March Global Sea Surface Temperatures

“Hot” on the heels (ahem) of the March UAH global temperature anomaly, we have the likely primary driver of that number, a persistent El Nino in the Pacific. WUWT contributor Bob (you want graphs with that?) Tisdale explains. – Anthony

March 2010 SST Anomaly Update

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

MONTHLY SST ANOMALY MAP

The map of Global OI.v2 SST anomalies for March 2010 downloaded from the NOMADS website is shown below. Note the pattern of warm SST anomalies over the Southern part of the North Atlantic and cool SST anomalies in the Gulf of Mexico. If the pattern persisted through the summer months (big IF), how would it impact the hurricane season?

http://i42.tinypic.com/rur969.png

March 2010 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.301 deg C)

Note: I was advised via email that the NOAA corrected the February OI.v2 SST data. It represents an upward change of only ~0.005 deg C globally, but since it was a correction in areas with sea ice, I decided to check those as well. The February Arctic Ocean SST anomalies rose ~0.02 deg C and the Southern Ocean SST anomalies ~0.03 deg C with the corrections.

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

There was a minor rise (0.012 deg C) this month in Global SST anomalies. SST Anomalies in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres rose approximately the same amount. El Nino conditions remain in the central tropical Pacific (Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +1.14 deg C and Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +0.97 deg C), but SST anomalies there are dropping. Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies dropped 0.10 in March. The North Atlantic, Indian Ocean and the East Indian-West Pacific Ocean datasets all show significant rises this month. They are partly offset by the drops in the Pacific and South Atlantic.

http://i40.tinypic.com/4rav48.png

Global

Monthly Change = +0.012 deg C

############

http://i44.tinypic.com/24yvcrt.png

NINO3.4 SST Anomaly

Monthly Change = -0.104 deg C

EAST INDIAN-WEST PACIFIC

The SST anomalies in the East Indian and West Pacific continue their lagged rise in response to the El Nino. Will they also rise, noticeably, in response to the La Nina as they have in the past?

I’ve added this dataset in an attempt to draw attention to the upward step response. Using the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events as references, East Indian-West Pacific SST Anomalies peak about 7 to 9 months after the peak of the NINO3.4 SST anomalies, so we shouldn’t expect any visible sign of a step change for almost 18 to 24 months. We’ll just have to watch and see.

http://i41.tinypic.com/wsabg2.png

East Indian-West Pacific (60S-65N, 80E-180)

Monthly Change = +0.084 deg C

Further information on the upward “step changes” that result from strong El Nino events, refer to my posts from a year ago Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1 and Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 2

And for the discussions of the processes that cause the rise, refer to More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO – Part 2 – La Nina Events Recharge The Heat Released By El Nino Events AND…During Major Traditional ENSO Events, Warm Water Is Redistributed Via Ocean Currents -AND- More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO – Part 3 – East Indian & West Pacific Oceans Can Warm In Response To Both El Nino & La Nina Events

NOTE ABOUT THE DATA

The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 SST anomaly data from November 1981 to March 2009.

MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL OCEAN AND HEMISPHERIC SST UPDATES

http://i42.tinypic.com/nn03rs.png

Northern Hemisphere

Monthly Change = +0.013 deg C

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http://i42.tinypic.com/2myrggz.png

Southern Hemisphere

Monthly Change = +0.011 deg C

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http://i40.tinypic.com/2mm6yw3.png

North Atlantic (0 to 75N, 78W to 10E)

Monthly Change = +0.120 deg C

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http://i41.tinypic.com/330679u.png

South Atlantic (0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)

Monthly Change = -0.007 deg C

Note: The 2009 upward shift in South Atlantic SST anomalies is becoming very obvious. I’ll have to work up a post about it. I have yet to see a paper that explains it.

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http://i42.tinypic.com/2eve0lk.png

North Pacific (0 to 65N, 100 to 270E, where 270E=90W)

Monthly Change = -0.058 Deg C

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http://i44.tinypic.com/2s180tw.png

South Pacific (0 to 60S, 145 to 290E, where 290E=70W)

Monthly Change = -0.033 deg C

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http://i40.tinypic.com/6i901z.png

Indian Ocean (30N to 60S, 20 to 145E)

Monthly Change = +0.082 deg C

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http://i40.tinypic.com/e002s4.png

Arctic Ocean (65 to 90N)

Monthly Change = -0.092 deg C

#####

http://i39.tinypic.com/dza246.png

Southern Ocean (60 to 90S)

Monthly Change = +0.120 deg C

WEEKLY NINO3.4 SST ANOMALIES

The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomaly data illustrate OI.v2 data centered on Wednesdays. The latest weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are +0.97 deg C. They’re working their way down.

http://i44.tinypic.com/2ll10ye.png

Weekly NINO3.4 (5S-5N, 170W-120W)

SOURCE

The Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Temperature Data (OISST) are available through the NOAA National Operational Model Archive & Distribution System (NOMADS).

http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

or

http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

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142 thoughts on “March Global Sea Surface Temperatures

  1. Good article as always. And thanks for the interesting graphs.
    It appears that El Niño is sufficient to explain the changes in SST. Meanwhile, the ARGO deep sea network of 3,351 buoys shows a cooling trend: click

  2. Smokey (14:40:42) : “Good article as always. And thanks for the interesting graphs.
    “It appears that El Niño is sufficient to explain the changes in SST. Meanwhile, the ARGO deep sea network of 3,351 buoys shows a cooling trend…”
    That’s a bit old. Are there any later plots, Smokey?

  3. jorgekafkazar (14:57:44),
    These are from the current ARGO site: click1, click2
    They’re a little more recent. I don’t know why ARGO doesn’t show them in real time.

  4. Great article and exactly what I believe you said was going to happen quite a while ago. It certain explains why we saw less then normal ice in the West Greenland and Labador Currents.

  5. Smokey (15:08:25) :I don’t know why ARGO doesn’t show them in real time.
    Good point. In principle it would be possible to update ARGO every day just like UAH temperatures from satellites http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/. Anybody know why ARGO doesn’t show temperatures in real time?

  6. El Nino is proposed as a cause. But is El Nino a cause or an effect. Is it even meaningful to speak of causes and effects in a highly complex chaotic system like the climate.

  7. Perhaps I’m reading these incorrectly. Under a global-warming scenario, would we expect these anomalies to continue getting larger every year? Secondly, if these anomalies are avg. differences from an accepted mean, and they are only a few tenths of a degree in value, what’s the big deal?

  8. So based solely on the SST image for March, the El Nino drove cooler then normal winter temperatures south across North America cooling the Gulf of Mexico which tapped the Gulf Stream and cooled the Sargasso Sea leaving warmer then normal sea surface temperatures North West of the North Atlantic Current which raised the SST of the West Greenland and Labador Currents and inhibited some sea ice west of Greenland.
    The North Atlantic current will then bring the cooler then normal Gulf Stream SST to the Arctic and force warmer then normal SST into the North Equatorial Current which will provide a perfect conveyer for Hurricanes headed into the Gulf of Mexico and a possible excuse for all the Global Warming alarmists to get their shorts in a knot.
    Based on this, it looks like we’ll end up with less Arctic melt this year and less Antarctic ice growth or is SST that powerful of an influence in a single year?

  9. The global temperature upward march is more consistent in the oceans. NOAA has established a .97F increase in the last century in global ocean surface temperatures. December 2009 saw the second warmest ocean temperatures recorded since 1880.
    References here to spikes caused by El Nino or even a claim of ocean cooling are therefore a bit puzzling.

  10. It was amazing to discover the force of the Gulf Stream. It increases in transport from Florida to about 85 Sv near Cape Hatteras and peaks at nearly 150 Sv around 65°W. Some of it then decreases in transport downstream of 65°W into the Recirculation Gyre eventually returning to the Gulf.
    At 150 Sv (1 Sv = 1 million cubic meters per second), its moving 150,000,000 cubic meters of water a second. That’s a pretty amazing physical force on temperature in the Atlantic.

  11. Mike, please remember that longwave re-radiation very weakly affects water temps and only water skin deep. So something other than CO2 is causing SST changes. The most likely candidate is a change in the Easterly trade winds. This is BY FAR a much stronger source of increased SST than CO2 can ever hope to be. The trade winds then orchestrate SST’s. So yes, El Ninos have a very strong affect on SST’s but trade winds are the true driver of ocean temps.

  12. Maybe a better metric to report would be surface level trade winds. Which way are they blowing and how strong? The second we see a change in that, will be the moment we can begin to talk about directionality of SST’s in the near future. The surface Easterlies are still weak. So shortwave radiation will beat down on fairly calm seas at the Equator. Just saw “Master and Commander” three days ago. The doldrums are stifling hot and heat up SST’s easily.

  13. no conflict of interest in this study?
    AP: Bob Salsberg: Study: Northeast seeing more, fiercer rainstorms
    BOSTON — The Northeast is seeing more frequent “extreme precipitation events” in line with global warming predictions, a study shows, including storms like the recent fierce rains whose floodwaters swallowed neighborhoods and businesses across New England…
    “It’s almost like 1 inch of rainfall has become pretty common these days,” said Bill Burtis, spokesman for Clean Air-Cool Planet, a global warming education group that released the study Monday along with the University of New Hampshire’s Carbon Solutions New England group.
    The study’s results are consistent with what could be expected in a world warmed by greenhouse gases, said UNH associate professor Cameron Wake. He acknowledged it would take more sophisticated studies to cement a warming link, though.
    “I can’t point to these recent storms and say, that is global warming,” he said…
    Global warming skeptic Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, said it would be unfair to use the recent floods as an example of what’s in the study.
    “You can’t take an individual event and say it’s a product of a certain trend,” Michaels said…
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hW1_ATBmak7oS-hT4X6eZYI7zJeQD9ET6AMO0

  14. I find it most interesting that some posters feel that saying “El Nino” did it, or the PDO, or the AMO, or any other cyclical ocean heating/cooling event, somehow negates the overall influence of AGW on top of these naturally occuring cycles. This is short sighted thinking at best, and is no different than saying the “sun did it” negates a AGW signal on top of naturally occuring solar cycles. Here’s the thing to keep in mind:
    AGW will be a signal mixed in with all the other naturally occuring climate signals.
    As 2010 remains on track to be the warmest year on instrument record, you can certainly trace some of this warmth to El Nino’s release of heat, as well as to the end of the solar minimum, but to suggest that El Ninos (which are natural ways for the ocean to release heat) will not either release more heat as more heat is trapped by GH gases, or become more frequent, is short sighted, and fortuately many dedicated scientists are studying this very thing as we speak…

  15. pat (16:34:43) :
    I agree with the last paragraph and I’m being overly simplistic with SST vs deep currents but it is interesting seeing the SST forces play out in the image and nearly define the North Atlantic Current as well as the possible consequence of this winters El Nino effect/run-off into the Gulf.
    The image isn’t detailed enough to confirm this but doesn’t it look like the Mississippi run-off is the coolest portion in the Gulf SST in the image? It would be interesting to compare this with a similar time frame from former El Nino events.

  16. The RSS global maps are now available and if you check the TLT map for March it matches the SST map. I’m not set up to do a world 180 degree rotate, sorry.
    At the bottom I’ve just added one of the in development time maps and you might find that interesting.
    daedalearth.wordpress.com
    UAH publish gridded data a few days after RSS, will be similar.

  17. R. Gates (16:49:41) : You wrote, “I find it most interesting that some posters feel that saying “El Nino” did it, or the PDO, or the AMO, or any other cyclical ocean heating/cooling event, somehow negates the overall influence of AGW on top of these naturally occuring cycles.”
    And I find it interesting that some people continue to believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gases can have any effect on SST and Ocean Heat Content when Downward Longwave (infrared) Radiation can only warm the top few centimeters of the oceans while Downward Shortwave (visible light) Radiation warms the upper hundred or so meters. The rise in global SST anomalies is simply proof that the oceans integrate ENSO.
    http://i39.tinypic.com/2w2213k.jpg
    Discussed here:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/reproducing-global-temperature.html
    Regards

  18. Arctic Ocean SST Anomalies
    The map http://nomads.ncdc.noaa.gov/data.php was extremely interesting, the first time that I have come across Arctic water temperatures. And what did I notice most of all? The temperature for 2007-8 was a very sharp warm spike, coinciding nicely with the low ice recorded that year. Previously I have read that the winds were also unusual that summer and blew ice down into the Atlantic. So now we have two reasons for the low ice area that year.
    I went to http://nomads.ncdc.noaa.gov/data.php but was unable to find the arctic SST map. I was hoping to find how many temperature measurements were made and where.
    And I wish that something could be done to prevent postings from being sent if we accidentally click the Tab key twice, as I did a few minutes ago…..
    IanM

  19. Izzat all the graphs you got ?
    Well now I’m hoping that someone (Bob, Anthony, Steve Goddard, Phil) can maybe explain what we can tell from this assortment of graphs.
    I shoudl ask are thes SSTs read by satellite or are they buoy data ? If satellite, are they somehow direct sea surface temperature readings (somehow) or do they infer SSTs from sea height expansion.
    Not that I’m quibbling; just natuirally inquisitive.
    I guess I’m getting to recognise that Westward pointing red arrow on the Pacific Equator. The Galapagos Islands seem to always have a hot SST zone around them. I sometimes wonder if that has any relationship to their bio-weirdness.

  20. “”” Bob Tisdale (17:41:17) :
    R. Gates (16:49:41) : You wrote, “I find it most interesting that some posters feel that saying “El Nino” did it, or the PDO, or the AMO, or any other cyclical ocean heating/cooling event, somehow negates the overall influence of AGW on top of these naturally occuring cycles.”
    And I find it interesting that some people continue to believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gases can have any effect on SST and Ocean Heat Content when Downward Longwave (infrared) Radiation can only warm the top few centimeters of the oceans while Downward Shortwave (visible light) Radiation warms the upper hundred or so meters. “””
    Bob you are so charitable. LWIR warms the top few cm. I figure that atmospheric (tropospheric anyway) LWIR can hardly be significant below about 3-4 microns wavelength, and three microns is right where H2O has its highest absorption coefficient of about 9-10,000 cm^-1, which puts the 1/e attenuation depth at 1 micron; so lets be generous and say it might warm the top 10 microns. How much of that energy remains following the prompt evaporation from that hot skin.
    Seems to me that discrimination between the LWIR warming of a thin surface layer versus the tens to hundreds of metres penetration of the spectral irradiance peak solar energy, must be one of the most overlooked factors of some people who simply think in terms of “forcings”.
    Thanks for all that data Bob.

  21. Fishead: In the context of climate, anything (temp data) from 1980 to 2010 means nothing. Fortunately it seems the skeptics show all data such as this incredible warming. Next year could be cooling who knows? The current incredible arctic ice increase as well means nothing, as the 2007 ice decrease (in climate terms). The warmistas will ALWAYS promote the ups and hide the downs LOL We don’t as you can see.

  22. R. Gates (16:49:41) :
    Nothing like a hot cup of Anomaly, isn’t there?
    Remind me not to jump into high-anomaly Arctic water, for despite the color on the graph, it’s still hypothermia in short order.

  23. Well I’ll be. If it isn’t Mike Roddy. You and David Benson might want to visit Bob Tisdale’s site. Lots of interesting stuff there. It’s one of those stubborn areas, like modeling clouds, that we clearly do not understand enough yet.

  24. Could the subtle rise in atmospheric global temps be directly caused from the relatively warm oceans? (Since H20 is a majority greenhouse gas?) Next question is…what is causing the oceans to be so warm? Does that come from gas emissions, cloud cover, or something else…like the sun?

  25. George E. Smith (18:08:33) :
    “””
    Seems to me that discrimination between the LWIR warming of a thin surface layer versus the tens to hundreds of metres penetration of the spectral irradiance peak solar energy, must be one of the most overlooked factors of some people who simply think in terms of “forcings”.
    This is fasinating to me, especially considering the possible influence of decadal changes in insolation and cloud cover possibly due to long term trends in the sun.

  26. El Nino isn’t the “problem” in March. SSTs have decreased significantly since January. The Atlantic is killing us…

  27. I wish these maps would list their base years that they use to compute the anomalies. The Unisys maps that I follow on a daily basis is quite different in a number of places.

  28. ” George E. Smith (18:08:33) :
    Bob you are so charitable. LWIR warms the top few cm. I figure that atmospheric (tropospheric anyway) LWIR can hardly be significant below about 3-4 microns…; so lets be generous and say it might warm the top 10 microns. How much of that energy remains following the prompt evaporation from that hot skin.”
    Have you not forgotten conduction? It operates in all directions!
    So we have the top few cm heated by sw and lw and a few 10s meters down heated by UV
    http://ies.jrc.ec.europa.eu/uploads/fileadmin/Documentation/Reports/Global_Vegetation_Monitoring/EUR_2006-2007/EUR_22217_EN.pdf
    So the surface cm is absorbing a percentage of the SW (as does each cm of the deeper water except the percentage is of a progressively smaller maximum) plus all the LW re-radiated from GHGs.
    The surface is also receiving LW from the layer under the surface and radiating LW down to this lower layer. Because the surface is hotter this will average out to an energy transfer downwards.
    So the hotter the surface the less the lower water energy will be radiated (lost) into the atmosphere. Less loss with the same SW TSI heating the lower layers will mean a hotter temperature.
    Of course the surface is loosing heat via conduction in all directions radiation in all direction, and forced air convection upwards (sideways!)
    However, The surface layer heating must effect the lower layer cooling in my books.

  29. George E. Smith,
    I think the question on Argo is interesting too – no conspiracy theories here or anything – but I think the floats report in to the satellites.
    It could be that they may not report in daily (due to cloud cover, etc) and the information comes in asymetric.
    I can’t say that for sure, just conjecture based on the little I think I recall reading on it.

  30. oh yeah… and since they’re floats it could also be that to provide a daily plot they would have to map all the float temps to locations and that doing this every day vs. once a month would require too much effort.

  31. According to your diagram of energy buget:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/trenberth_mine_latest_big1.jpg
    Only 169 w/m^2 of SW radiation gets absorbed (198w/m^2 hits the ground)
    The back radiation from GHGs is 321 w/m^2 absorbed by the ground.
    If 321W/m^2 is absorbed in the top layer and 169w/m^2 is absorbed in 10s meters the the top layer will be much warmer than the lower layers.
    So is it not true that this top layer must control the temperature of the lower layers?
    /harry

  32. NickB. (20:18:07) :
    Argo buoys
    http://sos.noaa.gov/datasets/Ocean/buoywaterfall.html
    In order to measure temperature and salinity of the upper 2000m (over 6500ft) of the ocean, the Argo buoys are designed to be neutrally buoyant at the “parking depth” which is typically 2000m. The buoys drift along at this level for many days, recording data before an external bladder on the buoy causes it to slowly rise to the surface over a six-hour period. During the ascent, measurements are continuously taken. Once at the surface, satellites are used to determine the buoy’s position and to receive the data transmitted by the buoy. After that has been completed, the bladder deflates and the buoy sinks back down to its parking depth. The whole cycle typically takes 10 days.

  33. R. Gates (16:49:41) :
    And fortunately enough stations survived with records long enough to show the current warming as nothing to write home about.
    Pipe dreams of the Arctic warming 165 years ago being a ‘trend’ led to dashed hopes and death in the barren wastes of ice.

  34. PS on the argo page I referenced the waterfall video is interesting and worth a 24MByte look!

  35. I’m a fairly ignorant fellow so may be that this comment amounts to nothing more than noise, but seems to me that long wave radiation can influence SSTs in two ways – through direct absorption of LWR by sea water and through oceanic absorption of CO2 that has already absorbed LWR. Wave action stands to churn surface water layers to some extent and mix that surface water with water from deeper levels. So it seems reasonable to me that incoming LWR heats more than just the top few cm of ocean surface.

  36. Harry Lu (20:11:48) :
    I actually laughed at myself when I realized the number of buoys that had been deployed and wondered what color they were and if they were the cause of the lack of concentration records.
    Silly thought given the scale but did the buoys also record the temperature and speed of the Arctic currents or were they design to do only one thing?
    Best,
    John

  37. mike roddy (16:01:38) : “The global temperature upward march is more consistent in the oceans. NOAA has established a .97F increase in the last century in global ocean surface temperatures. December 2009 saw the second warmest ocean temperatures recorded since 1880. ”
    Yes, I agree with an earlier post that El Nino etc are an effect and not a cause.
    Where does the cool go to hide when it gets hot?
    What is the fundamental driver of SST variation and with what does its time curve correlate?
    There’s not much point getting hot in the tube if all we are seeing with SST is mild mixing of bits of different temperature at different depths. That’s not global warming, that’s global mixing. Maybe the upward march is simply a sampling artefact or a bit of agenda making.
    I’m getting more and more amused by the will o’ the wisp 1998 hot year. Now you see it, now you don’t. Anyone have a credible mechanism to propose for 1998? Maybe the 1998 anomaly is simply a sampling artefact or a bit of agenda making also.

  38. To Dave (20:51:03) (http://none/) and Phil. (http://deleted/):
    It’s late, I’m tired, I hope this sounds diplomatic enough.
    The “Website” line when commenting is optional, if you don’t have a site you want to link to then you can just leave it blank. If you know that and are putting in those addresses anyway, personally I find that irritating as it is giving a false impression that you have a site linked to your name (based on your name visually showing there is something linked to it) which yields an impression that you are “greater than your name” as there are several posters here who link their names to their own sites that they have spent considerable time and effort to setting up and running. While you, however, have done none of that and have no such valid address to link to.
    Please stop doing that.
    PS:
    jack morrow (18:15:46) (http://google/), you’re missing the dot-com to make it an official address.
    David A (19:13:19) (http://davidalananderson@hotmail.com/), does linking that to your name make it easier for you to find the log-in screen for your Hotmail account? 🙂

  39. mike roddy (16:01:38) : “December 2009 saw the second warmest ocean temperatures recorded since 1880. ”
    Unfortunately, we have the usual problem of a change in data collection methods leading to a potential use of data splicing.
    The ARGO network provides a consistent method for measuring one facet of oceanic energy content; i.e. temperature sampling at a range of depths, spread across the world’s oceans. Assuming calibration is standardised this gives an accurate reflection of the same measurement over time; albeit a smaller time-frame than would be desirable when investigating climactic shifts, oscillations and so forth.
    In 1880 it was a case of bunging a bucket over the side, hauling it back in and sticking a thermometer into it.
    Now, are you really going to claim that you can compare those temperature samples…
    Cheers
    Mark

  40. Thanks for the update Bob, and the excellent charts. It will be interesting to see where things go after the current El Nino finally drops away.
    The ‘hot-spot’ on the anomaly map between Greenland and Canada is curious?

  41. Harry Lu,
    Thanks for the Argo info and link – I’ll have to check the video tomorrow, just calling it a hunch that it wouldn’t work so well from my mobile 🙂
    Regarding ocean heating, I’m not too familiar with the subject but in complex situations like this sometimes it helps to seperate the mechanisms and behaviors to more manageable chunks – which in this case might look something like this:
    1.) Ocean heating from the sun – primarily through visible spectrum which can penetrate very well and transmits energy through the first few hundreds of feet
    2.) Ocean heating from atmosphere through radiation – appears to be quickly exhausted at the boundary layer (first few cm if even that)
    3.) Transmission of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere – conduction and radiation (i.e. temperature), and evaporative effect (humidity) – facilitated by waves through increased surface area
    4.) Transmission of heat from the atmosphere to the ocean by conduction – also facilitated by waves
    5.) Transmission of heat inside the ocean – this is really, for me at least, the least understood. In general terms, because of convection, it would be expected that the ocean would be like a pond or lake in that it cools much more easily than it warms. Heating from the top down is very innefficient. With any type of wave activity at the top layer (which is the rule, not the exception) this would be expected to help facilitate the mixing and transmission of heat from conduction and atmospheric radiation (assuming it only affects the top layer). That said, the internal workings of the ocean seem to be very complex with circulations, currents and salinity levels playing a very big role.
    There may be some confusion/debate on item 2 (i.e. how far can this radiation really penetrate, and what does that mean). Because of convection inside the water (which tends to hold heat at the top) it is an important question to get cleared up IMO.
    In regards to 5, I can’t seem to tell if this has not been well studied, if there are contradictory theories, or if there is someone who really understands this stuff but it just hasn’t been made accessible on layman’s terms. Ocean currents and circulations are amazingly powerful, but what they do in regards to the levels in play for 1, 2 and 4 I can’t even begin to say.

  42. Bob Tisdale (17:41:17) :
    “And I find it interesting that some people continue to believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gases can have any effect on SST and Ocean Heat Content when Downward Longwave (infrared) Radiation can only warm the top few centimeters of the oceans while Downward Shortwave (visible light) Radiation warms the upper hundred or so meters.”
    And I find it interesting that some people continue to believe that the Earth can remain at 288 K if only heated by the 169 W/m2 from the Sun, which alone would give 234 K.

  43. From http://www.accuweather.com/ukie/bastardi-europe-blog.asp

    A BIT ON THE UPCOMING TREND OF GLOBAL TEMPS OVER THE NEXT YEAR
    World wide overall warmth continues, but the crash is lurking.
    Please recall that back well before this all started, last year at this time, the forecast was for the nino to come on and spike the temps. March continues to run the warm streak but has still not attained the values we saw during the super nino of 97-98. The latest from the most accurate temperature site for monthly planetary values:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/
    Again, notice what happened after the el nino of 97-98 and 07-08, the fall off of temps. However there is a big difference here, in that if I am right, with the La Nina coming on, and the cold PDO as modeling is now plainly showing, the drop off that will occur for later this year and next will take us to coldest 3 month running means since BEFORE the 97-98 nino. No need to get excited or mad, its a forecast, but its based on the fact that taking the tropical temps down in the Pacific because of the Nino, and in the atlantic because of a big hurricane season, is going to cool these areas to below normal fairly easily by next winter. The Cold Pdo takes care of additional cooling. So lets see, just like last year at this time when I was running my big mouth off about the El Nino coming on, and the result, a spiking earthly temp but the lack of the atlantic hurricane season ( by the way, isnt that interesting, that global activity this year will return to normal as the earth cools and the atlantic will have a big year, if I am right).
    Its funny about how upset people get at this. They dont read what I say from last year on this matter, it happens, then blast me for saying what I am saying now. Imagine how Dr. Bill Gray feels. He makes a forecast from the 70s, he nails and then some climatologists that werent even teenagers back then tell him he is wrong about the cause.

  44. Smokey, jorgekafkazar, Invariant:
    Regarding ARGO: There are no mentions of the use of ARGO data in any of the papers associated with SST datasets (OI,v2, ERSST.v3, HADISST, HADSST2, Kaplan). But they also do not say ARGO data are excluded. However, they are mentioned in Rayner et al (2009), “Evaluating climate variability and change from modern and historical SST observations.”
    https://abstracts.congrex.com/scripts/jmevent/abstracts/FCXNL-09A02a-1662927-1-Rayneretal_OceanObs09_draft4.pdf
    Rayner et al discuss the many methods used to measure SST in section 2.1. Then in section 3.1 they go onto to mention ARGO: “As previously discussed, SST observations are collected from many different in situ platforms, including surface observations from ships (both VOS and research vessels), moored and drifting buoys. In addition, measurements of the temperature of the ocean skin are made by a range of infrared and microwave satellite instruments, and near surface temperatures are obtained from oceanographic profiles. Near surface temperatures (within the first few metres) from profiles measured by mechanical and expendable bathythermographs (MBTs and XBTs), conductivity temperature-depth instruments (CTDs), Argo floats and gliders, are beginning to be augmented by higher vertical resolution SST measurements from a subset of Argo floats. This information on near surface temperature structure will allow us to better reconcile SST from in situ and satellite platforms. We note though, that while Argo is essential for studies of ocean heat content, understanding sea level changes and the vertical profile of the near-surface ocean, it could not be a substitute for other in situ SST measurements with its current, relatively low, sampling frequency. A combination of VOS, drifting buoys (with and without thermistor chains) and Argo floats is needed.”
    In other words, because ARGO floats spend so little time on the surface, they provide little input to SST measurement.

  45. the earths loss of heat after an el nino event should be measurable in temperature.
    does anybody know the net cooling [deg] of an el nino ?

  46. Re: Harry Lu (Apr 5 20:25),
    I keep harping on the difference between energy, heat, watts/m^2, temperature and temperature anomalies.
    A graph like the trenberth graph you linked to, is a distorted representation of what energy is doing, and it is energy that is the conserved quantity: i.e. the budget should add up like the budget of input output in money for a household or a business. All the other representations, heat, watts/m^2 and par excellence temperature and temperature anomalies half sources and sinks that destroy any realistic budgeting.
    Heat is a form of energy, it is scalar, but it is not conserved because it can be changed into kinetic energy ( winds, sea currents, evaporation, precipitation, biological take ups which are really chemistry etc which maybe I do not remember).
    So already when we are speaking of heat, we cannot make a “heat budget”.
    When we go to radiation in watts/m^2, we leave the realm of scalars, which at least can be added and subtracted one dimensionally, and we enter the realm of vectors. Thus any “radiation budget” has a directionality also. It only makes sense to speak of a radiation budget at the top of the troposphere where the only ( dominant, gravity also transfers energy but the values are too low in this game) way energy can leave the planet is by radiation. At that imaginary sphere, one can identify the radiation per meter square with energy without double counting or missing chunks of energy.
    On and near the surface of the planet where the atmosphere has enough mass and heat capacity adding and subtracting radiation is a fool’s game, in my physicist’s opinion, because radiation is not conserved. It is like trying to find the content of a reservoir with water when one does not know how many holes and how many inputs there are.
    Energy near the surface and in the oceans and on the ground can take other forms than radiation: currents, precipitation, evaporation, winds, biological cycle, conduction, etc if I have forgotten something. All these are not vectors described perpendicular to the surface to be made equal to watts/m^2. There are enormous transfers of energy with storms and hurricanes and all the pressure systems that are tangential to the ground.
    Now to go to the ocean surface: It is fractal, so its dimensions are variable but certainly larger than 2. The surface few microns, as George said, absorb all the infrared ( long wave radiation) and either reflect it or use it in evaporation . It is true that the waves will mix a bit from the surface heat, when there are no waves the heat in the sea is stratified, when there are waves it is more uniform. But the few microns of distance that the infrared can go in water still holds . It is only the fractal surface that will give off whatever long wave energy has not been taken up by evaporation.
    Go to http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/
    and find the “near surface layer” ( at the bottom of the panel)
    The variations through the year are less than 0.5C, in contrast to the higher channels. The sea is very stable because of its enormous heat capacity.
    I do not want to start on back radiation, which I believe is double counting riders and horses.

  47. ‘Major’ La Nina event confidently predicted to commence late boreal spring into summer and well beyond. A generally cooling of the entire Pacific, and much of the Atlantic – forecast by the usually quite accurate JAMSTEC.
    Will be interesting to see how global temperatures respond to the worlds largest ocean cooling by several degrees, and cooling quite rapidly.

  48. lgl (01:26:42) : You replied, “And I find it interesting that some people continue to believe that the Earth can remain at 288 K if only heated by the 169 W/m2 from the Sun, which alone would give 234 K.”
    Please run through though your calculations for the oceans, which are the topic of this discussion.

  49. Cam (06:16:31) : YOu wrote, “‘Major’ La Nina event confidently predicted to commence late boreal spring into summer and well beyond. A generally cooling of the entire Pacific, and much of the Atlantic – forecast by the usually quite accurate JAMSTEC.”
    Do you have a link?

  50. anna v (05:32:22) : That comment with a few illustrations, some elaborations here and there for those who are not-so-technical, would make a great post here at WUWT. Please consider it. (Unless you’ve already written it and it’s been posted here, and I’m embarrassing myself for missing it) That was a great comment.

  51. jack morrow (06:06:34) :
    Kadaka
    I have no website

    Heh. That’s okay, and thanks for reading my post.
    For your case, just in case, I was thinking of a possible “exception” in my post. Such linking amounts to advertising a site, and some people may want to promote a site that’s not their own but they like, as with someone who works with sea ice numbers a lot and links to an info page they use and they want others to see.
    With you, “google” at least is something on the internet, and maybe you were trying to link to them, for a good reason. For all I know, in your “day job” you could work for them, or perhaps you just own their stock!

  52. anna v,
    Just to correct and clarify something erroneous you said: “Heat is a form of energy, it is scalar, but it is not conserved because it can be changed into kinetic energy…”
    Actually, no, heat is really a “symptom” or a perception of kinetic energy. That is, heat/temperature is merely a measure of the vibrational and translational kinetic energy of molecules (primarily vibrational for solids, since they have no molecular translational energy, and translational for gases, where that energy greatly dwarfs vibrational energy, and a mix of both for liquids, depending on the substance and its temperature).
    As such, heat is also an asymmetric measure of kinetic energy, in that, depending on the substance involved, at the same temperature two substances my contain very different levels of energy. The best example is water, which has a very high specific heat because it is eligible for a large variety of vibrational, rotational and translational energies, as compared to, for instance, O2, which cannot vibrate and has only two meaningful rotational degrees of freedom. As such, for water vapor to achieve the same temperature as O2, it must absorb a lot more energy.
    This is part of the reason that O2 is a good insulator (and so down filled coats are warm, because they contain large pockets of air that do not heat easily) while one feels the air temperature more readily on a humid day, because the water in the atmosphere contains so much energy in so many different forms, and has that many more ways of transferring the energy to your skin.
    Note that this doesn’t make anything else you say right nor wrong, and I mostly agree with what you said. Overall, I think most scientists agree wholeheartedly, and it’s the focus of Trenberth’s work, that it’s the earth’s energy budget and the net change at the top of the atmosphere that matters, not individual temperature readings at any spot.
    Trying to figure out the actual increase in the earth’s energy by looking as SSTs, or ice melt, or air temperatures, or anything, is like herding cats.

  53. Re: Bob Tisdale (Apr 6 07:09),
    Thanks Bob, I am fine with comments but would feel that a lot more work is necessary for a coherent full post. In addition it would not be fair not to use my full name in a post , and for personal reasons I would rather not.

  54. The Northern Atlantic and Arctic Ocean are both way down on their highest points, so where does the heat come from for the Highest March Satellite temperatures?
    Previously for Jan & Feb Dr Roy has said it came from the Oceans.
    anna v (02:41:29) :
    This animation of SST anomalies is enlightening.
    Is that animation from past to present?
    If so it looks like a lot of heat has gone somewhere.

  55. Re: Sphaerica (Apr 6 08:27),
    Actually, no, heat is really a “symptom” or a perception of kinetic energy. That is, heat/temperature is merely a measure of the vibrational and translational kinetic energy
    That statistical mechanics exists, and the molecular structure of matter, and mass behavior can be described by it, does not make classical mechanics and thermodynamics wrong.
    The first law of thermodynamics defines heat:
    du=dq-dw, where u is the internal energy of the system, q the heat and w the work done.
    The atmosphere and the earth are macroscopic systems and classical mechanics and thermodynamics are sufficient for macroscopic systems, unless there are coherent phenomena.
    I believe that the idea of sitting on top of the troposphere and playing games with watts/m^2 is wrong.

  56. Bob Tisdale (06:58:56) :
    It includes the mixed layer of the oceans as well, several tens of meters down.
    Even if you look at 0-2000 m down the avg temp is 5 deg C, and you can’t get anywhere close to that temp with the 169 W direct sunlight.

  57. Paul Vaughan (04:34:17) : You asked, “Have you ever noticed that 60°S – 90°S sea surface temperature (SST) appears related to SAOT?”
    Comparison graph of Southern Ocean SST anomalies and Sato Mean Optical Thickness data for Southern Hemisphere follows. Interesting. Are you implying the oceans integrate the effects of volcanic eruptions over decadal periods, with the Southern Ocean acting as a hub?
    http://i43.tinypic.com/2pr7ald.png
    Also consider the possible impact of ENSO on the portion of the Southern Ocean south of the Pacific. Its variability is significantly different than the portions south of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans:
    http://i41.tinypic.com/qsjwwp.jpg
    The second graph is from this post:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/closer-look-at-ersstv3b-southern-ocean.html

  58. And then there’s this from today’s AcuWeather: <];o)
    Rouge Wave Warnings For Oil Rigs From New Buoys
    Apr 6, 2010; 11:18 AM ET
    A system of smart buoys has been developed to give a 10-hour warning to oil platforms before rogue waves strike.
    Do rouge waves reflect more IR radiation? Are they warmer or cooler?
    Sorry for the cheap shot.
    Tom

  59. anna v (05:32:22) :
    “There are enormous transfers of energy with storms and hurricanes and all the pressure systems that are tangential to the ground.”
    So what? The surface still radiates around 390 W/m2 and it only receives 170 W direct sunlight.

  60. R. Gates,
    You said, “AGW will be a signal mixed in with all the other naturally occuring climate signals. ”
    I totally agree. The main difference is that I believe it is a bit of noise that is insignificant compared to all other naturally occurring signals, and you believe it is a significant signal compared to the naturally occurring ones.

  61. “A C Osborn (08:48:03) :
    The Northern Atlantic and Arctic Ocean are both way down on their highest points, so where does the heat come from for the Highest March Satellite temperatures?
    Previously for Jan & Feb Dr Roy has said it came from the Oceans.
    anna v (02:41:29) :
    This animation of SST anomalies is enlightening.
    Is that animation from past to present?
    If so it looks like a lot of heat has gone somewhere.”
    No.
    The usage of change from some arbitrary normal as an indicator is highly misleading.
    Possibly what has happened is exactly nothing at all, no change in actual heat or energy but that is being shown as a change from what has been assumed. Unfortunately that is all we are being shown.
    Some fun for SST folks.
    Why does this show a warm band across Africa and the middle East where there is _no_ ocean yet the pattern is there in the SST image where there is ocean? Chicken and egg.
    http://daedalearth.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/channel_tlt_tb_anom_v03_2_201003.png

  62. It always puzzles me to see the temperatures reported to 0.001 degree C. Can anyone tell me, for the ocean surface temperatures, how many temperature reading devices are used, their individual precision, and a typical spread of highest to lowest readings that end up being averaged? Thanks, if anyone knows this.

  63. PeterB said:
    “The main difference is that I believe it is a bit of noise that is insignificant compared to all other naturally occurring signals, and you believe it is a significant signal compared to the naturally occurring ones.”
    ——–
    As a 75/25 “warmist” where I’m 75% convinced that AGWT is likely correct, but 25% sceptical, if asked to place a bet, I’d put my money AGW as being a bigger signal than just insignificant background noise. But I find an great deal of freedom in my 25% scepticism, where I can truly consider alternative thoughts without great emotional or political attachments. Far too many people let the politics rule their scientific reasoning…i.e. those who are 100% certain that AGW is right or wrong are equally blind as far as I’m concerned. Even a 1% room for doubt keeps your mind much more open. Those who make a big deal about any short term event such as a snow storm in Florida, or a cold winter here or there, or even one season where more arctic ice melts (or doesn’t melt) are both tipping their hand that they are being closed to the bigger picture. Climate is all about long term trends…however, we have to be open to the possibilty that the climate can shift very rapidly into a new long term trend, such as happened during the Younger Dryas period 13,000 years ago…

  64. Bob Tisdale (07:09:41) :
    anna v (05:32:22) :
    That comment with a few illustrations, some elaborations here and there for those who are not-so-technical, would make a great post here at WUWT. Please consider it. (Unless you’ve already written it and it’s been posted here, and I’m embarrassing myself for missing it) That was a great comment.
    Highly agree.
    Anna,
    I’ve been working on a similar write-up regarding pavement. To make a long story short on that one, the real major take-away is that man-made surfaces (for which exposed rock on the earth’s surface is a natural analog for pavement) transmit energy back into the atmosphere in the form of temperature increases while plant surfaces, and to some extent soil in all but the most extreme (deep Sahara) environments, transmit energy back into the atmosphere more as water vapor than temperature. Part of the equation is also photosynthesis, but that’s relatively small when you talk about, for example, replacing part of your lawn with a patio.
    I would like to get your thoughts and comments on it – it’s still a work in process – but understand the need for privacy. If you notice, no last name for me here either : )
    An interesting illustration of the concept comes from a Scientific American article on Green Roofs – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=living-cover – where they describe green roof behavior (I am assuming at an albedo of 20%) as reaching an equilibrium surface temperature of 85F in the sunlight at an ambient temperature of 80F, while asphalt (at an assumed albedo of 5%) reaches equilibrium temps as high as 180F.
    Considering we have, in the US alone, paved 61,000 square miles (think the state of Wisconsin), the idea of correcting out and ignoring this from the climate analyses seems quite absurd.

  65. “”” David A (19:13:19) :
    George E. Smith (18:08:33) :
    “””
    Seems to me that discrimination between the LWIR warming of a thin surface layer versus the tens to hundreds of metres penetration of the spectral irradiance peak solar energy, must be one of the most overlooked factors of some people who simply think in terms of “forcings”.
    This is fasinating to me, especially considering the possible influence of decadal changes in insolation and cloud cover possibly due to long term trends in the sun. “””
    “”” Harry Lu (20:11:48) :
    ” George E. Smith (18:08:33) :
    Bob you are so charitable. LWIR warms the top few cm. I figure that atmospheric (tropospheric anyway) LWIR can hardly be significant below about 3-4 microns…; so lets be generous and say it might warm the top 10 microns. How much of that energy remains following the prompt evaporation from that hot skin.”
    Have you not forgotten conduction? It operates in all directions! “””
    Haven’t forgotten a thing Larry; you obviously didn’t read my post very closely; or alternatively I didn’t write it very well.
    My post dealt with one very simple 8th grade high school science concept.
    # 1 the incidence of solar spectrum radiation (UV to IR) on the deep ocean surface; at approximately 1000 W/m^2 max (sun directly overhead no clouds).
    #2 the incidence of LWIR thermal radiation from the atmosphere (or from cloud reflections) in the range of perhaps 6-100 micorns on that same ocean surface at 324 W/m^2 according to Trenberth.
    That is ALL that my post was about; those two electromagnetic radiation sorces of energy; both of which are treated by “climatologists” as “forcings”; so many Watts per square metre. As if somehow they are the same thing and produce the same results given their relative surface irradiances.
    Of course they are NOT the same thing because of the things I clealy stated in my original post.
    Nothing in my post suggested that there were NO OTHER physical processes of any kind going on as well; so my post contained nothing about quantum chromodynamics, or starlight, or backside thermal radiation from the moon, or anything else.
    If you wish to contribute something about conduction (why didn’t you include convection) to the discussion; please do so; but don’t go thinking that I didn’t include that in my post because I forgot about it.
    Obviously you didn’t understand the nature of the difference between solar spectrum radiation and its water absorption curve, and LWIR thermal radiation and its very differnet water absorption curve. That alone is what my post was about; not a complete treatise on global thermal physics.
    And for David, we have to be careful as to what we ascribe to changes in the sun.
    As Leif Svaalgard has constantly reminded us; the Total Solar irradiance (outside the atmosphere) only changes by about 0.1% peak to peak, over an 11 or 22 year sunspot cycle. That translates via the Stefan Boltzmann 4th power law, to only a 0.025% change in equilibrium temperature, and 0.025% of 288 K is only 0.072 deg C. The sun may have other effects due to its magnetic field changes; which may influence earth mean temperature more via the Svensmark Cosmic Ray cloud formation hypothesis.
    I’m a believer that cloud cover modulation negative feedback is the overriding regulator of earth’s comfortable temperature range; so I’m generally favorable to Svensmark’s hypothesis; but I don’t have a strong opinion on just how big an effect that is; but I do beleive it is an effect to be examined.
    But ultimately, the solar irradiation, and the attenuating effect of cloud cover, must be the biggest influence on heat content of the ocean.
    Losses through the surface by Radiation, evaporation, conduction, convection, is obviously a complex array of thermal processes that also vary geographically.
    But I beleive the “forcings” crowd greatly overestimate the significance of returned thermal radiation from the atmosphere; because they simply ignore the different spectral absorption coefficient of water over that range of wavelengths. I’m too busy with other things to worry much about the little bit of land that sticks up here and there above the water.

  66. Please note that this SH summertime there was not a proper El Nino warm current running from the equator southwards along the west coast of SA , opposing pacific anticyclone driven Humboldt’s current , and instead a kind of a weird Atlantean El Nino, which reached up to the portuguese Madeira island where it provoked floodings.

  67. anna v (09:48:12) :
    says who?
    Those who have made observations and analyses. Have you?
    http://polarmet.osu.edu/class/geog820_2009/trenbert.pdf
    And according to Stefan-Boltzmann law the surface will radiate around 390 W/m2 if it’s temperature is 288 K and it’s emissivity is close to unity, so which of the three don’t you believe? S-B law, temp or emissivity? (all three I guess)

  68. Re: lgl (Apr 6 12:08),
    Physics is not a matter of beliefs.
    The people calculating radiation budgets are misusing physics, on several fronts , main one being in trying to reduce everything into radiation watts/m^2, which radiation is not a conserved quantity once it enters the planet, and thus cannot be budgeted.
    Other misuses in climate calculations:
    1) Averaging temperatures and making them through the SB law into watts/m^2, when there is a T^4 dependence ( the 288 you are quoting) is nonsense because the variations introduced are much larger than the putative 4 watts/m^2 of CO2
    2)back radiation, mixing up classical thermodynamics and quantum statistical mechanics leads to double counting
    3)ignoring the effects of convection evaporation etc. etc on temperatures.
    4)relying on model outputs as if they are data
    5)ignoring propagation of errors
    etc

  69. Bob Tisdale (09:25:07) “Are you implying the oceans integrate the effects of volcanic eruptions over decadal periods, with the Southern Ocean acting as a hub?”
    My instinct is that the coupling might go both ways – and at different timescales. “Hub” might be a good term for quickly putting the SO in context.
    Bob Tisdale (09:25:07) “Also consider the possible impact of ENSO on the portion of the Southern Ocean south of the Pacific. Its variability is significantly different than the portions south of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans:
    http://i41.tinypic.com/qsjwwp.jpg

    I remember your excellent work on the Southern Ocean.
    Bob Tisdale (09:25:07) “The second graph is from this post:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/closer-look-at-ersstv3b-southern-ocean.html

    I suggest that everyone bookmark that post as a classic.
    Ninderthana is also looking into shorter-term SO variation at ~90 year timescale. I invite you to put some of your excellent knowledge of datasets to work in the choir giving the mainstream scientists some competition in advancing understanding of SO (& SAOT). I encourage Anthony to carry at WUWT any related posts which you develop.
    anna v & lgl, I hope you will keep an eye on this as it evolves:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/VolcanoStratosphereSLAM.htm
    Best Regards,
    Paul.

  70. Re: NickB. (Apr 6 11:28),
    Yes, you are talking about emissivity, another gripe of mine some posts ago.
    I live in Greece, and in the summer one can cook eggs on the rocks, whereas the air is a bearable 38C. The Stephan Bolzman numbers between the two temperatures have tens of watts/m^2 difference and the models treat the air temperature as if it is surface skin temperature.
    Somebody gave me a surface skin temperature link, and then Willis E unearthed that it is the result of calculations from the upper atmosphere, i.e. again a model extrapolation and not a direct measurement.
    http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/products/browsesurf1.html
    this is the link for that discussion
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/25/gisscapades/#comment-354579

  71. “”” George E. Smith (11:48:20) : “””
    My apologies to Leif Svalgaard for misplacing one of his ‘a’ s in his name up there .

  72. lgl (09:03:56) : I believe in my earlier reply I asked for calculations regarding the oceans. Maybe I wasn’t specific in that regard. Now I am being specific in my request. That way we could see where you’re coming up with the “sun only” temperature of the oceans of 234 deg k or -38 deg C.

  73. “”” anna v (08:51:56) :
    Re: Sphaerica (Apr 6 08:27),
    Actually, no, heat is really a “symptom” or a perception of kinetic energy. That is, heat/temperature is merely a measure of the vibrational and translational kinetic energy
    That statistical mechanics exists, and the molecular structure of matter, and mass behavior can be described by it, does not make classical mechanics and thermodynamics wrong. “””
    Well put Anna; and I saw some ghosts of myself in your warnings. I shall have to watch myself.
    And I couldn’t agree more, with your comment about laying on W/m^2 at the top of the troposphere, and assuming that explains everything. I knew there was a good reason why I hated that term “forcings”, that was never in any of my Physics books.
    George

  74. anna v (13:06:51) :
    Thanks for the links – I haven’t had a chance to dig into them yet but will do soon!
    Emissivity alone doesn’t explain it as best as I can tell. Willis sent me emissivities for a variety of natural surfaces and they were, for the most part, not too far off the from grass, leaves, etc. They were referenced from “Climate Near the Ground, sixth edition” by Rudolf Geiger. Emissivities for a deciduous forest, for example, are .95 while asphalt is .94 and concrete is .90 – there are differences there, but they don’t seem to be drastic enough to explain the differences.
    As best as I can tell the best explanation for the difference in behavior (setting aside for the moment differences in emissivity, albedo, and evaporative effect) is surface area. Assuming blackbody behavior for both, 1m2 of grass (topographical) is not 1m2 of grass from an atmospheric standpoint (think little tiny radiator fins) and you would expect it to behave quite differently than blackbody asphalt where 1m2 is 1m2.
    The real question I have is how much energy gets sunk into the earth when pavement gets heated by the sun (i.e. through the bottom side of the road, parking lot, or sidewalk)? Plants essentially shield most of the energy from sunlight from ever getting to the ground, which is why the soil temps at a reasonable depth (say 6ft in a non geothermal active zone) will match the average air surface temps. I’ve got a hunch, and I don’t think it’s too outrageous of a claim, that soil temps under pavement would be somewhat higher. Properly describing that is, I think, my biggest challenge right now to finishing my write-up. Maybe I could have Willis forward it over to you once I clean it up a bit more.
    The idea is to provide an accessible foundational explanation as to why, for example, concrete and a lawn of the same albedo behave so differently and why doing it on the scale we’re doing it on might explain a lot of what is currently being attributed to CO2.

  75. “”” NickB. (16:10:32) :
    anna v (13:06:51) :
    Thanks for the links – I haven’t had a chance to dig into them yet but will do soon! “””
    Nick, I would be a little bit careful when dealing with the emissivities of say grass or similar botanical surfaces.
    I doubt that anyone points a radiometer at a lawn, and focusses in on an actual surface spot on a grass ‘leaf’ or whatever the correct botanical name is. They look at a larger are of grass, that already possesses that complicated structure and surface area you referred to; so it already contributes to the “emissivity” of the grass; likewise for a conifer forest in the sub arctic.
    These botanical structures are in fact crafted by Gaia to maximize the anechoic chamber effect, so as to increase the absorptance of incoming solar radiation from whatever angle it strikes the surface. So these are light trapping structures which are architected to be efficient solar absorbers which is why they also exhibit a high emissivity.
    In fact if you look closely at the very first emerging “shoot” of anewly sprouted seed; say a bean, as it brekas through the soil, you will see, it often has a sort of inverted somewhat parboloidal looking end. That end isn’t just accident; they closely approximate the non-imaging optical structures known as compound Parabolic Concentrators. In this case they are a refractive form of those geometries rather than the reflective types used as solar collectors, and they achieve the theoretical maximum collection and concentration of incident light. In the case of the shoot, to pipe it down to where the seed is.
    So plants are engineered to be efficient soalr collectors for both beam and diffuse radiation from a variety of directions. Sunflowers and others actually rotate to point their face at the sun, to maximise solar collection.
    so that high grass emissivity is no accident; same goes for the shape of pine trees, desiggned to let light propagate down to the lower parts of the tree, but not reflect and escape from the light trap.
    Arboreal conifer forests need all the solar energy they can trap.

  76. Much appreciation of Bob Tisdale’s work on SSTs and of thoughts shared by Anna V, Sphaerica, Nick B., George E. Smith, Harry Lu, Igl, and others prompting their remarks with their own comments.

  77. George,
    You’re implying that the emissivity references I cited were incorrect?
    TBH, I’ve been of the mindset that if we’re talking less than 10% change in emissivity we’re not talking the end of the world. If you have any other references I’d be curious to see them, and if there are large differences in emissivity to be considered then they should be discussed.
    The effects you describe – in fascinating detail I might add – is still majority retained in the canopy and does not translate to the real surface of the earth as solar gain. When you bulldoze it and replace it with concrete, then it actually starts to behave like the gray body physics equations indicate.
    So help me out here, where is it that we seem to be disagreeing?

  78. Nick and George,
    I am hand waving here:
    Emissivity equals absorptivity in equilibrium.
    Are plants in equilibrium? I would think exactly the opposite. They are grabbing the incoming light and changing it into chemical/biological energy .
    The corresponding asphalt area would just keep the energy and melt 🙂 ( summer in Greece)
    Also it has recently been found that trees adjust the temperature ( and thus their T^4 behavior, and thus effective emissivity) to within a few degrees of 20C.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/biology/trees-regulate-photosynthesis-temperature-by-design/
    In general the surface of the earth is fractal, and where there are plants it is much more so.
    Gray bodies do not only have emissivity smaller than one, but also the radiation curve can be very different than the black body one.
    Here is a table of emissivities
    http://www.monarchserver.com/TableofEmissivity.pdf
    Here is a paper that measures plant emissivity as a function of angle!
    http://www.ursi.org/Proceedings/ProcGA05/pdf/F02.8%2801587%29.pdf
    We have to keep in mind that it is the skin surface temperature that is used in SB and the surface of the earth is a very complex system. IMO t is hubris to think that SB can explain everything.

  79. Re: lgl (Apr 6 13:42),
    Guess.
    if the 15C average is used F=5.67X10^-8XT^4, the SB
    F=385watts/m^2
    If 15 is the average result of temperature
    maximum +minimum/2 average
    ____30C__________ 0C ______ 15C
    F= 478_________315________396watts/m^2
    a difference of 11 watts/m^2 from the averaging of temperatures.
    If 15 comes from
    maximum +minimum/2 average
    ______ 20C____10C__________ 15
    F=____418______364_________391watts/m^2
    A difference of 6watts/m^2. Keep in mind that the whole CO2 “forcing” is of order 4watts/m^2
    This needs an integration over the globe to be estimated correctly, but there are so many unknowns and unknowables that it is not possible to do it.
    Another estimate would be the oceans, which are very stable
    Go to http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/
    the last in the panel is sea surface, around 21C all year. If there were no land this would be the average temperature of the earth.
    SB gives:423watts/m^2
    even this has the play I showed above for 15C, because if you look at
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst.html
    you will see that this average of 21 goes from -2C in the poles to 31C in the tropics.
    All this to say that the uncertainties in the radiation from the surface are such as to make a mockery the tiny contribution of the trace element CO2 in the atmosphere.

  80. Bob Tisdale (14:27:42) :
    Meaning you think the net solar is much different over the ocean? Well it isn’t, around 173 W in the Pacific (60S to 60N) for instance, from knmi. 4th root of 173/(5.67*10^-8)=235
    (Mars at -60 C from 150 W/m2 solar for comparison)
    anna v
    I’m not pedaling any CO2 scare here. Just pointing out that the ocean can’t possibly be heated by direct solar alone. There is more energy absorbed by the ocean from DWLW than from solar whether people like it or not.

  81. mike roddy (16:01:38) :
    The global temperature upward march is more consistent in the oceans. NOAA has established a .97F increase in the last century in global ocean surface temperatures. December 2009 saw the second warmest ocean temperatures recorded since 1880.
    References here to spikes caused by El Nino or even a claim of ocean cooling are therefore a bit puzzling.
    REPLY:
    The sea surface temp is just that the SURFACE temp… Smokey was referring to the REST of the ocean where the bulk of the earth’s heat is store. THAT is the area that is cooling.
    The whole thing is very complicated and not well understood by many. For example this from another commenter about the subject at a previous post:
    “The previous post is telling me the ocean heat content is going down. This post tells me near record temperatures are all about SST.”
    These two are not contradictory. The ocean pumps energy into the atmosphere via El Nino, El Nino is warm upwelling, thus causing a high SST and warming the atmosphere. {that causes the higher statilite temps} After this phenomenon you end up with a lower OHC.
    The sea surface temperature [SST] does not measure the same thing as the ARGO network of 3,300 deep sea buoys. http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/10/lance-endersbee-1925-2009-civil-engineer-academic-scientific-sceptic-mentor/
    ARGO shows deep ocean cooling:
    http://www-argo.ucsd.edu/rey_line_atlas.gif
    http://www-argo.ucsd.edu/nino3_4_atlas.gif
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/images/graph4_evans.jpg
    SST remains very close to its long term trend line: http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Lance_Experience-Curve-CO2-and-SST-with-21-moving-average-12May092.jpg
    Will someone please make the definite statement that when SST goes higher it is either:
    1. due to the release of heat from the oceans and they are cooling
    or
    2. due to the accumulation of heat in the ocean and they are warming
    Which is it?
    The first one. I’ve been saying it for a year now. The ocean heat content is dropping, because the amount of solar energy going into it has been falling since 2003, and cloud has been increasing.
    The ocean responds by releasing the heat built up over the long run of high solar cycles, keeping the global temperature up. …”

    Sorry I did not save the name of the person who posted the above comment but I think it may have been James F. Evans. Who ever it was thank you for a hypothesis that fits the data we are presently seeing.

  82. Harry Lu (20:11:48) :
    ” George E. Smith (18:08:33) :
    Bob you are so charitable. LWIR warms the top few cm. I figure that atmospheric (tropospheric anyway) LWIR can hardly be significant below about 3-4 microns…; so lets be generous and say it might warm the top 10 microns. How much of that energy remains following the prompt evaporation from that hot skin.”

    Have you not forgotten conduction? It operates in all directions!….
    Of course the surface is loosing heat via conduction in all directions radiation in all direction, and forced air convection upwards (sideways!)
    However, The surface layer heating must effect the lower layer cooling in my books.”
    No, but you forgot some biggies – evaporation not to mention the wind. Anyone who has gone swimming is aware of the gradient in warmth in naturally occurring waters. Mixing due to waves (wind) is another big factor, but that warmth/energy from LWR just does not penetrate very deep.
    “…. Within the thermocline, the temperature gradient may be intense; along the northern edge of the North Equatorial Countercurrent this vertical gradient may reach more than 0.5 C-m- 1 , especially in the shallow thermocline of the Costa Rica Dome. Just to the west of the Galapagos Islands, where the thermocline is very shallow immediately to the north and south of the equator, there are zones of relatively large temperature gradient within the thermocline…..” http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/forecaster_handbooks/CentralAmerica/Forecasters%20Handbook%20for%20Central%20America%20and%20Adjacent%20Waters.4.2.pdf
    A very complicated subject and trying to say CO2 is THE driver is VERY premature.

  83. lgl (09:03:56) :
    Bob Tisdale (06:58:56) :
    It includes the mixed layer of the oceans as well, several tens of meters down.
    Even if you look at 0-2000 m down the avg temp is 5 deg C, and you can’t get anywhere close to that temp with the 169 W direct sunlight.
    Reply:
    So what are you trying to say? That we are missing all the heat input from the volcanoes under the sea???
    “Currently there are over five thousand active volcanoes underwater varying from ones larger than any on the surface to cones no larger than an automobile. The net result of this action is thermal heating of the oceans, at key positions, which in turn reaches the surface to be carried aloft into the atmosphere to become part of our surface weather pattern system….there are estimated to be about 20,000 on the ocean bottoms of the world. “ http://www.crystalinks.com/volcanoesunderwater.html

  84. This article on undersea volcanoes gives this information:

    The true extent to which the ocean bed is dotted with volcanoes has been revealed by researchers who have counted 201,055 underwater cones. This is over 10 times more than have been found before.
    The team estimates that in total there could be about 3 million submarine volcanoes, 39,000 of which rise more than 1000 metres over the sea bed. [source]

  85. Re: lgl (Apr 7 06:27),

    anna v
    I’m not pedaling any CO2 scare here. Just pointing out that the ocean can’t possibly be heated by direct solar alone. There is more energy absorbed by the ocean from DWLW than from solar whether people like it or not.

    If you believe the static linear budgeting of the AGW models.

  86. anna v (22:30:04) :
    IMO t is hubris to think that SB can explain everything.
    Absolutely agreed – I think it might explain part of the behavior but not all.
    Also, SB only addresses radiative transfer – which gets us back to the whole “why are we only focusing on radiative transport” question – part of the effect, discounting for now the biological aspects, is also conductive transfer. It might only be a small part, but my thinking here is along the lines of wind blowing through the trees. More surface area is important for both radiative and conductive transfer. It’s important for evaporative effect to but, as you mentioned, this is not a consistent effect…
    The biological aspects of this are really quite fascinating – especially the link regarding temperature regulation. I guess I never really thought about it before in this regard, but if you look at other living organisms (like us) the internal temperature is, majority speaking, the same if we’re on the beach in Greece or snow skiing in the Colorado. It’s a very good point that plants, just like any living thing, will work to regulate their internal temperature, which means their skin temps will have a tendency towards that same internal temperature. I can’t get to the paper referenced, but in general it appears that there are two variables in play: 1.) that trees in colder environments tend to cluster their leaves tighter, which works to keep heat in, and in comparison trees in hotter environments would tend to cluster their leaves more loosely to allow heat to more easily dissipate. 2.) The short term (active) control mechanism seems to be mostly evaporative effect. Through these mechanisms the skin temps will tend towards the internal equilibrium of 21.4 C +/- 2.2 degrees.
    For the record, loss of energy from a climate standpoint due to photosynthesis is also a small part of the equation (I think I read somewhere that photosynthesis converts somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 TW of energy globally on average).
    Sorry if I was not clear, but the comment about blackbody plant surfaces was more of a thought experiment aimed at explaining part of the physical behavior, not all of it. In comparison, the passive thermal characteristics (emissivity, surface area, clustering of leaves surfaces, etc) are minor in relation to the active control of evaporative effect is really the driving force for understanding the equilibrium temp behavior of plants.
    ~~~~~~~~ Switching Gears Here ~~~~~~~~~~~
    I guess at this point, a really big question needs to be asked – why this doesn’t seem to be discussed is one of my personal gripes – and that is what is the right/proper/best definition of “surface”? Is it the topographical surface (meaning the top skin temps of tree canopies, for example), is it near surface atmospheric temps which is the current thinking, or is it the actual earth surface (soil) skin temp?
    I would argue, perhaps incorrectly, that due to the relative thermal capacities involved it should be considered the actual earth surface temps (i.e. the soil). This is important because the canopy behavior we’ve been discussing in great detail occurs above the earth’s surface and, majority speaking, once the sun goes down whatever spatial bubble of heat that has been formed in the canopy will dissipate. The temperature of the earth’s real surface in a plant cover situation will maintain roughly (specific behavior is dependent on depth) the average atmospheric near surface temperature because the earth is mostly shielded from direct solar gain. In many ways, 2m off the ground is probably a decent proxy for that situation but…
    Because pavement exposes the earth’s surface to direct solar gain which, because of the massive heat capacity of the pavement and the earth underneath it in addition to its comparatively very slow release of heat, will be expect to exhibit significantly higher average equilibrium temps than, say, the soil in the field 100 ft away from the road or the atmospheric temperatures.
    In this case, where we’re talking about the earth’s surface, on average, heating the air vs. the air heating the earth’s (real) surface the abstraction to 2m is hugely important. Furthermore from this perspective, canopy behavior, is *largely* irrelevant.
    I have been trying to understand how this effect could be separated out in the macro from the effects predicted by GHG Theory. Anthropogenic surface changes, for the most part (crop irrigation, in particular being an oddball case), result in: 1.) upward pressure on atmospheric temps, 2.) downward pressure on atmospheric water content, and 3.) a sink of a very significant amount of energy into the earth’s surface. Consensus GHG/CO2-AGW Theory seems to predict 1.) upward pressure on atmospheric temps. 2.) upward pressure on atmospheric water content, and 3.) a sink of some amount of energy into the atmosphere.
    I have heard in passing here (so no idea on reliable sources for this information or the validity of what I’m about to say) that the attempts at accounting for net in/out energy have demonstrated a significant and, so far, unaccounted for amount of “missing” energy. I have also heard that atmospheric water content has either been unchanged or has gone down in contradiction to the predictions of CO2-based-AGW Theory. Atmospheric water content seems to be the biggest question mark.

  87. Mr E. Smith, why so angry!?
    your comment said:
    ” so lets be generous and say it might warm the top 10 microns. ”
    I simply suggested that this would also propagate downwards by conduction and would not remain at 10um – and I don’t thinc convection works upside down at temps above 0C approx.?
    I then suggested that if there was a hot water layer (even very thin) it would enable the underlying thermal structure heated by SW radiation to heat more since the energy loss is effectively stopped. energy radiated down into layer 10um below 10um surface hot layer is greater than the energy transported from the lower lay to the upper. i.e. there is a net flow downwards.
    The fact is the sw radiation looses energy to the water at reducing amounts from the surface down. Each molecular layer absorbs some (say A%*169) energy and the rest passes through to the next layer (169-A%*169). This layer absorbs A% of what it receives (169-A%*169)*A% etc The surface layer therefore absobes most LW and a bigger quantity of the SW than subsequent “layers”. As you say it will be much hotter than layers below without any mixing or conduction.
    This must stop the lower layers losing heat??
    If you can convince me otherwise I am willing to listen.
    /harry

  88. anna v (22:30:04) :
    “…. I am hand waving here:
    Emissivity equals absorptivity in equilibrium.
    Are plants in equilibrium? I would think exactly the opposite. They are grabbing the incoming light and changing it into chemical/biological energy .
    The corresponding asphalt area would just keep the energy and melt 🙂 ( summer in Greece)
    Also it has recently been found that trees adjust the temperature ( and thus their T^4 behavior, and thus effective emissivity) to within a few degrees of 20C….”

    OH WOW what a finding!
    It is too bad that in the interests of self protection you can not write an article here under your own name. I quite understand. I have been fired and finally blackballed because I would not falsify data per upper managements orders… A sad comment on the times in which we live.

  89. Smokey (11:25:33) :
    This article on undersea volcanoes gives this information:
    Reply:
    Thanks Smokey, that was the article I was actually looking for but the article I referenced also gives the active undersea volcanoes. I wonder if there is a more recent and more accurate count of the active volcanoes.
    The sun, clouds & water in all its forms from gas to solid, volcanoes and now trees …. sure is a lot more complicated than I first thought. Too bad there are so many “scientists” hung up on CO2 and blind to the rest.

  90. Also, in case there is any confusion here about what I am implying, when the IPCC says “we can’t find anything other than CO2 to explain the temperature increases” I fully believe it is because they have not properly evaluated anthropogenic surface changes in addition to anthropogenic atmospheric changes.
    According to GHG Theory (which is essentially derived by comparing the calculated gray body equilibrium temp of the earth vs. real temps), 11.5% of our temperature is due to the atmosphere and 88.5% of the earth’s temperature is due to the surface. Assuming that’s correct (if it is or not is another conversation) that implies that in general, monkeying around with the surface will have more of an effect on temperature than an equivalent % change to the atmosphere.
    By my estimates, we have paved or covered with structures roughly .58% of the earth’s land surface or .17% of the total surface. You cannot, IMO, “correct” that out of the equation and given the potency of the effect (think for a moment about walking barefoot on an asphalt road vs. grass during the summer, or how roads and sidewalks during a snowfall are the last surfaces to hold snow and the first surfaces for it to melt from) it’s not too much of a stretch to think that a .17% surface change could have a bigger effect than that 0.01% change in atmospheric content from anthropogenic CO2 from pre-industrial times to current.
    Also, I did find a reference to decreasing atmospheric water vapor content: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/science/earth/29vapor.html – which indicates an increase in atmospheric water vapor between 1980 and 2000, but an unexplained decrease since.

  91. NickB. (13:47:31) Your Reference above to the NY Times article has the following statement:
    “A decrease in water vapor concentrations in parts of the middle atmosphere has contributed to a slowing of Earth’s warming, researchers are reporting”
    In actuality the enthalpy of dry air is low and so the same amount of sensible or scattered heat energy will raise its ‘temperature’ many times more than the equivalent volume of humid air. This means that you can have an increase in temperature with less or the same energy.
    So the decrease in water vapor in the middle atmosphere may reduce the amount of energy absorbed by water vapor as ghg but it may also lead to a greater increase in middle troposphere temperature than for the normal level of humidity. This appears to match what has been seen from the UAH figures.

  92. Re: Harry Lu (Apr 7 13:14),
    The inside layers of the water, supposing there is no convection, will lose heat by conduction only. Why not by LW radiation:? Because LW in water can travel less than a micron before being absorbed, so it cannot get out as long wave except from the few microns of the surface. It will reach the surface through conduction.
    If we go to quantum statistical mechanics, conduction of heat happens because of the exchange of electromagnetic energy between the molecules (scattering is also an electromagnetic process in molecules). LW is electromagnetic energy and it so happens that it is absorbed by the water molecules which are then heated.

  93. Re: Smokey (11:25:33)
    That undersea volcano article is interesting reading, thanks for the link.
    There’s an interesting bit I’m trying to figure out:
    Hiller says he was surprised to find that the density of small volcanoes dropped in the area around Iceland, as Iceland is known to be a hotspot for volcanic activity.
    Another surprise was that he found fewer volcanoes on the seabed around Hawaii, another volcanic hotspot. He says his findings may mean that researchers need to re-assess their understanding of how submarine volcanoes are formed.

    Now for me, simple-minded fool that I am, I don’t see the problem as there are already places in the local areas where the pressure from under the crust is being relieved during normal volcanic activity, thus locally there would be less pressure to form lots of little undersea volcanoes, with less “need” of them to relieve the pressure anyway.
    Perhaps someone here with more education on the subject can explain why I should have been surprised and bewildered instead without any clue as to why they found what they did whatsoever.

  94. Re: NickB. (Apr 7 13:05),
    It is very hard to find atmospheric emissivities. They certainly are much lower than surface emissivities. I had once found a paper which I cannot place my hands on that claimed that atmospheric grey body went like T^6. All the studies I find are behind paywalls to which I have no access.
    Certainly when the AGW crowd speaks of black body, they speak of surface, but use 2m atmospheric temperatures in their budgets.
    Plants are part of the surface, waves are part of the surface,mountains and crags are part of a surface,etc. This is what fractal means, that the area of the earth is not 4pi*R^2 but R^x where x is a number larger than 2.
    It is true that the integration with satellites should be feasible, the fractal nature would become part of the change in emissivity on the image.
    Satellites also measure albedo using “brightness”, but I have not been able to lay my hands on a link that describes the method to be sure they are not getting the scale from ground 2m air measurements in the data and plots of
    http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/products/browsesurf1.html
    It is the famous GISS after all.
    Between pay walls and obfuscations it is hard to judge whether the data can be trusted .

  95. Anna,
    I cannot shake the thought of the earth’s surface being covered with trillions upon trillions of little tiny machines working to maintain 21.4 +/- 2.2 C through actively controlled transpiration.
    On its own a single blade of grass or leaf would have a laughably tiny effect on the climate, but look at all that green in the sat image. Little tiny machines adapted to their local conditions to collect enough light and heat, with thermostats and their own A/C to make sure they don’t get too hot.
    Absolutely fascinating!

  96. lgl (06:27:50) : You replied, “Meaning you think the net solar is much different over the ocean?”
    Let me try again. You listed temperatures in your comment, “And I find it interesting that some people continue to believe that the Earth can remain at 288 K if only heated by the 169 W/m2 from the Sun, which alone would give 234 K,” and I asked you for the calculations.

  97. anna v,
    This is not about static linear budgeting or AGW models. If we were talking a few tens of watts discrepancy non-linearity would have been interesting, but not when the surface is emitting (incl. evap. ++) close to three times the direct solar absorbed.
    You said physics is not a matter of beliefs. You are a living proof to the contrary, so is the ‘consensus’ of climate science. The AGW crowd do not believe the measurements of cloud cover and net solar radiation, a few examples here: http://virakkraft.com/Pacific.ppt, but they do believe the assumptions behind the climate models.
    Until the laws are carved in stone science is very much a matter of beliefs.
    Don’t remember where I saw this quote, something like: “I believe in science but only in a multi-decadal time frame” a very good rule IMO.
    Bob,
    What’s wrong with the calculation I showed you?
    Gail,
    No, if volcanoes were significant it should have been detected by ARGO.

  98. Paul Vaughan (13:00:54) :
    Yes, sure, and now since Anthony became barycentrism, cyclomania and even Beck tolerant, all in one go, we can discuss it here, great.
    Wonder what medicine he took that weekend. I would like to recommend some to Leif as well, but he will need at least a trippel dose of course.
    REPLY: I wouldn’t go that far. Mostly it has to do with less time available to me to spend on sorting out such stuff. -A

  99. Anna,
    I was out browsing around and stumbled on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Biosphere_model
    Apparently a model for this has at least been attempted, I guess the question is… has it actually been incorporated into the GCMs it was intended for? The next question is, and I think I already know the answer so this might be rhetorical but anyway, has the loss of somewhere less (because some amount of pavement and structure replaced bare/desert soil, and assuming my estimate is even in the ballpark) than .58% of this with structures and pavement, or the changes in plant cover types due to deforestation and other land use changes?
    Bob,lgl,
    Where did that gray body calculation come from? I consider Wiki a pretty reliable source for the “consensus”/IPCC PoV and according to it (Ref):
    “The black body temperature of the Earth is 5.5 °C. Since the Earth reflects about 28% of incoming sunlight, in the absence of the greenhouse effect the planet’s mean temperature would be far lower – about -18 or -19 °C instead of the much higher current mean temperature, about 14 °C.”
    -19 C is 254 K, not 234 K. Saying that the gray body temp is 234 K would imply the greenhouse effect contribution to temp is 18.75% vs. 11.8% (i.e. overstating it by 59% vs. Wiki).
    While neither here nor there, space is not absolute zero (Ref) and I can’t seem to find if that 2.725 K has been accounted for. I’m thinking it’s not, but then again maybe there’s a good reason to exclude it(?)
    Ian W
    No disagreement with what you’re saying, the way I’ve been looking at is that assuming the same energy in the atmosphere (i.e. no change in energy), a decrease in water vapor content would imply an increase in temperature. From a surface standpoint this implies that a loss of evaporative effect implies an increase in temperatures assuming no significant change in the energy flows (i.e. the surface is more or less exhibiting, on average, equilibrium).
    Getting back to Anna’s point about plant behavior, with all other things being equal (which they’re not) this would imply a potentially strong positive feedback- the higher surface temperatures get, the higher the level of transpiration by plant surfaces, which means the higher level of atmospheric water vapor content… but this can be assumed to be balanced out somehow in macro or the world would have gone haywire long ago. I hate bringing up the term positive feedback when the implication always seems to be run-away behavior but anyway.
    I’m think this might be getting back to Willis’ work but the implications seem to be that all of our anthropogenic changes pale in comparison to the power of the self regulatory mechanisms that exist… or maybe I’m just reading too much into this and need to go get another cup of coffee instead of rambling on 😀

  100. Re: lgl (Apr 8 09:48),
    Until the laws are carved in stone science is very much a matter of beliefs.
    Wrong.
    There is a great distinction between a belief and an assumption.
    “I believe in God”, is different than “I assume that Newtonian mechanics holds”.
    The scientific method is : one posits assumptions, uses mathematics and logic to predictive/descriptive conclusions, and checks results against reality. If the reality says no, then the assumptions are changed and the process is repeated.
    The problem with AGW is just that they do not follow this scientific method. Reality invalidates their assumptions, but they do not change them, thus turning them into beliefs.

  101. Re: lgl (Apr 8 09:48),
    I should say I do not trust the numbers displayed in the Trenberth graph, instead I do not “believe” them. In other places I have seen 250 average global insolation, for example in calculations for solar panels.
    That the earth may radiate more than the incoming on the ground should be a matter of study, yes, but the study should be coherent. Radiation is not conserved. Energy is the conserved quantity. When it ignores all the kinetic energies swirling in the oceans and the atmosphere, I call it a static model. There are also the energies in evaporation sublimation, biological etc. etc. that are hand waved over.

  102. Bob, an update:
    Over here http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/VolcanoStratosphereSLAM.htm I’ve made adjustments to this http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/SAOT,DVI,VEI,MSI.PNG graph and added some notes on SST & NAO.
    The following appear related to MSI, DVI, &/or SAOT:
    1) the integral (cumulative sum) of winter (DJFM) North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
    2) Southern Ocean (60°S – 90°S) sea surface temperature (SST). http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/SAOT_Lunar_SO.png
    3) Southeast Pacific (160°W – 70°W, 45°S – 90°S) SST. http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/SAOT_Lunar_SEP45.png
    The preceding SST patterns draw attention to differences in the relative weighting of MSI & SAOT for 1932, 1947, 1953, & 1956 eruptions.
    20 year smoothing draws attention to the envelope:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/SAOT_Lunar_20a.png

  103. NickB. (10:25:29) :
    A little bit simplified:
    5.5 C is Earth without clouds and atmosphere/ghg-effect, P=340 W/m2
    -19 C is Earth with clouds but without rest of atmosphere, P=240 W/m2
    -39 C is Earth with clouds and atmosphere but without ghg-effect, P=169 W/m2
    T=(P/5.67*10^-8)^(1/4)
    anna v,
    “Energy is the conserved quantity. ”
    Exactly. That’s why the surface can’t emit more than it absorbs (+ the 0.1 W from below)

  104. anna v (12:46:04) : Radiation is not conserved. Energy is the conserved quantity. When it ignores all the kinetic energies swirling in the oceans and the atmosphere, I call it a static model. There are also the energies in evaporation sublimation, biological etc. etc. that are hand waved over.
    Good point. There are so many forms of energy. In a simplified energy balance:
    m c dT/dt = Qin – Qout
    Qin and Qout may or may not be partly due to radiation and in general the temperature may or may not change when Qin – Qout is nonzero:
    dU = TdS – pdV + µdN

  105. “anna v (21:31:50) :
    Re: Harry Lu (Apr 7 13:14),
    The inside layers of the water, supposing there is no convection, will lose heat by conduction only. … LW in water can travel less than a micron before being absorbed, so it cannot get out as long wave except from the few microns of the surface. It will reach the surface through conduction.”
    If I am understanding you, then 1um below the surface will not radiate to the air but heat will conduct to the surface and then radiate/conduct/evaporate to the air.
    This is the same as I understand it.
    but I also assume that radiation will go in all directions from each heated molecule. Some will heat the 1um towards surface. some will heat the next 1um down the 1um down will also radiate in all directions but will be at a lower temperature. Hence there will be less radiation to surface than the surface radiates down.
    There will be a net frow of energy from surface downwards by radiation.
    The conduction I assume is also equal to all connecting molecules so conduction from the surface hot molecules will conduct to the lower cooler molecules and the cooler molecules will conduct to the hot molecules but at a lesser rate.
    Hence there will be a net flow of energy downwards.
    Convection will cause energy to flow in the direction of the molecular gross movement. At normal (non freezing) sea temperatures the surface will be made up of less dense warm water and the lower layers will be more dense cold water
    Hence convection will not occur? there will be mixing by molecular motion but again this will favor heating the cool layers.
    TSI SW will penetrate the depths warming them but as I pointed out 198W hits the surface, less hits each succeeding molecule as it passes downward therefore more energy will be absorbed by the surface layers (assuming homogeneous water absorption). the surface 1um will also receive the back radiation (LW) 321W.
    As far as I can see the hot layer will control the loss of energy from the depths. Hot surface = hotter depths

  106. Re: lgl (Apr 8 14:12),
    anna v,
    “Energy is the conserved quantity. ”
    Exactly. That’s why the surface can’t emit more than it absorbs (+ the 0.1 W from below)

    You persist in thinking that direct insolation is the only energy available to the earth’s ground surface. The earth can acquire energy in various ways to reach a temperature and radiate it away.

  107. Re: Harry Lu (Apr 8 15:01),
    Infrared radiation within a non transparent to infrared medium is part of heat conduction macroscopically.
    The back scattering illustration is double counting when one tries to deduce macroscopic thermodynamic quantities. It is wrong for the atmosphere and it is wrong here.
    One would have to formulate statistical ensembles with hamiltonians and stuff and integrate etc etc to come to thermodynamic quantities, one cannot hand wave microscopic quantities into macroscopic thermodynamic quantities. If one did that, the end result would be to find that infrared radiation is part of heat conduction in a medium.

  108. lgl (09:48:54): Sorry for the delayed response.
    You replied, “What’s wrong with the calculation I showed you?” referring to the calculation in your earlier reply. And that earlier reply was, “Meaning you think the net solar is much different over the ocean? Well it isn’t, around 173 W in the Pacific (60S to 60N) for instance, from knmi. 4th root of 173/(5.67*10^-8)=235
    (Mars at -60 C from 150 W/m2 solar for comparison)”
    To tell you the truth, lgl, since we were discussing the disparity between the impacts of longwave and shortwave radiation on the oceans, I was anticipating a calculation/discussion from you based on the components of the ocean heat budget, not on S-B. This would have included the Downward Shortwave Radiation, the net flux of longwave radiation from the ocean, the sensible heat flux due to conduction, and the latent heat due to evaporation. (Since you’d be looking at the oceans as a whole, you could have eliminated advection.) And the reason, in an earlier comment, I had asked for your assumptions was, I had wondered how, in your hypothetical world without downward longwave radiation, you were adjusting the latent heat and net longwave components to calculate the temperature of the oceans.

  109. Bob,
    Ok, but I never intended to reproduce the Kiehl/Trenberth diagram without downward LW.
    I just wanted to show that the net solar of todays Earth is only capable of keeping the ocean at around 234 K (because it’s emissivity is 0.98)
    Which proves the ocean is absorbing at least 220 W/m2 downward LW, to keep the mixed layer at 15 C. If you start adding the other losses like latent you make the ‘problem’ worse because then of course you have to add an equal amount of LW to balance the budget, the emissivity doesn’t change much. So using the K/T numbers of 100 W in other losses you end up with 320 W/m2 downward LW, which must be absorbed by the ocean. That’s the only way to explain a mixed layer at 15C.
    This said, I see no reason to doubt that less clouds and thereby more solar is responsible for most of the warming the last decades, because that’s what the measurements are showing, and I see no reason to believe a warmer ocean would give less cloud cover. But again, I only believe in science in a multidecadal time frame…

  110. lgl (02:10:07) : Food for thought.
    Question 1: Do the oceans act like a blackbody?
    Question 2: Don’t the oceans have their own type of “greenhouse effect”? That’s a memory I have from an old John Daly post. That is, downward shortwave radiation warms the oceans to 100 meters, but the oceans only release heat at the surface. (El Nino events help to release the heat by spreading the warm subsurface waters from the Pacific Warm Pool across the surface of the central and eastern tropical Pacific.)

  111. Bob
    1. I’d vote yes, but because of the evaporation it can absorb more radiation than it emits.
    2. Again, it doesn’t matter much where the energy is absorbed because of the mixing. The mixing gives a uniform temperature through the mixed layer, from tens to hundreds of meters. (and only 1% or so of the sunlight reaches 100 m) I guess the mixing will also totally override a greenhouse equivalent.
    3. You may be right that El Nino events help to release the heat, but it is also true that during 2000-2005 ENSO was positive and everything increased;
    net solar, SST and OHC. http://virakkraft.com/Pacific2.png
    A puzzling thing OHC apparently leads the whole thing by about one year. Is it all ruled by the trade winds?

  112. lgl: You asked, “A puzzling thing OHC apparently leads the whole thing by about one year. Is it all ruled by the trade winds?”
    The higher than normal trade winds associated with 1995/96 La Nina raised tropical Pacific OHC and provided the fuel for the 1997/98 El Nino. And the 1998/99/00/01 La Nina recharged the heat discharged by the 1997/98 El Nino:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/02/la-nina-underappreciated-portion-of.html
    Higher than normal trade winds decrease cloud cover and increase Downward Shortwave Radiation.

  113. Bob,
    Ok, your fig.3 confirms the lag, thanks.
    But “Higher than normal trade winds decrease cloud cover and increase Downward Shortwave Radiation.”
    Data seem to suggest the opposite. http://virakkraft.com/Pacific3.png
    (Net solar is for -30 to +30 deg lat. but -60 to 60 is almost identical)
    What I read out of this is: trade winds increase > evaporation increase > cloud cover increase > solar decrease > temperature decrease.
    (and of course: trade winds decrease >… > temperature increases)
    But then again, your fig.3 …
    When the OHC increases, perhaps the OHC graph is misleading because of an ‘import’ of heat from west of the area and an ‘export of cold’ in the eastern part of the area because of a deeper thermocline. So what we see is just a energy transport and not a real increase?

  114. lgl: Use the KNMI Climate Explorer’s ISCCP Total Cloud Amount anomalies for the tropical Pacific, NINO3.4 vs PWP. The following post will illustrate and confirm my earlier comment (The higher than normal trade winds associated with 1995/96 La Nina raised tropical Pacific OHC and provided the fuel for the 1997/98 El Nino. And the 1998/99/00/01 La Nina recharged the heat discharged by the 1997/98 El Nino)
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-detail-on-multiyear-aftereffects_26.html
    That post refers to Pavlakis et al (2008) “ENSO Surface Shortwave Radiation Forcing over the Tropical Pacific” which confirms what I’d written:
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/6697/2008/acpd-8-6697-2008-print.pdf

  115. lgl (09:22:30) : I assume you’re referring to the “NCEP/NCAR R1 1948-now” dataset, and that you’re using “surface net solar/longwave radiation”. That’s a very curious dataset. I checked a few areas around the tropical Pacific and the data (not anomalies) are negative. What’s that about? That dataset shows a rise in net solar for the NINO3.4 region during the 1997/98 El Nino, when there should have been a decrease due to the increases in total cloud amount and precipitation. I looked at that dataset a while back but was not pleased with the assumptions (that the data was inverted) I had to make in order to use it.
    I’ve been using the “NCEP/DOE Reanalysis-2 flux data (dswrfsfc)”, downward shortwave radiation flux at the surface, for an upcoming post. Its wiggles go in the right direction. It’s available on the “External data” page…
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_external.cgi?someone@somewhere
    …which you have to sign in to use. (No big deal about registering)
    lgl (09:22:30) : I assume you’re referring to the “NCEP/NCAR R1 1948-now” dataset, and that you’re using “surface net solar/longwave radiation”. That’s a very curious dataset. Note that the data (not anomalies) are negative. What’s that about? That dataset also shows a rise in net solar for the NINO3.4 region during the 1997/98 El Nino, when there should have been a decrease due to the increases in total cloud amount and precipitation. I looked at that dataset a while back but was not pleased with the assumptions (that the data was inverted) I had to make in order to use it.
    I’ve been using the “NCEP/DOE Reanalysis-2 flux data (dswrfsfc)”, downward shortwave radiation flux at the surface, for an upcoming post. Its wiggles go in the right direction. It’s available on the “External data” page…
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_external.cgi?someone@somewhere
    …which you have to sign in to use. (No big deal about registering)
    An example: The following is a comparison of Surface Downward Shortwave Radiation flux anomalies for the tropical Pacific (east of the Pacific Warm Pool) versus NINO3.4 (for timing):
    http://i43.tinypic.com/2saaquv.png

  116. Hmm.. so after 1980 the trends are cloud cover decrease, solar decrease and temp increase. This ended like I feared, more confused than ever. Why can’t I ever learn to stay away from these things…
    I can’t find any DLR but net LW shows another puzzling thing, the almost exact inverse of net SW. http://virakkraft.com/SH-sw-lw.png I give up.

  117. lgl (09:54:34) : You wrote, “Hmm.. so after 1980 the trends are cloud cover decrease, solar decrease and temp increase.”
    What dataset are you looking at, the supplier?

  118. Bob,
    Still ‘NCEP/NCAR R1 1948-now’ and ‘ISCCP’, both from knmi, but now with SW inverted like you suggested (and I have to agree).

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