Fact check for Andrew Glikson – Ocean heat has paused too

Over at The Conversation Andrew Glikson asks Fact check: has global warming paused? citing an old Skeptical Science favorite graph, and that’s the problem; it’s old data. He writes:

As some 90% of the global heat rise is trapped in the oceans (since 1950, more than 20×1022 joules), the ocean heat level reflects global warming more accurately than land and atmosphere warming. The heat content of the ocean has risen since about 2000 by about 4×1022 joules.

To summarise, claims that warming has paused over the last 16 years (1997-2012) take no account of ocean heating.

Figure 3: Build-up in Earth’s total heat content. www.skepticalscience.com/docs/Comment_on_DK12.pdf

Hmmm, if “…ocean heat level reflects global warming more accurately than land and atmosphere warming…” I wonder what he and the SkS team will have to say about this graph from NOAA Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory (PMEL) using more up to date data from the ARGO buoy system?

Sure looks like a pause to me, especially after steep rises in OHC from 1997-2003. Note the highlighted period in yellow:

NOAA_UPPER_OCEAN_HEAT_CONTENT

From PMEL at http://oceans.pmel.noaa.gov/

The plot shows the 18-year trend in 0-700 m Ocean Heat Content Anomaly (OHCA) estimated from in situ data according to Lyman et al. 2010. The error bars include uncertainties from baseline climatology, mapping method, sampling, and XBT bias correction.

Historical data are from XBTs, CTDs, moorings, and other sources.    Additional displays of the upper OHCA are available in the Plots section.

As Dr. Sheldon Cooper would say: “Bazinga!

h/t to Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. for the PMEL graph.

UPDATE: See the above graph converted to temperature anomaly in this post.

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And anything prior to 2003 is simply guesswork. The conflation of data sets and guesswork from the cli-sci people need to be highlighted more, IMHO. They have no idea what the OHC was in 1970.

Phobos

[snip – sorry, drive by raw data claims from a table in a different depth data set aren’t useful with a visual post, graph it to show your claims and resubmit – Anthony]

Resourceguy

Hmmm, I wonder what the second derivative of the AMO looks like?

knr

Simply , here is where the magic ‘missing heat ‘ is so useful.
The ocean has heated , but has its not be found yet it not possible to measure it .
If the models say its so , its true no matter what reality tell us .

Phobos

The graph of the 0-2000 m OHC — much more relevant than just the 0-700 m level — is, of course, here (Figure #2):
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/
[Reply: Wrong graph. — mod.]
For those who can handle the raw data, the trend since 2005 is 240 trillion watts, or 0.47 Wm^-2 across the Earth’s surface:
http://data.nodc.noaa.gov/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/basin/3month/ohc2000m_levitus_climdash_seasonal.csv

Phobos

By the way, the ten-year trend for 0-700 m OHC is still a statistically significant 45 terawatts.
REPLY: and each day around 120,000 terawatts of energy from the sun reaches the Earth, so it is a statistical sand grain on a beach in the whole Earthly energy budget – Anthony

BioBob

@ James Sexton
All too true !
For that matter, Land Surface historical data is simply guesswork as well, since we have no statistically valid or accurate estimates of any type of errors or variability with non-random, unreplicated sampling for the entire historical record.
Garbage In, Garbage out.

Al Gore

But this is more UNFCCC conform “science” so it’s guaranteed in the next IPCC UNFCCC based “climate report”?

Kasuha

Placing a thick yellow line over the top of the graph does not make it flat – it is not flat yet. It may be considered flat for last four years but that’s hardly statistically significant. On longer period It has sure slowed down, but that’s it. Plus you’re comparing apples to oranges because the skeptical science graph is a sum of three factors out of which you only show one. That does not make a good counterargument, I don’t think the graph would change drastically if four more years were added to it.
REPLY: It is a highlighter marker, used to call attention to the area, like I routinely do with text. If I wanted to make a plot trend line, I would have used a plot trend line. – Anthony

Rud Istvan

The SkepSci graph appears to go through 2008. It goes up from 2003 to 2008. The PMEL data do not. So, either their data source was bad (not ARGO) or their plot of the data was wrong. Either way, it is not just old, it is bad. And in the context of that site, new evidence that it not only is not skeptical, it isn’t even science. Double fail.

Phobos

Anthony wrote: “REPLY: and each day around 120,000 terawatts of energy from the sun reaches the Earth, so it is a statistical sand grain on a beach in the whole Earthly energy budget – Anthony.”
Unfortunately not, since vast majority of the Sun’s 120,000 trillion watts comes in and then leaves, of course. The 45 trillion watts is what’s sticking around (in just the top 1/5th of the ocean).
REPLY: and again, it isn’t statistically significant in the scheme of things, much like that 0.7C in the atmosphere isn’t statistically significant against daily diurnal variation or seasons. – Anthony

Bill Illis

This is the correct chart which takes into account how much 10^22 joules is supposed to be accumulating and the tiny 0.46 W/M2 which is accumulating in the 0-2000 metre ocean.
http://s17.postimage.org/y2qsxky8f/OHC_Missing_Energy_Dec2012.png

Bart

Phobos says:
February 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm
“— much more relevant than just the 0-700 m level — “
How so? IR from CO2 backradiation does not penetrate nearly that far. How are you supposing the heat gets there, when there is no change in the waters above?
Phobos says:
February 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm
“By the way, the ten-year trend for 0-700 m OHC is still a statistically significant 45 terawatts.”
Claims of statistical significance are always dicey when the underlying correlations are unknown. It is necessary to assume a model, and that assumption drives the outcome. For example, we had a round of comments on another thread in which a disputant claimed that the trend in the global temperature metric from 1970 to 2000 was statistically significant, but the lull since then was not. When a reference was requested, he directed us to a paper which assumed a one-box model for the correlations. When cyclical correlations are so readily evident in the data record, such an assumed model is hogwash.
But, in any case, even if it were statistically significant, it is not climatically so.

Werner Brozek

Sea surface temperatures are flat since March, 1997 or 15 years and 10 months.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1/trend
So heat presumably got lower down without affecting the surface. Is that correct? And am I to be worried if the deeper ocean went up from 3.0 C to 3.2 C?

Rud Istvan

My previous post was too polite. I did a quick check (less than 5 minutes using multilayer google) and found another Skeptical Science posting from 2011 showing the correct ocean heat as flat after 2003 in making a different but equally illogical and unsupported argument. See:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/cooling-oceans.htm
They really cannot have it both ways on one website at the same time.
As Wolfgang Pauli said, so bad “its not even wrong”.

Alex Heyworth

Glikson also asserts “At the root of the issue is the non-acceptance by some of the reality of the greenhouse effect”.
Total fail. He is unable to distinguish between not accepting the greenhouse effect and sensible skepticism about its magnitude.

george e. smith

“””””…….Phobos says:
February 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm
By the way, the ten-year trend for 0-700 m OHC is still a statistically significant 45 terawatts…..””””””
So which Pope granted special dispensation to state ocean heat content in Watts; or even in terraWatts; or maybe its teraWatts ?
Howcome Joules gets lost in the shuffle here ?
Trenberth in his global energy budget cartoon, insists on using 342 W/m^2 as the value for TSI, instead of the more recently approved, NASA/NOAA value of about 1362 W/m^2.
TSI is a rate of arrival of solar energy on earth, or at least at our mean orbital radius from the sun, and it arrives continuously at that rate.
You cannot simply divide by four, because the earth is rotating. Power density is power density
Stuff happens at 1362 W/m^2 that can NEVER happen at 342 W/m^2.
So if you drop a 20 kiloton bomb on San Francisco; but you only do it once every 25 or 50 years or so, on average it really won’t do very much damage.

Good heavens!!! We have people actually believing we know what the OHC was in 1960?? NEWS FLASH!!! Even the ARGO buoys don’t provide enough proper coverage. What on earth brings people to believe such nonsense?

Berényi Péter

This ocean heat content thing is a genuine non-issue. Mass of the upper 2 km of oceans is about 6.5×10^20 kg. According to NOAA NODC OCL this layer has accumulated some 20.5×10^22 J of heat in the last 50 years. Specific heat of water is about 4.2 kJ/kgK, so average temperature of the upper 2 km of oceans has increased by a stunning 0.075 K in a half century.
In other words, ocean bulk temperature is utterly flat on multidecadal scale.
(On the other hand, if it goes on like this, in a mere ten million years our oceans will be 15,000 K warmer than they are today, much hotter than the surface of the Sun. Well, no. It would not go on like this for long, see?)
I don’t even believe a warming rate of 1.5 mK/year can be measured. Not even with thousands of buoys, much less with a few ships here and there pulling mechanical bathythermographs on strings.

Kasuha

REPLY: It is a highlighter marker, used to call attention to the area,
______________
That does not make any of my arguments wrong.
REPLY: it doesn’t make them right either, be as upset as you wish – Anthony

Jeff L

The PMEL graph look a lot like the Global temp anomaly graph over the same time period … and not surprising since most of the energy of the oceanic-atmospheric system is contained in the ocean (ie the current standstill in ocean heat content is largely driving the current standstill global atmospheric temp anomaly, as was the rise in atmospheric temps in the 90s)
Understand what’s driving the ocean heat content & where it’s heading you should be able to do the same for the atmosphere.

I recommend reading the post by Glickson (Visiting Fellow, Australian National U).
(1) He runs at length through the usual explanations for the pause — for which he cites no sources (do most climate scientists agree that the low in the solar cycle has had a substantial impact?) — then declares that there has been no “pause” since there has been ocean heating (most of which is in the 700-2000 m layer). What is the time delay for CO2-related heating to warm that layer? The pause is recent phenomenon, hence should it be seen as propagating from the atmosphere into the ocean heat sinks — layer by deeper layer?
(2) He winds up with a bang, attributing this mistaken view about the pause to “non-acceptance of the greenhouse effect”. Again no supporting cites (do the scientists mentioning the pause not accept the GH effect?). No explanation why so many prominent climate scientists (& the head of the IPCC) have acknowledged the pause — or reference to the peer-reviewed literature discussing the pause (eg, causes and significance).
What is his purpose in writing this? It looks quite slipshod for one of his professional training. Any guesses if he’ll receive critical feedback from his peers?

Phobos

Bart said, “How so? IR from CO2 backradiation does not penetrate nearly that far.”
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/

Phobos

george e. smith says “So which Pope granted special dispensation to state ocean heat content in Watts; or even in terraWatts; or maybe its teraWatts ?”
A Watt is just a joule per second, and is an appropriate unit for the rate of accumulation of heat.

Frank K.

Phobos says:
February 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm
Hi Phobos – Are the computer codes that perform the data processing summarized in the graphs available? I’d like to have a look at them. Thanks in advance.

Pat Frank

XBT bias correction” means they assume a “random + constant offset” measurement error model. This model ignores systematic measurement error and is certainly incomplete. Floating buoys have never been field-calibrated. No one knows the magnitude or distribution of the actual errors or the size of the accuracy confidence intervals.
Apart from all that, Graeme Stephens, et al.’s recent paper on the global energy balance puts the net surface budget to be 0.6(+/-)17 W/m^2. Given that uncertainty, how can anyone say that ocean heat content has increased?
Stephens, et al., wrote, “This [17 W/m^2] uncertainty is an order of magnitude larger than the changes to the net surface fluxes associated with increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Fig. 2b). The uncertainty is also approximately an order of magnitude larger than the current estimates of the net surface energy imbalance of 0.6 ±0.4 Wm^−2 inferred from the rise in OHC [ocean heat content].
As usual, climate stories depend on neglected error for their impact.

davidq

Phobos,
as Bere’nyi Pe’ter (Sorry about the apostrophes, not able to copy paste).
0.075K in half a century, is quite remarkably small amount. That looks like a number that could be due to a lot of sources. Maybe we need to measure another 50 years, before even bothering with making a comment about it.
After all, most solution proposed regarding global warming (Yup, stick with the original!) are all draconian government measures, that only a self serving totalitarian could like.

Mark Bofill

Most interesting. So, while atmospheric CO2 has been steadily increasing by 2ppm/Yr, not only have lower tropospheric temperatures been flat for 17 years, but upper ocean temps have also been relatively flat for 9 or 10 years.
So where’s the heat hiding this time?

Stephen Wilde

Less energy entering the oceans whilst the jets remain more meridional with more global clouds.

alf

Berényi Péter so how much extra energy would 0.075 K put into the atmosphere? Or how would this amount of energy contribute to global warming?

Phobos

Anthony wrote: “REPLY: and again, it isn’t statistically significant in the scheme of things, much like that 0.7C in the atmosphere isn’t statistically significant against daily diurnal variation or seasons.”
So you think the daily temperature change in your backyard is more significant than the change of an ice age (~7 C)?
REPLY: Every time I read a sentence that starts with So…. I know its going to be a personal slam. Don’t put words in my mouth, Mr. Anonymous Coward. Your claim simply isn’t statistically significant, as other commenters also point out. – Anthony

Phobos

Frank K. says: “Hi Phobos – Are the computer codes that perform the data processing summarized in the graphs available? I’d like to have a look at them. Thanks in advance.”
The NOAA OHC site gives the source for its graphs. Have you written those authors to ask them?

Matt Skaggs

Once again Bill Illis hits the nail on the head, this time with the first graph that starts at zero (apologies if I missed an earlier one). If you really believe you have found a trend, go ahead and show a truncated graph that best makes your point, but if you want me to believe you, show me the same data nearby with the axis starting at zero.

Alex Heyworth

Minor nit, the name is Glikson, not Glickson.
REPLY: Fixed, thanks. -A

Martin C

Phobos says about heat accumulation . . .
OK, doing some quick math, perhaps others would like to check:
The top 700 meters of oceans is (rounded off) 2300 feet. At 70% of the earth’s surface, the volume is 1.263 E19 cubic feet (the ‘E’ is exponent – 1.263 x 10 to the 19th . .).
Sea water is about 29 kilograms per cubic foot – so the top 700m of ocean is about
3.6627 E20 kilograms.
It takes 4186 joules to heat 1Kg of water 1 degree C. Therefore the energy needed to warm the top 700 m of ocean 1 degree C is 1.533 E24 Joules.
Since a Watt is a joule/sec, and over 10 years (86400 seconds per day, x 365 days per year, x 10 years) 45 terawatts is 1.419 E22 Joules.
Dividing number of joules added to the ocean over 1o years (1.419E22) by the number of joules required to raise the ocean 1 degree C (1.533 E24) give a whopping 0.01 degrees C that the oceans have warmed.
Wow, that seems too low. Maybe I’m off by a factor of 10 ( . or not . .?) I don’t have time to check now. BUT 0.01 or even 0.1 degree C of temperature increase of JUST THE TOP 700 meters of ocean is awfully small . . .
. . seems to me like Phobos is trying give a false impression by noting how many terawatts the ocean was absorbing over 10 years. . . .

Martin C

. .oops, didn’t finish the last sentence:
. . seems to me like Phobos is trying give a false impression by noting how many terawatts the ocean was absorbing over 10 years as IF IT WERE REALLY HEATING UP THE OCEAN. . .

TinyCO2

I don’t understand. How does the ocean gain 10x the heat conternt accumulated in the air from the greenhouse effect? Especially when between 1960 and 1970 the ocean lost heat that didn’t appear in the atmosphere.

Doug Proctor

From ’97 to 2003: by warmist models, is this the “correct”, CO2 rate? Or is it a correct+natural rate, so the “actual” trend from ’97 is a split between 2003 and 2013?
A range of Scenarios leads you to the ballpark; observations tell you where the ball is heading. By now we should have at least one of the Scenarios deleted, wouldn’t you think? Unless you admit that the science is not settled, and the outcome, not certain.
It is weird how the warmist can be both definite and vague at the same time. Perhaps like the murder suspect who says he is definite he didn’t do the crime, but is vague about what he was doing during the time.

Phobos

Anthony wrote: “REPLY: Your claim simply isn’t statistically significant.”
The math is actually pretty simple; the OLS linear trend is positive and statistically different from zero. That’s what a warming trend is.
REPLY: But in the larger scheme of things, still it is statistically insignificant, though I’m sure you’ll find it impossible to let go of that fact. For example total energy flux received by Earth by solar is 1730 petawatts, of which 30% is reflected by Earth’s Albedo, so figure 1038 petawatts of flux incident on Earth’s surface or 1,038,000 terawatts
Compare your retained 240 terawatts to that and you get a value that while it “is” technically greater than zero at 0.00023, it isn’t distinguishable from zero in the larger scheme of things. I’m sorry, your argument just isn’t something to get all that concerned about, unless of course you are a religious zealot where “any” change is not good and “must” be our fault.
See the new post by Willis where he converts to temperature anomaly, it is below the measurement precision (noise level) of the instrumentation. But, you can be afraid of it it you want. We are here for comfort and support of your fears. – Anthony

Martin C,
Thanks for that. You’re right, Phobos is trying mighty hard to give a false impression. I suspect he’s a regular at SkS, and he’s been running back and forth, collecting talking points.
His problem is people like you. Good job.
The more data that becomes available, the more obvious it is that CO2 is a completely insignificant player. There is absolutely no difference between global warming a century ago, when CO2 was much lower, and global warming from 1980 – 1997. Ockham’s Razor says that the simplest explanation is probably the best explanation: global warming is a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age.

Phobos

Martin C said: “…give a whopping 0.01 degrees C that the oceans have warmed.”
Your number is basically correct for the top 0-700 m (I get 0.014 C in 10 years). The volume is huge, as you note, so the added heat is huge. If all that heat were added to the atmosphere instead, the warming would be roughly 1000 times larger, or 14 C.
We are dealing with large systems here; the ocean is a *huge* heat reservoir. That heat has consequences.

Phobos

D.B. Stealey says: “Ockham’s Razor says that the simplest explanation is probably the best explanation: global warming is a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age.”
That’s a misunderstanding of basic thermodynamics. Thermodynamic systems don’t “recover” — they aren’t like a spring with a restoring force — temperature changes only if heat is added or subtracted from the system. Given the observed temperature changes, the question is, what is the source of that heat? Changes in solar irradiance don’t seem nearly enough to do so.
REPLY: Gosh, static state thinking. The Earth is a dynamic system, it changes its heat budget over time in response to a multitude of things (which is why we have cold years and warm years globally). It is not a static state system. Change clouds for example, just 2% and you have your answer…and that is just one variable. But please go ahead and try to argue that that Earth’s albedo or any other of its myriad of climatic variables have remained constant since the little ice age, and that couldn’t possibly affect solar insolation at the surface, TOA emission, etc. No for phantom folks like yourself, there’s no other answer but the mighty CO2 control knob, which is a factor, but just one knob in a whole dashboard full. – Anthony

Phobos says:
“That heat has consequences.”
Apparently not.
Phobos says: “Thermodynamic systems don’t “recover” — they aren’t like a spring with a restoring force — temperature changes only if heat is added or subtracted from the system.”
Phobos doesn’t understand. Prof Richard Lindzen explaina:

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.

By the way, the ten-year trend for 0-700 m OHC is still a statistically significant 45 terawatts.
That is about 1/10 the internal heat flow from the Earth. Sure that this is not indicative of increased volcanic activity?

Frank K.

Phobos says:
February 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm
“The NOAA OHC site gives the source for its graphs. Have you written those authors to ask them?”
No I haven’t. But I figured the source code(s) for processing the data should be available via links at the page. Do you work for NOAA? Could you ask them on our behalf? I think it would be very instructive to see the data processing codes. Thanks.

Floating buoys have never been field-calibrated. No one knows the magnitude or distribution of the actual errors or the size of the accuracy confidence intervals.
Nor do we know what biases free floating buoys introduce. Although IMO they introduce a warming bias, because drift will be from cold upwelling areas to warm downwelling areas, which explains the measured warming down to 2000 meters. All Argo has shown is ocean downwelling areas are warmer at depth than other areas of the ocean. Hardly a surprise.
We can say for certain is that the Argo buoys are not measuring the same ocean locations.

Tez

Werner Brozec 1.47pm says:
“So heat presumably got lower down without affecting the surface. Is that correct? And am I to be worried if the deeper ocean went up from 3.0 C to 3.2 C?”
Yes you should be worried. 90% or so of the ocean volume is below 3C. Water is at its densest at 4C. So if the ocean warms even by 1C there should be a corresponding drop in Sea Level.
I might be wrong as this flies in the face of what I have read elsewhere but it seems logical to me.

Michael Cohen

Phobos says: “Given the observed temperature changes, the question is, what is the source of that heat? Changes in solar irradiance don’t seem nearly enough to do so.”
Start here, Phobos: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/
The old “TSI does not vary much” meme will get you laughed out of here.

Phobos

denniswingo says: “That is about 1/10 the internal heat flow from the Earth.”
No – heat flow from the Earth’s interior is about 47 terawatts
http://www.solid-earth.net/1/5/2010/se-1-5-2010.pdf
and constant over these time scales.

Phobos

@Frank K: NOAA’s OHC site says the results come from Levitus et al. They would be your contact for questions, code, etc.