Analyzing ocean mixing reveals insight on climate

Eddies pull carbon emissions into deep ocean, new model simulates complex process

A three-dimensional spatial structure of mixing in an idealized ocean simulation, computed using Lagrangian particle statistics. CREDIT Los Alamos National Laboratory

A three-dimensional spatial structure of mixing in an idealized ocean simulation, computed using Lagrangian particle statistics. CREDIT Los Alamos National Laboratory


LOS ALAMOS, N.M., June 24, 2015–Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a computer model that clarifies the complex processes driving ocean mixing in the vast eddies that swirl across hundreds of miles of open ocean.

“The model enables us to study the important processes of ocean storms, which move heat and carbon from the atmosphere into the deep ocean,” said Todd Ringler, who leads the Accelerated Climate Model for Energy (ACME) ocean science team at Los Alamos. “This happens very slowly, but over the next 1,000 years, much of the fossil fuel carbon emissions will end up in the deep ocean; ocean eddies make that happen.”

The Lagrangian In-situ, Global, High-performance particle Tracking (LIGHT) model is a first-of-its-kind tool because of its ability to exploit the power available from today’s supercomputers.

Global climate simulations are beginning to be able to resolve the largest ocean eddies, called mesoscale eddies, which are considered the “weather” of the ocean. The model that the Laboratory researchers developed for ocean mixing leads to an improved understanding of these mesoscale eddies and how they mix the ocean waters. This information increases global climate simulation accuracy through a better representation of heat fluxes and carbon into the deep ocean.

Eddies move heat, carbon, and other biogeochemical tracers from the ocean surface into the deep ocean and, as a result, store the carbon and heat away from the atmosphere. Transport and mixing regulates the global climate and the distribution of natural marine resources.

The team’s paper “Diagnosing isopycnal diffusivity in an eddying, idealized mid-latitude ocean basin via Lagrangian In-situ, Global, High-performance particle Tracking (LIGHT),” was recently published in the Journal of Physical Oceanography. The work will be released as part of the Model for Prediction Across Scales Ocean (MPAS-O), a core component of ACME.

The MPAS-O is a global, multiscale, ocean code that simulates spatial and temporal scales ranging from coastal dynamics to basin-wide circulations. The primary application of MPAS-O is for the global ocean and its role in the evolution of global climate change. In their research, the team conducted ocean simulations with a massive number of particles spread evenly throughout the ocean; each particle is carried along with the ocean currents.

“Not only does each particle tell us about the ocean currents, but groups of particles tell us how turbulence in the ocean mixes temperature and carbon dioxide throughout the ocean” said Phillip Wolfram, a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory and a member of the ACME science team.

The results highlight the capability of LIGHT to compute the horizontal and vertical structure of diffusivity within the high-performance computing of MPAS-O, Wolfram said.

“This project quantifies the key fundamental processes of the ocean and points the way to improved techniques to better simulate climate change over a range of spatial and temporal scales,” Wolfram said.


125 thoughts on “Analyzing ocean mixing reveals insight on climate

    • When the world realises that global warming was a scam, and all the alarmists go missing, maybe we should look for them in the deep ocean.

      • You don’t know if climate scientists are compatible with the deep oceans. We’d have to do a study.

      • Global temperatures January-May 2015 exceeded 2010’s as the warmest first five months of any year, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
        NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center noted that the first five months of 2015 nudged ahead of January-May 2010 by 0.09 degrees Celsius.

      • Brooks,
        so what? It is the CAUSE of such ‘temperatures’ that is at issue not the temperatures themselves. i.e. are they just a contemporary phenomenon like the Mediaeval or Roman Warmings or something else.?
        As for NOAA’s DCDC data, is that the raw data of the fiddled data? What does their ‘data’ say about the Mediaeval or Roman Warmings? Nothing you say? NOTHING? SO where does that leave us?
        There is also the very real possibility that the so called ‘global temperature’ data set is utterly unsuited to delivering such a number to the accuracy required to reasonably make such statements with any meaningful certainty. This due to reasons of uncertainty or lack of quality of siting, consistency over time, the liklihood of a consistantly increasing UHI influence over time and other factors that Anthony and others have gone into for a long time. The issues with the changing apparatus for measuring sea surface temperatures is an exemplar of this. Until the deployment of the ARGO network, the apparatus used ( various buckets and sea intake thermometers in the ( rather warm) engine room interiors) were little more than a joke given the sort of accuracy sought and wide open to bias an order of magnitude greater than the accuracy of the anomaly figure.

      • No “reply” for me to click for M Seward
        2.  Roy Spencer
        “infrared-absorbing gases warm the surface and lower atmosphere”
        “I have not yet seen any compelling evidence that there exists a major flaw in the theory explaining the basic operation of the Earth’s natural Greenhouse Effect.”
          Anthony Watts
        “I suppose that because I agreed that global warming occurred over the last century, and that CO2 plays a role (though isn’t the only driver) that he [Spencer Michels, PBS Newshour correspondent] was surprised that he didn’t have a “denier” soundbite to work with.”

      • This is a reply to M. Seward’s reply to my first comment
        Roger Pielke, Sr.
        “The emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, and its continued accumulation in the atmosphere is changing the climate. We do not need to agree on the magnitude of its global average radiative forcing to see a need to limit this accumulation. The biogeochemical effect of added CO2 by itself is a concern as we do not know its consequences. At the very least, ecosystem function will change resulting in biodiversity changes as different species react differently to higher CO2. The prudent path, therefore, is to limit how much we change our atmosphere.”
          Fred Singer
        “One of [deniers’] favorite arguments is that the greenhouse effect does not exist at all because it violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics…One can show them data of downwelling infrared radiation from CO2, water vapor, and clouds, which clearly impinge on the surface. But their minds are closed to any such evidence.”
        “Another subgroup simply says that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is so small that they can’t see how it could possibly change global temperature. But laboratory data show that CO2 absorbs IR radiation very strongly.”
          Anthony Watts
        “I suppose that because I agreed that global warming occurred over the last century, and that CO2 plays a role (though isn’t the only driver) that he [Spencer Michels, PBS Newshour correspondent] was surprised that he didn’t have a “denier” soundbite to work with.”
        “I’m saying that the data might be biased by these influences  [urbanization’s buildings and streets]  to a percentage.  Yes, we have some global warming, it’s clear the temperature has gone up in the last 100 years.  But what percentage of that is from carbon dioxide?  And what percentage of that is from changes in the local and measurement environment?”
        Roy Spencer
        “infrared-absorbing gases warm the surface and lower atmosphere”
        “I have not yet seen any compelling evidence that there exists a major flaw in the theory explaining the basic operation of the Earth’s natural Greenhouse Effect.”
        Christopher Monckton
        “Is there a greenhouse effect? Concedo [concedo / concede]. Does it warm the Earth? Concedo. Is carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas? Concedo. If carbon dioxide be added to the atmosphere, will warming result? Concedo.”

      • “Global temperatures January-May 2015 exceeded 2010’s as the warmest first five months of any year, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
        NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center noted that the first five months of 2015 nudged ahead of January-May 2010 by 0.09 degrees Celsius.”
        Seriously Brooks?
        How about this:
        Or this:
        Warmest year evah…in a pigs eye!

      • For some reason Brooks stopped the quote before Moncton made his point:
        “Our quarrel is not with what is known but with what is merely guessed at. The central question in the scientific debate is not qualitative but quantitative: not whether warming will occur but how much will
        occur. ”
        I don’t have time to find out what was excluded from the other references.

      • ferd berple
        June 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm
        The last triggering episode on the right looks like there is a loose connection. Perhaps someone is fiddling with the output.

      • ferd, from that graph, you will note that peak CO2 was ALWAYS followed by a drop in temperature.
        Even at its peak atmospheric concentration, CO2 was totally unable to maintain a warmer temperature.

      • “NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center noted that the first five months of 2015 nudged ahead of January-May 2010 by 0.09 degrees Celsius.”
        FFS, these charlatans really have no shame, have they?

      • “ferd, from that graph, you will note that peak CO2 was ALWAYS followed by a drop in temperature.”
        I take your point, but did you say it the way you meant to?
        I think the graph shows that peak CO2 is always preceded by a drop in temperature. In other words, by the time CO2 peaks, the temp has already begun to fall.
        Same thing when CO2 hits a trough…by the time CO2 hits a low and begins to trend up again, warming had/has already begun to rise.

    • If they mean carbon dioxide, why do they say “carbon emissions”, and “carbon”?
      And is there some reason that only the carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels will wind up in the deep ocean?
      Several weeks ago there was a rather long discussion about how and where water from the surface winds up in the deep ocean, and I do not recall anyone suggesting that eddies had a major role.
      And is that picture a 3D representation of this new model? Is that the entire globe?
      And besides all of that…this phrasing:
      “…developed a computer model that clarifies the complex processes driving ocean mixing…”
      sounds like the assertion is being made that the entire process is now clear. Really?
      Not “shed some light on”, or “gave some hints as to”, or “may provide some new insights”, or some such?
      Like it is all settled now.
      Then again…why am I surprised?

      • Once again, the climatologists assert a theory, and use wording suggesting they have found truth.
        But without confirmation from real world data, a theory is never more than a theory, even if the theory is run through a computer. And so far, the real world data keeps coming up inconvenient for the (CAGW-promoting) climatologists’ assertions.

    • Brooks,That is using the new, improved, adjusted data from Karl et al (2015), ERSSTv4. The bastard child of an unseemly cohabitation between noisy ship data and pristine buoy data.

  1. “new model simulates complex process”
    Which means that this is no more than a hypothesis which needs to be tested against reality. I am heartily sick of so-called reputable scientists making the most basic schoolboy error of mistaking modelled data for real world evidence. Models are animated demonstrations of a hypothesis. Models are not a scientifically valid test of a hypothesis.

    • A run-of-the-mill computer modeler can make a good living modeling most anything, so long as the model’s resulting output cannot be proven or dis-proven within the span of the modeler’s lifetime. Project selection is the key to survival of the incompetent modeler. Since private enterprise is not much interested in “models unprovable within our lifetimes”, ‘gubment is where you will find high concentrations of incompetent modelers. There are many exceptions, but that is the general rule. The hot-shots like proving they’re good. Others like hiding out in a crowd.

      • Our govt has proven their incompetence with computer programs, security, cost control etc. If fact no organization that offers lifetime employment in spite of permormance can be trusted inclufing the Supreme Court.

      • Yes, but this one projects over 1,000 years rather than just the next 50.
        Wake me when get there, and let me know what how well the model correlates with reality.

  2. “Eddies move heat, carbon, and other biogeochemical tracers from the ocean surface into the deep ocean and, as a result, store the carbon and heat away from the atmosphere. Transport and mixing regulates the global climate and the distribution of natural marine resources.” But it never brings it back up or generate a neutral mixing, so Trenberth is OK with his theory that the “pause” has been caused by the oceans gulping up the excess heat as well as half the CO2. It will be great if they are right because in the end the CO2 in the atmosphere will stabilise regardless of the amount of fossil fuels burned or not!? The eddies will come along as the 7th cavalry to save us.

    • How can the model satisfy continuity if it takes heat, carbon, etc. down to lower depths but never brings them back up? Where did Wiley Coyote get his tools and equipment? ACME.

      • “And Trenberth never explains why this began to work all of a sudden, and not in the past.”
        Look here…it is all settled. Except for some ongoing massaging, and fancy footwork.
        Got it?
        Besides, why should he bother warmsplaining it to us…we are just going to try to find something wrong with the warmsplaination anyway.

  3. how nice. a hard science ocean behavior paper that doesn’t spout climate CO2 alarmist crapola.
    Although some may say that it’s a find the missing heat paper, the one easily observed, globally available measure that there is no missing heat is the steady state of SLR. If missing heat were to involve deep ocean input, then thermal expansion would be accelerating SLR. Conversely, a deceleration or reversal of SLR will be an unambiguous signal of cooling deep ocean water.

    • Besides, where will they chase after the missing heat when the AMO and PDO are both negative during a solar grand minimum?

    • In modeling to get the ‘right answers’, you have to leave out certain key elements, like SLR and just focus on where the co2 and heat are going. And of course ocean acidification. There is soo much co2 that not only are the oceans getting warmer but more acidic as well…. who knew. I wonder if CAGW can do math at all. I’m sorry complex math that involves more than one variable.

  4. There we were, being lead to believe ‘by 97% of all scientists’ that CO2 was THE big player and now this shows that it’s the oceans that really call the shots on just about everything. Had to laugh at the final para though:
    “This project quantifies the key fundamental processes of the ocean and points the way to improved techniques to better simulate climate change over a range of spatial and temporal scales,”
    They just couldn’t resist the ‘Climate Change’ money shot.

  5. Journal of Physical Oceanography 2015 ; e-View

    Isopycnal diffusivity due to stirring by mesoscale eddies in an idealized, wind-forced, eddying, mid-latitude ocean basin is computed using Lagrangian In-situ, Global High-performance particle Tracking (LIGHT). Simulation is performed via LIGHT within the Model for Prediction Across Scales Ocean (MPAS-O). Simulations are performed at 4, 8, 16, and 32 km resolution where the first Rossby Radius of Deformation (RRD) is approximately 30 km. Scalar and tensor diffusivities are estimated at each resolution based on 30 ensemble members using particle cluster statistics. Each ensemble member is comprised of 303,665 particles distributed across five potential density surfaces. Diffusivity dependence upon model resolution, velocity spatial scale, and buoyancy surface is quantified and compared with mixing length theory. The spatial structure of diffusivity ranges over approximately two orders of magnitude with values of O(105) m2 s−1 in the region of western boundary current separation to O(103) m2 s−1 in the eastern region of the basin. Dominant mixing occurs at scales of twice the size of the first RRD. Model resolution at scales finer than the RRD is necessary to obtain sufficient model fidelity at scales between one and four RRD to accurately represent mixing. Mixing length scaling with eddy kinetic energy and the Lagrangian timescale yield mixing efficiencies that typically range between 0.4 and 0.8. A reduced mixing length in the eastern region of the domain relative to the west suggests there are different mixing regimes outside the baroclinic jet region.

  6. “The model enables us to study the important processes of ocean storms, which move heat and carbon from the atmosphere into the deep ocean,” said Todd Ringler, who leads the Accelerated Climate Model for Energy (ACME) ocean science team at Los Alamos. “This happens very slowly, but over the next 1,000 years, much of the fossil fuel carbon emissions will end up in the deep ocean; ocean eddies make that happen.” emphasis mine

    Clearly this contradicts Dr. Trenberth’s idea that the heat has moved into the deep ocean within mere decades.

    • +10, commieBob. Like most of he fear mongers, Trenberth was just arm waving for a nice science sounding distraction.
      This study is yet another that shows he skeptics are right.
      Too bad the public square has been so polluted by the fear mongering of Trenberth an gang that it may make little difference to policy decisions. We seem to have far too much of the “leaders” of the world committed to non-fact based policies regarding energy and climate. Facts do not seem to sway the climate obsessed from their faith.

    • commieBob, I think this will be construed by the fear-bogers to mean: “It will take 1000 years for ocean eddies to cleanse the atmosphere of fossil fuel pollution that our generation has created.”

    • it also contradicts basic meteorology. Storms build over oceans by taking heat from the surface. This is why you can see hurricane tracks as colder SST’s. The amount of energy taken from the ocean is huge. In a day an average hurricane releases an amount of energy “equivalent to 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity” see for the calculations.
      Any heat driven down by eddies is heat that got into the ocean due to solar radiation being absorbed. It did not come from the atmosphere.
      Then getting mealy mouthed an non-scientific and calling carbonic acid ‘carbon’ shows that they are looking for publicity not doing good science.

      • Is the kinetic energy of these eddies greater than the difference in thermal energy between the surface water and deep water in the column of water within and below the eddy?
        If not, how would the difference in buoyancy be overcome? And if so, is this energy accounted for I climate models?
        I think the kinetic energy must be less than the difference in thermal energy.
        If you stir up a bucket of water very vigorously, and wait for the kinetic energy to be dissipated by friction, is the water measurably warmer?
        And how deep do such eddies penetrate?
        Some comments here lead me to think that some are imagining a tornado of water extending from the surface to the abyssal plain.
        I do not think that such occurs.

  7. Ok, maybe I’ll buy into the idea that vertical mass transport in the oceans can move energy from atmospheric gas molecules into the liquid molecules in the colder, deep oceans. But once distributed therein, what mass transport mechanism will collect that energy and return it to the warmer air?

    • Once a CO2 molecule is assimilated into ocean water, it cannot be thought of as carrying any ‘heat.’ Think of a can of soda pop, unopened it is under pressure, when cooled it is under less pressure. An opened can of soda pop will outgas its carbonation(CO2) faster if at room temperature, but an opened can placed in the fridge will retain its carbonation longer. Someone correct me if I’m wrong here.

      • This paper seems to overlook that the only way water gets to the deep ocean is when it becomes very cold and excessively salty.
        Does this model compliment or replace what is thought to be the case re the thermohaline circulation?

  8. Oh no, another acronym! I guess LIGHT is easier to remember than LISGHPPT? 😉 At the very least this will help the layman, and perhaps the AGWers as well, to understand how and why CO2 actually follows and does not lead temperature changes over time.

  9. “Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a computer model…” And that’s as far as I got.

  10. I guess this is a good replacement for handing Stalin the research secrets on nuclear bombs real time to Stalin. They get it all now via hackers anyway, without meeting under the bridge in Los Alamos.

  11. a computer model that clarifies the complex processes driving ocean mixing in the vast eddies
    It’s been around for years and it’s called CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics). Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I wouldn’t trust it until it has been thoroughly verified.

  12. I thought the ocean and atmosphere were subject to chaotic processes, where even if we knew every flap of the butterfly’s wing we could not predict the course of the resulting hurricane. And we do not know those wing-beats, and never will. Yet here they ignore that, and just play pretend at a multi-kilometer scale. Below that scale they are blind to what’s going on, and what emerges to drive the larger trajectories.
    So: they are just making stuff up. Maybe they are doing their “best” given the limitations of supercomputers, but it seems to me another example of the boy with the hammer, to whom everything looks like a nail. They have this big shiny supercomputer, they have to justify its continued care and feeding, and this modeling produces wonderful eye-candy and impressive-sounding statements about ever-more precise simulations of –what?

  13. Well it is interesting, but I agree wit Ken, it is a model after all, based upon limited knowledge in the first instance, with a few assumptions thrown into the pot for good measure, & hey, Bob’s your uncle. They may be right, they may be wrong, but isn’t experimentation. I had this out a few years ago with a former chorister & a Wet Office physicist I sang with who wanted to call me out over couple of beers because I wrote an article in the Parish Magazine about why Copenhagen would fail, after an initial rejection by the partisan editer. After two hours of pleasant discourse, during which I let him tell hoe the models were “built”, obeying the Laws of Physics, then we shifted to warming & cooling of the climate system through ice-ages & inter-glacials. Eventually he got to the stage of asking why the models showed the warming through added CO2, so I told him, they had to programme the model to show a given amount of warming for an assumed level of climate sensitivity to a given amount of CO2! He was rather stunned at the simplicity of my answer, & didn’t really have a response! Another ex-Wet Office physicist I currently sing with admitted (after a couple of pints on a Friday night), that there would be little change to atmospheric conditions as a result from a few extra ppm of CO2, but he did acknowledge that it was about changing peoples behaviour towards energy! BTW he’s a nice chap & all that, but he is also a very early retired guy, which annoys somewhat as I will probably have to work til I drop! 🙁

    • Well, they certainly seem to have succeeded in changing people’s behaviour towards energy.
      Certainly, here in the UK. We used to allow engineers and economists to take a significant role in providing the maximum amount of energy for the minimum cost.
      The two variables that were foremost in the minds of the experts and the public, were energy and money. The subsidiary variables were jobs and particulate pollution, perhaps.
      Then that all changed, and CO2 was turned into the principle point of interest.
      This shift enabled a group of fluffy-headed eco-aware numpties to muscle their way into influencing UK energy policy.
      The vast mis-allocation of, and destruction of capital, that has occured in the energy sector in the last 25 years would not have occurred, had the political class and the eco-left-leaning fluff-heads recognized their own incompetence and simply requested that hard-headed capitalists and engineers design them a low CO2 energy infrastructure. (i.e. via a rationally designed carbon pricing mechanism).
      It seems to me that two-variables is all that a public debate can handle.
      So, when CO2 was added into the number of considerations, the other significant variable – MONEY, dropped off the back of the cart.
      Formerly everything was about creating cheap energy.
      Latterly everything has been about creating low carbon energy, BUT AT ANY COST.
      This situation in public debate and in the media, has become so severe, that even attempting to suggest that maybe we should consider how it might be possible to make the maximum reduction in CO2 AT THE LOWEST COST PER UNIT OF CO2, immediately stirs up animosity, slander and accusations of denial.
      They sure changed people’s behaviour towards energy.
      We used to be smart(ish) – and now we are radically stupid.
      The perfect symbol in my mind for the transformation, is Didcott power station.
      We used to have large effective non-flammable concrete cooling towers at Didcott power station. These were recently willfully destroyed in order to satisfy some bullshit agenda.
      Now we have lots of small wooden cooling towers. Nice and eco-friendly looking, like the wooden shelving at the local whole-food cooperative.
      How odd that the new wooden cooling towers should have set on fire and burned out of control for many hours.
      I suppose that nobody could have anticipated such a thing.
      Wood is perhaps not the ideal material for the construction of power stations, it seems.
      Who knew?
      What happened to old idea of leaving engineering to engineers?

      • Completely off subject but when I tried to log onto wuwt by Coogle I reached the site but then was dumped and told no such site. I went to DuckDuckgo and was also dumped in the same manner twice. I believe all of them sent me to Home Depot. Is someone screwing with wuwt or is it my computer?

      • Great word: “numpties”, which I have never seen/heard before….must a kind of “empty nullity” or such. Is that close?

    • Anyone who has ever tried to take a process from model to bench top to pilot plant to full scale production understands the limitations of models based on theory. Climatolgists don’t have a scaled bench or pilot to test and translation to full scale without them is doomed from the start. But the public still eats it up.

    • Discussing how hoes and models are built, and over beers you say? Hmm…
      Oh never mind…I thought I saw a joke there, but it must have been my imagination.

  14. Does this work on all the naturally occurring CO2, or just that from burning fossil fuels? Are “carbon neutral” fuels excluded as well?

  15. What does this study do about all of the past analysis based upon the amount of pollutants and the depth of these pollutant’s in the ocean indicating the age, quantity amount, etc., that man has generated and released to the environment. Eg. The gasoline additive that replaced lead and its potential harm was based upon the old theory of the depth the pollutants would sink to. Is all of the old science, predictions no good?

  16. I’m all for computer models but they must be verifiable and not used for policy decisions until they are verified, and that may take a long time. If modified the verify clock must reset to zero. Those invoking the precautionary principle must not be allowed to board airplanes.

    • Pochas,
      Actually, the correct term is Validated. Verification in software simply means that is works as designed. Validation, on the other hand, means that it has been checked against reality and is suitable for real world work. Just ‘cuz a program produces an output that matches your expectations, that program cannot be claimed to be validated. (unless your goal is to produce bogus results 😉 ) Fortunately, much of what this model is supposed to do can be checked using chemical tracers and such though it would take a number of years to reach a level that might be called Validation.

    • Spot on. There are really too many hand-waving criticisms of models on this thread.
      Everything in science is a model. An equation is a model. It’s all models and measurements.
      Frictionless incline planes, laminar flow, the sum of infinitely many thin vertical slices, etc etc.
      It’s all models. None of these things ARE the thing that they represent.
      This is all fine, providing that we all understand the limitations of the model.
      Judith Curry, for example, would like to tell policy makers about the limitations of the models.
      Policy makers do not want to hear. They have bananas in their ears and dollar signs in their eyes.

  17. It seems to me that if the deep ocean is cold (which it is), that means more water and CO2 reaches the deep ocean from polar regions than does water in eddies in tropical and temperate zones.
    So this may nicely describe a second order effect, and Trenberth need to keep looking.

  18. Those eddies mix vertically both up and down so CO2 is as easily transported from the deep to the surface as it is transported from the surface to the deep. The kicker in this process is that in the tropics, the CO2 concentrations in the deep are much higher than they are on the surface so the net flux of CO2 will be into the atmosphere rather than into the ocean. Most of the transport of CO2 from the atmosphere to the deep ocean is done in the Arctic ocean and circumpolar currents of the Antarctic as sea ice freezes increasing the density of the unfrozen salt water. They need to include these observations into the design of their models.

    • And just how does water at about 4 degrees C in the deep ocean of the tropics become easily transported to the surface? Cold water is denser. And there is no place that water from the deep wells upward.
      The upward leg of the thermohaline circulation is a broad and very very slow upward movement…nothing at all like a rapid flow or vertical current. As new cold water enters the abyss, the water already there is displaced upwards a bit. And the last places it could ever rise is where the surface water is hot.
      To be clear: If it is truly your contention that water from the deep ocean rises to the surface, and does so at the tropics, please provide a source for this assertion. I believe that no such thing happens…ever.

  19. The words: “ARGO”, “floats”, “bouy” are absent from the paper. Is there any real data used in this study or is it simulations all the way down “to the bottom of the sea”?

  20. Ahh yes, models taken to new depths. Got it.
    “if you give a mouse a cookie…”
    “if you give a climate scientist a model…”

  21. Surely trying to understand ocean fluid dynamics by modeling them is a worhwhile scientific endeavor. It’s sad that they have to repeatedly cite “carbon” and reference “climate change” to make the case for their studies.

    • The only reason to model something in science is to point you to what you need to measure in the real world or real laboratory. Anything else is playing video games.

      • I would also add – or to make sense of something you have already measured that doesn’t make sense.
        Say you actually measured the variables of the ocean and had tracked chemical tracers going places that current theory did not predict. You could then make a hypothesis, work out the math, run the math in the computer to see if the new hypothesis actually explained your observations, then go out and reproduce it in a new location to see if the hypothesis is complete, write the paper, collect accolades or criticism, find new places to explore, get tenure, inflict theory on generations of hapless grad students.

  22. I notice that the paper mentions CO2 only near the end, the rest of the time it talks of carbon and particles.
    Do they mean soot and coal dust?
    Sloppy writing.

  23. Where are phytoplankton and photosynthesis? Also, zooplankton makes diurnal vertical migration in both directions. It used to be called deep scattering layer. Therefore, carbon can move in both directions contrary to physical theory. Some carbon drops out of the system by fecal pellets. Is the “fecal express” included in this model?

  24. Vast Eddy is a great name for a band.
    I have nothing of substance to contribute here, sorry.

  25. This appeared to be based on a idealized ocean basin and so has very little to do with the real world.

    • Ok: you start with an idealizedk ocean basin and see how it behaves. Then you apply it to a real world ocean basin and see how well the idealized model compares to the real thing. If it doesn’t correlate well you tweak the model and compare again. Repeat as many times as needed. If you cannot get model results that accurately reflect the real world. Go back to the drawing board.

      • ok, we start by assuming a spherical, homogeneous ocean …
        I always love the heat dissipation in a race horse problem – start with a spherical horse radiating as a perfect black body…

    • Right on Pamela. WUWT discussed the thermohaline circulation at length several weeks ago, and it seemed very clear that the principle driver of vertical movement is salinity, and the only place on Earth with sufficiently cold and salty conditions to allow water to descend from near the surface to the abyss occurs in the Arctic.
      And the return flow is not so much of a flow as a oceanwide displacement upwards as new cold water forces it’s way down.

      • The only place where I would say this might not apply is the Red Sea. If there were not a shelf at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, that very warm, salty water would sink to the bottom because of its salt density. Because of the shelf, that warm salt-dense water is held inside the basin and doesn’t sink to the abyss.

  26. This seems like basically one of the FIRST steps that should be taken if you want to understand the earths climate systems.

  27. Once again a model that assumes what it is trying to prove. Why don’t they start off by trying to understand how CO2 emissions contribute to the total CO2 in the atmosphere.

  28. “Analyzing ocean mixing reveals insight on climate”
    Ok, so the text of the article seems to make it clear that this was not an analysis of the ocean, it was a computer simulation.
    No actual ocean or actual mixing was studied.
    Title/headline is misleading.

  29. Hmmm. This link describes how ocean storms RELEASE heat to the upper atmosphere. If the above article describes how storms result in heat being added to the oceans, I don’t see how that can happen. We are talking about longwave infrared heat
    This link describes the wicked problem of determine net balance between LW radiation up out of the oceans versus LW radiation down from the atmosphere. Clouds get in the way of any kind of precision, meaning that the average measure is quite low but the variance is way wide.

  30. What that model is showing, that even if it does not actually happen, which would violating all of the strick density statification that has alread been measured, shown and written about, it really should be happpening… according to the new super computer model ver 1.0
    This program was clearly written for Trenberth to give him a peer-reviewed method to hide his heat away. I still say density always trumps.

  31. This diagram was created by Wally Broeker and has no basis in reality, it is an urban legend.

    The familiar model of Atlantic ocean currents that shows a discrete “conveyor belt” of deep, cold water flowing southward from the Labrador Sea is probably all wet.
    But studies in the 1990s using submersible floats that followed underwater currents “showed little evidence of southbound export of Labrador sea water within the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC),” said the new Nature report.
    Scientists challenged those earlier studies, however, in part because the floats had to return to the surface to report their positions and observations to satellite receivers. That meant the floats’ data could have been “biased by upper ocean currents when they periodically ascended,” the report added.
    To address those criticisms, Lozier and Bower launched 76 special Range and Fixing of Sound floats into the current south of the Labrador Sea between 2003 and 2006. Those “RAFOS” floats could stay submerged at 700 or 1,500 meters depth and still communicate their data for a range of about 1,000 kilometers using a network of special low frequency and amplitude seismic signals.
    But only 8 percent of the RAFOS floats’ followed the conveyor belt of the Deep Western Boundary Current, according to the Nature report. About 75 percent of them “escaped” that coast-hugging deep underwater pathway and instead drifted into the open ocean by the time they rounded the southern tail of the Grand Banks.
    Eight percent “is a remarkably low number in light of the expectation that the DWBC is the dominant pathway for Labrador Sea Water,” the researchers wrote.

    There is no thermal thermohaline conveyer that tightly connects the Southern hemisphere with the Northern hemisphere. Wally stated later that there is no data to support the thermal conveyer diagram he drew and stated later that drawing was only to illustrate a concept, the concept being it is possible to make up stuff and if the stuff is repeated a sufficient number of time it becomes a sort of belief, a urban legend.
    Wally is also responsible for the urban legend that a complete shutdown of the North Atlantic drift current is somehow responsible for cyclic abrupt climate change. Basic modeling runs confirms a complete shutdown of the North Atlantic drift current would only result in winter cooling in Europe of a few degrees. The majority of the warming of Europe is due to the Westerly winds and the heat retained in the North Atlantic from summer heating. Europe is warm for the same reason that West coast of the US is roughly 10 C warmer in the winter than the east coast of the US.
    This is Wally’s Conveyor Urban legend paper, complete with the famous saying Climate is an angry beast, showing someone pocking the climate.

    What If the Conveyor Were to Shut Down? Reflections on a Possible Outcome of the Great Global Experiment
    Figure 5. The angry beast.

    The following are two papers that show Wally’s Gulf stream/North Atlantic drift current changes/shutdown is an urban legend, that is repeated ad infinitum by the media and the cult of CAGW.

    The Source of Europe’s Mild Climate
    The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth. If you grow up in England, as I did, a few items of unquestioned wisdom are passed down to you from the preceding generation. Along with stories of a plucky island race with a glorious past and the benefits of drinking unbelievable quantities of milky tea, you will be told that England is blessed with its pleasant climate courtesy of the Gulf Stream, that huge current of warm water that flows northeast across the Atlantic from its source in the Gulf of Mexico. That the Gulf Stream is responsible for Europe’s mild winters is widely known and accepted, but, as I will show, it is nothing more than the earth-science equivalent of an urban legend.

    Is the Gulf Stream responsible for Europe’s mild winters?
    It is widely believed by scientists and lay people alike that the transport of warm water north in the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift, and its release to the atmosphere, is a major reason why western Europe’s winters are so much milder (as much as 15–20 degC) than those of eastern North America (Fig. 1). The idea appears to have been popularized by M. F. Maury in his book The physical geography of the sea and its meteorology (1855) which went through many printings in the United States and the British Isles and was translated into three languages.
    In summary, the east–west asymmetry of winter climates on the seaboards of the North Atlantic is created by north-westerly advection over eastern North America and by zonal advection into Europe. The Pacific Ocean has an analogous arrangement with meridional advection being an especially strong cooling over Asia. Since western Europe is indeed warmed by westerly advection off the Atlantic, we next assess how the surface fluxes over the Atlantic are maintained.
    In conclusion, while OHT warms winters on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean by a few degC, the much larger temperature difference across the ocean, and that between the maritime areas of north-western Europe and western North America, are explained by the interaction between the atmospheric circulation and seasonal storage and release of heat by the ocean. Stationary waves greatly strengthen the temperature contrast across the North Atlantic and are themselves heavily influenced by the net effect of orography. In contrast, transport of heat by the ocean has a minor influence on the wintertime zonal asymmetries of temperature. Even in the zonal mean, OHT has a small effect compared to those of seasonal heat storage and release by the ocean and atmospheric heat transport. In retrospect these conclusions may seem obvious, but we are unaware of any published explanation of why winters in western Europe are mild that does not invoke poleward heat transport by the ocean as an important influence that augments its maritime climate.

    • Are you saying the entire concept of a thermohaline circulation is a myth?
      Is Wally the author of the article in the first link above?
      I seemed to get the impression the diagram he said he made up is the one showing the Gulf Stream descending and returning along the East coast.

    • Wiiliam Astley:
      Broeker is a geologist. I know of no physical oceanographer specializing in ocean circulation who takes his “conveyor belt” depiction seriously. In fact, Wunsch calls it “a fairy tale for adults.”

  32. “The model enables us to study the important processes of ocean storms, which move heat and carbon from the atmosphere into the deep ocean,” said Todd Ringler.
    If that is so, it seems to me that the ocean storms would also move heat and carbon from the ocean into the atmosphere.

  33. Storms cause massive, complex, deep waves in the ocean and hence cause complex deep mixing of the surface ocean with the deep ocean. Storms explain partially explain why there is no discrete ocean conveyor. (See my above comment.)
    Mixing of the surface ocean with the deep ocean also explains why the lifetime for a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is 5 to 7 years where the IPCC Bern ‘model’ assumes it is 200 years and a portion forever. I repeat the Bern model assumes a portion of the anthropogenic CO2 remains in the atmosphere forever.
    Detailed scientific analysis as opposed to the IPCC’s sciency analysis that is done to push an agenda confirms, the majority of the CO2 increase in the last 30 years (not less than 66%) are due to natural causes, not due to anthropogenic emissions.
    The Bern model assumes almost no mixing of the surface ocean (top 100 meters) with the deep ocean. As we all know now due to the heat hiding in the deep ocean hypothesis there is significant mixing of the deep ocean water with the surface ocean. If there is significant mixing of deep ocean water with surface water (this what the heat hiding in the deep ocean hypothesis requires) then the majority of the anthropogenic CO2 will be transferred into the deep ocean carbon reservoir which is more than 50 times greater than the atmospheric CO2 rise. The key logical point is that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very, very, small compared to the super enormous, deep ocean carbon reservoir.
    A quick visual scan of the above satellite image of the changes in planetary CO2 October to November, 2014 indicates there is a problem with the standard theory (Bern model CO2 source/sink model) which is the number one basis for the IPCC report and the silly NASA dynamic model carbon source/sink that is displayed on the Web Vs observations.
    The Bern model and the silly NASA dynamic models are urban legends that are repeated ad infinitum by the cult of CAGW.
    To determine what is the cause and what is the effect the standard analysis technique is lead/lag analysis. Lead/lag analysis is not controversial or particularly complicated or difficult to do in this case. It is interesting that we have spent two trillion dollars on green scams to reduce the rise in atmospheric (the green scams do not work) CO2 prior to doing lead/lag analysis to determine what the primary cause of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere was.

    The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature by Humlum et al, August, 2012.
    “From this, changes in atmospheric CO2 appear to be initiated near or a short distance south of the Equator, and from there spread towards the two poles within a year or so. En route, the signal presumable is modulated by local and regional effects, as is indicated by the much larger annual CO2 variation (not shown here) in the High Arctic, compared to that recorded at the South Pole. There is however no indications of the main signal originating at mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere as would be expected from the release pattern shown in Fig. 12.”
    “Summing up, our analysis suggests that changes in atmospheric CO2 appear to occur largely independently of changes in anthropogene emissions. A similar conclusion was reached by Bacastow (1976), suggesting a coupling between atmospheric CO2 and the Southern Oscillation. However, by this we have not demonstrated that CO2 released by burning fossil fuels is without influence on the amount of atmospheric CO2, but merely that the effect is small compared to the effect of other processes. Our previous analyses suggest that such other more important effects are related to temperature, and with ocean surface temperature near or south of the Equator pointing itself out as being of special importance for changes in the global amount of atmospheric CO2.”

    The following is a good review paper of the history of CO2 atmospheric research and the history of the IPCC shenanigans. It is interesting that peer reviewed papers all contradict the IPCC’s Bern model assumptions.
    The physical implication of the C14 bomb test analysis is the majority of the CO2 increase in the last 70 years was caused by the warming of the oceans rather than the anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
    Truly fascinating!

    Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma. By Tom V. Segalstad
    Suess (1955) estimated for 1953, based on the carbon-14 “Suess Effect” (dilution of the atmospheric CO2 with CO2 from burning of fossil fuel, void of carbon-14), “that the worldwide contamination of the Earth’s atmosphere with artificial CO2 probably amounts to less than 1 percent”. Revelle & Suess (1957) calculated on the basis of new carbon-14 data that the amount of atmospheric “CO2 derived from industrial fuel combustion” would be 1.73% for an atmospheric CO2 lifetime of 7 years, and 1.2% for a CO2 lifetime
    of 5 years.
    IPCC defines lifetime for CO2 as the time required for the atmosphere to adjust to a future equilibrium state if emissions change abruptly, and gives a lifetime of 50-200 years in parentheses (Houghton et al., 1990). Their footnote No. 4 to their Table 1.1 explains: “For each gas in the table, except CO2, the “lifetime” is defined here as the ratio of the atmospheric content to the total rate of removal. This time scale also characterizes the rate of adjustment of the atmospheric concentrations if the emission rates are changed abruptly. CO2 is a special case since it has no real sinks, but is merely circulated between various reservoirs (atmosphere, ocean, biota). The “lifetime” of CO2 given in the table is a rough indication of the time it would take for the CO2 concentration to adjust to changes in the emissions . . .”.
    Lifetime of CO2 in the Atmosphere Based on bomb carbon-14 (in years)
    Bien & Suess [1967]: >10
    Münnich & Roether [1967]: 5.4
    Nydal [1968]: 5-10
    Young & Fairhall [1968]: 4-6
    Rafter & O’Brian [1970]: 12
    Machta (1972): 2
    Broecker et al. [1980a]: 6.2-8.8
    Stuiver [1980]: 6.8
    Quay & Stuiver [1980]: 7.5
    Delibrias [1980]: 6.0
    Druffel & Suess [1983]: 12.5
    Siegenthaler [1983]: 6.99-7.54

    Another summary that explains IPCC shenanigans sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2.
    Sources and sinks of CO2 Tom Quirk

    • It is interesting to note that CO2 emissions are increasing sharply, but atmospheric CO2 seems to be on a flatish trajectory.
      Actually, it is more than interesting. it is another of those “scraps” of information that all by itself should change some minds…but that is largely ignored after being noted.

      • If you look at the amount of co2 molecules that are reported each year, the increase closely follows solar cycles and cosmic ray flux. The highest amount of co2 increase still is in the year 1998. Although since I’ve been saying something about it, (Murphy’s Law) , this year will probably be the higher. What is interesting and somewhat confusing is how we are producing so much more co2 now, which half (per NOAA) is disappearing somewhere, ( we can verify this because of the volume of gas on earth and the reported amount of increase of co2 molecules and the amount of co2 produced. Actually my numbers are higher than 50% and that is on the low side) which that half overwhelms the amount produced in 1960, yet there was an increase in co2. So how is that possible when the oceans were cooler, less acidic and a lot more tropical rainforests being able to absorb much more co2 than present? Further, CAGW has stated on more than one occasion that co2 stays around in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. If under current modeling assumptions (linking the rate at which co2 is disappearing), if we stopped producing co2 as of right now, how long would it take for all co2 to be completely depleted from the atmosphere? Less than 100 years or as few as 20?
        There is something seriously wrong with the numbers.

        • rishrac: “If under current modeling assumptions (linking the rate at which co2 is disappearing), if we stopped producing co2 as of right now, how long would it take for all co2 to be completely depleted from the atmosphere?”
          Let’s take a look at a known depletion rate of atmospheric CO2.
          Here is a plot of a single year of the Mauna Loa CO2 trace.

          From the drop in CO2 over the period 2001.3 to 2001.7, from ~373.8 to ~368.2 = 5.6ppm over a four month period, ie 16.8ppm per annum or ~6 years per 100ppm as a result of the growing season in the Northern hemisphere, it should be possible to get a good idea of the natural depletion rate of CO2.
          So certainly less than 100 years, probably less than 20 to reduce the current level of CO2 from ~400ppm to ~300ppm.

          • That’s my point. CAGW stated that is takes hundreds of years to reduce co2 in the atmosphere. Evidently, that’s not true. Also, if the depletion is occurring now, what was happening before the Industrial revolution? There is something majorly wrong. If we weren’t adding co2, the numbers suggest that plant life for the planet would have died. ( 270ppm down to 170ppm in 20 years) That means that the carbon cycle is negative, and recently big time negative. The fact that there was any increase is a mystery. …. Thanks for the additional info … either the numbers they are putting out are wrong or we should be alarmed about something else.

  34. It’s the weather of the ocean, they say.
    So, can the new supercomputer model predict at least 5 days into the future with any accuracy? Do they even have a metric which would allow them to make a prediction which could be measured?

  35. When I saw this post title I hoped this would be some much needed common sense on how ocean circulation processes, oscillations and chaotic nonlinearity, drive climate change, glacial cycles etc.
    But on reading it I was disappointed to find that all it is is a commercial brochure/flyer for a bit of fluid simulation computer code.
    It points, as does most of what is written in climate journals currently, to the fundamental malaise of the field. Climate science is not driven by curiosity as to what actually lies behind climate processes. Instead the aim is simply to generate sciency sounding text about climate that will achieve a political goal.

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