Bad News for Trenberth’s Missing Heat – New Study Finds the Deep Oceans Cooled from 1992 to 2011 and…

…that some of the warming nearer to the surface came from the deep ocean.

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

The paper is Liang et al. (2015) Vertical Redistribution of Oceanic Heat Content.  The abstract reads (my boldface):

Estimated values of recent oceanic heat uptake are of order of a few tenths of a W/m2, and are a very small residual of air-sea exchanges with annual average regional magnitudes of hundreds of W/m2. Using a dynamically consistent state estimate, the redistribution of heat within the ocean is calculated over a 20-year period. The 20-year mean vertical heat flux shows strong variations in both the lateral and vertical directions, consistent with the ocean being a dynamically active and spatially complex heat exchanger. Between mixing and advection, the two processes determining the vertical heat transport in the deep ocean, advection plays a more important role in setting the spatial patterns of vertical heat exchange and its temporal variations. The global integral of vertical heat flux shows an upward heat transport in the deep ocean, suggesting a cooling trend in the deep ocean. These results support an inference that the near-surface thermal properties of the ocean are a consequence, at least in part, of internal redistributions of heat, some of which must reflect water that has undergone long trajectories since last exposure to the atmosphere. The small residual heat exchange with the atmosphere today is unlikely to represent the interaction with an ocean that was in thermal equilibrium at the start of global warming. An analogy is drawn with carbon-14 “reservoir ages” which range over hundreds to a thousand years.

A preprint edition of the paper is here. The paper is full of memorable quotes, including (my boldface):

An upward heat transport in the deep ocean may appear to be in conflict with the widespread idea that a large portion of the extra heat added to the Earth system in the past decades should be transported into the deep ocean (e.g. Fig. 1 in Stocker et al. 2013). That inference is based on the assumption that the ocean was in equilibrium with the atmosphere before any extra heat entered. When interpreting measurements of the ocean heat content, it is often assumed that the disturbances arise only from the recent past. However, as emphasized by Wunsch and Heimbach (2014) and the present analysis, the long integration times in the ocean circulation imply an observed response involving the time history of the circulation over hundreds of years, at least.

And contrary to climate models:

Furthermore the ocean, far from being a passive reservoir filled and emptied by the atmosphere, is a dynamically active, turbulent element of a coupled system.

And keeping in mind that Balmaseda et al. (2013) was one of the papers that claimed to have found part, but not all, of Trenberth’s “missing heat”:

Global average cooling in the deep ocean conflicts with some previous ocean heat content estimates (e.g. Balmaseda et al. 2013), but is consistent with the long thermal memory of the ocean, and with other recent studies (e.g. Durack et al. 2014; Llovel et al. 2014).

For more on Balmaseda et al. (2013) and Trenberth’s “missing heat”, see:

[My thanks to Judith Curry, who included a link to Liang et al. (2015) in her recent Week In Review dated March 13, 2015.]

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177 thoughts on “Bad News for Trenberth’s Missing Heat – New Study Finds the Deep Oceans Cooled from 1992 to 2011 and…

  1. Geee. Does that mean since heat rises, the “missing” heat could have never hidden in the oceans? Is it really that simple?

    • It is an oft repeated misconception that “heat rises.” Decreased density, sometimes caused by heat, causes the rising. If subsurface water freezes, ‘cold’ rises!

      • Slywolfe-
        “It is an oft repeated misconception that “heat rises.” Decreased density, sometimes caused by heat, causes the rising. If subsurface water freezes, ‘cold’ rises!”
        WHAT??? Maybe there’s a sarc here….
        If subsurface water freezes, it’s because all the heat that prevented it from freezing prior has “risen” away from that water. ICE might rise as it is less dense than liquid water, and has air bubbles trapped in it, but it’s not “rising” because it’s cold. Which would mean your corrected sentence should read “Decreased density, sometimes caused by HEAT LOSS along with a state of change from a liquid to a semi-solid with gas trapped in it, causes the rising”. But you’re still wrong in saying that it’s a misconception that “heat rises”.

    • If warm water rises, then an equal amount of cold water had to sink. It may have sunk like a plume, it may have sunk at a continental edge, it may have sunk over a wide area, but nature abhors a vacuum, especially one at the bottom of the ocean.

      • Energy movement does not require molecules pack up their duffel and migrate to colder climes. Energy moves opportunistically from molecule to molecule leaving behind neither a soft fare thee well kiss nor fond memory of time well spent together. Energy is the gigolo of physics.
        Fluid dynamics, on the other hand, can move large masses, sometimes without a great deal of mixing of characteristics with the environment into which a particular characteristically unique mass may be injected. Soaring birds and commercial fishermen are well aware of this. The equivalent of a butterfly flapping its wings in Madagascar may have an equivalence in the ocean when, for example, there is a once-in-a-century flash flood that dumps billions of fresh water into the sea. We’re not intelligent enough to solve such chaotic problems and so we’re obliged to say “we don’t know”. But we don’t. As Simon and Garfunkel’s mesmerized friend of darkness experienced, some words, like silent raindrops, *should* fall. Much of what Trenberth, who hears without listening, says, by example.

      • I don’t know about seawater, but I know in a freshwater lake, the 39 degree water sinks to the bottom and the colder water stays near the surface. The lake “flips” during this cycle. As the icy water on the surface warms in the spring to 39 degrees, it drops to the bottom, I guess transporting “heat” downwards and forcing less dense colder water (between 32 and 39 degrees) upward. Then as spring progresses and the water gets warmer than 39 near the surface, the process stops. Over the summer insolation mostly warms the lake and the thermocline is forced deeper and deeper as the warm water moves toward the bottom. This is a big deal for fisherman and the cold water species like Salmon follow their ideal temps deeper as the summer progresses. In the winter under the ice, and just after ice out, they are very near the surface. The lake trout seem to like it 39 degrees (they are actually a kind of arctic fish, a char) The lake is actually kind of like a lava lamp with the two layers of water. So the idea that heat could migrate downward does not seem to be intuitively wrong. I guess if more icy surface water were warmed to a higher density it might join deep water ocean currents.

    • Well actually it is much simpler than that.
      There is NO missing heat, for the simple reason that we get NO heat from the sun, and we don’t make as much of it on earth, as he thinks we do.
      “HEAT” (noun) is “The sum total of the kinetic energies of random motion, of ALL of the “particles” (atoms and molecules) in a very large assemblage of interacting “particles”, with a mean kinetic energy of kT/2 per degree of freedom.”
      Sans particulate matter there is NO Temperature and NO HEAT. There might be other kinds of energy; and we DO get Electro-Magnetic Radiation Energy from the sun, and from other places, but “HEAT” can neither arrive on earth, nor leave it.
      We can actually get pipsqueak quantities of KINETIC mechanical energy from space in the form of high energy particles or meteorites, comets etc, but they too are NOT heat, but have a definite kinetic energy when they get here. Likewise discrete particles can be ejected from the earth, and once again, that is NOT heat.
      It is the random totally un-co-operative nature of “heat”, which characterizes it as the garbage dump of wasted energy.
      G
      But of course that is just MY opinion, so don’t ever say that in your PhD thesis. Toe the party line in good sheeple fashion, and you will get your shingle.

  2. That’s interesting: it would also seem to suggest that (at least in part) that the recent “pause” is partly because the upwelling heat keeps the air from actually cooling…
    …and what happens when the oceans run out of that extra heat?

    • What happens when the oceans run out of that extra heat?
      No worries, the UN got it covered,
      They’ll get a panel together that will propose penalties on all countries who do not increase their carbon footprint in order to help keep the world warm.

  3. Hi from Oz. But aren’t the deeper parts of oceans always colder than the less deep? And how can colder water “warm” warmer water anyway? If so, was the “warming” something else, such as mid-level warmer water currents displacing cooler mid-level water?

      • The link provided only goes to an abstract. You have to buy a subscription to see more. So I have to ask, did you read the paper? If so, maybe you can explain what they mean when they say the following in the abstract:

        Between mixing and advection, the two processes determining the vertical heat transport in the deep ocean, advection plays a more important role in setting the spatial patterns of vertical heat exchange and its temporal variations. The global integral of vertical heat flux shows an upward heat transport in the deep ocean, suggesting a cooling trend in the deep ocean.

        Advection: the transfer of heat or matter by the flow of a fluid, especially horizontally in the atmosphere or the sea.
        Can anyone explain how a horizontal flow of fluid in the deep ocean can cause an “upward heat transport” from colder waters to warmer surface waters? Or is this only occurring at the polls where the surface is below freezing?

      • The link to the Preprint further down in the post gives the full Preprint.
        They make it clear they refer to “vertical advection”.

      • Louis
        It’s complex. Let’s say mixing means vertical exchange of water masses while advection is horizontal exchange. Now consider the vertical temperature profile from surface (warm) to bottom (cold). If this profile were the same everywhere then advection would have no effect on the vertical profile. But of course its not the same. Say there are two neighbouring water columns A and B. In A, water at 3 km depth is 1C while at the same depth in B the temperature is 2 C. Now imagine that water from column B moves into column A at 3 km depth. This will change the temperature in A at that depth from 1 to 2 C. A warming effect (locally). This still does not represent any vertical heat movement. But if, after this lateral advection shift from B to A, there were to be vertical mixing in column A, then the net result of the advection and mixing would be a vertical movement of heat, upward. The same process could of course also move heat downward.
        Think of movement of water parcels in 3D in the ocean as something like working with a Rubic’s cube, trying to move a block from one place to another by successive turns in different orthogonal planes.

    • It has never been about the science. Stop trying to muddy the waters with logic and facts. Just do as you’re told.

    • With no other inputs, that would be true. However in the real world the oceans are in constant motion. Turbulence can easily result in cold deep waters being brought to the surface.

  4. Interesting paper here that suggests ocean circulation is powered by the wind rather than thermo-haline density differences.

    • Judith Curry had a post on deep ocean ‘cooling’ back in October 2014.

      Evidence of deep ocean cooling?
      New research suggests that the upper layer of the ocean has warmed more than had been thought previously while the deeper ocean has cooled rather than warmed in recent years……..Two new papers have just been published in Nature Climate Change:………

      Abstract – 26 August 2014
      Deep-ocean contribution to sea level and energy budget not detectable over the past decade
      Abstract – 29 August 2014
      Quantifying underestimates of long-term upper-ocean warming

    • Ocean circulation is powered by the earths rotation. Augmented in part by wind, density and temperature only play a part in moving the terminal sinking zone a few yards. Calculate it, 900 mph times 4,000 miles radius times tonnes of water equals huge force.

      • “Calculate it, 900 mph times 4,000 miles radius times tonnes of water equals huge force.”
        Just did the calculation. I find a horizontal force of exactly zero. Using the fact that satellites in low earth orbit have a period of about 1/16 day, I find a vertical force of g/256 where g is gravitational acceleration. For most purposes,insignificant.

      • Mike M. March 14, 2015 at 9:21 am
        Just did the calculation. I find a horizontal force of exactly zero.

        Well, let’s see it! You’re not Hillary Clinton who can get away with “Just trust me.” 😉

  5. There never was any “Missing Heat”, just computer models that needed justification based on an initial false premise.
    What I find astounding is the fact that these clowns expected the world to actually believe something we were told, that defies the laws of thermodynamics and common sense!

    • andrewmharding,

      There never was any “Missing Heat”, just computer models that needed justification based on an initial false premise.

      Ok. Account for every joule of energy which has entered and exited the system for the past 20 years.

      What I find astounding is the fact that these clowns expected the world to actually believe something we were told, that defies the laws of thermodynamics and common sense!

      Deep-ocean heat transport isn’t something I’d classify as a subject able to be properly understood by way of common sense alone. That’s not to say it can’t be understood by laypersons sufficiently motivated to study the relevant physics.

  6. Is a Kelvin wave a process of moving the heat from the deep ocean to the surface? If so, what generated the heat in the first place?

    • No, Kenny. A Kelvin wave in the Pacific moves warm water along the surface of the equatorial counter-current,from west to east. On arrival in South America it hits the coast and is diverted north and south. This makes its warm water spread out on the surface which warms the air above it. The warm air rises, joins the westerlies, and we notice that an El Nino has arrived. Normally, that is. There are various ways to sidetrack this and thereby fool our expectations. One is a blockage of the equatorial counter-current ahead of the moving Kelvin wave. When that happens the wave stops, its warn water spreads out on the surface in Mid-Pacific, and an El Nino is formed on the spot. It is called an El Nino Modoki and it may or may not be noticed by us. The noticeability of an El Nino depends on the motions of air currents over the Pacific. The dividing line between the westerlies and the trades is somewhere near the Mexican border and its location may move north or south. If the trades can grab the warm air before the westerlies get to it, we could miss an El Nino entirely despite warm water being recorded at the Nino3.4 observation post. This just may be what is happening now. It probably also happened earlier this century.

  7. There is no known mechanism whereby the heat absorbed in the top few microns could find its way down to the depths of the deep ocean in a short period of time (by which I mean in a period of less than about 100 years). Indeed, given the time estimate of the thermohaline current/circulation (about 1000 years), it takes a long time for heat absorbed at the surface to find its way down to the near bottom of the ocean, and a long time for heat at the near bottom to resurface. The slight warming of SST that we are seeing today is most likely the aftermath of the MWP.
    But materially, if energy is going into the deep ocean, it has been doing that throughout all time, not simply during the last 20 years of the pause. This process has never been an explanation for the pause.
    Further, energy being transferrred into the deep ocean is being diluted and dissipated by virtue of the volume of the ocean, and all it does is to warm the deep ocean from say 3.001degC to 3.002 deg c, or 3.003 degC etc. That is not scary since if water from the deep ocean finds its way to the surface quicker than the usual millenial time scale of the thermohaline circulation, it serves to cool SST and hence serves to reduce global surface temperatures. It does this because the temperature of the upwelling deep ocean is cooler than the surface sea temperature (about 3degC compared to about 16degC). We witness what happens when there is a quick upwelling of cool water in La Nina events, and La Nina events reduce SST and reduce global surface temps.
    Energy being absorbed and hiding in the deep oceans has always meant that there could never be a cAGW problem.

      • Strawman argument – heat does not build up in the oceans. Any spare heat is rapidly removed as latent heat of evaporation and radiated away as the water vapor condenses and then freezes.

      • Ian W,

        Strawman argument – heat does not build up in the oceans.

        Not a strawman from the perspective of the authors of this paper:
        These results support an inference that the near-surface thermal properties of the ocean are a consequence, at least in part, of internal redistributions of heat, some of which must reflect water that has undergone long trajectories since last exposure to the atmosphere. The small residual heat exchange with the atmosphere today is unlikely to represent the interaction with an ocean that was in thermal equilibrium at the start of global warming. An analogy is drawn with carbon-14 “reservoir ages” which range over hundreds to a thousand years.
        Which I think is a damn good hypothesis and I’m quite happy to read it in peer-reviewed primary literature.

      • Brandon;
        I was comment on your mischaracterization of Richard Courtneys statements not Richard Verneys. I will take the shot there but my comments still hold.

    • Verney’s comment: “Energy being absorbed and hiding in the deep oceans has always meant that there could never be a cAGW problem.”
      So I repeat my question: “So as heat builds up in the oceans, it’s never given up to the atmosphere? How do you explain that?”

      • warrenlb
        You ask

        So I repeat my question: “So as heat builds up in the oceans, it’s never given up to the atmosphere? How do you explain that?”

        It is good that you admit your ignorance and ask.
        The mechanism is ‘schoolboy physics’, and a simplified explanation of the mechanism is as follows.
        Temperature is not heat. The thermal capacity of ocean water is about 1000 times that of air. Therefore, if air warms 1K and the heat which caused that warming transfers to the oceans, then the air cools by 1K and the water warms about 0.001K. If that heat is to return to the air then it cannot heat the air by more than 0.001K. The heat may “return to the air” and then radiate to space, but the rate of return is limited by the inability of ‘degraded heat’ in the oceans to raise the air temperature by as much as the heat going into the oceans cooled the air.
        Trenberth’s missing heat’ being in the ocean was never a sensible idea, but if it were true then it would be a permanent reduction to global warming.
        Richard

      • @Verney.
        If the atmosphere and oceans are in a rough state of equilibrium, and then over a time period the oceans are warmed incrementally by an incremental increase in IR radiated by an incremental increase in GHG concentrations in the troposphere, to the surface of the planet (which includes the oceans), the oceans warm incrementally to a temperature above the original equilibrium state. The oceans must then give back that heat energy via conduction and convection to atmosphere, driven by the incremental temperature rise it experienced.
        Playing out the process you describe, the oceans would build up heat forever, never giving it back to the atmosphere. An impossibility.
        And what do you mean by ‘degraded heat’? If you’re trying to impress us all by invoking entropy, you can skip it –it has no bearing on the heat transfer problem presented.

      • richardscourtney,

        The thermal capacity of ocean water is about 1000 times that of air.

        No, the specific heat capacity of dry air at one atmosphere pressure is 1,005 J/kg°C, pure liquid water is 4,182 J/kg°C (@20°C) [1], so you’re looking at a factor of 4, not 1,000. [2]

        If that heat is to return to the air then it cannot heat the air by more than 0.001K.

        0.4K by your assumptions, but using far more correct values for specific heat capacity. But now you introduce the implicit assumption that the atmosphere is going to remain at a constant temperature, and that its temperature is evenly distributed.

        Trenberth’s missing heat’ being in the ocean was never a sensible idea, but if it were true then it would be a permanent reduction to global warming.

        You may wish to dig out your schoolboy physics texts, and upon so doing, review your conclusion about whose ideas are the more sensible.
        ——————
        [1]: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/specific-heat-capacity-d_391.html
        [2]: The oceans aren’t anything close to pure water, nor are they isothermal at 20°C, but for these back of envelope estimates a 1 to 4 atmosphere to ocean approximation at the surface should be close enough.

        • Brandon Gates (attempting to correct richardcourtney, but failing)

          The thermal capacity of ocean water is about 1000 times that of air.

          No, the specific heat capacity of dry air at one atmosphere pressure is 1,005 J/kg°C, pure liquid water is 4,182 J/kg°C (@20°C) [1], so you’re looking at a factor of 4, not 1,000. [2]

          Now, what is the density of air at STP at sea level (in the Arctic at -25 deg C, and near the equator at +25 deg C)?
          What is the density of salt water at 20 deg C?
          Total energy per square meter of water surface – which is where the heat is being exchanged – is NOT only dependent on heat capacity (per kg) of the two substances, but on total mass x the heat capacity of the two substances!

      • The oceans contain 1.3e18 tonnes of water (wikipedia).
        The atmosphere contains 5.18e18Kg of air (wikipedia).
        So given water has a heat capacity at least 4 times that of dry air, I am happy with the statement that the thermal capacity of the oceans is about 3 orders of magnitude greater than that of the atmosphere, and Richard’s point remains valid.

      • warrenlb says:
        If the atmosphere and oceans are in a rough state of equilibrium…
        The atmosphere and oceans are never in a state of equilibrium. [~cf: Lindzen].
        That’s the reason for the changing climate in various areas.

      • @warren.
        The atmosphere is not the main source of heat in the oceans. The source of all energy is the Sun. The oceans cover most of the surface and have relatively low albedo. That is how they acquire most of their heat.
        The oceans do give heat back to the atmosphere — latent heat in the form of evaporation. That eventually returns as rain. But, while that moisture is in the atmosphere it can influence the global energy budget through e.g., high albedo clouds that reflect solar or low clouds that trap IR close to the surface and warm.

      • RACookPE1978,

        Now, what is the density of air at STP at sea level (in the Arctic at -25 deg C, and near the equator at +25 deg C)?
        What is the density of salt water at 20 deg C?

        (Re)read my footnote: [2]: The oceans aren’t anything close to pure water, nor are they isothermal at 20°C, but for these back of envelope estimates a 1 to 4 atmosphere to ocean approximation at the surface should be close enough.
        Close enough as in well within one order of magnitude, whereas Courtney is off by three. But very well, the answer for air doesn’t even show up as a rounding error between -50 and 40 °C. At 60 °C, the published value according to the same source [1] is 1,009 J/kg°C.
        For sea water, the same source [2] says that specific heat capacity ranges from 4,000 to 4,011 J/kg°C between 0 and 30 °C at one atmosphere. Recalling that fresh water’s specific heat capacity is 4,182 J/kg°C @20°C, obviously salinity makes a difference, but not so large that I have “failed” to correct Richard.

        Total energy per square meter of water surface – which is where the heat is being exchanged – is NOT only dependent on heat capacity (per kg) of the two substances, but on total mass x the heat capacity of the two substances!

        The first thing you’re leaving out is how most of the heat gets into the oceans to begin with. (It’s the sun, stupid.) Where’s mpainter or Willie Soon when I need them? We can’t just ignore the other heat fluxes at the surface, but that brings me to what’s really silly and wrong about your argument — not all of the mass of the oceans is at the surface.
        Good grief. Go stare at “FIG. 4. Global and 20-year averages of the net, advective and diffusive vertical heat fluxes” in the body of the paper for a while, and note that the fluxes get so tiny at depth that they had to rescale the x-axis of the plots below 1,000 m.
        ——————
        [1]: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-properties-d_156.html
        [2]: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/sea-water-properties-d_840.html

      • Peterg,

        The oceans contain 1.3e18 tonnes of water (wikipedia).
        The atmosphere contains 5.18e18Kg of air (wikipedia).
        So given water has a heat capacity at least 4 times that of dry air, I am happy with the statement that the thermal capacity of the oceans is about 3 orders of magnitude greater than that of the atmosphere, and Richard’s point remains valid.

        I understood that was the argument Richard was attempting to make, but he’s being sloppy with terminology. He’s really arguing that the oceans are a nearly infinite thermal reservoir, or heat sink, for the atmosphere. A good thermal reservoir does indeed want a higher heat capacity than the body whose temperature it is intended to stabilize, so much the better if the sink is also more dense, because then one can cram more mass into the same space and create larger reservoir capable of absorbing more energy with less temperature change.
        By a first approximation then, the oceans are an excellent thermal reservoir for the atmosphere by virtue of them being so massive, for indeed the mass of the oceans divided by the mass of the atmosphere multiplied by 4 is 1,000. Thing is, that tends to support the idea of “global warming going into the oceans”, so Richard is trying to play the 2nd law card but flubbed it with sloppy terminology, sloppy numbers, and egregiously unrealistic implied assumptions.
        To wit, there are plenty of places at high latitudes near oceans that are warmer than they’d be were it not for circulations which bring warmed water from the tropics. Conversely, there are places in low latitudes which would be warmer were it not for the return side of those circulations bringing cooler water in from higher latitudes. That’s how liquid heating/cooling works best, after all.
        But those are surface and near-surface ocean circulations. The whole point of this paper is that the vertical exchanges are known to be much slower, less well-understood, and that some of the warmer water seen at depth may very well have been sequestered there hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. An argument I don’t have a problem with because it fits of my reading the abstract for Bintanja (2008) and playing around with the data: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/paleocean/by_contributor/bintanja2008/

      • richardscourtney on
        March 14, 2015 at 12:06
        pm
        ‘It is good that you admit
        your ignorance and ask.’
        ____
        [trimmed]
        A mixed people living on that CAGW meme.
        ____
        Sorry. Hans

      • The sensible heat of air is 1 J/gm, the sensible heat of water is 4 J/gm. Atmospheric WV can be as high as 1% by mass, and the latent of evaporation of water is a whopping 2300 J/gm. In other words If the conversion of latent heat to sensible heat were not radiated to space by that same WV the atmosphere must increase by 23 degrees Celsius “before” the 1% still by mass water can possibly return to the surface as liquid water. The sensible heat of the water cycle is insignificant but the continuous latent supplied to the atmosphere supplies the power for 45% of all EMR to space. The surface need not radiate whatsoever. Poor Kevin. 🙂

      • Peterg March 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm
        “The oceans contain 1.3e18 tonnes of water (wikipedia).
        The atmosphere contains 5.18e18Kg of air (wikipedia).
        So given water has a heat capacity at least 4 times that of dry air, I am happy with the statement that the thermal capacity of the oceans is about 3 orders of magnitude greater than that of the atmosphere, and Richard’s point remains valid.”
        This appears correct for sensible heat. The air can have up to 5 x 10^16 Kg of water vapor So the air can have up to 1.1 x 10^23 Joules of latent heat at the same time. lower for an average to wit:
        Every gas in this atmosphere spontaneously adjusts its own temperature until it can dissapate all heat energy accumulated or generated outward to space. There is no need for the planetary surface to radiate EMR as the atmosphere does that more efficiently than the surface can.
        The very large atmospheric energy storage is in the form of latent heat of evaporation in water vapor. The column atmospheric H20 stays at about 2 cm or 2 grams for every cm^2 of planetary area. Each gram of WV has 2300 Joules of latent heat. Please check my total of 2.4 x 10^22 Joules of energy stored in the atmosphere, ever since this planet has had oceans.
        At the same time 4.1 x 10^16 Joules/second are going from the surface as new latent heat and also the same leaving as water condenses somewhere and this energy is continuously radiated to space. The largest nuclear test, Russia’s Tsar bombe, had a yield of only 2.2 x 10^17 Joules. Water vapor does that every five seconds. Please remember the Earth automagically adjusts the total WV to whatever/whenever it wants, and never checks with any Climate Scientist as none, not one, has a clue as to how the Earth does that. 🙂

      • @Brandon Gates.
        Informative post. Which raises the question: Has, or can, Science characterize how many years before thermal storage in the oceans might return thermal energy to the atmosphere?
        Also, Verney’s comment on heat storage in the oceans is the best argument yet made to explain why a 17 year slower rate of atmospheric warming doesn’t argue against that warming resuming at any time.

      • warrenlb,

        Has, or can, Science characterize how many years before thermal storage in the oceans might return thermal energy to the atmosphere?

        It’s more intuitive for me to think of the problem in terms of how long it takes the oceans to reach a new equilibrium state after a heating or cooling pertubation. Yes, those estimates have been done, and the general answer seems to be thousands of years for the full depth. Here’s one modelling study, Yang and Zhu (2011), “Equilibrium thermal response timescale of global oceans” (open-access): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1029/2011GL048076/
        Abstract: The equilibrium response timescale of global oceans is estimated in a fully coupled climate model. In general, the equilibrium timescale increases with depth, except in the polar region. The timescale is approximately 200 years for the ocean for depths above 1 km, and it increases to 1500 years at a depth of 3 km. A layer with a rapid timescale change, referred to as a temporacline, is located at a depth of 1.5–2 km, which is analogous to the permanent thermocline in the ocean. The equilibrium timescale varies with the sign of the change in radiative forcing. The ocean response to surface cooling could be twice as fast as the surface warming because of enhanced vertical mixing, convection and overturning circulation. However, this phenomenon only occurs below the Atlantic temporacline. For the Atlantic upper ocean, the timescale is longer in the cooling case because of the readjustment of the upper ocean to the enhanced Atlantic overturning circulation. In the Pacific, the timescale change in the warming and cooling cases is not as significant as in the Atlantic because of the lack of deep convection.
        Wunsch and Heimbach (2013) “Bidecadal Thermal Changes in the Abyssal Ocean” (pre-print): http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/heatcontentchange_26dec2013_ph.pdf
        Abstract: A dynamically consistent state estimate is used for the period 1992-2011 to describe the changes in oceanic temperatures and heat content, with an emphasis on determining the noise background in the abyssal (below 2000 m) depths. Interpretation requires close attention to the long memory of the deep ocean, and implying that meteorological forcing of decades to thousands of years ago should still be producing trend-like changes in abyssal heat content. At the present time, warming is seen in the deep western Atlantic and Southern Ocean, roughly consistent with those regions of the ocean expected to display the earliest responses to surface disturbances. Parts of the deeper ocean, below 3600 m, show cooling with the slow, diffusive, approach to a steady state expected there. In the global average, changes in heat content below 2000 m are roughly 10% of those inferred for the upper ocean over the 20 year-period. A useful global observing strategy for detecting future change has to be designed to account for the different time and spatial scales manifested in the observed changes. If the precision estimates of heat content change are independent of systematic errors, determining oceanic heat uptake values equivalent to 0.1 W/m is possibly attainable over bidecadal periods.

        Also, Verney’s comment on heat storage in the oceans is the best argument yet made to explain why a 17 year slower rate of atmospheric warming doesn’t argue against that warming resuming at any time.

        I agree. He’s good here: It does this because the temperature of the upwelling deep ocean is cooler than the surface sea temperature (about 3degC compared to about 16degC). We witness what happens when there is a quick upwelling of cool water in La Nina events, and La Nina events reduce SST and reduce global surface temps.
        Which is perfect! Conversely, a strong El Nino features more warmer water remaining at the surface whilst the cool upwellings are suppressed, driving up short-term global temps. But he loses it here: Energy being absorbed and hiding in the deep oceans has always meant that there could never be a cAGW problem.
        No. That’s the same as arguing that warming from the last glacial maximum to the Holocene climactic optimum — about 5 K of warming — could never happen.

      • Brandon;
        Richard added one word extra by accident you know and everyone here knows what he was saying but as usual you blather on trying to make his point seam wrong instead of just correcting the point, why because you know he is right. Then peterg nails you and you have to once again put up a dodge like you always do.
        You are so obvious and predictable.

      • Brandon;
        “No. That’s the same as arguing that warming from the last glacial maximum to the Holocene climactic optimum — about 5 K of warming — could never happen.”
        No, he is just saying that CO2 is not the problem, as illustrated by your comment above, it can happen just not because of CO2. Unless you think the 5K you are referencing here was because of CO2.

      • Bob Boder,

        Richard added one word extra by accident you know and everyone here knows what he was saying but as usual you blather on trying to make his point seam wrong instead of just correcting the point, why because you know he is right.

        No, I was the one who added the extra word: “specific”.

        Then peterg nails you and you have to once again put up a dodge like you always do.

        The main point of the paper being discussed here is that the abyssal oceans have a thermal “memory” because the vertical heat fluxes are so small relative to the surface. 1,000 to 1 is clearly three orders of magnitude off for a first approximation. Surface heating simply is not transported to the full column on anywhere near a human lifetime.

        No, [Verney] is just saying that CO2 is not the problem, as illustrated by your comment above, it can happen just not because of CO2.

        Here’s Verney’s argument again so it’s clear what’s being discussed:
        There is no known mechanism whereby the heat absorbed in the top few microns could find its way down to the depths of the deep ocean in a short period of time (by which I mean in a period of less than about 100 years). Indeed, given the time estimate of the thermohaline current/circulation (about 1000 years), it takes a long time for heat absorbed at the surface to find its way down to the near bottom of the ocean, and a long time for heat at the near bottom to resurface. The slight warming of SST that we are seeing today is most likely the aftermath of the MWP.
        Which is just a mess because he appears to be making the same argument Richard S. Courtney is attacking, namely that a cooler body cannot heat up a warmer one. Going down that road misses a major point of this paper on the subject of residual heat from prior warming periods like the MWP, or even earlier in the Holocene. I’ll quote the paper directly:
        Introduction
        A large recent literature (e.g. Levitus et al. 2001; Barnett et al. 2005; Easterling and Wehner 2009; Meehl et al. 2011; Lyman et al. 2010; Chen and Tung 2014) has discussed the rates of oceanic heat uptake from the atmosphere, and particularly whether inferences of “missing” heat can be explained by warming of the deep ocean. Estimates of the patterns of oceanic heat exchange with the atmosphere (e.g. Stammer et al. 2004) have an annual average range of hundreds of W/m2 of both signs, and with much larger seasonal extremes. Finding and understanding a residual oceanic warming even as large as 1 W/m2 with useful accuracy requires considerable insight into the distribution and physics of the exchanges. A recent paper (Wunsch and Heimbach 2014, hereafter WH14) used a 20-year duration oceanic state estimate (described briefly below) to infer an oceanic uptake of heat of order 0.2+/-0:1 W/m 2 (formal error only).

        Got that? The formal error is 50% of the estimated 0.2 W/m^2 change over 20 years. Refer to the paper, Figure 4, and note that below 1,000m they’re saying that the next vertical heat fluxes are on the order of 0.05 W/m^2. Translation: we’re looking for a needle in a stack of needles, and when doing so even the small residual heats from prior warming periods need to be accounted for somehow … because in the abyss is showing fluxes on the order of a quarter that of the 20-year net change at the surface. And obviously that cannot be coming entirely, if even mostly, from recent surface warming.
        Back to Verney (requoting): The slight warming of SST that we are seeing today is most likely the aftermath of the MWP.
        No. At best, a naive reading of this paper suggests maybe one-quarter — 0.05/0.2.
        From the paper (requoting): Estimates of the patterns of oceanic heat exchange with the atmosphere (e.g. Stammer et al. 2004) have an annual average range of hundreds of W/m2 of both signs, and with much larger seasonal extremes.
        And that kills Courtney’s argument that heat can’t be absorbed by the oceans only to come back later in the season, or next year at a higher latitude and warm things up. As if anyone who has ever seen an SST anomaly map
        What you guys perpetually “forget” when you start arguing about the oceans as a heat sink is that a warmer heat sink won’t have as much a cooling effect because you’re suffering from the misguided notion that 1,000 to 1 is essentially infinite. Well, I’ve got news for you. Near the surface, where this matters most, they’re anything but infinite:
        http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/itemp100_global.png
        http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/itemp700_global.png
        http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/itemp2000_global.png
        Not a pause in sight.

        Unless you think the 5K you are referencing here was because of CO2.

        I know my Milankovitch theory. What’s your explanation?

  8. Just the other day, central Italy had this very nasty blizzard that set a new world record that stood for over 100 years for most snow fall in a 24 hour period.
    ZERO headlines in the US media. A typical typhoon hits Vanatu in the Pacific Ocean and this is huge headlines with the head of the UN meeting with the government of that tiny island to commiserate about global warming blowing down some shanties made mainly out of palm fronds.

    • There is another cyclone being reported in the Australian MSM alonside the one that struck Vanuatu, it’s one that struck in near Perth in Western Australia (WA). Although there is much devastation in Vanuatu, both are being hyped out of all proportion. The cyclon that struck WA was a Cat 3, the one that struck Vanuatu is reported as Cat 5. Having said that, we do see reports here of record cold weather in the US but it is usually tied to mass crashes on roads etc.

      • So this is a case of unilateral temporally negative causation? People drive too fast in Connecticut, which is post causally linked to nasty winter weather. It makes perfect sense, those speeding drivers create mini pressure gradients which disturb the “naturally constant climate,” pulling cold air toward the Eastern U.S., and subsequently cyclones in the south seas,
        We need billions to build a new computer model to understand this very complex phenomenon of temporally negative causation in climate. That’s why Pielke’s work is all messed up, he has the signs reversed in time.
        Or maybe I had too many beers last night

      • Yes, I noticed that. Not enough destruction for MSM in the West Aussie cyclone, so all the pics and videos are of Vanuatu, and only on reading do you find that Cyclone Pam damages (I think that’s it) are not from Western Australia.
        Ciao
        John

      • I just went to the Washington Post to do a search for the word ‘blizzard’ and the most recent stories from the last YEAR were exactly 7. Two of which were about a blizzard in Hawaii in December and then this week.
        Otherwise, the only real blizzard story from February was ‘How much is too much snow on your roof’!

    • Good points. As far as the cyclones, there is a large expanse of very warm water in that area and the typhoons are just natures way of sending it’s heat back into outer space.
      I would love to give the number of Hiroshimas that one cat-5 storm contains but I don’t have that information. The cloud tops at one time were -85C over this thing, so it threw a lot of 30C water high into the atmosphere where the photons radiated from it are on their way to Pluto and beyond. These things also mix the top layers of the ocean when they pass.
      I’ve been in a couple Cat 2’s and was very impressed. I can’t image a Cat 5 as the energies are the square of the wind speeds. Just nature’s way of balancing things out.

    • The Vanuatu tropical cyclone registered a speed of 165 MPH. In 1962 we had this report in nearby Guam, Western Pacific.

      Reading Eagle – Nov 12, 1962
      Pacific Island Hospital Damaged By Typhoon
      ….during Typhoon Karen, which ripped into Guam late last night with winds estimated at 172 miles per hour…..

  9. I cannot see the point you are making in your article, what are your conclusions from the paper?

    • Well Harrytwinotter Jamie and Adam would say : Kevin your excuse for the “pause” is well and truly BUSTED.

  10. ‘The 20-year mean vertical heat flux shows strong variations in both the lateral and vertical directions, consistent with the ocean being a dynamically active and spatially complex heat exchanger.’
    Just like the atmosphere, and we don’t understand how that works either.

    • and if he doesn’t find his missing heat soon, he’ll have to give his Nobel Prize back. Yes, he is STILL claiming to be a Nobel Laureate

  11. How do those papers make it through peer review? We are constantly told that if a paper is not peer reviewed then it can’t be trusted. Is there some kind of verification system that shows the percentage of peer reviewed papers that turn out to be correct?

    • No system, but I saw a paper that looked into this value and found only 20% were still considered valid after 25 years. Can’t find that paper any more.

      • 20% seems about right. I’m surprised the warmists wield the “peer review” hammer so effectively.

  12. It’s gradually dawning on them: all the climate heat that matters is in the ocean.
    Climate change as big as glacial-interglacial can arise just from heat redistribution in the ocean. All the focus on top of atmosphere heat in/out us a wild goose chase.
    BTW the southern oscillation just turned positive.

    • Phlogiston,

      All the focus on top of atmosphere heat in/out us a wild goose chase.

      Right. Because solar energy teleports through the atmosphere to the core and diffuses up through the mantle into the landmasses and oceans.

      • Not quite.
        Because the change in atmospheric energy and temperature served up from ocean vertical redistribution might well overwhelm what changes to the TOA radiative budget might be being caused by CO2 changes.
        Climate science has jumped straight from global temperature data to TOA budget calculations assuming the ocean to be a passive puddle. This is a huge mistake.
        Liang et al’s paper is very welcome and hopefully will “teleport” some clear logical thinking into the study of climate heat and temperature trends.

      • phlogiston,

        Not quite.

        Yes, quite.

        Because the change in atmospheric energy and temperature served up from ocean vertical redistribution might well overwhelm what changes to the TOA radiative budget might be being caused by CO2 changes.

        I know that’s the argument Bob is making. You need to stop reading into this paper what you want it to say and think about what you are actually arguing. As a starting point, go read Richard S. Courtney’s post below on 2nd law violations and when you return …
        http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/Glossary_Climate/images/ocean_temp_profile.gif
        … stare at that plot for a good long time. First note that it only goes to 1,500 m. Next note that by the time we get below 500 m that temps are well below 5 degrees. Finally note that in the mid-latitudes that seasonal variations are limited to about the top 500 m. This paper is discussing residual heat in the abyssal oceans from prior warming periods where temperatures are 0 to 3 °C, which is essentially isothermal. What they are arguing is that vertical thermal fluxes at those depths, while quite small relative to the surface, are large enough to potentially throw off OHC trend calculations. That’s it. They’re not at all arguing that a pool of previously undetected warm water from below is contributing to warming above the thermocline.

        Climate science has jumped straight from global temperature data to TOA budget calculations assuming the ocean to be a passive puddle. This is a huge mistake.

        You’re parroting a worn-out meme that is patently false. That is a huge mistake.

        Liang et al’s paper is very welcome and hopefully will “teleport” some clear logical thinking into the study of climate heat and temperature trends.

        You mean like these papers did when they were published?
        Wunsch and Heimbach (2013), “Bidecadal Thermal Changes in the Abyssal Ocean” (pre-print): http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/heatcontentchange_26dec2013_ph.pdf
        Yang and Zhu (2011), “Equilibrium thermal response timescale of global oceans” (open-access): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1029/2011GL048076/
        Too recent you say? How about 1906? Thomas C. Chamberlin, “On a Possible Reversal of Deep-Sea Circulation and Its Influence on Geologic Climates”: http://www.jstor.org/stable/983677?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
        The ONLY reason you know that the oceans are not simple is because literature is filthy with papers telling you they aren’t. Just because YOU haven’t read about a particular item previously doesn’t mean that it’s been ignored. Put that in your logical pipe and smoke it.

      • Brandon
        You’re getting agitated about this which may mean that deep down you are starting to realise your error.
        My central point stands – current mainstream climate science tries to analyse (atmospheric) climate heat by reference to atmosphere to space radiation balance and budget, ignoring the ocean as a passive puddle. This is a fatal error.
        Notice what I am not saying – at this point I’m not saying there may not be a CO2 radiative warming effect, although evidence is accumulating that this might be very small.
        The point that you are evading and the point of the Liang et al paper (even if its authors pretend not to see this) is that the oceans can and do serve up climate variations simply by changes in vertical mixing. This relates to the point that you also side-step, about the huge heat capacity of the oceans dwarfing that of the atmosphere.
        It’s funny that when Trenberth suggests that missing AGW heat might have teleported to the ocean depths you seem happy with this. But if this assertion is developed into a more general point that ocean circulation and vertical mixing serves up continual climate change, suddenly you oppose this by asserting that ocean mixing is only in the top 500m – refuting Trenberth in the process BTW.
        If this absurd idea that the oceans don’t mix below 500m was true, then the deeper water would be anoxic. Except in some enclose seas like the Black Sea, it is not.
        Note I am talking about long timescales up to century and millennial, as were Liang et al.
        Two things that you kindly posted illustrate my point very well – the profile of temperature with depth and the long literature of ocean circulation studies. Indeed what I regard as the “Rosetta stone” in regard to the driving of climate by ocean circulation changes is the episode of the Bolling Allerod and Younger Dryas leading up to the Holocene Inception. Study of ocean sediment proxies of water temperatures together with ocean computer simulations have reconstructed in convincing detail how oceanic changes syncopating between NH and SH, including phenomena such as the Antarctic ice sheet collapse and cold reversal, explain sufficiently all the NH and SH climate variations over that period. This is why for instance I oppose theories of atmospheric catastrophes explaining the YD. They might have happened but nonetheless it was the oceans driving the climate. The atmosphere is the tail, the ocean is the dog.

  13. Looking for missing heat in the ocean? Its like accidentally dropping your keys into a river of molten lava. “Let ’em go, because man, they’re gone.” (Apologies to Jack Handey)

  14. good Lord….we’re only talking 100th of a degree in the first place…..that is without adjustments, algorithms, bias, models, etc etc

  15. The new meme will be along the lines of: “Our Carbon mitigation efforts are now proven to be working, but aren’t working fast enough, so we have to take more measures of control.”

    • Only CO2 emissions from selected countries contribute to global warming/climate change. China’s CO2 emissions, for instance won’t cause climate change until after 2030, while the USA’s CO2 emissions have all gone towards causing the global warming/climate change to date.
      The governments must have a way to track CO2 molecules in the global atmosphere based on their source and whether they are CO2 molecules contributing to climate change or whether they are benign CO2 molecules, like the ones coming from China………… this is the only way to explain their actions.
      Either that, or they are motivated by something other than the science.

      • CO2 molecules from USA emissions are also the ones that are causing the unprecedented drought in California and in the Midwest Cornbelt in 2012(after setting a record for years without a widespread severe drought=24).
        US emitted CO2 caused Super Storm Sandy in 2012, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the tornado outbreaks in 2011. In the last decade, a new kind of CO2 molecule has been emitted………..this brand of carbon dioxide, suppresses hurricanes and tornadoes but instead, causes extreme cold and record snow.
        Our government can tag and track individual CO2 molecules to verify which ones are causing the extreme weather/climate and which ones are not (-:

  16. Happy Pi Day!
    Saturday, March 14 is a very special Pi Day that comes but once in a century. That’s right, it’s 3-14-15, the only time before 2115 that the date reflects five digits of the magical, infinite number, 3.141592653…
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/03/14/pi-day-kids-videos/24753169/
    [3-14-15 , at 9:26.53579897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078… (in your local time zone) to be more imprecise about such a precise topic. .mod]

  17. Several things stood out to me in a quick read of this excellent paper. First, the quote pulled out in this essay on the view that the ocean is a complex, coupled, thermodynamic system reflected a general humble appreciation by the authors of this paper at how complex climate systems should be viewed (in my opinion). They clearly tried to consider the entirety of thermodynamics involved and not focus on a short list of presumed dominant forcing functions or single indices. Second, they were careful to point out the difference between formal error bounds and physics based, systematic, or conceptually based error bounds. In my opinion, climate scientific values are presented with small, formal error bounds and the (mistaken, in my opinion) impression is given that the underlying understanding of the (complex, coupled, thermodynamic) system shares that precision and accuracy. Third, the authors should be commended for simply reporting the results, clearly explaining their calculations, and maintaining a clear distance between their results and conjectures about either alarmist or skeptic perspectives.

  18. …New Study Finds the Deep Oceans Cooled from 1992 to 2011 …
    The oceans are cooling unusually! This is ‘Ocean Disruption’ – ‘Ocean Weirding’!
    Obviously caused by climate change. Give me some money to build a wind farm….

  19. …Third, the authors should be commended for simply reporting the results, clearly explaining their calculations, and maintaining a clear distance between their results and conjectures about either alarmist or skeptic perspectives….
    Hmm…. with that finding it would be hard to make alarmist conjectures. And If they made skeptic conjectures they would be out of a job.
    Best to say nothing…..

  20. According to the latest media hype anthropogenic CO2 emissions have stalled in 2014. In this unexpected turn of events, there is no need to seek for the missing heat. To reverse global warming, change, disruption or whatever, we only need to ensure the oil prices fall low enough.

    • John Peter
      ………..
      hardly a sign that CO2 emissions have stalled from 2014.

      That is not what Jaakko Kateenkorva said. Jaakko said “CO2 emissions have stalled in 2014.” And he is correct as it was widely reported just yesterday.

      Guardian – 13 March 2015
      Global emissions stall in 2014 following slowdown in China’s economy
      ——————–
      BBC – 13 March 2014
      Global CO2 emissions ‘stalled’ in 2014
      …The growth in global carbon emissions stalled last year, according to data from the International Energy Agency.
      It marks the first time in 40 years that annual CO2 emissions growth has remained stable, in the absence of a major economic crisis, the agency said….
      ——————–
      Think Progress – March 13, 2015
      Record First: Global CO2 Emissions Went Flat In 2014 While The Economy Grew
      Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions flatlined globally in 2014, while the world economy grew. The International Energy Agency reports that this marks “the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn.”

      • If emissions are stalled what caused the increase? Natural causes? The thermometer isn’t responding correctly either… its not going up… /sarc

  21. that was in thermal equilibrium at the start of global warming….
    But that is the entire premise of global warming…
    ….the world was prefectly balanced before….and the LIA ended in 1850

  22. Whilst Im happy to see anything that counters CAGW propaganda, can’t say I trust the conclusions of this anymore than “the ocean ate my warming” papers. After all humanity’s ability to record samples of temperature of our vast oceans is still limited to a tiny tiny fraction of them.

  23. An upward heat transport in the deep ocean may appear to be in conflict with the widespread idea that a large portion of the extra heat added to the Earth system in the past decades should be transported into the deep ocean (e.g. Fig. 1 in Stocker et al. 2013). That inference is based on the assumption that the ocean was in equilibrium with the atmosphere before any extra heat entered. When interpreting measurements of the ocean heat content, it is often assumed that the disturbances arise only from the recent past.

    http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-shocked016.gif

  24. TRENBERTH LOSES HIS STRAWBERRIES
    (see the courtroom scene from the movie “The Caine Mutiny”)
    As greenhouse gases still accrete
    This captain of the climate wars
    Is searching for the missing heat
    That he believes the ocean stores
    He’ll prove to all humanity
    That danger in the deep resides
    The Kraken that he knows to be
    That Davy Jones’s Locker hides
    The soul’s more heavy than we think
    A truth that everyone must face
    And to what depths a soul may sink
    Oh! To what dark and dismal place!
    Does Captain Trenberth understand
    That data offers no appeal?
    He tumbles in his restless hand
    Three clacking balls of stainless steel
    MY GEOMETRIC LOGIC PROVES
    HEAT TELEPORTS FROM PLACE TO PLACE
    FROM SKIES INTO THE DEPTHS IT MOVES
    AND IN BETWEEN IT LEAVES NO TRACE!
    When silent faces stare at you
    It’s always best to shut your jaw
    But Trenberth is without a clue
    As he believes they stare in awe
    Eugene WR Gallun

  25. “That inference is based on the assumption that the ocean was in equilibrium with the atmosphere before any extra heat entered.”
    Folks, this is why they had to get rid of the medieval warm period. This is why Michael Mann’s hockey stick, with its long straight SHAFT, was so important. No medieval warm period, long straight shaft on the hockey stick for a period of 800 to a thousand years, means thermal equilibrium between the atmosphere and the ocean by the time the period of anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 increase begins.

  26. As far as I know, we have no way of measuring, globally, the temperature of the oceans below the surface. Satellite data, the only truly global data, only measures surface temperature.
    We only have 3000 odd ARGO Buoys and even less deep ocean measurements. We can extrapolate and interpolate, but in the end there is no substitute for actual data.
    We assumed that a single CO2 measurement at the Keck Observatory was enough, since CO2 is “well mixed”. However, when we got the actual global CO2 data from the new satellite, this assumption was totally wrong.

    • Look again at the actual global CO2 data from the new satellite.
      Tell us the minimum to maximum registered. Please, don’t nitpick little circumscribed areas.
      And these were just the preliminary data.
      It will be quite interesting to see the very circumscribed area of higher CO2 and investigate their origins.
      Can’t wait for the new measurements to come out.

  27. There is a lot of water to measure with cold currents going one way and warm the other and both up and down, the up including to the stratosphere and the down including rain and snow. Imagine trying to figure where to start when you are looking at fractions of a watt/m^ 2. The only way to do this, and it has large uncertainties, too, that might change the sign of your result, is to measure sea level all over the place. I think the result is really just a complex way of saying that the ocean is an enormous heat sink/reservoir that just doesn’t change much.

  28. Different depths of the oceans respond over different time frames. This paper deals with the “deep” oceans which respond over time frames of hundreds of years — therefore this is irrelevant to recent decadal trends nearer the surface (in the “not so deep” oceans) and in the atmosphere.

    • Ah Barry… so trollish . The whole point of this post was to show that Trenberth was wrong when he claimed all of the heat that should be causing the temp to rise in the past 18 years was hiding in the deep ocean. But you want to discard that to claim that only the near surface matters…
      Your back must get tired from moving those goal posts around.

    • Perhaps, Barry, but the prognostication by Trenberth was that the deep oceans were hiding the missing heat.
      Here’s an option–maybe Trenberth should look deeper, as in the oceanic crust. Maybe the missing heat is hiding there!
      You guys offer excuse after excuse, but fail to see the elephant in the room, which is that CAGW is an over-hyped meme.
      By way of definition, a “meme” is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. There’s very little scientific substance to a meme.
      So the more accurate acronym should be CAGWM, with “M” representing “Meme”.

    • But, but, but….
      …. we were told that all that nasty man-made heat had gone to hide in the DEEP oceans.
      Nice try Barry.

      • Rats.
        Mike, Rocky, and Eric all beat me to it.
        Consider your @rse well and truly spanked Barry. Now, get back to moving those goalposts.

    • Barry
      “Responding” to what? What if recent climate change at the surface was nothing more than vertical redistribution of ocean heat? Or all climate change? It’s hard to really comprehend how much heat energy lies in the ocean. On short to medium time scales the earth’s heat budget is close to a zero sum game. The bottom mile or two of ocean is close to freezing even at the tropics. Take a tenth of a degree from this water and the surface warms spectacularly. Add a tenth and the surface goes into an ice age.

      • Phlogiston on March 14,
        2015 at 1:49 pm
        What if recent climate
        change at the surface was
        nothing more than vertical
        redistribution of ocean
        heat? Or all climate change?
        It’s hard to really
        comprehend how much
        heat energy lies in the
        ocean.
        _______
        gives:
        _______
        in 10.000 interglacial years large amounts of heat / energy displaced from surface, stored in the depths of the oceans.
        during 100.000 years of glaciation stored energy works back / forth into next interglacial.
        Regards – Hans

  29. Trenberth floated a hypothesis. There was no basis for the hypothesis, so maybe it was more like speculation in order to explain the pause or cliff or start of next cooling trend or whatever you want to call it.
    But because of that speculation science did start to look at how heat was behaving in the ocean. That’s not bad news for science, it is good news that the science is being forwarded. (It still baffles me how climate science did not significantly consider ocean influence on climate in the first place.) The bad news is for ideologues and zealots who used Trenberths speculation as fact.
    Actually it’s the purposeful confusion between speculation and fact that has been bad news all around.

  30. This can explain all the rise in co2 the last hundred years. Heat traveling up to surface in oceans will have to release a lot of co2. Surface pressure are lower, temperature higher so trapped co2 will escape to the atmosphere along with the heat.
    So in theory the planet could have been cooling slowly for a long time from the bottom of the ocean, releasing latent heat and co2.
    Just small reduction in heat content in the ocean can explain the whole 100 ppm increase in co2 !
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/#mlo_growth
    Every year the co2 level increase with 1,5 ppm exept the warm years in 2014, 2010, 1998, 1977/78 when the increase was more than 2 ppm.
    2014 show and increase of 3 ppm!

  31. I may be spastic when it comes to search engines, as I can’t locate the two papers, but I don’t believe I’m hallucinating about the topic. Early last summer (2014), or thereabouts, there was a multi-author paper, blog reported and commented on (here, I think) that claimed to be the most comprehensive compilation of ocean heat/temperature ever done, utilizing every available database. It concluded, among other details, that the deep oceans had been, and were, cooling for some significant period, possibly corresponding to the same length of time reported in this current paper.
    A couple of months later there was a paper from NASA that said the same thing and more. This paper also talked about heating of upper ocean depths in some ocean basins over the same period, but said that the energy gain at these depths was far short of the “missing energy” that would be required (based on AGW theory) to explain the lack of atmospheric heating.
    Do either of these descriptions tickle anyone’s memory? Does someone know what the actual papers are, or the blog reports thereon?

  32. Given some of the comments above , may I throw in the following wild card , from an alert of a recent Science article :
    Glacial cycles drive variations in the production of oceanic crust
    John W. Crowley1,2,*,
    Richard F. Katz1,†,
    Peter Huybers2,
    Charles H. Langmuir2,
    Sung-Hyun Park3,†
    + Author Affiliations
    1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
    2Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.
    3Division of Polar Earth-System Sciences, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, Korea.
    + Author Notes
    ↵* Present address: Engineering Seismology Group Canada, Kingston, Canada.
    ↵†Corresponding author. E-mail: richard.katz@earth.ox.ac.uk (R.F.K.); shpark314@kopri.re.kr (S.-H. P.)
    Abstract
    Editor’s Summary
    Glacial cycles redistribute water between oceans and continents, causing pressure changes in the upper mantle, with consequences for the melting of Earth’s interior. Using Plio-Pleistocene sea-level variations as a forcing function, theoretical models of mid-ocean ridge dynamics that include melt transport predict temporal variations in crustal thickness of hundreds of meters. New bathymetry from the Australian-Antarctic ridge shows statistically significant spectral energy near the Milankovitch periods of 23, 41, and 100 thousand years, which is consistent with model predictions. These results suggest that abyssal hills, one of the most common bathymetric features on Earth, record the magmatic response to changes in sea level. The models and data support a link between glacial cycles at the surface and mantle melting at depth, recorded in the bathymetric fabric of the sea floor.
    I cannot access the full article , for those who can :
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6227/1237?utm_src=email

    • That is sooo off topic, mikewaite… and very interesting. Sounds like Gaia loosens her whalebone corset around the middle while elsewhere getting a sharp, icy poke in the ribs. (Nope. I can’t access it either, but maybe it will show up in a bit as a post)

      • @Michael Wassil – Yup. Can’t log in for the complete text, so I’m crossing my fingers that it shows up as a post so it can get some discussion.

  33. Bob,

    And contrary to climate models: Furthermore the ocean, far from being a passive reservoir filled and emptied by the atmosphere, is a dynamically active, turbulent element of a coupled system.

    Just where do the climate models “say” such an evidently silly thing?

    And keeping in mind that Balmaseda et al. (2013) was one of the papers that claimed to have found part, but not all, of Trenberth’s “missing heat”: Global average cooling in the deep ocean conflicts with some previous ocean heat content estimates (e.g. Balmaseda et al. 2013), but is consistent with the long thermal memory of the ocean, and with other recent studies (e.g. Durack et al. 2014; Llovel et al. 2014).

    Keeping in mind that Trenberth is an et al. in Balmaseda (2013), let’s finish Liang’s thought here, shall we?
    All existing estimates of the deep ocean states, including this present one, are based on very limited in situ observations in the deep ocean, and the uncertainties are large. Furthermore, upper ocean warming may have been generally underestimated: Any bias errors in the initializing state rendering the upper ocean warmer than is correct would produce such an underestimate. Note the historical emphasis on measurements of the relatively warm North Atlantic Ocean and the tendency for shipborne observations to focus on lower latitudes generally, particularly in winter (See e.g., Fig. 2 of Atkinson et al. (2014).
    From Durack et al. (2014):
    https://andthentheresphysics.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/nclimate2389-f5.jpg
    It appears that both CMIP3 and CMIP5 have NOT found the missing heat either.
    I’ll end with another memorable quote:
    Results here are derived from an ECCO (Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean) state estimate, labelled version 4, release 1, and which can be understood as the result of the least-squares fit of the MITgcm (Adcroft et al. 2004), with sea ice and mixed-layer submodels to about O(10^9) observational points (see Wunsch and Heimbach (2013) for a review). Lagrange multipliers are used (Wunsch and Heimbach 2007) to enforce the model equations in such a way that basic conservation rules (heat, freshwater, momentum, energy, etc.) are satisfied globally and locally in the interval 1992-2011. The estimate is based upon the model in a configuration with 50 layers and a spatial resolution of 0.25°-1°in latitude and 1° in longitude.
    Apparently all models are contrary, except when they aren’t. Good to know.

  34. Bad News for Trenberth’s
    Missing Heat – New Study Finds
    the Deep Oceans Cooled from
    1992 to 2011 and…
    Posted by Bob Tisdale
    Thanks, Bob Tisdale –
    enlightening, same as You ever were.
    Regards – Hans

  35. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    Ooops. That the world hasn’t wrmed since the mid 90s has bedeviled acolytes of the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming. The models predicted it, but where was the heat?? Some speculated (and took refuge in) that the heat was stored in the deep ocean, I suppose where it would build and build until the heat could be stored no more and… then we’d be sorry.
    Time for a new theory, I think.

  36. From the paper of Wunsch et al.
    “the upward diffusive heat flux mainly occurs in the high latitude North Atlantic as well as the Southern Ocean, and is due to the vertical projection of isopycnal diffusion.”
    This could potentially explain the melting of sea ice since 1992. North Atlantic is just beside Arctic ocean. Surely heat transfer is occurring between the two. The Arctic is cooler than North Atlantic. 2nd law of thermodynamics – heat will move to cooler region.
    “the radiocarbon “age” of mid-latitude surface water is about 400 years, exceeding 1000 years at high southern latitudes and high northern Pacific ones”
    The upwelling warm water is transporting heat from the Medieval Warm Period, not from our CO2 emissions since 1950.

    • Forget isopycnal. Forget carbon dioxide. Forget the greenhouse. The ice has been melting since `1970, not 1992. Tou don’t know this because these Arctic explorers all start their warming curves in 1980, a convenient time when satellite observations begin. The warming actually started in 1900 but was interrupted in mid-century by a thirty year cool spell. There was nothing before it in the Arctic except for two thousand years of slow, linear cooling. What started the warming at that point was a rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system that began to carry warm Gulf Stream water into the Arctic Ocean. You obviously don’t know this and neither do these Arctic explorers because you are too lazy to do your homework. To catch up, read my paper in E&E 22(8):1069-1083(2011).

  37. In their original paper reporting that missing heat, Trenberth & Fasullo state:
    “Since 2004, ~3000 Argo floats have provided regular temperature soundings of the upper 2000 m of the ocean, giving new confidence in the ocean heat content assessment—…”
    If I had been the reviewer I would have sent the paper back and have them learn more about those new-dangled Argo floats instead of publishing that nonsense. Considering their buddy-review system this is probably too much to ask from a big shots connected with the IPCC but this is what you get when peer review does not work.

  38. That was a tactical error by Trenberth. He should have just labeled it Dark Heat at the time and made no mention of where it was since by definition it cannot be found.

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