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  1. A common pseudo skeptic punchline is that the heat is coming from the deep ocean… got any quick easy accessible data to show that this is not the case?

    Comment by Magnus W — 3 Oct 2011 @ 7:36 AM

  2. I understand Dr. Pielke Sr. has for some time now claimed the Argo system has yet to detect an increase in upper ocean heat content or an ocean heat transport to the deep. Do you concur with his claim and, if not, can you explain how and where this transport to the deep is accomplished? Thank you for your time.

    [Response: Argo measures temperatures, not heat flux. You can calculate a net heat flux into the top 700m of the ocean given the changes in temperature in this region, but Argo cannot measure the heat flux through that region. The latest data from Willis and others indicates that ocean heat content (top 700m) is increasing, although a lower rate than in the last decade, and the (less comprehensive) studies related to below-700m oceans indicate an increase as well. Most heat transport into the deep ocean will occur in the down-welling branches of the overturning circulation, centered in the North Atlantic and the Southern Oceans. Diffusive fluxes in the rest of the ocean will be much smaller. - gavin]

    Comment by brian m flynn — 3 Oct 2011 @ 8:01 AM

  3. Dear Gavin,

    Thank you for the update. I note with interest that you have read Roger Pielke Sr’s recent post on this topic but have not discussed his first “major issue”.

    He asks:

    1) “If heat is being sequested in the deeper ocean, it must transfer through the upper ocean. In the real world, this has not been seen that I am aware of. In the models, this heat clearly must be transferred (upwards and downwards) through this layer. The Argo network is spatially dense enough that this should have been seen.”

    Do you agree with this?

    [Response: Obviously heat going below 700m must have passed through the upper ocean. However, the notion that Argo could see this is odd. Argo measures temperature, not flux. The net flux into a layer is calculated by looking at the change in temperature. It cannot tell you how much came in at the top and left at the bottom, only how much remained. - gavin]

    I would add that I have never seen any comment on any blog that addresses this point. I have always wondered – perhaps naively – how Kevin Trenberth and others can believe that heat gets to the deep ocean without being seen passing through the upper 700 metres.

    [Response: Of course they don't believe that. You are setting up a strawman. - gavin]

    Pielke also raises another interesting point at the end of his post.

    “…if heat really is deposited deep into the ocean (i.e. Joules of heat) it will be dispersed through the ocean at these depths and unlikely to be transferred back to the surface on short time periods, but only leak back upwards if at all. The deep ocean would be a long-term damper of global warming, that has not been adequately discussed in the climate science community.”

    [Response: This is discussed all the time going back to Hansen's paper referenced above. I have never heard any scientist claim that the heat 'leaking back' is an issue. - gavin]

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this point as well.

    Finally, aside from these questions about Pielke’s post, I am also interested in the recent (unpublished I think) Hansen, Sato, Kharecha & von Schuckmann paper entitled, “Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications”. In that paper, especially in sections 6 & 7, it appears – to me anyway – that James Hansen and his colleagues have given up on the search for the so-called “missing heat” in the deep ocean and have instead concluded it must have been radiated away as a result of the negative anthropogenic aerosol forcing. I take this as suggesting that Hansen has parted company with Kevin Trenberth and others and has conceded that the IPCC models are flawed – flawed in their “climate response functions”.

    Do you know if the model used by Meehl suffers the same problem with the “climate response function” that Hansen discusses? Do you have any other comments on the Hansen et al. paper?

    [Response: I don't see any contradiction. Meehl et al are looking at a generic behaviour which will exist in all models, while Hansen is thinking about the specific forcings and response for the last decade. Different issues. - gavin]

    Thank you in advance and best regards,
    Alex Harvey

    Comment by Alex Harvey — 3 Oct 2011 @ 8:11 AM

  4. Magnus, I am not a climate scientist, now do I play one on TV. However, in order for there to be heat coming from the deep ocean, there must be mixing of deep ocean with shallower water. Such upwelling of deep water only happens in a few select locations. If it were occurring, those locations ought to be warming faster. They aren’t

    A more plausible denialist meme is that the warming has occurred because there is less mixing of warm surface water with the briny deep. Here again, though, we’d expect to see the changes first in the oceans. We don’t. We’d also expect to see changes in chemical composition of solutes that would accompany the changes in energy flow.

    Saying “It’s the oceans” is just another way of saying it’s not CO2. It’s a little more sophisticated than saying it’s the sun, because it’s a little harder to rule out.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Oct 2011 @ 8:17 AM

  5. Do we have any idea how long the heat is likely to stay sequestered in the ocean? Does it stay in a particular layer that then comes back up, or is it likely dissipated into the rest of the ocean by then?

    [Response: The circulation time for the deep ocean is on the order of hundreds to thousands of years. Change there is very slow - which makes the changes seen so far quite surprising. At any new (warmer) equilibrium, there will be a significant increase of OHC over what there was before. The damping of the rate of surface warming or the warming in the pipeline isn't anything to do deep ocean heat coming back out. I have no idea where this idea originated, but it is not accurate. - gavin]

    Comment by wili — 3 Oct 2011 @ 8:43 AM

  6. #1 Magnus W

    I would say that they have no proof that it is deep ocean upwelling of heat and that the science ‘suggests’ that the increased radiative forcing is heating the oceans.

    Generally, for them to have substance in their argument they need to provide scientific evidence that holds up to scrutiny. Otherwise, they can make claims all day long, that does not make the claims right, it just means they like talking about unproven ideas. Simply put, they have to show mechanism not hyperbole.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Oct 2011 @ 8:54 AM

  7. In brief – is it thus correct to emphasize that ‘stratified ocean heat content variations’ appear to be a major cause for the natural large scale atmospheric temperature variability ?

    Comment by Gorm R. Larsen — 3 Oct 2011 @ 8:59 AM

  8. Gavin,

    The damping of the rate of surface warming or the warming in the pipeline isn’t anything to do deep ocean heat coming back out. I have no idea where this idea originated, but it is not accurate

    I believe confusion about that could have come from Kevin Trenberth’s statement in the press release for the Meehl study.

    Kevin Trenberth, a study author and NCAR scientist, said: “… this study suggests the missing energy has indeed been buried in the ocean, the heat has not disappeared and so it cannot be ignored. It must have consequences.”

    It confused me. I was under the impression he was saying that it had warming consequences on short timescales. He was not as as explicit as you in discussing that the implications were on the TOA radiative imbalance. Or do you think he meant something else?

    [Response: You'd have to ask him. 'Consequences' is pretty vague. However, for context, a flux of 0.5 W/m2 into the deep ocean (700 - 3700m (average depth)), is around 0.5*365*24*3600*10/4000/1000/3000 = 0.013ºC/decade on average. This is a much bigger heat flux then we expect, but we don't expect changes to be evenly spread across the ocean. In some places temperature rises will be higher (N. Atl., S. Ocean etc.), but while significant in terms of heat flux, the change is not likely to be important in terms of deep ocean temperature. - gavin]

    Comment by grypo — 3 Oct 2011 @ 9:28 AM

  9. Two questions:

    First, will this tendency for heat to flow into the deep ocean appreciably slow the rate of warming? That is, if some value of climate sensitivity says we have “set the thermostat” to X for a given level of CO2, will this possibly mean that we don’t actually see the effects of at least some that warming for a much longer time, and if not, how much longer? Can this be well quantified?

    This could be a godsend or a debacle. If the time it takes to actually realize climate change is long enough it could give us more time to transition away from fossil fuels and let CO2 start to drop out of the atmosphere (before truly dangerous temperatures are reached).

    Alternately, it could just provide fodder for skeptics to claim that climate change isn’t happening or isn’t a real problem, leading the world to adopt a business as usual times five strategy and ultimately make things far, far worse (much like touching a hot stove, because by the time your nerve endings tell you “hot,” you’ve already burned your skin).

    Second question: Gavin has twice already in these comments talked about the transport of heat into the deep ocean not being the “warming in the pipeline.” This phrase gets thrown around a lot without clarification. Can anyone explain exactly what the phrase does mean, and what mechanisms delay warming?

    Comment by Sphaerica (Bob) — 3 Oct 2011 @ 9:30 AM

  10. Can anyone familiar with the climate literature say if the estimation resulting in the N(0.2, 0.14) distribution accounted for the possibility of long memory/long range dependence (Cf. Samorodnitsky, Taqqu, etc.)? The trick here is that if you have LM/LRD then you can’t use vanilla statistics, and it seems to me that in climate, the whole point is that you are trying to observe a dependence on a time scale long compared to many of the durations of the data series. I’m not suggesting there is anything wrong with the quoted result; just asking about the supporting analysis.

    [Response: N(0.2,0.14) is just an empirical fit to the IPCC model output - not a statement about the underlying pdf. All of the GCMs exhibit LRD of various sorts - particularly in ocean temperatures and particularly in the North Atlantic, yet still manage to have a well-defined climate sensitivity and predictability. - gavin]

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Oct 2011 @ 9:37 AM

  11. Re #5 – Gavin – Isn’t it an overstatement to say that the damping of the rate of surface warming has nothing to do with the “heat coming back out”? I agree that the implied notion of the ocean as a literal pipeline, where you put heat in and it comes out after some discrete delay, is misleading. However, a better explanation – e.g., the ocean hasn’t warmed enough to come into equilibrium with new, higher surface temperatures, so that there’s a net downward flux from the surface, still involves an influence of ocean heat on surface temperature. Right?

    [Response: There is no 'heat coming back out' - that's what a net OHC gain means. As you say in your second point, there will continue to be a net flux into the ocean until the SST has risen high enough so that it reaches a new balance with the incoming radiation. The problem might be in an over-literal interpretation of the 'pipeline' comment though. - gavin]

    Comment by Tom Fiddaman — 3 Oct 2011 @ 9:48 AM

  12. @Magnus: People have studied the heat exchange between the bottom of the ocean and the surface for many decades under the name of “Abyssal Circulation”. It was intensely studied as part of the explanation of Quaternary Glaciations. The observations extend back a long time (using “Swallow floats” – neutral buoyancy devices). In fact, one of the first papers to try and explain the observations is Arons, A. B. and Stommel, H. “On the abyssal circulation of the world ocean- I. Stationary planetary flow patterns on a sphere.” Deep-Sea Research, 6, 140-154, (1961). Now if you have a peek in that paper, the explanation involves considering the way that any explanation of upwelling must conserve vorticity. There are going to be limits to how easy to understand that sort of thing is going to be. Arons and Stommel’s model is now regarded as too simple (not a surprise given this is it’s 50th birthday is it?) So I think “accessible” observations will be a bit much to expect given that what you must observe includes significant nonlinear fluid dynamic effects.

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Oct 2011 @ 9:53 AM

  13. This gives a feel for the challenge of getting data:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/john3037/john3037.shtml
    Recent Bottom Water Warming in the Pacific Ocean
    Gregory C. Johnson et al.
    J. Climate., 20 (21), 5365–5375, 2007

    —-excerpt—

    … data for estimates of deep (>2000 m) ocean heat storage changes will still be very sparse.

    As might initially be expected for the case where heat is simply mixed down from the surface of a stratified fluid like the ocean, heat content changes do appear to be surface-intensified (Willis et al. 2004; Levitus et al. 2005). For example, simple linear fits to World Ocean heat content variations for 0–300-m and 0–700-m analyses of Levitus et al. (2005) between 1955 and 1998 have, respectively, slopes that are 35% and 59% of the slope for the 0–3000-m analysis (not shown), even though those layers span only 10% and 23% of the depth of the 0–3000-m layer, respectively.

    However, the ocean is not ventilated solely by mixing from a shallow surface mixed layer into the thermocline. At high latitudes in locations such as the Labrador Sea (Lazier et al. 2002) and the Greenland Sea (Karstensen et al. 2005), very dense waters occasionally form where cooling in the open ocean is sufficiently strong to overcome the weak local stratification and create a surface mixed layer that extends deep into the water column, thus locally exposing the abyss to surface forcing. In addition, very dense waters are formed on ocean shelves around Antarctica, which then cascade down into the abyss (Orsi et al. 1999). Combinations of these North Atlantic Deep Waters and Antarctic Bottom Waters ventilate the cold deep abyss, mixing with waters above them (Mantyla and Reid 1983). As a result, while middepth waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans are some of the “oldest” waters in the world in terms of the time since they have last been exposed to the surface (or ventilated), the bottom waters are significantly newer (England 1995).

    Abyssal cooling of about 0.02°C has been reported in the southwest Pacific Ocean in 1990/91 relative to 1968/69 (Johnson and Orsi 1997). It should be borne in mind that the deep stations they analyzed were widely spaced in the horizontal, not all these deep stations were occupied all the way to the bottom, the 1968/69 stations had about 500-m vertical spacing between samples in the abyss, and 0.01°C is about the best instrumental accuracy expected for the reversing thermometers (Emery and Thomson 1998) that were used in 1968/69. In contrast, more recent analyses of modern closely sampled high-quality repeat hydrographic section data taken over the last decade or so reveal an abyssal warming of 0.005°–0.01°C at decadal intervals in the very coldest, nearly vertically homogenous abyssal waters of the main deep basins of the Pacific Ocean that are ventilated from the south (Fukasawa et al. 2004; Kawano et al. 2006b).

    Here deep ocean temperature differences are presented from analyses of modern high-accuracy closely spaced hydrographic section data taken in the Pacific Ocean from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to the Alaskan Stream and occupied at least twice during the past few decades (Fig. 1).

    —end excerpt—-

    Note in particular — deepest =/= oldest:

    “middepth waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans are some of the “oldest” waters in the world in terms of the time since they have last been exposed to the surface (or ventilated), the bottom waters are significantly newer (England 1995).”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Oct 2011 @ 10:00 AM

  14. Re 11 – OK, glad I understand you. Perhaps one should clarify further that there’s no net heat coming back out. I find that these little terminology items are always a struggle when communicating with the public, and even slight problems with analogies, like the pipeline, cause confusion.

    On a related note, the IBTimes article that Pielke links ( http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/216084/20110919/global-warming-deep-ocean-research-science.htm – his link is wrong, I think ) is also misleading. It says, “The last decade saw an incessant growth in greenhouse gas emissions which ideally should have increased Earth’s temperature.” This implies that one can pattern-match the emissions trend to the temperature trend, which is incorrect due to the intervening integrations of GHG and heat accumulation. This kind of basic misconception gives skeptics undeserved traction at times.

    [Response: Well, 'ideally' temperature would be insensitive to increasing GHGs - but unfortunately that is not the planet we live on. ;-) -gavin]

    Comment by Tom Fiddaman — 3 Oct 2011 @ 10:04 AM

  15. [……particularly in ocean temperatures and particularly in the North Atlantic, yet still manage to have a well-defined climate sensitivity and predictability. - gavin]
    (my highlighting above)
    North Atlantic is the most investigated and data analysed of the oceans, with some odd things ‘concealed’ in the data, shown here as an extract from a short article I am currently writing about aspects of the N. Atlantic’s data.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Data.htm

    Comment by vukcevic — 3 Oct 2011 @ 10:23 AM

  16. @Gavin: “All of the GCMs exhibit LRD of various sorts – particularly in ocean temperatures and particularly in the North Atlantic, yet still manage to have a well-defined climate sensitivity and predictability.”

    Well, in that case, there could be an issue. Having a well-defined climate sensitivity and predictability is good, but it doesn’t mean you LRD is taken care of at all.

    The thing about LRD is that it will likely manifest itself as a parameter drift as the realizations get longer, so until you have, e.g., realizations which are twice as long, etc., you won’t see the effect. However, the point of climate sensitivity is that you want to say things about longer times in the future than the length of your series, which is long enough for the LRD to come home to roost. And, since it’s pretty much the LRD that is the issue here – attribution of the main effect to a persistent forcing (e.g. atmospheric carbon dioxide) – then it’s probably worth bothering with LM/LRD capable methods of estimation.

    It’s not likely to mess up the qualitative conclusion – since we know from rock weathering, etc., that even over very long times we have some bounds on carbon dioxide sensitivity. It’s even possible that the correction for LM/LRD is quite modest, although it’s not easy to square that possibility with the main effect being due to a source of LM/LRD. I would actually expect someone has already considered this point.

    [Response: I disagree. LRD is a statistical measure that people are fitting to a physical process. The fact of the matter is that, in particular, N. Atlantic temperatures have long memories and variability that projects onto the statistics used to characterise LRD (ie. large Hurst coefficients). Yet climate models with this statistical property do not show a long term drift in statistics. The mismatch is due to the over simplification of statistical models so that they are not representative of the physical models (and probably not the real world either). All of this is empirically demonstrable - climate models have a well-defined sensitivity and also have high Hurst coefficients in certain regions/parameters. - gavin]

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Oct 2011 @ 11:05 AM

  17. Gavin: Kudos on another excellent article.

    By coincidence, Rob Painting covers some of the same ground in “The Deep Ocean Warms When Global Surface Temperatures Stall” posted on Skeptical Science, Oct 2, 2011

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/The-Deep-Ocean-Warms-When-Global-Surface-Temperatures-Stall–.html

    Comment by John Hartz — 3 Oct 2011 @ 12:44 PM

  18. “The fact of the matter is that, in particular, N. Atlantic temperatures have long memories and variability that projects onto the statistics used to characterise LRD (ie. large Hurst coefficients). Yet climate models with this statistical property do not show a long term drift in statistics.”

    Well then the answer to my original question is apparently that people HAVE considered the statistical issues that come with LRD, (you seem to be referring to known results using models with large Hurst coefficients). One would expect “vanilla” estimations to be exposed to parameter drift due to LRD; but models which accommodate it should not have this specious drift, which suggests, (and you seem to be confirming) that models that people have used which accommodate LRD work out OK.

    So I’m not sure we disagree.

    [Response: See this previous post on Hypothesis testing and long range memory for some discussion of the issue. - gavin]

    Comment by Andrew — 3 Oct 2011 @ 1:39 PM

  19. @Gavin,

    “However, it is the case that none of these studies prove that these effects are happening in the real world – they are merely suggestive of what we might strongly expect.”

    Could you elaborate why this should be so?

    [Response: Because we don't have the data that we would ideally want. They would tell us whether what happened in the models is really happening. Meanwhile, we just have inferences that we know work in the models. So they are suggestive, but not conclusive. - gavin]

    Comment by Martin — 3 Oct 2011 @ 2:18 PM

  20. I think I understand the point being made about lost heat, but will try to express it here to make sure I do.

    If some of the expected heat gain is in the deep ocean (is not “lost”), so that the total planetary heat gain is as predicted, it suggests that our estimates of TOA imbalance are accurate, and so global warming would proceed to eventually warm the planet as expected.

    The reason the heat, despite being buried so quickly in the deep ocean, cannot “come back to haunt us”, is that the deep ocean is so vast that the heat does not stay in the same one packet or current it came down in (if it did it might pop back up just as fast), but is basically conducted away into the great abyss.

    If so it means interruptions or slow downs of warming may occur, because of tranfer of heat from the shallower layers, allowing the shallower layers to “accept” more heat from the atmosphere. This might slow down the pace at which global warming as measured in the atmosphere occurs (even though the eventual temperature rise should be the same), and we shouldnt’ expect a “make-up” more rapid warming later, because that heat will not reemerge to warm the shallower layers and affect the atmosphere.
    So possibly, climate models may overestimate the rapidity, if not the final magnitude, of atmospheric warming, due to this effect?

    Is that anywhere near right?

    Comment by Utahn — 3 Oct 2011 @ 2:39 PM

  21. Bob #9,

    IIUC, ‘warming in the pipeline’ generally refers to ‘committed warming’ minus ‘warming to date’. That is, it’s how much more the surface must warm up for the planet to reach a new radiative equilibrium, given the forcing from what we’ve already emitted. (Corrections welcome, I’m just testing my understanding.)

    Incidentally, Pielke Sr seems to be prone to thinking it refers to an assumption about warming coming back out of the oceans. I chanced across a blogpost of his where he slammed somebody’s paper for making that assumption. (From context in the paper, though, I’m pretty sure they used it properly, and not as Pielke understood a clumsy formulation of theirs.)

    As for whether we can hope the occasional decade of heat going deep into the ocean will slow the pace of warming: Rob Painting over at SkepticalScience sees those hiatus periods as alternating with periods of greater-than-average heating — suggesting, I guess, that we might get just as much heating, just in fits and starts. I dunno, I can’t see a physical reason why surface warming would have to “catch up” after a period of heat going into the deep, per se, but I guess that would depend on the mechanism behind that heat transport.

    Which brings me to the question, what mechanism, acting where, would account for these modeled deeper-sea-warming periods? I only gather from the Meehl et al abstract (no full-text access) that they seem to be associated with La Niña conditions.

    Oh, and do these model results together with the last decade’s OHC measurements mean we’re closer to accounting for the relatively slow surface warming that decade?

    Comment by CM — 3 Oct 2011 @ 3:07 PM

  22. Thanks for this post Gavin, it has clarified a few things for me. I think I understand the point that the oceans are still coming into equilibrium with surface temperatures, and that therefore there will be no heat ‘coming out of the oceans’ as such, but if the rate at which the oceans are taking up surface heat were to decline at some point in the future (perhaps because of circulation changes or simply a reduction in the imbalance), then we would see a steeper rise in surface temperatures even with other factors unchanged. The same TOA radiative imbalance would have a greater impact on surface warming in that case. Is that correct? The ‘consequences’ would be greater surface warming at a later date, not because of heat coming out of the oceans but because of less heat going *into* the oceans at that time. As Trenberth says, that heat is not going to go away, and it would make it harder to stop and reverse the rise in surface temperature if and when we start making serious efforts to do so.

    Comment by Icarus — 3 Oct 2011 @ 3:11 PM

  23. I have understood that altimetry data have been used a proxy for OHC in the upper ocean. If heat transport to and thermal expansion of the deep has occurred, is reliance on such data (for the upper ocean) been misplaced? Has thermal expansion of the deep also been considered in determining the sea level budget? Thanks again for your time.

    Comment by brian m flynn — 3 Oct 2011 @ 3:47 PM

  24. I’m catching up on some podcasts and this morning’s subway trip brought up a podcast from UCTV’s excellent oceanography series, entitled “Modeling Ocean Circulation in the Age of Supercomputers” by Paola Cessi, professor of oceanography at Scripps. Readers here might find the video a good intro to ocean circulation and the state of our understanding and modelling of it:

    http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=20912

    Her talk mentions, but does not focus on quantifying, vertical heat flux; it does offer useful background to this q. by giving a good overview of horizontal heat transport by the overturning circulation, particularly in the Atlantic basin. Horizontal net heat flux is on the order of a petawatt, though atmospheric transport is even larger at around 2-3 PW. See her slide starting at 8:45, which cites Trenberth and Caron 2001.

    Comment by Jim Prall — 3 Oct 2011 @ 4:41 PM

  25. “A common pseudo skeptic punchline is that the heat is coming from the deep ocean… got any quick easy accessible data to show that this is not the case?”

    Interesting punchline. Not because it is right, or very likely wrong, but because it does not strengthen the AGW case one iota.

    Gavin, any ‘experts’ using this example of why skeptics are wrong, are following their political interests?

    Comment by isotopious — 3 Oct 2011 @ 4:53 PM

  26. Pielke Sr. was recently on tour in Canada and he is still claiming the following in an interview with the Waterloo Record:

    “In fact, Pielke argues that various data sets, including upper-ocean heating, don’t show any global warming for the past seven years or so.”

    Now maybe the reporter got it wrong, but that is doubtful because as recently as June 2011 Pielke claimed on his blog that the top 700m of the oceans have accumulated ZERO Joules of energy since 2003.

    SkepticalScience has looked at OHC data for several datasets and they found the following:

    “In another blog post, Dr. Pielke said that the upper 700 meters of ocean have accumulated no heat since 2003. However, we examined the data from several studies on the subject (provided by NOAA), and found that between 2003 and 2009, the upper 700 meters accumulated between 1.1 x 1021 Joules (Levitus – though this reference may be slightly out of date), and 5.6 x 1022 Joules (Palmer), with Willis et al. falling in between at 5.1 x 1021 Joules.

    And of course there’s nothing special about the upper 700 meters; von Shuckmann and Le Traon (2011) estimate an increase of 5.9 x 1022 Joules between 2005 and 2010 for 10 to 1,500 meters, and heat is accumulating in the deep oceans as well (i.e. see here and here and here).

    While the trends listed above are not statistically significant due to the short timeframe, they are nevertheless most likely positive, and we certainly can’t be confident that they are zero, particularly given the order of magnitude discrepancy between the various estimates. Given this data we wonder, will Dr. Pielke agree that his previous assessment of zero Joules accumulated during this period was incorrect, and that the timeframe (since 2003) and depth (700 meters) is insufficient for a suitable assessment of the climatological trend?”

    Why is Pielke Sr. continuing to make this fallacious claim about OHC when the observations show otherwise?

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 3 Oct 2011 @ 4:53 PM

  27. Further to my last comment, estimates of horizontal heat transport do not in themselves give us much info to constrain the vertical transport by the overturning circulation. Instead, I presume the key is to quantify the mass fluxes of density-driven deep water formation by sinking at the few key locales in the North Atlantic, Antartic shelf, etc., plus key upwelling sites, then to use in-situ measurements to start to constrain the local vertical heat fluxes by advection (heat carried in parcels of sinking/rising water) as distinct from diffusion/convection across stratified layers elsewhere around the world ocean. Short-term changes in the rate of upwelling and of deep water formation (sinking) could lead to large variations in vertical advective fluxes, I’d imagine.
    Some obersvational work on this is reported in Lavender, Davis & Owens 2002 J. Phys. Oceanography
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0485(2002)032%3C0511%3AOOOODC%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Comment by Jim Prall — 3 Oct 2011 @ 4:57 PM

  28. Correct me if I’m wrong (please!) but heat transport in the ocean is dominated by bulk movement of water rather than say, radiative transport.

    Assuming that is so, then there’s a nearly linear relationship between how quickly heat can be sequestered in the deep ocean and how quickly dissolved CO2 can be (because it too is transported by bulk movement more effectively than by diffusion… right?).

    So the rate of ocean acidification could be used to constrain the physically possible rate of ocean heat vertical transport, and vice versa, right? After all, if the mixing was fast, we could worry a lot less about both warming and acidification, and conversely if the mixing slowed down, we’d be in serious trouble. Is there any literature on how these two fluxes are related or constrain each other?

    [Response: You make an excellent point, and this coupling of the carbon and heat uptake is certainly something people have been thinking about. I'll see if I can find a paper that discusses it... - gavin]

    Comment by Greg Wellman — 3 Oct 2011 @ 6:03 PM

  29. I’ll give the pipeline-confusion issue a shot here.

    In order to write a (paleo)climate textbook in 2001/2007, I had to grapple with this issue, and the highly respected source of the “pipeline” term (Jim Hansen) was not as clear about this as he could have been. So here is what I eventually came to.

    The small amount of heat that sinks into the very deep ocean (1000′s of meters) will not be seen by the atmosphere for a very long time (many hundreds up to 1000 years). So: very deep sinking is irrelevant to this discussion/thread.

    But very large (and much less publicized) volumes of water sink to depths not far below the surface layer (not far below 100-200 meters) at subpolar and northern subtropical latitudes (example: so-called 18C water just north of Bermuda in winter) Several of these large masses of sinking water are called ‘mode waters’. They reach subsurface depths of several hundred meters and carry the temperature signature of the overlying (mainly winter) atmosphere in the region where they sink.

    So consider two cases:

    A few decades ago, and for centuries before that, with cooler temperatures in these mode-water sinking regions, those shallow subsurface waters were cooler than now. As a result, the normal vertical overturn (that occurs by deep winter mixing by cold air masses and by slow diffusion) brought some of this chilly shallow subsurface water to the surface during cold winter months and kept the surface ocean cooler.

    Now consider the present>future. The same regions in which those relatively shallow waters sink have warmed and will warm more (some more than the planetary average). Because those ‘mode waters’ are warmer when they sink, they warm the shallow subsurface layer, and those same processes of winter mixing and diffusion bring to the surface subsurface waters that are warmer than they were in previous decades.

    The net (current and future) result is that the atmosphere eventually ‘sees’ more of the warming that had once been partly hidden in the shallow subsurface waters — “in the pipeline”. So the delayed benefit of this ocean pipeline heat comes back and adds an extra increment to future warming.

    This does not mean that the ocean is suddenly going to start belching back “extra heat” for no reason. Rather, normal ocean circulation is going to start exposing to the atmosphere part of the extra heat we have for decades been burying in the ocean, and will ‘feel’ this increment of “extra” heat coming in.

    But it’s our own heat — the heat we previously put there.

    Bill

    Comment by Bill Ruddiman — 3 Oct 2011 @ 7:59 PM

  30. A feasible mechanism by which heat in the upper ocean may be transported to the bottom of the ocean could be by the sinking of more dense water made that way by evaporation on the warm surface. In order for it to happen would most likely need strong circular winds to create the drain pipe effect that would be required to enable the mechanism that I suggest. To visualize what I an trying to describe, think of water going down a drain (which I call the drainpipe effect), it is like an upside down tornado.

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 3 Oct 2011 @ 9:02 PM

  31. #29 I think I may see what Dr Rudiman is suggesting with sea water right next to the Arctic ice pack.
    The contradiction of ice NOT cooling sea water with a low sun seems to make a case of it.

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2011/anomnight.10.3.2011.gif

    Comment by wayne davidson — 3 Oct 2011 @ 10:10 PM

  32. “Heat coming back out of the ocean deeps”

    Simple explanation why this is absurd: The temperature at the bottom of the ocean is 4 degrees C, 39 degrees f, if my memory is correct. c-c-cold for a swim.

    It will be quite a while before heat comes back out.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Oct 2011 @ 12:43 AM

  33. I just want to say thanks again for this site and the efforts you all make to even respond to oafs like me who ask questions thru the comments. There are a lot of really smart non-scientists who can get most of the technical posts here, and that’s what we need. Skeptical science gives us the ammunition to rebut the stupid stuff. And Climate Progess gives us the current event spin on climate change, as well as the blurbs about new studies. But when there’s a new study in which I am interested, coming to this site is invaluable. Many of us are “fighting the fight” on other fronts, and this site gives us the needed ammunition.

    Thanks
    Buzz Belleville
    Professor of Sustainable Energy Law
    Appalachian School of Law

    Comment by Buzz Belleville — 4 Oct 2011 @ 12:48 AM

  34. CM @ 21 – the climate modeling by Meehl (2011) suggest that the current hiatus may be due to natural variability. In the absence of any long-term warming this natural cycle would be like a sine-wave oscillating about a long-term average of zero – up and downs around a zero trend line. With a warming trend, the line follows an incline so that dips now become hiatus periods and the peaks become steeper and higher. Translated, that may mean “heat coming back to haunt us” as the climate climbs to the next peak of the cycle.

    The hot-coloured ocean regions in Fig 4 of my post at SkS are where heat is converging and being driven down into deeper layers. This downwelling component is quite intense in the model, and seems to be taking place at mid-latitudes. La Nina-like is reminiscent of the negative (cool) phase of the PDO.

    Comment by Rob Painting — 4 Oct 2011 @ 4:53 AM

  35. Heating ‘in the pipeline’ doesn’t refer to any heat already absorbed by the planet, but instead to heat that *will* be absorbed before the TOA radiative imbalance reaches equilibrium.

    Comment by Icarus — 4 Oct 2011 @ 6:01 AM

  36. RE: 28,29

    Hey Greg and Bill,

    It may help to keep in mind that for warm water to sink near the higher latitudes, it would have to be denser then the cooler water. In short, it is unlikely we should see “mode water”, it has to reach the bottom of the Arctic basin for the THC to be unaffected.

    As to the top 100 meters, looking at the Pacific ITCZ zone the heat content has not necessarily exceeded a +/-1 std. deviation. It appears to have no visable trend, given the measuring tool accuracy, since roughly 1996, except for the ’97 peak and ’98 trough at several TRITON sample sites. Though the N. Atlantic ITCZ region does demonstrate currently up to a 1 deg. C SST increase over historic records and higher variability in the isotherm patterns, over time since about 2005, the trend is not significantly higher. Both which suggests, most of the energy being put in near this region must be coming out prior to a complete cycle of the N. Atlantic gyre.

    I believe the key will be the salinity. Follow the surface salinity and by products (wv) and you should see the heat flow. This may help explain why the ocean surface heat may both reduce CO2 uptake and mainly only gain from the absorbed radiant energy captured at the surface in the lower latitudes.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 4 Oct 2011 @ 12:17 PM

  37. Rob Painting #34,

    I’m sorry, I failed to read your SkS post properly through before blabbering about it. I note that the surface temperature map in your figure 4 has warming at sites of deep water formation (Norwegian sea, Kamchatka peninsula) and intermediate water formation (mid-Atlantic), maybe that’s part of the explanation?
    Anyway, I see from the SkS comments that you’re planning a follow-up post on the mechanism and look forward to it.

    Comment by CM — 4 Oct 2011 @ 3:06 PM

  38. “heat coming back to haunt us”

    Rob, I think I’m understanding what you’re saying. Tell me if I have it right:

    At times, more heat than previously expected is buried in the deep ocean. This heat will not return literally to the surface, but periods of greater “shallow” ocean heating will be expected, because sometimes, much less of the heat is transported deeply (due to the natural variability in whatever mechanism is driving heat deeper than expected some of the time).

    Relatedly, since we have some expectation that this deep ocean heat transfer has always been occurring, and since our climate models have a decent handle on the sensitivity of the climate, past and present, one might expect the ebbs and flows of deep heating to even out to the expected trend based on knowledge of climate sensitivity. How’s that for a run-on sentence?

    Does this (esp the first part) represent correctly what you mean?

    Comment by Utahn — 4 Oct 2011 @ 3:51 PM

  39. Re “A common pseudo skeptic punchline is that the heat is coming from the deep ocean… got any quick easy accessible data to show that this is not the case?”

    That statement is dead wrong and I think this comment thread is setting up a strawman argument that skeptics are not making.

    Skeptics are reacting to the “heat is in the pipeline” statement of Trenberth which skeptics widely assume [rightly or wrongly] to mean ‘the heat is hiding in the deep ocean’. Pielke Sr. also is responding to this meme by saying the heat can’t be hiding in the deep ocean if we haven’t seen it transit through Argo. (Gavin’s comments on heat flux would seem to be in response the skeptic argument that ‘the heat is not hiding in the deep oceans’.)

    Now if the ‘heat is in the pipeline’ theory is not meant to say hiding in the deep ocean, then it is RC (and Trenberth?) that need to state exactly what “heat is in the pipeline” is supposed to mean.

    But please don’t blame the skeptics for stating the heat is hiding in, or coming from the deep ocean. They are not making that case, they are saying this is not the case.

    Comment by D. Robinson — 4 Oct 2011 @ 4:06 PM

  40. D. Robinson, I believe Icarus above @35 defined ‘in the pipeline’ best:

    “Heating ‘in the pipeline’ doesn’t refer to any heat already absorbed by the planet, but instead to heat that *will* be absorbed before the TOA radiative imbalance reaches equilibrium.”

    To clarify, the relevance of the deep ocean to this definition is that if heat wasn’t being sequestered in the deep, we’d already be much closer to equilibrium at the surface. It would be hotter now with less ‘in the pipeline’. Heat transport to the deep ocean delays the surface response to the TOA imbalance, resulting in more ‘in the pipeline’ at this time.

    On the separate topic of what arguments skeptics make … well as the taxonomy of those arguments at Skeptical Science shows, many are contradictory and you can’t attribute all arguments to all skeptics. One of the sillier arguments is that undersea volcanoes are responsible for ocean warming, not CO2. (I won’t bother explaining all the ways that’s silly.) But that’s probably what Magnus was referring to.

    Comment by Greg Wellman — 4 Oct 2011 @ 4:48 PM

  41. @39: I’m pretty sure that the proper term is “warming in the pipeline”, and that it means that we haven’t yet seen all the surface warming from the CO2 that we’ve already emitted. One of the reasons we haven’t seen all that warming is that the oceans absorb some of the radiative excess, moving it outside the areas (surface air and surface sea) measured by the usual temperature indexes like HadCRUT.

    As the various ocean reservoirs absorb all the heat they can, the remaining heat from the radiative imbalance will heat the surface, thus emerging from the “pipeline”. That surface heating will continue until the earth as a whole reaches radiative equilibrium.

    That’s a simplified explanation, because there are multiple ocean heat sinks that operate on different time scales.

    Comment by Meow — 4 Oct 2011 @ 4:54 PM

  42. As for ocean records, I all ways prefer a little context.
    Take for example:
    Lisiecki, L. E., and M. E. Raymo (2005), A Pliocene-Pleistocene stack of 57 globally distributed benthic d18O records, Paleoceanography,20, PA1003, doi:10.1029/2004PA001071.

    At a resolution of 1000 years, we see that from 0 to 10 kya we have 11 proxy data points, with lower values corresponding to higher temperature:
    3.23
    3.23
    3.18
    3.29
    3.30
    3.26
    3.33
    3.37
    3.42
    3.38
    3.52

    As you can see, it has been warming steadily for thousands of years. It is very likely that changes we observe today are a residual of much larger changes that have occurred in the past. Over that time, the average sea level rate of rise has been 3.6 mm per year.

    So is global warming a fraud? Clearly not!

    [Response: At this resolution, the timeseries of this stack says nothing about Holocene trends. Most of the cores don't even have a well defined Holocene section, and very few have good dates therein. Lisiecki's work is great, but it is great at the long time scales, not short. For a better view, look at Wanner et al, review paper in QSR (i think). - gavin]

    Comment by isotopious — 4 Oct 2011 @ 5:35 PM

  43. D. Robinson,
    I think that a 2-box model is somewhat instructive when trying to understand the “heat-in-the-pipeline” issue. It is only the top of the upper box that actually radiates heat away, and the amount is determined by the temperature there. Thus, heat can accumulate in the lower box (ocean) and it doesn’t raise the temperature of the upper surface of the upper box.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Oct 2011 @ 6:48 PM

  44. Yep, Lisiecki’s work is great….for the deep ocean, which has very long time scales.

    The question should be more like ‘why shouldn’t that robust ocean warming continue for several more thousand years?’

    Very likely it will in my opinion. Nothing says it wont.

    [Response: Brilliant logic. Actually, it hasn't been warming since the beginning of the Holocene (and in the Northern Hemisphere, it's definitely been cooling (as a function of the orbital change to perihelion), so if you want to extrapolate, that's the way you would go. I, on the other hand, prefer to understand why something changes, and then, based on how those things will change in the future, make a projection. Linear extrapolation based on your opinion is likely to be a touch less reliable. - gavin]

    Comment by isotopious — 4 Oct 2011 @ 7:06 PM

  45. Greg @ 28,
    I had a similar thought at some point. Anyway, I’d also be interested in anything Gavin finds.

    I’m wondering if there are gravity data sensitive enough to filter out changes in down-flow regions. Sinking water would not sink if if were not denser, regardless of if that is because it is colder or more saline; in either case, there might be enough signal to detect periods of relatively higher and lower density in these regions. Possibly technically challenging to couple that a fluid dynamics model as well, but if it could be done, it might add a useful dimension.

    Rob Painting has the same model that I have (FWTW), little waves on big waves and noise over all. It isn’t as though there is a “catching up” so much as reduction in a damping effect. (Though, I can’t think of an easy way to tell the difference just using math.) If the damping effect oscillates, you get something that looks like normal waves overlapping a ‘tidal’ wave. There are numerous local minima in the temperature record; it could be speculated that the slope of the larger wave has increased enough that it appears that the local minimum that we are in is merely flat rather than a minor valley. I have come to think Trenberth is looking for an oscillation, and Hansen is looking at noise.

    D Robinson @ 39,
    I don’t think it is accurate to paint with so broad a brush; there is a lot of diversity within the skeptic camp. But, stepping back a bit, in general, if a reasonably intelligent person says something that doesn’t makes sense to you, it is possible they are wrong, or that what they said was not interpreted correctly. It the absence of knowing which, it is better to give the benefit of doubt, or, at least, not assume they are wrong.

    I think Gavin’s response is more properly isolated to identifying the flaw in the logic about not much warming in the upper ocean implying that not much heat is being transferred to the depths.

    Heat in the deep ocean. I suppose it is possible that even if we get the current warming under control, there might be something like a distorted echo of warming that shows up in hundreds to thousands of years, not because the deep ocean upwelling is releasing heat, but because it isn’t damping quite as much as it used to.

    Comment by Chris G — 4 Oct 2011 @ 7:21 PM

  46. I was under the impression that the LR04 stack (Lisiecki & Raymo 2005) was d18O from benthic foraminifera, and as such is was NOT a proxy for temperature (ocean or otherwise), rather a proxy for global ice volume. I was also under the impression that global ice volume continued to decline even after temperatures peaked very early in the holocene, due to the (albeit brief) persistence of the Laurentide (and other) ice sheets.

    I have studied the LR04 stack data, and I know that the changes since 10ky ago are *tiny* compared to the typical swings during glaciation/deglaciation. Characterizing the last 10ky of that data set as indicating “warming” is definitely misleading. I suspect it’s deliberately so.

    Comment by tamino — 4 Oct 2011 @ 9:11 PM

  47. (treating ocean as a stack of blocks (maximally stratified))
    sunlight reaches to the depth of about 100m on locations, if this surface layer is warming then it takes at minimum 4000m (average depth of the ocean)/100m(warming layer) = 40 times that much energy to warm the deepest 100m as much assuming no downwelling nor heat escaping to the atmosphere. assuming half the radiation absorbed by the surface layer of the ocean is radiated back to atmosphere it would take some 80 years of constant heating of the upmost layer of the ocean to get a similar response in the deepest layer than the surface gets in one year. currents, downwelling and upwelling just mix thing up a bit. similarly with cooling. i’m not expecting GW to go away quickly. and by global i mean the troposphere-ocean-soil-biosphere system.

    Comment by jyyh — 4 Oct 2011 @ 10:01 PM

  48. The ratio of 18O to 16O is used to tell the temperature of the surrounding water of the time solidified, indirectly. The ratio varies slightly depending on the temperature of the surrounding water, as well as other factors such as the water’s salinity, and the volume of water locked up in ice sheets. from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%9418O
    so one should also check other sources. [My understanding is that d18O is indeed a mixture of temperature and water volume.]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Oct 2011 @ 10:16 PM

  49. I forgot to mention that there is a good presentation of the d18O proxy in Ray Pierrehumbert’s “Principles of Planetary Climate”
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/PrinciplesPlanetaryClimate/index.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Oct 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  50. Tamino, benthic d18O records measure both global ice volume and deep ocean temperature, and often a second, independent proxy like Mg/Ca is required to disentangle the effects.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 4 Oct 2011 @ 11:11 PM

  51. Dear Gavin #3,

    Thank you for your responses. I assure you it is not my intention to set up any straw man.

    A while ago now Trenberth made a similar statement to the one you have just made on Argo and fluxes:

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/further-feedback-from-kevin-trenberth-and-feedback-from-josh-willis-on-the-ucar-press-release/

    “On Sat, 17 Apr 2010, Kevin Trenberth wrote:
    Well of course any deep warming goes thru the surface layers but that requires detailed measurements far beyond Argo to track that flux. It can relate to MOC, convection, ENSO etc.”

    Pielke disagreed however:
    “I agree measuring the fluxes is a challenge. However, this is not needed in order to see heat transfer to lower levels. We just need to monitor the Joules in the layers from the sfc to say 700m to see the propagation of heat to lower levels. Unless the transfer were faster than the time interval of the measurements, this should be resolved by the available data.”

    I would think that even without accurate flux measurements, if heat was transferring through the upper 0-700m, the upper ocean would be seen to warm first. Is it your view that the heat could transfer faster than the time interval of the measurements – or is it that you think Pielke is wrong?

    [Response: Pielke's statement makes no sense. Transfers of heat are continuous processes. Upper ocean waters are indeed warming faster than those below and the temperature change in any one layer gives the net flux into that layer over time - i.e. what's coming in at the top, minus what is leaving at the bottom. The net fluxes in the upper-most layers can't be used to estimate the downward flux at 700m without more information (such as the incoming flux at the surface!) which is precisely what we don't have. Thus the only way to measure the heat flux into the deep ocean is either to measure the temperature changes there directly (hard), or model the advective and diffusive fluxes at the interface (very hard). - gavin]

    Regarding your comment on the Hansen et al. paper I admit I do not understand your response. I am not saying that this or that is a “contradiction” but it must at least be true that if Hansen has decided that the “missing heat” has probably been radiated away as a result of the aerosol forcing – and he says the same in a very detailed paper – this implies he disagrees with Trenberth and others that the missing heat is likely in the deep ocean. So it would be good to know exactly why Hansen and Trenberth seem to have come to opposite conclusions. I have not been able to work that out so far.

    Sincerely,
    Alex Harvey

    [Response: You asked me about Hansen vs. Meehl et al, not Trenberth. It should be obvious that if the forcings are less than Trenberth supposed because of higher aerosols and lower solar irradiance, then there is less heat 'missing'. It is not that it would have been 'radiated' away, but rather it was never here to begin with. But again, there is no contradiction - both Hansen and Trenberth agree that accurate estimates of the forcings are necessary, and they both agree that the deep ocean is where any remaining imbalance will end up. Nobody is absolutely wedded to a specific number for this. - gavin]

    Comment by Alex Harvey — 5 Oct 2011 @ 1:41 AM

  52. So here is similar data to Fig 11 from Wanner et al.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/flueckiger2002/fig2.gif

    As you can see CO2 has been increasing since ~8000 years ago. The source of CO2 is from net ocean warming?

    If not, where is it from, keeping in mind the overwhelming importance of the ocean as a carbon sink?

    Anything misleading here, Tamino?

    [Response: How is this similar data? You were talking about temperature rises before. This is a figure of forcings. The CO2 increase over these timescales of ~1 ppm every 400 years (some 800 times smaller than current rates of change) might be due to continued rearrangements of the carbon cycle (including the ocean), and might be influenced by early human deforestation activity (Ruddiman's hypothesis) - it is a small change and so there are many candidate processes. It still doesn't demonstrate that the planet as a whole has been warming through the Holocene. (For reference, 20 ppm is a forcing of 5.35*log(280/260) = 0.4 W/m2, and, assuming a standard sensitivity, a temperature change of 0.04ºC per thousand years if this was the only thing going on (which, of course, it wasn't). - gavin]

    Comment by isotopious — 5 Oct 2011 @ 5:09 AM

  53. Reading this it would be easy to forget that this whole discussion is based on modelling with no real world data supporting anything that has been said here. It surprises me that the only real world data that impacts on this subject has not even been mentioned.

    If the deep ocean is warming to balance decadal scale upper ocean cooling as most of the contributors here seem to believe, then you would expect this to show up in the thermal expansion contribution to sea level rise.

    Cazenove & Llovel 2009, Contemporary Sea Level Rise, have summarised the data in this area and found it does not support your conclusions.

    To summarise;
    From 1993 – 2007 they found sea level rose 3.3+-0.4mm/year with a thermal expansion component of 1.0+-0.5mm/year.
    From 2003 – 2007 they found sea level rose 2.5+-0.4mm/year with a thermal expansion component of 0.25+-0.8mm/year.

    There is clearly far less energy going into the ocean during the later atmosphere and upper ocean temperature hiatus (2003-2007)than there was when the atmosphere and upper ocean were warming (1993-2003). Since this study sea level rise has declined further and actually fallen over the last 2 years indicating that thermal expansion is now likely to be negative.

    The only reason that sea level rise from 2003-2007 was as high as 2.5mm/yr was that there was much higher ice sheet and glacial melt during this period due to lags in the system (upper ocean and air temperature did not increase).

    Meehl et al only show that it may be possible for the OHC to increase over short periods while the upper ocean is cooling slightly. And this only if they know all the relavent imputs to their model.

    The model clearly has no relavence to the current situation as the real world thermal expansion data is not consistent with it’s results.

    Comment by Bob Irvine — 5 Oct 2011 @ 8:24 AM

  54. Alex Harvey #51 makes points that I have pondered too:

    Dr Trenberth responded on the **’Trenberth on Tracking…’ SKS thread recently..

    Quote:
    “ENSO involves a redistribution of OHC and losses to the atmosphere in the latter part of El Nino, and gains during La Nina, so this is internal to the climate system, not external (comment 31). The southern ocean is clearly playing a role (comments 48, 49)in taking up heat and mixing it deep, even though the magnitude of the observed warming is small. But the data are fragmentary and unsatisfactory in many respects. Nonetheless, the southern oceans, while playing some role, are not the main place where the heat goes in our model. We have a paper submitted that describes and documents that in more detail so it is premature to go into detail here.”
    Endquote

    When does ENSO become an ‘external’ and not an ‘internal’ forcing of the climate system? El Nino and La Nina cycles are NOT 10 years apart. Dr Trenberth seems to be offering another ‘model’ in his upcoming paper rather than actual observations. We will read it with great interest.

    This is what Dr Trenberth** said on SKS about the ‘Asian sulphates’ explanation for the stasis in surface temperatures:

    Quote
    “There is discussion in the comments of the supposed finding that increasing aerosol (pollution) from China may be the explanation for the stasis in surface temperatures and I do not believe this for a moment. Similarly, Jim Hansen has discussed the role of aerosol as a source of discrepancy. However, the radiation measurements at the top of the atmosphere from satellites (CERES) include all of the aerosol effects, and so they are not extra. They may well be an important ingredient regionally, and I have no doubt they are, but globally they are not the explanation.”
    Endquote

    Dr Hansen accepts that the warming imbalance is about 0.6W/sq.m over the 2005-10 period and his explanation is mainly increased reflective Asian aerosols and Dr Trenberth is sticking to the 0.9W/sq.m+ and his explanation is that we can’t measure the oceans accurately enough to find the ‘missing heat’.

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 5 Oct 2011 @ 9:19 AM

  55. Bob @53. The thermal expansion coefficient of water varies with temperature. For fresh water it’s zero around 4C. For sea water it’s a bit different, but it’s definitely true that water at the temperature of the deep ocean has a lower thermal expansion coefficient than warmer water. Thus a period of time where most of the heat is going deep rather than staying in the surface layer will also be a period of time with a lower rate of thermal expansion of the oceans, even if the total rate of heating is identical.

    Also, the recent (last year or so) decrease in sea level appears to be because an anomalously large amount of water has been transferred to land by rainfall and hasn’t run back off to the sea yet. All those floods (e.g. in Pakistan, Australia, and the US) add up.

    Comment by Greg Wellman — 5 Oct 2011 @ 11:42 AM

  56. Gavin said: “Thus the only way to measure the heat flux into the deep ocean is either to measure the temperature changes there directly (hard), or model the advective and diffusive fluxes at the interface (very hard). – gavin]”

    Measure temperature in the top of the ocean with ARGO, take into account mass changes in ocean water, and measure sea level. Doesn’t that give us deep ocean temperature/heat content/flux?

    [Response: Good point. For this to work, you'd need very accurate freshwater additions, that's still hard, and even then there isn't an exact one-to-one correspondence between temperature and volume (it's close but not exact). - gavin]

    Comment by RichardC — 5 Oct 2011 @ 1:38 PM

  57. Bob Irvine #53.
    These references from Meehl et al. may give you more insight into “the real world”:

    Purkey, S. G. & Johnson, G. C. Warming of global abyssal and deep Southern Ocean waters between the 1990s and 2000s: Contributions to global heat and sea level rise budgets. J. Clim. 23, 6336–6351 (2010).

    Song, Y. T. & Colberg, R. Deep ocean warming assessed from altimeters, gravity recovery and climate experiment, in situ measurements, and a non-Boussinesq ocean general circulation model. J. Geophys. Res. 116, C02020 (2011).

    Comment by Lars Rosenberg — 5 Oct 2011 @ 2:01 PM

  58. Gavin at #52, re: CO2 last 8,000 years,

    Funny, I cranked through the same 280/260 ppm / 8000 years calculation just the other day to make sense of this misleading graph and discussion at climate4you. (SkepticalScience has had a few things to say about how the graph extends the temperature record into the present. I have a few things to say about how it’s extended into the past, dropping sharply beyond the 11000 ybp end of the EPICA Holocene CO2 record, thus adding to the impression of a CO2/temp mismatch.) Seems to be a popular playground.

    Comment by CM — 5 Oct 2011 @ 3:32 PM

  59. Gavin, I have a very pertinent question regarding data sets of stratified temperature readings from the surface of the oceans to well below 1000 meters of depth, it’s relevance as a tool for temperature gradient analysis, the very large amount of that data being available from all the oceans the U.S. Navy on the high seas have traversed over the years and has it been accessed from the Navy archives? Sorry, poorly worded question, but, I spent 6 years in the U.S.Navy as a Sonar technician and one of our duties was to launch a Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT).
    An electronic device that measures temperature vs depth using a thermistor on a free-falling streamlined weight. The thermistor is connected to an ohm-meter on the ship by a thin copper wire that is spooled out from the sinking weight and from the moving ship. The XBT is now the most widely used instrument for measuring the thermal structure of the upper ocean. Approximately 65,000 are used each year.

    The streamlined weight falls through the water at a constant velocity. So depth can be calculated from fall time with an accuracy of ±2%. Temperature accuracy is ±0.1°C. And, vertical resolution is typically 65 cm. Probes reach to depths of 200 m to 1830 m depending on model.

    This was done as often as 10 times a day throughout a typical cruise, depending on operation status. You probably know all this…but…as back ground for my question, and for the very reason I am asking it, I mention the specs a bit.

    The temperature gradients measured were used to identify thermoclines, an essential piece of information for detection and ranging of potential underwater targeting.

    To rephrase my question, Sir, is there potential use of all of this information for the modeling of surface to depths temperature flow? and secondly, this data set must be enormous based on the number of ships in anti-submarine roles and the number of years the worlds navies have been on the seas. I hate to say this, my participation in this exercise goes back over 40 years ago. There was a lot of data before and certainly alot after…

    [Response: Indeed. This is the raw data for all the estimates of OHC change (at least prior to the Argo float era). - gavin]

    Comment by lucien locke — 5 Oct 2011 @ 7:31 PM

  60. >> this data set must be enormous …

    > [Response: Indeed. This is the raw data …

    Perhaps that could be digitized by the CAPCHAs?

    Any librarian-ish estimate of how much exists on paper not digitized?

    Any comment on whether more data points are needed for better results, or are there enough samples now so more won’t change much?

    Wondering if any particular navy’s archive might fill in undersampled areas of space or time, and if they’re being chased down.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Oct 2011 @ 7:59 PM

  61. The CO2 change (pre industrial) since glacial maximum is around 100 ppm, or about 1ppm per ~200 years. Quite a difference (compared with 1ppm per 400years), so maybe there is more competition from the bio- sphere?, and maybe the robust ocean warming of the last several thousand years is slowing down with time (but is still robust and warming)?

    Indeed, the ice cores capture the CO2 very well, and the whole kerfuffle about leads and lags of 800 years demonstrates that the ocean and the ice are not always in sync with regards to temperature.

    The challenge remains. The ocean has been warming for thousands of years, and NH cooling and advance /retreat of glaciers is just interglacial noise which proves nothing.

    The bulk of the CO2 100ppm change is due to the ocean sink, and is a function of temperature, so during the last 8000 years, we see that the rate of increase in ppm is around halve.

    Therefore, the ocean has been warming on average during the Holocene, albeit at halve the interglacial rate. This is consistent with other lines of evidence such as continued thermal expansion of the oceans.

    [Response: Oh please. The 'It's been warming since the ice age' schtick is getting old. Please take it elsewhere. - gavin]

    Comment by isotopious — 5 Oct 2011 @ 8:04 PM

  62. Bob Irvine @ 53 – “Since this study sea level rise has declined further and actually fallen over the last 2 years indicating that thermal expansion is now likely to be negative.”

    Bob, as Greg Wellman has pointed out, the short-term fluctuations in sea level are due to the large exchange of water mass between the oceans and land. La Nina typically causes greater-than-normal rain & snow over land, and a corresponding drop in global sea level, but the last year was a real doozy. See SkS argument 171.

    Now that La Nina is again forming in the tropical Pacific, we might see a “really large pothole in the road to higher seas”, but this effect is only temporary, all that water will eventually end up back in the sea, when we reach a neutral ENSO period or the next El Nino rolls around.

    In the meantime the oceans down to 1500 metres are still warming and expanding (See Von Schuckmann and Le Traon [2011]) and the ice loss from land-based ice has accelerated in the last decade, (See Church [2011]), so it’s hard to see sea level rise coming to a stop anytime soon.

    The Von Schuckmann & Le Traon study is interesting. While other studies measuring down to 700 mtrs show ocean temperatures flatlining, or even decreasing over the short-term (Knox & Douglass [2010]), when Von Schuckmann and Le Traon measure down to 1500 mtrs, they found the oceans are continuing to warm over this short interval. This suggests the oceans can indeed bury heat into deeper layers while the surface layer is cooler-than-normal – much like the modeling of Meehl (2011) indicates.

    Comment by Rob Painting — 5 Oct 2011 @ 8:16 PM

  63. Lucien @ 59 makes a very important point.

    The US Navy submarine force has collected temperature, sound velocity profile and current data for many years. The data from missile submarines operating from 1960 to the present would be particularly useful because the position accuracy would be within a mile. It would include current data from a continuous comparison of the inertial navigation velocity to the electromagnetic log velocity through the water. The data would range in depth for surface to well over 400 feet (how much deeper is still classified).

    The declassification and release of this data would require a congressional level champion like Senator Al Gore who was instrumental in obtaining the submarine under ice data in the 1980′s. The missile submarine data is held by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. They have always had the contract to collect and analyze missile submarine patrol data to provide continuous assurance that the entire deterrent weapon system is performing to specification.

    Paul Middents

    Comment by Paul Middents — 5 Oct 2011 @ 9:24 PM

  64. MINOR TYPOS – So what can WE infer about the real world from these tests? First, we can conclude that we ARE looking at the right quantities.

    [Response: Thanks. Fixed. - gavin]

    Comment by David MacKay — 6 Oct 2011 @ 2:32 AM

  65. RE: [Response: . . .The damping of the rate of surface warming or the warming in the pipeline isn't anything to do deep ocean heat coming back out. I have no idea where this idea originated, but it is not accurate. - gavin]

    According to Dr. Trenberth deep ocean heat can and will come back out:
    “It can come back quite fast,” he said. “The energy is not lost, and it can come back to haunt us, so to speak, in the future.”

    http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_18932226

    [Response: In context, he appears to be talking about changes in OHC related to ENSO variations - this is not the 'deep ocean. However, that is a bit ambiguous. - gavin]

    Comment by barn E. rubble — 6 Oct 2011 @ 5:58 AM

  66. RE: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_18932226

    “[Response: In context, he appears to be talking about changes in OHC related to ENSO variations - this is not the 'deep ocean. . .]”

    The above article’s title:
    Boulder scientists: Climate’s ‘missing heat’ locked deep in the ocean

    And a quote: “The discovery of the heat, which the researchers say is likely locked deep in the ocean, . . .”

    Have I misread this article? Or are they not talking about ‘missing heat’ being in the ‘deep ocean’? IE: beyond 1000m.

    Another quote from the same article: “But Trenberth and his colleagues — including lead author Gerald Meehl — were able to show, using NCAR’s Community Climate System Model, that the excess heat is likely buried deeper than 1,000 feet in the ocean, where researchers now have few reliable temperature gauges.”

    If this is not the ‘deep ocean’ they’re talking about, what is?

    [Response: This was not a very good article in many respects - the Meehl et al paper did not 'discover' any heat, and the framing in terms of the 'travesty' email (which was related to our very incomplete observational capabilities) was clumsy. The particular quote you are talking about is obviously from a longer interview, and the immediate antecedent is a discussion of ENSO:

    The burying of warmer water also corresponds with La Nina weather patterns, which are born from cooler-than-average surface water temperatures in the tropical Pacific. And over the last decade, La Nina conditions have dominated, Trenberth said.

    That the heat is buried in the ocean, and not lost into space, is troublesome, Trenberth said, since the heat energy isn't likely to stay in the ocean forever, perhaps releasing back into the atmosphere during a strong El Nino, when sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are warmer than average.

    "It can come back quite fast," he said. "The energy is not lost, and it can come back to haunt us, so to speak, in the future."

    Now given that we don't have a complete record of what was said, and there is ambiguity about what he is referring to, you can infer what you want - knowing Kevin quite well, I'm pretty confident that he is talking about ENSO and upper ocean variations in OHC related to that, not heat fluxes into the below 700m level. I've explained why heat going below 700m is not likely to 'come back fast', and nothing in this newspaper article changes that. - gavin]

    Comment by barn E. rubble — 6 Oct 2011 @ 8:40 AM

  67. Dear Gavin #51,

    You wrote,
    “…there is no contradiction – both Hansen and Trenberth agree that accurate estimates of the forcings are necessary, and they both agree that the deep ocean is where any remaining imbalance will end up. Nobody is absolutely wedded to a specific number for this.”

    Well, I am sure that even skeptics agree that accurate estimates of the forcings are necessary, and that some amount of heat finds its way to the deep ocean. And it does appear from Trenberth’s statement quoted by Ken Lambert in #54 that he believes Hansen is wrong about aerosol effect.

    Anyhow, I asked another question earlier which you didn’t answer and I’d be most grateful if you would – if you know of course.

    Hansen et al. write,
    “GISS modelE-R … achieves only 60 percent response in 100 years. At least several other climate models used in IPCC (2001, 2007) studies have comparably slow response. Diagnostic studies of the GISS ocean model show that it mixes too efficiently, which would cause its response function to be too slow.”

    Elsewhere he says “many” of the models exhibit this defect.

    Later,
    “Ocean heat uptake during the Argo era agrees well with the intermediate response function (75 percent response in 100 years) and is inconsistent with either the slow or fast response functions.”

    So I am interested to know what the response function is in the model used by Meehl et al. Specifically, is it the 75 percent per 100 years response that Hansen et al. consider realistic?

    Sincerely,
    Alex Harvey

    Comment by Alex Harvey — 6 Oct 2011 @ 8:53 AM

  68. RE:[Response: This was not a very good article in many respects . . . and nothing in this newspaper article changes that. - gavin]

    Well, I now leave as confused (or more so) than I entered . . .

    Comment by barn E. rubble — 6 Oct 2011 @ 11:47 AM

  69. Dear Gavin,

    Are you planning to discuss the new ACPD paper by Hansen et al. (“Earth’s energy imbalance and implications”)? If I understand the paper correctly, ocean observations indicate that current climate models overestimate downward mixing in the oceans, and transport more heat to the deep oceans than in fact occurs. Despite this, climate models generally do a decent job of predicting recent global temperature increases. If the models transport too much heat to the deep oceans but give good performance on surface temperatures, it must follow that the net climate forcing in current models is too large. Since the most uncertain part of the current forcing is aerosol forcing, the Authors propose that true aerosol forcings are considerably more negative than those used in current models.

    [Response: I'm not as convinced as Jim that ocean measurements are out of line with ocean models (see this figure for instance), but of course, there are uncertainties in the aerosol forcings. -gavin]

    I was surprised to read that most models do not use the aerosol forcings that were estimated by IPCC. Why is that?

    [Response: IPCC doesn't produce 'aerosol forcings' - these are a function of the IPCC-sanctioned emissions (though there are reasonable variations around), the aerosol and chemistry model, the microphysics model for the indirect cloud effects, and the radiation code. You can't simply take directly some global mean forcing and say you're done. - gavin]

    Comment by Rob Waterland — 6 Oct 2011 @ 1:56 PM

  70. In regards to #69 – Are there any papers comparing the aerosol forcings (direct and indirect) produced by GCMs against estimates from observations/other modelling exercises.

    Looking at the basic properties of GCMs in the AR4 ensemble I saw that most of the models don’t attempt to produce any indirect effect at all. It seems to me they must underestimate aerosol forcing. The outcome is a curious paradox where some of the lower sensitivity GCMs in the ensemble cast produce some of the fastest rates of warming over the next few decades.

    Is it not probable that the AR4 ensemble projections are slightly too warm in the near-term (at least with respect to this aspect of the climate system. There may be other areas where the models are running too cold)?

    [Response: Yes. Some of the models undoubtedly had too high forcings since they assumed no indirect aerosol effect (though note that some models like GISS-E-R/H did include estimates of that) and obviously that impacts how you should weight them in certain circumstances. But some other models didn't include tropospheric ozone forcing either - so that might cancel to some extent. It could be useful to try and normalise the hindcasts based on late 20th C forcing differences and that might narrow the spread slightly. But note that for short time periods (i.e. less than 20 years or so), most of the variance in trends is due to weather noise, not small differences in net forcing. - gavin]

    Comment by Paul S — 6 Oct 2011 @ 3:27 PM

  71. A related study is Katsman & van Oldenborgh, Tracing the upper ocean’s “missing heat”, GRL, 38, L14610,, 2011, doi:10.1029/2011GL048417, http://www.knmi.nl/publications/fulltexts/katsman_vanoldenborgh2011.pdf, a correction to a minor computational error is to appear). Just like Palmer et al we find that there are two main causes for decadal heat content fluctuations around the trend in our model (17 transient runs with ECHAM5/MPI-OM): radiation to space (to a large extent connected with decadal ENSO) and heat exchange with the deep ocean (concentrated in the North Atlantic (AMOC) and Southern Ocean). Coming back to the real world, we note that changes in both ENSO and deep-water formation in the Labrador sea are consistent with these findings.

    Comment by Geert Jan van Oldenborgh — 6 Oct 2011 @ 3:55 PM

  72. The oceans below ~1000 meters are less than 4 degrees Centigrade. The earth’s average surface (air?) temperature is about 16 degrees centigrade, and the surface layer of the oceans is about 17 degrees C. It would take an enormous number of joules to raise the deep oceans by one degree Centigrade, still less than 5 degrees C. If brought back to the surface, this water wouldn’t actually warm the surface layer and air above it, but would instead absorb less energy. Shouldn’t we be saying that this heat will eventually decrease the cooling/buffering capacity of the oceans, instead of saying this heat will “come back” – out, to haunt us, whatever? (perhaps this contributed some to barn E. rubble’s confusion)

    How much additional infrared is emitted by Arctic ocean water that was formerly perennially ice covered?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 6 Oct 2011 @ 8:01 PM

  73. > barn E. rubble says:… Well, I now
    > leave as confused (or more so) …

    One day visits aren’t enough to get good answers in unfamiliar territory.
    Maybe a pointer to the ‘elevator speeches’ condensed info would’ve helped.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Oct 2011 @ 9:18 PM

  74. Gavin said: Most heat transport into the deep ocean will occur in the down-welling branches of the overturning circulation, centered in the North Atlantic and the Southern Oceans. Diffusive fluxes in the rest of the ocean will be much smaller.”

    ——–

    This is always what I assumed to be the case given the massive amount of water transported downward in these regions. Do you have a few good references that you’d recommend on research done related to the down-welling heat transport in the two regions?

    Comment by R. Gates — 6 Oct 2011 @ 11:27 PM

  75. Is the frequency of low pressure tropical systems a factor relative to polar low pressure systems?

    Comment by cd — 7 Oct 2011 @ 5:13 AM

  76. Greg Wellman #55, Rob Painting #62,

    I don’t doubt that cooler water in the deep ocean has a lower expansion coefficient. We are talking here about water below 700m only and the thermal expansion in that body of water is not significantly less than the ocean as a whole.

    Lars Rosenberg #57

    Here is a quote from Song & Colberg 2011
    ” deep ocean warming below 700 m might have contributed 1.1 mm/yr to the global mean SLR or one‐third of the altimeter‐observed rate of 3.11 ± 0.6 mm/yr over 1993–2008.” In other words the ocean below 700m is capable of considerable thermal expansion assuming S & C are correct.

    The real world data, Cazenove & Llovel 2009, shows aprox. 1.3mm/yr thermal expansion from 1993 to 2003 followed by a significant drop to 0.25+-0.8mm/yr from 2003 to 2007 and likely to 2011.

    If the reason for the upper ocean hiatus was changes in the flux between the upper and lower ocean then you would expect the thermal expansion component of SLR to fall slightly due to the different expansion coefficients.

    The real world data shows a huge drop in thermal expansion during the period of the cooling of the top 700m. This drop is too big to be explained by the missing heat hiding in the deep ocean.

    The model shows that these inversions can happen but the real world data proves that this is not significant in this case.

    Comment by Bob Irvine — 7 Oct 2011 @ 8:00 AM

  77. Re: 72

    As to re-emission of IR from the surface about 99.96% is now radiated when compared to prior 19th-early 20th century ice coverage. The main balance going into ice melt, wv, wind and radiating from a higher altitude. Generally, the rate of emission is not changed as much as the time required to remove the heat. Hence, rapid ice redevelopment and maintence of the THC flow rate. In the future when there is nearly no permanent ice and virtually all processes become seasonal, surface emission again will be nearly the same rate (say 99.8%) only from a greater surface area. I believe the better question may be; How different will the rate be when the ice melts and the alternate heat flow pathways (evaporation, sublimination) become more prevalent?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 7 Oct 2011 @ 8:15 AM

  78. Gavin – I am glad you noticed my post

    Torpedoing Of The Use Of The Global Average Surface Temperature Trend As The Diagnostic For Global Warming
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/torpedoing-of-the-use-of-the-global-average-surface-temperature-trend-as-the-diagnostic-for-global-warming/

    We seem to disagree on several points. First, you write

    “The second point is related to a posting by Roger Pielke Sr last week, who claimed that the Meehl et al paper ‘torpedoed’ the use of the surface temperature anomaly as a useful metric of global warming. This is odd in a number of respects. First, the surface temperature records are the longest climate records we have from direct measurements and have been independently replicated by multiple independent groups. I’m not aware of anyone who has ever thought that surface temperatures tell us everything there is to know about climate change, but nonetheless in practical terms global warming has for years been defined as the rise in this metric. It is certainly useful to look at the total heat content anomaly (as best as it can be estimated), but the difficulties in assembling such a metric and extending it back in time more than a few decades preclude it from supplanting the surface temperatures in this respect.”

    However, we now have a robust way to diagnose upper ocean heat content, we should move to that metric, starting in ~2003, as the primary metric to monitor global warming.

    [Response: The idea that there can be only one metric has no basis in anything. Every new stream of information is useful in building up a picture of what is happening - some records have longevity, others have depth, some are regional, some are global. Your desire to dethrone or torpedo the global surface temperature records is merely rhetorical (unless you are seriously suggesting that we stop monitoring the surface temperatures? Surely not!). - gavin]

    Also, NASA, GISS and CRU analyze their data differently, but they have a large overlap in their raw data; see my post

    Erroneous Information In The Report “Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes”
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/erroneous-information-in-the-report-procedural-review-of-epas-greenhouse-gases-endangerment-finding-data-quality-processes/

    [Response: More semantics: - the *analyses* of the raw data are independent, and it is easy to show that you get the same basic trend with completely independent subsets of the data. - gavin]

    You write

    “the surface temperature records …. have been independently replicated by multiple independent groups.

    This is not correct.

    [Response: Yes, it actually is. And the Berkeley effort will show it again. - gavin]

    Finally, you write

    “Obviously heat going below 700m must have passed through the upper ocean. However, the notion that Argo could see this is odd. Argo measures temperature, not flux. The net flux into a layer is calculated by looking at the change in temperature. It cannot tell you how much came in at the top and left at the bottom, only how much remained. – gavin]”.

    You are, of course, correct that Argo measures temperatures, but unless you can show the temporal sampling period is too long, or the spatial sampling is too sparse, the downward movement of heat would be seen in positive temperature anomalies as they move towards lower depth. Similarly, if this heat were to re-emerge, we would also see it as the anomalies move upwards.

    [Response: This is a continuous process - not lumps of anomalous heat that can be tracked individually. - gavin]

    Also, if there is large amounts of heat being stored at depth in the ocean, this means that the global annual average surface temperature trend is not sampling this heat. This surface temperature trend would be underestimating global warming.

    [Response: Semantics: You are redefining 'global warming' to something different to what anyone else thinks and then claiming that the standard measure of global warming (as understood by everyone else) is not being properly sampled. I can redefine apple to mean an orange, and then claim that people shouldn't just bite into apples because of the skin. It might make sense logically, but as a method of communicating a fact to an audience, it is woeful. Words do not mean just what *you* say they mean. - gavin]

    Roger

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 7 Oct 2011 @ 9:47 AM

  79. Gavin –

    [Response: Yes, it actually is. And the Berkeley effort will show it again. - gavin]

    The Berkeley analysis is a more indepedent assessment. We agree on that, and that it supports the GISS/NCDC/CRU trend findings with respect to the mean. This still does not make the GISS/NCDC/CRU independent.

    The issue of why you persist in retaining the surface temperature trend as the primary metric of global warming is a puzzle to me. We, of course, need surface temperatures for a wide variety of other reasons. However, if significant heat is being transported to deeper depths, I assume you would agree that the surface temperature trend would underestimate global warming and influence the calculaiton of “climate sensitivity”. But let us know if you disagree and why.

    [Response: "Climate sensitivity" is classically defined as the change in surface temperature as a response to radiative forcing. It is an equilibrium concept that is almost completely divorced from the flux of heat into the deep ocean. One could define a new concept - "total heat content sensitivity" (in J per W/m2 - odd unit) which would be related to the standard sensitivity, but also to the ocean mixing processes. Given that concept one could attempt to estimate it from observations and diagnose it in models and one could try and make a case that this was somehow more relevant in terms of impacts or vulnerability. All of these things could be done. But, as far as I am aware, none of them have. Thus, the standard climate sensitivity remains the focus of attention. I would suggest that if you want to change that, you should embark on the steps I gave above rather than simply co-opting language and changing standard definitions. So, to directly answer your question, since surface temperature changes define global warming, they cannot underestimate it. If you really mean to say that surface temperature increases don't tell you much about deep ocean heat content changes, then this is of course true. But in that case I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 7 Oct 2011 @ 10:21 AM

  80. What is the best metric for measuring global warming or cooling.? I submit that the Hadley global SST fits the bill as well as anything.The Oceans occupy 70% of the surface and SST’s while not perfect avoid the problems raised by the UHI effect and more importantly they avoid the problem caused by the fact that the land temperature data does not measure the enthalpy of the system which is the really significant number.Since the sea is 100% saturated with H20 the changing temperature is a good relative measure of the change in enthalpy.
    The Hadley data shows warming from 1900- 1940 ,cooling from 1940 – about 1975 and warming from 1975 – 2003. CO2 levels rose steadily during this entire period. There has been no net warming since 1997 – 14 years with CO2 up 7% and no net warming. ( Check the actual data at the Hadley center) Anthropogenic CO2 has some effect but our knowledge of the natural drivers is still so poor that we cannot accurately estimate what the anthropogenic CO2 contribution is. Since 2003 CO2 has risen further and yet a simple regression from 2003 -2011 shows the global temperature trend is negative. This is obviously a short term on which to base predictions but in the context of declining solar activity – to the extent of a possible Dalton or Maunder minimum and the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation a global 20 – 30 year cooling spell is more likely than a warming trend.
    These simple empirical observations are a better guide than our current climate models to the immediate future and our lack of knowledge of the system precludes any useful predictions beyond that date.

    Comment by Norman Page — 7 Oct 2011 @ 12:32 PM

  81. Gavin,
    Re Greg @28 and your response

    1. I recently read Tim Hall’s science brief (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hall_03/) and did wonder at the time if this methodology could be used to estimate OHC. Khatiwala S., F. Primeau, and T. Hall, 2009: Reconstruction of the history of anthropogenic CO2 concentrations in the ocean, Nature, 462, 346-349, doi:10.1038/nature08526.

    2. Has anyone tried to set an upper bound on OHC anomaly given what we know about SST the upper 700m and how heat is transported through the ocean?

    Comment by mdenison — 7 Oct 2011 @ 2:35 PM

  82. Gavin – You write

    “surface temperature changes define global warming”.

    Here is where we have a fundamental disagreement. Global warming is defined by the accumulation of heat in the units of Joules. Surface temperature changes by itself is not heat.

    [Response: I am well aware that temperature is a different quantity than heat, and have no objection to people tracking the accumulation of heat, but 'global warming' is simply not defined in this way. This is not a 'fundamental disagreement', this is simply you redefining the term 'global warming'. For me (and almost anyone else you care to ask) global warming refers to the increase in global surface temperature anomaly. Indeed, 'warmth' is not a pure function of Joules - ice and water at 0 deg C have the same 'warmth', but very different heat contents. The very natural definition of warming is in terms of temperature; when people say that something has warmed, it means that the temperature has risen. You would be much more effective at communicating your scientific points if you used words in ways other people were already used to. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 7 Oct 2011 @ 3:20 PM

  83. Bob Irvine @ 76 – a few things:

    - you conveniently neglect the more recent paper I referred you to, Von Schuckmann and Le Traon (2011), which measures from 10-1500 mtrs deep. They observed the oceans are still accumulating heat over the period 2005-2010. So the oceans down to 1500 mtrs can build up heat, but heat in the top 700 mtrs has barely changed. Remember this is “real world data”. So the model simulations in Meehl (2011) aren’t so fanciful after all.

    - the hiatus periods seen in the model simulations is due to the La Nina-like (negative IPO) state. In other words, it’s the shuffling of heat in the upper ocean, between the subsurface layers and the surface, that causes the warm (El Nino-like)/cool(La Nina-like) decadal global surface temperature trends. This has nothing to do with the heat that is going to the very deep ocean – that won’t re-surface for hundreds to thousands of years.

    [Response: Also check out the latest Church et al paper: - gavin]

    - You seem to have misunderstood Song & Colberg (2011) too. They indicate that heat getting to ocean layers below 700 mtrs explains the observed trend in sea level rise over the period 1993-2008. Again – not inconsistent with the modeling.

    Comment by Rob Painting — 7 Oct 2011 @ 4:33 PM

  84. Roger – Gavin Doesn’t my suggestion of using the SST data as the basis for climate discussion resolve Roger,s problems and yet maintain the conventional
    measure of warming and cooling.The thermal inertai of the oceans also smooths out short term noise in the system.

    Comment by Norman Page — 7 Oct 2011 @ 4:39 PM

  85. Gavin – This is one reason why we have a different view of this issue. You write

    “Indeed, ‘warmth’ is not a pure function of Joules – ice and water at 0 deg C have the same ‘warmth’, but very different heat contents”.

    They do not have the same “warmth”, just the same temperature. There is more “warmth” with the liquid water. This is not semantics, but basic physics. If we want to properly monitor global warming, it must be in units of heat.

    You are correct that when ” people say that something has warmed, it means that the temperature has risen”. However, when a scientist say that something has warmed, it means that the Joules have increased.

    [Response: We'll just have to agree to disagree then, because I agree with 'people' in this context. Warming means an increase in temperature for almost anybody you ask, and redefining it to mean something different just leads to confusion. And indeed, since I can find no antecedent for 'climate sensitivity' referring to anything else other than the global surface temperature change, I'm pretty confident that most scientists will agree. But regardless of what the common usage is, if you want to be understood clearly, I strongly suggest you define your terms every time you make a statement if you do not want to be misunderstood. For future reference, any time I use the phrase global warming, it is to be understood to refer to the increase in global mean surface temperatures. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 7 Oct 2011 @ 5:31 PM

  86. Dr Pielke at 85,
    In my Chemistry class we define “warming” as a temperature increase. If the Joules increases we say the enthalpy or the energy content has increased. Can you provide a reference for your claim that “when a scientist say that something has warmed, it means that the Joules have increased.” I will change our definations if you can provide an authoritative reference to support your claim. You made a similar argument last week at Skeptical Science. You appear to be trying to redefine Global Warming. What useful purpose is there in making this change?

    Comment by Michael Sweet — 7 Oct 2011 @ 7:26 PM

  87. Roger,
    I think that one reason for using global surface temperature as the metric is that this is what determines our experience of climate–drought, precipitation, comfort, etc., will all be influenced more by surface temperature than ocean heat content. I rather doubt that the residents of Bastrop County, TX care much what ocean heat content is doing these days.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Oct 2011 @ 8:37 PM

  88. @87 The Texas drought is one of the few events which can reasonably reliably be related to climate change ie the current cooling trend.. In the cooling phase of the PDO La Ninas become more frequent and it is this latest La Nina (which looks like it may build up again and continue into next year)which is responsible for the Texas drought. Incidentally it is also a good example of why land temperatures are not the best measure of climate change .(See 80 and 84 above) Although temperatures in Texas have been very high – the enthalpy of the system is less than the temperature alone might suggest because the humidity has been very low for long periods.
    I happen to own a cabin in Bastrop county and I care quite a bit about the OHC and in particular the SOI . The latter is a useful predictor of likely temperatures and humidity in Bastrop county. These lag the SOI by 5 – 7 months.

    Comment by Norman Page — 7 Oct 2011 @ 11:31 PM

  89. @88: there is no such thing as a “current cooling trend”. Unless you redefine and re-redefine “warming” and “cooling” long enough :-)

    Comment by Marcus — 8 Oct 2011 @ 5:30 AM

  90. Dear Roger #78,

    You wrote above that it is
    “…correct that Argo measures temperatures, but unless you can show the temporal sampling period is too long, or the spatial sampling is too sparse, the downward movement of heat would be seen in positive temperature anomalies as they move towards lower depth. Similarly, if this heat were to re-emerge, we would also see it as the anomalies move upwards.

    Gavin responded,
    “This is a continuous process – not lumps of anomalous heat that can be tracked individually.”

    As a layperson I find myself somewhat persuaded by both statements. Intuitively, I would expect that if heat was going to the deep ocean, it would indeed be seen by Argo as “lumps” passing through the upper 700m. Could you elaborate on why you believe that Argo should be able to detect the movement of heat into the deep ocean and why you believe that it hasn’t detected it?

    Sincerely,
    Alex Harvey

    Comment by Alex Harvey — 8 Oct 2011 @ 5:46 AM

  91. Rob #83

    My initial question was. ” How do you square the large drop in thermal expansion since 2003 (1.3mm/yr down to 0.25mm/yr according to Cazenove and Llovel 2009) with your belief that energy is continuing to build at the same rate in the oceans? ”

    Your answer was that colder water has a lower expansion coefficient and therefore the same amount of energy would cause less thermal expansion if it were to find it’s way to the deep oceans.

    Schuckmann et al looked at the top 1500m and found warming. This does vindicate the model as you say. The problem is that the expansion coefficient in this region is not different enough from the top 700m to explain the large drop in thermal expansion.

    Song and Colberg support my position when they state that “deep ocean warming below 700m might have contributed 1.1mm/yr to Sea Level Rise …over 1993-2008″. In other words they are saying that the change in expansion coefficient is not significant when compared with the large drop in thermal expansion.

    Kouketsu et al 2011 found something less than 5% of energy entering the ocean is transported below 3000m and this is the only area where the expansion coefficient is small enough to slow SLR significantly.

    Unless you can satisfactorily explain the large drop in thermal expansion of the oceans over the last eight years then the inescapable conclusion is that the earth’s heat content is increasing much more slowly than all the models predict.

    A couple of other points. Song and Colberg delt with the total period 1993-2008 while we are talking about the difference between 1993-2003 and 2003 to the present.

    There have been 5 el ninos and 4 la ninas since the air temperature hiatus started 13 years ago.

    Comment by Bob Irvine — 8 Oct 2011 @ 8:44 AM

  92. I think I understand what Roger is doing here:

    `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – - that’s all.’

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 8 Oct 2011 @ 9:07 AM

  93. I’ve enjoyed the discussion related to what is commonly meant by the terms “global warming”, “temperature”, and “heat”. Ultimately, isn’t the issue about the earth’s energy balance and how changes in that balance affects climate? If it is, then in keeping with that, i would think it would be good to stay focused on energy in all forms as it moves and is transferred throughout the atmosphere and oceans. Certainly higher surface temperatures are one way we would see increases in total energy, and the easiest perhaps to grasp for the public, but perhaps not the most important in terms of long term climate change. The heat going into the deeper ocean “heat sink” may turn out to be more important later on.

    Comment by R. Gates — 8 Oct 2011 @ 9:09 AM

  94. @ 89 My original post said “simple regression from 2003 -2011 shows the global temperature trend is negative.”
    This simply states the truth – what don’t you understand?

    [Response: Ah, the 'truth'! And yet this is only the 'truth' because you pick a specific start date and specific temperature series, and is not 'true' if you do anything different. What kind of 'truth' is this, that is so fragile? - gavin]

    Comment by Norman Page — 8 Oct 2011 @ 9:23 AM

  95. @ 94 Response. In 80 and 84 I gave perfectly good scientific reasons for picking SSTs as the best climate indicator. As to 2003 it is the numerical peak of the SST data ( not counting the 1998 El Nino) and the place where the 5 year moving average rolls over.
    All scientific interpretation of satistical analyses depends on first being transparent – that I have been and secondly they must be taken in context – in this case the state of the PDO and the unprecedented decline
    in the solar magnetic field strength. When you do this my conclusions for the next 20 years or so are not fragile. They are sigificantly more robust than any of the Hansen climate model predictions have been over the last decade- both he and Trenberth are desperately looking for the missing heat – Hansen thinks it has something to do with aerosols and Trenberth conveniently dumps it into the deep ocean. ( These are sort of epicycle type theories – to add on to models which are fundamentally flawed – built as they are on assumptions and assignments of forcings and feed backs which are simply wrong- but thats another story entirely.

    [Response: If you think that your predictions are better than anyone else's, you should be willing to put your money where your mouth is. There are a number of people willing to bet on positive decadal trends and if you think it is going to cool on such timescales, you should take them on. There are even Intrade markets on this - and if you think you know better, take on people there. Your scheme, based on what? linear extrapolation from a cheery-picked record?, is very unlikely to be a good prediction, but you should be encouraged to make predictions and assess your hypothesis in the light of what actually happens. - gavin]

    Comment by Norman Page — 8 Oct 2011 @ 11:03 AM

  96. RE:88

    Hey Norman,

    Before we go too far off topic can we first revisit the issue of heat transference. I would like to suggest a simple empirical model, beach sand or desert sand. Many who live near one of the coasts in the sub-tropics are very familiar with how hot the sand between the parking and the shore can get, near noon, if you are not wearing something on your feet. It does not matter if the sand is high in shell pieces (CaCO) or simple white silica or even silica heavily stained with FeO. (The basic character should be similar only the depth of measure will change. We also need to keep in mind that though closer to the waters edge more moisture in the sand will change the measures.)

    The point is if you were to measure the heat at the surface the temperature would exceed a comfortable pain limit for most people. However, if you shuffle your feet below the surface till you reach the waters edge the heat it acceptable. What does the depth have to do with the heat, simple the lower mass is “shaded” by the surface “skin layer”, does radiant energy go into the depths, yes. Many a moon lit night buried in warm sand sand can attest to that, though by morning watching the sunrise, other then reducing wind chill the sand to 1 meter offers little warmth.

    The point being the skin layer and or turbidity may offer the greatest control over insolation. It is not until the skin layer achieves parity with the heat content below that the inversion condition dissapates and the daily insolation is released. However, in soils rich in moisture you can break through the inversion layer and release a portion of the entrapped energy.

    We also should account for the issue in that it does not always require the skin layer to heat up under insolation. Some small part of the incoming photonic energy will be disssapated by the disassociation of a water molecule from the surface by increasing its energy level enough for it to “fly off” the surface. Note, this is more prevelant where there is low RH.

    The point being when we are talking of processes involved we need to consider there are multiple paths in heat flow. When discussing Global Warming we are discussing the primary processes here. Sometimes folks get confused as to the participation of various pathways.

    Now that being said. Since 2000 there have been a number of cases in which TX has seen a number of years of both flood and drought. These events have occurred during a El Nino, La Nina and neutral phase without one directly driving the process, even if you associate delay. The primary driver of these conditions appears to be related to long resident Blocking Highs and Cut-Off Lows.

    The most recent events appears to be related to the Southern Jet Stream having a strong un-seasonal northward track across the US. So my question back to you is why this deviation in a weakend La Nina this year and not a strong deviation last year when the La Nina was much stronger and did not diminish in early June as we normally see in the ENSO driven patterns?

    If this is related to AGW can you define the process that causes the changes in the resident pressure centers? (Note, if you can define the cause for the Bermuda and Azores Highs and their movement I believe you may have better insight into the current events.) Again, as this is a bit OT I will end here.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 8 Oct 2011 @ 11:07 AM

  97. Norman Page – With some modifications to Gavin’s link here are trends between 1987 and 1996.

    Should we deduce from this that we’ve been in a cooling phase since 1987?

    Comment by Paul S — 8 Oct 2011 @ 11:29 AM

  98. Bob, in 91, says baldly:

    Unless you can satisfactorily explain the large drop in thermal expansion of the oceans over the last eight years then the inescapable conclusion is that the earth’s heat content is increasing much more slowly than all the models predict.

    Bob, there is at least one alternative to this. Water, you know, evaporates from the ocean and falls, sometimes, on land. It doesn’t all run off. A warmer ocean with warmer air above it, transports more water. If the water doesn’t, or can’t (think dams) run off water is effectively removed from the ocean.

    So, logically, your statement is simply incorrect. Interestingly a recent NASA study found just what I was talking about. Joe Romm had a piece on it recently: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/02/332364/nasa-rained-so-hard-oceans-fell/

    — David

    Comment by David Miller — 8 Oct 2011 @ 12:16 PM

  99. Alex Harvey

    Thank you for your question

    “Could you elaborate on why you believe that Argo should be able to detect the movement of heat into the deep ocean and why you believe that it hasn’t detected it?”

    If you look at current data such as from the ECMWF; e.g. see http://www.ecmwf.int/products/forecasts/d/charts/ocean/real_time/xzmaps/

    you can see areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies. Using the entire Argo network, such “lumps” of greater or less than average Joules should be seen in the analyses as one examines all of the profiles.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 8 Oct 2011 @ 12:36 PM

  100. Bob @91,

    “Unless you can satisfactorily explain the large drop in thermal expansion of the oceans over the last eight years then the inescapable conclusion is that the earth’s heat content is increasing much more slowly than all the models predict.”

    I would strongly caution people against making confident generalizations based on such a short period of time (i.e., 2003-2010), especially when we know that the AR4 simulations would not have “known” a priori that the aerosol loading increased notably in the last 10 years or so, and that because the data display variability 7 years is way too short a time interval to make claims that the models are wrong (see Santer et al. 2011). There is no reason to expect the increase in to be monotonic as skeptics seem to think. Skeptics getting overly excited every time their is a short-term slow down or hiatus got tiring a very long time ago.

    It fascinates me that skeptics continue to be so focused on short-term trends to the point of seriously missing the big picture. Also, it is curious that people (like Roger Snr.) like to nit pick and make grand claims about the meaning of the OHC data since 2003, but they do very little if anything to better understand the mechanisms and processes at play, and do not even use the full depth of Argo data available. It all seems, instead of trying to better understand the science and to advance the science, an attempt by skeptics to caste doubt.

    In contrast, we have scientists like Meehl, Schmidt, Hansen, Katsman, Oldenborgh, Fasullo, Sato, Church, von Shuckmann and Trenberth etc. making a sincere and determined effort to improve our understanding of the climate system. They are the ones advancing the science and our understanding. The “skeptical” scientists not so much, instead they are doing what amounts to a lot of arm waving, cherry picking and obfuscating.

    Hansen et al. (2011, submitted) and Church et al. (2011) are great papers, and do an excellent job of explaining where the science and data are at, and what it all means. We are not off the hook, and BAU when it comes to our GHG emissions is not an option, it never was.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 8 Oct 2011 @ 12:59 PM

  101. Re: 78 and 90.

    There is a smidgeon of truth in the idea that temperature anomalies are related to heat fluxes, but it is a lot more complex than Dr. Pielke seems to assume. In the lower atmosphere (a few metres height), with which I am most familiar, one method of measuring the heat flux is called “eddy correlation” or “eddy covariance”, and involves the simultaneous measurement of both temperature and vertical velocity. Basically, each upward or downward puff and it’s heat content (temperature X heat capacity) is measured, and the average of the cross-product over time is the flux. You can also measure evaporation if you have humidity measurements, or the flux of any other gas if you have its concentration.

    In the lower atmosphere, you need readings at least several times per second, and very fast-reacting sensors. The usual suspects are sonic anemometry and fine-wire thermocouples (e.g., less than a thousand of an inch), and IR absorption measurements for gas concentrations. Developed as a research tool in the 1960s (IIRC), you can now buy these off-the-shelf (e.g., Campbell Scientific CSAT3 3-D Sonic Anemometer).

    To have a value representative of a larger area, You need to make sure your mean vertical velocity is zero, or you’re in a plume or zone of descending air. Otherwise, you’d need a lot of spatial sampling to average things out.

    In the ocean, the same principles would apply. Temporal sampling would be a lot less (you need to sample the turbulence), but zones of rising or descending water would be a problem. I doubt that current ocean temperature monitoring systems are designed to do this, but if someone familiar with Argo thinks it can be done, feel free to argue the case. In the absence of a demonstration that it is possible, I’ll side with the idea that ocean temperature anomalies are just temperature anomalies.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 8 Oct 2011 @ 1:00 PM

  102. This may be OT, but Roger senior did introduce the issue of the global temperature records. Roger senior on is trying to claim that the EPA and Tom Karl misled people. I suggest he look up the official meaning of “collect”. But I digress. In reality on his blog (that he links us to abovee) he goes much further than that, his picture of Pinocchio (with a very long nose) at the top of the post strongly suggests that he is accusing Karl and/or the EPA of lying. I find that inflammatory rhetoric by Roger senior (some might say defamatory) very inappropriate and not at all constructive. What is more it is hypocritical given his recent (and very vociferous) laments about scientists calling out Spencer and Christy and other ‘skeptics’ on their very real misleading comments and errors.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 8 Oct 2011 @ 1:15 PM

  103. “I submit that the Hadley global SST fits the bill as well as anything … There has been no net warming since 1997 – 14 years with CO2 up 7% and no net warming. ( Check the actual data at the Hadley center)” Norman Page — 7 Oct 2011 @ 12:32 PM

    Okey dokey. (data from http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadsst2gl.txt OLS fits by http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/hadsst2gl/from:xxxx/trend/ where xxxx is year)

    1992 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.0139042 per year
    1993 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.0122811 per year
    1994 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.0101578 per year
    1995 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.00802613 per year
    1996 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.00630044 per year
    1997 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.0015432 per year —- cherry pick, but still positive
    1998 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.000656129 per year —- sweeter (but positive) cherry
    1999 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.00558789 per year
    2000 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.0015527 per year
    2001 #Least squares trend line; slope = -0.00482041 per year —- still sweeter cherries(FINALLY, a real live negative trend), but only ten year noise dominated trend

    1981 #Least squares trend line; slope = 0.0137489 per year —- 30 year climatological trend – compare trend from 1992.

    How’s that pie coming?

    I find that the scariest metric does come from the ocean – the Arctic ocean -http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/from:1979.6/every:12. The slope triples after 1995.

    I submit that given the signal to noise, there’s no significant difference in using UAH, HadCRUT, or HadSST.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 8 Oct 2011 @ 1:22 PM

  104. Perhaps a new term is needed, one that includes the deep ocean and the upper surface of the Earth:

    “… 200 meters deep. Much deeper and the temperature differences become too minute to pick up …. that depth allows them to take measurements that go back about 500 years ….

    ‘… those measurements tell us the Earth is warming faster than we previously thought.’”

    There’s good precedent for doing this:

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/living_in_the_anthropocene_toward_a_new_global_ethos/2363/

    “Nobel Prize-winning scientist Paul Crutzen first suggested we were living in the “Anthropocene,” a new geological epoch in which humans had altered the planet…. Crutzen and a coauthor explain why adopting this term could help ….”

    http://www.analects-ink.com/mission/Confucius_Rectification.html

    “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Oct 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  105. Maybe “Climate System Change” to include stratospheric cooling?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Oct 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  106. Bob Loblaw – The temperature changes can be integrated across a vertical layer (e.g. the upper 700 meters of the ocean) and in time (e.g. over a year) to diagnose the flux divergence of heat within this layer over the selected time period. We do not need direct measurements of the fluxes to do this.

    We can express this change in heat in units of Joules which can be converted to an average heating rate in Watts per meter squared over this time period.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 8 Oct 2011 @ 2:24 PM

  107. Failed to cite my first quote above, it’s from:
    http://oceanandair.coas.oregonstate.edu/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.display&pageID=96
    The research behind the story:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=harris+chapman+journal+geophysical+research+borehole+warmingl

    And for the latter quote, the link I broke should be:
    http://www.analects-ink.com/mission/Confucius_Rectification.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Oct 2011 @ 3:14 PM

  108. Bob Irvine @ 91 – “Your answer was that colder water has a lower expansion coefficient and therefore the same amount of energy would cause less thermal expansion if it were to find it’s way to the deep oceans.”

    No Bob, you just made that up. Scroll back over the comments if you like – you started off on that tangent. My initial response to you was that La Nina/El Nino causes huge exchanges of water mass between land and ocean. That’s the main reason why CO2 uptake by land-based vegetation fluctuates greatly between ENSO episodes – El Nino induced global drying of the land surface is harmful to plants.

    Bob -“Song and Colberg support my position”

    No Bob. Here’s the Song & Colberg (2011) paper. They simply reinforce what has been explained to you above – short term sea level fluctuations are due to exchanges taking place in the upper ocean, but the long-term rise in sea level (due to thermal expansion) can only be explained by deep ocean warming. Which is why they write:

    “In summary, we have proposed a plausible hypothesis that deep ocean warming may have contributed up to one‐third of the observed altimetry SLR”

    Again – this is not inconsistent with the modeling in Meehl (2011) – surface heat exchange altering global surface temperatures, but the deep ocean steadily accumulating heat.

    Bob – “the inescapable conclusion is that the earth’s heat content is increasing much more slowly than all the models predict.”

    Bob, have you forgotten that Meehl (2011) is based on a climate model? These hiatus decades are not a new feature in climate models either.

    Comment by Rob Painting — 8 Oct 2011 @ 3:43 PM

  109. Another reason to use surface temperature as the measure for global warming is because that is what is melting glaciers, will change weather, cause species extinction etc.

    Comment by bibsir — 8 Oct 2011 @ 5:44 PM

  110. Re: 106

    Yes, that is correct, Roger. You can get flux divergence from that, but as you clearly admit, you do not get the actual flux at either the top or bottom of the layer. You are confusing the two issues by using the term “average heating rate” – you are getting the average difference between the two heating rates (heat going in or out the top, and heat going in or out the bottom of the layer). Mathematically, there are an infinite number of pairs of top/bottom fluxes that will give you the same result – the only mathematical constraint on their values is that the difference match the change in storage that you have calculated. So, your methodology is a complete failure at determining an actual flux value at either the top or the bottom of the layer. The value that you calculate does not even need to be anywhere close to the magnitude of either flux (and doesn’t even have to be of the same sign). e.g., 101-100=1, 11-10=1, (-49)-(-50)=1, etc.

    Note: in the description above, I am intentionally leaving things in a one-dimensional frame, thinking of the ocean as an infinite layer. Of course, in the real world, we’re working in 3-D, and Roger’s change in storage is actually the result of flux divergence in three directions – horizontal times 2, and vertical. This does not make it a simpler problem. For a given change in heat storage for the volume of water in question, there are now six fluxes that can be changing to affect the result.

    If we do the 3-D calculation for the entire ocean, then we can reasonably assume that the fluxes at the horizontal edges are zero, and then we get no horizontal flux divergence. This brings us back to the relatively simple 1-D case above, but guess what? We’ve just reframed our calculation back to “total change in ocean heat content” for whatever layer thickness we have chosen. It is not a flux calculation.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 8 Oct 2011 @ 5:59 PM

  111. > e.g … upper 700 meters

    But some of the recently warmed water goes to the depths; some is near the surface. The depth distinguishing one from the other vary across the ocean basins:

    “Oldest water is at intermediate depths
    Surface = youngest
    Deep = newly ventilated”

    http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/eemartin/GLY307411/lectures/8.%20Deep%20Ocean%20Circulation.ppt

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Oct 2011 @ 6:08 PM

  112. @ 95 Response
    Gavin in my first post – 80 I said “This is obviously a short term on which to base predictions but in the context of declining solar activity – to the extent of a possible Dalton or Maunder minimum and the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation a global 20 – 30 year cooling spell is more likely than a warming trend.”
    If all there was was the short term 2003 – 2011 trend I would agree that any predictions would be fragile – but the impotant point is the association of this trend with the PDO ( google Easterbrook PDO ) and with the sharp drop in solar magnetic field strength in 2004. The sun is really in uncharted territory – solar science is in the process of total upheaval.
    Incidentally your first graphs (anything different)didnt include the SST data but the Hadcrut three is close enough.
    As to cherry picking – all analyses of time series are inevitably cherry picked one way or another – I have given perfectly valid reasons for picking 2003 as an inflection point.I’m very willing to test my predictions over time and I’ll check out your Intrade suggestion – maybe the odds will look better than the stock market at the moment.

    Comment by norman page — 8 Oct 2011 @ 6:58 PM

  113. Bob Loblaw – The flux divergence of heat is what produces the temperature change. Thus we can use the observed temperature change to compute the flux divergence of heat. The difference in the flux at the surface minus any flux out at the bottom of the layer (or if you integrate to the bottom of the ocean where you can assume a zero flux) is the flux divergence. We do this kind of calculation all the time in atmospheric and ocean boundary layer stidies.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 8 Oct 2011 @ 9:47 PM

  114. Hank Roberts @111 — Great slideshow. Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Oct 2011 @ 10:00 PM

  115. Prof. Pielke writes on the 8th of October, 2011 at 2:24 PM:

    “The temperature changes can be integrated across a vertical layer (e.g. the upper 700 meters of the ocean) and in time (e.g. over a year) to diagnose the flux divergence of heat within this layer over the selected time period. We do not need direct measurements of the fluxes to do this.”

    why does the calculation not also depend on the integration of velocities ? is the assumption that the vertical mass flux across the 700m depth average to zero ?

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 8 Oct 2011 @ 10:46 PM

  116. Roger senior @113 writes.

    Thus we can use the observed temperature change [I'm assuming he means from Argo floats] to compute the flux divergence of heat.

    Gavin, please correct me if I am wrong, but would doing that not require a fixed array observation system? The Argo floats are drifting and thus do not measure temperature at the same depth over a continuous period of time, and to calculate the fluxes one would require accurate measurements, not time and distance interpolated values. So might one be able to calculate the fluxes using data from a fixed array like TAO/TRITON? But that would limit the analysis to the tropical Pacific.

    Go here and select “T-Depth Anomalies – Equatorial Pacific”, the animation there seems to show positive sub-surface temperature anomalies working their way down to almost 500 m over the western tropical Pacific. Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

    Either way, instead of telling others what they should/could be doing, why is Roger senior not actually doing the research on this issue himself?

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 9 Oct 2011 @ 12:03 AM

  117. Mapleleaf #116

    I have thought for some time that the only way to get an accurate OHC would be to have a fixed array of sensors at all depths globally reporting at the same instant in time. This would be a very large undertaking.

    In that way Time 1 and Time 2 differences could give weekly, monthly, yearly snapshots of the global oceans which would detect OHC changes accurately.

    Argo is the current best we have, but I do not know how closely its data comes to a ‘gold standard’ of a fixed array, considering the drifting floats might not sample the same pixel of ocean at Time 2 as Time 1, and how reporting time differences are handled.

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 9 Oct 2011 @ 7:52 AM

  118. Ken Lambert,
    I don’t think it is quite as difficult as you posit. The timescales for energy changes in the 0-700m top portion of the oceans are much longer than those of the atmosphere, while the scale for the deep oceans is hundreds of years or longer. Things ain’t changing that fast. Likewise on spatial scales, the deep ocean currents are remarkably stable. Yes, it’s a big project, but most of the data would be pretty boring.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Oct 2011 @ 10:09 AM

  119. RE:117

    Hey Ken,

    Try the TAO/Triton data display time series plots. Choose your freq., change to one variable for 10 data sites, choose your data sites (be aware some have not the history others do), choose your variable, then choose your data window. This covers the equatorial range in the Pacific. For the Atlantic find the PIRITA data set.

    If you are interested you can query the 60skyrad data set at arm.gov to try to get an estimate of the W. Pac. “goes-inter”. Using the refs. above suggests the downwelling potential in the top 300m.

    If you can find the Lidar/RPS sea surface scans you might be able to pick out a Sodium value in an attempt to derive a surface salinity value. Though I have not seen it yet, I am sure there have to be several papers addressing the volume of evaporation ratio to salinity values. Hence, you can then derive the wv and latient heat (specific heat?) transfered to the atmosphere. What is left is the radiant balance already being monitored by several EOS remote systems. This should help point out the verticle flow.

    To get a fuller picture you would need to track the horizontal movement as well. Ocean currents are a big help and are available today from several sources.

    The loss of the GLORY APS based system is the biggest hole in the measure, IMHO. Its replacement being low on the priority list is a shame, if we intend to be more empirical then theoritical in the near future. It’s replacement is unlikely to fly before I will…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 9 Oct 2011 @ 10:45 AM

  120. Re: 113

    Yes, Roger, we agree on that. To put it in strict mathematical terms, if T=temperature, t=time, C=volumetric heat capacity, and z=depth (we’ll stick to the 1-D case), and F=flux (well, flux density, in W/m^2), then we get:

    C*dT/dt = -(dF/dz)

    The left side is the rate of change of heat content, and the right side is the flux divergence (change in flux with depth). You can integrate between two depths to get a total for the layer, and the fluxes of importance are the top and bottom of the layer. (Note: I really should have partial derivatives in the above equation – being new here, I’m just not sure how to stick in a curly d in this text box)

    …but referring to the change in ocean heat content as “flux divergence” doesn’t make it some magical new thing – it is just a rearrangement of the above equation. Remember, in comment #78 you said:

    the downward movement of heat would be seen in positive temperature anomalies as they move towards lower depth. Similarly, if this heat were to re-emerge, we would also see it as the anomalies move upwards.

    ….and this simply isn’t true with the limited data from something like Argo. A positive temperature anomaly (increasing temperature) is nothing more than an increase in heat content for that layer, and it can be the result of increasing flux in at the top, or decreasing flux out at the bottom, or even decreasing flux at the top combined with a greater decrease at the bottom, etc. Or, it can just be cool water being replaced by warmer water in terms of ocean currents – from any direction (not just downward). In order to be able to determine that an increase in temperature is associated with an increased downward heat flux, you need the sort of detailed temperature and vertical velocity data that I mentioned in my first comment about eddy correlation techniques.

    When you increase the range of integration to be the entire ocean, so that the flux at the bottom is zero, then you get the case where an increase in mean ocean temperature (or, to rephrase it, an increase in total ocean heat content) can be interpreted as an increase in the global mean flux of heat into the ocean at the surface…

    …but then all you are saying is that total ocean heat content went up because more heat went in at the surface. This is not revolutionary science, and putting bells and whistles on it by calling it “flux divergence” or talking about “integration” doesn’t change that. And just because you can make that statement about surface fluxes when you integrate over the entire ocean, that does not mean that you can make an analagous statement about a single point in the ocean when its temperature rises or falls.

    Changes in temperature tell you changes in heat content, which tells you that something has changed in terms of net flux or ocean currents, but you don’t get any details about the individual fluxes themselves unless you have more information tan just temperature.

    So please don’t reiterate for yet another time that change in ocean heat content tells us about flux divergence, because we agree on that. It’s your claim in #78 about positive temperature anomalies indicating downward movement of heat (and vice versa) that you need to try to defend.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 9 Oct 2011 @ 11:21 AM

  121. Regarding Gavin’s response to comment #3: I can’t understand why you say there is no contradiction between Hansen’s ideas and those advanced by Meehl and others at NCAR. If you could explain in more detail it would be greatly appreciated.

    Eg on page 35 of Hansen et.al. Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications, there is a republished Trenberth’s “Missing Energy” diagram (the one that originally appeared in Trenberth’s “Tracking Earth’s Energy” Perspectives piece in 16 April 2010 Science).

    On that same page 35, Hansen writes this about Trenberth’s ideas: “the slowdown of ocean heat uptake, together with satellite radiation budget observations, led to a perception that Earth’s energy budget is not closed (Trenberth 2009, Trenberth and Fasullo 2010), as summarized in Fig 19A. However, our calculated energy imbalance is consistent with observations (Fig 19b), implying there is no missing energy in recent years”.

    Hansen appears to be making the case, in Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications, that “most” state of the art climate models send too much heat into the deep ocean and therefore respond to climate forcings too slowly. He cites a personal communication with Romanou and Marshall who in a “paper in preparation” appear to have traced CFCs moving slower than models assume into the deep Southern Ocean. He imagines into existence a model that produces a result closer to the way he thinks the real world actually is, and using a climate response function he assumes this imaginary model has, finds that it calculates an energy imbalance very close to his idea of what current observations are, i.e. around 0.6 W/m2 which he believes might come out to 0.75 W/m2 if the data set had a complete solar cycle in it. He says the GISS model says the energy imbalance right now should be 1 W/m2.

    He says in his GISS luncheon talk explaining these ideas (on Youtube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EV3zKjwC9Y&noredirect=1 ) that he is working with other scientists to try to come up with a more realistic ocean for the GISS model so that he will have an actual model calculation to back up his idea rather than the dreamed up model he discusses in the paper. This dreamed up model that responds to climate forcings more quickly implies, he says in the abstract to the paper, a more powerful negative aerosol forcing, which he says is -1.6 W/m2. As far as I can tell his submission to the IPCC AR4 assumed aerosol negative forcing to be less powerful, maybe -1.4 W/m2. He says “most” other modellers use -1.0 W/m2 for aerosols.

    It seems clear as crystal that he doesn’t think there is any “missing energy” to account for, he thinks current models send too much heat into the ocean, and, as he wrote in his 2010 Global Surface Temperature Change paper “we conclude that there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15°C– 0.20°C per decade that began in the late 1970s.

    It seems at least some of the talk about ten year trends with no rise in the global average surface temperature chart can lead to confusion, because of imprecise use of terms. Trenberth’s own AR4 IPCC contribution stated the shortest time period over which the global warming signal emerges from the noise was 25 years. Yet people write as if it is significant that a ten year period starting in 1998 on the global average surface temperature chart, which only describes a tiny part of where the heat is in the planetary system that is warming, doesn’t clearly show a rising signal.

    Comment by David Lewis — 9 Oct 2011 @ 12:59 PM

  122. Bob Loblaw – Regarding

    “positive temperature anomalies indicating downward movement of heat (and vice versa) that you need to try to defend”

    If one analyzes the vertical movement of these temperature anomalies over time (and the temporal and spatial resolution is good enough), the heat flux can be obtained from these plots.

    The total heating/cooling over a period of time of the ocean in Joules can be used to diagnose the time-space integrated heat flux into and out of the ocean in Watts per meter squared. Please see our paper on this

    Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/10/r-247.pdf

    See also Jim Hansen’s comments in http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/1116592hansen.pdf

    [Response: No-one is arguing that one cannot get the net flux into the measured layer (say 0-700m) by measuring the temperature changes over time. I think the open question is whether the anomalous downward heat flux at 700m can be measured with the same fidelity. You seem to be asserting that this it is possible to get a good estimate of this by (presumably) calculating the anomalous diffusion (K dT'/dz) and advective flux (w T' + w' T) (though w' is probably small). I am unaware of any published estimate of these terms evaluated at 700m, but perhaps you might suggest one? NODC has started to produce ocean heat content changes for the 0-2000m layer and that shows large recent increases when compared to 0-700m, but data quality will not be as good as for the upper ocean. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 9 Oct 2011 @ 3:06 PM

  123. Mr. Bob Loblaw wrote on the 9th of Oct 2011 at 11:21 AM:

    C*dT/dt = -(dF/dz)

    should not the convective derivative come in here ?

    Comment by sidd — 9 Oct 2011 @ 3:21 PM

  124. Gavin,

    In 2005 you coauthored a paper with James Hansen and Josh Willis (in collaboration with twelve other scientists), on “Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications” (Science, 3 June 2005, 1431-35).

    This paper affirmed the critical role of OHC. “Confirmation of the planetary energy imbalance,” you maintained, “can be obtained by measuring the heat content of the ocean, which must be the principal reservoir for excess energy” (1432).

    In that paper you said that GISS model projections had been verified by a solid decade of increasing ocean heat. This was regarded as confirmation of the IPCC’s AGW hypothesis.

    Whatever semantic disagreements you have with Pielke, do you agree with him that OHC is the most robust metric for detecting warming in the climate system?

    [Response: What is this obsession with ranking different metrics? OHC changes are very useful at confirming that the system has been out of energy balance on average for the last few decades. But if you want evidence of warming of the climate system, you can also look at the met station data, the ice data, glacial retreat, SST, NMAT, TLT etc etc. It is precisely because there are some many streams of data that agree that we have confidence that the planet is indeed warming significantly. Any single metric - whether from satellites or Argo - is prone to systematic issues that are sometimes hard to detect, and sometimes hard to fix - therefore reifying any single metric is just foolish. Our understanding of the system comes from a balance of evidence argument, not because any one metric is the best. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill DiPuccio — 9 Oct 2011 @ 4:02 PM

  125. Gavin – If the temporal and spatial resolution are sufficient, all that is needed is to monitor the Joules of heat in the upper 700m to follow their upward and downward motion (which is given by the temperatures).

    In the plot that you show of heating down to 2km, do you have evidence that this heat was first in the upper 700m? All you need to do is show this being transported through that layer, and I will be convinced of the robustness of the heating deeper than 700m.

    There is no need to explicitly calculate the fluxes; their net effect (the flux divergence of heat) is accomplished by integrating the mass-weighted temperature anomalies over time. This is presumably what Jim did in the comment he provided.

    [Response: You've lost me. How did heat content increase below 2000m without it passing through the top 700m? (I think we can safely assume that we don't have a coincident increase in undersea geothermal heat flux!). - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 9 Oct 2011 @ 4:47 PM

  126. Earlier I suggested “climate system change” for gathering together all the various changes aside from surface temperature.

    Lo, there’s another possible term in that title of Dr. Pielke’s:
    “Heat storage within the Earth system”
    So “Earth system change” would cover the larger volume

    Climate is what people experience; “climate change” is the change in what people experience — and measuring surface temperature is used for that.

    The earth system — the material world — includes the various ocean layers at varying time scales, the borehole temps.

    Someone may have preempted using that term for some other collection of data sets, I realize.

    But I have some hope words can be agreed on, if only by the longterm consensus determined by reading the journals in hindsight.

    The “what were these people talking about, and what were they really measuring” question always has to be asked, reading science papers.

    When I was a teenager, I took Geology 101 from the old textbook before the new ones came out that adopted continental drift, and did some field work with geologists. Back then “synclines” and “anticlines” were explained as caused by accumulation and erosion of material — add or remove enough and the Earth folded. It wasn’t going anywhere, just, you know, folding.

    The measurements, the outcrops, the dip and strike, the type of rock — those are all good data. The explanations … changed.

    This is why scientists define their terms or refer to specific citable definitions. Good habit to get into.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Oct 2011 @ 5:09 PM

  127. Re Roger Pielke @ 122 and 125

    Once again, your argument only applies to the simplified case where you have integrated over the entire ocean (in 3-D), because there is only one surface left with a non-zero flux (the ocean-atmosphere interface). Once again, we agree that if it is this specific case that you are referring to, then you are correct. The paper that you refer to, at quick read, only seems to refer to this overall ocean heat storage question – but you may wish to point me to a particular section of that paper if it has particular relevance.

    Perhaps a specific question will help. When you state “the downward movement of heat would be seen in positive temperature anomalies as they move towards lower depth”, are you restricting this statement to the mean global temperature of a particular layer “e.g., 0-700m), or do you intend this to be interpreted in a broader sense – i.e., applicable to local temperatures? Please indicate the spatial and temporal range over which you intend “downward movement of heat” and “temperature anomaly” to apply.

    …but in the mean time, what would be your interpretation of the following thought experiment (numbers made up):

    Global mean surface flux into ocean (downward), 3W/m^2. Global mean flux across 700m depth (downward, lower boundary of 0-700m layer), 2W/m^2. Net rate of 0-700m heat content change, 1W/m^2. Regime changes so that flux at 700m reduces to 1W/m^2. The 0-700m layer will now warm at twice the rate (2W/m^2). Another regime change, and 700 flux increases to 4W/m^2. 0-700m layer now starts cooling, based on net heat content rate of -1W/m^2.

    All fluxes are always downward, yet we see two different heating rates in the 0-700m layer, and one cooling scenario. How does this mesh with your expectation of “temperature anomalies”?

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 9 Oct 2011 @ 6:54 PM

  128. re sidd @ 123

    Mr. Bob Loblaw wrote on the 9th of Oct 2011 at 11:21 AM:

    C*dT/dt = -(dF/dz)

    should not the convective derivative come in here ?

    I intentionally left the flux definition a bit vague, to avoid that can of worms. In the case of pure conduction (e.g., an opaque solid), you’d be able to express the flux as K*dT/dz, where K is the thermal conductivity, and then the flux divergence is the second derivative of the temperature gradient (assuming constant thermal conductivity).

    In the case of turbulent transfer with zero mean velocity, you can usually get away with a similar expression using temperature gradient, with a turbulent flux transfer coefficient.

    In the case of non-zero mean velocity, you need to account for the flux associated with the mean velocity, too.

    Does that satisfy?

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 9 Oct 2011 @ 7:04 PM

  129. Responding to Gavin in 124: “Our understanding of the system comes from a balance of evidence argument, not because any one metric is the best.”

    If 80%-90% of the energy in the climate system is stored in the oceans, then it only makes sense to rank this first since it represents the largest sample. That’s not to say, as you point out, that this metric is without problems. Nor does it mean the other metrics should be ignored.

    But if, for example, the average near surface air temperature declines over several years, but ocean heat increases, then we can conclude that the system’s energy is still increasing even though it has not yet been manifested as sensible heat. If, on the other hand, all metrics are given equal weight, you might draw an entirely different conclusion.

    Comment by Bill DiPuccio — 9 Oct 2011 @ 7:24 PM

  130. Deep ocean heat is rapidly melting Antarctic ice

    Antarctica is disintegrating much faster than almost anybody imagined — see “Nothing in the natural world is lost at an accelerating exponential rate like this glacier.” In 2001, the IPCC “consensus” said neither Greenland nor Antarctica would lose significant mass by 2100. They both already are. As Penn State climatologist Richard Alley said in March 2006, the ice sheets appear to be shrinking “100 years ahead of schedule.”
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2010/12/15/207091/deep-ocean-heat-is-rapidly-melting-antarctic-ice-global-warmin/

    Comment by prokaryotes — 9 Oct 2011 @ 9:52 PM

  131. Further…

    Quote

    “In the area I work there is the highest increase in temperatures of anywhere on Earth,” said physical oceanographer Doug Martinson of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Martinson has been collecting ocean water heat content data for more than 18 years at Palmer Island, on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.
    “Eighty-seven percent of the alpine glaciers are in retreat,” said Martinson of the Western Antarctic Peninsula. “Some of the Adele penguin colonies have already gone extinct.”
    Martinson and his colleagues looked not only at their very detailed and mapped water heat data from the last two decades, but compared them with sketchier data from the past and deep ocean heat content measurements worldwide. All show the same rising trend that is being seen in Antarctica.
    “When I saw that my jaw just dropped,” said Martinson. The most dramatic rise has happened since 1960, he said.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 9 Oct 2011 @ 9:55 PM

  132. Gavin – You wrote

    “You’ve lost me. How did heat content increase below 2000m without it passing through the top 700m? (I think we can safely assume that we don’t have a coincident increase in undersea geothermal heat flux!). – gavin]”

    This is precisely my point. We should have seen this heat be transfered through the upper 700 meters. From my understanding, the temporal and spatial resolution in the upper 700m is good enough to see this (but we certainly need colleagues at JPL and elsewhere to tell us if it does not have this accuracy).

    Below 700 meters, however, the reported warming is based on sparser data so the uncertainty in the plot you have shown for those depths is higher. What is the estimated uncertainty? Before accepting it as sufficiently accurate, we also need to look at the heat transfers through the upper 700 meters.

    [Response: I think this is becoming a little repetitive. You have not given anyone a reason to think we can measure absolute downward heat flux at 700m (or elsewhere), nor have you given a reference for anyone performing such a calculation. In my opinion, such an estimate would be extremely difficult and the uncertainties would be so large as to make the attempt much less of a constraint than is required. But regardless of that problem, your request simply doesn't make any sense for a problem dominated by (effective) diffusion. Take an anomalous temperature profile that is linear in z: T'(z) = T0 * (1 - z/700) above 700m and zero below. The downward diffusive flux is constant (K*T0/700) (assuming constant K) and equal to the flux in at the surface. How would you be able to 'see' the heat being transferred? There is no shortcut here!

    As for the error bars on the 0-2000m numbers, these are provided in the data file from NODC, and I've added them to the plot I gave before. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 9 Oct 2011 @ 9:56 PM

  133. @ 127: Actually, ocean heat is sensible heat except when it goes into melting ice.

    @ others: “global warming” historically refers to warming the surface environment doesn’t it? Warming the surface including the sea surface could happen rapidly without the deep or middle ocean having time to warm. This might happen if greenhouse gasses increased very suddenly.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 9 Oct 2011 @ 10:25 PM

  134. Gavin, thanks for the comment on the advective derivative, and the link to the data. For those interested I have plotted the data for the Pacific,Atlantic and Indian Ocean heat content together with the world ocean at
    http://membrane.com/sidd/OHC.png

    I do notice that the dip in world OHC in the 70s does not appear to be reflected in the individual basin breakouts, nor the dip in 1982.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 9 Oct 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  135. Bill Dipuccio:

    If 80%-90% of the energy in the climate system is stored in the oceans, then it only makes sense to rank this first since it represents the largest sample.

    RPSr. knows that the available data is sparse, so insisting on this metric furthers his delaying tactics and FUD.

    I would personally suggest that the best metric is the one that has the best data, which would be surface temps, by a very, very large margin.

    Of course, one can also say that better data regarding ocean temps would be a very good thing, and maybe, eventually surpass (or be combined with) the surface temps to build a better model of how the globe’s warming.

    But that’s not what RPSr. has suggested. He’s hitched his wagon to the relatively poor ocean data while insisting we should ignore the surface data to build a picture of unwarranted uncertainty.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Oct 2011 @ 10:38 PM

  136. Gavin:

    (I think we can safely assume that we don’t have a coincident increase in undersea geothermal heat flux!)

    In the cause of touting uncertainty, one can certainly assume that RPSr’s not going to cave on that possibility, or other possibilities.

    That’s the point, after all … pin the game on uncertainty. He plays the same game Curry does …

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Oct 2011 @ 10:41 PM

  137. Bob Loblaw #120, re: curly d’s,

    The ∂ symbol should be available with Alt+2202 on Windows, Alt-d on a Mac U.S. keyboard, or (I may screw this up) (ampersand-part-semicolon) right in the html (testing: ∂). Mostly people here just put their math in plain, arbitrary ascii, but if you need display math, RealClimate uses the QuickLatex WordPress plugin, which see.

    Comment by CM — 10 Oct 2011 @ 2:26 AM

  138. Yup, I did screw up; preview wasn’t working. I meant: ∂

    Comment by CM — 10 Oct 2011 @ 2:29 AM

  139. Rob Painting #108

    Here is the relavent table from Cazenove & Llovel 2009.

    (1993-2007) (2003-2007)
    1. Observed (3.3+-0.4mm/yr) (2.5+-0.4mm/yr)
    2. THERMAL EXPANSION (1.0+-0.3) (0.25+-0.8)
    3. Glaciers (1.1+-0.25) (1.4+-0.25)
    4. Total Ice Sheets (0.7+-0.2) (1.0+-0.2)
    5. Land Waters (N/A) (-0.2+-0.1)
    6. Sum (2+3+4+5) (2.85+-0.35) (2.45+-0.85)
    7. Observed minus Sum (0.45) (-0.05)

    You can see that Land waters have been allowed for. They were calculated using GRACE measurements of vertical intergrated water column (surface water, soil moisture ,underground water) with some imput from models and local weather.

    The main thrust of this blog article is that the current hiatus in air temperature, upper OHC,and falling sun blocking aerosols (Mishchenco, NASA, supported by global brightening data, 1991-2005) at a time when CO2 has risen can only be explained by the missing energy finding it’s way to the deep ocean.

    This does not fit with the thermal expansion data above which includes the deep ocean. Remember there are large lags in air temp. due to the thermal inertia of the oceans while the OHC has little or no lag due it’s larger heat capacity.

    You make the point that there has been decade long hiatus in OHC in the recent past before continued increase.

    There has only been 2 in the last 60 years and both had no lag and are explained. The 1950′s to 1970′s is explained by industrial aerosols or cosmic rays depending on which side of the fence you sit. The 1980′s hiatus is explained by the El Chichon volcanic eruption. There is no evidence of energy suddenly diverting to the deep oceans during these periods.

    I say again that you need to explain the large drop in thermal expansion of the oceans (OHC) from 1993-2003 to 2003-2007.

    Some points; The sea level rise budget (2003-2007) above is virtually closed adding to confidence in these figures. The total sea level rise matches the sum of it’s parts (Glaciers + Ice Sheets + Thermal expansion + Land Waters).

    There has been 5 El Ninos and 4 La Ninas in the last 13 years of flat air temperatures.

    I agree with you that energy has transfered to the deep ocean during the current hiatus, just not enough as the thermal expansion figures show. I also agree that the oceans may have warmed slightly to 1500m (Von Schuckmann et al).

    Comment by Bob Irvine — 10 Oct 2011 @ 3:53 AM

  140. Gavin – Your plot did not appear.

    [Response: Fixed. thanks. - gavin]

    On your question regarding heat transfer downward, if the models show warming at depth, why don’t you show plots as to the magnitude of its fluxes over time and space through the upper 700m of the ocean. Then one could look at the observations to see if this flux is there with the same pattern and magnitude as the real world data.

    I assume our disagreement is in the form of these fluxes. If they are diffuse and distributed across the upper oceans, I agree they would be hard to see in the Argo data. However, if this transfer occurs in globs associated with mesoscale and larger ocean circulation features (as suggested in the ECMWF data), we should clearly see this movement of heat.

    [Response: Model estimates of total heat flux through 700m are possible of course, but non-trivial to compute (including effects of the resolved circulation, isopycnal diffusion, and vertical mixing) - though this might well be worth doing for the CMIP5 models. However, I don't have the answers handy. But I have no confidence that the observations will be sufficient to distinguish the anomalous heat flux from the climatological mean with sufficient precision to be helpful. If you think it is, please point to a study that has attempted this. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 10 Oct 2011 @ 7:16 AM

  141. Cyclones May Help Fuel Ocean Heat Transfer, Scientists Say

    Tropical cyclones may play a key role in the transfer of ocean heat that should be considered when predicting future climate change, scientists said.

    Storms such as Atlantic hurricanes and Pacific typhoons mix the ocean, forcing warm water down and toward the poles, and cooling the surface by as much as 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit), scientists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, said today in the journal Nature. About 15 percent of ocean heat transfer may be due to tropical cyclones, they wrote.

    The mechanism identified in the paper may result in a so- called feedback loop, in which increases in temperature ultimately lead to further rises due to a chain reaction, according to Matthew Huber, a co-author of the paper. Understanding that process may help scientists better predict future effects of climate change, he said.

    “If this mixing were included, we hypothesize that models would do a better job of getting tropical ocean temperature correct, and better predict future climate change feedbacks,” Huber said in e-mailed replies to questions. “This may mean accurately predicting severe weather events, like hurricanes, is a necessary prerequisite to understanding future global warming.”

    The trigger for the chain is the warming brought on by increases in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that trap the sun’s energy in the atmosphere. This warming increases cyclone activity, leading to more ocean mixing, Huber said.

    Heat Pump

    “This mixing is also a downward heat pump and might tend to enhance the overturning circulation, transporting slightly more heat to the poles,” Huber said. “This in turn might act to enhance polar amplification of climate change, increasing the global mean warming.”

    At the poles, the increase in warm waters serves to melt sea-ice, which reflects sunlight more than the seawater exposed beneath. This acts to amplify the warming effect, as more of the sun’s energy is absorbed.

    A rise in the average tropical sea-surface temperature of just 0.25 of a degree Celsius could lead to a worldwide increase of 60 percent in the total power let out by cyclones, according to the Purdue research. That temperature gain could also triple the amount of cyclone-induced ocean heat transport, they said.

    The scientists said their findings need to be better reflected in climate models, which currently assume a fixed level of background mixing of tropical waters, without taking into account the more dynamic cyclone-induced process. Inclusion in such models will help make future predictions, Huber said. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aN0lm0YGSkfs

    [Response: Yes, this is very interesting work, a few years old. There has been some followup work to this in recent years, including some that I have been involved in. This remains a fascinating, but still very uncertain, mechanism. - mike]

    Comment by prokaryotes — 10 Oct 2011 @ 7:45 AM

  142. Bill DiPuccio,
    Your recommendation ignores the fact that:
    1)the deep ocean interacts with the surface (where we live) only on very long timescales and fairly weakly
    2)the deep oceans don’t change all that rapidly

    People don’t seem to realize how hard it is to do science in the deep oceans. We know the surface of Mars–and even Venus–better than we know Earth’s surface.

    What we learn from Earth’s paleoclimate is that it is certainly possible to have extended excursions to high temperature (e.g. PETM), so it is unlikely that the deep oceans will save our tuckuses–especially given that we are raising the temperature about 10 times more rapidly than even the PETM rise. I don’t see much to give comfort here.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Oct 2011 @ 7:49 AM

  143. I hope you don’t mind my quoting Mr Peter who made this rather detailed contribution on SKS in August this year. Would Gavin and Dr Piekle care to comment on the heat transport mechanisn Mr Peter describes?:

    Quote:
    While we are into this OHC thing, some words about how on earth can heat get down to the abyss at all are in order.

    The first thing to note is that the MOC (Meridional Overturning Circulation) is not a heat engine. That is, it does not convert temperature differences into mechanical energy to keep ocean currents moving, but it is the other way around. It depends on some external mechanical energy source to maintain circulation and redistribute heat.

    If a body of fluid in a gravitational field (like the oceans) is both heated and cooled at different places but at the same gravitational potential (e.g. at the surface on low and high latitudes respectively), that would not produce any macroscopic flow whatsoever.

    There are two caveats to this proposition.

    1. Visible light (sunlight) and especially UV can penetrate into the ocean to some depth (a couple of hundred meters at most), so heating in fact happens at a somewhat lower geopotential than cooling, which is restricted to the surface (down to several meters, if waves are taken into account). But it would provide for a very shallow circulation only, not the kind of deep overturning observed. Also, it is worth noting that thermal infrared (“back radiation”) can not penetrate into seawater at all (several mm at most).
    2. There is also heating at depth, by geothermal heat flux, which is about 0.1 W/m2 averaged over the entire seafloor (and 0.04 W/m2 over the continents). In some regions (for example at the boundaries of the Nazca plate, South Eastern Pacific) it can be as high as 0.3 W/m2. This heating happens at the right geopotential (at the bottom), so it does produce overturning, albeit at a much slower rate than observed.

    Needless to say heat conductivity of seawater is so low, that by conduction alone (with no macroscopic flow) it would take ages for heat to get down to the abyss from the surface.

    There are parts of MOC that work as a heat engine indeed. Downwelling of cold saline water in polar regions is such an exception. However, if there were no other processes at work in other regions, the abyss would eventually get saturated with very cold water of high salinity and downwelling would stop altogether. Or rather, it would switch to the much slower rate permitted by geothermal heating alone.

    We should also note this part of the so called thermohaline circulation does not add heat to the abyss, but removes it from there.

    Currently deep water production is restricted to two distinct regions of the oceans. One is where the North Atlantic joins the Arctic ocean, the other is along the Antarctic coastline. In theory it could also happen in the North Pacific, but in fact it does not, for the salinity is too low there and the coastline is not cold enough.

    Details of the physics are somewhat different in the North and the South though. The North Atlantic Drift carries ample quantities of warm, highly saline water into the Arctic ocean (the high salinity is leftover of evaporation), which cools down there and when it gets next to freezing (the most dense state of seawater), it sinks. It is an intermittent process, restricted to “chimneys” (of diameter ~100 km and lifetime of several weeks) in the open ocean. Please note the heat carried to the polar region this way is lost to the atmosphere entirely, the cold saline water sinks to the bottom without it. This heat subsequently is radiated out to space, as that is the only heat reservoir around which is colder (-270°C).

    Antarctica is a special place. No warm current gets near to the continent, so salinity of seawater there is inherently lower than in the Northern Atlantic. On the other hand along the coastline, especially in winter, extremely cold gale force katabatic winds descend from the plateau creating polynyas (open water expanses) by blowing sea ice away.

    High chilly winds coupled with open water provide for vigorous cooling of water masses (because total area of air-sea interface is huge, think of sea spray) and as sea ice starts to form, salinity also increases by brine exclusion. Cold dense water then descends to the abyss along the continental slope. At the underside of great Antarctic ice shelves even super-cooled water is formed. Its potential temperature is below freezing, that is, it only stays fluid because of pressure, it would freeze if raised to the surface.

    In general abyssal water of Antarctic origin is somewhat colder but less salty than its Arctic cousin.

    But still, we need an energy source to keep the engine going. In other words, abyssal waters have to be warmed up and diluted in order to be able to raise somewhere and make room for more cold, dense polar water.

    The process that does exactly that is supposed to be deep turbulent mixing, driven by external mechanical energy sources like tides and winds.

    Tidal forcing is a considerable source of mixing, but it is deterministic and independent of all other forcings on climate. It is also cyclic, not exactly, but close enough. The Metonic cycle (the period the National Tidal Datum Epoch [NTDE] of the U.S. is based on) is 19 years long. Or more precisely it is 235 synodic months which is 1h 38′ longer than 19 tropical years. The nodal cycle of lunar orbit happens to be only slightly shorter than that (18.5996 years).

    It means if one is looking for trends in deep turbulent mixing, it is best to consider multiples of the Metonic cycle. Epochs shorter than that (like 6 years) are to be considered as a last resort only if one does not have data with longer timespan. Even then some caution is in order, to filter out tidal effects on trends as much as possible (the same is true for sea level studies).

    The other source is internal waves excited by winds. One can see that distribution of wind power is extremely uneven on the surface of Earth.

    It is concentrated in three regions, the Southern ocean, the Norh Pacific and the Norh Atlantic. Of these winds in the south are the most intense by far (and surprisingly mild over the continents).

    The only problem remaining is that in the open ocean turbulent mixing is measured to be at least an order of magnitude smaller than needed to maintain the observed flows in MOC.

    The solution seems to be there are narrow regions where topography of the bottom is very complex, like over mid ocean ridges or certain rugged continental slopes where deep turbulent mixing can be up to two, sometimes even three orders of magnitude higher than average. However, these sites are poorly known and most are not even identified yet.

    So, the very energy source driving MOC and making thermohaline downwelling possible is not well constrained. It is also one of the (many) weak points of GCMs (General Circulation Models). This process is represented in them only through parametrization and even if we knew much better the process going on in real oceans, their too coarse resolution could not accommodate to the small scale vigorous and probably intermittent mixing which characterizes it.

    Anyway, the take home message is that MOC (Meridional Overturning Circulation), consequently heat exchange between the surface and abyss is not driven by temperature differences, but external mechanical energy sources.

    Of course winds (unlike tides) are not independent of climate (they are driven by a heat engine, as the atmosphere is mostly heated from below and cooled from above), but in this respect one has to study winds over the southern ocean first (roaring forties & stormy fifties), as according to some estimates up to 80% of deep turbulent mixing happens here (or rather, in restricted sub-regions of it).

    Therefore if one is interested in heat transport to the lower layers of oceans, one should pay close attention to those remote and alien waters.
    End Quote

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 10 Oct 2011 @ 8:43 AM

  144. Hey All,

    Probably OT, when reviewing the NODC OHC in the China Sea 2010 for the JFM period there appeared to be a significant anomaly there to over 500m. Looking at the SRRS NH Analysis for this period the dominate atmospheric condition overhead was a Cut-Off Low series (extending from 850mb-250mb) that orbited the area. If this is validated with significant cloud cover in the area what explaniation would there be for the warm column that also did not affect downstream column warmth?

    It would seem that though there is a slight increase globally, most of the input must have a very short residence at high input levels with diffusion accounting for the small amount of the remaining trend increase. In essence, it would appear there is little in the way of flux inputs below 60 deg. N/S. Is this character to change when the is no longer sea ice at the poles?

    It would seem that equipping future ARGO units with a salinity or ion detection monitor would help in the tracking of flux or residual heat falling through the sea layer depths. This would help separate the likely source of the warming phenomena reveiling if it is resident radiant emission, mixing or low latitude wind driven turn over (keeping in mind that as the SSTs increase the Walker circulation was supposed to decrease). My pardon for interrupting…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 10 Oct 2011 @ 8:51 AM

  145. Bob Irvine,

    If you look at the 700m OHC time series posted by Gavin upthread you’ll see a large surge over 2002-2003. I would suggest the main reason for the discrepancy between the 1993-2007 and 2003-2007 thermal expansion figures is that the latter only sees the end of this surge. From a long-term perspective the 1993-2007 figure is larger than expected and the 2003-2007 figure is smaller than expected.

    There has been 5 El Ninos and 4 La Ninas in the last 13 years of flat air temperatures.

    You’re talking about the trend over a time period so it doesn’t matter about the count – what matters is when they happen within the time series and the strength. If the 5 El Ninos were all at the beginning and the 4 La Ninas at the end you would get a strongly negative ENSO index.

    Assuming ‘the last 13 years’ refers to 1998-present I calculated the trend using NOAA’s MEI data and it is negative.

    Comment by Paul S — 10 Oct 2011 @ 9:37 AM

  146. Citing: Ken Lambert’s quote “Mr Peter … on SKS in August” is from: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=2&t=106&&n=798#59258
    More from him: http://www.google.com/search?q=Berényi+Péter

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Oct 2011 @ 10:34 AM

  147. Gavin – You wrote

    “If you think it is, please point to a study that has attempted this”

    I am not aware this has been looked at. I will check with.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 10 Oct 2011 @ 10:59 AM

  148. Deep ocean mixing:
    a) enough to keep the deep oxygenated overall
    b) not all at the same rate

    Clearly, there are spots of quick descent and quick rise to and from the deep ocean. To what extent is it the same water after a long journey? Can water descend at one pole and rise at the other?

    Particulars – let’s put 1 and 1 together

    Strong export of Antarctic BottomWater east of the Kerguelen plateau
    Y. Fukamachi1*, S. R. Rintoul2,3,4, J. A. Church2,3,4, S. Aoki1, S. Sokolov2,3,4, M. A. Rosenberg4 and M.Wakatsuchi1

    http://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/44116/1/NG3-5_327-331.pdf

    This outgoing current must be matched by an incoming current.
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/antarctica-melting-warming-penguins-101214.html

    Now that the upwelling deep sea water is the clear cause of the melting ice shelf, rather than summer melt water, as had been thought in the past, it’s a question of how winds will change in a warming world and whether they will drive more warm water into the ice shelves.

    “So we have thrown the problem back over the fence to the climate modelers,” said Bindschadler.

    http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2010/12/14/deep-ocean-heat-is-melting-antarctic-ice/

    This
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018211001799
    may or may not be the corresponding paper still in press.
    Exactly how deep does the deep water that rises under the Pine Island Glacier come from? It must be warmer than it was a few decades ago. How recently did this water descend?

    Evidently some of the cold water that descends to the deep ocean is not as cold as it used to be, and is still not as cold as it used to be when it comes back up. Heat that goes deep is not all lost to the surface environment.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 10 Oct 2011 @ 11:33 AM

  149. LOVE the Gavin-PielkeSr interchange here. Any possibility of Gavin and Pielke partnering to have a regular and constant interaction?

    Comment by Rob Grover — 10 Oct 2011 @ 12:39 PM

  150. Re 148: see Martinson’s detailed comments here
    http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2010/12/14/deep-ocean-heat-is-melting-antarctic-ice/

    Antarctic Circumpolar Current = ACC


    The warm water carrying the heat is Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW); it is circulated around the Antarctic by the ACC, and because of the proximity of the ACC adjacent to the continental margin in the western Antarctic (and only in this region), this is the water accounting for the ocean heat in both my area along the peninsula and the WAIS melt region. These observations provide support for increased ocean heat observed in my region is the same as that driving accelerated WAIS glacial melt.

    If the deep oceans did warm, we know that there are southward currents that would advect some of this heat to the ACC, and from there to the western Antarctic.

    - Doug Martinson

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 10 Oct 2011 @ 12:47 PM

  151. Dr Pielke, I’d like to thank you for joining the discussion. I hope you become a daily contributor.

    Gavin, with regard to the mechanics of flux through the top 700m, are the structures too small to be captured by current models? How big of a problem is this?

    Over the last decade something appears to have dramatically increased the mixing of 0-700m water with water to 2000m. What are current thoughts on what that something is?

    [Response: I'd say that was partly due to data coverage issues - divergences in previous decades would not have been as well observed, and partly real - the long term radiative imbalance is not going to be instantly felt below 700m, and what appears to be the divergence in recent years, is probably in large part to the deep ocean catching up with the upper ocean. - gavin]

    Comment by RichardC — 10 Oct 2011 @ 12:59 PM

  152. A question for Gavin in his response to 132, what happened in 2005, is that a shift to the Argo floats???? If so is it real or instrumental

    [Response: The big shift is from 2002 to 2003, and while Argo was introduced in 2003, it did not dominate the OHC source data until a few years later. That doesn't imply that there are no remaining instrumental issues, but I don't think it is obvious that this is not real. However, corrections and how to apply them is an ongoing endeavor and so I wouldn't stake any strong conclusions on a single year's change. The long term trend is far more robust. - gavin]

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 10 Oct 2011 @ 1:18 PM

  153. Rob Glover @ 149 and interested parties, there is another good discussion with Dr. Pielke Sr. here:
    http://skepticalscience.com/pielke-sr-and-sks-warming-estimates.html

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 10 Oct 2011 @ 1:28 PM

  154. Re: Roger Pielke @132:

    Gavin – You wrote

    “You’ve lost me. How did heat content increase below 2000m without it passing through the top 700m? (I think we can safely assume that we don’t have a coincident increase in undersea geothermal heat flux!). – gavin]”

    This is precisely my point. We should have seen this heat be transfered through the upper 700 meters. From my understanding, the temporal and spatial resolution in the upper 700m is good enough to see this (but we certainly need colleagues at JPL and elsewhere to tell us if it does not have this accuracy).

    …but the question we keep waiting for an answer to is how we see the heat transferred through the upper 700m. As far as I can tell, your idea of how to do this is buried somewhere in your statement about “temperature anomalies” – but you have been short on details as to exactly how this would be possible.

    Are you simply stating that before we see heating below 700m we should see heating in the 0-700m layer? This would a fairly non-controversial statement, and is one plausible scenario (although others exist where heat gets to great depth without any obvious local, short-term perturbations of 0-700m temperature – e.g., a gradual overall warming). It is a long way from there to actually calculating absolute heat flux values, though.

    What exactly do you mean by “see this heat be transferred”? Please be specific.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 10 Oct 2011 @ 1:40 PM

  155. I am still waiting to hear back, but this text from the Argo website implies that monitoring the vertical, as well as the horizontal fluxes of ocean heat, is major focus of the Argo upgrade. On their website they write

    “Lack of sustained observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land have hindered the development and validation of climate models. An example comes from a recent analysis which concluded that the currents transporting heat northwards in the Atlantic and influencing western European climate had weakened by 30% in the past decade. This result had to be based on just five research measurements spread over 40 years. Was this change part of a trend that might lead to a major change in the Atlantic circulation, or due to natural variability that will reverse in the future, or is it an artifact of the limited observations?

    In 1999, to combat this lack of data, an innovative step was taken by scientists to greatly improve the collection of observations inside the ocean through increased sampling of old and new quantities and increased coverage in terms of time and area.

    That step was Argo.”

    [Response: This is not related to our discussion. Instead it refers to the geostrophic calculations of Bryden et al (2005) and the subsequent realisation that the deep ocean circulation changes were being aliased (Cunningham et al, 2007). All of these calculations are of the horizontal flow (via the geostrophic relationships), and with vertical fluxes being implied as a residual. - gavin]

    From http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/ they also write on this website

    “It will provide a quantitative description of the changing state of the upper ocean and the patterns of ocean climate variability from months to decades, including heat and freshwater storage and transport.”

    “Currently, there are roughly 3000 floats producing 100,000 temperature/salinity profiles per year. The floats go as deep as 2000m”

    If heat is transported on shorter time periods through the entire upper 700m, than I agree it could be missed in the sampling. However, if the transport is slower than can be sampled with ~33 profiles per year (~ once every 11 days) than it will be sampled.

    [Response: Heat transfer will be mainly continuous, not episodic. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 10 Oct 2011 @ 2:01 PM

  156. Bob Loblaw – you are correct – you write

    “Are you simply stating that before we see heating below 700m we should see heating in the 0-700m layer? This would a fairly non-controversial statement, and is one plausible scenario (although others exist where heat gets to great depth without any obvious local, short-term perturbations of 0-700m temperature – e.g., a gradual overall warming).”

    Yes- An overall general warming would also be evident unless the anomalies are so small as to be below the precision of the instrumentation, although that would be a surprise.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 10 Oct 2011 @ 2:05 PM

  157. The problem as i see it is of locality. The oceans are not a homogenous mixture, rather a bi-layer of current flows. The warming of the bottom occurs when a “warmer than usual” arctic current descends on its way to the bottom. To better measure this would not require the Argo floats, but rather instrumentation at the locations where the “warmer than usual” water descends in the arctic/antarctic.

    Comment by Harvey — 10 Oct 2011 @ 4:27 PM

  158. Prof Pielke wrote on the 10th of Oct 2011 at 2:05 PM:

    –begin included text’

    Bob Loblaw – you are correct – you write

    “Are you simply stating that before we see heating below 700m we should see heating in the 0-700m layer? This would a fairly non-controversial statement, and is one plausible scenario (although others exist where heat gets to great depth without any obvious local, short-term perturbations of 0-700m temperature – e.g., a gradual overall warming).”

    Yes- An overall general warming would also be evident unless the anomalies are so small as to be below the precision of the instrumentation, although that would be a surprise.

    –end included text

    From the graph that Dr. Schmidt posted, that the global OHC from 0-2000m is smaller than the OHC for the 0-700m layer in the first third of the data ending around 1975. Two or three decades for the heat to pass through ?

    sidd

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 10 Oct 2011 @ 4:30 PM

  159. The largest fraction of excess heat (Joules) associated with a TOA radiative imbalance should be observed in the upper ocean *if* the rate of “leakoff” to the deep ocean is << than the TOA radiative imbalance. This is not a difficult matter to conceptualize!

    Barring evidence to the contrary, my guess is that this is a good working assumption.

    If it is, then Roger is exactly correct in saying that the upper 700 meters gives a good proxy to the TOA radiative imbalance on a decadal to multi-decadal time frame. In other words, if the heat accumulation in the upper 700 meters is << than that modeled over a given time period (more than a few years), and the rate of accumulation below 700 meters cannot credibly make up for this difference, then it will become clear over a relatively short period of time that the models cannot be accurately representing the thermodynamic evolution of the atmosphere system. There will be a large large and growing energy imbalance between observations and models.

    Stating differently, if a year over year large positive radiative imbalance is modeled (which I believe it is), then the rise in heat content (not surface temperature!***) in the upper 700 meters should be more or less monotonic, given the assumption that the rate of "leakoff" below 700 meters is much less than the modeled radiative imbalance.

    Unless someone can produce empirical evidence that the leakoff of heat below 700 meters over decadal periods is comparable to the modeled radiative imbalance over this same period, then I must side with Roger on this issue FWIW.

    Now, here is what Gavin will likely say in response: ….We still can't measure the deep ocean accurately enough to know for sure. And in the meantime we have all these other metrics that are showing things are heating up as modeled.

    But I think it is clear that this is exactly why ocean heat content is so valuable. It is really the only observational check we have to see if the models are accurately depicting the thermodynamic evolution of the system. Surface temperature is simply a 2-D proxy for a 3-D physics problem. While ST may indeed be a qualitative check, it is not quantitative.

    Comment by Bryan S — 10 Oct 2011 @ 4:52 PM

  160. Re: Roger Pielke @ 155, 156

    Thank you for taking the time to answer some of these questions.

    156: However, if the transport is slower than can be sampled with ~33 profiles per year

    …but again, please, exactly what is being sampled? The Argo sampling, as far as I know, provides temperature, and this is not transport. It is the result of transport (specifically, the net difference between incoming and outgoing). When I read “transport”, I think “flux”, and I still can’t see how you plan to get an absolute flux out of this.

    157: OK, so we are looking at a scenario where the 0-700m layer shows an increase in temperature (a positive anomaly) before the deeper layers. Consider the following two thought experiments (again, numbers are made up):

    Scenario A: a column where there is a steady downward flux of 2 W/m^2 at all depths and times, and thus temperatures are not changing with time. Flux at the surface increases to 4 W/m^2, which starts warming the surface and then heat slowly propagates downward. Gradually, temperatures increase at greater and greater depths, until eventually a new equilibrium is reached where the downward flux is 4 W/m^2 at all depths and temperatures are no longer changing with time. All depths now show a positive temperature anomaly with respect to initial conditions.

    Scenario B: a column where there is a steady upward flux of 2 W/m^2 (call it -2 W/m^2 if you prefer) at all depths and times, and thus temperatures are not changing with time. Flux at the surface decreases to 0 W/m^2 (or increases from -2 to 0, if you prefer), which starts warming the surface and then heat gradually builds up at greater and greater depths. Temperatures increase at greater and greater depths, until eventually a new equilibrium is reached where the upward flux is 0 W/m^2 at all depths and temperatures are no longer changing with time. All depths now show a positive temperature anomaly with respect to initial conditions.

    These two scenarios only differ in one respect: the direction of the initial heat flux. In both cases, the changes start with the upper layer switching to a +2 W/m^2 net imbalance, and the changes propagate downward in the same fashion. Thus, the temperature anomalies should follow exactly the same pattern, should they not?

    These two scenarios may show different initial temperature profiles, but I expect that will depend on whether the flux is purely temperature-driven, or related to other effects e.g., salinity). On the basis of observations of temperature anomalies, can you explain how you would discriminate between these two scenarios, without additional information? In particular, can you take the identical temperature anomaly data and determine that the two scenarios start with absolute fluxes of opposite sign (i.e., direction)? If you require additional information to distinguish between the two, exactly what information would you need? (and is it available from Argo?)

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 10 Oct 2011 @ 6:25 PM

  161. > a bi-layer of current flows
    What does that mean, and where is it described that way?

    I again recommend looking at http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/eemartin/GLY307411/lectures/8.%20Deep%20Ocean%20Circulation.ppt

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Oct 2011 @ 8:34 PM

  162. Bob Loblaw – If the movement of the temperature anomalies were slow enough to be seen in the ~11 day profiles, they can be directly tracked.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 10 Oct 2011 @ 9:45 PM

  163. Response: Heat transfer will be mainly continuous, not episodic. – gavin]

    Gavin – How do you know this?

    On your earlier response, the key text is

    “In 1999, to combat this lack of data, an innovative step was taken by scientists to greatly improve the collection of observations inside the ocean through increased sampling of old and new quantities and increased coverage in terms of time and area.”

    The question is whether the improved network can track heat vertical transfers.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 10 Oct 2011 @ 9:50 PM

  164. RE: 157
    Hey Harvey,

    I think there is a slight error in thinking happening here. First, to get the more dense surface waters to fall the total boyancy ratio has to be fulfilled. With this ratio being a combination of temperature and density. Too warm or fresh in relation to the surrounding body of water and no sinking.

    Hence, for warmer waters to sink either the surrounding water must warm or be fresher. This applies through the whole column from surface to basin bottom.

    As we are aware the THC flow is dependent on the sinking mechanism. Since 2005, it has been noted that the normal Arctic sinking pattern has changed. Where the warmer saline water would pool in the Barents, creating giant columns of sinking saline water, we no longer see this pattern. Yet the THC flow rate is only slightly diminished.

    This suggests the sinking mechanism has to be continuing, just not from Barent Sea pools.

    So it is unlikely that you are going to find the movement of the heat moving from the surface to the bottom in bulk. Using ARGO drifting buoys won’t work either because they use salinity as a form of temperature and pressure verification/correction/reference, as well as longer cycle sampling. To get a flux sample you would likely need a system that cycles every 6-8 hours and date/time stamps the data.

    To maintain the THC flow rate the initial thought is melting ice freshened the surface and dissapted the SST allowing the residual evaporate to sink taking heat with it. Well today that works till you get to about 50 meters. Now you encounter colder and less fresh water. If the surface water stops sinking the THC mechanism slows to a stop.

    So how do you get the warmer water to sink below 50 meters, by making it very brine. If that is the case where ever a high amount of evaporation is occuring, there to are sinking surface waters. The complication is precipitation, it decrease salinity and SSTs. As this occurs in the temperate latitudes often we would not expect to observe sinking waters there. However, around seasonal stagnat High Pressure regions you would think we would have observations suggesting this feeds the THC, (IE: Bermuda High). (I have not seen anything suggesting this is happening.)

    I believe the answer is there can only be the additional heat being sequestered in bulk, that the added density of evaporated brine can offset. In addition, the heat would have to rapidly come out of the tropical current near the poles, to maintain the THC, as the downward flow has to fill the Arctic Basin. This would suggest that very little heat is being directly deposited in the ocean. Similar to convection, a lapse rate, or adibatic/latient heat content, most heat has to rise and leave the ocean as soon as the SST/ skin layer reaches temperature parity with the water below it.

    The current systems would not be able to track short residence energy if it is exiting within 10 hours of input. This suggests the need for rapid cycle independent salinity measurement device referenced to the Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) and equipped with vertical current detectors.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 10 Oct 2011 @ 10:01 PM

  165. Re: Roger Pielke @162, 163.

    (#162) Bob Loblaw – If the movement of the temperature anomalies were slow enough to be seen in the ~11 day profiles, they can be directly tracked.

    I am getting the impression that you are either unwilling or unable to be specific. Once again, please specify how you think this is accomplished? Exactly what do you mean by “tracking”? In #160, I have given you two scenarios with identical temperature trends, but resulting from different changes in heat transfers. Can you answer the questions that I pose there?

    At the moment, I am beginning to think that your claim of determining heat transfers is little more than a claim that we can see different warm bits of ocean at different places at different times, and this means that there is some heat moving around. This is a very limited description of the process and does not particularly advance the science.

    (#163) The question is whether the improved network can track heat vertical transfers.

    …and we keep waiting for you to describe the technique to do this, which you repeatedly seem to imply exists. Are you now saying that you don’t have an answer? Have I been reading more into your claims than you have intended?

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 10 Oct 2011 @ 11:07 PM

  166. Bob Loblaw – We are talking in circles. If the heat blobs that are shown, for example, in http://www.ecmwf.int/products/forecasts/d/charts/ocean/real_time/xzmaps/ can be tracked, we can monitor where the heat anomalies move to. If the data is too sparse and/or without enough temporal resolution, they cannot be tracked.

    I do not know the answer to this question, but it is one that I have requested information on. On Gavin’s hypothesis of a gradual diffusion of heat, figures such as the one above from the ECMWF suggests otherwise.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 11 Oct 2011 @ 7:48 AM

  167. Talking of talking in circles. Re Roger senior’s comment at #166.

    Earlier Roger senior noted that “We should have seen this heat be transfered through the upper 700 meters.” this to me suggests that he believes that mechanisms do not exist to transport the energy into the deep/er ocean. But now he seems to be arguing @ 166 that such a transfer is indeed taking place as per the ECMWF analysis.

    As I and others have noted to track the movement of energy one requires a fixed array of sensors; Argo floats drift so they do not resample the same volume of water revery 11 days or so, and neither does another nearby Argo float (well, that is highly unlikely). When one animates the vertical cross section TAO TRITON data (see # 116 above) those data do show positive temperature anomalies moving downwards over the western equatorial Pacific during the current a La Nina, consistent with what Meehl et al. found.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 11 Oct 2011 @ 12:19 PM

  168. How does low-oxygen, hypoxia states affect the ocean heat transport and what are the consequences for short-middle term climate feedbacks?

    Ocean’s Harmful Low-Oxygen Zones Growing, Are Sensitive to Small Changes in Climate

    “We found there is a mechanism that connects climate and its effect on oxygen to the removal of nitrogen from the ocean,” Deutsch said. “Our climate acts to change the total amount of nutrients in the ocean over the timescale of decades.”
    Low-oxygen zones are created by bacteria living in the deeper layers of the ocean that consume oxygen by feeding on dead algae that settle from the surface. Just as mountain climbers might feel adverse effects at high altitudes from a lack of air, marine animals that require oxygen to breathe find it difficult or impossible to live in these oxygen-depleted environments, Deutsch said.
    Sea surface temperatures vary over the course of decades through a climate pattern called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, during which small changes in depth occur for existing low-oxygen regions, Deutsch said. Low-oxygen regions that rise to warmer, shallower waters expand as bacteria become more active; regions that sink to colder, deeper waters shrink as the bacteria become more sluggish, as if placed in a refrigerator.
    “We have shown for the first time that these low-oxygen regions are intrinsically very sensitive to small changes in climate,” Deutsch said. “That is what makes the growth and shrinkage of these low-oxygen regions so dramatic.”
    Molecular oxygen from the atmosphere dissolves in sea water at the surface and is transported to deeper levels by ocean circulation currents, where it is consumed by bacteria, Deutsch said.
    “The oxygen consumed by bacteria within the deeper layers of the ocean is replaced by water circulating through the ocean,” he said. “The water is constantly stirring itself up, allowing the deeper parts to occasionally take a breath from the atmosphere.”

    When oxygen is very low, the bacteria will begin to consume nitrogen, one of the most important nutrients that sustain marine life.
    “Almost all algae, the very base of the food chain, use nitrogen to stay alive,” Deutsch said. “As these low-oxygen regions expand and contract, the amount of nutrients available to keep the algae alive at the surface of the ocean goes up and down.”
    Understanding the causes of oxygen and nitrogen depletion in the ocean is important for determining the effect on fisheries and fish populations.

    Deutsch and his team used a computer model of ocean circulation and biological processes that produce or consume oxygen to predict how the ocean’s oxygen distribution has changed over the past half century. The researchers tested their predictions using observations made over the last several decades, specifically targeting areas where oxygen concentration is already low.

    How would rising global temperatures affect these low-oxygen environments?
    As temperature increases, less oxygen leaves the atmosphere to dissolve in the ocean, Deutsch explained. Additionally, the shallower levels of the ocean heat up and become more buoyant, slowing the oxygen circulation to lower layers.
    “In the case of a global temperature increase, we expect that low-oxygen regions will grow in size, similar to what happened at the end of the last ice age 30,000 years ago,” Deutsch said. “Since these regions change greatly in size from decade to decade due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, more data is required before we can recognize an overall trend.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110617110713.htm

    Low-oxygen zones where large ocean species cannot live have increased by close to 5.2 million square kilometers since the 1960s, the team found. Where this expansion intersects with the coastal shelf, oxygen-deprived waters are slipping up and over shelf floors, killing off creatures such as crabs, mussels and scallops. Such bottom-dwellers normally have a lot to eat in such rich ecosystems, but these species are sensitive to oxygen loss. Similarly, the anoxic ocean at the end of the Permian period (around 250 million years ago) was associated with elevated carbon dioxide and massive terrestrial and oceanic extinctions.

    Increases in jellyfish blooms also are likely to be part of the process.

    Levin says that the Pacific’s deeper currents keep its waters less oxygenated than those of the Atlantic. “It’s what we call ‘old water,’ since deeper Pacific waters haven’t been at the surface in a long time,” Levin says. Stramma thinks that some of the Pacific’s oxygen problems could also result from El Niño. But climate models predict reductions in dissolved oxygen in all oceans as average global air and sea temperatures rise, and this may be the main driver of what is happening there, she says. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=low-oxygen-ocean-coastal

    Oceanographer: Nitrous Oxide Emitting Aquatic ‘Dead Zones’ Contributing To Climate Change

    The increased frequency and intensity of oxygen-deprived “dead zones” along the world’s coasts can negatively impact environmental conditions in far more than just local waters. In the March 12 edition of the journal Science, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science oceanographer Dr. Lou Codispoti explains that the increased amount of nitrous oxide (N2O) produced in low-oxygen (hypoxic) waters can elevate concentrations in the atmosphere, further exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to ozone “holes” that cause an increase in our exposure to harmful UV radiation.

    “As the volume of hypoxic waters move towards the sea surface and expands along our coasts, their ability to produce the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide increases,” explains Dr. Codispoti of the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory. “With low-oxygen waters currently producing about half of the ocean’s net nitrous oxide, we could see an additional significant atmospheric increase if these ‘dead zones’ continue to expand.” http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=85403791012

    a new model by Slack and Cannon is proposed in which the impact of the Sudbury bolide produced a fundamental change in the oxygen content of the oceans worldwide. This impact globally mixed shallow oxygenated and deep anoxic waters of the Precambrian ocean, creating a new suboxic state for deep seawater. This suboxic state, containing only small amounts of dissolved oxygen, prevented transport of iron from the deep ocean to continental-margin settings, ending an about 1.1 billion-year-long period of banded iron formation deposition.

    When suboxic waters (oxygen essentially absent) occur at depths of less than 300 feet, the combination of high respiration rates, and the peculiarities of a process called denitrification can cause N2O production rates to be 10,000 times higher than the average for the open ocean. The future of marine N2O production depends critically on what will happen to the roughly ten percent of the ocean volume that is hypoxic and suboxic. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-10/gsoa-n2g103009.php

    Comment by prokaryotes — 11 Oct 2011 @ 12:29 PM

  169. MapleLeaf – I never said that heat could not go deeper than 700m.

    On the monitoring of the warm and cool anomaly “blobs”, if their spatial structure is large enough, they will still be seen even as they move horizontally. If they are smaller and can be missed as they move, then the Argo network is not dense enough.

    I would alert you to the somewhat analogous situation in thr atmosphere, where we monitor the troposphere (including its heat content) with radiosondes. Before satellites, that is all we had.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 11 Oct 2011 @ 1:23 PM

  170. > Since 2005, it has been noted that the normal Arctic
    > sinking pattern has changed.

    If someone can cite a likely source for this, please do.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Oct 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  171. Folks, several of you are taking Roger Pielke’s comments way out of context! I hope this in not intentional.

    The physics here is a simple matter in concept.

    For illustration purposes:

    If the TOA radiative imbalance is 1 W/m^2, and the downward flux of heat below 700 meters is only 0.2 W/m^2, then there must be positive flux of heat into the 0-700 integral of 0.8 W/m^2. If the TOA radiative imbalance is real, then the upper ocean cannot have a “flat” heat content unless the downward flux of heat below 700 meters=1 W/m^2 (ignoring of course the smaller reservoirs of heat and interannual weather noise for illustration purposes).

    No empirical data or model output that I am aware of suggests that any downward flux of heat below 700 meters is close to the the modeled TOA radiative imbalance averaged over a decadal period. Therefore, what Roger is saying is exactly correct.

    The Palmer et al., 2011 paper cited above states that the behavior of several examined models leads to the conclusion that the range of uncertainty in the absolute radiative imbalance estimates might be reduced by as much as 30% by integrating the full volume of ocean below 700 meters, but this does not change what I have just stated above. This still implies that the bulk of the radiative imbalance must be seen in the upper ocean over decadal time periods.

    Maybe further research will show these assumptions must change radically. While the Palmer results suggest the need for further research, as it stands now, the simple working model I have outlined above seems like a good working assumption.

    Comment by Bryan S — 11 Oct 2011 @ 2:33 PM

  172. > to track the movement of energy one requires a fixed array of sensors

    Or identifiable tracers detectable in blobs of water over long time spans.

    Atomic bomb fallout, and persistent artificial chemicals — both of which sometimes arrive in pulses and travel with sea water, giving identifiable blobs — have facilitated this kind of work.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=thermohaline+%2Btracer
    finds much.

    This is interesting:

    TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry
    Volume 30, Issue 8, September 2011, Pages 1308-1319
    Climate-Change Impacts on Water Chemistry
    doi:10.1016/j.trac.2011.06.005

    Dissolved oxygen in the bottom water of the Sea of Japan as a sensitive alarm for global climate change

    Toshitaka Gamo
    Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8564, Japan 29 June 2011.
    “Abstract

    The Sea of Japan, a semi-closed marginal sea (greatest depth ∼3700 m) in the northwestern-most Pacific Ocean, has an independent, deep convection system, which is driven by the formation and the sinking of cool, saline surface water towards the bottom in severe winters. Continuous measurement of dissolved oxygen using highly precise versions of the Winkler titration method has revealed 8–10% decreases in the bottom concentration of oxygen (O2) over the past 30 years. The temporal decrease in O2 means an imbalance between the supply of O2 from the surface and the in situ consumption of O2 in decomposing organic matter, suggesting that the change in the deep convection pattern of the Sea of Japan is probably caused by global climate change to reduce winter cooling of surface seawater.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Oct 2011 @ 2:51 PM

  173. Re #169,
    Roger senior,
    “I never said that heat could not go deeper than 700m.”

    I did not say that, I said:
    “this to me suggests that he believes that mechanisms do not exist to transport the energy into the deep/er ocean.”

    Roger senior until recently was suggesting that such a transfer/transport is unlikely because it has not been observed when Argo should have been able to detect it. Here is a reminder of what Roger senior has said about this issue here and on his blog:

    ….the downward movement of heat would be seen in positive temperature anomalies as they move towards lower depth. Similarly, if this heat were to re-emerge, we would also see it as the anomalies move upwards. Also, if there is large amounts of heat being stored at depth in the ocean, this means that the global annual average surface temperature trend is not sampling this heat. This surface temperature trend would be underestimating global warming.

    Roger senior @169,

    If they are smaller and can be missed as they move, then the Argo network is not dense enough

    But this is what he has said on his blog:

    If heat is being sequested in the deeper ocean, it must transfer through the upper ocean. In the real world, this has not been seen that I am aware of. In the models, this heat clearly must be transferred (upwards and downwards) through this layer. The Argo network is spatially dense enough that this should have been see.

    Regardless of the conflicting statements made by Roger senior, it is good to see that he recognizes that heat can be sequestered in the deeper ocean, and that if it is then the surface temperature record is probably underestimating the amount of warming. And yes, I realize that him saying that is inconsistent with his research that claims the surface temperature record has a warm bias, especially at nighttime.

    Since 1958 there is very good agreement between the radiosonde data and NCDC’s global surface air temperature data (0.13 C/decade for NCDC, compared to 0.16C/decade for RATPAC). But more to the point, Argo doesn’t have the same temporal resolution and coverage as does the MSU data.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 11 Oct 2011 @ 3:00 PM

  174. Dave Cooke tells us in #164:

    Hence, for warmer waters to sink either the surrounding water must warm or be fresher. This applies through the whole column from surface to basin bottom

    Not necessarily so regarding temperature. Fresh water is most dense at 4C. Salt water, IIRC, a couple of degrees less, so still ~4C above freezing. So surface water coming into the arctic can cool off to 4C and sink through the 0-3C water below it. More 4C water being transported to the poles could lead to more heat being transported to the bottom – if the bottom was/is cooler than 4C and the salinity is equivilent.

    This is the mechanism that turns lakes over before they freeze in the winter.

    I have no idea whether this is a significant mechanism for warming deep currents upon polar overturning. But I thought it worth pointing out that water doesn’t have to be colder in order to sink. Depending on the deep temperature, sometimes it has to be warmer.

    Comment by David Miller — 11 Oct 2011 @ 3:00 PM

  175. Just trying to figure out what the crux of the disagreement between Gavin and Roger is.

    Gavin wrote in response to 155: “Heat transfer will be mainly continuous, not episodic.”

    In a continuous case, heat transfer will not be directly observable from the top 700 measurements, if the same amount goes in at the top as goes out at the bottom. In an episodic case, it will in principle be observable (though still dependent on the signal to noise ratio of the measurements).

    Roger argues (140) for a more episodic heat transfer: “if this transfer occurs in globs associated with mesoscale and larger ocean circulation features (as suggested in the ECMWF data), we should clearly see this movement of heat.”

    I.e. Gavin argues that if approximately the same amount of heat enters the top 700 m from above, as leaves it from below, no warming signal in this layer will be observed, whereas heat is being transferred through it. Roger agrees with that (140: “If they [these fluxes] are diffuse and distributed across the upper oceans, I agree they would be hard to see in the Argo data.”), but rather thinks that the heat transfer occurs more concentrated in space, in which case it should give rise to an observable signal in the top layer.

    Gavin argues that even if that were the case, the signal would not likely be observable amidst the variability (response to 140: “I have no confidence that the observations will be sufficient to distinguish the anomalous heat flux from the climatological mean with sufficient precision to be helpful.”)

    Gavin and Roger may of course confirm or reject my little summary…

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 11 Oct 2011 @ 4:00 PM

  176. Re: 170

    Hey Hank,

    Any chance the papers behind these publicly available abstracts, blogs, or articles will help?

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/309/5742/1841.abstract
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n1/full/ngeo382.html
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/atlantic-circulation-changes/
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7068/full/nature04385.html
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/05/gulf-stream-slowdown/
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7156/full/448844b.html
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320181838.htm

    As you have been about a bit I am sure you are likely aware of most of them. (Please consider that this is not the old west, I just employ a different approach. First I prefer to share or discuss an idea and then support the idea, if necessary. For me tossing about papers first seems to get in the way of sharing thoughts.) I guess your approach is the difference between a professional and the peanut gallery, sorry if it is offensive.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 11 Oct 2011 @ 5:50 PM

  177. At the time I first saw this issue discussed by RP Sr. on his blog, it was in a series of emails with Josh Willis and Kevin Trenberth. I wondered at the time what this “just passing through” heat would look like in the ARGO data, but none of them gave a hint.

    At the time, if I remember right, Trenberth was dubious ARGO could see it. Perhaps Josh Willis has given this some thought.

    Comment by JCH — 11 Oct 2011 @ 5:54 PM

  178. I have to say that the whole deep sequestration argument makes me a little uneasy. Roger is correct–we haven’t seen it–and to say it is there without evidence strikes me as special pleading. I distrust unobservables–they can keep you from discovering really important things.

    In the end, what matters is TOA energy balance. The evidence that we are warming the planet is sufficiently strong that I don’t feel the need to oppose the denialist/complacent on every issue. After all, they have no evidence for their position.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Oct 2011 @ 5:58 PM

  179. Re: 174

    Hey David Miller,

    Thanks, that is something to consider when we get down to the timing and NAD penetration prior to the subduction. Generally most Gulf Stream fed waters are highly saline before entering the Arctic basin. The point you raise is likely going to effect the waters near the sea ice melt pools.

    I don’t know that it will be a big issue for most of the flow we are currently discussing now. Though it might help with determining the amount of heat sequestration when we can get to the point of discussing the thermo/fluid dynamics. I was only suggesting to Harvey what I felt would help provide a empirical data set.

    Others here have discussed the need for a fixed network or a high density monitoring system. With the advent of an abyssal plain siesmic sensory network being planned by SCRIPPS it might offer a platform for a piggy backed deep ocean sampling system.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 11 Oct 2011 @ 6:32 PM

  180. David Cooke, I can’t read your stuff. Sorry. I’m not a scientist, I’m in the peanut gallery. You read it somewhere, that’s your answer, no worries. Enjoy. Please don’t take my questions as addressed to you when I ask for cites and sources, I understand you don’t do that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Oct 2011 @ 6:36 PM

  181. Ray @178,

    “Roger is correct–we haven’t seen it–and to say it is there without evidence strikes me as special pleading.”

    I agree, apart from the “special pleading” part. Perhaps the modelling study by Meehl et al. was the first step, we now have a better idea where to look and when. Hopefully someone will run with this, it will be interesting.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 11 Oct 2011 @ 7:01 PM

  182. Ocean Currents: Potential Impacts from melting arctic icecaps
    http://climateforce.net/2011/07/08/potential-impacts-from-melting-arctic-icecaps/

    Short educational video using augmented reality about ocean currents and deep ocean circulation. After watching this imagine what happens to the ocean conveyer belt and weather impacts.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 11 Oct 2011 @ 7:09 PM

  183. Bart Verheggen – Good summary, except if there is no heat accumulation in the upper 700m as it diffuses slowly downward, we should still see a slight elevation in the temperature anomalies IF the Argo data precision is good enough. I do not know the precision of the temperature data measurements, and hope someone else can answer that.

    [Response: Huh? If 0-700m temperature anomalies continue to increase, so will heat content. What are trying to say here? - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 11 Oct 2011 @ 9:49 PM

  184. Re: Roger Pielke @166, 169

    Yes, we are talking in circles. I think that is because you keep talking as if you know how to get ocean heat flux values from the Argo data, but won’t say how, and I keep asking how. Now, you have stated that you don’t have the answer, and have put your claim as a conditional “if”. That is a hugely different statement from previous ones, which implied that it was possible. But then, after admitting you don’t have the answer, you are back to talking in #169 about how you will be able to track blobs of warm or cool water if they are large enough.

    I’m not going to bother asking yet again how you would do that tracking, because you’ve admitted that you don’t have the answer. As you said, we keep going in circles. As you said, we keep going in circles.

    As for the link to the graph – yes, a very nice picture. That graph is for temperature anomalies, however (departures from the 1981-2005 mean). If I click on the drop-down box just about the graph, I can choose “Full Field”, and look at the actual temperatures, instead of anomalies. That is the image that is important for heat transfer, not the anomalies one. And I don’t see the same hot blobs in that graph. Full Field Map. If you think that seeing shifting patterns in anomalies allows you to track blobs of heat that represent heat flux, then I can understand why you are having so much difficulty in explaining how calculating heat flux from the Argo data would be done.

    The flux of heat depends on temperature (and ocean current velocity), not anomalies.

    As for the comments about radiosondes: a key element is that they provide horizontal velocity data as well as temperature and humidity (and pressure). They rise through the air (and this rate of ascent is calculated from the pressure changes, combined with temperature data to get density so that pressure altitude can be converted to linear altitude). They follow the air currents horizontally, though, so there is velocity information.

    …but you also go on to say that radiosondes allow us to measure heat content. This is not heat flux. Without a measurement of the vertical velocity of air (not the balloon), I suspect it would be difficult to use radiosonde data to determine heat fluxes (in 3-D, at least). Feel free to explain how it would be done, if you think it is possible, but I won’t bother asking because I don’t expect an answer. You can go back to my first post on the subject (#101) to review the kinds of measurements required to measure heat flux in the atmosphere, if you want.

    So, given that you treat heat content, changes in heat content, flux divergence, and fluxes interchangeably – and don’t seem to want to get into specifics – I will take anything further you say on the subject with an extremely large grain of salt.

    To paraphrase an old, respected colleague of mine, you are just handwaving.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 11 Oct 2011 @ 11:05 PM

  185. Re: Roger Pielke @ 183.

    Oh, my, my, my. Let’s assume pure thermal diffusion. Surface at T1, 700m at T2. Temperature gradient is (T2-T1)/700, and constant with depth (i.e., the temperature itself is linear with depth). Constant heat input at surface equal to X, constant heat output at bottom equal to X. Things are at steady state, so T1 and T2 are constant, all T(z) are constant, and X is also constant. Thermal conductivity (also constant) can be determined by the ratio of the temperature gradient and the heat flux. A very simple slab thermal diffusion problem.

    This simple example has constant downward diffusion (or conduction) of heat, and no changes in temperature over time. According to you, there still should be some elevation in temperature in this simple system?

    If you’d like, I could show Fourier’s Law of Heat Conduction, and put my descriptive model into a mathematical model.

    I’d really like to hear an explanation of the physics behind the elevation in temperature anomalies you claim will occur.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 11 Oct 2011 @ 11:29 PM

  186. Ray #178

    “In the end, what matters is TOA energy balance. The evidence that we are warming the planet is sufficiently strong that I don’t feel the need to oppose the denialist/complacent on every issue. After all, they have no evidence for their position.”

    Here is a quote from the “Atmospheric Aerosol Properties & Climate Impacts Report” by the US governments Climate Change Science Program, 2009.

    “ ES 3.1 Calculated change of surface temperature due to forcing by anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols was reported in IPCC AR4 based on results from more than 20 participating global climate modelling groups. Despite a wide range of climate sensitivity (ie the amount of surface temperature increase due to a change in radiative forcing, such as an increase of CO2) exhibited by the models, they all yield a global average temperature change very similar to that observed over the last century. This agreement across models appears to be a consequence of the use of very different aerosol forcing values, which compensates for the range of climate sensivity. For example, the direct cooling effect of sulphate aerosol varied by a factor of six (6 ) among the models. An even greater disparity was seen in the model treatment of black carbon and organic carbon. Some models ignored aerosol indirect effects whereas others included large indirect effects. In addition, for those models that included the indirect effect, the aerosol effect on cloud brightness (reflectivity) varied by a factor of nine (9). Therefore, the fact that models have reproduced the global temperature change in the past does not imply that their future forecasts are accurate. This state of affairs will remain until a firmer estimate of radiation forcing by aerosols, as well as climate sensitivity, is available.”

    Does this effect your confidence in our knowledge of the TOA energy balance

    Comment by Bob Irvine — 12 Oct 2011 @ 12:23 AM

  187. Deep Waters May Not Run Still

    The currents caused by large, swirling eddies at the ocean’s surface may reach all the way to the sea floor, a new study suggests. The unexpected finding may help explain how the larvae of organisms living at isolated hydrothermal vents can be transported hundreds of kilometers to colonize new vents. And as climate change affects surface eddies, it may also reach the ocean’s depths.

    As any sailor knows, conditions at the ocean’s surface can change in a moment. But most scientists presume that the environment on the sea floor is fairly stable: Temperatures hover near freezing, darkness reigns, and currents are languid and steady. Well, scratch that last one. Measurements taken at a hydrothermal vent system in the eastern Pacific indicate that currents can be highly variable, in some cases tripling in speed for an extended period, and analyses strongly suggest that eddies at the ocean’s surface are to blame.

    In a field study, Diane Adams, a marine biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, and her colleagues measured the currents near the seafloor along the East Pacific Rise, a submarine ridge south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico, that sports many hydrothermal vent systems. They suspended sensors 170 meters above the 2350-meter-deep ridge, high enough to remain unaffected by ridge-related turbulence. They also suspended traps just 4 meters above the sea floor to measure the amount of minerals spewed by the vent systems and settling back to the ocean floor, as well as to count the number of larvae produced by creatures living in the warm oasis. Because the vents usually maintain a steady flow and the creatures that live there reproduce continually, minerals and larvae fall into the traps from the cloudy waters above at fairly steady rates.

    From November 2004 through April 2005, typical currents at the site flowed from the north at an average speed of about 5.5 centimeters per second, the researchers report online today in Science. Moreover, says Adams, the currents rarely rose above 10 centimeters per second. But in March 2005, currents shifted suddenly and flowed from the south at speeds that sometimes exceeded 15 centimeters per second. During the same interval, the amounts of sediment and vent-creature larvae that fell into the team’s traps dropped dramatically—indicating the cloud of minerals and larvae had been carried away, at least temporarily, as if a strong storm system had swept the stale air from a polluted valley.

    Later, while searching for a possible reason for the anomalous currents, Adams and her colleagues found that a large, clockwise-spinning eddy at the ocean’s surface—one measuring about 375 kilometers across—had crossed the area at about the same time. Then the team’s computer simulations showed that eddies could trigger changes in sea floor currents matching the patterns measured by the instruments, with the best correlation occurring when the effects on deep-sea currents happened 8 days after the eddy passed overhead.

    “This is a huge response at the bottom, and passage of the surface eddy probably isn’t coincidental,” says Dudley Chelton, a physical oceanographer at Oregon State University, Corvallis. “This will change the way we think about the ocean,” largely because the effects of such eddies weren’t suspected to extend so deeply, adds Cindy Van Dover, a biological oceanographer at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina.

    Many of the surface eddies in this region of the Pacific are generated by winds spilling westward off the coast of Central America, and those winds vary with the seasons and may become stronger or more frequent as climate changes in the future. Therefore, Van Dover says, the eddy-induced currents may offer a way for climate change to affect the deep sea sooner than expected and in a way scientists hadn’t been thinking about. Organisms that have evolved in environments that have little if any change in environmental conditions, for example, may not be able to adapt well if currents increasingly mix warm surface waters down to the seafloor.
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/04/deep-waters-may-not-run-still.html

    Comment by prokaryotes — 12 Oct 2011 @ 2:55 AM

  188. A hydrothermal vent
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent

    It doesn’t let me post the content of the hydrothermal vent wikipedia entry. I thought this was very interesting read together with the rise of eddys from climate change. Eddys can make a normal hurricane explode in strength.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 12 Oct 2011 @ 3:01 AM

  189. “The flux of heat depends on temperature”

    Your physics is sloppy. Temperature changes are driven by the flux of heat (Joules). Temperature gauges are one of the instruments we use to calculate the amount of heat, and this metric also determines important things for humans like whether it feels hot or cold, or that water boils on your stove around 100 C, but fluxes of heat defintely have no clue about how they are being measured.

    What I think you mean to say is that the measurement of the heat flux depends on temperature measurements.

    [edit]

    [Response: The principle heat flux in the ocean is advective - i.e. u*T - so it is completely accurate to state that the heat flux depends on temperature (and velocity). Diffusive heat flux depends on temperature gradients - again requiring temperature measurements. I doubt very much that anyone is measuring deep ocean heat flux directly - any such flux must be inferred. - gavin]

    Comment by Bryan S — 12 Oct 2011 @ 8:23 AM

  190. Bob Loblaw – The heat, even without accumulating, in Joules would still be seen as it moves downward. What you present is a constant flux layer, as is often used in the lowest layer of the atmospheric boundary layer even when it is unstably stratified and heat is transported upwards higher into the boundary layer.

    I do assume that you are presenting your example as a thought experiment, and not proposing this is true (i.e. a constant flux layer) for the upper ocean. :-)

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 12 Oct 2011 @ 9:04 AM

  191. Look folks. Here is a simple assumption that makes what Roger is saying again exactly correct:

    The downward flux of heat into the ocean is not constant over a semi-annual to annual basis due to weather noise and the seasonal cycle. Instead, anomolous heat would be expected to come in “globs”. During these periods of higher than average heating, we should see high temperature anomolies, and if the grid spacing is small enough, and the gauges are accurate enough, these anomolies should be able to be mapped in theory.

    Repeating again in a different way so that it is perfectly clear: If the rate of “leakoff” (by whatever mechanism, turbulent or diffusive) to the deep ocean is keeping pace (averaged over decadal periods) with the incoming heat in the integral of ocean being monitored, then if measurement is good enough, these large “globs” of anomolous heat should in concept be able to be mapped and tracked over *annual time periods*.

    Now if we want to estimate where these positive anomolies are moving over decadal time periods, yet the sum of the positive years plus the sum of the negative years=0, then we have two choices. Either the heat from the positive years has been lost to space, or it has leaked off to the deep ocean (ignoring other trival reservoirs of heat).

    If it is being lost to space, then we must expect to see in our animation of temperature anomolies over time, that the hot anomolies primarily accumulate in the shallowest layers of of the ocean, so that an upwelling flux of heat can go back into the atmosphere and be lost to space, for instance possibly related to ENSO.

    If however, our animation shows that most of the anomolies map deep in the ocean, then we might assume that these could be lost due to leakoff of heat to the deep portion of the ocean.

    Comment by Bryan S — 12 Oct 2011 @ 9:31 AM

  192. Ray Ladbury #178

    You write,
    “I have to say that the whole deep sequestration argument makes me a little uneasy. Roger is correct-we haven’t seen it–and to say it is there without evidence strikes me as special pleading. I distrust unobservables–they can keep you from discovering really important things. In the end, what matters is TOA energy balance. The evidence that we are warming the planet is sufficiently strong that I don’t feel the need to oppose the denialist/complacent on every issue.”

    Can you explain why you have so much confidence in the TOA energy imbalance?

    According to Trenberth, Fasullo & Kiehl 2009
    “The TOA energy imbalance can probably be most accurately determined from climate models and is estimated to be 0.85 ± 0.15 W m−2 by Hansen et al. (2005) and is supported by estimated recent changes in ocean heat content (Willis et al. 2004; Hansen et al. 2005).”

    Comment by Alex Harvey — 12 Oct 2011 @ 9:41 AM

  193. Mapleleaf-

    First, I stated that the Argo data density was fine enough to see the movement of the heat downward, but am now unclear on this, and look forward to an Argo specialist to give us an overview of capability in this regards.

    On the other issue you raised, you wrote

    “it is good to see that he recognizes that heat can be sequestered in the deeper ocean, and that if it is then the surface temperature record is probably underestimating the amount of warming. And yes, I realize that him saying that is inconsistent with his research that claims the surface temperature record has a warm bias, especially at nighttime.”

    I have always recognized that heat can be transfered to greater depth. In my paper

    Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/10/r-247.pdf

    “An assessment of the heat storage within the earth.s climate system offers a unique perspective on global change. If the heat actually remains within the earth system in the deeper ocean, for example, while the heat content of the remainder of the heat reservoirs in the earth system remains unchanged, sudden transfers of the heat between components of the system (from the ocean into the atmosphere) could produce rapid, unanticipated changes in global weather.

    Similarly, relatively large warming and cooling radiative forcings (e.g., well-mixed greenhouse gases and the indirect effect of aerosols) could be in near balance at present, suggesting that sudden climate changes could occur if one of these forcings becomes dominant. On the other hand, a loss of space to a large portion of the increased radiative fluxes, as the atmosphere adjusts, such as through a change in cloud cover (e.g., Lindzen et al. 2001), would suggest that the climate system is relatively more resilient to continued anthropogenic heating effects than conventionally assumed.”

    My view now is that if the heat moves to deeper depths, it would become relatively dispersed, and I do not see how it could be quickly transfered back to the surface.

    On the warm nighttime bias we found, this is still a robust finding between the MSU LT data and the surface temperature data. It is an independent issue from the ocean heating.

    The sequestration of the heat at depth, however, if this is accurate, does show a serious inadequacy in using the global annual average surface temperature trend as the metric to diagnose global warming.

    [Response: Isn't this where we started? - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 12 Oct 2011 @ 10:41 AM

  194. Gavin – Regarding

    Isn’t this where we started? – gavin

    I have found the set of comments quite informative, so I do not feel we are back where we started. Bryan S has summarized the issue very well.

    Thank you for the opportunity to interact on your weblog. Roger

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 12 Oct 2011 @ 10:54 AM

  195. The sequestration of the heat at depth, however, if this is accurate, does show a serious inadequacy in using the global annual average surface temperature trend as the metric to diagnose global warming.

    Does this statement mean if heat is increasing in the deep ocean, an increase in global surface temperature is an underestimate ?

    Or is Mr Pielke trying to say surface temperature trends have no relation to global warming, or do not indicate it’s happening?

    Or is he simply arguing “not too worry”, there might be some unknown “natural” effects that might put the tempest back in a teapot?

    Comment by flxible — 12 Oct 2011 @ 11:15 AM

  196. Why “Either … to space, or … to the deep ocean” — hasn’t the change in the outgoing radiation been measured?

    And modeled? E.g., quite recently, this posting:
    18. Noise, TOA fluxes and climate sensitivity

    Posted on October 7, 2011 by Isaac Held

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2011 @ 11:26 AM

  197. High uncertainty is linked to the issue of the huge overturning in the Atlantic called the thermohaline circulation. Its potential collapse could be caused by freshwater inflows from Greenland ice sheet melting and changes in precipitation patterns. As insight in these changes is still limited, the likelihood of transition as well as the confidence in the assessment does not increase with temperature.

    “Possible linkages of tipping elements make it even more advisable to use a risk management approach when dealing with global warming”, says Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter, UK, one of the authors. For example, a likely weakening of the thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic could lead to a warming of waters around Antarctica and shift the subpolar wind belt, inducing changes in ice sheet melting. “Those linkages are complex and are in urgent need of further exploration”, says Lenton. http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/kipp-elemente-im-klimasystem-forscher-verfeinern-ihre-einschaetzung

    Roger A. Pielke Sr. says: “My view now is that if the heat moves to deeper depths, it would become relatively dispersed, and I do not see how it could be quickly transfered back to the surface”

    Freshwater uptake lowers the amount of heat flux into the deep ocean and ocean currents transport water down and up. But the entire established transport is about to start to abruptly switch to a more passive state. We can use here the metaphor of the human blood transport and what happens when blood transport abruptly stops.

    The condition means less water mixing – transport, thus creating ocean dead zones, algae blooms and jelly fish invasion.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 12 Oct 2011 @ 11:32 AM

  198. flxible – If one is using the annual global average surface temperature trend to diagnose global warming (and cooling), but some of the heat is being sequestered in the deep ocean, the trend would be underestimated when using the surface temperature trend to monitor global warming.

    This issue provides yet another reason we should move to the ocean heat content changes as the primary metric to diagnose global warming as as a check against the time integrated TOA radiative imbalance as measured from satellite.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 12 Oct 2011 @ 1:13 PM

  199. > move to the ocean heat content changes as the primary metric
    > to diagnose [global warming]

    Dr. P/Gavin — would Dr. P’s term for what’s to be measured work for this?

    He wrote in 2003: “Heat storage within the Earth system”

    Dr. P: Would you accept this rewording?

    “Would using ocean heat content changes be a satisfactory primary metric for diagnosing heat storage changes within the Earth system?”

    (I do wonder about leaving out the borehole temperatures, but the researchers in that area may have their own terminology too)

    Could you agree on using your own term here? It would help.*

    On the “metric” I wonder — Is this an actual suggestion for the present, or a longterm wish?

    What questions need to be answered to know if that can be a useful metric, and when, and how? From the peanut gallery, I’d wonder:

    – How much data exists now?
    – Over what time span?
    (Those questions are for any data librarian or anyone else who can point to the data sets with some assurance)

    Questions given the above answers:

    – What are the error bars in those observations?
    – How many observations, or how many years, will be needed to detect any possible trend?
    – As observations and years are added, how many more are needed to have enough?
    – The land surface temperature is oversampled for climatology**; what sort of instrumentation/sampling rate is needed for ocean surface temperature/ lower atmosphere over the oceans?

    I’d appreciate any statistician who answers that showing the work, it would be instructive. Bob Grumbine’s example on detecting trends*** is a good example of how to take a particular data set and answer this question for that set.
    ________

    * “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone …”

    **http://www.skepticalscience.com/OfAveragesAndAnomalies_pt_2B.html

    ** http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2011 @ 1:50 PM

  200. “[...] we should move to the ocean heat content changes as the primary metric to diagnose global warming as as a check against the time integrated TOA radiative imbalance as measured from satellite.”

    I wasn’t aware that there was only 1 metric.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 12 Oct 2011 @ 2:19 PM

  201. RE: 197

    Hey prokaryotes,

    Okay two questions…

    First; How is the Arctic water column being freshened? Keeping in mind how sea ice forms. The temperature drop of the incoming Gulf Stream water causes the salt or brine to precipitate out leaving a large pool of fresh water floating on the more saline and slightly cooler waters below. Cooler air blows across the pool of fresher water where it begins to freeze forming “cup or pot” ice blocks that capture frozen precipitation. They become unbalanced and roll to expose their bottom and another “cup” forms. The winds blow the “cups” together where they form rafts. The rafts, converge forming plates, and eventually they form “shelves”.

    So if we reverse the process, does the fresher melt water act differently then, then former less warm or saline slowly freezing tropical inflow, very unlikely.

    Secondly, how would freshened melt water in the column, sink to the bottom, if the temperature differences between it and the more saline Arctic Ocean even out, by the time it falls to around 50 meters depth? If we have incoming tropical water that is say three times as saline and 7 deg. C warmer then the fresh water in residence, it will likely fall through the first 50 meters and with very little mixing. As the more saline waters fall they radiate out most of their heat, warming the fresher surface and melt waters. The fresher waters absorbing the added heat at depth, rise. (The difference in salinity forms a boundary layer, reducing mixing, while rising to the surface.) Here at the surface the warmed fresh water is exposed to frigid wind and air temperatures in Winter, extracting the absorbed warmth and refreezes.

    In the meantime the more saline tropical waters still sink further with less heat then before. These incoming tropical waters are still more density then the surrounding 70-100 meter waters. Their balance of heat is slightly higher, as they were not resident on the surface as long, as in a non-freshed sea surface. (The added salinity, in a warming climate or under the influence of a long resident Blocking High, causes the tropical waters to became, say three times more saline then a sea surface not so warmed.) Hence, with a slightly greater density they overcome the added boyancy, the higher SST heat they absorbed, would cause. Taking slightly higher then normal heat, (a few degrees), with them to the Arctic Basin.

    Finally as the cooled tropical waters fall to the Arctic Basin floor they slightly transfer a portion of their addtional heat to the waters they fall through, which slowly dissapates. It does not look like freshened water reaches the bottom.

    Did I miss-understand your point?

    (Oh, it is very likely that in an a hypoxic or anoxic environment there would be a large increase in anaerobic oganisms creating a lot of sulfur compounds as they dined on the aerobic dead from above, characteristic of Desulfuromonadales (more likely in the ocean due to greater concentration of ocean bottom manganese and iron compounds found there). Though denitrification is evident where there is sufficient carbon resources and large populations of Paracoccus or E. Coli as would be more common on land or in fresh water. (c/o wikipedia anaerobic resperation, “examples of resperation types” table, Sad to say no proper references appear available.))

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 12 Oct 2011 @ 2:43 PM

  202. In contrast to what I wrote in my little summary at 175, the disagreement between Roger and Gavin doesn’t seem to be on whether the heat transfer is concentrated in space (both seem to agree that it is), but rather on whether the heat transfer is continuous or episodic in time (Gavin thinks it’s the former; Roger doesn’t say) and on whether the data precision is sufficient (Gavin thinks it isn’t; Roger doesn’t say).

    For a while the same amount of heat may enter the top 700 m from above, as leaves it from below. As a result, no warming signal in this layer will be observed, whereas heat is being transferred through it. A constant temperature is thus not proof that no heat has transferred through the layer.

    A longer summary of the discussion between Roger and Gavin -and what I make of it- is on my blog: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/ocean-heat-content-transfer-of-heat-through-the-top-700-metres-gavin-schmidt-vs-roger-pielke-sr/

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 12 Oct 2011 @ 3:30 PM

  203. @ 189

    Gavin, you missed my point completely (which was highlighted in the part you edited)! I tried to illustrate the point by intentionally taking a sentence out of context, and then trying to make hay to “show up” a commentor.

    I then explained my slight of hand trick (in the part you edited) in order to make a point to a specific commentor (and you). You were not being fair to Pielke Sr. by not giving him the benefit of the doubt. You guys did not seem to even try to understand his points.

    You have done this so many times over the years, and it is quite distasteful. This type of tactic is why climate science has suffered so much in the eyes of the public in recent years.

    The last EOS that I recieved, I noticed that Pielke Sr. is on the editorial board of the AGU. I doubt he has gotten there by being a idiot and not being competant to deal in very basic physics.

    [Response: I do not think that Roger is an 'idiot' nor do I think he is 'incompetent' - where do you get this stuff from? What I edited out was you attacking another commenter - who wasn't actually wrong. Stick to arguing about science, stop trying to 'show up' other commenters, and please don't make up insinuations about my opinions that you know nothing about. - gavin]

    Comment by Bryan S — 12 Oct 2011 @ 4:40 PM

  204. Hank Roberts -

    Regarding

    “Would using ocean heat content changes be a satisfactory primary metric for diagnosing heat storage changes within the Earth system?”

    The answer is yes. I have heard Jim Hansen say the same thing at one of NRC (2005) committee meetings. This is a suggestion for the present (2003 and later when the Argo network obtain their planned coverage and into the future.

    P.S. I disagree that the land temperatures are well sampled, but that is an issue for a different thread.

    Yor related questions are clearly presented and answers needed.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 12 Oct 2011 @ 6:12 PM

  205. Bart Verheggen

    Regarding

    “…whether the heat transfer is continuous or episodic in time (Gavin thinks it’s the former; Roger doesn’t say) and on whether the data precision is sufficient (Gavin thinks it isn’t; Roger doesn’t say).”

    I expect the transfers, to whatever extent they are occuring, are in coherent blobs, as illustrated at the ECMWF site – http://www.ecmwf.int/products/forecasts/d/charts/ocean/real_time/.
    As to precision, I do not know the answer to that question, but it needs to be answered.

    P.S. Enjoyed reading your weblog; I have bookmarked it.

    Om my earlier answer to Hank Roberts, there is a typo – it should read

    “Would using ocean heat content changes be a satisfactory primary metric for diagnosing heat storage changes within the Earth system?”

    The answer is yes. I have heard Jim Hansen say the same thing at one of NRC (2005) committee meetings. This is a suggestion for the present (2003 and later) when the Argo network obtained their planned coverage, and into the future.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 12 Oct 2011 @ 6:23 PM

  206. Thank you Dave Cooke for the detailed explanation and to make clear that there is very minimal heat flux to the deep ocean. Though it seems there is some heat going down and distributed on it’s path to surrounding layers(How much exactly?), but much less then my earlier post might have suggested (in response to Roger’s comment).

    What we did not discussed yet is the effect of the biological pump:

    climate change may affect the biological pump in the future by warming and stratifying the surface ocean. It is believed that this could decrease the supply of nutrients to the euphotic zone, reducing primary production there. Also, changes in the ecological success of calcifying organisms caused by ocean acidification may affect the biological pump by altering the strength of the hard tissues pump. This may then have a “knock-on” effect on the soft tissues pump because calcium carbonate acts to ballast sinking organic material
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_pump

    I wonder for how much heat transport to the deep ocean, sinking organic material accounts for?

    Related

    Decadal fluctuations in ocean salinity, nutrients, chlorophyll, a variety of zooplankton species, and fish stocks in the Northeast Pacific have been unexplained for many years. They are often poorly correlated with the most widely used indicator of large-scale climate variability in the region: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Researchers Emanuele Di Lorenzo of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Niklas Schneider of the University of Hawaii recently defined a new pattern of climate change—the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO)—and showed that its variability is significantly correlated with the previously unexplained fluctuations of salinity, nutrients, and chlorophyll. http://planetforward.org/idea/new-climate-mode-of-variability-links-ocean-climate-and-ecosystem-change/

    Marine algae live in the upper layers of the ocean but rely on nutrients that circulate up from lower layers. Rising temperatures mean the different layers mix less with each other, so fewer nutrients reach the algae.

    In the oceans, ubiquitous microscopic phototrophs (phytoplankton) account for approximately half the production of organic matter on Earth. Analyses of satellite-derived phytoplankton concentration (available since 1979) have suggested decadal-scale fluctuations linked to climate forcing, but the length of this record is insufficient to resolve longer-term trends. Here we combine available ocean transparency measurements and in situ chlorophyll observations to estimate the time dependence of phytoplankton biomass at local, regional and global scales since 1899. We observe declines in eight out of ten ocean regions, and estimate a global rate of decline of ~1% of the global median per year. Our analyses further reveal interannual to decadal phytoplankton fluctuations superimposed on long-term trends. These fluctuations are strongly correlated with basin-scale climate indices, whereas long-term declining trends are related to increasing sea surface temperatures.
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2010/07/29/206497/nature-decline-ocean-phytoplankton-global-warming-boris-worm/

    Sensitivities of marine carbon fluxes to ocean change

    Throughout Earth’s history, the oceans have played a dominant role in the climate system through the storage and transport of heat and the exchange of water and climate-relevant gases with the atmosphere. The ocean’s heat capacity is ≈1,000 times larger than that of the atmosphere, its content of reactive carbon more than 60 times larger. Through a variety of physical, chemical, and biological processes, the ocean acts as a driver of climate variability on time scales ranging from seasonal to interannual to decadal to glacial–interglacial. The same processes will also be involved in future responses of the ocean to global change. Here we assess the responses of the seawater carbonate system and of the ocean’s physical and biological carbon pumps to (i) ocean warming and the associated changes in vertical mixing and overturning circulation, and (ii) ocean acidification and carbonation. Our analysis underscores that many of these responses have the potential for significant feedback to the climate system. Because several of the underlying processes are interlinked and nonlinear

    . A potentially more significant impact of changes in the hydrological cycle on the oceanic CO2 uptake can arise at high latitudes in the North Atlantic: Here, reduced surface salinities, together with higher SSTs, would lower the density of surface waters and thereby may inhibit the formation of deep waters. This lowering in turn would reduce meridional pressure gradients and tend to slow down the thermohaline-driven part of the meridional, overturning circulation.

    The abiotic solubility pump is caused by the solubility of CO2 increasing with decreasing temperature. In present climate conditions, deep water forms at high latitudes. As a result, volume-averaged ocean temperatures are lower than average sea-surface temperatures. The solubility pump then ensures that, associated with the mean vertical temperature gradient, there is a vertical gradient of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). This solubility-driven gradient explains ≈30–40% of today’s ocean surface-to-depth DIC gradient (7).

    A key process responsible for the remaining two thirds of the surface-to-depth DIC gradient is the biological carbon pump. It transports photosynthetically fixed organic carbon from the sunlit surface layer to the deep ocean. Integrated over the global ocean, the biotically mediated oceanic surface-to-depth DIC gradient corresponds to a carbon pool 3.5 times larger than the total amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (8) and has a mean residence of a few hundred years. Hence, small changes in this pool, caused, for example, by biological responses to ocean change, would have a strong effect on atmospheric CO2. Counteracting the organic carbon pump in terms of its effect on air–sea CO2 exchange is a process termed the carbonate counter pump (9), also known as the alkalinity pump. The formation of CaCO3 shell material by calcifying plankton and its sinking to depth lowers the DIC and alkalinity in the surface ocean, causing an increase in CO2 partial pressure. It is worth noting that the organic and inorganic carbon pumps reinforce each other in terms of maintaining a vertical DIC gradient, whereas they are counteractive with respect to their impact on air–sea CO2 exchange.

    Although the range of potential changes in the solubility pump and chemical responses of the marine CO2 system is known reasonably well, our understanding of biological responses to ocean change is still in its infancy. Such responses relate both to possible direct effects of rising atmospheric CO2 through ocean acidification (decreasing seawater pH) and ocean carbonation (increasing CO2 concentration), and indirect effects through ocean warming and changes in circulation and mixing regimes. These changes are expected to impact marine ecosystem structure and functioning and have the potential to alter the cycling of carbon and nutrients in the surface ocean with likely feedbacks on the climate system.

    Increased thermal stratification due to rising SST affects both nutrient supply and mixed-layer light intensities. In the tropics and midlatitudes, where thermal stratification restricts vertical mixing, typically low surface nutrient concentrations limit phytoplankton growth. Ocean warming will further reduce mixing, diminishing the upward nutrient supply and lowering productivity (Fig. 4Upper). At higher latitudes, phytoplankton is often light-limited because intense vertical mixing circulates algal cells over deep mixed layers, resulting in lower mean light intensity along a phytoplankton cell’s trajectory and hence lower net productivity. In these regions, ocean warming and a greater influx of fresh water, mostly from increased precipitation and melting sea ice, will contribute to reduce vertical mixing which may increase productivity

    As sea-surface warming reduces deep-ocean ventilation, this slowdown will lower the supply of oxygen to the ocean interior (59). This process, which has been termed “ocean deoxygenation” (60), is expected to cause an overall decrease in deep-ocean oxygen content, including an expansion of oxygen-minimum zones (61, 62). Suboxic and anoxic conditions favor processes such as denitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation, leading to the loss of bioavailable nitrogen in the ocean, with possible implications for marine primary production. Provided that the ocean’s nitrogen inventory ultimately determines the amount of carbon biologically sequestered in the ocean, reducing the nitrogen inventory would provide a positive feedback to the climate system. http://www.pnas.org/content/106/49/20602.full

    Comment by prokaryotes — 12 Oct 2011 @ 7:28 PM

  207. More at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/is-the-ocean-carbon-sink-sinking/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Oct 2011 @ 9:38 PM

  208. The planet’s deep oceans at times may absorb enough heat to flatten the rate of global warming for periods of as long as a decade even in the midst of longer-term warming….
    The study, based on computer simulations of global climate, points to ocean layers deeper than 1,000 feet (300 meters) as the main location of the “missing heat” during periods such as the past decade when global air temperatures showed little trend. The findings also suggest that several more intervals like this can be expected over the next century, even as the trend toward overall warming continues….
    “This study suggests the missing energy has indeed been buried in the ocean,” [coauthor Kevin] Trenberth says. “The heat has not disappeared, and so it cannot be ignored. It must have consequences.”
    These potential consequences include accelerated warming in the coming decade and melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Let’s take these two in order.
    The heat may have been carried deep into the ocean by overturning circulations, which can plunge surface water from the subtropical regions into the ocean’s depths. The burying of warmer water also corresponds with La Nina weather patterns, which are born from cooler-than-average surface water temperatures in the tropical Pacific. And over the last decade, La Nina conditions have dominated, Trenberth said.
    That the heat is buried in the ocean, and not lost into space, is troublesome, Trenberth said, since the heat energy isn’t likely to stay in the ocean forever, perhaps releasing back into the atmosphere during a strong El Nino, when sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are warmer than average.
    “It can come back quite fast,” he said. “The energy is not lost, and it can come back to haunt us, so to speak, in the future.” http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/23/327298/hottest-decade-deep-oceans-warming-may-be-on-its-way/

    Comment by prokaryotes — 12 Oct 2011 @ 11:00 PM

  209. Is the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation related to the recent increase in late summer snow cover in the Montana Rockies? The last 2 years have seen a great improvement in skiable lines. The Stanton Glacier for example was nearly all bare ice in late Sept 2007 but almost completely firn in early Oct 2010 with coverage at least 200 m into what had been rock.

    Comment by don gisselbeck — 12 Oct 2011 @ 11:52 PM

  210. Re: Bryan S @ 189

    Um, no, your physics is sloppy. Let’s go back to the simple slab – steady state, constant temperature, linear with depth. Let’s presume that the flux at the top surface is received by absorption of radiation, and the same flux (i.e. same quantity) of heat is lost at the bottom by radiation. Conduction through the slab occurs at this same heat flux value.

    So, we have a flux of heat, and we have no changes in temperature with time. So a flux of heat can’t possibly require that there be a change in temperature, can it? Conversely, there is a gradient in temperature (with depth), and that gradient is the reason that heat is conducted, so I think it’s safe to say that the flux of heat depends on temperature. To get changes in temperature, you need to have flux divergence – i.e., a flux that is not constant with depth – the rate of heating depends on the difference between what goes in and what goes out..

    (Of course, if you can move mass, you can move heat without a temperature gradient. Just pick the object up and put it down somewhere else, and the heat it contains has been transferred.)

    The math is in comment 120 (but don’t forget to look at #123 and #128 while you’re at it).

    [Captcha is "tofhou velocity". Is that what you get when your kid throws the tofu across the room?]

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 13 Oct 2011 @ 2:14 AM

  211. Re: Roger Pielke @ 190

    Yes, another thought experiment. One that clearly has transfer of energy (heat conduction), yet there are no changes in temperature with time.

    …and yet you still seem to think that “the heat, even without accumulating, in Joules would still be seen as it moves downward.”

    I will try again: how will it be seen? It won’t be because there is a temperature anomaly or a change in temperature, because all temperature anomalies will equal zero and all rates of temperature change with time are zero – we’re in a steady state. We look at the system at time t1, and then look at it again at time t2, and it looks exactly the same. We decide to leave it for a week, or a month, or a year. We know that buckets of heat have passed through the slab, but every time we look at the temperature field, it still looks exactly the same. You agree that heat is being transferred. How do you “see” it?

    This is the crux of our disagreement. To me, it appears that you think that every transfer of heat will be accompanied by a visible feature in in the temperature field. This simply isn’t true. We may see visible features moving around in the temperature field, and they certainly may, nay should be related to transfers of heat, but it is not a requirement.

    And thus, you can’t quantify the local transfer of heat in absolute terms by just looking at the changing patterns of the temperature field. If all you have is temperature data, then clearly you can look at net difference in transfers (the flux divergence, which translates to changes in heat content), but this is not the absolute flux at that point. Clearly, you can integrate heat content to the edges of the field, and determine fluxes at the boundaries (e.g., if the bottom is zero, then the only place left for heat to get in is the surface), but that still doesn’t tell you the absolute fluxes at any single point in the interior regions.

    Go back to the thought experiment in #127 – two different patterns of heat flux (but the same pattern of flux divergence), and identical changes in temperature with time. That in itself should tell you that you can’t distinguish absolute heat flux from just that temperature data – the same “seeing” can be (at least) two different situations.

    What it comes down to, is that you need more information on the system to do what you seem to think you can do.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 13 Oct 2011 @ 2:54 AM

  212. RE: “This study suggests the missing energy has indeed been buried in the ocean,” [coauthor Kevin] Trenberth says. “The heat has not disappeared, and so it cannot be ignored. It must have consequences.”

    What effect will this study have on Paleoclimate reconstructions? Or is the suggestion that this is some kind of new phenomenon or process that has not happened in the past?

    Comment by barn E. rubble — 13 Oct 2011 @ 5:19 AM

  213. Bob Loblaw – You write

    “As for the comments about radiosondes: a key element is that they provide horizontal velocity data as well as temperature and humidity (and pressure). They rise through the air (and this rate of ascent is calculated from the pressure changes, combined with temperature data to get density so that pressure altitude can be converted to linear altitude). They follow the air currents horizontally, though, so there is velocity information.

    …but you also go on to say that radiosondes allow us to measure heat content. This is not heat flux. Without a measurement of the vertical velocity of air (not the balloon), I suspect it would be difficult to use radiosonde data to determine heat fluxes (in 3-D, at least). Feel free to explain how it would be done, if you think it is possible, but I won’t bother asking because I don’t expect an answer. You can go back to my first post on the subject (#101) to review the kinds of measurements required to measure heat flux in the atmosphere, if you want.”

    Argo measures temperature profiles. Using this information, currents can be diagnosed from the resulting pressure field derived from the hydrostatic relationship. Vertical velocity can be derived from balance equations analogous to what we do in the atmosphere (e.g. the omega equation). A big difference with the atmosphere, of course, is that the equation of state is different (its not ~an ideal gas). However, the physics is very parallel; for example, the methodology to compute the geostrophic flow.

    Heat can be calculated from the Argo data by weighting the temperatures over the layers (mass) that are sampled. This has units in Joules, and if the temporal and spatial resolution is good enough, it can be tracked, even when there is no local change of temperature.

    I hope ths finally clarifies.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 13 Oct 2011 @ 8:13 AM

  214. RE: 208

    Hey prokaryotes,

    I do not consider “sea snot” or “marine snow” to be a primary heat transport to the bottom. Though as a carbon, sugar transport it is an important means of reducing surface water carbon and removing it from the top 100 meters of the ocean.

    As to an energy conveyance it is coincidental with seasonal phytoplankton blooms and due to seasonality unlikely to drive denitification in the deep trenches. However, the deep trench waters which have been “warmed” by geothermal contact and displaced by the “newer” THC inflow, goes into circulation of the Pacific depths. As this hypoxic, denitrifacted, sulfate bearing waters reach geographic features, such as sea mounts or continental banks they flow up and carry the fully digested inorganics into the aerobic environment. Until such time they round and mix with the oxygen rich Antarctic saline waters and flow into the S. Atlantic.

    Point being as suggested before until such time advection or horizontal flow stops it is unlikely we would see universal full column stratification.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 13 Oct 2011 @ 8:38 AM

  215. Hey All,

    If I may be so bold, it is likely if a thermal pulse has occurred it should leave a telltale current or turbulace which we cannot currently detect. As for Dr. Trenberth’s observation for every “goes into there must be a goes out of”, it is likely correct. Deep ocean heat added via the THC rather then sinking to the bottom of the Pacific deep sea trenches, skirts across the top to continue its flow to emerge near coastlines and the Western Antarctic range.

    If on the otherhand the input occured near the equator it likely gets advected to the polar regions where it melts sea ice. If instead it is occuring under stagnant Blocking Highs in the Temporate zone it would likely amplify convective activity both warming the atmosphere and result in both more intense Low pressures and enhanced rainfall amounts. If instead the Blocking Highs were to occur close to the polar circles they would both enhance the insolation there and increase the surface salinity, until seasonal loss of insolation cooled the surface sufficently to cause a seasonality to the THC flow to emerge. The end result appears to be that which suddenly goes in, likely suddenly comes out. Similar to the radiant heat exchange of a high albedo surface to a low albedo surface.

    Given that it is likely both thoughts are correct, they are just different viewing points of the same data. As to one being more dominate then the other, the fast in and out. It is this exchange which creates weather and it is the long term weather patterns which create climate. As a Professor once shared in class, “Change the weather change the climate”. Hmmm, puts a whole different slant on the 1960′s weather control experiments…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 13 Oct 2011 @ 9:20 AM

  216. Bob Loblaw #210, #211

    Your steady state conduction example with heat energy driven through a linear temperature differential from the top to the bottom of the ‘slab’ is correct.

    Temp 1 at the top of the slab and Temp 2 at the bottom of the slab can remain the same with time and a steady heat flux occur dependent only on (T1 – T2) and the conduction coefficient of the medium.

    However if you move the masses in the slab by mechanical mixing then your steady state is no more.

    Given my quotation of Berényi Péter in #143 which suggests that mechanical mixing is the major method of heat transfer in the oceans – not steady state conductivity: (sorry for the long quotation but it all seems important)

    Quote:

    “Needless to say heat conductivity of seawater is so low, that by conduction alone (with no macroscopic flow) it would take ages for heat to get down to the abyss from the surface.

    There are parts of MOC that work as a heat engine indeed. Downwelling of cold saline water in polar regions is such an exception. However, if there were no other processes at work in other regions, the abyss would eventually get saturated with very cold water of high salinity and downwelling would stop altogether. Or rather, it would switch to the much slower rate permitted by geothermal heating alone.

    We should also note this part of the so called thermohaline circulation does not add heat to the abyss, but removes it from there.

    Currently deep water production is restricted to two distinct regions of the oceans. One is where the North Atlantic joins the Arctic ocean, the other is along the Antarctic coastline. In theory it could also happen in the North Pacific, but in fact it does not, for the salinity is too low there and the coastline is not cold enough.

    Details of the physics are somewhat different in the North and the South though. The North Atlantic Drift carries ample quantities of warm, highly saline water into the Arctic ocean (the high salinity is leftover of evaporation), which cools down there and when it gets next to freezing (the most dense state of seawater), it sinks. It is an intermittent process, restricted to “chimneys” (of diameter ~100 km and lifetime of several weeks) in the open ocean. Please note the heat carried to the polar region this way is lost to the atmosphere entirely, the cold saline water sinks to the bottom without it. This heat subsequently is radiated out to space, as that is the only heat reservoir around which is colder (-270°C).

    Antarctica is a special place. No warm current gets near to the continent, so salinity of seawater there is inherently lower than in the Northern Atlantic. On the other hand along the coastline, especially in winter, extremely cold gale force katabatic winds descend from the plateau creating polynyas (open water expanses) by blowing sea ice away.

    High chilly winds coupled with open water provide for vigorous cooling of water masses (because total area of air-sea interface is huge, think of sea spray) and as sea ice starts to form, salinity also increases by brine exclusion. Cold dense water then descends to the abyss along the continental slope. At the underside of great Antarctic ice shelves even super-cooled water is formed. Its potential temperature is below freezing, that is, it only stays fluid because of pressure, it would freeze if raised to the surface.

    In general abyssal water of Antarctic origin is somewhat colder but less salty than its Arctic cousin.

    But still, we need an energy source to keep the engine going. In other words, abyssal waters have to be warmed up and diluted in order to be able to raise somewhere and make room for more cold, dense polar water.

    The process that does exactly that is supposed to be deep turbulent mixing, driven by external mechanical energy sources like tides and winds.

    Tidal forcing is a considerable source of mixing, but it is deterministic and independent of all other forcings on climate. It is also cyclic, not exactly, but close enough. The Metonic cycle (the period the National Tidal Datum Epoch [NTDE] of the U.S. is based on) is 19 years long. Or more precisely it is 235 synodic months which is 1h 38′ longer than 19 tropical years. The nodal cycle of lunar orbit happens to be only slightly shorter than that (18.5996 years).

    It means if one is looking for trends in deep turbulent mixing, it is best to consider multiples of the Metonic cycle. Epochs shorter than that (like 6 years) are to be considered as a last resort only if one does not have data with longer timespan. Even then some caution is in order, to filter out tidal effects on trends as much as possible (the same is true for sea level studies).

    The other source is internal waves excited by winds. One can see that distribution of wind power is extremely uneven on the surface of Earth.

    It is concentrated in three regions, the Southern ocean, the Norh Pacific and the Norh Atlantic. Of these winds in the south are the most intense by far (and surprisingly mild over the continents).

    The only problem remaining is that in the open ocean turbulent mixing is measured to be at least an order of magnitude smaller than needed to maintain the observed flows in MOC.

    The solution seems to be there are narrow regions where topography of the bottom is very complex, like over mid ocean ridges or certain rugged continental slopes where deep turbulent mixing can be up to two, sometimes even three orders of magnitude higher than average. However, these sites are poorly known and most are not even identified yet.

    So, the very energy source driving MOC and making thermohaline downwelling possible is not well constrained. It is also one of the (many) weak points of GCMs (General Circulation Models). This process is represented in them only through parametrization and even if we knew much better the process going on in real oceans, their too coarse resolution could not accommodate to the small scale vigorous and probably intermittent mixing which characterizes it.

    Anyway, the take home message is that MOC (Meridional Overturning Circulation), consequently heat exchange between the surface and abyss is not driven by temperature differences, but external mechanical energy sources.”
    Endquote

    Bob, Could you comment on this?

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 13 Oct 2011 @ 9:23 AM

  217. > Proc
    > It doesn’t let me post the content of the hydrothermal vent wikipedia entry.

    Links. They work.

    Use links rather than reposting stuff in full that you found elsewhere.
    Please.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Oct 2011 @ 9:53 AM

  218. Proc, re the Trenberth quote you reposted, have you thought about the question already raised? Look back at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/10/global-warming-and-ocean-heat-content/comment-page-1/#comment-216152

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Oct 2011 @ 9:59 AM

  219. In #212 barn E. rubble (watch much Flintstones? Don’t want to use your real name?) asks:

    What effect will this study have on Paleoclimate reconstructions? Or is the suggestion that this is some kind of new phenomenon or process that has not happened in the past?

    I think the key difference is that we’re modeling a long-term process and trying to make corrections based on what happens over a very short time period. Paleoclimate changes took place over many thousands of years, so with rare exception (think PETM) the environment didn’t get as far out of equilibrium as it is now. In any case, we don’t have year-by-year resolution of changes from paleoclimate times to compare to todays record.

    What we’re discussing here is how much of the radiative imbalance has ended up in the deep ocean sooner than initially expected. My feeling is that in the long run this is pretty much irrelevant. On a century to millenial period temperature will equilibrate so the radiative imbalance disappears. The only important questions are the charney sensitivity (how much do we warm for a doubling of CO2?) and the local/regional effects the warming temperatures have.

    Comment by David Miller — 13 Oct 2011 @ 10:46 AM

  220. barn E. rubble – Or is the suggestion that this is some kind of new phenomenon or process that has not happened in the past?

    The climate model is simulating La Nina-like periods, which is when heat is deposited down deep. I’m sure you are aware this is observed in the real world – such as the cool (negative) phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. Most of the heat (in the model runs) is being deposited down to the deep in the Southern Ocean, which is what is being observed in the real world. See Sutton & Roemmich (2011).

    As for paleoclimate reconstructions – the last great CO2-induced(?) global warming, the PETM saw the polar seas and deep ocean warm. In fact the last time atmospheric CO2 was around what it is now (approx 400ppm), during the Pliocene, the deep ocean and polar seas warmed too. Sea level eventually ended up around 25 metres higher than present.

    The “skeptics” haven’t laid out their rationale for long-term cooling of the oceans. Certainly the physics-based climate models, and both past and present observations disagree with them.

    Comment by Rob Painting — 13 Oct 2011 @ 3:25 PM

  221. “Let’s presume that the flux at the top surface is received by absorption of radiation, and the same flux (i.e. same quantity) of heat is lost at the bottom by radiation. Conduction through the slab occurs at this same heat flux value. So, we have a flux of heat, and we have no changes in temperature with time.”

    Please assume that your conversation partners have advanced beyond this level of understanding. Pielke is an AGU fellow. I really think he gets this!

    If you will make this presumption, my guess is that the discussion will turn out to be much more fruitful. Otherwise it comes across as snark.

    Comment by Bryan S — 13 Oct 2011 @ 4:13 PM

  222. As I understand Prof. Pielke’s scheme: We have measurements of pressure, temperature, salinity for a set of points (x,y,z,t). Then with the continuity equations+(linearized?) Navier-Stokes we solve for the velocity field (in the presence of a free surface (with the mechanical wind stress, precip-eval mass flux, and energy flux imposed on this surface ?). In general, we should set up the transport equations for temperature and salinity fluxes independently together with the corresponding forcing gradients of temperature and chemical potential, and if we were really going to do it right, with the Onsager cross coefficients put in, but it might suffice to treat heat and salinity as carried entirely by the mass flow in a sort of Boussinesq treatment, where the effect of temperature and density affects the flow through small changes in density ?

    Comment by sidd — 13 Oct 2011 @ 4:14 PM

  223. That last phrase in my post above should read “but it might suffice to treat heat and salinity as carried entirely by the mass flow in a sort of Boussinesq treatment, where temperature and salinity affect the flow through small changes in density ?

    Comment by sidd — 13 Oct 2011 @ 5:23 PM

  224. @80 I said “.What is the best metric for measuring global warming or cooling.? I submit that the Hadley global SST fits the bill as well as anything.The Oceans occupy 70% of the surface and SST’s while not perfect avoid the problems raised by the UHI effect and more importantly they avoid the problem caused by the fact that the land temperature data does not measure the enthalpy of the system which is the really significant number.Since the sea is 100% saturated with H20 the changing temperature is a good relative measure of the change in enthalpy.”
    In addition the thermal inertia of the oceans smooths out some of the short term noise in the system.
    After all the succeeding posts it is obvious that we don’t know enough about the factors controlling the OHC to use it as as a useful metric. We can’t even measure it very well .Perhaps the best estimate would be from Global MSL by subtracing all the other contributors and getting the thermal expansion. The deep oceans do however provide a convenient dumping ground for the errors in the GCMs – a bit like dark matter for the standard model cosmologists.

    Comment by Norman Page — 13 Oct 2011 @ 5:48 PM

  225. Hank your link only brings up the 1st page, not the exact comment.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 13 Oct 2011 @ 6:54 PM

  226. Roger Pielke, Sr. #213.
    You say currents “can” be inferred, and heat transfer “can” be calculated. When will your paper be coming out? It should be very interesting.

    Comment by gator — 13 Oct 2011 @ 7:16 PM

  227. Proc, link (works for me) should go to
    grypo says: 3 Oct 2011 at 9:28 AM
    specifically Gavin’s inline response answering query about that Trenberth quote.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Oct 2011 @ 9:38 PM

  228. Using a Tamino style two box linearized model with global forcings from GISS for 1880–2007 to explain the variance in the GISS global temperature product for the same interval, versions with a parameter to represent a linear increase do better than versions without a trend. The slope is about 0.13–0.23 K/century; this might be explained as due to the slowdown in THC/MOC (due to deep ocean heat uptake) which is otherwise unaccounted for in such simple models.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Oct 2011 @ 11:20 PM

  229. Re Hank, in regards to the study i found this explanation:

    During these hiatus periods, simulations showed that extra energy entered the oceans, with deeper layers absorbing a disproportionate amount of heat due to changes in oceanic circulation. The vast area of ocean below about 1,000 feet (300 meters) warmed by 18% to 19% more during hiatus periods than at other times. In contrast, the shallower global ocean above 1,000 feet warmed by 60% less than during non-hiatus periods in the simulation.
    “This study suggests the missing energy has indeed been buried in the ocean,” Trenberth says. “The heat has not disappeared, and so it cannot be ignored. It must have consequences.”
    A pattern like La Niña
    The simulations also indicated that the oceanic warming during hiatus periods has a regional signature. During a hiatus, average sea-surface temperatures decrease across the tropical Pacific, while they tend to increase at higher latitudes, especially around 30°S and 30°N in the Pacific and between 35°N and 40°N in the Atlantic, where surface waters converge to push heat into deeper oceanic layers.
    These patterns are similar to those observed during a La Niña event, according to Meehl. He adds that El Niño and La Niña events can be overlaid on top of a hiatus-related pattern. Global temperatures tend to drop slightly during La Niña, as cooler waters reach the surface of the tropical Pacific, and they rise slightly during El Niño, when those waters are warmer.
    “The main hiatus in observed warming has corresponded with La Niña conditions, which is consistent with the simulations,” Trenberth says.
    The simulations were part of NCAR’s contribution to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). They were run on supercomputers at NCAR’s National Science Foundation-supported Climate Simulation Laboratory, and on supercomputers at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, both supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110918144941.htm

    Though now i wonder what James Hansen has to say about this and how this can be plotted to real world observations.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 13 Oct 2011 @ 11:56 PM

  230. This are the “consequence” of the natural variability…

    The regular nature of these hiatus decades in the climate model, indicate that they are simply periods of natural variability, which occur even in the presence of a long-term warming trend. This is supported by historic observations (Figure 1), which shows roughly decade-long hiatus periods in upper ocean heat content during the 1960s to 1970s, and the 1980s to 1990s.

    The natural variability ‘flip-side’ to these hiatus decades, are periods where there is greater-than-average surface warming (see inset in Figure 2). So at some point in the very near future we can probably expect surface temperatures to gather up a head of steam, and begin rising at a rapid rate. http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1018

    Comment by prokaryotes — 14 Oct 2011 @ 12:09 AM

  231. Proc, are you a modeler yourself? I’m wondering because it seems Gavin is a bit less definite about saying what’s going on than you are.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Oct 2011 @ 9:51 AM

  232. gator – In terms of your comment,

    “You say …… heat transfer “can” be calculated. When will your paper be coming out? It should be very interesting.”

    see Jim Hansen’s comment on this

    http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/1116592hansen.pdf

    “Contrary to the claim of Pielke and Christy, our simulated ocean heat storage (Hansen et al., 2005) agrees closely with the observational analysis of Willis et al. (2004). All matters
    raised by Pielke and Christy were considered in our analysis and none of them alters our conclusions.

    The Willis et al. measured heat storage of 0.62 W/m2 refers to the decadal mean for the upper 750 m of the ocean. Our simulated 1993-2003 heat storage rate was 0.6 W/m2 in the upper 750 m of the ocean. The decadal mean planetary energy imbalance, 0.75 W/m2, includes heat
    storage in the deeper ocean and energy used to melt ice and warm the air and land. 0.85 W/m2 is the imbalance at the end of the decade.

    Certainly the energy imbalance is less in earlier years, even negative, especially in years following large volcanic eruptions. Our analysis focused on the past decade because: (1) this is the period when it was predicted that, in the absence of a large volcanic eruption, the increasing greenhouse effect would cause the planetary energy imbalance and ocean heat storage to rise above the level of natural variability (Hansen et al., 1997), and (2) improved ocean temperature measurements and precise satellite altimetry yield an uncertainty in the ocean heat storage, ~15% of the observed value, smaller than that of earlier times when unsampled regions of the ocean
    created larger uncertainty.”

    So this part is generally accepted, unless you disagree with Jim and I on this.

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 14 Oct 2011 @ 9:59 AM

  233. Hank Roberts, if you follow the links you find the authors of the article and no i’m not a modeler myself. I simply looked up the study details and posted them here. And my post do not necessarily reflect my opinion on a matter, but it helps me to learn and understand better.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 14 Oct 2011 @ 3:16 PM

  234. Re: Ken Lambert @216.

    First your comment about the slab model vs. the actual ocean. I never intended to imply that the pure conduction/diffusion model was a good one for the ocean – it’s just a starting point for attempting to understand how Dr. Pielke thinks we “see” heat transfer. (Alas, it does not seem to be having its intended result.)

    Clearly the ocean has movement, but let’s take your statement “However if you move the masses in the slab by mechanical mixing then your steady state is no more”. This is not necessarily true – at least by the way I define “steady state”.

    Let’s extend the theoretical slab model – let it be a fluid, and add a slow cirulation regime that goes left to right across the top, down the right side, right to left across the bottom. and back up the left side. Heat accumulates during the move across the top, is carried downward on the right side, is released at the bottom, and the fluid returns back up the left side.

    In comparison to the earlier slab, we now also have heat transfer associated with the circulation, instead of just conduction/diffusion. Now, let’s assume that it is all in a constant state of motion and flux: through time, there are no changes in velocity, temperature, or heat flux at any point in the system (but the there is heat flux – it’s just constant, not zero). I would still call this a “steady state”, because every time I look at it I see the same conditions. Mathematically, the fields of temperature, flux, or velocity all show a derivative with respect to time of zero.

    If you prefer to say that this is not steady state, because there is motion, then that’s just a difference in terminology between you and me. When I say “steady state”, I’m not saying position is constant, just velocity – nothing is accelerating.

    Now, let’s presume the following: we’re looking at the two slabs independently, and all we have to look at is the temperature measurements. We’ll find that we have a hard time sorting out just what the heat flux values are in either system. For the fixed one (no motion – and we know for sure there is no motion), then all we need to add to our knowledge is the thermal conductivity at each point and we can use the temperature gradient at each point to get the flux at each point… For the second problem, with motion, we need to also know the velocities at each point, plus the heat capacity at each point, and then we can get the fluxes. And all this will be true whether the system is steady state or not.

    So, my point is that if you only have records of temperature, you can get heat content changes (call it flux divergence if you will), but not absolute fluxes. Whether you have motion or not, in order to get fluxes you need more information, and in the case of motion you need a lot more than for the case with no motion.

    Does that clarify my views?

    Now, for the lengthy quote. First, I’m a landlubber, not an oceanographer. I do atmospheres and soils for science. Oceans are for recreation. I cannot comment on the accuracy of the circulation regime that is described in the quote, but the mechanics do not look unreasonable to me. Yes, thermal conduction/diffusion would be smaller than heat transfer through circulation. This is also the case in the atmosphere, where forced turbulence and free convection do all the heat transfer. Yes, I can easily imagine that much of the motion is forced by non-thermal issues. One thing I did not see in that quote was a discussion of sediment loading – the amount of sediment in river or glacial water affects its density. Whether sediment is important compared to salinity, etc., I do not know, but sediment load and density change as sediment settles out of water. (It turns out I’ve done a bit of rivers and glaciers for science, too).

    Beyond that, is there something in particular you are wondering about in that quoted text?

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 14 Oct 2011 @ 4:01 PM

  235. re: Roger Pielke @ 213.

    “I hope ths finally clarifies.”

    You’re starting something… At least you’ve identified the need to have some additional information beyond the temperature field. We finally have velocity showing up. And that is an essential ingredient in being able to determine any absolute flux values – you simply can’t do it by looking at the temperature alone.

    …but since we’re both comfortable in the atmospheric regime – let’s look at atmospheric sensible heat flux. Conduction is also irrelevant there – if heat was transferred only by conduction, we’d see maximum air temperature at 2m height that would happen many hours after the peak surface temperature. Close to the ground, turbulent (mechanical) mixing is the key, and drives the rate of energey transfer. That turbulence can be forced (i.e., wind), or free convection if the surface heats enough.

    Now, to calculate heat transfer (let’s stick to the vertical direction), you can usually get a good estimate if you know the time-averaged temperature gradient, but you need to be able to estimate the appropriate turbulent transfer coefficient (analagous to a thermal conductivity). To get that transfer coefficent, you usually combine the time-averaged wind speed gradient (gives the shearing stress that drives the turbulence), but you also need to account for the temperature gradient in the form of a stability correction (stable or unstable conditions). In the lower atmosphere (close to the surface, say tens of metres), suitable time-averaging periods are in the order of an hour.

    …but these methods based on time-averaged temperature and wind speed values do suffer from error sources. The definitive method, without resorting to approximations of transfer coefficients, it to collect high frequency, instantaneous, simultaneous measurements of both temperature and vertical velocity, and time-average the cross-product to get time-averaged fluxes.

    I have no doubt that it is theoretically possible to do the same approximations or measurements in the ocean. I also have no doubt the the frequency and accuracy of the measurements required to do it will be different from the atmosphere, because the rates of motion will be vastly different. (And note that the frequency is quite different between the method that uses time-averaged temperature vs. the instantaneous readings).

    What I don’t believe is that you can get the absolute fluxes just by looking at the temperature field alone. And that’s what you appear to have been saying in most of your posts.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 14 Oct 2011 @ 4:35 PM

  236. re: Bryan S @ 221

    “Please assume that your conversation partners have advanced beyond this level of understanding. Pielke is an AGU fellow. I really think he gets this!”

    I was attempting to define a simple model we could agree on, to discuss how it works, so that we could hopefully move on to our apparent disagreements on the complex ocean system and what it takes to measure absolute heat fluxes (not storage!)

    “If you will make this presumption, my guess is that the discussion will turn out to be much more fruitful. Otherwise it comes across as snark.”

    So be it. I accept that it is quite possible that Dr. Pielke knows of a sufficiently advanced technology that allows calculation of absolute heat fluxes in the ocean, but all he has been saying so far is “you can see it”, and I’m having a difficult time distinguishing that from magic.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 14 Oct 2011 @ 4:45 PM

  237. Re: Roger Pielke @ 232

    Well, I’d hate to try to speak for Jim Hansen, but I’ll guess that when he’s asked a question about “heat transfer”, he wouldn’t start taking about “heat content” instead. They are related (if not siblings, then at least kissing cousins), but they aren’t the same thing.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 14 Oct 2011 @ 4:50 PM

  238. If the heat transfer is concentrated in space in the down-welling of the overturning circulations, then 99% of the Argo floats are irrelevant, the energy is moving into the deep ocean only where the down-welling occurs.

    The net effect would be that the 0-700 m layer warms from below, but not much because the relative size of the 0-700 layer is small compared to the deep ocean, but maybe enough to compensate for warming on the surface driven by climate change.

    In this model the deep ocean equilibrates with the atmosphere before the 0-700 m level. In net, since both the top and the bottom are warming at (for the sake of argument) at the same rate there is no net heat transport across the 0-700 m level

    Captcha iingfo pyrolysis. Light it off.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 14 Oct 2011 @ 11:03 PM

  239. RE: 219
    “David Miller says: barn E. rubble (watch much Flintstones? Don’t want to use your real name?) asks:”

    Perhaps I should of thot of something more clever like, Mike Smith or better, David Muller. Obviously if it sounds like a ‘real’ name it has to be, right?

    RE: “In any case, we don’t have year-by-year resolution of changes from paleoclimate times to compare to todays record.”

    Actually, there are those that think they do. Not just seasonal but weekly and even daily resolution.

    William Patterson, University of Saskatchewan,:
    “What we’re getting to here is palaeoweather,” Patterson says. “We can reconstruct temperatures on a sub-weekly resolution, using these techniques. For larger clams we could do daily.”

    You can find them here:
    http://geochemistry.usask.ca/bill.html

    -barn

    Comment by barn E. rubble — 15 Oct 2011 @ 7:49 AM

  240. RE: 238

    Hey Eli,

    To me that makes more sense. Though to deny there is some subduction in the ITCZ would be counter-intutive. It is this issue where the greatest difference between the ARGO studies and TRITON/PIRATA sea buoy data differ. Earlier Rob Painting suggested that Dr. Trenbreath and subsequient models demonstrated definitive heating in the 0-700 meter range below 20deg. N/S. Looking at the fixed buoys in the 10deg. N/S range since about 1994 show variation about the mean, with individual trends tracking the ENSO, PDO and NAO phases.

    To me this would suggest validation that the circulations of one maybe related to the other. Going the next step to define the depth can be modeled in the tropopause. The circulations of the two different layers are not interdependent, but are related to closed system processes in high resolution. When we move back (decrease resolution and increase surface area), we begin to see large scale influences.

    When we look at the large scale it becomes evident there is a high degree of advected transport with little vertical diffusion. This begins to focus us to the fact change (deltaT) or flux should be lateral with the heat content increasing in bredth not depth.

    Looking at the TAO data seems to confirm that there are some localized trending of penetration at depth. However, overall we are looking at normal variation even as the warming sea surface area seems to increase.

    That heat is transported to the deep ocean polar basin can best be measured by the temperature difference in sea area covered by higher SSTs, minus the following Polar componets or heat pathways; convective wv plumes, plus radiative surface emission, plus the polar sea ice volume melt with the remaining heat content in the polar seas being diffused into the Polar oceans. The increased heat content of the Polar ocean near the top of the Arctic basin depth, (Near the Arctic submarine ridge depth, stretching from Greenland to Scandinavia), defines the additional heat that can be sequestered; (as the boyancy of the salinity/temperature ratio should result in a near linear constant, except near the 4C-2C values (or above the 700m depth), David Miller brought up).

    I suspect the greatest indicator of higher seasonal input will be balanced by higher seasonal sea ice melt, regardless the latitude. This should suggest a total flux value of zero, until, year round sea ice is gone. (It appears there is a need to account for the larger polar surface area emission/convective flow historical data set, which we apparently do not currently have a good handle on…)

    If we can correlate the warming SST area to Sea Ice Melt volume there may be an avenue to simplify the modeling, (at least in low resolution). Afterall is that not what most of this thread is about?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 15 Oct 2011 @ 10:06 AM

  241. RE 232: “So this part is generally accepted, unless you disagree with Jim and I on this.”

    Mayhem Torpedoes Science

    Baring his chest, Roger taunts all comers, “Me and my older brother Jim are the biggest and the baddest …in all the worldddd!!”

    “Stinkin’ papers”, he stomps around the ring, his grip forcing and knotting the ropes into a flow field visualization.

    Waving, he assures the artless onlookers, “I am the smartest raccoon I know!!!!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmvh36hWyEI

    Comment by hf — 16 Oct 2011 @ 10:02 AM

  242. Roger is dead on.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 16 Oct 2011 @ 12:43 PM

  243. Bob Loblaw

    Good discussion Bob. Sounds like a global fixed array of ocean sensors, all reporting at the same instant. What grid spacing in both vertical and horizontal would you suggest?

    Perhaps the makers of the Asian aerosols could cough up the money for such an enterprise – they are the only ones left who have any.

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 17 Oct 2011 @ 8:41 AM

  244. also mentioned at Eli’s, hat tip to someone well-informed who posted mention of an upcoming Loeb et al. paper at Spencer’s sea temp thread a while ago:

    http://www.irc-iamas.org/files/GEB_Report_IRC2011.doc
    IRC working group Global Energy Balance (GEB) Annual Report 2011
    Martin Wild and Norman Loeb (WG Co-chairs)

    “… this working group, entitled “Towards an improved understanding of the Global Energy Balance: absorption of solar radiation”. This proposal has been accepted in April and a PhD student has been assigned to start working September 1. The project aims at reducing the uncertainties in the absorption of solar radiation within the climate system, through the use of the information contained in worldwide surface radiation measurements in combination with satellite products….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Oct 2011 @ 12:24 AM

  245. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ken, but as I’ve said, I do atmospheres and soils, not oceans. So my suggestion would be to ask someone with more ocean experience.

    In the fine tradition of overextending myself, however, I can tell you what question I would ask if I were really tasked with providing an answer:

    What exactly is the purpose of the network?

    - if the desire is to track global ocean heat storage, then measuring fluxes is doing it the hard way. It’s much easier to just look at the final result (temperatures) and do the sums. It seems that Argo is quite capable of this. If you want to know if your “need a penny, take a penny” jar is accumulating pennies or losing them, you don’t need sit all day watching to track every transaction – you just need to count the pennies at the start and end of the day.

    - if you really want to get global coverage on details of fluxes, then the network of instrumentation has to be fine enough (in both time and space) that you don’t miss important fluxes, and that requires knowledge of the circulation regime. Of course, you don’t know those details until you set up an instrumentation network to figure it out, so… Perhaps someone else already knows the answer to this. I know I don’t.

    - if you want to gain greater understanding of ocean fluxes in key areas, but don’t want to do it on a global scale, then you pick one or a few locations of interest and focus your resources on those areas. Even in the atmosphere, which is a lot easier to get to than the oceans, I’m not aware of detailed flux measurements carried out on a global scale. Temperature, humidity, winds, pressure, etc., yes (surface obs and radiosonde networks), and lots of other sampling networks for radiation, gases, etc., but not a full 3-D network of fluxes. It’s a lot more common to select one spot for detailed analysis. NASA had a “Mission to Planet Earth” a number of years back that did this for several ecosystems – one of which was the BOREAS project. These intensive field campaigns were a kind of strategic attack approach, fighting the battle for understanding on a small, localized scale.

    My guess is that those more knowledgable in the ocean field of study could tell you more about what networks or studies exist and what they are capable of.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 18 Oct 2011 @ 5:23 PM

  246. Yes, i agree with you necessary steps should be taken in order to reduce global warming or man will have to pay for all of this

    Comment by abdul islam — 19 Oct 2011 @ 12:18 AM

  247. Bob Loblaw@245

    I have read some of the papers on Ocean Heat Content measurement by Argo and have never been able to tease out how the Argo floats moving with the currents ‘en mass’ are able to accurately detect temperature changes in a particular ’tile’ of ocean.

    I can see how a fixed array could do it – if the oceans were ’tiled’ on a fixed X-Y-Z grid with a temperature sensor measuring each tile at the same instant T1 then you would get a snapshot at T1 and then at subsequent times T2 etc subsequent snapshots on each tile summing the whole ocean.

    With Argo, floats follow currents and the same ’tile’ of ocean might not have a float measuring it at all because the float has travelled with he same mass of water to another ’tile’ where two or more floats might have gathered. Current Argo spacing is roughly 300km x 300km so a ’tile’ is 90000sqkm down to 2000m.

    For example if floats report at all different times how do we know that the same temperature/mass of water in a current is not being measured at different times as the float travels with it – and no change is detected.

    Now with 3000 floats, these effects might be statistically corrected, however the snapshot issue is not clear.

    Forgive me for thinking aloud – I am sure the ocean experts have an answer for this.

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 19 Oct 2011 @ 9:11 AM

  248. typo: “what happens to OHC in models when there is are occasional 10 year periods”

    [Response: Fixed. thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by melty — 20 Oct 2011 @ 9:00 AM

  249. Ken Lambert @ 247:

    From looking at the Argo web page, I would interpret each profile as being a snapshot at one time and location, with each profile being at a new location. Although a fixed grid and fixed times would make interpolation easier, I don’t see the random nature of the location and timing of profiles as being an insurmountable problem. You basically have a collection of profiles, giving a sampling of temperature vs. depth at various times, and each individual profile represents data that can be used to deterine heat content in that profile. Integrate over space to get a regional heat content, and then deduce regional changes in heat content from the integrated field. Accuracy will depend on sufficient sampling density and suitable integration/interpolation schemes.

    A fixed location would let you look at local heat content changes directly, which could then be integrated regionally. (This would be similar to using temperature anomalies in the surface records.) Different sort of analysis, different sources of error, but regional totals still require some sort of integration/interpolation scheme.

    I could see the apparent random movement of Argo floats causing problems in a couple of ways – leaving gaps (but they seem to have a plan to deal with that), or if for some strange reason the random movement (following ocean currents at depth, so it isn’t really random) some how caused a bias in readings. In order for a bias to affect the calculated changes over time, it would need to be a bias that grows in time, though.

    I suppose we could look for a paper that presents ocean heat content calcuations to see if they say how they did it. :-)

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 20 Oct 2011 @ 12:55 PM

  250. Re: 249

    Hey Bob,

    There is likely a bias wrt circulation. Objects in a slower moving current resist the accelleration of a parallel moving faster current. Unless, as the probe rises to the surface it emerges in the middle of the faster current. The difference would not be unlike the behavior you may see in a weather ballon equipped with a radiosonde in the vacinity of a gradient/front. Without a controlled craft capable of a specific trajectory you would be limited as to what your sample actually represents.

    (Note: Imparted spin of the probe could provide some insight. It would likely require the additiion of a gyro, along with a gps and a chron.)

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 20 Oct 2011 @ 2:06 PM

  251. Re: 250

    Yes, it’s like the apple bobbing down the river, ending up in the faster part of the flow. But for this to affect ocean heat content calculations – or, more specifically, changes in ocean heat content – you’d have to show how this tendency imparts a drift in the calculated value over time. If the bias is constant, it doesn’t impart a trend. If Y=mX + b is the correct model, and you always measure something that is Y=mX + b + e, you’ll still see the correct value of m.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 20 Oct 2011 @ 3:44 PM

  252. Re: 251

    Hey Bob,

    In your estimation how often would a probe happen to rise into a “fast” current? It would seem more likely that most bouys would be restricted to slower currents which would suggest warmer conditions, at least in the lower latitudes.

    (Note: The bobbing apple is not a good example as it is constrained within the banks of the river. In open water it would be more subject to wind, as unlike a probe more of its surface is above water then under…)

    It was always difficult to sample atmospherics in the vacinity of a thunderstorm or squall line as the radiosonde would be pushed out in front and the opposite direction unless you could release within the wind field/updraft. (It is pretty difficult to manage a balloon in a 40knot down burst… Though we did experiment with kites…, brass key, leynden jar, the works…)

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 20 Oct 2011 @ 5:42 PM

  253. Re: Dave Cook.

    I have no idea how often an Argo probe gets drawn into a fast current. From looking at the Argo web site, the probes spend most of their time (about 9 days out of 10-11) at depth, but it’s quite possible that most of their horizontal movement is related to the shorter time at the surface. Sounds like the sort of conjecture that is best resolved by actually looking at the data, rather than speculating.

    The apples analogy is just an easy visual.

    …but back to the bias question – do you think that there is a change in the bias over time, and (if so) why?

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 21 Oct 2011 @ 11:13 AM

  254. Hey Bob,

    As to bias change, I would have to go with observable evidence. The percent of the surface area through 700 meters where we see rapid currents in the Atlantic are low compared to the doldrums in the center of the gyre and encumbrences/bottoming near the shores.

    For the bouys to be universally distributed rather then concentrated would seem to suggest they would not be subject to localized conditions. Yet, knowing the basic topography of the coastal plains I wonder at how devices in shallow waters would be able to report T/S at depth.

    This would appear to point to areas where there is greater depth and faster moving currents would be where we get a full profile and a high optical depth. Suggesting that at best they can represent changes in conditions upstream.

    At the slower edge/centers we can not get a full profile and likely are caught in slow moving currents, suggesting higher temperatures/salinity at the edges or at the center, the submerged buoys are shaded by natural surface flora and though we get a full profile it may not be represenative of “high optical depth”.

    As a random sample, if we limit the data set to the surface readings we should get the least amount of bias. It is when we rely on non-directed or a lack of spacial definition (X,Y,Z) of the sample set, and unknown optical conditions we lose sample integrity, IMHO.

    I am sure the experts have solutions, I just had not seen them discussed. (BTW, I am a big fan of ARGO and would like to see generation improvements as we go through the replacement cycles.)

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 21 Oct 2011 @ 3:01 PM

  255. Bob Loblaw @251 & 253

    ‘…but back to the bias question – do you think that there is a change in the bias over time, and (if so) why?’

    Very good point. If the Argo buoys do not degrade significantly over time and the distribution stays roughly similar, any bias should also repeat and as differences are what we are looking for in OHC – then these should be accurate.

    Bunching of buoys in currents might significantly change the distribution, and looking at Google Earth there are few buoys above and below 60 deg N,S – and vast areas of the Indian, South Atlantic and Southern Oceans un-monitored.

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 22 Oct 2011 @ 8:30 AM

  256. The PDO was strongly negative during the period of 1946 to 1976, which is also the exact time period where global temperatures were stable. We also have experienced a more negative PDO since 2001 which also has coincided with a stable global temperature.

    I would suggest that if your deep ocean warming theory were correct it would have to be directly linked to the change in the PDO. The PDO’s negative cycle correlates too well with these multidecade temperature stabilizations for it to not be considered the probable primary driver. The mechanism by which it works may be heat sequestering or it may be changes in cloudiness, but whatever the mechanism, it’s the PDO.

    Unfortunately, if you admit that the PDO changes have that great of an effect on the climate you’re probably going to need to make some inconvenient alterations to the AGW beliefs and predictions.

    The temperature increase of the last 100 years could be more accurately described as linear rather than exponential as what we were seeing in the last 40 years wasn’t a drastic increase in temperatures but a normal multidecadal increase. Further, this would mean that models and predictions of future warming need to be revised as they do not include the notion of temperatures as cyclically increasing and then stabilizing over decades.

    [Response: You are confusing statistics with physics, and response with forcing. The PDO is not a 'driver' of anything. It is a statistical description of obverted temperature changes over the North Pacific, and as such, inherently has a 'global warming' signal in it. This is not to say that there aren't possible oceanographic changes that have contributed to of recent decadal global temperature changes. However, the relationship of the PDO index with the global temperature series does not provide a means by which to examine this.--eric]

    Comment by SirCharge — 22 Oct 2011 @ 12:22 PM

  257. “The PDO is not a ‘driver’ of anything. It is a statistical description of obverted temperature changes over the North Pacific, and as such, inherently has a ‘global warming’ signal in it.”

    To believe that the PDO is not a driver you must contend that there was some other cause for the static temperature trend that occurred between 1946 and 1976. Don’t tell me you really side with the IPCC, that a mysterious cloud of aerosols suddenly appeared, stuck around for 30 years and just as suddenly disappeared without leaving any evidence or having any discernable reason for existing. You might as well believe that pixie dust and fairies kept the planet cool.

    In order to defend the notion that the PDO isn’t the cause of that cooling trend you need to come up with a more likely scenario. The PDO is not just statistics, it’s a representation of the movement of currents within an ocean that covers 46% of the planet. Of course it could be a driver of temperature whether by sequestration of heat, changes in cloudiness or some other methodology. I find it hard to believe that there is any more likely suspect for the 1946-76 trend than the PDO.

    “However, the relationship of the PDO index with the global temperature series does not provide a means by which to examine this.–eric]”

    Let me get this straight. You folks can search for missing heat for no better reason than because you’re convinced it must be there regardless of the evidence. You can then prove the existence of this missing heat using little more evidence then a couple of computer programs. Yet you can’t be bothered to attempt to understand what actual evidence shows appears to be a very close correlation between rate of temperature change and the PDO. It doesn’t seem that you’re trying to understand the world, it seems you’re just attempting to defend a theory.

    Comment by SirCharge — 23 Oct 2011 @ 2:04 AM

  258. RE: 257

    Hey Sir,

    So do you want the 50cent answer or the 5dollar…? Lets try 50 cent one to start with.

    For your position of PDO as a forcing agent, it is a symptom not a illness. As to a correlation between the PDO or PDO Index/NAO Index, it may not be circumstancial; however, it represents where weather patterns have changed. (Which is the point regarding AGW, a 1 dollar answer might be… Human activities have changed the influences of natural variation just enough that the normal distribution or variance has been skewed.)

    Secondly, a portion of the old emitted aerosols (pre-1970s) can be seen on the surface of Arctic Ice. As to their reduction, the international efforts to remove visible soot and smoke from exhaust systems post 1969 has been very sucessful. Now rather then being emitted as visable pollution, the carbon has been more thourghly combusted and instead contributes to the growing CO2 in the atmosphere.

    As for missing heat, that is an on going investigation, though it is likely the indications science has uncovered so far are where the insolation/re-emission imbalance is most like to be harbored.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 23 Oct 2011 @ 9:24 AM

  259. Looks like sircharge is another galileo who has overturned all of climate science with a simple blog post …

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Oct 2011 @ 9:46 AM

  260. > pixie dust and fairies

    We know they bought and burned the coal and oil.
    We have the invoices to prove it!

    You can find more recent numbers; here is an early paper covering the time span for which you’re expressing incomprehension or disbelief:

    http://fredbaes.com/dad/co2paper.html
    Carbon Dioxide and Climate: The Uncontrolled Experiment

    Possibly severe consequences of growing CO2 releases from fossil fuels require a much better understanding of the carbon cycle, climate change, and the resulting impacts on the atmosphere

    C. F. Baes, Jr., H. E. Goeller, J. S. Olson, and R. M. Rotty

    http://fredbaes.com/images/amscifig1.jpg
    Figure 1. The annual world production of CO2 from fossil fuels (plus a small amount from cement manufacture) is plotted since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Except for the brief interruptions during the two world wars and the great depression, the release of fossil carbon has increased at a rate of 4.3% per year. (1860-1949 data from Keeling 1973a; later data from Rotty 1976.)
    ——-
    This paper was originally published in
    American Scientist 65(3):310-320.Copyright © 1977 by Sigma Xi

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2011 @ 10:46 AM

  261. Oh, and anticipating ‘Sirch’, now that he understands the aerosols were there, saying he can’t comprehend how they could have ‘disappeared’ while fossil fuel use was increasing: Sirch, the way coal was burned changed in the USA first, then across Europe, starting in the 1970s, to reduce acid rain. (China produced a lot of coal sulfate aerosols in the 1990s but has begun reducing their sulfate pollution since then)

    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=“clean+air+act”+aerosols
    http://adamant.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/clip_image002.jpg

    (hat tip to Russell Seitz, who spins this in his own inimitable way by attacking the Clean Air Act of 1970, one of Richard Nixon’s better ideas)

    “… Clean Air Act advocates literally could not conceive that inventing the EPA could have a negative environmental impact, let alone that sulfur burned to no good effect could instead furnish shade sufficient to slow the melting of polar ice . Yet they are hoist on their own petard – it is now clear that curbing sulfur emissions exacerbated the rise due to CO2….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2011 @ 11:11 AM

  262. http://sos.noaa.gov/datasets/Atmosphere/aerosols.html illustrates sulfate and black carbon in the atmosphere (links to datasets); one of many available at
    http://sos.noaa.gov/datasets/added.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2011 @ 4:02 PM

  263. Recently Counterpunch had an article which questioned the role of nuclear power to offeset carbon emissions. An interesting factoid within the article was that although electrical power was being generated (example of ~50GW per day for Japan), twice as much heat (100 GW per day) is being released into the oceans as “thermal discharge” from cooling systems. Although this appears as a significant amount on a daily basis (and only for one country), i’m wondering whether this is indeed significant and to what degree should such sources (indeed all heat sources) be also be considered as indirectly contributing to the warming of the planet.

    With the removal of significant nuclear capacity within Japan, would one expect to see changes in ocean surface temperatures?

    The article in question is at this link:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/19/is-nuclear-power-really-a-trump-card-against-global-warming/

    [Response: Just think about the size of the oceans and the depth of the mixed layer, and the heat capacity of the water (~4000 J/kg/C). The waste heat is negligible on a regional scale (let alone global), though if it was restricted to a small bay, it would have a bigger impact. But waste heat is not restricted to nuclear power in any case... - gavin]

    Comment by Just Aidee — 23 Oct 2011 @ 7:05 PM

  264. Silliness. Someone finding a smudge in Antartica does not prove that aerosols caused a temperature decrease between 46-76.

    Bear with me here and take a breath to think about what I’m saying before retorting by regurgitating climatology doctrine.

    Here is that lovely modern era temperature graph that I’m sure we’ve all seen a billion times. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.gif

    Note the sudden directional changes that occur in 1946, 1976 and the early part of the last decade. These are not slow and gradual shifts, they are sudden alterations in directions.

    Here is a link to an article that discusses aerosols: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GISSTemperature/giss_temperature4.php

    Note the second graph. This is what a change in aerosols would look like in the real world because aerosols would slowly increase and decrease as people’s behaviors changed from country to country and as aerosols dissapated from the atmosphere. The above temperature graph does not show the same gradual change.

    My second bit of evidence is that the aerosol levels would have to be massive to cause that large of a change in the temperature trend. The aerosols released by Mount Pinatubo, for example, were enough that it took 4 years for temperatures to return to the pre-eruption level. Using a completely inaccurate guesstimate it would take a mount Pinatubo eruption worth of aerosols being released 7 times to keep temperatures from increasing for the 30 year time period. Do you honestly believe that people started releasing that much aerosol suddenly, and just as suddenly stopped? Human behavior does not change that quickly.

    Now, take a second to realize that all that you folks understand regarding aerosol levels during this time period comes from theories. It has very little to do with actual evidence. We do, however, have actual evidence of a change in currents of the largest ocean on the planet that occurred simultaneous to the temperature shifts. But even though every meteorologist on the planet knows that currents effect the weather, for some reason climatologists believe it is impossible for them to effect climate. Here’s the deal, currents effect clouds and clouds effect forcings. You can tell me repeatedly that it is impossible for PDO to be a driver, but you’ll just be repeating something that is completely nonsensical. Of course it can.

    Now, as requested, take a breath to think…

    Now feel free to regurgitate climatological dogma.

    Comment by SirCharge — 24 Oct 2011 @ 1:27 AM

  265. Sirch, people see things in graphs and other visual sources and assume there’s something in reality behind what they see; we’re built that way. There’s a word for it: https://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Aapophenia

    You haven’t taken Statistics 101. Basic statistics does change how you look at graphs like that.

    No dogma, not a matter of faith. Math.

    What’s pictured in that chart — and what isn’t — is not obvious from the picture: you need 20-30 years to define a climate trend.

    You’re arguing a notion you came up with on your own or found somewhere — fine, but use real information–you won’t convince anyone who understands the statistics by misreading a trend line as you’re doing above.

    You can learn this.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=“misleading+yourself+with+graphs” may help.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2011 @ 3:34 AM

  266. These may also help:
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/keep-out-of-the-kitchen/
    “an interactive graphic that shows how changing the length of the period you select for trend calculations affects the trends you see …”

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/notes.php#trends
    “After many requests, I finally added trend-lines (linear least-squares regression) to the graph generator. I hope this is useful, but I would also like to point out that it can be fairly dangerous….”

    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/01/29/on-the-insignificance-of-a-5-year-temperature-trend/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2011 @ 4:01 AM

  267. RE: 264

    Hey Sir…,

    This has been thought over for many years by many people. As to quick changes in temperatures, to put into perspective; A large, what a VE III, volcano in the Sub-Tropics emitted the equivalent of roughly 5km^3 of aerosols with a size of 10-25 times the diameter of smoke or soot. Between 1990 and 1993 human activity raised an equivalent amount globally.

    The reason you would not see the same effect is three fold, the height of release, the time period of the release, and the distribution. At a lower altitude the large diameter aerosol residence is generally days to weeks, the finer aerosols weeks to months. Generally by the time new emissions are registered the former have been washed out of the air. Rather then being a concentrated plume they are dispersed, (except for fixed power generation and social centers).

    So to recap to have a dramatic effect the emission would have to be borne to the tropopause heights and be emitted within a one month period, and from a centralized location to have a similar effect to Mt. Pinatubo. Does the lack of these basic processes mean aerosols are insignifcant, in no way.

    The evidence in the polar regions of an apparent increase high altitude super cooled water droplettes demonstrates that: One the level of wv reaching high into atmosphere, beyond the normal adiabatic wet/dry transition height is a major change in the atmosphere. Two, the lack of change in the average humidity in the upper troposphere and yet a high presence of water droplettes suggests that there has to be a process happening which allows water to condensate and yet not freeze.

    If you add in the layering of dark aerosols in polar ice floes, it is clear that aerosol concentration and size have changed over the last 60 years. Matter of fact, between 1972 and 2000 the global man made fossil fueled aerosol production dropped by nearly 80%. At the same time the population doubled and dirtier fuels and less efficient combustion for home heating, and mass transportation delivery systems increased with them. When we consider the tell tale effects of these changes along with increases in either “slash and burn” farming or forest fires related to extended dry periods that seem to be on the increase, along with a significant drop in both soil carbon and moisture, it becomes clear that aerosols are on the increase and can effect both percipitation and hence weather.

    However, as the aerosol residence time is short and seasonal the effects should be likewise, they are not. Yes, there is seasonality in aerosols as well as CO2; but, the forcing on the natural variation in the weather is much broader then the seasonality in the emission patterns. This points to one possibility, the variation in the natural pattern has to be driven by a process where the effect exceeds the residence life aerosols can have. Is it possible for Spring releases of aerosols to balance out the natural CO2 release from dying vegetation in the Fall, yes.

    It can be restated that there are natural cycles of ebb and flow in most cycles, whether it be aerosols or CO2. The point is when something pushes these cycles into either greater intensity or duration, the patterns of the weather will change. These changes will be manifest in ways we are only now discovering. We know of one way we are pushing natural variation, the Glory satellite with the APS microfine Lidar system would have helped define how much aerosols play into changes in the weather patterns. Sad to say that input to the equation will have to wait for a long time….

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 24 Oct 2011 @ 7:30 AM

  268. @264 SirCharge:
    “Now feel free to regurgitate climatological dogma.” Poisoning the well now? Are you interested in advancing your/our understanding of nature, or only in defending your personal hypotheses? Your tone of writing, in any case, seems more suggestive of the latter, at least to me.

    Keep in mind that most aerosols (including sulfur-based ones) have very short lifetimes in the troposphere, on the order of several days, although they are longer in the stratosphere due to its reduced water content. The short lifetime and low altitude emission by humans (excepting aircraft) makes these emissions and their effects inherently much more local than e.g. CO2. Hence, the sulfur found in Greenland ice cores is more indicative of emission patterns from Canada and the US than of the global average aerosol concentrations, as is also explained in the Earth Observatory source you provide. It also means that, unlike CO2, even local aerosol emission reductions can show their effect very quickly, especially those done closer to Greenland and hence more likely to end up in its ice sheet. “Human behavior does not change that quickly” does not do much for me in explaining anything and, indeed, sounds rather like a dogmatic just-so story.

    Volcanic eruptions instead CAN propel their gases and small aerosols all the way into the stratosphere; the Pinatubo eruptions reached up to 24 km. Like this: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/2007/images/Pinatubo_dust_layer.jpg. Up there they can have a much greater and longer-lasting effect, especially if released around the equator where the insolation is highest.

    Comment by Steven Franzen — 24 Oct 2011 @ 8:09 AM

  269. #264–

    “It has very little to do with actual evidence.”

    Especially when you rationalize away the evidence that you are pointed to. . .

    But you could try looking at some of these studies, many (most?) of which have observational components:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=aerosol+observations+climate&as_sdt=0%2C11&as_ylo=2006&as_vis=0

    There’s 17,000 citations to choose from. And that’s just since 2006.

    Comment by kevin McKinney — 24 Oct 2011 @ 8:51 AM

  270. More on aerosols–this looks like a useful summary of the state of the art as of 2002. There’s several good citations on aerosol measurement, including remote and in situ techniques. (Thank goodness for review articles!)

    Should really have been filtered out, since I found it in that post-2006 search linked above, but the Google Scholar filtering tends to be a little porous. (I suppose it’s better than the reverse problem.)

    http://satelite.cptec.inpe.br/pesquisa/BIBLIO/AEROSSOL/Satellite-AER-Climate_Kaufmanetal_INSIGHT2002.pdf

    Comment by kevin McKinney — 24 Oct 2011 @ 9:20 AM

  271. Not for David Cooke:
    If anyone can cite the numbers posted above for “a VE II volcano” and human aerosol output 1990-93, I’d appreciate help identifying sources.

    For David Cooke:
    the request is _not_ for you. I understand you post vague recollections from a phenomenal memory. No worries, it’s your style, it gets by here.

    I like citations the way others collect stamps or beetles. It’s a hobby.
    I ask others for help, as I know others can find this stuff.

    [Response: Human: ~150 Mt SO2 (from here), Pinatubo was 20 Mt SO2, and smaller eruptions, much less. The outsize impact for Pinatubo is because it got into the stratosphere. - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2011 @ 9:52 AM

  272. Hey Hank,

    Thanks! I appreciate your understanding…

    As to aerosols the inclusion of dust/ash should also be considered as we are not only discussing albedo; but, are attempting to consider full spectrum optical depth, in addition to density of species/size of CCNs… The combination of which should change weather patterns.

    There were 2 papers that had addressed this, if I recall correctly. One was related to a aerosol modeling with the cooporation of NCAR and a Professor Thomas Choularton. The extent of which I believe touched on the Mt. Pinatubo event, (I think it was used as a modeling test case). The other I think was a review or AGU Poster of changes in LW/SW downwelling by a arm.gov supported NSF/DOE research team…, it may have been related to the UCAR COSMIC Lidar experimental series…?

    I believe there should also be a CCN study that should have support in a paper out of Washington State University about 2000, wrt the measurement of CCN/turbulance on droplet formation. The follow ups should have occured with a series of AGU CCN papers wrt saturated/super cooled cloud formations in the 2004 time frame.

    Sorry I can’t be more help, much of my old bookmarks, research data went the way of MS NT and (2) major systems crashes since then… Thats the price of being a hobbist rather then a professional…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 24 Oct 2011 @ 12:14 PM

  273. Hey Hank,

    To also remedy my grevious error the VEI should have been a VI, I had suggested a III in error.

    (Though looking at a 2004 suggestion of between 3.8-4.3 km^3 of tempra would suggest a lower rating… I wonder if I made my mistake in est. based on trying to est. based on the I-II scale difference being based on log100 vs all other on the log10 scale. I’ll never know (or should it be, tell…)) Anyways thanks again.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 24 Oct 2011 @ 3:31 PM

  274. A tremendous thanks to Kevin for linking every single paper that uses the word aerosol. Here’s a link for you:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=unhelpful&as_sdt=0%2C11&as_ylo=2006&as_vis=0

    If you have an article that displays actual concrete evidence that total aerosols became extraordinarily high in the 1940s and dropped precipitously in 1976 please link it.

    The other links were stimulating but for the most part were very speculative or unrelated to the 1946-76 mystery cloud.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit from Mr. Cooke:

    “Matter of fact, between 1972 and 2000 the global man made fossil fueled aerosol production dropped by nearly 80%.”

    Once again, we’re talking about a slow change in behavior, not the sudden transformation that is evidenced by the temperature data.

    Again from Cooke:
    “This points to one possibility, the variation in the natural pattern has to be driven by a process where the effect exceeds the residence life aerosols can have.”

    I suppose if you believe that climate is only influenced by anthropogenic causes your mind will be forced to make all sorts of logical jumps to understand ‘unexpected’ variation in temperatures. Of course, if you considered the possibility that temperatures are influenced by other factors you might not have to sound like you’re insane when you explain the climate.

    Finally, Hank:
    “You haven’t taken Statistics 101. Basic statistics does change how you look at graphs like that.”

    Ok, let’s hypothetically consider the possibility that this mega cloud of aerosols existed. So, starting in 1970 state governments began mandating emission decreases. This began slowly, at first, in states like California and New York and then spread to the other states before adoption by the EPA. Next, the same restrictions were made more stringent over time. European states continued this behavior, although I’m sure communist countries merely flipped the bird at the suggestion of regulating emissions. Now, there’s another lag at each step in this transformation as individual corporations follow the regulations at their own pace and as equipment is replaced.

    So, I will conservatively say that this massive change in human behavior would take place over 10 years. Ok, Mr. Statistics 101, what is the probability that a change of temperature caused by aerosol reduction that took place over 10 years would, due to error and variability in data, actually appear to take place over a 1 year time period on gistemp? Pretty unlikely. Maybe it would be slower or faster, but it is extremely unlikely that it would be that much in error. Now, what is the probability that this same random occurrence of such an error would be repeated in all three temperature data sets? Mr Statistics 101? Would you guess it would be close to zero? Now, consider the fact that the opposite sudden change occurs in all data sets around 1946. I think it is a pretty safe conclusion to say that there was a sudden change in temperature as opposed to the long slow laborious process that would indicate aerosols.

    Just to remind everyone: We are currently experiencing a lull in temperature increases reminiscent of the one that occurred in 1946 and this time we know that aerosols were not a factor because we can see that they haven’t increased. I contend that it is quite likely that the two events have the same cause. The PDO

    Comment by SirCharge — 25 Oct 2011 @ 1:45 AM

  275. Sircharge@274

    “Just to remind everyone: We are currently experiencing a lull in temperature increases reminiscent of the one that occurred in 1946 and this time we know that aerosols were not a factor because we can see that they haven’t increased. I contend that it is quite likely that the two events have the same cause. The PDO”

    Well Sircharge, Jim Hansen would disagree with you because his latest paper suggests that Asian aerosols are a major cause of the stasis in temperatures and reduced warming imbalance to about 0.6W/M2 for the 2005-11 period. Dr Hansen also talks about a ‘delayed Pinitibo rebound effect’ which seems rather unlikely if not bizarre.

    Kevin Trenberth does not believe in the Asian aerosol cause of the stasis in temperatures and prefers to keep looking for the missing heat (about 0.3W/M2 equivalent) in the oceans.

    I must say that the IPCC charts on aerosol cooling with the wide error bars gives little confidence of the understanding of this effect.

    Comment by Ken Lambert — 27 Oct 2011 @ 8:55 AM

  276. Here is a quote from the “Atmospheric Aerosol Properties & Climate Impacts Report” by the US governments Climate Change Science Program, 2009.

    “ ES 3.1 Calculated change of surface temperature due to forcing by anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols was reported in IPCC AR4 based on results from more than 20 participating global climate modelling groups. Despite a wide range of climate sensitivity (ie the amount of surface temperature increase due to a change in radiative forcing, such as an increase of CO2) exhibited by the models, they all yield a global average temperature change very similar to that observed over the last century. This agreement across models appears to be a consequence of the use of very different aerosol forcing values, which compensates for the range of climate sensivity. For example, the direct cooling effect of sulphate aerosol varied by a factor of six (6 ) among the models. An even greater disparity was seen in the model treatment of black carbon and organic carbon. Some models ignored aerosol indirect effects whereas others included large indirect effects. In addition, for those models that included the indirect effect, the aerosol effect on cloud brightness (reflectivity) varied by a factor of nine (9). Therefore, the fact that models have reproduced the global temperature change in the past does not imply that their future forecasts are accurate. This state of affairs will remain until a firmer estimate of radiation forcing by aerosols, as well as climate sensitivity, is available.”

    Comment by Bob Irvine — 27 Oct 2011 @ 6:31 PM

  277. > aerosol, particulates, sulfates, SirCharge generally
    Response posted in the open thread, as it’s unrelated to this topic

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Oct 2011 @ 7:27 PM

  278. #274–”A tremendous thanks to Kevin for linking every single paper that uses the word aerosol. . .”

    That’s not what I did, as you can plainly see from the link, which was searching “aerosols+observations+climate.” The point was to show that there is indeed a plethora of observations of aerosol abundance, contrary to your (unsupported) assertion that there is “little actual evidence” regarding aerosols.

    Sorry that didn’t answer your concerns, but if you spent less time on sarcasm and more on attempting to write clearly, it might have been easier to tell what “evidence” you were actually inquiring after–from your comment at #274, it appears that you specifically want evidence of aerosol abundance from 1946-1976, which of course are mostly pre-satellite measurement.

    But you still give little reason to think that you really want that evidence–you haven’t cited anything from the literature. And the last three paragraphs of #274 are classic “hand-waving”–you discuss at length what “must” have happened with no apparent attempt to look at the work of those who may have studied it then or since.

    There’s also a strange logical issue: previously in the comment you complain about those who (supposedly) “believe that climate is only influenced by anthropogenic causes,” yet your whole argument is based on the idea that aerosols and the PDO are exclusive possibilities. (For the record, I would speculate that the temperature record of 1946-76 is very likely the product of more than one ‘driver.’)

    Comment by kevin McKinney — 28 Oct 2011 @ 5:11 AM

  279. #274, #277–Well, since I’ve found that taking ideas seriously regardless of whether I think them particularly well-motivated or well-founded can be quite educative, I took an hour or two to look for answers to Sircharge’s question about papers on aerosol and climate.

    A seminal paper, which is a good source for then-extent data (as of 1976) is RA Bryson & GJ Dittberner (1976), A Non-Equilibrium Model Of Hemispheric Mean Temperature–pdf here:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469%281976%29033%3C2094%3AANEMOH%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    The hemispheric decline in optical transmissivity is well-supported and striking.

    A relatively more recent paper is Hegerl et al (1997), Multi-fingerprint detection and attribution analysis of greenhouse gas, greenhouse gas-plus-aerosol and solar forced climate change.

    As the title indicates, it’s primarily a modeling study, but has this to say about the aerosol data:

    The sulphate aerosol data were kindly made available by the Meteorological Institute of the Stockholm University and were calculated using the MOGUNTIA sulphur model (Langner and Rohde 1991) from historical SO2 emissions, based essentially on Mylona (1993) and Gschwandtner et al. (1986), and from projected future emissions from the IPCC 1992 scenario A (Pepper et al. 1992).

    The scenario forcing fields are similar to those shown in Mitchell et al. (1995a, b), except that the pattern of the aerosol forcing was not spatially fixed before 1990, but was allowed to respond to the spatially changing patterns of sulfur emissions (see Mitchell and Johns 1997). The forcing fields are shown in Cubasch et al. (1996).

    The impact of the computed aerosol concentrations was represented in the CGCM as an increased effective surface albedo. The global mean of the radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere due to the aerosols is approximately !0.7 W/m2 in 1980. Indirect effects of aerosols on the formation and radiative properties of clouds were not considered. These are generally estimated to be of comparable magnitude to the direct effects, and may produce different climate change patterns (Jones et al. 1994; Boucher and Lohmann 1995). Our computations of the aerosol climate impact must therefore be regarded as only qualitative.

    (Quote reformatted for on-screen readability–thanks, Preview!)

    PDF here:

    http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/geography/homes/ghegerl/hegerletal97.pdf

    So I do think the contention that the aerosol idea is based on “very little evidence” is adequately refuted. True, the evidence is not as complete or as unequivocal as one might wish (see Ken Lambert’s comment at #275.) And true, too, that the whole topic of aerosols is incredible complex. But the mainstream ideas about the possible role(s) of aerosols in the evolution of the temperature record are clearly well-supported by large amounts of solid observational data. Sircharge’s dismissal of those ideas in favor of “it must be the PDO”–without any evidentiary support whatever!–is somewhere between “wrong” and “not even wrong.”

    (BTW, I think Hank’s idea of migrating this discussion to the Open Thread is good; should I make any future contributions to the discussion, I’ll probably make them there.)

    Comment by kevin McKinney — 28 Oct 2011 @ 7:46 AM

  280. On-topic for ocean heat content:

    Would someone who has a subscription and can read the full article let us know what’s in this one?

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 38, L20602, 1 PP., 2011
    doi:10.1029/2011GL049834
    Correction to “Tracing the upper ocean’s ‘missing heat’”
    C. A. Katsman
    G. J. van Oldenborgh

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Oct 2011 @ 1:32 PM

  281. Hank, you’re the one who taught me to use Google Scholar:

    Tracing the upper ocean’s ‘missing heat’

    Comment by JCH — 30 Oct 2011 @ 1:46 PM

  282. Hank @ 280 – See comment @ 71 by one of the co-authors Geert Jan van Oldenborgh.

    Comment by Rob Painting — 30 Oct 2011 @ 3:54 PM

  283. Thanks JCH and Rob and my apology to Geert, who as Rob points out had in this thread mentioned an upcoming correction to a minor calculation error, along with providing the link for the full text of the paper as published.

    Consistent with the conclusions of that paper, “La Niña appears to have staged a comeback similar to 2008, and consistent with expectations formulated right here one year ago ….” — http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/#discussion

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Oct 2011 @ 4:40 PM

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