Arguments For and Against Human-Induced Ocean Warming

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

UPDATE: Corrected the percentage of ocean heat loss though evaporation. Update 2: Added a link to a post by Willis Eschenbach at the end, and corrected a typo.

# # #

Ocean heat content and vertically averaged temperature data for the oceans have been the subjects of a couple of recent blog posts. As one might expect, the discussions on those threads tend to shift to the subject of whether or not the infrared (longwave) radiation from manmade greenhouse gases can cause any measureable ocean warming at the surface or at depth. According to the hypothesis of human-induced global warming, the warming of the global oceans to depth and the related ocean heat uptake are a function of the radiative imbalance caused by manmade greenhouse gases. There are a number of arguments for and against the hypothetical anthropogenic warming of the oceans.

So the topic of this post is ocean warming. I’ll present different opinions/arguments on anthropogenic ocean warming.

For a detailed overview of ocean heat content data, please see the post Is Ocean Heat Content Data All It’s Stacked Up to Be? And see the post AMAZING: The IPCC May Have Provided Realistic Presentations of Ocean Heat Content Source Data for another discussion by the IPCC.

INFRARED RADIATION CAN ONLY PENETRATE THE TOP FEW MILLIMETERS OF THE OCEAN SURFACE AND THAT’S WHERE EVAPORATION TAKES PLACE

It is often argued that infrared radiation from manmade greenhouse gases can only penetrate the top few millimeters of the ocean surface and that’s where evaporation occurs. That argument then continues that additional infrared radiation from anthropogenic greenhouse gases can only add to surface evaporation, and cannot heat the oceans. On the other hand, sunlight reaches into the oceans to depths of 100 meters or so, though most of it is absorbed in the top 10 meters. Even so, sunlight’s ability to warm the oceans is many orders of magnitude greater than infrared radiation. One of my earliest memories of this argument came from Robert E. Stevenson’s (Oceanographer Scripps) 2000 article Yes, the Ocean Has Warmed; No, It’s Not ‘Global Warming’. In April of this year, looking for solid answers on this topic, Roy Spencer presented the same arguments and a few counter arguments in his post, Can Infrared Radiation Warm a Water Body?

Field tests reported in the 2006 post Why greenhouse gases warm the oceans at RealClimate are often cited by those who believe infrared radiation is responsible for ocean warming. That guest post by Peter Minnett of the University of Miami includes:

However, some have insisted that there is a paradox here – how can a forcing driven by longwave absorption and emission impact the ocean below since the infrared radiation does not penetrate more than a few micrometers into the ocean?

So this argument was considered by climate scientists. The post then goes on to describe why it’s not an inconsistency and then to present the results of field tests. My Figure 1 is Figure 2 from that RealClimate post.

Figure 1 Minnett_2

Figure 1 – The change in the skin temperature to bulk temperature difference as a function of the net longwave [infrared] radiation.

The summary text for the illustration at RealClimate reads:

There is an associated reduction in the difference between the 5 cm and the skin temperatures. The slope of the relationship is 0.002ºK (W/m2)-1. Of course the range of net infrared forcing caused by changing cloud conditions (~100W/m2) is much greater than that caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases (e.g. doubling pre-industrial CO2 levels will increase the net forcing by ~4W/m2), but the objective of this exercise was to demonstrate a relationship.

That, however, creates a counter argument that has been discussed by others. See the HockeySchtick post RealClimate admits doubling CO2 could only heat the oceans 0.002ºC at most. Let me put this into more recent terms. According to the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, infrared radiation has only increased about 1.2 watts/meter^2 from 1979 to 2013. Based on the findings at RealClimate, that rise in infrared radiation could only warm the sea surfaces by a little more than 0.002 deg C since 1979. Yet, looking at the global sea surface temperature data, Figure 2, the surfaces of the global oceans warmed more than 0.3 deg C from 1979 to 2013, leaving about 93%  99.3% of the ocean surface warming unexplained.

Figure 2

Figure 2

A continuation of the Minnett-field-test argument is that manmade greenhouse gases and ocean mixing will cause the warming of the mixed layer of the oceans. The HockeySchtick counter could be applicable here as well. The mixed layer ranges in depth from about 20 to 200 meters. Unfortunately, temperature data specifically for the mixed layer are not available in an easy-to-use format, so let’s assume that the NODC’s vertically averaged temperature data for the depths of 0-100 meters captures the vast majority of the mixed layer. As shown in Figure 2, the warming rate of the top 100 meters of the ocean is slightly less than the surface. In other words, the warming rate based on the field tests presented by RealClimate can’t explain the vast majority of the warming of the top 100 meters.

Further to the RealClimate post by Peter Minnett, see the very recent ClimateConversation post HotWhopper wrong on ocean heat. It includes links to a three part discussion titled “Anthropogenic Ocean Warming?” by Richard Cummings, which covers the Minnett findings and other proposed mechanisms of anthropogenic warming of the oceans:

“AIR-SEA FLUXES ARE THE PRIMARY MECHANISM BY WHICH THE OCEANS ARE EXPECTED TO RESPOND TO EXTERNALLY FORCED ANTHROPOGENIC AND NATURAL VOLCANIC INFLUENCES”

The quote in the heading is from Chapter 10 (WG1) of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report.

Richard Cummings comments from Part 2 of his series begins:

That’s it. 25 years and five assessment reports after its 1988 formation, the IPCC has not been able to firm up an anthropogenic ocean heating and thermal sea level rise mechanism. The one they have come up with is only “expected”, indicating that they are unable to cite studies of the real-world phenomenon of non-solar air => sea energy fluxes actually occurring on a scale that would explain 20th century ocean heat accumulation in the order of 18×10^22 J and subjugate a solar-only mechanism.

“…HEAT PENETRATES THE OCEANS FASTER IN A WARMER CLIMATE”

The heading is a quote from the concluding remarks by Stefan Rahmstorf in the RealClimate post Sea-level rise: Where we stand at the start of 2013 (my boldface).

My bottom line: The rate of sea-level rise was very low in the centuries preceding the 20th, very likely well below 1 mm/yr in the longer run. In the 20th Century the rate increased, but not linearly due to the non-linear time evolution of global temperature. The diagnosis is complicated by spurious variability due to undersampling, but in all 20th C time series that attempt to properly area-average, the most recent rates of rise are the highest on record. At the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st Century the rate had reached 3 mm/year, a rather reliable rate measured by satellites. This increase in the rate of sea-level rise is a logical consequence of global warming, since ice melts faster and heat penetrates faster into the oceans in a warmer climate.

Is this a very simplified rewording of the argument that, although the atmosphere is cooler than the ocean surfaces, greenhouse gases will reduce the rate at which oceans can release heat to the atmosphere?

See Richard Cummings response in Part 3 of his series.

MECHANISMS FOR THE WARMING OF THE OCEANS

Donald Rapp presented a simple model to explain how manmade greenhouse gases could warm the oceans in his guest post at Judith Curry’s blog ClimateEtc, back in May 2014. See his post Mechanisms for the Warming of the Oceans. That post drew more than 400 comments. If you’re going to cut and paste one of your or someone else’s comments from that thread, please leave a hyperlink to it.

INFRARED RADIATION FROM MANMADE GREENHOUSE GASES HAS INCREASED SINCE 1979, WHILE TOTAL SOLAR IRRADIANCE HAS DECREASED. THEREFORE, INFRARED RADIATION CAUSED THE OCEAN WARMING.

This is one of the favorite arguments for anthropogenic warming of the oceans: Infrared radiation has increased since 1979 but total solar irradiance at the top of the atmosphere has decreased. Therefore, according to that ill-conceived argument, the sun can’t explain the warming.

Why is it ill-conceived? We’re interested in the amount of sunlight reaching the ocean surfaces and entering into them, not the amount of sunlight reaching the top of the atmosphere.

There is evidence the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface increased from 1979 to 2013. It comes from a specialized climate model called a reanalysis, and the reanalysis being discussed is the NCEP-DOE R-2. Unlike the climate models used to hindcast and predict global warming, a reanalysis uses data (sea surface temperature data, cloud cover data, aerosol data, total solar irradiance data, and the like) as inputs and calculates variables that aren’t measured directly. It’s a climate model, so we still have to look at it with a skeptical eye, but even so, the sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth increased from 1979 to 2013, according to the NCEP-DOE R-2 reanalysis. See Figure 3.

Figure 3

Figure 3

I’ve added a note to the graph:

Above what value do the oceans accumulate heat?

That was to counter another ill-conceived argument. Someone might look at the graph and see that sunlight at the surface peaked around the year 2002 and has since dropped, expecting the oceans to lose heat during the decline. But that argument would fail to consider many things, including the one noted.

This also brings to mind something written by Carl-Gustaf Rossby in 1959. It is part of the opening chapter of the book The Atmosphere and Sea in Motion edited by Bert Bolin. That chapter is titled “Current problems in meteorology”. In it, Rossby made two suggestions while discussing ocean processes (my boldface):

a) The assumption that our planet as a whole stands in firm radiation balance with outer space cannot be accepted without reservations, even if periods of several decades are taken into account.

b) Anomalies in heat probably can be stored and temporarily isolated in the sea and after periods of the order of a few decades to a few centuries again influence the heat and water-vapour exchange with the atmosphere.

So, assuming the NCEP-DOE R2 reanalysis is correct, how long would the recent increase in the amount of sunlight entering the oceans impact climate? According to Rossby, it could be decades or centuries.

Something else to consider: according to the NODC’s vertically averaged temperature data to depths of 2000 meters, the North Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean show little to no warming since 2005. The other two ocean basins, the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans are showing warming, but they only cover about 1/3 of the ocean surface. See Figure 4.

Figure 4 nodc-argo-era-vertical-mean-temp-per-basin-to-2013

Figure 4

That lack of warming to depths of 2000 meters for two ocean basins that cover 2/3 of the ocean surface (North Atlantic and Pacific) is hard to reconcile in a world where greenhouse gases are said to be well mixed, meaning they’re pretty well evenly distributed around the globe.

THE OCEANS HAVE THEIR OWN GREENHOUSE-LIKE EFFECT

In his post, The Deep Blue Sea, John L. Daly presented something that must be considered in every discussion of ocean warming: the oceans have their own greenhouse like effect (I’ve added a hyperlink to John Daly’s Figure 1):

A greenhouse effect, by definition, means that the medium through which radiation passes is more transparent at visible wavelengths, but more opaque at infra-red wavelengths, thus letting in visible energy but obstructing the escape of sufficient infra-red energy to maintain thermal equilibrium without a rise in temperature.

The oceans also behave this way.

Reference to fig. 1 shows that the oceans let in visible solar radiation right down to 100 metres depth. However, the oceans cannot radiate from such depths, as infra-red radiation can only take place from the top few millimetres of ocean. Thus, the oceans are also behaving in a greenhouse-like manner, taking in heat and then trapping some of it to cause a temperature rise.

Phrased differently, sunlight can warm the oceans to depths of 100 meters, but the oceans can only release heat at the surface. Now consider that the oceans release heat primarily through evaporation (if memory serves, somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of the heat loss from the oceans is through evaporation). UPDATE: Sorry, in this instance my memory was off. Of the approximately 180+ watts/m^2 downward shortwave radiation reaching the ocean surface, about half (about 100 watts/m^2) is released through evaporation.

THERE ARE NATURALLY OCCURRING PROCESSES THAT CAN CAUSE THE LONG-TERM WARMING OF THE OCEANS TO DEPTH

The naturally occurring processes that can warm the oceans, of course, are not considered in the climate models used by the IPCC. Climate modelers’ force the warming of the oceans based on their assumptions of how the infrared radiation from manmade greenhouse gases warm the oceans.

We’re going to break the oceans down into ocean-basin subsets, because, for two of the subsets, climate scientists addressed those portions of the oceans in the studies linked to this post.

I’ve presented these discussions in previous posts using ocean heat content data. For a change of pace, I’m presenting the NODC depth-averaged temperature data for the depths of 0-700 meters.

THE WARMING OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TO DEPTH

As a preface to our first discussion, Figure 5 presents the depth-averaged temperature anomalies (0-700 meters) for the North Atlantic and for the rest of the global oceans. To determine the depth-averaged temperature anomalies for the rest of the global oceans, I area-weighted the North Atlantic data (11.5%, see the NOAA webpage here) and subtracted it from the global data. The units are deg C.

Figure 5

Figure 5

It very obvious that the North Atlantic to depths of 700 meters warmed at a much faster rate than the rest of the oceans, about 3.3 times faster from 1955 to present. That ocean basin only covers 11.5% of the surface of the global oceans, yet it represents about 35% of the ocean warming to depths of 700 meters.

NOTE: It is unfortunate that the outputs of the climate model simulations of depth averaged temperature (or ocean heat content) are not available in an easy-to-use form so that the models can be compared to observations. We know climate models do not properly simulate the warming of ocean surfaces. They double the warming rate of the ocean surfaces over the past 33 years. See the model-data comparison graph here. Also see the posts here and here for additional discussions. It would be interesting to see how poorly the models simulate ocean warming to depth. [End note.]

Now consider what I wrote in that introductory portion from my upcoming book: It’s very obvious why the change in the ocean heat content is very important to the hypothesis of human-induced global warming. If the oceans could be shown to have warmed naturally, then the impacts of manmade greenhouse gases are much smaller than claimed by climate scientists.

And that’s exactly what a group of scientists did back in 2008. They determined the warming of the North Atlantic to 700 meters since 1955 was caused by naturally occurring processes, not by manmade greenhouse gases. We’ve discussed this paper a few times in recent years—in blog posts and in books. Here’s a portion of my ebook Who Turned on the Heat?

[START OF REPRINT FROM WHO TURNED ON THE HEAT?]

There is a study that provides an explanation for that additional warming. See Lozier et al (2008) The Spatial Pattern and Mechanisms of Heat-Content Change in the North Atlantic.

First, a quick introduction to one of the terms used in the following quotes: The North Atlantic Oscillation is an atmospheric climate phenomenon in the North Atlantic. Like the Southern Oscillation Index described in Chapter 4.3 ENSO Indices, the North Atlantic Oscillation is expressed as the sea level pressure difference between two points. The sea level pressures in Iceland, at the weather stations in Stykkisholmur or Reykjavik, can be used to calculate North Atlantic Oscillation Indices. Which Iceland location they elect to use as the high-latitude sea level pressure reference depends on the dataset supplier. The other point captures the sea level pressure at the mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic, and there are a number of locations that have been used for it: Lisbon, Portugal; Ponta Delgada, Azores; and Gibraltar. The North Atlantic Oscillation Index is primarily used for weather prediction. The direction and strength of the westerly winds in the North Atlantic are impacted by the sea level pressures in Iceland and the mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic, which, in turn, impact weather patterns in Europe and the East Coast of North America. If you live in those locations, you’ll often hear your weather person referring to the North Atlantic Oscillation. As will be discussed, winds in the North Atlantic can also impact Ocean Heat Content.

I’ll present two quotes from the Lozier et al (2008) paper. I’ll follow them with quotes from the press release that describes in layman terms how the North Atlantic Oscillation impacts the Ocean Heat Content of the North Atlantic. Back to Lozier et al (2008):

The abstract reads:

The total heat gained by the North Atlantic Ocean over the past 50 years is equivalent to a basinwide increase in the flux of heat across the ocean surface of 0.4 ± 0.05 watts per square meter. We show, however, that this basin has not warmed uniformly: Although the tropics and subtropics have warmed, the subpolar ocean has cooled. These regional differences require local surface heat flux changes (±4 watts per square meter) much larger than the basinwide average. Model investigations show that these regional differences can be explained by large-scale, decadal variability in wind and buoyancy forcing as measured by the North Atlantic Oscillation index. Whether the overall heat gain is due to anthropogenic warming is difficult to confirm because strong natural variability in this ocean basin is potentially masking such input at the present time.

In the paper, Lozier et al (2008) note, using NAO for North Atlantic Oscillation:

A comparison of the zonally integrated heat-content changes as a function of latitude (Fig. 4B) confirms that the NAO difference can largely account for the observed gyre specific heat-content changes over the past 50 years, although there are some notable differences in the latitudinal band from 35° to 45°N. Thus, we suggest that the large-scale, decadal changes in wind and buoyancy forcing associated with the NAO is primarily responsible for the ocean heat-content changes in the North Atlantic over the past 50 years.

Based on the wording of the two quotes, the paper appears to indicate that Lozier et al (2008) are describing the entire warming of ocean heat content in the North Atlantic. In other words, it seems that Lozier et al (2008) are not stating that the North Atlantic Oscillation is primarily responsible for the additional ocean heat-content changes in the North Atlantic, above and beyond the rest of the world, over the past 50 years; they’re saying it’s primarily responsible for all of the variability. The press release for the paper, on the other hand, leads you to believe the North Atlantic Oscillation is responsible for the North Atlantic warming above and beyond the global warming.

The Duke University press release for the paper is titled North Atlantic Warming Tied to Natural Variability. Though the other ocean basins weren’t studied by Lozier et al, the subtitle of the press release includes the obligatory reference to an assumed manmade warming in other basins: “But global warming may be at play elsewhere in the world’s oceans, scientists surmise”. To contradict that, we’ve found no evidence of an anthropogenic component in the warming of the other ocean basins.

The press release reads with respect to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO):

Winds that power the NAO are driven by atmospheric pressure differences between areas around Iceland and the Azores. “The winds have a tremendous impact on the underlying ocean,” said Susan Lozier, a professor of physical oceanography at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences who is the study’s first author.

Further to this, they write:

Her group’s analysis showed that water in the sub-polar ocean—roughly between 45 degrees North latitude and the Arctic Circle—became cooler as the water directly exchanged heat with the air above it.

By contrast, NAO-driven winds served to “pile up” sun-warmed waters in parts of the subtropical and tropical North Atlantic south of 45 degrees, Lozier said. That retained and distributed heat at the surface while pushing underlying cooler water further down.

The group’s computer model predicted warmer sea surfaces in the tropics and subtropics and colder readings within the sub-polar zone whenever the NAO is in an elevated state of activity. Such a high NAO has been the case during the years 1980 to 2000, the scientists reported.

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

[END OF REPRINT FROM WHO TURNED ON THE HEAT?]

WHAT CAUSES THE WATER TO “PILE UP”, INCREASING OCEAN HEAT CONTENT?

Let’s discuss in more detail that “pile up” from the press release of Lozier et al. (2008). First, a few basics: The trade winds are a function of the temperature difference between the equator and higher latitudes. The warmer water near the equator causes warm air to rise there (convection). At the surface, winds blow from the mid latitudes toward the equator to make up for the deficit caused by the rising air, but the rotation of the Earth deflects that inrushing air to the west. Thus the trade winds blow from the northeast to the southwest in the Northern Hemisphere and from the southeast to the northwest in the Southern Hemisphere.

In the ocean basins, ocean circulation is driven primarily from the trade winds in the tropics blowing from east to west. That is, the trade winds push the surface waters from east to west in the tropics. Those westward-traveling waters warm under the tropical sun. They encounter a continental land mass and are directed toward the poles. In the North Atlantic, the poleward-flowing western boundary current is known as the Gulf Stream. It carries the warm tropical waters to the cooler high latitudes, where that water can release heat to the atmosphere more efficiently. At the mid-latitudes, those waters encounter the west to east winds known as westerlies and are blown eastward toward Europe and Africa. The eastern boundary current along Africa returns those cooler waters back toward the tropics, where they can be warmed again, completing the cycle. That ocean circulation loop is called a gyre.

Now for the “piling up”: Suppose the westerlies in the mid-latitudes slowed or reversed, while, at the same time, the trade winds were pushing the same amount of tropical water to the west and poleward. At mid-latitudes, the change in the strength or direction of the westerlies would resist the poleward transport of warm water from the tropics. That warm water would accumulate as a result. Here’s that quote from the press release again:

By contrast, NAO-driven winds served to “pile up” sun-warmed waters in parts of the subtropical and tropical North Atlantic south of 45 degrees, Lozier said. That retained and distributed heat at the surface while pushing underlying cooler water further down.

Presto. A naturally caused accumulation of heat in the North Atlantic.

Curiously, under the heading of “Beam Me Up, Scotty”, Stefan Rahmstorf of RealClimate presented a similar discussion in his post What ocean heating reveals about global warming. I, of course, commented on that in my post Comments on Stefan Rahmstorf’s Post at RealClimate “What ocean heating reveals about global warming”

Now suppose, at the same time, there were a series of strong El Niño events over a multidecadal period (1976 to the turn of the century for example), so that the tropical waters in the North Atlantic were naturally warmer than normal. Trenberth and Fasullo (2011) explain why some portions of the oceans remote to the tropical Pacific warm in response to an El Niño (my boldface):

But a major challenge is to be able to track the energy associated with such variations more thoroughly: Where did the heat for the 2009–2010 El Niño actually come from? Where did the heat suddenly disappear to during the La Niña? Past experience (Trenberth et al. 2002) suggests that global surface temperature rises at the end of and lagging El Niño, as heat comes out of the Pacific Ocean mainly in the form of moisture that is evaporated and which subsequently rains out, releasing the latent energy. Meanwhile, maximum warming of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans occurs about 5 months after the El Niño owing to sunny skies and lighter winds (less evaporative cooling), while the convective action is in the Pacific.

That additional sunlight during a period when El Niños dominated (1976 to the turn of the century) would add to the amount of accumulating warm water in the North Atlantic…and elsewhere.

And Trenberth now understands that the heat didn’t suddenly “disappear to during the La Niña”. It shows up as the “big jumps” in surface temperature in response to strong El Niño events. See the posts:

I also present those “big jumps” in the monthly sea surface temperature updates (November 2014 update is here). They stand out quite plainly in the sea surface temperature data for the South Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans. For a further discussion see the illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” (42mb).

EXTRATROPICAL NORTH PACIFIC

The next paper to be discussed is Trenberth and Hurrell (1994): Decadal Atmosphere-Ocean Variations in the Pacific. In it, Trenberth and Hurrell were using an index derived from the sea level pressures of the extratropical North Pacific (30N-65N, 160E-140W), called the North Pacific Index, to explain shifts in the sea surface temperatures of the North Pacific. Again, a sea level pressure index reflects changes in the wind patterns. My Figure 6 is Figure 6 from Trenberth and Hurrell (1994).

Figure 6

Figure 6

That same shift appears in the depth-averaged temperature data for the extratropical North Pacific (24N-65N, 120E-80W) for the depths of 0-700 meters. But the shifts are delayed a year in the subsurface temperature data. See Figure 7.

Figure 7

Figure 7

I’ve color-coded 4 periods on the graph. The first period from 1955 to 1988 (dark blue) includes the downward shift in 1978. As a result of that shift in 1978 (that should be related to the shift in the sea level pressures and wind patterns), the depth-averaged temperature data shows a cooling trend from 1955 to 1988. That is, the extratropical North Pacific to depths of 700 meters cooled (not warmed) for more than 3 decades. The second period (red) captures the upward shift in 1988 and 1989 that, once again, should be related to the shift in the sea level pressures and wind patterns. From 1991 to 2002 (light blue), the extratropical North Pacific cooled once again to depths of 700 meters. And since the ARGO floats were deployed (black), the extratropical Pacific shows a slight warming to depth.

It’s blatantly obvious the extratropical North Pacific to depths of 700 meters would show no warming from 1955 to present if it wasn’t for that upward shift in 1988 and 1989. It’s also obvious that the downward shift in 1978 that extends to 1988 also impacts the long-term trend. That is, without the naturally caused downward shift in the late-1970s the long-term warming rate would be less. Obviously, natural variability, not manmade greenhouse gases, dominates the variability and long-term warming of the extratropical Pacific to the depths of 700 meters.

TROPICAL PACIFIC

We isolate the vertically averaged temperature data to depths of 700 meters for the tropical Pacific because the tropical Pacific is where El Niño and La Niña events take place, and El Niño and La Niña events, collectively, are the dominant forms of natural variability on Earth. A further clarification: while El Niño and La Niña events are focused on the equatorial Pacific, they directly impact the entire tropical Pacific. See the animation here for an extreme example of the effects of an El Niño on the sea level residuals of the tropical Pacific.

Let’s start with two quotes from (again) Kevin Trenberth. According to Trenberth, El Niño events are fueled by sunlight, not manmade greenhouse gases. In the much-cited Trenberth et al. (2002) The evolution of ENSO and global atmospheric surface temperatures, they stated (my boldface and brackets):

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 [during a La Niña] 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.

NOTE: That’s the source of my standard 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. [End note.]

Also see Trenberth and Fasullo (2011). They confirm that ENSO is sunlight-fueled during La Niña events:

Typically prior to an El Niño, in La Niña conditions, the cold sea waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific create high atmospheric pressure and clear skies, with plentiful sunshine heating the ocean waters. The ocean currents redistribute the ocean heat which builds up in the tropical western Pacific Warm Pool until an El Niño provides relief (Trenberth et al. 2002).

Figure 8 presents the vertically averaged temperature anomalies (0-700 meters) for the tropical Pacific. El Niño and La Niña events directly impact the top 300 meters, so this depth captures their direct impacts. I’ve highlighted in maroon the three 3-year La Niña events of 1954 to 1957, 1973 to 1976, and 1998 to 2001. After those 3-year La Niña events, the tropical Pacific shows cooling, not warming. That indicates that the shorter La Niñas that follow El Niños only recharge part of the warm water released from the tropical Pacific by the El Niños. Also, I’ve highlighted in red the 7-month period associated with the 1995/96 La Niña. (See the old version of the NOAA ONI index.) The 1995/96 La Niña created the warm water that fueled the 1997/98 El Niño, which is responsible for the sharp drop in temperature following the heat uptake of the 1995/96 La Niña. The “overcharge” from the 1995/96 La Niña and the recharge during the 1998-01 La Niña obviously caused an upward shift in the subsurface temperatures of the tropical Pacific.

Figure 8

Figure 8

What is also blatantly obvious is the warming of the tropical Pacific to depth is dependent on 4 La Niña events. And according to Trenberth et al. (2002) and Trenberth and Fasullo (2011), sunlight warms the tropical Pacific during La Niñas, not infrared radiation from manmade greenhouse gases. (In the real world, downwelling longwave radiation decreases during La Niña events.)

BOTTOM LINE ON OCEAN TEMPERATURE DATA FOR THE DEPTHS OF 0-700 METERS

Subsurface temperature data (and ocean heat content data) for the North Atlantic, the Extratropical North Pacific and the Tropical Pacific all indicate that naturally occurring coupled ocean-atmosphere processes are the primary causes of ocean warming to depth, not manmade greenhouse gases. In fact, the data for the tropical Pacific and extratropical North Pacific show those oceans can cool for decadal and multidecadal periods between short-term naturally caused warming episodes. Those decadal and multidecadal cooling periods further suggest that manmade greenhouse gases have no measureable impact on ocean warming to depth.

NOTE: Someone is bound to note that I’ve only presented subsurface ocean temperature data for the top 700 meters and only for the oceans of the Northern Hemisphere and the tropical Pacific. If I receive a comment to that effect on the thread, I will refer that blogger to the 2 posts linked in the introduction. Here they are again:

CLOSING

I’m sure I’ve missed a few arguments for and against the anthropogenic ocean warming. If you introduce others, please provide links where possible.

UPDATE 2: While preparing this post, I overlooked an excellent post by Willis Eschenbach Radiating The Ocean.

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Editor
December 9, 2014 3:40 am

If GHG really have increased sea temps, even just down to 100m, the effect would be so small that we could not possibly measure it.

MikeB
December 9, 2014 3:48 am

Oh my God, the sky dragons are back.
Infrared radiation can warm a metal bar. How far do you think it penetrates into that Bob?

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 6:16 am

Bob,
In a post way too long, you’ve devoted far too much space to some very silly arguments. There is no issue about down IR penetrating sea water. The sea surface is warm and radiates upward more heat than it receives in sunlight. If it were not for down IR, it would cool rapidly. Down IR maintains heat flux balance at the surface. It does not need to penetrate. If down IR increases, the flux from below decreases, at the same temperature. The sea is warmed by that retained heat.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 6:48 am

I have to agree with Nick. The effect of participating media is to decrease the rate of energy transfer. This is not a steady state affair. For the system to achieve steady state the hot side must get hotter. This then increases the rate of energy transfer and steady state is again achieved. On the other hand. Nicks argument allows for the principle of saturation. Given that combustion engineering models see saturation of CO2 it is odd that this is not seen in climate models.

Old'un
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 7:15 am

Whether/how DLWR warms the oceans is key to whether or not we should be worried about increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and Bobs post is important in giving this subject centre stage.
I have read of only one proposed mechanism by which DlLWR can contribute to ocean warming, and that is by heating of the ‘thin film’ surface layer, thus altering the temperature gradient across it and inhibiting heat loss by conduction through it. In other words DWLR generates an insulation effect at the surface.
Nick Stokes appears to be referring to this mechanism, but I have never seen any calculations that demonstrate quantitively that it is capable of leading to the increase in ocean heating which the alarmists happily describe in units of Hiroshima Bombs. Does any contributor know of any?

Bart
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 7:30 am

That post doesn’t make a bit of sense. Photons are not like (American) football players, blocking each other to prevent them from going downfield or, in this case, radiating away at the surface.

joeldshore
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 7:46 am

John Eggert says: “On the other hand. Nicks argument allows for the principle of saturation. Given that combustion engineering models see saturation of CO2 it is odd that this is not seen in climate models.”
Different problem. This issue was worked out in about the 1950s: What matters for the greenhouse effect is where the radiation is emitted such that it can successfully escape to space. It not just an issue of “Does the radiation emitted by the surface get absorbed at least once?” The role of greenhouse gases is to move this effective emission layer up to higher altitudes. Since there is a lapse rate in the troposphere, this means emission to space is occurring from colder regions and hence less radiation is emitted to space. This puts the Earth system out of radiative balance. (It is now emitting less to space than it is absorbing from the sun.) Hence, over time, it’s heat content increases and it warms until such a time that radiative balance is re-established.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 9:17 am

Old’un
I agree with your brief and pithy comment. I understand Nick’s comment in the same way, and I think he would agree we understood it properly.
Missing from the description of that is happening is that the water vapour level immediately above the surface is saturated and as opaque to IR as the water surface. The effect CO2 exerts within 3 metres of the surface is vanishingly small. If the water vapour (absolute humidity) changed a few % because of the air temperature, or wind speed, it would swamp any putative warning effect of back radiation – and that Nick’s effect is rooted on that back radiation only. If there were no back radiation, there would be no GH effect, right? So if back radiation cannot produce a measurable effect at the ocean surface, claims it is a cause of a meaningful proportion of change in the ocean heat content is skating on thin ice.
There is a comment above about 4 watts/m^2 for a doubling of CO2. I think that includes water vapour feedback, not so? Well, that is an admission that water vapour which abounds at the ocean surface is more important that CO2. Include it in radiative arguments!
The effect of DWIR at the surface in the daytime is very different from night time. I don’t think this can be overlooked. Saturated air near the surface prevents a portion of IR reaching the water surface using the same mechanism that ‘prevents’ it getting into space. At night when the ocean is warmer than the air, there is a huge DWIR from water vapour near the surface that totally overwhelms anything from CO2, let alone AG CO2 – in other words a GHG effect involving water vapour near the surface. A tiny variation in water vapour concentration is bigger than a huge change in CO2. .As we all know, an increase in water vapour leads to rain which is, net, a cooling influence on the ocean as the process vents heat upwards well above the surface.
As you say, show me the numbers.
For 20 years we have had most scientists and thinkers saying, AGW is conceptually possible, let’s give them the benefit of doubt, after which skeptics tried to show that proposition was faulty at a lot of scales. Now, after 20 years of confusing signals from the real world, it is time to change this approach. It is time those who make AGW claims to start demonstrating the idea is valid, with the default position changing from ‘OK, maybe you are right’, to ‘No, it is not acceptable as a proposition until it is demonstrated’ – in other words when the null hypothesis has been falsified.
Bob, you are doing a great job at showing, in the face of ‘let’s assume it is correct’, that there is no case to answer. It is time for the AGW proponents to provide data and math that invalidate the null hypothesis.
IR heating and cooling at the surface of the oceans are dominated by water vapour. Conceptually, Nick’s model is going to work, but at what scale? I want to see the numbers. IR retransmissions is almost entirely from water vapour. CO2 is a tiny fraction of the total. AG CO2 changing the total CO2 by a tiny fraction over a decade causes a tiny change in the tiny fraction of IR exchanges attributable to CO2.
With the OHC changes barely quantifiable with modern instruments (see Willis’ discussions) we can’t assert a detectable influence from AG CO2 on ocean temperature without some mechanism, measurements and proof-of-concept calculations. And the calculations can’t ignore water vapour, for heaven’s sake.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 12:59 pm

Bob,
“And we also note you weren’t specific about which arguments were silly. “
I was specific about the IR can’t warm argument. But an even sillier one is the one where you say:
“Based on the findings at RealClimate, that rise in infrared radiation could only warm the sea surfaces by a little more than 0.002 deg C since 1979.”
That’s just completely wrong. The numbers given there (RC) relate to the difference between skin temp and temp at 5cm depth. They are a measure of flux, not of warmth. They are measuring the effect of down IR on flux in the water. And it’s substantial.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 1:31 pm

Nick Stokes: Down IR maintains heat flux balance at the surface. It does not need to penetrate. If down IR increases, the flux from below decreases, at the same temperature.
IR does not maintain heat flux “balance”, because most of the time there is not balance. If down IR increases, the flux from below is unaffected and the surface rate of evaporation increases, at least most of the time when the wind is not absolutely still.
Very few studies have looked at the change in the rate of evapotranspirative energy transport from the surface (evaporative in this case) in response to changes in CO2 or warming. The estimate of 0.002K/(Watt/m^2) change in surface temperature, measured in a study, is quite realistic considering the latent heat of evaporation of water. According to Trenberth et al, more heat is carried by wet thermals from surface to upper troposphere by evapotranspiration than by radiation.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 2:08 pm

Matthew Marler,
“IR does not maintain heat flux “balance”, because most of the time there is not balance. If down IR increases, the flux from below is unaffected and the surface rate of evaporation increases”
It maintains long term balance (over days). Heat is conserved and can’t accumulate at the surface without big temperature change.
If down IR increases, the flux from below is affected. That is exactly what the Tangaroa experiment is showing. Early morning, the nett LW comes almost into balance, and the temperature drop across the top 5 cm halves, relative to the other extreme. That drop measures flux from below (heat from sun).

Konrad.
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 2:22 pm

Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 at 6:16 am
////////////////////////////////////////////
” There is no issue about down IR penetrating sea water. The sea surface is warm and radiates upward more heat than it receives in sunlight. If it were not for down IR, it would cool rapidly. Down IR maintains heat flux balance at the surface.”
Nick, that is incorrect. You cannot use apparent emissivity measured within the Holorumn of the atmosphere to determine effective emissivity of water.
Any claim that incident LWIR can slow the cooling rate of the oceans can be checked by the simplest of experiments –
http://i42.tinypic.com/2h6rsoz.jpg
– fill both sample chambers with 40C water and record their cooling rate over 30min. You will note no significant difference between the samples under the weak and strong LWIR sources. Now repeat the experiment but put a couple of drops of baby oil on the surface of each water sample to prevent evaporation. Both sample can now only cool by conduction and radiation. Now the sample under the strong LWIR source cools slower.
The fact that incident LWIR cannot slow the cooling rate of water that is free to evaporatively cool raises the question – “what is keeping the oceans above theoretical blackbody temperature of 255K for an average of 240 w/m2 solar insolation?” The answer is painfully simple – The oceans are an extreme SW selective surface not a near blackbody.
Firstly for water SW absorptivity (~0.9 hemispherical) is asymmetric with IR effective emissivity (~0.7 hemispherical). Secondly water is SW translucent and solar radiation is absorbed at depth not at the surface. To water all watts are not equal, frequency matters. This simple experiment shows why –
http://oi61.tinypic.com/or5rv9.jpg
– Both blocks have equal ability to absorb SW. Both blocks have equal ability to radiate LWIR. The only difference is depth of SW absorption. Illuminate each block with 1000w/m2 of LWIR and they will both rise to the same temperature. Illuminate both blocks with 1000 w/m2 of SW and block A will run 20C hotter. This experiment is a clear demonstration of why S-B equations should never have been used on the oceans.
You can try it again with water that is free to convect –
http://oi62.tinypic.com/zn7a4y.jpg
– John Daly was correct. There is a greenhouse effect in the oceans. From experiments like those shown above conducted at differing scales the following five simple rules for SW translucent materials can be demonstrated –
http://i59.tinypic.com/10pdqur.jpg
– these rules apply no matter if the materials are radiatively, conductively or evaporatively cooled. These rules apply to our oceans. This incredibly basic physics is utterly missing form the “basic physics” of the “settled science”.
Climastrologists have gone and treated our deep convecting intermittently illuminated SW translucent oceans as if they were an opaque material constantly illuminated by 240w/m2. This leads to a fist-biting mistake of around 80K for “surface without atmosphere” temperature calculation for 71% of the planet’s surface. Our radiatively cooled atmosphere is not raising ocean temps from 255K, it is cooling them from around 312K. There is no net atmospheric radiative GHE on planet Ocean.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 9:00 pm

Nick Stokes: It maintains long term balance (over days). Heat is conserved and can’t accumulate at the surface without big temperature change.
If down IR increases, the flux from below is affected. That is exactly what the Tangaroa experiment is showing. Early morning, the nett LW comes almost into balance, and the temperature drop across the top 5 cm halves, relative to the other extreme. That drop measures flux from below (heat from sun).

first, balance is obtained over years, not necessarily days, and for certain not over short periods of time like sunrise and sunset and clouds. second, the Tangaroa experiment has at least two and maybe more explanations: the one that you describe, and the increase in vaporization caused by increased LWIR; where and when water is evaporating, a small increment of LWIR increases the evaporation rate without affecting the rate of heat diffusion from below.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 10:35 pm

Matthew Marler,
“first, balance is obtained over years, not necessarily days”
It depends on the length scale (thermal inertia). People speak of micron layers penetrable by IR; obviously they must balance in seconds or less. In the top 5 cm used for skin effect, a 1 W imbalance will raise the temperature 1°C in about six hours. etc. And so proportional to depth. Top meter, about 5 days. The Tangaroa shows response on a sub-daily scale.
“where and when water is evaporating, a small increment of LWIR increases the evaporation rate without affecting the rate of heat diffusion from below.”
There is no special linkage between fluxes. They interact through the temperature. Evaporation is determined by temperature, wind and humidity, not by some flux calculation. If LWIR increases it will increase surface temperature, which will simultaneously:
1. increase evaporation
2. reduce the temperature gradient in the water, reducing the flux from below
3. increase upward IR.
Each of these changes is determined by the temperature change, and tends to counter it.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 10:51 pm

Nick writes “If down IR increases, the flux from below is affected. That is exactly what the Tangaroa experiment is showing.”
No its not.
If down IR increases AND down SW decreases then the difference between the surface and bulk increases. And that could equally be because the bulk is cooling relative to the surface which will stay warmer until the residual warmth from the bulk has convected to the surface and been radiated/evaporated away. THATS what the Tangaroa experiment is showing.
Its a flawed experiment Nick.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 11:06 pm

Tim,
“And that could equally be because the bulk is cooling relative to the surface which will stay warmer until the residual warmth from the bulk has convected to the surface and been radiated/evaporated away. “
No, it can’t equally be that. Heat from SW is distributed over many metres of depth. Thermal inertia is huge. There is essentially no diurnal temperature variation over most of that range. But LWIR variations affect the surface on short time scales.
I have an early post on this. It shows the extent of diurnal variation with depth.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 11:11 pm

Nick writes “No, it can’t equally be that. Heat from SW is distributed over many metres of depth. Thermal inertia is huge.”
Not true. The moment SW decreases the energy deposited into the ocean slows and cooling immediately starts to take place. Minnett has provided no details as the how he made his measurements so your assumption that the effect is “immediately” measured is just that, an assumption.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 11:24 pm

Nick, you know the temperature profile of the top of the ocean is held at least in part due to the different wavelengths being absorbed at different depths. When that stops, the profile is bound to change.You made the observation yourself at SoD. I remember the thread…

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 10, 2014 12:33 am

“The moment SW decreases the energy deposited into the ocean slows and cooling immediately starts to take place”
It may immediately start. But it will take a long time to get anywhere. I said above to MM that it would take 6 days for 170W/m2 to change a 1m layer by 1°C. For 10 m, that is 60 days. And that is the full flux. A cooling flux could only be a fraction.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 10, 2014 12:46 am

Nick writes “It may immediately start. But it will take a long time to get anywhere. I said above to MM that it would take 6 days for 170W/m2 to change a 1m layer by 1°C. For 10 m, that is 60 days.”
Irrelevent. Its 5cm not 1m and the profile at the 5cm and above changes quickly. Your own graphs (sourced from Wiki I expect) show that. Its only a 0.2C change or less for the vast majority of Minnett’s measurements.

Konrad.
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 10, 2014 12:47 am

Sorry Nick,
gallop around the race course as long as you like, you can never win. Turn the dial on “Flappy-hands” all the way to 11 (hummingbird) and you still can’t escape.
Climastrologists went and treated the oceans as a near blackbody instead of an extreme SW selective surface. You can’t turn back time. You can’t erase the shame. The reality is given 1 bar pressure, our radiatively cooled atmosphere is cooling the oceans from 312K to 288K. The climastrologists you are trying to defend are claiming that the oceans are SW opaque and given 1 bar pressure the net effect of our radiativley cooled atmosphere is to slow the cooling rate of the oceans. The engineers are all laughing at you.
Glue factory time for the racehorse 😉

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 10, 2014 11:30 am

Nick Stokes: If LWIR increases it will increase surface temperature,
That is the part that I am doubting. The effect could just as likely be to increase the excitation state of just “evaporated” water vapor.
Evaporation is determined by temperature, wind and humidity, not by some flux calculation.
Evaporation at a sustained rate requires a sustained influx, without which the temperature will decrease.
Would you happen to have a good reference on the exact changes occurring at the water surface as evaporation is occurring? It seems to me that a key to understanding the effects of CO2 on climate requires knowing more than I have found so far on the effect of downwelling LWIR on evaporation rate, especially by seasons and daytime. To me, too much of the discussion depends on assumptions of “balance” and equilibrium in systems that are never even in steady-state, much less equilibrium. Too much is expected of a 4W/m^2 increase in downwelling LWIR — and several widely cited papers assume a new equilibrium 1C higher than what we have now has already been obtained, and increased evaporative transfer of energy from surface to upper troposphere.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 10, 2014 1:06 pm

MM,
“Evaporation at a sustained rate requires a sustained influx, without which the temperature will decrease.”
How the temperature is maintained is a separate question. That’s the pattern of heat transfer analysis. The heat equation equates the local rate of temperature change to the flux imbalance (divergence). You calculate a temperature field, see how that changes the fluxes, see how that changes the temperatures etc.
To make an economic analogy; if steelmaking expands in China, it tends to contract in the US. The Chinese aren’t interfering with the operation of the US mills. Their production brings down the price. It’s the price drop that affects the US operation. flux~production, T~price.
“Would you happen to have a good reference on the exact changes occurring at the water surface as evaporation is occurring?”
It’s a critical issue for coupled AOGCMs. Heat and mass transfer at the surface. Here is one such. But I don’t think you’ll find much that directly links DWLWIR to evaporation. It’s a key plus of the analytic process that they operate separately, mediated by temperature.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 10, 2014 3:42 pm

Nick Stokes: How the temperature is maintained is a separate question. That’s the pattern of heat transfer analysis. The heat equation equates the local rate of temperature change to the flux imbalance (divergence). You calculate a temperature field, see how that changes the fluxes, see how that changes the temperatures etc.
That does away with incoming radiation absorbed by H2O and CO2 completely, does it not?
Doubling CO2 concentration is said to raise the downward llwir by 4 W/m^2. Is that enough power both to persistently warm the surface and increase the lightning flash rate by 12%? For that we need to know: (a) how much does the increased 2 W./m^2 increase the rate of evapotranspirational energy transfer from the surface and (b) how much does the rate of evapotranspirational energy transfer from the surface have to increase to produce a 12% increase in the lightning flash rate? I don’t think you can get those answers from the heat equation, but I would love to read if someone has done it.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 11, 2014 9:48 am

joeldshore
You make a bizarre statement.
“Since there is a lapse rate in the troposphere, this means emission to space is occurring from colder regions and hence less radiation is emitted to space.”
Under what circumstances would you imagine heat transfer occurring WITHOUT a gradient of hot to cold? “Lapse Rate” is the term for this gradient in the atmosphere. The gradients in combustion engineering are much steeper than in climate science. At higher temperatures, >1000C, there are also a lot more spectral lines than at those seen at the temperatures in the atmosphere. The fact is, that “upward moving effective emission layer” gets to the top of the atmosphere at about 500 bar cm concentration, which on earth is about 800 ppm. Beyond that, there is so little increase in forcing, regardless of how much CO2 you add, that it can be approximated by 0. The methods of combustion engineering generate a forcing curve nearly identical to that found by Ramanathan and those who followed him. There is a relatively small divergence from 200 ppm to 800 ppm. It would nicely explain the divergence we are seeing in the modeled versus real temperatures.

richardcfromnz
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 11, 2014 5:08 pm

Nick Stokes December 9, 2014 at 6:16 am
>’There is no issue about down IR penetrating sea water.”
No there isn’t. But what IR are you referring to? IR-A/B in the DSR spectrum or IR-C in the DLR spectrum. Big difference in penetration depth. Go way down thread to here (note the 2 subsequent corrections):
richardcfromnz December 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/09/arguments-for-and-against-human-induced-ocean-warming/#comment-1812118
>”The sea surface is warm and radiates upward more heat than it receives in sunlight.”
It’s the energy budget that matters. In the in-situ example at the link SSN is 191.5 W.m-2, DLR – OLR (Rnl) is -57.1 W.m-2. Rnl + Hs + Hl is -168.1 W.m-2.
>”It does not need to penetrate. If down IR increases, the flux from below decreases, at the same temperature.”
Huh? “does not need to penetrate”? This is a new thermodynamic principle you’re introducing Nick, are you sure about this?. If no matter has been penetrated, the energy remains as radiation. But the speed of radiation delivery is the speed of light, that doesn’t suddenly stop at the AO interface i.e. it does need to penetrate, or to be reflected, or to be scattered. DSR (IR-A/B) penetrates water 1µm – 1m, DLR (IR-C) penetrates water (3µm – 100µm). See the linked comment above.
>”The sea is warmed by that retained heat.”
No not by “that” retained heat. In the tropical example linked above the ocean sub-surface gains heat because solar ingress is greater than radiative energy and sensible heat and evaporative heat egress from the surface. The excess heat is dissipated away from the tropics where thermal gradients allow.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 4:21 am

Do metal bars evaporate?

Paul
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
December 9, 2014 5:34 am

“Do metal bars evaporate?”
Sure, depends on the metal, and the temperature. Isn’t that how (CO2?) lasers cut metal?

Owen in GA
Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 6:54 am

Mike,
Take a tank of water with the two most accurate thermometers you can find. Place one so it reads the first few millimeters of the water’s temperature (it will have to be an exceedingly small thermocouple device) and the other about a meter from the surface (or more). Insulate the tank from any external heat sources. Place an infrared light above the water shining onto the surface, but high enough not to allow convection from the air to build up. Measure this setup for the next 10 years.
You will find the tank surface temperature is high, but the thermometer one meter down has not changed in any appreciable way. IR does not penetrate beyond the skin of the water.
Repeat the experiment but this time use a broad spectrum visible light source of the same power as the IR source above. You won’t need 10 years to measure the temperature rise.
Repeat the experiment with the same power UV source – temperature rise may not happen if your tank is not deep enough as the higher the energy of the radiation source photons, the deeper the energy deposition peak is. This is well known in radiation physics, but the oceans however, are deep enough for this energy to be deposited well below the surface. If you use gamma rays to heat water, you need a very very deep tank, because their deposition curve places most of the energy very deep. (Of course they are not the significant radiation power intersecting the Earth!)
Now on your metal bar – shine that IR light on that metal bar with a number of thermocouples down its length. If only one end of the bar is in the light beam you will find that the metal does heat somewhat, but the end not in the light barely registers a change. We did that experiment in undergrad lab course and had to get something that would conduct the heat to the rod because the effect was too subtle for our equipment to detect with the heat lamp.

Auto
Reply to  Owen in GA
December 9, 2014 2:51 pm

The thing not apparently understood – by some, although I think the head poster, Bob Tisdale, does understand – is the actual size of the oceans; over a hundred million square miles [the US is about 3 million, the UK les than 100,000].
And some two or slightly more – miles deep.
Over a billion cubic kilometres.
And the entire human race will fit into about one half a cubic kilometre (or a little less, my model doesn’t even use envelope-back precision).
7.5 billion, each at – say 60 Kg = 60 litres (roughly, I know!). Little allowance for infants, the morbidly obese [but – hey. Arm-waving numbers!] . . . .
450 billion litres.
450 million cubic metres.
A kilometre cubed is 1,000,000,000 m3 > so <half a kilometre cubed. ISH-ish.
Send me an envelope, please!
As has been noted – a lot of water to heat . . . .
Auto

Ron McCarley
December 9, 2014 3:48 am

Please answer a question. If NOAA’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Index says that the infrared has increased 1.2 watts from 1979 to 2013, and the Figure 3 graph shows an increase of 0.7 total, doesn’t that imply that at least 60% of the warming is easily attributable to the Sun?

Ron McCarley
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 4:24 am

Thanks. Missed that.

David A
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 4:46 am

Ron, now consider the long term affect of that one 1.2 watts of S/W energy going into the oceans reading here, and here… http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/09/arguments-for-and-against-human-induced-ocean-warming/#comment-1809882 and here… http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/09/arguments-for-and-against-human-induced-ocean-warming/#comment-1809894
please note, it would be vey helpful to know what W/L composed that 1.2 watt increase at the surface, as well as the residence time of that increase in insolation.

MikeUK
December 9, 2014 3:50 am

The greenhouse effect is (just) a load of hot air (hotter than it would otherwise be). The ocean gets warmer (than it would otherwise be) simply because it sits beneath a blanket of warmer air, but it takes centuries for this to happen.
If you don’t believe that go outside naked now (winter) at night, and compare how it feels relative to a similar exposure on a summers night. The only difference is the temperature of the air. You and the ocean cool less under a blanket of warmer air than under a blanket of colder air.

December 9, 2014 3:53 am

One thing that gets my goat sometimes when seeing scientists arguing against the infra-red part of the global warming con, is how complicated they make it. Like this really is a discussion about science. It’s not. It’s a discussion about fraud. You don’t need a 10 page paper on back radiation with a dozen equations and graphs. You just need some basic common sense and some simple observations.
The heat is LEAVING the surface. It is going from hot to cold. It can’t be sent back and even if it could it’s not going to return to make the surface hotter than it was the second visit than it was originally. End of story. The maths and the absorbtion rates and all the rest should be called out for what it is: scientific bullshit!
That this concept was ever even considered by other scientists is a disgrace. Worse that it has been considered that 0.04% of the atmoshere could do it!
Just do a bit of basic thought here. The last 0.9C of warming has been attributed to a 0.012% increase in CO2. However you spin it every molecule of CO2 has been able to absorb enough energy from absorbing a fraction of the energy leaving the surface and redirecting half of it, enabling the heating of the surrounding 8333 molecules!
The post a few days back quoting from Mein Kampf wasn’t out of order. If you want to get away with fooling a large number of people you need to make a lie so outrageous that no one will believe it is possible for anyone to dare to say it if it wasn’t true!
This is such an outrageous lie. Committed by people with PhDs in physics. The king has no clothes on. It’s not “counter intuitive” it’s bullshit!

Owen in GA
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
December 9, 2014 7:02 am

True in part, but if you think of the atmosphere as a large number of shells each at its own temperature, then the surface isn’t truly radiating to the 4K of space, but to the next layer of atmosphere at a temperature, which radiates not to the 4K of space but to the next layer up. This continues until a layer against that 4K of space radiates to it. To me the Greenhouse Effect is just the time constant of all those transmissions eventually to space. The thickness of each of those shells would be determined by how thick is required for a given level of opaqueness to the wavelength in question. That is my oversimplified explanation anyway.

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
December 9, 2014 9:23 am

I tutor physics. My first lesson is “common sense is your enemy”. The heat is indeed leaving the surface. In a simple, static system, the rate it leaves will be constant. The temperature required to achieve that constant depends on what is between hot and cold. If you put something in between that reduces the heat transfer at a particular temperature, the hot side gets hotter to achieve equilibrium. There are a number of mechanisms for heat transfer. Phase change, conduction, convection, radiative. All can be impacted by participating media. This debate is about one specific thing and its impact. It just happens to be the most complicated. Well. Convection can be pretty complicated too. Add in the fact that the system is never at steady state and you start to need many, many pages to describe an unperturbed state. Change something, like CO2 and now you have a peturbed, not steady state system. Common sense is not going to help you.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
December 9, 2014 9:41 am

wickedwenchfan
I think you are confusing conduction of heat with radiation of energy. This is common in posts on this site. It is OK, we are here to help. This is a place of sharing science. Please read the following. This is what you wrote:
“The heat is LEAVING the surface. It is going from hot to cold. It can’t be sent back and even if it could it’s not going to return to make the surface hotter than it was the second visit than it was originally”
Let’s take that one part at a time:
“The heat is LEAVING the surface. It is going from hot to cold.”
Energy that is radiated is not ‘heat’ until it gets to an object. Temperature is a measure of how much energy is contained within some system (like a molecule). Energy can be absorbed, raising the temperature. It can re-radiate that energy and cool down again. The thing being transmitted is not heat, it is energy. Infra red wavelength radiation is just light at a lower frequency. All hot and cold objects radiate energy all the time: hot one to cold ones and cold ones to hot ones. If you raise the temperature of an iron bar to 900 C it will radiate energy in the visible spectrum. The net effect is that a hot object will radiate more energy to a cold one and the cold one will warm. But it is not true that the cold one is not radiating energy to the hot one. It does’ because it does not ‘know’ that the hot object is there. That being the case, if the cold one were even colder, there would be a net cooling of the hot one because it is no longer receiving as much radiation as it was initially from the ‘less cold’ object. The now-colder object in the second example is not ‘sucking’ heat from the hot one causing the hot one to cool faster, it is just not sending as much energy back. This is the ‘effective insulation’ effect Nick was talking about. Anything that interferes with the radiation getting to the cold object and going back to the hot one is ‘insulating’. At the ocean surface, the most important material doing this is water vapour.
The mechanism described by Nick way at the top is correct – the net effect should be insulative, however Old’un an I want to see the numbers. The effect is theoretically real, but we both believe it is it is very small.
>”It can’t be sent back and even if it could it’s not going to return to make the surface hotter than it was the second visit than it was originally.”
That is where you are thinking of a ‘heat conduction’ mechanism and applying it to a radiation case. It doesn’t hold. Heat does not conduct from the cold end to the hotter end of a metal bar, it is true. But there is no Infra Red radiation involved in that case. Step outside into the sunlight. Your body is radiating energy towards the sun and warming it every so slightly. That is just how things work.
Two suns rotating about a common point keep each other warm without any conduction, whatever their temperatures.
Stay well…

Bob Ryan
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 9, 2014 2:19 pm

…and that is what I call a very clear explanation of a very common misconception.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 9, 2014 2:44 pm

“I think you are confusing conduction of heat with radiation of energy.”
That confusion is rife here.
If heat is conducted to the air from the surface it cannot also be radiated to space.
So, 255K from 288K radiates to space but the other 33K holds up the atmosphere via conduction / convection.
That extra 33K at the surface is a result of adiabatically warmed descending air in surface high pressure cells inhibiting convection so that incominmg solar energy can warm the surface above S-B.
The descending warmed air dissipates clouds and so is transparent and at the same time it reduces or reverses the lapse rate slope to reduce or prevent convection.
That is exactly how a greenhouse glass roof works.
The greenhouse effect is a result of the mass of warmed air descending towards the surface over 50% of the globe at any given moment.
As such, the description comparing it to a greenhouse is perfect as would have been known by the meteorologist who first coined it.

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
December 9, 2014 1:46 pm

Absolute nonsense, take a temperature inversion where the air is above the surface temperature and CO2 is emitted at 15 micron and will be absorbed at the surface. In the case of a normal lapse rate the CO2 is cooler than the surface and still emits at 15 micron, that radiation will also be absorbed by the surface. Your bogus argument makes the assumption that the surface ‘knows’ the temperature of the emitter which is absurd.

beng1
Reply to  Phil.
December 11, 2014 7:17 am

And such an inversion can actually produce an anti-greenhouse effect where the CO2 emitting layer is warmer than the surface. Shown in the Nimbus downward-looking IR spectrum of Antarctica.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
December 10, 2014 11:34 am

wickedwenchfan: You just need some basic common sense and some simple observations.
Nothing in nature operates according to human common sense.

David A
December 9, 2014 4:10 am

Regarding…”Reference to fig. 1 shows that the oceans let in visible solar radiation right down to 100 metres depth. However, the oceans cannot radiate from such depths, as infra-red radiation can only take place from the top few millimetres of ocean. Thus, the oceans are also behaving in a greenhouse-like manner, taking in heat and then trapping some of it to cause a temperature rise.”
=======================================================
I just had this discussion with davidmhoffer, beginning here…http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/05/friday-funny-over-a-centurys-worth-of-failed-eco-climate-quotes-and-disinformation/#comment-1808271
and continuing for several successive posts. I called the oceans a GHL (green house liquid) and elaborated a bit on the fact that the oceans are a three dimensional SW selective absorption surface.
Also the energy affected, SW radiation vs. the atmospheric CO2 affect on LWIR, has a very long residence time, thus an equal watt per square meter change can have a FAR greater impact on earth’s energy budget, due to the very long residence time of SW radiation.
BTW, the oceans receive sunlight up to 800′ in depth, and, due to the very long residence time of this energy, the oceans can accumulate far more energy then usually thought based on the long residence time, and decadal changes in insolation. (Just like a very well insulated pot under a very small flame can still reach a very high temperature, over time.)

Bernd Palmer
Reply to  David A
December 9, 2014 10:26 am

David A: “the oceans receive sunlight up to 800′ in depth, and, due to the very long residence time of this energy, the oceans can accumulate far more energy then usually thought based on the long residence time, and decadal changes in insolation.”
So we should be able to measure that heat down to 800′. Can we? Is there a heat profile that we can look at and that conforms your theory?

David A
Reply to  Bernd Palmer
December 10, 2014 12:24 am

Bernd, I do not have theory about the disphotic zone (disphotic means “poorly lit” in Greek) Actually I made a mistake and should have said it extends down to 800 meters, not feet in depth. The temperature is about 39 to 41 degrees, and it is a fairly simple Google search.
As to how much the energy balances of the oceans change over several decades of say weak solar cycles, changing to several decades of strong solar cycles, I do not know. but think, due to the very long residence time of some of this energy, it is worth considering. if I was a “climate scientist” with large grants, I would study such things as the disparate residence time of different W/L solar energy within the oceans.
The potential heating ability of an input is not so much its watt per sq. meter input, as its absolute temperature. In other words a large warmed rock, may put out as much energy as a very small hot flame of equal total energy. However that very small flame, when its input is fed into a very large well insulated pot can eventually bring the water to a far higher temperature. The large warm rock under the same pot, can never bring the water above it own temperature.
I consider it likely that changes in cloud cover amount, and in jet stream location and therefore cloud cover location, will have a greater impact on total ocean insolation. One other criticism of the experiments done regarding ocean T changes to LWIR is that water vapor (even in clear sky conditions) limits surface insolation due to the broad spectrum of absorption of W/V, and, to my knowledge, no measurement of water T change at deeper depth accompanied these experiments.

Konrad.
Reply to  David A
December 9, 2014 2:28 pm

“I called the oceans a GHL (green house liquid)”
I’m stealing that one 😉

David A
Reply to  Konrad.
December 9, 2014 4:53 pm

Konrad, you deserve it. I have a further post to you later tonight, so check back.

David A
Reply to  Konrad.
December 10, 2014 12:48 am

Konrad, I would like your thoughts on some of what I have expressed in this conversation here… http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/05/friday-funny-over-a-centurys-worth-of-failed-eco-climate-quotes-and-disinformation/#comment-1808271
The fact that you have actually made some detailed effort to do these experiments is very commendable.
Please tell me your scientific background. I noticed Nick never answered your post detailing your experiments.
I do not have the scientific capacity to determine if your calculation of the overall affect of the oceans on the average T of the earth are correct. However I have long suspected that the ocean immense heat storage capacity, due to the long term residence time of energy entering it, relative to the shorter residence time of same energy being absorbed on the earths surface, brings in far more net energy into the system then would accrue without them. after all, the land cannot absorb the energy it receives at the tropics, and over long time scales move it to the polar regions to warm them. Of course like many natural processes, there is some unknown degree of Newtonian reactions (For every action there…) which Willis and others have detailed regarding cloud formation and SW energy absorption.

David A
Reply to  Konrad.
December 10, 2014 1:15 am

Konrad, or anyone for that matter, please help me better understand the process of SW absorption into the ocean, and conversion of that energy to heat.
I think the energy from the photon is supplied by a collision within the water, or any particulate within the water encountered, then said molecule is accelerated: the energy that was stored in the photon becomes kinetic energy in the ocean molecule. Is this close to correct?

Konrad.
Reply to  Konrad.
December 11, 2014 2:23 am

David A
December 10, 2014 at 12:48 am
////////////////////////////////////////////////
David, sorry for the slow response, my time has been on the clock the last few days.
”I would like your thoughts on some of what I have expressed in this conversation here… “
Wake up and turn your olfactory attention to nearby caffeinated beverages. DMH is a “sleeper”. Ie: someone trying to pretend to be a sceptic trying to steer discussion back to the “lukewarmer” path.
”The fact that you have actually made some detailed effort to do these experiments is very commendable.”
The experiments have been run at a higher pay grade. What is presented is that which is needed to defeat high school teachers. Kids must be able to destroy the Fabian “long march through the institutions”. The experiments have been simplified so other may easily replicate.
”Please tell me your scientific background.”
Thankfully I don’t have a science background. My first job out of high school was computer programming. Then a decade in physical special effects for film and TV. (yes, I have my StarWars credit). But my university degree and current work is in design and engineering –
http://i57.tinypic.com/2q8n9k7.jpg
– welcome to my day job!
I have 3 collage certificates,
Explosives training from the army,
My SCUBA licence,
A pilots licence,
And an honours university degree in applied engineering.
”I noticed Nick never answered your post detailing your experiments.”
That would be because the “racehorse” has no answers 😉
”I do not have the scientific capacity to determine if your calculation of the overall affect of the oceans on the average T of the earth are correct.”
Ancient Chinese proverb –
“Tell me I’ll forget. Show me I’ll understand. Let me do it, I will know!”
David, I want you to know. I have run those experiments and I have data up the warzoo. So what? A few have replicated, but too few. You want to help David? Think empirical experiment. Remember, that’s what the host of this site did with surface stations. If I am in awe of Anthony’s surface stations crowd sourced project, where should you stand?

gbaikie
Reply to  Konrad.
December 18, 2014 12:46 am

–Konrad, or anyone for that matter, please help me better understand the process of SW absorption into the ocean, and conversion of that energy to heat.
I think the energy from the photon is supplied by a collision within the water, or any particulate within the water encountered, then said molecule is accelerated: the energy that was stored in the photon becomes kinetic energy in the ocean molecule. Is this close to correct?–
Water has molecular structure so a water molecule is not going to accelerate.
I would say sunlight is heating the ocean like a microwave heats:
“In microwave cooking, the radio waves penetrate the food and excite water and fat molecules pretty much evenly throughout the food. No heat has to migrate toward the interior by conduction. There’s heat everywhere all at once because the molecules are all excited together. There are limits, of course. Microwaves penetrate unevenly in thick pieces of food (they don’t make it all the way to the middle), and there are also “hot spots” caused by wave interference, but you get the idea. The whole heating process is different because you are “exciting atoms” rather than “conducting heat.” ”
With microwave oven the microwaves are bounced around until are absorbed and a difference with the ocean it’s a “one pass thru” until there are absorbed or excited atoms.
So with ocean the “hot spots” would be within first 10 meters of the surface but like microwave also heats further down.
And if instead of meters water to warm the sunlight were to only heat say 1 cm thick layer [say a meter under the water, then you get warmer water fairly rapidly rising due to difference of density.
So the ocean is different then say a shallow pond because the sunlight heats at the bottom of pond which then heats water above it which would concentrate the heating and water would convect upward more rapidly.
So with ocean there is meters of depth being warmed fairly uniformly and this inhibits upward convection. Though there is certainly some upward convection.
Also the vast majority of the ocean surface is very clear and transparent water, when one gets closer to coast one gets less clear water and more plant life in the water- and in such water one would have a greater amount of heating nearer the surface [and have more convection of heat].

Global cooling
December 9, 2014 4:17 am

Let’s do some tests.
1) I take a bottle of beer out of the fridge to room temperature. My hypothesis is that it will get warmer.
2) I take a beer in a IR opaque bottle from the bridge to the room. My hypothesis is that it still gets warmer because someone would surely use this thermos bottle if it were working.
3) I use a radiotor to heat a big swimming pool room, pool full of water. My hypothesis is that the temperatures of the air and the water remain approximately the same.

Owen in GA
Reply to  Global cooling
December 9, 2014 7:06 am

Each of your tests rely on conduction of heat as the main gateway for temperature equilibrium.
I have been in many indoor pools where the water in the pool was 72 while the room was nearly 80 degrees, the question is: How long would it take for conduction to give you equilibrium in this setting? It is a great deal easier to heat air then water.

Global cooling
Reply to  Owen in GA
December 9, 2014 4:50 pm

Sure. The temperatures depend on the heating power and volumes of air and water.
Coming back to climate, oceans decrease the temperature range in coastal areas: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/oceanography_currents_4.html . The question of this tread is “how the athmosphere heats the oceans”. We get an idea of durations of warmings, when we look at how lakes warm in springs. It takes months because there is not much energy in warm air to heat large amounts of water.

Global cooling
Reply to  Owen in GA
December 9, 2014 5:03 pm

I forgot the sun, in my reply at 4:50 pm.

TimTheToolMan
December 9, 2014 4:31 am

Minnett’s experiment is flawed. “Figure 1 – The change in the skin temperature to bulk temperature difference as a function of the net longwave [infrared] radiation.”
He is measuring the difference between skin temperature and the 5cm temperature but look at when the vast majority of his readings are taken. During the daytime when clouds cross over. So what happens is the bulk begins to cool as no SW radiation is warming it and relative to the surface the bulk cools so it appears the surface was warming relative to the bulk. But is that really the case? He doesn’t give his actual data so its impossible to know.
If the AGW theory were correct, it would happen at night as much as during the day but his measurements dont seem to show that.

David A
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
December 10, 2014 7:43 am

Thanks Tim, a very important observation.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
December 10, 2014 5:55 pm

Exactly. Seeing what happens at night when low clouds pass over would be the ideal test for isolating the effects of increased DWIR.

Reply to  Ulric Lyons
December 10, 2014 6:13 pm
David A
Reply to  Ulric Lyons
December 10, 2014 8:27 pm

Willis, I agree with, and learned from your link. However I did not see (perhaps I missed) how that link was relevant to the oceans, and the capacity of LWIR to heat below the surface. That it may is likewise not cogent. The question is to what degree, and to what degree does an equal watt per sq meter forcing of SW radiation have within the oceans, and on the surface.
In fact this…”This likely slightly overstates the radiation contribution of the clouds. This is because, although unraveling the effect on shortwave is simple, the effect on longwave is more complex.” I do not now agree with. The posts just below this are cogent to that question.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Ulric Lyons
December 10, 2014 8:48 pm

Thanks but that wasn’t pertinent. An instance of a jump in DWIR at night from incoming low cloud could provide useful measurements of skin and sub surface temperature changes.

Reply to  Ulric Lyons
December 10, 2014 9:07 pm

My apologies, Ulric. My understanding was you wanted to see what happens to DWIR when clouds pass over. However, it seems that you wanted something else, which is fine.
However, no matter what you want to find out, the TAO dataset contains all of the information that you need. The buoys collect both surface temperature and air temperatures as well as DWIR, so you should definitely go and see what you can find out. Let us know the results, it should be very interesting.
All the best,
w.

David A
December 9, 2014 4:37 am

I maintain not all watts are equal. The residence time of energy depends on both the materials encountered, and the WL of the watt under consideration. A law determines this…”“Only two things can change the energy content of a system in a radiative balance; either a change in input, or a change in residence time of some aspect of the energy within the system.”
I have, on the basis of residence time, questioned the veracity of Willis’s proposition that if the watt per square meter down welling LWIR due to clouds, is equal to the same watt per meter down welling SW , sans clouds, then they make the same contribution to earth’s energy budget. I do not think they do. I postulate that the SW radiation will enter the earths oceans to depth, having far longer residence time. I postulate that the LWIR will expend (I am open to how much?) its energy in accelerating the water cycle, reducing insolation to the surface, be lost in evaporation, and released at altitude, to eventually be liberated by GHG molecules, the more numerous, the more likely to be quickly liberated from our system.
Here is a simply analogy on residence time, and how it directly relates to heat capacity…
Numbers are simplified to a ten basis, for ease of math and communication. Picture the earths system (Land, ocean and atmosphere) as a one lane highway. Ten cars per hour enter, (TSI) and ten cars per hour exit (representing radiation to space.) The cars (representing one watt per square meter) are on the highway for one hour. So there are ten cars on the highway. (the earth’s energy budget)
Now let us say the ten cars instantly slow to a ten hour travel time. Over a ten hour period, the energy budget will increase from ten cars, to 100 cars, with no change of input. Let us say we move to a one hundred hour travel time. Then there will be, over a one hundred hour time period, an increase of 990 cars.
The longer the residence time on the highway, the more cars.
Of course the real earth has thousands of lanes traveling at different speeds, and via conduction, convection, radiation, evaporation and condension, albedo changes, GHGs, etc, etc, trillions of cars constantly changing lanes, with some on the highway for fractions of a second, and some for centuries, some slowing down the traffic on certain lanes (The CO2 affect at 15 microns) but at the same time limiting input to other slow traffic lanes, (W/V reducing surface insolation even in clear sky conditions.) Also The sun changes WL over its polarity cycles far more then it changes total TSI. Additionally the sun can apparently enter phases of more active, or less active cycles which last for many decades.
Such thoughts caused me to question the disparate contributions to earth’s total energy budget of SWR verses LWIR.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  David A
December 9, 2014 8:42 am

I disagree. A watt IS “A” watt. If I have 100 watts in a bag,I have 100 watts. It does not matter where they are in the bag, I have 100 watts.
That is how much energy there is in this “system”
The distribution does not change the total. And the total is what matters,verdad?

Neil
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
December 9, 2014 9:18 am

How big is your bag? If it’s a few microns across, you have a catastrophic amount of energy there. If the bag is a couple of thousand square miles in area and a couple of miles deep, your 100 watts doesn’t amount to much.

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
December 9, 2014 9:29 am

Watts are not energy, but power, energy over time, Btu/english hour or kJ/metric hour.

Nigel Harris
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
December 9, 2014 9:32 am

You can’t have Watts in a bag. Watts are a measure of power, not energy. Watt-hours in a bag, or joules in a bag might make some sense. But Watts would be a measure of how rapidly you let them out of the bag.

mkelly
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
December 9, 2014 12:37 pm

If you have Watts in a bag let him out he needs to run this blog. 🙂
Not true about a watt is a watt. If true the hottest place on earth would be at the bottom of the antenna of a 50000 watt radio station. But it is not because those watts cannot heat air etc.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
December 9, 2014 4:53 pm

Thanks N,n, N, and m. What I am saying is that the EFFECT of a watt on a particular object is dependent on many varibles, but if you are totaling the wattage in a system,a watt IS a watt.
Or do two skinny watts equal a fat watt? (;<)) Please, no fatwas….

Konrad
Reply to  David A
December 9, 2014 3:49 pm

David,
You are entirely correct, to our SW translucent oceans, all watts are not equal. For the empirical proof of this see “selective surface experiment 1” posted up thread.
SW radiation has a far greater heating effect in the oceans than can be shown by incorrectly applying S-B equations to translucent materials.

David A
Reply to  Konrad
December 10, 2014 1:57 am

Thanks Konrad, I looked at experiment one. Again I note Nick was non responsive to your experiment. The normal in this discussion is to assume either A, LWIR cannot heat the oceans period, or B, LWIR does heat the oceans. (I always thought the pure black and white assertions unscientific. The question to be answered regarding A is how much of the LWIR energy goes into evaporation, relative to same energy input of disparate SW insolation. Your experiment begins to answer that. Think what you could do with several million dollars in funding available and with the massive astronaut pools to modify and experiment in. Through varying the translucence of the pools you could mimic the oceans varying temperature, placing hundreds of instruments to measure T and evaporation rates, subject the pool to disparate W/L mimicking solar cycle changes, and S/W vs LWIR, etc.
It is easy to estimate (as your experiment demonstrates) that the vast majority of LWIR goes into evaporation, and perhaps logical to assume that the closer the surface is to evaporating an ever higher percentage of the LWIR goes into more evaporation Did you quantify the evaporation rates in your experiments?
At any rate you are welcome to use the acronym GHL, instead of “deep convecting intermittently illuminated SW translucent oceans”, but you will likely have to explain the latter regardless.
Cheers
David A

December 9, 2014 5:06 am

Thanks Bob – I always value your work – and wish you could get a critical review paper published somewhere in the journals. When researching ‘Chill’ I came across two sets of data that easily showed that ‘global warming’ between 1980-2000 was not global….in terms of ocean heat content (and later redistribution) the warming was held primarily in the northern ocean gyres and by increasing the depth of warm water. What caused the oceans to warm was also clear: a 4% drop over two decades in low-level reflective cloud cover (data from International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project). This is confirmed by the NASA data for SW radiation reaching the global surface – which had an excess of 2-4 watts /square metre over the same period, compared to the 1 watt computed for LW radiation due to GHGs (which I think is computed for the Top of the Atmosphere). Cloud cover rebounded by 2% in 2001/2002, and of course, that is when global temperature rise ‘stalled’.
I would like to see someone gather the regional cloud data, surface flux and upper ocean heat content – this would readily show that GHGs were not the main driver and of course invalidate the pronouncements of the IPCC to that effect. I suppose that is why nobody with the resources to do so, has done so. I don’t have the resources.
Having shown that GHGs are unlikely to be responsible for the warming of the North Atlantic, Lozier comments (perhaps wryly)
‘The overall North Atlantic heat-content change, equivalent to an average increase in the surface heat flux of +0.4 W m–2, is the same sign yet slightly below the lower estimates of anthropogenic-induced radiative heating, ranging from +0.6 to +2.4 W m–2 since 1750 (19). Presumably, other parts of the global ocean and climate system have taken up the remainder of the excess heat input. ‘
Lozier’s paper shows a recent cooling of the sub-polar gyre – in terms of heat content. That means the heat has gone into the atmosphere thus warming northern regions (Arctic meltdown!) but once this heat source is run down, Arctic temperatures will fall and the ice-rebound continue – all except one Arctic temperature record (in Norway) show recent falls, for longer the further one gets from the Norwegian Sea current that brings warm water to the Arctic Ocean. If recent trends continue, the summer sea ice will be back within ‘normal’ bounds within five years. I think that is more likely than continued warming and ice-loss.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Peter Taylor
December 10, 2014 6:27 pm

Hi Peter.
I am expecting a sharp increase in negative NAO through the next 10 years, which would give a renewed warming of the AMO, and likely more ice loss in some summers than 2007 or 2012. This would fit the natural pattern of the AMO being out of phase with solar cycles when in its warm mode:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-amo/from:1880/mean:13/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1880/normalise

MikeB
December 9, 2014 5:20 am

Electromagnetic radiation is a wave motion which transports energy by means of self-propagating electric and magnetic fields. This is true whether the radiation is infrared, visible light, X Rays, radio waves, microwaves etc.
When radiation strikes the surface of a material one of three things may happen.
1. It may be reflected, in which case it continues in a new direction with its energy conserved.
2. It may pass through the material, like light through a window, radio waves through the walls of a house or like X-rays through your body.
3. It may be absorbed by the material.
Often a combination of these effects apply.
In the third case, when radiation is absorbed, the energy it conveys is also absorbed. Energy must be conserved and, most commonly, the absorption of radiation causes the absorbing material to heat up. However, when radiation is absorbed by the ocean, some of the energy may be used evaporate water and in this case the energy supplies the latent heat of evaporation, instead of heating.
But there is a limit to this. The proportion of energy used for evaporation is governed by the temperature and the partial pressure of water vapour above the water (humidity).
If all the energy of ‘back-radiation’ (324 watts per square metre of ocean) were used for evaporation then there would be a hell of a lot of water in the atmosphere. What is more, water vapour in the atmosphere eventually falls back to earth as precipitation (rain, hail, snow) and we don’t get that much precipitation on this planet. We know how much precipitation we get globally throughout the year; it is equivalent to a latent heat input about 80 watts per square metre of Earth surface. So most of the infrared radiation must be warming the ocean, not evaporating it (this is without even accounting for the effects of direct solar radiation).
.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 12, 2014 6:33 am

Nice try, MikeB. Where in my post or in any of the documents linked in the post did anyone state, suggest or imply that all “the energy of ‘back-radiation’ (324 watts per square metre of ocean) were used for evaporation”?
Just a few posts above yours it was stated that the ‘vast majority of LWIR goes into evaporation’ and that is a common theme when this subject is discussed here. So I suggest you stop being so snarky and address that point.
David A December 10, 2014 at 1:57 am
It is easy to estimate (as your experiment demonstrates) that the vast majority of LWIR goes into evaporation, and perhaps logical to assume that the closer the surface is to evaporating an ever higher percentage of the LWIR goes into more evaporation Did you quantify the evaporation rates in your experiments?

Robert B
Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 7:04 pm

That 80 watt/m2 is for about 1m of precipitation averaged over the globe for the year. An extra half a watt because of a warmer atmosphere equates to about an extra 7-8 millimeters of rain on average. How do you know that didn’t happen?

Leonard Weinstein
December 9, 2014 5:38 am

Bob,
On average all heating energy of the oceans is due to absorbed sunlight (neglecting the small heating from below the ground). The loss of this energy occurs three ways: conduction to the air (followed by convection), evaporation, and radiation (some direct to space, and some to be absorbed by the atmosphere). All of the loss processes occur at the surface. While there are cases (especially night and higher latitudes) where the sea is colder than the air, on average (long term and globally), the sea is warmer than the air. The only effect of back radiation is to add some energy to the surface, which reduces the net radiation loss. There never is an increase in absorbed net energy, only solar energy is the cause of net energy absorbed. It is the outgoing energy balance that is modified. This reduction in net radiation then requires that more conduction and evaporation occur to maintain the long term balance, which also results in an increase in the average altitude of final radiation loss to space. This increase in altitude in conjunction with the lapse rate is the cause of any increase in temperature. Obviously long term storage and currents make local and shorter term energy levels go out of balance, but I am only referring to long term overall balance.

Joseph Murphy
Reply to  Leonard Weinstein
December 9, 2014 5:59 am

If the primary result of increased GHGs is increased evaporation, it would seem to me that the change in cloud cover (and direct heating from SWR) resulting from this would trump any warming caused from the returned LWR for long term overall balance.

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  Joseph Murphy
December 9, 2014 8:09 am

There is no returned NET energy from back radiation. There is energy, but it results in a reduction in NET radiation out, not a NET gain in. It is in effect radiation heat transfer resistance. Since total energy out has to equal input on average, this results in a required increase in evaporation and conduction/convection. You have to consider NET HEAT TRANSFER not individual sources of energy transfer. The equation for radiation heat transfer has both an outgoing and incoming term, but the net is always from hotter to less hot, and the net radiation out is always reduced (on average) by back radiation.

mkelly
Reply to  Joseph Murphy
December 9, 2014 12:48 pm

Leonard W. Says: “…the net radiation out is always reduced (on average) by back radiation.”
I disagree. The net “heat” transfer is reduced, but the amount of radiation leaving the hotter object stays the same depending on its temperature.

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  Joseph Murphy
December 9, 2014 2:52 pm

MKELLY,
Do you not understand the word NET. It is the radiation out minus the absorbed radiation.

mkelly
Reply to  Joseph Murphy
December 10, 2014 9:43 am

Leonard what stated is true and what you stated is not. The radiative heat transfer equation shows that if two objects are the same temperature then ZERO heat is transferred but both continue to radiated as before based on their temperature.

December 9, 2014 5:38 am

The oceans are of course a greenhouse material in their own right and largely control the temperature of the air above:
http://www.newclimatemodel.com/the-hot-water-bottle-effect/
Bob’s findings sit squarely within the proposed sequence of events set out in my New Climate Model:
1) Solar activity increases, reducing ozone amounts above the tropopause especially above the poles.
2) The stratosphere cools. The number of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere increases due to the increased solar effects with faster destruction of ozone.
3) The tropopause rises, especially above the poles altering the equator to pole height gradient.
4) The polar high pressure cells shrink and weaken accompanied by increasingly positive Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.
5) The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move poleward and the ITCZ moves further north of the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle increases due to the cooler stratosphere increasing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.
6) The main cloud bands move more poleward to regions where solar insolation is less intense and total global albedo declines via a reduction in global cloud cover due to shorter lines of air mass mixing.
7) More solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as the subtropical high pressure cells expand.
8) Less rain falls on ocean surfaces allowing them to warm more.
9) Solar energy input to the oceans increases but not all is returned to the air. A portion enters the thermohaline circulation to embark on a journey of 1000 to 1500 years. A pulse of slightly warmer water has entered the ocean circulation.
10) The strength of warming El Nino events increases relative to cooling La Nina events and the atmosphere warms.
11) Solar activity passes its peak and starts to decline.
and the process reverses when the sun is quiet.
http://www.newclimatemodel.com/new-climate-model/

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
December 9, 2014 9:52 am

Stephen, here is the link for your point 2:
http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~qblu/qblu_website/Welcome.html
See the graphic at the top right.
I hope those looking for a solar-temperature correlation read the papers below (some are dead links).
His prediction (well, the prediction based on the mechanism) is holding up well on an annual basis. Bottom line: 50-70 years of cooling ahead.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 9, 2014 10:01 am

Thanks Crispin.

Joseph Murphy
December 9, 2014 5:48 am

Thanks Bob, very interesting. A lot of things to consider.

M Courtney
December 9, 2014 6:20 am

Figure 4 and this statement:

That lack of warming to depths of 2000 meters for two ocean basins that cover 2/3 of the ocean surface (North Atlantic and Pacific) is hard to reconcile in a world where greenhouse gases are said to be well mixed, meaning they’re pretty well evenly distributed around the globe.

That’s saying a lot. It may not be the focus of the post but it deserves more attention.
If CO2 is not well-mixed then we know nothing about it’s effect on the climate – our understanding and even measurements would be just wrong.
If CO2 is well-mixed then it has no effect one the climate relative to natural variation – because the ocean’s are big.
Can we have a further post focussing on this disparity?

Nigel Harris
Reply to  M Courtney
December 9, 2014 6:49 am

CO2 is known to be well mixed. There are both temporal and spatial variances in temperature that completely dwarf any effect that CO2 might have in the short term or in a particular location. The typical temperature variation between day and night, or between winter and summer daytime temperatures is vastly greater than the most alarming projections of future climate change.
But the existence of such short term and local effects does not falsify the idea that increasing GHG concentrations could cause a gradual, long-term rise in overall surface temperatures. Because of the large diurnal, annual, chaotic and localized temperature fluctuations that are a natural part of the earth’s system, any such gradual, long-term temperature increase could only be detected by looking at long-term, globally averaged temperatures.

M Courtney
Reply to  Nigel Harris
December 9, 2014 7:30 am

Because of the large diurnal, annual, chaotic and localized temperature fluctuations that are a natural part of the earth’s system, any such gradual, long-term temperature increase could only be detected by looking at long-term, globally averaged temperatures.

Why globally averaged temperatures?
If the oceans are behaving independently then the global average is meaningless.
That was my point. Either CO2 concentration is being mis-measured or the oceans are… or CO2 is pretty much irrelevant.

mikewaite
Reply to  Nigel Harris
December 9, 2014 9:00 am

But is it well mixed? It was only last month that we were all entertained by NASA Goddard’s simulation run of daily CO2 (natural and man-made) changes around the globe (for a 2005/7 period).
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/18/who-needs-an-orbiting-carbon-observatory-when-you-can-model-of-carbon-dioxide/
It attracted a lively discussion and some not wholly respectful comments, but also gave rise to the suggestion that short term CO2 differences in quantity and persistence definitely exist between the NH and SH and therefore the corresponding ocean basins. People were , I got the impression , waiting for the new satellite data to resolve that question. Has that appeared?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Nigel Harris
December 9, 2014 9:53 am

CO2 is not well mixed at the local level. I have measures >1100 ppm in cities.

JCH
December 9, 2014 6:44 am

Leonard Weinstein’s – if the effect you are describing were perfectly offset by increased evaporation, meaning, I believe, the oceans would experience no greenhouse effect at all, would the heat content of the oceans be significantly different? If so, in what direction and by approximately how much?

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  JCH
December 9, 2014 8:12 am

The heat content of the ocean is continually increasing slowly as a recovery from the long colder glacial period ending 11,000 or so years ago. There are some up and down trends, but on average it is slowly up.

beng1
December 9, 2014 6:44 am

Thanks Bob. I trust you as much as anyone concerning this. The issue doesn’t concern the total GHG effect, but it very much concerns the issue of how much GHG warming can “hide” in the ocean & hugely affects transient & equilibrium climate responses to forcing.
Mods: I’m beng but had to change my name ’cause my email changed.

Alberta Slim
December 9, 2014 7:06 am

I would like an answer to the following.
First though, here is what the UN IPCC keeps telling us; Global warming/climate change is human induced by the release of CO2 into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.
OK. Here is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from man burning fossil fuels.
Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere = 0.04% which = 0.0004 of the atmosphere.
Man-made CO2 is 3% of that which = 0.0004×0.03 = 0.000012.
Burning fossil fuels is about 50% of that.
Therefore: The amount of man-made CO2 from burning fossil fuels is about 0.000006 of the atmosphere.
How does this amount of CO2 override natural climate change?
AND.. that; the Sun, Milankovitch cycles; continental drift; volcanism and earthquakes are irrelevant,

Reply to  Alberta Slim
December 9, 2014 2:39 pm

“Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere = 0.04% which = 0.0004 of the atmosphere.
Man-made CO2 is 3% of that which = 0.0004×0.03 = 0.000012.”

The 3% figure is nonsense. 0.04% of the atmosphere corresponds to about 800 Gtons carbon. We’ve burnt about 400 Gtons.

peter azlac
December 9, 2014 7:41 am

Hi Bob, another interesting post. You ask whether you have missed any other factors that can impact the distribution of ocean heat and I can think of at least three:
First the impact of changes in solar activity on the site of formation and warming of ozone in the stratosphere and its effect on surface pressure, largely through changes at 65 S in the Southern Ocean where due to the trajectory of Earth around the Sun some 90+ W/m2 are input in the southern summer than the northern
http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrsp-2007-2&page=articlesu11.html
http://www.space.dtu.dk/upload/institutter/space/forskning/06_projekter/isac/wp501b.pdf
http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/climate-disaster-declining-rainfall-rising-sea-levels/
http://joannenova.com.au/2013/10/solar-effects-seem-to-shift-wind-and-rainfall-patterns-over-last-3000-years-in-chile/#
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/03/new-paper-finds-another-solar.html
Ozone depletion trumps greenhouse gas increase in jet-stream shift
Second the Lunar cycles, especially the Saros cylce that affect the flow of ocean and atmospheric tides with each 18 some year cycle linked to the time it takes for this southern ocean heat to reach the northern latitudes where it has the effect you describe with a probable link to ENSO cycles.
LOD and Climate Cycles Geophys. J. R. aslr. SOC(.1 976) 46,555-573
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/evidence-that-strong-el-nino-events-are-triggered-by-the-moon/#more-19477
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.fi/2014/10/new-paper-finds-lunar-tide-cycle.html
Third, is also the effect of solar activity on the solar insolation at the surface.
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/05/new-paper-finds-large-increase-of-solar.html
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.fi/2014/06/new-paper-finds-solar-control-of-clouds.html
This is just a sampling of papers in these areas. Perhaps you or others could comment on the relative importance of these factors to that of changes in the Trade Winds due to convective effects.

David in Texas
December 9, 2014 7:59 am

“Based on the findings at RealClimate, that rise in infrared radiation could only warm the sea surfaces by a little more than 0.002 deg C since 1979. Yet, looking at the global sea surface temperature data, Figure 2, the surfaces of the global oceans warmed more than 0.3 deg C from 1979 to 2013, leaving about 93% of the ocean surface warming unexplained.”
Just using those two sentences, it calculates at 99.3%, not 93%. Am I missing something? Anyone?

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  David in Texas
December 9, 2014 8:15 am

The back radiation does not directly result in ocean heating. Only the absorbed solar energy heats the ocean. Since the oceans cooled during the last glacial period, they are slowly warming this interglacial.

Editor
Reply to  David in Texas
December 9, 2014 8:19 am

Is it 0.002C a year?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Paul Homewood
December 9, 2014 9:54 am

No chance, not enough energy.

Reply to  David in Texas
December 9, 2014 2:34 pm

David in Texas,
“Just using those two sentences, it calculates at 99.3%, not 93%”
The two sentences are nonsense. The RC graph shows the difference between surface and 5cm depth, not SST. SST can warm without changing that difference.

richard verney
December 9, 2014 8:18 am

Bob
“INFRARED RADIATION CAN ONLY PENETRATE THE TOP FEW MILLIMETERS OF THE OCEAN SURFACE AND THAT’S WHERE EVAPORATION TAKES PLACE”
///////////////.
It is important to get it right. It is microns, not millimetres. That is a substantial difference.
SEE: http://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/dlr-absorption-ocean-matlab.png
Whilst the above plot suggest that approximately 60% of LWIR is absorbed within 3 microns, one has to bear in mind that that is perpendicular depth, ie., LWIR, interacting on a perpendicular basis, whereas DWLWIR is omni-directional such that as regards DWLWIR bearing in mind that much of DWLWIR will have a small grazing angle, without doing the maths, it is easy to see that we are talking about approximately 80% of all DWLWIR is fully absorbed within just 3 microns of ocean!
Even on K & T’s average figures for DWLWIR of 333 watts per sq.m, that is a heck of a lot of energy.
As I have been commenting on this site for many years, if DWLWIR is capable of sensible work and is absorbed in accordance with the optical absorption characteristics of LWIR in water there is so much energy being absorbed in the first few microns that it would result in more than 15 metres of rainfall annually (which is not happening) UNLESS the energy being absorbed in those few microns is dissipated to depth at a speed greater than that which would drive evaporation.
The problem is what is the mechanism,by which the energy is dissipated, and at what rate is it dissipated?
The energy cannot be dissipated to depth by conduction, since the energy flow/flux is upwards at the very top of the ocean, and unless we are wrong in our understanding as to how conduction works, the energy absorbed in the first few microns cannot swim against the tide of the upward energy flux. SEE: http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/oceans/additional/science-focus/modis/MODIS_and_AIRS_SST_comp_fig2.i.jpg .Thus conduction cannot be the mechanism..
Two other mechanisms are put forward:-
First wind, waves and swell are said to mix the energy, but there are problems with this. (i) It is a slow mechanical process, (ii) there are periods/conditions where there is all but no wind, and waves etc to perform the mixing, eg BF3 and below.. (iii) in very severe conditions (BF8 and above) the top of the ocean becomes a divorced layer of wind swept spray and spume which would act like a LWIR block and energy absorbed in the water droplets that form this wind swept spray/spume would power evaporation and power the storm clouds raging above the ocean well before the divorced layer reunites with the ocean.
Second there is ocean overturning but this is not only a slow mechanical process, it appears to be a diurnal process. It is difficult to see how this process can dissipate the energy absorbed within the first few microns at a rate fast enough to prevent rapid and copious evaporation from the very top of the ocean.
Life would not be possible on planet Earth if the absorption charcteristics of solar in water were similar to that of LWIR. We are fortunate that sunlight penetrates to depth, with muuch of the solar energy being absorbed at a depth of 50cm and below such that the energy being received from the sun is dissipated (and thereby diluted) over a substantial volume of water so that it can slowly heat the ocean.

Bart
Reply to  richard verney
December 9, 2014 8:58 am

Something which cannot go on forever, won’t. It seems you are ultimately focusing only on heating mechanisms. But, at some point, that energy has to be released back again, or the oceans would boil. It cannot simply all, or mostly, go into the depths somehow.
I have not thought about this as deeply as you, but my initial reaction would be that perhaps surface wind carries most of the energy away.

Bruce Cobb
December 9, 2014 8:27 am

I am definitely in favor of the idea of human-induced ocean warming, as it could help stave off the coming cold period, and maybe even postpone the next ice age indefinitely. But it would seem enormously expensive so doesn’t look to practical at this time.

Paul Linsay
December 9, 2014 8:35 am

Bob,
In your section “WHAT CAUSES THE WATER TO “PILE UP”, INCREASING OCEAN HEAT CONTENT?” you describe another process similar to the one that causes El Nino. This indicates to me that there may be a number of charge-discharge oscillator processes that can cause sudden changes in atmospheric temperature. There may even be areas where cold water is sequestered and is suddenly discharged to create a drop in temperature. (I know, cold water sinks, but humor me).

December 9, 2014 8:51 am

Thanks, Bob. An excellent post, lots to learn.
The NAO index can be seen at the KNMI:
http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icpc_nao.png

phlogiston
December 9, 2014 9:05 am

“Rising” OHC “recorded” by Argo should be called the “Josh Willis” warming.
Incredible that the world’s best ocean temperature data is in the hands of a PhD student with a talent for data manipulation.

george e. smith
December 9, 2014 9:24 am

Well for the record, I am against human induced ocean warming. Seems like a sheer waste of energy to me, and we don’t have energy to spare just to warm the ocean.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 9, 2014 1:12 pm

Those who want ocean warming should move to a Caribbean island. The waters of St John,V.I. are my favorite ocean warming spot.

Crispin in Waterloo
December 9, 2014 10:11 am

Bob, there is repeated here and there the thought that there are only two mechanisms for ocean cooling: radiation and evaporation. The discussion proceeds as if 90% is lost by evaporation therefore 10% goes out by radiation. Not so fast…
There are four ocean surface cooling mechanisms. Three are common to all objects in contact with an atmosphere: conduction (through still air), radiation and convection (which is a form of conduction but treated separately as ‘mass transfer’). Oceans also cool by evaporation. That makes 4.
If 90% of heat is transferred away from the ocean by evaporation, there is still conduction into the air (very small as air is a good insulator with poor conduction characteristics that vary with humidity). There is radiation which tends to be a small percentage of heat lost from an object. And finally there is convection whereby a mass of air is moved against a warm(er) object and energy is transferred to that air mass making it warmer.
I don’t see conduction and convection covered in the discussion. Having done these calculations I am willing to ignore the conduction portion, but I insist that convection of heat from the surface be given a little credit. Yes a moving air mass evaporates water, but after saturating, a cold, wet air mass can still pick up huge amounts of heat by mass transfer (which is called convective heat transfer).
This energy is transported high into air where it is released by the usual cloud and rain mechanisms. I don’t think the IR transfer rate (net) from the surface is as high as people are saying it is. For one thing, there is a heck of an IR absorber just above the surface in the form of a very wet (GHG) layer of air (with a tiny amount of CO2 in it, of course).

Editor
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 9, 2014 10:58 am

Crispin in Waterloo – Speaking to Bob Tisdale.
(Addressed also to Willis E.)

Bob, there is repeated here and there the thought that there are only two mechanisms for ocean cooling: radiation and evaporation. The discussion proceeds as if 90% is lost by evaporation therefore 10% goes out by radiation. Not so fast…
There are four ocean surface cooling mechanisms. Three are common to all objects in contact with an atmosphere: conduction (through still air), radiation and convection (which is a form of conduction but treated separately as ‘mass transfer’). Oceans also cool by evaporation. That makes 4.

OK, then.
Let us get the actual (well, calculated numbers for all four at least): I think you will find that the “easy answer” that “everybody uses” is correct, but only for limited times and under very, very limited circumstances.
So: Calculate the 4 heat losses for four situations:
1. Tropic ocean: warm water (25 deg C), warm air (25-30 deg C), medium to high humidity air (65-85% RH), modest winds, scattered clouds with irregular completely clear skies. Very high solar angles, very low air mass, very high insolation.
2A. Gulf Stream or mid and south Atlantic, Mid latitudes: Modestly warm water (15 – 20 deg C), cooler air that will be both hotter or colder than the water temperatures, lower humidity air (45-60 % RH) , modest winds, again clear skies (No clouds, little haze). Medium solar angles, medium air mass => medium insolation values.
2B. Gulf Stream or mid and south Atlantic, Mid latitudes: Modestly warm water (15 – 20 deg C), cooler air that will be both hotter or colder than the water temperatures, lower humidity air (45-60 % RH) , modest winds, but now cloudy skies (Fully overcast clouds, mid-altitude haze). Still medium solar angles, medium air mass => medium insolation values but ALL diffuse radiation.
Less incoming IR. Outgoing LW radiation now ???. Much less radiation loss. Less evaporation loss.
3. Arctic/Antarctic (non-stormy): Cold water (2-4 deg C), Cold air (10 to -10 deg C), low humidity (10 – 25% RH), low winds, very clear skies, very low solar angles = very high water albedos, very high air masses => very low insolation values.
Just for consistency: Assume 2-4 m/sec winds for all cases.
Give sources for your assumed coefficients of convection and conduction heat transfer coefficients.
Show your work.
8<)

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  RACookPE1978
December 9, 2014 8:31 pm

RACook
I was well into a reply and lost it (argh).
I have been thinking of things much closer to the surface so I had better explain myself better. There is a supersaturated layer of air just above the water with water vapour condensing and water evaporating continuously. The amount depends on the temperature. When this layer is blown away, evaporation is much more efficient. AS a heat conducting layer, it is quite efficient, far better than dry air.
The swimming pool people have a good set of formulas that are relevant to evaporation involving wind and as evaporation from a pool is ‘a cooling’ (evaporative cooling) it would be helpful when setting up this calculation (which I will not attempt).
There are three methods here http://cwanamaker.hubpages.com/hub/Determine-Evaporation-Rate-for-Swimming-Pool and a table is needed for the saturation vapour pressure http://cwanamaker.hubpages.com/hub/The-Amazing-and-Remarkable-Properties-of-Water about halfway down.
My approach was going to be very different. We are looking for a bounded range for the convective transfer portion (to get an idea of scale).
An alternative is to consider Prandtl’s approach of considering the thin layer at the water surface as ‘different’ and considering the free space above as infinite. This means we might be able to treat wind speed as a temperature change, not ‘cooling by impacting the surface’. Not sure but in the latter case we could treat the first 0.1 or 1 mm of air as saturated, conductive and passing heat to the atmosphere. All convected heat has to pass into the air through a ‘thin’ boundary layer, at least in simplified thinking which is adequate for an otherwise unsolvable problem (Bejan 2005).
How’s this as a start:
Wind speed, 0 m/sec
Water temperature, 18 C
Air temperature 16 C
Emissivity 0.98
Convection coefficient for gases 20 W/m2·K (I am not sure of this value for wet air)
SB Constant 0.0000000567
Convection = (Water T-Air T)*Conv Coeff
Radiation = SB*Emissivity*((Water T+273)^4-(Air T+273)^4)
Loss by radiation 11 watts/m2 = 21.3%
Loss by convection 40 watts/m2 = 78.7%
So it would appear that the convective heat transfer is very important even with only a 2 degree difference in water/air temperature and no wind. If evaporation is 90% (claimed above) and 4/5 of what is left is convection, there is only 1/5 of 10% leaving by radiation – 2% of the total. Wow.
I think the 90% is highly variable. But at a very modest 2 degree difference, convection dominates the non-evaporative portion.
Changing the Delta T to 3 degrees gives a 50% increase in both to a total of 76 Watts/m2
16 degree air over a 21 degree ocean (night) loses 127 W/m2 and the ratio is nearly the same.
-20 C air over a 4 deg ocean transfers 579 W/m2 and the radiation component drops to 17% of the total.
Conclusion: Assuming non-evaporative cooling is 100% lost by radiation is probably not representative of what is taking place. Generally speaking, increasing the wind speed increases the cooling rate. The formula for ‘wind chill factor’ might be incorporated into this. Above a certain speed at the surface, energy transfer would be limited by heat conduction vertically through the water.
Caution: This may be completely wrong – I was unable to locate a fully representative energy transfer function representing large scale air flow over open water that incorporated evaporation and surface cooling.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 9, 2014 9:00 pm

Bob,
Ooh, that is interesting. Are you saying that the 100 watts is directly turned into evaporation at the surface?
If so there is 80 W left to ‘get back’.
If 90% is also from evaporation (possible?) then that is 72 W
4/5 of the remainder is convection = 6.4 W
1/5 of remainder is radiation = 1.6 W
That may seem very low, but it should be remembered that there is a gigantic GHG effect in the first few mm of the atmosphere because the air is saturated/super saturated with water vapour. I can’t see CO2 any difference larger that a spit in the ocean.
If the 100 W is evaporation after entering the water to some depth, the adjust the numbers above accordingly.
Given my example above, if I set the water to 16 C and the air to 12.8 the loss is 80 watts, with radiation being 21% of it or 16.8 W.
Interestingly, leaving the water at 16 and raising the air temp to 21, the convective transfer to the water is 100 W/m2 assuming there is not evaporation (saturated air, as in a rain storm).
I found another calculator for swimming pools at http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/evaporation-water-surface-d_690.html
It says that with 25 deg water and 25 deg air, and the air at 50% humidity, wind at 2 m/sec it will cool evaporatively at 405 W/m2. Dang.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 10, 2014 8:32 am

Bob T
I remain worried that the IR from the water vapour at the surface is not being considered. Also the recondensation of water vapour at the surface is a way to increase the IR up without increasing evaporation. I think the 100 watts you have there is ‘net’, correct? The actual amount of energy involved in what amounts to a very short heat pipe mechanism is larger, and increases the IR from the ‘region of the surface’.
This impacts my straw man calculation but I didn’t think deeply about how.
Per my comment to Willis on the ‘average’ evaporation, I get 80 watts global average for 1 metre of evaporation so his 70 is believable with is lower precip number. I read once evaporation is 2 metres but if rainfall is only 1 that can’t be right. Two metres of evaporation average is 160 watts. Your 100 watts is 1.25m evaporation. Still in the ballpark. I don’t like this ‘average’ business. What is DWIR in the major tropical evaporation zones, and what is the evaporation?

David A
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 11, 2014 5:01 am

The warmer the average T is, the higher the percentage of any increase in DLWIR will go into evaporation. The relationship cannot be linear correct?

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 11, 2014 3:34 pm

David A December 11, 2014 at 5:01 am Edit

The warmer the average T is, the higher the percentage of any increase in DLWIR will go into evaporation. The relationship cannot be linear correct?

It’s not linear, as you suspect it rises faster at higher temperatures. See my post, “Marginal Parasitic Loss Rates“.
w.

dorsai123
December 9, 2014 10:16 am

lots of theories but no definitive experiments in those studies … if IR can’t penetrate then IR CAN’T heat what it hasn’t penetrated … yes the water that is heated by IR can then heat the next layer … but that dies out pretty fast … its amazing to me that this is being debated when it should be possible to experiment and turn theories into facts one way or another …

December 9, 2014 10:52 am

Excellent post Bob! There should be a “start here” link to this for anyone who wants to discuss ocean warming.

MikeB
December 9, 2014 11:05 am

For people who are still stuck or decoyed by the ignorati think of it this way. (where is Konrad by the way?)
The surface temperature of the oceans is, on average, about 14 degree C. I do not know the exact value, Bob probably does. But I do know that the ocean surface approximates to a blackbody in the infrared region. We see its emission from space and it accords with a blackbody. According to Kirchoff’s Law, this means it will also absorb as a blackbody.
A body at 14 degree C will emit at about 390 watts per square metre (another Law established in the 19th century but seemingly unknown to many here). If it loses heat at the rate of 390 watts per square metre, then how does it maintain its temperature? It can only do that by absorbing at least 390 watts per square metre from somewhere else (or is that to hard?)
The solar radiation absorbed at the surface is about 170 watts per square metre. Obviously, that is not enough to replace the energy lost by radiation alone, is it? Never mind convection and evaporation losses.
OK, there is some heat input from the hot planetary core. This amounts to a staggering 0.08 watts per square metre. Let’s agree this is insignificant.
So how does the ocean maintain its temperature? What is the other heat source? There is only one contender.
Have you worked it out yet?

Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 12:04 pm

MIkeB, You are in appropriately clinging to a radiative balance hypothesis and totally ignoring the well known physics of heat sequestration in the ocean that are the important dynamics here. To understand those dynamics, the analyses must be local as each ocean basing, each gyre will store and ventilate heat differently. The saltier Atlantic stores more heat at depth than anywhere else, and that can not be explained by CO2.
Solar heat is absorbed in the tropics to excess, and there solar radiation is more in the range of 500 to 800 W/m2, or more in cloudless regions. Evaporation causes more dense saline warmer water to sink below the surface and thus the heat is now stored, and that heat may remain stored at depth for decades. Tropical rains and summer surface warming stratifies the oceans. Mode waters are warm subsurface waters that are typically ventilated during the winter, when the upper strata cools and sinks, allowing mode waters to reach the surface and ventilate some heat. Winter storms help ventilate that heat but it takes at least 1-3 years to ventilate the initially stored heat. Climate outside the tropics depends on how that stored ocean heat is transported poleward via ocean and atmospheric currents as illustrated here http://landscapesandcycles.net/image/91464625_scaled_495x288.png
As Bob has pointed out. The ocean is virtually opaque to infrared. Once heat is stored below the surface, it is not radiating infrared back t space. So who are you slandering by calling them the “ignorant”? Your blackbox concept is not appropriate in this discussion.

george e. smith
Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 12:06 pm

Kirchoff’s law, is only valid for systems that are in thermal equilibrium. And when that is the situation, the absorbed and transmitted radiation must match at every single wavelength. There cannot be a send / receive unbalance at ANY wavelength.
And I don’t believe it applies to any radiation; just thermal (BB like) radiation. It is a thermodynamic macro property, and doesn’t apply to atomic and molecular line spectra, which depend on atomic structure.

MikeB
Reply to  george e. smith
December 10, 2014 2:57 am

Most things that are not actually changing temperature can be considered to be in thermal equilibrium as long as the thermal inputs on them are in a steady state. The ‘thermal equilibrium’ rule allows Kirchhoff’s Law to be proven by a simple mind experiment, logic alone, with no need for experimentation. I think there is such a proof in Wikipedia somewhere.
Even where this is not the case, once it is established that an object can radiate at a particular wavelength in thermal equilibrium it will be able to radiate at that wavelength when not in equilibrium. Or is that a step to far for you?
Kirchhoff’s Law applies to all electromagnetic radiation. It is universal. It also also applies to line spectra.
Here is an image showing absorption and emission spectra in the visible spectrum. See how the emission lines and absorption lines match. ( I don’t know what the intervening gas is for this diagram but the yellow line looks like sodium).
http://nptel.ac.in/courses/105104100/lectureD_19/images/2.jpg

Bart
Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 1:30 pm

MikeB @ December 9, 2014 at 11:05 am
I would quibble with a few of your comments, e.g., “We see its emission from space…” – we don’t, because a big divot is taken out by the atmosphere. But, near surface measures of emissivity typically put it in the range of at least 85%, and generally closer to 95%, across the frequency range. Not, however, from all aspect angles, so there is some reduction from there, too.
But, I agree with the larger point – there is an energy imbalance which cannot be reconciled without considering atmospheric absorption.
This does not, however, address the question of whether IR radiation specifically heats the ocean to depth.
It is also the case that,while atmospheric IR absorption undoubtedly heats the planet beyond what it otherwise would be, it does not necessarily follow that an incremental increase in IR gases will always produce an incremental increase in surface temperatures within the local neighborhood of a particular climate state.

MikeB
Reply to  Bart
December 10, 2014 3:01 am

We see its emission from space through the ‘atmospheric window’.. From that we can detrmine its temperature.
You are correcdt we cannot see the surface through the greenhouse gas absorption bands
.

Reply to  Bart
December 13, 2014 5:09 am

MikeB, not sodium that would have a yellow doublet, without wavelength calibration it’s difficult but it looks most like helium.

Edim
Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 1:54 pm

http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/sites/default/files/article_images/components2.gif
The heat source is the absorbed solar energy (by the surface, which is ~51% of the incoming at TOA, which is ~340 W/m2). The surface loses heat by evaporation (23%), convection (7%), LWIR to the atmosphere (15%) and LWIR directly to space (6%). These are global averages (land and ocean) and are not very accurate. Oceans only is similar.

Konrad
Reply to  MikeB
December 9, 2014 3:58 pm

Right here laughing at you Mike 😉
The oceans are a SW selective surface not a near blackbody. The sun alone would drive them to 335K were it not for atmospheric cooling. Now how does the atmosphere cool?
Have you worked it out yet?

MikeB
Reply to  Konrad
December 10, 2014 3:05 am

So why do you think “the ocean surface approximates to a blackbody in the infrared region” refers to SW radiation?

December 9, 2014 11:31 am

That argument then continues that additional infrared radiation from anthropogenic greenhouse gases can only add to surface evaporation, and cannot heat the oceans.

The ocean has evaporation before the additional infrared radiation. Let us call that “Ev1”. The additional infrared radiation causes an additional evaporation which we can call “Ev2”.
This Ev2 causes an additional humidity in the air just above the surface which is leading to a decrease in Ev1. This reduction in Ev1 leads to an increase in the ocean temperature.
It is quite easy to set up an experiment showing that an increase in infrared radiation can increase the temperature in a bucket of water. I hope some of the contributors here can do it. I am more than willing to help in the setup.
/Jan

george e. smith
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
December 9, 2014 11:57 am

Then you do it and come back and tell us how you did heating the bucket of water with your hair dryer.

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
December 9, 2014 1:36 pm

Better yet, try heating that bucket of water using a real near BB radiator that is emitting LWIR about like the atmosphere; such as a 16 [ounce] bottle of water chilled to about 14 deg C. That is what is “beating down” on the oceans like a infrared blow torch to warm the oceans.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 9, 2014 1:43 pm

Hair dryer give warm wind, not IR.
But an electric terrace heater would do.
Two equal buckets or large glasses with water should be used and one of them should be shielded from the IR.
Like this:comment image

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
December 9, 2014 3:02 pm

The “downward” LWIR that is supposed to be warming the surface, including the ocean has an equivalent black body Temperature of around 288 K emitting about 390 W/m^2 at a wavelength peaking at about 10.1 microns.
The experiment sources you propose operate at a good fraction of the sun’s surface Temperature and have radiances that are thousands of times higher than the atmosphere.
I don’t know what sort of hair drier you use, but mine has a fan I can turn off when I don’t want hot air, and then it emits near IR radiation. (much higher radiance than the atmosphere, and much higher photon energy).
To do a realistic LWIR heating experiment, you have to use a radiation source that is at 288 K and emitting about 390 W/m^2 at a 10 micron peak spectral wavelength.
To do otherwise is scientific fraud.

richard verney
Reply to  george e. smith
December 9, 2014 4:02 pm

As George points out, one has to do one’s best to recreate the 288K IR heat source.
Jan, I would suggest that rather than usuing your electric IR heater, you should use a 1.4m by 70cm flat panel water radiator (ie., one that has an area of about 1 sq.m) which should be painted black and filled with water at 14degC. If you like you should insulate one side of the radiator so as to slow heat loss, leaving exposed only the flat side that is painted black. This panel will then be radiating at 288k such that it will be replicating the equivalent atmospheric DWLWIR.
Get two identical buckets of water at 20degC, one being placed underneath the radiator but with sufficient gap so as not to impede convection, and note the time each takes to cool.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 10, 2014 1:24 pm

To do a realistic LWIR heating experiment, you have to use a radiation source that is at 288 K and emitting about 390 W/m^2 at a 10 micron peak spectral wavelength.

Yes, and to do it even more realistic we should also use a 2000 meter water column instead of the glass and let the experiment go on for three decades.
But that is not very practical. The experiment I sketched is easy to do, and it will answer the question of whether it is possible to heat water with infrared radiation to the surface. If the answer is “No” there is no reason to go further.
If the answer is “Yes”, one can set up a more refined experiment to see whether there is a cutoff on some temperature or frequency or whether there is a linear or non-linear decrease with the temperature of the source.
/Jan

David A
Reply to  george e. smith
December 11, 2014 5:18 am

Jan, you would be warming the glass sides, which would be conducting into the water, vastly different then the oceans. Have you looked at Konrad’s experiments?

Reply to  george e. smith
December 13, 2014 1:05 pm

Thanks David, you are absolutely right.
The setup should be modified to shield the [glass] sides. Tgis could be done with [for] instance a cardboard with hole for the water surface on top of each glass. The reason for having an identical plate on the glass already shadowed by the plywood is to let the glasses be as identical as possible.

Latitude
December 9, 2014 12:39 pm

first you have to start out with a temperature increase…that’s smaller than what can be measured
..how precious

Gerald Machnee
December 9, 2014 1:29 pm

RE”
————————————————–
Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 at 6:16 am
Bob,
In a post way too long, you’ve devoted far too much space to some very silly arguments. There is no issue about down IR penetrating sea water. The sea surface is warm and radiates upward more heat than it receives in sunlight. If it were not for down IR, it would cool rapidly. Down IR maintains heat flux balance at the surface. It does not need to penetrate. If down IR increases, the flux from below decreases, at the same temperature. The sea is warmed by that retained heat.
—————————————————-
Unless Nick can provide information from a competent Oceanographer such as Dr. Robert Stevenson to back up his musings, I suggest that they are similar to his pea moving motions he has been exhibiting at CA in the last week. For more information read: http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/ocean.html.
The statement “The sea surface is warm and radiates upward more heat than it receives in sunlight” is bunk. The reason land surfaces and sea surfaces increase in temperature is they receive more energy from the sun than they radiate. This can happen when daylight is longer than darkness so there is a net gain during the day which is also cumulative over a summer season when days are longer. When days become shorter there is a net loss. We call that winter. So the northern oceans cool in the winter when they lose sunlight. The amount of sunlight received is decided by the time of year and amount of cloud. Down IR does not prevent the ocean from cooling as it cal only go down millimetres or microns. Oceans close to the tropics do not change much in temperature as the days do not change much in length. The oceans and lakes cool slowly because they radiate IR from a depth of a hundred or so metres. They CANNOT cool rapidly. By the same token as the shortwave radiation has to penetrate a hundred metres or so, they will also warm slowly in the spring and summer. Land surfaces only radiate from the surface so can cool rapidly in one night as well as containing much less energy in those few centimetres of surface. The ground then cools downward by conduction. Similarly land surfaces warm rapidly during the day because the heat is not transferred rapidly downward as the ground is a good insulator.

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
December 9, 2014 9:16 pm

Gerald, that was a good reply to the nonsense, “The sea surface is warm and radiates upward more heat than it receives in sunlight”. I couldn’t believe that Nick would say something like that.

MikeB
Reply to  Chad Jessup
December 10, 2014 3:54 am

You couldn’t believe it. Wow!
It’s back to the drawing board then for Science.

Matthew R Marler
December 9, 2014 1:33 pm

Bob,
Another good post. Worth the read. About this coefficient 0.002K/(Watt/m^2) change in surface temperature with increased LWIR — has that been published in a refereed journal. It would be good to have a citation other than a blog.

davidmhoffer
December 9, 2014 1:58 pm

Nick Stokes December 9, 2014 at 6:16 am
There is no issue about down IR penetrating sea water. The sea surface is warm and radiates upward more heat than it receives in sunlight.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Where? And when?
If everything was an average, then the above would be true. But everything isn’t> and average, and the relationship between T and P isn’t linear, which makes averaging an even worse idea.
The oceans in the tropics absorb more energy than they radiate. In the polar regions, the opposite is true. The part in between is fuzzy depending on season and time of day. So Nick’s blanket statement above may be true on some level, but you’ll have trouble finding any specific spot on earth that follows that model.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 9, 2014 2:54 pm

David,
Poleward heat fluxes are small compared to the radiative fluxes (100s W/m2) described here. Fig 2.17 here puts it at 2 PW max. Divide that by ocean area and it’s about 7 W/m2. OK, some areas will be more affected, but again, it’s 2 PW max. It’s a small and fairly steady imbalance.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 4:32 pm

Its hard to trust your link in figure 2.17 that argues deep water formation in the North Atlantic is the driver of poleward heat transport. The authors have confuse cause and effect. That poleward transport is wind driven and pushes more mass poleward. Mass balance requires a return but not the depth of that return. It doesn’t matter of there is deep water convection or mid-level feeding the return. The winds will continue to determine the poleward transport, and the winds are driven by solar heating. The paleoclimate evidence is the opposite of what your link suggests.There was higher poleward heat transport during the Roman and Medieval Warm periods and higher insolation . And during low insolation during the Little Ice Age, there was a 10% reduction in poleward heat. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7119/full/nature05277.html

davidmhoffer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 5:13 pm

Well here’s a different figure. Oceans absorbing 90 w/m2 more than they radiate in the tropics, and radiating 100+ more than they absorb in the arctic regions.
http://eos.atmos.washington.edu/cgi-bin/erbe/disp.pl?net.ann.
And you don’t divide by the ocean AREA to get the flux in W/m2, you divide it by the CROSS SECTION.
But you still get the same answer. The radiative equilibrium you describe doesn’t exist in any body of water anywhere in the world. Oh some temperate loctions may achieve this for a brief period of time once in the spring and once in the fall…. for a few hours.

davidmhoffer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 5:33 pm

Nick,
I looked at your Fig 2.17 some more and thought to myself, assuming this figure is correct, what conclusions could I draw from it? The oddity is that the atmosphere’s pole ward energy transport is so much bigger than the oceans. How could that be? The oceans cover 2/3 of the earth surface, they absorb S/W to hundreds of meters down, they have a heat capacity 1200 times that of the atmosphere, how could energy transport in the oceans be so much less than the atmosphere?
Well here’s a thought. All that LW energy coming down from the GHE hits the ocean surface which responds by saying h*ll no, you ain’t comin’s in here, you’re going right back into the atmosphere and I’m sending some water vapour to escort you out. Poof, the majority of the LW then HAS to be transported poleward via atmospheric processes because the oceans just won’t let the LW in directly.
Note, I said directly. There’s an awful lot else going on of course, its the indirect effects that we don’t fully understand.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 5:57 pm

David,
“And you don’t divide by the ocean AREA to get the flux in W/m2, you divide it by the CROSS SECTION.”
No, we’re looking for the imbalance the flux creates for each m2 of ocean surface. In fact, poleward transport is a small effect compared with, say evaporation.
I tried your link; it gave six choices of format, but said they were all unavailable.
As to why the atmosphere carries more – well, that’s what the measurements say. I guess winds blow faster and in more organised convection cells (Hadley).

davidmhoffer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 6:03 pm

Nick Stokes;
I tried your link; it gave six choices of format, but said they were all unavailable.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Try this one:
http://eos.atmos.washington.edu/erbe/
Then click on net radiation, annual, 2nd from the top, left hand side.

davidmhoffer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 6:12 pm

Nick Stokes:
No, we’re looking for the imbalance the flux creates for each m2 of ocean surface. In fact, poleward transport is a small effect compared with, say evaporation.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Such evaporation would be primarily driven by….?
But that’s beside the point. Your claim was that the oceans are in radiative balance, and that may be true on an annual basis across all the ocean area, but at any given point in space or time that is almost NEVER true. It doesn’t matter if evaporation is bigger or not, it still isn’t true, and treating it like an average is just misleading as there is so much else going on.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 10, 2014 7:09 pm

jim Steele
December 9, 2014 at 4:32 pm
“The paleoclimate evidence is the opposite of what your link suggests.There was higher poleward heat transport during the Roman and Medieval Warm periods and higher insolation.”
GISP cools in the 1st to 4th centuries, that’s the RWP, GISP then warms ~390-540, that’s the Dark Ages cold period, it then cools in the 8th and 9th centuries, which was some of the warmest of the MWP period for Europe. A number of mid latitude regions show a sharp cooling-drying in the late 10th and parts of the 11th centuries, that’s the next warm spike in GISP. The Minoan [Warm] Period on GISP (1350-1150 BC) is easily verified as a very cool-dry period for the mid latitudes.

richard verney
Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 9, 2014 4:13 pm

I have been trying to explain that to Willis on many occassions, when we have argued the pros and cons of the gross and net energy budget. As you no doubt recall Willis adopts the view that DWLWIR must be heating the oceans otherwise they would freeze, but comes to such conclusion by setting up a circular argument on gross energy flows. The relaitywould appear to be that the oceans are losing the net energy out. .
You cannot deal with averages. The equatorial and tropical oceans receive a huge amount of solar energy, far more energy than they lose, and this excess energy is distributed predominantly polewards keeping high latitudes warm and polar oceans largely ice free in the summer when the poles additionally receive sufficient solar energy. When the poles do not receive sufficient of the additional solar energy, the polar oceans begin to freeze.

December 9, 2014 3:03 pm

What the co2 driven global warming advocates don’t discuss is that if the ocean has started eating global warming since the trade winds changed during the negative phase of the ocean’s ~60 year multi-decadal cycles, they also emitted excess energy during their positive phase from 1975-2005. The implication is that the oceans are capable of storing energy on long timescales, and releasing it on long timescales too. And they store a lot of energy. The top two metres alone contain as much energy as the entire atmosphere above.
We know that the oceans keep the air temperature up over night as the release some of the energy the Sun poured into them during the day. We also know that there is a lag of a couple of months between the longest day of the year and the peak in surface air temperatures near coasts. This is thermal inertia and heat capacity at work. On longer timescales, we have recently confirmed that runs of El Nino events which release a lot of energy from the oceans are initiated on the falling side of the solar cycle, never on the upswing.
So we can go a stretch further and combine what we know. When solar activity falls, energy comes out of the ocean, not just over the period of the decline of a single 11 year solar cycle, but if the Sun stays low in activity terms, for many years. An integration of the sunspot number shows us that the ocean heat content rose all the way from 1934 to 2003. This is the real cause of ‘global warming’. A lot of excess energy is still retained in the upper ocean. We can expect the effect of a couple of low solar cycles to be softened by a proportion of that excess heat returning to space via the atmosphere warming it on the way.
In developing my understanding of the Earth’s systems, I developed a couple of very simple models to help me fathom the way the surface temperature stays fairly constant as the solar cycles wax and wane. Back in 2009, by analysing the data, I found that the global average sea surface temperature, the SST, stays fairly constant when the Sun is averaging around 40 sunspots per month. By calculating the running total departing from this figure in a simple integration I found that combined with the ~60 oceanic cycles (also solar influenced), I could reproduce the temperature history of the last 150 years quite accurately. By adding in a nominal forcing for co2 (or an allowance for the infamous ‘adjustments’ to the data), I was able to get a match to monthly data which has a Pearson R^2 value of 0.9.
The above is part of an article ROG TALKBLOKE wrote from his web-site talkblokes talkshop.
I think this article presents a strong case for solar/ocean connections.

Leonard Weinstein
December 9, 2014 3:23 pm

Nick Stokes Dec 9 at 1:58
Nick, it is true the sea is warm enough to radiate up more than the absorbed sunlight, but you have cause and effect backward. The NET radiation up is well less than the absorbed sunlight, so conduction/convection and evapotransporation are needed to balance the outgo with input. The downward IR is absorbed at the surface where the upward radiation emits from, and the effect is exactly like putting a layer of selective insulation that only blocks part of the radiation. If you put a layer of regular insulation on a heater, resulting in the heater running hotter for a fixed power level, you would not call this heating by the insulation. The net radiation is the only quantity important to determine the amount of evaporation and conduction/convection that is needed. It is movement up of the level of radiation out of the atmosphere, and the lapse rate that caused the atmospheric greenhouse heating.

Leonard Weinstein
December 9, 2014 3:24 pm

Sorry, that is Nick at 6:16 am, not 1:58

December 9, 2014 4:11 pm

Leonard Weinstein
“but you have cause and effect backward”
Actually, here I’m not concerned about cause, just effect. If the nett flux in the water is upward, there is no need for DWLWIR to penetrate; it just makes up the surface balance (along with, as you say, evaporation and convection).

richard verney
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2014 4:33 pm

Nick
Just do the calculation.
According to K&T the average DWLWIR is 333 watts per sq.m. The optical absorption of LWIR in water is such that 60% is fully absorbed in 3 microns. SEE: http://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/dlr-absorption-ocean-matlab.png
Due to the omni-direction of DWLWIR it is more like 80% of DWLWIR that will be absorbed in just 3 microns.
One need not take into account the solar energy, since virtually no solar is absorbed within the first 3 microns, so for present purposes it can be ignored..
Accordingly, we have somewhere between ~200 watts per sq.m (ie., 60% of DWLWIR) to ~266 watts per sq.m (ie., 80% of DWLWIR) being absorbed in just 3 microns of ocean.
So what happens to the 200 to 266 watts per sq.m of energy which is absorbed in the first 3 microns?
What are the physical proceeses involved, and the speed/rate at which they occur, which prevent the ocean being boiled off from the top down?
I suggest to you that when you stop and consider what is going on, it is difficult to envisage that DWLWIR (if it possesses sensible energy in the environ in which it finds itself) is being absorbed by the oceans as you contend. May be there is some form of photonic exchange, but absorption of energy (other than solar at depth) there does not appear to be.
As I noted in my previous comment, we are lucky that all but no solar is absorbed in the top dozen microns of the ocean, and that the energy received from solar is dissipated and thereby diluted over a volume at least 10,000 times that in which LWIR is absorbed.

Reply to  richard verney
December 9, 2014 5:26 pm

richard verney December 9, 2014 at 4:33 pm
“Just do the calculation.”

No need. K&T have done it. Yes 333W/m2 down, globally, but near enough for ocean. 396 up IR, 161 absorbed solar, 80 evap, 17 convection. 494 down, 493 up. All balanced at that 3μ surface layer. It’s balanced for land too, which really is opaque.
The only difference for ocean is that the 161 W/m2 is absorbed at depth, and returns to the surface via turbulent advection, with a skin effect T differential. Incidentally, that proves that down IR could be absorbed; it’s just a reverse pathway. But it isn’t. There’s nowhere for the heat to go.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  richard verney
December 9, 2014 9:09 pm

Yeah Nick, do the calculation.
I put up a straw man calculation above. Have a look and offer an alternative that drives a different conclusion.
Crispin in Waterloo

Reply to  richard verney
December 10, 2014 1:43 am

Crispin,
Your calc is dependent on 2 dubious numbers:
1. Convection coefficient for gases 20 W/m2?K
I don’t believe there is any single number that would define convection over a wavy surface. And I’ve no idea where you got that one from.
2.Radiation = SB*Emissivity*((Water T+273)^4-(Air T+273)^4
That assumes the same emissivity for air and water. Far from true. Water is fairly black to IR, but air has, apart from anything else, the atmospheric window. K&T set this flux to 396-333. You can’t just assume that away.
As a sanity check, your calc should allow for the known precipitation (evap) of about 950 mm globally.
The alternative is K&T.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  richard verney
December 10, 2014 7:31 am

Nick, you criticized the straw man but you didn’t show a calculation. Are you going to sit on the sidelines?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  richard verney
December 10, 2014 8:22 am

Nick re the emissivity of water and air:
The air is supersaturated in the region of interest. The water vapour and or condensed droplets will have an emissivity similar to that of water. I think that is a reasonable approximation. Using the emissivity of dry air would be very misleading.

richard verney
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 10, 2014 1:59 am

Nick
I guess that none of us are surprised that you chickened out, and did not do the calculation, and that you were unable to answer the question, and instead sought to duck it..
All you have done is state the gross energy flow. The gross energy flow proves nothing other than if you add ‘X’ to both sides of an equation, the equation still balances.
The heat transfer/heat loss from the ocean is governed by the net energy flow (not the gross energy flow). The reality is that the ocean only wants to give up a very little of its energy because the atmoshere above the ocean is at very nearly the same temperature as the ocean itself.
My question is simple, if approximately 250 watts per sq.m (from DWLWIR) is truly being absorbed in the top 3 microns of the ocean, what happens to that energy?
How much evaporation would that amount of energy drive, unless that energy was dissipated/sequestered to depth, and thereby diluted by volume, at a rate quicker than the energy would drive evaporation?
What are the physical processes and mechanisms involved in dissipating/sequesting that energy to depth, and at what rate do those processes operate?
I await your answers to the actual questions raised.

Reply to  richard verney
December 10, 2014 3:40 am

Richard,
“My question is simple, if approximately 250 watts per sq.m (from DWLWIR) is truly being absorbed in the top 3 microns of the ocean, what happens to that energy?”
The answer is simple and it comes from K&T. And I said it. The top three microns absorbs in total 494 W/m2 from down fluxes and gives out 493 W/m2 in up fluxes (the discrepancy is probably rounding). That 250 W/m2 is part of the 494 and is balanced by other fluxes. That is what happened to it.
There is a wrinkle in that the down solar flux is not absorbed directly in that layer, but lower, from whence the heat returns through the water, mostly by turbulent transport. But it’s the same flux (the heat was conserved), so the layer still balances.
It’s a thin layer, so any imbalance leads to rapid heating or cooling, which brings the fluxes back into balance. Comes a cloud – more DWLWIR. Temp rises, more evap, more emission, and critically, the steep T gradient at the top of the water lessens, reducing flux from below. These negative feedbacks quickly control the temperature rise and restore the flux balance. It’s the same mechanism that enforces Kirchhoff’s rule, say, in circuit theory.

gbaikie
December 9, 2014 4:58 pm

“Phrased differently, sunlight can warm the oceans to depths of 100 meters, but the oceans can only release heat at the surface. ”
So the ocean is not a gas- not a greenhouse gas. So if assume ocean are part of Earth greenhouse effect then the theory of greenhouse effect is wrong:
“The surface temperature of this hypothetical planet is 33 °C below Earth’s actual surface temperature of approximately 14 °C.The mechanism that produces this difference between the actual surface temperature and the effective temperature is due to the atmosphere and is known as the greenhouse effect”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect
Though one modify the Greenhouse effect theory to include oceans as well as the atmosphere. But if so, then one should ask how much of the 33 C is warmed by the ocean greenhouse effect.
As rough guess it seems the ocean works better as greenhouse effect as compared to the atmosphere, so in terms of how much, it could 50% or more of the 33 C added,
And then if consider that water vapor is most of greenhouse effect of atmosphere this is only allowing a small amount warming from all other greenhouse gases.
It also seems to me that much of pseudo science of climate science say water vapor is not a Forcing agent, but the ocean has as much effect as the atmosphere on earth greenhouse effect
then water vapor become a major “forcing agent”.
Anyhow, it seems once you acknowledge the world’s Ocean is also greenhouse effect, one has thrown a huge monkey wrench into Greenhouse effect theory, requiring major overhaul or a simple rejection of the theory.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  gbaikie
December 9, 2014 9:21 pm

gbaikie
There is no need to ‘reject’ the hypothesis. It is just incomplete. The 33 degrees is probably not correct. No big deal. We are not endangered by that error. This idea that water vapour ‘is not a GHG forcing’ is a blatant error. If there were no CO2 at all in the atmosphere we would not be 33 degrees colder because even very cold air sublimates water vapour from ice and it would accumulate, creating an H2O vapour Greenhouse effect. But it is O3 (ozone) that would play a very big role (people forget).
Because the atmosphere is strongly self-regulating within temperature limits, probably by adjusting clouds, there is no reason to suppose that removing all CO2 would create snowball earth (which existed in the presence of CO2 at one point). It would kill almost all life on earth, of course were it to disappear.
I remember when water vapour was being touted as ‘only a feedback’. It was always a ridiculous proposition made by people desperate to shore up the untenable hypothesis that CO2 dominates everything to do with earthly temperature.

gbaikie
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 10, 2014 6:41 pm

–There is no need to ‘reject’ the hypothesis. It is just incomplete. The 33 degrees is probably not correct. No big deal. We are not endangered by that error. This idea that water vapour ‘is not a GHG forcing’ is a blatant error. If there were no CO2 at all in the atmosphere we would not be 33 degrees colder because even very cold air sublimates water vapour from ice and it would accumulate, creating an H2O vapour Greenhouse effect. But it is O3 (ozone) that would play a very big role (people forget).–
In terms general understanding, maybe not big deal. But in terms of science, or terms of predicting
the future [which what science does] it is a huge deal. The idea of predicting century in the future is perhaps unwise in any circumstances, but if say trying to predict 10 years it’s a big deal.
Yes I agree that CO2 should not b interpret as controlling the entire 33 C of greenhouse effect and that one has to have some water vapor even at very low temperature.
But there are experts of climate science who do believe everything hinges on the forcing affect of CO2. Which is not too surprising and is related to another false idea that CO2 can cause a runaway effect in warming
Or if believe in potential of runaway warming effect from CO2, it follows “in this logic” that it also runs away in the opposite direction with the lack of CO2.

December 9, 2014 6:18 pm

This shows heat uptake over the past 40 some years and I believe it is from IPCC AR5:
http://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/blog/climate-at-imperial/files/2014/09/Figure-1-heat-taken-up.jpg
Roughly put, it is says that the CO2 caused the atmosphere to acquire 2.5 ZJs. At the same time the oceans acquired 250s ZJ. That 100 times the effect on the ocean surfaces, as compared to the TOA seems difficult to believe. If the case was the oceans had stayed at the same heat content, then that 250 ZJs likely would’ve passed through the TOA, and if it did not, it would be quite warm. I don’t get how CO2 can trap so much more heat in the oceans than it does in the atmosphere? I think the more likely answer is a decreased albedo and/or a recovery from a cooler time. Thanks Bob Tisdale for this post.

richardcfromnz
December 9, 2014 8:40 pm

>”INFRARED RADIATION FROM MANMADE GREENHOUSE GASES HAS INCREASED SINCE 1979,”
Yes but only by about 0.3 W.m-2/decade lately (CO2). DLR is about 333 W.m-2 global average according to K&T. There is no consistent rise globally, can be up and down regionally (see BSRN, SurfRad), but about 2 W.m-2 global average increase last 2 decades 1990 – 2010 (Wild – see below).
DLR (global average 333) components from Wang & Liang (2009) – (see below):
Major
1) Air temperature
2) Clouds (liquid H2O), Water Vapour (gaseous H2O)
Minor
1) CO2 (6 W.m-2 @ 1976 US Standard Atmosphere)
2) The rest of the GHGs.
DLR rise from GHGs is negligible in the context of total DLR.
Solar Surface Radiation (SSR) change is much greater (Wild – see below) than DLR due to Dimming/Brightening.
>”WHILE TOTAL SOLAR IRRADIANCE HAS DECREASED. THEREFORE, INFRARED RADIATION CAUSED THE OCEAN WARMING”
Incredibly ignorant argument thermodynamically. Yes TSI peaked 1986 but the subsequent decrease is minimal i.e. the ocean (now only the Indian due to currents) is still gaining solar-sourced heat (not so much Pacific and Atlantic) and will continue to until solar levels fall appreciably, say post 2020. And the atmospheric response is not instantaneous. X.H. Zhao and X.S. Feng (2014) find the multi-millennial solar-temperature lag to be 30–40 years. Therefore a millennial solar peak at 1986 should be followed 30 – 40 years later by an atmospheric temperature peak around 2016 – 2026 once oceanic lag (mostly heat transport away from tropical warming) is accounted for and ignoring oceanic oscillations. Once the 40 year lag has elapsed, no more atmospheric warming from the 1986 solar peak, and no GHG warming of the atmosphere either (thermodynamically impossible – a perpetuum mobile otherwise).
Credible solar predictions for 1986 – 2050 in view of current observations vary as follows
W.m-2
-1.26 Krivova et al., (2007)
-2.55 Lean (2000)
-5.70 Abdussamatov (2012), mirrors Shapiro et al (2011) historical.
Much more on all of this in comments at Robin Pittwood’s Kiwi Thinker blog post:
‘An Empirical Look at Recent Trends in the Greenhouse Effect’
http://www.kiwithinker.com/2014/10/an-empirical-look-at-recent-trends-in-the-greenhouse-effect/
Many, many, papers linked including those dealing with the above. Also an in-situ study of west Pacific tropical heat budget (‘Warm-layer, cool-skin’, Fairall et al, 1996). Also citations supporting only 10 micron DLR penetration of water.
Those that venture there will notice the solar scenario at the bottom. Turns out Steinhilber and Beer’s (2013) prognosis is not credible. Neither is the IPCC’s AR5 scenario of course. I’ve put it all together and sent it to Jo Nova. Maybe she will make something of it – watch that space.

December 9, 2014 9:36 pm

This subject seems to be not agreed upon and I wish it could be resolved. Attributing the last 40 years of OHC gains to CO2 means that the next 40 years will be about the same as the CO2 effect is not going to diminish. The problem solves itself or pushes itself quite a distance into the future. We can now avoid 250 ZJs of heat over the next 40 years by doing nothing with CO2 mitigation. CO2 saves us by keeping the heat where it really doesn’t matter for I’d guess a few centuries.

richardcfromnz
December 9, 2014 9:58 pm

Bob, re:
“AIR-SEA FLUXES ARE THE PRIMARY MECHANISM BY WHICH THE OCEANS ARE EXPECTED TO RESPOND TO EXTERNALLY FORCED ANTHROPOGENIC AND NATURAL VOLCANIC INFLUENCES”
This quote is from the Chapter 10 SOD leaked by Alec Rawls, and which was what I had access to at the time of writing. This passage did not make it to FINAL draft that I can find, now there’s nothing explicit. You have wade through the waffle to even get the slimmest grasp of what they are on about, viz,:
Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing:
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter08_FINAL.pdf
Page 712 pdf :
8.7.1.3 The Global Temperature change Potential Concept
“By accounting for the climate sensitivity and the exchange of heat
between the atmosphere and the ocean, the GTP includes physical processes
that the GWP does not. The GTP accounts for the slow response
of the (deep) ocean, thereby prolonging the response to emissions
beyond what is controlled by the decay time of the atmospheric concentration.
Thus the GTP includes both the atmospheric adjustment
time scale of the component considered and the response time scale
of the climate system.”
But,
“The GTP values can be significantly
affected by assumptions about the climate sensitivity and heat uptake
by the ocean. Thus, the relative uncertainty ranges are wider for the
GTP compared to GWP (see Section 8.7.1.4). The additional uncertainty
is a typical trade-off when moving along the cause–effect chain to an
effect of greater societal relevance (Figure 8.27). The formulation of the
ocean response in the GTP has a substantial effect on the values; thus
its characterization also represents a trade-off between simplicity and
accuracy.”
Firstly, in their narrative there is only an implicit link between CS and ocean heat but on which they don’t elaborate (no science or citation). Even so they are simply stating “exchange of heat between the atmosphere and the ocean”. That is not an insulation effect because the inference is that if there is anthropogenic forcing of ocean heat it is simply an air-to-sea energy transfer ([problematic even for the IPCC – see Chapter 3 below).
Secondly, their implicit CS-ocean heating link is only based on their “assumptions” anyway.
Chapter 3, is more explicit on page 274 pdf:
Observations: Ocean
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter03_FINAL.pdf
3.4 Changes in Ocean Surface Fluxes
3.4.1 Introduction
“The net air–sea heat flux is the sum of two turbulent (latent and sensible)
and two radiative (shortwave and longwave) components. Ocean
heat gain from the atmosphere is defined to be positive according to
the sign convention employed here.”
Except ocean heat gain is by the heating agent – solar shortwave radiation (DSR) change modulated by cloudiness change – not the atmosphere. Downwelling longwave radiation (DLR) is not the ocean heating agent. DLR enhances evaporation which is the major oceanic heat loss mechanism (i.e. a cooling effect). The IPCC makes the respective major gains and losses clear – solar gain, evaporative loss:
3.4.2 Air–Sea Heat Fluxes
3.4.2.1 Turbulent Heat Fluxes and Evaporation
“The latent and sensible heat fluxes have a strong regional dependence,
with typical values varying in the annual mean from close to zero to
–220 W m–2 and –70 W m–2 respectively over strong heat loss sites”
3.4.2.2 Surface Fluxes of Shortwave and Longwave Radiation
“The surface shortwave flux has a strong latitudinal dependence with
typical annual mean values of 250 W m–2 in the tropics. The annual mean
surface net longwave flux ranges from –30 to –70 W m–2.”
This is all conventional and non-contentious. The problem(s) for the IPCC is that it is impossible to detect a net air-sea flux change – let alone a net air-to-sea flux (an anthropogenic fingerprint):
3.4.6 Conclusions
“Uncertainties in air–sea heat flux data sets are too large to allow detection
of the change in global mean net air–sea heat flux, on the order
of 0.5 W m–2 since 1971, required for consistency with the observed
ocean heat content increase. The accuracy of reanalysis and satellite
observation based freshwater flux products is limited by changing data
sources. Consequently, the products cannot yet be reliably used to
directly identify trends in the regional or global distribution of evaporation
or precipitation over the oceans on the time scale of the observed
salinity changes since 1950.”
# # #
In other words, as I interpret, simply a long-winded way of saying – no anthropogenic ocean heating signal detected.

richardcfromnz
Reply to  richardcfromnz
December 9, 2014 11:09 pm

>”This passage did not make it to FINAL draft that I can find, now there’s nothing explicit”
It did make it. I was looking in the wrong Chapters. See:
Chapter 10, Detection and Attribution of Climate Change: from Global to Regional
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter10_FINAL.pdf
Page 901,
10.4.1 Ocean Temperature and Heat Content
Despite the evidence for anthropogenic warming of the ocean, the
level of confidence in the conclusions of the AR4 report—that the
warming of the upper several hundred meters of the ocean during the
second half of the 20th century was likely to be due to anthropogenic
forcing—reflected the level of uncertainties at that time. The major
uncertainty was an apparently large decadal variability (warming in
the 1970s and cooling in the early 1980s) in the observational estimates
that was not simulated by climate models
[There was no “evidence” in AR4]
Gleckler et al. (2012) examined the detection and attribution of upper ocean
warming in the context of uncertainties in the underlying
observational data sets, models and methods. Using three bias-corrected
observational estimates of upper-ocean temperature changes
(Domingues et al., 2008; Ishii and Kimoto, 2009; Levitus et al., 2009)
and models from the CMIP3 multi-model archive, they found that multi-
decadal trends in the observations were best understood by including
contributions from both natural and anthropogenic forcings. The
anthropogenic fingerprint in observed upper-ocean warming, driven by
global mean and basin-scale pattern changes, was also detected.
[This is a wild assertion – model “forcing” is not empirical or physical proof]
‘Human-induced global ocean warming on multidecadal timescales’
Gleckler et al. (2012)
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~caldwep/nobackup/research/papers/Gleckler_et12_nat.pdf
[The alternative solar integral is neglected]
Page 902,
An analysis of upper-ocean (0 to 700 m) temperature changes for
1955–2004, using bias-corrected observations and 20 global climate
models from CMIP5 (Pierce et al., 2012) builds on previous detection
and attribution studies of ocean temperature (Barnett et al., 2001,
2005; Pierce et al., 2006). This analysis found that observed temperature
changes during the above period are inconsistent with the effects
of natural climate variability. That is signal strengths are separated
from zero at the 5% significance level, and the probability that the
null hypothesis of observed changes being consistent with natural variability
is less than 0.05 from variability either internal to the climate
system alone, or externally forced by solar fluctuations and volcanic
eruptions. However, the observed ocean changes are consistent with
those expected from anthropogenically induced atmospheric changes
from GHGs and aerosol concentrations.
[“Consistent with” is not proof. OHC is consistent with the solar integral too]
Page 903,
Attribution to anthropogenic warming from recent detection and attribution
studies (Gleckler et al., 2012; Pierce et al., 2012) have made use
of new bias-corrected observations and have systematically explored
methodological uncertainties, yielding more confidence in the results.
With greater consistency and agreement across observational data
sets and resolution of structural issues, the major uncertainties at the
time of AR4 have now largely been resolved. The high levels of confidence
and the increased understanding of the contributions from both
natural and anthropogenic sources across the many studies mean that
it is very likely that the increase in global ocean heat content observed
in the upper 700 m since the 1970s has a substantial contribution from
anthropogenic forcing.
Although there is high confidence in understanding the causes of global
heat content increases, attribution of regional heat content changes
are less certain. Earlier regional studies used a fixed depth data and
only considered basin-scale averages (Barnett et al., 2005). At regional
scales, however, changes in advection of ocean heat are important and
need to be isolated from changes due to air–sea heat fluxes (Palmer
et al., 2009; Grist et al., 2010). Their fixed isotherm (rather than fixed
depth) approach to optimal detection analysis, in addition to being
largely insensitive to observational biases, is designed to separate the
ocean’s response to air–sea flux changes from advective changes.
Air–sea fluxes are the primary mechanism by which the oceans are expected
to respond to externally forced anthropogenic and natural volcanic
influences.
[There’s the quote – but still no elaboration on an actual mechanism]
The finer temporal resolution of the analysis allowed Palmer
et al. (2009) to attribute distinct short-lived cooling episodes to major
volcanic eruptions while, at multi-decadal time scales, a more spatially
uniform near-surface (~ upper 200 m) warming pattern was detected
across all ocean basins (except in high latitudes where the isotherm
approach has limitations due to outcropping of isotherms at the ocean
surface) and attributed to anthropogenic causes at the 5% significance
level. Considering that individual ocean basins are affected by different
observational and modelling uncertainties and that internal variability
is larger at smaller scales, detection of significant anthropogenic
forcing through space and time studies (Palmer et al., 2009; Pierce et
al., 2012) provides more compelling evidence of human influence at
regional scales of near-surface ocean warming observed during the
second half of the 20th century.
[Back to “forcing” again but how does that work? What are the details and quantification of whatever mechanism is operating. Just “forcing” is inadequte]
# # #
There has been no real advance since AR4. There is still no proof, no mechanism, no quantification, no empirical basis, no evidence beyond the inadequate “forcing” of “air-sea fluxes” conjecture.

December 9, 2014 9:59 pm

Can we agree that down IR from resonating gasses, water and a pittance of CO2, is emitted by the atmosphere? If so there is simply no argument that they warm the oceans because the oceans, on average, are ALWAYS warmer than the atmosphere.
So perhaps you wish to imply as Nick does that the one molecule layer of the ocean surface that supposedly donates the enthalpy of vaporization becomes cool enough to receive atmospheric radiation. This is conceivable, but to the best of my knowledge it has never been measured and evaporation is limited by atmospheric humidity and temperature. In order to make this a serious argument one would need to show the distribution of relative temperature and humidity between the atmosphere and the ocean over the entire world ocean surface. Call me when you get this done.
Even granting this shaky proposition, if it is an equilibrium argument, then equilibrium with a one molecule layer should be accomplished in 18 years, no? Resonating gasses must warm the atmosphere BEFORE they can warm the oceans.

Laws of Nature
Reply to  gymnosperm
December 10, 2014 6:05 am

Hi gymnos. and others,
I wonder how much human impact might have happened on that mono layer..
Be it due to losses in the mining of crude oil (an oil film would likely decrease evaporation) or nano plastic waste (increased surface might lead to increased evaporation)
Are there any studies about this out there!?
Cheers,
LoN

Reply to  gymnosperm
December 10, 2014 6:49 am

Can we agree that down IR from resonating gasses, water and a pittance of CO2, is emitted by the atmosphere? If so there is simply no argument that they warm the oceans because the oceans, on average, are ALWAYS warmer than the atmosphere.
No we can not, IR from the atmosphere will be absorbed by water molecules in the surface of the ocean (about 1000 molecules thick), regardless of the temperature of the emitter. The absorbed energy will cause these molecules to increase their temperature i.e warming. For example a photon in the 15 micron band can be emitted by CO2 at temperatures of 35ºC or 0ºC, a water surface has no idea about the temperature of the CO2 which emitted the photon, it gets absorbed regardless.

Reply to  Phil.
December 10, 2014 7:19 am

I disagree. You are defining the 1000 molecule layer as the “surface”. That is the depth IR can penetrate, but relevant question is where does the energy for vaporization come from. I actually doubt the ocean contributes it all. Regardless, in an evaporating condition there must be a gradient through your 1000 molecules such that the ones closer to the top are more able to receive radiation from the atmosphere. Sure, an individual photon can buck the trend, but the net effect is always energy transfer from the warmer to the colder body. This is not my opinion. This is basic physics.

Reply to  Phil.
December 13, 2014 9:06 pm

gymnosperm December 10, 2014 at 7:19 am
I disagree. You are defining the 1000 molecule layer as the “surface”.

No I didn’t, others stated the IR was absorbed in about 3 microns and I agreed pointing out that it was ~1000 molecules thick because someone had described it as a monolayer.
That is the depth IR can penetrate, but relevant question is where does the energy for vaporization come from. I actually doubt the ocean contributes it all. Regardless, in an evaporating condition there must be a gradient through your 1000 molecules such that the ones closer to the top are more able to receive radiation from the atmosphere.
The IR is absorbed in this layer, most in the top of the layer until after 3 microns it’s all gone. In a particular section of ocean that could be ~300W/m^2, if that ocean surface is at ~300K then it will emit ~450W/m^2 from the surface itself giving rise to a steep gradient within the first few microns. Thus the heat loss due to radiation will be made good by conduction/convection from the deeper layers.
Surface profile:
http://ghrsst-pp.metoffice.com/pages/sst_definitions/sst_definitions.png

Editor
December 9, 2014 11:37 pm

Once again, allow me to invite people to consider the following arguments and questions that I posed in my post Radiating The Ocean, viz:
Argument 1. People claim that because the DLR is absorbed in the first mm of water, it can’t heat the mass of the ocean. But the same is true of the land. DLR is absorbed in the first mm of rock or soil. Yet the same people who claim that DLR can’t heat the ocean (because it’s absorbed in the first mm) still believe that DLR can heat the land (despite the fact that it’s absorbed in the first mm).
And this is in spite of the fact that the ocean can circulate the heat downwards through turbulence, while there is no such circulation in the land … but still people claim the ocean can’t heat from DLR but the land can. Logical contradiction, no cookies.
Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass. If DLR were heating the air we’d all be on fire.
Nor can it be going to evaporation as many claim, because the numbers are way too large. Evaporation is known to be on the order of 70 w/m2, while average downwelling longwave radiation is more than four times that amount … and some of the evaporation is surely coming from the heating from the visible light.
So if the DLR is not heating the ocean, and we know that a maximum of less than a quarter of the energy of the DLR might be going into evaporation, and the DLR is not heating the air … then where is it going?
Rumor has it that energy can’t be created or destroyed, so where is the energy from the DLR going after it is absorbed by the ocean, and what is it heating?
Argument 3. The claim is often made that warming the top millimetre can’t affect the heat of the bulk ocean. But in addition to the wind-driven turbulence of the topmost layer mixing the DLR energy downwards into lower layers, heating the surface affects the entire upper bulk temperature of the ocean every night when the ocean is overturning. At night the top layer of the ocean naturally overturns, driven by the temperature differences between surface and deeper waters (see the diagrams here). DLR heating of the top mm of the ocean reduces those differences and thus delays the onset of that oceanic overturning by slowing the night-time cooling of the topmost layer, and it also slows the speed of the overturning once it is established. This reduces the heat flow from the body of the upper ocean, and leaves the entire mass warmer than it would have been had the DLR not slowed the overturning.
Argument 4. Without the heating from the DLR, there’s not enough heating to explain the current liquid state of the ocean. The DLR is about two-thirds of the total downwelling radiation (solar plus DLR). Given the known heat losses of the ocean, it would be an ice-cube if it weren’t being warmed by the DLR. We know the radiative losses of the ocean, which depend only on its temperature, and are about 390 w/m2. In addition there are losses of sensible heat (~ 30 w/m2) and evaporative losses (~ 70 w/m2). That’s a total loss of 390 + 30 + 70 = 490 w/m2.
But the average solar input to the surface is only about 170 watts/square metre.
So if the DLR isn’t heating the ocean, with heat gains of only the solar 170 w/m2 and losses of 390 w/m2 … then why isn’t the ocean an ice-cube?
Note that each of these arguments against the idea that DLR can’t warm the ocean stands on its own. None of them depends on any of the others to be valid. So if you still think DLR can’t warm the ocean, you have to refute not one, but all four of those arguments.
My best to all,
w.

gbaikie
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 12:24 am

–Argument 1. People claim that because the DLR is absorbed in the first mm of water, it can’t heat the mass of the ocean. But the same is true of the land. DLR is absorbed in the first mm of rock or soil. Yet the same people who claim that DLR can’t heat the ocean (because it’s absorbed in the first mm) still believe that DLR can heat the land (despite the fact that it’s absorbed in the first mm).–
Obviously DLR can’t heat the land either. And the difference of land heating and ocean heating
is land surface can become 70 C with sunlight and if there is large temperature difference one get higher conduction of heat below 1mm on the land. Therefore a few inches below the surface of dirt can warm up considerable during warmer seasons of a year- without this occuring most crops in the world could not be grown. Or soil temperature is related to when one plants crops.
–Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass. If DLR were heating the air we’d all be on fire.–
Don’t why you claim the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass as each square meter has 10 tons of air above it. It’s true that water has 4 times the heat capacity per ton or the ocean have an enormous thermal mass or terms of joules of heat- similar to Venus’ massive atmosphere.
So in comparison to the ocean the atmosphere is thermal mass is puny, but compared to say the ground [not including the water in it] it’s equal to about 10 tons per square meter of the ground.
So the air in terms the amount the temperature changes per day is massive compared to the ground. And also in terms of daily changes in temperature the atmosphere is larger than the ocean. Or ocean is all about long term storage of heat, whereas the atmosphere is mostly about storing thermal heat for a few days. Or Ocean is climate and atmosphere is weather.

Reply to  gbaikie
December 10, 2014 1:00 am

gbaikie December 10, 2014 at 12:24 am

Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass. If DLR were heating the air we’d all be on fire.–

Don’t why you claim the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass as each square meter has 10 tons of air above it.

Thanks, gbaikie. Yes, but if it’s not going into the ocean it’s going into the bottom 100 metres or so of the atmosphere … which doesn’t weigh ten tonnes.
And in any case, the specific heat of the air is 1 joule/gram/°C, which is 1MJ/tonne/°C. Downwelling IR is about 340W/m2. This means that in a day you’d get about 29MJ, or enough to warm the total air column by about 3°C per day … doesn’t take many days at that rate to get the air really hot.
And there is a further problem—if you choose “the IR warms the air”, then what keeps the ocean from freezing?
Regards,
w.

gbaikie
Reply to  gbaikie
December 10, 2014 2:34 am

-Thanks, gbaikie. Yes, but if it’s not going into the ocean it’s going into the bottom 100 metres or so of the atmosphere … which doesn’t weigh ten tonnes.-
Each day the entire troposphere [80-90% of the atmosphere] changes in temperature- warms during day and cools during night. The changes in daily temperature is greater than say 6″ below the top 1 cm of the soil or at say, below 1 meter under the surface of bodies of water.
And the changing temperature indicate it’s being warmed up and it’s being cooling down.
–And in any case, the specific heat of the air is 1 joule/gram/°C, which is 1MJ/tonne/°C. —
yup.
–Downwelling IR is about 340W/m2. This means that in a day you’d get about 29MJ, or enough to warm the total air column by about 3°C per day … doesn’t take many days at that rate to get the air really hot.–
Since the air warms when the sun is out and cools when it’s night, it’s safe to say direct sunlight is warming the air. And mostly this has to do with sunlight warming clouds or the surface. Clouds are comprised of small droplets of water which scatter sunlight, but overcast cloudy day has warmer air temperature during the day time.
Whereas with DLR one should not have have large differences of day time and night time, assuming it warm anything. But you do indicate a problem with DLR if is does warming what governs the rate of it’s warming. In terms sunlight warming the surface, there a limit that direct sunlight could warm the surface.
For instance on the Moon the 1360 watts of direct sunlight can only warm the surface to about
120 C. With the earth with lower amount of direct sunlight the highest temperature it can warm the
ground is about 70 C. And in turn air above the ground never warms as hot as the surface- it tends to be about 20 C cooler than the hottest the ground surface gets.
And if the sun does get high in the sky [as in the winter or say near the poles [at summer] the sun must go thru more atmosphere and therefore as less direct sunlight. Or anywhere around 5 pm
one has less direct sunlight. So with less direct sunlight the surface can not get a hot as 70 C.
So clear day in winter with say sun never getting above 30 degrees above horizon the sun has less direct solar energy, and is limited to the temperature it can warm any surface.
So we can characterize what the limits of what the powerful sun could do in terms max temperature, but in same sense what can we say about DLR?
Plus of course the sunlight actually does actual work- it can almost fry an egg on sidewalk:)
–And there is a further problem—if you choose “the IR warms the air”, then what keeps the ocean from freezing?–
The guy wrote this article [Bob Tisdale] gives a clue:
“THE OCEANS HAVE THEIR OWN GREENHOUSE-LIKE EFFECT
In his post, The Deep Blue Sea, John L. Daly presented something that must be considered in every discussion of ocean warming: the oceans have their own greenhouse like effect (I’ve added a hyperlink to John Daly’s Figure 1):”

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 2:45 am

Willis writes “People claim that because the DLR is absorbed in the first mm of water, it can’t heat the mass of the ocean.”
Some people might claim that and you seem to hang on to it but the reality is it adds energy to the top 10um of the ocean. Big difference when you consider the cool skin is warming with increasing depth in that region.
Willis writes “If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going?”
The age old problem you and I have… cold things dont heat warm things. Adding DLR cant make the ocean warmer than it was, all it can do is slow the cooling. Hence the proposition by Minnett for example that the skin temperature increases directly because of increased DLR that is warming it must be wrong.
Yes, DLR energy is absorbed into the top 10um of the ocean. Therefore some proportion of it must increase evaporation. And the rest must be radiated because it cant convect down. Yes, there is an argument that DLR could warm the ocean by reducing the ocean’s rate of cooling but its not a given because increased evaporation is also a cooling effect. Which wins? And under what conditions? Increased DLR may warm the ocean but nobody has ever proven that. Feynman would have been dismayed at the certainty of claims made with no experimental proof.

MikeB
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 3:08 am

For what it’s worth, I agree with you Willis, but many here are not up to speed on the basics and don’t like it.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MikeB
December 10, 2014 3:16 am

And conversely some of us have looked deeply into the issue and aren’t convinced. I’m quite sure you dont like the fact that without ocean warming AGW has no teeth and the ocean warming principle hangs on a blog post over at RC.

MikeB
Reply to  MikeB
December 10, 2014 5:07 am

TimTheTool
On the contrary, I think the concept of heat suddenly deciding to hide in the oceans instead of warming the atmosphere as it used to is, in short, a load of tosh.
I am also sceptical that global warming or whatever we call it now poses any problem for the future. But I don’t want to deny science as you do. I think that is counter-productive.
On this topic the science is clear to those who understand it. To argue that IR cannot warm the oceans only plays in to the hands of those who wish to prove that sceptics are science denying fools.
Don’t help them.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  MikeB
December 11, 2014 2:16 am

MikeB “To argue that IR cannot warm the oceans only plays in to the hands of those who wish to prove that sceptics are science denying fools.”
I didn’t argue that IR cannot warm the oceans. I argued that it might not based an actual scientific argument. If you have a response to that argument I’d like to hear it but suggesting I dont understand it and calling me names is pretty counter productive and amounts to an argument from authority.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 8:08 am

Argument 1.
The land is colder than the atmosphere (before the sun hits it) but the ocean is warmer than the atmosphere. You are conflating the entire solar spectrum with atmospheric IR.
Argument 2.
It is never absorbed by the ocean, on average. It is warming the atmosphere, contributing to evaporation near the air water boundary, driving the atmospheric heat engine, and wantonly dissipating to space.
Argument 3.
I agree. Basic “greenhouse” effect, but remember that energy is not created either. In order to continue “warming” the ocean in this fashion, the atmosphere must continue to warm. Ain’t seen much o’ that lately.
Argument 4.
See argument 3.
If Kevin’s energy budget is correct more energy cycles between resonating gasses and the surface than the earth receives from the sun in a photon food fight. This is hard to describe. Both the surface and the atmosphere are warmer for the presence of resonating gasses, but these gasses are not insulation, not a blanket nor a piece of glass. The photon food fight is like a plasma or whirling dervish, but it equilibrates very fast.
This keeps the oceans from freezing.

Kristian
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 9:18 am

Willis,
You’re absolutely right! For all the people who believe that there is an actual, separate, thermodynamically working flux/transfer of radiative energy from the atmosphere down to the surface (more than twice as intense as the solar heat flux), your four arguments should be unassailable.
You’re right. In this case, there is no other way for the surface to get from 232K (-41C) (highest possible BB emission temp for a surface absorbing a radiative flux of 165 W/m^2, like the solar one) to 289K (+16C), the actual, measured (averaged) global surface temp, than to absorb an additional radiative flux of 345 W/m^2 coming in from the atmosphere:comment image
(Derived from Stephens et al. 2012.)
Pure solar radiative equilibrium: 165 W/m^2 IN, 165 W/m^2 OUT; temp 232K.
With radiatively active atmosphere added: 165 W/m^2 + 345 W/m^2 = 510 W/m^2 IN, 398 W/m^2 + 112 W/m^2 (combined conductive/evaporative loss) OUT; temp 289K.

An increase of [289-232=] 57K strictly as a result of the additional 345 W/m^2 IN (minus the non-radiative 112 W/m^2 OUT) giving an equilibrated radiative output of 398 W/m^2.
Problem is, a spontaneous transfer of energy from a cooler thermodynamic system to a warmer thermodynamic system, where this transfer of energy ALONE* raises the absolute temperature of the warmer system (in this specific case, from 232 to 289K), constitutes a direct violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. It can’t and won’t happen in nature.
*It gets no help from the original incoming solar heat flux. It stays at 165 W/m^2. It gets no help from the outgoing radiative flux (your UWLWIR). It is never in any way reduced during warming. It increases during warming, forced to grow for each (re)cycle up to steady state. Thus, the warming is ONLY and wholly accomplished by the absorption of the additional incoming flux from the atmosphere, as if this were directly equivalent to the solar heat flux.
If your explanation of some real-world effect ends up directly violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, you KNOW that there’s something wrong with your explanation. Simple as that. Back to the drawing board.
I’ll leave it to you (and the rest of the people here on this thread) to ponder exactly where and how the “extra surface warming by back radiation” explanation fails …

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 11:34 am

Willis,
On average (where water is warmer than the air) DRL does not heat the water, it slows net radiation loss up and this requires evaporation and conduction/convection to make up the difference in the balance between net absorbed solar radiation and release of this energy back up to space. There can be short term periods, or local cases where the air is warmer than the water, the DRL can radiate down more than radiation up, so there can be some local net energy absorption at the surface. This results in increased evaporation, or some conduction and convective mixing of the excess energy to a modest depth. Saying the DRL heats the water in general just because it is absorbed energy is exactly the same as saying a layer of insulation on a fixed power resistor heats the resistor. It makes it hotter, but by slowing loss from the resistor, and no heat is transferred from the insulation to the resistor. Also the DRL is always smaller than URL for the sea warmer than the air, and heat transfer (unlike individual energy transfers) can only go from warm to less warm.

December 9, 2014 11:55 pm

Energy Flux is omni-directional at all points. The ocean does not magically want to give up its heat to the air. At the surface film, 180 degrees of flux energy will aim skyward. The other 180 degrees is abyssal. The physics of boundary layers permit confinement and compartmentalization of ocean heat until disrupted by meridional and thermohaline circulations.When conditions favor a well-mixed ocean environment, a more idealized entropic distribution of heat will occur. Even strong boundary or inversion conditions can only aggregate a small portion of ocean heat content. When these conditions weaken, dissipation is accelerated, of which the 180 degree skyward portion will transfer some excess heat into the air via evaporation and radiation. The remainder scatters into the vast heat sink, until such time as their entropic meanderings are once again deferred by another boundary encounter.

December 10, 2014 4:34 am

Above what value do the oceans accumulate heat?
Above a sunspot number of 40.

December 10, 2014 4:52 am

Willis:
Argument 1. People claim that because the DLR is absorbed in the first mm of water, it can’t heat the mass of the ocean. But the same is true of the land. DLR is absorbed in the first mm of rock or soil. Yet the same people who claim that DLR can’t heat the ocean (because it’s absorbed in the first mm) still believe that DLR can heat the land (despite the fact that it’s absorbed in the first mm).
Well the ocean evaporates. Do rocks evaporate? Now soil has moisture. So that will have an effect.
The trouble with all this is that it is very complicated. Teasing out cause and effect is difficult.
But you do make a good point. Maybe the effect of LWIR is not as significant on land as is currently thought.

December 10, 2014 5:42 am

Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going?
Too easy. Into the energy of motion.i.e. it drives convection. Which cools the Earth.

December 10, 2014 5:48 am

Argument 3. The claim is often made that warming the top millimetre can’t affect the heat of the bulk ocean. But in addition to the wind-driven turbulence
Wind driven turbulence affects evaporation. Probably a cooling effect. So even if the wind causes mixing it is also causing cooling which will cool the ocean.

David A
Reply to  M Simon
December 11, 2014 5:47 am

Why is the debate 100 percent one way or the other? Is it possible that some of the DLWIR actually warms the ocean, but not nearly as much as if it was an equal flux of SWR?

December 10, 2014 5:52 am

Given the known heat losses of the ocean, it would be an ice-cube if it weren’t being warmed by the DLR.
It is an ice cube at the poles. And rather warm at the equator.

richard verney
Reply to  M Simon
December 10, 2014 9:30 am

AND very cold at depth.
It is wrong to consider that the oceans have an average temperature of about 17 degC (ie., the avergage surface temperature). The oceans more realistically have an average temperature of about 3 deg C, and this is why there are ice ages.
If the oceans truly had an average temperature of about 17 degrees there would be so much stored latent heat that ice ages would not be extensive.
After more than 4 billion years of solar plus DWLWIR (for those that consider DWLWIR has any significant role to play) and such geothermal energy that is inputted from below, the oceans have only reached an average temperature of about 3 deg C.

December 10, 2014 7:35 am

It’s 105 F air temperature in Phoenix. If air heats water, how come if I don’t run the heater my swimming pool goes to 70 F? Evaporating towards ambient wet bulb.
Air sensible heat capacity = 0.24 Btu/lb -F
Water sensible heat capacity = 1.0 Btu/lb-F
Water latent heat of evaporation/condensation = about 1,000 Btu/lb w/ no temperature change
1 watt = 3.412 Btu/h
Raises one pound of air 14.2 F/h
Raises one pound of water 3.412 F/h
Evaporated into 0.003412 lb/h of water with no change in temperature.

Crispin in Waterloo
December 10, 2014 7:38 am

Bob T
“Based on the findings at RealClimate, that rise in infrared radiation could only warm the sea surfaces by a little more than 0.002 deg C since 1979. Yet, looking at the global sea surface temperature data, Figure 2, the surfaces of the global oceans warmed more than 0.3 deg C from 1979 to 2013, leaving about 93% of the ocean surface warming unexplained.”
Where does the 93% come from?
0.002/0.3 = 0.00666 so 99.3% is missing. Was it a typo?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 10, 2014 8:17 am

Early morning, no coffee… I am agog! That was supposed to read “Bob T”.
[Fixed. w.]

December 10, 2014 7:52 am

I believe its geothermal heat flux through the ocean floor. No one knows what happening below 2,000 meters. A geothermal hot spot was discovered under that Antarctic ice sheet that floated away a year ago and there was a string of underwater volcanic vents recently discovered. Besides just because 99.3% is unaccounted for doesn’t excuse just making stuff up.

Crispin in Waterloo
December 10, 2014 8:16 am

Willis, I liked your list but this has a couple of leaks, of not holes:
“Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass. If DLR were heating the air we’d all be on fire.”
There may be a slight exaggeration there. Vertical transport of moist air can easily handle that much.
This is more to my point:
>Nor can it be going to evaporation as many claim, because the numbers are way too large. Evaporation is known to be on the order of 70 w/m2, while average downwelling longwave radiation is more than four times that amount … and some of the evaporation is surely coming from the heating from the visible light.
The average evaporation – I just worked it out and got a very similar number for the average of all oceans for the year. That is probably not legitimate, meaning it would be better to look at a region where there is ‘that much’ incoming DWIR and see how much of it is turned into evaporation. Perhaps it is a factor of 10 higher. I didn’t check.
I see a problem using high IR in a tropical region then applying a global average evaporation rate saying it doesn’t add up. Well, it shouldn’t.
There is another mechanism which is often overlooked which is that heat can leave the surface by evaporation, but not evaporate water on a net basis.
This is best represented by water boiling in a pot with a lid on it. If you calculate the heat lost from the pot by measuring the mass of evaporated water only, it under-reports the total. There is heat leaving from the lid by convection, conduction and radiation that is not counted if the mass of water evaporated is the only yardstick.
Water evaporates from the bulk and the vapour condenses on the underside of the lid which conducts heat through to the top and it is lost from the lid. The overall effect is that heat lost to evaporation thermalises the air and the water drops back into the pot.
In the ocean this also happens but the ‘lid’ is the supersaturated layer of air just above the surface where the back-and-forth exchange is taking place. This region thermalizes the air and the water drops back into the ocean. Also, water vapour transports heat from the water to the air without itself ‘moving on’. Perhaps the best demonstration is to see what happens if that layer is blown away in the wind: The net evaporation rate increases dramatically and there is net (powerful) cooling far beyond the DWIR.
This layer can be seen by raising a lidless pot of water to the boiling point with low heat in a windless room. An undulating thin layer of white fog forms just above the water surface. That is a supersaturated layer convecting heat (and some water vapour) into the air above the pot, while dropping recondensed water back into the pot – without a lid. If you check the mass loss you will find that the heat lost to evaporation is much less than the total heat lost. Some of it is radiation, but there is still a missing quantity of energy. That is ultimately why mass of water evaporated is a poor measure when calculating the heat transfer efficiency to a pot.
The point repeatedly made is that DWIR can’t heat the water directly, which is true, but evaporated water can heat the bulk by mass transfer if there is some wind (and there usually is). This is a separate process as described well above this message. Warm moist air blowing over a pool of water can indeed warm it, but the mechanism is not DWIR, it is convection heat transfer (or convective, if you prefer). Cold dry air blowing over water can cool it, by evaporation AND ‘mass transfer’, something I have not seen emphasized during these discussions. People are distracted by the evaporation and radiation and built incomplete theoretical worlds. The real world has wind and water moving energy by multiple paths both up and down.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 10, 2014 11:24 am

Crispin in Waterloo December 10, 2014 at 8:16 am Edit

Willis, I liked your list but this has a couple of leaks, of not holes:

“Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass. If DLR were heating the air we’d all be on fire.”

There may be a slight exaggeration there. Vertical transport of moist air can easily handle that much.

I grow weary of handwaving. You need to demonstrate using NUMBERS that a) all of the DWIR goes into the air, and b) that this is totally used up in vertical transport of moist air.

This is more to my point:

>Nor can it be going to evaporation as many claim, because the numbers are way too large. Evaporation is known to be on the order of 70 w/m2, while average downwelling longwave radiation is more than four times that amount … and some of the evaporation is surely coming from the heating from the visible light.

The average evaporation – I just worked it out and got a very similar number for the average of all oceans for the year. That is probably not legitimate, meaning it would be better to look at a region where there is ‘that much’ incoming DWIR and see how much of it is turned into evaporation. Perhaps it is a factor of 10 higher. I didn’t check.
I see a problem using high IR in a tropical region then applying a global average evaporation rate saying it doesn’t add up. Well, it shouldn’t.

I don’t underatand what you are saying. The global average DWIR is on the order of 340 W/m2, and the energy used in evaporation is about 80 W/m2 … you can wave your hands all you want, but it can’t all be going to evaporation. Period.

There is another mechanism which is often overlooked which is that heat can leave the surface by evaporation, but not evaporate water on a net basis.
This is best represented by water boiling in a pot with a lid on it. If you calculate the heat lost from the pot by measuring the mass of evaporated water only, it under-reports the total. There is heat leaving from the lid by convection, conduction and radiation that is not counted if the mass of water evaporated is the only yardstick.
Water evaporates from the bulk and the vapour condenses on the underside of the lid which conducts heat through to the top and it is lost from the lid. The overall effect is that heat lost to evaporation thermalises the air and the water drops back into the pot.
In the ocean this also happens but the ‘lid’ is the supersaturated layer of air just above the surface where the back-and-forth exchange is taking place. This region thermalizes the air and the water drops back into the ocean. Also, water vapour transports heat from the water to the air without itself ‘moving on’. Perhaps the best demonstration is to see what happens if that layer is blown away in the wind: The net evaporation rate increases dramatically and there is net (powerful) cooling far beyond the DWIR.

Again, that’s a lovely theory. But unless you think there is a metal lid over the ocean, I fail to see the relevance. There is a layer above the ocean that is saturated. There is not a layer that is “supersaturated.
But that layer is very thin. IF all of the DWIR were absorbed in that layer it would become very hot. I know of no one who has demonstrated that there is a very hot layer of air immediately above the ocean.

This layer can be seen by raising a lidless pot of water to the boiling point with low heat in a windless room. An undulating thin layer of white fog forms just above the water surface. That is a supersaturated layer convecting heat (and some water vapour) into the air above the pot, while dropping recondensed water back into the pot – without a lid. If you check the mass loss you will find that the heat lost to evaporation is much less than the total heat lost. Some of it is radiation, but there is still a missing quantity of energy. That is ultimately why mass of water evaporated is a poor measure when calculating the heat transfer efficiency to a pot.

No, it’s not “supersaturated”, it is condensing … and having spent lots of time on the ocean, I can assure you that in general there is no such condensation immediately above the surface.

The point repeatedly made is that DWIR can’t heat the water directly, which is true, but evaporated water can heat the bulk by mass transfer if there is some wind (and there usually is).

Cite? I grow weary of your uncited claims. I know of no scientific studies that show that “DWIR can’t heat the water directly.” It is absorbed by the water … what do you think happens when that absorption occurs? Does it turn into fairy dust? No … it turns into heat.

This is a separate process as described well above this message. Warm moist air blowing over a pool of water can indeed warm it, but the mechanism is not DWIR, it is convection heat transfer (or convective, if you prefer). Cold dry air blowing over water can cool it, by evaporation AND ‘mass transfer’, something I have not seen emphasized during these discussions. People are distracted by the evaporation and radiation and built incomplete theoretical worlds. The real world has wind and water moving energy by multiple paths both up and down.

More handwaving. Provide citations, provide numbers if you want to be taken seriously. Anyone can spin a tale … but the natural world pays not attention, it just does what it does.
Look, Crispin, you are ignoring the following facts. The emissivity of water in the IR region has been measured hundreds of times. By Kirschoff’s Law, emissivity equals absorptivity. So we know for a fact that a) water absorbs IR, and b) it is turned into heat in the process.
Now, how that plays out in the ocean is a good question … but claiming without citation that “DWIR can’t heat the water directly” is just foolishness.
w.
PS—I’ll likely be sorry I asked, but what on earth is cooling by “mass transfer” which you refer to above?

george e. smith
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 11:34 am

Not to worry Willis; that’s code for “Convection”.
See how that works ?
I think they mean that ocean currents mass convey heat from the tropics to the polar regions, where it is so damn cold that the radiative cooling rate is much lower than it would have been if they had left all that heat down there in the tropics, where they really know how to radiate and cool efficiently.
I never get ice on my car’s radiator.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 4:51 pm

Willis
This is getting complicated because you did not follow the plot – probably because I am not explaining it well, though I think on rereading I did OK.
Maybe RACook can pitch in. You have several things wrong and I will try to do this efficiently.
>>There may be a slight exaggeration there. Vertical transport of moist air can easily handle that much.
>I grow weary of handwaving.
I grow weary of you calling anything you are not familiar with ‘handwaving’. To me handwaving has another more valuable meaning.
You are asking questions about a field that is not very ‘specialist’ so I had some expectation of you taking what I and probably others consider ‘obvious’ at face value. Thunderstorms can convect massive amounts of energy upwards. That is my reference for vertical transport.
>You need to demonstrate using NUMBERS that a) all of the DWIR goes into the air, and b) that this is totally used up in vertical transport of moist air.
That is not what I said so of course what I wrote is not the answer to that question. I was for an the ability of the atmosphere to dump the heat vertically if there was a mechanism shown for getting it from DWIR into thermalised air/water vapour. You said earlier that 340 watts/m2 was going to heat the air to ‘a high temperature’. We will calculate that in a moment.
>“The global average DWIR is on the order of 340 W/m2, and the energy used in evaporation is about 80 W/m2 … you can wave your hands all you want, but it can’t all be going to evaporation. Period.”
Well, that is not a complete description of what is happening. Sea water and the water vapour in the air immediately above it also radiate IR upwards. That 340 is not a net transfer into the sea surface, it is value of the DWIR. There is UWIR as well. Water and water vapour are powerful emitters of IR. That is why there is DW in the first place – most from water vapour in the troposphere and some from CO2.
Bob T and many others have described how SW radiation reaches the water and reflects off again. So…the same thing is happening with some of the IR which is that it is absorbed and re-emitted. It is not all showing up as an increase in temperature. Your question is expressed in a way that assumes there is a net 340 down. Like… “It is 680 down and 340 up so there is 340 to find and explain.” Not so. It is 340 down and X up and Y thermalised in the air and water vapour and Z transferred by convective heat transfer to the water.
We have a number for Down = 340
You have a number for evaporation = 80
You have no number for IR Up
You have no number for heating the water vapour after evaporation
You have no number for mass transfer to the water
You have no number for mass transfer from water to the air
I provided some numbers in a straw man calculation above to get people thinking about the missing element of energy flow – ‘mass transfer’ from the sea to the air or air to the sea depending on which was the warmer.
You asked what mass transfer was. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=14751137 is an abstract (you need no more) indicating that ‘a mass of something with heat capacity per unit mass’ can gain heat and physically take it away. Cooling towers are good examples. They do not rely on radiation at all. It is the term used to describe convection of heat away from an object like a warm radiator. The ‘mass’ is the moving air. The heat capacity of air is dependent on the amount of water vapour in it. The shape of the object affects the efficiency of heat transfer by convection.
>>There is another mechanism which is often overlooked which is that heat can leave the surface by evaporation, but not evaporate water on a net basis….
>Again, that’s a lovely theory.
Thank you. I agree. And it is a realistic description of reality. I am not going to complicate the calculation below with it, however. No need to make my point.
>But unless you think there is a metal lid over the ocean, I fail to see the relevance.
Please don’t play games. It was an analogy intended for those who are not familiar with these physical processes.
>There is a layer above the ocean that is saturated. There is not a layer that is “supersaturated”.
Oh yes it is. The exchange between the water and the air is bidirectional because it is supersaturated. If it was saturated, it the exchange would stop in equilibrium. It doesn’t. The region above the surface, say 100mm, is usually saturated. Higher up, it is warmer (heated by DWIR).
>But that layer is very thin.
Correct. You understand the mechanism.
>IF all of the DWIR were absorbed in that layer it would become very hot.
1. You did not put a number on ‘very hot’
2. It is not entirely absorbed in that layer or the surface.
DWIR, the 340 watts, approaches the surface; not all of it makes it to the water. As the humidity increases near the surface the DWIR is captured and re-emitted in all directions. Like a ‘reverse GH effect’. It shades the surface and sends out UWIR. How much? We should find out. There is a great deal of water vapour near the water surface. It is impossible that 100% of the 340 watts reaches the ocean. It might be only 80 watts.
If some GHG alarmist complains that there is no such re-radiation mechanism from the water vapour, point out that it is exactly the same mechanism that is responsible for the DWIR. It is receiving DWIR and sending it back up (and to all sides including down). There is no such corresponding ‘layer’ in the troposphere of course. The near-ocean layer is unique.
>I know of no one who has demonstrated that there is a very hot layer of air immediately above the ocean.
That ‘very hot’ is of course the number you didn’t provide. Now I have to digress because of something else you didn’t understand.
The average of 80 watts to evaporation is not a reasonable approach. It is an average of 80 watts, but in hot places, it is far more. Convective cooling is not nearly the same everywhere, agreed? Thunderstorm hypothesis and all that. DWIR is not 340 everywhere. That is an average. That is why ‘they’ say there will be a tropospheric hot spot. The GHG effect is supposed to be concentrated in the tropics. The DWIR is also concentrated in that same region, and it is not 340 w/m2. It is much more. So you are not looking for a solution to an excess (340-80) you are looking for much bigger numbers in that zone. OK? It is not 340 and it is not 80. This whole process (see my straw man calc above) is highly dependent on temperature.
We should not work with average numbers – it should be a realistic TSI in an important zone, say 20 Deg N or something. All that aside, back to business:
>>This layer can be seen by raising a lidless pot of water to the boiling point with low heat in a windless room. An undulating thin layer of white fog forms just above the water surface. That is a supersaturated layer convecting heat (and some water vapour) into the air above the pot, while dropping recondensed water back into the pot – without a lid. If you check the mass loss you will find that the heat lost to evaporation is much less than the total heat lost. Some of it is radiation, but there is still a missing quantity of energy. That is ultimately why mass of water evaporated is a poor measure when calculating the heat transfer efficiency to a pot.
>No, it’s not “supersaturated”, it is condensing … and having spent lots of time on the ocean, I can assure you that in general there is no such condensation immediately above the surface.
When the humidity is above 70% there is water vapour condensation. You cannot see it. [I can measure it in the lab, however!] The surface layer is thin as you said, and it has a very high humidity. It is where the sea and air exchange H2O molecules. In a sunny, windless, miserably hot environment, say Jakarta, the humidity of the air near the water shoots up because of the evaporation of water. That humidity captures DWIR like the little upside down GH layer it is. How much reaches the surface? I don’t know – but sure as heck it isn’t all of it because water vapour is a GHG and it blocks a lot of it. I would not be at all surprised to find it is only the 80 W that goes into evaporation because what does reach the surface only heats the top few microns.
You didn’t comment on the mechanism. Summary: some of the DWIR never makes it to the surface in a real atmosphere so there is no point in looking for all of it. It is not AWOL, it was reassigned to outer space.
>>The point repeatedly made is that DWIR can’t heat the water directly, which is true, but evaporated water can heat the bulk by mass transfer if there is some wind (and there usually is).
>Cite? I grow weary of your uncited claims. I know of no scientific studies that show that “DWIR can’t heat the water directly.”
I thought there were some good examples but I will not be citing them, I was thinking of the very many claims made on WUWT that it can’t. That is another post.
Technically heating the top 10 microns is heating the water so the bald claim fails, but if that 10 micron heating almost all turns into evaporation and doesn’t heat the water below the, general claim is in practice, true. Given that ‘boiling’ (evaporation is slow boiling) has many problems with definitions and mechanisms http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/staff/chang/boiling/index.htm#5 ‘boiling’ by IR emission from above for all practical purposes is going to take place at the surface only.
>It is absorbed by the water … what do you think happens when that absorption occurs? Does it turn into fairy dust? No … it turns into heat.
Only what gets there turns into heated water. See above. Some of it turns into heated water vapour above the water. Some is turned into UWIR. Some of the heat in the water vapour is transferred to air (until they equilibrate). The temperature rise in the air (which contains the evaporated moisture) can be calculated.
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/heating-humid-air-d_693.html
The enthalpy (total energy) in the air can be calculated
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/psychrometric-chart-mollier-d_27.html
Scenario numbers:
Temperature of the evaporated water vapour = 15 C
Temperature of the heated water vapour by the time it moves vertically 2 metres = 25 C
Enthalpy change according to http://docs.engineeringtoolbox.com/documents/816/psychrometric_chart_29inHg.pdf (unit conversions required) = 14,775 Joules
In Jakarta it is more like 40 C than 25. In Bali, closer to 35. But it depends on the wind, doesn’t it? There is a missing number: the mass of air that is involved in the cooling and transport of the energy. Without that no one can say, ‘the air is going to be hot’.
>>This is a separate process as described well above this message. Warm moist air blowing over a pool of water can indeed warm it, but the mechanism is not DWIR, it is convection heat transfer (or convective, if you prefer). Cold dry air blowing over water can cool it, by evaporation AND ‘mass transfer’, something I have not seen emphasized during these discussions. People are distracted by the evaporation and radiation and built incomplete theoretical worlds. The real world has wind and water moving energy by multiple paths both up and down.
>More handwaving. Provide citations, provide numbers if you want to be taken seriously.
This was not a discussion of numbers it was a discussion of mechanisms. Citations for what? How the whole HVAC industry works? http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com
>Anyone can spin a tale … but the natural world pays not attention, it just does what it does.
Your hot air (literally) story is a tale and not a very good guess. If the evaporation was 80 watts and the rest went be some mechanism into the air and zero into the ocean, the mass transfer needed to collect the remaining 260 is:
Heat capacity: 1.2 kg air, heat capacity of 1252 Joules per m3 per degree C.
That is for saturated air at 15 C (leaving the ocean). As the temperature rises the moisture content remains the same and the relative humidity drops. If there are fog droplets they evaporate (providing cooling). Let’s assume that doesn’t happen and KIS.
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/enthalpy-moist-air-d_683.html see the worked example. There is also a worked example of saturated air containing fog. You can skip that.
Velocity: Wind speed 2m/sec, air assumed to be well mixed far above the surface because of the rough surface of the ocean. This gives is we have a time variable. Let’s multiply:
1252 x 2 cubic metres of air = an enthalpy change of 2504 Joules/degree C
Energy transfer capacity of 2 cubic metres of that wet air is 2504 Watts PER DEGREE. With our (25-15) = 10 degree worked example the change in enthalpy (Δ total heat content) is 25,040 Watts at that air flow.
A requisite condition in this example is that all that air interacts with the water surface on that square metre per second, which clearly it will not.
You are looking for 260 watts. Given the example above it would require, on average, 260/25,040 x 2000 litres = 20.7 litres of air to meet and leave the surface, on average, per second and rise to 25 C by 2 metres altitude. That is 2 cc/sq cm/second. That is how easily mass transfer can transport heat from IR to the upper atmosphere. This calculation shows that Little Miss Atmosphere can significantly cool Big Mr Ocean without getting ‘very hot’.
>Look, Crispin, you are ignoring the following facts.
Oh, come on.
>The emissivity of water in the IR region has been measured hundreds of times. By Kirschoff’s Law, emissivity equals absorptivity. So we know for a fact that a) water absorbs IR, and b) it is turned into heat in the process.
That heat is easily carried away in the warmed air and water vapour (much less important) and latent heat of evaporation (not as important as is often assumed – see the enthalpy calc ref above in detail). Air holds a lot of heat. Heat transport works and it is not hot. Most of the DWIR never reaches the ocean surface, that is my conclusion.

george e. smith
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 10, 2014 12:03 pm

“””””…..… and some of the evaporation is surely coming from the heating from the visible light…..”””
First problem: LIGHT, by definition IS visible. (it’s all in your head)
Second problem: Ocean water is MOST highly transparent at the very solar spectrum wavelengths that carry most of the solar spectral energy. The ocean water absorption coefficient at the peak of the spectrum, is about 1E-4 cm^-1.
That means the 1/e absorption depth is 10^4 cm or 100 meters of sea water to absorb 37% of the highest spectral radiance solar energy. Now it is not that deep for all of the visible spectrum, but more than 90% of the solar spectrum energy goes at least 10 meters deep.
The evaporative surface “skin” (it’s NOT a skin) of the ocean is a few microns thick.
Water molecules do not escape from depths of more than a few microns, and I’m being very generous in allowing any escape from more than say a dozen molecular layers deep.
It is ONLY the highest energy tail of the Maxwell-Boltzmann molecular KE distribution that can escape from the surface in evaporation. It is absurd to talk of evaporation from more than a few molecular layers deep.
If as you say, downward LWIR radiation is about 280 W/m^2, while incident solar radiation is maybe 1,000 W/m^2 (when the sun shines), and that LWIR has a spectral peak wavelength of about 10 microns, well the absorption coefficient of sea water in that spectral region, is in excess of 1E3 cm^-1, and as high as 1E4 cm^-1 (at 3.0 microns), then absorption of LWIR in the surface layer is at least 1E6 times that for visible solar radiation and as much as 1E8 times as high.
So nyet on much evaporation due to incident (visible) solar energy, when compared to down LWIR.

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
December 10, 2014 12:32 pm

I shouldn’t even have to say this, because it has to be rather obvious to anyone, but when the down LWIR gets absorbed all in the top 50 microns or less of the sea water (it does), you do get prompt evaporation from the very surface molecular layer, and local heating of that top 50 microns. Remember it is an exponential decay with depth, so 37% is absorbed in the top 10 microns or less, and 95% in the top 30 microns or less, so the layer of water getting heated is very thin, so its Temperature rise above the deeper water is substantial, so that surface layer expands, and gets less dense, so it tends to convect back to the surface, while at the same time conducting to the deeper layers (we’re talking deep compared to 50 microns).
So even though maybe only 70 out of the 280 W/m^2 is returned to the atmosphere as latent heat of evaporation, and though the remaining 210 W/m^2 is absorbed in maybe only 50 microns of water and maybe more like 30, whatever that surface “skin” (which isn’t a skin) Temperature rise is, the next one millimeter of sea water can not possibly rise in temperature by more than a tiny fraction of whatever the peak surface Temperature elevation is.
So for ALL practical purposes, there simply is no way that that 210 W/m^2 of energy can propagate BY CONDUCTION deeper than ONE mm of sea water.
And it CAN’T propagate deeper BY CONVECTION, because the convection density gradient is UPWARDS.
As for the evaporated water being fresh water, leaving a higher surface salinity behind it, which is denser, the very same sort of argument demonstrates that this too is a butterfly wing beat effect as well. Any salinity gradient due to evaporation is also confined to mere mm at most of surface water. No way is that going to convey by convection, to the ocean depths.
So yes; downward LWIR does heat the ocean; maybe a whopping one mm of it.
Please don’t ignore the CONDUCTIVE component of energy transfer from the heated ocean silly millimeter back up into the atmosphere. I can’t recall if Trenberth puts a number on that.

Lars P.
December 10, 2014 9:35 am

The oceans do have a cool-skin – the surface is almost always cooler then the centimeter of water below – therefore the net heat transfer goes from below to the surface .
There is no net heat transfer from the surface to the water below no matter how much stirring and mixing one does. This cool skin does not seem to be really mentioned in the above post and it does influence the energy transfer process.
The only way how the ocean could be warmed indirectly by infrared is when the surface would get warmer – thus slowing down the transfer of heat from below – but we do have a relative good measurement of the ocean’s surface temperature.
If backradiation does not provide a measurable effect on the surface, due to the cool skin it cannot warm the ocean. It has first to warm the surface.
Where does the added “backradiation” energy go?
Backradiation is part of the heat energy transfer, it is no net energy transfer. It does not exist without the “first” radiation.
“According to the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, infrared radiation has only increased about 1.2 watts/meter^2 from 1979 to 2013.”
How did that affect the net heat transfer is the next question which is not answered. To consider it is a net added heat into the ocean is wrong.
“THE OCEANS HAVE THEIR OWN GREENHOUSE-LIKE EFFECT”
Yes, correct.
Is this greenhouse-like effect considered when the overall “greenhouse effect” is being calculated? (the much touted + xxx°C due to greenhouse)
No, only gases are considered there when calculating how warmer is the planet in comparison with an average rock planet.
“Based on the findings at RealClimate, that rise in infrared radiation could only warm the sea surfaces by a little more than 0.002 deg C since 1979. Yet, looking at the global sea surface temperature data, Figure 2, the surfaces of the global oceans warmed more than 0.3 deg C from 1979 to 2013, leaving about 93% of the ocean surface warming unexplained.”
Big Bear Observatory & Earthshine comes to mind (change in albedo which trumps CO2 greenhouse):
http://www.bbso.njit.edu/science_may28.html

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Lars P.
December 10, 2014 11:32 am

Lars P
“The oceans do have a cool-skin – the surface is almost always cooler then the centimeter of water below – therefore the net heat transfer goes from below to the surface .
That applies only when the water is transferring energy to the atmosphere which is not always the case.
“There is no net heat transfer from the surface to the water below no matter how much stirring and mixing one does.”
Well, there is no net heat transfer BY RADIATION to the water below. In the real world what you wrote is only true if the air doesn’t touch the water, and it does.
“This cool skin does not seem to be really mentioned in the above post and it does influence the energy transfer process.”
Well it is mentioned. What was not mentioned is that ordinary ‘mass transfer’ which is convection heating or cooling, still takes place, even though there are alternative energy pathways. The diversion into discussions of radiative energy transfer only has done this whole argument a disservice because ‘ordinary’ heat transfers are taking place.
Hot wind blowing over a cold ocean definitely warms it, but not by radiation.
Hot wet wind blowing over a cold ocean warms it and wet air is dried by the cold surface condensing and removing water vapour. As it blows across the cold water, the air cools. This can only happen if there is heat transferred to the water. Yes, it is not by radiation, that points is correct. But it is not correct to conclude that because there is no net radiative transfer, there is no transfer by convection.
If there was no additional evaporation driven by wind and cold dry air (convective cooling because of surface contact with the water) there would be no lake-effect snow in Buffalo. There is.
Cold dry air warmed by Lake Erie transfers far more energy out of the lake than is possible by radiation OR evaporation in still air. That is why they got 8 feet of snow in a couple of days and Waterloo didn’t. Because some additional evaporation is attributable to the wind, it is proven that the mechanism is convection, not radiation. All the standard formulas apply.

Lars P.
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
December 11, 2014 1:44 am

Crispin said: “That applies only when the water is transferring energy to the atmosphere which is not always the case.”
http://researcher.most.gov.tw/public/tsuang/Data/722815193371.pdf
“[2] It is well known that temperatures at the sea surface are typically a few-tenths degrees Celsius cooler than the temperatures some tens of centimeters below [Saunders, 1967]
“The cool skin is recognized as an important feature of the ocean viscous layer as a result of new satellite remote sensing methodologies emerging for air-sea fluxes estimates Chou et al. , 2003].”
The cool skin is typically there, most of the time. Warmer winds warming the ocean is the exception. You are treating the exception as the general case.
Crispin: “What was not mentioned is that ordinary ‘mass transfer’ which is convection heating or cooling, still takes place, even though there are alternative energy pathways. ”
Net heat transfer goes from warm to cold. Stirring a colder surface with a warmer deeper level will transfer heat from depth to the surface and not the other way around.
Crispin: “Hot wind blowing over a cold ocean definitely warms it, but not by radiation.”
It may warm the surface layer, however as long as this surface layer is colder then the water below it will not tranfer net heat to the water below it, it may only slow down the net heat tranfer from the water below, if the surface is getting warmer. Please explain how will a colder surface warm a deeper warmer water layer? How do you implement that heat pump there?
Crispin: “But it is not correct to conclude that because there is no net radiative transfer, there is no transfer by convection.”
See above net heat transfer. Please explain how convection transfers net heat in the ocean from the cooler skin to the warmer deeper water layer.
Crispin: “If there was no additional evaporation driven by wind and cold dry air (convective cooling because of surface contact with the water) there would be no lake-effect snow in Buffalo. There is. ”
I agree, I understand evaporation is the reason for the cool skin feature.
Crispin: “Because some additional evaporation is attributable to the wind, it is proven that the mechanism is convection, not radiation. All the standard formulas apply.”
Radiation looks important if one looks at one factor, one side – which is false. It is the net heat transfer throughout the system which is the reality.

DT Christensen
December 10, 2014 11:24 am

This study seems to point to one mechanism of IR/water energy exchange which they could measure. Not sure if their test included appropriate wavelengths or is applicable.
http://www.amolf.nl/news/news-archive/detailpage/artikel/water-molecules-as-efficient-infrared-antennae/

Reply to  DT Christensen
December 10, 2014 12:13 pm

Fascinating study, DT. The study is paywalled but the full-size images are not, worth looking at. The wavelengths they used are about 2700 cm-1.
w.

DT Christensen
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
December 10, 2014 6:05 pm

This is an interesting subject.
Given we know that the Oceans have not warmed as much as models suggest, if this study could be extrapolated to co2 wavelengths and quantify the effect against ocean water, we could have increasing certainty of co2’s actual if limited impact.
This study, similar in nature is not pay walled.
http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/jcp/135/2/10.1063/1.3605657