Ocean Temperature And Heat Content

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Anthony has an interesting post up discussing the latest findings regarding the heat content of the upper ocean. Here’s one of the figures from that post.

pmel 0-700m heat content anomalyFigure 1. Upper ocean heat content anomaly (OHCA), 0-700 metres, in zeta-joules (10^21 joules). Errors are not specified but are presumably one sigma. SOURCE 

He notes that there has been no significant change in the OHCA in the last decade. It’s a significant piece of information. I still have a problem with the graph, however, which is that the units are meaningless to me. What does a change of 10 zeta-joules mean? So following my usual practice, I converted the graph to a more familiar units, degrees C. Let me explain how I went about that.

To start with, I digitized the data from the graph. Often this is far, far quicker than tracking down the initial dataset, particularly if the graph contains the errors. I work on the Mac, so I use a program called GraphClick, I’m sure the same or better is available on the PC. I measured three series: the data, the plus error, and the minus error. I then put this data into an Excel spreadsheet, available here.

Then all that remained was to convert the change in zeta-joules to the corresponding change in degrees C. The first number I need is the volume of the top 700 metres of the ocean. I have a spreadsheet for this. Interpolated, it says 237,029,703 cubic kilometres. I multiply that by 62/60 to adjust for the density of salt vs. fresh water, and multiply by 10^9 to convert to tonnes. I multiply that by 4.186 mega-joules per tonne per degree C. That tells me that it takes about a thousand zeta-joules to raise the upper ocean temperature by 1°C.

Dividing all of the numbers in their chart by that conversion factor gives us their chart, in units of degrees C. Calculations are shown on the spreadsheet.

degrees pmel 0-700m heat content anomalyFigure 2. Upper ocean heat content anomaly, 0-700 metres, in degrees C. 

I don’t plan to say a whole lot about that, I’ll leave it to the commenters, other than to point out the following facts:

• The temperature was roughly flat from 1993-1998. Then it increased by about one tenth of a degree in the next five years to 2003, and has been about flat since then.

• The claim is made that the average temperature of the entire upper ocean of the planet is currently known to an error (presumably one sigma) of about a hundredth of a degree C.

• I know of no obvious reason for the 0.1°C temperature rise 1998-2003, nor for the basically flat temperatures before and after.

• The huge increase in observations post 2002 from the addition of the Argo floats didn’t reduce the error by a whole lot.

My main question in this revolves around the claimed error. I find the claim that we know the average temperature of the upper ocean with an error of only one hundredth of a degree to be very unlikely … the ocean is huge beyond belief. This claimed ocean error is on the order of the size of the claimed error in the land temperature records, which have many more stations, taking daily records, over a much smaller area, at only one level. Doubtful.

I also find it odd that the very large increase in the number of annual observations due to the more than 3,000 Argo floats didn’t decrease the error much …

As is common in climate science … more questions than answers. Why did it go up? Why is it now flat? Which way will the frog jump next?

Regards to everyone,

w.

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Hoser

Hey, a broken clock constantly reports very reproducible values. Doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

Sad-But-True-Its-You

Many thanks indeed !
That claim of ‘error knowledge’ should be voided as well as the ‘0.1’ of a degree C increase.
XD

Why did it go up?

Read Tisdale.

re the “the 0.1°C temperature rise 1998-2003”. Could it be from the 1997-8 El Nino? If the upwelling warm water comes from below 700m depth, or if the temperature measure doesn’t treat all 700m equally, it could be the El Nino. I think this would be in line with Bob Tisdale’s thinking that there is a ‘step function’ at an El Nino.

Willis,
” I find the claim that we know the average temperature of the upper ocean with an error of only one hundredth of a degree to be very unlikely … the ocean is huge beyond belief. This claimed ocean error is on the order of the size of the claimed error in the land temperature records, which have many more stations, taking daily records, over a much smaller area, at only one level. “
But the ocean temperature isn’t noisy. At depth there is no daily variation – and weak spatial gradients. There are no winds, no variable sunlight. The main issue seems to be deciding where the float actually was when readings were taken.
Here is a document that looks at a particular trajectory in detail. Fig 8 in particular shows the error issues.

Lew Skannen

I am always interested in error bars. I suspect that they are not really wanted and everyone in the modelling world would be happier if they would just disappear but stubbornly refuse to do so. They are cleaned up and brought out for show when they need to be accounted for by they are expected to behave themselves, not make a scene, not speak unless spoken to and certainly not relax and reveal any more of themselves that strictly necessary.
In reality if they were allowed to be themselves and behave as they would at home I suspect that the error bars would undo their corsets and belt buckles and flop out all over the place.
This would then spoil the image of the neat, tidy, prim and proper graph because it would be indistinguishable from a page of wall to wall error bars running rampant. A bit like a ball room dancer at a Hells Angels long weekend booze up.

Arnost

• I know of no obvious reason for the 0.1°C temperature rise 1998-2003, nor for the basically flat temperatures before and after.
Adjustments to the bathythermograph fall rate (particularly for the data from 1996)?
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/WOD09/bt_bias_notes.html

DOH! You’ve change a heat content measurement of the entire ocean to a level of abstraction, a potential to reach a certain temperature at a specific depth. Not an improvement.

First: Bob Tisdale explains with clarity what happens with ENSO and step changes.
Second: What happened to the water energy below 700meters? Any mixing there could have tremendous affect.
Anyway – the earth seems particularly stable with regard to its energy budget based on your fine work Willis. One caveat is that the measurements to be accurate with such tiny variations seems difficult at best to measure. I personally have found it difficult to get such accurate and repeatable measurements from temperatures sensors, even with RTDs… you know those platinum ones…

Mario Lento

First: Bob Tisdale explains with clarity what happens with ENSO and step changes.
Second: What happened to the water energy below 700meters? Any mixing there could have tremendous affect.
Anyway – the earth seems particularly stable with regard to its energy budget based on your fine work Willis. One caveat is that the measurements to be accurate with such tiny variations seems difficult at best to measure. I personally have found it difficult to get such accurate and repeatable measurements from temperatures sensors, even with RTDs… you know those platinum ones…
Great post!

@James Cook: No, he converted energy budget to an average temperature increase in a normalized body of water equal to the volume reported. It helps us see what the magnitude of the energy budget would do to the ocean temperatures of that upper 0.7km of ocean. It’s just to put things into perspective.

Mario Lento

@James Cook: No, he converted energy budget to an average temperature increase in a normalized body of water equal to the volume reported. It helps us see what the magnitude of the energy budget would do to the ocean temperatures of that upper 0.7km of ocean. It’s just to put things into perspective James…

Nick,
Ya, you’d be amazed if you look at a ships track over time in ICOADS by how little it changes and by how little it changes during the course of a day.. relative to the air that is.
@Willis:
“• The claim is made that the average temperature of the entire upper ocean of the planet is currently known to an error (presumably one sigma) of about a hundredth of a degree C.”
Actually, that is not what the number represents.

REPLY: Mosh – instead of making another crypto-comment, why not tell us what it represents and show a citation? – Anthony

tobias

Thanks Hoser i had a good laugh at that, I use it often and chuckle every time.

Willis Eschenbach

James Cook says:
February 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm

DOH! You’ve change a heat content measurement of the entire ocean to a level of abstraction, a potential to reach a certain temperature at a specific depth. Not an improvement.

Thanks, James. “Potential to reach a certain temperature”? I did several things, but I’ve no clue what you are referring to.
w.

Mindert Eiting

Willis, with N randomly sampled observations the standard error equals the standard deviation times square root N. Standard error 0.01 and N = 3000 suggests standard deviation of half a degree Celsius or almost all annual means (per float) between plus/minus one degree. Crucial is randomness. Is there also a graph of number of floats each year? If not fixed, for each year the number added and the number deleted? The whole effect may be due to sample change. Compare the surface station record.

The temperature rise from 1998 – 2003 is when the Argo system was being deployed. The slightly lower earlier temperatures most probably represent nothing more than some attempt to adjust for the depth/time error inherent in XBT temperature profiles.
The brief 1993 to 1997 part of the record is only enough to indicate a steep rise thereafter but too short to raise uncomfortable questions regarding the earlier decades of no noticeable increase.

Australis

It is notable that two incompatible measurement systems are brought together in this graph. Is it coincident that the (relative) warming spurt occurred on the eve of commencement of the ARGO floats?
We’ve seen this before, when sea level rises doubled at the time measurements glissaded from tide gauges to satellites, around 1992. And when hockey sticks glissaded from paleo measures to instruments around 1960. And … ?

bw

Most solar input occurs above the thermocline. Actually, almost all solar energy input occurs within the top meter of the ocean depth. That one meter of ocean has over 3000 times the volumetric heat capacity of the air above it. Most of the global energy budget therefore arises at the tropical ocean surface. The greatest variable affecting that budget is how much solar energy reaches the surface. Since tropical ocean albedo is very low, the only remaining major variable is the transparency/albedo of the atmosphere above the ocean, ie clouds.
Another variable is how much mixing/transport occurs from the ocean surface downward.
The thermocline is usually around 100 meters. Below the thermocline, the ocean depths are pretty much an infinite heat sink. Even relatively small changes in surface currents will carry more thermal energy than the entire atmosphere above the surface. What would happen to the northern polar ice if there were a small shift in the direction of the Gulf Stream??

PaulC

Does any one how much energy it takes to heat 237 million cubic kilometers of salt water by 0.1 deg in 5 years. Is it possible given heat from the sun and from the earths core (volcanos etc)

Luther Wu

PaulC says:
February 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm
Does any one how much energy it takes to heat 237 million cubic kilometers of salt water by 0.1 deg in 5 years. Is it possible given heat from the sun and from the earths core (volcanos etc)
___________________________
The graph says it is possible. Maybe we could get some models to agree. Maybe I should just go back to sleep.

PaulC

Luther Wu says “The graph says it is possible
That’s the point – the graph looks wrong. A out of character step usually means Mann made figures.

The oceans have currents …. with areas of cold upswelling. You dump floats in the sea and it is a matter of fact that they will float away from the areas of upswelling from cold->warm..

Mindert Eiting

Sorry, I meant above standard deviation divided by square root N. An example of simple book-keeping you almost never see. GHCN: 1940 has 4266 stations, 1940-1969 added 6074, deleted 696. In 1970 we have 9644 stations, 1970-1999 added 2918, deleted 9434. In 2000 we have 3128 stations, 2000-2010 added 14, deleted 1539. The samples were never spatially random. The changes were extremely non-random (homogenization). If something similar happened with the floats, the whole effect is dubious beyond repair.

Nick said;
‘At depth there is no daily variation – and weak spatial gradients. There are no winds, no variable sunlight. The main issue seems to be deciding where the float actually was when readings were taken.’
Can you give us your definition of ‘depth’ in the context you are using i? Self evidently there is a huge difference between the top and bottom of the ocean and sufficient spatial gradient to make it worth thinking of tapping into it as an energy source. The temperature difference will vary of course according to if you are in the tropics or Northern:Latitudes.
Are you referring purely to abyssal depth?
tonyb

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From Nick Stokes on February 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm:

But the ocean temperature isn’t noisy. At depth there is no daily variation – and weak spatial gradients. There are no winds, no variable sunlight. The main issue seems to be deciding where the float actually was when readings were taken.
Here is a document that looks at a particular trajectory in detail. Fig 8 in particular shows the error issues.

For those of us who prefer our URL’s un-obfuscated, here’s your link:
http://www.cawcr.gov.au/bmrc/ocean/staff/gbb/Argo_error_estimates_v3.doc
Considering the many posts Willis has had before about the ARGO system, how the floats operate, etc, plus his extensive knowledge of the oceans otherwise,
It is curious that apparently you are taking it upon yourself to educate such a poor benighted fool, speaking down as you see needed to reach his decidedly low level of understanding.
Having downloaded the document, I see it is an incomplete work in progress, no references younger than 2005. Thus this “error estimates” document is missing info from the last seven-plus years of operation of this rather young monitoring system.
Got anything more relevant? If not, I bet Willis can quickly get some better links for you.

Jesper

A 700m depth shouldn’t used to convert joules to degrees. The ocean mixes down only to about 500-100 m in most places. The energy change is concentrated in the upper layers, and not fully distributed over 700 m. Using a more realistic mixing depth of, say 70m, would increase your temperature change by a factor of 10, and better reconcile the energy change with observed temperatures.

Michel

Why transform all heat content change into hypothetical temperature change?
Water comes and goes in form of rain and vapour. To add 1 mm to the global sea level it takes approx. 0.9 Zetajoules. Yearly rainfalls over the whole globe (860 mm on land and seas) take or give approx 1000 Zetajoules.
How to disentangle energy content between heat capacity and heat of evaporation, taking into account short, long term, geographical variations? More research is needed…

richard verney

bw says:
February 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm
Most solar input occurs above the thermocline. Actually, almost all solar energy input occurs within the top meter of the ocean depth. That one meter of ocean has over 3000 times the volumetric heat capacity of the air above it. Most of the global energy budget therefore arises at the tropical ocean surface. The greatest variable affecting that budget is how much solar energy reaches the surface. Since tropical ocean albedo is very low, the only remaining major variable is the transparency/albedo of the atmosphere above the ocean, ie clouds.
Another variable is how much mixing/transport occurs from the ocean surface downward.
The thermocline is usually around 100 meters. Below the thermocline, the ocean depths are pretty much an infinite heat sink. Even relatively small changes in surface currents will carry more thermal energy than the entire atmosphere above the surface. What would happen to the northern polar ice if there were a small shift in the direction of the Gulf Stream??
////////////////////////////////////
The optical absorption of solar in water would not support the assertion that almost all solar energy occurs within the top metre. Of course, ocean water is not pristine clear and not only contains salts (not simply NaCl) but also other particulate matter which affects the absorption characteristics.
The assertion that most of solar occurs above the thermocline (usually around 100 metres) may be correct.
I would suggest that it is because most of solar is not absorbed within the top metre of the ocean but is instead absorbed at lower depths that ocean overturning (as well as conduction where the energy flux is downwards once one gets to about the 5 metre depth) works so effectively.
It is worth pausing to consider that after approximately 3.5 to 4 billion years (or so) of receiving solar energy, the average temperature of the oceans is only about 4 deg C. To consider that the oceans have an average temperature akin to the surface temperature is misleading and short sighted. It is the fact that the average temperature of the oceans is low that we get ice ages. If the average temperature of the oceans was more akin to the surface temperatures earth would not get ice ages (may be some relatively small growth in polar ice caps but no more) since the heat capacity in the oceans would be so great that extensive ice could not develop.
I consider that when we say that the average temperature of the earth is plus 14 or plus 15 degC (whatever figure that is quoted for this misleading concept), this is in fact misleading since it fails to take account of the average temperature of the oceans. It is looking at the position in an interglacial. If we were to consider the average temperature of the earth in a glacial period, it would be far lower since the surface temperature of the oceans would have cooled to a temperature much more akin to the average temperature of the ocean.
I do not consider that this is properly taken into account when considering the earth’s energy budget and when making comparisons with the moon (in any event it is crazy to make a comparison with the moon that is so different in almost every respect save only the distance from the sun). It is another example of a snapshot error so frequently made in climate science; a failure to consider data over a long enough base period, and making extrapolations from an inappropriately short time series data set.

izen

This ignores the vast mass of the ocean that is below 700m
If ocean heat content has really no increased significantly over this time then it poses big problems for the measurements of ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica. Sea level rise would need to be driven by much greater amounts of ice melt if thermal expansion is a smaller factor.
Or you could dismiss the OHC and sea level data as grossly mistaken or fraudulent. But that would destroy any credibility as multiple lines of evidence support both the rise in sea level and the degree of ice melt.

richard verney

Further to my last post regarding the aabsorption of solar irradiance in water, perhaps I should add 2 further points.
First, we are lucky that the absorption of solar irradiance in water, due to the wavelength characteristics of solar irradiance, is very different to the absorption characteristics of LWIR in water. Had it been similar, the oceans would have burnt off long ago. We are very fortunate that the top surface of the oceans does not absorb any significant quantity of incoming solar.
Second, when assessing to what extent the earth’s atmosphere raises the average temperature above that of the moon, one should make this assessment over an entire glacial/interglacial cycle. The average temperature of the moon probably varies very little over such a cycle. However, the temperature of the earth does. One needs to assess the average surface of temperature of the land over this complete cycle and the average surface temperature of the ocean over this entire cycle, and it is only once this assessment has been made that one can begin to consider to what extent the earth’s atmosphere raises the temperature of the earth over and above that of the moon.

richard verney

[snip . . nope . . mod]
Bart says:
February 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm
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?…”
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Before one considers how much DWLWIR penetrates the oceans to depth, one has to consider whether any and, if so, how much DWLWIR even reaches the very top surface layer of the ocean.
The optical absorption of LWIR in water is such that 20% of LWIR is fully absorbed within 1 micron, 40% is fully absorbed within 2 microns, and 60% is fully absorbed within 4 microns. About 83% of it is fully absorbed within the first 10 microns. See for example http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/10/06/does-back-radiation-heat-the-ocean-part-one/ This website cites a plot taken from Wiki.
For all practical purposes water is a LWIR block, much like a parasol is a sun block, or a high factor sun cream block is a powerful harmful UV block.
The first question that arises is, given that water is such an effective LWIR block, how does any DWLWIR reach the top surface of the oceans? This question arises because the ocean model referred to in Wiki (and the like) is an example of an ideal ocean, far divorced from the realities of life. The ocean considered is the ocean that is as flat as a mill pond. But in real life, this is not earth’s oceans.
According to a study conducted by Stanford University, the average wind speed over water is Beaufort 4 (see http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/global_winds.html) Of course, averages can be misleading due to variability, and in the Atlantic and South Pacific, the wind speed is greater (see http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/windpower/ResourceMap/index-world.html). I have spent approximately some 30 years studying ship’s logs covering trading worldwide, and I can confirm that it is rather rare to see wind conditions of less than force 4 being recorded on ocean voyages, and such a review would suggest an average more like force 5 (on worldwide ocean trading routes).
NOAA gives a description of sea conditions in various wind conditions as follows; http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/beaufort.html. It will be noted that at force 3 “crests begin to break, scattered whitecaps” and at force 4 there are “numerous whitecaps”. What does this mean? Well it means that already at force 3 the wind is drawing off the very top surface of the water which can be seen by the naked eye as crest beginning to break. The optical resolution of the human eye is not high, and the fact that the unaided human eye can, from a distance, see white crests means that more than a few microns of water is being ripped off. The human hair is between 17 to 180 microns. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair) perhaps on average approximately 50 microns (consider when standing say 5 metres from a person, how easy is it to see individual strands of hair?). The fact that the human eye can see white crests, which by force 4 are “numerous” in number, suggests that not less than about 50 microns of water is being ripped off the oceans and lies immediately above the oceans, particularly within say ½ metre above the ocean, as wind swept spray and spume.
Accordingly, before any DWLWIR can reach the oceans it has to first find its way through the wind swept spray and spume which lies immediately above the oceans. Given the optical absorption of LWIR in water, for practical purposes if there is even just 6 microns of wind swept spray and spume lying above the oceans at most only about 25% of DWLWIR even gets to reach the top surface of the oceans. If there is more than 6 microns of windswept spray and spume, even less than 25% of DWLWIR could penetrate this barrier. This is an issue which seems to be overlooked by those promoting the AGW meme.
It may well be the case that in force 5 conditions and above, none of the DWLWIR even reaches the very top layer of the oceans because it cannot penetrate the IR block consisting of the wind swept spray and spume that exists immediately above but divorced from the ocean below.
It is only once the DWLWIR has penetrated the spray and spume, that one has to ask how does that residual element (ie., such DWLWIR that is not absorbed by the windswept spray and spume which exists and lies immediately above the top surface of the ocean) heat the deep ocean? ie., the point to which Bart alludes. It is not easy to see by what mechanism DWLWIR can effectively heat the ocean, for a number of reasons:
1. Little if any DWLWIR actually reaches the top surface of the ocean since, for reasons detailed above, in the real world, most of it must surely be fully absorbed by the windswept spray and spume that lies immediately above the ocean (ie., say within ½ metre or so above the ocean).
2. Of the residual DWLWIR that has found its way past the windswept spray and spume some 60% of it is fully absorbed within 4 microns of the top surface of the ocean. But what happens to the DWLWIR so absorbed? Absorption of IR photons is essentially a light speed event, and theoretically (assuming the K&T energy budget is correct) there is so much energy absorbed within the first 4 microns of the top surface of the ocean that there would be copious amounts of evaporation (perhaps so much as to provide approximately 15 metres, or so, of global rainfall). This would arise unless in some way the energy received could be dissipated downwards into the deeper ocean before the top 4 microns are heated to evaporation point by DWLWIR being absorbed in the top 4 micron layer. But how is the energy dissipated downwards? What is the mechanism that dissipates this energy downwards?
3. It is not easy to see by what mechanism the LWIR absorbed in the first 4, or so, microns is dissipated downwards. It would appear that it cannot be conducted downwards since the energy flux is upwards not downwards at the top of the ocean and there is no known mechanism whereby conduction can take place against the direction of energy flux. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_surface_temperature from which it will be seen that the top surface of the ocean is cooler and that the ocean temperature increases from the top 10 microns through to about 5 metres, and only as from a depth of about 5metres onwards does the ocean begin to cool. It follows from this that energy flux is upwards not downwards, so how can any energy absorbed within the first 4 or so microns be conducted downwards?
4. The only other method that I have seen suggested is ocean overturning. However this is a slow mechanical process measured in many hours (about half a day). It is not clear that ocean over turning can effectively wrap and drag down the very top micron layer (this is a problem in itself) but even if it could, this is a slow mechanical process which cannot dissipate energy downwards at a speed greater or nearly equal to the speed and rate at which DWLWIR is absorbed in the top 4 micron layer. Given the speed of photonic absorption in the top 4 or so micron layer, the mechanical process involved in ocean over turning cannot dissipate that energy down to depth before the energy absorbed in the top 4, or so, microns would raise the temperature in the first 4, or so, microns of the oceans to a temperature sufficient to drive evaporation form the top microns of the ocean.
I have asked Willis a number of times to explain the process by which energy from DWLWIR absorbed in the top few microns of the oceans can be dissipated downwards to depth before the energy absorbed in those microns heats those microns of water to a temperature driving evaporation. Despite many requests being made of him, he has at no time explained the mechanical process involved. He has not explained how heat can be conducted to depth against the direction of energy flux, nor how ocean overturning can dissipate the energy absorbed in the top microns before that energy would drive evaporation of those very microns of water.
As I see matters there is a significant problem with respect to the behavoir of DWLWIR and its interaction with the oceans which presently is not fully addressed, or even addressed at all, by those that support the AGW meme.
PS. I do not like referencing Wiki, but I consider that on the aspects covered above it is not contentious.
PPS. As noted I have studied ship’s logs for approximately 30 years. Today, ships record ocean temperature by taking the water temperature at the inlet manifold of the engine cooling system. This water is drawn at depth. Depending on the design and configuration of the vessel (to what extent it is laden and how it is being trimmed), an ocean going ship will draw water from a depth of between say 5m and 13m. A depth of 8m to 10m is probably quite typical (if there is such a thing). It will therefore be appreciated that when a ship records water temperature it is measuring water temperature drawn at a depth of say about 8 to 9m, not surface temperature. In practice, there is for the main part relatively little difference between the water temperature at about 8m and surface, but of course, ship’s logs, since they are not recording surface temperature, will understate what the surface temperature of the ocean is.

You can not just relabel heat content into degrees using a multiplier. The measurement is in degrees. The content is derived by using knowledge of saltinity and pressure on a cell by cell basis. You would not average the 10km of air above you. You have to seperate out the layers and zones;The key thing to find is what is happening the deep. If you to want argue that a lot of warming is already programmed in this is where you need to claim it is hiding.

Mike Ozanne

” I know of no obvious reason for the 0.1°C temperature rise 1998-2003, nor for the basically flat temperatures before and after.”
Well us widget makers who saw a mean shift which occurred during the implementation of an improved measurement system, would take it to mean that our prior record history was probably bull. I had a quick look through the ARGO website and couldn’t find reference to any processes of reliability and reproducibility or cross calibration against existing systems prior to deployment. But there was this item ” Analyses of decadal changes presently focus on comparison of Argo to sparse and sometimes inaccurate historical data” which would also seem to suggest that the prior records are suspect.

Richard Verney
Good comment.
If it is the upper ocean temperature that affects our global/land temperature it follows that whether they are warm or cold matters much more than what happens lower down, which fluctuates very little.
In the summer the upper surface is greatly affected by sunshine intensity and duration, as I can testify from my experiments in the English Channel last year! It is also affected by other factors of course, if it is mostly cloudy there will be little solar gain if the nights are clear there is a surprisingly high loss of heat . As the BBC reported this morning the North Sea is colder than normal, a combination of the poor summer and lack of sun ever since amongst other things.
Lamb in 1982 mentioned that in 1690 to 1699 -the depths of the LIA- ocean surface temperature betwen Iceland and Faroe islands was probably 5degrees C lower than today.This suggests the arctic cold water had spead far to the south and that (probably) sunshine levels were low..
tonyb

We had an interesting weather report this morning on BBC R4 0700. The reporter forecast colder than usual (?) weather due to the NE winds from Scandinavia blowing over a colder than normal (?) North Sea. Remember this report was on the arch alarmist media BBC. But the North Sea is a shallow small area of water that would warm quicker than the oceans IF the claimed global warming was true. So perhaps this indicates a cooler NW Europe than would be expected probably due to a slightly less active sun.
Comment on Richard Verney’s dit above— The top 200m of water is affected by solar energy, the photic zone, below that sunlight cannot penetrate. Lunar comparisons are valid because the moon receives the same insolation as earth and zenith position temperatures there are around 120C which is the radiative equilibrium temperature with 1370W/m2. We get the same reduced for albedo and atmospheric adsorption to 960W/m2 which gives a radiative equilibrium temperature of 88C. Surface temperatures on earth in the zenith position can reach near 60C in dry desert positions though rarely over 40C in wet rainforest positions.These are both air temperatures. Surface heating of the atmosphere causes convection which pulls in cooler air to continue the heat removing process. The surface is always hotter than the in surrounding atmosphere and surface measurement shows that the 88C in dry desert positions to be near possible. I have seen an egg fried on a black rock in Death Valley Ca. Lunar comparison demonstrates the cooling effect of an atmosphere.There is more than enough heat from the sun to preclude the need for a GHG theory.

Phil's Dad

Assuming the figure is correct; could any one give us an idea of what effect a 0.1 degree centigrade change over 20 years would have?

phlogiston

I know of no obvious reason for the 0.1°C temperature rise 1998-2003, nor for the basically flat temperatures before and after.
You need to read your Bob Tisdale. This jump-up in ocean temperatures coinciding with a big el Nino is at the core of his analysis and interpretation of ENSO and climate. What the above graph shows is the effect on ocean heat of the monster 1997-1999 el Nino and following La Nina. Bob has dissected the east Pacific temperatures from “rest-of-the-world” ocean temps, and shows that, while the east Pacific itself has not warmed over the last half century, it has successfully exported its ENSO heat such that the rest-of-the-world ocean temperatures show discreet, quantum-like step-ups precisely at the major el nino events in the last few decades.
BTW what goes up must come down. Expect the inverse phenomenon some time soon.

DennisA

The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat by Dr Robert Stevenson, 2000
http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/ocean.html
“Because of the high density/specific heat of sea water, the entire heat in the overlying atmosphere can be contained in the top two meters of the oceans. This enormous storage capacity enables the oceans to “buffer” any major deviations in temperature, moderating both heat and cold waves alike.
Evaporation is constantly taking place at the surface of the seas. It is greatest in the tropics and weakest near the polar regions. The effect of evaporation is to cool the oceans and, thereby, the surface atmosphere.
Sunlight penetrates the water surface readily, and directly heats the ocean up to a certain depth. Around 3 percent of the radiation from the Sun reaches a depth of about 100 meters.
The top layer of the ocean to that depth warms up easily under sunlight. Below 100 meters, however, little radiant energy remains. The ocean becomes progressively darker and colder as the depth increases.
The infrared radiation penetrates but a few millimeters into the ocean. This means that the greenhouse radiation from the atmosphere affects only the top few millimeters of the ocean. Water just a few centimeters deep receives none of the direct effect of the infrared thermal energy from the atmosphere! Further, it is in those top few millimeters in which evaporation takes places. So whatever infrared energy may reach the ocean as a result of the greenhouse effect is soon dissipated.
It is clear that solar-related variations in mixed-layer temperatures penetrate to between 80 to 160 meters, the average depth of the main pycnocline (density discontinuity) in the global ocean. Below these depths, temperature fluctuations become uncorrelated with solar signals, deeper penetration being restrained by the stratified barrier of the pycnocline.
Consequently, anomalous heat associated with changing solar irradiance is stored in the upper 100 meters. The heat balance is maintained by heat loss to the atmosphere, not to the deep ocean.”

RockyRoad

If the sudden rise in temperature is due to upwelling of warm water or trending toward warmer areas, then no way that can be taken as an increase in heat content of the entire ocean. But then, I’m just stating the obvious (so those claiming a change in the heat resevoir can see the fallacy of their assumptions).
And I agree with Willis that it’s unlikely to know the average temperature of the upper ocean to 0.01 degrees because it is huge beyond belief. But even more, the picker is in motion, moving every direction under the sun and changing directions constantly. This whole exercise reminds me, on a much smaller scale, of trying to determine the change in the average temperature of a tornado in progress as time advances–my head spins just thinking about it.
(As a comparative example, determining the metal content in a stationary orebody to an equal degree of confidence would be difficult enough–but every drilling campaign would show a different average simply by moving the holes to random locations–so what’s reality? The corrollary with the ocean is that the medium being sampled is moving in a quasi-random fashion with the added complexity that the buoys aren’t stationary with respect to the ocean’s currents–they’re going up and down while the water moves laterally yet likely nonuniformly. But who knows? Again, my head spins.)
I’ve contributed nothing but doubt.

Ben Wouters

For some real change in the OHC see the graph in this post:
http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/124-real-global-warming.html
The deep oceans lost about 17C in the last 85 million years.
For an explanation of the high temperatures at that time think at least100 million km^3 magma erupting in the Pacific prior to this period. Earth is cooling down slowly but surely since then.
With the temperature of the deep oceans explained by geothermal heat and the sun adding the rest, the surface temperatures are easily explained without Greenhouse effect or similar constructs.
This is also an explanation for the unvelievably stable surface temperatures we have on our planet.

richard verney

John Marshall says:
February 26, 2013 at 2:27 am
“…Comment on Richard Verney’s dit above— The top 200m of water is affected by solar energy, the photic zone, below that sunlight cannot penetrate. Lunar comparisons are valid because the moon receives the same insolation as earth and…”
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I do not accept that a meaningful comparison with the moon can be made. Apart from the sistance between the moon and the sun, and the earth and the sun, every factor is different. May be one can make a ball park comparison, but is that ball park figure accurate within 10%, ie within about 28 degK, I doubt.
The earth has a very different and constantly changing albedo, it spins on a tilted axis with procession of season, it is a water world which has a significant latent heat capacity and acts as a heat and storage sink, the earth day and lunar day are radically different, the earth has an atmosphere which absorbs some part of the incoming solar the precise absorption is not known and varies (may be only slightly) over time, the atmosphere contains clouds which both reflect, absorb and block solar from reaching the surface. The pattern of clouds is chaotic and constantly changing, ie.,, the time of the day when they appear and disappear in relation to the solar zenith, the altitude at which they appear, the area of coverage, the height/volume of coverage, their nature and consistency how much water they hold and the size of droplet, the albedo characteristics of the earth below any cloud which may be formed in the atmosphere above, all has an effect on how much solar is received by the land and oceans below the clouds. This variability is so large that it could in itself completely explain the thermoter temperature record these past 150 years. Then there is volcanic activity etc, the topography of mountain ranges etc..The foregoing is just an illustration of some of the differences not a complete list.
All in all, the differences are so large and significant that one would not expect planet earth to have the same temperature as the lifeless moon. I do not consider that GHGs are the reason why planet earth is some 33degC warmer than the moon (even assuming that the 33degC figure is correct).
That said, I agree with you that the effect of Earth’s atmosphere is to cool the Earth rather than to warm it, and I consider your assertion that “There is more than enough heat from the sun to preclude the need for a GHG theory” to be probably correct.

Willis:
Small (5%) quibble. Your heat capacity is for pure water at 4 celsius, atomspheric pressure. None of which, generally, apply to sea water.

Google “NASA correcting ocean cooling”. That JPL guy openly admits that he threw away all “too cool” buoy ARGO data, since consensus says it must be warming. I have barely any faith even in ARGO since then, whatever fine system it has been designed to be.

izen

@- John Marshall
“Surface temperatures on earth in the zenith position can reach near 60C in dry desert positions though rarely over 40C in wet rainforest positions”
Why mention zenith position energy fluxes when only an infinitely small point is ever at the zenith position? The average flux for the total surface is a fraction of this.
@-“Lunar comparison demonstrates the cooling effect of an atmosphere.There is more than enough heat from the sun to preclude the need for a GHG theory.”
No, there isn’t. The GHG effect is old science, very well established and can be clearly observed on all rocky planets with an atmosphere. You have no hope in explaining the temperatures of Mars and Venus without a GHG effect and the variation in GHG over a glacial cycle on Earth
reveals clearly their role in the climate.

Paul

I think we are due for another big la nina event.

TimTheToolMan

Nick writes “But the ocean temperature isn’t noisy. At depth there is no daily variation – and weak spatial gradients. There are no winds, no variable sunlight. ”
You cant have it both ways. If the oceans are warming below where we’re measuring to keep AGW “on track” then that must involve currents moving that heat downwards because diffusion cant cut it. However nobody has spotted them because there are no papers (that I’ve heard of) that quantify the effect with the measurements and yet it would be the obvious thing to do.
Hence we dont have the resolution to see it OR its not happening. Your choice.

richard verney

Nick Stokes says:
February 25, 2013 at 10:41 pm
“…But the ocean temperature isn’t noisy…”
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Anyone who has been diving would beg to differ; the temperature of the ocean can vary quite significantly within matters of metres.
I have spent some 30 years studying ship’s logs and Ships’ logs would also suggest that that assertion is not correct. It is not infrequent that one sees different sea temperatures recorded every 4 hours. At say 11.5 knots (a fairly typical speed for and ocean trading vessel) that is a change in temperature within only 46 nautical miles.
The idea that we have an appreciation of the average ocean temperature within a tenth of a degree is misconceived, the assertion that we know this within one hundreth of degree is farcical in the extreme.
Even if ARGO was increased a thousand fold, I doubt that we would have a realistic assessment within one tenth of a degree.

cmarrou

I am surprised Willis isn’t familiar with zeta-joules. I just saw Catherine Zeta-Joules Sunday on the Academy Awards, and I’m quite familiar with her work.

Owen in GA

John Eggert says:
February 26, 2013 at 3:44 am
Willis:
Small (5%) quibble. Your heat capacity is for pure water at 4 celsius, atomspheric pressure. None of which, generally, apply to sea water.

Actually he addressed that in his conversion. You may or may not agree with his adjustment, but that is a different quibble.

I multiply that by 62/60 to adjust for the density of salt vs. fresh water, and multiply by 10^9 to convert to tonnes. I multiply that by 4.186 mega-joules per tonne per degree C.