New IPCC report on ocean warming cites a flawed and retracted paper

Via Retraction Watch:

A major new report about the dramatic warming of the oceans cites a 2018 Nature paper on the topic that was retracted earlier this week — the same day, in fact, that the report dropped.

But one of the authors of that paper tells Retraction Watch that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report, released September 25, must have meant to cite a different paper by the same authors. 

The report concluded that:

It is virtually certain that the global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system (high confidence). Since 1993, the rate of ocean warming has more than doubled (likely).

What makes the flawed citation more remarkable is that researchers have been aware of errors in the analysis for more than 10 months. As we — and others — have reported, almost immediately after publication of the paper Nic Lewis blogged about his concerns with the analysis, concerns that eventually prompted the retraction.

Full story at Retraction Watch

The paper, Resplandy et al. has been well covered in WUWT since Nic Lewis first pointed out the fatal flaw in the “peer reviewed” paper.

This latest blunder seems pretty par for the course with the IPCC, and as we’ve seen in the past they’ve not only used “grey literature” but travel brochures as references to “scientific” assessments.

This latest blunder underscores the worthlessness of the IPCC to real science.

What we can do though, is alert them with reports about this error. From their website:

In case of a suspected error in an IPCC report, please send a mail to containing the following information: Complete name, Telephone, Organization, Country, Publication, Chapter, Page, Line, and Comments. The IPCC Protocol for Addressing Possible Errors is here

I suspect all we will get is what Retraction watch got – a form email. Doesn’t hurt to try, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

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joe the non climate scientist
September 27, 2019 9:21 am

The Science experts at Skeptical Science were Screaming that this paper proved the oceans heat content was rapidily increase – past the point of no return.

funny, I dont see SK noting the retraction

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  joe the non climate scientist
September 27, 2019 9:46 am

Very likely because SK does not have “experts” in science, nor leadership having basic ethics.

Franz Dullaart
Reply to  joe the non climate scientist
September 27, 2019 9:58 am

Actually, SS is a better acronym.

Reply to  Franz Dullaart
September 27, 2019 10:27 am

It most certainly is, Franz.

comment image

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Franz Dullaart
September 27, 2019 11:01 am

SEIG HEIL ! to that

Reply to  Franz Dullaart
September 27, 2019 12:12 pm

Ahnenerbe- The group comprised scholars and scientists from a broad range of academic disciplines.

They would be proud.

Reply to  mwhite
September 27, 2019 2:07 pm

I did not recognize the topic so I thought your comment might be off-topic or misplaced.

Then I read it.
Great Find! I had no idea. This is SKS. They say “If the shoe fits, wear it”. It Fits.

As a side note:
John Cook and Skeptical Science came onto the scene with the abbreviation SKS, right when the US firearms market was getting flooded with rifles from Eastern European armies which had the designation SKS. Nobody could understand why Herr Cook would name his website after an unremarkable Warsaw Pact infantry rifle. Hilarity ensued.

Leo G
Reply to  TonyL
September 28, 2019 11:01 pm

When you think about it, the website name “Skeptical Science” is an ironic choice. It’s synonymous with ” doubtful knowledge”. If the scientist is skeptical, does that imply that so is his science?
The only “science” I might call skeptical is epistemology.

Reply to  Franz Dullaart
September 27, 2019 2:15 pm

Franz Dullaart – Please, don’t go there. There’s no need to sink to the abysmal standards (non-standards?) of some of the other side. Use SkS if you want to use an abbreviation.

Reply to  joe the non climate scientist
September 27, 2019 11:01 am

The standard operating procedure is something like: Never mind that the data was upside down and the method was bogus, the basic conclusion is correct.

Dennis Stayer
Reply to  joe the non climate scientist
September 27, 2019 11:16 am

Perhaps Skeptical Science is not so skeptical after all, unless of course it is science that runs contrary to their agenda.

A C Osborn
September 27, 2019 9:41 am

You have to remember that the people who actually write the IPCC summary report are mostly not scientists, they were probably unaware of the complaints.
So this is another the Himalayan Ice will all be gone by 2035 type mess up, I hope it embarases hell out of them.

Reply to  A C Osborn
September 27, 2019 1:08 pm

The IPCC has 100% cover from the Propaganda Press. Nothing negative to the IPCC will ever be released to the public at large. And the public at large doesn’t even know nor care what the IPCC is.

If the IPCC ever comes up in conversation (rare) I always point out that the IPCC is a corrupt political agency of the totally anti-American and corrupt United Nations.

September 27, 2019 9:43 am

I heard on the radio yesterday that the ipcc was in Monaco to talk about the “rising sea levels”, it seems they were to busy wasting tax powers money on plush hotels and in the casino, and totally forgot that the report was wrong… To much free champagne does that to you….. Saenr as the u.n, they travel the world in planes, taxis, cars, helicopters, while eating, sleeping for free on our tax money, all while scaring us in to giving them free money so they can save us from the weather aka Mother nature…

Reply to  Sunny
September 27, 2019 1:54 pm

I took a look at hotel room rates in the Principality of Monaco to see what they looked like. The lowest was just over $500/night to over $1,200 per night. Of course, that is single occupancy. I am sure that they double up and even use roll-in beds to help keep the costs down because I an sure that the IPCC preaches cost containment just like the other U.N. leeches.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sunny
September 27, 2019 5:51 pm

“were to busy”…”to much free champagne”

I’ll have too please.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Sunny
October 9, 2019 7:29 pm

Sunny, your musings about Monaco are right.

Monaco, as corsica as Albania are former pirate strongholds.

The reasonings of the French Kings where in the way “if we can’t get rid of these pirates: this “our pirates” will hold other, foreign pirates at the distance.

There’s low taxation on residents; but no one can afford the rent for a simple flat longer than 3,4 years.

Robert W Turner
September 27, 2019 10:12 am

Thermal greenhouse gas energy, the only energy to show the quantum phenomenon of non locality, jumping from magic CO2 molecules to the deep ocean while ignoring space and time.

Ron Long
Reply to  Robert W Turner
September 27, 2019 10:57 am

Robert, it might be some of that “neutrinoless double-beta decay” from yesterday? EUREKA! it has been witnessed!

September 27, 2019 10:15 am

A religion does not reverse course no matter what the circumstances or facts are to the contrary.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 27, 2019 12:00 pm

Tell that to the pagan pantheon the Catholics maintain.

Reply to  Prjindigo
September 27, 2019 12:18 pm

We like our Saints, Candles, and strong drink. You keep sending those checks to Benny Hinn and your yapping about others out of this.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Troe
September 27, 2019 5:52 pm

And child molesting, don’t forget the child molesting.

September 27, 2019 10:25 am

So what warms the oceans? Sunlight, definitely. Submarine volcanoes? Probably. Downwelling longwave radiation from atmospheric ghgs? Certainly not. Infrared radiation can only penetrate a few microns into the ocean skin.

So with that in mind is the IPCC saying that the oceans are also being heated anthropogenically?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  leitmotif
September 27, 2019 11:09 am

There is a process whereby warm surface water not only sinks, but stays warm at the bottom of the ocean for decades, maybe even centuries when it resurfaces even hotter than when it sank. I believe it’s called “Trenberthing”

J Mac
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
September 27, 2019 11:37 am


Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
September 27, 2019 5:54 pm


More painful than kidney stones (also caused by anthropogenic CO2).

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
September 30, 2019 6:50 am

Actually the cold surface water that sinks does resurface slightly warmer many centuries later due to geothermal energy. Not much, but it does warm a little bit.

Reply to  leitmotif
September 27, 2019 12:04 pm

Frigging **TIDAL** forces certainly do.

Steven Fraser
Reply to  Prjindigo
September 27, 2019 12:59 pm

Describe the process, if you would. I can see tidal forces ‘mixing’ warm surface water at the places where tides cause motion into and out of estuaries, for example, the Bay of Fundy, but not otherwise.

Do tell.

Reply to  Prjindigo
September 30, 2019 7:02 am

In principle yes. Tidal dissipation does to some extent go into heating the ocean (and the solid Earth) due to hysteresis. It also goes into slowing the Earth’s rotation and into mechanical erosion of coasts and seabottoms.

However it is on the order of tens of mW per square meter, i. e. about an order of magnitude weaker than geothermal heating.

Old emu
Reply to  leitmotif
September 29, 2019 2:13 am

Old emu

So with that in mind is the IPCC saying that the oceans are also being heated anthropogenically?

Yes! It’s all those people “making a warm patch” when they go for a quick swim.

J Mac
September 27, 2019 10:45 am

The validity of the science is irrelevant. The message is all that matters, to the socialists in the UN and IPCC.

September 27, 2019 10:49 am

The CBC is in full flight with Greta meeting Trudeau. The CBC “Kelly Crowe is a medical sciences correspondent for CBC News, specializing in health and biomedical research. She joined CBC in 1991, and has spent 25 years reporting on a wide range of national news and current affairs, with a particular interest in science and medicine.” A specialist indeed… The article is to legitimize Cook, Lewandovsky and others non climate scientists publications!
This article is using the word of “deniers” and is accusing others of exactly what the climate movement has been doing for 30 years!
The journalist Kelly Crowe is not worried of misrepresenting the credentials of her guests:
For instance:
“Canadian climate researcher Matto Mildenberger said…”
Except that he is no climatologist:
“Matto Mildenberger is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research explores the political drivers of policy inaction in the face of serious social and economic threats posed by global climate change. …”

Political science, pimpled teenagers, environmental sociologists… The irony is that Kelly terminates her article with this example:
“One group was shown a petition signed by thousands of “scientists” — even though most of them were not climate experts — who said humans have not caused global warming. A second group was also shown the petition, but the difference is that before seeing it, they were told about the misinformation tactic of using “spokespeople who convey the impression of expertise without possessing any relevant scientific expertise.”

Well Kelly, this is exactly what you have done in your CBC article: using sociologists and political scientists to legitimize climate science. What does it say about your methods, your integrity and ethics?

The CBC has proven if needed that it is a propaganda outlet with little respect for its readers.

Reply to  TomRude
September 27, 2019 11:17 am

There was a guy on Sky News today from called Nick Bryer talking about the melting Arctic ice, runaway global warming etc saying that we must stop burning fossil fuels. The interviewer treated him like he was an expert.

Nick Bryer’s qualifications? B.A in English literature. Mentioned in this WUWT article below:

Reply to  TomRude
September 27, 2019 11:54 am

Mildenberger said current climate misinformation has evolved. He said one tactic climate skeptics use is targeting climate activists for their personal carbon footprint, in an effort “to discredit [those] who are trying to make reforms by accusing them of hypocrisy.”

Indeed, how do we dare demanding their prophets abide with their message! We should open our ears, believe and close our eyes. And depending on which side they stand, people are either justly stigmatized for their sinful behavior or absolved because their action is supposedly serving the greater good… If that does not smack of elitism and sophistry…

Reply to  TomRude
September 27, 2019 8:54 pm

Yes! That John Cook (of Skeptical Science).

Reply to  TomRude
September 27, 2019 9:29 pm

Add CTV and Global to CBC. They are in Trudeau’s pocket as he is dolling out 650 million to the struggling fake media, just before announcing a general election. They are failing because they are fake.

Joel Snider
September 27, 2019 11:36 am

But, of course, the lie is around the world before the truth gets its pants on.

Steven Fraser
September 27, 2019 12:52 pm

Meanwhile, SMB on Greenland is now riding a smidge above average since the beginning of the month. Oh, the horrors!

September 27, 2019 1:08 pm

Please provide an accurate reference to the claim regarding “travel brochures,” as I could not find anything specific at the link provided except more claims about relying on travel brochures. I am not inclined to believe that the claim is false. Too much has happened for me to believe that, but we shouldn’t fall into the trap of making unsupported claims. ….

After much searching, the closest I was able to come to a reference to a “travel brochure” was here:

Reply to  Phil
September 28, 2019 7:32 am

Try Donna Laframboise’s archive – she has done some very useful work.

September 27, 2019 1:11 pm

The reference to a “travel brochure” may also have been covered here:

September 27, 2019 1:19 pm

The IPCC has 100% cover from the Propaganda Press. Nothing negative to the IPCC will ever be released to the public at large. And the public at large doesn’t even know nor care what the IPCC is.

If the IPCC ever comes up in conversation (rare) I always point out that the IPCC is a corrupt political agency of the totally anti-American and corrupt United Nations.

September 27, 2019 2:04 pm

The IPCC is just one giant squeaky wheel. Unfortunately, the IPCC rejects all offers of oil.

Gunga Din
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
September 27, 2019 4:10 pm


Gerald Machnee
September 27, 2019 2:04 pm

Still waiting for some certain “defenders” to come up with an excuse for the IPCC.

Gunga Din
September 27, 2019 4:14 pm

They got their “headline” which will be cited in other ‘headline” stories.

Bruce McGregor
September 27, 2019 8:37 pm

Surely, we have arrived at a point in this argument where a timeline cutoff point needs to be agreed to? If we are not all dead or dying in 12 years, those that are promoting this dramatic emergency, should they not be made accountable? Seeing as how we have now swung from an impending iceage, to global warming and now climate change inside 50 years from 1970, with all previous predictions having gone by without whimper, shouldn’t the key salesmen be put on notice to put up or shutup?

Reply to  Bruce McGregor
September 27, 2019 9:31 pm

You have to keep up on name changes, it’s now CLIMATE EMERGENCY.

Patrick MJD
September 27, 2019 9:54 pm

This alarmist report is all over the MSM like a rash as far as I can tell. The discovered/known flaw and retraction, nothing in sight about that. But that does not matter, the damage is done.

Patrick MJD
September 27, 2019 10:59 pm

Coastal erosion due to climate change.

“University of Melbourne geomorphologist, Professor David Kennedy, says it is likely this ridge was the coastline about 4000 to 6000 years ago, a period known as the mid-Holocene highstand when global temperatures were about 1 to 2 degrees higher than now.”

So which is it? Warmer 6000 years ago or hottest evah over the last 5 years? Climate science is so confusing. Here Mr. Politician, take some taxes off me and make energy vastly more expensive to reduce my anxiety levels.

September 28, 2019 12:13 am

‘This latest blunder underscores the worthlessness of the IPCC to real science.’

This is a developing story.

It appears the cite is wrong, not the study used. IPCC does a lot of review, much of it of high quality.

Nils-Axel Mörner
September 28, 2019 1:54 am

I was expert reviewer of the 5th Assessment Report and concluded (June 2019):
“A remarkable lobbying product for the IPCC,
but a document failing to fulfill scientific standard”.
We must say the same about the Special Report of September 25.
best wishes
Nils-Axel Mörner
sea level specialist

Dirk Pitt
September 28, 2019 4:56 am

The retracted paper is not referenced in the report. There was a copy edit mistake for the reference on page 5-27 in the report. The correct reference is

Reply to  Dirk Pitt
September 28, 2019 8:17 pm

That reference seems out of place.

Reply to  Dirk Pitt
September 30, 2019 7:22 am

Chapter 5, page 5-183:

“Resplandy, L. et al., 2018: Quantification of ocean heat uptake from changes in atmospheric O 2 and CO 2
composition. Nature, 563 (7729), 105”

Reply to  tty
September 30, 2019 8:20 am

Yea the reference should have been this, according to Keeling:

Revision of global carbon fluxes based on a reassessment of oceanic and riverine carbon transport

Reply to  tty
September 30, 2019 8:23 am
J. Mart
September 28, 2019 9:11 am

The question to be asked is: Why did (the commercial, no longer scientific, venture) Nature take so long to retract that infamous paper? Why did they take action only when the sea-level IPPC doomsaying “report” was being distributed?

This does not seem to be casual, one may think that it was a purposeful delay.

September 30, 2019 8:31 am

Sep 30, 2019 Tucker Carlson – That Existential Threat

Tucker Carlson explores the veracity of claims that climate change is as “existential threat.” Do the presidential candidates who advocate policies based on that premise believe it themselves?

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