New 80-Year Deep-Ocean Temperature Dataset Compared to a 1D Climate Model

Reposted from Dr. Roy Spencer’s site

January 15th, 2020 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The increasing global ocean heat content (OHC) is often pointed to as the most quantitative way to monitor long-term changes in the global energy balance, which is believed to have been altered by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge is that long-term temperature changes in the ocean below the top hundred meters or so become exceedingly small and difficult to measure. The newer network of Argo floats since the early 2000s has improved global coverage dramatically.

A new Cheng et al. (2020) paper describing record warm ocean temperatures in 2019 has been discussed by Willis Eschenbach who correctly reminds us that such “record setting” changes in the 0-2000 m ocean heat content (reported in Zettajoules, which is 10^^21 Joules) amount to exceedingly small temperature changes. I calculate from their data that 2019 was only 0.004 0.009 deg. C warmer than 2018.

Over the years I have frequently pointed out that the global energy imbalance (less than 1 W/m2) corresponding to such small rates of warming is much smaller than the accuracy with which we know the natural energy flows (1 part in 300 or so), which means Mother Nature could be responsible for the warming and we wouldn’t even know it.

The Cheng (2017) dataset of 0-2000m ocean heat content changes extends the OHC record back to 1940 (with little global coverage) and now up through 2019. The methodology of that dataset uses optimum interpolation techniques to intelligently extend the geographic coverage of limited data. I’m not going to critique that methodology here, and I agree with those who argue creating data where it does not exist is not the same as having real data. Instead I want to answer the question:

If we take the 1940-2019 global OHC data (as well as observed sea surface temperature data) at face value, and assume all of the warming trend was human-caused, what does it imply regarding equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS)?

Let’s assume ALL of the warming of the deep oceans since 1940 has been human-caused, and that the Cheng dataset accurately captures that. Furthermore, let’s assume that the HadSST sea surface temperature dataset covering the same period of time is also accurate, and that the RCP radiative forcing scenario used by the CMIP5 climate models also represents reality.

I updated my 1D model of ocean temperature with the Cheng data so that I could match its warming trend over the 80-year period 1940-2019. That model also includes El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) variability to capture year-to-year temperature changes. The resulting fit I get with an assumed equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1.85 deg. C is shown in the following figure.

0-2000m-Cheng-vs-model-1940-2019Fig. 1. Deep-ocean temperature variations 1940-2019 explained with a 2-layer energy budget model forced with RCP6 radiative forcing scenario and a model climate sensitivity of 1.85 deg. C. The model also matches the 1940-2019 and 1979-2019 observed sea surface temperature trends to about 0.01 C/decade. If ENSO effects are not included in the model, the ECS is reduced to 1.7 deg. C.

Thus, based upon basic energy budget considerations in a 2-layer ocean model, we can explain the IPCC-sanctioned global temperature datasets with a climate sensitivity of only 1.85 deg. C. And even that assumes that ALL of the warming is due to humans which, as I mentioned before, is not known since the global energy imbalance involved is much smaller than the accuracy with which we know natural energy flows.

If I turn off the ENSO forcing I have in the model, then after readjusting the model free parameters to once again match the observed temperature trends, I get about 1.7 deg. C climate ECS. In that case, there are only 3 model adjustable parameters (ECS, the ocean top layer thickness [18 m], and the assumed rate or energy exchange between the top layer and the rest of the 0-2000m layer, [2.1 W/m2 per deg C difference in layer temperatures away from energy equilibrium]). Otherwise, there are 7 model adjustable parameters in the model with ENSO effects turned on.

For those who claim my model is akin to John von Neumann’s famous claim that with 5 variables he can fit an elephant and make its trunk wiggle, I should point out that none of the model’s adjustable parameters (mostly scaling factors) vary in time. They apply equally to each monthly time step from 1765 through 2019. The long-term behavior of the model in terms of trends is mainly governed by (1) the assumed radiative forcing history (RCP6), (2) the assumed rate of heat storage (or extraction) in the deep ocean as the surface warms (or cools), and (3) the assumed climate sensitivity, all within an energy budget model with physical units.

My conclusion is that the observed trends in both surface and deep-layer temperature in the global oceans correspond to low climate sensitivity, only about 50% of what IPCC climate models produce. This is the same conclusion as Lewis & Curry made using similar energy budget considerations, but applied to two different averaging periods about 100 years apart rather than (as I have done) in a time-dependent forcing-feedback model.

124 thoughts on “New 80-Year Deep-Ocean Temperature Dataset Compared to a 1D Climate Model

    • It’s been claimed that up to 90% of the factors contributing to the natural climate change is scientifically bad or not known? In order to quantify AGW part we first have to quantify the natural climate change part. When that is not possible, with today’s level of climate science, quantifying an AGW is mission possible or policy based climate science can claim anything?

      • quantifying an AGW is mission impossible or policy based climate science can claim anything?

  1. ” Thus, based upon basic energy budget considerations in a 2-layer ocean model, we can explain the IPCC-sanctioned global temperature datasets with a climate sensitivity of only 1.85 deg. C. ”
    And how far from reality can a 2-layer ocean model be ?

    I remember sailing under a super typhoon ( at greater than 600 feet depth ) and experiencing greater than 20 deg. rolls plus pitching and etc …. at that depth .
    How can any model accurately portray all the ocean currents and circulations ?
    Seems impossible to me .
    😉

    • A couple of time in the North Atlantic we were in excess of 400ft And taking taking 20+ degree rolls (on either side of vertical). It was much shallower where we sailed. I wonder if the navy kept logs of sea temperature.

      • Sounds like both of you were going where the sun doesn’t shine! How can this amount of seawater mixing, shown by submarines rolling even at great depth, be factored into heat storage or discharge? By the way, thank you for your service.

      • “I wonder if the navy kept logs of sea temperature.”
        We submariners did keep logs of sea temperature. We wanted to know temperatures so we could find the best depths to hide from SONAR detection or improve our ability to detect others. I also rolled around under storms like Bob and CC. The under water waves seemed to have a lot longer period than they had on the surface because our rolling was much slower. I don’t know if the long period waves were good at mixing waters or if they were mostly heaving up and down.

    • Well, not only to currents move, but the floats move as well. They are not tethered!

      Formerly the oceans surface average a bit warmer then the land. ( .5 f??) If ( BIG IF) the air T has risen far more then the oceans, at what point do the oceans counteract the warming atmosphere?

    • For as long as I remember where I have lived in North America, one needs to adjust the indoor air temperature in all but about 3 months, and usually the indoor air needs to be heated.

    • It’s important to try and determine the sensitivity, because the current range of 1.5 ~ 4.5C gives the climate doom cult too much leeway. If it can be proven that the climate sensitivity is under 2C, then we can prove the catastrophic portion of CAGW is wrong. Current reserves of fossil fuels can only contribute about 500ppm more to the atmosphere, which means we’re not able to cause more than 2.5C warming total even if we burned every last drop of oil and every lump of coal.

  2. which means Mother Nature could be responsible for the warming and we wouldn’t even know it

    This isn’t true. The earth warms (or cools) for a reason (or a variety of reasons). Climate scientists attempt to find those explanations. “Mother Nature Did It” is not a reason and is quite insulting to those trying to explain the changes we see and measure. For quite a few decades now, we’ve understood the main reasons quite well and that is why models have managed to explain those changes quite well.

    • Mike, “climate ” scientists try to find what to say so that they can obtain government funding, nothing less, nothing more!

      • If you only care about funding, the oil companies are very happy to pay you to back them up, far easier to get money out of them than to chase government research grants. It’s like when tobacco companies would pay pet scientists to say tobacco wasn’t harmful. Or lead in petrol.

          • No, it’s a serious point.
            Who has the most money tied up in fossil fuels and who has the most to lose if things change.
            It’s all about the money. It always is.
            If you think politicians, particularly I the U.S. aren’t controlled by businesses with the deepest wallets, you’re self deluding.

    • Mike, without knowing the limits of what can occur naturally, you have no hope of figuring out if anything unnatural is happening.

      • Exactly. To justify “man did it” you have to demonstrate that IT, whatever it is, was not natural. The range of natural variability in weather and climate is so great that this demonstration has not been made.

      • Mike

        In 2003 Dr Phil jones of UEA investigated the astonishing temperature rises in the UK between 1695 and 1740 and concluded that natural variability was far greater than had hitherto been realised by climatevscientists. In other words ‘Mother nature DID do it’

        Tonyb

        • That was in the CET record – so was regional not global. There is also a great deal of uncertainty regarding the CET record prior to 1770.

          But it’s interesting that “sceptics” question the readings of the current network of global measurements but are happy to accept readings from any number of inappropriate locations.

          • “But it’s interesting that “sceptics” question the readings of the current network of global measurements but are happy to accept readings from any number of inappropriate locations.”

            Skeptics question the current temperature record because there is evidence the current official temperature record is bogus. A political construct.

            How does a location get the designation of being an “inappropriate location? Temperature readings from “inappropriate locations” are not valid?

            You know what’s inappropriate? Changing actual historic temperature records into bogus, bastardized, fraudulent “hotter and hotter” computer-generated surface temperature charts. That’s what is inappropriate. It’s also criminal considering the damage this Lie has done.

          • John

            The only uncertainty prior to 1770 comes not from Phil Jones or David Parker who created the CET from 1772 but from those who do not like what it shows. A highly variable climate.

            Perhaps you would like to tell us which of the local records-that make up the global record of course-you actually trust and from which date?

          • I’m intrigued, what units of measure did the CET use before the advent of either the Fahrenheit or Celsius scales ?

            And lets not forget that temperature measurements to tenths of a degree C are not considered accurate before about 1910.

            Add in the modern fudging to fit an agenda, and the CET becomes a bit of fun, and nothing more 🙂

          • “Few question the readings.”

            I question the averaging of all those disparate readings into one reading to rule them all. It results in nonsense.

          • But there is also a wealth of proxy information: sediments in long stable lakes and deep ocean, traces of plants growing at higher latitudes and higher elevations than those species do today, cave crystallization formation, to name a few, that say temperatures were significantly higher at times during the Holocene than they are today. Perhaps not absolute proof but considerable evidence that can’t honestly be dismissed without solid reasons.

          • “How does a location get the designation of being an “inappropriate location? Temperature readings from “inappropriate locations” are not valid?”

            Wasn’t there a quite recent admission from official Canadian Meterology that 100 years of Canadian thermometer readings were decalared ‘not fit for purpose’ and were replaced in the official temperature record by climate model “data”.

        • Tom Abbott January 19, 2020 at 5:46 am

          Skeptics question the current temperature record because there is evidence the current official temperature record is bogus. A political construct.

          Which “skeptics”? Roy Spencer? Richard Lindzen? Jack Barrett? Judith Curry? Which particular issues which are causing concern. Several individuals have produced their own analaysis of the ‘raw’ data and none have come up with anything that differs greatly from the GISS record. In any case, you can use the UAH record.

          The GISS FAQ file addresses data adjustments

          https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/faq/#q206

          • In any case, you can use the UAH record.

            The satellite record only goes back to 1979. Does not cover the manufactured diminution of the cooling trend from 1940’s to 1970’s among other “adjustments”. Lots of arcane adjustments to the records prior to 1979. Does your placement of quotation marks around “raw” convey that the data are not really “raw”?

          • Sure, because everyone knows if you want to know if someone has done something wrong, or if they are dishonest…just ask them!
            Seriously?
            Assess the propriety of so-called “adjustments” by asking the worst of the adjusters?

        • Fanakan, the unit of measurement is “degrees”.

          The scales of measurement are Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin.

      • Robert of Ottawa, “man did it” again leads to

        – the defendant, the accused, doesn’t have to prove anything.

        – the burden of proof is on the accuser, the prosecutor.

        We’ve already discussed that.

    • “Mother Nature Did It” is not a reason and is quite insulting to those trying to explain the changes we see and measure.

      Mike Roberts. That’s right. It was never ‘Mother Nature’ manipulating our climate. Climate change is the direct reaction of the earth to the eternal struggle between God and the forces of Evil. Rather than trying to explain these changes in terrestrial terms, we should be invoking prayer to our favorite deity each time climate change convinces that demon ‘Weather’ to flex ‘her’ muscles.

    • It shows a remarkable lack of knowledge to think that the models explain the lack of expected warming quite well. We had a whole decade of claims that the Pause wasn’t real because the models could not explain the lack of expected warming quite well.

      It shows a remarkable lack of knowledge to think that Dr Roy Spencer is not a climate scientist.

      It shows a remarkable lack of knowledge to think that one can distinguish forcings for their effects when their effects are less than the uncertainty the measurement of those effects.

      Mike Roberts, stick around here and at Dr Spencer’s blog. You might learn something about this subject. You have a lot of opportunity.

      • “It shows a remarkable lack of knowledge to think that one can distinguish forcings for their effects when their effects are less than the uncertainty the measurement of those effects.”

        30 years of arguments distilled into one sentence. Amazing…..

        • I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic about my lackadaisical omission of the word “of”, or if you agree with me.

          • I am 100% in agreement with you. When the error bars indicate a range greater than the “measured” warming/cooling trend, any conclusion than”no trend” is acceptable. A more egregious conceit is that measuring temperature to an accuracy greater than +/- 1*C/F prior to the turn of the last century renders all prognostications that of fools.

          • OK. I was in a hurry and got the grammar wrong. Commenting here is not my vocation.
            But I meant what meant to say.

            “It shows a remarkable lack of knowledge to think that one can distinguish forcings by their effects when their effects are less than the uncertainty in the measurement of those effects.”

          • M Courtney,
            My impression is that he was congratulating you for getting to the crux of the issue with an economy of words.

      • “Why the blip?”

        Mother Nature caused that blip. 🙂

        Everything to do with the Earth’s climate is controlled by Mother Nature until proven otherwise, and humans haven’t even come close to quantifying Mother Nature’s role which means humans haven’t even come close to determining what CO2 might be doing to the climate, if anything.

        Computer models don’t improve temperature readings. And if a dishonest person is in charge of that computer model then they can change the temperatue readings to anything they want them to be. And that is what has happened in our world today. We are being lied to by official sources.

        Let’s stick with actual temperature readings. That way we eliminate the dishonest computer models and we breathe a sigh of relief because the actual temperature readings tell us the Earth and its inhabitants are not in danger from CO2. The actual temperature readings say CO2 is a minor player in the Earth’s atmosphere.

        The dishonest data manipulator puts the actual temperature numbers through a computer and suddenly we are living in a Climate crisis. Which was, of course, the goal of the dishonesty.

        To Hell with the computer models. We don’t need them to figure out our situation. We have actual temperature readings that will do that for us and the real data says we have nothing to worry about from CO2..

        • “Computer models don’t improve temperature readings.”

          Trying to generate temperature anomalies measured in the hundredths from a temperature record that is, at best, only accurate to the tenth of a degree is mathematical malfeasance.

          For experimental measurements (2.5 + 3.0)/2 is *NOT* equal to 2.75. It is either 2.7 or 2.8 depending on the rounding rule you use. For experimental measurements you *must* use the rules of significant digits in order for the results to be believable.

          This means that trying to say that 2019 is a few hundredths higher in temperature than some other year is garbage. That small of a difference just disappears when using true experimental protocols.

    • “Mother Nature did it” is the null hypothesis. ( And still not refuted)

      Mike, what percentage of the warming since 1950 us due to human GHG emissions? Please justify your answer.

    • Garbage. From your own source, “Once you correct for small errors in the projected forcings, they did remarkably well.”

      Do you get what that means? A ‘small error’ in projected forcings can generate significantly different results. That they can fine-tune past predictions AFTER THE FACT to reproduce the proper results does not show they understand anything. Example: if my prediction was to warm OR cold during a period with volcanic activity, I can just make a small change in forcings produced by the specific volcanoes to get the desired result. Of course, the forcings may be different for future volcanoes, based on their activity, location, and types of emissions, do I can’t be proved wrong. In reality, the departure from their predictions may have had nothing whatsoever to do with volcanoes.

      Even after their “small corrections in forcings”, they STILL do not produce accurate predictions of the FUTURE. That is the primary indicator that they don’t understand climate forcings.

      You are drinking their KoolAid.

  3. A decade ago the Chief Scientist of Australia and Will Steffen and another Mainstream scientist informed the 4 sceptical scientists, Robert Carter, Stewart Franks, William Kinninmonth and David Evans for the inquisitive Senator Fielding in the Wong- Fielding exchange of questions and answers that the best indicator of global warming was OHC not air temperatures which had been almost exclusively the topic of discussion in the first 4 Assessment Reports of the IPCC.
    So accepting this, I have been wanting to know what decadal rate of warming the Argo Buoys have shown since their inception in 2003-04.
    Like Willis Eschenbach (January 14 post-“The ocean warms by a whole little”), I ran into the dreaded Zeta
    joules at Argo.net
    Now thanks to Dr. Spencer and Willis, the answer is that the decadal rate is of the order of a few one hundredths of a degree Celsius, and 2019 is hotter than 2018 by .009C.
    You won’t be reading it at NASA.gov or NOAA.

    • Even knowing what the Argo floats show us, tells us nothing about what happened 1000 years ago. We just don’t know if anything abnormal is happening.

      • Jeff,
        That is the key to all this hype and faux angst we see daily in our media, and is then taught in our schools on a daily basis.
        Until someone can stand up and tell us what is the ideal set of sea and atmospheric conditions should be backed up by scientific study along with what conditions have been during our very brief period of mankind’s existence, the constant carping we are forced to listen to by the shrills, is simply worry and imagination without foundation…literally, no foundation to base anything on.

      • And how much energy would have been needed to get the oceans out of the 90,000 year cold period to today’s temperatures? Would the deep ocean even know Earth is in a warmer face of the ongoing Ice Age?
        Why didn’t oceans boil when dinosaurs roamed the Earth?

    • ” ..the best indicator of global warming was OHC”

      But isn’t the one true proxy to rule both ocean and atmospheric warming sea level rise? The seas expand with warmth and the warming atmosphere adds the water with melting ice? Now show me the correlation between CO2 and sea level rise because the warmenistas have the handle on CO2 and geology and tide gauges show the SLR or what am I missing here?

      Too many folks going off on tangents if you ask me and the average punter. I know that whenever I peel off some local SLR figures and they’re incredulous about them because they’ve been fed the Noah’s Ark rerun constantly. Work on the KISS principle for mine.

      • Oh and don’t try and pull out volcanoes and La Ninas and El Ninos or correct for anything else. Just plot them CO2 and SLR with various tide gauges including the satellites. How do you reckon their plant food will go against the geology of Hallett Cove in South Australia (130M between 15000 and 6-7000 years ago) vs Fort Denison or Port Arthur tide gauges now? Or even the CSIRO and NOOA average global estimates of SLR?
        https://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html

        There are plenty of tide gauges around and just assume like Roy all the SLR is down to man made CO2 building up in the atmosphere over time and give them the different models. eg Hallett Cove can be 16.25mm year for 8000 years or 14.4 for 9000 years etc as these people love different computer models with their plant food. Their downfall is all in their Noah’s Ark rerun linking ocean and atmospheric warming to their plant food bogeyman with no room to manoeuvre.

          • Well according to the new kid on the block theory plant food causes run away warming so that should show in the SLR reflecting both ocean and atmospheric warming. Not a good look for the theory if it can’t as the theorists hammered the Noah’s Ark rerun. At present they keep ducking and weaving from atmosphere to surface temps to deep ocean which is pretty convenient for them being a moving target. Big picture says SLR and plant food in the atmosphere are closely related and in fact which is the driver and which is the driven.

    • Herbert,

      “Now thanks to Dr. Spencer and Willis, the answer is that the decadal rate is of the order of a few one hundredths of a degree Celsius, and 2019 is hotter than 2018 by .009C.”

      While the sensors used in the ARGOS floats can read a differential of .001C that is *not* the same as their accuracy. All of the measurement devices in the ARGOS require calibration sheets to determine true temperature because 1. they are not linear across the entire range and 2. because the accuracy is limited by the overall measurement device, not just the senor itself. There is simply no doubt that the ARGOS floats incur aging effects which would require developing new calibration sheets over time. Yet I cannot find where this is being done on a routine basis. It would require pulling the floats into a controlled environment on a routine basis and making new calibration runs. If this is not done the precision of the sensor itself is useless.

      Bottom line? There is simply no way to tell if 2019 was hotter than 2018 based on a thousandths digit. The accuracy over a decade of the measurement devices is simply not that good. It is even doubtful that you can determine a decadal difference in the hundredths of a degree.

      Artificially extending accuracy through averaging is a joke to begin with. (2.5 + 3) /2 is *NOT* 2.75. It is either 2.7 or 2.8 based on experimental measurement protocols using significant digits.

      • The way I learned it, by having one of the numbers be just “3” , means that you cannot report a result in tenths of a degree.
        To report that, the 3 would have to be 3.0, because “3” by itself could be any number between 2 .6 and 3.4 measured to the nearest while number of degrees.
        One can only report a result using the number of significant figures in the least precise measurement used in a calculation.

  4. “I’m not going to critique that methodology here, and I agree with those who argue creating data where it does not exist is not the same as having real data. ”

    I’ll critique it. It’s called fiction.

  5. How does the OHC represent a slower transfer of LWIR due to increased atmospheric CO2 and water vapor? The transfer of energy from warmer air has to be trivial compared to the solar load. Are the oceans warmer at night?

    • if you go fishing a lot you will know that generally the surface as measured on a sounder is cooler in the morning.

      I used to question the source of this change, is it tidal mixing or sun maybe wind, but it is real.

    • Jeff, do both you and Roy mean TCR rather than ECS? The latter will only be apparent after a few hundred years.

  6. Hmm, that’s a big coincidence for me. You assumed all warming was due to man and came up with 1.85C. I have been assumming that nature is responsible for half and come up with .94 as a MAXIMUM amount of CO2 warming (not expected, or averaged, or even likely, just a cap). All I do is plug in historical trends for land temperature data, and adjust for some UHI effect. 0.94C is actually the total amount of warming (outside of UHI) that I can attribute to man – it isn’t necessarily caused by CO2, but if I assume ALL of it is caused by CO2, then that obviously is the cap.

    So if you should assume the much more likely case that mother nature didn’t just shut down and stop warming, and that she accounts for somewhere near half the observed trend (based on the historical data) then your number is approaching what I think the science can actually support. Congrats.

    This means the Ocean apparently follows scientific principles much better then the alarmists will ever be able to do… (Yes, this last bit was sarcasm). (Note: I do not actually care if CO2 is responsible for the warming I attribute to man, it could be land use, pollution, or other man-made gases. I am just looking at trends, not trying to attribute to specific causes)

    • Robert of Texas “You assumed all warming was due to man and came up with 1.85C. I have been assuming that nature is responsible for half and come up with .94 as a MAXIMUM amount of CO2 warming”. Sounds like Professor Richard Lindzen and his Iris theory – around 1C for a doubling of CO2.

        • I seem recall that in one part of the 2013 IPCC report they found that half of global warming was attributable to anthropogenic sources, but in another part contradicted that finding with another suggesting anthropogenic sources were responsible for all observed warming.

          • You’re probably thinking of the difference between the Working Group portions and the Summary for Policymakers. The latter is simply propaganda. The former is a bit less propaganda.

      • As one who will never be accused of being a climate alarmist, I think that intellectual integrity requires me to point out that 1C of net warming could be the result of 4C of natural cooling together with 5C of anthropogenic warming. I’m sure that those numbers are wrong and can be bounded by historical data somehow, but we should not presume that we know the sign of the natural variability. We do not.

  7. “Let’s assume ALL of the warming of the deep oceans since 1940 has been human-caused”

    I’m just an ignorant layman, but I don’t see how *any* ocean heat can be human caused. Not by CO2-emitted IR, anyway. It’s like trying to boil water by dangling a heating element a foot over a bucket of water. At best you’ll increase the rate of evaporation, thereby cooling the water. Or did I miss something?

    • And the extra evaporation produces more cloud cover and blocks out the Sun. Negative feedback loop.

    • Or did I miss something?

      Yes. For the earth to remain in thermal equilibrium it needs to radiate the same energy to space as it receives from the sun (~235 w/m2). Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere impede the flow of energy from the surface to space. This is easily verified by orbiting satellites. Doubling CO2 reduces the flow of outgoing energy by ~3.7 w/m2. This means the earth retains more energy than it loses which causes (is causing) the earth (atmosphere, surface & oceans) to warm.

      • But how much warming does that excess 3.7W/m^2 cause before the Earth returns to radiative equilibrium? You are simply ending your argumentation at a convenient point. Take it all the way to final conclusions.

      • John Finn,

        – the point isn’t “thermal equilibrium”

        – the point is “global energy balance sheets” past / during min. 60 years oberservation periods.

    • IR doesn’t warm water much. The short wavelengths do that. Warmer air slows down how quickly that heat can escape the water.

      • Yes, not heating, but reduced cooling at night.

        If 1.8K is the accurate ECS, then burning all the fossil fuels we can find will be net beneficial for society. (And with luck that includes flooding out NYC if they are too stupid in New Amsterdam to copy old Amsterdam’s solution /sarc)

        If governments should be doing anything at all, our collective efforts should be working toward non-fossil fuel energy as cost-effective and plentiful as we now enjoy, so that in the distant future, the depletion of fossil fuels won’t result in famine and deaths by exposure.

        Wind and solar unreliables do not fit in that future except in niche applications in remote settings. While there may be other answers, advanced fission designs that “burn” current fission designs’ waste and produce more fuel than they use, would seem to be the most promising alternatives.

        If we want to buy in to the idea that the government needs to “do something”, and we want to act on a precautionary principle, then the thing we need is to have a cheap and abundant energy source BEFORE we use up our current cheap and abundant energy source.

        I find it remarkable that the same people who are pining to hand over all of our freedoms to government do not think that government could safely run and/or at least secure a vastly expanded number of nuclear power plants.

      • I’m still not sure that’s how this works. Quoting from Wikipedia – I know, I know, but this is fundamental stuff – “Since the kinetic energy of a molecule is proportional to its temperature, evaporation proceeds more quickly at higher temperatures. As the faster-moving molecules escape, the remaining molecules have lower average kinetic energy, and the temperature of the liquid decreases. This phenomenon is also called evaporative cooling.”

        So to my mind, warmer air will result in cooler ocean surface temps – at least, just below the evaporation layer. I just don’t see how its possible for any amount of air temperature increase to have any effect on ocean temperatures below where the air and water meet.

        *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporation

  8. And there we are, a nice linear increase just as one would expect if all the anthropogenic warming stuff was complete bullshit, and I predicted it for years, am I a genius? Why no, I am not! Incredible as that may be…considering all the money spent on a vast array of highly paid “scientists” all trying to tell us the opposite of the truth. Or…are they idiots? Or liars?
    To the IPCC and all Govs. I’ll give you my brilliant predictions for a very moderate fee…and I guarantee they will be much closer to the truth than your current liars-idiots anthropogenic homogenizations.
    Has someone shown this to Greta? She wouldn’t understand it I guess and if she did would reject it anyway, so what would be the point.
    Would love to see a more detailed chart if anyone has one? Cheers guys, stiff upper lip.

    • The Argo system is a big improvement over nothing for measuring ocean temps below the surface, but they drift around. I know there are buoys anchored in place recording surface data, but they are at shallow locations. If a buoy that is anchored in place in deep water had thermometers at various depths along the anchor cable, a continuous record of temps (and flow rates) at multiple depths at one location could be had. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a continuous, multi-depth data record of the Gulf Stream where it passes between Florida and the Bahama Banks, for instance? Surely such a system would be far less expensive than the Argo system and would yield more useful data.

      SR

  9. If, as tide gauges indicate, sea levels have been rising as a fairly steady rate since coming out of the Little Ice Age 200 years ago, that rise was a product of naturally induced thermal expansion due to a warmer climate. Not millions of people driving SUV’s. I would think it necessary to substract the oceans rate of rise from prior to the 1940’s and then determine what portion of the sea level rate of rise remaining is due to AGW.

  10. Claiming that the atmosphere drives the OHC is like a gnat stuck to the bumper of a 38-ton truck running full gas on the highway and boasting of having stopped it.

    Claiming that the driver of the OHC increase is due to the CO2 15 microns radiation is even more absurd :
    1) First of all, the CO2 radiation at 15µ can penetrate no more than a few microns (a ten) in the water and as Feynman said, matter that absorbs photons of a given energy very (too) quickly – around or less than their wave length – mostly behaves as it reflected them, so CO2 15µ radiation can’t radiatively warm the oceans.

    Experimentation :
    – try to increase the heat content of the liquid water (initial temperature around 15°C) in a bathtub with a radiator emitting mostly at 15 microns (a body whose temperature is maintained at minus 80 ° C should do the trick). Good luck with that.

    2) The CO2 concentration warming assumption is based on the CO2 absorbing and then radiating backward the photons emitted by the surface (here the oceans). So the CO2 pseudo-science prophets claim that a body can gain energy (here OHC) simply by (re)absorbing some of its own emitted energy … they just found an infinite energy source and I wonder why they still have not patented this fantastic discovery …

    So, can this 15 microns back radiation slow down oceans cooling ? Not in an observable way, see first point.
    Can the atmosphere warm the oceans ? No, since it’s colder than them.
    Can the atmosphere slow down oceans cooling ? Yes, like a gnat can slow down a 38_ton truck.

    • I like your visualization for idiots like me:

      Claiming that the atmosphere drives the OHC is like a gnat stuck to the bumper of a 38-ton truck running full gas on the highway and boasting of having stopped it.

      Just a brief brainstorm:
      Can’t the heat transfer between atmosphere and ocean be calculated roughly in the same way you calculate ambient air to heat-sink in electronics?
      Like Rth/m2/m (°C/Watt/square-meter/meter column). When that constant is determined, I should think the transfer of heat factoring in the total heat mass of the oceans would determine the integrated heat heat transfer per Dt (time interval).

    • Let’s put a 0,5 l sealed beer can from grocery bag (15 C) to a refrigerator (+3 C). Its aluminum cover protects it from radiation and convection. Do we get beer at 3 C ?

    • Petit barde

      I like your first paragraph but Aesop or Francis bacon though of a similar example centuries ago

      ‘ 4. The fly on the chariot wheel

      The fable was composed in Latin by Laurentius Abstemius and appeared in his Hecatomythium (1490) under the title Musca et Quadrigae.[6] It was added to the Perry Index as Fable 724. Here a fly perches on a chariot during a race and comments on how much dust it is raising. Gabriele Faerno included it in his own Centum Fabulae (1563), giving the impression that it was of Aesopic origin although verbally it is close to the text of Abstemius.[7]

      Francis Bacon also took the fable to be Aesopic, observing that “It was prettily devised of Æsop: The fly sat upon the axle-tree of the chariot-wheel, and said, What a dust do I raise!” at the start of his essay “On Vainglory”.[8] Eventually ‘the fly on the coach wheel’ became an English idiom with the meaning of “one who fancies himself of mighty importance but who is in reality of none at all”.’

      Yours is a fabulous and graphic example of the self importance of creatures be they insects, celebrities or regrettably, a small number of climate scientists.

      Tonyb

    • I prefer the analogy of the air at the top of a bottle of wine changing the temperature of the wine in the bottle. Probably because I worked in a Vineyard.

    • “Claiming that the atmosphere drives the OHC is like a gnat stuck to the bumper of a 38-ton truck running full gas on the highway and boasting of having stopped it.”

      Similar to claims of the “Butterfly Effect”. No, butterflies flapping their wings in Beijing do not cause extreme weather in Kansas. Any effect is quickly subdued by local turbulence.

      If such an effect DID happen, imagine the effect of an elephant flapping its ears, or a vast herd of wildebeest running through the savanna. Then extrapolate that with billions of vehicles moving all the time. If all those things caused extreme weather, we’d all have been dead long ago.

  11. The idea you can use data taken during WWII is frankly a bit mad given the circumstances they were taken under where far from ‘ideal ‘ and then we have the different ways this data was collected and then with what really is an amazing lack of date for the vast majority of this period , which amounts to claiming the view of one star can tell you about all other stars in the whole universe.

    Its basic rubbish , that does not even pass stage one in experimentally design .

  12. All research and modelling is invalid for policy purposes so long as natural change and anthro change cannot be separated and accurately quantified.
    There is little point in doing elaborate calculations with elaborate corrections when all results are invalid for that reason.
    There is also something invalid about doing conventional statistics on “invented” values like huge slabs of sea surface temperatures where thermometry coverage is absent. (We used to do stats with numbers interpolated from surrounding drill hole analyses when estimating ore grade and tonnes in new mineral deposits, but the errors from interpolated data were tested and revised when needed by further data collection, like more drill holes. There is no equivalent to this updating in the use of historic temperatures.)

    Why go to the trouble of calculating climate sensitivities like ECS when it has not been established if zero is or is not an excluded value? Because, apart from other reasons, we cannot tell natural from anthro?

    Our 8 yo grandson plays for hours with computer games that show humanoids routinely violating gravity laws. We think that this long daily bombardment will teach him, to some degree, that it is fun to watch media turning the impossible into possible. That is a prime quest of the advertising industry. They push us to believe that impossible is possible, that climate change is settled, that we can advertise in future with inane absurdities like the “Gamble responsibly” catch phrase.
    Is this barrage of climate advertising telling scientists of today that an impossible outcome of an experiment is really possible because colleagues do it all the time, so it is the norm? Geoff S

  13. Absolute quackery.

    I do hope the alarmists are all personally remembered when heating bills are no longer affordable and the great unwashed cannot travel without official permission. Goodbye holidays abroad unless one wants to sit on a coach or train for days on end.
    Personal vehicles will be for the elite only. Just how they like it.

  14. Dr Spencer, would you care to make a prediction, based on your model, of where the values will be in say ten or twenty years?

  15. Do the satellites measure OHC, in a sense. Dr Spencer gets a 24 hour estimate of the heat radiated by the earth from the satellites.
    2/3 of this is from the oceans. It might differ in Intensity to that from land.
    Not sure on frequencies presumably a jumble of H2O and CO2 with small amounts of others.
    Albedo over 24 H should also be measurable with mild difficulty.
    So Dr Spencer should have a satellite assessment of OHC available somewhere for comparison to that of the Argo floats etc.
    does it exist?
    Does it match?
    Can we see it?
    Does he have any comments on the OHC assessments used by others to share if he wishes.

  16. Given the large uncertainties associated with the OHC measurements prior to ARGO and bearing in mind the power of the central limit theorem, it is possible that the extrema (i.e. largest and smallest values) of the (annual) d(OHC)/dt time series could be used to track its mean value over time.

    If you apply this concept to the Cheng et al. (2020) OHC data you get the following two graphs:
    [h/t Javier for the top graph]

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-832aDzd9Di8/XiKG0wnVGUI/AAAAAAAACAI/B9GR_3zm-Yc4NzHU8ZSWuNZxlo7WC_DNwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Heat_Content.jpg

    What is remarkable about this plot is that while the d(OHC)/dt curve on the bottom only covers the 60 years from 1940 to 2019, it sinusoidal nature looks remarkably similar to that of the plot of d(T)/dt vs. time that covers the 120 years from 1900 to 2019. [N.B. The latter graph was posted by Javier over at Judith Curry’s blog].

    Taken together, these two plots raise serious questions about CO2 as a major driver of world-mean atmospheric and oceanic temperatures.

    https://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com/2020/01/game-over-this-madness-has-to-end.html

  17. Christy and McNider (2017) analysed Transient Climate Sensitivity (TCS) using UAH Lower Tropospheric data for 38.5 years from 1979 to 2017.5 and ASSUMED that ALL net atmospheric temperature change was due to increasing atmospheric CO2. This simplifying assumption provides an UPPER BOUND to the estimated TCS of approx. PLUS 1C/(2xCO2). Repeating, that is an UPPER BOUND estimate of TCS, not an average value.
    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/2017_christy_mcnider-1.pdf

    Using the same assumption as Christy and McNider, Lewis and Curry (2018) analysed HadCRUT4v5 Surface Temperature data since 1859 and also calculated approx. PLUS 1C/doubling for climate sensitivity.
    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0667.1

    Using the same assumption as Christy and McNider, I estimated TCS equal to approx. MINUS 1C/(2xCO2) for the 37-year global cooling period from 1940 to 1977, approx. equal but opposite in sign to the PLUS 1C/doubling calculated by Christy and McNider for 1979 to 2017.5. Again, that is a LOWER BOUND estimate of TCS, not an average value.

    Then there is the controversial observation that atmospheric CO2 changes LAG atmospheric temperature changes by approx. 9 months in the modern data record – MacRae (2008) and Humlum et al (2013). Specifically, the velocity dCO2/dt changes ~contemporaneously with global temperature changes and CO2 changes occur ~9 months later – MacRae (2008). This observations suggests that climate sensitivity to increasing atmospheric CO2 may not even exist in measurable reality, and that temperature drives CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature.
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818112001658

    Scientists including Salby, Berry and Harde have hypothesized that the increase in atmospheric CO2 from the alleged “pre-industrial” concentration of ~280 ppm to more than 400 ppm is largely natural and not mostly humanmade. I have considered this question for ~12 years, and am still agnostic on the conclusion. Nevertheless, their hypothesis is consistent with the observed LAG of atmospheric CO2 changes AFTER atmospheric temperature changes.

    “The Keeling Curve”
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/

    “Address to the Sydney Institute “
    By Dr Murry Salby, August 2, 2011
    http://youtu.be/YrI03ts–9I
    “Salby – Hamburg Address”, April 18, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROw_cDKwc0
    “Salby – Hamburg Address”, October 10, 2018 https://youtu.be/rohF6K2avtY

    “What Humans Contribute to Atmospheric CO2: Comparison of Carbon Cycle Models with Observation”
    By Dr Hermann Harde, International Journal of Earth Sciences Vol. 8, No. 3, 2019
    http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo?journalid=161&doi=10.11648/j.earth.20190803.13

    “Human CO2 Has Little Effect on Atmospheric CO2”
    By Dr Edwin Berry, 2019
    https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/contradictions-to-ipccs-climate-change-theory/

    Preprint: “The Physics Model Carbon Cycle for Human CO2”
    by Dr Edwin X Berry, 2020
    https://edberry.com/blog/climate/climate-physics/human-co2-has-little-effect-on-the-carbon-cycle/

    If climate sensitivity equals +/- 1C/(2xCO2), it is far too low to cause catastrophic global warming – and that is the end of alleged climate crisis.

    If I had to guess, based on the above full-Earth-scale analyses, I would estimate that climate sensitivity to increasing atmospheric CO2 is actually so close to zero that is cannot be accurately measured, and it may not even exist in measurable reality.

    • Allan,

      You say that “Scientists including Salby, Berry and Harde have *hypothesized* that the increase in atmospheric CO2.. is largely natural and not mostly humanmade.”

      From my examination of that material, they hypothesized little to nothing. Like some of your material, they show (even independently of temperature) that the human component is small – from direct empirical evidence which, unlike most of the smoke-and-mirror data invoked on this subject, is unequivocal.

  18. From the article: “Let’s assume ALL of the warming of the deep oceans since 1940 has been human-caused, and that the Cheng dataset accurately captures that. Furthermore, let’s assume that the HadSST sea surface temperature dataset covering the same period of time is also accurate, and that the RCP radiative forcing scenario used by the CMIP5 climate models also represents reality.

    I updated my 1D model of ocean temperature with the Cheng data so that I could match its warming trend over the 80-year period 1940-2019. That model also includes El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) variability to capture year-to-year temperature changes. The resulting fit I get with an assumed equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1.85 deg. C is shown in the following figure.”

    So it’s 1.85C if all the warming is human-caused. Even that figure is not very scary. But if Mother Nature caused half the current warming then that 1.85C figure is cut in half, and if Mother Nature caused three-fourths of the warming, then the 1.85C figure is reduced to one-fourth of that figure.

    Noone can say what percentage of current warming is from Mother Nature. What we *should* say, if we are true to science, is all of the current warming *is* caused by Mother Nature until proven otherwise. We shouldn’t assume CO2 is a climate driver without evidence, and that is what current alarmist climate science is wrongfully doing.

  19. It’s like there are so very many unanswered question on the issue of climate science. I have a few of my own that are prerequisite to my supporting a crisis management strategy that establishes a global regulatory regime that places potential temperature change above every other moral, scientific and other consideration and need. Included in some of my questions are whether or not CO2 has been a major determinant throughout the history of climate and, if not, what exactly changed to explain the apparent degree of influence it now has or is it a number of factors? And will that set of factors remain constant and for how long?

    So I find this article very encouraging. As I said to an alarmist the other day about warming, “Your are going to need more time. And you have it.” Same goes for understanding the science.

  20. (Received 26 December 2019; revised 6 January 2020; accepted 9 January 2020)
    “The ocean heating is irrefutable, …..More than 90% of the heat accumulates in the ocean because of its large heat capacity….Increases in ocean temperature reduce dissolved oxygen in the ocean and significantly affect sea life…..Model simulations were used to guide the gap-filling method from point measurements to the grid, while sampling error was estimated by sub-sampling the Argo data at the locations of the earlier observations…. It is well established that the Southern Ocean has taken up most of the global warming heat since 1970…”

    Mean depth 4117 meters, volume 1322.198 (10 to the 6 cubic kilometers) from Sverdrup, 1942, 8th printing 1959, The Oceans. Also “Our knowledge of the oceans is still fragmentary and inadequate. In the Pacific and Indian Oceans large regions exist from which absolutely no information is available, and from most areas only general conditions in certain seasons of the year are known. ”

    I took my first oceanographic cruise in 1956 (before they had a confidence interval) where temperatures were measured, a minor shortly thereafter where I could not have gotten away with such, so I cannot believe that this 6 page paper (News and Views) is anything other than an “Infomercial.” Their below 2000m (Fig. 2) was based on a 2010 reference, but still going up in 2020 (Fig. 2). Picky I suppose, but symptomatic of their care? Not much else to do over the holidays?

  21. Talking about ocean heat content is like counting stars and planets in space. In truth we have no real data about ocean heat content, just very spotty and variable measures of temperatures in highly limited geographic areas and depths. It appears once can justify a wide range of guesses based on the limited data, and that range extends well beyond any accuracy that would be meaningful to the debate about global warming. And how exactly does infrared back radiation from “greenhouse” gases warm the deep ocean when it can only penetrate the most superficial skin of the sea? If the ocean is warming common sense and physician principles tell us it is the sun, not CO2 doing it.

  22. I think we should stick with looking at SST as the development of SST will tell us which way the wind will be blowing.
    I am puzzled to find that SST in the NH is much faster than in in the SH.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1964/plot/hadsst3nh/from:1964/plot/hadsst3sh/from:1964/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1964/trend

    I do have an answer from Julian Flood on this, which would make sense to me. However, looking at it from 1850 makes me think that it must be the sun?

  23. Ian,

    “Given the large uncertainties associated with the OHC measurements prior to ARGO and bearing in mind the power of the central limit theorem,”

    The central limit theory is totally misused for climate measurements. Taking a thousand different measurements from a thousand different measurement devices at a thousand different times simply invalidates all the rules that make the central limit theory work. It’s one of the reasons why the “global average temperature” is really a monumental joke.

    If you took a thousand measurements from *ONE* measurement device all taken at the same time (or nearly so) *then* you could legitimately use the central limit theory to determine a more accurate measurement. But that is not what is being done with the climate.

  24. I am puzzled to find that SST in the NH is much faster than in in the SH.
    should be
    I am puzzled to find that SST in the NH is rising much faster than in in the SH.

  25. In Charles Rotter’s post, is the following sentence. ‘That model also includes El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) variability to capture year-to-year temperature changes.’

    Willis Eschenbach, in a post a few months ago (sorry, I don’t have the reference readily available) showed that heat transfer from ENSO to the global atmosphere is the result of two different mechanisms, ‘convection’ and ‘advection’. In this case, convection is the transfer of heat through evaporation of water, from the ocean surface, and transported through out the atmosphere by convection. Advection on the other hand is the transport of the warm (or cold) ENSO waters around the oceans through ocean currents.

    I doubt very much, that the ‘El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) variability’ referred to above includes the ‘advection’ component, which operates on a time scale that is an order of magnitude longer than the ‘convection’ mechanism for ENSO. However, as Eschenbach showed in his paper, the ‘Advection’ mechanism is as important as is the ‘convection’ mechanism.

    If the ‘Advection’ mechanism were to be included in the analysis, I doubt that there would be much room left for the effect of green-house gasses.

  26. Has there been a calculation of the rate of atmospheric CO2 due just to the increase in SST? Curious as to how much of the 2 ppm/ yr increase is explainable by SST rise vs emissions. If CO2 lags and not leads temperature perhaps the (unknown) root cause of SST increase is responsible (in part) for increasing CO2.

    Interesting study below showing complexity of ocean contribution to the carbon cycle.

    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/OceanCarbon

  27. is this the same Dr Spencer whose 2013 chart on global warming which “disproved” warming had to be thrown out and replaced because it was so wrong?

    hmm.

  28. Tim,

    The Central Limit Theorem does apply in this case. It all depends on how you define “the sample”.

    The sample can be the individual measurements of OHC, which vary in both time and space. Each of these measurements has an error that gets progressively worse with time prior to the start of the use of ARGO buoys.

    Equally, the sample could be defined as the total OHC (i.e. the sum of the individual measurements) at any given time. This is a repeated measurement of a quantity (n = sample size = 1) that has its own associated uncertainty. Granted, you can argue about whether or not this quantity has any useful meaning in the real world but climate scientists believe that it is representative of the state of the overall climate system.

    https://www.khanacademy.org/math/ap-statistics/sampling-distribution-ap/sampling-distribution-mean/v/central-limit-theorem

    Of course, the larger the sample size (n), the closer distribution points about the drifting long term means will approach that of a bell-curve. This means that we can use the upper and lower envelop of the observations to crudely gauge the drift of the 1st moment of d(OHC)/dt.

      • Nicholas,
        Take a smoothly varying discrete function that is monotonically increasing or decreasing and place it in a spread-sheet. Add some random noise to the value of each of the individual points in the discrete function. Make sure that the noise level is large but not so large as to overpower the absolute magnitude of the increase or decrease in the function over the range involved. See if you can discern the form of the function by taking the mid-points between the maxima and the minima of the plotted data points.

        Here are two functions that you might want to try. Can you make a crude guess as to the general form of the function that is hidden in the noise?

        https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-K2T8nNLXvKw/XiWAV_a8OmI/AAAAAAAACAU/m6_DpUfTnPMOKa_VCQo0vTIesRg5dICugCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/functions.jpg

  29. When perihelion nearly coincides with the NH solstice AND earth’s obliquity is closer to a minimum – then OHC will begin to decline below present day values.
    Perihelion is presently very close to being coincident with the SH solstice.
    Ocean surface area is much more extensive in the SH.
    Oceans buffer solar energy – land not so much.
    Minimum obliquity results in less solar energy for NH & SH winter ice at high latitudes to diminish.
    The ice will entually be back notwithstanding CO2 levels.

  30. Do Cheng et al. try to explain why the slope of their heat content graph (rate of ocean warming) seems to increase around the year 1995? Does that coincide with an increase in the number of Argos buoys, or have earlier data been “adjusted”?

    It’s also strange that Cheng et al’s data show ocean warming (although at a slower rate than recently) from 1940 to 1965, when air temperatures were cooling. If air temperatures were cooling during that period, wouldn’t that generate a stronger temperature gradient between the ocean and atmosphere, with increased heat transfer from the ocean to the air, tending to cool the ocean?

  31. “I calculate from their data that 2019 was only 0.004 0.009 deg. C warmer than 2018.”

    Seems extraordinarily unlikely that such a change could be outside the various sources of measurement/estimation error. Does anyone really claim to be able to measure the entire ocean with that kind of precision?

  32. I’ve said this 1,000,000 times, but it is worth repeating. CO2 and LWIR between 13 and 18 microns won’t warm the oceans. The oceans control the global climate. A warming ocean is evidence CO2 isn’t causing global warming. A warming ocean is evidence that more visible radiation is reaching the oceans…which is happening. Simply look at the lower cloud layer data and you will see that fewer clouds result in warmer oceans, CO2 has nothing to do with it.

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