Oops. The oceans are warming, fast! Resplandy et al. paper shows how peer review can fail, even at Nature

Nic Lewis skewers that “oceans are warming at unprecedented rates” paper

A major problem with the Resplandy et al. ocean heat uptake paper
by Nic Lewis

Obviously doubtful claims about new research regarding ocean content reveal how unquestioning Nature, climate scientists and the MSM are.

On November 1st there was extensive coverage in the mainstream media[i] and online[ii] of a paper just published in the prestigious journal Nature. The article,[iii] by Laure Resplandy of Princeton University, Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and eight other authors, used a novel method to estimate heat uptake by the ocean over the period 1991–2016 and came up with an atypically high value.[iv] The press release [v] accompanying the Resplandy et al. paper was entitled “Earth’s oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat per year than previously thought”,[vi] and said that this suggested that Earth is more sensitive to fossil-fuel emissions than previously thought.

I was asked for my thoughts on the Resplandy paper as soon as it obtained media coverage. Most commentators appear to have been content to rely on what was said in the press release. However, being a scientist, I thought it appropriate to read the paper itself, and if possible look at its data, before forming a view.


The method used by Resplandy et al. was novel, and certainly worthy of publication. The authors start with observed changes in ‘atmospheric potential oxygen’ (ΔAPOOBS).[vii] In their model, one component of this change (ΔAPOClimate) is due to warming of the oceans, and they derived an estimate of its value by calculating values for the other components.[viii] A simple conversion factor then allows them to convert the trend in ΔAPOClimate into an estimate of ocean heat uptake (the trend in ocean heat content).

On page 1 they say:

From equation (1), we thereby find that ΔAPOClimate = 23.20 ± 12.20 per meg, corresponding to a least squares linear trend of +1.16 ± 0.15 per meg per year[ix]

A quick bit of mental arithmetic indicated that a change of 23.2 between 1991 and 2016 represented an annual rate of approximately 0.9, well below their 1.16 value. As that seemed surprising, I extracted the annual ΔAPO best-estimate values and uncertainties from the paper’s Extended Data Table 4[x] and computed the 1991–2016 least squares linear fit trend in the ΔAPOClimate values. The trend was 0.88, not 1.16, per meg per year, implying an ocean heat uptake estimate of 10.1 ZJ per year,[xi] well below the estimate in the paper of 13.3 ZJ per year.[xii]

Resplandy et al. derive ΔAPOClimate from estimates of ΔAPOOBS and of its other components, ΔAPOFF, ΔAPOCant, and ΔAPOAtmD, using – rearranging their equation (1):


I derived the same best estimate trend when I allowed for uncertainty in each of the components of ΔAPOOBS, in the way that Resplandy et al.’s Methods description appears to indicate,[xiii] so my simple initial method of trend estimation does not explain the discrepancy.

Figure 1 shows how my 0.88 per meg per year linear fit trend (blue line) and Resplandy et al.’s 1.16 per meg per year trend (red line) compare with the underlying ΔAPOClimate data values.


Figure 1. ΔAPOClimate data values (black), the least squares linear fit (blue line) to them, and the linear trend per Resplandy et al. (red line)

Assuming I am right that Resplandy et al. have miscalculated the trend in ΔAPOClimate, and hence the trend in ocean heat content (OHC), implied by their data, the corrected OHC trend estimate for 1991–2016 (Figure 2: lower horizontal red line) is about average compared with the other estimates they showed, and below the average for 1993–2016.


Figure 2. An adaptation of Figure 1b from Resplandy et al. with the
corrected estimate for the APOClimate derived ΔOHC trend added
(lower horizontal red line; no error bar is shown)

I wanted to make sure that I had not overlooked something in my calculations, so later on November 1st I emailed Laure Resplandy querying the ΔAPOClimatetrend figure in her paper and asking for her to look into the difference in our trend estimates as a matter of urgency, explaining that in view of the media coverage of the paper I was contemplating web-publishing a comment on it within a matter of days. To date I have had no substantive response from her, despite subsequently sending a further email containing the key analysis sections from a draft of this article.

Full post here

So much for “peer review” catching mistakes. Nature surely didn’t.

Dr. Roger Pielke did his own analysis and found the trend is wrong, just like Nic:




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November 7, 2018 9:38 am

Mistakes are one thing. Fraud is another. Not saying what happened here, but in the agenda-driven world of climate science nothing would surprise me.

Reply to  Dave
November 7, 2018 12:01 pm

Fascinating how their “mistakes” always go in the same direction.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  MarkW
November 7, 2018 1:10 pm

Most courts would regard a series of mistakes which always benefit the mistaker as.. fraud.

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
November 7, 2018 1:30 pm

Racketeering actually. Fraud is once or twice.

Ian Hawthorn
Reply to  MarkW
November 7, 2018 7:34 pm

Mistakes that go in the other direction get found because people think “that can’t be right” and they keep looking until they find the error. Mistakes that confirm the preconceptions are less likely to be picked up. The problem is that everyone involved in the process shares the same preconceptions.

SAGW is not Science
Reply to  Ian Hawthorn
November 9, 2018 3:41 am

Yup, CONFIRMATION BIAS, the cornerstone of so-called “ climate science”.

November 7, 2018 9:42 am

As Mdm Cicero of our times had said “What difference does it make?”

JR Ft Laud
Reply to  ChrisB
November 7, 2018 1:33 pm

HAHAHA! Brilliant!

Clyde Spencer
November 7, 2018 9:45 am

No one seems to have picked up on how extremely uncertain the results are. As stated above,
ΔAPOClimate = 23.20 ± 12.20 where the stated uncertainty is only ± one standard deviation. Using the more common two standard deviations, the ΔAPOClimate would be stated as having a range of from -1.2 to 47.6. That doesn’t provide a lot of confidence that the correct value is well characterized. It isn’t much better than an educated guess, despite mathematics being used to arrive at the answer. Further, a correction factor (1.1) is used in the calculations, which itself is poorly characterized, and should limit the final answer to no more than 2 significant figures.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
November 7, 2018 10:37 am

I find it extraordinary that the errors are quoted at 1 SD. Why, when this defies conventions?

The other comment is that this seems to be a pretty poor wy of estimating temperature and about the level of tree rings. As Mark Steyn remarked about proxy analysis of temperature, it has only 2 problems: the analysis and the proxies!

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
November 7, 2018 11:03 am

Yes, I noticed the huge +/- range right away, and it does indicate that the paper* is not very signigicant, even if it were not flawed in other ways, as it clearly is. [I was on my way out to vote, so I put off comment until today.]

* It probably should not have been a full paper. The methodology might still have some validity and could have been published as a letter, technical brief, or note, depending on the journal’s policy. Do I detect an urgency to publish?

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
November 7, 2018 12:28 pm

Just a coincidence that several of the take home messages of the paper tie in with political objectives related to reducing use of fossil fuels and needing to change the goal to 1.5 C? Not that it is a conspiracy, but that it conveniently ties in with these goals and there is a reason some would want to accept this more readily than say a paper that said the opposite. This 1.5 C is from pre-industrial. GISS shows we already have 1.0 C from 1880. So, I guess another 0.5 C and we have a global calamity on our hands.

Reply to  Bill_W_1984
November 8, 2018 11:09 am

“When your grants are running out,
run in circles, scream and shout.”

bit chilly
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
November 7, 2018 4:57 pm

clyde, you make the mistake of thinking these people are attempting to do science by the correct method. the fact a paper has been rushed out with such a basic error (despite using a “novel” method where most people would double and probably triple check their work) tells me that probably subconsciously they had a predetermined outcome in mind and when the numbers showed that predetermined outcome they thought they were good to go.

i strongly suspect if their “novel” method had shown a lesser trend or cooling the paper would never have seen the light of day.
in the big scheme of things it should matter not as anyone that believes we either knbow or can measure the ocean heat content to any meaningful degree is an off the scale crackpot,imo.

michael hart
Reply to  bit chilly
November 7, 2018 7:37 pm

Yup. I recall Steve McIntyre once commenting on the bad habit of some climatists (the usual suspects) of introducing a new methodology/technique at the same time as using the new method to derive ‘important’ new results.

More careful scientists would publish the new methodology/technique first, and allow it to be properly examined and validated on trusted results/data-sets before using it to make any significant new claims. The likely hood that they are simply making it up as they go along only ever seems to grow. I simply don’t bother reading most of these type of new ‘big’ result papers any more. Any scientific trust I had vanished long ago.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bit chilly
November 9, 2018 8:29 pm

bit chilly,
I’m cynical enough to agree that they are not attempting to do science correctly because they have a political agenda. I’m pointing out how poor the science is for the benefit of the fence sitters and those few ‘believers’ who might actually be disillusioned if they realize that their heroes have their feet in the mud.

November 7, 2018 9:46 am

So, two emails to Laure Resplandy essentially saying, ‘get back to me quickly or I’ll publicly expose your mistakes’ and Resplandy does nothing.

I personally can’t imagine what’s going through Resplandy’s mind. “Oh, I’ll just ignore one of the biggest cock ups in climate science history and it’ll all just go away”.

The journal Nature obviously shoulders some responsibility here, not least for a public exposure of the inadequacies of the peer review system. Just wait until Booker and Dellingpole get hold of it, they’ll rip the whole thing to bits in dramatic style.

There will be, rightly so, accusations of incompetence and if the accusations aren’t answered satisfactorily, accusations of collusion to pervert the course of climate science (to coin a phrase).

How much faith will people retain with Nature and the climate scam in general which has been once again, exposed as a monumental fraud.

Reply to  HotScot
November 7, 2018 10:23 am

With the past as prologue, they assume if they ignore anyone that points out errors for long enough, their work will be picked up by the IPCC and they can begin vacationing in exotic locales to hobnob with the others.

Nature will simply claim that the error was not published in a reputable journal and it is just sour grapes from “denialists”.

Meanwhile no one will pay any price whatsoever.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  HotScot
November 7, 2018 11:26 am

Do you trust any climate science journal? The whole profession ( 97% of it at least) is a fraud.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
November 7, 2018 1:20 pm

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that, but certain journals, New Scientist especially, have been so desecrated by climate alarmist propaganda that they are no longer worth reading.

The problem for anyone working in a learning establishment, which is where most pure research is done, is that dissent will lead to ostracism or even dismissal. It’s thus become dangerous to speak your mind on climate matters. Or on renewable energy. Even if you believe in climate alarmism but reject the notion that wind turbines can fix it and maybe think we should be trying something else, you are still at risk of losing your job.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
November 7, 2018 10:22 pm

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” – Voltaire

Reply to  HotScot
November 7, 2018 11:50 am

Journals Nature and Science publish papers covering a very wide range of topics. They have a limited staff of associate editors who choose reviewers. This often means that the associate editor handles a paper in an unfamiliar topical area and for which potential reviewers are also unknown. The chance of choosing less than appropriate reviewers increases, and the associate editor is less able to judge their comments. Other “specialty” journals focus on more limited science topics and usually give more robust reviews. Nature and Science are sometimes chosen by authors for their presumed Wow factor.
(From one who has published in and reviewed papers for both journals.)

Reply to  donb
November 7, 2018 11:46 pm

Its a simple linear trend. Are Nature’s editors that incompetent ?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  HotScot
November 7, 2018 12:03 pm

As an academic Resplandy may not be used to the pace at which folks who have to work for a living move. She may also be on holiday or otherwise occupied. I wouldn’t take her lack of response to mean much just 6 days later. If it goes out to 30 days, then I’ll wonder.

Reply to  HotScot
November 7, 2018 2:33 pm

Most of the once reputable prestigious journals are now lying face down in the gutter of sleaze and corruption. Being published in Nature used to represent the zenith of a successful scientific career. Now it’s like receiving Blind Pugh’s black spot.

Heffner Rickye
Reply to  HotScot
November 8, 2018 5:42 am

Nature routinely fails in their reviews of politically correct papers. I use some of their articles as examples to students on how not to do science. They are always stunned.

Joel O'Bryan
November 7, 2018 9:52 am

“What matters more is what you do next.”

…. and crickets from Resplandy, et al suggests what comes next.

This is of course post-modern Climate Science we’re talking about. The consensus within the Climate Priesthood cannot be challenged. Besides, why should Mikey Mann be the only one allowed a Nature Trick?

As an aside:
I had looked into the Resplandy et al paper too. I did not recalc their ΔAPOClimate number as Nic did.
As a trained biologist, I took issue of their ΔAPOAtmD estimate. Essentially they use precision deltaO2 readings to estimate ocean out-gassing of O2 due to the physical chemistry of a decrease in O2 solubility as OHC increases (warmer water can hold less gas, O2 in this case). But this of course is greatly confounded by a greening world due to CO2 fertilization effects both marine and terrestrial photosynthesis greening. Primary production in most of the oceans is slowly increasing under a higher pCO2 effects just as it is happening on land. Looking at the numbers, it appears to me they under-estimate the contribution of ΔAPOAtmD for the period studied by at least 10%. This underestimate of the biological process of O2 creation allows them to attribute more of the measured change to outgassing (physical process).
Due to the arcane nature of everything involved, the hidden, sleight of hand cherry-picking abounds all over Climate Science in order to get published and make a splash.

Richard M
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 7, 2018 9:59 am

Add to that the ΔAPOff estimate is another guess and the entire paper is itself very questionable, given China is likely burning more coal than they claim, and should never have passed any kind of reasonable peer review.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Richard M
November 7, 2018 1:29 pm

I don’t think China is under-reporting their coal consumption. They have no motive to do so, and it is rather a source of pride than shame. They don’t care what you think, or me, or anyone outside when it comes to such matters.

Plus, the more they consume, the higher the baseline from which to measure reductions. I’ll bet the production per year report was properly reviewed. 🙂

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 7, 2018 10:52 am

As a trained biologist you might be interested in the newest renewable energy wiz:
forget your roof’s solar panels, get your free electricity from the house’s basement, and maybe an occasional high if you might be inclined that way
Climate change: Bug covered ‘bionic mushroom’ generates clean energy

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  vukcevic
November 7, 2018 11:24 am

Mushroom cultivation: keep them in a moist, cool, dark environment and feed them shit.

Living in warm, dry climate Arizona is not conducive to mushroom cultivation. In North America, the cool, wet NW Pacific, New England, and mild coastal regions seem to work best for mushroom production.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 7, 2018 7:52 pm

Going by yesterday’s election breakdowns, Joel, Pima County has a flourishing population of mushrooms. Of course, we’ve had that for several decades now; I think the original farms were set up by Mo Udall…

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 8, 2018 7:08 am

What? Have you never lived in the Southeastern USA? Mushrooms grow quite well here. Why? It is humid most of the time. Local rainfall averages about 54 inches each year (about 1.38m) Heat and sunlight do not stop them, so long as they get shade and it isn’t too cool. Hmm, sounds like being under the canopies of the trees around here. That said, don’t try to eat them. Almost all of them contain enough poison to kill you.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  vukcevic
November 7, 2018 11:42 am


I was drawn to the link about hydropower. The above links a new study that purports to say that hydropower costs are greater than benefits. Tell that to the 15 million people in the 3 provinces of Quebec, BC, and Manitoba in Canada all who have the cheapest electricity prices in North America. The study brings out all the old arguments against hydropower with nothing new. Sure if you build too many dams on the same water source you screw yourself, but hydropower is the cheapest safest energy around. Not everyone can have access to it because you need big rivers and lots of elevation change. Sure it affects the ecology around the dam and the ecology below the dam. But planet earth is not worried about a few 1000 dams. The water eventually gets to the sea anyway and then evaporates ad nauseum as it has done for 4 billion years. The article was simply a way to push the green energy scam of solar and wind to the front of the line.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
November 7, 2018 1:32 pm

Hydro power has an energy return on energy invested of about 70. That alone puts wind and solar to shame. They can’t get within an order of magnitude of that number.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 7, 2018 11:54 am

They measure and calculate with the oxygen levels…

“ocean out-gassing of O2 due to the physical chemistry of a decrease in O2 solubility as OHC increases (warmer water can hold less gas, O2 in this case)”

What about CO2, would not the CO2 also increase in the atmosphere due to the same physical chemistry?
A decidedly not anthropogenic cause.

Reply to  a_scientist
November 7, 2018 5:45 pm

I have a question regarding carbon isotope and out gassing. From what I have read, one of the ways we measure human contributed GHG’s is the ratio of Co2 based on one carbon isotope to CO2 based on a different isotope. So here are my questions: Does the Carbon isotope change when the CO2 molecule is absorbed into the ocean? If it doesn’t, then how is ocean heating compensated for in the studies that base GHG warming on variations in CO2 produced by man since the ocean is essentially buffering the CO2 generation and re-releasing previously generated human GHG’s?

November 7, 2018 9:53 am

Evidently, when it comes to supporting climate alarm-ism, it is more important to be first than to be correct.

Med Bennett
November 7, 2018 9:53 am

The authors are PhD’s at the top of their fields and they got a basic linear regression wrong? Pretty unbelievable.

John Tillman
Reply to  Med Bennett
November 7, 2018 10:00 am

From the Mann School of Statistical Misanalysis.

Were it not for egregiously flawed statistical analysis in “climate science”, there would be no such analysis at all.

Reply to  Med Bennett
November 7, 2018 10:26 am

I am shocked, shocked, I tell you.

Reply to  Med Bennett
November 7, 2018 12:09 pm

Prof Phil Jones of the CRU famously had to get assistance from students to draw a regression line using Excel, so this isn’t unprecedented 🙂

Reply to  Med Bennett
November 7, 2018 12:55 pm

that of course depends on how you define ‘right ‘ !

Joe Veragio
Reply to  knr
November 7, 2018 1:46 pm

It appears it may have been a weighted linear regression though, weighting for uncertainty. So all the extra heat was already within the error bars. Not so much extra heat as representing the existing heat.

Reply to  knr
November 8, 2018 11:11 am

Quite so.

Ric Haldane
November 7, 2018 9:54 am

Princeton…. Home to Prin. U, Prin. Env. Inst. and Climate Central whose address places it in the highest rent district in town. Very liberal town with a few exceptions, one of which is Will Happer.

Steve O
November 7, 2018 9:57 am

Anthony, maybe the other kids would like you better if stopped pointing out their mistakes. Just kidding, of course… Also, perhaps Nature would publish the paper on the math error in the standard feedback formula if you came to a truce — if they publish the paper, you won’t point out any errors in anything they publish for six months!

Reply to  Steve O
November 7, 2018 2:18 pm

You seem to suggest a Carte Blanche for utter garbage for twenty six weeks.
I – for one – am not very convinced.


November 7, 2018 10:02 am

Wrong way modeling in medical research leads to retractions, lawsuits, and regulatory actions depending on who did it. In climate science it leads to promotion, media coverage, policy advisement, expert witness jobs, and long-running research citation.

I guess the science quality difference comes down to actual lives at risk versus virtual, modeled lives lost. The virtual lives are easier for politicians to spin with low liability cost and no fact checking.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 7, 2018 11:26 am

If kids can sue the government for failing to act on climate change, why can’t we sue the whole damn climatariat for falsely generating pseudo-science and causing an undue financial burden on society. Let’s be sure to name those who did ( didn’t do?) peer review on crap papers like this.

November 7, 2018 10:07 am
Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 7, 2018 10:31 am

The Priesthood counters that by noting that ARGO only samples the water column down to 2000 meters. That leaves another 2000 meters or more as vastly un-sampled/unmeasured. This allows the Priesthood to fill-in the blanks as needed to get the desired answer.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 7, 2018 11:06 am

As the time-depth-temperature record shows in the link, you would need to interlayer hidden warmth under the expanding ARGO cold layer in the process. I’d like to see the explanation for that process rather than to say it’s there somewhere, somehow. Process matters here in addition to placement and information gaps.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 7, 2018 12:14 pm

The complexity of deep water formation in the global THC does mechanistically provide that explanation. It’s is just that the time constant of THC and the deep water down-welling involved is much longer than the time since anthropogenic CO2 rise became significant.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 7, 2018 11:59 am

Once that heat goes down below 800m, the temperature is 7C. It is buried, not to come back for millennia. Seven C water cannot warm 15C air, no way , by thermodynamics.

nice graph

Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 7, 2018 10:36 am


Empirical evidence is not acceptable in climate science.

November 7, 2018 10:08 am

I am reminded of the debacle resulting from scientists thinking they had found anisotropy of polarization in the Cosmic Micrwave Background (the BICEP2 experiment in Antartica). Instead of simply reporting this finding they couldn’t resisit jumping the gun and declaring publicly that they had proven the cosmological theory of Inflation was correct (more or less).

This resulted in a big media flurry and the paper’s authors got their 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately they hadn’t done all their homework and it was later shown that their results were dubious at best. Large bit of egg on their faces. And they didn’t have a large cadre of politically motivated folks there to catch them when they fell.

There’s a good interview with Neil Turok on youtube where he discusses this (about 17:00 in the video).

Tom Halla
November 7, 2018 10:21 am

Unfortunately, this is climate “science”. So expecting a correction, or even a discussion as to why she stands behind her original claim, is just not done.

Javert Chip
November 7, 2018 10:30 am

One of these days I’m gonna wake up and find the models tell me the average temperature is 150 degrees, and I have been living under rapidly rising seas for over 10 years.

Oh crap!

November 7, 2018 10:31 am

The data plot looks to me to be governed by a logarithmic (more natural) rather than the linear law; If that is the case as I suspect that it might be, then the warming is slowing down and is heading for a plateau.

JJM Gommers
Reply to  vukcevic
November 7, 2018 12:47 pm

Correct, should be a curve and ending assymptotic, because heat intake is finally governed by evaporation

Joe Veragio
November 7, 2018 10:57 am

Has no-one picked up on the weighting of data points yet in the LMS averaging? By weighting the data for uncertainty the later measurements are made less significant letting thevs steeper trend of the earlier year’s dominate


J Mac
November 7, 2018 11:08 am

Well Done, Nic Lewis!

Svend Ferdinandsen
November 7, 2018 11:19 am

I would like an explanation of what “meg” is.
The paper says it is explained somewhere, but i have not found it.

Reply to  Svend Ferdinandsen
November 7, 2018 11:45 am

It’s short for smeghead from the BBC series Red Drawf:

an idiot, a fool, a socially awkward person, a git.
Origin: popularized by the British sitcom “Red Dwarf”, sometimes connected with “smegma”, although all uses of “smeg” on the show were as a nonsense swear word which the writers claimed to have invented.


Jim Ross
Reply to  Svend Ferdinandsen
November 8, 2018 1:52 am

If you think of percent as “per one hundred” (decimal value times 100), then per mil is “per one thousand” and per meg is “per one million”.

See here for info: http://scrippso2.ucsd.edu/units-and-terms

November 7, 2018 11:25 am

I find most of the comments here a little unfair. The work may use wrong trend and/or misstate the used trend type, and the authors have gone PR and policy implications ahead, but most of the crap is due to the fact how media picks up new papers like this before the scientific discussion has been held. Atomsk at Curry’s inadvertently reveals another issue, which is the community’s unwillingness to communicate jnoffically with people from other tribes, leading to sluggish or missing response. Why should I talk to you when you are just trying to find an error from my paper? Publish a comment! (which my team will try to block)

Media cherry-picked possibly a very overly alarmist paper, as usually. That’s the shit. People get a very biased visibility to better-than/worse-than-thought discussion.

Reply to  Hugs
November 7, 2018 11:42 am

I disagree. The single biggest problem here, once we get past the fact that the premise of the paper is garbage, is the complete failure of the peer reviewers to demonstrate competency.
So far as I can see, this is at the heart of the replication crisis, in climate science at least.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  john
November 7, 2018 12:25 pm

I disagree. The peer reviewers quite likely did exactly what was expected of them within their field.

November 7, 2018 11:27 am

It’s fodder for the true believers… “scientists say” .. who cares after the fact whether it was wrong. It becomes centered in somebody’s head. Similar to people who say, ” ________ said it, I believe, end of discussion. ”
It reaffirms the religious belief in AGW lacking foundation or merit.
It’s been the same story now for the last 20 + years. The true believers will trot this out as evidence that the heat is indeed hiding in the oceans. So in response, since the hue and cry in 2001 was ” thermal expansion”, where is it? What can of spin can they put on this that would equate to ‘thermal expansion’ not happening?

Reply to  rishrac
November 7, 2018 11:35 am

I’m puzzled sometimes when I re read my comments…. Where did ‘can’ come from when I most certainly wrote ‘kind’ ?

Scott W Bennett
Reply to  rishrac
November 7, 2018 7:09 pm

I read the can as noun and prefer this – accidental usage- to the verb! I liked the can of spin allusion i.e. can of worms, can of spam! 😉

November 7, 2018 11:45 am

Peer review fail “even at Nature” is not new. It’s a product of groupthink


Anthony Mills
November 7, 2018 11:50 am

The proxy for ocean temperature used involves subtracting relatively large numbers to give a small difference as a result (see Fig.3a of the Resplandy paper)–which should immediately raise a red flag.A competent reviewer would require a very careful error analysis involving both precision and, more importantly, bias errors.As noted already, one sigma is a weak requirement for precision errors, and there is no meaningful assessment of bias errors.The prior comments of Joel O’Bryan and Richard M are very relevant.I also found the paper poorly written, and compliment Nic Lewis for his efforts to examine it carefully–such work seldom earns proper recognition and reward.

Reply to  Anthony Mills
November 7, 2018 12:53 pm

and never gets press coverage in the same why the BS did when he claims where first made .

November 7, 2018 11:58 am

Looks to me like its slowing down.

Steep at the start of the data, less steep at the end.

What happens when you try a curved fit rather than assuming linearity…. why linearity anyway ? !!

JJM Gommers
Reply to  fred250
November 7, 2018 12:40 pm

You are right, should be a curve and finally assymptotic because evaporation will outweigh the rate of heat absorbed.

Jim Ross
Reply to  fred250
November 8, 2018 2:21 am

ΔAPO OBS makes it sound like this is an observed quantity, as in measured. It is not; it is calculated from measurements of O2/N2 and CO2. I think it is best to look at the input data first, before any analysis, and this is what the O2/N2 and CO2 atmospheric data look like at the South Pole:
comment image

The “seasonally adjusted” comment refers to the data (as adjusted and supplied by Scripps) that have had the annual seasonal cycle removed in order to highlight the longer term trends. Other observatories show the same thing (with minor differences in gradient). For example, the data from Alert, on the north coast of Canada and about 500 miles from the North Pole, show a gradient of -10.4 and R squared of 0.998. Data are from the Scripps O2 program: http://scrippso2.ucsd.edu/, where you can also find plots of the data for multiple observatories without removal of the seasonal cycle (http://scrippso2.ucsd.edu/plots).

The gradients of changes in the atmospheric content shown at the above link for the South Pole are equivalent to a -O2:CO2 exchange ratio of 2.2 to 2.3 (10.8 x 0.2095), in comparison to 1.1 for the terrestrial biosphere and an estimated 1.4 for burning fossil fuels (which is dependent on the mix of fuels).

For some reason, papers on APO (and also δ13C-CO2 for that matter) often refer to rates of change per year, despite the fact that the changes are clearly non-linear over time, while at the same time failing to show linear relationships between the observations (e.g. δ13C versus 1/CO2).

November 7, 2018 11:59 am

I’m not 100% sure that a lack of response means much at this stage. There are 10 authors/co-authors, and any response should involve all of them or, at least, give each an opportunity to offer input. Easier said than done.

A quick response might paint the authors into a corner. The safest stratecy is staying silent until they’ve completed their damage assessment/damage control and consulted the editors. If I were Resplandy, I’d be trying to generate enough minor corrections and corrections to the corrections to take attention away from the major errors, and expanding the supplementary material in useful ways. This all takes time.

It’s not Publish-or-Perish; it’s Publish-and-or-Perish. I suspect Resplandy et al were under time pressure.

HD Hoese
November 7, 2018 12:04 pm

I went to a physics seminar about “cold fusion” when fame got ahead of the reality. Recall good account of the actual physics and improbabilities therein. Like too many disciplines, got to have your press releases, hypotheses, by definition usually wrong, too often elevated. Not good for long thoughtful analysis necessary for problem solving.

“(insert superlative, greater/lesser/etc.) than previously thought/known.” It’s juvenile, been there, fortunately back in disciplinary days. Walking down the halls of at least some science departments, they look like perpetual displays at meetings. Interesting but overwhelming.

Tasfay Martinov
November 7, 2018 12:31 pm

This smells of panic. The climagisterium are resorting to ever more desperate and shoddy fabrications of heat hiding where no-one can see it, as the signs of cooling in the climate actually experienced by people, grow unmistakable.





November 7, 2018 12:44 pm

No matter what constraints you put on humans, there will always be some who use their ingenuity to get around them. That’s why we have law enforcement. How long before AI can be used for peer review?

November 7, 2018 12:50 pm

I am afraid the author is making the classic mistaking of thinking the value of this paper comes from its scientific validity and therefore this matters . But this is climate ‘science’ and this is not mark of quality , in this area what matters is ‘impact ‘ in the press . As this paper got a lot of traction and therefore ‘impact’ and it is therefore a ‘good paper ‘ its scientific validity or lack off means nothing at all .
The authors achieved their objective , the news moved on has they knew it would and their fellows in climate ‘science’ would congratulate them for a ‘job well done ‘ and facts be dammed .

Reply to  knr
November 7, 2018 1:16 pm

BBC radio 5live (and others I expect) carried this in every news bulletin several times an hour for at least a day and had several special features on it with panting ‘climate scientists’ going we told you so.

Similarly it was all over the BBC TV news channel and national news.

They are probably never going to mention a retraction/correction, let alone give it such blanket prominent coverage.

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
November 7, 2018 1:27 pm

They will need to put it on auto replay for the next few decades because UAH is headed down and not just from short term effects after super El Nino.

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
November 7, 2018 3:01 pm

That every media outlet just happened on this study by chance seems highly unlikely, given its rather benign title “Quantification of ocean heat uptake from changes in atmospheric O2 and CO2 composition”

One wonders how such a lame sounding piece ended up as front page news around the world, being pushed and endorsed by cub journalists.

One wonders whether a PR firm was engaged to publicise it, and distill the details for journalists, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It just seems to have grown a life of its own, on foot of journalists’ reading of it, which seems unlikely given the quality of today’s journalism in general.

November 7, 2018 1:05 pm

“Earth’s oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat per year than previously thought”
But shouldn’t that mean that sea levels have risen much faster – where did all those atolls go?

Reply to  Robber
November 7, 2018 3:33 pm

The trouble is that the oceans absorb a lot of heat. An increase of 60% requires more heat than is available.

Bruce Cobb
November 7, 2018 1:17 pm

They keep looking for the “missing heat”, since the atmosphere isn’t warming as the models say it should be. Then, wonder of wonders, they “find” it in the oceans. Eureka. Because CO2 heat is tricky that way. You never know where it will turn up – maybe even in your backyard, so watch out.

Gunga Din
November 7, 2018 2:15 pm

Whatever happened to Yamal 06?
Did they through it in the ocean?

November 7, 2018 2:27 pm

I had always thought that heat rises and cold falls. So how come the surface of the Oceans have not become very hot, and then evaporated as normal ?


November 7, 2018 2:37 pm

Maybe they accidentally thought their series started in 1995, conveniently forgetting 1991, thereby taking the time corresponding to the oceanic heat uptake estimate (using outgassed CO2 and O2 proxies) to 12 instead of 16 years.

12/16 = approx. 0.88 / 1.16

Would be a pretty sophomoric mistake, but understandable if the entire team suffers from confirmation bias.

Reply to  Kurt in Switzerland
November 8, 2018 12:51 pm

I saw something similar but its hard to believe… Someone looks at APO (climate) of 23.20 +/- and takes a swag dividing by 20 years instead of 25. 23.20/20 = 1.16 and they’re off to the races…

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
November 7, 2018 3:26 pm

In Figure 3, the data shows that it idoesn’t follow the linear trend but follows non-linear trend. That means later part show a little increase.


Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
November 8, 2018 11:05 am

Thanks for pointing that out, Dr. Reddy. I enjoy reading your comments.

Pop Piasa
November 7, 2018 5:44 pm

All the fancy notations aside, when the waters of the planet hold 99.9% of the planetary heat, how can an increase from three CO2 molecules in every ten thousand to four cause the kind of heat release that SSTs have exhibited over the the last 30 yrs?
These alarmist people have no common sense from my perspective.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 7, 2018 5:47 pm

Sorry, should have said “…ten thousand molecules of the atmosphere to four…”.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 8, 2018 3:14 am

You would be surprise how many people, or their brains rather, put that word right in there themselves, as I did.

November 7, 2018 5:58 pm

I also downloaded the data. Sure enough, the slope is 0.88 as indicated by Mr. Lewis.

You don’t need to be a climate scientist to run a linear regression.

Reply to  Steve
November 7, 2018 8:13 pm

From what I have seen, you have to be not a climate scientist to run a linear regression. After all, they have problems understanding fourth grade averages.

Patrick MJD
November 8, 2018 3:40 am

So what they are saying is we won’t need to bother with a heated chakuzi on the deck, we’d just get a bag of mushy peas and chips and sit on the beach until the tide came in?

Gary Pearse
November 8, 2018 11:42 am

Even if one gets ‘all’ the supporting data, the evidence for proxy work by Mann and notable others is strong that they shoppped the well established statistical methods and didn’t get a convincing result. This would be no surprise when one of the objectives is to disappear the historically well established LIA and the competing MWP. These two disruptive climate events are among the handful of climate swings for which there can be no reasonable doubt.

The failed standard statistical trials will not be archived with the data, of course. For this we have to turn to the likes of Steve McIntyre who showed us what real statistics reveal. In addition, his analysis showed that Mann’s ‘novel’ method had the property of always giving a hockeystick when applied to white noise!

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