Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance

This paper is to be published on-line on Friday in Physics Letters A Dr. Douglas graciously sent me an advance copy, of which I’m printing some excerpts. Douglas and Knox show some correlations between Top-of-atmosphere radiation imbalance and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The authors credit Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. with reviving interest on the subject due to his discussions on using ocean heat content as a metric for climate change.

Fig. 1. Top-of-atmosphere radiation flux imbalance FTOA implied by the Domingues heat content data. The arrows indicate dates of climate regime changes. These data are annual values, so no solar eccentricity effect is seen.
Fig. 1. Top-of-atmosphere radiation flux imbalance FTOA implied by the Domingues heat content data. The arrows indicate dates of climate regime changes. These data are annual values, so no solar eccentricity effect is seen.

Abstract

Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance

D.H. Douglass and R, S, Knox

Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, PO Box 270171, Rochester, NY 14627-0171, USA

Earth’s radiation imbalance is determined from ocean heat content data and compared with results of direct measurements. Distinct time intervals of alternating positive and negative values are found: 1960–mid-1970s (−0.15), mid-1970s–2000 (+0.15), 2001–present (−0.2 W/m2), and are consistent with prior reports. These climate shifts limit climate predictability.

Introduction:

A strong connection between Earth’s radiative imbalance and the heat content of the oceans has been known for some time (see, e.g., Peixoto and Oort [1]). The heat content has played an important role in recent discussions of climate change, and Pielke [2] has revived interest in its relationship with radiation. Many previous papers have emphasized the importance of heat content of the ocean, particularly the upper ocean, as a diagnostic for changes in the climate system [3–7]. In this work we analyze recent heat content data sets, compare them with corresponding data on radiative imbalance, and point out certain irregularities that can be associated with climate shifts. In Section 2 the conservation of energy is applied to the climate system and the approximations involved in making the radiationheat content connection are discussed. In Section 3 data sources are enumerated. Section 4 gives the radiation imbalance for the Earth’s climate system. In Section 5, climate shifts, radiative imbalances and other climate parameters are discussed. A summary is in Section 6.

Discussion:

What is the cause of these climate shifts? We suggest that the low frequency component of the Pacific Decade Oscillation (PDO) may be involved. The PDO index changes from positive to negative near 1960; it remains negative until the mid-1970s where it

becomes positive; then it becomes negative again at about 2000. This mimics the FTOA data. The PDO index is one of the inputs in the synchronization analysis of Swanson and Tsonis [43]. One would like to be able to predict future climate. Such predictions are based upon the present initial conditions and some expectation that changes in the climate state are continuous. However, if there are abrupt changes such as reported by Swanson and Tsonis then this is not possible. These abrupt changes presumably

occur because the existing state is no longer stable and there is a transition to a new stable state.

Summary:

We determine Earth’s radiation imbalance by analyzing three recent independent observational ocean heat content determinations for the period 1950 to 2008 and compare the results with direct measurements by satellites. A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the bulk of the heat transferred. Longer-term averages of the observed imbalance are not only many-fold smaller than theoretically derived values, but also oscillate in sign. These facts are not found among the theoretical

predictions.

Three distinct time intervals of alternating positive and negative imbalance are found: 1960 to the mid 1970s, the mid 1970s to

2000 and 2001 to present. The respective mean values of radiation imbalance are −0.15, +0.15, and −0.2 to −0.3. These observations are consistent with the occurrence of climate shifts at 1960, the mid-1970s, and early 2001 identified by Swanson and Tsonis. Knowledge of the complex atmospheric-ocean physical processes is not involved or required in making these findings. Global surface temperatures as a function of time are also not required to be known.

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Manfred
August 11, 2009 11:07 pm

negative feedback proven ? !

August 11, 2009 11:13 pm

I have just [in another thread] been lectured that the oceans contains no heat, as heat cannot be stored, so what is this whole paper about?
REPLY: Gosh Leif, I dunno. How’d that happen? Oceans = OBAHFC (One Big Assed Heat Flux Capacitor) 😉 – A

timetochooseagain
August 11, 2009 11:15 pm

Interesting. You know, this is a good topic to discuss, but I’m a little frustrated, as I recently been trying to contact Professor Douglass about his work with regard to atmospheric temperature trends. See, at the Heartland Conference, he presented the latest update on that work, but the available presentation was about this paper, which is interesting in it’s own right, but well, uh, hm.
I have yet to hear back from the Professor, whose work is very interesting. I understand he has a response to the Santer paper in the works…

August 11, 2009 11:27 pm

A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the bulk of the heat transferred.
If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.

timetochooseagain
August 11, 2009 11:38 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:27:06) : But bound to be controversial, because that implies a low climate sensitivity.

August 11, 2009 11:52 pm

Timetochooseagain
It surely implies that the earth does its own thing, our knowledge of how and why things happen is still rudimentary and that there is no hidden heat stored indefintely in the ocean ready to leap out at us unexpectedly.
Tonyb

August 11, 2009 11:59 pm

Having tracked through and read several of the blogs listed under Global Climate Debate above I am struck by the ongoing theme there that places reliance on climate models we know to be flawed and on arbitrary “numbers” hammered out among politicians the majority of whom have trouble even understanding anything other than “vote for me” and who are led around by the nose by Civil Servants and Bureaucrats feeding them selective ‘facts’ and misinformation in sound bytes. I note that not one mentions the effect of overpopulation in all the “developing” nations and many of the “Aid” agency commentators seem to be driving an agenda aimed more at gathering more money for “wealth redistribution” and sustaining unsustainable populations than addressing the very real problems of desertification caused by stripping the land of trees for fuel, erosion and overgrazing. One blog speaks of ‘educating’ at the grass roots to bring better understanding of the problem. Yes, that may help, but it is not balanced by the policy makers in Australia, the UK, Europe and the US imposing expensive “Green” technologies and driving the cost of living through the roof in countries who are considered “bad climate abusers” – any Western “Developed” nation – by using the flawed “per capita” Carbon emmissions measurement. I believe that this is a false indicator since populations in the developed nations tend to be smaller and more aware of the impact of their development and use of land and sea than those in the “developing” world where carbon emmissions as astronomic but the sheer volume is masked by adjusting for “per capita”.
This paper on the effect of sea temperatures and heat “storage” is timeous, picking up on work that has been ongoing for decades but is largely ignored or dismissed by the present “Anthropogenic Climate CHange” lobby. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

August 12, 2009 12:07 am

My apologies, I omitted to mention that I found no mention anywhere of the impact of schemes such as the Yellow River Three Gorges Dam or the Soviet draining of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian area has been devastated and I have no doubt that the long term impact of the Yellow River scheme will be as devastating downstream of the dam.
Borehole pumping from subsurface water supplies and de-watering of deep mines in South Africa has lowered the water table dramarically in my lifetime and I note that there is no mention of the impact of this one desertification and the feed though of that into the climate either.
As usual the climate debate is being driven along very narrow lines which look at the problem in small segments without reference to the larger picture and the connectivity between all the components. The entire debate becomes intractably slewed as soon as politicians and civil servants get involved and break it down into media sound bytes for the purposes of winning votes and elections.

Mark T
August 12, 2009 12:14 am

wattsupwiththat (00:00:58) :
It isn’t hard to envision some longer discharge periods there.

Such as circulation.
Mark

KimW
August 12, 2009 12:21 am

Hidden heat in the Oceans ? – just try swimming in the Ocean at say, 45 deg South during winter as compared with summer. That was only a 6 month variation, so I cannot see how a lot of heat can be stored over decades in the deep ocean.

timetochooseagain
August 12, 2009 12:44 am

TonyB (23:52:45) : Well, I don’t know about that, but one can indeed show fairly easily that such a short response time implies VERY insensitive climate-Hansen published some papers on how sensitivity is connected to climate response time, as has Lindzen.
And Douglass has published several papers which identify short response times in observational data (Pinatubo, annual cycles, etc.)-naturally that has generated some controversy. However, a lot of people come to different conclusions about the response time of climate-readers here may be familiar with the work of Steven Schwartz on this issue, which found fairly short response time (though not nearly as short as Douglass has been finding).
Interestingly, Nicola Scafetta thinks that the system may have 2 different characteristic time scales-one short like Douglass finds, and one a little longer than Schwartz finds:
http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/503939_2_merged_1208357713.pdf
Personally I suspect that the longer response time here is an artifact of the solar cycle, and probably the short response time is the “real” one. But I’m somewhat open minded about it.

L
August 12, 2009 12:50 am

Monk: “Civil Servants”? My experience, with some exceptions, is that the above named bureaucrats are neither civil nor of service. Not a rant, a sad observation. L

Phillip Bratby
August 12, 2009 1:06 am

Is it just me , or does Fig 1 stop at about 1996?

cal
August 12, 2009 1:31 am

Leif Svalgaard (23:27:06) :
A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the bulk of the heat transferred.
If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.
As I posted previously, there is chart in the Climate4you website that shows the correlation between long wave radiation at the equator and temperature. This clearly shows that, in general, the temperature and radiation are anticorrelated. This supports your comment that the temperature is caused by the radiative imbalance rather than heat being stored in the sea during previous warming periods and then released. The only exception is the 1998 el nino and the months immediately before and after. During this period the radiation and temperature were correlated indicating that in this exceptional situation stored energy was released.
Repeating the point I made in a previous post. The chart shows that over the past 30 years the trend in radiation is slightly up. This is consistent with an increase in radiation due to a slightly warmer sea and completely inconsistent with a long term gradual reduction in long wave radiation due to greenhouse gases.

Assy
August 12, 2009 1:37 am

I severely doubt that the data used in these global ocean heat content estimates has a sufficient spatial density that you can trust the hi frequency variability in the records. Especially I would be extremely careful looking at the seasonal signal,. To estimate that globally then you need near perfect coverage. If you dont have that then it is obvious you would get a false seasonal signal.
To conclude: I am not impressed.

Dave Wendt
August 12, 2009 1:40 am

What kind of observational data for the TOA radiative balance for the period from the 50s to the 80s are they using to check their implied values?

Stephen Wilde
August 12, 2009 1:40 am

Getting close to the ideas I have been promulgating for over a year now.
The solar input varies over century timescales, the rate of energy release from ocean to air varies over multidecadal timescales with the PDO as the largest component.
Those two interacting variables are not directly (but might be indirectly) linked and usually supplement or offset one another to some degree at any given moment.
The latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems occur virtually instantly in response to the net level of GLOBAL energy release from oceans to air at any given time. We can already see that in connection with the current stuttering El Nino.
Seasonal variations around the globe give the mix an extra stir.
I particularly like this bit:
“Knowledge of the complex atmospheric-ocean physical processes is not involved or required in making these findings. Global surface temperatures as a function of time are also not required to be known.”
That is a nice answer to those AGW knowalls who keep denigrating my material on the basis that I am not a professional scientist or on the basis that my articles depend on observations and reasoning rather than complex data and equations.

par5
August 12, 2009 2:00 am

Glad to see someone correctly call it a radiation ‘imbalance’. Leif also has a point about heat storage- there is no heat in the oceans that rise to the surface. Heat accumulates at the surface, then diffuses. The wind draws some of this away. The sun is not powerful enough to warm the oceans, just the surface. I dive in open water, so this is my observation.

Stephen Wilde
August 12, 2009 2:09 am

The link between ocean heat content and the Earth’s radiation balance arises because variations in the rate of energy release by the oceans then go on to change the latitudinal positions of all the air circulation patterns which in turn changes the speed of the hydrological cycle which in turn modulates the rate of energy loss to space.
Thus the air as a whole acts as a negative feedback neutralising variations in the rate of energy release from the oceans.
That is what keeps the entire system within narrow enough parameters to ensure that we retain our liquid oceans.
Weather and climate are just the day to day by products of that overall process.

August 12, 2009 2:31 am

It is all in the Oceans and the currents as suggested here:
http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/40/88/86/PDF/NATA.pdf
Warning: Dr. Svalgaard qualifies it as a ’junk science’ !

Mick
August 12, 2009 2:35 am

I have a question for Leif:
is there a correlation between the sun magnetic field rotation and induced electrical current in the salt water sea?
Can the physical currents (Golf stream) be explained by this phenomena?
The earth is “swimming” in a rotating magnetic field, and can be regarded as a
“one turn coil” (the sea) with iron core. That would explain the earth magnetic field as well.
If(!!) this is a “plausible” theory, how much energy transferred to the oceans?
Thanks.

Ron de Haan
August 12, 2009 2:53 am

Step by step the temple of knowledge is build.
I would like to see the graphs and data to be updated so we can see whats happening right now.

August 12, 2009 2:57 am

I don’t see any reason why the ocean might not store heat and release on a variety of timescales. Seawater stratifies quite strongly at depth and can retain differences in heat for a long time. That it does so is amply evidenced by the rise in sea level due to thermal expansion, as measured by satellite altimetry.
All three ‘independent’ assessments of ocean heat content underestimate the amount of energy the ocean has absorbed and retained. I proved this by calculating the amount of solar energy required to be retained in the oceans to cause them to expand the 5400Km^3=16mm in the 1993-2003 period apart from the rise due to ice melt etc. I believe the reason for this underestimation is due in part to the need to balance the energy books with the purported forcing due to co2, since their figures work out to 1.7W.m^2. The forcing was actually more like 4W/m^2 over the 1993-2003 period.
Leif Svalgaard checked and verified my result. If he feels that being ‘lectured in another thread that the oceans don’t retain heat’ disproves this, maybe he should reflect on the fact that the maths he checked and verified says otherwise, and also that just because someone repeatedly says something, it don’t make it so.

dario
August 12, 2009 3:14 am

Well, according to this paper, from 2001 onward we are actually LOSING in the space more or less 0,25 W/m2 of energy….
Strange, there’s should be that man-made carbon-kryptonite space shield to seal our atmosphere…
Maybe the Aliens have opened some breakthroughs in it? 😉
In front of an IPCC estimated AGW of 1,6 W/m2, this means that our “shield” has started leaking about 25% of it….

Stephen Wilde
August 12, 2009 3:22 am

The issue of ‘heat storage’ needs clarification in relation to the oceans.
It is clear that the oceans have a certain temperature overall notwithstanding internal variability.
I submit that that temperature is set by the length of delay between solar shortwave reaching the Earth’s oceans and longwave radiation leaving the Earth’s oceans.
I also submit that the length of that delay is overwhelmingly set by the oceans and not significantly by the composition of the air.
Over time the oceans slow down or accelerate that transmission of energy for reasons not yet determined. In that process the ocean temperatures rise and fall slightly and the rate of energy transfer to the air varies up and down slightly.
I do not accept that it is a simple matter of the main oceanic contribution being constant with only the surface waters involved in the rate of energy transfer from oceans to air. The apparent 30/60 year cycle displayed by the PDO does not correlate with any observed changes affecting the air alone.
The sun does warm the oceans. The sun is the only energy supply if one ignores heat from the mantle. I often see confusion between the power of solar shortwave to penetrate the oceans deeply and the inability of infra red to penetrate beyond a few microns.

par5
August 12, 2009 3:33 am

Stephen Wilde (02:09:19) : Thus the air as a whole acts as a negative feedback neutralising variations in the rate of energy release from the oceans.
Agreed. Maybe if there were no trade winds or currents, the oceans would get more warmth further down. But the warmth at the surface is drawn away by circulation.

Lindsay H.
August 12, 2009 3:50 am

wattsupwiththat (00:00:58) :
“The question hinges on rates of uptake vs outlet. I certainly don’t think that the oceans act as a very long period capacitor, but they do have capacity” —

Since the ARGO network has been operating we have not seen much change in average surface temps of the Ocean. Nor have we seen much change in the Deep Ocean Temp, although we dont have any reliable long term records.
One of the reasons there has not been much publicity about ARGO results is probably because it hasn’t produced the expected results as modeled by the IPCC, which encouraged the UN to establish the network in the first place.
can we conclude that the system is in a balanced situation.
Its one thing to heat a pot of water from the bottom and boil it in 5 minutes try boiling it by holding the element over the top and give a similar radient temp as the sun say 1400 w/sq m and see how hot the water gets. The absorption time seems to be the the same as the release time. It’s an interesting experiment, change the depth of water in the saucepan and observe. Model the ocean in a saucepan : probably give you better results than some of the IPCC models !!
By my back of the envelope calculation the average ocean Temp is not much more that 6 deg. C. (90% of the ocean is deep ocean with temp of about 4.5 to 5 Deg.C) insulated by a few km of rock and mantle from the planet core with temps of several 1000 deg. What will be the convectional transfer from the planet core to the oceans. It must be very small.
If the oceans are ‘storing heat” in the tropics as a net gain from the day /night radiative balance then it will be transported by currents to a midlatitude where the balance is negative wit ocean currents at say 2 to 4 knots it will only take 2 or 3 months for the stored heat to reach those latitudes.
If the Oceans were storing heat we would have seen signs of it by now.
Im much more impressed by the recent post on the natural regulator function of the tropical storm belt.

Stephen Wilde
August 12, 2009 4:02 am

I should make it clear as to why the effect of the air on the oceans is always a negative feedback.
If the oceans release energy faster then the changes in the air accelerate it’s removal to space thus limiting the warming of the air.
If the oceans release energy more slowly then the changes in the air seek to pull more energy from the oceans thus limiting the cooling of the air.
The flow is always sun to oceans to air to space. It cannot be reversed. Only the speed can be changed.
The systems in the air can only push energy into space or pull it from the oceans. They cannot pull energy from space or push it into the oceans.
All this is explained in tiresome detail in my collection of articles at climaterealists.com for anyone who has the patience.
The relevance to CO2 is that the same mechanism neutralises the warming effect of all increases in GHGs whether from more CO2, water vapour or anything else.

August 12, 2009 4:09 am

Dr. Douglas: Newman et al (2003)…
http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/gilbert.p.compo/Newmanetal2003.pdf
…and Zhang et al (1997), who were the first to calculate the PDO…
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~david/zwb1997.pdf
…determined that the PDO was a lagged effect of ENSO. It then seems as though you’re arguing indirectly that ENSO and TOA radiation imbalance correlate and that the low frequency component of ENSO caused the climate shifts. Both make sense, but let’s look at the latter.
You wrote, “What is the cause of these climate shifts? We suggest that the low frequency component of the Pacific Decade Oscillation (PDO) may be involved. The PDO index changes from positive to negative near 1960; it remains negative until the mid-1970s where it becomes positive; then it becomes negative again at about 2000.”
Smoothed NINO3.4 SST anomalies indicate that the frequency and magnitude of El Nino and La Nina events vary and that the positive and negative phases of ENSO have the same time periods that you described:
http://i31.tinypic.com/bezz8h.jpg
The use of ENSO in a discussion of OHC makes much more sense to me. During an El Nino, the eastern tropical Pacific discharges heat from the ocean to the atmosphere, and during the La Nina, the eastern tropical Pacific recharges the ocean heat by absorbing heat from the atmosphere. Tropical TLT anomalies and NINO3.4 SST anomalies correlate quite well, as could be expected:
http://i43.tinypic.com/2isid84.jpg
However, during the El Nino phase, Pavlakis et al (2008)…
http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/6697/2008/acpd-8-6697-2008-print.pdf
…illustrated that downwelling shortwave radiation (and for the tropical Pacific it’s “the component of the net heat into the ocean with the largest magnitude”) increases over the Pacific Warm Pool, and the increase in DSR is significant, 25 watts/sq meter during the 1997/98 El Nino.
http://i41.tinypic.com/2435kbb.jpg
That leads me to this thought. Although it may seem counterintuitive, I’m presently bouncing around the idea that El Nino events may actually result in an increase in OHC. And if the frequency and magnitude of El Nino events exceed the frequency and magnitude of La Nina events, which they have since 1976, OHC will rise, which it has. During the 50s through mid-70s, the frequency and magnitude of La Nina events exceeded the frequency and magnitude of El Nino events, and OHC declined.
I’ll write that up as a post in the next few days and see what the feedback is. I suspect that many will disagree.

August 12, 2009 4:19 am

Stephen Wilde: You wrote, “The solar input varies over century timescales, the rate of energy release from ocean to air varies over multidecadal timescales with the PDO as the largest component.”
Two things: On whose TSI data are you basing the assumption that “solar input varies over century timescales?” Are you still using Lean at al?
Second, the PDO does not reflect SST or OHC. It reflects the PATTERN of SST anomalies for only the North Pacific, north of 20N. It’s ENSO that discharges and recharges OHC, not the PDO.

August 12, 2009 4:36 am

Guess this reinforces we need to prepare for the cold ahead. As the sun hits another lengthy spotless streak the signs couldnt be clearer. Sitting in the sun here in Australia today – it used to make you hot, now its simply tepid if that. As the poles are on a growing trend again I guess this means if this speeds up Tasmania will become part of the mainland again and so will Papua New Guinea

August 12, 2009 4:45 am

Lindsay H. (03:50:00) :
can we conclude that the system is in a balanced situation.

Not really. We may be at the peak of a long term cycle, and the downslope of ocean heat content is slow at the moment, but it’s there. Josh WIllis, the cheif ARGO data specialist, admitted to an online magazine that there had been a “slight cooling” since 2003. He later recanted that in a NASA article by saying it was level. I wonder why. It should be noted that his original comment was made *after* the ‘correction’ of the data which showed a steeper decline.
Its one thing to heat a pot of water from the bottom and boil it in 5 minutes try boiling it by holding the element over the top and give a similar radient temp as the sun say 1400 w/sq m and see how hot the water gets.
And don’t forget to introduce surface mixing by wave action, and deeper mixing by tidal action. I love kitchen corner experiments, but you have to simulate all important and relevant contributing factors to get a meaningful result.
If the Oceans were storing heat we would have seen signs of it by now.
We have. The satellite altimetry of sea levels is evidence of it. The sea level has risen substantially due to thermal expansion since 1993 when accurate satellite measurements began. It has slowed down since the sun went quieter in 2005.

August 12, 2009 5:12 am

Stephen Wilde (03:22:31) :
Over time the oceans slow down or accelerate that transmission of energy for reasons not yet determined. In that process the ocean temperatures rise and fall slightly and the rate of energy transfer to the air varies up and down slightly.

Excellent analysis as always.
I suspect the rate of transmission is affected by the overall switching between modes of energy absorption, and modes of energy release. These take place at all timescales:
Diurnal modes affecting near surface waters due to difference in air temp between night and day.
Seasonal modes due to varying insolation. This will average across the globe, but is an important effect on an annual northern/southern hemisphere basis.
Decadal modes, depending on the state of the solar cycle. The peak to trough effect of the sun on ocean heat is masked by the fact that the el nino events are stronger near solar minimum. They are the manifestation of the ocean going into heat release mode following the strong absorption of heat to deeper levels during the height of the solar cycle. This is why the apparent signal in the temperature record is only 0.15C or so.
Multidecadal modes. These are due to runs of high or low solar cycles. My calcs show the heat is stored to at least 700 meteres, probably much more in places. My supporting evidence, apart from my calcs on thermal expansion (verified by Leif Svalgaard), is that the average temperature increase of the top 700m of ocean would be 0.15C from 1993 to 2003 for the energy retention I calculated. This is consistent with a surface increase of 0.3C (observed) and a roughly linear reduction of temperature to the thermocline of the ocean from the surface. (Also observed).
Century modes. The 10be record shows that solar variation can occur on long time scales. There is a point of balance with insolation at which the oceans neither gain nor lose heat in the longer term. My model suggest the oceans were pretty stable heat content wise from 1850 to 1935, notwithstanding the 30 year up’s and downs helped along by the variation in solar cycle amplitudes. Since then, they warmed strongly, leading to the sea level rise we have winessed.

Robert Wood
August 12, 2009 5:16 am

Whoever told you that, Leif, weren’t all there.

Kevin Kilty
August 12, 2009 5:20 am

Leif Svalgaard (23:13:44) :
I have just [in another thread] been lectured that the oceans contains no heat, as heat cannot be stored, so what is this whole paper about?
REPLY: Gosh Leif, I dunno. How’d that happen? Oceans = OBAHFC (One Big Assed Heat Flux Capacitor) 😉 – A

A somewhat pedantic point of physicists is that one refers to heat as energy during transfer only. If one looks at the oceans as being at a “dead state” temperature, then one does not see the oceans as a source, but rather only as a sink. In another context one must see the oceans as a source and the polar regions as a sink, howeve. I’d like to know, Leif, what was the context of this other thread?

Robert Wood
August 12, 2009 5:22 am

KimW @00:21:09, that is at the surface; go deeper and the temeprature varies less. The thermoclines move down in the Summer and retreat in the winter.

pochas
August 12, 2009 5:36 am

@Lindsay H. (03:50:00) :
While there has been progress in describing decadal variability in temperature trends, there is always that pesky centennial temperature rise of ~ 0.6 degrees per century which has been with us since the Maunder Minimum. That’s the one I find interesting. Could it have anything to do with cold, deep ocean water being replenished during Grand Minima then slowly mixing with surface water?

Kevin Kilty
August 12, 2009 5:36 am

I have thoght for a long time that part of the seeming chaos of climate occurs because there are many feedback loops with extremely different characteristic times. In this paper the authors argue for a short characteristic time in ocean heat transfer; but we know for certain that the “overturning” time of the oceans must be thousands of years. By overturning I mean the process in which bottom water is created in polar regions, sinks, and eventually returns to the surface in much lower latitudes. How much energy can one store in this loop? Well, bottom water might vary by only a few degrees C at present, but we are talking about enormous volumes of water, so the energy stored might be significant. On the other hand ocean surface currents, and internal waves, have characteristic times of a few years to perhaps a decade at most. So here are two loops with very different characteristic times. BY the way, the long period loop here also has some impact on CO2 because bottom water, when returning to the surface, warms, expels CO2, and precipitates calcite.

bill
August 12, 2009 5:50 am

Leif Svalgaard (23:13:44) : REPLY: Gosh Leif, I dunno. How’d that happen? Oceans = OBAHFC (One Big Assed Heat Flux Capacitor) 😉 – A
No wonder that the ocean can store heat – its just shifted to a different time frame!
wiki: “The flux capacitor, which consisted of a regularly squared compartment with three flashing lights arranged as a “Y”, was described by Doc as “what makes time travel possible”. “

Paul Linsay
August 12, 2009 5:59 am

The oceans are not well mixed. They have many layers that differ in temperature and salinity with sharp transitions between layers. Submariners and whales use these channels to listen and send sounds over thousands of miles. It’s quite conceivable that heat would be trapped in one or more of these layers and persist there for long periods of time. Since the top 15 m of the ocean contains as much heat as the entire atmosphere, a layer doesn’t have to be very thick to have a significant effect on the temperature of the atmosphere should it suddenly enter a “pipeline” to the surface where it could dump its heat.

steve
August 12, 2009 6:17 am

I find it interesting that anyone believes they can prove the oceans are warming based on sea level rise. How much of the sea level rise is based on new dam construction? According to the paper by Chao, Wu and Li in Science 11 apr 08 virtually all the variations in sea level rise can be attributed to land sequestration.
Then there is the matter of biomass. How much water is released to the system by deforestation? First you have the water in the vegetation to take into account, typically 60-80% water by weight. Then you have the fact that trees are replaced by grasses which reduces the depth that water can soak into the soil. During the deforestation you also have soil erosion that flows to the bottoms of lakes and rivers decreasing their holding capicity.
Then there is land use issues. Draining of swamps for construction. The use of ground water. The Ogallala aquifer system has had water level decline by as much as 75 feet in some areas since the 1950s. Some areas have had a 30 feet decline in just the ten years from 1996 – 2006. This is just one aquifer system in the world of hundreds? thousands?
Once we have a handle on how much water is being added/subtracted from the system then how will we measure the sea level rise? Tide gauges or satellites? Tide gauges will require a firm handle on tectonic plate movements and land rising/falling. There seems to be some indication that depletion of ground water causes a change in the rate of rising/falling so there is reason to doubt this has remained constant. Satellites then? Is the Earth contracting or expanding and why? This would seem important if you are going to measure from the center of it to determine sea levels. Shen, Chen and Li in the AGU fall meeting stated the Earth is expanding at the rate of about 0.6mm per year for the last ten years. Is this a constant rate? does it always expand or does it also contract?
Once you have solved all these issues and want to determine the temperature of the oceans by thermal expansion equations then you can probably get a good idea of ocean heat content. Until then my view is it would be a better idea to get out your thermometer.

Ninderthana
August 12, 2009 6:25 am

I am not quibling with the main conclusions of this paper but in a
2008 Melbourne presentation:
http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/solar-cycles/IanwilsonForum2008.pdf
I have already shown that abrupt long-term changes in the Earth’s rotation rate precede abrupt changes in the PDO, from positive to negative and vice versa, by roughly six year (see slide 28 of 44). I have also shown that these abrupt changes in the Earth’s rotation rate closley match abrupt changes in the motion of the Sun about the Solar System’s Barycentre (see slide 37 of 44). hence, I have no problem predicting the approximate date of the next change in the PDO (to positive). It will occur around ~ 2018 (=/- a few years
either side).
Hence, the following quote from this paper about the unpredictability of the flips in the PDO is completely false.
quote:
“One would like to be able to predict future climate. Such predictions are based upon the present initial conditions and some expectation that changes in the climate state are continuous. However, if there are abrupt changes such as reported by Swanson and Tsonis then this is not possible. These abrupt changes presumably occur because the existing state is no longer stable and there is a transition to a new stable state.”
No they actually occur because of long-term changes in the Earth’s rotation rate, that are being driven from outside the Earth. Why are most of you ignoring this fundamental result?
These results are now published in a compendium of papers in Russian and are available (In English) from me upon request.

Ninderthana
August 12, 2009 6:31 am

Correction – that should have read ~ 2014 – 2018 (+/- a few years), Sorry.

Mike McMillan
August 12, 2009 6:32 am

I’ve seen little discussion or estimates of the amount of energy that gets converted into work (the Physics 101 definition), rather than just being input and then exhausted from the earth climate system.
I refer to the considerable horsepower that goes into making the oceans or the atmosphere circulate, or the storage of that energy chemically in a giant redwood or an acre of corn. Snow landing on a glacier stores potential energy that is released slowly over decades.
This conversion to kinetic and chemical energy doesn’t show up on any thermostat, and I’m unaware that it’s a component in any climate model, yet it’s there and it has to be a huge amount.
This may not be the secret hidden heat sink that some modelers seek, but it’s surely a part of it, and can’t continue to be ignored.

August 12, 2009 6:35 am

steve (06:17:22) :
I find it interesting that anyone believes they can prove the oceans are warming based on sea level rise. How much of the sea level rise is based on new dam construction? According to the paper by Chao, Wu and Li in Science 11 apr 08 virtually all the variations in sea level rise can be attributed to land sequestration.

Just togive some relative sense of scale, the Three gorges dam is around 30 cubic km once filled. The thermal expansion of the oceans is around 5400 cubic km and that’s just 1993-2003.
The IPCC bases it’s estimate of the proportion of sea level rise due to thermal expansion on estimates of the meltoff (mainly from Greenland and Antarctic peninsula, plus various glaciers), the land use factors you have pointed out, and isostatic rebound, all subtracted from the total rise.
If you disagree with them, fair enough, they have some other stuff wrong too as we know. However, you have to start somewhere, and ‘sticking in the thermometer’ isn’t infallible either, as Anthony, Josh Willis and others have discovered.
I have weighed the balance of evidence through moderately extensive study, and reached my own judgement. The model I have built from that seems to tie together several strands concerning SST, ocean heat content, changing sunspot counts, changes in length of day, the PDO and AMO, changing incoming shortwave and outgoing longwave radiation, and some other stuff.
If you can do better with your thermometer, get cracking and feed us the data.

pyromancer76
August 12, 2009 6:38 am

I have to ask a stupid question and I don’t have much time to think it out. Sorry. Why do we talk about heat “stored in the ocean” rather than heated (ocean) water (vast amounts) being moved around (and up and down) by both ocean and air currents?
It is the concept of “stored warmth” that bothers me. “Greenhouse” suggests “stored warmth” because of “that man-made carbon-kryptonite space shield” (thanks, dario). Bear with me as I check a text. If anything is stored in the ocean, it seems to me it should be cold, dense, salty water created by the freezing at the poles. The colder the water, the denser (gravity pulls it downward); the more saline the water, the lower the freezing point. “The seafloor under ice is the coldest, saltiest water around”, which leads to the seasonal thermocline (halocline, pynocline, nutricline) and beyond that the permanent thermocline. “A force must be applied to move a dense medium upward into a less dense medium.” The forces are gravity, tides, especially with mid-ocean ridges and sea mounts, and wind-driven currents. Even though this paper talks about a top-of-atmosphere flux indicating regime change in earth’s temperature, does any of this lead toward understanding changes in the “stored cold”.?
“At least three times in earth’s history the bottom waters of the ocean have been considerably warmer than they are today.”
I continue to abhor the idea of Greenhouse. No one who thinks of a Greenhouse can possibly, at the same time with the active neural network (this is very important), think of “radiation imbalance”. The latter is the concept about which scientists and non-scientists alike must educate the populace if we are to have any hope of stopping the CO2 kryptonite space shield nonsense.

Robert Wood
August 12, 2009 6:39 am

par5, The Great lakes are always 4C at the bottom. At the surface, it gets warm in the summer and obviously freezes in the winter. The thermocline descends, at least in Eastern Lake Ontario, to about 70-80 feet. If the year was longer then, the thermocline would have longer to descend. However, it isn’t so that 90 feet, the temperature enver changes.
This does, however, give some idea of how the oceans heat.

Kevin Kilty
August 12, 2009 6:41 am

Lindsay H. (03:50:00) :
…Its one thing to heat a pot of water from the bottom and boil it in 5 minutes try boiling it by holding the element over the top and give a similar radient temp as the sun say 1400 w/sq m and see how hot the water gets. The absorption time seems to be the the same as the release time…
…By my back of the envelope calculation the average ocean Temp is not much more that 6 deg. C. (90% of the ocean is deep ocean with temp of about 4.5 to 5 Deg.C) insulated by a few km of rock and mantle from the planet core with temps of several 1000 deg. What will be the convectional transfer from the planet core to the oceans. It must be very small.
If the oceans are ’storing heat” in the tropics as a net gain from the day /night radiative balance then it will be transported by currents to a midlatitude where the balance is negative wit ocean currents at say 2 to 4 knots it will only take 2 or 3 months for the stored heat to reach those latitudes.

The absorption time from radiation is probably no better determined than the release time, but it is unlikely the two are equal. If the atmosphere is clear and the ocean calm, then absorption takes place over a depth range of several hundred meters, and the release takes place over less than a meter of depth range. But if there are waves and wind then the release is quite different by orders of magnitude. And, if Bob Tisdale, were on this post he’d undoubtedly bring up ENSO, in which storage and release takes place over many years, and the storage and release are not symmetric.
Bottom water in the Atlantic is about -2C and in the Pacific is perhaps +1 or +2. The coldest bottom water comes from the Arctic regions in the Atlantic sector. We do not have much data about historical temperature changes in bottom water, but we figure from oxygen isotope data that bottom water has been as warm as +15C at times in the past 50my.
Heat flow from the Earth’s interior has little direct effect on climate in the short term because it is quite puny; however, people have proposed that beneath the isolation of an ice cap, heat flow into the floor of the Arctic ocean might cause this ocean to overturn, open polynyas on the surface, and end an ice age–speculative but interesting.

August 12, 2009 6:41 am

Ninderthana (06:25:06) :
they actually occur because of long-term changes in the Earth’s rotation rate, that are being driven from outside the Earth. Why are most of you ignoring this fundamental result?
These results are now published in a compendium of papers in Russian and are available (In English) from me upon request.

I’d like a copy (In english). rog at tallbloke dot net.
Thanks

August 12, 2009 6:46 am

Kevin Kilty (05:20:53) :
I’d like to know, Leif, what was the context of this other thread?
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/06/long-debate-ended-over-cause-demise-of-ice-ages-solar-and-earth-wobble/#comment-172069

August 12, 2009 6:47 am

I think a lot of the resistance to the idea of the oceans storing heat on a long term basis, is because of the AGW idea of ‘heat in the pipeline’ from the greenhouse effect.
The air doesn’t heat the oceans, it’s the other way round, so we can forget that daft notion. However the heat in the pipeline is real enough. It is solar derived heat, and we should be grateful for it, because if the sun goes into a funk like it did at the start of the 1800’s, we’ll be glad that it previously charged the ‘oceanic capacitor’ with a run of high solar cycles.

coaldust
August 12, 2009 6:54 am

Kevin Kilty (05:20:53) :
A somewhat pedantic point of physicists is that one refers to heat as energy during transfer only.
Although you find this pedantic, I beleive that we all communicate better when terms are well defined and used in an accurate manner. “Heat” and “energy” are well defined, but the misuse of the term “heat” when “energy” is meant is rampant. See the phrase “ocean heat content”.

August 12, 2009 6:54 am

Mike McMillan (06:32:40) :
I’ve seen little discussion or estimates of the amount of energy that gets converted into work (the Physics 101 definition), rather than just being input and then exhausted from the earth climate system.
This may not be the secret hidden heat sink that some modelers seek, but it’s surely a part of it, and can’t continue to be ignored.

The bottom line is that heat in = heat out, more or less.
What the internal elements of the system get up to in between is a fascinating study, but doesn’t affect the overall equation governed by the laws of thermodynamics in the (very) long term.
However, you are right to point it up, because a failure to appreciate the variety of ways in which the biosphere, oceans and atmosphere and the Earth itself shift heat around, hiding it from the surface temperature record, is in large measure responsible for the misconceptions of oversimplyfudging climatologists and physicists alike.

Ninderthana
August 12, 2009 7:03 am

par5 (02:00:48)
“Glad to see someone correctly call it a radiation ‘imbalance’. Leif also has a point about heat storage- there is no heat in the oceans that rise to the surface. Heat accumulates at the surface, then diffuses. The wind draws some of this away. The sun is not powerful enough to warm oceans, just the surface.”
The oceans surface waters (~ 100 m) are directly warmed by solar radiation.
By their very nature radiative waming and cooling processes are very rapid when you are talking about multi-year time scales.
Despite the hourly, daily and annual changes in radiative losses and gains
to the (tropical) oceans heat content, you can still talk about a long term average heat content. It is the varaition of this long-term average heat content of the upper surfaces of the (tropical) oceans that is in question.
One factor none of you are seeming to consider is the up welling deep cool ocean water. It is well know that up welling of this cool water has an significant impact up long-term ocean temperatures, independent of the
instantaneous radiative heat balance.
Long-term changes in the up welling of cool deep ocean water (aka the PDO) goven the level of long-term radiative losses from the ocean surface and indirectly the long-term changes in the OLR.

Richard Mackey
August 12, 2009 7:12 am

The significant role of the PDO argued for by this paper is significant in relation to the role of the Sun. This is because evidence is accumulating that the Lunar Nodal Cycle is one of the key drivers of the PDO.
During late April/early May this year there was a good paper, a fascinating and informative discussion and many relevant, authoritative links about the PDO on WUWT here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/28/misunderstandings-about-the-pacific-decadal-oscillation (aka http://tinyurl.com/mt5vwu ).
It seems that it is well established that the PDO is now in its negative phase and that this means a colder climate for North America.
In a paper published in March this year, Dr. Ichiro Yasuda, Professor, Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, showed that the Luna Nodal Cycle is a key driver of the PDO.
The citation is: Yasuda, I. (2009), ‘The 18.6-year period moon-tidal cycle in Pacific Decadal Oscillation reconstructed from tree-rings in western North America’, Geophysical Research. Letters, 36, L05605, doi:10.1029/2008GL036880.
Here is the Abstract:
“Time-series of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) reconstructed from tree-rings in Western North America is found to have a statistically significant periodicity of 18.6- year period lunar nodal tidal cycle; negative (positive) PDO tends to occur in the period of strong (weak) diurnal tide. In the 3rd and 5th (10th, 11th and 13rd) year after the maximum diurnal tide, mean-PDO takes significant negative (positive) value, suggesting that the Aleutian Low is weak (strong), western-central North Pacific in 30–50N is warm (cool) and equator-eastern rim of the Pacific is cool (warm). This contributes to climate predictability with a time-table from the astronomical tidal cycle.”
The last LNC maximum happened on September 16, 2006. According to Prof Yasuda’s finding, the PDO should now be taking a significant negative value, as is being found. The climate consequences are therefore as expected.
There is substantial evidence that the LNC is a significant contributor to our planet’s climate dynamics. I include a carefully written and illustrated explanation of the LNC and review a lot of the published literature about its contribution to climate dynamics in my paper “The Sun’s role in regulating the Earth’s climate dynamics” published in the Journal of Energy and Environment Vol 20 No 1 2009. A copy of my paper and the new GRL one by Prof Yasuda is in the files section of the site.
Amongst other things I wrote:
“The ocean currents generated by the northward movement of the tidal bulge, in conjunction with the rotation of the Earth through the bulges in the normal manner creating our experience of the tides, brings warmish equatorial water to the Arctic accelerating the warming that had being going on there because of other forms of solar activity as discussed below.
The LNC has maximum effect at higher latitudes, resulting in higher sea levels at these latitudes. It creates tidal currents resulting in diapycnal mixing, bringing the warmer equatorial waters into the Arctic. The LNC is therefore a major determinant of Arctic climate dynamics, influencing long term fluctuations in Arctic ice. As a result, it is a key driver of European climate.”
The LNC is but one of the many ways in which the Sun most likely regulates our climate. The Sun’s role in speeding up or slowing down the Earth’s rotation is another as there is a rather well established relationship between decadal variations in rotation and climate. (Briefly, a decadal rotation decrease (increase) results in planetary cooling (warming)) with a lag of about 6 years. 6 years ago rotation was slowing down.
It is to be noted that it is most likely that the Sun’s impact on our climate dynamics is greatest because of the interaction between the several solar variables than because of any one of those variables on their own.
There is also a very good paper accompanied by useful discussion and web links about the LNC on WUWT here:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/23/evidence-of-a-lunisolar-influence-on-decadal-and-bidecadal-oscillations-in-globally-averaged-temperature-trends/#more-7965
(aka http://tinyurl.com/mrjq9e )

Deanster
August 12, 2009 7:26 am

Lief:
A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the bulk of the heat transferred.
If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.
I dunno Lief … the paragraph says “to the oceans” .. not “from” the oceans. I’m not up on it, but maybe you could shed some light on it .. .the rate of heat transfer mechanisms … energy in as light [transformed into heat] vs energy out as heat by convection, conduction and evaporation.

rbateman
August 12, 2009 7:31 am

If the ocean is incapable of storing heat, then there can be no long-term temperature gradients.
So, if you take the oceans out of the equations for changes in climate, then you turn around and take the sun out totally, a paradox is created.
Before man burned fossil fuels, there was no climate change.
The clergy saying prayers in front of advancing glaciers in the Little Ice Age and the ancient man they found frozen in the Alps are fakes.
Wolly Mammoths are elaborate hoaxes.
The Vikings in Greenland and Newfoundland didn’t perish from crop failures due to lack of growing season, they drank too much beer and passed out in snow and died of hypothermia.
All the glaciers we have were there since the beginning of time, and once they melt, they cannot reform.
Climate change is impossible.
There can be only climate variation in a finite range.
The Earth is restored to it’s pre-scientific flatness.
We have new green jobs for lots of people:
Stone cutters for temples and statues of idols.

P.Wilson
August 12, 2009 7:33 am

How could there be a positive feedback from c02? It takes a lot of energy to heat oceans, which have a higher heat capacity that air. In other words, the energy required to heat the oceans by 1C is far greater than the energy required to heat the troposhere by 1C. Longwave radiation doesn’t penetrate the oceans.

Stephen Wilde
August 12, 2009 7:35 am

“Bob Tisdale (04:19:09) :
Stephen Wilde: You wrote, “The solar input varies over century timescales, the rate of energy release from ocean to air varies over multidecadal timescales with the PDO as the largest component.”
Two things: On whose TSI data are you basing the assumption that “solar input varies over century timescales?” Are you still using Lean at al?”
I have noted the revised TSI data from Leif amongst others. Although the range of variation is much reduced the general pattern of rising and falling over the centuries remains. In any event I see TSI as only a proxy for solar input to the Earth’s system and not necessarily definitive
“Second, the PDO does not reflect SST or OHC. It reflects the PATTERN of SST anomalies for only the North Pacific, north of 20N. It’s ENSO that discharges and recharges OHC, not the PDO”
I have previously accepted that PDO is just a statistical artifact arising from ENSO events but have also noted a real phenomenon behind it. Since that real phenomenon is not adequately described by the term PDO I have suggested the term ‘Wildean Ocean Cycles’ Thank you for the opportunity to put that forward again.
Anyway it is the net behaviour of all the oceans combined together with variations in solar activity that discharges and recharges OHC not just ENSO.

Editor
August 12, 2009 7:36 am

Leif Svalgaard (23:27:06) :
“A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the bulk of the heat transferred.”
If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.

So what’s the connection to PDO? It seems to me that they are implying both a “large annual term” as well as some kind of longer term process. Now that longer term process may have nothing to do with oceans “storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.” But I don’t think the “large annual term” is the whole story here.
In my continuing explorations into the mysteries of the global temperature time series, I’ve recently determined that it can be decomposed into two components, one having a high Hurst exponent (long time persistence), and the other having a low Hurst exponent (anti-persistence, or mean reversion). The latter property fits with the notion of a “large annual term” because it shows the climate system rapidly responding to inputs (shocks) by quickly moving back toward a mean. The former — a component with a high Hurst exponent — is characteristic of cycles on decadal and multidecadal time frames, like (but not necessarily the same) as the PDO.
So I do not necessarily see an inconsistency between “a large annual” term along with a longer, low frequency, process at work. Now whether that longer process is the ocean releasing heat stored from higher solar cycles, I haven’t a clue. In fact, I’d think rather not, at least in the sense I’m thinking here of longer term “cycles,” since storing up heat from high solar cycles, only to release it during low solar cycles, would lead to a non-cycle (stasis) in the long term “second order” process.
But don’t worry, Leif. While I may not buy into the “storing up heat from high solar cylces, only to rlease it during low solar cycles” argument (yet? — my mind is never closed to new data), I can still see the sun at work in the global temperature time series (in the component with the high Hurst exponent mentioned above). 🙂

3x2
August 12, 2009 7:50 am

Leif – Tallbloke asked you something on an earlier thread that, as a non-scientist, I would be interested in your answer. I direct the question to you as you obviously spend a good portion of your time pondering such questions. It went like this …

As far as I can see, your application of the Stefan Boltzman law doesn’t fit the context of a planet with a dynamic atmospheric system.
I have always been more than a little uncomfortable with applying “clean” physical laws to dynamic planet wide systems particularly ours. Is there some [clean physics] planetary scale reason why our dynamic atmosphere can be safely ignored?
Taking for example The Thermostat Hypothesis, my understanding of that was that a moderate imbalance (solar or otherwise) would simply start the process earlier (or later) in the day to counteract change such that ln(C02) or T^4 or indeed moderate changes in TSI matter not.
[I should have put this question on the earlier thread but noticed that you had commented here on a sort of related thread]
[comments by others welcome :~)]

3x2
August 12, 2009 7:51 am

oops – didn’t close the blockquote properly – tallbloke only responsible for the first paragraph

Kevin Kilty
August 12, 2009 7:54 am

cal (01:31:27) :
Leif Svalgaard (23:27:06) :
A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the bulk of the heat transferred.
If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.
As I posted previously, there is chart in the Climate4you website that shows the correlation between long wave radiation at the equator and temperature. This clearly shows that, in general, the temperature and radiation are anticorrelated. This supports your comment that the temperature is caused by the radiative imbalance rather than heat being stored in the sea during previous warming periods and then released. The only exception is the 1998 el nino and the months immediately before and after. During this period the radiation and temperature were correlated indicating that in this exceptional situation stored energy was released.

I see a chart at this URL,
http://www.climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm#Outgoing long wave radiation above Equator
But rather than anticorrelation, I see a phase lag of about one year in the presense of longer period variation. The air temperature peaks, and this is followed about a year later by a peak in the LW radiation. Note that the graphs do not actually cover the same portion of the globe, a lot of the western Pacific is excluded from the LW data. At any rate, phase is notoriously difficult to unwind in time series and so determining the phase relationship as a function of period is not yet clear to me, but a cursory look seems the relationship is the reverse of what you claim.

Nogw
August 12, 2009 7:56 am

Please look at this curve, a forecast to 2099, and see where we are at now:
http://www.giurfa.com/fao_temps.jpg

Nogw
August 12, 2009 8:02 am

The virus “GWCC-1998” (global warming/climate change) has suddenly attacked one of WUWT most serious blogger:
I have just [in another thread] been lectured that the oceans contains no heat, as heat cannot be stored, so what is this whole paper about?
I am sure it was a joke.

Pamela Gray
August 12, 2009 8:03 am

Re: solar and barycenter. A faster oscillating event has a pretty good chance of occurring simultaneously with a slower oscillating event and yet have no connection whatsoever between the two. Mechanism people. Mechanism.
Re this thread: Very satisfying. Very satisfying indeed.

August 12, 2009 8:06 am

coaldust (06:54:45) :
Kevin Kilty (05:20:53) :
A somewhat pedantic point of physicists is that one refers to heat as energy during transfer only.
Although you find this pedantic, I beleive that we all communicate better when terms are well defined and used in an accurate manner. “Heat” and “energy” are well defined, but the misuse of the term “heat” when “energy” is meant is rampant. See the phrase “ocean heat content”.

I agree with coaldust. This AGWers are trying to change even the meaning of the physical concepts. The thing is quite clear, although many are trying of confusing it:
Heat is a process quantity.
Internal energy is a state function.
Systems cannot store process quantities and no system can have a “content” of a process quantity.
You can store energy into a system like internal energy.
People saying “Heat content in the oceans” are misusing the real physical concept of heat. The correct form is “Total of energy stored in oceans”, or simply “Content of internal energy in oceans”.

Editor
August 12, 2009 8:15 am

The abstract ends with: “These climate shifts limit climate predictability.
Not necessarily. First of all, while Douglass and Knox position their paper in terms of Swanson and Tsonis, who treat climate shifts are part of a reorganization of a chaotically dynamic system, that is not the same thing as saying that the climate shifts are unpredictable. However, I think the jury is still out on the mechanism proposed by Swanson and Tsonis to explain climate shifts. Since these are all efforts to explain long lived, low frequency processes like the PDO, I’m not sure that any mechanism can be demonstrated completely with reference only to data from the instrumental period. After all, what looks like a sharp structural break in the PDO may simply be the transition point in cycle that lasts 50 to 60 years, a cycle that may have other, shorter term cycles imposed on top of it, and on top of all that maybe an essentially random or mean reverting variation on a short term (monthly to annual) basis. With cycles of this duration, I think the jury stays out until we have a mechanism that also explains the evidence for the PDO in the proxy data record.
In any case, Swanson and Tsonsis don’t seem to agree on what their research means:
http://climateresearchnews.com/2009/07/natural-climate-shifts-swanson-v-tsonis/

pochas
August 12, 2009 8:15 am

“But don’t worry, Leif. While I may not buy into the “storing up heat from high solar cylces, only to rlease it during low solar cycles” argument (yet? — my mind is never closed to new data), I can still see the sun at work in the global temperature time series (in the component with the high Hurst exponent mentioned above)”
Basil,
Think “storing up cold” instead of “storing up heat.” The cold gets stored in deep ocean reservoirs during Grand Minima by cold salty water released during the freezing process. Then it mixes with the warm surface water more quickly at first, then more slowly as the cold reservoirs are depleted. This results in a long term warming trend which will continue until the next Grand Minimum.

steve
August 12, 2009 8:17 am

“Just togive some relative sense of scale, the Three gorges dam is around 30 cubic km once filled. The thermal expansion of the oceans is around 5400 cubic km and that’s just 1993-2003.”
That’s interesting tallbloke but hardly relative to all the land sequestration of water involved. If you have the scientific evidence to show new dam construction is minor when measuring sea level variations then perhaps you should publish a rebuttal to the paper I cited which was peer reviewed and in a reputable journal. As far as the sea level rise as attributed by the IPCC I don’t see anything about deforestation. I don’t see anything about ground water use. Perhaps this is because they are too small to matter, or perhaps this is because they are too difficult to measure. I would lean towards too difficult to measure. I also see nothing about Earth expansion. Can you point out what expansion rate they use?
I understand there are problems with direct temperature measurements. That doesn’t mean that we should have to accept a different flawed method. Telling me to go prove it is a weak response and shows you have no real answers to my points. It is enough that I have pointed out several significant factors that are being ignored.

Nogw
August 12, 2009 8:18 am

rbateman (07:31:52) :
We have new green jobs for lots of people: Stone cutters for temples and statues of idols.
Things are worst than previously thought.
As I have just written in another post:
But this issue of climate change and/or global warming has become a real psychic pandemia. It should be analyzed and treated as a health problem and as such, to seek to stop its propagation. If you do not do something in this respect you will suffer the consequences of it. This is a serious matter for you. We know this as foreing bloggers at WUWT and expectators of this peculiar madness.
Don’t you think so?

Robert Austin
August 12, 2009 8:30 am

steve (06:17:22) :
Good points about the issues with sea level rise. Warmists cite sea level rise as absolute and unqualified proof that the seas are gaining heat. They seem to allow for no other physical causes for apparent sea level rise than thermal expansion.

frederic
August 12, 2009 8:30 am

Is it true that oceanic bottomwaters were as warm as 15°C during the end of the Cretaceous?

Nogw
August 12, 2009 8:33 am

Errata: where written “expectators” read spectators. Thanks.

August 12, 2009 8:34 am

In the context of ocean heat content and the radiation balance, it may be worth pointing out that outgoing longwave radiation from the surface climbed by 4W/m^2 from around the turn of the millenium, and has stayed at that elevated value since.
This matches the 4/m^2 my calculations on the solar/cloud forcing on the ocean from 1993-2003 quite well in terms of magnitude. It looks like the oceans went into heat release mode after the solar cycle 23 peak in ~2002. This led to some el nino’s and then falls in OHC and then SST from 2005.
I speculate that the normal decadal fluctuation rate of OLR has stayed high for longer than usual because of the non-appearance of solar cycle 24 in any active sense. It will be interesting to see the rate at which the curve decays, and whether this seems to be proportional to the drop in average SST’s which started in 2005.
That should tell us something about the extent to which the oceans store energy, and the mode in which it releases it again.

Billy
August 12, 2009 8:52 am

par5 (02:00:48) :
“Glad to see someone correctly call it a radiation ‘imbalance’. Leif also has a point about heat storage- there is no heat in the oceans that rise to the surface. Heat accumulates at the surface, then diffuses. The wind draws some of this away. The sun is not powerful enough to warm the oceans, just the surface. I dive in open water, so this is my observation.”
This may be apropos of nothing but this comment and the topic in general reminded me of a story one of my college math professors told. The class was differential equations and we were discussing heat transfer. He took a break from the hardcore math for a moment to tell an anecdote about some research he had been involved with to measure the amount of heat that was coming out of the core of the earth. Seems they couldn’t simply put a thermometer in the dirt at the surface of the earth because it would be subject to influences from the sun. The yearly heat pulses traveled slowly through the earth and were measurable as basically sinusoidal signals every few feet. So they needed some place that was not influenced by the sun. The place they chose was the bottom of Lake Superior because it is so deep (1000 ft in some places) that the sun never reaches the bottom. However, they still needed to subtract out the temperature of the water in order to accurately isolate the heat coming from the earth. So they put thermometers on the bottom that measured the water temp. What they found was that the temperature was nearly constant at 40F (or something really cold like that) for nearly all year until about December. Then all of the sudden the temperature spiked up (though, I can’t remember how big the spike was in degrees, so “spike” is a relative term). It turns out it took it that long for the heat from the summer to make its way down to the bottom. (Note: this was 25 years ago so I may not be remembering everything correctly and I might be leaving out some context — but that is the gist of it as I remember it).
So, for whatever it’s worth (and maybe it’s not much) this anecdote suggests to me that maybe heat does not all dissipate from the surface. I know next to nothing about fluid dynamics, but I would guess that in a huge roiling cauldron like the oceans or the Great Lakes you might see some complicated and unexpected phenomenon happening.

Editor
August 12, 2009 9:04 am

Stephen Wilde (07:35:38) :
Bob Tisdale (04:19:09) :
—————————-
Bob,
What do I have to say to get you to acknowledge that the PDO is more than just an artifact of ENSO?
Stephen is on to something here. Climate cycles are not just driven by oceans. More heat gets moved around the earth by atmospheric circulation than by ocean circulation, and faster, too. So when things disturb, or change, long term patterns of atmospheric circulation, we get climate change.
Don’t put all your climate eggs in the ENSO basket, please. 🙂
Basil

August 12, 2009 9:06 am

Stephen Wilde: You wrote, “Anyway it is the net behaviour of all the oceans combined together with variations in solar activity that discharges and recharges OHC not just ENSO.”
Show me with data and graphs, please. I’m a visual person.
And as noted above. Pavlakis et al (2008)…
http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/6697/2008/acpd-8-6697-2008-print.pdf
…illustrated that downwelling shortwave radiation (and for the tropical Pacific it’s “the component of the net heat into the ocean with the largest magnitude”) increases over the Pacific Warm Pool, and the increase in DSR is significant, 25 watts/sq meter during the 1997/98 El Nino.
http://i41.tinypic.com/2435kbb.jpg

Jim
August 12, 2009 9:13 am

*********
par5 (02:00:48) :
Glad to see someone correctly call it a radiation ‘imbalance’. Leif also has a point about heat storage- there is no heat in the oceans that rise to the surface. Heat accumulates at the surface, then diffuses. The wind draws some of this away. The sun is not powerful enough to warm the oceans, just the surface. I dive in open water, so this is my observation.
********
There seems to be a lot of confusion concerning heat. All solids, liquids and gasses contain heat. If one could cool a substance to absolute zero, it would contain no thermodynamical heat. But due to the fact that elements and molecules have a quantum ground state, the element or molecule can be cooled only to that small but positive temperature and therefore contains heat. So, one could say that heat is “stored” or contained by all substances. I believe what is implied when one says heat is stored in the ocean is that a body of water warmer than the surrounding oceans, warmed by the
Sun for example, submerges, circulates in the ocean for some period of time, then reemerges as a body of water warmer than the surrounding water. Of course, it could reemerge in a body of water warmer than it and would then have a cooling effect at that location.

August 12, 2009 9:19 am

Nogw (07:46:41) :
FAO uses LOD (Length of the day) to succesfully predict sea temperatures in order to forecast fish catches
No, they do not. Because LOD is not forecast. What they noted was that there is a 55-60 year cycle in the catches and also in LOD. Good catch depends on temperature, moment of inertia of oceans and atmosphere depends on temperature, and LOD therefore also.

Remmitt
August 12, 2009 9:25 am

I’ve once read that it can take hundreds of years for ocean water to travel through an entire cycle (e.g. flow from tropics to arctic waters, cool down, sink, travel towards tropics, warm up, surface, etc.). So is it such a weird thought that some years, the sinking water is slightly warmer, and thus, many years later, the surfacing water will be slightly warmer as a result? Or has this been discussed before? (in that case, please reference).

August 12, 2009 9:29 am

Kevin Kilty: You wrote, “And, if Bob Tisdale, were on this post he’d undoubtedly bring up ENSO, in which storage and release takes place over many years, and the storage and release are not symmetric.”
I’ve commented a few times on this thread about ENSO.
An El Nino in a one year period can release enough heat from the tropical Pacific to cause a significant upward step change in mid-to-high latitude TLT anomalies of the Northern Hemiphere.
http://i42.tinypic.com/e9b04g.jpg
El Nino and La Nina events also dictate year-to-year variations in tropical TLT anomalies. Heat is released into the atmosphere during El Ninos and absorbed from the atmosphere during the La Ninas. Discharge/recharge.
http://i43.tinypic.com/2isid84.jpg
Those graphs are from this link:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/rss-msu-tlt-time-latitude-plots.html

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 9:38 am

I’m always happy when I read that somebody has actually measured something. It is a lot more satisfying than reading that somebody’s computer successfully ran through some program code without crashing.
But; if that something that somebody “measured” happens to be some global phenomenon; such as heat content of the oceans (all of them); well alarm bells go off.
Dipping a thermometer in San Francisco Bay just off the St Francis Yacht Club Headquarters; is not a sufficient measurement of the ocean’ s heat content.
Measuring the ocean’s heat content is even more troublesome than measurting the earth’s mean surface temperature, because that heat content problem is a three dimensional problem, whereas surface temperature is only two dimensions.
So forgive me if I am less than enthusiastic about somebody’s claim to have measured the earth’s oceanic heat content; even once, let alone multiple times to show how it may have changed.
Andybody who wants to measure the oceanic heat content of the earth is advised to buy a book on the theory of sampled data systems, and read it.
George; we are not impressed.

August 12, 2009 9:53 am

Come on you guys,what is preventing the ocean waters from completely freezing up?

Kevin Kilty
August 12, 2009 10:02 am

coaldust (06:54:45) :
Although you find this pedantic, I beleive that we all communicate better when terms are well defined and used in an accurate manner. “Heat” and “energy” are well defined, but the misuse of the term “heat” when “energy” is meant is rampant. See the phrase “ocean heat content”.

I take your point well that we all need to be precise, but sometimes being terribly precise is also being pedantic. Heat is energy, and I guess I’d need an example of where the finer points of how much energy the heat implies has caused a problem on this thread. My point to Leif was that someone could claim that the ocean contained no heat if it occurred at such a low temperature that the heat could be put to no use (i.e. had no availability as engineers would say). I would assume that someone who says “ocean heat content”, means the useful energy in the ocean, that is the mass of the ocean times a specific heat times some temperature difference, but to state things like this all the time would make me a pedant.
Leif, thanks for the context, I’ll go have a read of it.

oms
August 12, 2009 10:05 am

George E. Smith (09:38:43) :

Measuring the ocean’s heat content is even more troublesome than measurting the earth’s mean surface temperature, because that heat content problem is a three dimensional problem, whereas surface temperature is only two dimensions.

This is what profiling and objective mapping are for. And yes, it is a difficult problem.

Andybody who wants to measure the oceanic heat content of the earth is advised to buy a book on the theory of sampled data systems, and read it.

Some of the people working on this have read those books. Others are actively developing the theory. Why would you expect differently?

Robert Wood
August 12, 2009 10:06 am

The Sun can directly warm a body of water to teh depthe that sunlight is completely abosrbed, below whic it is dark and the oceans then only heat by conduction and convection and mixing.

Antonio San
August 12, 2009 10:06 am

As long as the data used in HADCRUT are not freely available -see Climateaudit for this- and that HADCRUT results therefore cannot be independently replicated, any model, any research trying to fit anything – for or against- into the published HADCRUT curve is in my opinion at great risk of instant oblivion the moment HADCRUT is replicated.
Yet in so many discussions, what’s missing is how any solar or other influence is “translated” into meteorological data that in turn will become, over time, climate. The fixation on the one parameter -Hadcrut temperature- is blinding and misleading. In particular, the general atmospheric circulation is the key to understanding how those effects are playing. That is why it is unbelievable that Marcel Leroux’s work is so neglected. In fact, his reconstruction -I do not say model- of the general circulation, based on observed facts, satellite imagery and meteorological realities initially during extensive studies of weather and climate of tropical Africa, later extended to the entire globe is the missing link between the numerical models validation. Specifically the 1970s climatic shift is well documented in his work.
Between models’ run and the multiple possible answers they give (summarized as GI=GO) i.e. subjective, tweaking of parameters in order to fit the expected result, hardly an independent proof of anything, and theories such as Svenmark’s or observations from solar scientists and geophysicists researches, the only verification will come from observed meteorological data and their evolution in time. That is where Leroux’s work is invaluable as it constraints both models and the research for the cause of variations.
The second English edition of Leroux “dynamic analysis of weather and climate” will be published in early 2010. I strongly encourage all researchers to read it because it expose the understanding that leads to ways of verifying, objectively the findings of climate science.
Professor Marcel Leroux passed away August 12, 2008, a year ago.

Kevin Kilty
August 12, 2009 10:09 am

Bob Tisdale (09:29:39) :
Kevin Kilty: You wrote, “And, if Bob Tisdale, were on this post he’d undoubtedly…

I’ve been trying to use the “find on this page” option of the edit tab to help me see who is posting when I’m very late getting here, but it doesn’t seem to work consistently. Anyway by slowly going through the post, item by item, I saw that you were indeed here…

Robert Wood
August 12, 2009 10:16 am

I can fully understand the oceans warming faster than cooling; the two mechanisms are different. Main warming mechanism is short wave radiation; main cooling is evaporation and long wave radiation.

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 10:18 am

“”” Kevin Kilty (05:20:53) :
Leif Svalgaard (23:13:44) :
I have just [in another thread] been lectured that the oceans contains no heat, as heat cannot be stored, so what is this whole paper about?
REPLY: Gosh Leif, I dunno. How’d that happen? Oceans = OBAHFC (One Big Assed Heat Flux Capacitor) 😉 – A
A somewhat pedantic point of physicists is that one refers to heat as energy during transfer only. If one looks at the oceans as being at a “dead state” temperature, then one does not see the oceans as a source, but rather only as a sink. In another context one must see the oceans as a source and the polar regions as a sink, howeve. I’d like to know, Leif, what was the context of this other thread? “””
“””A somewhat pedantic point of physicists is that one refers to heat as energy during transfer only. “””
I had to paste that twice; just to make sure I got it correctly.
As a practising physicist with more than 50 years of slogging away at it; this is my second introduction to this weird pedanticism; the first being whan Nasif started writing that on some of the threads here.
“Heat” is energy during transfer only; so what then is “light”. Well I know what it is; I work with it every day. Pedantically speaking it is the psychophysical response of the Human eye to received electromagnetic radiation in the single octave from about 400 to 800 nm wavelength.
So this distinguishes “light” from “heat”, since light exists ONLY after reception by the human eye (no not baboon eyes either); whereas according to Kevin and Nasif; and Nasif’s eminent Mentor, Heat does not exist in any storage mechanism; it is not emitted by anything, nor received by anything, but exists ephemerally during transit from source to sink. That puts it into the realm of particle physics almost, where the forces of nature are moderated by “exchange” particles that pass in a transitory fashion between particles to establish a foce between them. The standard classroom example is two ice skaters facing each other, and tossing a medicine ball (exchange particle) form one to other, and back thereby creating a repulsive force that drives them apart on the ice.
Now Kevin’s news will come as a big surprise to those few people who have bought solar thermal homes which have a basement pit full of rocks through which air warmed by the sun is passed during the day thereby warming the rocks up; so that at night they can pass air through those warmed rocks and use it to warm their house. I would say heat their house, but that would violate Kevin’s pedantic point of physics; that it isn’t heat unless it is in transit.
Well I have to disagree with both Kevin, and Nasif, after studying the subject for at least 50 years; “heat” if you must use it as a noun; ONLY exists in conjunction with real particulate matter; atoms and molecules; and it RESIDES in the mechanical kinetic energy of the random motions of those real matter particles. ONLY such real materials can have a “temperature”, which word has no meaning, absent real materials.
Incidently, the appropriate “exchange” particle of electromagnetism; one of the two natural forces with infinite range is the “photon”. Photons don’t exist inside anything; they aren’t real matter; they exist ONLY in transit from one particle to another in moderating the electromagentic force.
“Heat” on the other hand is NOT one of the exchange particles and exists only in real matter. Like warm rocks; or the earth’s oceans. That’s if you want to be physically pedantic of course.
George

August 12, 2009 10:20 am

3×2 (07:50:00) :
I have always been more than a little uncomfortable with applying “clean” physical laws to dynamic planet wide systems particularly ours.
I think that all systems obey the ‘clean laws’.

Curiousgeorge
August 12, 2009 10:20 am

@ Robert Wood (10:06:11) :
” The Sun can directly warm a body of water to teh depthe that sunlight is completely abosrbed, below whic it is dark and the oceans then only heat by conduction and convection and mixing. ”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is some heating as a result of volcanic activity – black smokers, island building, and the like. I’d be curious to know if anyone has a clue about that. Is it significant enough to take into account?

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 10:28 am

“”” oms (10:05:34) :
George E. Smith (09:38:43) :
Measuring the ocean’s heat content is even more troublesome than measurting the earth’s mean surface temperature, because that heat content problem is a three dimensional problem, whereas surface temperature is only two dimensions.
This is what profiling and objective mapping are for. And yes, it is a difficult problem.
Andybody who wants to measure the oceanic heat content of the earth is advised to buy a book on the theory of sampled data systems, and read it.
Some of the people working on this have read those books. Others are actively developing the theory. Why would you expect differently? “””
Well I’m glad to hear that OMS; so we don’t have to worry any more about Urban heat islands and other such peculiarities, that seem to upset computations such as GISStemp; but don’t seem to bother planet earth one iota; that’s wonderful news.

oms
August 12, 2009 10:39 am

George E. Smith (10:28:02) :

Well I’m glad to hear that OMS; so we don’t have to worry any more about Urban heat islands and other such peculiarities, that seem to upset computations such as GISStemp; but don’t seem to bother planet earth one iota; that’s wonderful news.

There are urban heat islands in the middle of the ocean?

August 12, 2009 10:46 am

George E. Smith (10:18:42) :
…“heat” if you must use it as a noun; ONLY exists in conjunction with real particulate matter; atoms and molecules; and it RESIDES in the mechanical kinetic energy of the random motions of those real matter particles. ONLY such real materials can have a “temperature”, which word has no meaning, absent real materials.
Then, it is not “heat”, but kinetic energy (included in internal energy), which is not a trajectory quantity, but a state function.
So as you describe it is the same as saying “…and energy in transit (heat) RESIDES in the mechanical kinetic energy of the random motions…”
Sounds odd, isn’t it? I do not buy that.

Steve Fitzpatrick
August 12, 2009 10:51 am

“…. magnitude and phase confirm earlier observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus eliminating the possibility of long time constants”
Wow, where have I heard that before?

August 12, 2009 11:16 am

I don’t want to bring this debate here again. I have explained this “thing” many times trying to be adhered to clear science.
For this reason, I won’t talk again on this issue; there are hundreds of scientific essays explaining and clarifying the physical theories from which you can find that I am correct.
I just want to express something very important for us all, who are incorrectly labeled like “skeptics”: We, as scientists and/engineers, who wish to restore the correct scientific methodology and truthful science, are not allowed to use wrongly the scientific terminology or to confound it. I told you this due to my personal experiences with AGWers.
I apologize if I have bothered to someone with true scientific concepts. Those are not my perceptions, but the perceptions of all physicists writing on heat, heat transfer, thermodynamics, physics, etc.

August 12, 2009 11:20 am

I forgot to say: Thanks, Anthony Watts and moderators, for your patience.

August 12, 2009 11:31 am

Nasif Nahle (10:46:57) :
I do not buy that.
So, you then also do not buy that the oceans contain heat [the first three words of the topic of this thread is ‘ocean heat content’]. Perhaps you should write a letter to the editor of Physics Letters A to point out that he and the peer-review process have failed in allowing a paper with such a title to be published…

KW
August 12, 2009 11:34 am

Is the PDO regime still negative? Or has it moderated because of the recent warm SSTs?

Curiousgeorge
August 12, 2009 11:43 am

@ George E. Smith (10:28:02) : RE: Sampling theory.
I’ll second that motion. And also offer a fairly decent primer on such things – http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/stathome.html . In the Process Analysis section.

DocMartyn
August 12, 2009 11:52 am

“I certainly don’t think that the oceans act as a very long period capacitor, but they do have capacity. ”
I have always wondered about the effects of pressure on the specific heat capacity of water. At the bottom of the ocean the pressure is huge and the amount of heat required to change its temperature must be much greater than at the surface.
Does anyone know the physics behind this?

SteveSadlov
August 12, 2009 12:09 pm

RE: “If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.”
To further Anthony’s electrical circuit analogy, there is little to no series inductance, therefore the “cap” can discharge rapidly “when the discharge circuit is closed.”

Frank Kotler
August 12, 2009 12:11 pm

George E. Smith wrote:
“Measuring the ocean’s heat content is even more troublesome than measurting the earth’s mean surface temperature, because that heat content problem is a three dimensional problem, whereas surface temperature is only two dimensions.”
Careful, man, they’ll accuse you of thinking the Earth is Flat! 🙂
I get your point, and agree, I think… but there has to be a better way to phrase this. “Relatively two-dimensional”???
Best,
Frank

Mark T
August 12, 2009 12:12 pm

Leif Svalgaard (11:31:14) :
So, you then also do not buy that the oceans contain heat [the first three words of the topic of this thread is ‘ocean heat content’].

I think you should read some of his comments above where he specifically states this that oceans do not contain heat, they contain energy.
From the wiki:

heat is the process of energy transfer from one body or system due to thermal contact

which implies that Nasif’s usage is correct, i.e., heat is more correctly described as the transfer of energy, not energy itself.
Nasif: I have a similar problem with the rather annoying usage of feedback terminology. I’ve all but given up the fight due to overwhelming opposition. I need more control theory experts to post in here in my defense. That and when to use an apostrophe with a trailing “s,” hehe. The latter is equally unwinnable.
Mark

SteveSadlov
August 12, 2009 12:18 pm

RE: “The flow is always sun to oceans to air to space. It cannot be reversed. Only the speed can be changed.”
Space is “ground” / “earth” potential. The “speed” is the integral of all thermal resistance terms.

August 12, 2009 12:58 pm

steve (08:17:22) :
“Just to give some relative sense of scale, the Three gorges dam is around 30 cubic km once filled. The thermal expansion of the oceans is around 5400 cubic km and that’s just 1993-2003.”
That’s interesting tallbloke but hardly relative to all the land sequestration of water involved. If you have the scientific evidence to show new dam construction is minor when measuring sea level variations then perhaps you should publish a rebuttal to the paper I cited which was peer reviewed and in a reputable journal.

What I pointed out was that the IPCC already allowed for land use change in their estimate. How correct they are is, as I also pointed out, debatable.
Your peer reviewed paper is one document among thousands of peer reviewed papers which conflict with each other. If you believe one rather than another, I’m sure you have reasons for your preference, but unless you choose to be clear about what they are, I’m not sure how we proceed to making sense of the conflicting estimates. I’m not in general a big fan of the IPCC, but they did at least set up a pretty wide ranging system for comparing data. Did the authors of your paper contribute to the process or complain about being excluded from it ?

David Walton
August 12, 2009 1:07 pm

Re: “These observations are consistent with the occurrence of climate shifts at 1960, the mid-1970s, and early 2001 identified by Swanson and Tsonis. Knowledge of the complex atmospheric-ocean physical processes is not involved or required in making these findings. Global surface temperatures as a function of time are also not required to be known.”
As the fictional Mr. Spock might say, “Fascinating”.

August 12, 2009 1:10 pm

Leif Svalgaard (09:19:28) :
Nogw (07:46:41) :
FAO uses LOD (Length of the day) to succesfully predict sea temperatures in order to forecast fish catches
No, they do not. Because LOD is not forecast. What they noted was that there is a 55-60 year cycle in the catches and also in LOD. Good catch depends on temperature, moment of inertia of oceans and atmosphere depends on temperature, and LOD therefore also.

If you take the trouble to actually read the NAO document, rather than shooting from the hip at any post mentioning LOD, you’ll see that they do indeed assert that due to the offset of their fit of LOD to temperature, they are able to offer a six year prediction.
90% of LOD change is caused by the altering of currents under the earth’s crust. You are confusing this with the 10% of LOD variation due to the atmosphere/ocean energy exchange.
Dr Richard Gross of NASA, who compiled the LOD series back to 1832 says this is so. I guess he should know.

Kevin Kilty
August 12, 2009 1:14 pm

George thinks I am a student of Nasif, and Nasif thinks I am an AGWer. This is tough threading! Guys, all I did was suggest that one could think of the oceans as not having heat energy if there was no means of using that heat in any way. If one couldn’t transport it. If we have to make every tiny point absolutely clear then we begin to seem like pedants. I apologize for using the term, though.
This is the last I write on this point, because there are more interesting issues in this thread to think about.

August 12, 2009 1:20 pm

Leif Svalgaard (11:31:14) :
Nasif Nahle (10:46:57) :
I do not buy that.
So, you then also do not buy that the oceans contain heat [the first three words of the topic of this thread is ‘ocean heat content’]. Perhaps you should write a letter to the editor of Physics Letters A to point out that he and the peer-review process have failed in allowing a paper with such a title to be published

Dumb words usually fall on deaf ears.

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 1:26 pm

Bob Tisdale (09:29:39)
http://i42.tinypic.com/e9b04g.jpg

Very interesting perspective.

For anyone thinking, “I don’t have time to watch these anomaly videos Bob posts”: You may be missing the point. Just because the yo-yo goes up & down does not mean the hand is not moving…

August 12, 2009 1:31 pm

Mark T (12:12:30) :
which implies that Nasif’s usage is correct, i.e., heat is more correctly described as the transfer of energy, not energy itself.
It is not about being ‘correct’, but about being sensible and useful. The title could not have been ‘ocean energy content’, because that would not have been correct in a physical sense. The kinetic energy of the ocean currents, for example, is not included. One could perhaps have said ‘ocean thermal energy content’ but that is cumbersome and in communication the easy forms always win and by there usage establish what is correct terminology. Trying to go against that is ultimately a losing proposition.
Even trying to apply the ‘correct’ old thermodynamic definition can get you in trouble when confronted with reality. We speak of how to account or explain ‘coronal heating’. The 2nd law prevented understanding of that process for half a century. It has been suggested since the 1880s that the corona was extremely hot [millions of degrees] because of its great extent and spectral characteristics, yet the understanding of this was held back until the 1930s because it was deemed impossible to heat a million-degree corona by a 6000-degree photosphere. So, we should not be allowed to talk about heating the corona. I submit that ‘heating the corona’ and ‘ocean heat content’ and similar terminology is useful [and is in fact the accepted usage], and that this is not misuse or misleading.
So blinded is Nasif that he was trying to convince us that the units for ‘amount of heat’ is Watt and not Joule. I see no reason to nitpick against the use of the term ‘ocean heat content’ as being misuse. Correct use is what is being used by researchers in a field.

August 12, 2009 1:33 pm

tallbloke (13:10:47) :
90% of LOD change is caused by the altering of currents under the earth’s crust.
But that is not what regulates SST.

August 12, 2009 1:45 pm

Nasif Nahle (13:20:33) :
“Perhaps you should write a letter to the editor of Physics Letters A to point out that he and the peer-review process have failed in allowing a paper with such a title to be published”
Dumb words usually fall on deaf ears.

I’m reasonably sure that if you phrase your words carefully and forcefully and with loads of references to authorities that the ears might be a less deaf than you surmise.

Nogw
August 12, 2009 1:53 pm

tallbloke (13:10:47) :
7.1 SUMMARY
Regular climate changes have taken place over the last millennium with a period of 55–65 years.

Period.

Jim
August 12, 2009 1:56 pm

************
Mark T (12:12:30) :
Leif Svalgaard (11:31:14) :
So, you then also do not buy that the oceans contain heat [the first three words of the topic of this thread is ‘ocean heat content’].
I think you should read some of his comments above where he specifically states this that oceans do not contain heat, they contain energy.
From the wiki:
heat is the process of energy transfer from one body or system due to thermal contact
which implies that Nasif’s usage is correct, i.e., heat is more correctly described as the transfer of energy, not energy itself.
Nasif: I have a similar problem with the rather annoying usage of feedback terminology. I’ve all but given up the fight due to overwhelming opposition. I need more control theory experts to post in here in my defense. That and when to use an apostrophe with a trailing “s,” hehe. The latter is equally unwinnable.
Mark
*************
That form of the word heat is from the verb: to heat.
There is nothing wrong with that usage, but the usage described in the link below is more relevant to the article.
http://id.mind.net/~zona/mstm/physics/mechanics/energy/heatAndTemperature/heatAndTemperature.html

August 12, 2009 1:58 pm

Leif Svalgaard (13:33:22) :
tallbloke (13:10:47) :
90% of LOD change is caused by the altering of currents under the earth’s crust.
But that is not what regulates SST.

The short term changes in LOD (bi-annual) affect short term changes in SST (bi-annual)
The long term changes in LOD (multi-decadal) affect long term changes in SST (multi-decadal).

Pompous Git
August 12, 2009 2:05 pm

Mark T (12:12:30) :
“From the wiki:
heat is the process of energy transfer from one body or system due to thermal contact
which implies that Nasif’s usage is correct, i.e., heat is more correctly described as the transfer of energy, not energy itself.”
From Chambers Science and Technology Dictionary (1991):
“However, the term is still used also to refer to the energy contained in a sample of matter.”
From the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
“The principle of charity governs the interpretation of the beliefs and utterances of others. It urges charitable interpretation, meaning interpretation that maximizes the truth or rationality of what others think and say.”

KLA
August 12, 2009 2:13 pm

SteveSadlov (12:09:17) :
RE: “If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.”
To further Anthony’s electrical circuit analogy, there is little to no series inductance, therefore the “cap” can discharge rapidly “when the discharge circuit is closed.”
No, the “cap” can discharge rapidly ONLY if the resistance over which it discharges is low. Even without inductance
However, if the input/output of this “cap-resistor” system is cyclical, we’ll see phase lags of up to 1/4 cycle length.
Sorry, could not resist. 🙂

August 12, 2009 2:14 pm

“The short term changes in LOD (bi-annual) affect short term changes in SST (bi-annual)”
I should have added: and are affected by short term changes in SST also. It’s a resonant feedback situation.

August 12, 2009 2:15 pm

L: The term “Civil Servant” is an oxymoron – they are never civil and they are certainly not servants – nor of any useful service. Observation and having worked to them for longer, perhaps, than was sensible. But you have to eat.

Vincent
August 12, 2009 2:31 pm

This thread seems to have become fixated on the meaning of heat. Whether heat is energy or not is arguable, but in retrospect we should define what we are trying to measure.
I was taught in physics that energy is the capacity to do work. I also learned in thermodynamics that heat can only do work if there is a heat gradient. Indeed, before we learned that we were all going to die by a big Rip in cosmological terms, astronomers speculated that the universe might end in the ‘heat death’. Something of a misnomer perhaps, it meant simply that they thought eventually all heat gradients would disappear and the entire universe would be permeated by heat energy of a uniform nature – that is, entropy would be at a maximum. The reason this was deemed a bad thing to have happen, is quite simply because no work can be done when the entire universe is pervaded by a single temperature. The paradox is that although heat exists everywhere, no work can be done. I take that to be an a priori argument for no energy to exist.
So, heat does not mean energy necessarily, but it depends what we are trying to measure. My understanding of use of oceans as a heat sink, is that it can be a metric for global warming. That is, if there is a radiative imbalance of so many watts/m2, then this must show up somewhere. If this goes into the oceans, then it results in an increase in ocean temps. Therefore, we are looking for anomalies in ocean heat from which we can calculate the radiative imbalance. On the other hand, the question is can that ocean heat be given up? This must be the case whether one thinks of it as energy or not.
Confusing isn’t it?

Nogw
August 12, 2009 2:40 pm

That’s a kind of anchovies’ horoscope 🙂

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 2:41 pm

Bob Tisdale, I’ve just been having a look at your blog post:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/rss-msu-tlt-time-latitude-plots.html
In 2003 & 2004 the North Pacific High locked-in to produce months of continuous sunshine during a time of the year when the days are 18 hours long (at my latitude of 49N). While those 2 particular years stand out, there really wasn’t much cloud or rain in summer for several years [post 1998 step] until 2007 & 2008, which were notably comfortable in *sharp* contrast (beautiful La Nina summers – very comfortable for outdoor rec – no multi-week or multi-month paralyzing-heat sunshine-lock-in periods). I was working as a guide in the mountains for a number of years during this period and I sea-kayak year-round, so I tend to pay very careful attention to what is going on – lives depend on it. The atmosphere was turbulent in winter 2006/2007 (record winds mowing trees down in domino chain-reactions, cluttering local waterways with debris, including scores of whole-trees) and then an abrupt change in SST occurred mid-September 2007. A number of local kayakers died in cold waters early that fall. I switched to wearing a wetsuit & using pogies mid-September, but many are guided by the norm (based on the calendar & conventional wisdom) that mid-October is the time to switch – a very costly mistake for some in 2007. The main point I am making (with supplementary anecdotes) is about mid-latitude long-day summer-insolation having a hand in guiding the path of interannual anomaly retention & longevity – i.e. the signal is not purely of tropical origin, although El Nino pulses certainly play a dominating role.
Your posts complement the biased & bland literature (which doesn’t trigger nearly as many new thoughts as a more liberal publication system might). Thank goodness for blogs (speeding things up).

Stephen Wilde
August 12, 2009 2:47 pm

I’ve no preference as regards ocean heat content as against ocean energy content but I do consider that the energy content of the oceans is only expressed as heat when it moves from ocean to air i.e. the transfer of energy raises the temperature of the air.
If oceanic energy fails to move from ocean to air then there is similarly a lack of heat in the air by which is meant a lower temperature even though strictly speaking one should say that air at a lower temperature contains less energy.
As Leif says, use the term which is most useful in expressing meaning even if there might be a more appropriate and technically correct terminology.
Whilst I’m at it, I seem to detect resistance to my contention that the oceans themselves, unforced by changes in the air, can alter the rate of energy transfer from oceans to air.
Is there such resistance to my suggestion and if so why ?

steve
August 12, 2009 2:50 pm

Tallbloke, it is not a matter of selecting a study of new dam construction affects on sea level to believe. If it is perhaps you know which study the IPCC relied upon to leave this factor or any of the other factors I mentioned out of the attribution tables. The relationship between the individuals that did the study and the IPCC I have no knowledge of nor interest in.

August 12, 2009 2:53 pm

Leif Svalgaard (13:31:26) :
So blinded is Nasif that he was trying to convince us that the units for ‘amount of heat’ is Watt and not Joule. I see no reason to nitpick against the use of the term ‘ocean heat content’ as being misuse. Correct use is what is being used by researchers in a field.
Why are you insisting on pulling me into your ignorant conceptualization of science? I said that I won’t write on this issue again, but you are as insistent as ignorant in thermodynamics.
Here is not a matter of sensibility, but of good and correct science.
The unique thing I have gotten from your arguments against thermal science is that a solar physicist you, Leif, doesn’t know what is heat, confounds heat with kinetic energy, and heat with temperature.

DaveE
August 12, 2009 3:04 pm

Mark T (12:12:30) :
I also have come to accept the abuse of the verb heat, as I have come to accept the abuse of feedback terminology and the abuse of the adjective proven.
Not really worth arguing over if you understand what they’re really trying to say..
DaveE.

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 3:19 pm

Ninderthana (06:31:27) “Correction – that should have read ~ 2014 – 2018 (+/- a few years), Sorry.”
I was glad to see this correction.
Supplementary:
http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/ClimateRegimeChangePoints.PNG

Ninderthana (06:25:06) “No they actually occur because of long-term changes in the Earth’s rotation rate, that are being driven from outside the Earth. Why are most of you ignoring this fundamental result?”
I wouldn’t have challenged this assertion: “These abrupt changes presumably occur because the existing state is no longer stable and there is a transition to a new stable state.” (….but I agree with your challenge otherwise.)
Also, it’s not just LOD. It’s Earth Orientation Parameters (EOP) more generally. We should keep in mind that the 5 EOP are not independent (3 can form a basis). It is not disputed that weather/climate affects EOP and it is also not disputed that solar system dynamics affect EOP. I don’t think it will be much longer before mainstream scientists pile on this now that we know Chandler wobble phase reversals indicate broad-scale solar insolation phase-relationship reversals. [This is where people have to snap-to & clue in.] Gross is already acclaimed for pointing out ocean-bottom pressures – it’s not much of a step from there to noting how the SS asymmetries & LNC combine to influence the terrestrial fluid shells. Btw you don’t need to use asymmetries; r” (a very simple measure) captures that info [compare the plot I posted with your asymm curve to see this …and more…]
Btw: re the 6-8 year lag – that’s just the polar motion group-wave (averages 6.4a, hits 8a +/- a decade centred on ~1931) …and there is another variable that leads LOD by a 1/2-cycle despite decadal variations in instantaneous period.
This is all coming together quite nicely…
…about to run another wavelet analysis using an amazingly-useful filter that should yield new insight into ENSO….

hunter
August 12, 2009 3:32 pm

This sort of puts nails in AGW’s major claims.
Will the APS go through with backing down from its prior, radical, stand on AGW?

hunter
August 12, 2009 3:34 pm

Kevin Kitty,
When the heat latent in the oceans feed a tropical cyclone, or an El/La Nina, PDO, etc. etc. etc., that heat content is doing a lot of work.

3x2
August 12, 2009 3:44 pm

Leif Svalgaard (10:20:24) :
3×2 (07:50:00) :
I have always been more than a little uncomfortable with applying “clean” physical laws to dynamic planet wide systems particularly ours.
I think that all systems obey the ‘clean laws’.

OK, let me try this again….
[clean physics] If I gave you my current planetary co-ordinates, time of day and the date, you as a quick minded Physicist, knowing the incoming W/m^2, should be able to give me a fairly exact calculation as to what the instrumentation in my hand (on the ground) should be reading…. [dirty Physics] It would be wrong because I am under a bunch of low level cloud made around Florida a week ago and my reading is 1/3 of your calculation.
I am trying to make some sense of why people completely ignore our planet wide, dynamic, water based, energy transfer engine in favour of [clean] “black body” equations.
So.. on a planetary scale is the suggestion valid that anything going on within the atmosphere is irrelevant and that viewed from outside only “clean” physical equations matter? (ln(co2), T^4…). If so could you explain why.
[hope that makes more sense]

DaveE
August 12, 2009 3:53 pm

Mark T (12:12:30) :
OMG! The possessive apostrophe!
as in, “that’s Jones’ car”
DaveE.

JimB
August 12, 2009 3:57 pm

O/T, but very important.
Per U.N.; we now have only 4 months to save the planet:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=557
JimB

August 12, 2009 3:59 pm

Basil: You wrote, “What do I have to say to get you to acknowledge that the PDO is more than just an artifact of ENSO?”
Provide some papers that disprove the findings of Newman et al and Zhang et al. As we’ve discussed via email, Miller et al is not one. Miller et al confirms Newman et al and suggests additions to the simple Newman model to make it more inclusive.
Miller et al write, “Adding a lagged KOE response pattern, mimicking the gyre-scale spin-up delay, may improve the fit of the Newman et al. (2003) simple model. Alternatively, midlatitude ocean-atmosphere, or ocean-atmosphere- ecosystem, feedbacks may be important.”
You wrote, “More heat gets moved around the earth by atmospheric circulation than by ocean circulation, and faster, too.”
Do you have a comparison of atmospheric circulation versus ocean circulation, including the amount of heat transported by AMOC?
You wrote, “So when things disturb, or change, long term patterns of atmospheric circulation, we get climate change.”
The two largest factors that impact year-to-year and decadal variability of climate are volcanic aerosols and ENSO. ENSO events, even subtle changes in equatorial Pacific SST, change atmospheric circulation patterns.

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 4:02 pm

Re: tallbloke (13:58:06)
Are you sure you’ve got the chicken & the egg in the right order?

John S.
August 12, 2009 4:04 pm

Mark T (12:12:30):
Misplaced apostrophes are nowhere near as outrageously misleading as the misapplication of feedback concepts in “climate science.” 🙂

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 4:04 pm

Re: tallbloke (14:14:31)
Do you mean semi-annual?

Robert Wood
August 12, 2009 4:04 pm

Oceanic energy comprises more than just heat, it also includes kinetic energy

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 4:09 pm

“”” 3×2 (15:44:15) :
Leif Svalgaard (10:20:24) :
3×2 (07:50:00) :
I have always been more than a little uncomfortable with applying “clean” physical laws to dynamic planet wide systems particularly ours.
I think that all systems obey the ‘clean laws’.
OK, let me try this again….
[clean physics] If I gave you my current planetary co-ordinates, time of day and the date, you as a quick minded Physicist, knowing the incoming W/m^2, should be able to give me a fairly exact calculation as to what the instrumentation in my hand (on the ground) should be reading…. [dirty Physics] It would be wrong because I am under a bunch of low level cloud made around Florida a week ago and my reading is 1/3 of your calculation.
I am trying to make some sense of why people completely ignore our planet wide, dynamic, water based, energy transfer engine in favour of [clean] “black body” equations.
So.. on a planetary scale is the suggestion valid that anything going on within the atmosphere is irrelevant and that viewed from outside only “clean” physical equations matter? (ln(co2), T^4…). If so could you explain why.
[hope that makes more sense] “””
There’s nothing wrong with the physics; seldom is; what is wrong is the model of this planet that leaves out little nuisances like those clouds. The planet itself does not ignore those clouds which is why the models always get the wrong results.
So climatologists play with statistics trying to fit the curves to their model ins tead of playing with the physics to make the model conform to the reality.
Urban Heat islands are only a problem for climate modellers; because their models are wrong. UHIs are not a problem for the climate, in fact they are a great assistance in cooling the planet during the daytime hot periods. But an airport runway sensor in silicon valley, is not a good temperature sample for Loreto Mexico. I can assure you that that portion of the planet surface around Loreto Mexico, couldn’t care less what the runway temperature is at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, CA.

Jim
August 12, 2009 4:15 pm

****************
Vincent (14:31:11) :
I was taught in physics that energy is the capacity to do work. I also learned in thermodynamics that heat can only do work if there is a heat gradient.
*******************
The Earth is in the middle of a heat gradient defined by the Sun on one side of the Earth and the blackness of space on the other. In the conversations concerning radiative balance, there seems to be an underlying assumption that the day side of the Earth is being considered. Obviously, the night side must also be considered. A lot of radiation must escape at night. How is that figured into the “radiative balance?”

August 12, 2009 4:15 pm

All of this discussion about the real definition of heat started over a confusion (not mine, but Leif’s confusion) between kinetic energy and heat.
After I explained him what the difference between heat and kinetic energy is, another confusion emerged (again, not mine) between heat and temperature.
Then that I tried to explain the new confusion, another confusion rose, now related with storage of energy and “storage” of heat. Again, the it was not my confusion.
Now that… person… is talking about “sensibility and kindness”. Come on! We are scientists!

August 12, 2009 4:18 pm

Nasif Nahle (14:53:01) :
I said that I won’t write on this issue again
Well, stop then. I have not made any such declaration.

Dave Wendt
August 12, 2009 4:21 pm

Curiousgeorge (10:20:50) :
Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is some heating as a result of volcanic activity – black smokers, island building, and the like. I’d be curious to know if anyone has a clue about that. Is it significant enough to take into account?
A couple of months ago, moved by a similar question, I set about trying to find what I could about the state of knowledge of the geothermal contribution to the oceanic heat balance. Although my personal survey hardly rises to the level of superficial, I’ve seen enough to lead me to suspect that the current thinking that the geothermal input is negligibly small is probably erroneous. I even located a recent paper that seems to support this notion.
http://www.ocean-sci.net/5/203/2009/os-5-203-2009.pdf
Abstract. The dynamical role of geothermal heating in abyssal circulation is reconsidered using three independent arguments. First, we show that a uniform geothermal heat
flux close to the observed average (86.4 mW m−2 ) supplies
as much heat to near-bottom water as a diapycnal mixing rate of ∼10−4 m2 s−1 – the canonical value thought to be
responsible for the magnitude of the present-day abyssal cir- culation. This parity raises the possibility that geothermal heating could have a dynamical impact of the same order. Second, we estimate the magnitude of geothermally-induced circulation with the density-binning method (Walin, 1982), applied to the observed thermohaline structure of Levitus (1998). The method also allows to investigate the effect of
onto the bottom, thereby altering the density structure that supports a geothermal circulation. For strong vertical mix- ing rates, geothermal heating enhances the AABW cell by
about 15% (2.5 Sv) and heats up the last 2000 m by ∼0.15◦C,
reaching a maximum of by 0.3◦C in the deep North Pacific.
Prescribing a realistic spatial distribution of the heat flux acts to enhance this temperature rise at mid-depth and reduce it at great depth, producing a more modest increase in overturning than in the uniform case. In all cases, however, poleward heat
transport increases by ∼10% in the Southern Ocean. The
three approaches converge to the conclusion that geothermal heating is an important actor of abyssal dynamics, and should no longer be neglected in oceanographic studies.
realistic spatial variations of the flux obtained from heatflow
measurements and classical theories of lithospheric cooling.
It is found that a uniform heatflow forces a transformation of ∼6 Sv at σ4 =45.90, which is of the same order as cur-
rent best estimates of AABW circulation. This transforma- tion can be thought of as the geothermal circulation in the absence of mixing and is very similar for a realistic heat- flow, albeit shifted towards slightly lighter density classes. Third, we use a general ocean circulation model in global configuration to perform three sets of experiments: (1) a ther- mally homogenous abyssal ocean with and without uniform geothermal heating; (2) a more stratified abyssal ocean sub- ject to (i) no geothermal heating, (ii) a constant heat flux of
86.4 mW m−2 , (iii) a realistic, spatially varying heat flux of
identical global average; (3) experiments (i) and (iii) with en- hanced vertical mixing at depth. Geothermal heating and di- apycnal mixing are found to interact non-linearly through the density field, with geothermal heating eroding the deep strat- ification supporting a downward diffusive flux, while diapy- cnal mixing acts to map near-surface temperature gradientsonto the bottom, thereby altering the density structure that supports a geothermal circulation. For strong vertical mix- ing rates, geothermal heating enhances the AABW cell by
about 15% (2.5 Sv) and heats up the last 2000 m by ∼0.15◦C,
reaching a maximum of by 0.3◦C in the deep North Pacific.
Prescribing a realistic spatial distribution of the heat flux acts to enhance this temperature rise at mid-depth and reduce it at great depth, producing a more modest increase in overturning than in the uniform case. In all cases, however, poleward heat
transport increases by ∼10% in the Southern Ocean. The
three approaches converge to the conclusion that geothermal heating is an important actor of abyssal dynamics, and should no longer be neglected in oceanographic studies.
I’ve tried to raise this paper for discussion here a number of times without much success, which I’ve found a bit suprising, since to me it seems to indicate a fundamental flaw which may exist in any of the calculations that include the present thinking on oceanic geothermal input,which would probably include most of the GCMs out there. Moreover, since the authors of the paper used the most conservative assumptions to arrive at their conclusion, it seems probable that the error may be even more significant than they assert.

August 12, 2009 4:22 pm

tallbloke (13:58:06) :
The long term changes in LOD (multi-decadal) affect long term changes in SST (multi-decadal).
‘affect’ is a weasel word. By what mechanism? Does Gross claim this too? Why not?

Steve Fitzpatrick
August 12, 2009 4:26 pm

Leif Svalgaard (13:31:26) :
“Correct use is what is being used by researchers in a field.”
No question about it. Don’t waste your time debating semantics. Anybody who has burned a finger on a hot surface or later cooled that finger with an ice cube understands the title of the paper.

Mike Ramsey
August 12, 2009 4:35 pm

Leif Svalgaard (23:27:06) :


A large annual term is found in both the implied radiation imbalance
and the direct measurements. Its magnitude and phase confirm earlier
observations that delivery of the energy to the ocean is rapid, thus
eliminating the possibility of long time constants associated with the
bulk of the heat transferred. 

If so, debunks the idea [kicked around many times on this blog] of the oceans storing the heat of past high solar cycles to release it when cycles are low.
Something changes the temperture.  Gee, maybe the source of the energy that maintains that temperature, the sun, is the cause.  Just a crazy hypothesis.

Mike Ramsey
August 12, 2009 4:37 pm

Mike Ramsey (16:35:44)
Just playing around with my editor.  That was a cool effect.

Carlton your doorman
August 12, 2009 4:38 pm

JimB (15:57:13) :
O/T, but very important.
Per U.N.; we now have only 4 months to save the planet:

That’s the same time as the Copenhagen summit. Huh, what a funny coincidence.

DaveE
August 12, 2009 4:39 pm

Robert Wood (16:04:32) :

Oceanic energy comprises more than just heat, it also includes kinetic energy,

So I guess that what you really mean is that, “heating the oceans” does more than just increase its temperature!
DaveE.

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 4:44 pm

“”” Pompous Git (14:05:26) :
Mark T (12:12:30) :
“From the wiki:
heat is the process of energy transfer from one body or system due to thermal contact
which implies that Nasif’s usage is correct, i.e., heat is more correctly described as the transfer of energy, not energy itself.” “””
And Wiki is the final arbiter of all things scientific ?
Notice what they say; “heat is the process…” clearly their idea of heat is that it is a verb. A heats B. I don’t have a problem with that; I prefere heat as averb, and not a noun; but common scientific usage does in fact use “heat” as a noun; but it also makes it clear that what we call heat (noun) is only the manifestation of that form of mechanical Kinetic Energy that is contained in real matter particles by virtue of their mass, and their random statistical velocities. My Physics Handbook simply says that Heat is a form of energy. Doesn’t say a word about heat being the transfer of energy. It also says the Symbol for heat is (Q), and the unit is (J) Joule. It further says that Q is the integral of CdT, where C is heat capacity; which is further defined as a MATERIAL property. I do believe I already wrote that heat and temperature have no meaning in the absence of materials.
As a further note the Handbook says that “Heat cannot be converted completely into mechanical or electrical energy.” This it cites as one form of declaration of the SECOND LAW of thermodynamics. It is not inconsequential since electric energy and mechanical energy can be converted completely into heat. This is an acknowledgement that the physical manifestation of heat is always in the form of a statistical distributiuon of thermal energy among particles, and it is inherently impossible to get them all to act in concert to perform mechanical work at 100% conversion.
Finally, we can cite the equation of state of an ideal gas: pV = NkT, where (p) and (V) are pressure and Volume respectively, (N) is the number of particles, (T) the temperature and (k) is Boltzmann’s constant.
The mean kinetic energy per particle is simply 3kT/2 presuming that the particle energy distribution follows the Maxwell Boltzmann distribution which is true for an ideal gas.
These relations are the means by which the mechanical kinetic energy of particulate matter is related to Temperature; which thereby connects matter, heat (energy) and Temperature inextricably.
George

DR
August 12, 2009 4:48 pm

There are reasons for how oceans distribute heat and release it, SST rising and falling and oscillating temperatures at the surface and atmosphere. One would think a ball spinning 1000+ mph at the equator may have something to do with it, maybe gravity too?
Heat storage and heat “in the pipeline” of the oceans are not one in the same.
See:
http://climatesci.org/2009/03/05/is-there-climate-heating-in-the-pipeline/
http://climatesci.org/2009/03/09/further-comments-regarding-the-concept-heating-in-the-pipeline/
It appears that OHC gain/loss during ENSO events may not behave uniformly.
[b]Absence of propagating upper ocean heat content anomalies in the eastern tropical South Pacific after ENSO events[/b]
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GL033065.shtml

Pamela Gray
August 12, 2009 4:53 pm

Okay then, what is the scientific definition of “love”? Is love a scientific term for a physio-psychological measurable response or is it something more commonly known as romantic human love? If love is only known in the general public as romantic feelings, should we not then use the term “love” when we are talking about the physio-psychological manifestation? Is there a better word for the measurable response? Should we start arguing over when to use this word and when not too? This is the same argument you are having about “heat” and “energy”. Thank goodness no one has come up with a different term for love.
In order to reach a broader English-speaking audience than those who are narrowly focused on your topic, you use terms within that language that impart a general understanding within the native speakers that would read your article. It gets dicey when people of different languages try to understand your sense. Could that be the jist of your argument?
Let’s do another example. What is “snow”? In the English language we have one word for it. English speakers readily understand the meaning, even though we have several forms of snow. But we only use one word and its the CONTEXT that meaning is derived from. Eskimos have many words for snow (or so I am told). They don’t need additional context because they use the correct term for the kind of snow that is on the ground. Different languages can be used in different ways when engaged in technical writing.
So too the word “heat”. In the English language and in the broader audience the author hopes to reach, the use of the word “heat” is acceptable. It is the context where meaning is imparted. Technical writing walks a tightrope between correct usage, and common usage. Go too far either way and you will lose your audience in a haze of unknown jargon or fits of laughter over your juvenile attempt at scientific “prose”.

MikeE
August 12, 2009 4:54 pm

DaveE (16:39:26) :
Robert Wood (16:04:32) :
Oceanic energy comprises more than just heat, it also includes kinetic energy,
So I guess that what you really mean is that, “heating the oceans” does more than just increase its temperature!
Just a curiosity question here, how much “heating” of the oceans is caused by friction? I used to work on an abalone farm, and noticed that from the intakes to the plant (300m) youd pick up about one degree C. this is with big single stage pumps, so relatively low pressure, but high volume. So most o that is probably just from line friction. But im assuming here that kinetic energy is still transferred to heat from molecular friction? Maybe a dumb question, but just a curiosity.

Mike Ramsey
August 12, 2009 4:57 pm

DaveE (16:39:26) :
Robert Wood (16:04:32) :

Oceanic energy comprises more than just heat, it also includes kinetic energy,

So I guess that what you really mean is that, “heating the oceans” does more than just increase its temperature!
DaveE.
The wind and the currents store kinetic energy.  But the ultimate source of almost all of that energy is the Sun. The earth’s internal heat also supplies some of that energy.  Did I hear tsunami?

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 4:57 pm

“”” Kevin Kilty (13:14:37) :
George thinks I am a student of Nasif, “””
George thinks no such thing; and has never said or hinted at any such thing.
So please read what I say, and not what you think I mean; I tend to say exactly what I mean; being somewhat conversant in the English language; although admittedly less so in the American form of it; but even there I do try.
My mention of a Mentor was, if you read my post again a reference to a (presumably) eminent but late scientist that Nasif cited as an authority on these subjects. I accept Nasif’s citing of this dearly departed chap as an authority; no reason I shouldn’t although he is unknown to me; which doesn’t count ofr much. Most scientists, I do not know.
I grouped you and Nasif, since you both made essentially the same claim that heat is only energy in transit, or words to that effect; whereas if anything is true, it is exactly the opposite; it is only heat when it is not in transit; well other than the very short time exchange of kinetic energies between heated particles in collisions.
George

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 4:58 pm

For a good laugh, see here:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723141812.htm
“Strong Evidence That Cloud Changes May Exacerbate Global Warming”

“One key finding in the study is that it is not the warming of the ocean alone that reduces cloudiness — a weakening of the trade winds also appears to play a critical role.”
Have they perhaps [very belatedly] clued-in to the existence of the PWP?
With the flawed either/or logic and the untenable statistical-extrapolation – yikes. (Have they even taken Stat 101? Perhaps they have forgotten it’s lessons…)
Shouldn’t these people realize that if T, cloud, & PPT were the same thing, PCA & factor analysis would have told us that many decades ago?
Maybe they would clue in if the hydrologic cycle hit them in the head with a hammer (or a ceiling)? On the other hand: Their funding is secure because they are following the storyline the funding agencies like.
On the upside: At least clouds are on the alarmist-radar now.
With such slow steps, they’ll be able to time the sealing of their own coffins with the (career-end) conclusion of their need for funding.

August 12, 2009 5:05 pm

Leif Svalgaard (16:18:55) :
Nasif Nahle (14:53:01) :
I said that I won’t write on this issue again
Well, stop then. I have not made any such declaration.

I won’t stop as long as you continue mentioning my name on trying to hide your obvious confusion on thermodynamics.
I am not trying to convince anyone on anything. I am only defining the concepts heat, internal energy, kinetic energy and their corresponding units in the way that REAL physics explains them. I cannot say there are no joules in heat simple and simply because heat is energy in transit. However, when I express that amount of energy flowing between two thermodynamic systems, I cannot express it in Joules, but in Joules/second or Watts. If I expressed them simply as Joules or Watt*second, I would not be talking about heat, but about load of energy.
Consequently, given that the authors of this paper wrote “Heat Content in Oceans”, they are misusing the scientific concepts.
I don’t care if they are wrong or not, that’s their problem.
Nevertheless, I very do care on the decomposition of science to the extreme of interchanging concepts as if they were marbles. I cannot say the elephants are dogs only because elephants and dogs are formed by cells.
In the very moment that the heat (the energy in transit) crosses the boundaries into the second system, it stops being heat; it is no more heat because it can be absorbed by the second system and, probably, stored, so it accounts, from that moment on, for the internal energy of the second system.
Heat is a process quantity. To say that process quantities can be stored by a thermodynamic system is claptrap.

Pamela Gray
August 12, 2009 5:07 pm

Mike, you silly. Short Wave Radiation (SWR) IS the Sun! You know, Sunbeams! Absolutely no one here thinks the Sun is not involved. It just isn’t the source of the HUGE variations in weather and climate we get from Ol’Sol. Also, the authors contend that both delivery and “use” is quick, IE within months.
So what or where is the source of variation? That would be Earth’s atmosphere for SWR, Earth’s use of the heat energy obtained from SWR, and Earth’s way of getting rid of the excess. AGW’ers are concerned about whether or not Earth can get rid of excess heat because of a thickening blanket of greenhouse gases. However, excess heat as outgoing longwave radiation is reaching satellite sensors at the outer edge of the atmosphere, seemingly without even stopping to pay a toll booth charge through the blanket. In technical terms, there seems to be no CO2-related diminution of OLR. The Earth is breathing just fine.

DB2
August 12, 2009 5:09 pm

Curiousgeorge (10:20:50) wrote:
“Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is some heating as a result of volcanic activity – black smokers, island building, and the like. I’d be curious to know if anyone has a clue about that. Is it significant enough to take into account?”
Here’s a recent article by Emile-Geay and Madec on the role of geothermal heating in the deep oceans. The authors find the mixing effect underestimated and of the same order of magnitude of mixing due to diapycnal (density) differences. They write, for example:
“Prescribing a realistic spatial distribution of the heat flux acts to enhance this temperature rise at mid-depth and reduce it at great depth, producing a more modest increase in overturning than in the uniform case. In all cases, however, poleward heat transport increases by ~10% in the Southern Ocean. The three approaches converge to the conclusion that geothermal heating is an important actor of abyssal dynamics, and should no longer be neglected in oceanographic studies.”
Geothermal heating, diapycnal mixing and the abyssal circulation
http://www.ocean-sci.net/5/203/2009/os-5-203-2009.pdf

August 12, 2009 5:18 pm

George E. Smith (16:57:53) :
I grouped you and Nasif, since you both made essentially the same claim that heat is only energy in transit, or words to that effect; whereas if anything is true, it is exactly the opposite; it is only heat when it is not in transit; well other than the very short time exchange of kinetic energies between heated particles in collisions.
Again, it’s not my claim, or “my” mentor’s claim (who, by the way, is Hendrick C. Van Ness), but of ALL physicists on this world, except two of them: you and Leif by saying that heat is the same as kinetic energy.
George, in good terms, I invite you to read any book on heat transfer and/or thermodynamics, and/or basic physics, and find if the concept “heat” is different from the one I have given here.
If you look into this matter, you’ll see that the term “heat” is being used incorrectly in climate science and, perhaps, in solar physics.

MikeE
August 12, 2009 5:23 pm

Mike Ramsey (16:57:53) :
Lets not forget gravity, the tides are a kinda noticeable example of this, and it moves a lot o water up and down on a daily basis, and would id imagine have a greater effect on the oceans as a whole(depths included) than the surface conditions. Even if it is a relatively uniform mechanism… its still variable.

Mike Ramsey
August 12, 2009 5:29 pm

George E. Smith (16:44:08) :
George, you go!
 
Heat is really energy associated with the motion and positions of the molecules in a material.
Just as mechanical energy can be transformed into heat energy, heat energy can be transformed into radiant energy (electromagnetic waves for the classically minded).  Heat energy can be also be transformed into latent heat energy, say via evaporation.  Clouds are the earth’s air conditioners, transporting heat to the cloud tops where when the water vapor condenses it releases all that heat which then radiates out into outer space.

cba
August 12, 2009 5:32 pm

“” tallbloke (05:12:16)
… stored down to 700m…
“”
I have some basic problems with that.
1. h2o reaches maximum density just a few degrees over freezing. Salt water is slightly lower in freezing point than fresh water. I would not expect warmer water to sink given the temperatures involved above 700meters. The only way you’re going to get more density is by evaporating h2o and increasing the salinity. Evaporating water takes lots more energy than would be associated with a modest temperature increase. In fact, it’s a lot more than than a 100C temperature increase for a given mass of h2o.
2. Most power in sunlight is in the IR and uV. Less than half is in the visible. The IR is blocked in millimeters or within in a millimeter and the red in a few meters. There is very little light left reaching down to 700m and most of the energy is deposited well before that distance. The deepest I’ve been is 20m of fresh water and it might as well have been night time for all I could see at that depth. AGW increases have to be totally in the far IR range anyway.
Consequences of these two items are the opposite of boiling water in a pot on the stove. There’s no mechanism for the top heated water to have convection downward and there’s no mechanism for the energy to be radiated downward. Whatever conduction might exist will be hampered by the rise in buoyancy of the water due to the rise in temperature.
The final facet of this ocean heat sink problem with longer time frames is that rather slow time frames mean rather small flow rates of energy. As has been mentioned here, a few miles of dirt and rock are all that exist between a quite temperature environment averaging around 288K from the temperatures within the Earth that are approximately the same as the photosphere (visible ‘surface’) of the Sun. On average, that heat flow due to a 5000K + temperature difference is inconsequential compared to the surface heat flow in and out from the Earth’s surface that happen on a daily basis.

Dave Wendt
August 12, 2009 5:36 pm

I botched the copy and paste of the abstract in my post above, hopefully this will make more sense.
Abstract. The dynamical role of geothermal heating in abyssal circulation is reconsidered using three independent arguments. First, we show that a uniform geothermal heat
flux close to the observed average (86.4 mW m−2 ) supplies
as much heat to near-bottom water as a diapycnal mixing rate of ∼10−4 m2 s−1 – the canonical value thought to be
responsible for the magnitude of the present-day abyssal cir- culation. This parity raises the possibility that geothermal heating could have a dynamical impact of the same order. Second, we estimate the magnitude of geothermally-induced circulation with the density-binning method (Walin, 1982), applied to the observed thermohaline structure of Levitus (1998). The method also allows to investigate the effect of
onto the bottom, thereby altering the density structure that supports a geothermal circulation. For strong vertical mix- ing rates, geothermal heating enhances the AABW cell by
about 15% (2.5 Sv) and heats up the last 2000 m by ∼0.15◦C,
reaching a maximum of by 0.3◦C in the deep North Pacific.
Prescribing a realistic spatial distribution of the heat flux acts to enhance this temperature rise at mid-depth and reduce it at great depth, producing a more modest increase in overturning than in the uniform case. In all cases, however, poleward heat
transport increases by ∼10% in the Southern Ocean. The
three approaches converge to the conclusion that geothermal heating is an important actor of abyssal dynamics, and should no longer be neglected in oceanographic studies.
realistic spatial variations of the flux obtained from heatflow
measurements and classical theories of lithospheric cooling.
It is found that a uniform heatflow forces a transformation of ∼6 Sv at σ4 =45.90, which is of the same order as cur-
rent best estimates of AABW circulation. This transforma- tion can be thought of as the geothermal circulation in the absence of mixing and is very similar for a realistic heat- flow, albeit shifted towards slightly lighter density classes. Third, we use a general ocean circulation model in global configuration to perform three sets of experiments: (1) a ther- mally homogenous abyssal ocean with and without uniform geothermal heating; (2) a more stratified abyssal ocean sub- ject to (i) no geothermal heating, (ii) a constant heat flux of
86.4 mW m−2 , (iii) a realistic, spatially varying heat flux of
identical global average; (3) experiments (i) and (iii) with en- hanced vertical mixing at depth. Geothermal heating and di- apycnal mixing are found to interact non-linearly through the density field, with geothermal heating eroding the deep strat- ification supporting a downward diffusive flux, while diapy- cnal mixing acts to map near-surface temperature gradients

DB2
August 12, 2009 5:43 pm

“Just a curiosity question here, how much “heating” of the oceans is caused by friction?”
On a related note, there is a lot of mixing (which takes terawatts for all the oceans) done by animals.
Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean?
https://darchive.mblwhoilibrary.org/bitstream/1912/1501/1/JMR_64_541.pdf
These processes are important for maintaining the MOC (meridional overturning circulation) which is part of the ocean’s circulation system that returns cold deep water from the Arctic southward across the Equator. The water eventually upwells, mostly around the Antarctic.
For the system to continue its circulation there must be a driver for the upwelling and it turns out the main driver is turbulent mixing. It has been calculated that approximately 2 T watts are required annually to drive the system. Usually it is assumed that tides and winds each contribute about half of the necessary energy.
More recent work on the same topic:
Jellyfish And Other Small Sea Creatures Linked To Large-scale Ocean Mixing
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729132107.htm
ScienceDaily (July 29, 2009) — Using a combination of theoretical modeling, energy calculations, and field observations, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have for the first time described a mechanism that explains how some of the ocean’s tiniest swimming animals can have a huge impact on large-scale ocean mixing….
“There are enough of these animals in the ocean,” he notes, “that, on the whole, the global power input from this process is as much as a trillion watts of energy—comparable to that of wind forcing and tidal forcing.”

Dave Wendt
August 12, 2009 5:43 pm

cancel that last try
Abstract. The dynamical role of geothermal heating in abyssal circulation is reconsidered using three independent arguments. First, we show that a uniform geothermal heat
flux close to the observed average (86.4 mW m−2 ) supplies
as much heat to near-bottom water as a diapycnal mixing rate of ∼10−4 m2 s−1 – the canonical value thought to be
responsible for the magnitude of the present-day abyssal cir- culation. This parity raises the possibility that geothermal heating could have a dynamical impact of the same order. Second, we estimate the magnitude of geothermally-induced circulation with the density-binning method (Walin, 1982), applied to the observed thermohaline structure of Levitus (1998). The method also allows to investigate the effect ofmeasurements and classical theories of lithospheric cooling.
realistic spatial variations of the flux obtained from heatflow
It is found that a uniform heatflow forces a transformation of ∼6 Sv at σ4 =45.90, which is of the same order as cur-
rent best estimates of AABW circulation. This transforma- tion can be thought of as the geothermal circulation in the absence of mixing and is very similar for a realistic heat- flow, albeit shifted towards slightly lighter density classes. Third, we use a general ocean circulation model in global configuration to perform three sets of experiments: (1) a ther- mally homogenous abyssal ocean with and without uniform geothermal heating; (2) a more stratified abyssal ocean sub- ject to (i) no geothermal heating, (ii) a constant heat flux of
86.4 mW m−2 , (iii) a realistic, spatially varying heat flux of
identical global average; (3) experiments (i) and (iii) with en- hanced vertical mixing at depth. Geothermal heating and di- apycnal mixing are found to interact non-linearly through the density field, with geothermal heating eroding the deep strat- ification supporting a downward diffusive flux, while diapy- cnal mixing acts to map near-surface temperature gradients

Jacob Mack
August 12, 2009 5:47 pm

I in all honesty (not sarcasm) look forward to reading Dr. Douglas’ entire paper when it is published; this is of major interest to me and from what I do read based upon Tsonis and Swanson as well, seems very reasonable and done in the spirit of the scientific method, but I will refrain any judgement or claims until after I read it a few times first. Swanson and Tsonis did some compeling work in their last paper.

Mark T
August 12, 2009 5:51 pm

George E. Smith (16:44:08) :
And Wiki is the final arbiter of all things scientific ?

No, just the easiest reference to get to and likely the most common definition.
Notice what they say; “heat is the process…” clearly their idea of heat is that it is a verb.
Technically, a “process” is a noun, or rather “the process of energy transfer” is a object, i.e., it is a noun substitute. But either way, yes, they are describing “heat” as something that happens or gets done rather than something that is or exists.
Hey, it is all semantic and in general, everyone knows what is meant so it’s not that big of a deal. I think thermodynamics people tend towards Nasif’s usage, which is what I was also taught.
As for incorrect usage of the term feedback, the “climate science” usage is inexcusably bad and demonstrates a severe lack of understanding of the underlying concepts of control theory. Not that the stuff is simple, but it is generally considered core knowledge, i.e., one of the basics, for any engineering curriculum.
Mark

Don B
August 12, 2009 5:54 pm

Pamela (16:53:58)
Well stated! I have always had a high opinion of Oregon State U alums who were from the Wallowas.
If we are fortunate, Roger Pielke, Sr. will soon offer some opinions on this paper in his Climate Science blog, the paper which some here choose not to discuss.

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 5:58 pm

I just had a look at this:
Clement, A.C.; Burgman, R; & Norris, J.R. (2009). Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback. Science 325, 460-464.
They show insufficient respect for climate regime shifts and seem all-too-willing to embrace CO2 as a monotonic driver of future cloud cover. Furthermore, they point to computer fantasies as the way to gain more insight. (wtf??)

MikeE
August 12, 2009 5:59 pm

Pamela Gray (17:07:26) :
I was aware its a bit off topic, i was just got to thinking about about circulation in general, and just got too wondering 😉

August 12, 2009 6:01 pm

Mike Ramsey (17:29:08):
George E. Smith (16:44:08):
Please, don’t get offended. Jerry D. Wilson explains very well what is heat in Chapter 11, page 360-382 of his book:
Wilson, Jerry D. College Physics-2nd Edition; Prentice Hall Inc. 1994.
Some other references:
H. C. Van Ness. Understanding Thermodynamics; PAGE 17.
Thomas Engel and Philip Reid. Thermodynamics, Statistical, Thermodynamics & Kinetics. 2006. Pearson Education, Inc. PAGE 16.
Potter, Merle C. and Somerton, Craig W. Thermodynamics for Engineers. Mc Graw-Hill. 1993. PAGE 40.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/thermo/heat.html#c1

MikeE
August 12, 2009 6:03 pm

Sorry didn’t mean to stutter!

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 6:03 pm

By the way, I haven’t really read the paper posted here; so nothing I have put on the pile relates in any way to that paper. But I’ll get around to looking at what the author’s have taken the trouble to put here for us to digest; so just in case they may think I have been jumping on them I haven’t. I at least read what people write before I try to comment on what it is they have said.
Anthony just keeps feeding us interesting pieces at such a rate, it is hard to keep up with, and a lot of these threads develop a complete life of their own unrelated to their original topic.
George

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 6:11 pm

“”” DB2 (17:43:18) :
“There are enough of these animals in the ocean,” he notes, “that, on the whole, the global power input from this process is as much as a trillion watts of energy—comparable to that of wind forcing and tidal forcing.” “””
Watts are units of Power; not Energy; which as Leif has pointed out is measured in Joules.
It is hard to make rational arguments while using incorrect units.
For example stating the cost of solar energy in dollars per Watt; will just cause confusion. It will also underestimate that cost by typically confining the accounting to just the capital cost of the peak power capability of the system; but ignore the continuous running costs of maintenance and other fators; whcih typically affect the cost of available energy.

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 6:17 pm

As for the above concept of the energy involved with swimming animals; I would submit that such work performed by these creatures is uncontrollable, and as such is akin to the random motions of atoms and molecules in thermal processes.
But bear in mind that those animals, and their heat producing thrashings around; are a product of the solar energy that entered the ocean; not to mention the CO2 that disssolved in the ocean and supplies important materials to these life forms.
So these critters are simply a process in the conversion of solar radiation energy into heat energy that is stored in the oceans.
I would advise against investing in any “green free renewable energy” program that plans to light Los Angeles from the combined efforts of phytoplankton off the LA coast.

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 6:23 pm

“”” cba (17:32:12) :
“” tallbloke (05:12:16)
… stored down to 700m…
“”
I have some basic problems with that.
1. h2o reaches maximum density just a few degrees over freezing. Salt water is slightly lower in freezing point than fresh water. “””
What you state is true only of fresh water. Sea water which has an average salinity of around 3.5% exhibits NO maximum density before it freezes; for salinity of 2.47% or higher; where it freezes somewhere around -2.5 degC.
So salt water continues to get denser as it cools; so it does not exhibit the “turnover” phenomenon that occurs in fresh water lakes.
George

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 6:25 pm

Re: DB2 (17:43:18)
Interesting – particularly since biological processes vary by orders of magnitude (in response to things like climate).

Mark T
August 12, 2009 6:26 pm

Watts are units of Power; not Energy; which as Leif has pointed out is measured in Joules.
Uh, units of power are time-varying units of energy, i.e., Joules per second. In other words, a Watt is a measure of the rate of energy transfer. Looking back at the first definition of heat… ahem.
Mark

Mark T
August 12, 2009 6:29 pm

Actually, DB2 used both “power” and “energy” in the same sentence for the same thing. Ok, strange. 😉
Mark

Sandy
August 12, 2009 6:44 pm

“Sea water which has an average salinity of around 3.5% exhibits NO maximum density before it freezes; for salinity of 2.47% or higher; where it freezes somewhere around -2.5 degC.”
Hmm if seawater density continued going up all the way to freezing then at the bottom of the ocean pressure alone would cause freezing. Salinity might lower the temp. at which density is at a minimum but the minimum must be there or the oceans would be solid at a few hundred feet.

Sandy
August 12, 2009 6:46 pm

Bollo density maximum in above post!

George E. Smith
August 12, 2009 6:49 pm

“”” Nasif Nahle (17:18:47) :
George E. Smith (16:57:53) :
I grouped you and Nasif, since you both made essentially the same claim that heat is only energy in transit, or words to that effect; whereas if anything is true, it is exactly the opposite; it is only heat when it is not in transit; well other than the very short time exchange of kinetic energies between heated particles in collisions.
Again, it’s not my claim, or “my” mentor’s claim (who, by the way, is Hendrick C. Van Ness), but of ALL physicists on this world, except two of them: you and Leif by saying that heat is the same as kinetic energy. “””
Nasif; please accept that my reference to Van Ness as “your mentor” carried no derogatory connotations; I’ll accept your word that he is (was) an author of repute; I never questioned that and it was easier to make such a reference, than to dig back though this pile to locate his name.
The various citations I posted here somewhere as from a “Physics Handbook” specifically come from “Handbook of Physics” edited by Walter Beneson, John W. Harris, Horst Stocker, and Holger Lutz which dates from 2002, and I believe is translated from a German original. I carefully chose to purchase this specific handbook, because it is a concise and highly pedantic treatise on the whole gamut of Physics; albeit with only brief coverage of any specific aspect of Physics.
Wikipedia may be the people’s encyclopedia of whatever; I use it myself; but I do not rely on it for definitiver work.
Benenson et al is rather rare in that it gives the specific exact values of the fundamental parameters of black body radiation in terms of fundamental physical constants; rather than giving some numerical value; whose accuracy will always be subject to suspicion. Knowing that C1 and C2, the two radiation constants, as well as the Stefan-Boltzmann constant (sigma) have exact values in terms of fundamnetal constants, and are NOT the result of some statistical curve fitting process beloved of climate scientists, was a clincher in deciding to purchase this handbook to keep at my desk for reference.
The Planck derivation of the spectrum of blackbody radiation is one of the crown jewels of modern physics, and students need to know that it was a theoretical derivation from fundamentals, and not an exercise in statistical mechanics.
The Raleigh-Jeans, and Wien forms of the black body spectrum each had fatal errors that made both of them useless over wide spectral ranges; the so-called “Ultra-violet catastrophe” in the case of the Raleigh-Jeans fromula which predicts infinite spectral emittance at zero wavelength.
Scientists have to be especially careful (and pedantic) when using technical terms; that have specific scientific meanings as well as everyday colloquial meanings to lay persons.
The use of “brightness” for example instead of “Luminance” in discussions of photometric properties of light. Lay folks associate “brightness” with light bulbs and think it is synonymous with “candle power” or some other “scientific slang” usage.

Paul Vaughan
August 12, 2009 7:03 pm

Re: DB2 (17:43:18)
Figure 2 (lower panel) in the link you provide to…
Dewar, W.K.; Bingham, R.J.; Iverson, R.L.; Nowacek, D.P.; St. Laurent, L.C.; & Wiebe, P.H. (2006). Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean? Journal of Marine Research 64, 541-561.
https://darchive.mblwhoilibrary.org/bitstream/1912/1501/1/JMR_64_541.pdf
…provides a clue as to why rate of change of CO2 in the far south is in anti-phase with most of the world.
Plants, insects, & soil organisms (& humans) have a profound impact on the physical properties of soils (& the structure of the land surface). It is interesting that it has taken us so long to get around to opening our minds to what life is doing to modify ocean structure — more evidence that we have been living in times when “inconvenient” unconventional thinking is (basically) prohibited, even when it is sensible.

August 12, 2009 7:20 pm

I am not sure on this but, did Dr. Douglas and Dr. Knox consider kinetic energy into the total available energy in the oceans in their analysis?

Jacob Mack
August 12, 2009 7:30 pm

regarding heat; just read Peter Atkins textbooks on Physical Chemistry; he is the authority on this. You guys are overcomplicating what heat is; it is merely kinetic energy in total which transfers energy due to temperature difference, whereas temperature is the average kinetic energy…Atkins would say that heat is not really energy at all, but energy trnasfer due to temperature difference alone; both statements are made by phsysicists and chemists/Physical chemists, and are slightly different ways of viewing the same thing.

oms
August 12, 2009 7:43 pm

The numbers given in Dewar Et Al. (2006) do more to pose a question than provide any answer. They estimate (very roughly) an energy input due to swimming processes, and it is could be of useful magnitude, but even if you accept their ranges, you have to consider whether all this “stirring” is really diapycnal or not.

August 12, 2009 7:54 pm

Mark T (17:51:03) :
But either way, yes, they are describing “heat” as something that happens or gets done rather than something that is or exists.
Yet all definitions of units state that there is such a thing as ‘amount [or quantity] of heat’ which is measured in Joule, e.g. http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/units.html
“energy, work, quantity of heat: joule”
You can only have an amount or a quantity of something that is or exists. So ‘ocean heat content’ is something that has existence [and we all know that it is the kinetic energy of the random, chaotic movements of the molecules] and can be stored and transported around by bodily movements, like ocean currents and convection.
And for a solar physics application: there is coronal heating and heat is deposited in the coronal material. Yet the heating is not a process of transferring heat from a warmer to a colder body, because there is no warmer body around. The refusal of accepting this, set back coronal physics 50 years, because it was held to be impossible that the Sun [at 6000K] could heat the corona [at 1,000,000K]. Perhaps one could still maintain that there therefore is no coronal heating taking place, but that seems extreme and useless to me.

August 12, 2009 8:32 pm

Jacob Mack (19:30:47) :
regarding heat; just read Peter Atkins textbooks on Physical Chemistry; he is the authority on this. You guys are overcomplicating what heat is; it is merely kinetic energy in total which transfers energy due to temperature difference, whereas temperature is the average kinetic energy…Atkins would say that heat is not really energy at all, but energy trnasfer due to temperature difference alone; both statements are made by phsysicists and chemists/Physical chemists, and are slightly different ways of viewing the same thing.
I have not conflict with Atkins’ description because he’s referring to energy transferred from one system to another system due to differences of temperature. It is true for any form of available energy (gravitational potential energy, or kinetic energy or internal energy) in the thermodynamic system that is being transferred in a given moment.
From Douglas’ and Knox’s article, I can deduce that they consider any amount from the total available energy can be transferred to the atmosphere or to the subjacent layers of the oceans and ground (one fifth from the total energy absorbed is transferred to the underlying surface). On the latter case, that is, when the energy is transferred to the underlying surface of the oceans and ground, the lag time between the event of absorption and storage of energy, and the dissipation of the stored energy, considering that “lag time” is a function of dissipation, is prolonged for an undetermined period of time. Oceans are highly efficient collectors of energy.
The phenomenon mentioned in the above paragraph is true for oceans and clay due to their high heat capacity, which is 4.2 x 10^6 J/m^3 K for the water, and 1.8 x 10^6 J/m^3 K for dry clay.
The important thing on this conundrum of total available energy content in the oceans is to know how long the energy stored is maintained into the system. -we know that the available energy will be dissipated latter towards the atmosphere and other systems and to the outer space; however, we don’t know exactly when it will happen.

August 12, 2009 8:32 pm

Nasif Nahle (19:20:31) :
I am not sure on this but, did Dr. Douglas and Dr. Knox consider kinetic energy into the total available energy in the oceans in their analysis?
They calculate the ocean heat content from the measured temperature profile.

August 12, 2009 8:39 pm

Nasif Nahle (20:32:44) :
oceans and clay due to their high heat capacity, which is 4.2 x 10^6 J/m^3 K for the water, and 1.8 x 10^6 J/m^3 K for dry clay.
You must mean their ‘high energy in transit capacity’.

Jacob Mack
August 12, 2009 8:41 pm

Nasif,
thank you for your thorough response…much appreciated.

August 12, 2009 8:59 pm

Leif Svalgaard (20:32:56) :
They calculate the ocean heat content from the measured temperature profile.
If they are calculating the ocean heat content, they are calculating nothing; consequently, they are disregarding the important portion of the total available energy into the system “oceans”. The kinetic energy of the oceans is very small in comparison with the total available energy content in the oceans.

August 12, 2009 9:09 pm

Nasif Nahle (20:59:26) :
The kinetic energy of the oceans is very small in comparison with the total available energy content in the oceans.
The ocean heat content is the kinetic energy of the random, chaotic movements of the molecules. Now, heat is the ultimate sink of available energy, and is not available to do work.

August 12, 2009 9:12 pm

For me the best comment so far on this topic came from Anthony.
I could visualize this happening with the oceans due to cloud cover modulation. Example: due to a forcing/change which I’ll leave undefined, we see less cloud cover around the tropics, and the “stove” goes from medium to high. Cloud cover returns, and we have an additional insulating blanket for the oceanic pot of water in addition to the longer discharge curve, while the stove goes back to medium or medium-low. It isn’t hard to envision some longer discharge periods there.
It very nicely explains the temperature trend that has been occurring and suggests the real cooling is still coming.
The current Landscheidt/Jose minimum will solve so many unanswered questions.

August 12, 2009 9:16 pm

Leif Svalgaard (20:39:02) :
Nasif Nahle (20:32:44) :
oceans and clay due to their high heat capacity, which is 4.2 x 10^6 J/m^3 K for the water, and 1.8 x 10^6 J/m^3 K for dry clay.
You must mean their ‘high energy in transit capacity’.

Wow! At last, you’re understanding the concept. Indeed, heat capacity describes the ability of a system to absorb energy in transit (heat) and store it like internal energy. The formula is quite simple: ρC = ρ (Cp)
I have to tell you, if you don’t know it, that heat capacity is not the same than specific heat capacity, OK?

August 12, 2009 9:17 pm

Jacob Mack (20:41:55) :
Nasif,
thank you for your thorough response…much appreciated.

And you are welcome, Jacob. 🙂

Jacob Mack
August 12, 2009 9:20 pm

Heat capacity is an extensive property and dependent upon mass; specific heat is intensive. The mass of the water; approxmately 71-74% of the Earth’s surface is alot of mass, but in addition water has an immensely high specific heat as well.
Just because bodies of water cool or rise in temperature at a slower rate, this does nothing to discredit heat transfer leading to higher global temps.

Mark T
August 12, 2009 9:32 pm

Leif Svalgaard (19:54:58) :
You can only have an amount or a quantity of something that is or exists.

Immaterial. I was specifically referring to George’s comment which was in response to the Wikipedia quote where Wikipedia = “they” in my comment.
Mark

August 12, 2009 9:33 pm

[snip]
Reply: Smokey please refrain from badgering/personal attacks. ~ ctm

August 12, 2009 9:42 pm

Leif Svalgaard (21:09:58) :
Nasif Nahle (20:59:26) :
The kinetic energy of the oceans is very small in comparison with the total available energy content in the oceans.
The ocean heat content is the kinetic energy of the random, chaotic movements of the molecules. Now, heat is the ultimate sink of available energy, and is not available to do work.

Oooh! I spoke too soon. Well, let’s start again with your lessons:
Kinetic energy is a state function, that is, a property of a thermodynamic system that depends on the current equilibrium state of that thermodynamic system, not the process by which that thermodynamic system acquired its current state .
On the other hand, heat and work are not state functions, but process quantities, i.e. physical quantities which describe the transition between an equilibrium state and another equilibrium state of a thermodynamic system. Got it? Two different things that must not be confused, correct?

anna v
August 12, 2009 9:48 pm

Nasif Nahle (20:59:26) :
Leif Svalgaard (20:32:56) :
“They calculate the ocean heat content from the measured temperature profile.”
If they are calculating the ocean heat content, they are calculating nothing; consequently, they are disregarding the important portion of the total available energy into the system “oceans”. The kinetic energy of the oceans is very small in comparison with the total available energy content in the oceans.

What do you mean by this greater? The tidal kinetic energy? wind induced? the motion of the earth around the sun? the motion of the sun through the galaxy? The gravitational potential energy? The nuclear bound energy that could be released in a fission or fusion?
What is the total available energy content in the oceans according to you?
If you mean the kinetic energy in the degrees of freedom of the molecules in the ocean there is a direct formula connecting the temperature to the average kinetic energy.

Jim Masterson
August 12, 2009 10:01 pm

I learned the definition of heat 40 years ago as a sophomore in college. My Classical Thermodynamics text (Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics, by Van Wylen and Sonntag who are still publishing thermo texts) defines heat on page 73, section 4.7 (Definition of Heat). I quote:
“Heat is defined as the form of energy that is transferred across the boundary of a system at a given temperature to another system (or the surroundings) at a lower temperature by virtue of the temperature difference between the two systems. That is, heat is transferred from the system at the higher temperature to the system at the lower temperature, and the heat transfer occurs solely because of the temperature difference between the two systems. Another aspect of this definition of heat is that a body never contains heat. Rather heat can be identified only as it crosses the boundary. Thus heat is a transient phenomenon.”
The authors then discuss dropping a hot block of copper into a cold beaker of water. Later on we are given the units:
“We define as our unit of heat the quantity of heat transferred from the copper to the water, and call the unit of heat the British thermal unit, which is abbreviated Btu. More specifically, this is called the 60-degree Btu, which may be defined as the quantity of heat required to raise 1 lbm of water from 59.5 F to 60.5F.
“Similarly, a calorie can be identified as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water from 14.5 C to 15.5 C.
“Further, heat transferred to a system is considered to be positive, and heat transferred from a system, negative. . . . The symbol Q is used to represent heat.”
The last time I looked, there are simple conversions between Btu, calorie, and joule as they are all units of energy.
Jim

August 12, 2009 10:08 pm

Nasif Nahle (21:16:47) :
I have to tell you, if you don’t know it, that heat capacity is not the same than specific heat capacity, OK?
Heat capacity is the capacity of a body to store heat. It is typically measured in units of J/°C or J/K (which are equivalent) and is an extensive property for the body. The numbers you give as heat capacity are not heat capacity but specific heat capacity, intrinsic properties of the material. Good ole Wikipedia can even tell you more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_mass

August 12, 2009 10:13 pm

I knew I shouldn’t have posted that when ctm was on duty!

August 12, 2009 10:19 pm

Nasif Nahle (21:42:43) :
On the other hand, heat and work are not state functions
In the clause ‘ocean heat content’, ‘heat’ is clearly a state function, because of the word ‘content’. That is all. You may not like this meaning of heat, but it is the accepted usage in climate studies and astrophysics, and I have no problems with it. The heat content can be calculated from the temperature profile as the ARGO team does. I have no problems with that either. A very sensible and useful approach.
But to get you out of the broken record mode, how would you describe the coronal heating I referred to?

par5
August 12, 2009 10:37 pm

Ninderthana (07:03:08) : One factor none of you are seeming to consider is the up welling deep cool ocean water.
There is no upwelling of warmth (heat, energy, thermal whatever) because all upwelling of ocean water is cold. I will just say ‘warmth’ to avoid another argument. Warmth does not transfer from the sea floor to the surface, nor does it transfer from the surface to the sea floor. I never dived the Great Lakes, so I have no experience or personal observations of descending thermoclines or layers- but then this post is about the oceans. If you dive into the deep oceans, the surface may be warm, but immediately gets cold within the first few feet. There is no warmth coming from below- it only gets colder.

August 12, 2009 11:00 pm

anna v (21:48:37) :
[Nasif Nahle (20:59:26) :
If they are calculating the ocean heat content, they are calculating nothing; consequently, they are disregarding the important portion of the total available energy into the system “oceans”. The kinetic energy of the oceans is very small in comparison with the total available energy content in the oceans.]
What do you mean by this greater? The tidal kinetic energy? wind induced? the motion of the earth around the sun? the motion of the sun through the galaxy? The gravitational potential energy? The nuclear bound energy that could be released in a fission or fusion?

No; the total availabe energy comprehends only the gravitational potential energy, the internal energy and the kinetic energy; all of them. Nevertheless, kinetic energy of oceans is very small compared with the total available content of energy in the oceans.
What is the total available energy content in the oceans according to you?
According to me? Too much… According to climatologists, the global mean of available gravitational potential energy is 4.4 x 10^5 J/m^2 (energy per unit area), and the global mean kinetic energy is 0.006 x 10^5 J/m^2.
If you mean the kinetic energy in the degrees of freedom of the molecules in the ocean there is a direct formula connecting the temperature to the average kinetic energy.
Yes, temperature is proportional to the average kinetic energy of a thermodynamic system:
T = 1/[ΔS/ΔU] at constant volume (V) and number of particles (N), or:
[1/2 mv^2] = 3/2 kT

August 12, 2009 11:12 pm

Leif Svalgaard (22:08:28) :
Nasif Nahle (21:16:47) :
I have to tell you, if you don’t know it, that heat capacity is not the same than specific heat capacity, OK?
Heat capacity is the capacity of a body to store heat. It is typically measured in units of J/°C or J/K (which are equivalent) and is an extensive property for the body. The numbers you give as heat capacity are not heat capacity but specific heat capacity, intrinsic properties of the material. Good ole Wikipedia can even tell you more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_mass

The units of specific heat capacity are J/Kg K.
I gave the units J/m^3 K, which are for volumetric heat capacity. It is the product of density by specific heat capacity.
{J/m^3 K} = {(Kg/m^3) (J/Kg K)}
I don’t need Wikipedia, but it’s good in some things.

August 12, 2009 11:28 pm

Leif Svalgaard (22:19:54) :
In the clause ‘ocean heat content’, ‘heat’ is clearly a state function, because of the word ‘content’. That is all. You may not like this meaning of heat, but it is the accepted usage in climate studies and astrophysics, and I have no problems with it. The heat content can be calculated from the temperature profile as the ARGO team does. I have no problems with that either. A very sensible and useful approach.
But to get you out of the broken record mode, how would you describe the coronal heating I referred to?

Sorry for them (the authors of the paper); they should have writen “total content of available energy in the oceans”, unless they were referring to the energy transferred from the oceans to the atmosphere or to other systems. 🙂
How would I describe the coronal heating you referred to? There are two possible ways of explaining it. Of course those are speculations:
1. The Sun is not so gaseous as solar physicists think, or…
2. Quantum tunneling; although we should look for a quantum barrier, possibly the Helmet Streamers; excess of protons and electrons over there due to trapped plasma.

August 13, 2009 12:02 am

Nasif Nahle (23:12:35) :
The units of specific heat capacity are J/Kg K.
No, all that is required is a way of removing the reference to the ‘size’ of the body, be it measured in kg or m^3 or moles or whatever. To make the difference between an extensive and an intrinsic property.
The heat content has nothing to do with ‘available’ energy [it is in fact not available once it is heat – entropy never decreases] and has nothing to do with gravitational potential energy. And the oceans have a certain heat capacity [ability to store heat], determined by their volume [or at least the volume considered].
There is really no need to bring in all these straw men [like ‘heat is photons’ and the unit of heat [dQ] is Watt while that of Q is Joule, etc]. It is very simple: in climate studies [page 2, line 4 of the paper] “one generally finds the total ocean heat content expressed in units of 10^22 J”
In http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/R-247.pdf you can find an authoritative [you like authorities] discussion of the issues of heat storage, H, in the oceans. The quantity dH/dt is a measure of ‘Global Warming’, which makes H(t), the heat stored in the system at any given time, t, a very interesting and important number.

August 13, 2009 12:04 am

Nasif Nahle (23:28:37) :
How would I describe the coronal heating you referred to? There are two possible ways of explaining it. Of course those are speculations:
1. The Sun is not so gaseous as solar physicists think, or…
2. Quantum tunneling; although we should look for a quantum barrier, possibly the Helmet Streamers; excess of protons and electrons over there due to trapped plasma.

Where is the warmer body from which heat is transiting to the colder corona in order to heat it?

August 13, 2009 12:23 am

steve (14:50:58) :
Tallbloke, it is not a matter of selecting a study of new dam construction affects on sea level to believe. If it is perhaps you know which study the IPCC relied upon to leave this factor or any of the other factors I mentioned out of the attribution tables.

Steve, I apologize if the difficulty I’m having understanding the grammar of these two sentences leads me to incorrectly interpret them, but if I get your meaning, what I’m trying to say is that the IPCC say they did include land based factors in their estimates. Clearly this conflicts with your scientists paper if they say all the sea level change can be accounted for by land use change. I don’t have any resolution to this inconsistency, nor the time to hunt for one at the moment. However, the uncertainty it throws up is duly noted.
Cheers

RobJM
August 13, 2009 12:30 am

Wake up folks!
Stop arguing about the definition of heat and look at the graph!
It shows the Earth is loosing more heat as it warms up, thus disproving AGW.
It proves negative feedback!
It proves a shortwave forcing is responsible for the warming, since a system cant heat up and loose more energy without increasing the input energy (which is strangely enough due to the observed 5% decrease in low cloud, duh!)
Repeat, This one graph is all the evidence you need to disprove AGW!

RobJM
August 13, 2009 12:35 am

Did anyone mention the massive amount of stored latent heat energy that the liquid ocean represents? How much energy would be released from the ocean if you froze it, an awful lot!

August 13, 2009 12:43 am

cba (17:32:12) :
“” tallbloke (05:12:16)
… stored down to 700m…
“”
I have some basic problems with that.

Rather than an a priori rejection based on a misunderstanding between the density curves of fresh and salt water, I came at it from the other direction. I did the calcs on how much heat must be stored to account for the estimated thermal expansion, and the depth to which it is stored implied by the gradient of temperature from the base of the surface mixed zone to the thermocline, which is pretty linear. All my calcs worked out quite neatly, so I then looked at the how.
I had difficulty understanding it too. So I went and asked an oceanologist how the received energy is propogated downwards. He told me that below the depth waves mix the water to (50 metres in the tropics, deeper in the southern ocean where the rollers are really big), tidal action and current subduction does the job.
Now I’ve read elsewhere that you need to be careful about which oceanologist you talk to, because there are as many theories of oceanology as there are oceanologists. I find the uncertainty this implies faintly unsurprising. However, either the energy gets down there somehow, or the satellite altimetry and it’s interpretation is all to cock, ARGO buoys tell complete porkies, Phil Jones is lying his head off about SST’s, and we may as well all pack up and head to speculation city.

August 13, 2009 12:58 am

Leif Svalgaard (16:22:36) :
tallbloke (13:58:06) :
The long term changes in LOD (multi-decadal) affect long term changes in SST (multi-decadal).
‘affect’ is a weasel word. By what mechanism? Does Gross claim this too? Why not?

Not so far as I’m aware. I don’t know what his personal ideas are, because he hasn’t told me, or you. Perhaps in his position, he has chosen to hold his peace. Speculations on a postcard.
I have several ideas about mechanism. I’m already well acquainted with your objections to them, which are duly noted and not ignored. For now I’ve chosen to discuss them elsewhere. This is partly in deference to Anthony’s wishes, and partly because we tend to focus too narrowly on these issues and miss the other interesting stuff happening on these threads.

August 13, 2009 1:10 am

Nasif Nahle (23:28:37) :
Sorry for them (the authors of the paper);
You can feel sorry for The National Research Council too: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11175&page=21
and for every other climatologist out there.
This is accepted usage and is therefore correct, the way language evolves. This is really my only point.

August 13, 2009 1:15 am

Nasif Nahle (23:00:16) :
Yes, temperature is proportional to the average kinetic energy of a thermodynamic system:
T = 1/[ΔS/ΔU] at constant volume (V) and number of particles (N), or:
[1/2 mv^2] = 3/2 kT

Nasif, I’m not trained in particle physics, so I wonder of you could help me. I’ve been trying to follow your discussion (!) with Leif and wondered if your position has any bearing on the conundrum I’m tackling with respect to the way solar energy entering the oceans must be propogated downwards to account for observed ocean ‘heat content’. You seem to be saying that once the solar energy is absorbed into the ocean, it is no longer ‘heat’ but part of the overall ocean energy, and must be accounted for in either the gravitational potential, the internal energy, or the kinetic energy.
Can you see a way any of those three might be able to transfer energy downwards to depths of 700m or more, well beyond the 70m or so that is the limit of where the transfer of energy from incoming solar radiation to the water molecules and metallic ions and chloride ions takes place? For example, could gravity differentiate those molecules or ions which have absorbed solar energy from those which haven’t?
Thanks for your help.

August 13, 2009 2:33 am

Leif, I think you are both right. But as an example of the way such idiomatic use as you propose can lead to incorrect thinking which can pervade an entire branch of science I offer this:
A warmist said the air heated the ocean.
I pointed out that the air doesn’t heat the ocean, but it might slow it’s rate of cooling.
He claimed that this amounted to the same thing because the air heated the ocean by slowing down the rate it cools at.
“!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I replied.
I’d like your view on the question I posed for Nasif above if you have time.

August 13, 2009 2:58 am

Open question:
Could the changing shape of water molecule affect it’s buoyancy?
http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/molecule.html
The experimental values for gaseous water molecule are O-H length 0.95718 Å, H-O-H angle 104.474° [64].e. These values are not maintained in liquid water, where ab initio (O-H length 0.991 Å, H-O-H angle 105.5° [90]) and diffraction studies (O-H length 1.01 Å, O-D length 0.98 Å [1485]; O-D length 0.970 Å, D-O-D angle 106° [91])f suggest slightly greater values, which are caused by the hydrogen bonding weakening the covalent bonding and reducing the repulsion between the electron orbitals. These bond lengths and angles are likely to change, due to polarization shifts, in different hydrogen-bonded environments and when the water molecules are bound to solutes and ions. Commonly used molecular models use O-H lengths of between 0.957 Å and 1.00 Å and H-O-H angles of 104.52° to 109.5°.

steve
August 13, 2009 3:32 am

Tallbloke, I don’t think you had any trouble understanding my last statement. You replied that you don’t have time to run down the studies on other attributing factors to rising sea level. This appears to be the same solution those attributing sea levels for the IPCC came to.

August 13, 2009 4:01 am

steve (03:32:01) :
Tallbloke, I don’t think you had any trouble understanding my last statement. You replied that you don’t have time to run down the studies on other attributing factors to rising sea level. This appears to be the same solution those attributing sea levels for the IPCC came to.

Steve, on re-reading it, I had no trouble. Apologies for my initial confusion.
Maybe the IPCC decided that given the evidence for the other factors they had identified, your author’s had overstated their case. Without ploughing through the IPCC references, we don’t know. I don’t have the time. Do you?
It’s called weighing the balance of evidence.

August 13, 2009 4:17 am

Steve,
here’s the abstract of your paper. I note they say their study accounts for all variation in sea level rise. Not that it accounts for all sea level rise.
Also, it was published in 2008 as you originally noted, well after the last IPCC report. Glad I didn’t start ploughing through that pile of *snip* again. 😉
Anyway, I’m not sure I fully agree with them, because the swell and fall associated with the ’98 el nino looks pretty obvious to me, but without reading the full paper, I don’t know what smoothing techniques they’ve applied, or what other factors they removed from the curve before matching their data to the residuals. Also, how would they explain the recent fall in rise rate, which is equivalent to a lot of three gorge projects?
Impact of Artificial Reservoir Water Impoundment on Global Sea Level
B. F. Chao,* Y. H. Wu, Y. S. Li
By reconstructing the history of water impoundment in the world’s artificial reservoirs, we show that a total of ~10,800 cubic kilometers of water has been impounded on land to date, reducing the magnitude of global sea level (GSL) rise by –30.0 millimeters, at an average rate of –0.55 millimeters per year during the past half century. This demands a considerably larger contribution to GSL rise from other (natural and anthropogenic) causes than otherwise required. The reconstructed GSL history, accounting for the impact of reservoirs by adding back the impounded water volume, shows an essentially constant rate of rise at +2.46 millimeters per year over at least the past 80 years. This value is contrary to the conventional view of apparently variable GSL rise, which is based on face values of observation.

August 13, 2009 4:40 am

Steve, one more thing. Their study agrees well with my model, which shows a pretty steady rise in ocean heat content from 1920 to 2003, as derived from my method for cumulatively counting sunspots by consecutively adding and subtracting their magnitudes above and below the ocean equilibrium value I have determined, and factoring in changes in LOD.
http://i630.photobucket.com/albums/uu21/stroller-2009/temp-hist-80.gif

Vincent
August 13, 2009 5:02 am

Leif,
you wrote “It is very simple: in climate studies [page 2, line 4 of the paper] “one generally finds the total ocean heat content expressed in units of 10^22 J””.
In actual fact, it is the CHANGE in heat content dQ that they are expressing. When we say the ocean has a heat content we are obliged to ask “in relation to what?” It is the same as saying a stone has a potential energy. We would say it has a potential energy in comparison to the earths surface (if the stone was aloft) or perhaps we would be comparing it to the height from a table to the floor in our living room.
Similiarly ocean heat content is devoid of meaning in absolute terms. Climate science is saying something like “if ocean temps increase at x degrees/decade then there must have been a quantity of heat Q joules/decade to cause that to happen. They can then compare this to the assumed radiative imbalance in watts/m2. It follows that z watts/m2 over a period of time is equivalent to a quantity of joules. This should agree with common sense.
There is also a climate change effect from this. Imagine a hypothetical situation in which the ocean and the air were at the same temperature. No heat could therefore flow from the ocean to the air. Let there now be a radiative imbalance that adds a quanity Q joules causing ocean temps to rise. There now would exist a temperature gradient that allows heat to flow from the ocean to the air.
At risk of repetition I will say again: absolute ocean heat has no meaning. It is the difference between these two points in time that is relevant to climate studies because it implies a radiative imbalance. Ocean heat content has meaning only when compared to something having a different temperature. And even then it is only the DIFFERENCE in temperature that is important. For example, it matters not a jot whether 2 bodies in contact have temperatures of 100 degrees and 200 degrees respectively or 1100 and 1200 degrees. The SAME amount of work will be extracted. The SAME amount of energy will flow.

steve
August 13, 2009 5:21 am

Tallbloke, let me ask one simple question. If 750-800 km3* of groundwater is extracted each year per Konikow and Kendy Hydrogeology Journal Vol 13 NO1 March 2005, then where is the study that shows an inconsequential percentage of this very large amount makes it’s way to the ocean? I don’t mean to keep harping on this topic but it seems to me outlandish to declare we can determine ocean heat content by sea level rise when we have so little available information on what actually attributes to the rise in sea level. I will drop this now. I think I have made my point that if anything deserves skepticism then this issue definately does.

oms
August 13, 2009 6:12 am

tallbloke (00:43:51) :

So I went and asked an oceanologist how the received energy is propogated downwards. He told me that below the depth waves mix the water to (50 metres in the tropics, deeper in the southern ocean where the rollers are really big), tidal action and current subduction does the job.

A reasonable point of view.

Now I’ve read elsewhere that you need to be careful about which oceanologist you talk to, because there are as many theories of oceanology as there are oceanologists. I find the uncertainty this implies faintly unsurprising. However, either the energy gets down there somehow…

The fact that the energy gets there is the part we DO know. The uncertainty comes with WHAT MECHANISMS provide the diapyncal mixing for the energy to gets there.
tallbloke (01:15:28) :

Can you see a way any of those three might be able to transfer energy downwards to depths of 700m or more, well beyond the 70m or so that is the limit of where the transfer of energy from incoming solar radiation …

It seems that you already answered your own question above.

oms
August 13, 2009 6:17 am

Leif Svalgaard (00:04:27) :

Where is the warmer body from which heat is transiting to the colder corona in order to heat it?

Since this meme doesn’t seem to be dissipating, I’ll give it a try.
I’d guess that some other transfer of energy (other than classical “heating”) is occurring and breaking into heat in the corona. What’s your opinion?

August 13, 2009 7:36 am

steve (05:21:07) :
it seems to me outlandish to declare we can determine ocean heat content by sea level rise when we have so little available information on what actually attributes to the rise in sea level. I will drop this now. I think I have made my point that if anything deserves skepticism then this issue definately does.

Steve, I agree there is much uncertainty. You are right to raise these issues. I have created a way of looking at this stuff which doesn’t rely on absolute quantities we are not sure of. i.e. ocean heat content. My model works by comparing relative values and by scale and proportion. It can accommodate updated figures. I think this is a reasonable way to work towards a better understanding of how it all fits together. What I do know is that my calcs on OHC fit with the observed rise in SST’s and the dropoff of temp to the thermocline. In short, I’m fairly confident I’m on the ballpark.
Thanks for the heads up on the issues you have raised.

August 13, 2009 7:41 am

oms (06:12:34) :
tallbloke (00:43:51) :
So I went and asked an oceanologist how the received energy is propogated downwards. He told me that below the depth waves mix the water to (50 metres in the tropics, deeper in the southern ocean where the rollers are really big), tidal action and current subduction does the job.
A reasonable point of view.
tallbloke (01:15:28) :
Can you see a way any of those three might be able to transfer energy downwards to depths of 700m or more, well beyond the 70m or so that is the limit of where the transfer of energy from incoming solar radiation …
It seems that you already answered your own question above.

Well, someone else answered my question, James Annan actually, a noted AGW scientist. But I want a second opinion and maybe another theory from a physicist because the late Bob Sterling said modelers (like Annan) love to posit subducting warm currents to help their models along, but he’d never found one in 30 years of roaming the oceans taking measurements…
But it has to get down there somehow….
It’s a good puzzle.
🙂

steve
August 13, 2009 7:52 am

“here’s the abstract of your paper. I note they say their study accounts for all variation in sea level rise. Not that it accounts for all sea level rise.”
Yes, I’m not sure if you are saying this as a point or to correct me. If it is to correct me I would have you note I stated sea level rise variations.
I will take some time and look at what you have done. I do think you should consider the variables I have pointed out and acknowledge that the amounts of water involved cannot be justifiably ignored.

Phil.
August 13, 2009 7:57 am

Sandy (18:44:59) :
“Sea water which has an average salinity of around 3.5% exhibits NO maximum density before it freezes; for salinity of 2.47% or higher; where it freezes somewhere around -2.5 degC.”
Hmm if seawater density continued going up all the way to freezing then at the bottom of the ocean pressure alone would cause freezing. Salinity might lower the temp. at which density is at a minimum but the minimum must be there or the oceans would be solid at a few hundred feet.

No, look at the phase diagram of water, water has an anomalous property that its solidus slopes towards lower temperature at higher pressure, that is why water doesn’t freeze at the bottom of the ocean it has nothing to do with a maximum (sic) density. The first poster is correct sea water has a maximum density at its freezing point.
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/ice/h2ophase.gif

steve
August 13, 2009 8:02 am

Tallbloke thanks for the conversation. I see that you agree there are uncertainties that have not been properly addressed and that is all I really wanted. Good luck with your work on SSTs and sunspots. I am not sure what mechanism you are relying on to provide the increase in SSTs but the correlation does look impressive.

August 13, 2009 8:04 am

Leif Svalgaard (00:02:02) :
Nasif Nahle (23:12:35) :
The units of specific heat capacity are J/Kg K.
No, all that is required is a way of removing the reference to the ’size’ of the body, be it measured in kg or m^3 or moles or whatever. To make the difference between an extensive and an intrinsic property.

No? Then tell me: what the units of specific heat capacity (Cp) are? Again, Leif… The units of heat are watts, that is Joules/second (J/s) because it is energy in transit. The units of energy are Watts*second (W*s) or Joules (J). Q is heat, i.e. energy in transit. You’re again confounding units and concepts, I don’t know with which purpose.
Read the basics from Wikipedia, given that you like it in extreme:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Units_of_energy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watt
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_watts_in_a_joule
And I gift you this example:
Q (heat) = m (Cp) (ΔT/Δt)
Q (heat) = 0.000157 Kg (871 J/Kg * K) (1.23 K/60 s) = 0.0028 J/s = 0.0028 W
See the units?
The heat content has nothing to do with ‘available’ energy [it is in fact not available once it is heat – entropy never decreases] and has nothing to do with gravitational potential energy. And the oceans have a certain heat capacity [ability to store heat], determined by their volume [or at least the volume considered].
Of course not! Except for the amount of energy in transit which is absorbed by the system and becomes a portion of the available energy.
As I have tell you many times, heat is not gravitational potential energy, neither kinetic energy, neither internal energy; it is Energy in transit and stops being heat immediately it is absorbed by a system.
There is really no need to bring in all these straw men [like ‘heat is photons’ and the unit of heat [dQ] is Watt while that of Q is Joule, etc]. It is very simple: in climate studies [page 2, line 4 of the paper] “one generally finds the total ocean heat content expressed in units of 10^22 J”
What a confusion of the authors, uh? They are messing internal energy with heat. 🙂
In http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/R-247.pdf you can find an authoritative [you like authorities] discussion of the issues of heat storage, H, in the oceans. The quantity dH/dt is a measure of ‘Global Warming’, which makes H(t), the heat stored in the system at any given time, t, a very interesting and important number.
Heat, a process, cannot be stored. Energy is stored. As I have told you many times, AGWers tend to confound scientific concepts, laws, theories, etc., and it is not a matter of jargon. Could you store photosynthesis or cell respiration? Now that you have introduced Enthalpy into this discussion, would you like to expand on this topic?

August 13, 2009 8:12 am

Leif Svalgaard (01:10:25) :
Nasif Nahle (23:28:37) :
Sorry for them (the authors of the paper);
You can feel sorry for The National Research Council too: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11175&page=21
and for every other climatologist out there.
This is accepted usage and is therefore correct, the way language evolves. This is really my only point.

Solipsism? As I have said, climatology and probably solar physics are creating this confusion. Ask a physicist!
It is not my fault the ignorance of the NRC on physics issues; it’s not my fault the NRC neglects the correct, clean, unpolluted science.

August 13, 2009 8:43 am

tallbloke (02:33:44) :
Leif, I think you are both right. But as an example of the way such idiomatic use as you propose can lead to incorrect thinking which can pervade an entire branch of science I offer this…
It is not about being right or wrong. It is about what the accepted and used term is in climate studies, In order to communicate one must use the accepted terminology [e.g. the one used by the National Research Council], which is used by everybody, and is not what ‘I propose’. I just go along so I can understand what they are talking about.
Vincent (05:02:22) :
Similiarly ocean heat content is devoid of meaning in absolute terms.
Absolutely not. It is very well determined. The ‘total energy content’ is what is undefined for the reasons you describe. The ‘heat content’ is the amount of kinetic energy in the random, chaotic movements of the molecules, and that is a quantity that can be determined locally simply by inspection of the medium, e.g. by measuring the sound speed or the temperature. The speeds are in relation to the bulk of the medium. That the medium is hurtling through space at enormous speeds [Earth moves at 30 km/s around the Sun] is immaterial. The heat content is a local and absolute quantity. I can in the laboratory cool something to VERY close to absolute zero, so its heat content becomes effectively zero. Heat content is not a ‘relative’ thing.

August 13, 2009 9:03 am

Nasif Nahle (08:12:26) :
climatology and probably solar physics are creating this confusion. Ask a physicist!
There is no confusion. Very early on, I sent you a quote from Leonard Susskind. Google him. He is a physicist, one of the best: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Susskind

August 13, 2009 9:05 am

Leif Svalgaard (08:43:23) :
tallbloke (02:33:44) :
Leif, I think you are both right. But as an example of the way such idiomatic use as you propose can lead to incorrect thinking which can pervade an entire branch of science I offer this…
It is not about being right or wrong. It is about what the accepted and used term is in climate studies, In order to communicate one must use the accepted terminology [e.g. the one used by the National Research Council], which is used by everybody, and is not what ‘I propose’. I just go along so I can understand what they are talking about.
It is about physical theories and laws, Leif. Climatology is a factual science and it is WRONG some climatologists are using false, unclear and imprecise terminology. The matter is not “accepted terminology”; it’s not a matter of “jargon”, it’s a matter of theories. You and your “climatologists” are leaving out from the field of CLEAN physics.

August 13, 2009 9:12 am

Leif Svalgaard (08:43:23) :
Vincent (05:02:22) :
Similiarly ocean heat content is devoid of meaning in absolute terms.
Absolutely not. It is very well determined. The ‘total energy content’ is what is undefined for the reasons you describe. The ‘heat content’ is the amount of kinetic energy in the random, chaotic movements of the molecules, and that is a quantity that can be determined locally simply by inspection of the medium, e.g. by measuring the sound speed or the temperature. The speeds are in relation to the bulk of the medium. That the medium is hurtling through space at enormous speeds [Earth moves at 30 km/s around the Sun] is immaterial. The heat content is a local and absolute quantity. I can in the laboratory cool something to VERY close to absolute zero, so its heat content becomes effectively zero. Heat content is not a ‘relative’ thing.

Leif, you’re sinking again in your own ignorance about thermodynamics. Show me from any book or Wikipedia, if you would prefer it, that internal energy and total available content of energy are undefined. If it was so, what the purpose of thermodynamics would be? It is not well defined only for people who don’t understand thermodynamics.
Heat is also well defined, it is the energy in transit transferred from a system to another system, that is why its units includes time, i.e. J/SECOND.
Once again, “heat content” is a void term. Any system cannot contain process quatities.

August 13, 2009 9:18 am

Sorry for not being specific. Not all climatologists are using false, unclear and imprecise terminology. Most of them understand that heat cannot be stored or contained, even in an assumed “void” solar corona. There is plasma in the corona, i.e. charged particles.

August 13, 2009 9:20 am

oms (06:17:10) :
I’d guess that some other transfer of energy (other than classical “heating”) is occurring and breaking into heat in the corona. What’s your opinion?
There is no transfer of heat. There is generation of heat. In the solar core there is also generation of heat [by a different process, though]. Even you can generate heat at will: rub your hands together, or strike a match.
In none of these cases is there a transfer of heat from a warmer to a colder body. So, to restrict the usage of the word ‘heat’ to that situation is not very useful. What happens is that you convert one form of energy [mechanical, chemical, potential, nuclear, electromagnetic, etc] into heat [the kinetic energy of random, chaotic motions of the molecules], resulting in a rise of temperature in the medium. This heat is stored in the body until you expose the body to a colder environment at which point some of the heat can be transferred to the colder body, resulting in cooling.

August 13, 2009 9:28 am

steve (07:52:42) :
I do think you should consider the variables I have pointed out and acknowledge that the amounts of water involved cannot be justifiably ignored.

I don’t think I am ignoring them. My calcs concern what water there was estimated to be in the oceans between 1993-2003, how much sea level rose in that time, an estimate of how much of that was due to thermal expansion, and the amount of solar energy needed to be retained to do that.
The question of exactly how much was kept out by new dams, how much went in through draining of wetlands and loss of trees etc I’ll have to leave to the bean counters. The authors of your paper say new dams have withheld 10,800km^3 of water on land to date. Unfortunately in the abstract, they don’t say from what date. If we take the worst case scenario and assume they mean reservoirs built in the last 80 years and no other process compensated for it, then my study will have missed 1,300 of sea level rise which would have happened in addition to the 10,800 measured rise 1993-2003. The amount of rise due to thermal expansion is around 50% of the total according to the IPCC but if that is based on the residual after other factors are taken into consideration, and we assume the IPCC forgot new reservoirs, then it’ll be a bit more – I think. (It’s a bit of a braintwister)
So we are left with me needing to account for the energy required to heat the oceans enough to increase in volume by 6050Km^3 rather than 5400Km^3. So I may have understimated the rise in ocean heat content 1993-2003 by around 10%, the overall result being uncertain by a margin of, at a guess, 15%
I’m not a stickler for exact quantities, except when the barman is topping up my pint, so I can live with that.
Cheers, and thanks again for keeping me aware of uncertainty.

August 13, 2009 9:31 am

Nasif Nahle (09:12:51) :
Show me from any book or Wikipedia, if you would prefer it, that internal energy and total available content of energy are undefined.
Vincent was talking about ‘total energy content’, not your ‘total available energy’. The ‘internal energy’ is also a bit undefined: does it include nuclear binding energy, for instance’. What you mean is ‘thermal energy’ also known as ‘heat’ which is the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized motion of the molecules measured by the temperature of the body. And, of course, ‘thermal energy’ or ‘heat’ is not available to do work. Once an energy form has turned into heat it is no longer ‘available’. To make it do work you need to connect it to another reservoir with a lower temperature and it it this other reservoir and its temperature that determine the amount of work you can get done.

August 13, 2009 9:32 am

Leif Svalgaard (09:20:38) :
There is no transfer of heat. There is generation of heat. In the solar core there is also generation of heat [by a different process, though]. Even you can generate heat at will: rub your hands together, or strike a match.
In none of these cases is there a transfer of heat from a warmer to a colder body. So, to restrict the usage of the word ‘heat’ to that situation is not very useful. What happens is that you convert one form of energy [mechanical, chemical, potential, nuclear, electromagnetic, etc] into heat [the kinetic energy of random, chaotic motions of the molecules], resulting in a rise of temperature in the medium. This heat is stored in the body until you expose the body to a colder environment at which point some of the heat can be transferred to the colder body, resulting in cooling.

Absolutely nonsense.

August 13, 2009 9:38 am

Nasif:
Please, pretty please, would you have a go at my question ?
You seem to be saying that once the solar energy is absorbed into the ocean, it is no longer ‘heat’ but part of the overall ocean energy, and must be accounted for in either the gravitational potential, the internal energy, or the kinetic energy.
Can you see a way any of those three might be able to transfer energy downwards to depths of 700m or more, well beyond the 70m or so that is the limit of where the transfer of energy from incoming solar radiation to the water molecules and metallic ions and chloride ions takes place? For example, could gravity differentiate those molecules or ions which have absorbed more solar energy from those which have absorbed less?
You might have a look at the quote from the site about the change in bond lengths and hydrogen atom angle too.
Thanks for your help.

Stephen Wilde
August 13, 2009 9:39 am

The mechanism by which the bulk ocean temperature is, or rather was, set needs some thought given that there seems to be substantial doubt as to how the current amount of energy in the ocean deeps got there in the first place given that downward mixing encounters significant obstacles. Not least the fact that the direction of energy flow is always ocean to air albeit at varying rates. Indeed the net energy flow is always from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the oceans with the temperature of the Earth’s crust below the oceans being the only thing to set an irreducible minimum at any given time.
The varying solar input only gets in so far but apparently far enough in for (in my opinion) the oceans to then vary the rate of release of that energy to the air.
The question of the average energy content of all the vast bulk of the oceans is very important because that ultimately sets the temperature of the air above.
As the oceans formed they received an initial energy boost from the sun. As they grew deeper only the upper layers continued to be warmed by the solar shortwave input. The lower layers gradually became more and more detached from solar influences and so it went on for aeons. However the lower layers retained energy from that initial solar exposure and never went lower than was permitted by the temperature of the Earth’s crust beneath the oceans.
Now the point of all this is that the ocean bulk is so large that if we try to think in terms of some sort of Earthly equilibrium temperature then it is going to be set by that ocean bulk and not by anything that happens in the air.
Now that the solar effects are limited to upper layers of the oceans not even the behaviour of the sun is variable enough to make a significant difference to the temperature of that ocean bulk over less than geological periods of time.
Minor changes in the air do not have a chance. The Earth’s equilibrium temperature is not set by events in the air but by long past events setting the temperature of the ocean bulk wherever it now is set. Admittedly there will be slow long term variations from the deep oceans caused by the oceanic conveyor belts but their effects are insignificant on timescales relevant to us.
In terms of timescales that have any significance for mankind neither solar nor human activity nor changes in the air alone can have any effect on that basic background ‘equilibrium’ temperature set by the deep ocean bulk.
However, human, solar, air and oceanic variations will have an effect on the rate of transmission of newly arriving solar energy through the system. Within that group of potential variations the human effect is miniscule.
Whenever those variations try to change the background ‘equilibrium’ temperature of the Earth they fail to do so in the face of that monolithic mass of deep oceanic water.
Instead the rate of energy transfer from surface to space changes in order to maintain stability so whatever changes occur from solar, human, air or upper oceanic influences on the rate of that energy flow the air circulation systems shift latitudinally to adjust the rate of energy flow to space proportionately. Essentially it is ALWAYS a negative response to the initial influence on air temperature whether it be up or down because, quite simply, that is what the air does and it does it by adjusting the speed of the hydrological cycle.
The air circulation systems will ALWAYS work to move air temperatures back towards the basic background ‘equilibrium’ set by the ocean bulk.
All weather and climate is just that process in action.
Not only is the net process always negative but additionally it is also proportionate to the initial forcing.
Now, what shall I call this theory ?
The Hot Water Bottle Effect perhaps ?

August 13, 2009 9:40 am

Nasif Nahle (09:05:54) :
You and your “climatologists” are leaving out from the field of CLEAN physics.
Hey, they are not ‘my’ climatologists. I just when reading their papers adopt their terminology [which I also happen to think is sensible and useful]. I would not says that these ‘climatologists are using false, unclear and imprecise terminology’ when talking about Pielke, Douglass, the NRC, Domingues, Willis, Tsonis, Levitus, etc.

Phil.
August 13, 2009 9:41 am

Heat is also well defined, it is the energy in transit transferred from a system to another system, that is why its units includes time, i.e. J/SECOND.
Please Nasif stop this nonsense as you have undertaken on several occasions, the units of heat are Joules not Watts! Anyone claiming to be the ‘winner’ in a thermodynamic discussion who makes such a claim is the ‘loser’ whether he thinks so or not. Look at the conservation of energy in a control volume analysis in any thermo textbook, one of the terms will be Qdot, the rate of heat added to the cv, it has the units of Watts therefore heat must have the units of Joules.

Stephen Wilde
August 13, 2009 10:11 am

Additionally, if the temperature of the Earth’s crust beneath the oceans sets an irreducible minimum temperature for the deep oceans then it follows that