Another excuse for 'the pause' – the oceans ate the heat

From the University of Southampton

New study explains the role of oceans in global ‘warming hiatus’

The red areas show where the ocean has been taking up more heat during the global “warming hiatus. ” Image: Univ. of Southampton

New research shows that ocean heat uptake across three oceans is the likely cause of the ‘warming hiatus’ – the current decade-long slowdown in global surface warming.

Using data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models, the research shows that the increased oceanic heat drawdown in the equatorial Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Ocean basins has played a significant role in the hiatus.

The new analysis has been published in Geophysical Research Letters by Professor Sybren Drijfhout from the University of Southampton and collaborators from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) Dr Adam Blaker, Professor Simon Josey, Dr George Nurser and Dr Bablu Sinha, together with Dr Magdalena Balmaseda from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF).

Professor Drijfhout said: “This study attributes the increased oceanic heat drawdown in the equatorial Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Ocean to specific, different mechanisms in each region. This is important as current climate models have been unable to simulate the hiatus. Our study gives clues to where the heat is drawn down and by which processes. This can serve as a benchmark for climate models on how to improve their projections of future global mean temperature.”

Previously, the drawdown of heat by the Equatorial Pacific Ocean over the hiatus period, due to cool sea-surface temperatures associated with a succession of cool-surface La Nina episodes, was thought to be sufficient to explain the hiatus.

However, this new analysis reveals that the northern North Atlantic, the Southern Ocean and Equatorial Pacific Ocean are all important regions of ocean heat uptake. Each basin contributes a roughly equal amount to explaining the hiatus, but the mechanisms of heat drawdown are different and specific in each basin.

In the North Atlantic, more heat has been retained at deep levels as a result of changes to both the ocean and atmospheric circulations, which have led to the winter atmosphere extracting less heat from the ocean.

In the Southern Ocean, the extra drawdown of heat had gone unnoticed and is increasing on a much longer timescale (multi-decadal) than the other two regions (decadal). Here, gradual changes in the prevailing westerly winds have modified the ocean-atmosphere heat exchange, particularly in the Southern Indian Ocean.

The team calculated the change in the amount of heat entering the ocean using a state-of-the-art high resolution ocean model developed and run by NOC scientists that is driven by surface observations. This estimate was compared with results from an ocean model-data synthesis from ECMWF and a leading atmospheric model-data synthesis produced in the US. Professor Josey said: “It is the synthesis of information from models and observational data that provides a major strength of our study.”

Dr Sinha concluded: “The deeper understanding gained in this study of the processes and regions responsible for variations in oceanic heat drawdown and retention will improve the accuracy of future climate projections.”


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Eustace Cranch
December 3, 2014 11:06 am

current climate models have been unable to simulate the hiatus
The devil you say…!

Sceptical Sam
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
December 3, 2014 6:31 pm

No. No. No.
That can’t possibly be correct.
Can’t be.
The science is settled. The science is settled.
Why don’t these revisionists just go away.

December 3, 2014 11:09 am

According to this chart the ocean temps off the east cost of the U.S. are 150º. I don’t think so.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  elmer
December 3, 2014 11:20 am

Without actually reading the paper, I suspect the chart is representing OHC anomalies in some form of +/- 10^22 Joules from a baseline.
Bob T went through how miniscule any such additional heat is on actual ocean temperatures in this post –>
The actual temperature variations from those OHC anomalies represent a few hundredths of a degree C.
It is low-level noise in a chaotic system.
My thought is that, the lack of thermosteric sea level rise acceleration (actually, it’s decelerating since 2005) is a strong refutation of any model predictions of missing heat hiding in the oceans.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 3, 2014 11:30 am

You’re probably right. One of my pet peeves are graphs without axis labels.

December 3, 2014 11:14 am

Wait a damn second . . .
“Using data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models”
Output from models is NOT data.

Reply to  Gamecock
December 3, 2014 12:09 pm

You beat me to it.

Reply to  donaitkin
December 3, 2014 3:21 pm

And me

Reply to  Gamecock
December 3, 2014 1:23 pm

“Output from models is NOT data.”
You’re not a climate scientist then…

Lauren R.
Reply to  Gamecock
December 3, 2014 1:35 pm

Output from global climate models IS data; just not very accurate data when compared to measurements. I assume the point of this study is to input data from GCMs and improve accuracy using new methods to estimate heat absorption of the oceans. I wonder if they checked it against instrument measurements going back to 1880? There were 2 other “hiatuses” in that period: 1880-1910 and 1940-1970.

Reply to  Lauren R.
December 4, 2014 2:14 am

No, models are theories burned into computer code. They have no validity until they have been “ground truthed”. Who went out there with a thermometer and measured the actual temperature to compare it with the model? Nobody.
We have seen this again and again. A new theory (model) comes on line every year claiming another climatastrophy, usually just in time for the next climate conference at which we are all told we have to destroy the global economy and condem billions to poverty without even electric lighting.

Reply to  Lauren R.
December 5, 2014 7:48 am

If by data, you mean “raw” data taken directly from measurements you are wrong. You are referring to numeric output, which is derived mathematically. Data is measured, output is derived.

Half Tide Rock
Reply to  Lauren R.
December 7, 2014 5:55 am

“Output from global climate models IS data;” NOPE! Not a chance. Huge distinction between model out put and actual readings.There is plenty to argue about in the interpretation of actual raw data. Climate model predictions form the basis for a falsifiable analysis of the theory when subsequently compared to the reality. SCIENTIFIC THEORY! vs POLITICAL THEORY

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Reply to  Gamecock
December 3, 2014 2:11 pm

I’m afraid it is data. Data is just another word for ‘figures’.

Reply to  Gamecock
December 3, 2014 3:56 pm

Corrected values aren’t “data” in respect of Theories of Science…. Bad input -> Bad output…. still no data.

Catherine Ronconi
December 3, 2014 11:16 am

Can one really get data from models? I suppose you can get results, but are those data? IMO, data are observations of nature.

michael hart
Reply to  Catherine Ronconi
December 3, 2014 11:20 am

No, but you can get those results fast and furious, at the press of button. While the experimentalists are putting their boots on you can already have three submissions on the editors desk.
The early bird gets the grant.

Catherine Ronconi
Reply to  michael hart
December 3, 2014 11:38 am

The Team has corrupted even the language of science, along with its practice.
How about no more supercomputer time for “climate science” practitioners until they clean up their act? Let them go out and collect data instead of manufacturing models which show what they program them to show.

Reply to  michael hart
December 3, 2014 11:40 am

LOL …… but true.

Reply to  michael hart
December 3, 2014 1:06 pm

Catherine, I have to agree 100%. I think we should lock out everything on their computers except email. Each “scientist” would be issued several boxes of #2 pencils (with erasers,) lined and gridded paper, log and trig table books and each gets a nice, operable antique K&E slide rule. When they learn to analyze real data then we give them access to Excel with all the statistical functions disabled forcing them to use real math to analyze their data. This way we immerse them back in the real world instead of the VR Model Matrix they’re currently living in.
Think of it as methadone for climate modellers.

Catherine Ronconi
Reply to  michael hart
December 3, 2014 4:04 pm

That’s what I had in mind. Maybe allow a 1973 HP calculator.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  michael hart
December 3, 2014 6:43 pm

They also need a straight edge to smoothly draw the error bars above and below the data points… because without error bars… where is the science?

Reply to  Catherine Ronconi
December 3, 2014 1:05 pm

Let’s be careful not to undermine or criticize science itself just because some people are doing it badly. Every scientific equation is a “model”. If one wants to analyze empirical data with the goal of understanding and predicting future behavior, one is going to have to “model” the phenomena.
Any sufficiently complex system will not allow for a simple analytical solution. That’s where things like Runge-Kutta and finite element analysis comes in.
This article uses the word “analysis” and “study”. It says “Using data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models”, which does not imply empirical data.
The article makes good sense.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 3, 2014 4:00 pm

You mean it’s internally consistent, which means nothing in the real world.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 4, 2014 2:06 am

I do not agree.
A formula can simply be a precise description of a system. Take F=MA. It is provably a description of what is actually happening under non-relativistic conditions. To somehow conflate that with a recursive, re-entrant, 10,000+ lines of complex code, computer fantasy is at best misleading. The second one only describes the fantasies of the person who wrote it and has no basis in reality as it has not been shown to describe it correctly.
(BTW, I’ve done computer programming for a living and managed a supercomputer center doing plastic flow modeling. I’m not adverse to using well proven models in a limited context. Yet even with one fluid of precise physical properties in a very limited complexity mold within a narrow temperature range: we had about 1 in 10 die sets that needed to be reworked as the model was off… )
So no, not all formulas are models. Some are precise descriptions in a specifically tested context.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 4, 2014 8:17 am

E.M, every scientific equation is by definition, a model of reality. For example, we used to think we knew, but as time goes on, we’ve realized that we really don’t understand what Matter is. Like you pointed out, it’s a fairly accurate model, but only under non-relativistic conditions.
Your description “recursive, re-entrant, 10,000+ lines of complex code, computer fantasy is at best misleading” has quite a lot of emotional baggage.
To those of you who aren’t software engineers, the words “recursive, re-entrant” are basically swear words. I don’t believe for one instant that you have first hand knowledge of that.
I agree that the AGW models are probably based on bad science, bad analysis and bad modelling. However, that’s just my guess, since I don’t have first hand knowledge.
This model looks like it was created by elegant, non reentrant code:
By definition, equations are models of reality. They certainly aren’t reality itself. A model is a “description” of reality. Preciseness varies and is a very relative term.
The bottom line is that if one was tasked to analyze the earth thermodynamic system, one would end up with a large finite element analysis model. (
There is no other way. By slamming models in general, you are undermining all science.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 4, 2014 11:58 am

VE — Semantic quibbles and arcane jargon obscure the primary thrust of the criticism, which is simply that using model output as input/validation for another model is bad practice (engineers can face dire consequences up to and including criminal sanctions for these kinds of shenanigans).
Nowhere is this more evident than the GCMs, which have a huge GIGO problem because they use the GISS “model” of what temperatures “should” be according to all the assumptions the GISS modelers have introduced.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 4, 2014 1:59 pm

Semantic quibbles and arcane jargon obscure the primary thrust of the criticism, which is simply that using model output as input/validation for another model is bad practice (engineers can face dire consequences up to and including criminal sanctions for these kinds of shenanigans).

talldave2, it’s not a semantic quibble, since the thrust of your criticism is partially invalid on its face. A partially valid complaint would be if someone used a model not based on first principles to validate a hypothesis instead of empirical data. That would be invalid logic and would therefore contradict the scientific method. To make this claim, you’d have to have first hand knowledge of the model specifics.
The word “validation” in your quote could be just fine. For example, many proofs of scientific relationships (models) consist of deriving that relationship from other well established scientific equations (Models). As such, one model was validated by comparing it to other models.
However, if we remove the word “validation”, the rest falls apart as nonsense. When I designed aircraft generators for a living, we always used the output from one model as input into another. For example, a model of oil flowing through a generator would compute how heat is being removed from the windings. This would be input into another complex model of the electromagnetics of the generator.
And NO, engineers CANNOT be brought up on criminal sanctions for simply feeding the output of one model into another. Reality is extremely complex, and there is no other way to analyze complex systems.
If you feel like the proponents of AGW are in error, then you’ll have to criticize the specific content of the models themselves. You just can’t make blanket condemnations of all models, like some ignorant person who has never studied or practiced science.

December 3, 2014 11:22 am

“…but the mechanisms of heat drawdown…”
What is “heat drawdown”? We know well how heat transfers, but heat drawdown.

Reply to  mkelly
December 3, 2014 12:03 pm

“Heat Drawdown” is a fairly new phenomenon. It is also known as The Trenberth Factor

Don K
Reply to  mkelly
December 4, 2014 7:50 am

A formula can simply be a precise description of a system. Take F=MA. It is provably a description of what is actually happening under non-relativistic conditions. To somehow conflate that with a recursive, re-entrant, 10,000+ lines of complex code, computer fantasy is at best misleading. E.E.Smith
While I agree the the current climate models seem quite awful, let me point to a counterexample to your hypothesis.
Early USAF satellite ground station software used simple elliptical orbit prediction computations. Unfortunately as timed passed, the demands for accurate orbit prediction increased and the fact that the Earth isn’t a simple entity and its space environment is complex became increasingly difficult. Eventually the ground station people replaced the closed form equations with an iterative incremental step model that did indeed run to many thousands of lines of complex code modeling the various forces acting on the satellites. It (usually) produced much more accurate results than the simple model.
However, and this is important, the code was expected to be able to predict satellite positions and was validated by its ability to do so.
I’d take the position that climate models have VERY limited utility unless and until they are able to make accurate predictions. I can’t think why any sensible person would believe otherwise … which leads me to believe that the world is full of folks with quite dubious judgment.

December 3, 2014 11:22 am

This is a roundabout way of saying multi-decadal ocean cycles. Hey, those might be important, especially in explaining ongoing model errors and global policy fail.

December 3, 2014 11:23 am

Does this study prove that it is all natural and that CO2, man made or any other type, cannot possibly warm the globe unchecked?

george e. smith
December 3, 2014 11:23 am

So they are saying the ocean high hi ate the warming. Is it the elevated sea levels or the increased acidity that makes the oceans eat the hi ate us.
What has changed (in the ocean) from all the past history of steadily warming ??
Seems like a WAG tome.

December 3, 2014 11:26 am

I wish it were an equal-area map projection.

December 3, 2014 11:36 am

This is not another excuse, they have tried this one several times already.

Reply to  phlogiston
December 3, 2014 12:26 pm

Shhhh…they’re trying to build a consensus.

Reply to  phlogiston
December 4, 2014 6:34 am

It is the entire basis of the AGW movement. There is a very good description of it, starting with Hansen, in a fascinating book that was published by Nature in 2012 – “The Social Life of Climate Change Models; Anticipating Nature”, by Hastrup and Skrydstrup. I have only read a few pages, but might be tempted to buy the e-book to read the rest. It talks about how Hansen and his colleagues were driven by the “politically relevant scientific activity” of climate modeling to push the results into the limelight, and how they turned the results of their computer models into “facts” and “data” that became accepted by the scientific community and the public. If you publish enough charts and graphs, evidently some people start to think that you know what you are talking about.
This is what they do. It is junk science of the very worst sort, and has corrupted so many other fields of study..

Greg Woods
December 3, 2014 11:45 am

So one fine day the oceans got together and said: Let’s soak up some heat while we can. Who knows if we will ever get another opportunity like this to confuse the sciencers.

Harry Passfield
December 3, 2014 11:46 am

Have I got this right? The oceans have absorbed the AGW of the 20th c. and it’s never happened before. Or this has been shown to be historical? Like, it’s happened many times before when the globe has heated? No? Oh well….

Roy A Jensen
December 3, 2014 11:52 am

It seems to be that the ocean has been at it a long time as it takes heat (energy) of one kind or another to produce the limestone deposits that are produce there out of calcium and carbon. To say it has now been just discovered seems to be to be admitting you are a slow learner.

December 3, 2014 12:01 pm

An interesting way heat can hide in the deep oceans is by the ocean being covered in ice pack.
Arctic ice has been growing, as well as (for a longer period) Antarctic pack ice.

Steve (Paris)
December 3, 2014 12:03 pm


Reply to  Steve (Paris)
December 3, 2014 1:32 pm

Heat always flows from warmer to colder. Besides, ocean currents go down. For example, when the gulf stream get to the north of Norway, it goes down to the ocean floor.

Robert B
Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 3, 2014 2:12 pm

Always good to remember that less dense gas or liquid will rise and more dense will sink rather than hot air/water rises.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 3, 2014 4:36 pm

Bodies of water will develop thermal stratification, blocking flow from warmer to colder. See “thermocline.”

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 4, 2014 5:13 am

Thermoclines don’t block heat flow. Both dynamics occur simultaneously. The result is that thermo lines change depth. For example, the sun heats water at the equator to 80 F to a depth of 50 meters. This water is lighter than the non equatorial water of the same depth, which is cooler.
This water displaces the cooler water, in effect switching places, resulting in currents. The warm water spreads out, but also heats cooler water, since nothing can stop heat flow. Water is a very good heat conductor.
Also, equatorial water expands when heated, resulting in a higher water level. Water flows down hill, resulting in currents.
The net effect is that sun warmed equatorial water is always drawing cold water up from the deep to be warmed. Similarly, at the poles, water is being cooled, which subsequently sinks to the bottom, drawing the next batch of warmer surface water to be cooled.
The bottom line is that far from being irrelevant, the oceans are the major feature of the earth thermodynamic system.

Reply to  Steve (Paris)
December 3, 2014 6:21 pm

Higher salinity values make the water denser. Rising or sinking is a function of temperature and density.

December 3, 2014 12:03 pm

“The team calculated the change in the amount of heat entering the ocean using a state-of-the-art high resolution ocean model… This can serve as a benchmark for climate models on how to improve their projections of future global mean temperature.”

They have forged a master model to control all other models:
One Model to rule them all, One Model to find them,
One Model to bring them all and in the deep oceans bind them.

Reply to  Louis
December 3, 2014 5:41 pm

Good word “forged”.

Steve (Paris)
December 3, 2014 12:04 pm


Reply to  Steve (Paris)
December 3, 2014 1:23 pm

You are obviously an exceptionally good typist as you don´t normally have too look at what you write to check that it came out ok 🙂

December 3, 2014 12:07 pm

The average ocean water temperature is pretty cold (4 or 5 C) so it would be pretty surprising if it didn’t absorb heat and energy.

Catherine Ronconi
Reply to  Chas
December 3, 2014 12:25 pm

But to go missing, the heat would have to get from the air through the surface waters, which are often warmer than the air above them.

James the Elder
Reply to  Catherine Ronconi
December 3, 2014 3:45 pm

Still trying to figure out how cold water is an insulator.

December 3, 2014 12:07 pm

“Using data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models, the research shows that the increased oceanic heat drawdown in the equatorial Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Ocean basins has played a significant role in the hiatus.”
Notice how the summary used the word data. In fact, a better more accurate phrase would be numeric output. For Bob Tisdale, using NCDC Argo temps (data), show that both the Pacific and North Atlantic Basins have in fact cooled for the last decade.

December 3, 2014 12:12 pm

Naughty Oceans, go and sit in the corner for a decade.
“But, but… The models made us do it!”

December 3, 2014 12:17 pm

“… data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models”? Gosh, I feel so much better knowing that it’s models all the way down. I’d hate to think they used real data, instead of the climate model results that they laughably call “data” …

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 3, 2014 1:48 pm

Oh, you missed the line where their first state-of-the-art model is “driven by surface observations” giving them an estimate that was compared against some other ocean model-data synthesis and another atmospheric model-data synthesis. I think the idea is that “model-data synthesis” is supposed to be better than “model” but since we don’t know where the “data” is coming from the only reality I see here is the unnamed ocean surface observations driving the model of the first part…

December 3, 2014 12:20 pm

What am I missing? How do the oceans heat up but the land doesn’t?

Reply to  nc
December 3, 2014 1:27 pm

Who said they don’t?

stan stendera
December 3, 2014 12:31 pm

I wish the climate scientists would publish nude photos of their models. I bet Steve Mac does too.

December 3, 2014 12:35 pm

The use of the term ‘heat uptake’ is a bit confusing. The areas highlighted are also key areas of heat transfer from ocean to atmosphere. On an annual basis, more heat is lost from these zones than is taken in via insolation. The large ‘uptake’ areas at the western boundaries of the North Pacific and North Atlantic are areas where cold dry winter westerly winds accelerate the loss of heat at the surface. The highlighted areas take their heat from equatorial regions in shallow currents (down to about 200m) driven by wind. They feed into ocean gyres where heat is stored by increasing the depth of the thermocline. In the global warming period, these heat store were increasing and there was also steady transfer to the atmosphere by westerly winds which then warmed the land-masses downwind.
Somehow, these heat stores vary their release of heat in natural oceanic cycles or oscillations. For example, the North Atlantic sub-polar gyre has gained heat at depth since 1980 – but has now started to lose heat. Once the anomalous heat store is exhausted, the surface cools.
All studies that summarise an overall trend or pattern over so many decades obscure the nature of this oscillation – more attention should be paid to the break-points – and I think we are in one for the North Atlantic over the past few years. Likewise the Arctic Ocean has stored heat in the Beaufort Gyre and will now begin to release it.
The Trenberth Effect is a natural pattern that was not predicted by the models because none of the ones used by IPCC have been initialised – ie placed within the pattern. Some such do exist and wherever they have been run, they show either no imminent warming. For example, Hadley Centre decadal forecast initialised to ocean cycles expects no extra warming but warmth maintained at present levels for the next five years. They plead lack of computational resources to extrapolate beyond five years.
As many here have pointed out – the oceans eat heat in regular cycles. What this study shows is that natural cycles are more powerful than AGW and that when they turn downward, so will the global temperature.

December 3, 2014 12:41 pm

My question is where have all these new higher detail maps of ocean temperature come from? I’ve been looking at ocean temps for some years now and they’ve always been low quality with large areas with small anomalies. Now all of a sudden we are getting much higher resolution maps showing much larger anomalies, are they using a new sat of a different method of calculation?

December 3, 2014 12:49 pm

Add I understand it, the heat capacity of the oceans is about 1000 times that of the air. That means that we would have to be measuring a change of 0.0007C a century, or 0.000007C a year, as opposed to the apparent change of the air of 0.007C a year.
Figures of this magnitude are just not measurable, nor should they be of concern.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Jer0me
December 3, 2014 1:03 pm

Now only if Southern California could start planning mitigation efforts of its inevitable and coming separation from the North American plate to become a Pacific Island.

Joel Snider
December 3, 2014 12:58 pm

Can someone explain to me how the oceans can be warming at the same time that the poles are supposed to be releasing all that glacier melt into ocean? The same winds that drive all that heat down deep ought to be mixing that glacier melt in with it, wouldn’t they?
This entire ‘ocean ate the heat’ pitch seems contrived and contradictory to me – a case of simply working backwards from a conclusion. It is at least a case of moving the goal posts.

Robert B
Reply to  Joel Snider
December 3, 2014 2:21 pm

Hot water will sink if it evaporates and the salt becomes more concentrated so that the density is less than the colder water. I think that the density under the Arctic ice is a lot less than sea water south of the Arctic circle. The melting glaciers though, ought to be diluting the surface waters and slowing the NA current (suddenly freezing the mammoths?). I guess that with a lot of variable parameters you could get the ocean to eat the heat or spew it out, or get that mammoth to do sign language with its trunk.

Reply to  Joel Snider
December 4, 2014 11:21 am

Joel, thanks.
It seems to me that the goalposts have been galloping across the landscape, hither and yon, for a decade or more.
Of course the ‘science is settled’ [apart from the bits we don’t know, I think], but the excuses vary according to the weather.
Can someone help me: is it economics where test paper questions are the same year to year, but the answers change; and sociology where the questions change, but the answers are immutable? Or vice versa. Or are both true – varying according to the weather – for what is still called ‘climate science’?
And will there be a nice juicy trial of some of the leading protagonists?
Auto – not holding my breath.

Gary Pearse
December 3, 2014 12:59 pm

The pink zones are busy radiating heat to the atmosphere (and beyond). This is appalling science. I guess with the new models we can retire thermodynamics.

December 3, 2014 1:15 pm

I wonder why the oceans didn´t bother to absorb any heat during the period from 1980 to 2000?
Were they busy doing something else?

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Reply to  DHF
December 3, 2014 2:15 pm

The oceans were busy with Natalie Wood etc. Or was that Robert Wagner? Oohh.

Harry Passfield
December 3, 2014 1:21 pm

…together with Dr Magdalena Balmaseda from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF).

I wonder, just how long would Magdalena keep her job if she didn’t keep up with the AGW meme and come up with so many reasons for ‘continued study’.
I just wonder what her accuracy rate is with ECMWF…

Ian H
December 3, 2014 1:24 pm

According to the map, the areas of apparent strong absorption seem to be very well known areas of turbulent flow where strong ocean currents separate from land. Areas of turbulence like this are precisely where models are going to be least reliable as they suck at predicting turbulent flow. And data is going to be unreliable there as well as it isn’t going to be possible to easily differentiate between water warming or cooling, and a change of current bringing warmer or cooler water into a region. Once again the effect being discussed is claimed to exist in a place where data is unreliable and difficult to interpret, and where models break down.

December 3, 2014 1:24 pm

Since the article doesn’t mention CO2, it’s factually correct.
If a suspect gives you 25 false alibis, but then gives you one that checks out, it’s not an excuse, it’s the truth.
Ocean absorption of heat is the reason why global warming is no longer happening.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 3, 2014 1:58 pm

Nice of that switch to come on in the middle of it all. Can someone please turn it off once the policies are set.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 3, 2014 2:04 pm

Right, so what is the temperature supposed to be, and how do you know?

Reply to  VikingExplorer
December 4, 2014 12:01 pm

How do we know this model checks out? Oh right, another model says so.
How do we know that other model is correct? Shut up, they explained.

Reply to  talldave2
December 4, 2014 2:03 pm

We can validate any model by comparing it to established first principles (other models).
For example:

December 3, 2014 1:51 pm

so tell me…..exactly how does this heat drawdown relate to the past 18 years?…and the 18 years prior to that?
These morons don’t realize what they are saying……..

Dr. Bob
December 3, 2014 1:51 pm

An interesting data point would be a comparison of the total heat capacity of the atmosphere relative to the oceans. I believe that this will be a staggering difference and show that the air can heat and cool significantly without much impact on the ocean total heat content just due to the difference in heat capacity.

Reply to  Dr. Bob
December 4, 2014 4:45 am

Dr. Bob, you are correct that there is a staggering difference. However, it actually means that the atmosphere is the thermodynamic slave of the land & sea. The air can’t significantly heat or cool the oceans.
Ocean: mass = 1.4×10 ^21 kg, Cp ~= 4185 J/kg/K, T = 273K (assuming 90% of total volume is below thermocline), E = 1.6 x 10^27 J
Energy(ocean) = 1280x Energy(atmosphere)

Reply to  Dr. Bob
December 4, 2014 12:15 pm

Yep Dr. Bob,
Another way to say this is “atmospheric heating/cooling is moderated by the oceans.” Which (as has been pointed out at WUWT before) is a big problem for the DOOOOOOM!!! peddlers.

Reply to  talldave2
December 4, 2014 2:12 pm

Let me put this in perspective since you seem very emotional about this.
AGW is impossible because of about a dozen reasons. The proponents of AGW just admitted to one of those reasons. Don’t criticize them for it. Smile softly and say “yes of course, the oceans absorb heat”

December 3, 2014 1:54 pm
December 3, 2014 2:02 pm

Heat capacity of air: 0.24 Btu/lb-F
Heat capacity of liquid water: 1.0 Btu/lb-F
Latent heat of water evaporation/condensation: 1,000 +/- Btu/lb
Changes in relative humidity carry a lot of heat without changing the air temperature. An explanation of a model I found associated with IPCC AR4 assumed static relative humidity. I don’t consider that to be a valid assumption.
There have been several articles recently on under ocean volcanic activity. And there was the Antarctic ice sheet of a year ago. Glaciers melt from the heat of the earth, not the heat of the air. I don’t think ocean floor geothermal heat flux gets near the credit it is due. And IPCC AR5 TS.6 admits they don’t know the ocean below 2,000 meters which is the bottom half.

Reply to  nickreality65
December 3, 2014 2:13 pm

I’ve always wondered about that. Air catastrophically heats the oceans to a detectable level but molten rock pouring out of the ridges in the middle of those same oceans is ignored.

Michael D
Reply to  nickreality65
December 3, 2014 2:40 pm

Agreed – deep ocean heating is a huge unknown. There is no good reason to believe that it will stay constant over decadal periods.

Michael D
Reply to  nickreality65
December 3, 2014 2:41 pm

I’d be interested to know where that heat comes from. Possible candidates: tidal forces; low-grade nuclear fission, residual from the deep past…

Reply to  Michael D
December 5, 2014 8:08 am

You seem to be asking why is Earth’s core hot. The answer is the same as for stars and other planets: gravitational collapse. Material came together and was heated by the collision. For example, they believe that at one point, a small planetoid crashed into Earth, liquefying the Earth completely. The remnant of that planetoid became the moon.

sleepingbear dunes
Reply to  nickreality65
December 3, 2014 3:13 pm

Good points. We can only hope they will devote more resources to find out what is going on under the oceans. My instincts tell me we will be surprised by the impacts.

December 3, 2014 2:18 pm

Even if true the oceans aren’t separate from the earth. It doesn’t explain the “hiatus” it might partially explain why humans aren’t warming the planet. These idiots are acting like if it wasn’t for those pesky oceans our models would be right, like the oceans are some gimmick and not related to the rest of reality.

December 3, 2014 2:20 pm

Why only now during the pause, and not before? Fails logical thinking 101. Modeling different ocean mechanisms for the ‘oceans swallowed the missing heat’ Trenberthian pause explanation (on which Balmaseda was a co-author) does not help with the glaring larger defect. Covered in essay Missing Heat and again in essay Unsettling Science in Blowing Smoke.

Michael D
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 3, 2014 2:38 pm

I presume now that they realize their models should have included deep-ocean uptake of the heat, they will re-think whether the warming observed in the 1980s-1990s was real or just deep-ocean release of heat?

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 4, 2014 12:03 pm

No, this is perfect, don’t you see? Now they just have to come up with a model that predicts (with zero accuracy) the propensity of the oceans to absorb or release heat. And voila,

Eugene WR Gallun
December 3, 2014 2:32 pm

The climate models predict that the temperature of the surface of the earth should be much higher than it is. Therefore heat must have gone missing.
Of course, the simpler solution is to just admit that the climate model are wrong.
But the “hotheads” can’t do that. That make them look like fools — not to mention the loss in income.
The only way they can claim that the models have not been falsified is to claim the heat the models predict is hiding — where? — in the oceans.
These ‘hotheads” believe in two things all of the time. They believe in whatever benefits them the most and they believe in their own superiority. Therefore in their own minds the papers they write are not crap but important “science”.
Eugene WR Gallun

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
December 3, 2014 3:35 pm

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Reply to  Stein_Gral
December 3, 2014 9:11 pm

You only need to fool a simple majority.

Bill Illis
December 3, 2014 2:34 pm

This is all just a snowjob designed to keep the faithful happy and still on-board. The Oceans did not “Eat” any warming of note at all, it is mostly just simply “missing”.
Now that Ocean Heat Content for the Third Quarter of 2014 is available, some up-to-date charts can be presented.
The deep Ocean down to 2000 metres is accumulating 0.64 W/m2/year of Energy (0.72 10^22 joules per year).
Sounds like a lot. But it is nothing compared to how many extra joules are supposed to be accumulating because of Greenhouse Gases like CO2. Those numbers are accumulating at 2.94 W/m2/year compared to the 1995 level. So the oceans at 0.64 W/m2/year “ate” the 2.91 W/m2/year of GHGs??? or the 1.8 W/m2/year that should be showing up if we use the IPCC’s estimates for Aerosols offset. Let me see, 0.64? 2.94?? 1.8?? Nope those are not the same numbers.
There is no “eating” of the energy or the oceans absorbing more energy causing a pause. The GHG forcing is “Missing” or it was never there in the first place or it simply went back out to space just as fast as it was supposedly accumulating.
The warmers were never very good at math and that is why they ended up in the climate science profession where they can just make stuff and nobody in their profession can double-check them because nobody works with real numbers anyway – just computer models. Ad obviously some tech is actually running the models because the climate scientists surely couldn’t do it by themselves).

Reply to  Bill Illis
December 3, 2014 5:23 pm

Bill, you are the most consistently good commenter here.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Bill Illis
December 3, 2014 8:39 pm

I second Roger. The warmists are out so far on limb now. Hate to be there, but there own lack of character and integrity toward their science put them there. Let them sink as the Earth cools.

Reply to  Bill Illis
December 4, 2014 6:27 am

Sorry, I’m kind of old school. Still stuck w/Btus. Btu/english hours, kJ/metric hours
Just to put these energy values in perspective.
3,412 Btu/h = 1 kW or 3.412 Btu/h = 1 W
0.64 W/sq m = 2.18 Btu/h/sq m
Increasing the RH of 50 F air from 20% to 80% absorbs almost 5 Btu/lb of air – without a temperature increase!! More clouds.
And 0.64 is what % of the 240 W/sq m surface radiation? 0.27%!! That’s simply noise in the Oort cloud of data uncertainty.
All those threatening climate change statistics have to be modeled into statistical constructs because they are impossible to actually measure.

John Finn
Reply to  Bill Illis
December 4, 2014 1:49 pm

. So the oceans at 0.64 W/m2/year “ate” the 2.91 W/m2/year of GHGs??? or the 1.8 W/m2/year that should be showing up if we use the IPCC’s estimates for Aerosols offset. Let me see, 0.64? 2.94?? 1.8?? Nope those are not the same numbers.

Hang on a minute, Bill. Some of the forcing will have gone into surface/atmospheric warming. Let’s assume for a moment that the IPCC estimate of climate sensitivity (2xCO2) is correct, i.e. CS is 2.5 degrees per doubling. This equates to a sensitivity of ~0.7 degrees per watt/m2. Therefore, warming since mid 20th century accounts for about (just under) 1 watt per m2.
We still have a TOA imbalance, though – that’s why the oceans are continuing to warm. You have given a figure of 0.64 w/m2 which, assuming the IPCC is correct, implies a total net forcing of ~1.64 watts/m2. Not too much different from the 1.8 w/m2 estimate after allowing for aerosols.
However, I believe the aerosol effect is exaggerated (quite a bit) and that 20th century warming has accounted for a greater proportion of the ghg forcing. If I am correct then this means climate sensitivity is lower. For example, if the aerosol effect is negligible and we have a 0.64 w/m2 imbalance then around 2.3 w/m2 is (2.94 – 0.64) responsible for the warming to date. This leads to a sensitivity of roughly 0.3 degrees per watts/m2. Much lower and very much in line with the “no feedback” sensitivity of 1.2 degrees per 2xCO2.

December 3, 2014 2:35 pm

They finally figured out that the reason that we are still here, is that the oceans are there to moderate, on a grand scale, the temperature of the air, if it is deranged by any source whatever. They think the cause is CO2, but is isn’t. It’s business as usual.

John Finn
Reply to  ntesdorf
December 4, 2014 1:58 pm

They finally figured out that the reason that we are still here, is that the oceans are there to moderate, on a grand scale, the temperature of the air,

No they haven’t “finally figured out” any such thing. The Charney report from 1979 discussed at some length the potential capacity of the oceans to absorb energy and concluded that there were unknowns involved when projecting the path of surface temperature increases.
You’re not going to get anywhere by implying that the AGWers are idiots. They’re not.

December 3, 2014 2:44 pm

“Using data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models,”
…lost my confidence right there.

December 3, 2014 2:53 pm

What I don’t get about this whole claim that the oceans are eating up all the heat, and thus are responsible for the hiatus in warming, is that it completely undermines any notion that we are facing a climate emergency.
The oceans, after all, are a tremendous heat sink. The amount of actual ocean warming experienced is measured in thousandths of degrees. The amount of ocean heat absorption needed to keep the hiatus on indefinite pause is miniscule. If this is how warming works, we won’t be facing any real warming for hundreds, even thousands of years. So we have all the time in the world to create new technologies and all kinds of mitigation and so on. Emergency over. No need for any kind of restrictions on carbon emissions for centuries to come. It’s great news for everyone but those people making a living off the “crisis” management message.
But no one touting this explanation for the hiatus ever mentions this. They just remind us that the oceans won’t be able to do this forever. Well, sure, not forever, but for long enough that we can pretty much disregard the whole problem and let the natural evolution of technology lead us to better energy solutions long before there’s any real need for serious action.
So, it’s good news really. Emergency over! We can all get back to work.

Reply to  brokenyogi
December 3, 2014 5:50 pm

You silly skeptic – as northern hemisphere oceans become warmer, great white sharks will migrate further north until, probably within the next decade, they’ll eat all the polar bears, obviously!

December 3, 2014 2:54 pm

..and all this time I thought CO2 was only supposed to warm the planet a tiny little bit…
the tipping point was supposed to create run away water vapor

BBC weasel
December 3, 2014 3:08 pm

Just the kind of study climate “psientists” love.
No thermometers, no data, just models.
Must be right!

Scottish Sceptic
December 3, 2014 3:21 pm

Why can’t academics speak proper and not talk like pretentious jerks.
It’s not a hiatus but a pause.

Shawn from High River
December 3, 2014 3:21 pm

Wait…….are they admitting to the “pause”

December 3, 2014 4:07 pm

As I understand it. the oceans are mainly heated by direct solar radiation. I suspect that some heat is added via undersea volcanoes. Elsewhere, it has been stated that radiated IR from carbon dioxide can only affect the very top layer (few microns) of the ocean. The net effect is to increase evaporation, thus causing a small amount of cooling at the surface (via loss of latent heat).
An earlier post by Genghis noted: “Solar shortwave radiation though, is absorbed in the ocean and warms it. The ‘regulator’ for that is clouds. More clouds mean ocean cooling, less clouds mean ocean warming.”
Non-solar radiative forcing has little to do with the oceans heating.

Reply to  xyzzy11
December 4, 2014 7:04 am

If CO2 absorbs LWIR it can not emit IR. Some energy must be lost. The emitted radiation has to be in the radar/microwave spectrum. Like those microwaves in the kitchen we use to heat water.

December 3, 2014 4:18 pm

And the empirical evidence they have for this is? Let me guess models all the way , and no actual measurement data at all.
Classic climate ‘science’ BS to keep the funding flowing .

Reply to  knr
December 3, 2014 6:44 pm

I good guess, I think – NASA now has the capability of measuring global CO2, similar to Japan’s Ibuki GOSAT(link) , I think , but NASA is currently using computer algorithms to determine atmospheric CO2 concentration and distribution.
George Hunt’s video includes audio of Edmund de Rothschild’s 1987 reference to the possible use of Irving Mintzer’s theory of CO2-dependent warming when Rothschild proposes trapping CO2 in a dry ice machine and transporting it to the Arctic to keep the ice from melting – around 31:00. Mintzer is an economist with a PhD in energy and resources, UN, carbon credit investment and green industry ties, and his theory is based on a computer model and no climate science.

December 3, 2014 5:02 pm

This is the nub of the problem.
How come the oceans decided to absorb the “excess heat” some 10~18 years ago and what is the process that made the seas “suddenly” decide to do this ?

Reply to  Andyj
December 3, 2014 5:11 pm


Reply to  Latitude
December 4, 2014 12:07 pm

Big International Non-Governmental Organizations?
You may be on to something…

Reply to  Andyj
December 3, 2014 5:26 pm

A variation in cloud cover has been documented and is the likely cause.

Reply to  rogerknights
December 3, 2014 5:29 pm

roger….I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around a cause for something that didn’t happen

The Definition Guy
Reply to  Andyj
December 3, 2014 7:12 pm

It’s cold down there.

Reply to  Andyj
December 4, 2014 8:57 am

Who said they “suddenly” started absorbing heat? You’re putting words into their mouths, knocking down a straw man of your own making.

Reply to  Andyj
December 4, 2014 12:19 pm

I suspect the climate science community will explain the appearance of the heatsucking pause as an effect of the “unprecedented” warmer temperatures — that is the heatsucking effect is stronger at higher temperatures — followed up by increasingly frantic efforts to explain why this phenomenon isn’t going to moderate the entire CAGW conjecture into irrelevance.

Reply to  talldave2
December 4, 2014 2:30 pm

that is the heatsucking effect is stronger at higher temperatures

You do realize that heat flow is directly proportional to delta T, right? In your words, the heat sucking effect is INDEED stronger at higher DELTA temperatures.
However, the oceans are generally warmer than the atmosphere, so the atmosphere doesn’t warm the oceans. If & when the atmosphere ever gets warmer than the water, the difference in heat capacity means that the excess energy in the air is quickly absorbed by the water, with very little change in water temperature.
If you didn’t know that heat flow is directly proportional to delta T, you should either refrain from criticizing what you do not understand or take a course like

The Definition Guy
December 3, 2014 7:10 pm

They will improve the accuracy of future climate predictions from the current abject failures to merely grossly incompetent.

December 3, 2014 8:02 pm

It does not seem like the study mentioned explains or claims the cause of the hiatus but is in the lines of more like explaining the role of the oceans (the effect) in contributing towards a heat sinking and therefore been a part of the hiatus condition.

December 3, 2014 9:02 pm

Keep the funding coming. Mortgages need to be paid, food needs to be put on the table, student loans need to be repaid. Lots of people with a university degree these days. We have to find something to keep them all busy!

Andrew S
December 3, 2014 10:07 pm

Here in australia the ABC ran a huge news scare campaing about this this morning. Hottest (simulated) year on record – yawn yawn yawn. I don’t know why they bother. The general public has seen though these unverifiable ‘climate model’ scams.

December 4, 2014 5:38 am

“increased oceanic heat drawdown in the equatorial Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Ocean basins has played a significant role in the hiatus”. So suddenly and without any warning, the oceans have decided that surplus heat arising exclusively from HomSap-produced CO2 should be segregated and swallowed? Have I got that? And why did this mechanism suddenly kick in only during the latter 20th century and not at any earlier times in history?
I’m going to have to re-write “52 Excuses” now. Any suggestions for a song model?

December 4, 2014 6:48 am

Could it be that the missing heat went to deep space rather than deep oceans?
What is the mechanism?

December 4, 2014 7:52 am

My question to all the claims of the oceans absorbing the heat Then why did this suddenly start in the late 90’s? What changed from the years of the heat going into the atmosphere?

December 4, 2014 8:54 am

Using data from a range of state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models…
AKA “Making Stuff Up”
Bollox is what I say to that.

Robert W Turner
December 4, 2014 9:26 am

So what does the model look like when simulated over the past 30 years? Why did the global oceans begin all at once to absorb just the excess heat, no more and no less? I won’t hold my breathe for the heat to return to the atmosphere.

David A
December 5, 2014 5:53 am

Wow, China agrees to INCREASE their emissions for two decades.
Obama takes credit for this great deal, and agrees to try to inflict more expense on the US NOW.
China then asks for funds NOW to support their increase in emissions and new coal fired power plants.
Obama is the smartest man in the room, if his goal is to cripple the US.

David A
December 5, 2014 5:54 am

oops, wrong post.

December 5, 2014 6:31 am

NASA recently spent $2 million on a special project to document this and discovered that there has been no change in the deep sea temperatures. The paper here cited is pure conjecture and “and worth a pail of warm horse piss,” as VP Jame Nance Garner once said.
Google “Two Minute Conservative” for facts, ideas and good one liners.

December 7, 2014 1:59 am

We have Argo measurements since 2005. They indicate no heating between 20N and 60 N.
Willis E has noted this in a published thread here on WUWT.

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