Anomalous Spike in Ocean Heat Content

Guest Post by: Craig Loehle

In the paper

Levitus S., J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, R. A. Locarnini, H. E. Garcia, A. V. Mishonov (2009), Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems,Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07608, doi:10.1029/2008GL037155

the long term trend of ocean heat content is reanalyzed to attempt to correct for bias in instrumentation, and the record is extended.  The graph below depicts the result.

 Ocean_heat_spike

The most recent period, from 2003, uses the ARGO profiling floats, whereas earlier periods use a variety of instruments with various biases.  Patching all these data together is a challenge.  I draw your attention to the strong spike in the red line from 2002 to 2003.  This line is the point at which the earlier data is joined up with the ARGO data.  The magnitude of the jump is the largest in the entire record.  The transition to the ARGO data can not be said to have been accomplished with a long cross-calibration period.  It thus looks to me like there may be an error in how the different data sets are stitched together.  I in no way am implying malfeasance here.  I have discussed this situation with Roger Pielke Sr. and Josh Willis and they agree it looks odd and merits further investigation.  Dr. Pielke points out that there is not a comparable jump in the SST data.  I think this example illustrates that if there is a big jump in the data right when you change your instrumentation, it is perhaps good to look a little closer. 

Further discussion of the paper is available at Pielke’s site:

http://climatesci.org/2009/05/18/comments-on-a-new-paper-global-ocean-heat-content-1955%e2%80%932008-in-light-of-recently-revealed-instrumentation-problems-by-levitus-et-al-2009/

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Bob Kutz

HELP! ( I know this is OT)
I have found something going on at;
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
that seems extremely odd.
Click on the archive data link, then select a date. (Or just cut and paste; http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20071231.jpg ) Now go change the date to 20090531 and look at the image. It is inconceivable that this is the ice image that is being archived. No wonder they don’t want anybody looking at it.
I have found that there are daily adjustments on the ice images between when they are printed on day one, and the archive of the data the next.
The thing is; you can only get to the archive by typing in the date manually into the URL, as archive data on the site isn’t available from 12-31-2007 on.
You folks seem to be able to put a hammer on this kind of thing.
Sorry to be so off topic, but I don’t have a lot of contacts for reporting these kind of shenanigans, but it’s going on a lot lately.

You bet it looks odd.
Like always, the error is in the direction of boiling shrimp rather than cold penguin feet. I suppose this too could be right.

KlausB

Craig,
I only do frequently looks onto the pacific warm water volume,
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/wwv/data/
and do include in a sheet the global maritime from MSU Sat,
nothing out of ordinary:
http://i41.tinypic.com/23kuas0.jpg
Klausb

John Boy

The GW conspiracy continues its propaganda tonite with must see TV
Must-see TV on ABC tonight — “Earth 2100: Is this the Final Century of our Civilization?”
The tide also rises….
The Boy of John

KlausB

I do frequently look on the Pacific Warm Water Volume:
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/wwv/data/
and do it in a graph together with the MSU global maritime, there is nothing unusual, yet:
http://i41.tinypic.com/23kuas0.jpg

Juraj V.

Bob, such a ugly pic like http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20090531.jpg is because of dying SSMI sensor on the NOAA satellite.
Back to OHC article – when the SST history will be revised, according to Climateuadit findings? The abrupt 0.3C drop in 1940s because of wrongly accounted change in sampling method has contaminated all global datasets. Something tells me it was not a “honest mistake” – otherwise the post 1950s temperature rise would be much flatter and playing well with other factors, as for example http://blog.sme.sk/blog/560/195013/hadsstssn.jpg

George E. Smith

Well I am pleased to see that the most recent data is from sensors that are presumably actually in the ocean; and actually sensing at known depths.
My suggestion is to file the earlier data in the circular file and move on from there.
Are these the same bouys that John Christy et al used to report in Jan 2001, that the near surface ocean water temperatures (-1 metre) and the near surface ocean air temperatures (+3 metres) are not correlated, and for the 20 years or so that they had gathered data, the air temperature sensors recorded only about 60% of the temperature rise that the water temperature sensors recorded.
Of course that 60% factor only relates to that 20 year time frame. Since they aren’t correlated, the earlier air temperatures are not recovereable for the earlier water temperatures.
So pretty much anything before about 1978/80 can hardly be called science, since data from 70% of the earth surface is bogus.
I would think that thermal energy transport between the oceans and the atmosphere ought to be charactreristic of the SSTs, because the long wave IR radiation is certainly surface specific, given the almost total opaqueness of water to LWIR. Evaporation and conduction would also have to be surface specific; so what other heating connections between the oceans and the atmosphere are there besides those three ?
As for mechanisms for the atmosphere to warm the oceans; I don’t see any major processes. The back IR from the atmosphere is absorbed in the top 10 microns, and should lead to prompt evaporation, rather than transport of energy to the ocean depths, and the ocean’s positive temperature coefficient of expansion, should maintain a permanent upward convection current.
Trying to connect two disparate data streams is hazardous to one’s health.
I would rather see a disconnect between these two data sources, rather than some ersatz connect process, that is only going to lead to doubts about validity.
George

George E. Smith

“”” John Boy (14:49:05) :
The GW conspiracy continues its propaganda tonite with must see TV
Must-see TV on ABC tonight — “Earth 2100: Is this the Final Century of our Civilization?”
The tide also rises….
The Boy of John “””
Well I don’t know about final century of OUR civilisation; but given the tempo in Washington, from our Teleprompter Reader in Chief; this might actually be the last year of OUR civilisation.
Don’t blame me; y’alls voted for this Jim Jones; I didn’t.
George

hunter

Well, they have the answer they want, it is now just a matter of suppressing inconvenient history and fitting the lines.

Craig Loehle

George: I don’t think this is the data Christy used (not sure) because the ARGO bouys only were a complete network in 2003.

Louis Hissink

This re-writing of history bugs me a little – do they do it knowlingly, or is it from ignorance and a belief the raw data is erroroneous and needs to be edited for archival purposes?
Or don’t they understand that the raw data, no matter what “inconsistencies” it has, is sacrosanct. If this is the case then science is indeed in a very dark age.

Graphs often get taken out of context and separated from the text that explains it.
The graph would be better with a vertical along the 2003 axis and the temperature data after that in a different colour with the legend ‘ change of measurement instruments’ clearly marking the change.
Tonyb

oms

George E. Smith (15:21:26) :

Well I am pleased to see that the most recent data is from sensors that are presumably actually in the ocean; and actually sensing at known depths.

Please check out [ur=http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/]Argo[/url] for yourself.

Of course that 60% factor only relates to that 20 year time frame. Since they aren’t correlated, the earlier air temperatures are not recovereable for the earlier water temperatures.
So pretty much anything before about 1978/80 can hardly be called science, since data from 70% of the earth surface is bogus.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the blog post by Craig Loehle is about Ocean Heat Content, not air temperatures.

As for mechanisms for the atmosphere to warm the oceans; I don’t see any major processes.

Since this has been brought up to you in other threads and you seem to have an abiding interest, why don’t you review a little of the literature on ocean mixing and see if there isn’t anything of interest to you that has (potentially) already been addressed.

Britannic no-see-um

Dont have access rights to the full paper. Is the jump discussed, as its about instumentation merge problems ?

oms

George E. Smith (15:21:26) :

Well I am pleased to see that the most recent data is from sensors that are presumably actually in the ocean; and actually sensing at known depths.

Please check out [ur=http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/]Argo[/url] for yourself.

Of course that 60% factor only relates to that 20 year time frame. Since they aren’t correlated, the earlier air temperatures are not recovereable for the earlier water temperatures.
So pretty much anything before about 1978/80 can hardly be called science, since data from 70% of the earth surface is bogus.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the blog post by Craig Loehle is about Ocean Heat Content, not air temperatures.

As for mechanisms for the atmosphere to warm the oceans; I don’t see any major processes.

They keep on being suggested up to you and you keep dismissing them in thread after thread. Why not take a tour of the literature on ocean mixing?

RW

“the near surface ocean water temperatures (-1 metre) and the near surface ocean air temperatures (+3 metres) are not correlated”
I’ve seen you make this claim before. I’ve never seen you provide a link to the data.

Any time you try and spice data sets based on instrumentality changes, you are susceptible to large errors. In the past, it would seem as long as the errors pointed to the desired ‘hottness’, they were left alone.
It really isn’t clear how you ever reconcile this. It’s just as easy to see how the offset could result in a lower temperature spike, with temperature trending flat … Is there anyway to get to the old style sea temperature data, and run them in parallel?
I say the sunspot data suffers a similar problem, there at least we could build 1600’s era telescopes and see what the differences might be…. Only then would we know.

Funny that all the temperature adjustments go upwards …. except, of course, if they are historical temperatures, which are all adjusted downwards. Anything to make the temperature profile look positive.
.

Craig Loehle: The anomalous spike does NOT appear in the Domingues et al (2008) or the Ishii and Kimoto (I believe it was 2008 also) OHC reconstructions:
http://s5.tinypic.com/24v33t4.jpg
I noted the divergence in my post “The Latest Revisions to Ocean Heat Content Data” here:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/03/latest-revisions-to-ocean-heat-content.html
Regards

Mitchel44

OT, but NSIDC has a new update and has switched to a new sensor(17 in, 13 out) and placed their daily image back online.

Something is “fishy” here or rather it stinks worse than the “global warming” cows´farting.
I told you, this was going to worsen day after day, as you approach summer time.

smallz79

Maybe off topic, but refering to a previous post by
Bob Kutz (14:26:19)
Take a look at April 15 then at April 18 2009 Big chunks begin to disappear magically, then on the 19th reappear magicaly while a hole at the pole magically appears. I believe you that this Data is bunk.
post.http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20090415.jpg

matt v.

HADSST2GL shows no major jump in global ocean SST during jan 2002 to jan 2004. The least square trend line shows a 0.0257C / year increase. There is an increase during the latter half of 2003 but not going from 2002 to 2003. As shown on the graph , one of the two data sets is questionable .
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/to:2004/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/to:2004/trend

Hopefully no one has paid AGU for a look at the Levitus et al (2009) paper. It’s available through the National Oceanographic Data Center website here:
ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
Levitus et al discuss the differences between their reconstruction and the Domingues et al and Ishii and Kimoto reconstructions on 3.

realitycheck

Re: TonyB
“The graph would be better with a vertical along the 2003 axis and the temperature data after that in a different colour with the legend ‘ change of measurement instruments’ clearly marking the change.”
A simple and great idea, but be aware that this would make it “too purist” and blur the framing of the message to the general public (those silly people).
No, what this new science should portray is a simple continuous line (preferably in a nice primary color) with accelerating trend and no error bars. Doesn’t matter what the variable is, as long as there is a simple continuous line with accelerating trend. See, this new science does not have error, or uncertainty – it is settled, it is obvious, it is FACT. Get the idea?

crosspatch

What is most interesting is that after the jump following the splice of the new data, the rise practically stops. Look at the trend from 1985 to 2004 and then look at the post-2004 trend … flat. As the earlier data are subject to various “adjustments”, I would tend to go with the current data that is based on actual observation. Bottom line is that the “rising” trend has apparently stopped since they started using actual observations and stopped torturing the old data until it told the “truth”.

Adam from Kansas

Bob Tisdale is reporting SST’s where it rose for the third month in a row.
What’s interesting is that seeing his graph you’d expect a spectacular jump in temps. well into positive territory because of that by now. But apparently it’s not quite the case.
http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps
While it did start rising by a major amount it did have a sudden big interruption about a week or so after, it resumed its rise but now it has an even bigger interruption where it’s starting to drop back towards the average line.
Will the SST corralation mean the temps. will get to their highest point since 2007, or is there some covert solar influence putting a damper on it?

realitycheck

More seriously.
As early as high school physics and engineering the first thing that is drummed into you is instrument error, instrument continuity and calibration. You learn that when a time series shows a jump at the point at which the measuring device changed, then that time series should be seriously questioned.
Can you imagine an analogous curve being used in the design for a nuclear reactor for example? The chief engineer would fire you on the spot for including such analysis in your design. If that type of analysis was in a physics paper for review it would get outright rejected and the reviewer would be asked to go away and prove conclusively that the jump was NOT due to instrument changes. i.e. when confronted with such a curve, the null hypothesis would be that the instrument change caused the jump and it would be up to the scientist to prove otherwise.
But this is climate science, where everything is backwards.

Bill Illis

The paper is here.
ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
Does the absolute value of the heat content have a particular meaning?
Between 2002 and 2004, the ocean heat content increased from around 6.5 * 10^22 joules to about 12.5 * 10^22 joules.
Obviously, the ocean heat content did not nearly double over two years so there is a problem with splicing two different datasets.
They also restated the previous estimates in Levitus 2005 et al doing away with some of the up and down cycles.
Bob Tisdale did a review of these numbers a few weeks ago.
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/05/levitus-et-al-2009-ocean-heat-content.html
The Atlantic Ocean is responsible for most of the increase in the estimate between 2002 and 2004 while there was very little change in sea level in the Atlantic Ocean during those years.

Chuck L

How long will it be until that graph is plastered in print and in the media as more evidence of global warming?

rbateman

Bob Kutz (14:26:19) :
You have struck gold, sir.
I can see from typing in at 1 month intervals that 2009 melting in the North is 1 month behind 2008. It really was seriously colder.
Wait until next year, then the screaming will begin.

Bob Kutz (14:26:19) :
> I have found something going on at;
> http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
> that seems extremely odd.
Not news. See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/26/nsidc-pulls-the-plug-on-artic-sea-ice-graphs/

vg

First post: The CT thing is very interesting. Assuming the ice borders are correct (as it appears to be so compared with streaks?) it appears to be an “WAY ABOVE” anomaly. DMI and AMSR seesm to be the only two reliable ice centers at the moment
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php
DMI, most up to date (basically today) showing 2005 ice extent so far
and… wow just off the press
NORSEX have removed downtrend once again! (so basically confirms trend is way above 2008)
http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic
Maybe there waiting for the Kovenhavn conference to be over before putting the real data up

Adam from Kansas

Also, is there a reason why the South Atlantic has seen an astronomical jump in SST’s which nearly doubles the previous record in Tisdale’s graph or is the data wrong? The South Atlantic possibly single-handidly amounted for a decent portion of the latest peak in SST’s, and what’s even more strange is that the trend tended to be small until you just have the latest 3 months which would suggest the water would start boiling (literally) in 2020.

Adam from Kansas

Oh sorry, looked at the graph again, not doubling the record but still leaves the previous record in the dust.

Craig Loehle

Bob Tisdale: you are exactly correct, the spike does not appear in the other reconstructions you mention, nor in the SST data.

Hell_is_like_newark

Watching the ABC show that was mentioned in a previous post. What a massive scare fest!

vg

Does anybody have any idea why this
http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.6.1.2009.gif
is so different from this
http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html
note europe asia mediterrinean etc..
are they different satellites, buoys?

Mark

Re: ralph ellis (16:30:53) :
I wonder if a certain well known NASS employe is adjusting this data?

David S

“Earth 2100”
This show was undoubtedly the most outstanding example I’ve ever seen of unmitigated fear-mongering propaganda.
First they warm up the audience by naming a few disasters:
Hurricanes
Droughts
Swine flu
Stock market crash (No kidding they really mentioned that)
Then they spread some disinformation.
Sea level rise of 6 feet by 2080. (The IPCC predicts only 1-2 feet by 2100)
Then some wild predictions;
New York City abandoned because of flooding.
All power cut off because of a virus that kills thousands or millions of people. ( Apparently the virus was enabled by global warming)
Most people living at subsistence level. (That one might actually come true if they stop energy production from fossil fuels)

To know how much a 1 megaton nuclear bomb heat up the oceans, we must to know how much energy in transit is released by one 1 megaton nuclear bomb releases. The total amount of energy, including the blast, is about 4.18 x 1015 Joule. From this energy, the load of energy in transit released during the explosion is about 2.8 x 10^15 J. India and Pakistan tested about 11 nuclear bombs in the South Pacific from 1996 to 1998. The energy in transit released by those tests was ~2.2 x 10^11 J. North Korea detonated about five underground nuclear bombs the last year and recently on 25 May 2009; the less powerful was of 10 megatons and the most powerful was of 50 megatons. Are those spikes mere coincidences?

Keith Minto

vg (19:51:14) :
I would guess that noaa would use the TAO/ Triton array of equatorial buoys.
This link is worth checking http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/index.shtml
Don’t know about unisys.

anna v

Juraj V. (14:51:02) :
Bob, such a ugly pic like http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20090531.jpg is because of dying SSMI sensor on the NOAA satellite.
It is dead since the 7th of may, there is no change in the archived images since
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20090507.jpg

F. Ross

Nasif Nahle (20:54:54) :

North Korea detonated about five underground nuclear bombs the last year and recently on 25 May 2009; the less powerful was of 10 megatons and the most powerful was of 50 megatons.

Are you sure of those figures, 10 and 50 megatons? I was under the impression that the yields were around 3kilotons and 10kilotons.[?]

rickM

Nasif – not even close to the figures you use. The largest thermonuclear detonation was the Tsar bomb at around 50 megatons. Norht Korea has yet to fully master fission – fusion is a whole new order of capability they have yet to achieve.
On topic – so we have effectively two, grafted data sets, or massaged data or both?
I really enjoy using the woodfortrees site – a users guide (ie, which datasets etc to use would be great for it)

rickM

F. Ross (21:17:48):
Are you sure of those figures, 10 and 50 megatons? I was under the impression that the yields were around 3kilotons and 10kilotons.[?]
Yes, you’re right… I prompted myself on finishing writing the post because of many problems with my connection. I’m sorry for the mistake.

Ian Lee

There are many comments on various WUWT pieces that suggest data are being manipulated to give answers that are biased toward the AGW hypothesis. Is there any way to ensure that data from the various agencies have not been so manipulated?

Philip Johns

Spike or no spike, Ocean Cooling is dead.

oms

Bill Illis (17:58:27) :

ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
Does the absolute value of the heat content have a particular meaning?

From the caption for Figure S10: “Reference period is 1957-1990.”

Between 2002 and 2004, the ocean heat content increased from around 6.5 * 10^22 joules to about 12.5 * 10^22 joules.
Obviously, the ocean heat content did not nearly double over two years so there is a problem with splicing two different datasets.

Ocean HC wasn’t negative either in 1970 so it is definitely “anomaly.” 🙂