Open Letter to Kevin Trenberth – NCAR

Date: January 31, 2014

Subject: Your Blog Post at SkepticalScience and an Invitation from WattsUpWithThat

From: Bob Tisdale

To: Kevin Trenberth – NCAR

Dear Kevin:

I note that you were co-author of the SkepticalScience blog post Warming oceans consistent with rising sea level & global energy imbalance along with Dana Nuccitelli and Rob Painting. The obvious intent of your post was to convince the SkepticalScience readers that, while the global surface warming (outside of the Arctic) has slowed or stopped since the late 1990s, human-induced global warming continues in the deep oceans. There have been numerous blog posts at SkepticalScience over the past few years that have basically stated the same thing, so, from the sidelines, it appears you’re preaching to the choir.

One would think your time would be better spent trying to convince actual global warming skeptics why we should be concerned about global warming …especially when we consider that in your recent papers you’re acknowledging that natural variability plays a major role in the warming of the surface of the planet. With that in mind, this is an open invitation for you to author a blog post or series of them for WattsUpWithThat (or co-author them with skeptics…like me, for example). There are a number of points you may wish to address and they are discussed in the bulk of this post.

WattsUpWithThat has a much larger internet audience than SkepticalScience. Refer to the recent Alexa statistics here. If you’re not familiar with the Alexa rankings, the lower rankings are better. Point of reference: Google ranks first. Also note the bounce rates and the time visitors spend on both websites. Many more people visit WattsUpWithThat than SkepticalScience and they stay longer at WattsUpWithThat once they’re there. That suggests, of course, if you were to write a post for WattsUpWithThat, more people are likely to read it.


Assuming you’re correct and the deep oceans are warming instead of the surface, then your post at SkepticalScience likely appears to many readers to be nothing more than redirection—because it refocuses attention from the problems that climate models are having simulating global surface temperatures. The previous generation (CMIP3) and current generation (CMIP5) climate models cannot explain the current pause in global warming (that’s occurring outside of the Arctic), thus your recent flurry of papers on this topic. Also assuming you’re right, due to the heat capacity of the oceans, the claimed increase in subsurface temperatures of the global oceans (while the halt is taking place at the surface) is so tiny…so minute…so miniscule…that the additional warming of the oceans is not coming back to haunt anyone at any time.

While the topics of ocean heat and energy imbalance have a place in technical discussions, they are of no importance to people and policymakers who want to know how high global surface temperatures might rise in the future and why climate models did not forecast the cessation of global surface warming.


At WattsUpWithThat, we’ve already discussed many of the arguments you’ve presented…discussed them numerous times. See the posts from my blog (and the cross posts at WUWT in parentheses):

You may want to review those posts, because those are arguments you will face if you choose to author a post for WattsUpWithThat.


The core of your recent argument is that there was a turn-of-the-century switch of ENSO mode from a period of El Niño domination to a period when La Niñas dominate. Further to your argument, this change in mode around 1999 has caused the tropical Pacific to release less heat than normal to the atmosphere and to redistribute less warm water from the tropical Pacific to adjoining portions of the oceans. You’ve also argued that the stronger trade winds associated with La Niñas are forcing more warm water to be stored in the western tropical Pacific. As a result, according to your argument, there has been a substantial decline in the warming rate of global surfaces (outside of the Arctic).

This strongly suggests that ENSO was also responsible for an extensive portion of the warming that took place while El Niño events dominated from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s. I don’t recall you ever stating that in so many words in any of the recent papers you’ve written on this topic, and I don’t believe, in light of your new understandings, that you’ve recently attempted to quantify the contribution of ENSO during that late 20th Century warming period.

Based on my research, ENSO—acting as a chaotic, naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, recharge-discharge oscillator—was in fact responsible for the vast majority of the warming of global sea surface temperatures outside of the North Atlantic during the past 32 years (the satellite era)…and ENSO was also responsible for the vast majority of the warming of the tropical Pacific to depth…and ENSO, along with a shift in sea level pressure (and interdependent wind patterns) of the extratropical North Pacific (as captured by the North Pacific Index that you, Kevin, developed for such purposes) were responsible for most of the long-term warming of the extratropical North Pacific ocean to depths of 700 meters. Add to that the findings of Lozier et al. (2008) The Spatial Pattern and Mechanisms of Heat-Content Change in the North Atlantic. They found that all the warming of the North Atlantic to depth could be explained by natural factors. See the January 2008 article in ScienceDaily titled North Atlantic Warming Tied to Natural Variability about Lozier et al. (2008). The ScienceDaily article includes:

“We suggest that the large-scale, decadal changes…associated with the NAO [North Atlantic Oscillation] are primarily responsible for the ocean heat content changes in the North Atlantic over the past 50 years,” the authors concluded.

Those points were discussed in the posts linked earlier. They should be addressed by you if you elect to prepare a post for WattsUpWithThat.


Based on your argument, the ocean heat content of the western tropical Pacific should be increasing during the hiatus period. In one of your recent papers you argued that the hiatus period started in 1999, with the switch from a positive to a negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which you’re using a proxy for ENSO modes. Figure 1 presents the NODC ocean heat content for the western tropical Pacific (24S-24N, 120E-180), for the depths of 0-700 meters, for the period of January 1999 to December 2013. We can see that the western tropical Pacific to depths of 700 meters has, in fact, warmed.

Figure 1

Figure 1

As you’re well aware, the TAO project buoys have sampled subsurface temperatures, etc., in the tropical Pacific since the early 1990s, so the NODC data should be a reasonably reliable there. Over the past decade, ARGO floats have supplemented the TAO buoys. And the source Ocean Heat Content data in the tropical Pacific for 0-700 meters and 0-2000 meters (represented by the unadjusted UKMO EN3 data) during the TAO project and ARGO eras are exactly the same, see Figure 2, and that suggests that all of the variability in the tropical Pacific ocean heat content is taking place in the top 700 meters.

Figure 2

Figure 2

The NODC ocean heat content data also show the ocean heat content (0-700m) of the eastern tropical Pacific, a much larger region, has been cooling from 1999 to 2013. See Figure 3.

Figure 3

Figure 3

As a result, there has been an overall decrease in the ocean heat content of the tropical Pacific since 1999, Figure 4, and a substantial decrease in the ocean heat content of the tropical Pacific as a whole since the peak around 2004.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Therefore, based on data, there appears to have been a rearrangement of heat within the tropical Pacific and not an addition of new heat as your studies suggest.

Also, in the recent post If Manmade Greenhouse Gases Are Responsible for the Warming of the Global Oceans… I presented the NODC’s vertical mean temperature anomaly data for the Indian, Pacific, North Atlantic and South Atlantic Oceans, for the depths of 0-2000 meters, during the ARGO era (starting in 2003). Figure 5 is an update of that illustration, including the recently released 2013 data. The flatness of the Pacific trend indicates there has not been a substantial increase in the subsurface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean as a whole to depths of 2000 meters over the past 11 years…same with the North Atlantic. Manmade greenhouse gases cannot explain the warming in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, when they obviously have had no impact on the warming of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to 2000 meters over the past 11 years.

NODC ARGO Era Vertical Mean Temp per Basin to 2013

Figure 5

You might argue that the recent warming in the Indian Ocean is a response to ENSO. I would agree. I discussed a number of topics in the post Is Ocean Heat Content All It’s Stacked Up to Be? One of them was the influence of ENSO on the warming of the Indian Ocean to depths of 700 meters. The following is that discussion. Note that I’ve linked the animations and revised the Figure number for this post.

[Start of a portion of “Is Ocean Heat Content All It’s Stacked Up to Be?”]

Why is the Indian Ocean warming during the ARGO era? Figure 6 compares ocean heat content data for the Indian Ocean (90S-90N, 20E-120E) to scaled sea surface temperature anomalies for the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific. Both datasets have been smoothed with 12-month running average filters. The NINO3.4 data is a commonly used index for the timing, strength and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. The ocean heat content for the Indian Ocean warms in response to El Niño events, but it obviously does not cool proportionally during strong La Niñas.


It’s simply yet another example of what I’ve been noting for a number of years: La Niñas are not the opposite of El Niños.

Figure 6 argo-era-indian-ohc-v-nino3-4

Figure 6

In the following animations, you can watch warm water that’s left over from the El Niños being passed from the tropical Pacific into the Indian Ocean during the trailing La Niñas by the current called the Indonesian Throughflow. That leftover warm water counteracts any cooling that would result during the trailing La Niñas due to changes in atmospheric circulation.

ANIMATION 1 presents maps of the NODC ocean heat content data for the ARGO-era, using 12-month averages. The first cells are the average ocean heat content from January to December 2003. These are followed by cells that show the period of February 2003 to January 2004, then March 2003 to February 2004 and so on, until the final cell that captures the average ocean heat content from January to December 2012. The 12-month averages reduce the visual noise and any seasonal component in the data. It’s like smoothing data with a 12-month filter in a time-series graph.

Due to the resolution of the ocean heat content data, you might be having trouble catching the processes that cause the leftover warm water from 2006/07 and 2009/10 El Niños to be carried into the Indian Ocean. ANIMATION 2 is a gif animation of sea level maps for the tropical Pacific from the AVISO altimetry website. The maps also capture the easternmost portion of the tropical Indian Ocean. I’ve started the animation in January 2003 to agree with the discussion of ARGO-era ocean heat content data. So there are a couple of minor El Niños before the 2006/07 El Niño. At the end of the 2006/07 El Niño, a (cool) downwelling Kelvin wave splits the elevated (warm) sea level anomalies along the equator. The residual warm waters are carried west by Rossby waves to Indonesia, and the stronger-than-normal trade winds in the Pacific during the trailing La Niña help to force the residual warm water past Indonesia into the eastern Indian Ocean. In addition to the Indonesian Throughflow, warm water from the southern tropical Pacific also migrates west into the eastern Indian Ocean through the Torres Strait, between Australia and New Guinea. The same thing happens after the 2009/10 El Niño. (My apologies for the shift in the animation in 2011. Aviso changed the format of the maps.)

[End of the portion of “Is Ocean Heat Content All It’s Stacked Up to Be?”]


Thank you for linking a preprint copy of Trenberth et al. (2014) “Earth’s Energy Imbalance” to your SkepticalScience post. Sorry to say, I haven’t had the opportunity to study it in any detail. But I did take a quick glance. Thank you for including a number of ocean heat content datasets, in addition to the ECMWF ORA-S4. We’ve discussed the problems with that reanalysis in many of the posts listed at the beginning of this one, so I’m not going to dwell on it here…though I note you’re continuing to try to justify using the ORA-S4 reanalysis by showing that it responds to volcanic aerosols where other datasets do not. (Not surprising since the ORA-S4 reanalysis is the output of a computer model that’s forced to cool by volcanic aerosols.)

Also note your Figure 11, which I’ve included as my Figure 7, is missing a La Niña event.

Figure 7

Figure 7

According to the paper you used the old version of the ONI index (base years 1971-2000) as your reference for official El Niño and La Niña events. Clearly, you overlooked the strong 2010/11 La Niña that followed the 2009/10 El Niño. Also, moderate strength La Niña conditions existed during the 2008/09 ENSO season, but they didn’t last long enough to be considered an “official” La Niña based on the old ONI climatology. I’m not sure that helps you for 2008/09 or in 2010/11.

Again, I haven’t had the chance to examine your new paper in much detail. Sorry.


In your much-cited Trenberth et al. (2002) The evolution of ENSO and global atmospheric surface temperatures, you stated:

The negative feedback between SST and surface fluxes can be interpreted as showing the importance of the discharge of heat during El Niño events and of the recharge of heat during La Niña events. Relatively clear skies in the central and eastern tropical Pacific allow solar radiation to enter the ocean, apparently offsetting the below normal SSTs, but the heat is carried away by Ekman drift, ocean currents, and adjustments through ocean Rossby and Kelvin waves, and the heat is stored in the western Pacific tropics. This is not simply a rearrangement of the ocean heat, but also a restoration of heat in the ocean. Similarly, during El Niño the loss of heat into the atmosphere, especially through evaporation, is a discharge of the heat content, and both contribute to the life cycle of ENSO.

Thus my earlier description of ENSO as a chaotic, naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, recharge-discharge oscillator…with El Niños acting as the discharge phase and La Niñas acting as the recharge phase. But La Niñas also help to redistribute the leftover warm waters from the El Niños—something that was very obvious in the animations linked above.

That quote from 2002 leads to a very basic question: how can you now suggest that the dominance of La Niña events in recent years has caused more greenhouse gas warming of the Pacific to depth, when La Niña events are fueled by sunlight?

To that end, if you should elect to prepare a blog post for us here at WattsUpWithThat, please document the downward shortwave radiation and the downwelling longwave radiation, both at the surface of the tropical Pacific, from the ECMFW ORA-S4 reanalysis, which you rely on so much for your recent papers.


You occasionally describe “big jumps” in global surface temperatures. Your big jumps were discussed in my Open Letter to the Royal Meteorological Society Regarding Dr. Trenberth’s Article “Has Global Warming Stalled?” You have more recently added to those discussions of big jumps. For example, you also referred to the big jumps in your August 2013 interview on NPR (my boldface):

The oceans can at times soak up a lot of heat. Some goes into the deep oceans where it can stay for centuries. But heat absorbed closer to the surface can easily flow back into the air. That happened in 1998, which made it one of the hottest years on record.

Trenberth says since then, the ocean has mostly been back in one of its soaking-up modes.

“They probably can’t go on much for much longer than maybe 20 years, and what happens at the end of these hiatus periods, is suddenly there’s a big jump [in temperature] up to a whole new level and you never go back to that previous level again,” he says.

You can think of it like a staircase. Temperature is flat when a natural cool spell cancels out the gradual temperature increase caused by human activity. But when there’s a natural warm spell on top of the long-term warming trend, the story is dramatically different.

“When the natural variability or when the weather is going in the same direction as global warming, suddenly we’re breaking records, we’re going outside of the bounds of previous experience, and that is when the real damage occurs,” Trenberth says.

First, once again, you’re suggesting that El Niño events caused a portion of the surface warming during the late 20th Century. It had to have been a major portion if a switch to La Niña domination could stop the surface warming. Why not simply come out and state it? Is it because people will then realize that by recognizing that a series of strong El Niños contributed to the warming from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s that you are also recognizing the models have overestimated the future warming? We already understand that…well, most of us do. And people also realize that you also haven’t included the influence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which also contributed to the warming during the late 20th Century. Why not simply state that the models predictions are too high and that they’re probably too high by at least a factor of two?

In the portion of your NPR interview I highlighted above, you suggest that a strong El Niño event can cause a big jump in surface temperatures. We understand that. I first presented those “big jumps” in sea surface temperature more than 5 years ago. And we also agree with you that El Niños are fueled by sunlight…which is part of the “life cycle of ENSO”, as you stated more than a decade ago. But I am very curious about why you seem concerned that “you never go back to that previous level again” after a big jump caused by a strong El Niño. That is precisely what we would expect to happen in a world where natural processes are causing the vast majority of the warming…a world in which the oceans show little influence from the effects of the increased emissions of manmade greenhouse gases.

The 1995/96 La Niña created the warm water for the 1997/98 El Niño via a reduction in cloud cover and an increase in sunlight over the tropical Pacific. The 1997/98 El Niño released that warm water from beneath the surface of the western tropical Pacific…and, in turn, it released a substantial amount of heat into the atmosphere…and an unfathomable volume of warm water was then redistributed around the global oceans in the wake of the 1997/98 El Niño. That leftover warm water prevented global surface temperatures from cooling proportionally during the trailing 1998-01 La Niña. The 1998-01 La Niña also served to replace the warm water in the tropical Pacific that was released and redistributed by the 1997/98 El Niño. Everything fits for a naturally warming world…a world that is not as sensitive to manmade greenhouse gases as simulated by climate models (climate models which still cannot simulate basic ENSO processes).


I suspect your co-authors Dana Nuccitelli and Rob Painting wrote that heading for the closing of the SkepticalScience post, Kevin. It’s comical and misleading. Data indicate the oceans are warming to depth, but the warming is not occurring in all ocean basins. Additionally, you, Kevin, wouldn’t have been spending so much of your time over the past few years trying to explain the cessation of global warming outside of the Arctic if the “pause was fictional”.

At the rate the global oceans have warmed to 2000 meters during the ARGO era, Figure 8, no one should really be too concerned about the warming of those oceans, especially when the data suggests it warmed via natural processes.

Figure 8

Figure 8

And no one should be concerned about the observed warming of the oceans to depth when we consider that the warming of the global oceans can cease for almost a decade, according to ORA-S4 reanalysis you continue to present. See my Figure 9, which is an annotated version of the first graph you presented in your blog post.

Figure 9

Figure 9

The following exchange is from the NPR interview linked above:

So will the oceans come to our rescue?

“That’s a good question, and the answer is maybe partly yes, but maybe partly no,” he says.

The oceans can at times soak up a lot of heat. Some goes into the deep oceans where it can stay for centuries. But heat absorbed closer to the surface can easily flow back into the air. That happened in 1998, which made it one of the hottest years on record.

But, again, the warm water for the 1997/98 El Niño was created via a temporary increase in sunlight beating down on the tropical Pacific as part of “the life cycle of ENSO”.


Thank you for considering the possibility of preparing a blog post or series of them for us here at WattsUpWithThat. Many of us applaud you in your efforts to explain the slowdown and cessation of surface warming, but there are many points that need clarification.

Additionally, we really appreciate it when authors of blog posts answer questions posed to them on the thread, so you should expect further exchanges.

Last, if this invitation interests you, please feel free to leave a comment at WattsUpWithThat. If you’d like the initial discussions to be off the record, please leave a comment at my blog Climate Observations where I still moderate comments. We can then discuss the matter further via email.


Bob Tisdale


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Steven Devijver

Trenberth has always been the closeted skeptic of the team. Nice try, won’t happen.

Louis Hooffstetter

Trenberth is co-authoring posts with [snip]?
He has sunk to new lows.
[Please keep it civil – mod]

I think this is a fair invitation to a real debate of the issues. I hope that Dr. Trenberth takes you up on the opportunity. To the best of my knowledge it would be the first exchange of ideas of this nature in the history of the global warming issue.
I was told in a science class in school long ago that once upon a time scientists would debate each other in public on certain issues. Perhaps the professor was pulling our leg, but I have always believed that a public debate by people looking to find the truth would be a good thing.
I hope Dr. Trenberth feels as I do.


Bob Tisdale:
Thankyou for a fine Open Letter. It remains to be seen what – if any – response is obtained from Kevin Trenberth.
There is much to like in your letter, and I especially enjoyed this

First, once again, you’re suggesting that El Niño events caused a portion of the surface warming during the late 20th Century. It had to have been a major portion if a switch to La Niña domination could stop the surface warming. Why not simply come out and state it? Is it because people will then realize that by recognizing that a series of strong El Niños contributed to the warming from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s that you are also recognizing the models have overestimated the future warming? We already understand that…well, most of us do.

“We already understand that…well, most of us do.” Excellent!

Ken Hall

I would heartily welcome any co-operative and genuine scientific input from Kevin Trenberth. I welcome real science from any real scientist, so long as the research adheres strictly to the scientific method, is open, examinable, testable, repeatable, falsifiable with nothing hidden or adjusted to force data to fit a hypothesis.
I have always been of the opinion that the data should lead the investigation and not be some form of a religious adherence to a hypothesis. Even if the actual data pointed to extremely catastrophic runaway global warming, I would still hold that view. The data clearly does not support a hypothesis for catastrophic runaway global warming, at least not yet, and so this is why I am sceptical of the CAGW hypothesis.
So long as Kevin sticks to the science, I will greatly welcome his contribution to the research effort.
I would like, for example, for those who promote the deep ocean warming hypothesis to explain:
A) the mechanism by which heat can decide to switch from warming the surface atmosphere, into warming the deep oceans instead, with the addition of reference to why none of the (CMIP5) climate models projected such a switch? And how such models can be fitted with that mechanism?
B) How such warming managed to defy the laws of physics and sink to such low depths?
C) How the warmth managed to skillfully avoid all the ARGO buoys as it sunk to a depth where it cannot be measured?
I would welcome Kevin’s answers to those points.


Bob: You might want to add to the mix this very long term view of the SOI and the way that it oscillates between periods with more El Ninos and more La Ninas


Theese warming oceans is A bit peculiar thing. In laboratory we can’t measure 100 litres temperature in 0.07C accuracy so how it is possible in oceans?

Some climate scientists have special powers? They quite often seem to ignore the niggling details like instrument accuracy and measurement uncertainty.


Kevin, it would be great for you to participate in the WUWT discussion. Tisdale does a huge amount of work on oceans and it would be great for him to have someone engage him in debate.


If Trenberth is correct then the miniscule rise in deep Ocean temperature will have an even more miniscule effect on surface temperatures.
If (as is likely) he is wrong (because the miniscule rise may be within the error range of measuring instruments) then the result is no surface temperature change.
Surely this is apparent even to the thickest alarmist?
To co-author a report with Dana says it all.
[snip – no personal stuff please – mod]]


“The oceans can at times soak up a lot of heat. Some goes into the deep oceans where it can stay for centuries. But heat absorbed closer to the surface can easily flow back into the air. That happened in 1998, which made it one of the hottest years on record”
I take odds with this statement.
Firstly water can only exchange heat with the atmosphere when the water surface temperature is greater than the atmosphere, this doesn’t occur very often in the tropics and if it did it would be at night. For the most part the “climate shifts” are caused by the storminess that the higher evaporation from warm water causes as it cools. Secondly I call foul on warming can go in to the deep oceans and linger for centuries. Pure Rubbish, water is NOT an insulator, any warming in the deep ocean will get dissipated into the total mass of the ocean basin where the salinity is not stratified. Heat will not sit in uniform water “For centuries” even our best vacuum thermos flasks couldn’t do that!


Pearls before swine. Trenberth is trying to keep the rubes convinced that he and his pals still need the money, and that if they do not get the money we will all die from CO2.


The absurd conga of climate scientists with Trenberth in the lead has finally and very unwillingly conga-ed to the right place in the search for explanation for climate trends, to the oceans, but very unwillingly, only in desperation because the unmeasurable deep ocean offers a fig leaf of an excuse for the cessation of natural cyclical warming that they were trousering as AGW.
So Trenberth looks as if he is finally doing some climate science and seeing global temperature shifts in the light of ENSO, joining the stampede of scientists plagiarisimg Bob Tisdale’s long established theories in this regard.
But he’s clearly new to the game and he’s got it wrong. The nonlinear dynamic heating (NDH) that explains the ENSO derived lift to global temperatures, is more, not less, during phases in which as he correctly says (parroting Bob) that el Nino predominates over La Nina. That phase of asymmetry produces more NDH than the reverse phase when La Nina predominates over El Nino – the phase that we have now turned into.
There is clear evidence for a reduction in heat input to the oceans in the most important signal in this reslect, the deceleration of global sea level rise which climate scientists, while doing their best, are unable to conceal.
Will the climate community come to the right conclusion after exhausting all the alternatives? Who knows?

M Courtney

But I thought the pause was a pause in surface warming? That is what the predictions had been about.
Apples and Oranges.
Perhaps this was the work of Dana Nuticelli. It seems to be deliberately misleading and that is the fingerprint of Dana Nuticelli.
But I question why anyone who would co-author anything with Dana Nuticelli can also be expected to have any interest in discovering the truth.
Yet, reaching for the truth is the work of scientists.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Way to go, Bob!


Over to you, Dr Trenberth. I eagerly await your response to Bob Tisdale.


Maybe BT should do a Monckton and write., If you don’t respond within 7 days I’ll assume you agree with me

I have to agree with Louis Hooffstetter. But then it was not a large sink for Trenberth from his former level.


To Richardcourtney: Ditto
To Ken Hall: Ditto


To add to these arguments, if more warming were happening in the oceans (anywhere) resulting in a net ocean heat content growth, that means the sea level rise should then be faster now than in previous decades, especially considering the added heat in combination with the reported increase in glacial melt rate. Unfortunately I don’t know whether the amount of ‘missing heat’ results in a predicted sea level rise that would be significantly different from previous trends. Can anyone answer if it should be, and if so has anyone done this analysis as a proof for or against the Trenberth theory?

Professor Bob Ryan

A debate between Trenbeth and Tisdale would be very welcome. Trenbeth might refuse because of pressure of time, he might refuse because he is afraid that his arguments would not survive critical discussion or, he might refuse because he is an intellectual snob. My advice to Trenbeth would be to find the time, put your ideas to serious challenge and forget any pretension to intellectual elitism. After all, as a professor, if you have any real sense of what that means, fulfill your vocation and profess.

Stop the name calling people. If your goal is to have Mr. Trenberth to accept the invitation, insulting him is a really dumb way of “encouraging” him to accept.


‘ eburke93 says:
January 31, 2014 at 4:50 am
Stop the name calling people. If your goal is to have Mr. Trenberth to accept the invitation, insulting him is a really dumb way of “encouraging” him to accept.’
Yes, it’s a travesty isn’t it?


I would be very interested see what Dr. Trenberth has to say. I fear that rather than any other reason an apprehension of the response of his peers is more likely than not to prevent his commentary on this site. You also have to bear in mind that not everyone who comments here has an open mind and that sometimes comments can be less than complimentary or not entirely on topic despite the best efforts of Anthony and his team.
But fortune favours the brave and it would be fantastic to hear from him. Frankly I suspect that extreme points of view that are held at either end of the spectrum on climate issues are as wrong headed as each other. More reasonable discussion is only to be welcomed.

I browsed your comments, Bob. I have a simple rule when people talk about global warming. No mention of sunspot activity = stupid = man-made global warming. The mention of sunspot activity = smart = done their home work. In none of his work is one sunspot chart show. Thus, a browse.

James Strom

Bob, I love reading your stuff. One thing that occurs is that you create puzzles which are then resolved, provided one reads enough. In particular I have been wondering what happens to the Pacific Warm Pool during an extended period without an El Nino. Clearly there can’t be an indefinite buildup of warm water and associated increase in local sea level. So isn’t there also a process of leakage in which warm water disperses in a non-El Nino fashion? Here you point out the existence of flows through the Torres Straight and the Indonesian Throughflow. Excellent. Of course that raises another question: when these flows continue for an extended period, do they trigger additional oceanic and climatic events? I’ll keep reading.

Village Idiot

“One would think your time would be better spent trying to convince actual global warming skeptics why we should be concerned about global warming”
Clever Brother Bob. Let’s hope he takes the bait 🙂 By directly engaging the “sceptics”, and on their home turf, he’ll be giving credulity and acknowledgement that the “sceptics” arguments aren’t complete guff – and the “sceptics” will be invited into the big kids playground

It’s not a “travesty.” It’s just not good strategy. RichieP, do you insult your guests as you invite them to dinner?


If extra carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere traps extra heat over, say, the Ukraine, and the prevailing winds blow this warmer air gently Eastwards for 4000 miles until it can dump the extra heat in the Pacific, surely some of the thermometers along the route – not to mention the satellites – should pick up a signal from this (temporarily) warmer air, no?

Berényi Péter

I am not so sure heat is in fact accumulating in the deep ocean at the rate surmised by Trenberth. Using reanalysis products like ORAS4 to assess trends is surely a joke. Depths below 2000 m are not measured, increse down to 700 m is negligible during the past decade and there is a huge unexplained mismatch between annual cycles of CERES EBAF ToA net radiation balance and ARGO OHC data down to 2000 m since 2005, when initial faults of floats got corrected so they could venture to that depth without the risk of getting stuck there.
My bet is OHC data actually have way larger error bars than claimed, so adjusting biased CERES imbalance to them is not justified.

Pamela Gray

Pure eye candy. Delicious. Delectable. Delightful. And decadently sumptuous reading.

I do enjoy Mr Tisdale’s calm gentlemanly manner as he points out the holes in the warmist Swiss cheese theory. Keep calm and carry on.

Kurt in Switzerland

If you’re truly interested in getting Trenberth to respond, you need to change your tactics.
How about submitting a “Your Dot” contribution to Andy Revkin’s blog Dot Earth at the NYT?
Kip Hansen has done the same. Provokes some lively discourse (plus, quite admirably, has roughly equal participation from the two main camps in the comments section). Revkin’s blog has regular guest postings as well as occasional comments from some of the prominent scientists and other pundits in the climate sphere.
Suggestion: do some editing. Article should be < 1500 words ( < 1000 would be even better). Maximum three graphs.
Kurt in Switzerland

Facts to a Warmist are like Kryptonite to Superman.


eburke93 says:
January 31, 2014 at 5:14 am
‘It’s not a “travesty.” It’s just not good strategy. RichieP, do you insult your guests as you invite them to dinner?’
Should the gentleman courageously decide to put his head in the lion’s mouth and risk real debate, I will grant him all the respect that deserves by accepting. The likelihood of that is, I guess, vanishingly small, which is why I quoted his own emailed words at you. I was going to say as likely as hell freezing over, but, since both Hell, Michigan, and Hell, Norway, have already done so this year, it seemed unwise.

Richard M

Ocean heat data is the result of splicing many different data collection methods together. I’d suggest it isn’t very useful and likely to lead people astray more than provide any kind of “information”. However, this is not unusual in the field of climate.
In addition, not enough effort has gone into the understanding the deep ocean currents that may be the driver of the entire process.


Don’t expect reply especially given the numerous questions you expect him to reply to. Also if you wish an official reply mms publish your research and answer peoples commentaries. You are not going to be able to draw him into a discussion here.


I can understand how the sun warms the oceans but the back radiation from CO2 how deep can it penetrate ?

Vince Causey

“Clever Brother Bob. Let’s hope he takes the bait 🙂 By directly engaging the “sceptics”, and on their home turf, he’ll be giving credulity and acknowledgement that the “sceptics” arguments aren’t complete guff “.
I’m sure he knows that already, and that’s why he and the other believers will run a mile rather than debate with expert skeptics.

Hank Zentgraf

Kevin, I have read some of your past research papers and learned a lot. I would be pleased if you would respond to Bob’s post.


Village Idiot:
In your idiotic post at January 31, 2014 at 5:12 am you write

Clever Brother Bob. Let’s hope he takes the bait 🙂 By directly engaging the “sceptics”, and on their home turf, he’ll be giving credulity and acknowledgement that the “sceptics” arguments aren’t complete guff – and the “sceptics” will be invited into the big kids playground

You seem to have misunderstood.
Trenberth is being invited to leave “the big kids playground” and to join the adults in the workplaces of science. Hence, Trenberth can lose the travesty of his present credibility, and he can demonstrate that the childish excuse of his “missing heat” hiding in the oceans is not “complete guff”. Indeed, he is being offered an opportunity to show his “guff” is more credible than ‘the dog ate the homework’.
And I was not aware you are related to Bob Tisdale. It explains much. Clearly, Tisdale’s great intelligence results from him inheriting all the family intelligence genes and, thus, leaving you so depleted that you are a Village idiot.


Well, he’s gonna have to answer some day.

Gail Combs

Dana Nuticelli is an Environmental Scientist working for Tera Tech a company who is expanding its services to the Shale Oil Market.

Jun. 6, 2012 Tetra Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTEK) announced today that it has acquired Rooney Engineering, Inc. (REI), an oil and gas pipeline planning and engineering firm based in Colorado. REI has worked on projects across the United States, including in Alaska and the Gulf Coast, but many of the firm’s current clients are strategically located in the Bakken and Niobrara shale oil regions. REI generates annual revenue of approximately US$30 million.
“Tetra Tech has strong capabilities in water resources and front-end environmental permitting for oil and gas projects, while REI’s pipeline planning and engineering credentials are among the strongest in the United States,” said Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech’s Chairman and CEO. “Together we can offer the rapidly growing shale oil market more comprehensive services. We are pleased to welcome all REI employees to Tetra Tech.”….

So how come Anthony is the one the propagandists try to hang as connected to Big Oil?

Vince Causey

It is amazing to me that so-called “scientists” try and argue that heat sequestered in the deep oceans (if any) can at some point in the future come back out and make temperatures rise.
Is Trenberth an ignoramus? If he had any knowledge of thermodynamics he would understand that while energy is conserved, the ability to do work is degraded. Heat that once existed in a high temperature form in the air, once converted to heat at a lower temperature in the deep oceans (around 4C) cannot cause temperatures to rise any higher.
For heat to pass from a low temperature to a high temperature of its own accord is a physical impossibility, and would it were otherwise, all sorts of crackpot free energy schemes would be instantly viable. You could have heat in the ground flowing into metal rods until they glowed red hot and use them to turn water into steam and . . . well, you know the rest!
So, Dr Trenberth, if you should deign to come into the big boys playground (as Village Idiot rather ironically put it), please explain this marvellous notion that heat will spontaneous flow to a higher temperature. If you can, I’ve got a generator that you plug into the ground to sell you.

A C Osborn

markstoval says: January 31, 2014 at 3:22 am
To the best of my knowledge it would be the first exchange of ideas of this nature in the history of the global warming issue.
This has been done before on WUWT, the last one was with DR Judith Curry.


I would have thought that the deep cold ocean currents would have a distributing effect on any “deep heat” and I don’t recall the deep currents being discussed much.
Or have I missed something?

Jim Cripwell

What people need to realise is that warmists have been blindsided by the cessation in the rise of surface temperatures. All the costs of CAGW have been expressed in terms of what happens when surface temperatures rise too much. Now they have taken up the excuse that the warming is still continuing, but it is happening in the oceans. Over on Climate Etc. I have asked the question, what is the climate sensitivity of CO2 expressed in terms of OHC. No-one can answer the question.
What the warmists are trying to do is to sell, the idea that CAGW is still a menace, but the proof of this lies, not in surface temperatures, but in ocean heat. That, of course, is a load on scientific nonsense.


But I am very curious about why you seem concerned that “you never go back to that previous level again” after a big jump caused by a strong El Niño.

I’ve found something like the step down in surface station data Tmin. These are graphs of Day over Day difference of station Tmin(and Tmax), then averaged for a year.

Mid Latitude Northern Hemisphere Stations (24.950-49.410Lat, 180.000- -8.000 Lon and 24.950-49.410 Lat, -67.00- -124.800 Lon) divided into Eurasia(32M samples) and the US(24M samples).

Mid Latitude Southern Hemisphere stations (-23.433- -66.562 Lat, -30.000 – 180.000 Lon, -23.433 – -66.562 Lat,-30.000 – -100.000Lon and -23.433 – -66.562 Lat, -100.000 –180.000 Lon ) divided into South America(4.6M), Africa(1.8M) and Australia(62K).

Trenberth’s missing energy is lying at the TOA
he forgot about the peroxides and nitric oxides, who like ozone, are also being formed by the UV from the sun, and also deflect sunlight to space. If there is more of it, more sunlight gets deflected.
The UV from the sun is what varies during the 88 year Gleisberg cycle
What I’d like to hear is am explanation for the above graph, showing a long term decrease in atmospheric moisture. This is clearly opposite to the predictions of Climate Science that atmospheric moisture should increase with global warming, and in fact is the basis for the predicted 3x amplifying effect of CO2 warming.
This graph clearly shows that we are not seeing any amplification of CO2 warming. Rather, what we are seeing is that moisture is going in the opposite direction to that predicted by CO2 theory, which in any other field of science would be the proof that the theory was wrong.

Fred, The near surface humidity shown, doesn’t really match what the surface stations measured.
Here’s the average of all stations by year, and the number of sample in each. The 9999 years is the total of all years.
1940 75.59466091 66654
1941 75.76163698 81538
1942 71.34513192 117948
1943 68.56780313 194917
1944 69.46240172 229559
1945 70.04662935 241805
1946 71.33915638 137799
1947 71.70429956 141880
1948 68.77058248 272324
1949 68.87401728 410673
1950 69.31032838 455445
1951 69.19087814 457948
1952 68.89088586 518225
1953 68.93092813 536319
1954 69.14562388 570623
1955 70.2245721 533603
1956 69.54622818 547607
1957 69.49216802 706719
1958 68.28674988 768166
1959 69.41948496 766790
1960 69.27554119 804141
1961 68.79681766 862305
1962 68.22438624 870279
1963 67.90185546 861208
1964 68.87187212 766458
1965 69.37252151 596308
1966 68.70983898 621961
1967 69.094015 624892
1968 69.28889118 573627
1969 70.62112893 826509
1970 70.26356613 811911
1971 68.21936352 461393
1972 66.57725419 198404
1973 70.02203455 1704549
1974 70.37812045 1856012
1975 70.32492197 1951249
1976 69.61404899 2026222
1977 69.67935001 1915160
1978 70.27176741 2084470
1979 70.0319166 2081585
1980 70.0759818 2074405
1981 70.18733048 2103792
1982 70.18706487 1968804
1983 70.35889973 2069369
1984 70.26556647 2151778
1985 70.45325991 2187577
1986 70.28456137 2238320
1987 70.441795 2284930
1988 69.98281428 2339280
1989 70.0382173 2341129
1990 69.98194262 2409292
1991 70.45895682 2372986
1992 70.2618833 2365849
1993 70.16840102 2401898
1994 69.39766602 2426196
1995 69.6821088 2382468
1996 69.9112745 2356710
1997 70.05171442 2376193
1998 70.67412672 2375785
1999 69.70019669 2432534
2000 70.11105166 2437935
2001 70.07524582 2533426
2002 69.49133696 2671306
2003 69.32158114 2664433
2004 69.78544872 2819839
2005 69.20977758 3024974
2006 68.83405553 3142373
2007 68.66922303 3221812
2008 68.92364961 3387511
2009 68.92410612 3516188
2010 69.36774682 3615987
2011 68.85693987 3579249
2012 68.54033222 3671452
9999 69.75503612 116200965
So surface station humidity is 8-9% points lower.


Trenberth would only agree to a debate on the dutch Climate Dialog site. That’s the invitation he should be offered. And he wouldn’t want one on one debate. Rather, it would be a many-on-many debate. But that would be good enough.