Inspired by a WUWT comment from Bill Illis in the Maybe they’ve found Trenberth’s missing heat thread, I’ve elevated this to full post status and provided the relevant graphics from the links Bill provided. From a National Science Foundation article on April 15th, 2010:
“The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later,” says NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, the lead author. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”
Bill Illis writes:
Trenberth is looking for about 0.8 watts/m2 of the projected increase in energy held in the Earth system that is not going into heating the surface.
Either this energy is not being held in the Earth system (and is just escaping to space and hence climate theory is not correct) or it is hiding and the most likely place for that would be the deep oceans (or continental ice sheets warming up and melting that we have not observed).
This paper measured/extrapolated the potential heat content going into the nearly the entire global ocean below 2000 metres [It doesn’t appear they measured the Arctic bottom water but the north Atlantic does not appear to have warmed so it is likely no extra heat is going into the Arctic bottom water].
So, Table 1 in the paper shows 0.068 watts/m2 is going into the oceans below 2000 metres. Far less than the 0.8 watts/m2 Trenberth is looking for.
We also know there is no accumulation in the last 7 years in the 0-700 metre ocean – von Schuckmann 2009 found 0.77 Watts/m2 going into the 0-2000 metre ocean (although no one seems to believe these estimates since almost all of the warming they measured was in the 0-300 metre area which is contradicted by the Argo floats).
Trenberth Missing Heat – 0.8 Watts/m2
Going into 0-700 Metre ocean – 0.0 W/m2
Going into 0-2000 Metre ocean – ? (but could be as high as 0.77 W/m2 but this contradicts Argo)
Going into the 2000+ Metre Ocean – 0.068 W/m2
Going into the 2000+ Metre Ocean from the Arctic – ? (but looks to be very low)
It is unlikely that the ARGO measurements are wrong, and thus it can’t be found in the oceans, so where is it? Balancing budgets is never easy; there’s always a missing penny somewhere. Most often, that missing penny is due to human error. – Anthony