Ocean Temperature Update

By Andy May

A considerable amount of new information on ocean temperature has been gathered since I last wrote about the subject in 2016 here. In my last post on GHCN and the National Temperature Index, it appeared that ocean temperature trends and the thermal energy distribution in oceans dominate climate change. Land-based weather stations are invaluable for weather prediction, but they tell us very little about climate change. The common definition of climate is an overall change in temperature or precipitation over a period longer than 30 years. But even 30 years is a short timeframe, 100 years might be better. On this timescale, ocean temperature trends are more significant.

Oceans cover 71% of Earth and they contain 99.93% of the thermal energy (“heat”) on the surface. Here we define the Earth’s surface as everything between the sea floor to the top of the atmosphere, ~22km. This calculation, and the necessary references, are detailed in this spreadsheet. As an illustration of the huge impact of the oceans, we should consider that Earth’s oceans contain more thermal energy than exists on the surface and in the atmosphere of Venus, where the temperature is 464°C or 867°F. In fact, Earth’s oceans contain four times more thermal energy than the atmosphere of Venus, yet the oceans have an average temperature of less than 5°C. A spreadsheet containing this calculation and the necessary references can be downloaded here.

We still do not have accurate information on the entire ocean, but we do have a lot more than in 2016. CSIRO has a nice 2009 dataset of temperature data to 5,500 meters here (Ridgeway, Dunn, & Wilken, 2002). The University of Hamburg has multi-year data to 6500 meters here, but I was unable to read their NetCDF files with R. I tried both R NetCDF packages (ncdf4 and RNetCDF) and neither could open their files. If anyone knows how to read these files, let me know. In the meantime, the CSIRO NetCDF files opened easily, and we can work with their data, even though it only covers one year. Figure 1 is the average global CSIRO ocean temperature from the surface to 5,500 meters.

Figure 1. CSIRO 2009 global average temperature from the surface to 5,500 meters. Data source: CSIRO.

The temperature drops to a minimum of 1°C at ~4,250 meters and then begins to increase. The distribution of temperature at 4,500 meters is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. CSIRO ocean temperature at 4,500 meters. The white areas on the map are shallower than 4,500 meters.

Signs of the thermohaline circulation can be seen in these temperatures. It is still unclear how often the ocean water completely overturns. By overturning, we mean the amount of time required for downwelling surface water to make a completely deep-water circuit and then come back to the surface. This process probably takes at least 1,000 years. It is the major long-term heat exchange process on the surface of the Earth. Thus, when the Earth is receiving more thermal energy from the Sun, or CO2 or whatever is causing warming, it takes a thousand years or longer for it to circulate through the oceans. Figure 3 is a map showing the paths the water takes through the deep ocean.

Figure 3. The major paths deep water takes as it moves from the surface into the deep ocean and then emerges a thousand or more years later. Notice Antarctica is in the center of the map. This is because all the oceans only meet in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica. Source: By Avsa – Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

As we can see in Figure 3, surface water dives into the deep ocean in the North Atlantic and in the Southern Ocean. It then begins to travel around the world, through all the oceans. It upwells mostly in the in the Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, and in the Pacific. Because deep water moves out of the Atlantic, but mostly upwells in the other oceans, the Atlantic has a slightly lower sea level than the other oceans. Also see (Reid, 1961). Upwelling deep water is more widespread than downwelling. This NASA web page contains a good discussion and animation of the thermohaline circulation.

Figure 2 shows some mixed temperatures in the Southern Atlantic, next to South American and Southern Africa, this suggests some upwelling might be taking place there. But most upwelling appears to be in the Pacific, Southern, and Indian Oceans.

Discussion and Error

Unfortunately, good data on ocean temperature only goes back to 2004. The data we have suggests that the oceans are warming at a rate of 0.4°C per century. However, the ocean cycle-time is over 1,000 years and the record is only 15 years, so this is very speculative. However, if the oceans are truly only warming at a rate of 0.4°C per century, it seems very unlikely that the speculation about rapid and dangerous warming of the atmosphere is anything to worry about.

The Jamstec (Hosoda, Ohira, & Nakamura, 2008) grid, which we’ve used for the shallower (< 2,000 m) portion of our analysis provides us with an estimate of error. It is an estimate of spatial error, which can also be called gridding error. In other words, do we have enough data to make the map accurately? Figure 4 is a map of this error by year and depth.

Figure 4. Jamstec gridding error in degrees C. Data source: Jamstec.

As we can see in Figure 4, the error in 2001 was quite high until a depth of 1400 meters or so was reached. By 2004, depths below 1,000 meters were OK. As Figure 1 shows, depths shallower than 1,000 meters are highly variable and high errors are expected. These shallower waters interact with surface weather, especially in the so-called “mixed layer.” The mixed layer is a shallow zone where turbulence has caused a near constant temperature from the top to the bottom of the layer. The thickness of the mixed layer varies by season and area, but averages about 60 meters. The mixed layer temperature reflects, in a complex fashion, the surface temperature of the previous few weeks.

In our view, the attempts to deduce the magnitude and rate of atmospheric warming using only sea-surface and atmospheric temperature measurements is foolish and doomed to fail. The true “control knob” of long-term temperature change is the oceans. They regulate the surface temperatures through their enormous heat capacity. The mixed layer alone has over 22 times the heat capacity of the whole atmosphere to 22 km. The regulation of atmospheric temperatures by the oceans also gives us a lot of time to determine if global warming is truly a threat. Currently, we only have about fifteen years of ocean temperature data, but in fifteen more years we will have data over a “climatic” period. If the ocean warming trend in 2035 is still less than one degree per century, we have very little to worry about.

I used R to do the calculations plotted in the figures, but Excel to make the graphs. If you want to check the details of my calculations, you can download my CSIRO R source code here.

None of this is in my new book Politics and Climate Change: A History but buy it anyway.

You can download the bibliography here.

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John Tillman
November 28, 2020 6:49 am

Mass of Earth’s oceans is about 1.35 x 10^18 tonnes.

Mass of Venus’ atmosphere is around 4.8 x 10^17 tonnes.

Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 9:00 am

Thanks Andy. missed the difference here “Mass of Earth’s oceans…”. I thought John was comparing atmosphere values.

Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 4:05 pm

It is so useful to have the comparisons expressed in totally different units!
Even more so when there are multiple definitions of one of the units.

John Tillman
Reply to  Andy May
November 30, 2020 4:39 am

The main reason Venus is so hot is that it turns so slowly. But its atmosphere keeps the night side from cooling off, as happens on also slowly rotating Mercury.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 28, 2020 7:37 am

John, something is wrong in your values. Venus atmosphere has a relevant difference in pressure relative to the Earth’s atmosphere. It cannot be such a low mass value. Mass of Venus atmosphere is more likely 4.8×10^20 tonnes and Earth’s 5.1480 × 10^18 tonnes (online found values).

Reply to  JN
November 28, 2020 7:40 am

Sorry, Kg instead of Tonnes. I want to emphasize that the atmosphere of Venus has more mass than ours.

Reply to  JN
November 28, 2020 11:22 am

Surface pressure: 92 bars
Total mass of atmosphere: ~4.8 x 10^20 kg
{pressure tells you “everything” when consider Earth and Venus have similar gravity- Earth is 1 bar or 1 atm.]
Surface pressure: 1014 mb {1 bar}
Total mass of atmosphere: 5.1 x 10^18 kg
Total mass of hydrosphere: 1.4 x 10^21 kg
{mass of hydrosphere is mostly ocean- one has glacial ice and ground water- and ground water probably not accurate/measured and Unknown in terms what you count as ground water- but roughly mostly ocean water}.
Or can google average depth of our ocean:
“The ocean has an average depth of approximately 3.7 kilometres (or 2.3 miles). A calculation from satellite measurements in 2010 put the average depth at 3,682 metres (12,080 feet).”
3682 is 1 atm per 10 meter depth {or freshwater is, saltwater a bit more}
so 364.2 atm or bars and about 70% of Earth surface.
Or just around 1.4 x 10^21 kg, or say, about 1.3 x 10^21 kg.
and I don’t think have good estimate of how much ocean floor “groundwater” is being re-circulated. And weird ideas about Earth swallowing a lot of the ocean- in past and possible in future. Ie:
“A study that was conducted in the depths of the Mariana Trench has revealed something quite sinister: the shifting of the tectonic plates is causing the Earth to swallow its own oceans. The Mariana Trench is the deepest underwater location on Earth. Aug 11, 2020”
Earth’s Crust Is Swallowing Way More Ocean Than We
“Nov 15, 2018 — Earth’s Crust Is Swallowing Way More Ocean Than We Thought. Water is disappearing into the trenches between interlocking tectonic plates.”

Gary Pearse
Reply to  gbaikie
November 28, 2020 5:26 pm

g.b. the water in the mantle does get recyled to the surface to some degree. I don’t have masses, but volcanism, emplacement of ore deposits etc. returns water to the surface.

Here is the mechanism. Granitic magmas commonly contain 5% water by weight (the juiciest over 7%) and at depths below ~ 6-8km this is water at critical temperature of greater than 374°C at which its density is only 320grams/ litre. This means a granite magma with 7% water by weight is actually 35-40% critical water by volume!!

Granite magmas intrude generally upwards (z direction), but tectonic activity can give it latteral (xy) components. At several kms depth of emplacement where it begins to crystallize, highly buoyant critical water with its burden of elements (largely silica, alumina, alkali metals, alkaline earths but also trace elements, metals, F, B, P Cl, etc) rises to the top of the magma chamber forming one or more blister-like cupolas under high pressure.

With overhead fracturing from the intrusive forces, thermal shock and then contraction of the chamber with cooling. This high pressure fluid fills and widens fractures as it advances into decreasing lithostatic pressure overhead. If not arrested (subject of another discussion) it accelerates to the surface with rapidly increasing explosive force as the critical water converts to steam, and secondly because at about a km depth the lithostatic pressure regime suddenly switches to much lower hydrostatic pressure.

Reaching the surface connects the magma chamber with the surface and the water caused explosion is quickly followed by uncrystallized magma, blocks of country rock, hot sand like “tuff” etc.

This water has been returned to the hydrological cycle! With buoyancy considerations high pressures, it is likely that the “lost” water is pretty much all returned ti the surface.

John Tillman
Reply to  JN
November 30, 2020 4:37 am

I was comparing mass of Earth’s oceans to that of Venus’ atmosphere, which are on the same order of magnitude. Venus essentially has a CO2 ocean, with N2, SO2, etc.

But that’s not why it’s so hot. Any reasonably dense atmosphere would help keep the unlit side from cooling off during its long night.

Pat from kerbob
November 28, 2020 7:30 am

Ordered your book

Thanks for the interesting posts

Keep up the fight against the climate insane and for science

November 28, 2020 7:52 am

The data we have suggests that the oceans are warming at a rate of 0.4°C per century.

That’s a whole bunch of calories or BTUs or whatever.

I did a back of the envelope calculation that an ocean warming of 0.1°C would be enough to explain the modern increase in atmospheric CO2. (however I am not a chemist)

One of the things that surprised me about the above linked story is that otherwise clueful people don’t understand the difference between the mixed layer of the ocean and the depths, which is where most of the water is.

Reply to  commieBob
November 29, 2020 3:14 am

commieBob the ocean is a net CO2 sink. The concentration of CO2 in the surface layers has been increasing. So despite being warmer, the the increased conc. of CO2 in the air above has forced CO2 INTO solution – there had been zero net outgassing. That extra CO2 has come not from the ocean but from you and I. Your calculation is not even wrong.

Another Joe
Reply to  Loydo
November 29, 2020 6:10 am

Appears the calculation result Bob presents is plausible. Similar calculations can be found in relevant scientific literature.
Where is your calculation?

Reply to  Loydo
November 29, 2020 6:55 am

… not even wrong.

You’re not Wolfgang Pauli. You can say those words but it sounds to me like you’re too lazy to actually poke holes in what I did, or you can’t. That said, you might be accidentally right. 🙂 I’m not a chemist.

The paper that got me going was this. It points to serious errors in laboratory measurements of CO2 solubility in water. So, actual chemists seem to have trouble with the subject.

Once again, we have a problem with understanding the difference between the top layer of the ocean and the rest. In the top layer, CO2 is in its gas phase and its concentration is mainly determined by pressure. In the vast majority of the oceans’ water, CO2 exists in its liquid phase and its concentration is mainly determined by temperature. As far as I can tell, a small change in the temperature of that water could explain the modern increase in atmospheric CO2.

Along the same lines as ‘not even wrong’, Pauli said:

What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not. link

What I said may, or may not, be wrong but my argument is simple and clear and it should be easy to debunk. “Not even wrong” doesn’t apply.

Loydo, you aren’t the only one to think the processes that prevail in the top ten percent of the ocean are the same as those in the other ninety percent. With regard to CO2, they aren’t. The deep ocean is a vast storehouse of CO2 which dwarfs the CO2 in the upper ocean and the atmosphere. It seems reasonable to think that anthropogenic CO2 may actually be irrelevant.

Reply to  commieBob
November 29, 2020 12:14 pm

Ok, let me put it this way. Your “chemistry” is correct, usually if the ocean warmed CO2 would be released because it’s less soluble in warmer water. The ocean has warmed, but the concentration of CO2 in the ocean is increasing, not falling. The ONLY plausible explanation is that the increased concentration in the atmosphere – the higher partial pressure – has overcome that lower soluability and forced more CO2 into solution.

The deep ocean, …total red herring. The changes are in the mixed layers down to a few hundred metres, below the thermacline much less. There just seems to be a desperate desire to deny culpability and this is one manifestation of it – cling to some mechanism which somehow explains away the human responsibility. The extra CO2 is ours, start owning it.

Reply to  Loydo
November 29, 2020 5:36 pm

When the dissolved CO2 is in its gas state, Henry’s Law prevails and temperature has a minor effect. When the CO2 is in its liquid state, as it is below about 500 meters if I remember correctly, the solubility of CO2 is mostly determined by temperature.

I don’t have a particular desire to prove either side of the debate, however being a geek, I am obsessive about scientific accuracy and truth.

What set me off in the first place was Dr. Mann’s fraudulent hockey stick. His failure to present evidence in his suit against Dr. Ball means that, via adverse inference, he has admitted that he belongs in state pen.

I knew the hockey stick was bogus because one of my hobbies is history. As I continue to follow global warming, it seems to me that the good science mostly favors the skeptics.

I’m not sure what evidence it would take to make me believe again that the ‘alarmists’ are correct. It sure wouldn’t be computer models.

The extra CO2 is ours, start owning it.

To paraphrase Charlie Chan, there’s a hole in that particular doughnut. Charlie Chan in Paris

November 28, 2020 8:16 am

Andy “Willie” Mays:
Has there ever been a scientific experiment that replicated all the different ocean surface temperature measurement methodologies by measuring the ocean in the same place at the same time?

Hard to believe wood buckets, with mercury thermometers, would have the same measurements as Argo floats.

The wood (or canvas) buckets would bring up water from different depths.

The sailor might stop to smoke a cigarette before measuring the water.

The engine cooling water measurements would be from different depths, with different ships.

Not to mention the government bureaucrats compiling the statistics can’t be trusted.

In my opinion, no “surface” temperature measurements have sufficient accuracy for real science.

UAH satellite temperature measurements may be useful, because the troposphere is where the greenhouse effect occurs, and is a consistent environment — so measuring there makes more sense than measuring on the planet’s surface and wild guessing numbers for where there are no surface thermometers.

I realize UAH has a small amount of wild guessing too — over the poles — but FAR less wild guessing than surface temperature “data”.

Reply to  Richard Greene
November 28, 2020 8:54 am

I think the “greenhouse” effect actually starts quite near the surface. Why would radiation from the surface bypass all the CO2 and H2O in the lowest, densest part of the atmosphere? The interaction and the radiation from the mass of the atmosphere must be distributed from the surface on up.
Measuring the surface temperature of the ocean remotely (by satellite) is complicated by the evaporation taking place in the surface layer.

Reply to  DrEd
November 28, 2020 10:33 am

Near ground you have convection and evaporarion. Radiation is there nearly meaningless.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 28, 2020 5:10 pm

Can’t be meaningless. Radiation occurs at the surface of the earth. Does the atmosphere simply ignore this ~340 W/m^2 until it gets to a higher altitude? Certainly not. Of course convection, conduction and evaporation at the surface as well, but you simply cannot ignore the radiation.
Why would CO2 and H2O molecules “ignore” radiation near the surface? And certainly, that atmosphere near the surface of the earth is radiating as well.

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  DrEd
November 28, 2020 10:41 am

The ‘greenhouse effect’, if it existed, would have to reside within that ~10.4 m extinction depth (for 14.98352 µm radiation, that band for CO2’s two degenerate bending vibrational mode quantum states) of air just above the surface.

Any radiation within ~1 µm width from that peak that is emitted at an altitude above that would be absorbed, with the great majority of that being thermalized. The net effect of that being to increase CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy), which increases convection, which carries energy entrained in latent heat of vaporization of water and specific heat of polyatomic molecules such as CO2 to the upper atmosphere, where that energy is emitted, the great majority of it going out to space because the mean free path length decreases exponentially with decreasing altitude (and increases exponentially with increasing altitude), so any downwelling radiation is quickly turned around and emitted upward. The net flux vector for terrestrial radiation is upward due to this.

Since CO2 has greater specific heat capacity than that of the homonuclear diatomics, an atmosphere with a higher concentration of CO2 will more efficiently transit energy to the upper atmosphere, and will more readily emit that energy as compared to the homonuclear diatomics (N2, O2).

In addition, the downwelling 14.98352 µm radiation from solar insolation is much higher flux than upwelling terrestrial radiation in the same band, so more CO2 will absorb more of that downwelling solar radiation and re-emit it to space, acting as a ‘shade’ of sorts.

In addition, when O3, O2 and N2 absorb UV (O2 and N2 can absorb and emit when perturbed via collision), in the upper atmosphere they shed that energy primarily via collision with CO2, which then becomes excited in one of its {v2} vibrational mode quantum states (for O2, N2) or its {v3} vibrational mode quantum state (for O3), then emits that energy, the great majority of it going out to space due to that mean free path length / altitude relationship. More CO2 molecules means more O3, O2 and N2 de-excited more quickly and thus able to absorb more UV, thus acting as a ‘shade’. CO2 is one of the predominant means by which the upper atmosphere sheds energy to space, as the NASA SABER project showed.

All polyatomic molecules shift the lapse rate vertically, which tends to lower temperature differential between differing altitudes (this is why the climate alarmists originally claimed the upper atmosphere would warm due to increased CO2 concentration). This increases thermodynamic coupling between heat source (the surface) and heat sink (space) by more efficiently absorbing energy in the lower atmosphere, more efficiently transporting that energy to the upper atmosphere, and more readily emitting that energy in the upper atmosphere.

A higher atmospheric concentration of polyatomic molecules, though, can more readily emit energy in the upper atmosphere (as well as more effectively rejecting solar insolation out to space as described above), so a higher atmospheric concentration of polyatomic molecules will cool the upper atmosphere faster than the more-vertical lapse rate allows the surface to warm it. That’s why we’ve had a long-term and dramatic upper atmospheric cooling, and why OLR has increased by ~7 W/m^2 over ~72 years even as surface temperature showed no statistically significant trend.

Study the refrigeration cycle. You’ll find that water is acting as a refrigerant in the atmosphere, in the literal ‘refrigeration cycle’ sense (it evaporates at the heat source (the surface) and undergoes condensation (phase change from vapor to liquid) and even deposition (phase change from liquid to solid), emitting that latent heat energy to the heat sink (space)… we wish we could find such an efficient refrigeration process for our own uses… we can only use a phase change from vapor to liquid (because moving solid-phase refrigerant in a refrigerator or chiller would be problematic).

CO2 is the same, except CO2 only has a higher specific heat capacity than the homonuclear diatomics, whereas water has a higher specific heat capacity and a high latent heat capacity.

Back to the ‘greenhouse effect’… the climate alarmists claim that ‘backradiation’ is warming the surface (never mind the 2LoT violation implications inherent in that)… but they also claim that that energy is being thermalized and convected to the upper atmosphere. So where’s this ‘backradiation’ energy coming from? The climate alarmists count that energy twice, which is why their layered radiative models’ geometric series have a sum of 2, when it should be 1.

Anthony can tell you all about that… 2013, Lindzen’s paper, PSI, “put up or shut up”. They put up, Lindzen became a stronger CAGW skeptic, to the point that in 2019, he stated in a paper that there was no longwave radiative positive feedback effect, and the effect may well be negative.

Wim Röst
Reply to  LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
November 28, 2020 12:20 pm

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks: “that ~10.4 m extinction depth (for 14.98352 µm radiation”

WR: 10.4 m extinction depth: for which circumstances, for an International Standard Atmosphere?

Do you have a source for that number, 10.4 m?

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  Wim Röst
November 28, 2020 5:54 pm

Yeah, I calculated it ages ago, I’ll have to dig out where I got the equation from. I do remember that it was a pretty long chain of calculations, line by line to account for CO2’s absorption shoulders. Unfortunately, a search of my files shows that I obviously didn’t keep the calculations… I’ll do them again when I get a round to it.

If you treat the 14.98352 µm (20008146.1499034 MHz) radiation as though it were a radio transmitter (transmitting and receiving antennas set at 0 dB gain), at 10.4 m, it’ll have a Free Space Path Loss attenuation of 138.80480381 dB in air. That’s pretty much total attenuation, given the low ‘transmitting’ power.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Wim Röst
November 29, 2020 7:15 am

Thanks! Stored the calculator!

And a very interesting comment: November 28, 2020 at 10:41 am. I will store that one too.

Reply to  LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
November 29, 2020 8:11 am

LOL: Not to mention that the atm swells & contracts in synch with solar cycles. Thanks for the post, good read, seems to fit with other qm perspectives on the magic molecule..

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  meiggs
November 30, 2020 9:15 pm

Here’s another bit of corroborating information to what I wrote above:

I’ve already stated that polyatomic molecules shift the lapse rate vertically, which tends to decrease temperature differential between differing altitudes. The difference between the dry and humid adiabatic lapse rate shows this effect for water, it’s the same for all polyatomic molecules.

So what happens if you remove those polyatomic molecules (for instance: CO2, H2O) from the atmosphere?

Well, the lapse rate would shift less vertically, meaning there’s going to be a higher temperature differential between differing altitudes. In other words, the surface would be warmer (remember, temperature increases with decreasing altitude).

What does this mean? It means that yet again, the libtards have it exactly backward… the radiative molecules act as net atmospheric coolants (with water acting as a literal refrigerant in the “refrigeration cycle” sense)… and the homonuclear diatomics (N2, O2) are the ‘greenhouse gases’.

This makes sense… if the atmosphere consisted of only homonuclear diatomics, the upper atmosphere could not as effectively radiatively emit energy to space (homonuclear diatomics can emit when perturbed via collision, but in the upper atmosphere collisions take place far less frequently due to the lower air density), and thus the air would pick up energy from the surface via conduction, equipartition some of that energy into its vibrational mode quantum states and convect to the upper atmosphere. Once there, due to the low density of the atmosphere, they would collide far less often and thus could not as effectively emit radiation to space. Thus they would remain at a higher temperature, thus air in the lower atmosphere would have less buoyancy, thus convection would be hindered, thus the surface would warm up.

That hindered convection would be the closest to an actual ‘greenhouse effect’ (restriction of convection, which is how greenhouses work), which the warmists attempt to conflate with radiative tropospheric warming due to thermalization (which increases convection).

Heap on top of that the fact that if all radiative molecules were removed from the atmosphere, they could not absorb that much-higher radiative flux (as compared to terrestrial radiation) in the IR (and UV) bands from solar insolation and reject it back to space before it reached the surface:
comment image

Thus there would be more radiation reaching the surface, thus the surface would be warmer… that’s diametrically opposite to what the climate alarmists claim.

They must claim that the surface cools down with a reduction of CO2 atmospheric concentration because they claim CO2 causes warming… but in fact all polyatomic molecules shift the lapse rate vertically, decreasing temperature differential between differing altitudes. This would have the effect of warming the upper atmosphere toward the temperature of the surface if it were not for the fact that those same polyatomic molecules can radiatively emit their energy to space, thus cooling the upper atmosphere faster than the more-vertical lapse rate can warm it.

In other words, polyatomic molecules increase thermodynamic coupling between heat source (the surface) and heat sink (space), transiting more energy. Since the surface only has so much energy it can impart to the upper atmosphere, this means a higher CO2 atmospheric concentration (which can more effectively radiate that energy away) must cool the surface, nor warm it.

IOW, the thermalization effect in the lower atmosphere due to CO2 is ‘saturated’ at current CO2 atmospheric concentration (and only acts to increase CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) which increases convection, which more efficiently transits more energy entrained in the higher specific heat capacity of CO2 and higher latent heat capacity of H2O as compared to the homonuclear diatomics)…

… but the increase of radiative emission of energy to space by increasing CO2 atmospheric concentration in the upper atmosphere is not saturated (in fact, it cannot become saturated).

Well, put a fork in it, CAGW is done. Not only does it not represent reality, it’s diametrically opposite to it. LOL

Now, I’m sure some enterprising young warmist will bleat about the fact that removing the radiative molecules will widen the atmospheric window, allowing more energy to escape to space from surface radiative emission, thus the surface must cool.

To which I rebut: One cannot use the radiative heat transfer equations in isolation. One must take into account radiative surface emission, convection, the fact that N2 and O2 can absorb IR when perturbed via collision (and given that they wouldn’t be able to radiatively emit in the upper atmosphere and would thus warm, limiting convection and thus warming the lower atmosphere, which would cause them to collide more often and thus absorb more IR, etc., etc., etc.)

To which I ask: How is the surface going to radiate away the increased solar insolation incident upon the surface while you purport it cools down and while convection is hindered?

Warmists claim that an atmosphere with both:
1) radiative surface emission through an Atmospheric Infrared Window (and thus that radiation has a nearly unfettered path out to space)

– and –

2) convective transfer of energy to the upper atmosphere and subsequent emission of that energy to space

…will cool if there are no radiative molecules and thus 2) above doesn’t take place. They must make this claim in order to make the claim that CO2 causes warming, which is part and parcel of their CAGW blather.

radiation = 0.238
convection = 0.762

You’ll note we’re not using any units. However, the numbers are the known proportion of energy each mechanism transports to space in our atmosphere.

comment image

So 0.238 + 0.762 = 1, with 1 being equal to the total radiative emission to space.

Now, warmists claim that surface radiation alone will transit more energy to space while the planet cools down if that 0.762 is taken away.

So warmists must claim that 0.238 > 1.

But then, math was never the strong suit of liberals, amiright? LOL

Reply to  LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
December 1, 2020 8:05 am

LOL – did you read Happer’s recent paper on the dependence of thermal rad on ghg’s? He did a line by line evaluation and calculated the percent increase in forcing for a doubling of CO2. Just curious to hear your thoughts on it if you haven’t already expressed them. (It was posted here a while back.)



Reply to  Richard Greene
November 28, 2020 8:56 am

Richard, as long as every measurement is related to the “mixed layer” ( the name says it all) there should be only tiny differences when it comes to different depths of measurement.

Reply to  frankclimate
November 28, 2020 10:01 am

Are you saying the ocean’s actual surface versus let’s say 10 feet down are EXACTLY the same temperature, or the difference would round to zero in tenths of a degree C.?

A wood bucket pulling up water from any depth, and mercury thermometer, only in shipping lanes, with no records that I know of specifying the exact location of the measurment, and few Southern Hemisphere ocean measurements before World War II … sounds like junk science to me.

Reply to  Richard Greene
November 28, 2020 11:39 am

Richard Greene
By today’s standards, probably junk science.

But when I was taking sea temperatures – with a rubber bucket – it was pretty good [!] observation. {the ships had, and have, no influence on what adjustments, if any, were made later, of course.]

Observation position reported to nearest tenth of a degree in Latitude [so within three nautical miles] and of Longitude [no worse, and better in latitudes away from the Equator].
Temperature measured as quickly as possible once the bucket was on deck [to nearest half or tenth degree, C] [I cannot remember now, in honesty]. Always on the lee side, so minimising any wind chill, and as close to the water as possible [minimising the time between the bucket leaving the ocean and landing on deck].
Nothing like state of the art today – certainly.

But we tried our best.
Those observations’ accuracy affected the accuracy of the weather forecasts we would get over the next twelve hours or so.

Be safe,

November 28, 2020 8:34 am

What are your thoughts on the utility of the Argo float data for estimating ocean temperatures? It seems better than nothing, but because they are constantly moving as they deep dive, the lack of spatial accuracy of those deep temperatures means they can only give a rough temperature gradient, not an accurate vertical profile for a fixed location in the ocean. Also because surface temperatures vary due to circulation and annual insolation, it seems they aren’t giving a very useful map of surface temperatures because they are constantly moving.

Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 9:36 am

I disagree with the notion that 3000 probes is adequate. 30,000 might be a good start. Especially since the tendency for the probes will be to concentrate in areas where water is sinking and to be excluded from areas where water is rising.

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 9:40 am

Each ARGO float monitors temperature for a ~300 km square patch of ocean.

Now, there are 33,713 1°x1° gridcells with ocean data (excluding the areas poleward of the Arctic / Antarctic Circles, as there are almost no ARGO floats there). And there are ~3,825 ARGO floats. On average some 5% of them are in a common gridcell. So the ARGO floats are sampling on the order of ten percent of the gridcells … meaning that despite a large number of ARGO floats, at any given time, 90% of the 1°x1° ocean gridcells are not sampled.

That data for the areas not sampled is made up out of whole cloth (interpolation, which they then ‘adjust’ to get whatever answer they want), and what do you know! There’s the claimed ‘rapidly rising’ OHC. LOL

Of course, the number of zettajoules of heat content actually accumulated is less than the margin of error… I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to why they’d attempt to make alarmist claims when the sampled-gridcell change is smaller than the margin of error.

No, I won’t. It’s a sham. You’re being lied to. That’s why they ‘adjusted’ ARGO float data (more accurate) to more closely align with ship intake and drag-bucket data (less accurate) rather than the other way around… because the ARGO float data didn’t fit their narrative. Then they figured out how to ‘adjust’ the data to get whatever answer they wanted via ‘interpolation’.

Steve Case
Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 10:52 am

Andy May November 28, 2020 at 9:04 am
stinkerp, I think Argo data is quite good…

Then there’s this:


Steve Case
Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 6:05 pm

That graph doesn’t include how deep the mixed layer goes and doesn’t make reference to the latitude of the measurements. It tells me that the average temperature of the mixed layer whatever that exactly is has varied over the a decade by maybe 1.3°C

My post was to illustrate that Dr. Josh Willis adjusted the Argo data based on his initial opinion that the data was running cooler than it should have. Once wonders if he would have noticed if it were running warmer than it should have and made an adjustment.

Thanks for the reply.

Antero Ollila
Reply to  Andy May
November 29, 2020 2:45 am

Based on the measurements, the Earth’s surface emits radiation of about 395 corresponding to Planck’s temperature of 15.75 Celsius. The emissivity of the surface is not probably 1.0. Therefore I keep the surface temperature of about 18 C more reliable than about 14 C as found in many references.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 12:29 pm

I would be very careful in trusting even Argo data. Actual estimates are an uncertainty interval of +/- 0.5C for even a new float. They only get calibrated every four years. If you are trying to identify a 0.4C differential over 100 years it’s likely to be hidden inside the uncertainty interval.

Remember, sensor resolution is not the same as the uncertainty associated with the overall system. Water flow through the sensor, salinity of the water, non-linearity in the sensor can all add to the uncertainty of the overall measurement system.

Reply to  stinkerp
November 28, 2020 10:05 am

How did you ever invent a moniker “stinkerp”?
Sounds like a name I spelled wrong deliberately to amuse myself.
If stinker is your actual name, sorry I annoyed you.
My actual Name is Eaton N. Faartz.

Reply to  Richard Greene
November 29, 2020 12:38 am

A reference to a P.G. Wodehouse character I liked in a couple of his Jeeves stories, the Reverend Harold “Stinker” Pinker.

November 28, 2020 8:53 am

Thanks, Andy, good stuff. I particularly liked the book plug, “none of this is in my book but buy it anyway”. Unfortunately, I went to the link you provided. They provide a link to the data but it is dead. Do you have a live link to the data?


Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 4:32 pm

“Willis, CSIRO is still http, so if you are using firefox it won’t go there”

I have no idea what the above is saying but your link
works fine in Firefox.
The page it goes to says it
” provides whole file downloads of different versions of CARS ”
and there are a number of download links on the page.

November 28, 2020 8:54 am

Thanks Andy for the nice article, always good to get back to the ocean, that is where climate resides.
Alarmist narrative about increasing ocean temperatures typically gives zero context, implying the assumption – as always – of Edenic stasis and constant unchanging temperature before the “industrial era”.

It is obvious that this is not true. The literature is full of studies that show substantial variation in ocean temperatures over the Holocene including several periods with much warmer oceans than now, especially 6000 years ago.

Recent temperature changes without context are meaningless. Ocean temperatures are changing all the time.





Wim Röst
Reply to  Phil Salmon
November 28, 2020 5:22 pm

Interesting links, only the last one does not show up.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
November 29, 2020 5:34 am

Enter this in google scholar and it should appear prominently, Cronin, Hayo, Thunell et al 2010:

“ Cronin 2010 the medieval climate anomaly and little”

Cronin TM, Hayo K, Thunell RC, Dwyer GS, Saenger C, Willard DA. The medieval climate anomaly and little ice age in Chesapeake Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 2010 Nov 10;297(2):299-310.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Phil Salmon
November 29, 2020 6:57 am

Works! Thanks Phil.

November 28, 2020 9:01 am

Get yourself a bucket of water and a heat gun and try heating the water through the surface. the heat will not pass through due to surface tension. Anthropogenic climate change is utter nonsense.

Reply to  RMB
November 28, 2020 9:06 am

Not true, RMB, although frequently claimed. See my post below for the issues you have not considered.

Best regards,



Reply to  RMB
November 28, 2020 9:39 am

It really is sad how tenaciously some people cling to bad analogies.
The air doesn’t warm the water, never has, never will.
The sun warms the water. The air regulates how quickly the energy being put in by the sun can escape from the water. The warmer the air, the more the oceans have to warm in order for the same amount of heat to escape.

Reply to  MarkW
November 28, 2020 12:05 pm

“The air doesn’t warm the water, never has, never will.”
Water warms air, by evaporation.
One can say air cools ocean, or transfers heat from ocean surface to air.
Ocean is heated by sunlight and oceanic geothermal heat.

“The warmer the air, the more the oceans have to warm in order for the same amount of heat to escape.”
Hmm. Warmest air is over land areas and this does not have much effect of most of Earth surface- which is the ocean surface. And the warmer average air temperature is over oceans- which is heated by sunlight.
One can say global air is controlled by ocean surface temperature. And this most significant in regards to tropical ocean and is commonly said the tropical ocean is the heat engine of the world- drives the heating of Earth’s entire atmosphere.
I would say the temperature of ocean surface outside the tropics [tropics 40% and outside being 60%] controls global warming or global cooling.
Or average tropical surface temperature is about 26 C and rest of ocean is about 11 C, giving an global ocean average surface temperature of 17 C and global average land surface temperature of 10 C, equaling global air temperature of about 15 C. But it’s 60% of ocean surface which averages about 11 C which “keeps” average global air temperature “warm” or “cold”.
And average temperature of entire ocean which only or mostly effects this 60% of Earth’s ocean surface temperature. And effects polar sea ice or polar amplification which is associated with global warming.
Or average Ocean temperature has a very small effect upon Earth’s tropical ocean heat engine but has large effect on polar temperatures- which is what one is mostly talking about in regards to global warming.
And we in an Ice Age, “only” because we have a cold ocean, and would only be in a hothouse climate, because the entire ocean was 10 C or warmer {+5 C should get close to, eliminating all polar sea ice}.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  RMB
November 28, 2020 1:49 pm

No. NOT surface tension. It is the evaporation at the surface which occurs at constant temperature where the absorbed energy is converted to Latent Heat carried up through the atmosphere due to the buoyancy of the vapor/gas. This upward motion is directly contrary to the purported GHE back radiation and essentially provides a very strong negative feedback. Look at the figures: 694 Watthrs/kg (Latent Heat) going UP with around 1.6 watts/sq.m going DOWN.

Agree totally with your last sentence.

November 28, 2020 9:04 am

Also, my understanding of statistics doesn’t allow for their claimed accuracy. There are currently about 4,000 ARGO floats. That’s one thermometer for every 35,400 square miles (92,200 sq. km.) of ocean, it’s only taking 36 readings per YEAR … and we know the average temperature of that area down to 200 metres with an accuracy of 0.3°C???

Pull the other leg, it’s got bells on it … I’ve seen ocean water, deep ocean water, change temperature by 5°C within a horizontal distance of a couple hundred metres. No way that you can get that kind of accuracy with 36 temperature measurements per year over a 35,000 square mile area. Heck, at best that’s one measurement per year per thousand squre miles … not buying it.


Tim Gorman
Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 12:36 pm

The thermistors in the ARGO floats may be able to discern .001C differences. That does not mean the overall system is of that same precision. The thermistor is just a small part of the overall measurement system. Even then it is non-linear when it is new and a calibration chart is required to actually read the temperature accurately. If the system only gets calibrated once every four years just how far does that non-linearity grow over time for any specific float?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 28, 2020 10:25 am

Real science requires three decimal places.
Less than that is baloney, or malarkey.
I’m not sure which.
My BS degree was long ago.
With every temperature claim, my first instinct is to challenge the claimed accuracy of the measurements. They may claim +/- 0.1 degrees C. … but I always see +/- 1.0 degrees C.

My second instinct is to determine the integrity of the people compiling the data.
Good data plus bad people = bad data

My third instinct is to determine if the people compiling the data would unintentionally tend to be biased, perhaps to prove their prior global warming prediction was right, or they want a climate crisis for permanent job security.

My fourth instinct is to never believe anything from the government.
I hate anything official.

My fifth instinct is to trust my own senses, since I have lived in the same Michigan home since 1987, and four miles south for seven years before that, so I should be able to notice any significant temperature change from that one location. Hint: Still warm in the summer, and cold in the winter. I’d like a lot of global warming here in Michigan. Where is it?

Also, I don’t give a damn about the global average temperature.
No one lives in the global average temperature.
End of ranting and raving,
for the moment.

Richard Greene
Perfesser of Everything
recently promoted to:
Executive Washroom Attendant
Even-Numbered Stalls

Steve Case
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 28, 2020 11:07 am

Willis Eschenbach November 28, 2020 at 9:04 am
Also, my understanding of statistics doesn’t allow for their claimed accuracy. There are currently about 4,000 ARGO floats. That’s one thermometer for every 35,400 square miles (92,200 sq. km.) of ocean, it’s only taking 36 readings per YEAR … and we know the average temperature of that area down to 200 metres with an accuracy of 0.3°C???

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! This link
says in the first two sentences:

The oceans are warming. Over the period 1961 to 2003,
global ocean temperature has risen by 0.10°C from the
surface to a depth of 700 m

See! That’s an accuracy of ±0.01°C, a lot better than the 0.3 you question.

I love posting that link does any really believe the crap the IPCC pukes out?

Reply to  Steve Case
November 28, 2020 12:06 pm

Steve Carps
What I learned of science in the 1970s’:
No decimal places is a steaming pile of farm animal digestive waste products
One decimal place is malarkey
Two decimal places is baloney (banana earl in Brooklyn USA).
Three decimal places is real science
Four decimal places is settled science
Five decimal places is a new law of physics.
Six or more decimal places is pie, or pi, I forget which

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 28, 2020 11:56 am

Willis, remeber that weird cold spot that showed up in your visualization of ‘the boy, the girl’?

Well, the deep ocean current flow that Andy put up got me thinking about angular momentum , which led to a mental question as to why the flow is depicted as into the central Pacific northwest of Australia, instead of the eastern Pacific. That led to a question of sea floor topography, which together with angular momentum may partially explain what emerged from your visualization of the data.

The number crunching is beyond me, but the idea is rather curious.

November 28, 2020 9:14 am

Thanks for this thought provoking post Andy.
I still struggle to accept that averaging temps over such vast areas and depths has any real world useful application though.

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
November 28, 2020 9:29 am

Mass of Earth’s oceans:
1347000000000000000000 kg

Energy required to warm oceans by 0.4 K over 100 years:
2252884440000000000000000 J

The solar energy incident upon the earth over 100 years:
510000000000000000000000000 J

The solar energy incident upon the oceans over 100 years:
362100000000000000000000000 J

Solar energy incident upon the oceans over 100 years to warm it by 0.4 K translates to:
713895999700000 W

The climate alarmists claim an energy imbalance of 0.47 W / m^2.

Earth’s oceans cover ~362145775049000 m^2.

0.47 W / m^2 would give 170208514273030 W.

713895999700000 W to warm the oceans by 0.4 K
170208514273030 W energy imbalance

Either the climate alarmists have grossly overestimated ocean warming (which is highly likely), or they’ve grossly underestimated the energy imbalance (which is less likely). Either way, their numbers don’t work and I don’t believe them, nor can I believe they’ve not done these simple calculations to determine whether their blather is even in the ballpark.

November 28, 2020 9:30 am

I would like to see the error estimate for that 0.4C/century warming of the ocean.

As you say, we only have good data going back to 2004 (good is not the same thing as being adequate, which we still don’t have)

0.4 /century works out to 0.04/decade or about 0.06 for 16 years. None of the probes being used are accurate to that level.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
November 28, 2020 12:38 pm


November 28, 2020 9:49 am

There’s a tango between insolation and geothermal that makes ocean circulation possible. You can’t do it all merely from the top. Think about it.

Ben Wouters
Reply to  Andy May
November 28, 2020 2:45 pm

Andy May November 28, 2020 at 10:10 am

geothermal contributes, but I don’t know how much

I have seen no indication of the seasonal surface warming reaching deeper than ~500m, before this energy is lost again at the surface during the cooling season.
Leaves the same energy source for the deep oceans as the one that heats the continental crust: geothermal flux, in spite of the low numbers. 100 mW/m^2 for oceanic crust is enough energy to warm the average oceanic column 1K every ~5000 years.
That the oceans aren’t as hot as the continental crust at the same depth is due to the cooling of the deep oceans by very cold, salty and thus dense water dropping to the ocean floor: AntArctic Bottom Water (brine resulting from ice formation)
To me it is obvious that mostly AABW drives the deep Thermohaline Circulation, where bottom warmed AABW eventually resurfaces near Antarctica to release its energy to the atmosphere and start a new cycle of the TC.
(NADW is less dense after crossing the Greenlans-Scotland Ridge)

Reply to  Andy May
November 29, 2020 9:42 am

“Zoe, geothermal contributes, but I don’t know how much”
What you said in blog post:
“By overturning, we mean the amount of time required for downwelling surface water to make a completely deep-water circuit and then come back to the surface.
This process probably takes at least 1,000 years.”

So, one ask how much ocean geothermal energy do you get in least 1,000 years.
Or how much heating in a day or a month is not the question or most of the heat {+90%} is not reaching space for at least 1000 years.

When talking about warmed ocean water, say less than 1000 meters below the surface, this might be shorter time periods of centuries or even months- or less 100 meters from surface days or years.
When said the heat is lost to ocean {what happen to my homework} it seems most is going within the top 2000 meter, but some small amount is said to be “lost” for thousands of years.

But one could frame it in terms of coldness of ocean water stored, and geothermal heat is lessening coldness of ocean stored.
But main thing is the coldness of ocean matters, arctic ocean {Atlantic ocean} adding some amount that has not been measured, though it’s related to amount of Gulf stream that flows north. And have not explored ocean floor {only beginning}, though people saying about 75% {or least 75%] of earth’s volcanic activity is within the ocean. AND one can keep in mind all of the ocean floor is “young”- less 200 million year old- and all paleoclimate stuff “has to be” largely about the ocean floor.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
November 28, 2020 8:12 pm

None of the places where water is up welling correspond with places of higher than average geothermal activity.

Reply to  MarkW
November 30, 2020 4:19 pm

“Volcanoes on the ocean floor
There are around 1,900 active volcanoes on land or as islands. The number of submarine volcanoes is estimated to be much higher. Exact numbers are not known because the deep sea is largely unexplored. Accordingly, most submarine volcanic eruptions go unnoticed.”

If they was up welled heat, they would be noticed, though if in say, 1000 meter or less of water, and are big enough, they can be detected in terms of upwelling.

Or they say any given point in time there is about 20 volcanoes {not in the ocean} erupting and one could roughly guess there is more than 20 volcanoes erupting at any point of time under the ocean- and going unnoticed.

Satellite Sleuthing Detects Underwater Eruptions
“Unlike events above the sea surface, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other geological events below sea level are seldom observed as they are happening, but they can also wreak havoc on vulnerable coastal communities. Despite the hazards they pose, assessing the natural hazard risk and mitigating the aftereffects of submarine events remain major challenges. In many cases, the events themselves are hidden beneath the water, and only their direct aftermaths are visible. Recent advances, especially in remote sensing techniques, may enable scientists to identify potential underwater hazards and areas at risk in the near future.”

Reply to  Zoe Phin
November 29, 2020 5:38 am

Satan and his demons in the lake of fire under the earth are responsible for global warming.

I learned that by watching “The Good Place”.

November 28, 2020 10:37 am

The oceans could boil and egg. The glaciers are being worn down to the size of the poor kid’s sad little pencil stub. The Arctic is barely bigger than a circle k icee slushy.
But it doesn’t show up in the tidal gauges. Evidently all that heat and water raises the water level everywhere except at the 1000+ tidal gauges around the world.

Don K
Reply to  MrLee
November 28, 2020 3:46 pm

Mr Lee. If you look at Andy’s Figure 1, you’ll see that most of the ocean is cooler than the maximum density point of water which is purported to be around 4C. (I’m not sure if/how much salinity affects that point). That’s likely true, so warming the deeper ocean will probably DECREASE ocean volume a bit. It’s only warming of the top 900 meters or so that will increase sea level.

November 28, 2020 11:28 am


They have already started adjusting the Argo data because it was showing a cooling bias. Their bias found some bias…after adjustments it still showed cooling, defying their bias, but showing less bias.

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  edwardt
November 28, 2020 11:51 am

Notice a pattern here? They ‘adjust’ the data in attempting to get the answer that corresponds to their narrative… right up until (and often long after) the point that the ruse has become ludicrous.

A recent election comes to mind…

Al Miller
November 28, 2020 12:03 pm

It’s the ocean , stupid! What stands out right away is how dismally short our data span is to draw ANY conclusions whatsoever. As stated it is clear that runaway warming is another laughable hypothesis. On top of the other myriad reasons like; manmade co2 is not the climate control knob. Our long term temperature record and ice cores have conclusively shown that.

November 28, 2020 12:56 pm

Who knew? I don’t know if this has any effect on ocean temps but geologists say there is water in the earth’s mantle equal to the volume of the oceans….it is like 200 miles down and is in the form of ions in rocks. Also, there is a large biological movement in the oceans daily….the lantern fish population which is like 65% of the animal biomass in the oceans do a daily migration from like 4000 feet down during the day to 200 feet at night.

Julian Flood
November 28, 2020 1:57 pm

Wave breaking will mix surface water with lower, cooler layers. If there is something reducing that mixing then presumably the surface will be warmer, as will be the atmosphere.


(When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.)


Reply to  Phil Salmon
November 28, 2020 3:39 pm

even after the adjustments…amo is ready, cant wait for the 0.5c drop over 15 years. course it will be blamed chinese aerosols or such.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
November 28, 2020 4:53 pm

If it warms it’s CO2, if it cools it’s aerosols.
They’ve got climate dancing like a puppet dangling from strings.

November 28, 2020 8:58 pm

The regulation of atmospheric temperatures by the oceans also gives us a lot of time

This is imprecise language. The word “regulation” should be replaced with the word “damping”.

The mass of water does not “regulate”. It provides thermal inertia. It slows changes.

Regulation is the control of energy uptake and release. The regulating factor is the transition of water to ice. Sea ice formation provides the prime regulator on heat loss changes. It operates at a precise temperature and is a powerful control. Only a metre or two of sea ice causes a dramatic reduction in heat loss from the surface.

Ice also regulates in the atmosphere above an ocean surface. Ice in the atmosphere provides a reflective layer that reduces surface insolation. When the precipitable water level exceeds 38mm the atmosphere goes into daily cloud burst mode. This results in persistent thick cloud that is highly reflective. The ocean surface can cool under the midday sun beneath this dense cloud. Cloud burst becomes persistent above an open sea surface at 27C and increases to the extent that the SST can never exceed 32C. This is a powerful regulating process that limits the heat input to oceans.

The temperature “regulating” processes of the oceans only involve the top 100m or so because the mixing below a hot surface is quite slow and IR absorption high; meaning low penetration. The temperature regulation works mostly independently of the thermal inertia of the oceans.

Looking for net ocean heating is a fool’s errand. It cannot happen over decades or even centuries. Even significant perturbations due to events such as volcanic eruptions are ironed out in short time by the powerful feedback mechanisms.

If you see temperature trends other than zero over a few decades then look for the measurement errors. Earth’s thermostat is set very precisely by the transition of water to sea ice on the surface and water vapour to cloud in the atmosphere.

Patrick MJD
November 28, 2020 10:22 pm

The fact that alarmists claim CO2 is driving a runaway warming effect in Venus just proves their argument that CO2 is doing nothing other than feeding plants on Earth.

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 29, 2020 9:25 am

Venus’ high surface temperature isn’t due to CO2. Only ~17 W/m^2 of solar insolation reaches the surface.

The climate alarmists don’t take into consideration that at an altitude on Venus which corresponds to Earth’s atmospheric pressure, and taking into account the difference in solar insolation due to differences in distance from the sun, the temperature is nearly the same as that on Earth’s surface… except on Venus, it’s somewhere up at ~50 km altitude.

At 125 kilometres above the Venus’ surface, the temperature can reach 98.15 K.

The dense atmosphere and thus the lapse rate accounts for the temperature on Venus’ surface, it’s got an additional ~50 km of atmosphere and thus an additional ~50 km of lapse rate.

If you want to cool Venus, you draw down its atmosphere to whatever thickness you want and you add a lot of water. Some of that water will dissociate into hydrogen and oxygen, with the oxygen reacting with the sulfur dioxide to form sulfur trioxide, and the water reacting with that to form sulfuric acid. Then you add calcium carbonate (baking soda) to convert that sulfuric acid to calcium sulphate (gypsum or plaster of paris), water and CO2. Once you get that reaction going, you don’t need to keep adding water, you’ll be generating plenty of it. Just heap on the baking soda to bake yourself an Earth-sort-of-like atmosphere.

We have a real-world example of lapse rate… in the Grand Canyon.

Temperature at the canyon bottom is consistently ~10 – 25 F warmer than the North Rim or South Rim temperature, and air flows out of the canyon on the upstream end.

Keep in mind this is in a canyon nearly a mile deep… not much sunlight reaching the bottom in the North Rim / South Rim region because its orientation is roughly east-west and the walls are pretty steep.

All radiative molecules are dual-role molecules… they can act to warm the atmosphere at atmospheric temperatures below their ‘transition temperature’ (via absorption of a 14.98352 µm photon to become vibrationally excited, then conversion of that vibrational mode energy to translational mode energy of other atmospheric molecules upon molecular collision), or cool the atmosphere at atmospheric temperatures above their ‘transition temperature’ (via collisional transfer of translational mode energy of other atmospheric molecules to the vibrational mode energy of CO2, which is then radiatively emitted).

The ‘transition temperature’ of any given radiative molecular species is dependent upon the differential between:

1) the combined translational mode energy of two colliding molecules,


2) the lowest vibrational mode quantum state energy of the radiative molecule.

When 2) > 1), energy flows from vibrational mode to translational mode, which is a warming process.

When 1) > 2), energy flows from translational mode to vibrational mode, which is a cooling process.

Compression heating and radiative emission have created a ‘wind tunnel’ effect whereby the warmer compression-heated (in accord with the Ideal Gas Law) air at the canyon bottom puts CO2 into its ‘net-coolant’ mode on all but the coldest of days. The CO2 is vibrationally excited by the translational mode energy of the other atmospheric molecules because more atmospheric molecules carry sufficient kinetic energy to vibrationally excite CO2.

The CO2 emits so much radiation from the canyon bottom that one can trace out the profile of the canyon just from its radiation signature as seen from space.

That loss of translational mode energy of the atmospheric molecules (which flows to the vibrational mode quantum states of CO2) causes the air to become denser, and it flows along the canyon bottom upstream, which is why Page Airport has a wind predominantly to the N-NE, and why the town there is warmer than surrounding areas.

The airflow out of the upstream end of the canyon pulls more air over the canyon rims and down into the canyon, heating it via compression, whereupon the process repeats.

Even today, with the wind blowing out of the N-NE and in winter, you can see the temperature differential between canyon bottom and rim due to lapse rate differential. Note it’s ~10 to 25 F higher temperature at the canyon bottom than at the rims, despite the canyon bottom receiving less sunlight than the rims:

I once did a calculation of how much less sunlight the canyon bottom received on average for each day of the year… I’ll have to see if I can find it. I remember it was on the order of ~17% less sunlight incident upon the canyon bottom than the rims, on average.

November 28, 2020 10:59 pm

“ The data we have suggests that the oceans are warming at the rate of 0.4C per Century.”
Do the Argo buoys support this figure?
Does the Argo site give any warming figure? Does NOAA or NCDC?
I have looked at argo.net and have had difficulty in pinning down the obvious question, “how much have the buoys showed the ocean has warmed since the inception of the Argo buoys in 2004/2005?”
Too simplistic?
The site tells us that the Oceans have warmed by x Zettajoules over the period but this is not very enlightening to the reader.
I have read the 0.04C figure in a number of posts here.
A little history.
In June 2009, 4 scientists led by the late Robert Carter put three questions to the climate scientists representing the then Climate Minister in Australia,Penny Wong in what are the Fielding- Wong exchanges, available in full online, mainly addressing the “pause”or “hiatus”from 1998-2008.
One response was to say what is discussed here, namely that the ocean not the atmosphere is the true gauge of global warming.
Professor Carter pointed out that while true, this was virtually the first time this claim had been highlighted.
While the various IPCC Assessment Reports mentioned in some paragraphs and footnotes Ocean Warming, the Reports concentrated on atmospheric warming to an extraordinary extent.
They talked of almost nothing else year in and year out.
To summarise, the public would be astonished to be told the world’s energy system is only warming at a glacially slow 0.04C per century in the major gauge.

Vincent Causey
November 29, 2020 1:09 am

If the temperature of the oceans is lower than the atmosphere at surface, can the heat in the ocean ever make the atmosphere warmer? I would assume not because of the first law of thermodynamics.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Vincent Causey
November 29, 2020 2:46 am

Take a pair of parabolic reflectors and face them directly towards each other. At the focal point of one place a thermometer and record the temperature. Then at the focal point of the other place an ice cube. Watch the thermometer react.

Waves of cold are being reflected onto the thermometer. Or something else is happening. Any idea what?


LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  Julian Flood
November 29, 2020 6:42 pm

There are no ‘waves of cold’… ‘cold’ is merely a unitless shorthand means of comparing different temperatures, and temperature is a measure of atomic or molecular kinetic energy. So when we say, “Object A is colder than Object B”, what we really mean is “Object A has lower atomic or molecular kinetic energy than Object B”.

So I surmise that what’s happening is that energy is being reflected between the parabolic reflectors and focused onto the ice cube, which is absorbing it into its latent heat (causing melting of the ice cube), thereby removing that energy from the system which the thermometer is measuring, thereby causing the thermometer to register a ‘colder’ temperature (ie: lower kinetic energy of the atoms or molecules comprising the system).

A thermometer is an instantaneous average of kinetic energy of the atoms or molecules exchanging energy with the thermometer… if the thermometer could respond quickly enough, we’d see temperature wildly swinging up and down, with the distribution of that temperature tracing out a Planckian curve that should be described by the Maxwell-Boltzmann Speed Distribution Function.

Not to get too far into this, but it’s likely that the ice is only absorbing certain wavelengths, which still lowers overall system energy (and thus temperature of the system). As those wavelengths are absorbed, the remaining energy will be equipartitioned into those now-lower flux wavelengths, allowing the ice cube to continue absorbing energy from the system until either the ice cube melts, or the system attains the same temperature as the ice cube and can thus contribute no more energy to the ice cube.

Geoff Sherrington
November 29, 2020 1:11 am

There are mentions above of spatial error as when an interpolation is done between sparse data points with an aim to estimate values in the untested parts of a shape. This is a common problem in the estimation of the grade and disposition of ore in a deposit that has been drilled and assayed, with plenty of space between the drill holes.
There are sophisticated ways to estimate this spatial error, for example when looking at ocean temperatures measured by Argo floats. Here I contend that one can never measure this error in any meaningful way. The contention arises from the several times I have seen where it is possible to measure the error in an ore deposit, by mining it and increasing the resolution enormously. With a lot of earth science work, there is no equivalent of mining, so a reconciliation is not possible because the target is shifting in time and space. There were several times when the ore body turned out to be richer than was estimated from the drilling, because of pockets of rich ore between the drill holes. Conversely, some mines have failed to live up to their interpolated grades. There is a compromise here, with the cost of more drilling at the start offset by the bet or the chance that good or bad pockets will be missed.
The ore example is a strong one because the grades can vary over a wide range of richness, whereas ocean temperatures do not have a history of pockets sitting among the probe locations. However, in principle arguments apply and thus there is the contention that one cannot, at times, get a satisfactory answer out of the statistics of interpolation and assessment of uncertainty.
Geoff S

Antero Ollila
November 29, 2020 2:49 am

Quotation: “By overturning, we mean the amount of time required for downwelling surface water to make a completely deep-water circuit and then come back to the surface. This process probably takes at least 1000 years”.

I have comments on this issue. The most well-known ocean current is the Gulf current from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean which has a speed of about 4 km per hour. It means that the Gulf Current flows in about three months from Key West to the Arctic ocean. This huge water mass cannot disappear, but it continues as then Labrador current and the East Greenland Current. These currents join and flow to the South as the Canaries Current.

Because the water mass of the Canaries Current is about the same as the Gulf current, the time from the Arctic Ocean to the Equator should be months, not centuries. Temperature changes because of ocean current changes are very difficult to estimate.

Antero Ollila
Reply to  Andy May
November 29, 2020 5:19 am

The ocean currents described as “pipes” are pretty good. My point was that if the current on the surface is very rapid, it cannot disappear below the surface. If it did so, then it is not anymore a current. You could not explain this dilemma.

Antero Ollila
November 29, 2020 3:51 am

It looks like some people think that because the time constants of the deep ocean are very, very long, they dominate the climate change time lags. I have carried several simulations over shorter time periods from 5 to 20 years. In these simulations, I have used the time constant of about 1 month for the land and about 3 months for the ocean. The time responses of these simulations are very good. Process dynamics used to be my speciality. I know that these time constant dominate in the so-called climate change. If there were long time constant prevailing these changes, we could not observe so quick changes in the global temperature.

Joseph Bastardi
November 29, 2020 5:05 am

This has been my argument for time eternal. ( the bias is from my dad who from my first memory would always talk about how the tropics gave the weather.. joe Bidens dad may have told him what he did when little Joey saw what he saw, my dad would always talk to me about the meaning of tropical cyclones in the overall pattern) Oceans run the shooting match. Its increase in WV not co2 that is causing the warming as can be seen where the greatest warming is taking place and when, in colder, drier areas or in the case of the US in night time lows due to higher wet bulbs. In addition warming oceans outsource co2 which may be the reason for much of the increase until such time an equilibrium is reached. Now is co2 causing the oceans to warm by not allowing the air above to cool, Doubtful given the distribution of warming away from the equator and mainly over polar or dry areas. So what is causing the warming, I have. 2 ideas on that. 1) hydrothermal warm vents, which we know precious little about and in fact when one considers the amount of water in the southern hemisphere and the depths how can we have knowledge of that, But another aspect that I am sure the skeptics on my ideas out there will love to hammer so have at it: A rogue wave type intersection of multi century imperceptible cycles, that are intersecting now. Mariners are acquainted with rogue waves, when an event or set of events many miles and days away can intersect producing, seemingly out of nowhere, a giant wave. While we are acquainted with single event caused monster waves ( example the so called perfect storm had a giant wave come into Nassau from the northeast on a clear day with no wind, putting the city under 3 feet of water or a tsunami caused wave, these other waves may not be seen as the causes can be so far away) . Well think of the warming now. Suppose there are large scale multi century cycles at work here, the action and reaction of other lesser time scale events. Perhaps that is a cause. In any case the shooting match is in the oceans. Until such time they can start to cool, the solar min lovers will have to take a back seat. in fact. the reduction of easterlies due to lower incoming radiation from solar mins may make weak to moderate el ninos. more prominent releasing even more heat. But it was heartening to see this as that is where the shooting match is and the warmer the ocean, the greater the input. Peace out

Antero Ollila
November 29, 2020 5:32 am

I have carried temperature simulation from 2001 to the end of 2019. The major driver is shortwave radiation change +1.68 W/m2. Compare this to the RF of CO2 1.6 W/m2 from 1750 to 2011! The mean absolute error of my model is 0.075°C in respect to UAH and 0.082°C in respect to GISTEMP. The rapid temperature changes like ENSO effects are in place. This is would not be possible without pretty accurate time constants.

November 29, 2020 10:38 am

The earths oceans extend far below the sea bed. They extend into the mantle, until they reach the point where they are turned to high pressure steam. Rhis steam peessure is what hold the oceans in place.

Otherwise, without internal heat, all the water on earth would have long ago dissapeared into the rocks. This can clearly been seen by examining how the water table behaves under the surface.

November 29, 2020 11:40 pm

“The data we have suggests that the oceans are warming at a rate of 0.4°C per century”

I have looked at the data for the past 40 years, which I think is a reasonable time period. See:

I am getting it at ca. 0.8 K/ 40 = 2K/century (NH)
I am getting it at ca. 0.3K/ 40 = 0.7K /century (SH)
Average, if indeed you can take an average from such data – since they are obviously from different populations – is then 1.3K/century.
Obviously, the warming of the oceans is causing the warming of the air. Not the other way around. If it were the CO2 causing a drop in cooling, the rate in the SH should be the same as in the NH, since CO2 is a diffused more or less equal in the atmosphere.

Note that in the arctic area itself, there is even more variation in the data, showing much more than 2K warming per century.

Inter alia, the warming in the arctic is probably the main cause for the continuing increase in CO2 in the atmosphere as the sink area, where the reaction: CO2 + 2H2O + cold => HCO3- + H3O+ takes place,
has become much smaller.

November 30, 2020 7:27 pm

One effect is not often discussed – the “coke bottle effect”…open a bottle of cold pop, look down, and see a few bubbles of CO2. Open that same bottle, when it has been sitting outside for a while, and watch the coke boil out, and rather swiftly, as the dissolved gas comes out of solution. During the last 5 decades or so, the sun has been more consistently warmer, than in the early 1900s. So there appears to be at least some correlation between this warmth, and increased CO2.
This certainly has been ignored now, for decades, as a contribution to atmospheric CO2….

Reply to  joe
December 1, 2020 1:22 am

That is how life came into being….

CO3 2- + H2O => HCO3- + OH-
HCO3- + heat = > CO2 (g) + OH –

Rise of CO2 in the atmosphere follows heat. It does not cause heat. At least not much.

Russ Glllespie
Reply to  joe
December 1, 2020 6:31 am

One reason for the increased heating from the sun is due to the removal of S02 emissions from coal fired power plants required by the 1980 Clean Air Act Amendments. Couldn’t believe some suggesting that we start emitting SO2 again to slow down warming.

Reply to  Russ Glllespie
December 1, 2020 11:05 am

There could be others. What about oil contamination on water?

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