Guest post by David Middleton
WASHINGTON (AP) — The amount of man-made heat energy absorbed by the seas has doubled since 1997, a study released Monday showed.
Scientists have long known that more than 90 percent of the heat energy from man-made global warming goes into the world’s oceans instead of the ground. And they’ve seen ocean heat content rise in recent years. But the new study, using ocean-observing data that goes back to the British research ship Challenger in the 1870s and including high-tech modern underwater monitors and computer models, tracked how much man-made heat has been buried in the oceans in the past 150 years.
The world’s oceans absorbed approximately 150 zettajoules of energy from 1865 to 1997, and then absorbed about another 150 in the next 18 years, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
To put that in perspective, if you exploded one atomic bomb the size of the one that dropped on Hiroshima every second for a year, the total energy released would be 2 zettajoules. So since 1997, Earth’s oceans have absorbed man-made heat energy equivalent to a Hiroshima-style bomb being exploded every second for 75 straight years.
“The changes we’re talking about, they are really, really big numbers,” said study co-author Paul Durack, an oceanographer at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California. “They are nonhuman numbers.”
Because there are decades when good data wasn’t available and computer simulations are involved, the overall figures are rough but still are reliable, the study’s authors said. Most of the added heat has been trapped in the upper 2,300 feet, but with every year the deeper oceans also are absorbing more energy, they said.
WTF is “man-made heat”???
The source of Mr. Borenstein’s latest exercise in scientific illiteracy is this paper…
On what planet is “ocean heat content” synonymous with “man-made heat”?
Even if, the rise in ocean heat content was entirely due to the rise in atmospheric CO2, the “heat” wouldn’t be “man-made.”
Ocean heat content is measured in joules, usually expressed as gazillions of joules (J). It takes 4.186 J to raise the temperature of 1 g of water 1 °C. Since the oceans are composed of a rather large volume of water, it takes a lot of joules to warm it just a little bit. Without a rather large heat content, the oceans would be frozen solid.
Addendum: Gazillions of Joules Under the Sea
Gazillions of joules!
A five degree rise for just the first inch of ocean, for a static area 900 miles in diameter (the size of hurricane Sandy) requires 95-million terajoules of energy. If we assume it gets used the most efficiently it can be, a ton of coal gets you about 35 gigajoules. That means we’d need a cube of coal .9 of a mile/side to generate the energy needed to heat just that first inch of water five degrees. All that energy is a fraction of the heat being trapped, just a fraction. We’re going to see a lot more storms get charged up this way.
The best way to alarm the scientifically illiterate is to convert 0.8°C into eleventy gazillion joules.
Ocean Heat Content for the upper 700 meters of the oceans increased by about 16 gazillion (10^22) Joules over the last 40 years or so! 16 gazillion is a huge number! Unfortunately for Warmists, 16 gazillion is a very tiny number relative to the volume of the top 700 meters of the oceans and the heat content that normally resides in the oceans…
16 gazillion Joules is enough heat to increase the average temperature of the upper 700 meters of ocean by a whopping 0.168 degrees Centigrade.
The average temperature of the upper 700 meters of ocean is somewhere in the ballpark of 10 degrees Centigrade…
How much heat content is required to raise the temperature of the upper 700 meters of ocean from 0 to 10 degrees Centigrade?
A bit less than 950 gazillion Joules.
16 gazillion is less than 2% of 950 gazillion.
More fun with gazillions of Joules
This is a graph from a Skeptical Science post…
In addition to lacking any context, the title of the graph is amazingly and ignorantly wrong. There’s a lot more to the Earth than water, ice and air… There’s that whole solid(ish) thing in the middle.
The heat flow at the surface (the coolest part of the solid Earth) of the Earth is ~47 Terawatts (TW). A Joule is 1 Watt*second of power. 47 TW is 47,000,000,000,000 joules per second (47*10^12 J/s). Over the 40-yr period (1969-2008) the Earth’s heat flow transferred 6 gazillion (10^12) Joules of heat from the interior to the surface. That 6 gazillion is a very tiny fraction of the total heat content of the Earth (~12,600,000,000 gazillion Joules). So the SkepSci graph doesn’t even come close to capturing the “change in the Earth’s total heat content.”
Here’s a little more context… Unsurprisingly, ocean heat content and sea surface temperature are highly correlated…
So, we can very easily estimate OHC from SST to see what the OHC was
doing before we started measuring it…
Wow!!! The OHC had to have increased by 13 gazillion Joules from 1910-1941. How did that happen? CO2 was mired in the “safe” range of 310-320 ppmv (assuming Antarctic ice cores are accurate sources of paleo-CO2 data).