridge.
    “This was astonishing to hydrothermal researchers like myself!” Sohn explained. “This is the slowest spreading tectonic plate boundary anywhere on Earth. So it should have very limited amounts of hydrothermal circulation. Yet the sensors were returning signals from everywhere. ””
    http://polarfield.com/blog/tag/arctic-gakkel-vents-expedition-agave/

    Hotbed of Volcanic Activity Found Beneath Arctic Ocean
    John Roach
    for National Geographic News
    June 25, 2003
    ””We expected very few fresh volcanic lavas. Yet the first maps and samples revealed a highly active volcanic province,” said Langmuir, noting that the abundant and recent volcanic activity was both surprising and remarkable.”’
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/06/0625_030625_gakkelridge.html

    25. June 2008: Fire under the ice – International expedition discovers gigantic volcanic eruption in the Arctic Ocean
    ..”’“The Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and buried thriving Pompeii under a layer of ash and pumice. Far away in the Arctic Ocean, at 85° N 85° E, a similarly violent volcanic eruption happened almost undetected in 1999 – in this case, however, under a water layer of 4,000 m thickness.” So far, researchers have assumed that explosive volcanism cannot happen in water depths exceeding 3 kilometres because of high ambient pressure.
    ..“The Gakkel Ridge is covered with sea-ice the whole year. To detect little earthquakes, which accompany geological processes, we have to deploy our seismometers on drifting ice floes.” This unusual measuring method proved highly successful: in a first test in the summer 2001 – during the “Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge Expedition (AMORE)” on the research icebreaker Polarstern – the seismometers recorded explosive sounds by the minute, which originated from the seafloor of the volcanic region.”’
    http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/fire_under_the_ice_international_expedition_discovers_gigantic_volcanic_eruption_in_the_arctic_oce/?cHash=c04ced8cdad8a962797feb463de2df39

  61. Steven Mosher says:

    “We aren’t monitoring the monthly or annual fluctuations in the contribution of subsurface “volcanic heating” of the oceans, and without data, the entire discussion presented in the article is nothing more than conjecture.”

    Well said Bob.

    If you look at the whole article you will see leaps and bounds of assumptions. Assumptions we would never let climate science get away with.

    But when your theme is “anything but C02″ then you can speculate for ever. It might be uncorns!!!

  62. Carla says:

    Bob Tisdale says:

    May 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Aphan says: “Bob, I’m sure the data you need is located the the papers footnoted in the published article.”

    Nope. We aren’t monitoring the monthly or annual fluctuations in the contribution of subsurface “volcanic heating” of the oceans, and without data, the entire discussion presented in the article is nothing more than conjecture. A volcano recently breached the surface of the ocean near Japan. Where’s all of data to note it’s contribution to the warming of the ocean there? It’s been forming for a long time
    ——————————————-
    Maybe, in the near future, there will be enough info and data for some better conjecture..
    But .. have a look at the global distribution of Hydrothermal Vent Fields..so far..looking familiar?
    Global Distribution of Hydrothermal Vent Fields
    http://www.whoi.edu/home/pdf/ventmap_2011.pdf
    found that link above here
    Hydrothermal Vents
    http://www.whoi.edu/main/topic/hydrothermal-vents

  63. jimmi_the_dalek says:

    So yesterday Monckton says the oceans are not warming….
    Today they are warming and it is volcanoes…
    Make up your mind.

  64. Gary Pearse says:

    There are some calculations of the heat dissipated by plate tectonics, the energy of which is supplied by convection in the earth’s mantle. This is intended to include volcanics, land uplift, subduction of ocean crust under the continents (Pacific Ocean crust mainly).

    http://www.solid-earth-discuss.net/5/135/2013/sed-5-135-2013.pdf

    “Energy of plate tectonics calculation and projection

    “……..Based on Davies (2010), the total internal heat of the earth is equal to 1.5 ×10^21 J/yr, or the
    upper mantle/asthenosphere convection removes 3.7% of the total internal heat of the
    earth, which includes the work of plate tectonics that is estimated at 0.9% of the total
    internal heat generated in the earth’s core. Approximately 30% of this internal heat is
    radiated by land to space, 69% is exchanged with ocean water, and the remaining 1%
    is relieved by plate tectonics.”

    I don’t buy the simple 30% radiated by land to space (without some heating of the atmosphere). Also, they assume the core heat is ~ constant (radioactive decay adding back the lost heat).

    I have proposed consideration of internal earth’s heat as a factor and been criticized because of the small geothermal gradient. This gradient, of course, is not measured at volcanoes, fault zones subduction zones active areas of uplift and “hot spots”.

  65. Jeff L says:

    This theory could be fairly easily tested using the seismic / geophysical theory of stacking data to increase signal to noise ratio & see the vent heat sources (if significantly present). Seismic analog terms in parenthesis below :

    If this theory is correct, in terms of significant heat impulses coming from sea floor vents, then one ought to be able to take a series of world ocean temperature maps (“records”) and add them together and divide by the number of maps added in(a “stack” to use the seismic data processing term). Over a period of time, other non-volcanic variations should be random, more or less, & cancel each other out (“noise”), while the stationary “vent heat source” will continue to generate heat anomalies (“signal”) in the same spot over and over through time – and thus constructively “stack” to show the heat signal. This process basically would increase the signal to noise ratio for the heat plumes. Again, if there is something to this theory, then the anomalies in the stacked map ought to line up with sea floor spreading centers & known hot spots.

    Perhaps this is something Willis could test out ?

  66. Katou says:

    With over 6 billion human body’s giving off heat and who could say how many other animals ..Is that ever been calculated ? Probably a dumb question eh .

  67. Richard Hill says:

    This is a fascinating topic. Imagine 100+ Amazon rivers streaming through the Drake Passage over the top of one of the most seismically active places on earth. The Humboldt current is split off and goes north, possibly influencing El Nino. The “coanda effect” amplifies small changes in a flowing stream. (just move your finger slowly across a flow from a tap, a 1 mm interruption on one side of a 6 mm stream sends the flow far on the other side) If there was a sudden change in the Drake passage flow caused by a volcano it could cause the Humboldt flow to change and trigger major changes up the coast of S. America even an El Nino

  68. Willis Eschenbach says:

    I got to the first sentence, which says:

    THE TOTAL power expended in volcanic heating of the ocean is well in excess of the power dissipated by wind stress and tidal friction.

    Now, I’m not the man to just walk past that kind of claim. So I took a look at their references to find out if this is true. According to their citation, the combination of wind stress and tidal friction is 0.001 W/m2.

    At that point, I stopped reading … anyone making that claim is selling something, not investigating something.

    w.

  69. thingadonta says:

    They just assume submarine volcanic effects average out and haven’t fluctuated enough to effect global temperatures in the 20th century. They may be right, but dead wrong about human atmospheric c02 having much effect on temperatures either. They just cant pick the right winner, it’s the sun stupid.

    But I think another angle is the enormous amounts of c02 in the volcanic-marine subsurface which is buffered with seawater, this I think does affect and buffer ocean ph levels, and this is also ignored by the IPCC.

  70. Kevin Kilty says:

    Someone above stated an estimate for heat flow in some part of the Pacific seafloor as “…it is some 300 mW/m² at the Western margin…”. Sounds about right considering world heat flow average is something like 60mW/m². It is of the same order of magnitude as tidal dissipation. Compare this to the estimate of 2,300mW/m² for the anthopogenic contribution from greenhouse gases, or the 1,000,000 mW/m² for direct overhead sunlight, and one can see that this is a very small heating source except in extraordinary circumstances. On the other hand, the acid rich water from these vents has a lot to do with maintaining ocean pH, as in its absence river waters would eventually make the oceans quite alkaline.

  71. Old Wolf says:

    For the fun of it: Champagne vent near Eifuku volcano at depth creates large amounts of liquid co2 bubbles due to pressure. it’s an extremely gas-rich lava.

  72. Jon Kassaw MA LPC says:

    Yes! Finally, after many years after I actually sent an email suggesting this, we have evidence. I am not a scientist, but rather just a thinking and reasoning person who thought of this one day. It is not CO2, it is the earth that is warming. I am so excited to see a piece done on this idea.

  73. velcro says:

    One super eruption, either above or below water, can make most of man’s concerns pretty irrelevant. The Oruanui eruption in New Zealand, about 26,500 years ago, tossed some 430 cu km of volcanic material into the skies; the Glass Mountain eruption in California/Nevada, some 80,000 years ago, flung about 300 cu km of stuff skyward in a mere 6 days; and the grand daddy of all recent super eruptions, the Toba in Indonesia some 73,000 years ago, puked about 2,800 cu km skyward. By some views on mitochondrial DNA, the Toba reduced the human breeding population to about 40 couples worldwide. The estimates of heat, CO2 and also various noxious gasses ( I don’t count CO2 as a noxious gas) in these events are staggering. When Yellowstone goes ……..!
    Coming soon (geologically) to an eruptive centre near you.

  74. 4 eyes says:

    I suspect that the 7000 psi acting on the abysmal plain and the stability of the ocean floor compared with crust at continental margins would suggest that there are probably at lot more volcanoes on and near land.

  75. Aphan says:

    Some thoughts-

    Bob said-
    “We aren’t monitoring the monthly or annual fluctuations in the contribution of subsurface “volcanic heating” of the oceans, and without data, the entire discussion presented in the article is nothing more than conjecture.”

    Bob (and Willis) that statement cuts both ways. If we aren’t monitoring the monthly or annual fluctuations in the contributions of subsurface volcanic heating of the oceans, YOUR estimations (or anyone else’s) that they are minimal or insignificant are ALSO nothing more than conjecture. Correct?

    I found another source of the author’s “money quote” (an article written in 2005..we’ve discovered a lot more HTV’s since then!)
    http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/enviro/EnviroRepublish_1529789.htm

    “So far, known hydrothermal vents put out about 17 terawatts of power, equivalent to about half the energy produced by humans”, says Dr Robert Reves-Sohn of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
    “But with just 10% of the world’s ocean ridges explored, there are bound to be a lot more hydrothermal vent fields out there”, he says.

    Was he talking about ALL volcanic activity below the surface…as in eruptions+magma flows+venting? Or just venting? If we assume he was just talking about VENTING:

    In 2008, the world USED roughly 16.5 TW of energy (from all forms). According to Reves-Sohn in 2005, the KNOWN vents at that time produced 17 TW of energy. 10%=17 TW of power….100%= 170TW+ JUST IN VENTED energy that doesn’t include eruptions+magma flows etc. Is THAT a significant amount to you?

    From “Characteristics of magma-driven hydrothermal systems” published by AGU-

    http://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/25300/ggge20109.pdf?sequence=1
    “approximately 1000 hydrothermal fields are predicted to exist along the global ridge system and approximately one third of these have been identified” [Baker and German, 2004]

    1000 vent FIELDS….

  76. gymnosperm says:

    My question is why do we not see signal from all the ocean rises? Why would this one little guy off the coast of Mexico telegraph mightily to the surface, intermittently, when all the magma rising at the spreading ridges does not seem to?

  77. Aphan says:

    Idd,

    For the record, the geysers at Yellowstone don’t “shut down” or go on/off. They are always “on”. They “erupt” only steam and hot water when enough pressure builds up beneath the surface. As soon as the geyser stops, that pressure starts building up again.

    The vents on the ocean floor are under enormous pressure not just from below, but from above due to ocean depths above them. Many of them are magma vents or volcanic debris eruptions (as opposed to just steam) as thinner areas of “crust” moves over the hotspots beneath the surface. Think Hawaiian Islands….tectonic plates moving the crust over the same hotspot causing a chain of islands made of cooled magma to form. They might continually erupt if there was not a wall of water above them, we don’t know.

    There is evidence of MANY vents and volcanoes that have gone extinct on the ocean floor. In fact, the worlds largest known extinct volcano-Tamu Massif, is on the ocean floor.

  78. FrankK says:

    Bob Tisdale says:
    May 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    FrankK says: “…Bob T, it would appear is a septic (about a significant subterranean heat source)…”

    That’s funny. I don’t feel septic.
    —————————————————————————————

    Well spotted Bob, and worth the $100 I sent you recently.!!

  79. Steve P says:

    A skeptic is aseptic to intellectual rot:
    The arrogance of ignorance is not what we’ve got.
    We’re quick to acknowledge
    There may be some doubt,
    And never solve equations
    With factors left out!
    –sp

  80. Tom Woods says:

    This is a ridiculous theory posed in this post.

    What those blips of warmth are off the coast of Mexico are ocean eddies creating down-welling. During the fall and winter months, areas of high pressure ridge down the east side of the Rocky mountains from Canada down into Mexico where it reaches the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Sierra Madre del Chiapas along the Isthmus of tehuantepec. Here, the difference between high pressure to the north and the lower tropical pressures south of the mountains creates the “Tehuano Wind” through the Chivela Pass. In the Gulf of Tehuantepec, it creates strong upwelling currents, which can cool the water surface temperatures by up to 5-8°C. However, east/west of the Gulf strong anti-cyclonic/cyclonic eddies develop which push warm surface waters down to depth, which is displayed in the animation above. These eddies are then carried with the general ocean circulation current in that region southwest then arcing more west.

  81. Steve Garcia says:

    The East Pacific Rise is the fastest spreading ocean ridge – by a long shot – which among other things means that much more magma is pushing up through the crust. This means more heat as well.

    But such activity in the region of El Niño might mean that there is some connection. I think there is. If heat is welling up out of the deep earth overall it may not mean much. However, if it is coming up in concentrated locations, then it has much more capacity to affect ocean temps in particular regions. I never argue about overall heat flux out of ocean ridges or ocean vents. I only argue that in THIS case – in THIS location – this specific heat addition to the ocean-atmosphere system may be causing a periodic surge in heat added to the system. I think it is a significant enough possibility to warrant some investigation – of which I myself do not have the ability to pursue. But I do thin it is real and sufficient to be adding that little bit of ‘kick’ to the ENSO to be a trigger.

    In electronics the current across the gap in a vacuum tube is not enough by itself to make a difference. Same thing holds true for a transistor. But the small current can allow a much larger current to pass from one electrode to the other. I think that the heat coming from vents may be just such a trigger/catalyst, like a transistor. ENSO would be the transistor or vacuum tube, with the heat from the vents being the control voltage.

  82. Brian H says:

    Neil says:
    May 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    38,000 gigatonnes vs 380 gigatonnes since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution sounds like only 1/10 of one percent. Even a smaller impact.

    Um, my calculifier sez 38K/380 is 100. 1%.

  83. Brian H says:

    Neil says:
    May 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    38,000 gigatonnes vs 380 gigatonnes since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution sounds like only 1/10 of one percent. Even a smaller impact.

    Um, my calculifier sez 38K/380 is 100. 1%.

  84. Whether the global energy budget is significantly affected by undersea vents or not the fact remains that the system remains remarkably stable apart from minor variations above and below a mean temperature of about 288K (15C).

    Thus one still needs an underlying thermostatic mechanism as often pointed out here by Willis Eschenbach.

    As per my regular contributions there is only one physical phenomenon capable of providing such a thermostat and that is convective overturning within the body of a gaseous atmosphere of a specific weight and with a specific average surface pressure.

    Whatever internal system changes seek to affect surface temperature then if insolation remains the same the surface temperature does not change but instead the amount and distribution of convective overturning changes.

    Willis applied the term ‘emergent phenomena’ which is a useful way of describing what happens.

    The problem then is that so many think that one has to have a higher average global surface temperature to drive an increase in the speed or scale of emergent phenomena but in fact the fixed weight of the atmosphere on the surface means that there is a maximum surface temperature that can be achieved which in turn limits the extent to which any internal system forcing element can affect the average surface temperature.

    It is just like a pan of water which has just begun to boil. From that point on the rate of boiling can increase but the maximum temperature can not increase.

    The average temperature of the body of water in a boiling pan can still rise but that rise becomes less and less as a proportion of the additional energy input as one moves closer to the boiling point.

    Eventually no further increase in the average temperature can occur however fast new energy is added. Only an increase in the rate of boiling can occur at that stage.

    That we are already at that point (albeit controlled by the rate of evaporation rather than the rate of boiling) is illustrated by the observed phenomenon of a maximum surface water temperature of about 32C in the tropics.

    That maximum is set by atmospheric pressure at the surface in just the same way as a body of water boils at a lower temperature when pressure is reduced.

    All that happens in practice is that instead of that maximum surface temperature changing the area of ocean surface at that maximum temperature alters which drives the necessary convective changes to achieve a complete negative response to any internal system forcing.

    If our GHGs seek to alter the global energy budget then in the end all one sees is a miniscule increase in the area of ocean surface which attains that maximum temperature. The change in average surface temperature for the Earth as a whole would be indistinguishable from zero because it is total atmospheric mass which controls the energy budget and not the radiative characteristics of constituent molecules.

  85. Tom Woods says:
    May 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    I agree, in that location simple eddies is a more likely explanation than volcanic plumes.

  86. I note that my posts are not appearing at all. If they are to be subject to moderation there is usually an indication of that.

    Is there a problem ?

  87. vukcevic says:

    SIGINT EX says:
    May 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Out of the cellar: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/25/science/hot-vents-in-the-sea-floor-may-drive-el-nino.html

    ………………
    Thanks for the link, very interesting !
    Data I assembled ( see here)some couple of years ago do appear to confirm that the submarine tectonics has a role to play, if not as the principal driver then possible as an initial trigger of the process.
    However, I do think that heat energy input is minuscule in comparison what tropics and sub-tropics get from the solar; interference with ocean currents as a possible alternative.

  88. Mark Luhman says:

    ES :
    A volcano on the ocean floor does not go boom because the pressure on the bottom of the water column does not allow the water to turn to steam. Have you not seen videos on how pillow lava is formed? In Hawaii hot lava flows into the ocean from the land and relative the cool water harden the outside if lava and then the magma flows in a tube ever growing longer at the end. Yes some of water boils away but in the end more just flow in, from the film I have seen the diver can remain a few feet from it an not cook. If magma is at a certain depth the water would just remain liquid since at that pressure it would never get to a boiling point.

    I also got news for you, water reside in most magma for the very same reason, only when it is no longer held in that state by pressure it will turn to steam. That is why volcano blow up and the more water in the magna the larger the boom. Steam is what picked up the one side of Mount Saint Helen’s and tossed it outward. The mountain could not exert enough pressure to keep the water in a liquid state, when it the water expanded to steam the steam blew the mountain aside.

    That is generally not a problem with a large column of liquid water is on top of a volcano as water weighs over eight pounds per gallon i will admit I cannot tell how many PSI build up per foot but I do know that a column of water sightly over 30 feet or ten meters weigh as much as the entire column of air above us. With that knowledge it is easy to see that pressure build up rather rapidly as you descend into the depths of a body of water . That pressure will keep super heated water in a liquid state. That is also how pressure cooker work faster than just boiling pan of water, under pressure water remain liquid at greater temperatures. That is also why most ocean volcanoes remain undiscovered until they quite literately surface.

  89. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Jeff L says:
    May 4, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    This theory could be fairly easily tested using the seismic / geophysical theory of stacking data to increase signal to noise ratio & see the vent heat sources (if significantly present). Seismic analog terms in parenthesis below :

    If this theory is correct, in terms of significant heat impulses coming from sea floor vents, then one ought to be able to take a series of world ocean temperature maps (“records”) and add them together and divide by the number of maps added in(a “stack” to use the seismic data processing term). Over a period of time, other non-volcanic variations should be random, more or less, & cancel each other out (“noise”), while the stationary “vent heat source” will continue to generate heat anomalies (“signal”) in the same spot over and over through time – and thus constructively “stack” to show the heat signal. This process basically would increase the signal to noise ratio for the heat plumes. Again, if there is something to this theory, then the anomalies in the stacked map ought to line up with sea floor spreading centers & known hot spots.

    Perhaps this is something Willis could test out ?

    I’ve sailed over an actual volcanic hot spot, where the water was all discolored and rising up with pumice in amongst it, over the Tonga Trench. So there definitely are hot spots.

    But for most of the ocean, the amount of heat flowing up from the bottom is very, very small. And where it’s warmer, over the rift zones, it’s typically very deep. So I suspect that any extra heat would be so diluted by the time it reached the surface that it would be undetectable even with stacking.

    All the best,

    w.

  90. Mark Luhman says:

    Steve Garcia

    Sorry to nit pick, But all those hours of tube and transistor theory class will not allow you remark go through uncorrected. Either you understanding of how amplifier there either wrong or you just over simplified it, Tubes are voltages driven very little current flow through the grid on a tube, It the voltage fluctuation on the grid that controls the current flow between the anode and the cathode. That voltage fluctuation is the current flow across a resistor that attached to the some sort of voltage source and the grid. the other end of the resistor is normally attached to ground, Bipolar transistor are current driven the flow from the base to the emitter does control the current flow between the emitter and the collector. MOS FET transistor work similar to tube a voltage controls the current flow across the doped semiconductor material, the nature of the doping and transistor structure affect how large the effect is. I may not know much about climate but electronics and computers have been my bread and butter for the last 45 years am am also old enough to have had to fix tube equipment, I have had more than one hole burned in my fingers by putting said finger or fingers in the wrong place at the wrong time, I really hated tube power supplies who did not have bleeder resistors in them, a 40 microfarad capacitor bank full charge and at 750 volts can really bite even with the amplifier unplugged.. So please excuse the nit picking correction.

  91. doubter says:

    Please correct the article. The Navier-Stokes equations are stochastic. As can be demonstrated by exact solutions of the N-S equations (Direct Numerical Simulations). DNS of the atmosphere will not possible for centuries (even assuming computing power increases by an order of magnitude every decade). In addition to the complex physics GCMs rely heavily on turbulence modelling to close the N-S equations. Turbulence models should ideally mimic the stochastic nature of the N-S equations. This is non trivial.

  92. Twobob says:

    Hi Mark Luhman.
    Yup and cathode ray tubes can bite too.
    Got a new time out …
    Going to Sverdrup my horse.

  93. Leo Smith says:

    “How can you model chaos?”

    Well of course you can.

    Because Chaos mathematics isn’t purely random.

    It just looks that way.

    What chaos mathematical analysis CAN tell you is what LIMITS there are likley to be on a dynamic system. That is the likley range of variability, if not exactly where its going to be next week.

    Take the classic predator/prey example,. For various values of species replenishment and so on, you can establish the likley range of population density so something like a locust storm can be shown to have some particular peak value, and for how long it will last before the food runs out.
    So a chaos analysis of climate might show us more or less how much climate variation we could expect from the output of deterministic processes of non stochastic events.

    Then its easy enough to stick those in anyway. Simply do a Monte Carlo analysis. Run your chaos model and then inject random volcanoes. Perhaps you will find a jump to a new attractir, Perhaps not.

    I guess its engineering that exposes you to a type of thinking alien to many sciences..boundary analysis.

    Instead of knowing exactly what a system will do, you need to know whether it will stay within a given area of operations. Complex circuit design of e.g. a computer chip has so MANY possible variations in specifications its not possible ti say ‘this chip design is in spec.’ What you do is say that for a given statistical pattern of variability within its elements 99.999% of the chips will be ‘within spec;’ and the rest you reject on the production line. Or mark as ‘sub spec. Do Not OverClock!’

    Perhaps the point I am making is this:

    ” The inability to get a perfect result is no barrier to getting some meaningful results.”

  94. Steve Garcia says:

    Regardless of Bob T’s and Willis’ dismissive responses without even reading past the first sentence, this concept is being given SOME consideration in the literature, some disagreeing and some supportive.

    Magmatic heat and the El Niño cycle – Herbert R. ShawJames G. Moore
    Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/88EO01176/abstract

    Abstract
    Large submarine lava flows with apparent volumes exceeding 10 km3 have recently been imaged on the deep ocean floor in various parts of the Pacific by means of GLORIA and SeaMarc side-looking sonar surveys. Such flows may produce thermal anomalies large enough to perturb the cyclic processes of the ocean and could be a factor in the genesis of El Niño phenomena. We find that known volume rates of mid-ocean magma production could generate repetitive thermal anomalies as large as 10% of the average El Niño sea surface anomaly at intervals of about 5 years (the mean interval of El Niño events between 1935 and 1984). Likewise, estimated rates of eruption, cooling of lava on the seafloor, and transfer of heat to the near-surface environment could reasonably produce a thermal anomaly comparable to that associated with El Niño. Larger magmatic events, associated with fluctuations in the total magmatic power and seismicity along the East Pacific Rise, are possible at longer intervals and may explain the extreme size of some El Niño events, such as that of 1982–1983.

    If 10 km^3 of lava isn’t worth even consideration, one has to ask if the two have a little disconfirmation bias. No specific takedowns – just dismissal. SOUND LIKE A WARMIST? Not meaning to tweak either Bob or WIllis, but come on guys, at least read the details and then argue specific points.

    Bob T as we all know is invested heavily in a western Pacific cause of the El Niño, but he needs to keep an open mind. Even when I have pointed out the obviously initiating heat plumes (not the one shown) in his own graphics, Bob merely points at other things and doesn’t address the East Pacific Rise plumes.

    I don’t wish to argue with Bob, because his mind is already made up. Perhaps Willis might have a more open mind.

    I am happy to not only see that this is under consideration NOW, but that it was first brought up in 1995:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/25/science/hot-vents-in-the-sea-floor-may-drive-el-nino.html?src=pm&pagewanted=1

    H/T SIGINT EX at 11:20 am

    And in 1997

    More evidence indicates link between El Niños and seismicity – Daniel A. Walker
    Article first published online: 29 DEC 2012
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/EO076i004p00033-01/abstract

    ABSTRACT
    In 1988, evidence showed a correlation between the five extreme lows in the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) from 1964 through 1987 and episodic seismic activity along the East Pacific Rise (EPR) from 20°S to 40°S. This area contains one of the Earth’s most rapidly spreading ridge systems (Figure 1), where large amounts of energy are released through submarine volcanism and hydrothermal activity. Now that another El Nin˜o/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) episode may have drawn to a close, it is time to examine additional seismicity and SOI values.

    Observed coincidences are often the basis for discovery, and reviewing the available data led us to note several. Two distinct phenomena—El Niños and earthquake swarms—seem to occur almost simultaneously in spite of their irregular recurrence rates and durations. Also, we found that what may be the longest lasting of the past six Niños coincides with the longest lasting and most anomalous episode of seismic activity, which occurred from 1964 through 1992 along the EPR from 15°S to 40°S.

    Add in this one:

    Seismic predictors of El Ni˜o revisited – Daniel A. Walker
    Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011 — 1999. American Geophysical Union.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/99EO00202/abstract

    ABSTRACT
    With the termination in 1998 of the most publicized El Niño in history, it may be appropriate to consider whether El Niños have a discrete triggering mechanism or whether they occur merely as the result of episodic conditions in the atmosphere and ocean. This is an important consideration because the discovery and understanding of a discrete mechanism could lead to predictions that are more reliable than those based only on secondary interactions.

    Thus far, most Earth scientists agree that a discrete trigger for El Niños has not been found and is unlikely, and that differing atmospheric and oceanic parameters must be considered if there are to be reliable predictions of future El Niños. Contrary to these opinions, the process that triggers episodic seafloor spreading and higher than normal levels of reported seismic activity along portions of the East Pacific Rise (EPR) may also trigger El Niños.

    @Keith Distel 11:03 am:
    “I asked this question several years ago on here and was poo-poohed by the guest poster. Glad its getting some thought.”

    Amen. As you will note in this comment, work has been ongoing on this since at least 1995, so you are not a fool, Keith. Even if the idea is wrong in the end, it is and was worth more than flippant dismissal without people – especially HERE – even looking at the evidence brought forth.

    As to data, there DOES seem to be plenty of data, though I cannot access it, since it is behind a paywall.

  95. Steve Garcia says:

    It has been getting a reasonable hearing at Geophysical Union, for about 20 years, if not the “experts” here.

  96. Steve Garcia says:

    @Mark Luhman at 1:02 am:

    Actually, Mark, thanks for the corrections. It had been decades since I had studied all that and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the details. I should have added, “The particulars may be wrong guys, so if anyone wants to jump on it and correct it, my thanks to you.” Electronics was NOT my strong suit.

    So, THANKS!

  97. Steve Garcia says:

    Qualitatively and intuitively speaking, in looking at the Ocean Vent map at http://www.whoi.edu/home/pdf/ventmap_2011.pdf, one can see that the East Pacific Rise intersecting with the Galapagos Rift is right on the equator, with the latter’s known vents following the equator for about 1500 km.

    Total conjecture here (first time it come to mind – and thinking out loud), but that amount of heat coming out of the rift rising in that narrow corridor (and it IS narrow) should present SOME localized convection UPWARD, sort of the opposite of Wallace Broeker’s oceanic conveyor and the sinking of cold fresher water in the NE Atlantic.

    The plumes HAVE been tracked upward about a km. And what is a plume but flow OR convection?

    I don’t present this as if it was fact, but may be something to look into if anyone else sees merit in Daniel A Walker’s work AND DATA.

  98. Pethefin says:

    For those interested, there’s a lot more information on the ocean vents at the website previously pointed out by Carla: http://www.whoi.edu/main/topic/hydrothermal-vents

    Among other things, there are even Google Earth and Google-map versions of the pdf-file that Carla and Steve Garcia have mentioned, with more detailed information on each of the discovered vents:
    https://maps.google.com/?q=http://www.interridge.org/irvents/files/vents_InterRidge_2011_all.kml

  99. David A says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    May 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm
    “We aren’t monitoring the monthly or annual fluctuations in the contribution of subsurface “volcanic heating” of the oceans, and without data, the entire discussion presented in the article is nothing more than conjecture.”
    ————————————————–
    Well said Bob.
    If you look at the whole article you will see leaps and bounds of assumptions. Assumptions we would never let climate science get away with.
    But when your theme is “anything but C02″ then you can speculate for ever. It might be uncorns!!!
    ====================================================
    Typical Mosher. The article makes few claims, but offers a source of reasonable investigation. I sometimes think you get all flustered when someone says we do not have the numbers, just as you appear to accept anything that is labeled in numbers, because “hew, they all add up”

    This is what I read in the article….”There is growing evidence for the existence of volcanically generated megaplumes both from satellite imagery and from direct observation. Although the physical detail remains to be explored there is growing evidence that megaplumes are, at times, responsible for variations in climate, ocean productivity and ocean export of CO2.

    “Although the physical detail remains to be explored” is operative.

    So Steven, you like numbers. Tell me, how much heat energy in the oceans is from volcanic sources. I agree that we do not have the numbers.

    I think a proper understanding of energy residence time as a universal factor in all thermodynamic processes is useful.

    I have, on the basis of residence time, questioned the veracity of the proposition that the watt per square meter down welling LWIR due to clouds, is equal to the same watt per square meter down welling SW , sans clouds, and I question that they make the same contribution to earth’s energy budget.
    I postulate that the SW radiation will enter the earths oceans to depth, having far longer residence time. I postulate that the LWIR will expend much if its energy in accelerating the water cycle, be lost in evaporation, and released at altitude, to be liberated by GHG molecules, the more numerous, the more likely to be quickly liberated from our “system”

    I assert that (as an example) 10 straight days of SW pumping into the tropical ocean, will accumulate for the entire 10 days, losing little to space; whereas 10 days of LWIR from clouds, will lose far more total energy to space. I postulate that the residence time of the WL of radiation, as well as the materials encountered, are the reason the residence time and total accumulated energy within the system varies, despite an equal wattage flow per square meter.

    So again, with regard to volcanic energy, how much is in our oceans?
    What is the mean residence time of volcanic energy in the oceans?
    How much is there now?
    How much, and for how long of a period does volcanic energy fluctuate?
    Is this years volcanic energy adding to last years, or to ten years ago?

    Since is it energy, and energy cannot be destroyed, I maintain that residence time is crucial, and a small change, lasting decades, can add to a large number. (Consider solar energy and flux within these thoughts on residence time)

  100. sleeping bear dunes says:

    Steve Garcia @ Thanks for the added information. In spite of the predictable comment by Mosher, the beauty of this inquiry is recognizing how very little we truly know versus what we think we know. My test is what do I believe the scientists of 2100 will think of this subject. My instincts tell me they will laugh at those who blew it off without calling for more investigation.

  101. beng says:

    Eh. Agree w/Tisdale & even Mosher on this one.

  102. Jim G says:

    What a breath of fresh air! Someone finally talking about the 1000 lb gorilla in the room.

  103. Ok, my posts are being approved after review so there must be a glitch in the WordPress software.

    I’ll just have to be more patient :)

    [indeed, assuming the worst is seldom a viable option. . . mod]

  104. David A said:

    “I think a proper understanding of energy residence time as a universal factor in all thermodynamic processes is useful. ”

    That gets to the nub of the issue.

    The thing that is missing from the radiative energy budget is the variable length of time that kinetic energy (originally taken from the surface) is tied up in the form of gravitational potential energy within convecting overturning of the gaseous atmosphere.

    Whilst in that form such energy cannot participate in the radiative exchange but the variable nature of the amount of that energy provides the thermostatic mechanism which so many of us observe to be in place.

    That is the elephant in the room.

  105. Steve Garcia says:

    @Stephen Wilde:
    “Whatever internal system changes seek to affect surface temperature then if insolation remains the same the surface temperature does not change but instead the amount and distribution of convective overturning changes.”

    I read this that the convective overturning change means that any additional heat energy is carried away at an increased rate.

    “Willis applied the term ‘emergent phenomena’ which is a useful way of describing what happens.

    The problem then is that so many think that one has to have a higher average global surface temperature to drive an increase in the speed or scale of emergent phenomena but in fact the fixed weight of the atmosphere on the surface means that there is a maximum surface temperature that can be achieved which in turn limits the extent to which any internal system forcing element can affect the average surface temperature.”

    Stephen, all of this can be true and yet those emergent phenomena are not, in themselves the average global temperature. Local or regional spikes would not be forbidden. In fact, to take your boiling water example a step further, if one has a point heat source under the water, and especially if the pan material does not spread the heat out quickly enough (for example with stainless steel vs copper cladding), the water directly over it is boiling while elsewhere the water is not quite boiling in as much of a roil. This would seem to indicate uneven temperature distribution, even when the average is only 100°C.

    Talking of the average global temperature is not what this article and its underlying idea is about. It is that, even IN a balanced system, when point heat sources are injected, that heat MUST be carried away – and via one of Willis’ emergent phenomena. as far as I can see, this paper/article is suggesting that that convective overturning change” is, in itself, El Niño. The article is not saying that eh heat form vents increases the global average, no more than El Niño does.

    As all of my non-technical non-specialist observations seem to show, El Niño DOES have seem to temporarily add heat to the system, which then takes some months for El Niño to remove via the surrounding convective overturning. Isn’t that even a good description of what an El Niño IS?

    I would add that no overturning convective mechanism could remove excess heat in zero time; it must take some duration for the mechanism to work out, for the heat energy to be distributed. In the proposed ocean vent/El Niño mechanism, that heat first begins to be distributd into the ocean water locally, then heat plumes rise, and eventually the heat enters the atmosphere, whereupon an El Niño as we know it is in progress.

    I see nothing in what you say that precludes this all happening. The global average is EVENTUALLY re-balanced. Until then an El Niño is operational.

  106. David A says:

    beng says:
    May 5, 2014 at 7:52 am
    Eh. Agree w/Tisdale & even Mosher on this one.
    ———————————————–
    try to add a little more to the conversation. Feel free to answer my questions in my post here David A says: May 5, 2014 at 5:51 am, or to Steve Garcia says:

    May 5, 2014 at 2:25 am

  107. A couple of factoids for the above discussion. First, a phase diagram for water with the critical pressure of 218 atmospheres shown. http://langlopress.net/homeeducation/resources/science/content/support/illustrations/Chemistry/Water%20Phase%20Diagram-bl.jpg

    The static head of a water column is about 0.434 psi/in2, so the critical point in the sea is around 7,400 feet in depth, depending on the density of water. At that point and deeper, there is no difference between steam and water, so no steam explosions.

    Regards,

    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  108. beng says:

    ***
    David A says:
    May 5, 2014 at 11:40 am

    try to add a little more to the conversation.
    ***

    I don’t discount the possibility shown by the graphic in this post (it could also be just an area of temporarily-halted upwelling), but it is localized and intermittent. But I wonder if such a “plume” of heated water from the bottom could make it to the surface without being dispersed/dissipated by mixing. Maybe….

    Let’s look at the ocean temp profile. The “warm” water at the surface is surprisingly shallow — most of the ocean volume is much colder, colder even than the average global atmospheric temperature. The majority of it is only 4 – 5 C! If ocean bottom heat is having any effect on the ocean under the thin, sun-warmed surface, it’s not doing a very good job. All indications to me is that heat from the ocean bottom is insignificant.

  109. vukcevic says:

    There may be a possible alternative to consider:
    “Mean Sea Surface, representing the sea level resulting from constant phenomena, computed from 16 years of altimetry data acquired by Topex-Poseidon, ERS1&2, Envisat, GFO and Jason-1 satellites. This Mean Sea Surface is shaped by permanent ocean currents and, above all, by the gravity field. Differences below the surface of the Earth (for example, variations in magma temperature) can generate sea level variations of over 100 metres between two ocean regions thousands of kilometres apart.” Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
    One way of estimating past gravity variability is the rate of change in the intensity of the geomagnetic field. The GMF data (annual resolution available only to 1995) indicates that both East and West Pacific are characterised by continues instability as shown here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/ENSO.htm
    Could change in the gravity (in opposite direction, more often than not) be reason for the Pacific’s el Nino ‘sloshing’ ?

  110. Carla says:

    Steamboat Jack says:

    May 5, 2014 at 11:53 am
    _____________________

    From the article of the topic, they describe the formation of subaqueous geysers.

    Ocean Vents And Faulty Climate Models
    ..In fact remnants of such plumes, called “megaplumes”, have been observed as anomalous chemical signatures high in the water column. Small patches of high sea surface temperature indicative of megaplumes have been recorded by satellites.

    There is an aspect of megaplume formation which has hitherto been ignored. HTV plumes which typically have an exit temperature of 360°C are rapidly cooled by the entrainment of surrounding sea water until they lose buoyancy and spread horizontally much like chimney smoke on a frosty night. However plume dynamics indicates that for a large plume the temperature of the plume interior could remain sufficiently elevated for the water to boil as the hydrostatic pressure decreases with decreasing depth. Indeed one HTV field, the Lucky Strike field near the Azores, is sufficiently shallow at 1700m depth for effluent to be close to boiling point as it exits the vents.

    Once boiling commences, plume dynamics alters radically. The formation of steam bubbles greatly increases the buoyancy of the plume causing vertical acceleration of the effluent stream leading to increased further boiling and so on. In effect, the plume becomes a geyser.

    Using buoyancy calculations alone and neglecting heat losses, one litre of vent effluent at 360°C, when it boils in a megaplume, will create sufficient buoyancy to lift 30 tonnes of cold sea water to the surface. A sufficiently powerful HTV field can conceivably generate enough buoyancy to turn an entire ocean basin upside down.

    The most powerful HTV field so far discovered is the TAG field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The power output of the TAG field is around 6 GW. It lies at 26°N, the same latitude as the Yucatan Peninsula, one-time home of the Mayan Civilisation. We can speculate that the TAG Field is the remnant of a major subaqueous event with a megaplume which transported large volumes of cool deep ocean water into the tropical mixed layer so cooling the sea surface. This led to decreased ocean evaporation and drought in Yucatan..”’

  111. Aphan says:

    Mark Luhman said-
    ES :
    “A volcano on the ocean floor does not go boom because the pressure on the bottom of the water column does not allow the water to turn to steam. Have you not seen videos on how pillow lava is formed? In Hawaii hot lava flows into the ocean from the land and relative the cool water harden the outside if lava and then the magma flows in a tube ever growing longer at the end. Yes some of water boils away but in the end more just flow in, from the film I have seen the diver can remain a few feet from it an not cook. If magma is at a certain depth the water would just remain liquid since at that pressure it would never get to a boiling point. ”

    Not true.
    Deep sea volcanoes have been found to explosively erupt, they do make noise, they create shock waves, and they do shoot debris out into the ocean for miles, even under a whole lotta water column pressure.

    “These are the first pyroclastic deposits we’ve ever found in such deep water, at oppressive pressures that inhibit the formation of steam, and many people thought this was not possible,” said WHOI geophysicist Rob Reves-Sohn, lead author and chief scientist for the Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition (AGAVE) of July 2007. “This means that a tremendous blast of CO2 was released into the water column during the explosive eruption.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625140649.htm

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20091217_volcano2.html

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328151734.htm

  112. Steve Garcia says:

    @Aphan -

    From that 1st link:

    “Eruption of the West Mata volcano, discovered in May, occurred nearly 4,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in an area bounded by Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.”

    From SteamboatJack above:
    “The static head of a water column is about 0.434 psi/in2, so the critical point in the sea is around 7,400 feet in depth, depending on the density of water. At that point and deeper, there is no difference between steam and water, so no steam explosions.”

    Given that SteamboatJack’s numbers are right, the West Mata volcano eruption was less deep than his 7400 feet and therefore apparently could have been water turning to steam.

    That doesn’t make Mark Luhman’s “A volcano on the ocean floor does not go boom because…” correct though. He is not precise at all about depth.

  113. Steve Garcia says:

    My first thoughts about this ocean vent possibility arose not in looking at anything specific to El Niño.

    They arose looking at Trenberth’s earth energy budget diagram. I wondered at the total lack of any representation of heat being emitted by the Earth itself. It IS after all, NOT sucking heat from insolation, because it is not cold, and it has heat sources from below. it seemed odd that it isn’t represented at ALL.

    After all, land volcanoes add some heat. And then I thought about the oceanic vents and volcanoes, which are occasionally in the news and which at that time I did not know the locations of at all. That heat may be small, and I didn’t know how small or large, but it still does exist. It IS entering the ocean-atmosphere system, so it should be shown, even if it might be minuscule. (IT IS – see http://www.heatflow.und.edu) But what IS the level of heat energy? I wondered.

    Only after seeing that there were any number of vents and volcanoes right there on the Equator, right there at one end of the El Niño itself, did it occur to me that not only was there heat entering the system, but it was focused to some degree right AT that location. Coincidence? I wondered if there was a connection.

    Ironically or not, the first oceanic vents were actually discovered right there, on the Galapagos Rift, in 1977. THAT could easily have been a coincidence.

    THEN I found out that the East Pacific Rise at that end is the fastest spreading oceanic rift – and not by a little bit, either. I was able to find out how much heat flow there was at various oceanic rifts, and the northern end of the EPR is by far the largest of them in terms of heat flow, among the locations actually measured. When I took a rough look at the heat flow, it turned out to be about as great IN THAT IMMEDIATE AREA (0.75 Wm^-2) – an area 0°40′ of longitude by 0°55′ of latitude – as the heat flow shown in Trenberth’s diagram for “Net absorbed” (0.9 Wm^-2). This was a rough calculation, but based on data collected by the International Heat Flow Commission.

    See http://www.heatflow.und.edu/marine.jpg and http://www.heatflow.und.edu

    Thus, if it could more or less balance the 0.9 Wm^-2 “net absorbed” – in that region – then what effect would that have? I don’t know yet, but if we don’t ask, we can’t get an answer.

    Maybe nothing. Maybe the region is too small. Maybe it is in a region where the stability of the ocean currents precludes anything more than entraining a little more heat.

    But there is a measured amount of focused heat flow AT THE SURFACE. It seems something that may have some effect in that area. Also, does it change over time? If so, when? How much?

    Walker shows flurries of seismic activity similar to land volcano seismic activity before an eruption. Can the seismographs’ data do what he thinks it does – signal eruptions just before El Niños? He thinks so and his papers keep getting published. The seismic data seems to show that the eruptions occur, and if so, are the heat flow measurements on the Heat Flow site during an eruption? Or are they during the non-eruptive phase? That 0.756 Wm^-2 number I came up with may be a high or a low number in a variable phenomenon.

  114. Fernando Leanme says:

    I understand the average energy flow from below the earth´s surface is about 0.1 watts per meter squared. The fact that heat flow is uneven and tends to be higher over oceanic crust doesn´t matter that much because the rate has been essentially unchanged.

    For a climate system to be in rough balance this energy has been radiated into space, as outgoing long wave radiation. This is fairly easy to accomplish, but we lack the instrumental record to establish how the earth´s radiation budget has evolved over the last few million years. Therefore my only suggestion would be to include the forcing in the global energy balance estimates.

  115. Steve Garcia says:

    Fernando Leanme -

    The numbers in my head on this are that the average heat flow in the NH is about 0.064 Wm^-2, and SH is about 0.037 Wm^-2, overall about half of your number. It IS higher over ocean ridges.

    The faster spreading ridges have the highest of all. And the fastest spreading ridge just happens to be the (N-S) East Pacific Rise (EPR). And the highest portion of the EPR is the part basically ON the Equator, right about where it meets the (E-W) Galapagos Ridge (GR), which is not only where the first ocean vents were found, but both of the two ridges have numerous vents. The average value in that portion is, by my personal rough calculation, about 0.75 Wm^-2, This is about 7.5 times the average you understood as average for the whole world and 15 times the actual average heat flow. Do we have a point at which the heat flow happens to be at a maximum, and it happens to lie at the eastern end of the El Niño heat plume region.

    This, of course, could be just a coincidence. “Correlation does not mean causation.” But usually it does mean that it is worthy of inquiry.

    Now, add to that this: Since about 1988 Daniel Walker’s papers and data point to seismic activity increases in the EPR just before El Niños commence, and that this seems to be consistently occurring. It’s behind a paywall, so all I can get to is his abstracts. The data must be there, because he keeps on getting his work published in journals, so the reviewers and editors must see something in it all.

    Seismic flurries are very common in terrestrial volcanoes, and they occur, by my understanding, because magma is moving upward. This pretty strongly infers that magma movement upward is also occurring at the EPR near/at the Equator.

    With the heat flow maps showing very high heat flow all along the EPR and GR normally, one can at least conjecture that the heat is coming from magma venting out of the ridges. That is during normal periods. If the magma is also, then, rising at SOME times – such as just before El Niños when Walker has seen the seismic flurries. It is not crazy to infer that the heat levels are also higher, and in that one spot.

    All of this sounds like a reasonable mechanism for injecting heat into the ocean-atmosphere system just before the advent of El Niños. That doesn’t make it TRUE, but it does seem to make it worthy of further study. Again, is it coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    One additional thing. Some people here have talked about global averages. First of all El Niño is NOT a global average phenomenon. It is quite regional and quite specific to the Equator in the Pacific. Also, El Niño is either 1.) a confluence of conditions to focus (what is normally more evenly spread out) heat along the Pacific where the ITCZ can then inject the heat up into the Hadley Cells and thus northward and southward, or 2.) it is a simple injection of heat into that same region.

    A question I continue to have is the timing of the El Niño, around Xmas time – no matter which of the mechanisms we discuss, the seasonality of it is not yet part of the discussion. WHY would it occur at around Xmas time? And why not every year? That may be very pertinent, but no one is discussing that right now. THAT suggests a meteorological cause, because connecting magma flows to seasonality is a stretch in anybody’s head. So for now, I see something happening and the picture is muddled. But Walker’s work and data seem to point to something to do with magma. Time should tell if his seismic flurries continue to precede El Niños. If they don’t, then (like the tree ring Divergence Problem) the correlation didn’t hold. In which case, the whole idea is probably wrong.

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