Mechanisms for Warming of the Oceans

by Donald Rapp

This paper describes a model that uses the basics of heat transfer to demonstrate than an increase in downwelling infrared radiation associated with increased CO2 reduces heat loss from the mixed layer of the ocean, causing the ocean to warm.

This Posting is a brief summary of the full paper (18 pages) that can be obtained athttp://home.earthlink.net/~drdrapp/ocean.heating.v3.pdf

Climate models indicate that when the CO2 concentration increases above the pre-industrial level of about 280 ppm, there is a consequent increase in downward back IR radiation impinging on the surface of the Earth, including the world oceans. A doubling of the CO2 concentration results in a downward radiative forcing at the surface of about 1 W/m2. Over the past half century the forcing averaged about 0.4 W/m2. Questions arise as to whether, how, and how much does this heat the oceans? The oceans have a heat capacity about 1,000 times greater than the atmosphere and land surface. Although air temperatures may change much more rapidly than ocean temperatures, it is the ocean temperature distribution that will ultimately determine the climate of the Earth.

There is considerable evidence that sea surface temperatures (SST) have warmed significantly over the course of the 20th century. There is also evidence that on average, the bulk oceans have warmed over this time period but the temperature gains were smaller. Nevertheless, the oceans are so vast that this represents a very large amount of heat. While the data on ocean warming leaves much to be desired, there seems to be little doubt that the oceans have acquired a significant amount of heat over the last five decades. Aside from the still unsettled issue of specifying the ocean warming to higher accuracy, the question arises as to what factors caused the ocean warming. Had there been long-term systematic increases in solar intensity and/or decreases in cloud cover, that would certainly have contributed significantly to ocean warming. There are several models that attempt to estimate how the solar intensity has varied during the 20th century, but they all make assumptions that cannot be validated and therefore they remain highly speculative. Estimates of global variation of cloud cover have been made by a number of investigators. Dai et al. (2006) admit “large inadequacies in monitoring long-term changes in global cloudiness with surface and satellite observations” and the sub-title of their paper is “A Tale of Monitoring Inadequacies”.

A number of websites and blogs currently claim that downwelling infrared radiation from greenhouse gases cannot heat the oceans. For example, hockeyschtick asserts: “since the LWIR re-radiation from increasing ‘greenhouse gases’ is only capable of penetrating a minuscule few microns (millionths of a meter) past the surface and no further, it could therefore only cause evaporation (and thus cooling) of the surface ‘skin’ of the oceans”. Hockeyschtick further asserts:  “It is impossible for a 1.7 W/m2 increase [predicted by the IPCC due to man-made greenhouse gases] in downward ‘clear sky’ atmospheric LWIR flux to heat the oceans.”  Steven Goddard  ridicules Livermore scientists for claiming that rising greenhouse gases warm the oceans. Finally, Tallbloke asks: “Since the ocean is on average warmer than the atmosphere, the energy flux across the ocean/atmosphere interface is on average carrying heat from the ocean to the air…. So given the general direction of the motion of the energy, how can infrared energy be pushed into the ocean, when it can’t penetrate the surface further than its own wavelength?”

If these claims were correct, then any warming of the oceans would have to be attributed to increases in solar intensity or decreases in cloud cover. This paper describes a model that uses the basics of heat transfer to demonstrate than an increase in downwelling infrared radiation associated with increased CO2 reduces heat loss from the mixed layer of the ocean, causing the ocean to warm.

Model overview

Models were developed in the 1970s and 1980s to estimate the magnitude of this effect. In my paper, I develop a simple model based on these earlier studies to estimate the rate of heat gain by the oceans due to an increase in back IR radiation. This model is based on taking an energy balance around the ocean surface. Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate the rate of heat gain by the oceans for any given level of increased back radiation, because (i) the calculation is extremely sensitive to how the air above the ocean reacts as the ocean warms, and (ii) it is very difficult to estimate how the air above the ocean reacts to a warming ocean.

The profile of temperatures below the surface at a tropical location is shown schematically in Figure 3.

Presentation3Figure 3. Schematic temperature profile in a tropical ocean. The initial curve (A) refers to equilibrium before applying a forcing to the surface. The short-term curve (B) shows the initial response to the forcing. This graph is not to scale. The difference in temperatures between the mixed layer and the ocean surface was exaggerated to make the graphic clearer.

Initially, there is a temperature profile (A) for the equilibrium state before applying a forcing to the surface. The surface is cooler than the bulk ocean because of heat loss to the atmosphere. The short-term curve (B) shows the initial response to application of a forcing. The initial temperature rise at the surface is  ΔT2 due to absorption of radiation. As a result, the temperature difference between the surface and the bulk mixed layer of the ocean decreases from ΔT1 to [ΔT1 – ΔT2]. This reduces the heat flow from the bulk ocean to the surface and the bulk ocean begins to warm. As it warms, there is a progression of temperature profiles until a new equilibrium is established at a new ΔT. Figure 4 shows the same information in greater detail, with curve C representing an intermediate stage in the passage from no forcing to a new equilibrium under forcing represented by curve D. The ultimate temperature rise of the mixed layer of the ocean is ΔT3 in this figure.

The ultimate new equilibrium established after passage of sufficient time is shown as (C). This graph is not to scale. The difference in temperatures between the mixed layer and the ocean surface was greatly exaggerated to make the graphic clearer.

Presentation3Figure 4. Schematic temperature profile in a tropical ocean. The initial curve (A) refers to equilibrium before applying a forcing to the surface. The response (C) shows an intermediate stage in the process as time progresses. Curve (D) is the new equilibrium.

As these changes in the ocean take place, changes are likely to occur in the air above the ocean surface. In some zero’th order models, it has been assumed that the air remains unchanged in temperature and humidity, even as the ocean surface warms. At the other extreme, one can assume that the air temperature tracks the ocean surface temperature and the relative humidity in the air remains constant (the absolute humidity increases). Reality probably lies between these extremes.

The object is to estimate ΔT3 with a forcing due to doubling of CO2 from the pre-industrial era, F ~ 1 W/m2). On a transient basis, as the surface warms, while the bulk mixed layer temperature is unchanged, DT1 decreases. This reduces the rate of heat flow from the bulk mixed layer to the surface. Thus heat loss from the bulk mixed layer to the surface decreases, and the bulk mixed layer warms. Eventually, the bulk mixed layer warms enough that the temperature differential between the bulk ocean and the surface returns to approximately ΔT1, and a new equilibrium is established with the bulk mixed layer and the surface both at a higher temperature. The goal of the present study is to estimate ΔT3.

The model involves the following steps:

(1) Write an energy flux equation about the ocean-atmosphere interface, prior to application of the forcing introduced by increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. This is done for equilibrium night conditions when there is no solar input. In this equation, the equilibrium rate of heat loss by the ocean mixed layer per unit area is expressed as the sum of the rate of latent heat loss from surface to air per unit area, the rate of sensible heat loss from surface to air per unit area, and the net rate of back radiation from surface to air per unit area. These quantities were estimated by previous investigators in terms of the ocean surface temperature and properties of the atmosphere above it. The bulk mixed layer temperature is the surface temperature plus ΔT1, but ΔT1 need not be specified in this model.

(2) Write a new energy flux equation about the ocean-atmosphere interface, after application of the forcing introduced by increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. This defines the new equilibrium rate of heat loss by the bulk mixed layer in the presence of doubled CO2.

(3) Subtract the two energy flux equations, to obtain an equation that includes the change in ocean surface temperature (ΔT3) as well as the changes in properties of the atmosphere above the ocean. These properties are the air temperature and the relative humidity. If we could estimate the changes in the air temperature and the relative humidity in the atmosphere above the ocean, we could then determine (ΔT3).

(4) The problem is that we don’t know how the air above the ocean changes when we go from no forcing to forcing. Two extreme cases have been considered: (i) the air does not change as the ocean warms, and (ii) the air temperature above the ocean tracks the ocean surface temperature and the relative humidity remains constant as the air temperature rises. Unfortunately, the calculation turns out to be extremely sensitive to this assumption, and as a result it is impossible to make accurate quantitative estimates of ocean warming without much better data on the changes that occur in the air above the oceans.

Why the Ocean Warms

In this model, we start with the upper mixed layer of an ocean in equilibrium with the air above it. Next, we consider the same upper mixed layer of an ocean with a downward forcing on its surface and calculate a new equilibrium. We then compare the two calculations to determine how much warming occurs in the mixed layer as a consequence of this forcing.

The initial effect of turning on the forcing F, before the mixed ocean layer warms up, is to reduce the temperature differential between the mixed ocean layer and the surface as shown by curve B in Figure 3. The ocean is continuously losing heat to the surface, and this reduces the cooling rate of the mixed ocean layer by a flux slightly less than F. But that is equivalent to warming the mixed ocean layer by a flux slightly less than F. As the mixed ocean layer gradually warms up, this flux will increase, but nevertheless, in general the effect of adding the flux F is to warm the mixed ocean layer.

Clearly, the overwhelming effect of a rise in TS is to reduce the energy flux from the mixed layer to the ocean surface. Therefore, most of the effect of an increase in back radiation is to heat the mixed layer. This conclusion is independent of any assumptions regarding changes in the atmosphere that result from warming of the ocean surface. If we repeated the calculation with different assumptions about the air temperature and humidity, the importance of reduction of energy loss from the mixed layer to the ocean surface would not change.

As time progresses, the mixed layer continues to warm as shown in curve C in Figure 4. However, as the mixed layer warms, the rate of energy transfer from the mixed layer to the surface increases, and thus the rate of warming of the mixed layer decreases as time progresses. Eventually, the rate of energy transfer from the mixed layer increases enough to establish a new equilibrium at a higher mixed layer temperature (see curve D in Figure 4). When this new equilibrium is established we can treat the upper ocean as a mixed layer and ignore the small difference in temperature between the mixed layer and the surface. We then carry out an energy balance about the ocean surface.

The surface of the ocean is thus warmed slightly by IR absorption and this reduces the temperature differential from the bulk mixed layer to the surface. This reduces the rate of heat loss from the mixed layer of the ocean to the surface; thus the mixed layer does not cool as fast as it would without the IR forcing at the surface (i.e. it warms relative to the unforced state). It is important to understand that the IR absorbed at the surface does not flow down into the ocean. The energy flow is always upward.

In each model, one starts with the unforced ocean and the air above it. Then the forcing (~ 1 W/m2) is introduced into the energy balance equation in terms of the latent heat loss, the sensible heat loss, and the net back radiation, and the forcing.

In the so-called zero’th order calculation of Newell and Dopplick (1979), one assumes that the air temperature and the absolute humidity do not change after the forcing is applied. With this assumption, one finds that with a very small increase in surface temperature, the increase in sensible and latent heat flux loss to the atmosphere accounts for the energy flux added by the forcing. For a wind speed of 3 m/s one finds the ocean surface temperature rise is about 0.05°C. The ocean mixed layer temperature rises by the same amount. In the so-called first order calculation of Watts (1980), one assumes that the air temperature is equal to the ocean surface temperature and tracks the ocean surface temperature, and the relative humidity remains at 75% after the forcing is applied (i.e. the absolute humidity rises as the ocean warms). With this assumption, one finds that for a wind speed of 3 m/s, the ocean surface temperature increase is 0.6°C, and the ocean mixed layer temperature rises by the same amount. For a forcing of 0.4 W/m2 (average over last half-century) the temperature rise is 0.25°C.

Small changes in assumptions about the air above the ocean produce large changes in the temperature rise. For example, if the calculation is repeated with a wind speed of 5 m/s instead of 3 m/s, the temperature rise for 1 w/m2 forcing is reduced from 0.6°C to 0.25°C. If the wind speed is reduced to 2 m/s the calculation becomes unstable. As Watts (1980) emphasized, “The surface heat flux calculation is very, very sensitive to small changes in the components of the heat balance”.

He pointed out that a heat balance at the tropopause does not suffer from this problem. However, a heat balance at the tropopause does not provide us with direct insight as to the effect of back radiation on the oceans.

It is evident from these calculations that a crucial unknown is the change in the condition of the air above the ocean as the ocean surface warms. In the zeroth order model, it was assumed that the air did not change as the ocean surface warmed. As a result, when the ocean surface warms in this model, although the net back radiation increases extremely slowly, the latent heat loss and sensible heat loss increase at significant rates. This allows the ocean surface to rid itself of excess energy that would have accumulated due to a reduction in flux from the mixed layer to the ocean surface. Hence a new equilibrium is achieved with a rather small increase in ocean temperature. In the first-order model, the air temperature is set equal to the ocean temperature and the relative humidity is assumed to be constant. Thus the sensible heat loss is zero. The latent heat loss increases with temperature as before. However, the net back radiation now decreases sharply as the ocean and temperatures increase, due to the increased humidity in the air. Thus, the ocean surface is less able to lose energy to the air, and the temperature rise is greater. The problem is that the total heat loss from the ocean depends on three terms, one of which is assumed to be zero, a second decreases with temperature, and the third increases with temperature. The term that decreases with increasing temperature depends critically on the humidity in the air above the ocean. The term that increases with temperature depends critically on wind speed. Depending on assumptions made about these variables, the final equilibrium temperature of the mixed layer of the ocean can be almost any value. The experimental data on ocean warming have considerable variance from investigator to investigator, but the results suggest the oceans have received about 0.5 W/m2 of warming over the past half century.

Summary

In our model, the initial response of the ocean to an increase in back radiation flux is an increase in the ocean surface temperature, TS, while the mixed layer of ocean remains at its original temperature, TL. Although the increase in TS tends to increase heat loss from the surface, this increase is far less than the increase in back radiation flux. But the effect of an increase in TS is a decrease in TL – TS, resulting in a large reduction in energy flux transported from the mixed layer to the surface, so that the mixed layer loses heat at a lower rate (i.e. it warms). The new (increased) value of TS is obtained when the sum of increased heat losses upward and decreased ocean energy flux to the surface balances the increase in back radiation flux. As time progresses, the energy flux from the mixed layer to the surface remains smaller than it was before the forcing was applied, and therefore it warms (TL increases with time). As TL increases, the ocean energy flux to the surface gradually increases. After passage of sufficient time, a new equilibrium is eventually established in which TS and TL are both higher than before the forcing was applied. To model this new equilibrium it is sufficient to use a lumped ocean model for the mixed layer and surface by assuming TS ~ TL because the difference between TS and TL is expected to be smaller than the temperature change resulting from the forcing. One then takes an energy flux balance about the ocean surface, and varies TS ~ TL until the calculated heat loss from the surface equals the forcing. This is the new equilibrium value of TS ~ TL.

In order to utilize the model quantitatively, we need to estimate the increase in back radiation flux at the ocean surface due to increased CO2, and we also need to estimate the changes that occur in the air above the ocean (in order to estimate heat losses from the ocean to the air).

The forcing at the surface due to doubling of CO2 from the pre-industrial value is about 1 to 1.2 W/m2. What is not clear is to what extent this basic forcing is augmented by radiation from a warmer troposphere. Ramanathan (1981) concluded that this effect is very large but his results seem grossly exaggerated.

The effect of increased ocean surface temperature on the air above can only be conjectured. If radiation from a warmer troposphere is neglected, and one makes the zero’th order assumption that the atmosphere remains unchanged as the ocean warms, one finds a very small increase in ocean temperature (~0.05°C) due to an increase in back radiation of 1 W/m2. On the other hand, if radiation from a warmer troposphere is neglected, and one assumes that the air temperature remains equal to the ocean surface temperature and the relative humidity of the air remains constant, the calculated increase in ocean temperature due to an increase in back radiation of 1 W/m2 is about 0.6°C. Unfortunately, this calculation is very sensitive to assumptions made about the condition of the air, and even more sensitive to assumptions about the wind velocity. Hence it is not possible to obtain precise quantitative estimates of the ultimate equilibrium temperature of the mixed ocean layer when subjected to a forcing at the surface.

One thing we can assert however, is that warming of the oceans by an increase in downwelling infrared radiation to the surface is an efficient process, and the initial rate of heat loss by the mixed layer is only slightly less than the magnitude of the imposed forcing. The average surface forcing due to increased CO2 over the past 55 years was roughly 0.4 W/m2. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect that the upper mixed level of the ocean would have warmed by an input of roughly this amount over that time period. Experimental data on warming of the oceans indicate that over the past ~50 years, the average warming was due to a flux of about this magnitude.

 JC note:  This post was submitted via email. Here is Donald Rapp’s biosketch.  I worked with Donald Rapp to shorten the post relative to his original paper.  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments relevant and civil.

 

 

425 responses to “Mechanisms for Warming of the Oceans

  1. Steven Mosher

    A doubling of the CO2 concentration results in a downward radiative forcing at the surface of about 1 W/m2.

    err. wrong.

    • Dear OZ. I know you have spoken but if you read the whole paper you will see references that back up the claim that downward radiative forcing at the surface is about 1 W/m2.

      • David Springer

        Another model?

        Meh. Handwaving by Rapp.

        Experiments are required to confirm models.

    • Steven Mosher

      I did read it. That is why I said wrong.

      your document shows a range of estimates. All of which are above 1.
      It might be acceptable to write “estimates range from 1 to 1.2 , for clarity we will specify 1 “

    • Mosh: OK; I stand corrected. it might be 1; it might be 1.2; it might anything in that range. Is that your sum total of thoughts on the matter?

    • Arno Arrak

      Wrong, Mosher. Thanks to the Miskolczi effect doubling of carbon dioxide produces no downward radiative forcing and sensitivity is a nice round zero. This is exactly why there has been no warming for 17 years despite constant increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    • Hmmmm…. The picture is complicated.
      Specifically this picture:

      Those are from IPCC4 indicating pre-industrial to near present for two models (one includes aerosols one does not). Notice the average surface forcing at the top? Negative 1. I’ve use the Column Radiation Model to estimate CO2 doubling forcing at the surface and found something similar – Negative forcing at the surface in the tropics.

      The atmosphere mixes things up, of course, which the GCMs try to capture.
      But the direct radiative effect alone is likely negative, on average.

    • Downward LW radiative ‘Forcing’ does not cause heat transfer to the surface. This is because it is an irradiance’, a potential energy flux, not real. What happens is increase of ‘Forcing’ reduces net IR heat loss from the surface.

      In the absence of any other process, this would cause warming as the surface temperature rises to make convection, evaporative plus radiative heat loss equal to the presumed constant SW flux.

      However, there are other process, involving clouds, which as CO2 increases, cause more upper cold air to descend. This is the way the atmospheric control system operates, a PID system with time constants varying from a few years to a 1000 years or so.

      So, the model is irrelevant at the first order.

    • I assume mixing is the process for heat transfer from below — direct conduction is very slow. Mixing from below with any significant thickness of water is going to reduce the delta T to a very small number. Compare the heat from 1 watt extra deposited in the top mm of water mixed w/only a meter of water from below. A thousandth of a watt added in the top meter? How about mixed in 5 meters? 10 meters? 50? 100?

  2. So.. what are the conditions which must be true for Trenberth’s intuition that the heat “must come back out” to be correct?

    Is the ocean an infinite heat sink?

    • Nope, it’ll reverse as we glaciate.
      ==========

    • Trenberth was talking about the pools of water that are moved around by ENSO events. It’s vast amounts of water, and if it’s hotter than natural, it’s haunting, which the case right now. Very hot April with ONI numbers that look like La Nina lite. So some of it is coming out right now.

  3. I couldn’t find the part where the surface warming teleports to the lower layers. With the current interpretation of AGW and observed surface temps, that’s necessary.

  4. Thanks for the clarity, Donald and Judy. This boundary has long perplexed me.
    ========

    • Heh, it still perplexes me, but this is what I’d intuited, so it must be right.
      =================

  5. Fig 3 shows the wrong temperature profile. The tropical oceans are warmer near the surface and cooler lower down. As shown in Fig 3 it would be unstable.

    • I was thinking the same thing. I think some sort of horizontal lines on the diagram, depicting where the layers are defined, would be helpful. If the topmost skin layer is cooler than the layer underneath, the heat transfer due to the temperature gradient would be upwards (and smaller if the skin temperature gets warmer). Otherwise I found the written details helpful in describing what is happening and how difficult it is to quantify.

    • FOMD, you didn’t ‘explain’ anything to me. I know the absorption coefficients for both water and saline.
      I know that IR is absorbed in the first couple of microns.
      I also know that the heat is not directly thermalized, with some fraction ripping off disordered water molecules at the water/air interface.
      What I do not know is the ratio of latent heat:sensible heat, for the absorption of photons from 400 nm to 25 um, in salines.
      If I knew this I would be a happier man.
      Knowing this, and knowing the distribution of sea salt particles, their relative solute mass and the humidity, would allow one to guesstimate the heat transfers from incoming solar/backradiation, during the course of a 24 hour period.

      http://energy.mae.cornell.edu/PDF/Sizedistributionofseasaltemissionsasafunctionofrelativehumidity.pdf

      • David Springer

        Looks like DocMartyn is the smartest guy in the room.

        At least until I arrived. ;-)

    • “Fig 3 shows the wrong temperature profile. “
      The top bit, though, is basically right. And the temperature has to be somewhat higher a few metres below, because the incident heat from SW has to get back to the surface to leave.

      There is diurnal variation, which actually makes it clearer. I’ve shown day/night profiles here.

    • Nick your ‘ diurnal variation, which actually makes it clearer’ actually makes things more unclear to me. At 1 m in daylight you are at +0.7 and at night you are at 0 degrees. Whereas, at 10 um you are at +1 in daylight and minus 0.8 at night.
      I know through the whole cycle we have changes in salinity and density, hot salty in daylight and colder, less salty at daybreak. At night the cooling, dense brines must fall from the surface and be replaced with brines from below.

    • bob droege

      This would be a more realistic temperature profile.

      As as some one who has measure ocean temperature at various depths up to (I cant tell you cause it’s classified) feet, I can say that the following statement from the op

      “The surface is cooler than the bulk ocean because of heat loss to the atmosphere.”

      is wrong.

      The ocean is cooler at depth, and the surface layer is of uniform temperature, and the ocean has waves.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “This would be a more realistic temperature profile.”

      It’s not more realistic, it’s an entirely different topic. This post isn’t about heat flows in the lower parts of the mixed layer or across the thermocline. It’s about ocean cooling at the surface boundary and how that cooling relates to the temperature profile at the very top of the mixed layer up to and including the cool skin layer.

    • DocMartyn,
      SW during the day adds heat in the top few metres. That heat has to come out again, and it seems a lot comes out within hours. That’s why it cools at 1 m, and even more at 1 μ

      The radiating surface temp doesn’t vary much. So both up LW and down LW go day and night. There is more up LW; SW makes the difference, but fluctuates. So do temps.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Thanks Nick Stokes. That’s a very useful summary of the diurnal variation of the temperature profile. It’s quite helpful, in conjunction with the figures on your website.

  6. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    It is striking that observed near-surface ocean temperature profiles (Ward 2007) are typically opposite in shape to Donald Rapp’s model, for the elementary physical reasons that FOMD explained to DocMartyn.

    Conclusion  Rapp’s model merits no further attention. Judith Curry, what merit do you perceive in it?

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Far more interesting (IMO) from that linked paper:

      Phytoplankton cause localized heating through increased attenuation of light. Ramp et al. [1991] observed temperature differences of up to 4.7 K between measurements at depths of 4 cm and 2 m. Coincident measurements of chlorophyll concentration were about 8 mg m^−3. Areas of lower chlorophyll showed less heating. Kahru et al. [1993] used satellite SST and in situ data to show increases in SST from surface accumulation of cyanobacteria. Both Ramp et al. [1991] and Kahru et al. [1993] concluded that biologically induced heating occurred at low wind speeds. However, it is in the absence of wind mixing that near-surface water optimally stratify, and so there is a complicated relationship between biological heating and mixing (or lack thereof). For example, the concentration of chlorophyll for the measurements during station 10 (Figure 4f) is 0.15 mg m^−3, and yet there was a warm layer of over 2.7 K. However, wind speed was minimal (Table 3). On the other hand, during station 8 (Figure 4d), the mean chlorophyll concentration was 5.5 mg m^−3 with a maximum warm layer of 1.2 K, but the mean wind speed was 4.3 ms^−1. [my bold]

      This has important implications WRT to the fraction of solar SW being quickly converted to latent heat (through evaporation), which can show great variation due to differences in bio-activity.

      Since in much of the open ocean that activity can be substantially modified by windblown nutrients, this offers a potentially major feedback loop between climatic/vegetation conditions on nearby continents and both cloudiness and overall heat absorption into the ocean. Given that many ecosystems can mature over centuries, with potentially large differences in dust release (especially in response to short-term dessication), this raises the possibility of potentially very large and influential feedback loops with “memories” ranging up to century-scale.

    • David L. Hagen

      Fan. Look closer.
      Ward 2007 Fig. 7 shows the range from warm layer (red) to cool skin (blue)
      Ward’s “surface” figure is for: ” (b) Actual profile taken in the upper 2 m with SkinDeEP during station 10 (see section 3.6).”
      A closer look shows that the very topmost portion of Ward’s graph is similar to Don Rapp’s Fig 3 above.

    • fizzymagic

      Hilarious. FOMD shows he can’t read a scale on a graph.

      You do understand, don’t you, FOMD, that you made a basic and very stupid mistake? Since you are so fond of asking Dr. Curry such questions:

      FOMD, why, given that you immediately erroneously rejected a result based on a completely incorrect reading of a graph, should anyone perceive any merit in anything you write?

  7. Why call it back radiation? Isn’t it net surface radiation and it includes the atmospheric window radiation? It’s upwelling.

    • Or net LWIR.

    • It’s “back radiation” because it’s radiating downwards back from the lower atmosphere to the ocean. Since the lower atmosphere troposphere is more or less saturated for the wavelengths under consideration the usual effect of more CO2 is to lower the height of regions from which this radiation originates (without being re-absorbed on the way). For normal lapse rates this tends to increase the temperature of the air creating this radiation, which results in a net increase in the intensity.

    • I think the term “radiation” is alarmist. It implies the oceans are radioactive. Scientists probably chose the name to scare the public.

      • David Springer

        Good point. It should be called light. Infrared light. Visible light. Ultraviolet light.

        Thanks loltwat.

    • AK, from the paper:

      “QB = Net rate of back radiation from surface to air per unit area (W/m2)”

      “Net Back Radiation = QB = 0.94 [σ TS4 (0.56 – 0.08 eA1/2)] (W/m2)”

      “Total Heat Loss = Latent heat loss + Sensible heat loss + Net back radiation”

      And so on…

      His “net back radiation” is radiating UPWARDS!

    • @Edim…

      From the abstract:

      Climate models indicate that when the CO2 concentration increases above the pre‐industrial level of about 280 ppm, there is a consequent increase in back IR radiation impinging on the surfaces of the world oceans. A doubling of the CO2 concentration results in a downward forcing of about 1 W/m^2.


      I admit I didn’t read past the abstract: while I’m willing to debate the qualitative aspects of downwelling IR and ocean heating, I’m not convinced any “simple model” can add anything but overconfident confusion to understanding the processes. Indeed, as the abstract notes:

      Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate quantitatively the rate of heat gain by the oceans for any given level of increased back radiation, because (i) the calculation is extremely sensitive to how the air above the ocean reacts as the ocean warms, and (ii) it is very difficult to estimate how the air above the ocean reacts to a warming ocean.

      If he has misused his definitions in developing his equations, that’s a failure of his logical development, not his definitions.

  8. Oh boy, nothing else is happening except co2 warming. Not the induction of magnetic radiation and the relationship between the salt in the oceans, certainly my microwave doesn’t heat food up, (specifically it heats the water in the food at a specific frequency) and god forbid we don’t look at any other part of the EM spectrum whether it varies or not and the interplay between our own magnetic field, solar wind speed, cosmic rays… so on and so forth. yep, that explains it, back IR down dwelling radiation. No such thing as a ‘buck or boast’ in magnetic fields is there? Nothing about the density of the atmosphere in filtering out higher energy frequencies, humm is that what you think the as the atmosphere puffs out from a decrease in solar wind speed that there is more space for higher frequencies to penetrate to the surface? Oh wait!! I can bend light with my magnet!! LOL yea, sure I can. Nobody else thinks that there is a relationship between the solar year of Jupiter and sunspots?

    With the questions I’ve asked, shows me how much thought they’ve actually put into this. Mathematically, I went to a climate change work shop where they showed the current ~ 0.5 degree change in temperature from co2 alone. I can do the same thing with the decrease in the strength of magnetic field of the earth, which has decreased by about 10%,( I’ve seen some reports that say 15%)… if the focus was just on that, which is real and can be measured, we could have a field day with that…. it doesn’t mean I’m right, nor does the focus on co2 and back IR make them right either. It is a simple solution for a very complex set of variables.

  9. If I attempt to heat water in a bucket using a heat gun(450degsC) I find that the heat is emphatically rejected. You can get energy into water via the sun’s radiation butthe heat in warmed air is rejected. AGW is a nonsense.

    • where does the heat go then?

    • lolwot, “where does the heat go then?”

      up

    • In terms of volume, water has about same heat capacity as iron, though in terms mass water has far more heat capacity. So if bucket of water in below air temperature, the heat gun will take a while to warm water due to this.
      The other aspect is water can lose a lot of heat via evaporation, and if heat gun is blowing hot air the hot air will be entirely about the evaporation of water. And other aspect of heat gun will be it’s radiant energy which at 450 C would be most near infrared radiation [quite different than longwave IR], and to near IR the water in bucket is somewhat transparent. So most of this energy will warm few inches depth in bucket [whereas with iron it would heat only the surface of iron] and some the radiant energy will heat below the few inches.

    • If you stand near a radiator, does your body reject the radiant heat?

      • David Springer

        If you put a hotplate above a tea kettle instead of below it will the water boil?

    • Nick Stokes, “If you stand near a radiator, does your body reject the radiant heat?”

      Do you install your radiators on the ceiling or the floor down under?

    • “on the ceiling or the floor”
      Can’t make up our minds. We put them on the wall.

  10. Heating first speeds up the molecules that then escape, so it can’t give net cooling there.

    However it makes the air moister, which winds up as clouds when the energy of evaporation is given up to the air on condensation, which might give net cooling by way of solar reflection.

    Just thinking through what involves a million other effects.

    I’d object automatically to a “this is what happens” tone. Too many things happen, even if one is right by chance.

    • David L. Hagen

      rhhardin
      Think of a distribution of molecule speeds as in Physical Chemistry.
      The faster molecules escape from the surface, leaving slower molecules – which by definition is cooling of the surface. See
      Liquids: Condensation, evaporation, and dynamic equilibrium

    • Yes but that doesn’t cause increased cooling owing to additional heating.

      That is, the additional cooling won’t exceed the additional heating, even though evaporation increases.

      Slower molecules sped up simply replace the lost faster ones sped up.

    • David Springer

      The top millimeter of the ocean is cooler than the water below it by about a half degree.

  11. For RMB: Read the text again and you will see that the paper is about radiant energy entering the oceans.

    “”…there is a consequent increase in downward back IR radiation impinging on the surface of the Earth, including the world oceans.”

    This paper is not about warming the oceans by conduction.

  12. I understand the model logic, but think it omits a factor under both boundary condition assumptions. This is understandable using figure 3, which visualizes the modeled process initiation. A slight rise in surface temp deltaT2 will also cause a slight rise in the rate of evaporation, since relative humidity is not usually saturated even for the ocean surface even in the tropics. That water vapor will carry away into the atmosphere the associated latent heat. This convects up into clouds and precipitation, both of which place that heat directly back into the atmosphere. So the process you envision is not only sensitive to the boundary conditions, there is an additional strongly self limiting component.
    It seems much more likely that most (not necessarily all, as you show) ocean heating is through direct SW insolation and these water vapor and cloud albedo feedbacks.

    • Rud: Yes. The ocean heats primarily by direct solar input which can penetrate many meters in depth. During sunny periods, heat is injected into the ocean via SW irradiance. But 24/7 the ocean is losing heat through the surface by conduction, convection, evaporation and radiant exchange with the atmosphere. Eventually an equilibrium is established (sort of). The effect we are talking about here is a minor addition to that picture. When the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is doubled, a small additional downward IR flux impinges on the ocean. This flux warms the surface and reduces the rate of heat loss by the oceans. Thus the oceans find a new equilibrium at a slightly higher temperature. And yes, as I pointed out in the full paper, the calculation is extremely sensitive to boundary conditions, making it very difficult to make quantitative estimates.

    • Don, your ‘equilibrium’ model would have the ocean depths warming until the system is isothermal.
      The oceans are in steady state, cold, salty brines are injected into the depths in polar winters, going to the bottom, like cold slices on a layer cake.
      Heat makes its way down from the top and cold makes its way from the bottom. That the majority of the oceans are cold shows the overall difference in the heat fluxes; the cold water injection fluxes win hands down.
      The system is analogous to the salinity of river waters.
      Rivers are fresh water and feed into salt water oceans. Your ‘equilibrium’ model would suggest that as they are directly connected, the saline of the oceans should ‘equilibrate’ with the rivers. Salt does not do this, the rate of flow of rivers is faster than the diffusion rate of salts, hence, rivers stay fresh.
      You can alter the system a little at boundaries, but increasing the salinity of the oceans would not make the rivers more salty, because increasing the salt doesn’t increase the relative diffusion rate of salt nor does it affect river velocity.
      This problem is ‘classical’ steady state problem and not an equilibrium problem. It’s tricky, but doable.
      Your equilibrium model states that all the denizens here have, on average, one ovary and one testicle.

  13. ” Next, we consider the same upper mixed layer of an ocean with a downward forcing on its surface and calculate a new equilibrium. ”

    This kind of excercise is really avoiding the key issue that was brought up in the introduction.

    How and if downward IR can penetrate and warm the surface. The key to this is detailed consideration at the molecular level ( photons are absorbed by molecules) in the first few microns of the surface under ventilated conditions.

    The bulk properties and depth profiles are really relatively obvious to deal with and are not where the disagreements lie.

  14. The skin layer is only a few hundred microns thick. Too thin for thermal convection with these temperature differences. The whole skin-layer thing was discusses at length a RC a few years ago (too lazy to chase down a link but…).

  15. The world wonders at your reading comprehension. The model here applies only to the mixed layer. Rapp said so right at the beginning. Depending on wind and wave, that is from about 150 meters (the photic zone) down to about 300 meters. Mixed zone temperature profile is (because of mixing) fairly uniform. It is also the warmest part of the ocean, above the thermocline to which Paul Mathwews refers in confusing apples with oranges.
    So your rant reflects lack of comprehension, and little more except perhaps some concerning psychological tendencies seldom seen in mature adults.

    • Rud: The ocean is constantly losing heat. If it did not, it would boil over because it receives a great deal of intermittent solar SW input. Somehow, the usual contributors to this website, most of whom hide behind pseudonyms (e.g. the Fan), are unable to comprehend this. The models here were used by Newell and Dopplick (1979), Watts (1980) (appropriately named), Ramanathan (1981) and others after them. Tony Mills (world class expert on heat and mass transfer, author of many books on the subject) created the model that I used. Why am I reminded of the old 1930s radio program “It Pays to Be Ignorant” where the panel was asked (for example) “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?”

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Donald Rapp, you might well have referenced Curry (1996) … which asserts that — under fairly generic circumstances — your Fig. 3 should show an “S”-shaped temperature curve.

        Numerical axes and SI units are helpful too.

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Dear Fan: I’ve watched your postings on numerous topics and I find you are always wrong. Even a random thought generator would be right part of the time. Why don’t you come clean? Who are you? What is your education level? What is your employment? Is your career delivering pizza? You can see mine at:
        http://www.home.earthlink.net/~drdrapp/

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Donald Rapp avers “FOMD … you are always wrong.”

        Your observation is interesting, Donald Rapp. Let us enquire as to the mechanism by which our differences may arise.

        Seldom if ever does a FOMD analysis convey an original idea; rather the following exact sequence is respected: reason → mathematics → physical theory → experimental observation → inventive technology → viable enterprise → political ideology.

        It seems to me that a great many Climate Etc posters — denialists especially — attempt to reason in the opposite direction … the direction that both introduces and dynamically amplifies errors, rather than reliably correcting them.

        That’s common-sense, eh Climate Etc readers?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Dear Fan: I think its high time for you (and all the other pseudonyms for that matter) to come out, come out wherever you are. Who are you? Do you deliver pizzas for a living? Or maybe you are an insurance salesman? What are your credentials? Are you willing stand up and identify yourself, and give your credentials, and stake your reputation when say you believe the ocean surface is warmer than the mixed layer below, and therefore the mixed layer cannot lose heat to the atmosphere and therefore the oceans are boiling at 212°F? By the way, you might check out the comments of Gates (3:07 pm), who unlike you, does understand the situation and has explained it perhaps better than I can.

      • Xing A Paragrab

        I believe he’s John Sidles. http://en.gravatar.com/sidles

      • Xing A P: Thanks for the info on the Fan although his website conveys very little info except that he takes a nice photo although his bow tie is arguable.

      • Fan shortcutting it does that mean you are [ reason]ably expected to push a political ideology. Too many of your points are political diatribes which tend, unfortunately to be rather short on reason.
        The logic might be good but …

      • nottawa rafter

        I wasn’t going to comment but this one is to delicious to pass up. Fan gets his. :)

        Donald I enjoyed your post. The subject seems to be at the epicenter of the debate-at least for the time being.

      • ==> “What is your education level? What is your employment? Is your career delivering pizza? You can see mine at:”

        Oy. Another day. Another “skeptic.” Another comment at Climate Etc.,…

        …and another appeal to self-authority.

      • Joshua

        “appeal to self-authority”?

        Naw.

        I think Donald Rapp doesn’t need that. His record speaks for itself.

        Fanny on the other hand…?

        Max

      • manacker-

        I think that “skeptics” have it right when they say that arguments should be evaluated on their merits, and not the “authority” of the person making them.

        I think that “skeptics” have it wrong that they are so selective about applying that reasoning.

        Do you deliver pizzas, manacker?

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Personally – I think Donald exemplifies that special type of tediously didactic ‘cartoon’ thinking and claims that he cant understand a word I say. This comes back to the age old problem of distinguishing between leading edge thinking and mad gobbledygook. Sorry – I got nothin’.

        I can only recommend looking with new eyes at your pizza delivery person. I was considering it just the other week at the pizza shop. You get to ride one of those cool little scooters. My ‘associate’ was totally in favour – although she’s sadly mistaken if she thinks she’s getting free pizza. We all know there is no such thing as free pizza.

        Have “you ever seen a genius out there looking for a job? it’s the saddest thing in the world – no one will hire him – there is only one place where he is always welcome – at the bottom.” Henry Miller

        Joshua on the other hand learned his debating style from roadrunner cartoons. Note to self – don’t jump up and down on the rocky overhang.

      • Joshua: I agree with you to this extent. Someone like me with all the credentials in the world can still make mistakes, and I sometimes do. The model was created by Anthony Mills, a world-class expert on mass and heat transfer. He has chapters in his books on mass and heat transfer that deal with transfer across liquid/gas interfaces. There is a finite probability that Mills is in error, but in my opinion it is low. I admit I “appealed to authority” in one of my postings, and that does not settle the matter. It is not credentials that settles an argument, but data. However, thirty years ago several investigators showed quite clearly that rising CO2 in the atmosphere warms the oceans by reducing the rate of heat loss, and this is expounded in detail in my 18 page tome. Before I take the time and trouble to try convince the Fan of this I would first prefer to know if he is legit. Especially since the Fan has left a trail of posting behind him that make me wonder. Why waste time convincing a pizza delivery person? To tell you the truth, the same goes for “Joshua”. I think you guys all ought to come out of the closet and back up your ideas with your person.

      • “However, thirty years ago several investigators showed quite clearly that rising CO2 in the atmosphere warms the oceans by reducing the rate of heat loss”

        That is a stupid, stupid sentence.
        The oceans do not reduce their rate of heat loss in response to CO2. The heat flux out of the ocean is independent of the influx. The heat efflux is dependent on things like temperature, surface area, humidity, and so on but the oceans don’t ‘know’ what the hell is in the atmosphere. If you talk about fluxes, talk about influxes and effluxes, don’t mix up the sum of the fluxes and and the over all direct.
        Kinetics 101.
        A. Influx, efflux and overall flux
        B. Steady states are not equilibria and one cannot use equilibrium thermodynamics to describe them, a blimp and a helicopter do not operate under the same principles.

      • The heat flux out of the ocean is ultimately determined by the weight of the atmosphere on the ocean surface.

        That weight determines the value of the latent heat of evaporation and it is the ability of that value to vary with surface pressure that controls the heat flux from ocean to air.

        No atmosphere, no liquid water.

        Downward IR from our emissions can have no net effect on the heat flux from water to air but can have a miniscule effect on the air circulation above the ocean surface because the change in evaporation rates produces more water vapour which is lighter than air and in rising upward it enhances winds.

        The changes in upward heat flux from naturally occurring ocean cycles and changes in the proportion of solar energy entering the oceans from global cloudiness changes are magnitudes greater than any downward IR variations.

      • David Springer

        @Stephen Wilde

        Pressure at sea level doesn’t vary enough to make any significant difference in latent heat of vaporization. I’ve made the point many times that the primary climatic effect of the atmosphere is allowing a liquid water to exist on the surface in a 100K wide range of temperatures. You’re certainly correct in saying no atmosphere, no ocean.

      • David,

        Yes, I know.

        But the energy value of that latent heat of vaporisation is set by pressure.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Hell Donald – everyone knows who FOMBS is and we are just not telling you because – well – a crude expression for a (preemptive JC snip) in a physically improbable position comes to mind.

        I am – however just a pizza delivery man on a blue horse called Shibboleth – but even I am not sure that cartoon physics qualifies as ‘data’.

        The world of the climate blogosphere is peopled by long winded narratives with a nebulous – if any base – in observations. Well done for playing your part and for being sanctimonious at the same time. There should be awards for this. A warm coat and a one way trip to UNtopia Minnesota?

      • Skip is evidently unaware of Dr. Rapp’s credentials. That’s why they call him Skip. It’s in his nature to purposely overlook every single point.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        And here I was agreeing – in principle – simple minded as it is – and suggesting that looking at surface energetics and evaporation – as well as the global energy dynamic – seems to be the way things have evolved in the years since the rest of us understood these things. Or perhaps it is just pizza delivery people who understand and have moved on long ago. Webby suggests that I should care what Donald Rapp is or isn’t rather than that the arguments are tediously didactic, utterly simplistic, misses entirely the substance of critiques he decries and neglects aspects that we all – excepting webby – understood yonks ago. He then complains and calls us all unedumacated schmucks. Is that the way to make friends?

        Webby of course believes that heat from the greenhouse gas warmed atmosphere – which Pierre and Jimmy Dee bizarrely joining the skydragons don’t believe exists – leaps across the atmosphere/ocean interface by molecular diffusion where it thence ‘diffuses’ into the depths by eddy diffusion. Webby is of course renowned globally for his scintillating wit and lonely and misbegotten Frankenstein’s monster blogospheric triple plus unscience.

        Just to be clear – and I like to use precise language. ‘Eddy diffusion, eddy dispersion, multipath, or turbulent diffusion is any diffusion process by which substances are mixed in the atmosphere or in any fluid system due to eddy motion. In another definition it is mixing that is caused by eddies that can vary in size from the small Kolmogorov microscales to subtropical gyres.’ Wikepedia

        It is of course only half the story of ocean heat transport – which is dominated by warm water buoyancy. His latest comment continues webby’s unbeatable run of saying absolutely nothing of any consequence, wit, wisdom or humour. It’s amazing. A monkey throwing darts at random words could do better.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Webby of course believes that heat from the greenhouse gas warmed atmosphere – which Pierre and Jimmy Dee bizarrely joining the skydragons don’t believe exists.”

        We all (except you and the slayers) are agreeing that the enhanced greenhouse effect warms the atmosphere through creating energy imbalances at the TOA and surface that cause the surface and troposphere to gain heat until they warm together. What the skydragon slayers are denying is that back radiation can warm the surface. We are saying, agreeing with Donald Rapp, that this is irrelevant since is back radiation simply reduces the rate of surface cooling. As for what you are thinking, that’s difficult to say because whenever you are prompted to clarify your position, or to explain away its apparent inconsistencies, you immediately fall into uncontrollable fits of rage.

      • Donald Rapp

        Downward IR adds energy to the topmost water molecules which then vaporise earlier than they otherwise would have done.

        Evaporation cools the liquid water molecules around a molecule that evaporates (hence the cooler ocean skin) because it removes energy from those remaining liquid molecules faster than energy can flow up from below and be supplied from downward IR

        How do you propose that there be any of that ‘extra’ downward IR from our emissions left over after the timing of evaporation for warmed molecules has been brought forward ?

        The earlier evaporation must take up ALL the additional IR mustn’t it ?

        How could it not ?

        In order to FAIL to take up all the additional IR the energy value of the latent heat of evaporation would need to be a lesser amount than the additional IR energy supplied but we all know that evaporation is a net cooling effect with a ratio of about 5 units of energy taken up by the phase change in latent form as against one unit of sensible energy needed to cause the phase change to occur.

        That ratio is a consequence of atmospheric pressure.

        As long as evaporation is a net cooling process there can be no residual IR left over, surely ?

      • Pierre-Normand

        Stephen Wilde wrote: “Downward IR adds energy to the topmost water molecules which then vaporise earlier than they otherwise would have done.”

        What do you call the topmost molecules? The average distance between water molecules is about 0.00003 micron. IR radiation penetrates to a depth of about 5 micron on average. That means it penetrates about 150 thousand layers of molecules. The topmost 10 layers of molecules will only absorb less than 0.007% of the incident IR radiation. Most of the radiation will therefore warm the skin layer and increase evaporation as a result of this warming and not at the expense of it.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        ‘Moreover, the latest satellite observations of global precipitation indicate that more precipitation is generated than previously thought. This additional precipitation is sustained by more energy leaving the surface by evaporation — that is, in the form of latent heat flux — and thereby offsets much of the increase in longwave flux to the surface.’ http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v5/n10/full/ngeo1580.html

        I’m pretty sure that is the point Pierre.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “I’m pretty sure that is the point Pierre.”

        They are saying that both the back radiation and the latent fluxes were larger than previously thought and thus both those revisions offset each other. What an increase in latent heat flux offsets is part of the increase in surface forcing, but this increase in surface forcing is the difference between the increase in back-radiation and the increase in surface radiation due to surface warming. As they say:

        “The surface warming of the models is sustained by an equivalent small imbalance of the surface energy budget of +0.45 Wm–2 K–1. Although this imbalance closely matches the TOA imbalance in value, it is mainly constructed from changes to three fluxes that dwarf the changes in the other surface fluxes. The change to the downward longwave flux at the surface is approximately 7 Wm–2 K–1, mostly occurring as a clear-sky flux change23,26 (Fig. 2b). This is the largest change of all fluxes in Earth’s climate system and is partially offset by the increase in upward longwave flux resulting from the surface warming, resulting in a net (downward minus upward) longwave flux increase of +1.52 Wm–2 K–1 (inter-model mean). This increased net flux to the surface is the driving force of the surface warming and is largely balanced by the increased flux associated with evaporation (−1.29 Wm–2 K–1).”

        So, most of the offsetting (5.5W/°Km^2 out of 7W/°Km^2) of the increase in back radiation flux is the *result* of surface warming and only the remaining net flux imbalance (1.5W/°Km^2) is largely offset by evaporation (1.3W/°Km^2). This is consistent with my claim that the increase in back radiation causes an increase in the rate of evaporation as a *consequence* of the surface warming, and not as a substitute for it.

      • Pierre,

        Is there any provision in there for increased convection resulting from the greater buoyancy of water vapour (as compared to the buoyancy of air) taking energy away from the surface faster ?

        You seem to be relying on a purely radiative solution when there are non radiative processes involved.

        That is what stabilises the surface temperature by mopping up the ‘surplus’ downward IR that you think is left behind.

        Furthermore, that extra convection increases winds which in turn speed up evaporation more than predicted by the purely radiative scenario.

        So, in the real world I do not think there is any surplus downward IR left over to warm the ocean surface and reduce the energy flux from oceans to air.

        You need to take account of the fact that evaporation being a net cooling process it must by definition mop up all the sensible energy available to provoke it which is in turn dependent on the amount of buoyancy required to overcome the downward pressure of atmospheric weight.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        ‘From radiation theory it is expected that with increasing radiative absorption due to abundance of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and consequent warming, the emission of thermal energy from the atmosphere towards the surface is increasing (known as downward thermal radiation). This enhances the radiative energy surplus at the surface, and, where surface water is not limited, fuels evaporation besides warming the Earth’s surface. The enhanced greenhouse effect therefore tends to accelerate the hydrological cycle.’ http://m.iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/025203

        Yes I think that might be the point. Most of the increase is lost as energy moves from the surface to the atmosphere as latent heat – and doesn’t heat the bloody oceans.

        God only knows what Pierre thinks he is on about.

      • Dear General: I think it is time to reduce your rank. Your troops are in disarray and retreating. Its time to raise the white flag and surrender to superior forces. To borrow a phrase from warmists, “the science is settled and the debate is over”. Rising CO2 does indeed heat the oceans. But by how much, is difficult to determine. The behavior of the air above the ocean has a major effect on the quantitative details, but there is little doubt that the qualitative effect is understood. Ocean heating data over the past fifty years validate that the oceans have warmed. And since the oceans will ultimately determine how warm the earth gets as we proceed through the 21st century, this is crucial in determining the climate sensitivity of the earth.

      • Does rising CO2 cool the atmosphere?

      • This is in reply to

        Donald Rapp | May 22, 2014 at 9:59 am

      • “Ocean heating data over the past fifty years validate that the oceans have warmed.”

        Global cloudiness reduced too thus allowing more solar shortwave into the oceans.

        That is the better explanation.

        If it were down to our CO2 emissions the rise in ocean heat content would not have slowed down or even ceased over the past 15 years or so.

        The observations correlate with global cloudiness changes but not with CO2 changes.

      • Pierre-Normand: As I pointed out in my 18-page tome, what you (correctly) said in one of your postings:
        “We all (except you and the slayers) are agreeing that the enhanced greenhouse effect warms the atmosphere through creating energy imbalances at the TOA and surface that cause the surface and troposphere to gain heat until they warm together. What the skydragon slayers are denying is that back radiation can warm the surface. We are saying, agreeing with Donald Rapp, that this is irrelevant since [the] back radiation simply reduces the rate of surface cooling.”
        had already been concluded 34 years ago.
        The Generalissimo and Wilde (and several others whose names I forgot) need to go back and study the literature from 34 years ago, and stop shooting from the hip without adequate study.
        Newell and Dopplick (1979) is a good starting point. They said: “There is indeed in the energy received at the surface (reflected in a decreased net infrared loss from the surface) from additional CO2.” Their paper dealt with “How much does the sea temperature change if the energy available at the surface increases by 1W/m^2?” They assumed the air above the ocean did not change as the ocean warmed and concluded that doubling CO2 would raise the oceans 0.03°C. Watts (1980) showed that if the air above the ocean tracked the rise in ocean temperature, the oceans would rise by about 0.6°C at a wind speed of 3 m/s but the calculation is sensitive to assumptions. Fig. 7 of Ramanathan (1981) shows the energy balance about the surface. Ramanathan added a large downward flux to the ~ 1 W/m2 from increased CO2, due to what he claimed was an increase in radiation from tropospheric H2O, and he estimated an ocean temperature rise of over 1°C. None of these models can quantitatively describe the complexity of the ocean-atmosphere interaction with increased CO2, but there is little doubt that, as you said, increased evaporation occurs as a consequence of rising ocean temperature, not in place of it. Here we are in 2014 arguing about stuff that has been pretty much settled 34 years ago.

      • “Here we are in 2014 arguing about stuff that has been pretty much settled 34 years ago.”

        Actually we are here in 2014 pointing out that the earlier (than 34 years ago) knowledge was correct and the stuff from 34 years ago to date was wrong.

        Until the radiative theory came to the fore it was generally accepted that atmospheric mass warms the surface and not downward IR.

        Mass does it via adiabatic cooling on ascent and adiabatic warming on descent which is the primary means by which the transmission of solar energy through the system is delayed resulting in the surface warming effect.

        The science has been diverted into a dead end (radiative only) track for some 34 years now and the cracks are beginning to show in the form of the failure of model predictions.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Let’s assume for a moment that adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere creates an energy imbalance at TOA. This is extra energy – statistically – that stays in the atmosphere as increased kinetic energy of molecules. The atmosphere warms and all the rest follows. The reality is that these gases cool to the new – and higher – equilibrium kinetic temperature.

        What he espouses is a grab bag of metaphors rote learned from the fetid backblocks of the blogosphere as well as half understood concepts – like emissivity, aborptivity and optical depth – that are not central to vibrational energy states of greenhouse gases in the IR band or of statistical thermodynamics.

        What I have suggested to Pierre is that imaginatively visualizing the process is the first step in real science – yet he chooses to continue pontificating on things that first of all are very basic and second – that he get’s wrong through having a narrative rather than a visualization. And then compounds the problem with misbegotten Frankenstein thought experiments. Pointing this out – and suggesting that once he get’s past the basics we might then move on to nonlinear dynamics and nonequilibrium thermodynamics – he seems to take personally. Frankly – he would be better off working through his problems with basic atmospheric physics at some less sophisticated forum. Although the standard does seem to be slipping further here. They’ll let anyone in.

        And although the principle Rapp espouses is well understood – enough not to need repeating again – the suggestion from the 2 two studies I quoted is that surface energetics and evaporation are significant confounding factors – and that real world TOA energy dynamics – accurately measured in CERES anomalies – is the key to understanding ocean heat.

        Frankly – I’m not surprised he doesn’t understand. He is still getting the basics wrong.

      • The resulting expansion of the atmospheric gases results in conversion of the additional kinetic energy to gravitational potential energy. That is what keeps the surface temperature stable.

      • son of mulder

        And what about the added gravitational potential energy of the thermal expansion of a warming ocean?

      • Pierre-Normand

        Son of mulder, regarding gravitational potential energy, my reply was posted at 3.51 pm but was appended in a strange place.

      • I haven’t got the hang of the threading system so I’ll repeat a post here.

        Donald Rapp said:

        “However, thirty years ago several investigators showed quite clearly that rising CO2 in the atmosphere warms the oceans by reducing the rate of heat loss,”

        Actually, what they showed was that at a time of increasing CO2 the ocean heat content was also rising.

        No one has yet acquired the technology to determine whether the average global thermal gradient across the cool ocean skin has changed at all.

        They simply assumed that the correlation implied causation and the models were programmed accordingly.

        They did not then know that at the same time global cloudiness had reduced at a time of more active sun which allowed a greater proportion of TOA solar energy to reach the oceans.

        That correlation broke down around 2000 when the quieter sun caused global cloudiness to increase so CO2 increases then became detached from the temperature trend and the models have become increasingly inaccurate..

        Our CO2 emissions soared after 2000 but warming stopped at the same time as solar activity declined and global cloudiness increased.

        Global cloudiness increased at the same time as the jet stream tracks became more meridional which increased the length of the lines of air mass mixing, hence more clouds.

        All the observations support my New Climate Model

        http://www.newclimatemodel.com/new-climate-model/

        and if the observations stop supporting my model I will be the first to acknowledge it.

        However, I warn the naysayers that my model was built from observations and not preconceived theory.

        Does anyone have observations that do not fit ?

      • Pierre-Normand

        Stephen Wilde: “I haven’t got the hang of the threading system”
        Don’t worry. It’s been broken recently.

      • Dear Pierre-Normand: Somehow I missed the fact that in the comments on my El Nino posting, you had already said (May 8, 7:45 am) “Hence, there will be a net gain of heat in the water body, because its ability to get rid of the energy gained by the Sun will be reduced.” In other words you already had come to the same conclusion regarding ocean warming before my posting on the subject. It is also noteworthy (but maybe not) that David Springer described you as “a dummy, a troll, dopey, dumbass, Stupid Pierre, and an illiterate ass” for your comments. In doing this, Springer distinguished himself as not only completely wrong, but obnoxious as well. I am surprised that Judith allows him to get away with such crudeness on her website.

      • There are a small number of us here who have accepted for a long time the reality of how greenhouse gases cause the oceans to warm.

      • Dear JCH: There is nothing wrong with being wrong. We all make mistakes. I certainly do. But the nasty supercilious attitude of some of these guys is hard to take. Pierre-Normand seems non-plused by Springer’s verbal nastiness. He just goes on arguing the science sensibly. I wonder if Springer has a wife who henpecks him, and maybe Judith’s site is the only place where he can blow off steam? I wonder if he’s been convicted of road rage?

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        ‘This leaves us needing the explanation of how the greenhouse effect really works, since if I’m correct, it doesn’t significantly warm the ocean directly with ‘back radiation’. The greenhouse effect operates not by heating the ocean, but by slowing down the rate it would cool at if the greenhouse gases (predominantly water vapour) weren’t there. It has been said that this is ‘splitting hairs’ and that ‘it amounts to the same thing’, but the semantic difference between the idea that back radiation heats the ocean and the idea that it slows its rate of cooling is crucial to a correct understanding of what is happening when we come to discuss the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ caused by anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide.’

        This is on the tallbloke page linked to. It seems possible that Donald failed to read it before he decided to waste his and – more importantly – everyone else’s time poncing about something that is abundantly clear to any pizza delivery driver – apart from webby.

        Far be it for me to defend springer – he is a classic horses arse – but the point about IR increases enhancing the global hydrological cycle is standard hydrology and the repetition of half understood memes laced with little understood physics and incomprehensible gedankenexperiment is enough to try the patience of a Saint.

        The idea of OHC following changes in TOA flux should be fairly obvious – it is discussed by Stephens et al 2012, Loeb et al 2012, Wong et al 2006, IPCC 2007 etc. Last decade in CERES it was definitive. Early ocean warming in Argo as assessed by von Schuckman and Le Troan (2011) was the result of decreasing reflected SW in the period from 2005 to 2010. The missing energy. There is no longer any missing energy – clouds have increased wiping out the earlier trend.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_EBAF-TOA_Ed28_anom_TOA_Shortwave_Flux-All-Sky_March-2000toDecember-2013_zpsfa182355.png.html?sort=3&o=6

        The other web sites Rapp links are equally nuanced – and far more aware of the these other dimensions that modify Rapp’s cartoon concept.

      • Generalissimo: Apparently I interpreted Tallbloke’s website improperly. From your quotation, it is clear I made a mistake. As I said in a previous posting, “we all make mistakes”. I don’t think I wasted anyone’s time. This was a trivial, tangential error although I unwittingly did not do justice to Tallbloke. But I do think you have wasted a lot of time with your obtuse remarks. I don’t have a clue what “equally nuanced” means.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        It you had actually read tallbloke and the other sites – you might actually have had a clue instead of spending so much effort pontificating about their ignorance.

        Nuanced implies a greater subtlety than you seem capable of Donald – certainly in this simplistic notion that we all understand and that has other dimensions you seem utterly unaware of. That you then go on to treat anyone who adds to the cartoon dimensions of your idea as schmucks is the problem.

        Address the nuances I have discussed and referenced in actual science and data instead of being a dick will you? Or simply move on to other areas where you mistakingly imagine that you have a special insight.

      • Dear Generalissimo: Why are you so angry? Why are you so belligerent? Why do you look at the world through such high contrast glasses? Why do you present yourself as a bristling, nasty, know-it-all porcupine? If you think I am a dope and I am wasting your time, why don’t you just ignore me and let nature take its course? Why waste your time on me? Why do people like you and Springer repeatedly make vicious attacks on all those around you? And your air of superiority is hidden behind a cloak of anonymity so we don’t really know whether you deliver pizza or have some real expertise. And even if you do have some expertise, why use it in such a rotten manner? How is your sex life? Are you getting enough? Maybe you are henpecked at home and this is how you vent your frustrations? A Blog could, in principle, be a medium for participants to share knowledge and viewpoints, in a cooperative search for some signal within the immense noise of the climate system. But people like you and Springer introduce a vicious, adversarial, one-upsmanship environment that destroys cooperation and foments bad feeling. Add to that the almost religious beliefs in warmism (e.g. the Fan) or fanatical denialism (e.g. Arnak) that pervade the Blog, and the whole system breaks down into an accusatory, egoistic forum to beat down on others or repeat mantras.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        My identity is pretty much an open secret – although part of the game of the nom de guerre is neither confirming or denying. But I am sure that if Donald asked nicely – somewhere in the midst of his bellicose rants and pedestrian domestic and occupational insults – that someone might venture an opinion.

        As the Generalisimo exists in part to deflate pompous windbags – I am sure Donald might find it irritating if not downright rude. C’est la vie. Mostly I find it amusing when I am bored and want to try for some actual humour and wit on a site that is sadly diminished – or when someone makes an especially compelling case for the intervention of a climate warrior – and part time pizza delivery person – on a blue horse called Shibboleth. Didn’t get that? I’ll try harder to take him less seriously than he takes himself.

        Personally – I think Donald exemplifies that special type of tediously didactic ‘cartoon’ thinking and claims that he cant understand a word I say. This comes back to the age old problem of distinguishing between leading edge thinking and mad gobbledygook. Sorry – I got nothin’ to help with that.

        Basically – we faced a choice of accepting holus bolus a quite simplistic theory that seems motivated by being smarter than blogs he didn’t read – as offering additional tit bits like evaporation, actual global energetics as measured by satellite and a nuanced interpretation of ocean heat content got us declared persona non grata pizza delivery people.

        Frankly – I can only recommend looking with new eyes at your pizza delivery person.

        Have “you ever seen a genius out there looking for a job? it’s the saddest thing in the world – no one will hire him – there is only one place where he is always welcome – at the bottom.” Henry Miller

        I was considering it just the other week at the pizza shop. You get to ride one of those cool little scooters. My ‘associate’ was totally in favour – although she’s sadly mistaken if she thinks she’s getting free pizza. We all know there is no such thing as free pizza. You should remember that Donald.

        .

      • David Springer

        Robert Ellison writes:

        “Far be it for me to defend springer – he is a classic horses arse – but the point about IR increases enhancing the global hydrological cycle is standard hydrology ”

        It’s far be it FROM me.

        And from one horse’s ass to another, thanks.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Far be it for me to comment on another pile from Springer – on of all things a cliché for which examples of both forms can be found.

      • “Springer distinguished himself as not only completely wrong, but obnoxious as well. I am surprised that Judith allows him to get away with such crudeness on her website.”
        ____
        Yep, as are many of us.

      • P-N said:


        We are saying, agreeing with Donald Rapp, that this is irrelevant since is back radiation simply reduces the rate of surface cooling. As for what you are thinking, that’s difficult to say because whenever you are prompted to clarify your position, or to explain away its apparent inconsistencies, you immediately fall into uncontrollable fits of rage.

        Well stated. The rage comes to a head when one gets an intelligent post such as this one by Dr. Rapp.

      • He was right about at least one thing,

        you should label your graphs

      • David Springer

        Donald Rapp | May 21, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Reply

        Dear Fan: I’ve watched your postings on numerous topics and I find you are always wrong. Even a random thought generator would be right part of the time. Why don’t you come clean? Who are you? What is your education level? What is your employment? Is your career delivering pizza? You can see mine at:
        http://www.home.earthlink.net/~drdrapp

        Fan is a physics professor. Nice own goal, Rapp. You should both be delivering pizzas.

      • “The ocean is constantly losing heat”
        ____

        What must be constantly kept in mind when analyzing ocean heat content and the warming of the oceans is that the net flow of energy on Earth is strongly from ocean to atmosphere—with the atmosphere getting the majority of its energy from latent and sensible heat flux from the ocean. Thus, any accurate analysis of ocean heat content increases or decreases must be looked at most accurately in processes that reduce the rate of this naturally strong ocean to atmosphere latent and sensible heat flux.
        A very good analogy for the ocean and energy is one of a giant energy bank in which deposits are constantly being made as well as withdrawals. The prime source of deposits to this energy bank is solar SW, thus, volcanic activity and human aerosols can have a big effect on how much energy is being deposited in the ocean. The prime withdrawals, also going on all the time is latent and sensible heat flux, with latent being the larger. The net impact of increasing GH gases is NOT to increase the deposits, but to decrease the withdrawal rate, and thus, the energy bank gets bigger

      • Pierre-Normand

        R. Gates wrote: “The prime withdrawals, also going on all the time is latent and sensible heat flux, with latent being the larger.”

        You analogy is quite helpful. It just want to quibble a bit on the above quoted bit. IR radiative cooling also makes up quite a significant part of the total withdrawals. While the average thermal and sensible fluxes are 16W/m^2 and 80W/m^2 respectively, net radiative cooling amounts to 63W/m^2. Those three cooling fluxes together add up to the incident solar flux at the surface when there is no imbalance. The IR cooling flux also is the difference between surface radiation (396W/m^2) and back radiation to the surface (333W/m^2). Of this 63W/m^2 net radiative cooling flux, a large fraction — 40W/m^2 — escapes directly to space through the atmospheric IR window. The remaining 23W/m^2 is re-captured or scattered by the atmosphere and clouds. The immediate effect (before the surface and troposphere adjust) from increasing the CO2 atmospheric concentration can be pictured (in part) as a small narrowing of the atmospheric window(*). Thus, the warming of the surface not only is required to restore the energy balance at the surface, but also, the combined warming of the surface+troposphere is required for restoring the balance at the top of the atmosphere. This is an energy balance constraint that Donald Rapp doesn’t discuss much here though, although it is relevant to the discussion in his original more extended report, it is less so to the more restricted topic of this blog post.

        (*) As someone already mentioned, the effect from the increased CO2 concentration, and increase in specific humidity, also is to increase the opacity of the atmosphere above the surface and thus lower the “effective back radiation level” (as I dub it) to a warmer one. This is relevant to surface energy balance, while the narrowing of the IR window to space rather is relevant to TOA energy balance.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “While the average thermal(sic) and sensible(sic) fluxes are 16W/m^2 and 80W/m^2 respectively, ”
        Sorry, I meant *sensible* and *latent*, respectively.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Test (to see where this reply will be appended)

      • “You analogy is quite helpful. It just want to quibble a bit on the above quoted bit. IR radiative cooling also makes up quite a significant part of the total withdrawals. While the average thermal and sensible fluxes are 16W/m^2 and 80W/m^2 respectively, net radiative cooling amounts to 63W/m^2.”
        ______
        I have been looking for a solid set of numbers for these various fluxes averages over the globe. I believe Judith might be considered an expert on ocean to atmosphere energy fluxes, perhaps she could step in and provide some input/resources here. Your numbers are quite helpful though, so thanks.

      • Energy budget number anyone? Stephens et al https://judithcurry.com/2012/11/05/uncertainty-in-observations-of-the-earths-energy-balance/ and Stevens and Schwartz http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/pubs/Earth'sEnergyFlows.pdf

        Note that the 40 Wm-2 “window” is not from the “surface”.Scienceof doom has a good post on that. http://scienceofdoom.com/2013/02/02/kiehl-trenberth-and-the-atmospheric-window/

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Note that the 40 Wm-2 “window” is not from the “surface”.Scienceof doom has a good post on that.”

        Thanks for this and the other references, captdallas.

      • Pierre-Normand

        My numbers come directly from the well known diagram in Kiehl and Trenberth, Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget, 1997 (fig.7). Of course, one can Google directly “kiehl trenberth diagram”

      • Pierre-Normand, “My numbers come directly from the well known diagram in Kiehl and Trenberth, Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget, 1997 (fig.7). Of course, one can Google directly “kiehl trenberth diagram””

        I just glanced at my calendar and noticed that it is May of 2014.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Captdallas wrote : “I just glanced at my calendar and noticed that it is May of 2014.”

        That could either mean that my numbers are too old or that your calendar is too recent.

      • Pierre-Normand

        R. Gates, I am unsure why whenever I reply to you specifically my answers get relegated to the bottom of the whole thread.

      • “R. Gates, I am unsure why whenever I reply to you specifically my answers get relegated to the bottom of the whole thread.”
        —-
        Special treatment for the anti-echo chamber group?

      • Robert I Ellison

        To get to the bottom of the pile you press reply to R Gates.

        Kiehl and Trenberth – btw – have a much newer cartoon and Stephens has a much revised version.

        https://judithcurry.com/2012/11/05/uncertainty-in-observations-of-the-earths-energy-balance/

        ‘Moreover, the latest satellite observations of global precipitation indicate that more precipitation is generated than previously thought. This additional precipitation is sustained by more energy leaving the surface by evaporation — that is, in the form of latent heat flux — and thereby offsets much of the increase in longwave flux to the surface.’

        Is there anyone else thinking this is getting quite embarrassing for Rapp? Most of were aware of this simple idea long ago and have in fact moved on. As indeed Wilde was quoted as saying at Hockeyschtick, as Wild et al say in the hydrology quote I provide above and as Stephens say in the paper discussed here some time ago.

        So Rapp misunderstands the critique, goes off on some simplistic rant that is utterly obvious to everyone and then complains that we don’t understand when we go beyond it? Go figure.

        Seriously Judith – the standard is slipping even further.

      • Dear Robert Ellison: To put it simply, you are wrong. You are arguing against stuff that was settled 34 years ago.

      • Dear Robert Ellison: To put it simply, you are wrong. You are arguing against stuff that was settled 34 years ago.

        Nothing was settled 34 years ago. In science, everything remains open to reconsideration. 34 years ago, science knew very little about Chaos Theory, compared to what’s known now.

      • Dear AK: The first and second laws of thermodynamics are settled, and their application to a problem by competent scientists may be regarded (within limits) as settled.

      • @Donald Rapp…

        The first and second laws of thermodynamics are settled,

        In 1887 the Newtonian definition of mass was “settled”.

        and their application to a problem by competent scientists may be regarded (within limits) as settled.

        Not by anyone really familiar with Chaos Theory. Important discoveries are constantly being made, and their implications to obsolete paradigms are still being explored.

        For that matter, it’s not just Chaos Theory. I know of several issues with how entropy calculations should be applied in cases where only a single instance of a molecular species are present based only on how quantum uncertainty should be applied to formulas originally developed statistically. AFAIK there is no fully agreed resolution to this issue, although I admit many bloggers insist there is. Usually their own preferred side of what strikes me as a debate within physics.

      • Open systems are kinetically, not thermodynamically, sculpted.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        This gets more odd by the comment.as I have already agreed in principle – simple as that is – that increased photon scattering in a warming atmosphere decreases the net IR losses from the surface of the oceans.

        To expect that surface energetics enhances evaporation – and therefore energy loss compensating for the increased back scattering – is really a bit more recent – and based on actual observation – than a 34 year old cartoon theory. The observation of changing insolation is also much more recent. As difficult as observation still is.

        ‘The net energy balance is the sum of individual fluxes. The current uncertainty in this net surface energy balance is large, and amounts to approximately 17 Wm−2. This uncertainty is an order of magnitude larger than the changes to the net surface fluxes associated with increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.’ Stephens et al 2012

        Indeed the quantum of changes in surface and atmospheric warming is broadly uncertain as well. Nonetheless – the radiant imbalance at TOA is constrained by early ARGO data.

        i.e 0.6 = 340.2 (TSI) – 239.7 (IR out) – 99.9 (reflected SW) W/m2

        An average figure – although we know that all of these terms vary quite considerably and how they change is probably of more intrinsic interest.

        ARGO itself has fundamental uncertainties over a short record. Before that OHC data is much less certain.

        ‘Comparisons of global steric height trends based on different gridded fields of Argo in situ measurements show a range of 0–1mm/yr which can be lead back to data handling and climatology uncertainties. Our results show that GOIs derived from the Argo measurements are ideally suitable to monitor the state of the global ocean, especially after November 2007, i.e. when Argo sampling was 100% complete. They also show that there is significant interannual global variability at global scale, especially for global OFC. Before the end of 2007, error bars are too large to deliver robust short-term trends of GOIs and thus an interpretation in terms of long-term climate signals are still questionable, especially since uncertainties due to interannual fluctuations are not included in our error estimation.’ http://www.ocean-sci-discuss.net/8/999/2011/osd-8-999-2011.pdf

        Interannual and decadal OHC change is certainly of interest – and we know from a number of recent studies that OHC tracks CERES. This is of far more fundamental interest in climate than a conceptual model with poorly constrained parameters.

        An odd triumvirate here indeed – a pedestrian didactic with a lesson we have mastered and moved on from long ago, a neophyte warmist with a baffling insistence that the atmosphere doesn’t warm when you add greenhouse gases and a clumsy polemicist with a talent for world class lonely and misshapen Frankenstein’s monster blogospheric triple plus unscience. Whose various eccentricities are best passed over more in incredulous laughter than in anger. As indeed everyone does.

      • Dear Donald, your model is clearly oversimplified, clearly wrong and your BTL comments point directly to intellectual arrogance.

        If you model were the simplest model that could explain the asymmetric distribution of heat in a model ocean, without any change on atmospheric ‘forcing’, it would be a start. However, your Figure 1 fails even a simple kinetic/thermodynamic description of why the temperature profile has a particular lineshape. You do not explain why the bottom of the ocean is colder than the surface, because you ignore the pole-wards movement of hot dense brines from the equator, their cooling during the long polar nights, their sinking and then slow migration first to the bottom of the equator and then their slow rise back to the surface.
        By all means try to make a simple model, but don’t pass of this unphysical nonsense as a model of a dynamic, steady state system, a a model of anything connected with the Earths process of moving heat around.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Pierre-Normand, I was agreeing with you right up to this point:

        The IR cooling flux also is the difference between surface radiation (396W/m^2) and back radiation to the surface (333W/m^2). Of this 63W/m^2 net radiative cooling flux, a large fraction — 40W/m^2 — escapes directly to space through the atmospheric IR window.

        The second sentence is incorrect. The 40 W/m2 is a part of the 396 W/m2 of upwelling radiation. As such, it is already included in the net calculation, and as a result it cannot then be subtracted from the results of the net calculation.

        Overall, only about 40% of the upwelling surface radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere (upwelling surface radiation minus TOA radiation, CERES data). That includes the 40 W/m2 atmospheric window.

        Regards,

        w.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Willis Eschenbach wrote:

        “The second sentence is incorrect. The 40 W/m2 is a part of the 396 W/m2 of upwelling radiation. As such, it is already included in the net calculation, and as a result it cannot then be subtracted from the results of the net calculation.”

        I am unsure this way of budgeting the fluxes makes any difference. It’s like I were saying that I annually earn 100K, pay 50K in taxes, spend 25K on spousal support, and hence spend half of my net income on spousal support. Then you object that I am actually spending 25% of my gross income on spousal support and can’t subtract it again from the net income. Sure. I only can subtract it once — *either* from the gross *or* from the net income. In any case I am spending 25K on spousal support.

        “Overall, only about 40% of the upwelling surface radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere (upwelling surface radiation minus TOA radiation, CERES data). That includes the 40 W/m2 atmospheric window.”

        I can’t make sense of this. The outgoing longwave radiation is the sum of the radiation emitted to space by the atmosphere (and clouds) plus the emissions from the surface through the window. But this doesn’t represent the non-absorbed fraction of the surface radiation. The absorbed fraction just is the faction that isn’t directly emitted through the window and hence is scattered by the atmosphere. Some of this power is back radiated to the surface and some is radiated to space. But those two don’t even add up to the absorbed fraction since the atmosphere also is directly heated by the sun, and by the surface by sensible and latent fluxes. So your equation (absorbed) = (gross upwelling – TOA emissions) doesn’t hold at all. It would only hold if there were no latent and sensible fluxes, not direct solar heating of the atmosphere and no emissions from the atmosphere to space.

      • R. Gates – Nice!

        “The net impact of increasing GH gases is NOT to increase the deposits, but to decrease the withdrawal rate, and thus, the energy bank gets bigger.”

        And THAT is the $64k question – how much or how little? Details at ten o’clock (no definite date available).

      • Rud Istvan

        I agree with you. I was replying to FAN, supra, and somehow the thread got disconnected. My bad. All I was trying to say is that there appears to be a self limiting component to this process you point out, which means that other processes are also important. I pointed to them above. The previous work and your synthesis of it I have no quibbles with. Correct so far as I can see, within the limitations stated. It is those limitations that are important for the big picture.
        Regards.

      • Rud Istvan

        I plainly have to reboot. This was intended to respond to Don Rapp, not the ether. Rebooting after this apology.

      • There is something odd with the strings this afternoon.

      • To better understand the complexity of climate Eschenbach identified “five major intricate, interrelated, and incompletely understood subsystems,” as follows:

        “…atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, and lithosphere. (And that’s not counting the extra-terrestrial system, involving solar radiation, the complex interaction of helio- and geo-magnetism, solar wind, cosmic rays, coronal mass ejections, and the like.)

        “Each of these subsystems has a host of known and unknown forcings, interactions, phase transitions, limitations, resonances, couplings, response times, feedbacks, natural cycles, emergent phenomena, constructal constraints, and control systems. Finally, climate is affected by things occurring on spatial scales from the molecular to the planetary, and on temporal scales from the instantaneous to millions of years.

        “To illustrate what this complexity means for the current “simple physics” paradigm, consider a similar “simple physics” problem in heat transfer. Suppose we take a block of aluminum six feet long and put one end of it into a bucket of hot water. We attach a thermometer to the other end, keep the water hot, and watch what happens. Fairly soon, the temperature at the other end of the block starts to rise. It’s a one-dimensional problem, ruled by simple physics.

        “To verify our results, we try it again, but this time with a block of iron. Once again the temperature soon rises at the other end, just a bit more slowly than the aluminum We try it with a block of glass, and a block of wood, and a block of copper. In each case, after time, the temperature at the other end of the block rises. This is clearly simple physics in each case.

        “As a final test, I look around for something else that is six feet long to use in the investigation. Finding nothing, I have an inspiration. I sit down, put my feet in the hot water, put the thermometer in my mouth and wait for the temperature of my head to start rising. After all, heat transmission is simple physics, isn’t it? So I just sit with my feet in the hot water and wait for the temperature of my head to rise.

        “And wait.

        “And wait …

        “The moral of the story is that in dealing with complex systems such as the climate or the human body, the simplistic application of one-dimensional analyses or the adoption of a simple paradigm based on simple physics often gives results that have no resemblance to real world outcomes. It is this inability of the current paradigm to lead us to any deeper understanding of climate that underlines the need for a new paradigm. The current paradigm is incapable of solving many of the puzzles posed by the variations in global climate.”

      • whatever warms or cools the earth from outside has no set point and forcing that delivers bounds.

        Actual temperature data has a cycle that clearly has a set point and forcing that maintains the bounds.

        The temperature that Sea Ice Melts and Freezes is the Set Point. The Snow that falls when the oceans are thawed enforces the upper bound on temperature. The Snow that does not fall when the oceans are frozen enforces the lower bound.

        Climate is very complicated. This Set Point and temperature bounds are very simple. Occam’s Razor cuts to the right answer.

      • David Springer

        Rud Istvan | May 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Reply

        I plainly have to reboot. This was intended to respond to Don Rapp, not the ether. Rebooting after this apology
        ————————————————————————————-

        It’s not your computer. It’s a bug in WordPress software. When Curry deletes a nested comment it leaves a hole in the linked list instead of patching across the hole (i.e. changing the link the prior comment). The software chokes when it hits the hole and appends it at the end of all correctly linked comments as an unthreaded comment.

      • David Springer

        Rapp writes: “the ocean is constantly losing heat”

        That was exceptionally stupid. If it was constantly losing heat it wouldn’t be there because it would reach absolute zero and disappear.

      • Pierre-Normand

        David Springer wrote: “If it was constantly losing heat it wouldn’t be there because it would reach absolute zero and disappear.”

        What Rapp had written was: “The ocean is constantly losing heat. If it did not, it would boil over because it receives a great deal of intermittent solar SW input.”

        So, you seemingly forgot about the exisence of the Sun while Rapp didn’t. Or you took him to be speaking about the net change in ocean heat content. But that’s a devious reading of the sentence given the next sentence that immediately follows it and given the fact that Rapps article *precisely* is about a mechanism for the ocean to *acquire* a net heat gain — (through reduced heat loss to the atmosphere and space while the Solar input doesn’t likewise diminishes).

      • David Springer

        The ocean doesn’t constantly lose heat, dopey Pierre. If the air and water temperature are the same and the air is saturated there is no heat loss. No conduction occurs if air and water are same temp. Downwelling and upwelling radiation is the same if air and water temp are the same. No latent heat loss if air is saturated.

        Let me know if there’s any part of that you don’t understand.

        No wait. Give me the short answer. Which part of that DO you understand?

      • Pierre-Normand

        David Springer, Rapp’s point only was that oceans loses to the atmosphere and to space about the same power on average as they gain from the Sun. There are cooling process going on all the time from radiation, latent and sensible fluxes that approximately balance out the 160W/m^2 input from the Sun. You made a dumb comment that he was an idiot to claim that the ocean cools at all when he just was talking about those three cooling fluxes (IR, sensible and latent) averaged over the diurnal cycle. As usual, rather than admit you misread someone, you pretend that the discussion is about something else.

      • DS, I suggest you lay off the sauce a bit – it’s not good for your liver.

      • David Springer

        phatboy | May 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Reply

        DS, I suggest you lay off the sauce a bit – it’s not good for your liver.

        ———————————————————————-

        Et tu, Brute?

        Haven’t had anything to drink since community happy hour in the local park on Thursday. I had no idea anyone would actually think Judity Curry would put a dozen or more JC SNIPs into a single short paragraph including at least half a dozen in a row without a single word in between them.

        Sorry. I’ll try to be less subtle in the future.

      • “The ocean doesn’t constantly lose heat, dopey Pierre.”
        —-
        Well, actually dopey David, yes it does when looking at the global ocean, it is constant exchange of energy between the input from the sun and the latent and sensible output to the atmosphere. Over time, if the input is greater than the output, such as during La Niña dominant periods, the global clean will gain energy.

  16. The problem for the author is the presence of the thin, cool ocean skin which is about 0.3C cooler than the water below.

    It exists because evaporation draws energy from the topmost molecules faster than it can flow up from below.

    In order to reduce the rate of energy flow from ocean to air that skin would need to become less cool relative to the water below such that the thermal gradient across the skin DECREASES..

    The trouble then is that if downward IR increases the amount of energy in the topmost molecules of the skin layer then the affected molecules will evaporate earlier than they otherwise would have done.

    Evaporation being a net cooling process more of it will INCREASE the thermal gradient across the skin layer.

    If downward IR has any net thermal effect then it must speed up evaporation until it is all used up in the phase change.

    So, you can have a fraction more warming of the topmost molecules but all it does is bring forward the timing of the phase change for those molecules for a zero net effect on the upward energy flow from oceans to air.

    • If downwelling IR can reduce the gradient despite increased evaporation, it can reduce heat loss from the mixing layer. According to Peter Minnett (RSMAS) writing at RealClimate (in 2006) it can.

    • Peter Minnett expresses an opinion but I don’t think he has proved it to be correct.
      I consider it more likely that the cooling effect of more evaporation exactly offsets the warming effect of more downward IR.

    • I consider it more likely that the cooling effect of more evaporation exactly offsets the warming effect of more downward IR.

      I “consider it more likely that” you’re an JC SNIP.

      There are several dimensions within which conditions can vary, especially including absolute humidity in the overlying mixing layer, air temperature, wind speed and variability, wave condition, water temperature, etc. At any point in this n-dimensional space the downwelling IR has some effect on skin temp. This in turn reaches local equilibrium at 100% relative humidity with the atmospheric equivalent, the bottom of the thin layer where effects of viscosity outweigh convection (forced or thermal). Given that Minnett’s claimed observations include reductions in the average gradient, with consequent reductions in heat loss, there’s no good reason at all to assume “that the cooling effect of more evaporation exactly offsets the warming effect of more downward IR.”

    • “Stephen stated
      It exists because evaporation draws energy from the topmost molecules faster than it can flow up from below’

      Not quite. You see you have a transition from three dimensions to two at the interface. Water molecules at the air/water are quite different from those below, as they can do things that the water molecules below cannot; they have more options. The molecules at the surface are less constrained than the ones below, and they rise into the sky because they can.
      The rate at which the water molecules, at the right hand side of the Boltzmann distribution, leave the bulk phase depends on sensible heat, photon illumination and the sheering force of air molecules hitting the surface; how windy it is.
      The people who study salt pans have a lot of this worked out, but it is mostly phenomenological.

    • AK,

      Minnett is observing a local response to a change in local atmospheric opacity (a cloud passing overhead).

      One needs to consider the global average response to clouds and it appears that globally clouds have a net cooling effect and not a net warming effect because energy reflected back to space from clouds never gets into the oceans in the first place.

      Furthermore, uplift in one location leading to a cloud condensing out is matched globally by descent in another location causing clouds to dissipate so clouds in a single location are not a good proxy for a change in global downwelling IR.

      Minnett has not observed any change in the globally averaged gradient within the cooler skin layer.

      I understand that attempts are being made to ascertain changes in that parameter but early results are unlikely.

      As you point out there are

      “several dimensions within which conditions can vary, especially including absolute humidity in the overlying mixing layer, air temperature, wind speed and variability, wave condition, water temperature, etc”

      but you do not realise that those variables are the mechanisms whereby changes in the thermal gradient through the skin layer is prevented from changing as a result of changing downward IR.

      In the end the energy content of the oceans is constrained by the weight of the atmosphere on the ocean surface but that is not a suitable matter for full discussion here.

    • Doc Martyn,

      I accept that additional detail which doesn’t seem to detract from my comment.

    • Minnett is observing a local response to a change in local atmospheric opacity (a cloud passing overhead).

      He’s observing a response reflected in measurements of temperature gradient across the skin layer to changes in downwelling IR. If you’d bothered to read his post you’d know that. It may be a couple orders of magnitude larger than the one from CO2, but it’s functionally the same. Nothing about “atmospheric opacity” (except to IR), he’s assuming (correctly AFAIK) that the fraction of SW absorbed in the skin layer is negligible.

      One needs to consider the global average response to clouds and it appears that globally clouds have a net cooling effect and not a net warming effect because energy reflected back to space from clouds never gets into the oceans in the first place.

      No One Doesn’t! “[G]lobal average response” never does anything or has any effect. What matters is the specific response at any point, how it interacts with other factors, and how the overall result INTEGRATE over space and time. Averages are a red herring.

      […] you do not realise that those variables are the mechanisms whereby changes in the thermal gradient through the skin layer is prevented from changing as a result of changing downward IR.

      After all, it says in the Bible that God created the Earth for man. He certainly wouldn’t let what Man does with it change it.

  17. For those who doubt the cool ocean skin, see here:

  18. There is an effective thermal diffusivity that is quite high at the surface. Look up eddy diffusivity.

    The cool skin layer was an uncertainty ploy devised by the infamous denier Fred Singer.

    • David L. Hagen

      WebHubTelescope
      Cut the denigration and address the science. What paper by Singer?

      • Chill out Hagen. Read the footnote at the bottom of the RealClimate post.

        It came from a Singer paper published in the International Seminar on Nuclear War and Planetary Emergencies

        It was all innuendo and some experiments proposed by Singer.

        Look, clearly the surface releases latent heat through evaporation. The reality also is that the oceans are heating and the heat is propagating downward via effective diffusion.
        Where is this heat coming from but from excess back reflected IR.

        And of course one can think of this as a slowdown of emitted heat, as those abstractions are reasonable when describing the math.

      • “The reality also is that the oceans are heating and the heat is propagating downward via effective diffusion.”
        ____
        Eckman tranport and a decrease in the release of heat from deeper layers (i.e. as measured in the Southern Ocean) can also be powerful ways that the deeper ocean can warm.

      • Webby

        References?

        Thanks.

        Max

      • Webby

        FYI here is the link to the RC guest post by Peter Minnett, which refers to the Singer paper (but the link provided for the Singer paper does not work).

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/

        Max

      • According to the latest UN-approved, IPPC-adopted model of runaway CAGW, the estimated rate of heat gain by the oceans due to an increase in back IR radiation leads to a tipping point resulting in an estimated increase in the rate of evaporation that returns to Earth as 40 days and 40 nights of torrential flooding.

      • Robert I Ellison

        There is a better way than single indent and broken threading.

        It is most clearly the case that ocean heat comes from sunlight – and that this is moved in the oceans by a balance of turbulent mixing and warm water buoyancy.

        Turbulence is influenced by wind speed and bottom topography.

        e.g. https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/new-data-on-deep-sea-turbulence-shed-light-on-vertical-mixing

        There is a schematic showing the processes.

        The skin effect results from loss of energy from the surface – it is constantly being formed and reformed as the surface is mixed into water column. In principle – a change in net IR loss from the oceans results in accumulation of solar energy. The in principle increase in heat over a period ultimately increases losses to compensate.

        Neither the mixing or the period is in fact calculable – most especially in back of the envelope conceptual models.

        As Clive Best suggested above – there is every indication that the global energy budget in the satellite era is dominated by cloud cover changes.

        e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=106

        And there is no definitive evidence that steric sea level rise (ocean warming) in ARGO is continuing.

        e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ARGOGRACE_Leuliette2012_zps9386d419.png.html?sort=3&o=5

        The reality seems to be that ocean heat content is determined by the net outgoing radiant flux – which is the largest source of variability in the global energy budget.

        e.g. http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Wong2006figure7.gif.html?sort=3&o=219

        With cloud variability being the biggest source of net outgoing flux variability.

      • Rob
        ‘The skin effect results from loss of energy from the surface – it is constantly being formed and reformed as the surface is mixed into water column’

        The lineshape tells you about the difference in heat fluxes; the rate that heat is transferred from the interface into the atmosphere is faster than the rate heat is transported from the bulk to the interface.
        The more interesting thing would be to study the top cm of the, calm, ocean during a full daily cycle. My guess is that the temperature differential, between 0-10 um, would be greatest during the night than soon afternoon.

      • Robert I Ellison

        I think without a doubt that energy losses would be greatest in the daytime due to evaporation from insolation.

      • Robert I Ellison

        The above was a reply to Doc.

        Globally, precipitation can be approximated by surface evaporation, since the variability of the atmospheric moisture storage is negligible. This is the case because the fluxes are an order of magnitude larger than the atmospheric storage (423 x 1012 m3 year-1 versus 13 x 1012 m3 according to Baumgartner and Reichel (1975)), the latter being determined by temperature (Clausius–Clapeyron). Hence the residence time of evaporated water in the atmosphere is not more than a few days, before it condenses and falls back to Earth in the form of precipitation. Any change in the globally averaged surface evaporation therefore implies an equivalent change in precipitation, and thus in the intensity of the global hydrological cycle. The process of evaporation requires energy, which it obtains from the surface radiation balance (also known as surface net radiation), composed of the absorbed solar and net thermal radiative exchanges at the Earth’s surface. Globally averaged, this surface radiation balance is positive, since radiative absorption, scattering and emission in the climate system act to generate an energy surplus at the surface and an energy deficit in the atmosphere (Liepert 2010).

        Evaporation, or more precisely its energy equivalent, the latent heat flux, is the main process that compensates for this imbalance between surface and atmosphere, since the latent heat dominates the convective energy flux over sensible heating. The radiative energy surplus at the surface is thus mainly consumed by evaporation and moist convection and subsequently released in the atmosphere through condensation. This implies that any alterations in the available radiative energy will induce changes in the water fluxes. Our focus in this editorial is therefore on the surface radiation balance as the principal driver of the global hydrological cycle.

        Note that this energetic view is in agreement with that of Richter and Xie (2008) who argue that the spatial and temporal behaviour of the process of evaporation is controlled by surface and atmospheric properties such as atmospheric stability, wind speed, moisture deficit and moisture availability.

        From radiation theory it is expected that with increasing radiative absorption due to abundance of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and consequent warming, the emission of thermal energy from the atmosphere towards the surface is increasing (known as downward thermal radiation). This enhances the radiative energy surplus at the surface, and, where surface water is not limited, fuels evaporation besides warming the Earth’s surface. The enhanced greenhouse effect therefore tends to accelerate the hydrological cycle, as also shown in many climate model simulations with increasing levels of greenhouse gases (e.g., IPCC 2007, but also see Yang et al 2003, Andrews et al 2009). We can assume that the increase in greenhouse gases since preindustrial times had already led to a substantial increase of downward thermal radiation during the 20th century, even though direct observational evidence is sparse and restricted to the latter part of the century (Philipona et al 2004, Wild et al 2008)…

        Recent evidence suggests that the amount of solar radiation incident at the Earth’s surface (hereafter referred to as downward solar radiation) has indeed not been stable over time but has undergone significant variations on decadal timescales. This evidence comes from the networks of surface radiation measurements taken around the globe which became operational on a widespread basis during the 1950s. Specifically, the measurements show a predominant decrease in downward solar radiation from the 1950s up to the 1980s (known as ‘global dimming’) and a partial recovery thereafter at many of the sites (known as ‘brightening’) (e.g., Gilgen et al 1998, Stanhill and Cohen 2001, Liepert 2002, Wild et al 2005, Wild 2009a). The consecutive downward and upward trends have at least to some extent been attributed to increasing and decreasing air pollution, respectively (Streets et al 2009), apart from the natural inter-decadal variability of cloudiness and volcanic eruptions. The longest observational records show in addition a tendency for an increase in downward solar radiation in the first part of the 20th century (‘early brightening’). An illustrative example is given in figure 1(b), which depicts the longest continuous record of downward solar radiation measured in Stockholm. This series, starting in 1923, shows an increase in the 1930s and 1940s, an overall decrease from the 1950s up to the 1980s and a more recent recovery. This evolution is, surprisingly, at least qualitatively similar to the global land precipitation record shown in figure 1(a). Although a comparison of a radiation time series measured at a single station with a global land-averaged precipitation time series is by no means representative, it may illustrate the above point of a potential close link between decadal variations of surface radiation and precipitation.’ http://m.iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/025203

        The change in downward IR from the atmosphere is less than 1% of the total downward flux – SW down seems to change somewhat more. Neither is detectable in global precipitation. There is decadal variability – but this is more attributable to decadal ENSO variations which shifts the location of cloud and rain without changing total precipitation notably.

        A reasonable assumption is that increased downward IR increases latent heat losses immediately – increased energy in the surface microns – and not just as a feedback to increased ocean temperature.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Robert I Ellison,
        “From radiation theory it is expected that with increasing radiative absorption due to abundance of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and consequent warming, the emission of thermal energy from the atmosphere towards the surface is increasing (known as downward thermal radiation).”

        1. What is the primary, modern reference that greenhouse gases increase temperature in the atmosphere?
        2. What equation links GHG and temperature and in which direction?
        3. Which primary reference quantifies downward thermal radiation and separates it from normally incident solar radiation?

      • Robert I Ellison

        Didn’t actually say that – my prose is much more fluid and expressions concise.

        http://cips.berkeley.edu/events/rocky-planets-class09/ClimateVol1.pdf

      • Energy losses to space must be more in daytime and less in nighttime.

        Enery is sent to space by IR with temperature to the fourth power and refection of sunlight.

        You lose more when you are receiving more.

        Has anyone said something different?

      • David L. Hagen

        Webby
        The heating may be equally due to reduced cloud cover. With clouds forming 97% of the uncertainty, we have insufficient data to distinguish between clouds and CO2 driving the long term warming. Murry Salby shows the short term changes in CO2 are directly caused by changes in ocean temperature

  19. The real reason for the warmer oceans up to around 2000 (some say 2005) was reduced cloudiness due to more zonal, poleward jet stream tracks and climate zone boundaries.

    Less clouds allows a greater proportion of solar energy to enter the oceans.

    Since then, the jet stream tracks have become more meridional again and global cloudiness is on the rise once more. We have seen a cessation of the previous increase in ocean heat content.

    Meanwhile, CO2 emissions have accelerated but with no apparent thermal effect on ocean heat content.

  20. There is a cool skin at the surface of the ocean, which is most pronounced in the tropics. Here are my publications on this:
    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Webster_JC9.pdf
    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Clayson_JGR101b.pdf
    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Clayson_JGR101a.pdf

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      The more recent literature documents even richer sea-surface thermal structure, Judith Curry!

      Bulk vs. Skin Sea Surface Temperature

      “At the surface, there is a cool skin, a layer a few millimeters thick that is due to the exchange of heat and moisture to the atmosphere as well as the emission of infrared radiation, the radiation just beyond red on the electromagnetic spectrum.

      Below that in the daytime is a warm layer a few centimeters thick that is caused by the absorption of sunlight”

      Donald Rapp, please include more labels on your graphs, and more structure in your thermodynamical models, and more citations in your literature survey!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Strikingly disparate views:

      Judith Curry (2014) “There is a cool skin at the surface of the ocean.”

      Judith Curry (1996) “During strong insolation, the skin temperature may be warmer than the true bulk temperature.”

      So it’s complicated, eh Climate Etc readers?

      The world wonders why Donald Rapp’s analysis doesn’t acknowledge this complexity … or reference even Judith Curry’s own articles.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • David L. Hagen

      Rapp was trying to simplify enough to be understood. See links above. etc.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David L. Hagen is charitable  “Rapp was trying to simplify enough to be understood.”

      Climate Etc readers are invited to judge for themselves the relative clarity of Donald Rapp’s versus Michael A. Brunke’s on-line survey of boundary-layer thermal transport mechanisms.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  21. I only got as far as Figure 3. It’s backwards. Temperature decreases with depth,

    • Figure 3 is a picture of the ocean mixed layer, which has constant temperature with depth. The slight warming at the top reflects the response of a thin surface layer to radiative heating

    • The slight warming at the top reflects the response of a thin surface layer to radiative heating

      Er.. It looks like cooling to me. I assumed it was the skin layer.

    • AK, the slight warming means that the skin layer isn’t quite as cold as it was, but it’s still colder than the mixed layer beneath.

    • AK, the slight warming means that the skin layer isn’t quite as cold as it was, but it’s still colder than the mixed layer beneath.

      OK, that makes sense. Based on context I was thinking it was discussing the change in temp with decreasing depth (moving towards the surface). Thanks.

      I guess I have to agree, the lack of scale references and functional descriptions probably make things confusing for those not already familiar. And I found the lack of reference to the RC post unfortunate.

    • curryja says: “Figure 3 is a picture of the ocean mixed layer, which has constant temperature with depth. The slight warming at the top reflects the response of a thin surface layer to radiative heating”

      My apologies for not reading the caption.

      Donald Rapp: Thank you for your attempt to create a model to explain ocean warming in response to increases in manmade greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, data are not cooperating with the hypothesis as you may be aware. During the ARGO era, the NODC depth-averaged temperature data (0-2000 meters) for the North Atlantic and the entire Pacific Ocean show little to no warming. The only ocean basins to show appreciable warming are the Indian and South Atlantic basins. (The Pacific is much larger than the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans combined.)

      That graph is from the post here:
      http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/an-odd-mix-of-reality-and-misinformation-from-the-climate-science-community-on-england-et-al-2014/

      And of course, the climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive show no skill at being able to simulate sea surface temperatures anywhere during the satellite era:
      http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/maybe-the-ipccs-modelers-should-try-to-simulate-earths-oceans/

      Cheers

  22. Donald Rapp

    OK. Without getting into the model explanations of “why the ocean warms”, let’s look at this starting assumption:

    There is considerable evidence that sea surface temperatures (SST) have warmed significantly over the course of the 20th century. There is also evidence that on average, the bulk oceans have warmed over this time period but the temperature gains were smaller.

    I have not seen any evidence that this statement is correct.

    SST (HadSST2) increased over the 20thC, but most of this increase is based on very poor measurement quality, coverage or accuracy, so can be taken with a large grain of (sea) salt.

    Over the 21stC (so far), SST has decreased, just as surface air temperature (HadCRUT4) has also declined.

    The data for 20thC warming of the “bulk ocean” is even poorer (i.e. practically non-existent prior to ARGO in 2003, which was outside the 20thC).

    ARGO measurements since 2003 originally showed slight cooling (Josh Willis’ famous “speed bump”) and after some adjustments to the raw data now show slight warming, but this is all after the 20thC.

    In other words, the statement claiming “considerable evidence” of 20thC warming of the oceans does not seem to be substantiated by any meaningful empirical evidence.

    Max

    • Dear manacker: If you would take the trouble to go to my longer article via the link Judith provided, you will see that Section 8. MEASURED HEAT CONTENT OF THE OCEANS provides a review of ocean warming data. This includes Palmer and Haines (2009), Levitus et al. (2012), Hamon et al. (2012), Loeb et al. (2012), Church et al. (2011), and Trenberth (2010). Yes, the data are noisy, and there are some discrepancies between data sets, but there is no doublt that the oceans have warmed significantly.

    • David Springer

      Rapp writes: “there is no doublt that the oceans have warmed significantly”

      Define “significantly” in terms of degrees C.

  23. I don’t know why people have such difficulty with this. If IR radiation is hitting the ocean surface, unless is is reflected back to space, it is being absorbed somewhere, and by conservation of energy is adding to the heat of the system in, on or near the ocean surface. That will eventually result in the oceans being warmer than they would otherwise have been. The exact mechanism doesn’t matter.

    It doesn’t matter that the net flow of heat is from ocean to atmosphere. If I put a blanket over me in bed I will be warmer than with no blanket. That does not mean the blanket has to have a source of heat energy, or that it has to somehow supply net heat to me. It does not mean it has to be warmer than my skin. It just has stop some of my heat escaping, or equivalently, reflect some of my heat back at me. And it doesn’t matter whether the mechanism is primarily conduction, convection or radiation.

    It doesn’t matter if the effect of IR is to increase evaporation from the ocean surface. That can only result from warming, it can’t lead to net cooling, since a cooler surface would evaporate less. (And even if miraculously it did, that heat would not have disappeared from the earth system and would lead to warming somewhere else).

    This is one area that some skeptics (not the more scientifically knowlegable ones) have got badly wrong and it is good to see it set out in some detail.

    • Garth, more like throwing a blanket over a rock in your yard. Put enough blankets over the rock and it will gradually approach the average sub-surface temperature.

      Huh? Sub-surface. Why is that important?

    • @captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.2
      “more like throwing a blanket over a rock in your yard. Put enough blankets over the rock and it will gradually approach the average sub-surface temperature. ”

      Yes, so if the air is cooler than the sub-surface temperature (as it is on average) the rock will warm up. And if you put a blanket over a whole continent then the sub-surface temperature would soon increase, because there is heat flowing outwards. (I’m not sure if you are agreeing with me or not).

    • “Garth, more like throwing a blanket over a rock in your yard.”
      _____
      Nope, not at all like that. Rocks don’t have a constant strong source of heating as the ocean does. In the past 50 years, continuing right up through the present day, the oceans have recieved more energy then they’ve lost, and the vast majority is from solar SW. It is not because net solar SW has increased steadily across this entire period, but because the net outgoing energy from the ocean has decreased. The strongest determining factor in net outgoing energy from the ocean to the atmosphere is GH gas composition of that atmosphere.

    • Gareth, you missed the significance of the subsurface temperature. The average absolute temperature of the oceans is about 4C degree which has a S-B equivalent energy of about 334.5 Wm-2 compared to an “average” DWLR estimate of about 335 Wm-2. Adding additional resistance to heat loss, will increase both the average ocean temperature, the subsurface for most of the planet, and the average DWLR. Instead of playing with anomalies try using some absolute temperatures.

    • Dear Gareth: You have a point. Energy is being added to the ocean due to increased CO2 in the air. It can hardly cool the ocean. But that is not quite the issue here. Some might argue that since the thermal gradient is from the mixed layer to the surface, the IR absorbed at the surface cannot propagate downward, and so, ends up merely causing more evaporation from the surface without warming the oceans. But the models suggest that the IR warms the surface, reducing the delta-T between the mixed layer and the surface, thus as Gates put it reducing the rate of withdrawal from the bank. The oceans warm, and the rate of evaporation does increase, as Gates put it: a consequence of warming, not instead of it.

    • — Some might argue that since the thermal gradient is from the mixed layer to the surface, the IR absorbed at the surface cannot propagate downward, and so, ends up merely causing more evaporation from the surface without warming the oceans. But the models suggest that the IR warms the surface, reducing the delta-T between the mixed layer and the surface, thus as Gates put it reducing the rate of withdrawal from the bank. The oceans warm, and the rate of evaporation does increase, as Gates put it: a consequence of warming, not instead of it.–

      It seems the largest effect would be increased evaporation. Or if you wanted to prove that CO2 warms the ocean, one would look for increased evaporation caused by increasing levels CO2. As this would have to be an effect, or lack of increase of evaporation, would indicate CO2 was not warming the ocean.
      Such measuring might be difficult, but it seems it would definitive if this could be accurately measured.
      A warmed top layer can be caused by other factors, and though it inhibits convection, an equal temperature also inhibits convection, as does a small slightly cooler difference reduces convection.
      Once could say the skin temperature greatest effect is increased evaporation. And one could say warmth beneath the skin surface is largest
      element warming the world. Or the heat of meter of water is far more significant than heat of 2 mm of water.
      In exaggerated terms, a skin temperature of 10 C warmer, does give a higher temperature according to how we measure ocean surface temperature- it higher temperature of the weather. But the temperature below the skin determines global climate. And seems it’s the uniformity of the temperature of the depth of water which inhibits convection more than the 2 mm of water at the surface. And the uniformity of temperature of ocean is not limited to top few meter, but extends to bottom of the ocean.
      Or the warm waters down to more 100 meters in tropical ocean is warm world, whereas a skin temperature of 10 C warmer is not indication of a warm world.
      Of course our world is not a warm world, it’s ice box climate, but warm 100 meter in tropics is warmer than world without such depth of warmer water.
      In other words, we are in interglacial period of the ice box climate.

    • Donald Rapp: “Some might argue that since the thermal gradient is from the mixed layer to the surface, the IR absorbed at the surface cannot propagate downward … But the models suggest that the IR warms the surface, reducing the delta-T between the mixed layer and the surface, thus as Gates put it reducing the rate of withdrawal from the bank”.

      Yes, I’m sure that right, but it does not seem at all surprising to me, and it is not just true of the ocean. E.g. on a cold winters day my face feels warmer, and I will lose less heat, if I stand in a patch of sunlight. The sunlight will only warm my skin. It does not have to heat my skin up above my internal body temperature before it will “warm” me. Even warming my skin a little bit reduces the rate at which I am losing internal heat, exactly as you say for the ocean. This business about the thermal gradient is a red herring, that has confused a lot of people who not really understand heat transfer. But thanks for spelling it out.

  24. Arno Arrak

    Donald – presumably we are talking of the enhanced greenhouse effect in which carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere absorbs outgoing IR, gets warm, re-radiates some of that heat, and part of this then warms the ocean. This of course follows Arrhenius and I must tell you that it is no longer valid because Arrhenius theory applies only when just one greenhouse gas is present in the atmosphere. In the earth atmosphere there are more. In the general case where several greenhouse gases are simultaneously absorbing in the IR the Miskolczi greenhouse theory (MGT) must be used. According to him, when several greenhouse gases simultaneously absorb there exists a common optimum absorption window that the gases present jointly maintain. The gases that count in the earth atmosphere are carbon dioxide and water vapor and their common optimum absorption window has an optical thickness of 1.87. This corresponds to an IR transmittance of 15 percent or absorbance of 85 percent. If you now add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere it will start to absorb just as Arrhenius tells us. But this will increase the optical thickness and as soon as this happens water vapor will start to decrease, rain out, and the original optical thickness is restored. This explains why there has been no warming for 17 years despite constantly increasing carbon dioxide. There have been other periods like this in earth history. In 2010 Miskolczi used NOAA database of weather balloon observations to study the absorption of IR by the atmosphere over time. And found that absorption had been constant for 61 years while carbon dioxide at the same time went up by 21.6 percent. This is an exact parallel with today’s warming pause. This being the case it behooves us to look at what this will do to re-radiated energy. It is obvious that as long as the global temperature does not change there is no temperature differential to push energy into the ocean. By the laws of physics carbon dioxide does absorb energy but where does this absorbed energy go? The answer comes by considereing the condensation of water vapor that maintains the temperature. This reduction of water vapor content of air makes the atmosphere more transparent in the IR and more energy is radiated into the outer space that otherwise could have been warming the ocean. Hence, the oceans simply do not warm as a result of enhanced greenhouse warming. Actually, no warming takes place at all because of the Miskolczi effect I just outlined. This of course has huge importance when it comes to anthropogenic global warming. It simply does not exist and AGW is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific fantasy. It is doubly so because in addition to the Miskolczi effect there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect that Hansen claimed to have detected in 1988. That is because he claimed to have found a hundred year stretch of greenhouse warming, substantial parts of which were not greenhouse warming at all but natural warming.

    • Dear Arno Arrak: Miskolczi (2007, 2010) produced an alternate model of radiant fluxes through the atmosphere. Because Miscolczi’s papers are obscure and extremely difficult to follow, Van Andel (2008) wrote an explanatory paper for the theory (although his paper is also difficult to follow). Perhaps something was lost in translation from Hungarian? After passing through seemingly endless rambling paragraphs, it is difficult to resolve just what Miskolczi’s theory is. I reviewed his theory in my books and concluded it was misguided. For you to argue “It [greenhouse gas warming] simply does not exist and AGW is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific fantasy” identifies just exactly where you are coming from and its not a very good place.

      • David Springer

        In a nutshell Miskolczi’s Saturated Greenhouse Hypothesis states that CO2 displaces water vapor such that the optical thickness of the atmosphere remains constant. He uses tens of thousands of radiosonde records to show that water vapor has declined in proportion to CO2 rising since the 1950’s or so. The radiosonde record not being reliable enough is the usual criticism.

  25. Here I go again:

    “Figure 4. Schematic temperature profile in a tropical ocean. The initial curve (A) refers to equilibrium before applying a forcing to the surface. The response (C) shows an intermediate stage in the process as time progresses. Curve (D) is the new equilibrium.”

    For purposes of calculation, an open system like earth’s climate is assumed to reach equilibrium. Is this a reality?

    Wind speed:

    In a very large part of the oceans, lying in the Southern Hemisphere, the wind coming off the Antarctic ice sheets is @ 40 Kilometers/hour. The Age of Sail used the near gale force Westerly winds to haul man, beast, and cargo from West to East fondly known as the Roaring Forties (40 degrees latitude) or the Screaming 50’s. The reason for sailing in such harrowing regions was the constancy of the winds. I’ve stood on the decks of ships in these regions, the winds just drive through you. Even nudging to the 30’s, the winds are to be reckoned with because of their force and unpredictability.

    Assuming 3 meters/second wind speed for calculations is not warranted where the vast amount of oceans are. Doing a calculation at 5 meters/second or 18 K/hr does not address the reality of the winds in the Southern Hemisphere.

    What happens to 6 meters/second or 21 K/hr? I presume the calculated result is < 0.25 C added ocean heating in an equilibrium world.

    Waves:

    Its hard to imagine equilibrium being re-established in such froth.

    All I can see is disequilibrium.

  26. nobodyknows

    I Wonder. If there is no temperature change, and the quantum of CO2 increases, will there be any change in downwelling IR? I thougt the IR was dependent of temperature and that doubling of CO2 didn`t matter unless it is heating the air. And that heating of air is a complex matter.

    • Pierre-Normand

      The amount of downwelling IR is dependent *both* on the temperature profile of the atmosphere and the concentrations of greenhouse gases. At the lower limit, if there were no greenhouse gases at all, then there would be (very nearly) no IR emissions at all from the atmosphere irrespective of temperature. The emissivity of the atmosphere as a whole is a function of its absorbance or optical density. It can’t re-emit what it doesn’t absorb at all. Increasing greenhouse gas concentration increases its opacity and hence its ability to back-radiate. Further, even withing those spectral regions that already are fully opaque to IR radiation (through the whole thickness of the troposphere, say), increasing the optical density of the atmosphere lowers the level at which emissions to the surface effectively occur. Since the lower level is warmer (due to the lapse rate), this increases the power of the back radiation.

      • David Springer

        With an as yet undetermined appendage Pierre writes: “Increasing greenhouse gas concentration increases its opacity and hence its ability to back-radiate.”

        Yes but it also increases the atmosphere’s ability to forward-radiate by the same amount.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Pierre’s usual garbled metaphors are to be treated with the utter neglect – if you know what’s good for you. He typically uses unphysical concepts – such as effective radiation levels – and half understood physics – e.g. emissivity and optical depth – to devise an unrealistic narrative.

      The obvious reality is that it is in fact all driven by quantum transitional vibrations in greenhouse gases. Transitions between vibrational quantum states typically occur in the infrared.

      All of the rest of the real world physics is statistical mechanical – relating to the change in the number of greenhouse gas molecules in the atmosphere. Absorption and emission changes because there are more molecules – likewise free photon paths are reduced. Greenhouse gases absorb photons and the kinetic temperature of the molecule increases. This translates by collision to adjacent molecules – which are O2 and N2 mainly. Greenhouse gases occasionally emit photons and the kinetic temperature falls.

      This is the appropriate conceptual model.

      More greenhouse gases mean that the atmosphere will warm. If it doesn’t Occam would suggest that there is something else happening. Now we get to the crux of Pierre’s rambling and incoherent claims that a non warming atmosphere can emit more IR – and thus warm the oceans without itself warming. A priori it can’t be. If the atmosphere absorbed more energy it would be warming. As it is not – it is not warming – ergo it is not absorbing more energy and is therefore not emitting more energy. Kinetic temperature and photon emission and adsorption are two sides of the same IR coin. It is all statistical mechanics and not metaphors used in simplistic expositions which are then adopted as reality by earnest but dumbarse acolytes in a grab bag of irrelevant verbiage. Which they then rabbit on about as if they had discovered the Rosetta Stone. I am all for edumacation – but isn’t this the old adage of a little knowledge being downright mesmerizingly ludicrous?

      A non warming atmosphere cannot result in increased downward IR and thus we need to look for the source of ocean warming elsewhere.

      The von Schuckmann and Le Traon ARGO climatology has been found to be broadly in accordance with CERES toa flux last decade.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/vonSchuckmannampLTroan2011-fig5PG_zpsee63b772.jpg.html?sort=3&o=130

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES-BAMS-2008-with-trend-lines1.gif.html?sort=3&o=208

      The real question is where CERES – with it’s hugely accurate anomalies – is going next.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Robert I Ellison wrote: “Now we get to the crux of Pierre’s rambling and incoherent claims that a non warming atmosphere can emit more IR – and thus warm the oceans without itself warming.”

      Would you not agree that an atmosphere entirely constituted of 80% N2 molecules and 20% O2 molecules (and no ozone) would radiate much less IR power than an atmosphere that also contains some CO2 and water vapor? Or is the radiated power only dependent on temperature in your view? If it isn’t, what is the minimal concentration of greenhouse gas that would allow the atmosphere to emit IR energy such that any increase in the concentration after that would make no difference at all?

    • Robert I Ellison

      Wrong question as usual. An atmosphere with more greenhouse gases would be warmer. If it is not – there is something else happening.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/HadCRUT4vCERES_zpse5107cfd.png.html?sort=3&o=59

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Wrong question as usual. An atmosphere with more greenhouse gases would be warmer. If it is not – there is something else happening.”

      OK, suppose there is indeed something else happening. For instance the thermal inertial of the ocean mixed layer and the convective lapse rate prevent the troposphere to warm. Or the surface cools due to more upwelling of cold water from the depth. So, for some reason, the lower troposphere temperature remains the same, let us assume, in spite of the increased greenhouse gas concentration. Would the back radiation power remain the same in your view? What then if we would remove *all* the greenhouse gases such that the atmosphere is fully transparent to IR radiation. Would the back radiation power still remain the same?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      OMG – all the water vapour would freeze – oceans would freeze over – we would all die.

      What is the point? Try explaining it to yourself from first principles – i.e. quantum vibrational states and statistical mechanics. Ultimately we might – in some alternate reality – move on to nonlinear dynamcis and nonequilibrium thermodynamics.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “OMG – all the water vapour would freeze – oceans would freeze over – we would all die.”

      You have a blind spot that you are unwilling to face. You are arguing that the IR emission power from the atmosphere only is a function of temperature and independent of greenhouse gas concentration. So, I am asking what would occur if there were no greenhouse gases at all in an atmosphere with the very same temperature. You are imagining irrelevant counterfactual scenarios to avoid answering this simple question.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Counterfactuals? You are inventing hypotheticals comparing an oxygen and nitrogen atmosphere to one with greenhouse gases and expect me to take it seriously? CO2 is the major non-condensing greenhouse gas – without it the planet would freeze over toot sweet.

      It is all about energetics – and statistics. If a parcel of air is at a temperature and a parcel of air with more greenhouse gases is at the same temperature – they have the same energy content. A parcel that has more greenhouse gases should be warmer – it is that simple. If it isn’t – something else is happening to the energy input. A greenhouse gas enriched atmosphere will be warmer and scatter more photons if the energy input remains the same. Simple – basic – real world physics based on quantum vibrational transitions and statistical mechanics. Try it sometime.

    • GS, you said yourself, replace greenhouse gases with non-greenhouse gases, same sun, same earth, and it would be freezing here. Which is it? Colder or warmer? You are only contradicting yourself, or not explaining yourself well.

    • Robert I Ellison

      I don’t know what you are talking about Jimbo and I suspect you don’t either.

    • The answer to the question by nobodyknows is that adding CO2 without changing the temperature does lead to more downward emission. Just like removing all the greenhouse gases at the same temperature leads to no downward emission. This was the point made by Pierre-Normand, and seemingly not understood by Skippy.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Jimmy dee gets it arse about as usual. All else being equal a parcel of air with more greenhouse gases will be warmer. It is a fact of statistical mechanics and quantum vibrational transitions. If the parcel doesn’t warm it is because less energy is reaching it. Should a parcel of air receiving less energy emit more?

      How would you assume that more greenhouse molecules in the same space interacting with more IR photons doesn’t automatically warm through changes in vibrational energy states? Bizarre.

    • Pierre-Normand

      GS wrote: “All else being equal a parcel of air with more greenhouse gases will be warmer.”

      Suppose there are two transparent bottles on a laboratory shelf, one containing pure CO2 and the other one containing pure N2. The bottles have been standing there for a few weeks. Would the bottle containing CO2 be warmer? I don’t suppose that’s what you mean. Maybe you mean that if we would shine some infrared radiation from a warmer source on those bottles, then the bottle containing CO2 would warm more and faster. That’s true. So, let’s warm them both to 20°C above rooms temperature and then let them cool down radiatively (in a vacuum chamber, say). Would they cool down at the exact same rate? If not, why not?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Suppose we had a planet with a troposphere… and added greenhouse gases. Would the troposphere warm? I think you are all sorts of a fool Pierre.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Suppose we had a planet with a troposphere… and added greenhouse gases. Would the troposphere warm?”

      If there were no greenhouse gases initially then the atmosphere would be transparent to most of the solar spectrum. The Sun would warm the surface directly and the surface would radiate all the received energy to space directly. The atmospheric temperature profile would tend to be very flat (below the ionosphere) and there would be very little convection since any heat gained sensibly from the surface wouldn’t be radiated away to space by the atmosphere. After greenhouse gases have been added, the top of the atmosphere would be able to cool radiatively and a convective lapse rate would be established. A radiative imbalance would occur as a result and so the surface would accumulate heat until it would warm together with the troposphere. The stratosphere would remain colder than it was prior to the introduction of the greenhouse gases. What would occur first, though, is a surface flux imbalance due to the back radiation. This would be accompanied by a *cooling* of the bulk of the troposphere since it is now able to radiate energy to space (from higher up) and it would thus acquire a temperature gradient up to but no larger than the dry adiabatic lapse rate.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Suppose we a planet pretty much like ours and increased CO2 from 300ppm to 400ppm?

      Would the troposphere warm? Apparently not according to Pierre. Give it up Pierre – I have certainly given up reading past the first line or trying to interpret the your ludicrously inept thought experiments. Start with the real world and end with the real world. Use real data preferably – if not it is all just pointless slop.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Suppose we a planet pretty much like ours and increased CO2 from 300ppm to 400ppm?

      Would the troposphere warm?”

      This would create an energy flux imbalance that would cause the surface to gain heat. This would eventually cause the surface to warm and the troposphere to also warm as a result. The troposphere can’t warm alone, in advance of surface warming, since it is radiatively cooling to space (and to the cool stratosphere) from above and this cooling bring its temperature profile down to the convective lapse rate, and its temperature at the bottom is constrained by surface boundary conditions.

    • GS, you keep avoiding the original question. If you had air with CO2 in one container and air with no GHGs in another at room temperature, which emits more IR? Once you have answered this we can go on to what happens to its IR emissions when you double the CO2 in that container. Basic stuff here, which you will either sidestep or pretend not to comprehend, or genuinely not comprehend.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Suppose we had – I dunno – say an atmosphere and we added CO2 to it. Would the atmosphere warm?

      Why do you imagine that I would have any interest in addressing your astonishingly silly Gedankenexperiment Jimmy Dee?

    • GS, you add CO2 to the stratosphere and it cools instead. Doesn’t that show it is more complicated than you think? There are no shortcuts to understanding global warming. You have to do the science and understand each step. Step 1 – more CO2 gives more emission.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      See if you add CO2 to the atmosphere it generally cools down from very high temperatures – dropping into lower energy states by collision with other molecules and by photon emission. The atmosphere as a whole is maintained in a higher energy state through molecular interactions with photons and collisions with adjacent molecules.

      Try to understand how this works.

    • GS, now you are saying the exact opposite of what you were. I give up.

    • Pierre-Normand

      GS wrote: “See if you add CO2 to the atmosphere it generally cools down from very high temperatures – dropping into lower energy states by collision with other molecules and by photon emission. The atmosphere as a whole is maintained in a higher energy state through molecular interactions with photons and collisions with adjacent molecules.”

      I knew that some time ago you had this theory that CO2 warming only is the result of CO2 molecules having much kinetic energy as a result of the process of combustion that creates them and this energy somehow remains in the atmosphere. (“The atmosphere as a whole is maintained in a higher energy state through molecular interactions”, as you say.) Does that mean that an equal amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere from ocean outgassing rather than from fossil fuel combustion wouldn’t have any warming effect at all?

    • Pierre-Normand

      Jim D wrote: “GS, now you are saying the exact opposite of what you were. I give up.”

      No. He’s saying that CO2 molecules cool from the high energy state they are in when produced through combustion and gives up kinetic energy to other molecules in the atmosphere. This seems to have nothing to do whatsoever with the greenhouse effect but it seems to be his theory of CO2 warming.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      I know it is a bit subtle for you jimmy dee.

      CO2 is generally emitted at 1000’s of degrees C flame temperature. They cool down to a local thermodynamic equilibrium. But this is a higher energy state in a greenhouse gas enriched atmosphere. Real physical physics and not silly narrative. Now I am very bored.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Real CO2 emissions first cool down – it is just reality. Real CO2 molecules interact with IR photons in quantum vibrational transitions – and with adjacent molecules in collisions. They warm and cool. Too hard? Go figure.

    • GS, now I see, so the stratosphere is cooling because of all those jets up there pumping out CO2. Right?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Real CO2 emissions first cool down – it is just reality. Real CO2 molecules interact with IR photons in quantum vibrational transitions – and with adjacent molecules in collisions. They warm and cool. Too hard?”

      What is hard to see is the relevance if this piece if trivia for climate science. Most of the CO2 dissolved in the oceans has cooled down long ago — millions of years ago. If some 100ppm were to be outgassed in the atmosphere (as it is during each interglacials), it would have no warming effect in your view, right? The only source of heat is the initial reaction of oxidation that produced the CO2 molecules?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The real mystery seems to be why the stratosphere stopped cooling.

      http://www.arl.noaa.gov/documents/JournalPDFs/ThompsonEtal.Nature2012.pdf

      Your pet theory is jets Jimbo?

      Outgassing doesn’t add 100 ppm. There other sources in increased soil respiration and vegetative decay that are far more significant.

      e.g. http://environmentportal.in/files/Temperature%20associated%20increases%20in%20the%20global%20soil.pdfhttp://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Tropical-ecosystems-regulate-variations-in-Earths-carbon-dioxide-levels.aspx

      The biggest source as climate warms is soil carbon in high northern latitudes – https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/fig-1_page_3.jpg

      e.g. http://www.academia.edu/2949675/Stomatal_proxy_record_of_CO2_concentrations_from_the_last_termination_suggests_an_important_role_for_CO2_at_climate_change_transitions

      Temperatures are relatively high with biological sources – but doesn’t have the heat content of fossil fuel combustion of course.

      Quantum vibrational transitions in interactions with IR photons stop because molecules cool down from the flame temperature? Oh the ignorance and foolishness is too much.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      The real mystery seems to be why the stratosphere stopped cooling.

      http://www.arl.noaa.gov/documents/JournalPDFs/ThompsonEtal.Nature2012.pdf

      Your pet theory is jets Jimbo?

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Outgassing doesn’t add 100 ppm. There other sources in increased soil respiration and vegetative decay that are far more significant.

      e.g. http://environmentportal.in/files/Temperature%20associated%20increases%20in%20the%20global%20soil.pdfhttp://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Tropical-ecosystems-regulate-variations-in-Earths-carbon-dioxide-levels.aspx

      The biggest source as climate warms is soil carbon in high northern latitudes – https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/fig-1_page_3.jpg

      e.g. http://www.academia.edu/2949675/Stomatal_proxy_record_of_CO2_concentrations_from_the_last_termination_suggests_an_important_role_for_CO2_at_climate_change_transitions

      Temperatures are relatively high with biological sources – but doesn’t have the heat content of fossil fuel combustion of course.

      Quantum vibrational transitions in interactions with IR photons stop because molecules cool down from the flame temperature? Oh the shallowness of it all.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer wrote: “Yes but it also increases the atmosphere’s ability to forward-radiate by the same amount.”

      It backradiates from a lower and hence warmer level and radiates to space from a higher and hence colder level. So, it backradiates more towards to surface and radiates less to space. You forgot about the tropospheric lapse rate.

      • David Springer

        Circular logic, ninny Normand. If DWLIR increase raises evaporation rate without raising ocean bulk temperature then it puts more water into the air. Saturated lapse rate is smaller so you have to go higher up in the troposphere to get the same temperature. You would be correct only if increased DWLIR thermalizes the bulk of the ocean. But that’s circular because DWLIR thermalization is that which is to be proven. The OP is a thought experiment. Let me know when you find a real one that confirms it.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer, I didn’t say anything about “thermalization” of the ocean. I can’t address all your misconceptions at once. I only corrected your claim that the enhanced greenhouse effect increases radiation to space. It doesn’t. You now allude to the negative lapse rate feedback. But this negative feedback doesn’t make the water vapor feedback negative. It just reduces if from about 1.8W/m^2 to about 1W/m^2. It’s still positive. What is more, *even* if the overall water feedback (including the lapse rate feedback) were negative, it wouldn’t abolish the primary forcing from CO2 either. It would partly compensate it but the net effect still would be a warming effect. A negative feedback doesn’t transform a positive forcing change into a net cooling effect. In any case the ability of the atmosphere to radiate to space still will be reduced so long as the balance hasn’t been restored as a result of surface and troposphere warming.

      • David Springer

        “I didn’t say anything about “thermalization” of the ocean”

        I know. That’s the problem. The article is about warming (thermalization) of the ocean by DWLIR and JC SNIP Pierre didn’t say anything about it.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “It just reduces if from about 1.8W/m^2 to about 1W/m^2.”
      …per CO2 doubling.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer wrote: “I know. That’s the problem. The article is about warming (thermalization) of the ocean by DWLIR and JC SNIP Pierre didn’t say anything about it.”

      Why should I? I merely pointed out that you badly misread Rapp, and that the very next sentence following the one that you quoted shows your interpretation of what he said to be aburd. That’s all. You can’t see it. That’s fine with me.

  27. David L. Hagen

    Is the climate computable

    Dr. Robert G. Brown of the Physics Department at Duke University responds to a comment on ice albedo with a summary of water vapor action, the greenhouse effect, and the chaotic nature of the atmosphere. . . .

    Insightful comments!

    That’s why I hesitated to assign a sign to the net feedback from any sort of local modulation of e.g. ocean-air humidity or sea ice coverage. The processes are COMPLEX and can have either sign, and they are NON-LOCAL as adding humidity in one place can increase albedo someplace else thousands of miles away is it finally concentrates enough to form clouds. . . .
    At the moment, estimates of climate sensitivity are struggling to retain any net positive feedback from water vapor in the face of data that already solidly excludes the kind of absurd feedback levels Hansen originally hypothesized. Even the question of net negative feedback from water vapor, long considered to be anathema in climate science (except for a few mavericks who managed to publish papers suggesting that clouds could easily lead to net negative feedback through the dual mechanism of latent heat transport and modulation of albedo) is no longer completely off of the table. . . .
    Personally, I won’t even place a bet. I don’t think the climate is computable, which means that I think one is basically betting on the output of a (possibly biased) random number generator. I’d rather play Mumbledy-peg for money.

    • David Springer

      Tropical deserts have higher mean annual temperatures than any other tropical climate type. They also have the least water vapor of all tropical climate types. It seems to follow that water vapor is a negative feedback.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer wrote: “Tropical deserts have higher mean annual temperatures than any other tropical climate type. They also have the least water vapor of all tropical climate types. It seems to follow that water vapor is a negative feedback.”

      That doesn’t follow. It only shows that the process of evaporation cools the surface. Cooling the surface doesn’t restore the TOA balance. Quite the contrary. Also, the evaporated water vapor doesn’t permanently stays above the surface where it evaporated from. When the troposphere warms it holds more water vapor not only in the areas where evaporations occurs. The enegry budget is global.

      • David Springer

        If we compare a climate with low specific humidity and a climate with high specific humidity at the same latitude and find the dry climate has the higher mean annual temperature then it does indeed follow that water vapor is a negative feedback.

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer wrote: “If we compare a climate with low specific humidity and a climate with high specific humidity at the same latitude and find the dry climate has the higher mean annual temperature then it does indeed follow that water vapor is a negative feedback.”

      No, it doesn’t follow since it is consistent with this observation that if specific humidity increases globally both the dry climate and the wet climate will warm up even while the wet climate will remain colder than the dry one. The regional variations introduce a confounding factor because they partly result from horizontal heat transport (including much latent heat transport) due to large scale atmospheric overturning circulation. More heat can be generated in areas where the relative humidity is high even though it isn’t locally manifested as a temperature rise due to most of this heat being latent.

      In any case, the total greenhouse effect is responsible for the Earth surface being about 33°C warmer and the largest part of this effect is due to water vapor. This is sufficient to contradict your claim that the water vapor feedback is negative.

  28. I agree with Stephen Wilde’s comment above

    https://judithcurry.com/2014/05/21/mechanisms-for-warming-of-the-oceans/#comment-563084

    As already pointed out by some, fig 3 is inaccurate. The actual measured temperature profile of the top few meters looks like this

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1029/2004JC002689/asset/image_n/jgrc9846-fig-0001.png?v=1&t=hvgy6pns&s=7b772d2f905129c23e7dfdefac9829206821f47a

    with a ~0.3C cooler skin surface that is only a few microns deep, which is due to evaporative cooling. Even if the lower frequency/energy IR from doubled CO2 could thermalize to heat the higher frequency/energy/temperature sea surface, it can only penetrate a few microns to increase evaporative cooling of the skin surface. Thus the thermal gradient would increase between the skin surface and deeper layers, increasing convection and the rate of heat loss from the oceans to atmosphere.

    The model ignores that if the middle layers warmed, convection would correspondingly increase to remove the excess heat and re-establish ‘equilibrium’.

    • The actual measured temperature profile of the top few meters looks like this [followed by a non-working link]

      I don’t have to follow your link to be sure it’s wrong. At best, any profile could present an extremely simplistic average, based on a few measurements. The actual situation is very complex, but under most circumstances there has probably been some observed reduction in the gradient, leading to a reduction in heat loss from the underlying mixing layer.

    • AK says he doesn’t have to look at observations in the link he hasn’t seen “to be sure it’s wrong.” AK is obviously a graduate of the IPCC school of climatology, which preaches if observations don’t agree with models, the observations must be wrong.

      The upper few meters temperature profile is shown in fig 1b in this paper:

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2004JC002689/full

      In addition, there are many other publications showing the same general temperature profile, but no doubt, AK is sure those observations are also wrong.

      The RealClimate article you linked to is based upon the effect of changing cloudiness and actually shows doubling CO2 could only heat the oceans 0.002ºC at most

      http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2012/09/realclimate-admits-doubling-co2-could.html

    • The upper few meters temperature profile is shown in fig 1b in this paper:

      Sure. (Snicker.) Let’s see what the actual caption on that picture says:

      (b) Actual profile taken in the upper 2 m with SkinDeEP during station 10 (see section 3.6).

      And what’s “section 3.6” say?

      […] station 10, which was situated at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, and was the longest SkinDeEP deployment with 161 profiles. The measurements were made from 11:12 to 14:13. The mean wind speed was 1.1 ms−1. The peak shortwave radiation was 912 Wm−2, which occurred at 12:25.

      IOW, this “upper few meters temperature profile” applies to one place, one time, a few (161) measurements. How representative is this of the rest of the planet?

      That’s what I meant by wrong. There’s no way any single “profile” could be representative of the entire planet.

    • Once again, AK completely misses the points made. The observed ocean temperature profiles from countless studies is very cold deep waters, warmer intermediate levels, warmest thermoclines microns below the skin surface layer, and a 0.3-0.5C colder skin surface due to evaporative cooling. Thus, the assumptions of the simplistic model in this post are false, as is figure 3. The thermal barrier to cooling of the intermediate waters is the warmer thermoclines above, which are due to penetration of solar shortwave and convection to the surface, not LWIR from GHGs. LWIR from GHGs, if thermalized at all, can only increase evaporative skin surface cooling and thus heat flux from the ocean to atmosphere.

      Here’s a paper in Nature noting that increased LWIR from GHGs will act as a negative feedback on CO2 levels because of increased solubility of CO2 in the cooler skin surface layer.

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v358/n6389/abs/358738a0.html

      The RealClimate post that AK links to demonstrates that the alleged radiative forcing of doubled CO2 levels could only heat the oceans 0.002ºC at the very most.

    • The RealClimate article you linked to is based upon the effect of changing cloudiness and actually shows doubling CO2 could only heat the oceans 0.002ºC at most [followed by a link to a blog post from 2012]

      Since this is a subject I’ve informed myself about, I went ahead and read the post, and guess what: I found a non sequitur followed by an argument by (incorrect) assertion.

      Following a discussion (correct AFAIK) of the impact of doubled CO2 on the gradient in the skin layer, we find this:

      Furthermore, a reduced temperature gradient of 0.002ºC could at the very, very most result in an increase in bulk ocean temperature of 0.002ºC.

      This simply isn’t true. The reduced gradient will cause a reduction in heat flow, leading to relative warming of the underlying mixing layer. As this layer warms (faster), the gradient will remain the same (to a first approximation), maintaining the reduced heat loss no matter how much the underlying mixing layer warms.

      While I’m highly skeptical of the whole “global warming” meme, as well as the motivations and agendas of most alarmists, I can express only contempt for simplistic pseudo-scientific junk of this sort, which only gives ammunition to alarmists.

    • Here’s a paper in Nature noting that increased LWIR from GHGs will act as a negative feedback on CO2 levels because of increased solubility of CO2 in the cooler skin surface layer.

      There’s nothing in the abstract about a “feedback”. It’s just a correction.

    • AK: “Furthermore, a reduced temperature gradient of 0.002ºC could at the very, very most result in an increase in bulk ocean temperature of 0.002ºC.
      This simply isn’t true. The reduced gradient will cause a reduction in heat flow, leading to relative warming of the underlying mixing layer. As this layer warms (faster), the gradient will remain the same (to a first approximation), maintaining the reduced heat loss no matter how much the underlying mixing layer warms.”

      It is in fact true that a reduced temperature gradient of 0.002ºC could at the very, very most result in an increase in bulk ocean temperature of 0.002ºC. To assume otherwise would violate both the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics.

      “I can express only contempt for simplistic pseudo-scientific junk of this sort” that AK promotes, including denial of the observed temperature profile of the oceans, failure to consider evaporative surface cooling of the skin surface from LWIR, failure to consider a compensating increase in convection from any warming of intermediate waters, and assumptions which violate the 1st and 2nd laws.

    • It is in fact true that a reduced temperature gradient of 0.002ºC could at the very, very most result in an increase in bulk ocean temperature of 0.002ºC. To assume otherwise would violate both the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics.

      More pseudo-scientific bunk. The 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics are more than ritual words to be spouted in an argument to hide the fact that you don’t understand the subject you’re discussing.

    • AK: “More pseudo-scientific bunk. The 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics are more than ritual words to be spouted in an argument to hide the fact that you don’t understand the subject you’re discussing.”

      More ad-hom “arguments” from AK devoid of any scientific content. According to AK’s pseudoscience, if the sea surface temperature rises from 15.000C to 15.002C, the bulk ocean temperature can rise 3C from 15C to 18C due to the IPCC’s alleged forcing from doubled CO2. Clearly, AK lacks the most rudimentary understanding of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, and requirement of increasing entropy.

    • More ad-hom “arguments” from AK devoid of any scientific content.

      If “ad-hom” stands for ad hominem all you’ve done is demonstrate you don’t understand the meaning of that term

      According to AK’s pseudoscience, if the sea surface temperature rises from 15.000C to 15.002C, the bulk ocean temperature can rise 3C from 15C to 18C due to the IPCC’s alleged forcing from doubled CO2.

      A total misrepresentation of my argument. We’re talking about a reduction in the difference between the temperature at the top of the skin layer and in the bulk mixing layer (ignoring for the moment centimeter-scale differences due to diurnal heating, etc.). If the bulk temperature is 15.000°C, and conditions are such that the temperature at the top of the skin layer would be 0.1°C lower, it would be at 14.9°C. Now assume double the CO2, “all other things being equal” (remembering they never are). Suppose you’re right that this makes a difference of 0.002°C. The temperature at the top would be 14.902°C.

      Now, consider the case as the two scenarios warm. One warms to 15.001&deg:C. the other to 15.002°C, due to lowered heat flow down a reduced gradient. The temperatures at the top would be 14.901°C and 14.904°C. Thus, the reduced gradient continues to reduce heat flow as the underlying bulk temp rises. Suppose the case with double CO2 rises to 18.000°C, as you suggest. In that case, the skin temp will be 17.902°C. The effect of increased CO2 (also downwelling IR from other sources) is on the gradient. No violation of either Law of Thermodynamics.

      Clearly, AK lacks the most rudimentary understanding of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, and requirement of increasing entropy.

      Clearly “Hockey Schtick” is engaged in arm-waving intended to flim-flam readers not prepared to examine the detailed argument I just gave. Probably due to lack of understanding.

      • He doesn’t believe that’s ad hominem.

        It’s not. Ad hominem is suggesting the argument is invalid due to the source. Suggesting the person making the argument doesn’t understand the subject because of the quality of the argument isn’t Ad hominem. In this case, saying “x can’t happen because of the 1st and 2nd law” is nothing but “ritual words to be spouted in an argument”. No demonstration how “x” actually violates one of those laws.

        As my detailed explanation demonstrated. If you think there’s something wrong with it, why not explain what’s wrong, rather than joining in “Per the 1st and 2nd laws, a decreased temperature gradient of 0.002C can at the very most cause 0.002C warming”, a clear case of “ritual words to be spouted in an argument”?

        And, BTW, your snark wasn’t Ad hominem either, just a demonstration of your inability to produce a valid argument.

      • Crickets? I’ll come back tomorrow, I’ve got other things to do tonight.

      • And a look at the source shows me those weren’t real “JC SNIP”s. You drunk David?

      • David Springer

        AK | May 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Reply

        And a look at the source shows me those weren’t real “JC SNIP”s. You drunk David?

        —————————————————————————————
        Really? You needed to look at the source to determine that Dr Curry didn’t add 10 consecutive JC SNIP without a word between them? Did it really strike you that she might do that? That’s pretty funny. I think you just like pointing out you know how use developer mode. Wow. You’re like super sophisticated huh? LOL

        Last drink I had was Thursday. JC SNIPped the entire comment so I can’t check the date but I think it was more recent. So no I wasn’t drunk. Maybe you were if you needed to press F12 to see if the JC SNIPs were real?

    • AK says “Clearly “Hockey Schtick” is engaged in arm-waving intended to flim-flam readers not prepared to examine the detailed argument I just gave. Probably due to lack of understanding.”

      Ridiculous, the “detailed argument” you gave is complete nonsense. An increased temperature gradient of 0.002C can at the most cause 0.002C warming. The RealClimate post demonstrates the trivial effect of LWIR on the oceans: a mere 0.002C warming from the alleged forcing attributed to doubling of CO2 of 3.7 W/m2 at the TOA and 1 W/m2 at the surface. Per the 1st and 2nd laws, a decreased temperature gradient of 0.002C can at the very most cause 0.002C warming, not 3C as AK claims.

    • More arm-waving.

  29. The model looks to be entirely reasonable. Net warming on the surface due to TOA imbalance slowly diffuses down to the ocean depths and a new equilibrium is reached throughout the ocean over a long period. So far so good.

    However the “missing energy” argument used to explain the 16 year hiatus in surface warming as proposed by Trenberth et al. is very different. They argue that the missing heat has already been absorbed by the deep ocean and is due to return soon. Thermodynamics would argue that this is impossible, but instead ‘weather’ is to blame.

    Perhaps instead the recent ‘apparent” reduction in cloud cover may be the real explanation. see: http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=5694

  30. Very interesting analysis. Certainly this downwelling LW provides an explanation for some ocean heat content increases, but not the full story. As was saw during the past decade of the “hiatus” in tropospheric temperatures, the oceans continued to warm quite vigorously during the period. There are two reasons for this, and neither related to increased downwelling of LW. First, increased easterlies over the Pacific were part of the cool phase PDO. These easterlies forced both a cooling of the Eastern Pacific, but also “spun up” the north and south Pacific gyres, and forced greater amounts of warm water to greater depth through Eckman pumping. Secondly, the warming near the Antarctic region has allowed for the freshening of surface waters there. With that freshening, as well as changes in the wind over that region, we’ve seen the gradual increase in sea ice in the SH. This freshening and greater sea ice has prevented warm water upwelling and release of heat to the atmosphere—thus the deeper water of the Southern Ocean have warmed, not because of surface to deeper ocean warming, but because less heat has been escaping from the deeper ocean around Antarctica.

    What must be constantly kept in mind when analyzing ocean heat content and the warming of the oceans is that the net flow of energy on Earth is strongly from ocean to atmosphere—with the atmosphere getting the majority of its energy from latent and sensible heat flux from the ocean. Thus, any accurate analysis of ocean heat content increases or decreases must be looked at most accurately in processes that reduce the rate of this naturally strong ocean to atmosphere latent and sensible heat flux.

  31. “In this model, we start with the upper mixed layer of an ocean in equilibrium with the air above it.”

    So as a starting point you pick a completely non-physical model. The upper ocean is not in equilibrium with the air above it. The air temperature and ocean surface, 0-4 m down, cycle during 24 hours.

    Moreover, the oceans are not flat, they are subject to waves actions and above the atmosphere/saline interface are saline particles. The fine mist is also absorbing IR radiation, and at different times of the day, and in different sea states, the amount of fine mist is variable.
    My guess is that most of the IR energy is absorbed at the saline/atmosphere interface, probably within a 10 cm band and that very little is thermalized, with most driving evaporation.

  32. Again a disquisition on changes that are within experimental error.
    From about 1955 the upper ocean layer has warmed about 0.07 deg, C.
    Given the methods used to measure the change in temperature this value is meaningless.
    But hell, this climate “science”, so who cares?

  33. Here is a post I wrote a few years ago on this issue, showing how downwelling IR enables thermal balance to be achieved at an emitting surface which can then be much warmer than it would otherwise be. It includes experimental day/night temperature profiles close to the surface.

    • Nick, did you get the lineshape of absorption from pure water or sea water? I believe that the lineshape of absorption is a little steeper, with the extinction of sea water having an extinction coefficient of near 10,000 to 1,000 cm-1 at 10 microns

    • DocM,
      They aren’t my plots; they are due to Dr Piotr Flatau of Scripps.

      I expect he would have used seawater properties..

    • Nick, when you say “experiments,” do you mean experiments with matter, models, or something else?

    • OK, I missed the link in the “Here” So, it’s not really an experiment, it’s a model. I come from a chemistry background. Chemistry is deeply rooted in empiricism. I can’t believe some of the output of climate “science.” There simply isn’t enough data and experiments with matter – not models.

    • David Springer

      Maybe an experiment to test your hypothesis would help.

      Just sayin’.

  34. David L. Hagen

    Webby
    Try again. Your ref suggests: International Seminar on Nuclear War and Planetary Emergencies
    That lists: “Overcoming Chaotic Behavior of Climate Models S. Fred Singer and Christopher W. Monckton p 299”
    SEPP lists:
    Overcoming Chaotic Behavior of Climate Models S. Fred Singer and Christopher Walter Monckton of Brenchley links to:
    Overcoming Chaotic Behavior of Climate Models S. Fred Singer
    That does not mention “ocean”, “sea”, “surface”, or “water”.
    Please detail your reference and quote the paragraph.

  35. So, the model produces an estimated increase in the rate of evaporation as a result of the estimated rate of heat gain by the oceans due to an increase in back IR radiation, right?

  36. David L. Hagen

    Webby
    Numerous other authors discuss “cool skin layer”.
    There are 141 papers discussing “cool skin layer” ocean and 139 on “cool skin layer” sea
    Where is S. Fred Singer discussing that?

  37. Matthew R Marler

    Donald Rapp: The average surface forcing due to increased CO2 over the past 55 years was roughly 0.4 W/m2. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect that the upper mixed level of the ocean would have warmed by an input of roughly this amount over that time period. Experimental data on warming of the oceans indicate that over the past ~50 years, the average warming was due to a flux of about this magnitude.

    I did not find in your model any allowance for increased evaporation either as a direct result of increased long wave IR or as a result of the consequent warming.

    If the concentration of CO2 in the troposphere increased, would the temperature of the troposphere increase, according to your model?

    • Dear Matthew Marler: This model has principal value in a qualitative sense to show that contrary to numerous assertions on the Internet, the increased downwelling IR from additional CO2 in the atmosphere does indeed reduce the rate of heat loss by the oceans. When you try to use the model quantitatively, you find it is very sensitive to assumptions about how the air above the ocean tracks changes in the ocean. If you go to the full paper using the link I supplied, Eq 8 does allow for increased evaporation. Nevertheless, quantitative results from the model are of uncertain veracity – like almost everything in climate science.

    • “This model has principal value in a qualitative sense to show that contrary to numerous assertions on the Internet, the increased downwelling IR from additional CO2 in the atmosphere does indeed reduce the rate of heat loss by the oceans. ”

      Since it totally ignores the principal objection of those ‘numerous assertions ‘ it does show anything nor inform us about that point of view.

      You simply assume downward IR can penetrate the surface and cause deeper warming and carry on ahead.

      On reading your introduction I was very interested and thought you were going to present some intresting arguments, on way or the other.

      Instead you simply side step this issue.

      Disappointing.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Donald Rapp, you addressed one question, how about this one: If the concentration of CO2 in the troposphere increased, would the temperature of the troposphere increase, according to your model?

    • Pierre-Normand

      Matthew R Marler wrote: “Donald Rapp, you addressed one question, how about this one: If the concentration of CO2 in the troposphere increased, would the temperature of the troposphere increase, according to your model?”

      It seems to me Rapp’s model leaves this question unanswered. It also leaves unanswered the question how much the ocean surface should warm as a response to an increased atmospsheric CO2 concentration. That’s because it only seeks to answer the questions how much the surface ought to warm in response to an instantaneous increase in back radiation from CO2, and how much of a surface imbalance there will be in the interval. But simply restoring the surface energy balance doesn’t ensure that the TOA balance also will be restored. If there remains a TOA imbalance, then the atmosphere will gain or lose energy until its temperature profile changes and a new forcing at the surface will likely be created. So, one must solve simultaneously for balance constraints both at the surface and TOA (or surface and tropopause) in order to establish climate sensitivity.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pierre-Normand:It seems to me Rapp’s model leaves this question unanswered. It also leaves unanswered the question how much the ocean surface should warm as a response to an increased atmospsheric CO2 concentration. That’s because it only seeks to answer the questions how much the surface ought to warm in response to an instantaneous increase in back radiation from CO2, and how much of a surface imbalance there will be in the interval. But simply restoring the surface energy balance doesn’t ensure that the TOA balance also will be restored. If there remains a TOA imbalance, then the atmosphere will gain or lose energy until its temperature profile changes and a new forcing at the surface will likely be created. So, one must solve simultaneously for balance constraints both at the surface and TOA (or surface and tropopause) in order to establish climate sensitivity.

      Previously you wrote some rather thoughtful posts disagreeing with me (or at least attempting to fill in where my knowledge was lacking.) Here I think that we are in agreement. His model actually does not address the limitations that people have found in the “explanation” that there is a pause in current surface warming because the rate of warming the subsurface water has increased.

      I look forward to your posts, and I read most of them even when I do not respond.

  38. David L. Hagen

    Manacker
    thanks for the link.
    No mention of any paper by Singer. Only “The need for such an analysis grew out of a series of discussions with S. Fred Singer”.
    Peter observes:

    There is an associated reduction in the difference between the 5 cm and the skin temperatures. The slope of the relationship is 0.002ºK (W/m2)-1. Of course the range of net infrared forcing caused by changing cloud conditions (~100W/m2) is much greater than that caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases (e.g. doubling pre-industrial CO2 levels will increase the net forcing by ~4W/m2), but the objective of this exercise was to demonstrate a relationship.

    To conclude, it is perfectly physically consistent to expect that increasing greenhouse gas driven warming will heat the oceans – as indeed is being observed.

    CO2 is necessary, but not sufficient.
    i.e. Clouds are 2500% of CO2 doubling.
    Global warming enthusiasts must show what portion was due to Clouds vs what to CO2.
    There appears insufficient data to do that quantitatively – though evidence suggests a substantial portion was clouds.

    Eastman & Green A 39-Year Survey of Cloud Changes from Land Stations Worldwide 1971-2009

    Global average trends of cloud cover suggest a small decline in total cloud cover, on the order of -0.4 % per Decade. D

    Trends in U.S. total cloud cover from a homogeneity-adjusted dataset Melissa Free & Bomin Sun

    For 1949-2009, the adjusted time series give a trend in U.S. mean total cloud of 0.11 ± 0.22 %/decade for the military data, 0.55 ± 0.24 %/decade for the NWS data, and 0.31 ± 0.22 %/decade for the combined dataset.

    Roy Spencer Oceanic Cloud Decrease since 1987 Explains 1/3 of Ocean Heating

  39. Ulric Lyons

    Interesting old paper from 1963, it claims that long wave radiation cools the sea surface:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2153-3490.1963.tb01399.x/pdf

  40. Hi all,

    [CE lurker til now.]

    Would like to inject a curveball into this discussion, re: new claim/model of how H2O converts radiant energy into “ice-like” orderedness (while still being liquid), rather than standard brownian motion heat and evaporation. The model is courtesy Univ of Washington bioengineer Gerald Pollack, spelled out in his book The Fourth Phase of Water. It’s based on about a decade of pretty rigorous lab research. Admittedly this is a very controversial area of new science, ie “clustered/structured water” theories & anomalous claims etc.

    But it impinges on climate science debates at a number of points, so could be an interesting thread for more curious/open-minded people here to poke into. According to Pollack biological or cell water is almost entirely organized in this sense, in hexagonal layers hundreds to tens of thousands of molecular layers deep. So some portion of incoming SW and LW both is continuously absorbed by surface water and by surface-dwelling organisms (not just photosynthetic!), and converted into molecular order/structure. This would affect arguments about boundary equilibria both at the sea surface and maybe top of atmosphere too? Ie., where is [some of] the “missing heat” going? It’s not just about the added CO2 driving plant growth. The added energy could also be boosting the orderedness of biological systems & their metabolic efficiency, or something, rather than adding to the measurable “heat energy” of the planet or the ocean.

    I know I should be citing a Pollack paper or two that specifically addresses the light / IR conversion to H2O ordering but you can find all his stuff on his academic site. I highly recommend checking out the book. I’ve mentioned the possible connections to climate change to Pollack but it seems he hasn’t had a chance to focus on it yet. http://faculty.washington.edu/ghp/publications/

    • Here’s one of the Pollack papers. (BTW the effect he describes occurs in response to hydrophilic surfaces, but in his book he talks about surface tension and speculates that such ordered layers in the ocean could extend up to a meter.)

      Effect of radiant energy on near-surface water.
      Chai B1, Yoo H, Pollack GH.

      While recent research on interfacial water has focused mainly on the few interfacial layers adjacent to the solid boundary, century-old studies have extensively shown that macroscopic domains of liquids near interfaces acquire features different from the bulk. Interest in these long-range effects has been rekindled by recent observations showing that colloidal and molecular solutes are excluded from extensive regions next to many hydrophilic surfaces …. Studies of these aqueous “exclusion zones” reveal a more ordered phase than bulk water, with local charge separation between the exclusion zones and the regions beyond…, here confirmed using pH measurements. The main question, however, is where the energy for building these charged, low-entropy zones might come from. It is shown that radiant energy profoundly expands these zones in a reversible, wavelength-dependent manner. It appears that incident radiant energy may be stored in the water as entropy loss and charge separation.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19827846
      J Phys Chem B. 2009 Oct 22;113(42):13953-8. doi: 10.1021/jp908163w.

  41. Willis Eschenbach

    Donald, first, thanks for your contribution. By and large, I agree with you. However, there are some points of difference.

    First, while the temperature profile at the surface is correct, you’ve left out the units of depth. In your Figure 3, the falling temperature is in the top half millimetre of the ocean. Half a millimetre …

    Next, your average conceals the constantly fluctuating nature of small scale oceanic surface temperature variations. The temperature of the surface constantly goes up and down, and as a result, despite the fact that the average of the temperature curve goes down, a lot of the time the surface temperature fluctuations totally overwhelm it.

    Next, you’ve left out the effect of the wind. Even in a trivial wind, there is significant mixing at the surface. But when you get to whitecaps and spume and foam and all the rest, the average goes out the window … and most of the ocean has whitecaps for a good portion of the year.

    Next, the diagram you show is the night-time temperature. There is a properly labelled day and night time diagram here.

    This is important because the stability of the ocean moves in opposition to the stability of the atmosphere. The atmosphere overturns during the day, and stratifies at night.

    But the ocean is stratified during the day and it overturns at night. This is important because during the day, if there is no wind there is very little exchange of the actual water molecules that make up the surface layer.

    But at night, once the nocturnal overturning starts, the molecules of water at the surface are constantly cooling and sinking, and are being replaced by warmer molecules from below.

    In general, I agree with your basic claim. As I understand it, you’re saying that slowing the cooling leaves the whole ocean warmer.

    However, I would add that it is the nocturnal overturning which guarantees that the entire mixed layer will warm evenly as the result of a reduction in surface cooling. Since the overturning means that all of the water involved will frequently end up at the surface, radiate away its energy, cool, and sink back down, the entire uppermost part of the ocean ends up warmer.

    Best regards, and well done,

    w.

    • David Springer

      “and most of the ocean has whitecaps for a good portion of the year.”

      Most of the ocean has fish for a good portion of the year too. It doesn’t follow that fish cover most of the surface.

      What portion of the ocean surface is actually white water vs. unbroken water?

  42. For one who has spent many, many hours staring at the surface of the ocean from the air, I can say that a flat ocean surface is largely a myth. Most of the time in the open ocean, the wind is strong enough to generate ‘white horses’. But even at lower wind speeds, the surface is disturbed enough to invalidate the assumption of a flat surface. Thus mixing of water and air is far greater on the average than the ‘flat surface’ assumption would suggest. So heat transfer between the media, aided by the latent heat of evaporation is likely to be much higher..

    Clouds have a totally different effect day and night. In daylight clouds reflect the sun’s rays back into space, and so cool the oceans. At night however clouds reflect the outward IR radiation from the oceans back to the oceans, warming the latter.

  43. Robert I Ellison

    This was a reply to Doc – damn threading.

  44. The average surface forcing due to increased CO2 over the past 55 years was roughly 0.4 W/m2.

    I do accept the W/m2 as possibely or most likely right.

    I do reject the “DUE TO increased CO2” as it is mostly UNKNOWN!

  45. if you have a different theory with a set point and bounds that can explain the past eleven thousand years, offer it forward, here, and now.

  46. Since Fan has been “outed” repeatedly on this site, asking for his ID is superfluous. It doesn’t take a lot of searching to find out who he is; he even posts in very similar style under his own name at other blogs. I don’t see what his credentials would have to do with the validity or lack thereof of his effusions.

  47. The ruminations of academic minds with little relevant experience in the real world is the main reason that debate in “climate science” is often as bitter as it is empty. One can scarcely imagine a less realistic model of near-surface heat transfer in the ocean than that presented here. It’s as devoid of deeper comprehension of the enthalpy of evaporation as is the portrayal of the radiative impedance of the atmosphere as a “forcing,” whose “positive feedback” effect is simply the binomial sum 1/(1-r), r <1.

  48. O/T bu the warmanista have been caught being naughty again

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/05/james-okeefe-punks-hollywood-greens.php

  49. 1. Shooting down parts of the article, if possible and allowed
    “As these changes in the ocean take place, changes are likely to occur in the air above the ocean surface. In some zero’th order models, it has been assumed that the air remains unchanged in temperature and humidity, even as the ocean surface warms. At the other extreme, one can assume that the air temperature tracks the ocean surface temperature and the relative humidity in the air remains constant (the absolute humidity increases). Reality probably lies between these extremes”
    Having been down to the ocean I can state that the air temperature does not track the surface temperature and does not remain unchanged, The air temperature reacts to the presence or absence of the sun and to a lesser extent clouds. Hence in the morning it [might] be at sea temperature but in the tropics it will be many degrees hotter at midday and at night it may drop well below sea temperature.
    Air temperature at other latitudes varies again with the presence or absence of the sun and the time it is up for and confounding factors like air flow over adjacent land or ice.
    Back to the drawing board, laddie.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Angesh, you are talking about local diurnal and weather related variations. Rapp is talking about variations in long term globally averaged variables that have significance for the global energy budget. He is not denying the variations that you take him to be ignoring.

  50. Once again, we need more data, less model. Although I realize we don’t have detailed temp profile of parts of the ocean as CO2 was rising. Maybe a suitable experiment could be designed anyway? Use an IR filter to create the same back-radiation as 280 ppm CO2 on an aquarium full of water and plastic wrap on the control. Place thermocouples at various depths in each.

    Surely, with some elaboration, it could be done.

  51. There is considerable evidence that sea surface temperatures (SST) have warmed significantly over the course of the 20th century.
    ” While the data on ocean warming leaves much to be desired”,

  52. “Had there been long-term systematic increases in solar intensity and/or decreases in cloud cover, that would certainly have contributed significantly to ocean warming”
    there may well have been in which case this article has a fundamental flaw.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Angech, this post isn’t arguing that the warming of the oceans necessarily must be entirely attributed to CO2 forcing. It is rather countering the commonly heard argument that ocean warming *can’t* be attributed to CO2 forcing since IR radiation can’t penetrate beyond the skin layer. It shoes this argument to be invalid. It also shoes that the amount of ocean warming that we ought to expect from known CO2 forcing is consistent with the observed warming — though it also argues for large uncertainties. (Those very large uncertainties in attribution are lowered, in my view, when considerations of TOA balance also are taken into consideration. But that’s another topic).

  53. DocMartyn and Wilde: Yer in over yer heads, Better swim away or yul drown. Is there one commentator out there (Gates excepted) who is not arrogant, self-assured, certain he is right, and doesn’t have a clue nevertheless? The oceans have warmed, The data prove it. The mechanism has been understood in principle for 34 years. Yes the model is primitive and does not come close to representing the real world situation in detail. But the overall concept is correct. Rising CO2 warms the oceans. Now, which am I? A denier or an alarmist?

    • “Is there one commentator out there (Gates excepted) who is not arrogant, self-assured, certain he is right, and doesn’t have a clue nevertheless?”

      Sure.

      “Now, which am I? A denier or an alarmist?”

      What you are or what anyone else commenting here is of no real importance, is it?

    • “Yer in over yer heads”

      Indeed? I find it stupid that someone ‘averages’ fluxes in an oscillating, steady state system.
      If one were to apply this ‘equilibrium’ approximation to the steady state position of the Earth over the course of a year then the ‘equilibrium’ position of the Earth is in the center of the solar system.
      Such an analysis may cheer some religious fundamentalists, but I find it to be stupid. We know how to treat oscillating, steady state systems and we know that the equilibrium approximation does not work.

    • But the overall concept is correct. Rising CO2 warms the oceans. Now, which am I? A denier or an alarmist?

      “Rising CO2 warms the oceans.” All other things being equal, a higher level of CO2 in the atmosphere at a specific location will usually (almost always) result in the underlying ocean at that location getting warmer in response to the insolation at that point in space and time. There, I fixed it for you.

      Given that the most important result of more downwelling IR (from CO2, clouds, or whatever) is to raise the temperature of the water (and air) right at the top of a skin layer only a few hundred microns thick, it seems intuitively plausible (but no more than that) that the large majority of the energy from that downwelling IR ends up as latent heat due to increased evaporation.

      While what remains could reasonably be expected to result in higher temperatures in the mixing layer, the effect of increased evaporation may well result in a large enough increase in cloudiness to more than counteract that extra heating by reflecting more solar SW away.

      Interestingly, the fact that the increased downwelling IR is absorbed in the skin layer means that models that allow absolute humidity in the overlying atmospheric mixing layer to be controlled by “SST” in the upper mixing layer may well be unable to reproduce a variety of mechanisms that could produce a negative “feedback” through cloud albedo that’s actually larger than the base effect. Which in turn could conceivably (although it’s unlikely globally) lead to a negative “sensitivity”, at least for local conditions.

  54. Willis Eschenbach

    bob droege | May 21, 2014 at 9:31 pm |

    This would be a more realistic temperature profile.

    As as some one who has measure ocean temperature at various depths up to (I cant tell you cause it’s classified) feet, I can say that the following statement from the op

    “The surface is cooler than the bulk ocean because of heat loss to the atmosphere.”

    is wrong.

    The ocean is cooler at depth, and the surface layer is of uniform temperature, and the ocean has waves.

    Thanks for speaking from experience, Bob. I fear, however, that you and the author are talking about different things. The problem is that he hasn’t labeled the y axis. The drop in temperature is in the uppermost half of a millimetre or so of the ocean’s skin.. They’re talking about a long-term theoretical average drop of tenths of a degree in the top few tenths of a millimetre.

    I’ve pointed out upthread some of the reasons why his diagram of a constant situation, a current-free, turbulence-free and overturning-free, totally calm situation is a totally unrealistic portrait of the real world.

    Regards,

    w.

  55. Donald –

    I find it interesting that you don’t seem particularly interested in checking R. Gates’ credentials. It speaks to what I consider to be the selectivity in many “skeptics” attitudes toward credentials, or authority (or peer review, or consensus, or ad homs, or activism, or holocaust reference, etc.)…

    It seems that if someone agrees with you, you consider their “authority” to be basically irrelevant, but if someone disagrees with you, their “authority” becomes an issue.

    It reminds me of when Judith complains of “appeal to authority” and then turns around and argues that we should trust Freeman Dyson’s opinions because of his authority of being a leading physicist.

    Mind you, I’m not saying that I think that authority or credentials are irrelevant. I think that they are instructive as to probabilities – in the same sense that you said:

    –> ” There is a finite probability that Mills is in error, but in my opinion it is low. ”

    My point is that the selectivity in attitude towards authority among “skeptics” reveals a lack of skepticism – and it is a “tell” for “motivated reasoning.” Of course, inconsistency in approach towards the relevance of “authority” is certainly not exclusive to the “skeptic” side of the climate wars.

  56. manny – fanny’s record also speaks for itself. that and the pretty stars (which make for hell for txt to speech programs).

  57. ”Had there been long-term systematic increases in solar intensity and/or decreases in cloud cover, that would certainly have contributed significantly to ocean warming”.

    BUT there is evidence of this. For the passed 3.5 billion years the equatorial oceans have absorbed solar radiation dependent upon the general cloud mass above them within the ITCZ. Every time that evidence of a reduction in the easterly wave strata cumulus cloud mass is presented there is an immediate reaction from both sides of the CC fence to debunk honest, accurate and relevant scientific evidence. SST, rainfall, river flow, satellite imagery, air pressure data all point to the same conclusion, but somehow the 3.5 billion year old process that a 4 year old can understand, has somehow become irrelevant to the magnificence of the human brain in its ability to provide comfortable fiction to block out uncomfortable facts.

    • Dear Conor McMenemie: Let’s get this straight. I was a full professor of physics at the U. of Texas at age 40, published 80 peer reviewed journal articles, had several citation classics with over 400 citations to my articles, and 7 of my technical books are for sale at amazon.com. I looked you up on the Internet and can’t find much except a few silly postings on blogs. Then you tell me that I don’t understand what “a 4 year old can understand, has somehow become irrelevant to the magnificence of the human brain in its ability to provide comfortable fiction to block out uncomfortable facts.” JC SNIP

    • David Springer

      The author of the OP gets a snip from Curry. That’s hilarious.

  58. Willis Eschenbach

    Donald Rapp | May 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Reply

    DocMartyn and Wilde: Yer in over yer heads, Better swim away or yul drown. Is there one commentator out there (Gates excepted) who is not arrogant, self-assured, certain he is right, and doesn’t have a clue nevertheless?

    The irony, it burns …

    The oceans have warmed, The data prove it. The mechanism has been understood in principle for 34 years. Yes the model is primitive and does not come close to representing the real world situation in detail. But the overall concept is correct. Rising CO2 warms the oceans. Now, which am I? A denier or an alarmist?

    Donald, we know the oceans have warmed.

    And we also know that CO2 has risen.

    However, it is a bridge way too far to conclude from those facts that “CO2 warms the oceans”.

    It ignores the existence of a number of emergent phenomena, led by tropical thunderstorms, that act to control the amount of solar energy entering the system. These systems are thermally regulated, not forcing regulated. They allow more solar energy in when it is cold, and allow less energy in when it is warm.

    In addition, they adjust the rate at which heat moves from the tropical surface to the atmosphere.

    These phenomena emerge in response to high temperature, and they act to cool the surface. They cool the surface both by reducing energy input and by increasing energy throughput.

    And as a result,

    Regards,

    w.


    • These systems are thermally regulated, not forcing regulated. They allow more solar energy in when it is cold, and allow less energy in when it is warm.

      Where do they find these people?

    • I also wonder what might be the effect of the many millions of tons of iron-rich dust which inland Australia deposits on the oceans once or twice in a generation. The Federation Drought and WW2 Drought, as well as the El Nino conditions of 1982-3 and 2009 sent the outback to the surf and beyond. It’s often reported as tragedy, pollution, CAGW warning etc but it’s pretty natural for spring (especially) westerlies to pick up silt from the centre and the Lake Eyre basin in the right conditions. And those right conditions tend to be associated with El Nino.

      I’m sure the effect is complex and staged, but hard to believe there is no large effect. There have been related claims made about the dust from Pinatubo. People actually try to get paid for doing a similar thing small scale and artificially with iron sulphate. Beat-ups aside, could this be another one of those regulating things? (I won’t say mechanism, dunno why.)

    • To Willis Eschenbach: I certainly did not mean to include you in the heel nippers who are “arrogant, self-assured, certain he is right, and doesn’t have a clue nevertheless”. Yes, you are right that the temperatures of the oceans are affected by many things, particularly tropical thunderstorms and extent of cloud cover, that we cannot characterize very well. But I did not argue that because CO2 rose and oceans warmed, therefore, rising CO2 warmed the oceans. What I do argue is that, as shown 34 years ago, based on modeling the ocean-air interface with an energy balance, rising CO2 does cause some ocean warming. Other factors, as you correctly point out, affect ocean temperatures, perhaps even more than rising CO2.

  59. Willis Eschenbach

    WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | May 22, 2014 at 2:49 am |

    These systems are thermally regulated, not forcing regulated. They allow more solar energy in when it is cold, and allow less energy in when it is warm.

    Where do they find these people?

    I’m sorry, Web, was there a scientific question in there?

    w.

    PS—The threading seems to be messed up, or something. My comments are appearing in strange places.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “PS—The threading seems to be messed up, or something. My comments are appearing in strange places.”

      I’ve noticed the same thing.

  60. Climate change mechanisms … some problems, well they’re
    wicked aren’t they? Complex interactive systems developing
    all sorts of cascades and chain reactions. Tsk! ………………

    Yes, this is the Bureau of Wicked Problems, how may I help you?

    No sorry, we don’t take problems from the public.

    Why? Because formulating and processing wicked problems
    can only be done within the confines of a highly sophisticated
    department like ours.

    You need to understand that only the Wicked Problems Bureau
    has the necessary coordinating departments to be effective.

    Look, let me explain. We have a ‘Framing and Enhancements
    Department’ (FED) on the second floor, there’s ‘Implications,
    Assessments and Outcomes’ ‘ (IAOD) on the third floor, and
    ‘Public Awareness and Hype Department,’ (PUHD) on the
    top floor.

    What did you say?

    There’s no need to be rude.

    And good day to you too.

  61. Physics is a bit odd at times. The sun for all its output is incapable of warming 99% of the earth because the radiation only affects the top 20 cms of soil, the top 100 meters of water and all the atmosphere, which added together form less than 1 % of the matter in the earth. The way that the heat is distributed between the land, oceans and air is poorly modeled and poorly understood if we can have such competing theories on how the air water interface acts and Mr Rapp has to put up an explanation that does not satisfy most people [thanks for trying though]
    The input of the heat is most intense directly under the sun and is miles higher than the average heat over 24 hours that is supposed to act on the average square meter. When we talk of CO2 causing a forcing averaged about 0.4 W/m2. this has nothing to do with the amount of heat put into that water over 12 hours by the Sun and the ways that the water surface interface may act. Water vapour in the air may be extremely humid at midday and lead to a much higher chance of cloud formation. Both of these increase back radiation at much higher levels than a standard averaged heat model but of course they also stop a lot of heat getting through to the water.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Angech wrote: “When we talk of CO2 causing a forcing averaged about 0.4 W/m2. this has nothing to do with the amount of heat put into that water over 12 hours by the Sun and the ways that the water surface interface may act.”

      The forcing at the tropopause from a doubling of CO2 is 3.7W/m^2. That’s comparable to an increase in solar intensity of more than 1%. It’s quite significant. The lower value — about 1 or 1.2W/m^2 at the surface — just is the imbalance at the surface that would be caused by the forcing being applied all at once with no time allowed for the troposphere to adjust. This immediate forcing is smaller at the surface than it is at the tropopause because much of the increased downwelling radiation from the atmosphere is absorbed by water vapor near the surface. But this energy remains in the system and will cause surface fluxes to adjust, so this is a merely transient state. Until both the troposphere and surface have warmed, 3.7W/m^2 is the true extra energy input in the whole ocean+atmosphere system.

    • “The input of the heat is most intense directly under the sun and is miles higher than the average heat over 24 hours that is supposed to act on the average square meter”

      As far as incoming flux are concerned, it makes no real difference if the ocean is flat or its surface is covered in waves; 1 m2 is 1 m2.
      However, this is not the cause for energy efflux, the effective surface area of the radiating surface is affected by the disturbance of the surface. Waves allow the ocean to radiate over a greater surface area than when the ocean is flat. A wave have a greater radiating area, to space, than does a flat surface.
      The physics at a boundary is always fun.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Doc Martyn wrote: “Waves allow the ocean to radiate over a greater surface area than when the ocean is flat. A wave have a greater radiating area, to space, than does a flat surface.”

      I’m not sure I can picture this. At one given point at the TOA the received flux (through the atmospheric window) is integrated over a (nearly) 2pi steradian. Each small solid angle element intersects some area of the sea surface. It’s true that if the surface is wavy then this intersected surface may have a larger area than if it is flat. But it still sustains the same solid angle element at TOA. If what you say were true, and the received power at TOA were dependent on the total emitting surface area rather than the solid angle sustained, then this would seem to imply that a black body can have an emissivity larger than 1 if its surface is rugged or wavy rather than smooth. When facing a smooth black body of same overall dimension at the same temperature, it would emit more energy towards it than it would receive from it in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

    • “If what you say were true, and the received power at TOA were dependent on the total emitting surface area rather than the solid angle sustained, then this would seem to imply that a black body can have an emissivity larger than 1 if its surface is rugged or wavy rather than smooth. When facing a smooth black body of same overall dimension at the same temperature, it would emit more energy towards it than it would receive from it in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.”

      An ideal blackbody is considered to be thin and smooth [and absorb all radiation from any angle- which is impossible- but it’s considered to be this way. In other words it’s model and has no basis in reality.
      Of course if surface is rough it will emit more energy. Also a sphere has more area than flat panel. And cube has more area than sphere.
      The purpose of blackbody is to simplify. It allows an approximation.
      All climate model are rough approximation.
      But we climate scientists that it’s possible measure the past temperature with tree rings and “measure” within a tenth of degree. They believe the more one averages the higher the precise, and the longer into the future the better prediction.
      In other words, they are wrong..

    • Pierre-Normand

      “An ideal blackbody is considered to be thin and smooth [and absorb all radiation from any angle- which is impossible- but it’s considered to be this way.”

      It may absorb from any angle but a black body is considered to be a Lambertian radiator: emission power from the surface is proportional to the cosine of the angle of emission from the normal to the surface. I think you will find that if you do a double integral of the emissions from one black body to another one at the same temperature, from small and smooth infinitesimal elements of the emitter to elements of the receptor (assuming complete absorption), while accounting for the Lambertian character of the emissions, then the total emitted power from the first body to the second one will be the exact same that the emitted power from the second to the first one. This is as it should be if one body isn’t to be warmed by the other one when both are placed in a cold vacuum. So it’s a pretty strong thermodynamic requirement. DocMartyn’s conjecture about the geometry dependence of emissions from the ocean surface to space seem to me to contravene this unless I am missing something.

    • Pierre-Normand | May 22, 2014 at 4:50 am
      to be clear Mr Rapp wrote ” A doubling of the CO2 concentration results in a downward radiative forcing at the surface of about 1 W/m2. Over the past half century the forcing averaged about 0.4 W/m2.”
      Forcing is such a wrong word. There is no new energy coming into the system [which would be my definition of a forcing].
      There is a retention of heat getting back out through the layer of CO2 impregnated air until that layer has warmed .
      Some of that is retained in the air which heats up slightly then redistributes it into the sea which heats up by an undetectable fraction. A new balance is struck whereby the minuscule amount of extra heat from the water goes back into the air. There is no obvious temperature rise because the Climate sensitivity “forcing” to a doubling of CO2 refers to CO2 in an atmosphere alone, not with a water reservoir to redistribute and negate the heat.
      At that stage the TOA radiation out again equals that coming in.
      Hence there is no extra heat available to go into the oceans or deep oceans or anywhere else.
      We have already done virtually all the warming to the ocean from the greenhouse gases that are already there.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      “There were lot of fools at the conference – pompous fools – and pompous fools drive me up the wall. Ordinary fools are alright; you can talk to them and try to help them out. But pompous fools – guys who are fools and covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus – THAT, I CANNOT STAND! An ordinary fool isn’t a faker; an honest fool is alright. But a dishonest fool is terrible!” Richard Feynmann

      In a Lambertian radiator – the total emissions are proportional to the area.

      j* = εσT^4

      ‘A more general case is of a grey body, the one that doesn’t absorb or emit the full amount of radiative flux. Instead, it radiates a portion of it, characterized by its emissivity,:

      The irradiance j* has dimensions of energy flux (energy per time per area), and the SI units of measure are joules per second per square metre, or equivalently, watts per square metre. The SI unit for absolute temperature T is the kelvin. ε is the emissivity of the grey body; if it is a perfect blackbody, ε = 1. Still in more general (and realistic) case, the emissivity depends on the wavelength, ε = ε(λ).

      To find the total absolute power of energy radiated for an object we have to take into account the surface area, A(in m2)…’

      https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Stefan%E2%80%93Boltzmann_law.html

    • Pierre-Normand, “…. imply that a black body can have an emissivity larger than 1 if its surface is rugged or wavy rather than smooth.”

      It really just implies that the emissivity can vary. So if the average sea surface wind velocity and/or direction varies, heat transfer efficiency varies. Toggwielder with the GFDL has a nice short paper of the impact of the shifting westerlies. http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/jrt0901.pdf

    • Pierre-Normand

      “In a Lambertian radiator – the total emissions are proportional to the area.”

      My point simply is that when viewed from any angle a Lambertian radiator will have the exact same radiant intensity. The total power received will be proportional to the solid angle sustained at the observing point, which the radiator intersects. You like picturing things in your mind’s eye so picture this :

      You are looking at a bit of ocean surface while sitting somewhere at the TOA. Due to wave action, this bit of surface is has its normal inclined by an angle theta relative to your line of sight. It intersects a solid angle gamma sustained from your observation point. The power emitted towards you is proportional to the total surface areas intersected by the solid angle and also to cos(theta) since the emission law is Lambertian. But the emitting surface area also is *inversely* proportional to cos(theta) since what you see it it projection to the normal plane to your line of sight. So, the radiant intensity of the emitting surface is both proportional and inversely proportional to the cosine of the deviation from its normal to your line of sight. It is therefore constant and unaffected by the slanting of the intersected surface, and only dependent on the sustained solid angle at your vantage poin (and the inverse square law, of course).

      Qualitatively this simply means that as the wave action causes larger surface areas to be intersected by the solid angle, this surface is emitting less power towards the observation point because it is seen at an angle and Lambertian radiators emit less power at an angle. Those two effects cancel each other exactly and the apparent brightness of the surface is therefore independent of the wave action. Since this is true at any observation point at TOA, then the double integral that sums the flux from the whole ocean surface to the TOA sphere is independent of wave action.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      I cannot be bothered even reading letting alone deciphering Pierre’s gobbledygook.

      A larger surface at the same temperature will emit more total energy.

    • Skipper, “A larger surface at the same temperature will emit more total energy.”

      Yes, but a rough surface emits some portion back to the surface of the emitting body. This is why it is important to carefully define the surfaces you are using for a simplification and why “surface” temperature is a bit misleading.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “A larger surface at the same temperature will emit more total energy.”

      That’s not even wrong.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Captdallas: “Yes, but a rough surface emits some portion back to the surface of the emitting body.”

      Exactly.

    • Pierre-Norman, “That’s not even wrong.”

      Actually, it is 100% correct. If it wasn’t then there would be no fins on radiators to increase heat transfer. This is actually the hilarious part of this rediculous debate. The whole simplified “sensitivity” definition only applies to a continuous isothermal surface of constant area. That means for estimating the impact of a 1% change in “forcing” you have an oblique spheroid surface for outbound energy and roughly a spherical inbound geometry. To actually simplify the problem you can use a “sub-surface” i.e. the oceans below the mixing layer and compare that to the actual TOA the turbo-pause which would be your Lambertian radiator “surface”.

    • ” Pierre-Normand | May 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm |

      “An ideal blackbody is considered to be thin and smooth [and absorb all radiation from any angle- which is impossible- but it’s considered to be this way.”

      It may absorb from any angle but a black body is considered to be a Lambertian radiator: emission power from the surface is proportional to the cosine of the angle of emission from the normal to the surface. ”

      Yes it absorbs and emits from any angle and is the most which can be absorbed and emitted per square meter. [And it is because it’s definitional- but it’s also defintional in that it’s 2 dimensional] .But one can increase the surface area by making circle which 1 square meter into a hemisphere of 2 square meters, and one make those 2 square meters of surface area radiate more energy than 1 square meter circle which is an ideal blackbody..
      Or surface which is one square km, can have more surface area than 1 million square meters- if it has waves or not completely flat. One can wave it away:) as it being relatively unimportant for various reasons, but it does have more surface area.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      P = AεσT^4

      It is mathematical sound. A larger surface at the same temperature will emit more energy. It is mathematically self evident. Try it sometime.

      Roughness turns in on itself – therefore turbulent ocean surfaces don’t have larger surface areas? From spray and waves and foam? Wind speed is a factor in evaporation for that very reason. That particular narrative excursion from reality doesn’t even rise to level of incredulousness.

    • Oh and Pierre-Normand, the temperature of the Turbopause is around -90C meaning it has an effective S-B energy of ~65 Wm-2 which just so happens to be about the “net” surface IR heat loss. The area of the Turbo-pause relative to a Tropopause “TOA” is around 4% larger meaning the “net” IR loss relative to the “TOA” should be around 67 Wm-2 or an effective temperature of around -89.2 C degrees, which just happens to be the coldest temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Captdallas wrote :

      “Actually, it is 100% correct.”

      I said it’s *not* even wrong. (This is Pauli’s phrase.) So of course it’s correct. But it’s irrelevant. The extra emissions from the wavy ocean increased surface area are simply emitted back onto itself, as you correctly intuited. That’s a consequence of the emissions law being Lambertian as I demonstrated in simple terms the post GS wouldn’t bother to read.

      “If it wasn’t then there would be no fins on radiators to increase heat transfer.”

      The fins increase conduction to air, not radiation to distant objects. Same reason. The emission is Lambertian and hence distant objects only “see” the sustained solid angle by the radiator with constant IR radiance, and this is not affected by the increased surface. Though the actual surface seen is larger, it emits less due to being slanted, and the two effects cancel each other. The radiator emits more radiation overall but all the extra emissions are emitted back to the radiator. The interior of the fins, for instance emit mostly to each other. It’s the effect on conduction and convection that increases the efficiency, not radiation.

    • Pierre-Normand, the return emissions and total internal reflection are parts of the processes that happen :”inside” a black body. So for the variation in effective radiant area to not impact the Lambertian surface emissions that surface has to be stable in temperature and area. That isn’t possible until you reach the actual TOA at ~100 km or the Turbopause where there is no longer turbulent mixing and internal reflection. As long as you use that as your surface, you are correct, however, the Earth Energy Budget numbers are based on a tropopause approximation so the variation in surface are impacts the “assumed” radiant surface. This is the reason that atmospheric “window” and estimated DWLR are virtually meaningless without a properly defined “surface” that meets the requires of a Labertian radiator or radiant “shell”. That is why Trenberth et al. missed 18 Wm-2 related to the water vapor continuum which also happens to be a large portion of the potential spectral broadening required for the higher climate “sensitivities.

      It also has a impact on the potential range of natural internal variability that needs to be considered for various “surfaces”. The average SST can vary by nearly 0.3C with zero change in actual average surface energy. Since land amplifies variations, “global” surface temperatures can vary by around 0.5 C with zero change in actual average surface energy.

      So variation is surface area does impact the as estimated OLR because the chosen “surface” is not an actual Lambertian radiant surface. That in a nutshell is the :grey body issue that tends to get glossed over.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      So it comes back to pierre believing six impossible things before breakfast and steradian geometry at all?

      That is that a turbulent ocean surface is not actually larger in area a smooth surface? And that he can intuit this with narrative – because well he believes six impossible things…?

      It is utterly pathetic nonsense. Why am I not surprised.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Captdallas wrote: “Pierre-Normand, the return emissions and total internal reflection are parts of the processes that happen :”inside” a black body.”

      If you want to say that any emission from the surface that is absorbed back by some other part of the surface is merely “internal” to the surface as a whole, and likewise for the radiator, I have no objection. That’s just another way of agreeing with me that surface waves don’t change the total *upwelling* emissions (i.e. the emissions actually leaving the surface).

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      “There were lot of fools at the conference – pompous fools – and pompous fools drive me up the wall. Ordinary fools are alright; you can talk to them and try to help them out. But pompous fools – guys who are fools and covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus – THAT, I CANNOT STAND! An ordinary fool isn’t a faker; an honest fool is alright. But a dishonest fool is terrible!” Richard Feynmann

      … and (not) to steradian geometry…

    • Pierre-Normand

      “That is that a turbulent ocean surface is not actually larger in area a smooth surface? And that he can intuit this with narrative – because well he believes six impossible things…?”

      Where did I say that it is not larger in area? You don’t address anything I say, claiming not to be bothered to read it, but you are patient enough to refute claims that I didn’t make.

      It is larger in areas but it radiates the same power *to space* (or the same upwelling power through some higher tropospheric level). It also radiates more power in total. But the extra power that it isn’t radiating away simply is radiated back to itself (e.g. from one wave to an adjacent wave across a through). The impossibility rather would be that it would radiate more power to space. That’s because it can’t radiate more power to space and still have the same radiance viewed from any angle. That would be a contradiction. (Can’t you see why?) But Lambertian radiators *do* have the same radiance when viewed from any angle, as I explained.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “… and (not) to steradian geometry…”

      I can’t figure what it is about solid angles that’s agitating you so much.

      Here is an explanation from the Wikipedia article on Lambert’s cosine law. Does it sound like pompous gibberish to you? If you can explain it in another way without making use of the concept of a solid angles, more power to you.

      “A surface which obeys Lambert’s law is said to be Lambertian, and exhibits Lambertian reflectance. Such a surface has the same radiance when viewed from any angle. This means, for example, that to the human eye it has the same apparent brightness (or luminance). It has the same radiance because, although the emitted power from a given area element is reduced by the cosine of the emission angle, the apparent size (solid angle) of the observed area, as seen by a viewer, is decreased by a corresponding amount. Therefore, its radiance (power per unit solid angle per unit projected source area) is the same.”

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Do you imagine that I was … what was your word in that first sentence?

      Steradian geometry is simply irrelevant – the relevant factor is the surface area as Doc said.

      But bad faith and bad science are a little too tedious to waste more time on.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Steradian geometry is simply irrelevant – the relevant factor is the surface area as Doc said.”

      “Steradian geometry,” if you want to call it that, only comes into it in a trivial fashion when you integrate across the whole 2pi solid angle of view of the whole visible ocean surface from some point above the surface. Since each infinitesimal element of surface viewed only radiates towards you a power that depends on the solid angle of view, and is independent of the surface area intersected, the total surface area drops out of the equation. Only the inverse square law, and the solid angles sustained by the surface elements integrated, determine the total flux towards the observer.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Utterly wrong as usual – the total power emitted is a linear function of the area. A larger surface area at the same temperature emits more energy.

      Going around in ever diminishing circles until you disappear up your own arse?

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Utterly wrong as usual – the total power emitted is a linear function of the area. A larger surface area at the same temperature emits more energy.”

      I agree that the *total* power emitted is proportional to the total surface area. But the total power emitted *upwards* isn’t. (“upwards” means withing the 2pi steradian solid angle above the horizontal plane.) When some surface element isn’t horizontal, then the same power is emitted *overall*, but some of it is now emitted in a direction below the horizon and so it never leaves the ocean surface. It hits the surface back some short distance away. Hence the *upwelling* power isn’t increased one bit (as calculation shows, but you don’t like calculations).

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      No – upward is anything above the horizon. You are capable of more than incoherent narrative and believing 6 impossible things before breakfast? No – I don’t believe it.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “No – upward is anything above the horizon.”

      That’s indeed how I defined it: “…above the horizontal plane”. Hence if the surface isn’t horizontal some of its emissions won’t be emitted upwards according to that definition — some of the emissions will be emitted in a direction below the horizon. Can’t you picture that at all? E.g. if the surface is locally slanted 30° relative to the horizontal plane (on the side of an ocean wave, say), then any downslope emissions between 0° to 30° above the tangent plane to the surface will be directed below the horizon and hence absorbed by the surface some distance further down — likely somewhere in a through between that wave and the next wave. In fact, 33% of the possible emission directions will be directed below the horizon (though this will be less than 33% of the power due to the Lambertian law).

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Pierre has been too dishonest and I have stopped reading the narratives by which he presumes to prove that a turbulent surface – yada – yada – yada

    • Pierre-Normand, “That’s just another way of agreeing with me that surface waves don’t change the total *upwelling* emissions (i.e. the emissions actually leaving the surface).”

      It won’t change the upwelling emissions of an ideal Lambertian radiant surface which may not exist. Until one is found we have to deal with the variation of “surface” areas and energies at differing rates. That is why the Stephens et al. Earth Energy Budget has an uncertainty of +/- 17 Wm-2 at the “surface” and +/- 0.6 Wm-2 at the “TOA surface” and the K&T Earth Energy Budget numbers are obsolete.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Captdallas, I was discussing this argument: “As far as incoming flux are concerned, it makes no real difference if the ocean is flat or its surface is covered in waves; […] However, this is not the cause for energy efflux, the effective surface area of the radiating surface is affected by the disturbance of the surface. Waves allow the ocean to radiate over a greater surface area than when the ocean is flat. A wave have a greater radiating area, to space, than does a flat surface. ”

      This argument is not valid because the upweeling emissions aren’t simply proportional to the emitting surface area. You are saying there might be some uncertainty due to the surface not being a perfect black body and therefore not a perfect Lambertian radiator. Sure. I didn’t argue against uncertainties. I was just pointing out that the above argument is invalid. Waviness doesn’t necessarily increase upwelling radiations. For all you’ve said, it may even decreased them.

    • Pierre-Normand, “You are saying there might be some uncertainty due to the surface not being a perfect black body and therefore not a perfect Lambertian radiator. ”

      No, I am saying that in the real world of thermodynamics variations in surface roughness and or area change the rate of heat transfer. The Toggwieler paper indicates that variations in the southern hemisphere westerlies have a huge impact on climate. The uncertain is mainly due to a poorly selected “surface” in the most turbulent portion of the system. The “surface” should be a real thermodynamic boundary layer not an “average” picked out of the air.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “No, I am saying that in the real world of thermodynamics variations in surface roughness and or area change the rate of heat transfer. The Toggwieler paper indicates that variations in the southern hemisphere westerlies have a huge impact on climate. The uncertain is mainly due to a poorly selected “surface” in the most turbulent portion of the system. The “surface” should be a real thermodynamic boundary layer not an “average” picked out of the air.”

      That’s a different topic. I had only been discussing putative variations in upwelling IR radiation from the ocean surface at a given temperature and merely resulting from the effect of waviness on total radiating surface area.

    • pierre-normand, “That’s a different topic. I had only been discussing putative variations in upwelling IR radiation from the ocean surface at a given temperature and merely resulting from the effect of waviness on total radiating surface area.”

      Right, that would more of a metaphysical topic while in actuality the variation in waviness merely results in variation of the total radiation of the local surfaces. Since the “average” emissivity of the ocean surface is on the order of 0.965 and it can approach the maximum of 9.99 plus a few more digit perhaps another reference is in order?

      http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/12/27/emissivity-of-the-ocean/

    • Pierre-Normand

      Captdallas: “Right, that would more of a metaphysical topic while in actuality the variation in waviness merely results in variation of the total radiation of the local surfaces.”

      How so? And what do you mean by “local surfaces”? There is a variation in the total area of the water/air boundary within some geographically defined ocean area but that doesn’t necessarily lead to an increase in upwelling radiation if the surface emits anything like a Lambertian radiator. So, merely restating that there is a variation in the surface area — and hence in the total energy radiated in *all* directions — just ignores the point. Not all directions of emission are upwards when the local surface isn’t horizontal.

  62. Donald Rapp

    Downward IR adds energy to the topmost water molecules which then vaporise earlier than they otherwise would have done.

    Evaporation cools the liquid water molecules around a molecule that evaporates (hence the cooler ocean skin) because it removes energy from those remaining liquid molecules faster than energy can flow up from below and be supplied from downward IR

    How do you propose that there be any of that ‘extra’ downward IR from our emissions left over after the timing of evaporation for warmed molecules has been brought forward ?

    The earlier evaporation must take up ALL the additional IR mustn’t it ?

    How could it not ?

    In order to FAIL to take up all the additional IR the energy value of the latent heat of evaporation would need to be a lesser amount than the additional IR energy supplied but we all know that evaporation is a net cooling effect with a ratio of about 5 units of energy taken up by the phase change in latent form as against one unit of sensible energy needed to cause the phase change to occur.

    That ratio is a consequence of atmospheric pressure.

    As long as evaporation is a net cooling process there can be no residual IR left over, surely ?

  63. Generalissimo Skippy

    Let’s assume for a moment that adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere creates an energy imbalance at TOA. This is extra energy – statistically – that stays in the atmosphere as increased kinetic energy of molecules. The atmosphere warms and all the rest follows. The reality is that these gases cool to the new – and higher – equilibrium kinetic temperature.

    What he espouses is a grab bag of metaphors rote learned from the fetid backblocks of the blogosphere as well as half understood concepts – like emissivity, aborptivity and optical depth – that are not central to vibrational energy states of greenhouse gases in the IR band or of statistical thermodynamics.

    What I have suggested to Pierre is that imaginatively visualizing the process is the first step in real science – yet he chooses to continue pontificating on things that first of all are very basic and second – that he get’s wrong through having a narrative rather than a visualization. And then compounds the problem with misbegotten Frankenstein thought experiments. Pointing this out – and suggesting that once he get’s past the basics we might then move on to nonlinear dynamics and nonequilibrium thermodynamics – he seems to take personally. Frankly – he would be better off working through his problems with basic atmospheric physics at some less sophisticated forum. Although the standard does seem to be slipping further here. They’ll let anyone in.

    And although the principle Rapp espouses is well understood – enough not to need repeating again – the suggestion from the 2 two studies I quoted is that surface energetics and evaporation are significant confounding factors – and that real world TOA energy dynamics – accurately measured in CERES anomalies – is the key to understanding ocean heat.

    Frankly – I’m not surprised he doesn’t understand. He is still getting the basics wrong.

  64. Pierre-Normand said:

    “Most of the radiation will therefore warm the skin layer and increase evaporation as a result of this warming and not at the expense of it.”

    Given that evaporation is a net cooling process how could the resulting evaporation not be at the expense of the additional radiative warming ?

    The net deficit must be made up from somewhere to comply with energy conservation.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Given that evaporation is a net cooling process how could the resulting evaporation not be at the expense of the additional radiative warming ?”

      If you put water in a pan and turn up the stove, then the water in the pan will warm and evaporation at the surface will increase. This increase in surface evaporation will be a *result* of the surface warming. Since evaporation is a cooling process how can the resulting evaporation not occur entirely at the expense of surface warming? Simply because, even though the surface would warm more were it not for the evaporation, it need not prevent the surface warming entirely. If it would prevent it entirely, then there would be no increase in surface evaporation to start with. The same argument applies, mutatis mutandis, to a reduction in the rate of surface cooling resulting from an increase in back radiation.

    • Pierre said:

      “If it would prevent it entirely, then there would be no increase in surface evaporation to start with”

      If it did not prevent it entirely there would be a continuing cumulative imbalance forever however small the initial imbalance with the eventual loss of the atmosphere.

      The evaporation point at the ocean surface when heated from above is akin to the boiling point of water heated from below.

      Both are pressure dependant and once the evaporative or boiling process begins there can be no further rise in temperature, merely a change in the speed of the process.

      Just as boiling point doesn’t go higher than 100C at 1 bar atmospheric pressure then so does the Ocean surface temperature fail to rise above Earth’s average 15C at 1 bar atmospheric pressure.

      Of course it can go higher where solar input is very intense at the equator and lower where there is very little solar input at the poles but the average is what matters and that is set by the weight of the atmosphere and the proportion of solar incoming that gets through to the ocean surface.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Stephen Wilde: “Pierre said:

      “If it would prevent it entirely, then there would be no increase in surface evaporation to start with”

      If it did not prevent it entirely there would be a continuing cumulative imbalance forever however small the initial imbalance with the eventual loss of the atmosphere.”

      So you are claiming that if a pan of water is heated on a stove and the rate of surface evaporation increases as a result, then the surface temperature will immediately cease to increase?

      “The evaporation point at the ocean surface when heated from above is akin to the boiling point of water heated from below.”

      It is quite dissimilar since the reason why the temperature of boiling water doesn’t increase in spite of continuous heating (either from below or above) is because vapor pressure exceeds atmospheric pressure and hence any gained heat in the body of the liquid is immediately converted into latent heat through the formation of vapor bubbles. This condition isn’t met when the surface is warmed to some temperature below the boiling point. There is no “evaporation point”, just a variable rate of evaporation, and this is a function of water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity of the air above the liquid.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “There is no “evaporation point”, just a variable rate of evaporation, and this is a function of water temperature, air temperature and relative humidity of the air above the liquid.” …*and* atmospheric pressure, of course.

    • Pierre said:

      “*and* atmospheric pressure, of course.”

      You got there in the end.

      Atmospheric pressure is the limiting factor as regards the energy that the system can retain and the other variables change in order to maintain the surface temperature / pressure relationship.

      If one tries to add more energy without increasing pressure or incoming insolation then any excess energy just leaks out of the system again via air circulation changes involving the rate of convective overturning.

      It is atmospheric mass resulting in atmospheric pressure that determines the surface temperature enhancement above S-B and GHGs only affect the pattern of air circulation to a miniscule degree compared to the effects of oceanic and solar variability.

      The air/sea interaction at the ocean skin is a critical component of the process and one cannot increase or decrease the thermal gradient across the ocean skin without permanently and cumulatively altering the overall energy budget if atmospheric pressure and insolation from outside the atmosphere remain constant (and they do apart from a tiny TSI variation).

      The surface cannot be allowed to permanently become warmer than 288K otherwise the system will permanently radiate more to space than is being received from space which would result in catastrophic system cooling.

      Likewise the surface cannot be allowed to permanently become cooler than 288K otherwise the system will permanently radiate less to space than is being received from space which would result in catastrophic system cooling.

      Convection juggles the radiative and non radiative energy flows to ensure radiative balance for the system as a whole.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Stephen Wilde wrote: “If one tries to add more energy without increasing pressure or incoming insolation then any excess energy just leaks out of the system again via air circulation changes involving the rate of convective overturning.”

      So you really are believing its impossible to boil water in a pan on a stove right? Any excess energy that reaches the water surface will just leak out through increased evaporation and convection at the surface. The water never will boil. The surface temperature never will even increase one little bit unless the atmospheric pressure rises.

    • Pierre-Normand said:

      “So you really are believing its impossible to boil water in a pan on a stove right? Any excess energy that reaches the water surface will just leak out through increased evaporation and convection at the surface. The water never will boil.”

      If one is trying to boil it with energy supplied only from above then that would be so since evaporation is a net cooling process. The net cooling effect cancels out the ‘excess’ coming from above.

      That is why we boil water in a pan by heating it from below.

      A hair dryer will not heat the bulk of the water in a bowl except maybe via conduction from the warming of the sides of the bowl.

      Can you point to any example of a body of water being brought to boiling point solely by infra red radiation from above ?

      You could raise the temperature of individual topmost molecules for an instant whilst the evaporative process catches up with the excess energy input but it will have no effect on the bulk temperature or the underlying rate of energy flow from bulk to air above.

      The difference between evaporation and boiling is that boiling occurs when the temperature of the water BELOW the evaporative layer reaches 100 C at 1 bar pressure.

      One needs energy to get past the evaporative layer to cause that and infra red radiation from above cannot achieve it.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Can you point to any example of a body of water being brought to boiling point solely by infra red radiation from above ?”

      It need not boil it. The only claim is that it will reduce the rate of cooling from above. The source of heat is the Sun. You also suggested that evaporation is a cooling process and that conservation of energy implies that any warming of the surface must by entirely lost to evaporation before any rise in temperature occurs. Warming a pan from below provides a counterexample to your claim. Radiative warming from above, which warms not only the “uppermost” layers of molecules that are free to evaporate but several microns deep, which represents about 150,000 times the average distance between the molecules, also provides a counterexample to your claim. This will most definitely warm the skin and hence reduce the gradient below the skin. You’ve ignored that argument.

      “You could raise the temperature of individual topmost molecules for an instant whilst the evaporative process catches up with the excess energy input but it will have no effect on the bulk temperature or the underlying rate of energy flow from bulk to air above.”

      Yes, it will, through changing the temperature gradient within and below the skin. This will reduce the rate of conduction and convection below the skin and thus reduce the rate of cooling. Again, the original post isn’t describing a mechanism for radiation to heat the oceans but rather for radiation to reduce the rate of cooling of the oceans to the atmosphere and to space. The heating is provided by the Sun.

  65. Reading through this post and the replies, it is apparent that what we know with certainty about the components that make up the climate is dwarfed by what we do not know, or where considerable uncertainty remains.

    It would help our understanding if we were to admit the giant holes in our knowledge and try to repair them

    tonyb.

  66. Hmmmm. Perplexing. I think I’ll go watch a few clouds today.
    ================

  67. Generalissimo Skippy

    ‘From radiation theory it is expected that with increasing radiative absorption due to abundance of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and consequent warming, the emission of thermal energy from the atmosphere towards the surface is increasing (known as downward thermal radiation). This enhances the radiative energy surplus at the surface, and, where surface water is not limited, fuels evaporation besides warming the Earth’s surface. The enhanced greenhouse effect therefore tends to accelerate the hydrological cycle.’

    Yes I think that might be the point. Most of the increase is lost as heat moves from the surface to the atmosphere as latent heat – and doesn’t heat the bloody oceans.

    God only knows what Pierre thinks he is on about.

    • Pierre-Normand

      “Yes I think that might be the point. Most of the increase is lost as heat moves from the surface to the atmosphere as latent heat – and doesn’t heat the bloody oceans.”

      Yes, indeed, and that’s the reason why when back radiation is increased by as much as 7.5W/°Km^2 in a warming climate (1% annual increase in CO2), the expected rate of heat gain by the ocean only is 0.23W/°Km^2 according to the Nature Geoscience reference you provided.

  68. One problem I see immediately; in fig 4 Delta T3 surface and Delta T3 water can not be the same. As was mentioned in the lead up to that point, the heat capacities of water and air are different, therefore, the new “equilibrium” Delta T3 have to be different, ie the curve B will change slope.

  69. tony b –

    Given the threading situation, who knows if you’ll actually ever see this?:

    ==> “Reading through this post and the replies, it is apparent that what we know with certainty about the components that make up the climate is dwarfed by what we do not know, or where considerable uncertainty remains.”

    Actually, in reading through the replies, I see a lot of smart and knowledgeable people who are absolutely certain of diametrically opposed opinions. They are not expressing uncertainty.

    It is your assumption that because they disagree, it means that there is uncertainty. They are quite certain in their views. As such, you are therefore dismissing the views of each and every one of them.

    Compare this to the arguments that we read in these threads and others about the physics of the GHE. In that case, too, we see absolutely certain arguments presented (by smart and knowledgeable people) that are in absolute disagreement. Yet there, some “skeptics” say that they believe it is certain that there is a GHE caused by ACO2 – despite those disagreements. They dismiss the opinions of those who say that there is no GHE from ACO2. In that situation, the “skeptics” are dismissing the views of only those who think there is no GHE from ACO2 (thereby throwing some of their fellow “skeptics” under the bus).

    Interesting, isn’t it, that some “skeptics” dismiss disagreement as relevant in some situations and yet in other situations think that because there is disagreement, it means that there is too much uncertainty?

    What distinguishes the reasoning w/r/t disagreement and uncertainty in those two situations?

    As you answer that question, remember that as Richart Tol says:

    ==> “Published papers that seek to test what caused the climate change over the last century and half, almost unanimously find that humans played a dominant role. ”

  70. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Hello Donald Rapp, what I imagine is that back radiation could heat the the oceanic surface only at molecular level (micro-m). Then these molecules re-radiate that heat and that is all. If we increase by ten times the amount of CO2, the ocean is heated (almost) nothing. But I am not an expert in Earth thermodynamics and I might be wrong.
    Donald, if you would like to have a look at my document:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2TWRnRVhwSnNLc0k/
    you could send me an email with your comments. Thanks.

    • Dear Antonio (AKA “Un Fisico”) What you”imagine” is not correct. You say you might be wrong, and you are. I doubt you have read the 18-page article on which this posting is based. I will try to find time to look at your website.

    • David Springer

      Rapp, what you “imagine” may or may not be correct. Your imagination is called a hypothesis. Experiments are what we do to determine if the hypothesis is correct. You’re a science professor?

  71. The threading is broken.

    The consensus is that increasing CO2 increases the stratosphere’s ability to radiate in the LW, hence it cools.

  72. nobodyknows

    I am still struggeling with this notion that change in CO2 is affecting the tempeature of Oceans direcly. It must mean that there have been an increase of temperature because of more downwelling IR the last years. It means that more CO2 is generating more energy without any energy input, if atmosphere temperatures remains the same.

  73. Pierre-Normand

    It’s negligible. You can compute it for a single 1m^2 column and compare it with the amount of energy gained from the energy flux imbalance. Since the thermal expansion component is currently about 1mm/year and average sea depth is about 4km, the average parcel of water gets lifted 0.5mm (an overestimate since more thermal expansion occurs within warmer upper layers). This means that the gained gravitational potential energy is mass*(average lift)*g = (4*10^6kg)*(5*10^-4m)*9.8m/s^2 = 19600 joule. The energy flux imbalance is about 0.5W/m^2 over the whole Earth surface and hence about 0.75W/m^2 over the oceans since it is mainly concentrated over them and they occupy 2/3 of the Earth surface. Over one year that makes (0.75*3600*24*365) joule = 2.37*10^9 joule. So, just about one part in 120,000 of the incoming flux gets stored as gravitational potential energy and the rest as heat.

  74. James Newman

    Don’t have time to read this all now. Initially the paper states oceans have several thousand times the heat capacity.

    However, when you take into account enthalpy of vaporization, the numbers are larger. So, the oceans are 10000 ft deep, or 300 atmosphere times heat of vaporization. 13000 times atmosperes thermal mass.

    You have to take into account wave height and changes in density.

    Tough problem.

  75. Dr. Rapp,
    Thanks for the essay, with your paper and the discussions. I think the diurnal plot that Nick pulled up from Piotr Flatau (Wiki) clears up my understanding. I believe the simpler explanatory plots in your summary may be causing some of the confusion.
    For anyone that has gone for a swim in a quiet pond on a sunny spring afternoon, the S-curve is apparent. Your feet and shoulders are cold but the rest is comfortable. During the night, the warm layer gradually disappears to the uniform sub-surface and chilled surface (as you show).
    Somewhere in the large day-night cycle, the ~1 W/m2 effect of CO2 is buried. It’s just quite difficult to discern that effect on a human scale with the large seasonal and diurnal swings.

  76. Donald Rapp said:

    “However, thirty years ago several investigators showed quite clearly that rising CO2 in the atmosphere warms the oceans by reducing the rate of heat loss,”

    Actually, what they showed was that at a time of increasing CO2 the ocean heat content was also rising.

    No one has yet acquired the technology to determine whether the average global thermal gradient across the cool ocean skin has changed at all.

    They simply assumed that the correlation implied causation and the models were programmed accordingly.

    They did not then know that at the same time global cloudiness had reduced at a time of more active sun which allowed a greater proportion of TOA solar energy to reach the oceans.

    That correlation broke down around 2000 when the quieter sun caused global cloudiness to increase so CO2 increases then became detached from the temperature trend and the models have become increasingly inaccurate..

    Our CO2 emissions soared after 2000 but warming stopped at the same time as solar activity declined and global cloudiness increased.

    Global cloudiness increased at the same time as the jet stream tracks became more meridional which increased the length of the lines of air mass mixing, hence more clouds.

    All the observations support my New Climate Model

    http://www.newclimatemodel.com/new-climate-model/

    and if the observations stop supporting my model I will be the first to acknowledge it.

    However, I warn the naysayers that my model was built from observations and not preconceived theory.

    Does anyone have observations that do not fit ?

  77. Donald Rapp | May 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Reply
    ” Is there one commentator out there (Gates excepted) who is not arrogant, self-assured, certain he is right, and doesn’t have a clue nevertheless?”
    Well this is a giveaway if the article itself had any relevance other than as a talking point in the first place it lost it all when you made this comment.
    Are you related to R. Gates or an alto ego?

  78. Mr Rapp wrote ” A doubling of the CO2 concentration results in a downward radiative forcing at the surface of about 1 W/m2. Over the past half century the forcing averaged about 0.4 W/m2.”
    Forcing is such a wrong word. There is no new energy coming into the system [which would be my definition of a forcing].
    There is a retention of heat getting back out through the layer of CO2 impregnated air until that layer has warmed .
    Some of that is retained in the air which heats up slightly then redistributes it into the sea which heats up by an undetectable fraction. A new balance is struck whereby the minuscule amount of extra heat from the water goes back into the air. There is no obvious temperature rise because the Climate sensitivity “forcing” to a doubling of CO2 refers to CO2 in an atmosphere alone, not with a water reservoir to redistribute and negate the heat.
    At that stage the TOA radiation out again equals that coming in.
    Hence there is no extra heat available to go into the oceans or deep oceans or anywhere else.
    We have already done virtually all the warming to the ocean from the greenhouse gases that are already there.

  79. Sigh, this again.

    What determines the heating rate of the oceans is whatever controls the EVAPORATION RATE from its surface, not the radiative flux leaving it.

    I’ll say it again: EVAPORATION RATES are what matters, NOT IR radiation.

    The concept for warming is true, though. The solar input needs to be balanced by the energy output from the ocean surface. But this output is mainly EVAPORATIVE. Conduction and radiation from the surface to the above-lying air hardly change much over time, because they are directly and completely linked to temperature (and temp gradient), which does not change to any significant degree, especially not over the long term.

    Evaporation rates on the other hand are not just dependent on temperature. They are decidedly dependent also on WIND SHEAR across the surface. Wind is extremely important to evaporation rates from the ocean surface. Lower the wind shear and you lower evaporation rates substantially. Doesn’t matter what temperature the surface holds. Solar energy WILL accumulate.

    What happened across the tropical zone of our globe’s biggest ocean by far in 1976/77? The pressure gradient (SOI) all of a sudden fell quite dramatically and remained at a low level for the next 30 odd years. This caused the mean trade wind strength from east to west to drop over the overwhelmingly most essential energy storage basin of the earth system. Mean evaporation rates fell with it.

    Are you telling me that this will not have an effect on the balance between input to and output from the ocean at large?

    Again we’re back to ‘The Great Pacific Climate Shift’ of 1976/77. Why do people keep ignoring it? What happened in the Pacific basin back then is clearly what has put us where we are today. It changed the global climate. From a net cooling one to a net warming one. All internal process-related.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

  80. It’s remarkable how many climate-system “experts,” from scientifically
    unschooled bloggers to those with the highest academic credentials, cling
    to the notion of backradiation as a “forcing,” depicted as even more
    powerful than insolation in iconic cartoon presentations. This ignores not
    only physical principles of capacitive system operation, but an
    ever-increasing body of empirical evidence that it acts merely an impedance
    to radiative heat losses from the surface to space.

    Analysis of buoy data reveals that, despite fluctuations as large as
    ~40W/m^2 from day to day, backradiation lacks a diurnal cycle and is almost
    entirely incoherent with the day-to-day variations of near-surface air and
    sea temperatures. In turn, those two temperatures are only moderately
    coherent at diurnal frequencies. Careful heat transfer measurements at sea
    clearly show that evaporation systematically acts not only as a
    compensatory mechanism, but constitutes the principal means of
    heat transfer to the atmosphere, outstripping all other transfer mechanisms
    combined. The reduction of surface insolation by clouds commonly
    reaches into hundreds of W/m^2.

    The nearly total absorption of IR by the microns-thin skin of the ocean is
    scarcely negated by whitecapping or by fancicful notions of “nocturnal
    overturning” that would stand gravity-dependent Benard cells upside down.
    That is what drives evaporation, whose rate is highly sensitive to wind
    speed. Buoyancy forces operate 24/7, resulting in semi-permanent density
    stratification in the ocean, though thermohaline adjustments may be very
    slow.

    Contrary to the view promoted by those afflicted by chronic radiation
    myopia, it’s the mode and rate of operation of the hydrological cycle that
    constitutes the operative “control knob” of Earth’s climate. Otherwise,
    the GAT would not stay within a fraction a degree despite changes of
    ~90W/m^2 each year in TSI at TOA.

  81. David Springer

    Donald Rapp | May 22, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Reply

    Dear JCH: There is nothing wrong with being wrong. We all make mistakes. I certainly do. But the nasty supercilious attitude of some of these guys is hard to take. Pierre-Normand seems non-plused by Springer’s verbal nastiness. He just goes on arguing the science sensibly. I wonder if Springer has a wife who henpecks him, and maybe Judith’s site is the only place where he can blow off steam? I wonder if he’s been convicted of road rage?

    No on the henpeck, no on the road rage.

    So did you ever have a wife who is female?

  82. David Springer

    R. Gates | May 22, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Reply

    “Springer distinguished himself as not only completely wrong, but obnoxious as well. I am surprised that Judith allows him to get away with such crudeness on her website.”
    ____
    Yep, as are many of us

    —————————————————————————–

    You earn the right to drop gratuitous ad homs by using your real name and/or posting enough substance so the juice is worth the squeeze.

    At the point where Rapp insinuated FOMD might be a pizza delivery boy he lost the moral high ground anyhow.

    FOMD has a PhD in physics from UofW in Seattle. So Rapp ended up pointing out that physics PhD are indistinguishable from pizza delivery boys. My irony meter explodeth.

  83. The reactions to Donald Rapp’s post are surprising. People seem to attack it for a number of wrong reasons, and often in a way that contradicts my expectations on what to expect from each commenter.

    Donald Rapp is discussing what happens at very small depths. The discussion seems to be correct for the limited range up to a few millimeters. He states also correctly that the outcome is highly dependent on the changes on the atmospheric side of the boundary. I find his calculations quite reasonable for the specific comparison he looks at.

    The physics of the real ocean is much more complex. Diurnal variations lead to various complexities. Night-time situation is closer to that discussed by Rapp, while solar heating makes the day-time profile more complex. About 10% of the solar radiation is absorbed in the first 1 mm and 20% in the first 10 mm (see this graph calculated from detailed properties of water and solar spectrum). The absorption near surface leads to the temperature maximum making the profile of Rapp applicable to a very thin layer only.

    The basic idea of Rapp is correct, but doing a realistic calculations based on that idea seems to be unrealistic even with major efforts due to the uncertainties in the description of the atmospheric side and the role it has for the rates of evaporation and sensible heat transport.

    Therefore it may be more fruitful to look at the bigger picture. The main energy flow of the Earth system proceeds in the following steps:

    1) Solar radiation heats the ocean. That heating is significant up to depths of hundreds of meters (a few percent penetrate more than 100 m).

    2) The net heat flux into ocean or out of it is of the order of 0.2% of the total solar flux. All the rest must leave the ocean through the surface.

    3) Heat leaves the ocean through evaporation, net IR radiative transfer, and sensible heat transfer (conduction through the surface and convection further from the surface).

    4) Most of the heat from the ocean goes first to near surface air, a small fraction is transferred by IR directly to higher altitudes or to the space.

    5) Heat that enters near surface air must be transferred further to higher altitudes. Latent heat transfer and convection are the main mechanisms in the lower troposphere, but stop almost completely at tropopause. The role of IR grows with altitude reaching 100% at tropopause.

    6) All the energy that leaves the ocean must ultimately be emitted as IR out of the troposphere.

    When we wish to learn the rate of warming from changes in atmospheric composition, we must check, which step in that chain allows best for quantitative calculations of the effect. It turns out that the step (6) is best for that. For the calculation we need also the the atmospheric temperature profile related to the step (5), but the calculation is not affected much by the steps (1-4). That’s fortunate as the step (3) in particular is so difficult to analyze. Similarly we need not know, how the heat moves within the ocean, we just know that the net change in the heat content of the Earth system goes for more than 90% into the oceans as OHC.

    • Pekka,

      It turns out that the step (6) is best for that. For the calculation we need also the the atmospheric temperature profile related to the step (5), but the calculation is not affected much by the steps (1-4).

      Very nice description. Except for point 1) “Solar radiation heats the ocean.” Incident solar radiation at the surface depends on (global) cloud cover and cloud cover is determined by evaporation from the oceans. Does cloud cover increase with SST thereby leading to a reduction in incident solar radiation – a negative feedback ?

    • Clive,
      I didn’t try to explain all climate science, only the most important flow of energy as an one-dimensional process.

      Warmer surface leads to all the feedbacks, cloud feedback is one of them, and probably the most uncertain. Warmer oceans lead to higher humidity, but much of that condensates and rains in areas fully cloudy even with a cooler ocean. That doesn’t affect albedo significantly. Another effect of warmer atmosphere is that it can hold more vapor without condensation. That leads to the positive water vapor feedback, while the increased condensation leads to the negative lapse rate feedback. The size and even the sign of the cloud feedback depends on details of the atmospheric circulation. Most of the climate scientists think that it’s positive, while some disagree. There’s still much to learn in that.

  84. Susan Oliver

    Dr Rapp, apologies if someone has already brought this up and I’ve missed it, but when you say that decreasing the temperature differential across the cool skin layer will reduce heat loss, have you taken into consideration that increasing the surface temperature will decrease surface tension and therefore increase the proportion of heat transfer by convection (refer bond number). Heat transfer by convection will, of course, be several orders of magnitude more effective than heat transfer by conduction.

    It has been established that higher SSTs are associated with smaller temperature differentials across the cool skin layer but greater heat loss to the atmosphere:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469%281967%29024%3C0269%3ATTATOA%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    • David Springer

      Thank you, Susan.

      +1

    • Here we have a 1967 theoretical paper that could not be compared with empirical data. It presents a formula that tells about a negligible change in the temperature differential over the plausible changes in ocean surface temperature.

      So what?

    • David Springer

      So it has been established that higher SSTs are associated with smaller temperature differentials across the cool skin layer but greater heat loss to the atmosphere.

      Which part of that do you not understand?

    • Susan Oliver

      Pekka, you need to read the content of the paper and not just the abstract.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Susan Oliver wrote: “Heat transfer by convection will, of course, be several orders of magnitude more effective than heat transfer by conduction.”

      Convection occurs in the air above the skin while conduction is the principal mode of heat transport within the skin and is governed by the temperature gradient within the skin. The convective flux can’t be any larger than the conductive flux within the skin since the heat that’s being carried away by convection has to come from somewhere. (Furthermore, at least during the night when there is no direct non-IR solar heating of the skin, the heat being conducted through the skin equals the sum total of the sensible, convective and net longwave upwelling radiative flux from surface to atmosphere (and space), so the convective flux must actually be smaller than the conductive flux through the skin.)

      If, other things being equal, the back radiation increases, then the skin layer gradient will decrease. If other things aren’t equal then all bets are off — which Rapp acknowledges. As I’ve insisted elsewhere, and Pekka also, conditions of radiative balance at the top of the atmosphere furnish stronger and better defined constraints on the total surface flux since the TOA and net surface fluxes tend to equalize over the long run due to the low thermal capacity of the atmosphere.

    • Pierre-Normand

      –test– (Is there some reason why my preceding comment was put in moderation? Some trigger word maybe?)

    • Susan Oliver

      Pierre, when you say “conduction is the principal mode of heat transport within the skin,” the key word is “principal.” “Principal” does not mean “only.” As I’ve explained, increasing the surface temperature will decrease surface tension and therefore increase the proportion of heat transfer by convection through the skin layer.

    • Susan Oliver

      P.S. I am not talking about convection in the air.

    • David Springer

      There is little heat transfer by conduction in comparison to convection. The layer where downwelling infrared is absorbed is 10 micrometers deep. See here

      ocean evaporation rate reaches over half-centimeter per day in many places. That layer is thus being stripped off the ocean surface many times every day. Molecules with the highest energy (amongst the Boltzman temperature distribution) are taken first leaving colder ones behind which is why the top 1 millimeter is colder than the bulk of the mixed layer below it.

      Pekka shouldn’t need this explained to him.

    • David Springer

      Furthermore, as Susan pointed and the linked article describes, the rate of downward convection of the colder molecules left behind by evaporation is influenced by surface viscosity and tension. They found slicks cause convection to increase in the skin layer resulting in a decrease in temperature gradient across the skin layer and greater rate of heat loss in the ocean. Her point being that a reduced gradient actually increases the rate of heat loss so the explanation invented by Gavin Schmidt in a Real Climate blog doesn’t hold water, so to speak, because reducing the gradient has the opposite effect.

      This effect is evident in the North Atlantic cooling that happend during WWII as God only knows how many gazzilion tons of fuel in tankers and transport vessels were sunk by the Germans causing massive mono-molecular slicks that do exactly what the referenced paper says happens when the cool skin layer gradient is reduced.

      Start doing your homework Pekka. Your making up crap that you think is right but actually isn’t is really tiresome and tredious.

    • David Springer

      Susan thanks for pointing this out. I was aware that surface tension constrained the mix rate in the skin layer but wasn’t aware that surface tension decreased as surface temp increased. Thus we have a negative feedback in addition to Planck response to rising ocean temperature.

      Brilliant. Never seen anyone make this point before.

      +many

    • David Springer

      Oops excuse me. It wasn’t Pekka it was Pierre making up stuff out of thin air this time. Tough to tell the uninformed foreigners one from the other when the names are similar.

    • Susan Oliver

      Thank you David, it’s nice that someone understands what I’m saying. Incidentally, regarding the RC post, it also fails to show any credible evidence that the temperature differential across the cool skin layer is reduced by downward LW radiation. The claim is based on a non-peer reviewed graph produced by Minnett which plots the temperature differential against LW radiation but he fails to show the r-squared value so we don’t know whether there is actually a correlation at all (the graph is very noisy.) Furthermore, he doesn’t take into account wind speed, SW radiation and the absolute SST, all of which could have varied independently of LW radiation and would have had an effect on the temperature differential.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Susan Oliver wrote: “Pierre, when you say “conduction is the principal mode of heat transport within the skin,” the key word is “principal.” “Principal” does not mean “only.” As I’ve explained, increasing the surface temperature will decrease surface tension and therefore increase the proportion of heat transfer by convection through the skin layer.”

      Convection through the skin layer — also called thermocapillary convection — is very minor. It is indeed dependent on surface tension which is dependent on temperature. But the skin surface temperature change that is at issue here, consequent to a 1W/m^2 increase in back radiation due a doubling of CO2, which Rapp labels ΔT2, just is 0.05°C. This would yield a drop in surface tension from about 75mN/m to (75 – 0,01)mN/m. This is a 0.013% change in surface tension. So, it likely has a very small effect on a minor mode of heat transfer (thermocapillary convection) and a comparatively much larger effect on a major mode of heat transfer (conduction) through the skin — and thereby also reduces larger scale convection below the surface.

      For sure, when the surface and mixed layer eventually warm a couple degrees this effect will be larger, though still minor, and may need to be considered for surface energy balance considerations. But this is irrelevant to Rapp’s main argument which is to explain ocean warming (heat gain) while there is an imbalance (and hence only a 0.05°C change in surface skin temperature differential, at most) and not to establish climate sensitivity (i.e. the mixed layer temperature change *after* the imbalance has been restored). When climate sensitivity is at issue, TOA energy balance considerations must be considered.

    • Pierre-Normand

      (Yet another post of mine triggers moderation and I have no idea why. This is new.)

    • David Springer

      It’s probably the douchebag detection software. It automatically triggers on hyphenated names.

    • Susan Oliver

      Pierre, convection through the skin layer is NOT also called thermocapillary convection. Thermocapillary convection is a completely different phenomenon and refers to the flow of liquid from a region of low surface tension to a region of high surface tension where the difference in surface tension is caused by a difference in temperature. The convection that occurs through the skin layer is just natural convection.

      Now you are correct that the reduction in surface tension from the increase in SST will only be minor but it only needs to be minor because convection is several orders of magnitude more effective than conduction at transferring heat in water. We know from measurements that the magnitude of the temperature differential across the cool skin layer decreases with increases in SST. We also know that heat loss to the atmosphere increases with SST. The only way these two things can happen at the same time is if heat flux across the cool skin layer increases with increases in SST.

    • Pierre-Normand

      Susan Oliver,

      I read about thermocapillary convection in “Open Ocean Convection” by Soloviev and Klinger, which is available as course material hosted by Judith Curry. There isn’t much detail except to suggest it is negligible but you may want to look it up.

      You wrote: “Now you are correct that the reduction in surface tension from the increase in SST will only be minor but it only needs to be minor because convection is several orders of magnitude more effective than conduction at transferring heat in water.”

      Yes, convection dominates over large spatial scales below the surface but as you approach the surface in the last millimeters and microns, you notice that the temperature gradient increased sharply and becomes enormous just below the surface within the cool skin. Conduction is proportional to the gradient. Since the total heat flow near the surface (in the top few centimeters) must equal the heat loss at the surface/air boundary this means that convection makes up for the progressive deficit in conduction as the temperature gradient diminishes moving away the surface. Hence, conversely, the increasing temperature gradient as you near the surface is indicative of the increasingly larger share of pure conduction as the main heat transport process. This is to be expected since on the very small scales (millimeters and microns), viscous forces come to dominate and so do diffusion and molecular processes as a result. Hence, a reduction of the temperature gradient below the skin provides a bottleneck to heat flow just below the water/air boundary and it regulates convection from below.

      Reducing the surface temperature by a mere 0.05°C trough increasing back radiation has a negligible positive impact on convection due to change in surface tension but a large indirect negative impact on convection through reducing the rate on conduction through the skin — which is a bottleneck for convection from below.

  85. Geoff Sherrington

    Judith Curry,
    Your work and blog have contributed enormously to understanding climate and its topical discussion. Thank you.
    Does your hosting of this blog extend to finally making a call on these 3 questions?
    1. Is there downwelling radiation that is increased in energy by greenhouse gases?
    2. If yes, are oceans heated or not by downwelling radiation?
    3. Does the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics apply to disallow all energy transfers from ‘cool’ bodies to ‘warmer ones’ – or is that being too simplistic?

    To date, I have not been able to work my way to a clear conclusion, although I’ve been a lab spectroscopist taught about quantum mechanics, have actually worked with atmospheric IR detectors, CO2 lasers, etc. The topic is far from simple and it is made more complicated by dogged advocates of certain lines of thinking that might be trendy, while being bad science.

    The discussions above have served to confuse. Can we clarify?

  86. David Springer

    R. Gates | May 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Reply

    “The ocean doesn’t constantly lose heat, dopey Pierre.”
    —-
    Well, actually dopey David, yes it does when looking at the global ocean, it is constant exchange of energy between the input from the sun and the latent and sensible output to the atmosphere. Over time, if the input is greater than the output, such as during La Niña dominant periods, the global clean will gain energy.

    ————————————————————————————————-

    According to you OHC has been increasing for quite some time. Make up your mind. Is the global ocean gaining energy or not?

    • Pierre-Normand

      David Springer: “According to you OHC has been increasing for quite some time. Make up your mind. Is the global ocean gaining energy or not?”

      What Donald Rapp, Robert Gates and I have consistently been referring to as “cooling” is the average rate of heat transfer from the warm ocean to the cooler atmosphere and outer space. This approximately balances out the heat transfer from the Sun to the oceans, as Rapp stated. You insist on misreading us, in spite of repeated corrections, to be referring to the net rate of change of ocean heat (solar input minus loss from upwelling surface fluxes), for some reason.

    • David Springer

      “You insist on misreading us, in spite of repeated corrections”

      When in Rome…

      Who is Robert Gates?

  87. nobodyknows

    Mr Rapp . Thank you for the post. It is an interesting topic you bring up , which apparently engages readers. However, there are some things that can be misunderstood . This applies particularly to your assumption that increased CO2 automatically entails increased downradiation . It’s like the assumption that the increase of a gas automatically generates energy, like CO2 itself provides energy, and that it is not about the transport of energy. I think it ‘s a question of Kirchhoff’s Law, that temperature determines the amount of radiation. I think that it is important that you describe conditions by which more CO2 means more radiation . Another point is the radiation gradient . Increased downradiation provide energy, but also increases the IR radiation up . There will be a balance between generated heating and cooling. A small increase of downradiation may provide a marginal change of net radiation , which may not affect the energy budget when you take all factors into consideration (IR flux , vaporization , convection , etc ) .
    There are key points that are affected in this discussion. Ocean’s role in climate change. The enormous energy flow that characterizes the globe. The great current of energy . What matters is the cooling mechanisms . and in the peculiar resistance to energy flow. CO2 may have a function in this by a small curbing of net radiation .