Possible Explanation For Warm Ocean Water Off the Oregon Coast Known as “The Blob.”

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball


You learn right away when studying climate that geothermal heat is ignored as a possible heat source in the climate equation. Textbooks consider the Sun as the sole source of heat. I corrected the omission in the climate portion of a textbook I produced, but it didn’t change the situation. As with everything in climate, knowledge and understanding are in their infancy, as new evidence and limitations are regularly identified. This occurs despite the hindrance of political and financial road blocks created by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and their proponents. Skeptics continue to prove the science isn’t settled. The IPCC had to limit their research to only human causes of climate change because including natural sources makes that portion inconsequential. The unintended consequence of this decision was confirmation that you cannot determine the human portion if you don’t know the natural portion and its variability. They created their own Catch 22.

The effect of geothermal on global heat energy balance is still generally rejected, but various local effects keep the issue on the radar. These include the recent story on Greenland melt rates and the role of geothermal in Antarctica. They trigger questions about the number of volcanoes active below sea level and briefly resurrect the geothermal issue. The examples presented are almost all related to geothermal heat accelerating glacier melt and restricted to ocean related glaciers, but land-based glaciers are also affected. Usually, this involves increased basal melting and accelerated movement creating “galloping glaciers.”

I developed an interest in the role of geothermal heat as a source affecting oceans and thereby global water and air temperatures while pursuing Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic in the Cold War. Knowledge of the layers of water temperature with depth was essential for the pattern of noise transmission and the efficiency of our electronic capacity to track submarines. I was always amazed at the variation in temperature with depth even in the upper 300 m, especially the number of inversion layers. Later, I worked with the late Roger Pocklington on his transect of water temperatures from Newfoundland to Bermuda and the impact on the cod fisheries.

I became aware of the mid-Atlantic ridge, its length, and proximity to the surface (Figure 1). It is like a giant heating rod constantly pumping heat into the ocean. I am unaware of any calculations of the amount of that heat, but because it is so close to the surface, an impact on surface water temperatures is possible.


Figure 1

There are two issues in play; the total impact of geothermal heat on the ocean temperatures, and the regional impact of specific hot spots, especially around volcanoes. There are insufficient measures of the extent or magnitude of temperature input by conduction or convection through direct contact with magma (average temperature of 1350°C) with bottom water.

It’s hard to find vents and active volcanoes in the deep ocean.  To do so, scientists can use a CTD instrument package that measures the conductivity, temperature, and depth in the ocean. Changes in temperature and the cloudiness of the water may be a sign of a hot spring site or erupting underwater volcano.

This also applies to the amount of heat input around the ridges where the crust is thin.


In many places, the magma simply wells up beneath the weakened and thin areas of crust and fills in the cracks and fissures without ever breaking the surface.


In late 2013 an area of warm water known as “The Blob” appeared off the Oregon coast in the northwest Pacific. The media, with the help of climate alarmists, immediately began making links to global warming, El Nino, and weather events such as the drought in Oregon. The obsession and hysteria with human responsibility for all weather and climate changes created by the IPCC eliminate any consideration of natural, that is non-manmade, explanations. Most of the public think El Nino is a new manmade phenomenon.

At the Heartland Climate Conference in Washington DC., last summer, Dennis Groh, a retired professional engineer, approached me with his calculations and explanation for a geothermal source for the Blob. He identified the source of as the Axial Seamount, one of the most detailed and constantly monitored volcanic regions in the world (Figures 2, 3, 4)


Figure 2


Figure 3


Figure 4

Preliminary calculations of the amount of heat produced from the Axial Seamount and contained in the Blob are revealing. The following are Dennis Groh’s calculations of that possibility.

History of events:

1998 January 25-3; 11- day earthquake but most lava moved in the first few days. Lava flow 13m thick, estimated volume 18,000 – 76,000 km 3 NOAA estimate 200 million cubic meters. A rectangular caldera 3 km x 8 km.

April 2011: Volcano subsided by more than 2.4 m. Lava flow 2 km wide and 3 times larger than 1998, so

(3) (0.018 – 0.076 km 3) Density of basalt 3.0 x 103 Kg/m3

Average temperature of ocean 2°C. Deep ocean temperature @ 3.5% salinity is (0°C – 3°C).

Blob off Oregon (1 -3°C warmer)

1000 miles’ x 1000 miles’ x 300 ft.

5.28e+6 x 5.28e+6 x 3.00e2 ft

27.88 e+6 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft

8368.52e6 ft3


8.363e9 ft3

8.363e9 ft3 of water @ 22°C

p = 62.4lbs/ft3

(8.363e9 ft3 )( 62.4lbs/ft3) = 521.88e9lbs = 5.22e11lbs

(5.22e11lbs)(453.59gms/lb) =2367.21e11 gms

or 2.37e14 gms

Amount of energy required to raise 2.37e14 gms

Heat capacity of water 15°C ~ 4.184 Joules/gm°C (5°C – 60°C 4.20 – 4.18)

1°C (1) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 9.90e14 joules

2°C (2) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 19.81e14 joules 1.98xe15

3°C (3) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 29.71e14 joules 2.97xe15

4°C (4) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 49.58e14 joules 4.96xe16

Assumption no generation of steam phase change.

2015 Axial Volcano subsidence essentially equal to 2011, so assumption estimated volume is the same for lava flow. 99×106 m3

99×106 m3 (magma ®basalt) x (3×103 Kg/m3) = 297×109 Kg

2.97×1011 Kg of basalt from magma.

(1) Energy to cool magma to melt point from 1300°C ®1200°C

Heat capacity of magma 1.0x 103 J/Kg°C

(2.97×1011 Kg)(1.0×103 J/Kg) (1.0×102C)

[2.97×1016 Joules] Þ{0.297×1017 Joules}

(2) Latent heat for crystallization of basalt

(4.0×105 J/Kg)(2.97×1011 Kg) = 11.88 x 1016

[1.19×1017 Joules]

(3) Energy to cool basalt from melt point to ocean temperature @ one mile deep

1200°C ® 0°C (assumption @ I mile depth no steam escapes)

heat capacity of basalt 1.4×103 J/Kg°C

(2.97×1011 Kg)(1.4×103 J/Kg°C) (1.2×103 °C) = 4.99×1017

[4.99×1017 Joules]

1 +2 + 3 Þ 6.21×1017 Joules [over 3 days Þ 2.4×1012 watts @caldera opening ®100,000watts/m2

6.21×1017 Joules could raise 2.37×1014 gms of water

(6.21×1017 Joules) 6,120×1014

4.184/gm°C (2.37×1014gms) = 9.92×1014 = 626°C

The amount of energy from the magma was far in excess of what was needed to supply the heat necessary to create the “Blob anomaly.” The IPCC omits many variables in their political goal to produce predetermined results. Unfortunately, because of the narrow focus, the IPCC created, even regular climatology and climate science omits, ignores, or doesn’t even now about many factors. Some of this occurs because of the diversion of research funding almost exclusively to proving their anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. Every single factor is important to achieve levels of understanding for accurate short and long-term forecasting. In the blame game, the omission of anything that affects the global energy balance that is even half the amount claimed as the human contribution is important. Since the human portion is a minuscule amount, this means that virtually every natural source, including geothermal heat, is critical.

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Tom Halla
April 8, 2016 4:58 pm

Interesting post.

Reply to  Tom Halla
April 8, 2016 7:35 pm

But a flawed post, Tom, because The Blob formed in the central North Pacific and migrated east. The following animation is from the post here:
As described in the linked post:
We can see that the warm water for The Blob appears to form during the 2010/11 La Niña and that it is then enhanced during the 2011/12 La Niña. That suggests a couple of things: (1) The warm water for The Blob may have first been released by the 2009/10 El Niño and then spun up east of Japan into the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE) during the trailing 2010/11 La Niña. Or (2) changes in atmospheric circulation caused by the 2010/11 La Niña caused the warm surface waters to build up along the KOE, which was then enhanced during the 2011/12 La Niña.comment image
Also see Figure 2 from that post. The subsurface data show evidence of surface warming followed by subsurface warming.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 8, 2016 8:37 pm

Beat me to it Bob. I contacted you back when after checking various earthquake databases as a possible explanations of the central Pacific iteration of the blob as it first emerged. Nothing.
Of course, this does not preclude more than one thing going on. A bunch of stuff congeals as geothermal explanation of SST increase in the area north of Iceland lately.
Different ocean basin different deal? Who knows?
Furthermore, the blob progressed methodically down the left coast before disappearing into the nino amplified waters.
Just throwing stuff out because we are naked apes in dire need of pulling the rabbit out of the hat:
There is a growing database indicating electromagnetic influence or response from tectonic events…

anna v
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 8, 2016 9:06 pm

hmm. One should always be aware that correlation is not causation. If the color coding of the animation you provided is proportional to temperature/energy, then energy conservation tells me that a lot of energy “suddenly” appears at the end of that trip towards the coast.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 8, 2016 10:52 pm

So it can’t explain the formation or migration east but could it in part explain the holding power it has had since taking up residence off the coast? A coincidence?

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 1:31 am

Thanks Bob. I was just about to post that we need to see one of Bob’s animations on this.
It should be remembered that these are temperature ANOMALIES and do not necesarily represent a flow of warm water migrating across the ocean. This point is missed.
For example, if there is warmer water moving up from CA or simple LESS cooler water coming down from Bering Straights than the “climatological average” for that month, then we see a positive anomaly along the coast. This warm band which runs from Alaska ot California could just be a change in the rate of the major rotating ocean currents.
The clear pattern which your animation shows may indicate on ocean wide oscillation. A slow tide on the themocline. In the same way be 12h tides at the surface the density difference at the thermocline will resonate with variations on annual to inter-annual time-scales.
What I think we are seeing here is a lowering of the thermocline along the west coast and The lowering thermocline draws in warmer surface waters and anomalies go up . Conversely there is
a rise on the eastern and central regions pushing warm water away.
As is the case with coast lines concentrating the usual surface tides with which we are famiIiar, the form of the continental scale coastline here forms a focusing ‘mirror’ . This is why there is a focused blob on the US/Canada side and a much more diffused linear drop on the Asian side.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 1:40 am

I have been saying for some time that I think such slow tidal movements on the thermocline are the trigger for El Nino events.
It is probably no coincidence that the recent ‘super’ El Nino happend 18 years after the previous one. These are long term variations in the gravitational forces which the density difference at the thermocline will resonate with.
The density difference between the warmer mixed layer and the deeper more saline water is about 1/1000 of density difference at the surface ( air / water ). This means it will resonate with periodicities 1000 time slower than the primary surface tides of 12h.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 1:47 am

anna v:

hmm. One should always be aware that correlation is not causation. If the color coding of the animation you provided is proportional to temperature/energy, then energy conservation tells me that a lot of energy “suddenly” appears at the end of that trip towards the coast.

You cannot evoke conservation of energy unless you have a closed system. Surface water is not a closed system. If the thermoline moves there will be energy changes on the vertical scale too. Neither can you apply energy conservation to ANOMALIES which are difference from a seasonal average and do NOT measure heat content directly.
This is the point I make above many of the changes we see in surface temperature “anomalies” reflect movements of deep water tides. We cannot consider surface anomalies in isolation if we want to understand the cause.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 2:17 am

Bob, one should keep in mind that the blob was observable in sst anomaly maps (not temperature) – it is not an area of warm water. It’s just warmer than some multidecadal average. It can be that it was a cold blob in multidecadal average and the cold disapeared lately (and it’s getting colder again). SST maps look different than the anomaly maps.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 3:02 am

Agree Bob, also a complete mixture of units, cubic Km, cubic ft. No wonder NASA lost a satellite due to unit confusion.

David A
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 3:25 am

I think Anna has a point as the 2014 and 2015 time frame showed great intensification. However there was two years during that time of consistent and intensifying high pressure, being causative of the California drought. This persistent high pressure was called the R.R.R., or ridiculously resilient ridge. During this time solar insolation to the area was also very high.as, of course, the high pressure kept the storm track away. The joules of heat pumped in from above were never quantified AFAICT.
1. So what caused the high pressure (RRR) to be locked in this area?
2. Could the April 2011 volcanic event have been orthogonally causative to the great intensification of surface waters as seen in 2014 and 2015? The energy content of the event appears capable, and energy is certainly indestructible. However, is the timeline for movement of heat from the sea floor in April of 2011 to the surface in 2014 and 2015 reasonable? What is the residence tine of geo thermal heat released at depth in oceans? What is the lateral movement of such heat as it rises? (Sea floor currents are different then surface currents.)
3. We have four major events that may have contributed to the blob, and thus the record SST temperatures. 1. The migration of the high SSTs from the 2010 El Nino, as outlined by Bob T. 2. and 3. The formation of the R.R.R and the loopy Jet stream. 4. The volcanic release of adequate heat in April of 2011. Events in nature do not occur in a vacuum or in isolation. Could all have combined and be orthogonal causation?

David A
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 4:03 am

While everything I wrote above appears logical, Dennis Groh’s calculations of heat from the volcanic event appear problematic. Perhaps Dr. Ball could invite him to discuss his numbers.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 4:33 am

anna v, welcome back. I haven’t seen a comment from you for some time. The animation is of sea surface temperature anomalies.
There are a couple of explanations for the increases of coastal sea surface temperature anomalies in 2014 and 2015. First, The Blob and corresponding ridge of high pressure caused changes in atmospheric circulation that resulted in a decrease in coastal upwelling. Second, after slamming into the coast of South America, the El Niño-related downwelling (warm) Kelvin waves in 2014 and 2015 migrated northward as coastally trapped Kelvin waves. Third, both of the above.
And now for a general reply. When we have data for the geothermal heat released from the ocean floor, blog posts like this will have value. Until that time, they are simply conjecture.

David A
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 4:59 am

Bob T, do you discount solar insolation over the RRR area due to reduced cloud cover as being partially responsible for the record increase in SST in that area?

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 5:00 am

Tim as you know, if you wish to provide a consensus, you must eliminate all major doubts.
So, any possibly input of a natural nature that is not quantified and not possible to be quantified as things stand must be ignored, but this isn’t just AGW science, it’s in astrophysics too. Anything that may throw more uncertainty on a hypothesis or theory must be marginalised and played down.
On the marginalised uncertainties.
Natural CO2, the biggest and most important question relating to atmospheric CO2 content, ignored.
Geothermal input into the ocean, ignored.
Effect of solar magnetic influence on the climate, ignored.
Alkalinity inputs and natural carbon sinks (The AO question)
It is worth mentioning, as I have only yesterday on WUWT, the fact that at depths geothermal energy is retained by pressure, as water cannot boil at those depths. This creates an ocean floor blob of waters with high temperatures of 500c give or take, the waters surrounding the vents are heat blooms which amount to undersea radiators. It is not insane to consider the heat will be exchanged with cooler water right up the water column, obviously if water is 500c on the floor, there is potential all the way to the surface for heat transfer, which would reasonably support ideas of a phenomenon like the heat blob.
This issue is entirely unquantified, in fact you really need to research oceanic exploration to find more information on it than you will find in climate science.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 5:04 am

Also Tim, the upper column and surface waters would in such a scenario show the most warming given the lower potential for absorbing extra heat, with deeper cooler waters with much more potential for heat dissipation.
This would also support the hypothesis.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 8:07 am

You seem to have missed the main point of the post: we’ll never find out what caused the blob, nor how, or whether, it affects climate when climate scientists can only get funding to study AGW, and scientists who study non-anthropic causes are routinely demonized as “deniers” by political pressure groups, and are not defended by their “colleagues”.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 1:15 pm

Despite many efforts to acquaint WUWT posters with realistic ocean kinematics, the notion persists that migrating “anomalies” necessarily imply correspondingly migrating water masses. The material (Stokes) derivative, which decomposes temporal changes into advective and LOCALLY induced components tells us otherwise. The upshot is that what has been presented here gives no unequivocal indication of the origins of the “blob.”
While it certainly is tempting to speculate about highly intense sea-floor sources of geothermal heat producing strong regional anomalies, their effect should be as transient as the activity of those sources. In other words, they would contribute only high-frequency variability in the climatic record. Meanwhile, speculations about tidal origins are incredible on their face, inasmuch as they produce no heat whatsoever and change only the dimensions of the orbital oscillations of water masses.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 1:52 pm

“The material (Stokes) derivative, which decomposes temporal changes into advective and LOCALLY induced components tells us otherwise.”
Yes, but only the advective component can bring a large amount of heat from somewhere else. A locally induced component implies a local heat source. That’s my main objection to this speculation, apart from mixing up grams and tons. There is no way that the heat from an underwater volcano could magically reappear without loss in the blob. It has to be advected. And with the advection comes much mixing. The heat would have to warm not just the blob, but everything in between. Even if some special current were to carry the heat directly from the volcano to the blob with little mixing, that wouldn’t suffice. Because if the current hasn’t lost its heat on the way, it can’t transfer it to the blob either. And it can’t just become the blob itself, because mass is conserved. The current will continue and the heat will move on.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 9, 2016 2:18 pm

Nick Stokes:
In writing “only the advective component can bring a large amount of heat from somewhere else. A locally induced component implies a local heat source” you state the obvious, while missing my essential objection to Bob Tisdale explanation of origins. Of course there has to be convection and attendant heat loss between the sea-floor source and the SST “blob,” but that is NOT the same as surface currents advecting warm waters from far afield.

April 8, 2016 5:03 pm

I see a Heated exchange in the future.
(double pun! Bonus!)

Reply to  ClimateOtter
April 8, 2016 7:12 pm


Reply to  ClimateOtter
April 8, 2016 9:17 pm

You otter be ashamed of yourself.

Reply to  ClimateOtter
April 8, 2016 10:53 pm


April 8, 2016 5:04 pm

Decades ago, it’s been stated that just four states had earthquakes. Now a day that number is up to seventeen. Perhaps the inner earth is heating up and that is impacting global temps…

Glenn Strickler
Reply to  afonzarelli
April 8, 2016 5:25 pm

I would like to know the date range when you say “Decades” and the 4 States. I’ve studied the subject for 50 years and even then, it was recognized 2/3 of the lower 48 States were at risk for damaging earthquakes. Also checking history books, much has been written about earthquakes felt in North America in pre revolution times.

Reply to  afonzarelli
April 8, 2016 10:25 pm

As of sometime in 1906 earthquakes were known in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Washington, Massachussets, Arkansas, and Missouri. An 1812 quake whose epicenter was in southeast Missouri near New Madrid was intense enough to cause major damage in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, ans Mississippi and moderate damage in northern Alabama. A sidewalk was cracked near Washington DC, the quake was easily felt in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and it rang a church bell in Boston. The effects of that quake went far because the rock in the affected area is less damping of seismic waves than the rock of California.

April 8, 2016 5:18 pm

typo last paragraph…
” Unfortunately, because of the narrow focus, the IPCC created, even regular climatology and climate science omits, ignores, or doesn’t even””””now”””” about many factors.”…………”Know”
Tim, I would say you and Dennis just threw a cog in the blobs wheels….

jay white
Reply to  Latitude
April 8, 2016 11:10 pm

and omit the comma after “focus”

April 8, 2016 5:19 pm

a very interesting post with some insightful observations about the presumption of human causes for everything amid unquantifiable uncertainty in much larger natural flows. if you take the ipcc ar5 carbon budget and insert their own stated but ignored uncertainties in natural flows, anthropogenic contributions become statistically undetectable.

April 8, 2016 5:19 pm

IPCC AR5 knows nothing of the oceans below 2,000 m, nothing of the ocean floors. Active ocean floor volcanism could conceivably explain it all, both heat & CO2. The justification for blaming mankind is that there are no known natural processes, especially if you don’t bother looking which happens when the science is settled.
Found some interesting work by Spencer Weart. He does an excellent job of presenting the skeptic’s arguments and then casually dismisses them. Time and reality have proven his dismissal premature.

Steve Fraser
April 8, 2016 5:21 pm

Outstanding post, Bob.
I wonder where all that heat went 8<}. Anything about Co2 or other items emitted that would affect 'ocean acidification' of the northwest sea coast?

April 8, 2016 5:23 pm

“or 2.37e14 gms”
This is a ridiculous mish-mash of units. And that is where it goes wrong. The mass of the blob is nowhere near 10^14 grams. It is an area (1000 mile sq) of about 6 million sq km, of 6 * 10^12 sq m, and about 100 m deep. That is about 6*10^14 tonnes (cu m), not gm.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
April 8, 2016 5:27 pm

Oops, 3 million sq km. s 3*10^14 tonnes.

Saul from Montreal
Reply to  Nick Stokes
April 8, 2016 8:13 pm

It appears that Ball has fumbled once again and cost WUWT another thread.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
April 8, 2016 9:23 pm

Yeah. Oops.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
April 9, 2016 1:59 am

I too have noticed that Dr Ball’s post are often a load …

Reply to  Nick Stokes
April 8, 2016 5:37 pm

Missed that. Good catch.

Reply to  Slipstick
April 9, 2016 2:00 am

You have to keep your eye on the Ball.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
April 8, 2016 8:25 pm

You have to use standard US units. ie: how many OLYMPIC SIZED SWIMMING POOLS. Then folks would get it.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
April 9, 2016 5:07 am

Nick, the units are not wrong. Grams were used because that is the coefficient that is available to convert to Joules. What you disagree with is his original volume. Dennis has 8368.52 million cubic feet which is 237 million cubic meters. You suggest the volume is much larger at 3 million square km.
You are talking about the Blob, but Dennis’ calculations are about a specific and much smaller volume immediately around the caldera. What happens when you disperse Dennis’ 626C over the much larger volume?

Sun Spot
Reply to  jmrsudbury
April 9, 2016 7:34 am

It appears that Nick has fumbled once again due to his AGW bias

Reply to  jmrsudbury
April 10, 2016 11:00 am

jmr, the calculations are wrong. Dr. Ball (and Dennis Groh) says:

5.28e+6 x 5.28e+6 x 3.00e+2 ft

is equal to

27.88 e+6 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft

That is the source of their error of six orders of magnitude.
I do love watching folks try to defend the indefensible …

Steve Fraser
April 8, 2016 5:24 pm

Could we put he energy in ‘kitchen’ terms? How much water would that boil away at sea level?
Or, better yet, how many ‘Hiroshimas’?

April 8, 2016 5:34 pm

So a transient phenomenon is caused by vulcanism which is always present somewhere on the “ring of fire”? While this certainly could have contributed to the “Blob”, unless there are copious examples of similar correlated events, it seems highly unlikely this was a major factor.

Reply to  Slipstick
April 8, 2016 7:14 pm

” While this certainly could have contributed to the “Blob”, unless there are copious examples of similar correlated events, it seems highly unlikely this was a major factor.”
I flush things more logical than that every day, it seems to me ; )

David A
Reply to  JohnKnight
April 9, 2016 3:41 am

Indeed John. The Blob was an unusual even, as was the RRR, as was the volcanic event in the post, so nature does not appear inclined to give “copious examples of similar correlated events,” at a sufficient rate within the context of our observational capacity. This makes the comment somewhat illogical.

NW sage
April 8, 2016 5:37 pm

Good article and worthy of much thought. Minor typo in the 6th line of the last paragraph – now should be know.
Very interesting thermal energy calcs also. The fact that the calculated amount of heat assumed to come from the volcanic activity exceeds by a large number the amount required to cause the blob temperatures observed is a good step. I’d also like to see if any temperatures at depths between the mount and the surface have been observed indicating a thermal plume upwards (Maybe the submariners zipping around in the area would know?)
In order to have warm surface water as observed in the blob the heat has to be transported vertically, Convection is a probable mechanism but it should be evidenced by a thermal plume leading upward and cooling by dilution with surrounding seawater. Evidence of this would ‘seal the deal’.

Gary Kerkin
Reply to  NW sage
April 8, 2016 6:10 pm

Might be difficult to raise funds for an investigation that will generate information which runs counter to perceived “wisdom”.

Reply to  NW sage
April 8, 2016 10:32 pm

See below my comment where the energy needed to warm a 1,000 mile by 1,000 mile by 300 foot parcel of water by 1 degree C is 9.9E20 joules, not 9.9E14 joules. The error was caused by missing an e6 in the multiplication of 5.28e6 * 5.28 e^ * 3e2, resulting in determining the volume to be 8.36e9 cubic feet when it is 8.36e15 cubic feet.

Paul of Alexandria
April 8, 2016 5:38 pm

Seems to me that it might be a good idea to task one of the new UAV’s with doing a close-proximity temperature sweep of the Mid Atlantic Ridge, just zig-zagging back and forth along the length.

April 8, 2016 5:46 pm

I have long been curious about the interaction of undersea volcanoes and the interaction of hot magma with the cold compressed water at the bottom of the oceans. I recall seeing somewhere that the transfer of heat through the very dense water occurs very quickly without warming the very dense ~2 or 3 deg C portion, only warming the less dense water above, in a fashion similar to the transfer of momentum through a line of billiard balls.
It seems logical to me that since the temperature at which pure water under conditions found at the surface is most dense is about 4 deg C, that the water at the bottom of the oceans would be held by pressure at a temperature corresponding too maximum density. It is also interesting that for water at maximum density, its enthalpy increases with pressure.

Reply to  BigWaveDave
April 8, 2016 8:51 pm

Might check the water property tables. My recollection is that heat changes enthalpy a lot, pressure not so much.

Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
April 9, 2016 4:04 am

Nicholas, I would suggest the same to you. The Keenan and Keyes tables are where I got my info.

April 8, 2016 5:50 pm

I think you might be off by a factor of 10^6 on the volume of the blob (and therefore the mass of seawater contained within). In cu-ft, I get a volume of 8.36×10^15 for the blob volume — you have 8.36×10^9. Did I miss something there?
If not then it would appear there is 2.37×10^20 grams of seawater in the blob, and insufficient heat in the magma cooling process to account for even 0.1C of water temp rise. Again, maybe I missed something???

Reply to  wxobserver
April 8, 2016 6:04 pm

No, neither you nor Nick are missing anything, the original post is indeed out by a factor of one million! So Tim has just proved that the Blob wasn’t caused by vulcanism.

Gary Kerkin
Reply to  Phil.
April 8, 2016 6:16 pm

Or not! The proponents of AGW get excited about a change of 0.01ºC, so, in their own terms, 0.1ºC is significant!

Reply to  Phil.
April 8, 2016 6:30 pm

“0.1ºC is significant”
On the arithmetic here, it is 0.000626°C.

Reply to  Phil.
April 10, 2016 9:17 am

See this comment above: jmrsudbury April 9, 2016 at 5:07 am. jmrsudbury makes the point that Dennis’s calculations were not about the Blob, but the caldera.

Reply to  Phil.
April 10, 2016 11:03 am

MRW April 10, 2016 at 9:17 am

See this comment above: jmrsudbury April 9, 2016 at 5:07 am. jmrsudbury makes the point that Dennis’s calculations were not about the Blob, but the caldera.

MRW, the problem is not what Dennis’s calculations are about. The problem is that the calculations are wrong. Dr. Ball (via Dennis Groh) says in the head post that:

5.28e+6 x 5.28e+6 x 3.00e+2 ft

is equal to

27.88 e+6 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft

That is the source of their error of six orders of magnitude.
I do love watching folks try to defend the indefensible …

April 8, 2016 5:56 pm

I have long been curious about the interaction of undersea volcanoes and the interaction of hot magma with the cold compressed water at the bottom of the oceans. I recall seeing somewhere that the transfer of heat through the very dense water occurs very quickly without warming the very dense ~2 or 3 deg C portion, only warming the less dense water above, in a fashion similar to the transfer of momentum through a line of billiard balls.
It seems logical to me that since the temperature at which pure water under conditions found at the surface is most dense is about 4 deg C, that the water at the bottom of the oceans would be held by pressure at a temperature corresponding too maximum density. It is also interesting that for water at maximum density, its enthalpy increases with pressure as its volume decreases very slightly.
The result is that only the upper portion of the water will be warmed.

April 8, 2016 5:59 pm

Interesting post…. For all the money spent and misdirected by the alarmists lots of good useful science sits on the back burner or off the stove all together.

Reply to  fossilsage
April 9, 2016 5:04 am

Did you read the above comments? This is not good useful science.

April 8, 2016 6:12 pm

While some here are saying the calculations are not correct, I can’t help but wonder – is the Axial Seamount the only source of geothermal heat in that area?

April 8, 2016 6:25 pm

Should not the last line in this part of the Blob volume calculation:
“Blob off Oregon (1 -3°C warmer)
1000 miles’ x 1000 miles’ x 300 ft.
5.28e+6 x 5.28e+6 x 3.00e2 ft
27.88 e+6 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft”
27.88 e+12 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft ; 5,28×5,28=27,88 e+6 +6 = 27,88e+12 x 3.00e2 ?
If that is the case the calc is off by a million.

Michael Carter
April 8, 2016 6:28 pm

It would have been so easy to go in to get samples of sea water for chemical analysis. An eruption of any size is going to leave a chemical signature
No money for that I suspect
PS – this looks to be a subduction zone and the large caldera suggests high volume intermediate-silicic volcanism – not basaltic. These are the styles associated with high energy eruptions. Most basaltic events just ooze lava. I would not get too excited about MORs. Look over subduction zones and back arch basins. There is a whoppa running from New Zealand to Tonga. I may post an image when I have time

April 8, 2016 6:36 pm
Donald Kasper
April 8, 2016 6:55 pm

Lava erupts at 1250 C, water at mounds is supercritical at up to 374 C. Mounds over ocean gyres such as Mid Atlantic Mound, Juan de Fuca, and Cost Rican Trench as erupting periodically as it takes x kilojoules energy to overcome y overburden pressure erupted at z rate. Probably works out to once every 10 years. In climatology, hydrothermal trench and mound vent fields never, ever discussed once as periodic cycling mechanisms of heat anomalies in the ocean. ODP Leg 158 TAG mound well studied supercritical mound in the Atlantic. Huge complex. Very extensively documented. Offshore Juan de Fuca been erupting since last summer. They even put a seismometer on it.

April 8, 2016 7:15 pm

I agree that the calculation of volume of the blob is wrong. One mile is 5,280 ft. 5.28e6 is 5,280,000 feet. But If the volume of the blob is smaller, doesn’t that strengthen the case for volcanic warming? Less water, same amount of volcanic heat, means warmer water.

Michael D
Reply to  Thomas
April 8, 2016 8:40 pm

The error, Thomas, is the line that says 1000 mi x 1000 mi * 300 ft =
5.28e+6 ft x 5.28e+6 ft x 3.00e2 ft = 27.88 e+6 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft
it should be:
5.28e+6 ft x 5.28e+6 ft x 3.00e2 ft = 27.88 e+12 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft
The calculations use a 1mi x 1000mi blob. Which can be heated with 1/1000 as much energy.

Reply to  Michael D
April 8, 2016 10:36 pm

The calculations dropped an e6 and became correct for a 1 square mile blob.

Reply to  Michael D
April 8, 2016 11:46 pm

Thanks, I see the error clearly now.
The comments on this site seem to have become more informative than the articles.

April 8, 2016 8:04 pm

Geothermal is probably greatly underestimated. All the heat released during plate tectonics has to go somewhere.

Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
April 8, 2016 11:54 pm

But think about it. The heat released by even a large volcano on land must be only a small fraction in comparison to the heat produced by sunlight over half the entire globe at any given moment. And large volcanos don’t even happen every day. The thermal effect of volcanos seems minuscule is comparison to sunlight.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
April 8, 2016 8:09 pm

I rember the past work, when we tried to calculate evaporation and solar radiation, in addition to daylength, latitude, sunshine hours, localised factors change the generalized Sun related standard equations. Among these that are of importance are climate system, general circulation patterns — humidity & wind. That is coast, inland & hill areas on one side, forest & mining; soil type, etc.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

April 8, 2016 8:31 pm

“I became aware of the mid-Atlantic ridge, its length, and proximity to the surface (Figure 1). It is like a giant heating rod constantly pumping heat into the ocean.”
Above sea level, do mountain ridges generally act like giant cooling fins? Has anyone done any calculations on this – or is it inconsequential?

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
April 8, 2016 8:46 pm

Calculations have been done without the benefit of corroborating data. The facts of the matter are that all the ocean ridges are unexplained shallow lines of melt without apparent mantle support.
The Iceland plume is a myth. The Hawaiian plume is a myth.
Our estimations of geothermal energy input can easily be off an order of magnitude. Maybe two.

William Astley
April 8, 2016 8:41 pm

A geothermal mechanism cannot start and stop quickly enough to cause what is observed. A geothermal mechanism cannot cause cyclic warming and cooling in both hemispheres.
Solar cycle changes were the cause of the warming in the last 150 years. Observational proof to support that assertion would be sudden significant planetary cooling, correlating with an interruption to the solar cycle.
The friendly warm blob is being replaced by the expanding cruel cold blobs. It will be interesting to see how quickly the cult of CAGW paradigm disappears. Some may find it fun to listen to the lame, hooky excuses to try to explain away the end of global warming.
It is a fact that there are cycles of warming and cooling in the paleo record (1500 year cycle with beats of plus of plus or minus 500 years) and every 10,000 years or so there is abrupt cooling. The cycles of warming and cooling correlate with solar cycle changes.
The last abrupt cooling event occurred 11,900 years ago (Younger Dryas abrupt cooling event) at which time the planet when from interglacial warm to glacial cold with 70% of the cooling occurring in less than a decade. The Younger Dryas abrupt cooling event lasted from 1200 years. The long duration of the YD abrupt cooling event rules out comet impacts as a cause of the YD cooling as comet impacts will cool the earth for less than a decade after which the planet will warm. It is important to note the YD abrupt cooling occurred at time when solar insolation at 75N was maximum which is one of dozen or so observations which indicate Milankovitch’s theory is a silly urban legend.

Abrupt climate change Holocene
– The Holocene was punctuated by irregular 1500±500 year cooling events which have correlatives in the North Atlantic (deMenocal et al., 2000; Bond et al., 1997).
– When compared to the Holocene sequence at Site 658C, the results suggest we are overdue for an abrupt transition to cooler climates,
– These results are consistent with other high-resolution records of the Last Interglacial from the North Atlantic and support the view large-scale climatic reorganizations can be achieved within centuries (William: Decades not centuries.)


Sudden climate transitions during the Quaternary
The time span of the past few million years has been punctuated by many rapid climate transitions, most of them on time scales of centuries to decades or even less. The most detailed information is available for the Younger Dryas-to-Holocene stepwise change around 11,500 years ago, which seems to have occurred over a few decades. The speed of this change is probably representative of similar but less well-studied climate transitions during the last few hundred thousand years.
These include sudden cold events (Heinrich events/stadials), warm events (Interstadials) and the beginning and ending of long warm phases, such as the Eemian interglacial. Detailed analysis of terrestrial and marine records of climate change will, however, be necessary before we can say confidently on what timescale these events occurred; they almost certainly did not take longer than a few centuries.
Various mechanisms, involving changes in ocean circulation, changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases or haze particles, and changes in snow and ice cover, have been invoked to explain these sudden regional and global transitions. We do not know whether such changes could occur in the near future as a result of human effects on climate. (William: Come on man, the sun is causing what is observed) Phenomena such as the Younger Dryas and Heinrich events might only occur in a ‘glacial’ world with much larger ice sheets and more extensive sea ice cover. However, a major sudden cold event did probably occur under global climate conditions similar to those of the present, during the Eemian interglacial, around 122,000 years ago.
Less intensive, but significant rapid climate changes also occurred during the present (Holocene) interglacial, with cold and dry phases occurring on a 1500-year cycle, and with climate transitions on a decade-to-century timescale. In the past few centuries, smaller transitions (such as the ending of the Little Ice Age at about 1650 AD) probably occurred over only a few decades at most. All the evidence indicates that most long-term climate change occurs in sudden jumps rather than incremental changes.
According to the marine records, the Eemian interglacial (betazlel: Eemain is the name for the previous interglacial period, we are living at the end of the Holocene interglacial period) ended with a rapid cooling event about 110,000 years ago (e.g., Imbrie et al., 1984; Martinson et al., 1987), which also shows up in ice cores and pollen records from across Eurasia. From a relatively high resolution core in the North Atlantic. Adkins et al. (1997) suggested that the final cooling event took less than 400 years, and it might have been much more rapid.
The event at 8200 BP is the most striking sudden cooling event during the Holocene, giving widespread cool, dry conditions lasting perhaps 200 years before a rapid return to climates warmer and generally moister than the present. This event is clearly detectable in the Greenland ice cores, where the cooling seems to have been about half-way as severe as the Younger Dryas-to-Holocene difference (Alley et al., 1997; Mayewski et al., 1997). No detailed assessment of the speed of change involved seems to have been made within the literature (though it should be possible to make such assessments from the ice core record), but the short duration of these events at least suggests changes that took only a few decades or less to occur.
The Younger Dryas cold event at about 12,900-11,500 years ago seems to have had the general features of a Heinrich Event, and may in fact be regarded as the most recent of these (Severinghaus et al. 1998). The sudden onset and ending of the Younger Dryas has been studied in particular detail in the ice core and sediment records on land and in the sea (e.g., Bjoerck et al., 1996), and it might be representative of other Heinrich events.

Reply to  William Astley
April 8, 2016 10:47 pm

An explanation other than solar variation for the Younger Drias is long lag from Milinkovitch maximum of favoring thawing until ice coverage decreases to interglacial minimum, and when it is moderate to moderately high variation of sunlight reflected by the ice is great as ice coverage changes. This makes the climate more unstable than well within an interglacial period. A likely trigger was disruption of northward heat transport in the Atlantic by a large volume of cold fresh water running from land into the Atlantic.

William Astley
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
April 9, 2016 12:47 am

Nonsense, times two. And no Urban legends are not ‘part’ of the solution.
Climate science is chock full of urban legends as climate science does not have a first order idea what causes cyclic abrupt climate change. The number of times an urban legend has been repeated and who repeats an urban legend does not change the fact that an urban legend is an urban legend.
Melt Pulse Urban Legend
The largest melt water pulse in the Holocene occurred a 1000 years before the YD abrupt cooling event. Regardless, basic simulation show the more than 2/3 of yearly warming of the North Atlantic is due to summer warming due to the tilt of the earth. i.e. Summer. The heating due to the North Atlantic drift current warms Europe and the North Atlantic only a few degrees Celsius.
Third observation to debunk the Melt Pulse urban legend is probe analysis indicates there is no discrete deep water thermal haline current to interrupt, so melt pulse will not stop the North Atlantic drift current is mostly due to the jet stream.
Amplification Urban Legend
The planet cools when there is a super volcano eruption for less than decade not 1200 years. Solar insolation was absolutely maximum at the time when the Younger Dryas occurred.
P.S. Observations will prove what which is correct. The sun is different than the standard model and is the cause of almost all of the warming in the last 150 years or the CAGW theory which attributes close to 100% of the warming in the last 150 years.
There is peer reviewed analysis that supports the assertion that solar cycle changes correlate with the cyclic abrupt climate and change and the melt water hypothesis is all wet, an urban legend.

Reduced solar activity as a trigger for the start of the Younger Dryas?
“Estimates for the start of the YD all demonstrate a strong and rapid rise of C14 (Cosmogenic isotope that increases when there is decreased solar activity that hence allows increased galactic cosmic rays GCR to strike and interact with the atmosphere.) This change is the largest increase of atmospheric C14 known from the late glacial period and Holocene records.”

Cold Water Ocean Circulation Doesn’t Work As Expected
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.
A 50-year-old model of ocean currents had shown this southbound subsurface flow of cold water forming a continuous loop with the familiar northbound flow of warm water on the surface, called the Gulf Stream.
“Everybody always thought this deep flow operated like a conveyor belt, but what we are saying is that concept doesn’t hold anymore,” said Duke oceanographer Susan Lozier. “So it’s going to be more difficult to measure these climate change signals in the deep ocean.”
The question is how do these climate change signals get spread further south? Oceanographers long thought all this Labrador seawater moved south along what is called the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC), which hugs the eastern North American continental shelf all the way to near Florida and then continues further south.
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.
Studies led by Lozier and other researchers had previously suggested cold northern waters might follow such “interior pathways” rather than the conveyor belt in route to subtropical regions of the North Atlantic. But “these float tracks offer the first evidence of the dominance of this pathway compared to the DWBC.”


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.


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.
Recently, however, evidence has emerged that the Younger Dryas began long before the breach that allowed freshwater to flood the North Atlantic. What is more, the temperature changes induced by a shutdown in the conveyor are too small to explain what went on during the Younger Dryas. Some climatologists appeal to a large expansion in sea ice to explain the severe winter cooling. I agree that something of this sort probably happened, but it’s not at all clear to me how stopping the Atlantic conveyor could cause a sufficient redistribution of heat to bring on this vast a change.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
April 10, 2016 7:23 pm

Regarding William Astley claiming in part in his very long response:
“Third observation to debunk the Melt Pulse urban legend is probe analysis indicates there is no discrete deep water thermal haline current to interrupt, so melt pulse will not stop the North Atlantic drift current is mostly due to the jet stream.”
Meltwater from northern ice does not disrupt a discrete deep water thermal haline current because the discrete currents affected are surface ones. Any deep water current that is affected by this is a diffuse one much wider than discrete surface currents.
As for another point, melting of thick glaciers or ice sheets of scale of part of a continent can easily lag insolation at relevavant latitude by a large amount of time, and can still be in progress with progress merely becoming most rapid when the relevant insolation is at or approaching peak.

Reply to  William Astley
April 9, 2016 7:28 am

“William Astley
April 8, 2016 at 8:41 pm

The friendly warm blob is being replaced by the expanding cruel cold blobs. It will be interesting to see how quickly the cult of CAGW paradigm disappears. Some may find it fun to listen to the lame, hooky excuses to try to explain away the end of global warming.”

No explaining away necessary since CAGW now means “climate change”.

April 8, 2016 8:51 pm

Let’s try a sanity check using very rough approximations for ease of arithmetic.
The specific heat of water is about four times the specific heat of magma.
Magma is about three times as dense as water.
It will therefore take roughly the same energy to warm a cubic meter of water or of magma by one degree C.
The volume of water is about 1500 km x 1500 km x 0.1 km ~= 2.25 x 10^5 cubic km
~= 2 x 10^14 m^3
The lava flow was about 10^8 m^3
There is about 2 x 10^6 times as much water as magma by volume.
The heat of fusion of magma is about 400 times its specific heat.
The specific heat of liquid magma is roughly the same as the resulting basalt. The total temperature change is about 1300 deg. C. Add the heat of fusion and we find that one cubic metre of magma has the energy to heat roughly 2 x 10^3 m^3 of water by one deg. C.
There are 2 x 10^6 m^3 of water for every cubic metre of magma. The resulting temperature change will be very roughly:
(2 x 10^3) / (2 x 10^6) = 0.001 deg. C.
I would say that the sanity check is failed. Am I missing anything?
If I have one criticism of Dr. Ball, it would be that he uses too many different units. It confuses the audience and is a source of error for authors.
Here’s a link to a similar calculation for geothermal heat along a spreading ocean ridge.

Reply to  commieBob
April 9, 2016 12:58 am

Agreed, it’s frankly a mess.

Reply to  commieBob
April 9, 2016 3:42 am

OOPS I owe Dr. Ball an apology. The calculations were not his.

The following are Dennis Groh’s calculations of that possibility.
History of events:
1998 January 25-3; 11- day earthquake but most lava moved in the first few days. Lava flow 13m thick, estimated volume 18,000 – 76,000 km 3 NOAA estimate 200 million cubic meters. A rectangular caldera 3 km x 8 km.

The above statement makes no sense.
In his calculations, Groh uses 99×10^6 m^3. That accords with “NOAA estimate 200 million cubic meters”.
What to make of, “estimated volume 18,000 – 76,000 km 3”? For ease of arithmetic let’s take 40,000 km^3. That could be a pile of lava 200 km by 200 km by 1 km thick. If we take the thickness as closer to 10 m, our pile becomes 2000 km by 2000 km by 0.01 km thick. That doesn’t accord with any volcano that I am aware of in my lifetime.
How about “A rectangular caldera 3 km x 8 km”? If we take the thickness as 10 m we get: volume = 3 x 8 x 0.01 x 10^9 m^3 ~= 200 x 10^6 m^3. That accords with the NOAA estimate.
The statement “estimated volume 18,000 – 76,000 km 3” seems like a total red herring. It exceeds the NOAA estimate by a factor of 200. If we take it as true though and multiply the result of the calculation in my previous post by 200 we get 0.001 x 200 = 0.2 deg. C. So, even if we take a ridiculous volume of magma, we still don’t pass the sanity test by an order of magnitude.

Michael D
April 8, 2016 8:56 pm

It seems to me that we shouldn’t ignore the possible significance of the coincidence of geothermal activity and the blob, although as Bob points out the blob seems to have started somewhere else (perhaps another volcano near Hawaii?). We know that the total depth of magma in the magma tube is much more than the 2.6m used in this calculation. Could there have been internal convection within the magma tube that kept the exposed magma hot? Could water have been drawn down into the deeper magma tube, heated, and then ejected? We need 1km x 1km x 125m of magma cooling from liquid to solid to explain the blob.

Joe Bastardi
April 8, 2016 9:18 pm

Then why 1917-1918 and 93-94 which we used as analogs for the cold winter of 13-14, forecasted months in advance. One of the things that happens when you analog is you things before that can be used to FORECAST not hindcast. All I am saying Bob is we have jumped on this, and at the time with much ridicule, for the cold eastern winters and was because of previous similar warm “blobs” joe D Aleo has a whole series of winters where this kind of thing existed what we factored into forecasts. This year I think the warmth of the enso event managed to overcome the warm ring leftover, though there were outstanding winter events and in mid Jan, the energy market was in a panic because of unseen cold. As long as that warm ring stays there, enough ridging develops over NW Namer in winter to make it at least interesting, if not very cold. But its no mysterya as to set analog years and these were touted in preseason 13-14 and 14-15 forecast that were out in August on Weatherbell. com That being said, the nino did fight enough to negate it this year, though again, it wasnt like 97-98 where there was no winter ( example outstanding eastern blizzard and something only seen once in 50 years, a below 0 morning in NYC with no snow on the ground. Chicago had 4 subzero mornings, more than the other super ninos and the end game this year is much like 2007 with a blow torch march but wild opening to April. BTW the other reason for the blob, its dar warm, but in the late 1950s, same kind of thing happened before the PDO crashed again as I am confident it will in coming years. CHeers

Reply to  Joe Bastardi
April 8, 2016 11:37 pm

Although NYC achieved -1, Philadelphia’s lowest temperature the same day and the same winter was 8. The winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) in NYC and Philadelphia was much warmer than normal, and warmer in Philadelphia than in 1997-1998.
In Philadelphia it was the 3rd warmest winter on record at 41.4 F after 1931-1932 (44.1 or 43.3 F depending on the source) and 1889-1890 (42.3 or 42.2 F depending on the source). 1997-1998 is tied for 8th with 1936-1937 at 39.5 F.
Which was posted in 2012 and the recent winter’s warmth is mentioned at:
The high ranking for warmth was due to a blowtorch December. Philadelphia broke its record for warmest December with 51.2 F, which beats by 6.7 F the 44.5 F of December 1923.
Philadelphia’s official weather records start in 1872.

Gloateus Maximus
Reply to  Joe Bastardi
April 10, 2016 7:43 pm

Thanks for all you do, including FOREcasting, ie practicing science in general as well as longer term meteorology.
Patterns do repeat and historical analysis of WX and climate can and do work.

April 8, 2016 9:24 pm

5.28e6*5.28e6*3e2 is 8.36e15 cubic feet of water, not 8.36e9. The mass of this much water is 2.37e20 grams, not 2.37e14 grams. The energy required to raise the temperature of this much water is 9.9e20 joules, not 9.9e14 joules.

April 8, 2016 9:36 pm

2°C (2) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 19.81e14 joules 1.98xe15
3°C (3) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 29.71e14 joules 2.97xe15
4°C (4) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 49.58e14 joules 4.96xe16

For 4 C, it should be double that of 2 C or 3.96 x 10^15.

Reply to  Werner Brozek
April 8, 2016 10:56 pm

The figures for 2, 3 and 4 degrees C should be 1.98, 2.97 and 3.96 respectively times 10^21 joules using a corrected mass of 2.37e20 grams.

Reply to  Werner Brozek
April 9, 2016 12:40 am

Yes, I was going to point out that error too. Does not seem to have had any proof reading.
This is an interesting idea presented but it would be a lot better if it was written in a coherent and legible fashion. I really can’t bothered to try and decrypt this jumbled mathematical mess and try to guess what it is meant to be.
“4°C (4) 4.184 joules x 2.37e14 = 49.58e14 joules 4.96xe16 ” Huh?
Sometimes it’s 106 others e6 then xe6 , units are sprayed liberally and confusingly throughout and in the middle of equations.
J/Kg Joules J/Kg°C gm gms oh come on. There are standard for units. If we are going to play science it would look a bit more credible if you could at least get the units right.
Firstly kilo in small k , big K is the temperature unit kelvin. Unit names written in full are not capitalised: joule, kelvin etc.
kg NOT Kg
g NOT gm or gms
J or joule NOT Joules
J/kg/°C or J/(kg°C) NOT J/Kg°C

Reply to  Greg
April 10, 2016 7:27 pm

These corrections of naming and usage of units appear to me as a distraction from more serious math errors other than consistency of usage and naming of units.

Eugene WR Gallun
April 8, 2016 10:31 pm

i have question? Would anyone like to speculate?
Since the oceans formed hundreds of millions of years ago do you think the average temperature of the deep oceans has remained the same, risen or fallen. Just curious. Certainly they would have become saltier. And though there are conveyors that circulate water from the surface down and up again how much of the deep ocean is actually affected by conveyors?
Inquiring poets want to know!
Eugene WR Gallun

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
April 9, 2016 12:56 am

water is highest density a few degrees above freezing. This sinks, ice floats and warmer water rises. So, I think apart from transitory localised changes the answer is yes. The temperature / density relationship will not have changed and so deep water will remain very much the same.

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
April 9, 2016 12:59 am

Eugene, no one would know. We’ve only known the temp down there for a few decades. It might be inferred by proxies (though I very much doubt it) but they would be poor recorders. The Earth has lost hardly any of its interior heat in millions of years. Indeed, it loses just 100c in a billion years. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/07/earth-still-retains-much-its-original-heat
As an aside (not what you asked) it should ALWAYS be remembered (by those who believe and disbelieve in AGW) that we’ve only be measuring with decent thermometers for a VERY short time, and that we are recording tiny differences – often well within error bars. The argument is actually about the physics of CO2 and how that physics affects the climate system.

Geoff Sherrington
April 9, 2016 12:27 am

Please, can we first settle some basics?
1. Is the anomalous heat “BLOB” extra to the global temperature of the oceans as a whole, or is it an exogenous item? That is, does the hot blob form without a necessary counteracting generation of colder water?
2. If the heat in the ocean blob is exogenous, coming from outside the ocean system and not from a redistribution within it, in theory the hot rock mechanism can be one such source. However, this dictates that the whole earth, not just the oceans, is involved, because if the rock heats the ocean anomalously, it must reciprocally cool the rock system anaonamously. Have these departures form equilibrium been observed?
3. As with geothermal heat under glaciers as in recent press, is not the main consideration whether these are changing within the time span of human science investigation of the globe? If, for example, they are associated by some with measured ‘climate change’ what guarantees that they have not changed in similar ways forever? My expectation from a geology background would be that the geothermal event span is usually long in comparison to a century of measurements, though nobody denies the occasional days-long events like actual eruptions. Is it here postulated that geothermal flow such as from the ridges can change significantly over periods less than a century (to pick a figure for clarity), while studies such as those on dating from old boreholes presupposes some constancy of rock temperatures?
This is complicated to express – please let me know if I need to clarify.

April 9, 2016 1:02 am

Another source of heat which I have not seen discussed in this context is from the fusion of ice.
There was an OMG sea ice minimum 2012 in NH. This would have dumped significant amounts of latent heat as sensible heat into the ocean surface. The general clockwise rotation of ocean currents caused by coreolis forces means this warmer water would migrate from Bering straight region down the NW coast.

Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2016 1:28 am

“this warmer water”
It isn’t warmer. Because of the warmth, there is more of it. But it is formed at the melting point of ice (in seawater -1.8°C).

Smart Rock
Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2016 5:19 am

Melting ice does not warm the surrounding water. You don’t use ice cubes to warm your drinks.
This whole thread is going crazy.

April 9, 2016 1:25 am

The IPCC and the Warmistas know nothing of the oceans at depth and certainly not anything of the ocean floors. They do not know what caused ‘The Blob’ and do not wish to investigate as they are sure, as with every other Climate event that we humans alone are to blame. It is not the Sun, not the Volcanoes, not the Earth’s core, but it is most certainly us. With a road block like this in place, the IPCC and Warmistas are free to collect revenue from all.passers by. The IPCC and Warmistas can blame.mankind and not natural processes, because they never bother looking for any as ‘the science is settled’.

Reply to  ntesdorf
April 9, 2016 7:22 am

More people have walked on the Moon than have been to the deepest depths of the ocean!
It was considered hypocrisy to suggest that there were numerous, uncountable numbers, of hydrothermal vents on the bottom of the Ocean just 40 years ago, when all of the basic theories and tenants of Global Warming were chiseled in stone. Serious studies on hydrothermal vents did not even begin till the 1990s.

April 9, 2016 1:49 am

Put apart the issue of deep waters heating by these lavas flowing on the bottom of the oceans, which should be the incidence of their total volumes everywhere on the planet (not only off the US coasts), probably huge volumes, on the sea level rise?

April 9, 2016 4:52 am

Global warming is real, and it’s increasingly clear man has very little to do with it.
Don’t deny it!

April 9, 2016 6:07 am

A high pressure system set up off the coast of Alaska and just sat there. Clear air allowed sunlight to penetrate to the ocean and warm it. This “omega block” steered polar air southward through the continental interior and we had numerous “polar vortex” events that winter.

April 9, 2016 7:14 am

Along with the heat released from the volcanic vents the fact that the heat is rising will create currents that help (or could hinder) the phenomenon.
For those of you that have never lived on a lake with a boat dock in an area where the lake freezes over in the winter, there is another factor to consider.. A small air pump, about the size of one of the larger Aquarium pumps and your local pet store, will prevent the area around the dock from freezing. Where is the heat coming from? What is the source of that heat? Not the cold, below freezing air it is pumping down into the little tubs mounted to each pylon. That little pump circulates enough water to draw up warmer water from the bottom of the lake and thus, keep the area around the pylons open and preventing damage.
All of the heat does not have to come from the “Vents”. Water heated by the vents will rise, and draw the surrounding water along with it. Surely, this will affect the direction and magnitude of the N. Pacific current and/or Alaska Current in some way. This could even create or enhance the “eddy” between the currents and the shore currents and cause a pool/area of warmer water. Look at the various paths the N Pacific and Alaska Currents take in that portion of the Pacific. The maps are on Google Images. What happens to these when you add in the atmospheric effects and the thermal vents effect?

Mickey Reno
April 9, 2016 7:27 am

Interesting thread, with a gross error found in the original article, Bob’s argument about the warmer water at the surface coagulating further west. What I take out of this is two things. Bob, you make a good case, but don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Warm water, caused near the coast by some volcanic process could certainly move via deep circulations and currents. Indeed, the extra heat of such an event might even cause previously unseen currents and movements in the deep ocean, like a chimney effect. While we can guess that the probability of such things is low, or that there cannot possibly be enough extra heat, let’s not discount things of which we know nothing. Which segues into my 2nd takeaway, which is an excellent point made near the end of the article. Scientists do NOT set out to PROVE things. They set out to learn things, to ask honest questions. They hopefully do this with humility and a strong sense that they could be wrong. When scientists cross the line from asking questions, looking for answers, publishing their results and waiting and instead fall into lawyer-like advocacy, telling stories, picking a narrative, deciding that they know a truth and dogmatically sticking to it, they have stopped being scientists and turned into politicians, into scientologists, cultists. Most of the people contributing to the IPCC are trying to PROVE humans cause global warming and no longer deserve the label scientist. Political advocates must NOT be given public money to “prove” their pet hypotheses to advance their politics. We need to abolish the IPCC, to stop government funding for this type of “sciency” advocacy. I will vote for brutal, hellish cuts, if any of you political classes are reading.

Sun Spot
Reply to  Mickey Reno
April 9, 2016 7:44 am

But, but, butt politicians really really really like scientists to give them a mechanism for policy based fact making. cAGW is that pseudo-science mechanism.

April 9, 2016 9:27 am

Mickey: Thank you for your observation that the IPCC failed to follow the scientific method by disproving the AGW hypothesis. As Richard Lindzen said years ago, the consensus was reached before the research had even begun.
In the case of this article the word “possible” in the title indicates it is a hypothesis. In my opinion, despite the math error, and presentation of different interpretations, the hypothesis is not disproved. Perhaps the only way to effectively disprove the hypothesis is to show previous ocean surface temperature data that shows similar “blobs’ before the current volcanic eruption, or “blobs” independent of any earlier eruptions. This data does not exist, which speaks to the problem of inadequate data identified by Hubert Lamb as his reason for setting up the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia. As he wrote in his 1997 autobiography,
“…it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important.”
This is still painfully correct. The billions wasted on models and global warming should have been spent building adequate historic data sets. Perversely, the opposite happened as they closed weather stations to pay for the political charade designed to prove the AGW hypothesis.

April 9, 2016 9:36 am

Further to my last posting Dennis Groh emailed me the following
I approached Dr. Ball with a concept which I represented as an order of magnitude estimate. I felt several of the explanations for the blob seemed to suggest approaches which did not seem sound thermodynamics to him. I wondered if the blob might not be the result of a sudden release of energy from the ocean floor. My search for information on undersea volcanoes led him to the information on the Axial Sea Mount. The significant research on this site being done by Oregon State University in cooperation with the NSF, NOAA and Smithsonian offered perhaps the best quantified hard data measurements of any sub sea geothermal activity.
I attempted to do a quick order of magnitude calculation to see if there was possibly adequate energy from an eruption that could have been adequate to form the “BLOB”. I never advertised it as a definitive research effort. I had just finished his rough calculations before the Washington meeting and I shared them privately with Dr. Ball. They were not in a form one would have prepared for publication. My calculations showed the energy release from the Axial Sea Mount was not trivial. Those interested can verify the very well documented research on Axial Sea Mount magma outflow available and perform their own independent analysis. I believe, based on my research the heat flux from this one geothermal source is significant and intermittent. I have no basis for extrapolation or comparison to any of the estimated millions of other undersea geothermal heat sources which may or may not be significant. However, I believes undersea geothermal research deserves much greater resources to understand what role it plays in ocean circulation patterns. A related area of research is what factors trigger the movement of tectonic plates and corresponding geothermal activity. I am pleased the post has caused a spirited and healthy debate on this poorly understood subject area and hopes some good will result.

Reply to  Tim Ball
April 9, 2016 2:25 pm

“Undersea geothermal research deserves much greater resources to understand what role it plays in ocean circulation patterns.”
Amen! The negligible flow of persistent heat through the sub-oceanic crust should not lead us into the illusion that on a transient basis, undersea volcanism can create some spectacular surface heat anomalies.

Reply to  1sky1
April 9, 2016 2:30 pm

Read Cannot

Gunga Din
April 9, 2016 10:39 am

Mr. Layman here.
Is “The Blob” like something along the lines of “The Polar Vortex” in that it’s nothing new. Such things have happened before whether Man noticed them or not. Those in the respective fields have used the terms. What’s “new” is that the terms are being presented to the public as something unusual.
Am I off base?

April 9, 2016 11:19 am

It’s caused by the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” along the west coast. The blocking ridge in the atmosphere causes down – welling (sinking motion) in the ocean, warming the water. Simple physics. I tried to tell that to the folks at NOAA when I worked there, but they need to believe it’s caused by CO2.

April 9, 2016 11:24 am

First thing I did after seeing Bob T’s, rebuttal post with animation, (thx Bob) was to go for a dive.
Got out the Google Earth and headed for the sea floor topology in the regions I saw on the animation. Whew…I said, look at all those bumps that look a lot like volcanoes. lol
How much monitoring do we do in this area? Do we know how active it has been here lately?
Mid Ocean heat anomaly coalesces with the offshore blob…. are they somehow connected physically?
Always more questions than answers.
I should be finishing up my refresher primer on the IBEX mission:
IBEX’s Enigmatic Ribbon in the sky and its many possible sources
D. J. McComas, W. S. Lewis, N. A. Schwadron
First published: 24 February 2014

April 9, 2016 11:32 am

Is there a compressional quality associated with the SST anomalys in Bob T’s first rebuttal post.
Rotational effect on N. hemisphere plates is compressional.

April 9, 2016 11:41 am

Well now. Blob or not. We are living on a ball of fire. Of course heat are transported to the surface. Question is, – how much and is it even?
It’s not even.

Endre Furnes
Reply to  Andre
April 9, 2016 1:25 pm

It’s not even. Not in area. Not in time.

April 9, 2016 12:02 pm

Anyone know if the new bathymetry maps have been released to Google Earth yet?

April 9, 2016 2:04 pm

Dr. Tim, always good to hear from you. Thank you for an interesting post.
You say inter alia:

Blob off Oregon (1 -3°C warmer)
1000 miles’ x 1000 miles’ x 300 ft.
5.28e+6 x 5.28e+6 x 3.00e2 ft
27.88 e+6 ft2 x 3.00e2 ft
8368.52e6 ft3
8.363e9 ft3
8.363e9 ft3 of water @ 22°C
p = 62.4lbs/ft3
(8.363e9 ft3 )( 62.4lbs/ft3) = 521.88e9lbs = 5.22e11lbs
(5.22e11lbs)(453.59gms/lb) =2367.21e11 gms
or 2.37e14 gms

Let me start the calculation over:
1,000 miles = 1.61E+6 metres
300 feet = 91.4 metres
1000 miles x 1000 miles x 300 feet =
1.61E+6 metres * 1.61E+6 metres * 91.4 metres =
2.37E+14 cubic metres
A cubic metre of sea water weighs about 1.03E+3 kilograms, just over a tonne … and that is 1.03E+9 grams. [ERROR UPDATE! This should be 1.03E+6, not 1.03E+9 grams]
As a result, unless I’ve made a mistake, as is always possible, I’d say that the weight of water involved is not 2.37E+14 grams as your calculations show … instead, it is on the order of 2.37E+2320 grams, nine six orders of magnitude larger.
And that, of course, means that assuming there are no other errors in the math, the heat of the lava is nowhere near large enough to provide the needed heat, it is short by about 7 4 orders of magniitude..
Please check my numbers, and again, my thanks for an interesting post,

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 9, 2016 2:29 pm

Let me add that the reason I looked at the calculations is what I call a “nose for numbers”. What I do is when I see a scientific claim involving a quantity or a number, I look at it mentally in the simplest way I can to see if it seems possible.
Here’s what I did for this one. I imagined a volcano erupting, like Mauna Loa in Hawaii say. I guessed that the lava flow might cover, oh, maybe ten miles by 300 feet wide by 50 feet deep or so. The exact numbers don’t matter, I want to get a sense of scale of lava flows.
Next, I imagined the chunk of ocean, a thousand miles by a thousand miles by 300 feet deep, and I thought “If I drop a red-hot stone ten miles long by 300 feet wide by 100 feet deep into that chunk of ocean, how much will it warm up?”
The answer, of course, was “Hardly measurable.” A thousand miles by a thousand miles is a BIG chunk of ocean. Even if the rock was ten miles wide as well as ten miles long, it will do nothing to the temperature of that much ocean.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 9, 2016 5:08 pm

“If I drop a red-hot stone ten miles long by 300 feet wide by 100 feet deep into that chunk of ocean, how much will it warm up?”
I didn’t think about dropping a red hot stone into the water … I thought about heating up the stone until molten – under the water – until it got to the necessary temperature to “eject” into the water. Then I wondered how much heat/energy went directly into the rock & how much was released to the surrounding environment over the time period that the energy was added to the rock.
Too many variables missing (for me) to even guess at how much was released to surrounding environment, but in my limited estimation it could be characterized as oodles.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 9, 2016 2:29 pm

“it is short by about 7 orders of magniitude..”
Almost an order of magnitude of orders of magnitude.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 9, 2016 2:41 pm

Further research reveals the following:

Lava flows erupted during the January/February 1998 seismic swarm at Axial Volcano on the Juan de Fuca Ridge have been identified by differencing of pre- and post-event multibeam bathymetric surveys and by seafloor observations. A sheet flow more than 3 km in length and 500–800 m wide erupted from the uppermost south rift is the site of a robust hydrothermal system. 1998 lavas occur over about 9 km of the upper south rift zone, or about 20% of the along-axis length of the seismicity event (∼50 km). The estimated volume of lava erupted is 18-76 ×106 m³ for the extrusion and 100-×106 m³ for the intrusion. The total volume is consistent with the volume from modeling of seafloor strain measurements recorded during the event.”

This says the “sheet flow” is 3 km x 500-800 metres, and the total volume is given as 18-76 E+6 m3. I had guessed ten miles by 300 feet by 100 feet for my mental exercise. Calculating that now in metric gives me 45E+6 cubic metres.
As Dr. Ball said, the recent flows seem to be about three times that size … but that is still orders of magnitude too small to do the required heating.
Best regards to all, thanks to Dr. Ball,

Tim Folkerts
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 10, 2016 9:30 am

You made one mistake along the way, Willis. One ton is about 1000 kg = 1,000,000 g (a million, not a billion).
But that still leaves an error of 10^6. so instead of 626C, it would be 0.000626 C.
It should have been clear something was wrong when the mass of the lava and the mass of the seawater were basically the same in the calculations. (10^14 g = 10^11 kg). This is why people should stick to one set of units (rather than mixing pounds, grams and kg) in a set of calculations.

Reply to  Tim Folkerts
April 10, 2016 10:50 am

Thanks, Tim. I woke up this morning and went “Dang, I overestimated by a thousand!”, and when I get to my computer I find you’ve beaten me to it. I’ve annotated my comment to correct my error.
However, as you say, my point remains. He’s out by orders of magnitude.

April 9, 2016 3:03 pm

l still think the reason for the blob was the high pressure sitting over the area.
l have seen it happen before with SST. lf they are areas of high pressure sitting over an area for around a month or more at least during the spring/summer months. Then they start to have a warming effect on SST.

April 9, 2016 6:02 pm

I am inclined to discount volcanism and go with Bob Tisdale because his temperature animation shows the ancestral Blob crossing the Pacific. It looks very much like the warm water was pushed along by winds, was at first blocked from reaching the coast by cool La Nina water (green) sitting there, eventually got rid of it, and was then pushed up against the coast by winds. The winds in this case would be westerlies, parallel to the the upper part of the North Pacific gyre. It would be interesting to find out if there were associated sea level changes at the coast. Chances are that the blob originated by accident when these winds deviated from their regular path to pick up warm water from the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool.

April 9, 2016 6:25 pm

Gravity map uncovers sea-floor surprises
Sharpest pictures yet of the ocean basins reveal uncharted volcanoes and other geological wonders.
02 October 2014
…..The latest data have now made the map at least twice as good. “Everything is getting sharper and popping into focus,” says Sandwell.
In the old map, scientists could detect the underwater volcanoes known as seamounts if the features rose more than about 2 kilometres from the seafloor. In the latest map, as many as 20,000 previously unknown seamounts, between 1.5 and 2 kilometres high, pop into view scattered along relatively young sections of the sea floor, says Sandwell……
And with some 2014 data a data viewer
Bathymetric Data Viewer
This one is for Willis.
We don’t think ONE volcano heats an entire ocean. Were looking for “hotspots” that create temperature anomalies that rise to the surface.. hello
Scientists Are Mapping the World’s Largest Volcano
An expedition to Tamu Massif in the Pacific Ocean finds some surprises.
By Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic
…Tamu Massif lies about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of Japan. It is a rounded dome, or shield volcano, measuring 280 by 400 miles (450 by 650 kilometers). Its top lies more than a mile (about 2,000 meters) below the ocean surface and is 50 times larger than the biggest active volcano on Earth, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa……

April 9, 2016 6:36 pm

Carla April 9, 2016 at 6:25 pm

This one is for Willis.
We don’t think ONE volcano heats an entire ocean. Were looking for “hotspots” that create temperature anomalies that rise to the surface.. hello

Hello to you too, Carla. Actually, he IS saying that one volcano (or to be more precise, a chunk of rift zone which is erupting sheet lava along a portion of its length) is responsible for the Warm Blob.
You go on to say

Scientists Are Mapping the World’s Largest Volcano
An expedition to Tamu Massif … etc etc …

I’m sorry, but while the Tamu Massif is indeed fascinating, the question at hand is the eruption of the Axial volcano and whether it released enough heat to fuel “The Blob” of warm water on the US West Coast.
The answer is no, there was nowhere near enough heat released to do it, it was inadequate by orders and orders of magnitude.

Gloateus Maximus
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 9, 2016 7:13 pm

The Tamu Massif shield volcano erupted during the Cretaceous and could have contributed to the warmth of seas at that time and their invasion of the continents.
The heat of oceans during the mid-Cretaceous is hard to fathom, if that’s the right word. We’re talking hot tub temperature in the tropics.

April 9, 2016 7:48 pm

From what I can find the continental crusts range from 15 to 40 miles thick. The ocean crust is about 4 to 6 miles thick. Given the same approximate heat transfer coefficient for rock, the R or resistance, will be greater and the conductance, 1/R, will be much lower for continental crust than for oceanic crust. The geothermal flux through the oceanic floor will be on the order of 357.142857% to 700.000000% greater than the continental geothermal heat flux. With all those significant figures how can I possibly be wrong?

Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
April 10, 2016 8:19 am

Nicholas Schroeder April 9, 2016 at 7:48 pm
From what I can find the continental crusts range from 15 to 40 miles thick. The ocean crust is about 4 to 6 miles thick.
In addition more recent articles have stated that in some under ocean locations the lithosphere is thin and in some areas absent, NONE.

April 10, 2016 9:21 am

Power Flux, W/m^2 = (U, (W-in) / (m^2-°C) *A, m^2 * Δ °C)
Wiki: R-value (insulation)
R, Poured concrete……….0.014, (m^2 – K ) / (W-in)
1/R = U = 71.43 (W-in) / (m^2 – K)

Ocean Floor
Thickness, km            .... 4         ....  6
Thickness, in            .... 157500    ....  236250
Conductance, W/m^2 – ΔC  .... 4.54E-04  ....  3.02E-04
W/m^2                    .... 2.7       ....  1.8
Earth's Surface
Thickness, km            ....  25       ....  70
Thickness, in            ....  984375   ....  2756250
Conductance, W/m^2 – ΔC  .... 7.26E-05  ....  2.59E-05
W/m^2                    ....  0.43     ....  0.16

Temperature of Earth’s Core, 6,000.0 °C
Temperature at Bottom of Ocean, 2.5 °C
Temperature at Surface of Earth, 15.0 °C
Core / Ocean Difference, 5,997.5 Δ °C
Core / Surface Difference, 5,985.0 Δ °C
Ocean – 70%
Surface – 30%
Weighted Power Flux, W/m^2 …. 2.03 …. 1.32
Not inconsequential. Comparable to 1750 to 2011 anthro CO2 RF.
Submitted for R&C.
[Your column/table re-formatting, even with html “pre” fixed font characters, is not behaving well. Sorry. .mod]

Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
April 10, 2016 9:36 am

Thanks for the note. I think my point comes across.
Any advice for inserting Excel, tables, jpegs, etc.
[Tabular formats of a few columns work best with the html block characters “pre” (in angle brackets of course).
When very long tables (many complex columns) a link to a on-line spreadsheet (or a screen capture image of a spreadsheet) is usually more clear because the screen scrolls differently horizontally in many people’s web browers.
Long column descriptions are tricky.
As always, try Anthony’s “Test” page if you have doubts or want to experiment. .mod]

Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
April 10, 2016 11:30 am

Nick, if you are claiming 2 watts/m2 coming up through the ocean floor, that is an order of magnitude larger than anyone else’s estimates that I’ve seen. I suspect your error is that the bottom of the lithosphere, which is down about four-six km below the ocean floor, is much cooler than the temperature of the core. The thermal gradient is generally given as 25°C per kilometer, which makes the difference on the order of 125°C under the ocean and 1000°C under the continents.
Also, your units are wrong. You have thermal conductivity in W/m^2 per degree C, and it should be in W/m/°C.
Finally, the thermal conductance of the earth is not 4.54E-4 of whatever units you are using. It is about 3 W/m/°C.
So, for heat flow through the ocean bottom we get
3 W/m/°C *125°C / (4 km * 1000 m/km) =
3 *125 W/m / 4000 m
= 0.1 W/m2
This is in line with the numbers that I’ve seen from observational estimates. See here for further details.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 10, 2016 1:44 pm

Thanks for the explanation. Now, are there measurements to confirm the calculations?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 10, 2016 1:45 pm

The “here” link doesn’t work.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 10, 2016 4:35 pm

Looked around some. Found a paper from 1954. Records also exit for O&G exploration. Units of micro calorie per cm square per sec. Converting that to W/m^2 was challenging. For example 6.5 microcal / cm^2 – s works out to be about 0.24 W/m^2.

April 10, 2016 11:16 am

In this and many similar blogs us participants bicker about how the living room furniture is arranged around the elephant. That elephant is the obvious fact that CAGW theory fails fundamental science, i.e. heat transfer, thermodynamics, chemistry, statistics, S-B black body, et. al.
The greenhouse and blanket analogies are simplistic, incomplete and flawed. Anybody understands their house’s heat loss and balance, loss through the walls with heat replaced by the furnace and how insulation slows that heat loss (blanket). Shoot, the guy/gal at Home Depot, if you can find them, can explain it.
ToA is just like your house, when the heat leaving (poor insulation, leaky windows, open door, increased albedo) exceeds the heat entering (furnace, solar), the house cools. Put on a blanket, add insulation, weather stripping, turn up the thermostat.
When the heat leaving (reduced/impeded by insulation, GHGs, blankets, etc.) is less than the heat entering (furnace, solar), the house gets warm (turn down thermostat, open a window or door, turn on AC, increase albedo, absorb in that Trombe wall (ocean) for the night).
As seen in Trenberth’s paper Figure 10 (Atmospheric Moisture Transports from Ocean to Land and Global Energy Flows in Reanalyses) this ToA balance is uncertain and apparently still in some dispute. 7 of 8 say net cooling.
We need to address climate fundamentals and uncertainties in ways that even Leonardo can understand.

Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
April 11, 2016 12:31 pm

Nicholas Schroeder is absolutely right. The elephant in the room is the planetary heat flux. Heat flows into the planet radially in the tropics, flows poleward and then radially back out to the surface. Furthermore, the ocean floor is a massive heat exchanger between the crust and the oceans.
Take a look at your family globe. It’s about a foot in diameter. Visualize the thickness of the oceans and atmosphere. It’s as thin as a piece of paper. Now visualize the heat flux through the planet. You don’t think the activity below that paper-thin outer layer is influencing climate? Come on.
This is obviously not well modeled and there just isn’t sufficient data to derive reasonable estimates of the heat flux, let alone variation in the heat flux. Think plate tectonics. Think volcanism. What’s going on below the crust? We should expect meaningful variability in heat flux.
As for the 0.1 W/m2 estimated flux, the climate kooks are only claiming a 0.5 W/m2 surplus (which means it’s probably at most a fraction of that). We’re on the same order of magnitude here.
Clearly, this physical system could be variable enough to account for ALL of the noise in the climate data. It almost certainly contributes to the chaos in the system.

Gunga Din
April 10, 2016 12:13 pm

Mr. Layman here again.
I think this post and the comments illustrate one the things that makes WUWT an honest “blog review”.
Dr. Ball put forth an explanation (magma etc.) for the “Blob” off the coast of Oregon.
The honorary “Dr.” Tisdale put forth that there was a “Blob” moving in that direction before then.
If the Oregon “Blob” is hotter now than Bob’s “Blob”, then both have contributed though neither had the whole story.
The net gain is that we know more.
No RICO or ego need be involved.

April 11, 2016 6:54 am

While regularly visiting Anthony’s great Sea Ice Page on WUWT, I have noticed that during the past winter in the NH two VERY warm blobs of warm water have occurred to the west, as well as to the southeast of Spitzbergen/Svalbart in the Arctic Ocean, which were NOT there during former winters – see: http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0.png I have tried to receive an explanation for these blobs in the NCEP-graphic in different places, yet to no avail. As there’s no other means to heat up these two maritime areas, which span several hundred squaremiles each and have been heated up at least 8 degrees Centigrate above normal than volcanism, these two blobs extremely look like they are caused by hydrothermal vents to me. While these two warm blobs of water have substantially contributed to the widely discussed recuction of sea ice area in the Arctic Ocean during this winter, I would think that researching the exact reasons for the existence of these two blobs would be more than justified – i.e. if one was REALLY looking for the reason(s) for their existence.

M E Emberson
April 11, 2016 2:07 pm

http://www.crystalinks.com/rof.html Pacific Rim of Fire a nice map of plate tectonics etc It may be of use to someone!

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