Guest essay by David Archibald
President Obama didn’t start the war on coal. That war had its origins back in the 1970s. The nuclear industry joined the fray in 1982 with the establishment of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) at Oak Ridge, part of the U.S. Department of Energy. The CDIAC collects data on carbon dioxide concentrations around the planet and conducts experiments with pre-ordained outcomes. By that I mean growing plants in elevated carbon dioxide concentrations to study the effects of that on growth rates but at the same time adding ozone so that the growth would be stunted. Not everything the CDIAC is completely useless though.
The pause in global temperature rise might cause a loss of faith in the global warming faithfully so the priests of the movement are required to provide an explanation. The explanation they have come up with is that the missing heat is hiding in the depth of the Altantic Ocean and will one day leap out at us when we are least expecting it. This is an illustration of the heat gone AWOL:
The illustration shows heat plunging into the depths as far as 1,500 metres. The oceans don’t work like that. Most of the heat energy of sunlight is absorbed in the first few centimetres of the ocean’s surface. Waves mix the water near the surface layer such that the temperature may be relatively uniform in the top 100 metres. Below that there is almost no mixing and no vertical movement of water.
This is where the CDIAC comes in handy. Following is a map of CDIAC voyages in the Atlantic Ocean:
And this is the temperature profile of A16 from almost 60°S to near Iceland, a distance of over 13,000 km.:
It shows how the Antarctic is a giant refrigerator for the planet. The dark blue in the bottom left is cold water below 1°C plunges near Antarctica and ponds in the deep ocean right up to the equator. The CDIAC voyages also record carbon dioxide data of course. This is the carbon dioxide and total alkalinity profile for A20, to the west of the A16 voyage:
Once again, most variation is near surface while the bulk of the ocean is effectively homogenous.
We didn’t need the CDIAC data to debunk claims of missing heat in the ocean depths but it is good to have empirical data. The CDIAC is well past its use-by date though. Apart from the unnecessary cost, it was conceived for a dark purpose under President Carter. The United States will need all the energy it can get soon enough.
David Archibald, a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., is the author of Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short (Regnery, 2014).
Is Atlantic holding Earth’s missing heat?
Armchair detectives might call it the case of Earth’s missing heat: Why have average global surface air temperatures remained essentially steady since 2000, even as greenhouse gases have continued to accumulate in the atmosphere? The suspects include changes in atmospheric water vapor, a strong greenhouse gas, or the noxious sunshade of haze emanating from factories. Others believe the culprit is the mighty Pacific Ocean, which has been sending vast slugs of cold bottom water to the surface. But two fresh investigations finger a new suspect: the Atlantic Ocean. One study, in this issue of Science, presents sea temperature data implying that most of the missing heat has been stored deep in the Atlantic. The other, published online in Nature Climate Change, suggests a warming Atlantic is abetting the Pacific by driving wind patterns that help that ocean cool the atmosphere. But some climate specialists remain skeptical. In a third recent paper, also published online in Nature Climate Change, other researchers argue that the Pacific remains the kingpin. One reason some scientists remain convinced the Pacific is behind the hiatus is a measured speedup in trade winds that drive a massive upwelling of cold water in the eastern Pacific. But there, too, the Atlantic may be responsible, modeling experiments suggest. A consensus about what has put global warming on pause may be years away, but one scientist says the recent papers confirm that Earth’s warming has continued during the hiatus, at least in the ocean depths, if not in the air.