WUWT reader Pethefin writes:
Finally someone addresses the really big elephant in the room: the ocean vents and their role in climate modelling:
I covered this possibility in a previous post: Do underwater volcanoes have an effect on ENSO? and I have updated that post with this animation showing a heat plume disconnected from the ENSO pattern and Google Earth graphic showing possible subaqueous volcanism sources (you may have to click the top graphic to get it to animate).
This excerpt from an essay published on Quadrant Online by John Reid also explores the question.
It hardly needs to be said that climate modelling is a far-from-settled science, despite what its practitioners would have us believe. Just how flawed becomes even more apparent when you consider that massive heat sources on the ocean floor have been entirely omitted from the warmists’ calculations
THE TOTAL power expended in volcanic heating of the ocean is well in excess of the power dissipated by wind stress and tidal friction. There is growing evidence for the existence of volcanically generated megaplumes both from satellite imagery and from direct observation. Although the physical detail remains to be explored there is growing evidence that megaplumes are, at times, responsible for variations in climate, ocean productivity and ocean export of CO2.
There is a vast amount of CO2 stored in the ocean: 38,000 gigatonnes compared with 380 gigatonnes generated by human activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution. It is doubtful whether mankind’s modest one percent contribution has made very much difference. Nevertheless oceanographers seem quite reluctant to acknowledge the role of subaqueous volcanism in influencing ocean circulation, ocean ecology, climate variation and CO2 flux. Why should this be so?
One possible explanation is that oceanography and climate science have come to be heavily dependent on numerical fluid dynamic modelling. “Ocean-atmosphere general circulation models” or OAGCMs have become the preferred means of investigating ocean circulation. The ocean-atmosphere model is tuned to settle down, after “spin-up”, to a steady state where it remains until deliberately perturbed by some external factor such as changing the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. According to these models the ocean in its natural state is a sort of machine, a conveyor belt steadily carrying heat, salt and dissolved gases around the planet’s oceans in the same unvarying manner until it is disturbed by humankind.
Volcanic activity does not fit this neat picture. Volcanic behaviour is random, i.e. it is “stochastic” meaning “governed by the laws of probability”. For fluid dynamic modellers stochastic behaviour is the spectre at the feast. They do not want to deal with it because their models cannot handle it. We cannot predict the future behaviour of subaqueous volcanoes so we cannot predict future behaviour of the ocean-atmosphere system when this extra random forcing is included.
To some extent, chaos theory is called in as a substitute, but modellers are very reticent about describing and locating (in phase space) the strange attractors of chaos theory which supposedly give their models a stochastic character. They prefer to avoid stochastic descriptions of the real world in favour of the more precise but unrealistic determinism of the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics.
This explains the reluctance of oceanographers to acknowledge subaqueous volcanism as a forcing of ocean circulation. Unlike tidal forcing, wind stress and thermohaline forcing, volcanism constitutes a major, external, random forcing which cannot be generated from within the model. It has therefore been ignored.
Well worth reading the entire story here: