Learning From The Argonauts

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The best thing about doing climate science the way I do it is that I can study anything I want, and there is always so much more to learn … in the present instance, there’s another year of Argo data, so I thought I’d take another stroll through the world of Argo. The Argo floats sleep a kilometer down, and then every ten days they dive down another kilometer and slowly rise to the surface, measuring temperature and salinity as they go. Then they drop back down a kilometer, and go back to sleep. So start with, here a movie I made up that lets us go diving with the Argo floats down to 2000 metres and back up again …

Argo diving animationFigure 1. Movie of the Argo temperatures at standard layers.

One thing I hadn’t realized was how the western sides of the oceans are generally warmer than the eastern sides. Makes sense, because the wind blows in that direction, piling up the warm surface water in the west, and as a result forcing warm water down to deeper levels … at least that’s how I interpret it. I was also surprised by how deep the warm water goes, it’s 18° or so down a couple hundred metres in many places.

The Argo floats are indeed a marvel, but they do have their limitations. One of the limitations is that there are only about 3,500 of them in the ocean at any one time, and the ocean is a very big place. As a result, I don’t know how much trust we can put in the results … but let’s look at them anyhow.

First off, here’s what’s going on at the surface. The data says that there is a small warming of about a tenth of a degree over the decade. But as with many things in climate, the reality is more complex. Here is a breakdown of the surface temperature into the seasonal and residual components:

argo temperatures 0 metres loessFigure 2. Argo Surface Temperatures. Top panel shows raw data. Middle panel shows the average changes (seasonal component), month by month, as an anomaly. The bottom panel shows the raw temperature less the seasonal component, again as an anomaly.

Now, despite the fact that there is a trend visible, as detailed in the bottom of Figure 2, you can see that the temperature dropped from the beginning of the record in January 2005 to about January 2008. Then for two years, the temperature rose rapidly … and dropped again for the next two years, and then rose again to the end of the record.

Because of this variation, I’d say that drawing any conclusions from the apparent tenth of a degree per decade “trend” is very premature. Let me give you another example of this same problem. Figure 3 shows the temperature trends at the surface, in degrees per decade.

argo surface temperature trends mapFigure 3. Surface temperature trends by area. Dark blue and green show cooling.

Now, there’s a number of interesting things about this map. First, most of the ocean isn’t doing a whole lot, either trivially warming (cyan) or trivially cooling (light green).

Next, there are isolated areas that are significantly cooling—off the southern tip of Africa, near China, down in the Antarctic, and most curiously, the North Atlantic.

Similarly, there are isolated areas of warming—west of australia, off of Japan, west of Panama, east of Argentina, and off the northeast US.

Finally, the tropics by and large is not warming in any significant manner. This is in line with my hypothesis that tropical clouds greatly constrain the temperature variations in the tropics.

Anyhow, that’s what I learned from looking at Argo. I learned once again that linear trends are always deceptive … and a lot besides that. Always more to find out in this field, I guess that’s why they call climate the “settled science” …

My best wishes to all of you, warm oceans and crisp evenings, and time with those you love,

w.

As always, let me request that if you disagree with someone, please QUOTE THEIR EXACT WORDS. This allows everyone to understand your objection

ARGO DATA: It’s big, it’s ugly, and it’s scattered, and you need to download July 2013 onward month by month. In any case, it’s here, as .ncdf files.

MY PREVIOUS POSTS ON ARGO, ordered by date.

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The Argo floats are technical marvels. They float around below the surface of the ocean, about a kilometre down, for nine days. On the tenth day, they rise slowly to the surface, sampling the pressure, temperature, and salinity as they go. When they reach the surface, they radio home like…

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Argo Notes the Third

I got into this investigation of Argo because I disbelieved their claimed error of 0.002°C for the annual average temperature of the top mile of the ocean. I discussed this in “Decimals of Precision“, where I showed that the error estimates were overly optimistic. I wanted to know more about what the structure of the…

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By Land and By Sea

Bob Tisdale has discussed a variety of issues with the hemispheric and basis-by-basin Levitus summary of the ARGO data in his excellent post here on WUWT. I wanted to take a larger look at at the global ocean data, to provide it with some context. After following a variety of…

Argo, Temperature, and OHC

I’ve been thinking about the Argo floats and the data they’ve collected. There are about 4,000 Argo floats in the ocean. Most of the time they are asleep, a thousand metres below the surface. Every 10 days they wake up and slowly rise to the surface, taking temperature measurements as…

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179 thoughts on “Learning From The Argonauts

  1. “Similarly, there are isolated areas of warming—east of australia,”
    Should that be west of Australia?

  2. Now, despite the fact that there is a trend visible, as detailed in the bottom of Figure 2, you can see that the temperature dropped from the beginning of the record in January 2005 to about January 2008. Then for two years, the temperature rose rapidly … and dropped again for the next two years, and then rose again to the end of the record.

    Seems to me that maybe you are getting into Bob Tisdale territory there. I’m not sure that I always follow Bob’s stuff, but I think it comes down to — La Nina =The Easterly trades pile up warm surface water in the Western Pacific and warm some slightly deeper layers of the Oceans — particularly in the Western Pacific. El Nino = occasionaly the Easterly winds fail and Westerly winds move the warm water East toward South America thereby bumping the average surface temperature of the Pacific and the planet.
    I could have that all wrong, but if I don’t, I think you’re going to need a time baseline long enough to include a number of El Nino cycles before you can say anything much about sea surface temperature. At least two or three decades?

    • Don K:
      El Nino temperature spikes are transitory events and SST is a valid metric at any time. But it is true that there is no support in the Argo data for any claims of a trend.

    • Look at the pattern of minimum temperatures in the first graph, “actual temperature”, in figure 2. that could be the el nino, la nina. notice how the minimum gradually increases then resets around 2010, 2011. notice also that the maximum shows no trend.
      and notice how “data minus seasonal” hides the pattern in minimum temperatures, while making the whole data-set appear to have a trend.

      • The second component of that graph is an average of temperatures at that time of year not a maximum graph.

      • ??? no one is talking about the second graph. the annual maximum and minimums are shown on the first graph of fig 2, the one labelled “actual temperatures”. the second graph is clearly labelled “seasonal component”

  3. From the point of view of a simple engineer, the most surprising thing to me is that it is probable that the desired equal distribution of these sampling points cannot possibly be achieved. I presume these devices are not moored to the ocean floor, and must therefore be moving around the oceans – presumably following the dictates of the currents. If this is so, are they not likely to be accumulating in some areas while leaving other areas relatively untested? And if this is so, does that not compromise the whole intent of this obviously massively expensive experiment while producing misleading data which can be interpreted however the analysts choose?

    • I’ll go along with that and then some. ARGO floats meander about in currents produced by lots of different forces in the oceans and the primary one is temperature differentials. A float following a temperature induced current is, by definition, skewing its own results by floating along in a pool of water of temperature X until it dives and then drifts along in another pool of water at temperature Y and then dives and does its sounding rise… still at the mercy of whatever pool of water it floats into diagonally skewed based on direction and speed of layered currents. We only know the start and end points of this journey, not what happens in the middle spatially.

      • If ARGO floats meander about, what happens if they meander into a shallow area that is less than 1 km deep? Are the readings for 1 km and 2 km detected as faulty and thrown out, or do they end up skewing the temperature data toward the warm side?

      • Louis, they’ve got pressure sensors in them to record the depth profile so erroneous readings should be easy to get rid of. I just wonder how many they lose getting stuck in “shallow” sticky mud or if their software is smart enough to quit the descent profile if they don’t see a pressure increase.

    • There should be something in the data. A sudden increase in the rate of change of pressure (-) after a sudden spike in the rate of change of temperature as the it gets caught in upwelling. It would be interesting to see what the trend is if such data were removed (or homogenized).

    • Ooops. I just saw the headline “Scientists find the missing heat – it was in the deep oceans all along.”

  4. <i.One of the limitations is that there are only about 3,500 of them in the ocean at any one time, and the ocean is a very big place. As a result, I don’t know how much trust we can put in the results … but let’s look at them anyhow.
    I’m not sure that follows necessarily – I would have thought that temps from one area of the ocean to the next would be highly autocorrelated – that is to say that there shouldn’t be big jumps of temps between adjacent areas, except perhaps near volcanoes etc. But is 3500 bouys enough for a fair sample even given that? Or am I wrong to think that the ocean can’t have fairly large jumps in temps between adjacent areas that could skew results? If the bouys were fairly evenly spread shouldn’t that be a fair way to sample if my thinking is correct?
    Also, aren’t the temp anomalies rather small and to what is the range of error? If we took a hypothetical ocean that didn’t vary at all in heat content, what would the natural variability year to year look like? How do we know the variability we see isn’t an artefact of the sampling.
    Not disagreeing here – just to be clear. Just trying to understand the factors that affect what we should see against what we do see.

    • “I would have thought that temps from one area of the ocean to the next would be highly autocorrelated – that is to say that there shouldn’t be big jumps of temps between adjacent areas, except perhaps near volcanoes etc.”
      Contrariwise. The oceans contain a number of watermasses with different characteristics (including temperatures) and often quite sharp borders. Ask any submariner.
      Also the buoys are far from randomly distributed. For example areas near the mouths of large rivers and upwelling areas are very undersampled as currents predominantly are headed away from such areas, so the free-drifting Argo buoys can’t get there. Continental shelf areas are almost unsampled, as are several partially isolated deep basins, such as the Sea of Okhotsk. Also there is no data from areas covered by sea-ice (e. g. almost the whole Arctic Ocean). Altogether about 10% of all ocean areas are almost or completely unsampled by ARGO, and these areas are not at all randomly distributed.

    • Well just look at the data. There ARE areas of significant warming and cooling juxtaposed with each other. The North Atlantic being the most obvious.

    • Agnostic – thanks.
      Willis writes:
      “The Argo floats are indeed a marvel, but they do have their limitations. One of the limitations is that there are only about 3,500 of them in the ocean at any one time, and the ocean is a very big place”
      Ummm.
      Yes. More than somewhat.
      There are about 120,000,000 square miles of ocean.
      That’s about three and a half into 120,000 square miles for each float.
      That’s some thirty-four-plus thousand square miles per float – roughly 85,000 Km square.
      Per Wikipedia (Fount of all wisdom, because I can edit it): –
      Maine has a total area of 35,379.74 square miles;
      South Carolina a mere 32,020.49 square miles;
      Per the CIA Factbook, which I cannot edit, but is probably pretty good (basics, at least: – perhaps the rest – I don’t know.) –
      Austria 83,871
      Azerbaijan 86,600
      Square Kilometres in each case.
      And the buoy is measuring things about the top two kilometres of water – so sort of a hundred and seventy thousand cubic kilometres of water.
      The entire human race alive today will fit into a cubic kilometre of space if their average weight in under 140 kilograms . . . . .
      As W noted, ‘the ocean is a very big place’.
      Have you ever crossed an ocean? It’s pretty humbling – they are just so (self-cut) big!
      Auto

  5. Willis said:
    “One thing I hadn’t realized was how the western sides of the oceans are generally warmer than the eastern sides. ”
    Another possible reason for the warming is submarine vulcanism. The Sunda Deep (around the South Eastern to Southern Edge of Sumatra), the Mariana trench to the north east of Indonesia, the Bougainville and Kermadec + Tongan trenches to the east and South east of Papua New Guinea, and to the north,and others, in a very active part of the world.
    Over last year, Indonesia alone had 48 active aerial volcanoes. With the land to sea floor ratio = 28/72 (very approximately) then there could have been over 130 huge submarine heaters running.
    Little wonder the west is warmer than the east.

    • No, tectonic / geological thermal flux does not explain it. Look at the Atlantic and the passive margins along both North and South America. In that case warm currents like the Gulf Stream bring it. And in the case of the Pacific, things like the Japanese current bring it. In the latter case you can even see the green band stretching all the way to the Pac NW.

      • Sorry, the Japanese Current’s northern portion is the Cyan band stretching across the North Pacific.

    • Sophocles,
      If undersea volcanoes were heating the ocean, you would see the effects at depth, not just near the surface. Geothermal energy is trivial compared to what comes from the sun.

  6. Since the Argos are floating they have different positions at every measurement. How is that managed when calculating trends?

    • Well- I think if you wanted to do it in a “reasonable” manner- you would grid up the ocean, then take the measurements of any float within the grid.
      I can see many flaws with this logic however. Depending on currents, you couldn’t depend on any reasonable distribution in any grid- let alone world-wide.
      It might (and probably is) better than nothing… but still.

      • Doesn’t really matter where those Argos are sampling. By the time certain parties get done applying “sophisticated gridding, weighing and homogenizing statistical techniques” to that data, the outcome is preordained. Put it in the bank!

    • It seems to me that there is more to that than one might think: if a wx-station on land is moved just a few yards, or some trees manage to get older and grow or the station gets a new painting, then there is, quite rightfully, a big hullabaloo going on about the comparability of the data. These argos will never ever give you measurements of the same location. They just float away. And they do not collect data like air temp and air pressure when on the surface. There are too few argos, there are too few data and the the data obtained from the same device are imho incomparable. As far as the ARGOs are concerned, more is more.

  7. Note how much cooler at depth is the N. Pacific compared to the N Atlantic. What could be the reason for that, I wonder. We know that a very considerable volume of the Gulf Stream flows into the Arctic Ocean, could it have something to do with that? A higher rate of circulation, perhaps? The Med. Sea would add its component at depth, a warmer influx.

  8. Interesting. Of course the series is to short for a good estimate av the warming. A longer series can very well be higher because of ninjas to the end in this series
    But another interesting aspect of this is to compare this to the SST indexes:
    Oiv2: 0.076
    HadSST3: 0.07
    ERSST3b: 0.056
    ERSST4: 0.113 (! smack on)
    Could be very interesting to see the result of the interpolated HadSST3 from BEST.
    My tip: The bias correction for ship to buoy transition applied in HadSST3 and ERSST4 will be applied to the Oi product (after all: the satellite readings are calibrated to in situ) and the new version of HadISST. Result will be higher trend in the last decade +.

  9. Quite correct that the ten years of data does not support any claim of a trend.
    On another topic, one always hears about warm water “piling up” in the western oceans, making “pools” of warm water. What in fact occurs is that upwelling predominates on the eastern side of oceans with very little upwelling in the west. It is this difference of upwelling that accounts for the depth of warm water in the west. Water does not “pile up”.

    • “Water does not “pile up”.”
      Actually it does a bit … under the influence of prevailing winds and also the Earth’s rotation. IIRC the Pacific at Panama is a meter or so higher than the GOM 80km to the East. (I’ll look up the actual number if you care). Anyway, the piles aren’t very large, but since the size of the wind related ones varies they are more than enough to be a major problem when trying to measure a few mm a year of sea level change. That’s a different problem though. Basically, for this issue, you are right. No piles.

      • People try to account for the depth of warm water in the western Pacific as a natural process that accumulates it in a “pool”. They have overlooked the fact that there is a big difference in SST between east and west because of the upwelling of cool water in the eastern part of the ocean. It is the same in the Atlantic; cool in the east and warm in the west.

      • If you’d like to see water “piled up”, take a trip to the Straights between Papua New Guinea and the northern tip of Australia … the rush of water from high elevation to lower elevation is exceptional at the change of the tides.

  10. The Argo floats are indeed a marvel, but they do have their limitations. One of the limitations is that there are only about 3,500 of them in the ocean at any one time, and the ocean is a very big place.

    That is, to me, a very important point.
    These Argo buoys are good for building hypotheses but they aren’t fit for testing them.
    It’s the fun bit of science.

  11. “One thing I hadn’t realized was how the western sides of the oceans are generally warmer than the eastern sides”
    The eastern sides of oceans are also generally much drier, for the same reason, and so that’s where many deserts are (e.g. Western Australia, off Chile/Peru etc).
    In geological time, cooler also tends to be drier (consistent with the above), so I don’t know what all the fuss is about regarding potentially more droughts and global warming. In might be the case locally, but generally a warmer world is a wetter world.

    • thingadonta:
      It is confirmed by science (climatological studies in fact, the kind that you will not find at sks or HotWhopper) that a warmer world is indeed a wetter world. Again, it is the eastern upwelling that determines the dryness of the adjacent coasts simply because cool water evaporates less, hence the air is dryer.

      • mpainter: What precisely does SST have to do with the amount of interior rainfall or lack thereof? I asked you a very straightforward question which you have avoided. Saying the words “increasing SST means increasing precipitation everywhere” does not make it true. For a site that prides itself on evidence being required for claims to be considered valid, there is a surprising lack of scientific rigour when it comes to the skeptical position.

    • You are right, a warmer world means a wetter
      world and a better world. Not one of the lame brain alarmists that pester society understand this basic fact of climatology.

      • If you ask me, it all has to do with population control! I think?
        P.S. I know, I know, nobody is asking me.

      • “a warmer world means a wetter world” – what evidence do you have of this, especially in interior locations such as central Africa?

      • Chris thinks central Africa=world.
        Basic Climatology, Chris. Get yourself a textbook and read some.
        For continental interiors, read about the Holocene climate transformation of the Gobi, Sahara, Kalahari, and also the Great Basin.
        Read up and become better informed, that’s my advice.
        More advice: stay away from SKS and Hot Whopper. Places like that only set you back.
        Read up and being better informed, you can think for yourself.
        For example:
        Warmer world—>higher SST—>higher rate of evaporation—>more precipitation—>____?
        To give you a little start on your new life, Chris, I’m going to let you fill in the blank. Good luck!

      • mpainter thinks the entire world is comprised of coastal areas near bodies of water.
        I was giving an example – your first clue should have been my use of the words “such as”. I could have included more, such as the US Southwest, western China, the interior of Australia, but I thought that wouldn’t be necessary for you. I guess I was wrong.
        I asked for evidence in today’s world for your statement “a warmer world equals a wetter world”, not during past epochs. So I’ll ask again – can you provide supporting evidence that in today’s climate, a warmer world equals a wetter world for interior regions?

      • Chris, for evidence see SST trend for the last 30 years or so. Or do you mean to say that you cannot comprehend the ineluctable result of increased SST? In that case, I can’t help you.

    • So much for Chris who attributes to me a quote which he himself invented :
      “Increasing SST means increasing precipitation everywhere” which statement I never made.
      These sort of tactics are used by certain types and not for me, thank you.
      I will stand on every statement that I have made.
      Chris, get lost.

      • mpainter – You said “a warmer world equals a wetter world” and “Warmer world—>higher SST—>higher rate of evaporation—>more precipitation—>_” I stand corrected if by that you did not mean that increasing SST will increase precipitation everywhere.
        I’m still waiting for evidence of the increase in SST having a positive (or at least not negative) impact on interior regions. Saying it is ineluctable does not constitute proof.

      • Chris
        I do not deal with those who make up expressions which they then attribute to me in quotations. Get lost.

  12. “One thing I hadn’t realized was how the western sides of the oceans are generally warmer than the eastern sides.” – upcoming discovery: Coriolis 😀 😀

  13. “One thing I hadn’t realized was how the western sides of the oceans are generally warmer than the eastern sides. Makes sense, because the wind blows in that direction”: do you mean that the wind generally blows from the east? It doesn’t at 40-50 degrees of latitude. Or are you thinking of the Trade Winds rather than the Roaring Forties?

  14. Standing on the sidelines, it’s really fascinating being alive in this period where we have measuring gear spread around the oceans and lands, skilled and curious people like Wills, and the unprecedented ability to render it all in animated graphics that we can view on fairly cheap equipment in our own homes. Has there ever been a period in history when so many plebs & academs have been able to understand these things at their own level of comprehension. Wills has presented this bit, an interim analysis of data that’s now available for the first time in history, but we don’t know who (for one instance among many instances), who designed the robust depth detection gear for thousands of Argo gauges, nor even who put the bits together on the production line bench between turn up, lunch and go home breaks.
    This is by way of a thanks to many who have made it possible. Just thought it worth saying.

    • Gary,
      Many thanks.
      A very insightful comment.
      I had simply not thought of it that way; not just the inventor/technician, but also the folk on the production line.
      Where do you buy an Argonaut buoy?
      Who pays for them?
      My thanks, also, to them.
      Auto

      • Among other places, you buy them at Sea-Bird Electronics. See e.g. here for a discussion of a manufacturer’s recall …
        w.

      • Thanks for the acknowledgment of the idea. Similarly I also thank those who spend boring hours putting the stock on supermarket shelves for me. My not wealthy but affluent enough life and my intellectual interests are supported by so many people who spend their time doing things they resent.

  15. 3500 buoys covering 335 million square kms = about 1 buoy per 100,000 sq kms for each buoy on average = average spacing about 300 kms.
    “One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. -Mark Twain”

    • 3500 buoys covering 335 million square kms = about 1 buoy per 100,000 sq kms
      ==============
      this demonstrates the futility of gridding, infilling, anomalies and adjustments. the grid size is enormous and the samples are sparse. and when you are all done you have no idea of the probability distribution of the result. are you measuring the data or are you measuring the processing? how big is the error?
      however, repeated random sampling of the actual data itself will deliver an accurate average temperature using absolute temperatures, with a known probability distribution that is conveniently the normal distribution.
      Imagine if one wanted to take a poll of average public opinion. Would you grid out the country, calculate anomalies, infill for areas where you had no data, and then adjust the results?
      No! You would sample using random techniques to ensure that the result is statistically representative of the average. From this you could calculate your error without any need for models, because we already have couple of hundred years of statistical theory to guide the way.

      • Yes. With opinion polls, you have to take great pains to generate a true random sample. With the floats drifting in the currents, we have the equivalent of a “self selected” opinion sample. The floats report what is happening where the currents carry them. How is that accounted for?
        It would be very interesting (hint, hint) to see a chart of the Argo float distribution and movement over time.

    • for example, calculate1000 random points in the ocean. select the nearest argo buoy for each point. add up the temp at these 1000 buoys and divide by 1000. Round off to a couple of decimal places, depending on the accuracy of argo. This is your average for try 1. Repeat this process for 999 more trys.
      take your 1000 averages from 1000 try’s and plot them on graph, temperature vs number of occurrences. you should see a normal distribution. the averages from all the trys should be clustered around the true average, and the spread of the cluster tells you your expected error.

  16. Two things jump out at me from the very first graph in the first figure:
    1. min temperatures are increasing, but max are not. the max is relatively unchanged year to year, while the min shows an increasing trend that seems to reset around 2010-2011.
    I wonder if this is not el nino, la nina? it suggests the mechanism is not increased heating but rather reduced cooling – a reduction in the upwelling cold water.
    2. The average seasonal variation in ocean temps is from about 19.4 to 20.4. About 1 C seasonal variation within a single year in the average ocean temps. This is more than the total warming observed since 1850.
    All the hype over global warming, and the oceans themselves vary more in 6 months than all the warming of the past 150 years, even with their huge thermal inertia. This shows the problem with anomalies. They make even the tiniest squiggle appear significant.
    When you work with actual temperatures, they show that even 150 years of global warming is insignificant as compared to annual natural variability.

    • Very interesting observation. So, if the global oceans vary annually by 3/4 to one degree, why? Is this sole due to the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit and the variation is solar radiance or albedo from one pole towards the sun then the other with more land in the northern hemisphere affecting ocean temperatures. What is causing that annual variance? Maybe this has been covered before but I don’t recall.

    • There appears to be some evidence that the Earth has some type of thermostat. If it does we could expect minimum temperatures to increase and maximum temperatures to remain unchanged, just as you suggested in your first point.

  17. One thing I hadn’t realized was how the western sides of the oceans are generally warmer than the eastern sides.

    when you look at the slices for the oceans, there are two plumes of warm water at depth, that are approximately centered on the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. why are the plumes not largest on the equator?

  18. The surface warming off of the east coast of N America is questionable. Note the small blot of cooling (blue) immediately to the NE of that.
    Looks more like a malfunction than verifiable data.

    • I live near there. The water in the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy (an offshoot) are unusually warm.
      Ian M

      • Lot’s of power companies along the East Coast using river water to cool their turbines? Given the flow up the coast it could enhance some natural effect.

        • Richard M
          Lot’s of power companies along the East Coast using river water to cool their turbines? Given the flow up the coast it could enhance some natural effect.

          No, compared to natural processes and natural heat loads (and cooling forcings) the power plant loads are trivial once 3-4 miles past a power plant’s outlet pipes.

  19. Many thanks for all the work that went into making the data come alive. I was particularly struck by the above animation, of course, but I’ve bookmarked this post because it lists your other work on the topic.

  20. I suspect that the reason the western sides are warmer than the eastern is the same reason that if your house has lots of western facing windows your air conditioning load will be lots higher than if you did not. Thermal inertia and orbital mechanics.

      • In the tropics, I tend to think of two horizontal screw-conveyors, one on each side of the equator. So water is drawn from the deep along the equator, heated at the surface, and pushed westward. Then when the western boundary is hit, the heated water is pushed poleward, starts to sink, and then gets caught up in the eastward flow of the westerlies.
        Or as you say “currents”. 🙂

      • Fernando,
        The only possible explanation that I can imagine is the degree of insolation, which is modulated by clouds, in the homeostasis effect. Once SST reaches a certain point, the atm. water vapor level increases to the critical point for cloud formation, as part of the daily cycle. Hence SST can go no higher but is confined by this self- adjustment

    • It is curious that 30.6 degrees C is also the exact temperature on the carbon dioxide phase diagram at which carbon dioxide will not remain a [liquid] regardless of the amount of pressure applied.

      • Curious. Evaporation limits the SST to that same temp. in the open ocean at low latitudes. A principle? Water cools by evaporation.

      • What does this mean “carbon dioxide will not remain a gas”? If I’ve filled a 50 lb. co2 tank the liquid level is about 2/3rds. of the way up in the cylinder. On hot summer days with temperatures higher than 30.6 degrees C., what happens to the gas in the “head pressure” area as we called it?

        • tom konerman commented

          in response to Retired Engineer John:
          It is curious that 30.6 degrees C is also the exact temperature on the carbon dioxide phase diagram at which carbon dioxide will not remain a gas regardless of the amount of pressure applied.
          What does this mean “carbon dioxide will not remain a gas”? If I’ve filled a 50 lb. co2 tank the liquid level is about 2/3rds. of the way up in the cylinder. On hot summer days with temperatures higher than 30.6 degrees C., what happens to the gas in the “head pressure” area as we called it?

          He later changed it to “it will not remain a liquid”.
          It would mean your tank is all gas, no liquid in the bottom. And I don’t recall ever noticing liquid in any of the co2 tanks I’ve used.

      • Should have refreshed before posting. let me rephrase my question. What does this mean “carbon dioxide will not remain a liquid”? If I’ve filled a 50 lb. co2 tank the liquid level is about 2/3rds. of the way up in the cylinder. On hot summer days with temperatures higher than 30.6 degrees C., what happens to the liquid in the cylinder?

      • Mi Cro, I’v filled 1000’s of co2 cylinders. They were all filled by weight with liquid co2 from a refrigerated (keeps the pressure low) storage tank. Just like your propane tank you can feel the liquid flow/slosh back and forth.

      • According to the phase diagram, the tank at temperatures above 30.6 C (appx 86F) should be all pressured gas.

      • Retired Engineer John January 22, 2015 at 8:41 am
        According to the phase diagram, the tank at temperatures above 30.6 C (appx 86F) should be all pressured gas.
        I can’t wait till simmer gets here. I’v delivered 1000’s of co2 cylinders and have never noticed the liquid disappearing. At 30.6 degrees the liquid must start to change to a liquid. When this happens is possible the phase change keeps the liquid at 30.6 degrees? And that it would take quite awhile to for 50 lbs to evaporate? I believe that if all 50 lbs of liquid in one of cylinders were to change to a gas it would exceed the working pressure of the cylinder. Yet millions of these cylinders are commonly used where ever fountain drinks are sold.

      • The change from a liquid to a gas is a state change that requires energy input, i.e. heating. the temperature of the liquid will have to get to the transition temperature and additional heat is required to evaporate the liquid and change it to a gas. The outside of the container will have to remain hot for some time to complete the state change.
        I have went back and looked at the 30.6C temperature and all the places I find it is listed as 30.98C or 31C. I am not sure where I got that number. The 30.98C is still very close to the 30.6C. There is a another number that is close to this number; it is the temperature at which the CaCO2 reaction stops producing just the Aragonite form of calcium carbonate and starts producing both Aragonite and Calcite forms of calcium carbonate.

      • “the container will have to remain hot for some time to complete the state change.”
        That has to be the key.
        Thanks Mi Cro,
        you found Critical temperature : 30.98 °C. I found Critical temperature 87.9 °F 31.1 °C on pg 4. http://www.asiaiga.org/docs/AIGA%20074_11%20Safe%20handling%20of%20CO2%20containers%20that%20have%20lost%20pressure_Reformated%20Jan%2012.pdf
        This 50 lb co2 tank I refer to has been around in common use for over 100 yrs. You fill it with cold co2 by weight. You can see the frost line of the liquid. It warms to ambient temp overnight. These tanks are widely distributed in all sorts of industry all around the world and there is little concern about them being exposed to temperatures greater than the “critical temperature”. In a fire the liquid will boil and blow the pressure disc at 1800 psi.
        Like I said “I can’t wait till summer”
        “I remember we’d vent it into a bag made of paper towels, and collect the dry ice, and put it in alcohol to make a -50C or so cold bath for temp testing.”
        Back in the late 80’s one summer, we were going through 30,000 lbs. of dry ice pellets a day. We would get 10 3,000 lb. boxes and had to shovel it all into 300 lb. drums. You would think shoveling dry ice at -109F/-78C would be cool but you’d sweat your a&& off on a hot day. I’d take the stuff home and let my kids play with it.

        • tkonerman commented

          Back in the late 80’s one summer, we were going through 30,000 lbs. of dry ice pellets a day. We would get 10 3,000 lb. boxes and had to shovel it all into 300 lb. drums. You would think shoveling dry ice at -109F/-78C would be cool but you’d sweat your a&& off on a hot day. I’d take the stuff home and let my kids play with it.

          Oh, while the tanks were colder than 30C because they were indoors, this did take place while I was living in Florida, and I’m sure at least during the day and tank outside was at least 30C.
          I was going to add, I took care of a helium leak detector, which had a cold trap on it’s vacuum circuit, it held about a liter of Liquid N2, that was fun 🙂

      • To answer Konnerman’s questions.
        Put some liquid in a sealed evacuated container and let it equilibrate with the vapor. The liquid is denser than the vapor. Now heat it up. The density of the liquid decreases and the density of the vapor increases. Heat it up enough, and the difference between liquid and vapor gradually disappears. The point where that happens is called the critical point.
        31 C is the critical point of CO2. At that temperature, both the heat of vaporization and the volume change of vaporization are zero, so you can no longer tell the difference between the liquid and a gas. The pressure at the critical point is about 70 bar. If both the pressure and temperature are above the critical values, you have a supercritical fluid with some properties of a liquid (high density) and some of a gas (fills the entire volume it is in). Very strange, but true.
        When the temperature of a CO2 cylinder goes above 31 C, there will not be a big increase in pressure or absorption of heat. But you won’t feel any liquid sloshing around either.

      • thanks Mike M. for the visualization. I’m not looking forward to a heatwave but I am going to check this out.

      • Mi Cro,
        “I was going to add, I took care of a helium leak detector, which had a cold trap on it’s vacuum circuit, it held about a liter of Liquid N2, that was fun :)”
        because some chemist told me it could be done, I put liquid oxygen in a Styrofoam coffee cup; it was blueish just like he said it would be.

      • Mike M.
        “Heat it up enough, and the difference between liquid and vapor gradually disappears”
        here’s my experiment: I take a 50lb. co2 tank (full of coarse); find the fulcrum of the tank below the critical point, then heat the tank to > than the critical point and see if I can detect liquid.

  21. The ARGO data is easily accessible via ARGO’s own Global Marine Atlas which can be found and downloaded here:
    http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/Marine_Atlas.html (click on the ‘ftp site’ at top of page).
    Make sure you follow the install and especially the update instructions carefully. I have marineatlas installed by its own (C:\marineatlas) in Win7(64).
    It will plot global maps and line graphs at the click of a button (both examples show temperature difference from 10-year mean Jan2004-Dec 2014 @2000m**).
    http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh154/crocko05/ARGO-2000m-Dec2014_zps91c9b078.jpg
    http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh154/crocko05/ARGO-2000m-Dec2014-line_zps34058049.jpg
    **Not as frightening as the warmists ‘Joules’ graphs.

  22. Willis, thanks for your posting of interesting and curious things. It is interesting that two areas that show warming also show low salt on the salt page http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycom1-12/navo/globalsss_nowcast_anim365d.gif The area off South America close to the Equator has had a strong upwelling of low salt water and the area North off the US and Canada also has a strong upwelling. That these two areas have strong upwelling is curious.

  23. Willis, good choice with the map projections. The typical rectangular projections subtly influence perceptions so equal area maps are nice to see.

    • Thanks, Gary. I have no use for the Mercator projection for anything but marine navigation …
      w.

  24. just a thought about ARGO:
    as it are free drifters there is a bias: Argo is a good measuring system for what is happening with the ocean currents and within them but as a whole sea temperature system? well not the perfect one but already better then the very unreliable pre argo measuring system
    so yes to have a good idea of what happens ARGO is the new big thing and for sure it is a good addition to already existing measuring devices
    unles you have an “all including depth and surface wondersensor” that can absolutely measure EVERYTHING we have to do it with a system that has it’s strength and weakness. Ships have the weakness of limits by the course they take and regularity of measuring on the same path but the strength that the measurements are current independant, ARGO has the strength to be with 3300 floats that keep track, but the weakness it drifts with currents and thus the bias from these currents.
    howeven both provides us only samples and not the whole picture Yes oceans can really vary on short distances (the anomalies in the north atlantic in front of the northeast USA are showing that: it’s where the labrador current and gulf stream meet. any shift of that current will give these big anomaly contrasts on such a short distance. Research has showed that the gulf stream moves see this abstract
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/%28SICI%291097-0088%28199605%2916:5%3C559::AID-JOC26%3E3.0.CO;2-Z/abstract
    Also changes in the AMOC (not to be confused with the AMO!!) can explain them easyly
    With all that said i do believe ARGO is the best we have, not perfect but at least the first reasonable system to have a fairly good idea
    however it is not the full idea

  25. In regards to : “One thing I hadn’t realized was how the western sides of the oceans are generally warmer than the eastern sides. Makes sense, because the wind blows in that direction, piling up the warm surface water in the west, and as a result forcing warm water down to deeper levels … at least that’s how I interpret it. ”
    I don’t agree, so can someone help me out? I used to spend summers on the east side of a large lake, It was was always warmer water on our side, because the surface water blew in our direction all day, most days (west to east). When we would ski and fall on the west side of the lake, the water seemed much cooler.
    What I say is that the water flow is the key, not the wind. The cold oceans off California are due to water coming down the coast from Alaska…if the water ever got warmer than 70 degrees during a San Diego summer, it was heaven. Yet in Florida, the water comes up from the Gulf Stream down south. When I scuba dived in Key Largo, we never had to wear a wet suit or we would roast.
    My interpretation is that it is not the wind, it is the stream direction..

    • And Horseshoe Crabs off of Cape Cod. Ah, the Gulf Stream, it is bath-like to my West Coast sensibilities … LOL!

    • Mike wrote: “My interpretation is that it is not the wind, it is the stream direction.” That is correct, but it is largely the wind that drives ocean currents. The trade winds push warm tropical surface water to the west until it hits a continent, then the current gets diverted along the coast, since it has to go somewhere. At higher latitudes, the currents go back to the east, then back toward the equator when a continent margin is reached. Hence warm currents off east coasts and cold currents off west coasts.

  26. Whenever ARGO is discusssed one should bear in mind that the data must be viewed with caution, since the data has been adjusted to remove what was considered to a warming bias.
    See http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page1.php
    “CORRECTING OCEAN COOLING
    On a Thursday evening in February 2007, Josh Willis stood in front of his laptop, his wife cajoling him to get ready to go out to dinner. He looked with a sinking feeling at the map he had just made. ….In 2004, Willis published a time series of ocean heat content showing that the temperature of the upper layers of ocean increased between 1993-2003. In 2006, he co-piloted a follow-up study led by John Lyman at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle that updated the time series for 2003-2005. Surprisingly, the ocean seemed to have cooled….On blogs and radio talk shows, global warming deni*rs cited the results as proof that global warming wasn’t real and that climate scientists didn’t know what they were doing….”
    The data was then “corrected” to remove what was perceived to be a warmming bias in the data.
    In addition to that, the data set is too short, and there is a lack of spatial coverage such that no sensible and scientific conclussions can be drawn from ARGO regarding trending/changes in ocean heat content .

    • This is correct. Argo is another temperature dataset that has been adjusted upward to accommodate propaganda needs. Must always remember that. Where is “read ’em and weep” Mosher?

    • Thanks, Richard. In my opinion, Josh Willis’s correction was proper, because it was the result of a known and verifiable problem with the way that some of the Argo floats were measuring the data. So I disagree that the dataset was adjusted upwards “to accommodate propaganda needs” as mpainter says. It was adjusted because it was wrong.
      Having said that, it doesn’t mean that all possible errors in the dataset have been identified …
      w.

      • Willis, my understanding that the correction was based on observations of TOA energy balance which are of course, quite doubtful.
        You seem to be saying that some floats were faulty and so were corrected. Are you sure of this?

      • They claim that “the temperatures in the Argo profiles are accurate to ± 0.002°C.” If that is the case, why would they need to be adjusted at all? Were the adjustments greater than the margin of error? If so, wouldn’t that indicate that either the accuracy claims are highly exaggerated, or the adjustments were excessive?

      • Louis
        They were adjusted because they showed that the oceans were cooling.
        Tsk, tsk, what kind of thermometer is that? Cooling?
        So they got out their theoretical physics and decided that measurements at the top of the atmosphere showed that the earth was keeping heat somewhere.
        The oceans, right? Sooo-oo. Twiddle twiddle, there, fixed. And now Argo shows that ocean heat content is growing. Willis has bought into this, strangely enough. Twiddle twiddle suits him fine.
        I take a different point of view.

      • mpainter, I agree that it looks bad. But I also understand why Willis doesn’t want to sign on to conspiracy theories. You’re reputation can get trashed if you don’t have enough proof. My point doesn’t depend on all that side history. I’m simply asking, how can anyone argue with a straight face that the Argo floats are accurate to ± 0.002°C and claim at the same time that the temperature readings are biased and need to be adjusted? That is just plain contradictory. It’s possible I’m missing something here, but that’s why I ask questions. I’m here to learn.

      • Louis
        You have put your finger on the problem and that problem has to do with credibility, am I right?
        As for myself, I believe that I have taken the correct measure of our NOAA data keepers.

      • mpainter January 22, 2015 at 9:47 am Edit

        Willis, my understanding that the correction was based on observations of TOA energy balance which are of course, quite doubtful.
        You seem to be saying that some floats were faulty and so were corrected. Are you sure of this?

        Sorry, mpainter, I spoke a bit inaccurately. There were indeed some argo floats that had problems. However, that wasn’t all of the problems. The Josh Willis correction had to do with the “XBTs”, the expendable bathythermographs. Some of them didn’t fall at the rate that they were believed to be falling. It’s all explained pretty well in the link that richard verney gave above.
        However, as I said, there still are likely to be errors in the Argo data. As part of the same process Josh Willis identified some of them, viz:

        “Basically, I used the sea level data as a bridge to the in situ [ocean-based] data,” explains Willis, comparing them to one another figuring out where they didn’t agree. “First, I identified some new Argo floats that were giving bad data; they were too cool compared to other sources of data during the time period. It wasn’t a large number of floats, but the data were bad enough, so that when I tossed them, most of the cooling went away. But there was still a little bit, so I kept digging and digging.”

        It’s not clear, however, that all of the bad Argo floats have been identified. See, e.g. here.
        The work continues,
        All the best,
        w.

      • Louis January 22, 2015 at 11:56 am

        They claim that “the temperatures in the Argo profiles are accurate to ± 0.002°C.” If that is the case, why would they need to be adjusted at all? Were the adjustments greater than the margin of error? If so, wouldn’t that indicate that either the accuracy claims are highly exaggerated, or the adjustments were excessive?

        It turns out that the problems haven’t been with the temperature sensors, but with the pressure sensors. Suppose you want to know what the temperature is at a depth of e.g. 100 metres. As the float is rising, how do you know when to take the temperature? Well, you use a pressure gauge, and from that, you can calculate the depth … if you know the temperature and salinity of the column of water above.
        The identified problems have been in the pressure sensors. Now, in many parts of the water column the temperature doesn’t vary much with depth, so in those parts it won’t be a significant problem. However, near the “thermocline”, where temperature varies quickly with depth, even a small depth error can lead to a significant temperature error.
        So although the temperature sensors are quite accurate … the entire system is inter-related, so an error in either the pressure or the salinity sensor can cause significant errors in the temperature reading.
        w.

      • And Louis, please, no conspiracies are necessary to explain warming of the brain. These types see warming everywhere, even if the data needs “rectification”.

      • Thanks for the response, Willis. Your quote of Josh Willis shows that once again it is the cool nail that gets hammered, never the warm one.
        And I __mean__ never__.

      • Well Willis,
        I have studied the NASA link that Verney provided and it appears that you have not really grasped what this is about which is entirely understandable because I’m not sure how well I do myself.
        First of all, that NASA write up is a masterpiece of obfuscation. I say this as an old marketing and advertising man, and I know whereof I speak.
        Nowhere do they say what the problems were except that the Argos were giving temperatures that were “too cool”. Otherwise the article rambles all over the place from sea level, thermal expansion, modeling, CSIRO, XBT (which, by the way, have nothing to do with the ARGO buoys as you supposed), satellite altimetry, TOA energy budget, etc., everywhere As I’ve said.
        NOWHERE do they explain how the data were adjusted nor WHY it was needed except to say that the Argo data was “cool”.
        In one revealing comment in the article, the complaint as given that “den*ers” were using Argo data to refute global warming.
        I advise anyone who wants to see a masterpiece of science obfuscation to read this article at Verney’s link.

      • Willis writes “So although the temperature sensors are quite accurate … the entire system is inter-related, so an error in either the pressure or the salinity sensor can cause significant errors in the temperature reading.”
        Quoting error margins on one component of a complex measurement process without regard to how those components interact borders on a fraudulent claim from the manufacturer. There’s a fine line between “fraudulent” and “marketing”.

  27. Willis, What I see happening with surface temps, look like they are driven by upwind ocean temps, your notes

    Next, there are isolated areas that are significantly cooling—off the southern tip of Africa, near China, down in the Antarctic, and most curiously, the North Atlantic.
    Similarly, there are isolated areas of warming—west of australia, off of Japan, west of Panama, east of Argentina, and off the northeast US.

    I think these led to swings downwind, and it will show up in the surface temperature record, and IMO it is this effect that ended up being interpreted in the temp record as global warming.
    It’s noted above that min temps look to be going up, but not max temps. I see some of that as well, but when you look at a “thermal” cycle as your day (daytime warming following night cooling as the 24hr day), cooling is a match to previous warming, except for min temps, and they are all over the place, both up and down, large regional swings, that I think are from your isolated cold spots.

  28. I’m with m painter that the most surprising thing about that fine movie is the amount of cold water at depth in the north Pacific and the way it fans down toward the equator. It looks like that water is leaking through the Bearing straits and sinking, or the NW Pacific is a more important area of deep water formation than we realize. The deep basins separating Greenland from North America also show as far more important outlets for Arctic bottom water than the more touted and shallower route past Iceland.
    I’d sure like to see that as actual temperature rather than anomaly.

    • Gymnosperm:
      One way to view it: the volume represented by the influx of the Gulf Stream into the Arctic ocean must displace an equal volume. This displacement must continue even during the polar winter. Where does the displaced water go ? Out through the Bering Straits? In part? Should be able to make some rough calculations based on Gulf Stream flow volumes, perhaps.

    • gymnosperm January 22, 2015 at 8:02 am

      I’m with m painter that the most surprising thing about that fine movie is the amount of cold water at depth in the north Pacific and the way it fans down toward the equator. It looks like that water is leaking through the Bearing straits and sinking, or the NW Pacific is a more important area of deep water formation than we realize. The deep basins separating Greenland from North America also show as far more important outlets for Arctic bottom water than the more touted and shallower route past Iceland.
      I’d sure like to see that as actual temperature rather than anomaly.

      Huh? The movie IS actual temperature and not an anomaly …
      w.

  29. @tty 1/22 2:02am, RE: Contrariwise. The oceans contain a number of watermasses with different characteristics (including temperatures) and often quite sharp borders. Ask any submariner.
    I am in 100% agreement.
    The argument that Argo fails Nyquist sampling is powerful. Google wattsupwiththat Nyquist Argo for an education. An important one is George E. Smith’s March 2, 2014 3:46 pm. But George has many worth reading including what I think is the introduction of Nyquist into the argument: Jan 27, 2012 8:16 pm in the Decimals of Precision thread.
    Willis’s Figure 1 is gorgeous. But let’s not forget that the geographically smooth temperature contours is a product of averaging over a full year. On any given day there are less than 400 temperature samples over the entire world at each level. Over a month there are less than 11,000 on any given level. The spatial variation is almost certainly undersampled resulting in an overconfidence in error bars.
    Surface Temperatures on Jan 21, 2014 http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/sst/archive/15021sst.gif

  30. Willis, please do me a favor and tell me where I can get the software to do the animation in your first figure.

  31. Figure 3 would be easier to read with light blue representing the -0.8 and light green representing +0.4.

  32. Has Al Gore installed a giant heater at the mouth of the St. Lawrence river? That blob of major warming is spurious.

  33. Re: fredberple at 4:37 am
    Very interesting observation. “So, if the global oceans vary annually by 3/4 to one degree, why? Is this soley due to the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit and the variation is solar radiance or albedo from one pole towards the sun then the other with more land in the northern hemisphere affecting ocean temperatures. What is causing that annual variance? Maybe this has been covered before but I don’t recall.”
    Oops Sorry. Should have looked more closely at the time scale. It isn’t annually. Appears to be due to axis tilt so the high temperatures are when the sun is over the equator and the low temperatures are at the solstices. I should have looked more carefully but interesting none the less. So the surface temperature of the ocean varies significantly with the angle of incidence of the sun on the earth? Or is it both angle of incidence and orbit? First peak appears to occur in January – perihelion with lag, the second in July after summer solstice. Why?

    • Every other year is labelled on the graph. There is one peak a year, looks like February, a little after perihelion. The effect may be enhanced by that being SH summer and most of the ocean being in SH.

  34. I’m confused ( it’s normal ) I thought maximum density of water is at 4 degrees C ?
    So how come is colder than that deeper ?

    • Salt water and fresh water differ. Salt water reaches max density at freezing. Has to do with the electrolytes.

    • The maximum density of water at 4C is only for fresh water. At 4C salt water begins to lose the heat of hydration, about 3.6 kilojoules for each mole of salt, sodium chloride. The temperature goes below 0C before all the heat of hydration is gone. The sodium and chlorine ions play a game of musical chairs with the water molecules, attaching to different molecules, and will not let the water freeze until all the heat of hydration is removed. The 3.6 kilojoules of energy that must be removed before freezing is the reason most of the deep ocean is around 3-4C. Also, pure water under pressure will remain liquid at temperatures below 0C. Such water is called super cooled water.

      • hello old person 🙂
        I’m having trouble with this and I’m not very knowledgeable about these things. Is it possible you can point me to some explanation will not take weeks to comprehend ? I do not have a proper picture in my mind what is going on. I think if things are falling the mass of the thing does not effect the rate of falling ?
        but then a cold thing within the same thing falls because they are more dense ( take up less space in the medium ) Is that correct ? That is not gravity because the warm thing should fall the same as the denser thing ? there must be some repulsion from within the medium which the denser thing avoids ?

      • Fresh water gets denser as it gets colder because the molecules are closer together. At 4C small cluster of ice forms in the water. The ice does two things; it pushes the molecules of water apart and lowers the number of molecules in a given space and ice weighs less so the space taken up by the ice also lowers the weight. A simple way to say it would be that below 4C ice crystals in the water cause it’s density to be less. Salt water cannot start freezing because of the salt and it continues to get denser until it reaches it’s freezing point.

      • John, as you are obviously a man who enjoys learning, you might be interested in this recent new explanation for why water expands below 4°C …
        w.

      • Willis, that is an interesting article. Currently, he has only a simulation. It will be interesting to see if he is able to test his theory. I read only the summary and it did not identify what would cause the bonds to shift when 4C is reached. I am sure we will hear more when he devises some tests.

  35. I don’t know how much trust we can put in the results … but let’s look at them anyhow.

    Exactly. Willis has enormous interest in this area and we are fortunate that he openly shares his research with us. The difference between main stream climate science and Willis is that Willis openly acknowledges the limitations of the data he is working with.
    If climate science could only more honestly communicate what is actually known, what is a work in progress, what is pure speculation and most importantly what their failures are. If one can’t admit failure all of their work becomes suspect.
    Anyways these datasets and how they are collected are interesting, however I am not sure what conclusions if any we can draw from them.

  36. Could someone explain why there is a “seasonal component” from a global ocean temperature data?
    The seasonal component graph shows the peaks (local maximas) all hit around the end of January-early February. The local minimas are all around late Sept-early October.
    Of course I realize there is much more ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, so that then leads to the question of area weighting in the data. Is every grid treated equally? Are grids equal area?

    • Joel O’Bryan
      January 22, 2015 at 11:14 am
      Could someone explain why there is a “seasonal component” from a global ocean temperature data?
      The seasonal component graph shows the peaks (local maximas) all hit around the end of January-early February. The local minimas are all around late Sept-early October.
      There are two cycles that “almost” are in synch which other. But they are (during the past decades) quite separate from each other.
      1. Solar TOA Radiation varies from 1408 watts/m^2 on January 5 down to 1316 watts/m^2 on July 5.
      Contrary to the simplifications inherent within Trenberth’s flat “average earth” Disk World model, the earth is a sphere and it does rotate the sun in an elliptical orbit. Thus, solar radiation at top of atmosphere is NOT a nice, even average 1361.3 watts/m^2 all year. Rather, solar radiation hitting earth’s atmosphere is at its maximum when the earth is closest to the sun January 5 each year during the Southern Hemisphere summer, and is at a minimum in July each year during the Northern Hemisphere. Midway between January and July each year, it is near its average value. Today, 22 January, it is near maxium at 1405.

      Date 	DofY	TOA_Rad.
      05-Jan	05	1408
      22-Jan	22	1405
      22-Feb	53	1390
      22-Mar	81	1371
      22-Apr	112	1347
      22-May	142	1328
      22-Jun	173	1317
      05-Jul	186	1316
      22-Jul	203	1318
      22-Aug	234	1330
      22-Sep	265	1351
      22-Oct	295	1374
      22-Nov	326	1395
      22-Dec	356	1406
      

      This SORCE solar radiation data can be approximated very closely (within a 1/2 watt/sec) by a cosine wave using Day-of-Year. Like any cosine wave, it is very flat across the peaks (changing only slowly with time in late December – early January and late June – early July) and is changing very fast when it crosses the axis (the average value) in March and September.
      Keep this in mind in a few minutes.
      2. The earth currently rotates on its axis at 23.5 degrees from the earth-solar plane. The sun is highest in the southern hemisphere on Dec 22 ( 14 days prior to solar radiation maximum) and is highest in the Northern Hemisphere June 22 (14 days prior to solar radiation minimum).
      Geometrically, this means the sun appears to move across the sky from winter (very low in the equator’s direction on 22 Dec/22 Jun), to a midpoint when the sun’s movement crosses the equator on the equinoxes of Mar 22 and Sept 22, and then to a high point in mid-summer on Jun 22/Dec 22.
      On the globe, the sun rises due east and sets due west with 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness ONLY twice every year: on Mar 22 and Sept 22 at the equinox (“equal night” in Latin.) Every other day of the year, the sun rises and sets either further north of the equaotr, or further south of the equator.
      On Dec 22, the sun is directly overhead at noon on the Tropic of Capricorn at -23.5 degrees.
      On Jun 22, the sun is directly overhead at noon on the Tropic of Cancer at +23.5 degrees latitude. (Just south of Key West, FL)
      So, why are there two peaks in the ocean’s temperature?
      From Dec 15 through Jan 30, the solar radiation directly over the area between Latitude -30 and -17 is receiving solar radiation for the maximum amount of time possible through the shortest possible attenuating air mass possible at the highest possible solar elevation angle (least possible ocean albedo angle) at a time of year when solar radiation is at its maximum possible of the year. Every day the sun is going back over nearly the same track it had the previous day. The sun passes directly over Australia, just barely passes over the small triangle of south Africa, and crosses South America through Paraguay (south of Peru and most of Bolivia, just north of Argentina, and just kissing a bit of south Brazil. Very, very little land in this band. Almost all of the sun’s extra heat goes into the southern ocean water.
      In March and September, the sun passes over the equator. Solar radiation at TOA is near average, nights and days are near equal most days – and “on average” over the whole month are 12 and 12. But the sun is moving rapidly during this time: It spends every day a little further north or south of its previous day’s path.
      In June and July, the sun again travels a near-constant path over the earth up near +23.5 latitude. Again, air mass is near minimum, solar elevation angle is highest, and solar air mass is lowest (least attenuation in the atmosphere.) But, the solar radiation per second is lower this time. The sun is passing over an area with much more land mass, and that land mass divides the oceans into smaller areas. In fact, there are no major openings at all under the Tropic of Cancer between the west coast of Africa and Taiwan out past the east coast of China!

  37. The Western sides of the ocean are warmer than the Eastern sides for the very simple reason that because of the coriolis effect, Northern Hemisphere surface currents circulate clockwise while Southern surface currents circulate counter-clockwise. What that means is that currents on the Western side bring warm water away from the Equator while the Eastern side brings cooled waters from the poles. See:
    http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/57/70057-004-85830DA6.jpg

    • Except for the Indian Ocean where the Leeuwin Current [not shown in questionassumption’s figure] flows from the Pacific , across the north of Australia and down the Australian west coast. The Leeuwin Current is one of the reasons that southern Western Australia is much less of a desert than it might otherwise be [cf Kalahari Desert and western North and South America].

  38. Fantastic piece of work again Willis.
    For me its interesting that the upward trend shown in the lower panel of your figure 2 from year 2012 through 2014 does not go above the peak shown in 2010.
    The reason its interesting is the claim from NOAA that 2014 is the warmest year. Also, the curve they show in their press releases does not have the same shape as other time series of temperatures such as RSS or UAH or Giss. These other curves show 2014 below the level for 1998 and 2010. I wondered if NOAA was justifying an upward trend towards 2014, and hence the “warmest year evah” based on oceanic data influencing a combined oceanic / land data set.
    However, your work, Willis, suggests that the oceanic data has not reached a peak in comparison to previous years.
    As said, other curves suggest the land data has not done so either, Therefore NOAA’s claim of 2014 being the warmest is strange. Exactly what data is it based upon?

  39. Thanks again.
    In figure 1, there is a large white area around Indochina and the Malay Peninsula. Is that an area that has no buoys?

    • The Argo buoy map shows no buoys in those areas; probably due to being too shallow. The Sunda Shelf for instance, is mostly only about 20m deep.

  40. The best thing about doing climate science the way I do it is that I can study anything I want, and there is always so much more to learn …

    Indeed Willis, this is so true of all ‘specialist’ educational endeavor … knowing more and more about less and less until they eventually know everything about nothing !

  41. Your observation about the the warmth to depth in the west of each ocean basis is interesting. Obviously there is a mechanism. It could be prevailing wind as you suggest or it could be ocean current circulation as dictated by Coriolis forces carrying water from the poles in the east and towards the poles in the west.
    Whatever that mechanism is however, an alternation in the functioning of that mechanism represents a plausible means by which the oceans at depth could warm. If the strength of prevailing winds changes or if ocean currents speed up or slow down then that would effect the temperature gradient you have observed. Of course what warms the west would cool the east, so to first approximation this would seem to involve no overall change in ocean heat content. However that is only a first approximation. I suspect that in reality things are not so well balanced.
    One of the big problems of the “missing heat is hiding in the oceans” story is the lack of a plausible mechanism by which heat could be transported hundreds of metres down into the oceans. But are we not looking at such a plausible mechanism?

  42. Amazing how homogenous the temperature is as it approaches 2000 m.
    It is noted at NOAA that 52% of the ocean volume is below 2000 m. (WUWT July 4, 2013)
    I fail to see a lot of “missing heat” When 52% of the volume of the ocean is somewhere between a few degrees negative and 5C. That’s a pretty freaking large heatsink/buffer– Even if it’s not well mixed on our timescale.

  43. Great post and images / movies, a decision to check out a Willis post is always rewarded!
    I love the animation of ocean temperature with depth down to 2000m. So the Pacific basin at mid depths around 2000m is colder than the Atlantic or Indian – who knew?

  44. The plot in the lowest of Willis’s three charts is what Mike Haseler the Scottish Sceptic would call noise. Another sceptic whose name may not be mentioned on this site might even call it a sine wave.

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