Challenges to understanding the role of the ocean in climate science

by Carol Anne Clayson

A significant area of uncertainty in climate science and one of the biggest limitations on our ability to predict the timing, location and impacts of climate change is our limited understanding of ocean processes and their interactions with the atmosphere, land, and ice systems.

Any serious effort to address climate change and mitigate its impacts must include support and investment in more ocean research. Understanding how much heat and carbon the ocean absorbs is vital to understanding sea level rise and predicting how much, how fast, and where the atmospheric temperature will change.

Climate models can only make calculations based upon our current scientific understanding of how these complex systems function. While the climate models include what is known today about the ocean and its influence on climate, there are still many gaps in our knowledge. We fill these gaps with our best scientific assumptions, but these gaps and the assumptions we use to fill them are a major reason that there are still significant differences among the various climate models related to projected climate impacts and their timing. What we need are more and better observations – data – that enhance our scientific knowledge and that we can use to improve our models and reduce the uncertainties in our climate forecasts.

These comments explain the scientific importance of the ocean to our climate system, some of the significant gaps in our knowledge, and how filling those gaps would enable us to better address climate change going forward. We owe it to ourselves to make sure we get the information we need to develop informed and effective solutions.

Relationship Between Oceans and Climate

It is often said that the ocean is the flywheel of the Earth’s climate. Just as the flywheel in an engine absorbs and releases energy to stabilize engine speed, the ocean absorbs and releases thermal energy, stabilizing the Earth’s climate. The ocean reacts more slowly than the atmosphere to changes in heat but also stores this heat and releases it over longer time periods. As such, the ocean plays a significant role in moderating the weather and global climate.

Since the poles absorb much less solar radiation than the equatorial region, there is a surplus of energy in the equatorial region and a deficit in the poles. The ocean circulation carries the majority of the heat out of the tropics, and the further movement of heat to the poles is mainly carried out by the atmospheric circulation. This uneven heating and consequent transport of heat by the ocean and the atmosphere sets the basic outlines of the Earth’s weather and climate.

Evaporation from the ocean supplies 90% of the water vapor that eventually becomes rain and snow, and this evaporation is a source of heat to the atmosphere. The ocean helps to determine the location of clouds and precipitation by influencing the atmospheric motions that move water across the globe. The evaporative heating occurs in regions of warm water, such as the equatorial region, and masses of warm and buoyant air are formed, causing the air to rise. As the warm air rises, the water vapor in the air condenses, releasing heat to the atmosphere.   This heating provides the energy to drive an important feature of the atmospheric circulation, the cell of air that moves warm air from the tropics to the mid- latitudes. These circulation patterns set the main regions of rain and arid conditions across the globe, and the resulting surface winds drive the ocean currents, which act to redistribute the heat within the ocean, setting the regions of warmer and cooler sea surface temperatures.   Sea surface temperatures in turn then help set the atmospheric circulation.

The ocean has its own circulation patterns, set in part by the wind patterns. The oceanic circulation is also a function of the density structure of the water masses comprising the ocean basins. The density at the surface of the ocean is affected by the amount of freshwater coming in through precipitation and freshwater going out by evaporation. In addition, the density at the surface is affected by the amount of heat coming and going out between the ocean and the atmosphere. When the density of the surface water is increased, typically by cooling of the surface water by heat loss to the atmosphere and/or making the surface water so salty through evaporation or by sea ice growth, the surface water sinks and forms deep water, connecting the surface through to the deepest layers.

The movement of heat by the ocean at the surface from the equatorial regions to the poles occurs as part of this large-scale circulation. A component of this circulation in the North Atlantic basin is called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and the surface expression of this is the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is of crucial importance in defining the climate of Europe, and for this reason the AMOC is a major ocean process of study for oceanographers.

In addition, the ocean plays an important role in the storage and release of CO2. The ocean is a large reservoir of carbon. In the case of CO2, there is, on average across the globe, a net uptake of airborne carbon through the surface of the ocean. How much CO2 the surface ocean can take up is dependent on the temperature of the surface layer, and how much of the carbon is then mixed to deeper water. Increases in heat and CO2 in the ocean leads to a reduction in pH and carbonate saturation rate, a process called “ocean acidification”.

The ocean has moderated the total CO2 in the atmosphere, with measurements indicating that the atmosphere would have 55 parts per million more CO2 were it not for the uptake of CO2 by the ocean. Roughly half of all the anthropogenic carbon released into the atmosphere between 1800 and 1994 is currently stored in the ocean. It should be noted that the uptake of CO2 by the ocean is decreasing, possibly due to fact that CO2 solubility in the ocean decreases as temperature increases.

The ocean plays a key role in natural climate variability. A particular feature of our climate system is the ubiquity of naturally recurring patterns of variability, called oscillations. One of the most commonly-known atmosphere-ocean natural climate events is the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The warm phase, El Niño, occurs approximately every two to seven years and typically lasts between nine months and two years. The impacts of the changes in rainfall and temperature on the U.S. due to the 1982-1983 El Niño were significant enough that a new moored buoy array (the tropical ocean global atmosphere (TOGA) tropical atmosphere ocean (TAO) array) was put into place in the tropical Pacific Ocean beginning in 1984, with completion in 1994. This array, and data from other ocean sensors, can be used to track changes in the sea surface temperatures that can help identify developing El Niño and La Niña events. This information has improved forecasters’ ability to predict ENSO events and the related changes in temperature and rainfall. The TAO data is also helping to refine our understanding of ENSO, which will help in predictions of ENSO variability over longer time scales.

The ocean is also a driver of longer-term multi-decadal natural climate variability, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The ocean can play a role in more abrupt climate changes (changes occurring over relatively short time scales) as well. An example is the abrupt end to the millennial-long very cold climate conditions that existed up to roughly 12000 years ago. The transition to this cold climate occurred in a decade or less and is notable for causing the extinction of nearly three-quarters of the large mammals in North America. The abrupt climate changes during the last ice age have been linked to large variations in the AMOC, caused by changes in the amount of deep water formation, perhaps as a result of changes in sea ice. These types of abrupt climate changes are of significant concern because their key characteristic is that they may in the future occur faster than expected or for which we may be planning. In any case, the ocean clearly has a significant influence over short-term and longer-term natural variability in the climate system that affects weather patterns across the globe.

Key Uncertainties Remain

This section highlights just a few of the many key uncertainties that remain in our understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the atmosphere, land, and ice. These uncertainties significantly affect our ability to understand past and current climate variability and our ability to use this understanding to predict future climate variability.

Lack of Data, Scientists and Priority

While much has been learned by oceanographers and climate scientists about the processes in the ocean and their effect on the climate in the last decades, understanding is hampered by a significant lack of key data. The ocean remains highly under sampled, from the surface exchanges between the ocean and atmosphere all the way down to the deepest parts of the ocean. Many of the processes, and especially those that relate to interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, are simply not well understood due to both a lack of data and the relatively small number of researchers funded to work in these areas. Similarly, relatively few direct observations exist of the ocean deeper than a mile down, and this hampers our ability to understand how the deep ocean stores and exchanges heat, salt, and carbon with the upper ocean and how it transports these properties around the globe.

It is unsurprising that these observational gaps exist, given the relative difficulty and high cost of getting scientists and instruments to remote ocean regions. Satellites can only “see” the surface of the ocean, below which scientifically-based inferences must be made in many cases to relate observed surface properties to deeper ocean aspects such as circulation and temperature structure.

Air-Sea Exchanges

Exchanges between the ocean and atmosphere of heat, moisture, momentum, and gasses are rarely directly measured. This is especially true under extreme conditions like high wind speeds, including hurricanes, and in difficult to reach locations, such as the Southern Ocean, where very few direct observations

have ever been made Instead, we estimate the exchanges by measuring the relatively easier components of the lower atmosphere (such as wind speed, humidity, and temperature), which still have significant uncertainties, and estimating the exchange from these variables.

Open questions remain about the influence of waves, sea spray, bubbles, and other properties of the air-sea interface on these exchanges, particularly under extreme conditions. Quantitative understanding of how the ocean and atmosphere exchange heat, moisture, and momentum requires better observations and models of these processes.

Once heat or CO2 is deposited in the upper ocean, the eventual extent to which the temperature of concentration changes is largely dependent on ocean dynamics and mixing between the upper and lower ocean, processes which themselves are not fully understood. This mixing in the ocean sets the limits of the amount of anthropogenic CO2 that the ocean can uptake over decadal time scales. On centennial time scales, basic scientific principles dictate that the ocean CO2 amount will equilibrate with atmosphere CO2, but an open question remains as to the rate at which this ocean uptake will occur, and our understanding of some key processes that control the carbon distributions in the ocean is still quite limited.

Ocean Currents and Circulation

The importance of understanding how mixing redistributes heat between the upper and the deeper ocean has been underscored in recent years, in light of hypotheses about deep ocean storage of heat.  It is hypothesized that an increase in heat transfer from the surface to the deep ocean may be a key component of the pause in the increase of the Earth’s mean near- surface temperature.  Some of this increased downward mixing may be a result of a significant strengthening of the Pacific trade winds, which in turn appears to be related to changes in the atmospheric circulation, possibly associated with changes in the PDO and the Atlantic circulation, although the actual mechanisms by which this might be occurring are currently unknown. None of the current climate models have captured this increase in Pacific trade winds, indicating that our understanding of the relevant processes is incomplete. This lack of understanding in turns leads to an inability to accurately reproduce ENSO, PDO, and other types of natural variability in the climate models, thus making it difficult to accurately predict how this natural variability may change in the future.

Ocean circulation has also changed significantly over time, such as during abrupt climate changes, when the North Atlantic region cooled but the southern Hemisphere warmed. Since the ocean circulation is a key feature of how the ocean stores heat and carbon, and since it is so variable, we need to know not only the present variability but how and why it has changed in the past and how it might change in the future. Some of this variability is due to changes in the heat transport associated with changes in how much deep water is formed. A remaining question is what types of reorganization of the ocean circulation may happen in the future and how will this impact the atmosphere. For instance, there remain long-standing questions about the importance of the main processes that drive the AMOC as well as whether we can in fact predict changes in the AMOC. Our uncertainties about these processes mean that different types of ocean climate models have very different sensitivities to changes in greenhouse gases and produce sea surface temperature changes that can even differ between increases and decreases over time.

Ocean Temperature Trends and Impacts

A key dataset for understanding climate variability is the thermal energy of the ocean at all levels. This information is crucial to expanding our understanding of past, present, and future climate variability. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this kind of data for understanding the present and predicting the future of human- induced changes. Increases in upper ocean heat content constitute a significant fraction of the heat storage that has occurred over the past 5 decades; one estimate is that the ocean warming accounts for roughly 90% of the total of Earth’s heat storage. As the ocean heat content increases, sea level rises due to expansion of the ocean water. This is a critical issue, as two-thirds of the world’s largest cities are at least partially in regions that are less than 30 feet above the current sea level, and issues associated with changes in sea level will profoundly impact this population.

Compared to the relatively longer and more global observations of atmospheric temperature changes, however, our time series and global coverage of temperature below the ocean surface is much shorter and much less globally complete, and a number of gaps still remain in our knowledge of heat changes, particularly in the deeper ocean. The first moderately usable ocean temperatures were isolated observations in the 1870’s. Since that time, the upper 700 m heat content has warmed substantially on the global scale, which we can most reliably observe since 1980. There has also been an increase over the upper 2000 m (roughly one mile), which scientists have only been able to fairly reliably measure since 2005.

The observations down to 2000 m were made possible when a new observing system called the Argo program achieved a more global reach. Argo is a data collection system consisting of many floats cycling up and down in the water column measuring ocean temperature and salinity. However, significant data gaps remain, particularly below 2000 m, which is nearly unmeasured.

The importance of ocean temperatures to global climate coupled with the paucity of data regarding ocean temperatures makes understanding the present and predicting the future of human-induced changes a challenging problem for oceanographers. Due to the sparseness of the dataset, many assumptions need to be made about what to use as a climatological   reference, and how to include unsampled areas,   which   creates considerable uncertainty about the amount of ocean heat content change even over the upper mile over the past 50 years. Further, there is no coherent strategy for making measurements deeper than a mile on the types of spatial and temporal scales that would provide information about how the upper ocean and lower ocean communicate and would enable us to understand how much heat the ocean is likely to absorb in the future. Autonomous vehicles capable of making measurements down to roughly three miles are available, but they are few and funded entirely for individual research projects on small scales rather than at a level necessary for coordinated measurements of the entire deeper ocean.

The recent observed weakening in ocean uptake of CO2 could be a result of either human-induced activities or natural variability (or both). A warmer ocean reduces CO2 solubility, but it may also reduce deep water formation, which could also limit mixing of CO2 downwards. Both of these effects would act to weaken ocean uptake of CO2. However, a possible mitigating factor is the Southern Ocean, which might have higher uptake in the future. Specifically, if the current forecasts of strengthening winds are correct, it would lead to more cool water brought from below and an enhancement of CO2 uptake, possibly enough to change the global net uptake to increasing rather than decreasing. An important need is for data in such data-poor regions as the Southern Ocean in order to understand the processes that drive changes between the atmosphere and ocean. This understanding could help improve the models and reduce uncertainty over future climate scenarios.

Clearly the uncertainties in our understanding of surface processes, carbon uptake, and ocean circulation are all connected. Most of the processes involved in these connections are not well monitored nor understood, so it is not clear how the ability of the ocean to store anthropogenic carbon will be affected over the next few decades. Over a very long time scale, the ocean will eventually arrive at equilibrium with respect to the atmosphere, but the rate at which this will occur is extremely uncertain. Improved observations of these processes would provide a basis for reducing the uncertainty in our estimates, as would global strategies that provided resources for gathering together and providing observations that may now only be accessible to a few scientists.

Our understanding of the marine ecosystems and marine organisms, and the potential implications of climate changes on these systems, is also subject to significant knowledge gaps, even with the increase in understanding in the past decade.   Significant uncertainties still exist about species interactions under ocean acidification, and the extent to which natural cycles may influence these interactions.   Some of these uncertainties are due to the wide range of abilities of the global climate models to actually represent some of these natural oscillations such as ENSO and the PDO. There is a potential for these cyclical interactions between the ocean and atmosphere to either amplify or diminish the original change, especially between the physics and the biology of the ocean, and these interactions are not well understood or represented in our models. Similar interactions that drive changes in the cycling of carbon through the atmosphere and ocean are also occurring, with similar uncertainties.

Need for Ocean Research and Funding for Research

The best way to improve our understanding of the ocean and its crucial impact on the climate system will be through a combination of data collection, data analysis/understanding, and the transfer of this increased understanding to our global climate models. Current funding levels, however, are inadequate to reduce these uncertainties on a timely basis, and are in some cases inadequate to continue even the current rate of progress.

Funding for many aspects of ocean research has been declining over the last decade. As an example, the Argo drifter program was initiated in FY 2003, with a budget of roughly $9.8 million. This program is one of the successes of 21st century oceanography, with many of the new results that have been discussed here being a product of this greatly enhanced observational capability. As a result, Argo is frequently asked to include enhancements by the larger community, including expansion of coverage, additional sensors, and improved sampling of the near-surface layer. However, in nominal dollars (not adjusted for inflation), the U.S. funded Argo program has received flat funding since FY 2003 (FY 2013 funding was $9.65 million, all from NOAA). Adjusting for inflation, funding for the Argo program has actually decreased.

Funding cuts have also severely impacted the TAO buoy array that is essential for our ENSO early-warning system, putting it in even more critical condition. Data recoverage dropped to 40% earlier this year, due to the aging of the buoys and lack of money to keep the system at full strength.Prior to 2012, the total budget for the TAO project was $10-12 million, of which $6 million was budgeted for ship operations. After the ship’s retirement, NOAA has spent roughly $2-3 million to charter boats for servicing these buoys, but this has not been enough to keep the system at full strength. The NOAA spend plan for FY 2013 was $415 million for research and development (R&D) and $128 million for R&D equipment. It should be noted that NOAA conducts scientific research in areas such as climate, weather, air quality, and ocean and Great Lakes resources, and that the funds listed above are used to support all of these activities, not just ocean research. The level to which the NOAA funding is stretched thin is exemplified by the need to save a few million dollars that would otherwise have kept the TAO array at optimal strength.

Of the $7.3 billion allocated for National Science Foundation in the President’s FY 2015 budget, roughly 2% will be available for investment in research on any aspect of the ocean, and of that, only a tiny fraction supports projects directly related to the ocean’s impact on climate change. The President’s FY 2015 budget also includes roughly $11.6 billion for R&D at NASA. In the recent past less than 4% of this amount has gone to Earth science research, which covers research on all aspects of the weather and climate system, including the land, atmosphere, and ocean. When one includes the total requests for other scientific R&D, such as that for National Institutes of Health at roughly $30 billion, the total government allocation for ocean research is under 1% of the government’s total R&D spend, which has been true during the 1980’s and 1990’s as well.

Our understanding of the ocean is central to our understanding of current and future changes to the Earth’s climate system. The current funding level is simply not enough to provide the level of information that the public, and the policy makers, need to make informed decisions. Perhaps the best summation of the current state of affairs was by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), who in a 2013 hearing on the deep sea challenge facing the United States, asked hypothetically where we would be today if we had spent half as much money exploring the ocean as we have spent exploring space. The actual answer to this question is unknowable, but it seems safe to say that our understanding, observations, and models of the ocean and its interaction with the climate system would be much less uncertain.

The President’s 2013 Climate Action Plan acknowledges that “[s]cientific data and insights are essential to help government officials, communities, and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with climate change.” However, because the ocean and climate are “inextricably linked,” the Administration cannot properly understand and manage those risks without funding and actively pursuing a better understanding of the ocean and its impacts on climate change.

This post is excerpted from remarks on understanding the role of the ocean in climate [EPA comments] that I submitted in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) request for comments on its document “Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas emissions from New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” 79 Federal Register 1430, 1440 (Jan 8, 2014).  The linked document also provides references.

Biosketch.  Carol Anne Clayson is Director of the Ocean and Climate Institute at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and a Senior Scientist in the Department of Physical Oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She has been tenured faculty at Florida State University and Purdue University, and while at FSU was the Director of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute. Her research covers the areas of air-sea interaction, satellite remote sensing, and ocean modeling, and she has received funding for her research from NASA, NOAA, the Office of Naval Research, and NSF. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. She received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President W. Clinton. She has served on multiple committees for the American Meteorological Society and the National Research Council, including the Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate. She has been a lead reviewer of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product. She currently serves on a number of national and international panels, including as chair of the World Climate Research Program GEWEX SeaFlux project, an international group of scientists working on improved estimations of air-sea turbulent heat fluxes from satellite. She is the inaugural leader of the WCRP Flux Task Team, and is currently a member of the CLIVAR Phenomena, Observation, and Synthesis Panel. She has served on the NASA Science Review team, as well as on the NASA Decadal Survey, in addition to currently serving on several NASA Science Teams. She also sits on external advisory boards for the University of Colorado Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department and the Los Alamos Laboratory Institute of Geophysical and Planetary Physics. Dr. Clayson received her B. S. degree in Physics and Astronomy from Brigham Young University in 1988, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering Sciences and the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1990 and 1995.

JC note: This is an invited blog post.  Carol Anne was one of my first Ph.D. graduates at the University of Colorado.  I am obviously a very proud academic ‘mama.’  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments relevant and civil.

 

 

 

 

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386 responses to “Challenges to understanding the role of the ocean in climate science

  1. Quote: Evaporation from the ocean supplies 90% of the water vapor that eventually becomes rain and snow, and this evaporation is a source of heat to the atmosphere.

    Maybe I need to dig out my old text books, but doesn’t evaporation remove heat from the atmosphere? Otherwise where does the energy come from to effect the change of state from liquid to gas?

    Apologies in advance if I’m wrong.

    • Evaporation removes the heat from the surface (sea or land) and transfers it to the atmosphere.The energy comes from the surface, which absorbs solar energy.

    • I think the energy comes from the surrounding liquid, in this case the ocean. It is the released into the atmosphere when condensation occurs.

    • When water vapor condenses to form clouds, latent heat is released in the atmosphere. When water evaporates from the ocean, the ocean surface cools.

      • Water planet, viewed from space,
        like a snapshot from the gods,
        a shimmering orb
        netted in a cloud haze.

      • Thanks to all for the explanations. So when the author says that evaporation is a source of heat to the atmosphere, that is a two stage transfer. First into the water to evaporate it and then from the vapour to the surrounding atmosphere when it condenses to form clouds.

        Is that right?

      • I’m reminded of the Coolgardie Meat safe, which relied on latent heat of vaporization. The heat is removed from the evaporating water (which becomes colder) thus keeping the meat cool(er). Where does the heat energy go? Into the water vapour and is released when condensation occurs? I think so.

      • An interesting effect of this transfer is how moist air coming off the oceans and passing over a barrier like the Rockies or the Antarctic peninsula causes a net warming of the air. On the descending side it can create Froehm storms and significant temperature rise.

        In effect the heat came from the oceans ( ultimately the sun ) and there is a heat transfer from sea to air but the difference in heat capacity between the two media is about three orders of magnitude, so drop in SST is undetectable. The rise in air temp can be several degrees C.

        The degree of this “warming” is thus a function of the strength of the wind in such regions.

        The result is an apparent increase in “mean global temperature” if anyone is fool enough to combine SST and land air temps in a global mean. ( No names mentioned, you know who your are ).

        However, it is clear that this is a transfer of energy from the sea surface to the air and does not represent a true warming ( ie increase in total heat energy ) of the lower climate system. It is false “warming” signal due to averaging two incompatible datasets : air temps and sea temps.

        This is one reason for the warming of the Antarctic peninsular when the rest of the continent does not show any warming. Simple increase in wind strengths. Jim Steele wrong about this recently at WUWT.

        Like I’ve been saying a lot recently : what is the average of an apple and an orange? A fruit salad. Very tasty but not much use for science.

    • I ran the rough numbers for the 200 zettajoules of energy that the ocean is said to have absorbed in the top 2000 meters since 1960.

      If my math is right that is an absorption rate of 0.2 W/m2 from an atmosphere that on average for the period according to HADCRUT was emitting 1 W/m2 more “back radiation” (0.55°C ~ 2 W/m2).

      Assuming the above is correct the transfer efficiency is about 20% which means 80% of the “warming” energy went back to the atmosphere in some way (evaporation/convection/radiation).

      • Pierre-Normand

        I didn’t check any number but I just must remind you that the increase in back radiation would only cause an equal increase in the rate of ocean heat content accumulation if there were no surface warming at all (and no change in any other surface flux). The rate of OHC increase reflects the residual top of atmosphere imbalance at that time, before the surface has had time to warm enough to cancel an increase in external forcing. When the surface warms, the excess energy (from the increased forcing) doesn’t go back mainly in the atmosphere. There just isn’t enough heat capacity for that. It mainly goes back into space and thereby partly cancels the TOA imbalance.

      • Pierre Norman, “The rate of OHC increase reflects the residual top of atmosphere imbalance at that time, before the surface has had time to warm enough to cancel an increase in external forcing.”

        The rate of OHC is a reflection of direct solar absorption and mixing efficiency. The DWLR impact is minuscule in comparison. The 1998 El Nino released massive amounts of energy to space due to low winds and clear skies while the following La Ninas increased the rate of OHC uptake via increase surface mixing.

        Think of it this way Pierre, the ocean surface temperature is always warmer than the average ocean temperature, increase the surface winds and you will increase the rate of ocean heat uptake, no CO2 required. The actual CO2 portion of the increase would need to be averaged over many decades or centuries.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Pierre Norman, “The rate of OHC increase reflects the residual top of atmosphere imbalance at that time, before the surface has had time to warm enough to cancel an increase in external forcing.”

        Captdallas wrote: “The rate of OHC is a reflection of direct solar absorption and mixing efficiency. The DWLR impact is minuscule in comparison. The 1998 El Nino released massive amounts of energy to space due to low winds and clear skies while the following La Ninas increased the rate of OHC uptake via increase surface mixing.”

        If there is an increase in the rate of surface cooling to space (while the external forcing hadn’t already been cancelled) then there is a reduction of the TOA imbalance as a result of this increase, whatever the cause of the temporary increase might be. So, what you say doesn’t contradict anything that I said in response to PA.

        “Think of it this way Pierre, the ocean surface temperature is always warmer than the average ocean temperature, increase the surface winds and you will increase the rate of ocean heat uptake, no CO2 required. The actual CO2 portion of the increase would need to be averaged over many decades or centuries.”

        The rate of heat uptake must match the TOA radiative imbalance. This just is a consequence of the law of conservation of energy, and the fact that the troposphere has a relatively small heat capacity, and a temperature profiles that is coupled to the surface temperature. Winds can’t drive heat in the oceans if the energy isn’t getting to the surface layers to start with. It is the TOA imbalance that determines the rate of accumulation of energy in the whole climate system.

      • Pierre, “It is the TOA imbalance that determines the rate of accumulation of energy in the whole climate system.”

        Or vice versa. An increase/decrease in OH uptake would create a TOA imbalance. Energy will be conserved, but since the oceans provide most of the energy to the atmosphere you cannot specifically point out what portion of any imbalance is directly caused by what. You can estimate that an imbalance due to increased CO2 would cause increased OH uptake of so much over some time period, but since the dynamics of the couple ocean/atmospheric system is constantly varying you need one seriously kicka$$ ocean model and a lot of data to verify/validate that model to have any confidence in that estimate.

        I believe that would be part of the point of the post.

      • captd, you only have to look at the long-term sign of the imbalance, which has been continuously in the same direction as the forcing to see that it results from the forcing, and what the ocean does by itself (e.g. ENSOs) just modulates it slightly in comparison. This is the same as saying that the OHC has been generally upwards during the strong forcing of the past few decades. Focus on the trend, not the wiggles.

      • JimD, “captd, you only have to look at the long-term sign of the imbalance, which has been continuously in the same direction as the forcing to see that it results from the forcing, and what the ocean does by itself (e.g. ENSOs) just modulates it slightly in comparison.”

        What is “long term” for a planet JimD?

        Based on the reconstruction of the IPWP temperatures “long term” warming from ~1700 AD is likely.

      • How about this one? BEST is the only “global” instrumental data set that goes back into the 1700s and the land temperature increase rate is about twice that of the oceans. Assuming that relationship is continuous, you can scale Best to approximate SST.

        So there is BEST, CET, GMSL and 0-700 OHC on one chart scaled to the overlapping periods. With the exception of Mann-o-matic mathturbation, there appears to have been a period of cooler temperatures in the ballpark of what used to be called the Lil’ Ice Age. Now sharpen your pencil and figure out how long it would take the oceans to recover about 0.9C of temperature at the current rate of OH uptake.

      • ‘Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations
        in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

        It is the large natural variability that seems to escape attention in these simplistic narratives.

  2. Ward of the wood

    ” and this evaporation is a source of heat to the atmosphere. ”

    Yes – but it is also a source of cooling to the surface.

    The question then is where does the heat do most damage to the Planet? This is clearly a much more difficult topic. I would be interested if there has been validated work done on this to generate some level of global planetary energy balance. Best bet based on no work done whatsoever is that the further away from the surface the heat is it is more likely to be eventually released from the atmosphere? Any takers on this?

    Also essentially blaming the failing models on lack of data smacks of over the top science. By the very definition of science we will never have enouph data but what needs to happen is a convergence of the data and the prediction from models. There is little evidence to suggest how far the models have come. Is it not about time for someone to do a history of climate model predictions with a view on their accuracy over the years and how or if they have improved. Surely there is enouph data available for this work?

  3. I applaud Clayson’s reasoning. I too would like to see much more observational research and tools supported in future budgets. In my view climate science is still in its infancy and not ready for policy deliberations. The first step would be to “scrub” all agency budgets and eliminate unnecessary work. I would start by closing down half of the government modeling activities and convert those resources to field research. Scientists who sit at a computer all day need to get out and travel to the unexplored areas and contribute real data rather than dreaming up new “assumptions”.

    • Time and tide weight fer no man.

      http://www.john-daly.com/ges/msl-rept.htm

      The variables demonstrate the complexity of the problem
      of measuring global rates of sea rise, as John Daly indicates..

      • Sadly, John Daly died before we had the amazing power of Grace and Jason satellites where we could concretely see the masses of water move from continent to ocean (and visa versa). But in the minds of faux-skeptics, the Ghost of John Daly lives on!

      • Willis Eschenbach

        R. Gates, first, what on earth is a “faux-skeptic”? And are there “faux-alamists”? What about “faux-lukewarmers”?

        This kind of ad-hominem attack just drags your reputation down. Stick to the science and you’ll get more traction.

        Next, the Topex/Jason sea level measurements show many amazing things on a short time scale, like eddies around the Cape of Good Hope. However, this short-term precision means nothing about whether they have long-term trend errors, which is what John Daly wrote about.

        The problem, as Daly pointed out, is that to get one mm accuracy from the satellites, you need to measure the both the position of the satellite and the radar measurement of the earth’s surface to a COMBINED accuracy of about one part per billion. In addition, your long term (multi-decadal) instrument+satellite drift cannot be more than some small fraction of that one part per billion per year … and that’s a tough ask even in the lab. For a satellite system where we cannot directly test the long-term drift of the instrumentation, it’s even harder.

        In fact, the continuing disagreement between satellite and surface tidal records would indicate that there are still issues to be resolved, despite your fatuous attack on the Ghost of John Daly.

        w.

      • Willis,

        Only faux-skeptics will be upset at being called such. Honest rational skeptism is immune to the politically motivated world view of the faux-skeptic, and the faux-skeptic gives honest skeptics a bad name.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        R. Gates | November 13, 2014 at 9:34 am |

        Willis,

        Only faux-skeptics will be upset at being called such.

        Dumbest logic I’ve seen in a while … so I guess if you get upset at being accused publicly of being a child molester, this shows you are one, because only child molesters will be upset at being called such …

        R., you are generally far from this foolish. Drunk-blogging? Temporarily off your meds? Your logic is usually pretty good, but this is just laughable.

        w.

      • Wow Willis, equating faux-skepticism to the severity of child molesting and launching into an ad hom against me all in the same post. Quite the talent you have.

      • R. Gates. Faux You. (doh!)

  4. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Thank you Judith Curry, for posting Carol Anne Clayson’s outstanding essay …

        NASA: Perpetual Ocean

    … which causes us to reflect upon the intricate energy-balance heat-transport dynamics that is associated to Hansen-style climate-change.

    Northwest Fisheries Science Center
    Unusual North Pacific warmth
    jostles marine food chain

    The situation does not match recognized patterns in ocean conditions such as El Niño Southern Oscillation or Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which are known to affect marine food webs.

    It’s a strange and mixed bag out there.

    FOMD Observes  Traditional cold climate-dynamics flipping to new hottest-ever climate-dynamics?

    Isn’t this EXACTLY how Hansen-style climate-change is supposed to look?

    Conclusion  Nothing in Carol Anne Clayson’s outstanding essay — nothing in the either the theoretical science nor the observations that affirm it it — provides any rational grounds to be sanguine in regard to the global long-term consequences of anthropogenic climate-change.

    \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}

    • Change one word and this is a good conclusion.

      Conclusion Nothing in Carol Anne Clayson’s outstanding essay — nothing in the either the theoretical science nor the observations that affirm it it — provides any rational grounds to be sanguine in regard to the global long-term consequences of anthropogenic climate-change.

      Conclusion Nothing in Carol Anne Clayson’s outstanding essay — nothing in the either the theoretical science nor the observations that affirm it it — provides any rational grounds to be alarmed in regard to the global long-term consequences of anthropogenic climate-change.

      • She said that there is not enough data and not enough known and the uncertainty is large.

      • I would like to know at what point people are allowed to become alarmed. What exactly has to happen?

      • savagepoetics The problem is this. When we realize that the warming is directly linked to “bad things happening” it will be too late. Models, bad as they are, can be useful in at least planning against flooding and drought. But planning requires investment of resources. If one does not “believe” that changes are happening, one cannot plan.

        I recall from the bible that Joseph had a dream of 7 years plenty and 7 years drought. The pharoh believed him and prepared. The people survived. I’ve always wondered about the climate basis of this story.

        Rose

    • A simple question

      The sea surface anomalies you highlight may not match ‘recognized patterns’, but are very similar to those in 1919, at least if the reanalyses done by NOAA and quoted by Joe Bastardi at the WeatherBell (paywalled) site are correct. These conditions are associated with unusually cold conditions in the lower 48.

  5. The bottom line with respect to oceans is this: They are warming at a rate that leading studies suggest is about 15x faster than any point in the last 10,000 years.

    Take a grain of salt with the estimates, and point is they are warming, and the rate is geologically significant. Very. Not only faster than in 10,000 years, but much faster.

    That is not a fluky coincidence, since there is a precise reason for it. Obviously.

    Over time if they are warming, it means net energy is leaving the atmosphere, rather than the earth itself to warm the atmosphere. That means most of the heat energy that is being re captured, is not going into heating our atmosphere, but into heating our oceans.
    The World Meteorological Organization even notes in their 2013 report (perhaps too precisely?) that 93% of the increase in captured energy has been going into heating our oceans.
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwdvoC9AeWjUeEV1cnZ6QURVaEE/edit

    And a study published last month in Nature, essentially mirrors this point
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n11/full/nclimate2389.html and provides further detail.

    This has profound consequences for future climate. Those oceans raise the net energy level balance between atmosphere and ocean, while the atmospheric energy capture is going to remain higher because it is not due to some short term fluke, but a long term change in the long term concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

    This aside from the intensely complicating fact that those atmospheric levels are also continuing to rise (and in a way that is starting to compound itself ice starts to melt http://climatesolutionsandanalysis.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/major-methane-spikes-from-warming-sea-beds-are-compounding-an-underestimated-climate-change-challenge/) and doing so in a way that in a geologic sense is all but instantaneous.

    So as we move forward in time, the atmosphere will continue to warm as it both continues to capture more heat, and the increase in ocean temperatures balances out (or won’t for a while as atmospheric concentrations continue to rise, air temperatures continue to rise, while most of the energy continues to heat the oceans.) this will only continue to amplify melt, and as the oceans warm, continue to amplify atmospheric change over time in conjunction with ongoing high (and increasing, even) absorption and re radiation of thermal radiation.

    There is a tendency to get too precise with numbers that we really can’t pinpoint, and lose sight of the big picture concepts at play here that are very fundamental science, even if the issue is somewhat complex. And that, in many quarters, are being butchered through a self perpetuating tendency to interpret everything and anything in a way that somehow dismisses, lessens or refutes climate change, and simply dismiss, ignore, or misconstrue everything else. http://climatesolutionsandanalysis.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/why-climate-change-refutation-is-illogical-and-driven-by-something-else-not-science/

    It’s really easy, particularly when following this extremely distinct and powerful pattern, to get caught up in any kind of particular that we don’t know about the ocean, to miss sight of the far more important big picture, which keeps getting wrangled around:

    That is, the atmosphere is capturing more energy via long term greenhouse gases (and so far all studies show even through short term, as water vapor has increased whereas if it didn’t, that would be bad because it would only intensify regional drought changes in a warming world) than it has in MILLIONS of years. This is an ongoing addition of extra energy.

    It doesn’t just disappear. It has raised the ambient global temperature a little, but mainly (aside from the atmospheric levels themselves, which by remaining high – let alone increasing much more – will only exacerbate this) gone into heating the earth. In many permafrost regions the actual ground has warmed more than the air above. In melting land ice sheets, which of course has not been occurring in total at both ends of the poles, and accelerating, in Greenland almost doubling it’s rate of melt in just five years. (Which is remarkable). And warming the ocean. At a geologically relevant, if not near extraordinary, rate.
    (A classic example among many is the tendency to take all aspects of the ongoing adjustment and correction process of science, as repudiation of climate change itself. If something is more than expected, the clamor is “this wasn’t even expected, so climate scientists don’t know anything, ,wen can’t listen to them!” And whenever it’s less than expected, to go “see, it’s not a problem, it’s not even what they said. (Even if the “it” is a peripheral issue, as is almost always the case. And based the idea of climate change upon the mistaken idea that to know a change will occur, we need to be able to “write the exact script in advance as if seeing it after the fact.)

    • nottawa rafter

      John
      Could you provide links to studies asserting oceans are warming 15 times faster than any time in last 10000 years? Thanks.

    • The top 2000 meters warmed around 0.072°C on average since 1960. That doesn’t seem particularly fast. The atmosphere warmed (accord to Hadcrut) about 0.55°C over the same time period.

      The top 700 meters warmed something less than 0.018°C (assuming the observed 70% in the top 700 is typical) during the same 54 year period.

      The ocean doesn’t seem to be warming particularly fast, unless you think at rate of 0.03°C per century for the top 700 meters is really hustling.

    • John Carter

      You are an excellent example of a person taking a small amount of information and then fitting that limited data to fit and try to justify your personal system of beliefs.

      The truth is we know little about what drives the system today, but that doesn’t stop people like you from trying to tell others that you are sure how we should be living.

    • John,
      John,
      As I understand it, atmospheric water vapor has not increased as the AGW theory predicts. In fact it has slightly decreased at all altitudes in recent years. See climate4you.com for the data. It’s in the climate+clouds section. If you have contrary data, please cite it that I and others might be informed.

    • Ya missed a word, John (added in bold italics below in your quote;

      The bottom line with respect to oceans is this: They are theoretically warming at a rate that leading studies suggest is about 15x faster than any point in the last 10,000 years.
      John Carter | November 12, 2014 at 8:28 am

      The best data summary on the ‘warming oceans’ is probably Levitus 2012 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051106/abstract … summarizing data going back to 1955, covering a period with at least 4 different types of measures/instruments (reversing thermometers, ship engine inlets, XBTs, then ARGO), varying hugely in coverage from primarily shipping lanes and scientific expeditions, to now when ARGO has reasonable coverage of the 0-700 metre layer. Noting ARGO has only been ‘fully in place’ since 2007. http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/

    • Matthew R Marler

      John Carter: It has raised the ambient global temperature a little, but mainly (aside from the atmospheric levels themselves, which by remaining high – let alone increasing much more – will only exacerbate this) gone into heating the earth.

      Some of the increased energy flow has gone into speeding up the hydrological cycle, i.e. increased rainfall. You mentioned increased water vapor, but the water vapor rises to warm the upper troposphere via condensation and freezing into clouds (thus increasing cloud cover to an unknown degree), and then falling as rain.

    • Curious George

      John – the first derivative of noisy data is notoriously difficult to estimate. Your statement on “warming 15x faster” is very likely an artifact of data processing methodology.

    • @john carter

      I am sooooo not going to dampen my underwear with the thought that the oceans are warming at a rate of 0.15C per century.

      It is possible that it is 15 times faster than at another time. But it still fails to pass any reasonable ‘so -(expletive deleted) -what?’ test.

      Rhetorical question: Is a complete lack of sense of perspective or understanding of the relative magnitudes and changes in quantities a prereq for ‘professional’ climatologists? Or have they just had so limited an exposure to other sciences that they are stuck thinking that 277.67K is a huge difference from 277.82K.

      These are truly trivial changes. No rational person would look twice at them..even if they coud be shown to be actually happening.

      Get a grip, peeps. Look out the window. Watch the sky. Reconnect with the real world.

    • Walt Allensworth

      “John said: The bottom line with respect to oceans is this: They are warming at a rate that leading studies suggest is about 15x faster than any point in the last 10,000 years.”

      10,000 years… a very carefully cherry-picked interval.

      Make that period 15,000 years and today’s ocean warming rates will have been dwarfed by the warming rates and sea-level rise seen at the onset of the Holoscene, when sea level increased by 130 meters over a period of 6,000 years. I don’t suppose you want to blame that on humans, eh? Also note that’s a rate of 21.6 mm/year, not the paltry 2mm-2.5mm a year rise we’re seeing now.

      see: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

      and: http://climatesanity.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/church-and-white-monthly-sea-level-and-sea-level-rise-rate2.png

      So anyway, your insinuation that ocean warming and sea-level increases today are highly unusual just don’t hold, er, water.

  6. We certainly need a better understanding of ocean dynamics, including in the context of possible climate change. Unfortunately this plea for funding (for that is what it is) makes it sound like the purpose of ocean science is to serve the questionable climate models. This is a good measure of the extent to which modeling has (wrongly) come to dominate climate science. But since the funding comes from the federal government, the proposal must reflect government policy, however wrong that policy may be. So this is a case of funding induced bias in climate research. There are many such.

    • David, we always use models to explain data. Let’s not get carried overboard and demonize models. They are bread and butter in science and engineering from evolutionary biology to plumbing design.

      • Curious George

        We use models to explain data? Fernando, please explain.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Curious George: We use models to explain data? Fernando, please explain.

        When you have a model that accurately enough derives observed data (and especially data observed subsequent to developing the model), then you have increased understanding of the processes that produced the phenomena represented by the data. Classic examples are Newton’s and Einstein’s models of motion. More recent is the Feynman-Schwinger-Tomonaga model of electron dynamics. (One of the delights from reading “Genius” by Gleick was the reminder of how much time Feynman spent in deriving and in calculating. )

        At present, GCMs incorporate lots of scientific knowledge in systematic ways, but they are not very accurate, so it is easy to debate how much understanding is increased by putting all those pieces into computational form.

      • Fernando, I agree that computer models play important roles in both science and engineering. I myself have done modeling, for example of the diffustion of scientific ideas. But the climate models are political instruments, not engines of scientific enquiry. Hence the pitch for improving their (bogus) forecasts rather than simply understanding the ocean-climate linkages. It is the demonic climate models that I am demonizing.

  7. nottawa rafter

    Excellent post. A very complex subject explained in a way that is easily understood.

  8. John Smith (it's my real name)

    “abrupt climate changes during the last ice age have possibly been linked to large variations in AMOC”

    I’m assuming not anthropogenic
    can we ever separate natural variation from “anthropogenic”?
    can we now agree that “abrupt” change happened before human activity?
    is human activity “natural”?
    (my wishing we could retire that word I know is futile)

    this walks and talks like a philosophical question

    so we mitigate carbon and develop clean energy
    but, then a large variation in the AMOC, or some other unanticipated variation, might nail us with an “abrupt” change in climate anyway, no?

    seems to come back to the precarious nature of existence

    but hope for the perfect equation to predict and explain the entire universe springs eternal

    thanks Carol Anne and JC
    enjoyed the read

    • I think “natural” in this context just means what would have happened had we not altered the atmosphere in the manner in which we did. In this sense nothing that happens is “natural” yet it all is because it’s, an expression of the “natural” world; one that, however, we’ve now changed.

      As for something radically changing anyway climate wise, the chances of that otherwise happening over any specific short geologic period of time is extremely low. So it’s not really a practical concern, nor relevant, since we don’t control what we don’t control. (The sun for instance, which lucky for us is predicted to decrease a little in solar activity for a while, but it may not). And do what we do: Namely, our level of change to the atmosphere, which – and something most people are simply not getting because it’s abstract and almost none of the change can be seen – is absolutely monstrous at this point, and in a geologic sense still skyrocketing upward.

      So continuing to do so is “unwise,” In the sense that cutting off our own noses and ears to spite our faces is unwise. Yet we suffer from the idea that to “progress” we must harm our world, or worse, argue therefore – to perpetuate “progress” in the same way we are used to – that we are not harming it when it is abstract, futuristic, and involves a risk range and long term time scale and multiple components of uncertainty along with (more relevant ) key certainties, and is thus easy to self convince ourselves of this.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        John Carter you say
        “Namely, our level of change to the atmosphere, which – and something most people are simply not getting because it’s abstract and almost none of the change can be seen – is absolutely monstrous at this point, and in a geologic sense still skyrocketing upward.”

        abstract and not seen
        I would say “postulated but not observed”
        the crux of the issue at hand
        monsters?
        where?

        man and nature is simply a duality that does not exist

        words and philosophy matter
        how you ask the question determines what data you gather and how you interpret it

        scientist and philosopher were once upon a time the same person

    • John DeFayette

      As I read through John Carter’s response below I just can’t shake “Desiderata” from my internal loudspeakers. Your “philosophical question” seems not to have penetrated as understanding in all of your readers.

  9. The post leaves out a really ugly fact: most of the money spent by NASA over the last 40 years was for the Space Shuttle and the international space station. The shuttle was poorly designed, and the bulk of the “space research” carried out in the space station is nearly useless.

    So the issue isn’t only the lousy fund allocation, it’s also about the way a government bureaucracy aimed for circus rather than science.

    • Here’s where emotions trump rationality. I don’t regret the money spent on the space shuttle and I support the international space station. They are and never were money makers. That is not their intent. If it has top be either/or I would rather see a reduction in military spending than reduction is space research. (space shuttle was used for military stuff as well, I know)

      Landing on a comet will not create jobs. But the Rosetta mission is a nice example of the better part of humanity.

      • NASA, space stations, and moonshots are cool. Agreed! They are inspiring! And they have led to more satellites, for useful stuff like global communication – an indirect payoff.

        And – in 50 years, our technology will be so much more powerful that all the money government spent before it was cost-efficient will be quaint – aka a fricking waste of resources.

        The advantage to leaving such “research” in the hands of for-profit or philanthropic hands is that desire for profit ALSO means – the desire for research that has actual utility. In other words, investing our scarce resources in their most productive uses and a little thing called compound interest.

        Sure, government taking money from the people and investing in R&D for circus projects (h/t rmd) can get grow an industry. No questions there. AND, it is a bubble – false investment with a horrible ROI in the big picture. It is typically a negative rate of return. Invest 10 billion to get 5 billion in results. YES, you get 5 billion in results, but you are consuming the capital of society. Or, more realistically, 500 billion invested, gets 250 billion in results – consuming 250 billion of our collective resources, leaving us with less to invest in the 10,000 other technologies we want to develop. With compound negative ROI, that 250 billion is re-invested in negative ROI government projects and becomes 125 billion, then 67.5 billion, then 33.75, then 16.67 in results over time.

        That money, left in private hands, would have been invested somewhere else with a higher ROI – and the profits would be re-invested in high ROI investments, leading to exponential growth. 16.67 billion becomes 33.75, becomes, 67.5, becomes 125, 250, and eventually 500 billion through compound interest. Then, when there is ACTUAL UTILITY in space research, we will have 500 billion in the hands of profit oriented (positive ROI) entrepreneurs – and we will watch the development of space in real-time.

        There is a terrible (broken window) cost to government research to society. Just as there will be a costs to society if we put cutting carbon emissions in front of developing technology for Thriving. We need to get billions more people out of poverty, and create the resiliency to respond to NATURAL disasters (including the small increase in natural disasters that will likely accompany a warming world – whatever its cause).

  10. David L. Hagen

    Excellent overview by Carol Anne Clayson
    I strongly endorse her emphasis on the importance of actual oceanic measurements – especially in light of the miserable predictive skill of climate models.
    We need to cut ineffective “climate modeling” by 80% and increase Ocean measurements 800%.

  11. This is absolutely insane. With a multi-trillion-dollar mitigation decision in front of the world, they should be spending billions now to get as much and as accurate data as possible.

    • They are spending billions. The problem is they are spending them on CO2 studies.

      They should just drop the GCM model and global warming funding for the time being and switch the money to atmospheric/oceanic studies to better understand the climate system. The only part of the system they claim to understand well is GHG. Fine – quit studying it and go study something else that is less well understood.

      • PA ++++++++++++++++++++ YOU ARE RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Yes, natural variability needs to be studied first.
        Most of the people on the different sides are putting most of their effort studying a man-made fraction of a trace gas. That is not reasonable.

        It does sound like Carol Anne Clayson is on a better track.

      • If you do not understand what caused warming and cooling in the past, you will never understand the present and you will never correctly forecast the future.

      • I drool when I think about the tethered buoy data gathering strings I would set under the Antarctic ice using a modified usa navy submarine.

      • I am not arguing against studying the dynamics. I just think that good data is at least as important.

      • Fernando Leanme,

        Conversion of the now retired and scrapped L. MENDEL RIVERS to ocean science missions was considered some years ago. Nobody would fund it.

      • DHR I was thinking of the Henry M. Jackson nuclear sub. We could use it to carry out under ice expeditions. I would overhaul it (estimated cost $800 million) and rename it “Captain Nemo”.

  12. I read this and posting and I do not find support for the 97% consensus that there is agreement about what will happen next in Earth’s climate.

  13. “Perhaps the best summation of the current state of affairs was by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), who in a 2013 hearing on the deep sea challenge facing the United States, asked hypothetically where we would be today if we had spent half as much money exploring the ocean as we have spent exploring space”.

    Perhaps the better question would be “if we had spent half as much money exploring the ocean as we have on co2 mitigation and subsidies to wind, solar, and ethanol, where would we be today?”

  14. It’s a nice quick essay on flows and consequences.

    I tend to dwell on atmospheric Navier Stokes equations being unsolveable because who knows what’s going on in the ocean, and the atmosphere problem is enough to disqualify climate science as serious work.

    But there’s the oceans too, probably easier Navier-Stokes-wise because it’s not turbulent flow, but with too much hidden to get a start.

    The essay does seem to accept that there’s science in climate science and it needs more funding owing to uncertainties (in spite of, I’d say; they’re disqualifying).

    I see instead huge anthropogenic sociological forces holding the field together.

    Look at what geophysical research used to look like, for instance Longuet-Higgens, just discovering interesting stuff and not asking for funding or for uncertainties that need to be addressed. Curiosity makes science. Incuriosity kills it.

    There are nice bits of physics, but drawing them together under an official field is a mistake.

    Bureaucrats of various kinds take over.

    If a company is run by meetings, people who like meetings take over.

    Usually they’re not the curious type.

  15. Very interesting and significant contribution.

    Makes a mockery of this sort of BS.

    I remember Lord May leaning over and assuring me: “I am the President of the Royal Society, and I am telling you the debate on climate change is over.”

    Roger Harrabin, BBC environmental correspondent 29 May 2010

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10178454

    There’s a long, long way to go yet.

    • I like the image used in that link.

      Cooling towers spewing massive amounts of Di-Hydrogen Monoxide vapor into the atmosphere. They really should ban that doncha know.

      • Looks like a touched up photo to me … usually the steam/vapour becomes invisible after a certain point (ie, like the second major plume from the left).
        Most of the plumes here get darker and thicker as they rise….

      • At least in that pic they did not photoshop the steams plumes nice adn black…..

      • oops … second major plume from the right

      • Looks like the image dates back to 2008:
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/consumeraffairs

        A fair bit blacker in that one.

        (I was hoping to find an un-retouched version….)

      • Dang it, lousy link to that image. How do you post an image here?

      • markx, just post the image link without any formatting.

        I was just reading up on the site, Grangemouth is a refinery and power station. So a few of the taller stacks would be emitting pollutants but the obvious cooling towers no. I can’t tell if the image is photoshopped but if the temperatures are right the steam can persist and the angle would make it look darker and more ominous.

      • If you circulate a petition among the agw crowd to advocate for reduction of the dangerous levels of dhm emited from human activity of any type, you will have no problem getting as many signatures as you may need for any purpose that supports destroying our economy.

  16. Judith, great post and congratulations. You should be the proud academic “mama”. I still keep in touch with my Oceanographic mentor from the 60’s. I am now 67 and he is 80+.

    I agree with several of the commenters upstream (popesclimatetheory, Fernando, David Wojick and Hank Zentgraf.

    Dr. Clayson makes it clear that our understanding of ocean and atmospheric processes are inadequate to inform predictions of future climates, be they driven by natural processes or man made impacts. This does not stop some scientists from calling for economy wrecking drastic and premature measures to eliminate CO2 emissions. Somehow the UN and our current President have become convinced that if we don’t act now armageddon is just around the corner. Judith is a voice of reason saying “just wait a minute….”. It sounds like Dr. Clayson agrees with her, but given her position maybe she needs to be a bit less activist.

    As a Big Science administrator Dr. Clayson is asking for more government money and programs to obtain more data to feed the models and fill the gaps. This is what agency and institutional administrators do.

    There are a couple of views on more data. Some believe that more data is always good. Some only want to collect more data to substantiate what they already believe and don’t want more data that clouds the case they are trying to make. The ocean/atmosphere/climate problem is so vast and complex that the data collection effort needed to shed significant light on how it all really works is enormous. It must not be undertaken haphazardly.

    Significantly reducing the funding of climate model research, meeting and travel budgets for IPCC scientists and hangers on and some of the psycho babble stuff that routinely shows up, would go a long way to providing more money for physical data collection.

    I think it is also important to debunk the over the top hyping of the (possible?) cataclysmic man induced climate outcomes as a rationale for immediate action as well as unlimited spending on everything and anything having climate in it’s title.

    • Carol Anne Clayson

      Hi Mark, thanks for your comments. I just want to make sure I understand the following from your comment: “Judith is a voice of reason saying “just wait a minute….”. It sounds like Dr. Clayson agrees with her, but given her position maybe she needs to be a bit less activist.

      As a Big Science administrator Dr. Clayson is asking for more government money and programs to obtain more data to feed the models and fill the gaps. This is what agency and institutional administrators do.”

      I want to make sure I understand your position that by saying there are some significant gaps in understanding crucial pieces of the climate puzzle, and that one of the ways for improving our understanding and reducing our uncertainty due to these gaps is by having more data and more scientists looking at this data, that this is an “activist” position.

      I think a good question which can be raised is whether an entity outside of the traditional government outlets (such as a private philanthropist) is capable of funding the kind of long-term, sustained observations that are needed for disentangling some of these issues. To date, that has not been my experience. However, if such a mechanism could work, I am all for it.

      Note that I did not state where the money for this additional data-gathering and evaluation capability should come from. Suggesting it come from reducing climate science in other areas would certainly be an activist position I am not willing to take. The main thrust of my article is that the ocean is important to climate, and that relative to the economic impact of government-mandated policies, the government is spending little on increased understanding.

      I would further argue that reducing the uncertainty in our weather and climate predictions would decrease the costs for public and private sectors for adaptation and mitigation, and could also provide significant benefits for those industries who do use weather and climate data for increasing their competitiveness.

      • Carol Anne, thanks for your response. I did not intend to imply that you are taking an “activist” position or that you are an activist. On the contrary, it seems to me that you are doing your job as administrator of a large and important research and learning center by identifying the need for significantly more data and scientists looking at the data to reduce the high level of uncertainty concerning climate science. In this regard, I agree with the main thrust of your article. Let’s face it though, funding for this kind of big science has been the responsibility of Governments (primarily the US Government) and that is likely to continue. You did not call for a reallocation of climate funding amongst different research areas, I did as did a number of others on this site.

        Now I would suggest that Judith is the activist because she is the one standing up and hollering bs to the notion that the science is settled and the world is doomed unless we stop burning fossil fuels. While I don’t recall Judith explicitly advocating funding reallocations amongst research areas I would expect that less money on models and more money on data collection and analysis might resonate with her.

        In any event, I appreciate your post and your providing this input to the EPA.

      • Dr Clayson

        With the recently concluded mid-term elections, we have an opportunity to reflect upon the money spent, say by Tom Steyer alone ($70 or so) in his environmental activist role, a case could be made that his money entry into the election process was a failure. He has stated that he intends to spend significantly on the next (2016) election.

        With the resources of Wood’s Hole at your side, maybe prying some of those future election dollars to fund specific and named projects, say the Tom Steyer mini-sub project to assess deep ocean temperatures. Building a fleet of mini-subs: the Tom Steyer Catastrophic Global Warming Proving Vehicles. Such a mini-sub fleet at @ $ 2 million apiece with support vessels would be unique and much more fun than aeronautical drones which are so passé now. Prove once and for all, the heat is really deep!

        A million here, a million there, pretty soon that adds up to real money. (apologies to Senator Evert Dirksen, using millions instead of billions)

      • Dr. Clayton. First, thank you for the work you have done and providing a clear explanation of what we do not understand re: the effects of oceans on climate. That being said, the issue we skeptics have re: funding of research thru government entities for any type of climate research is that there is overwhelming evidence of confirmation bias that the only explanation for climate change is human contribution to co2 levels thru burning fossil fuels. So, to me, the probability of such funding to be used for real, unbiased research is about the same as the probability that human contribution to the level of a trace gas to just one of the 5 subsystems making up the overall climate system acts as THE control knob for climate change. My apologies for the convoluted wording, but that about sums up the convoluted thinking of climate change alarmism.

      • My apologies again, Dr. Clayson, and to Dr. Clayton, whoever that is.

      • Barnes –

        ==> “That being said, the issue we skeptics have…”

        Hold on there just one minute, bud. “Skeptcs” are not monolithic, and don’t you forget it.”

      • I would say transfer the money from the war machine to the oceanic investigation processes.

      • From the Narrative War to Nature will be quite adequate, thank you.
        ============

      • So Joshua, are you a denier of the evidence of the confirmation bias re: co2 being THE control knob for all climate change, ,or, are you skeptical that if we control co2 levels, that we control the climate?

  17. Eloquent post. The money wasted on climate models should be repurposed to this kind of basic oceanographic research (and cloud dynamics, and the biosphere’s carbon sinks, and fourth generation nuclear, and…). The supercomputers should go to the NWS (see Cliff Mass blog). And the modelers should be firmly offered the opportunity to attempt to find gainful employment in the real world. Big data and all that.
    Crimping Argo and letting the equatorial Pacific buoy array deteriorate is nuts. But further evidence of the many fundamental misprioritizations caused by the church of AGW.

    • How much money is spent on climate models?

      • Well 97 million pounds X half a hundred models=I thought there wouldn’t be math involved. That’s just for hardware. This is a high end estimate, for the measurable present.
        ==============

    • When I was in university in the 80’s I learned that the needs of the climate models were actually driving the development of the big computers, like Cray (US military probably had a hand in this too). The time and space scales used in the solution of the Navier Stoles equations were driven by the computer power (and vice versa). At first, oceans were just a boundary condition and then with better computers and informed scientists, the coupled ocean-atmosphere models were developed. Chemical and biological processes were also added. This could be called a “spinoff”.

      The models are not perfect but they are the only way to study the whole system. It should be emphasized that data is needed as input for the initial conditions, boundary conditions and to help parametrize the sub-grid processes. It is also needed to validate the output (energy budget satellite missions). Unfortunately there is no “wow” factor and these won’t make headlines.

      So my emphasis is that models need data and that’s where support needs to be increased (but not taken at the expense of other projects)

  18. I would not be so generous as to say that, “the climate models include what is known today about the ocean and its influence on climate.”

  19. If I wanted more funding and I were dealing with a Republican congress, I would place more emphasis on how much warming a natural change in horizontal ocean heat transport can cause. You might get more that way for programs you want even if you don’t think they would produce results compatible with your argument. I think they might.

    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n6/fig_tab/ncomms1901_F5.html

    http://water.columbia.edu/files/2011/11/Seager2005OceanHeat.pdf

    • Wasn’t George W president president in 2003 when funding started for the program?

      • I don’t see that as being helpful towards getting current funding. What I do see is a few committee members sitting around trying to determine which research projects should be funded. Who should we cut? The cancer researchers that haven’t been very political or the climate science researchers where many have been calling us flat earthers and deniers? I think stressing that a project could provide evidence that natural variability is more important than currently thought may be a nice selling point. Who doesn’t want to be proven right?

  20.  
    Suggesting this revision (addition):

    “The ocean reacts more slowly than the atmosphere to changes in heat but also stores this heat [and holds a helluva lot more heat than the atmosphere] and releases it over longer time periods. As such, the ocean plays a significant role in moderating the weather and global climate.”

  21. So far, all the debate is ignoring the elephant in the room. Doesn’t seem to be much interest in funding research to find a really viable replacement for fossil fuels. Wind and solar simply won’t work in the final hours, and nuclear remains too dirty and scary.

    • There aren’t good choices. In the end, nuclear will be necessary for electricity, period. What is less clear is when construction has to start in earnest. That is why an understanding of climate sensitivity, and peak fossil fuels productions, are so important. There are several ‘fourth generation’ nuclear fission design concepts that are a lot less dirty and scary then the Gen 3 Westinghouse AP1000– which is less scary but not less dirty than Gen 2. Fukushima was a Gen 1 that had already exceeded its originally permited design life. Plus there is the Lockheed Skunkworks high beta fusion possibility still in its early days. NIF and ITER are collossal fusion research boondoggles from first primciples, collectively wasting about $30 billion. All surveyed in essay Going Nuclear in ebook Blowing Smoke.

      • Mr. Istvan,

        Consider also the Light Water Breeder Reactor operated in the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in the 1970’s. The fuel was U233 and the breeder blanket was Th232. After about 4 years of operation, the core produced about 1.4% more fissile fuel (U233) than was consumed along with less “dirt” than conventional low-enriched U235 reactors.

      • DHR, most (not all) of the gen 4 concepts are ‘breeders’ in the sense of using up all the fuel potential, leaving much reduced radwaste. Not all are traditional molten salt breeder schemes like Imdia is bringing on line at KaIpakam. I believe TerraPowers traveling wave reactor is a water design. There are also gas designs like General Atomics. Problem is, nobody except the Chinese are building any prototypes of anything ‘gen 4’. Your point about revisiting some of the older nonstandard design concepts is well taken.

      • Which reactor design should we propose for my pilot in Zimbabwe?

    • Curious George

      I share your feeling, but a proposal like “let’s establish a School for Finding a Replacement for Fossil Fuels” sounds like a wishful thinking rather than a practical one.

  22. “Since the poles absorb much less solar radiation than the equatorial region, there is a surplus of energy in the equatorial region and a deficit in the poles.”

    Sort of like, if you hold a pinkie over a flame there is surplus of energy in the finger region and a deficit in the toes?

  23. The oceans helps to determine the location of most clouds and precipitation by influencing the atmospheric motions that move water across the globe.

    Yes.

    During a warm period, such as the Roman, Medieval and Modern Warm period, open polar oceans provide moisture for more precipitation and more snow falls for hundreds of years and then the ice advances and Earth gets colder.

    During a cold period, such as the Little Ice Age or the other colder periods between all the warm periods, frozen polar oceans provide less moisture for precipitation and less snow falls for hundreds of years and then the ice retreats and Earth gets warmer.

    This part of Earth temperature regulation is this simple.
    This explains the well bounded temperature of the past ten thousand years.
    This explains the bounded temperature of the past million years.
    The development of Polar Ice explains the cooling during the past 50 million years. Look at the temperature history of Earth and look at the Polar Ice and Polar Ice Cycle history.

    Natural Variability can be correlated with Polar Ice Cycles.

  24. Evaporation from the ocean supplies 90% of the water vapor that eventually becomes rain and snow, and this evaporation is a source of heat to the atmosphere.

    Nominally, the Sun is the source, right?

  25. –e.g., looking at the process holistically:

    

  26. Willis Eschenbach

    Gotta say, I sure wished that she had put a few references into her interesting post, to back up at least her more outrageous claims. For example:

    The ocean can play a role in more abrupt climate changes (changes occurring over relatively short time scales) as well. An example is the abrupt end to the millennial-long very cold climate conditions that existed up to roughly 12000 years ago. The transition to this cold climate occurred in a decade or less and is notable for causing the extinction of nearly three-quarters of the large mammals in North America.

    Really? To start with, I think she means “transition FROM this cold climate”, since she appears to be referring to the end of the ice age … but the idea that it happened in “a decade or less”? Say what? Perhaps she could specify exactly which decade that was, so we could all get in on the fun.

    Next, she couples this with a hotly debated claim that this decade of warming somehow caused the extinction of 3/4 of the large mammals in North America … really? They all went extinct in a decade or less? And just the big ones? And it didn’t have anything to do with the introduction of alien species (men and dogs), which is known to be the most common cause of extinctions? Really?

    Sorry, Judith, but I think she might not have paid enough attention to your most valuable teachings on uncertainty. When someone starts spewing uncited nonsense like that, I fear I tune them out. Anyone who is willing to use their scientific stature to toss around half-baked claims as if they were solid facts gets little attention from me.

    Since she has provided no citations or other evidence, she obviously wants us to take her statements on trust. The problem is, since she’s clearly making stuff up about extinctions and warmings (a decade to come out of the ice age? … really?), there is absolutely no reason to trust her.

    And without either citations or trust, there’s nothing left.

    w.

    PS–I did love the obligatory “my corner of science needs more money” plea. Turning the whole thing into a sales pitch doesn’t increase her credibility, regardless of whether it is true. ALL parts of science could use more money, but shilling for it in a “scientific” document always seems tawdry to me.

    In any case, we waste something like $11 million per year on the IPCC … perhaps we could shift that to oceanic research. Come to think of it, my oceanic research has fallen behind lately, I need more money for new dive gear …

    • The end of the post provides a link to a more extensive document with references.

      • Judith

        I think that link is broken and refers to an intranet.

        Warming was very rapid over a decade or so and caused substantial sea level rise as I noted here;

        “According to the BBC ‘Britain’s Drowned World’ TV programme carried out by ‘Time Team’, the inundation was caused by a prolonged sea level rise at 2cm per year (around 10 times the current rate) and exacerbated over a 15 year period by a 7 degree Fahrenheit temperature rise.”
        https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/document.pdf

        tonyb

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks for that pointer to her testimony, Judith. Unfortunately, following that link to her “references” ties her claim about the last ice age ending in a single decade and killing most large land mammals to a 222-page document called “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change”. This is by the Committee on Understanding and Monitoring Abrupt Climate Change and Its Impacts of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council.

        In that document, I do find something which kinda sorta looks like her claim, and which appears to be the basis of her statement. The Committee on Understanding and Mumbling About Abrupt Climate Change and Its Impacts of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council spake thusly:

        Following a millennium-long cold period, the Younger Dryas abruptly terminated in a few decades or less and is associated with the extinction of 72 percent of the large-bodied mammals in North America.

        And what is their citation for that claim? Well … they have not given a footnote for that, sorry. Might be true, might not, we don’t know.

        In any case, the Committee on Understanding and Obfuscating About Abrupt Climate Change is talking about the Younger Dryas. They are NOT talking about the end of the “millennial-long very cold climate conditions that existed up to roughly 12000 years ago”, as she claims in her post.

        In addition to that large error, she has morphed the Committee’s uncited claim that the Y-D warming was “associated with” the extinction of the land mammals, to a claim that the end of the last Ice Age is “notable for causing” the extinction of the land mammals … alarmism, anyone?

        Truly, Judith, she desperately needs to take your teachings on uncertainty to heart.

        w.

        PS—Citing claims by pointing to a 222-page report on science without giving any page numbers or further specifications, rather than citing claims by pointing to the ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC STUDY that you think justifies your claims, is a pernicious habit and an infallible sign of a poor scientist. It wouldn’t pass muster in my high school science class, Mrs. Henninger would beat our papers severely with her red pencil if we tried that nonsense. When I see that kind of airy handwaving, “Oh, the answer’s in there somewhere”, I lose all confidence in the author … and your head post is a perfect example of why.

      • Willis this is an op-ed, not a scientific review article.

      • Matthew R Marler

        tonyb: I think that link is broken and refers to an intranet.

        I got a pdf (epa-comments.pdf) by Clayson titled: Comments on
        EPA’s Proposed New Source Performance Standards for Electric Generating Units: Understanding the Role of the Ocean in Climate Science Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0495

      • Matthew R Marler

        Willis Eschenbach: Citing claims by pointing to a 222-page report on science without giving any page numbers or further specifications, rather than citing claims by pointing to the ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC STUDY that you think justifies your claims, is a pernicious habit and an infallible sign of a poor scientist.

        sez you.

    • Willis, with respect to your opening paragraphs, she is referring tomthe Younger Dryas event. I researched it extensively as was considering an essay for the new book on extreme natrial variability, the yin to the essay Tipping Points yang. Onset was almost certainly less than 50 years. Most probable current explanation is that Lake Agazis finally breached St. lawrence seaway ice dams, and that water whichnhad been draining down the Mississippi was suddenly diverted into the North Atlantic where it abruptly shut down the thermohaline circulation.
      Whether thatnevent contributed to the North American megafauna extinction is much more comtroversial. Correlation is not causation, Clovis culture, and all that…
      With respect to your final point on research funding, there are several areas that are deeply underfunded IMO relative to potential knowledge return. True oceanography is one, and she cites two examples. More distortion caused by belief in ‘settled’ AGW ‘science’ and mitigation via renewables. I noted some other examples upthread.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Rud. I agree that oceanography is underfunded, as a lifetime fisherman, sailor, surfer, and diver, how could I not? But trying to make scientific points while at the same time arguing that you need more money seems tawdry to me. Those are separate issues.

        And trying to scare people about abrupt climate change because an ice dam broke 11,000 years ago … sorry, not on.

        w.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Rud Istvan: extreme natrial variability,

        cool phrase. A reference to oscillations of salt?

      • Matthew, great joke. On my part, just fat IPad fingers going in haste. Wish I had thought of it. Not credit here, just another goof up.

      • So your original post was a baseless attack Willis. No wonder people don’t trust or believe you.

    • Willis,

      She wrote that she needs a lot more money because of the uncertainty and lack of sufficient data.

      That undermines the 97% consensus certainty more than enough to make up for the things you disagree with. A 97% consensus should mean they don’t need anything else. Maybe 3%, which would not make much difference.

      I think this was great. They should take no drastic action yet because they clearly don’t know enough to know what they should do.

      They don’t try to understand why Climate has been so well behaved. There is no money in that.

      The sky is falling does promote more funding for more better data. A lot of people are watching and that it makes it difficult to corrupt all the data. More, better, data will support the Correct Theories and destroy the Flawed Theories.

      Why were the Climate Cycles of the past well bounded.
      We must force them to Answer that first!

      • How does saying there is more to know undermine the consensus which is based on what is known?

      • Eric – the simple reply is that there is a lot more that we don’t know than we do know – very likely by orders of magnitude. So the real question is, why don’ t we invest in adaptation to an ever changing climate that we will never control instead of trying to mitigate co2 emissions which can not be proven to be even remotely likely to have any meaningful impact on climate?

    • The paragraph quite obviously refers to the Younger Dryas – and the transition to and from cold conditions was abrupt.

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/data4.html

    • The paragraph quite obviously refers to the Younger Dryas – and the transition to and from cold conditions was abrupt.

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/data4.html

  27. @ John

    “I note for instance that almost all of the comments in response to mine on this site have not been to simply objectively discuss, ………”

    I guess I am a stereotypical example of the ‘sceptic’ that you were describing in your post, so I will make an attempt to explain objectively WHY ‘Climate Science’ writ large, sets my BS detector.

    First, I am not a scientist, climate or otherwise. However, I spent a good number of year around electronic labs, making measurements of various things, including on occasion, temperature.

    When I see breathless quotes from NASA quoting the Annual Temperature of the Earth with a resolution of milli-degrees and saying that it beat the previous record by a few hundredths of a degree, and knowing that the temperature inside my PID-controlled heat chamber was not knowable, let alone controllable, with milli-degree precision I am suspicious. I would be willing to bet that two teams of climate scientists, working completely independently, could not deploy instrumentation systems to my county in VA, collect data for a year, calculate the Annual Temperature of My County, and have the two results agree within a hundredth of a degree, let alone millidegrees.

    Take your quote above re ocean heat content: ‘ Not only faster than in 10,000 years, but much faster.”

    We are talking millidegrees/year, at the current rate. Do we now have in place an instrumentation system that can track the average temperature of the entire ocean system with millidegree precision over multi-year time spans and reliably detect millidegree anomalies for the entire system? Have we had one for 10,000 years that allows us to compare rates of change with annual or even decade resolution and millidegree precision? Or at all? Do we even have an agreed upon procedure for ESTABLISHING the ‘annual temperature of the ocean’ so that when anomalies are reported we are confident, at the millidegree level, that we are talking apples to apples?

    I could go on.

    Then we have the reporting of Climate Change. It is ALWAYS reported so as to maximize its ‘scariness’.

    Is the ocean gaining heat? I don’t know, but Climate Science claim that IT does and that it is gaining heat at a rate of ten or more Zetajoules/year. Since a Zetajoule is 1e21 joules, that is a LOT of heat and must really be bad. It also represents an annual temperature rise of the top 2000 meters of the ocean of around 3 millidegrees. So the ocean is gaining heat at the frightening rate of 10 Zetajoules/year? O! M! G! So the ocean is warming at a rate of 3 millidegrees/yr? How the heck do they determine that the temperature of the entire ocean has changed by three millidegrees over the last year, do I believe that they can measure it with that precision, and why should I care? Same info; different reaction.

    Antarctic is melting (or losing mass somehow) at a rate of 100 km^3/year? Holy cow! That’s a hundred billion tons/year! Oh wait. It’s starting with 3e7 km^3, so that is a rate of 0.0003%/year. If the rate triples to .001%, in only 1000 years it will have lost 1%. Can we measure the quantity of ice on an ice covered continent 40% larger than the continental United States with a precision adequate to track anomalies of 0.0003% annually? Never mind.

    Greenland/Antarctic losing ice at a rate of 300-400 km^3/year and causing the oceans to rise at unprecedented rates? Stop evil carbon now! 360 km^3/yr represents a rate of change of sea level of 1 mm/year? Who cares?

    Bad climate event, on any scale from a tornado wiping out a small midwestern town to local flooding in a couple of counties to a major hurricane/typhoon/cyclone making landfall in a densely populated area to a heat wave in Southern California/Arizona: Global Warming confirmed. Record cold/snow etc on any scale: merely weather; nothing to do with Global Climate Change.

    Another factor that sets my ‘Just a cotton pickin’ minute here, son!’ flag is that that CAGW is almost exclusively a child of progressives and reports of the latest evidence of AGW or the immediacy and direness of its consequences are ALWAYS followed by demands for enormous expansions in the taxing and regulatory authority of governments over every human activity that produces a carbon signature, with said signature ALWAYS being identified and quantified by the governments doing the taxing and regulating. And ALWAYS, action must be taken IMMEDIATELY to stave off the imminent, and inevitable, catastrophe that will result from delay. Add in that while the world’s press has provided a constant drumbeat of coverage of literally hundreds of effects attributed (almost exclusively via ex cathedra proclamation) to AGW, the number of those effects that are reportedly desirable or benign are vanishingly small. (I would say zero, but I am sure that you could come up with a few, minor news reports to contradict me, so I’ll stick to overwhelmingly negative rather than universally negative.) Not impossible, but it doesn’t strike me as likely.

    Then we have the deliberate, coordinated attacks, personal and professional by the ‘consensus’ on ANY scientist or organization that questions, even mildly, the dominant role of ACO2 in climate change OR the direness of the consequences if government doesn’t take control over all ‘carbon signatures’.

    Add them all together, throw in a subjective observation that, absent the cries of alarm and calls for action from the ‘climate experts’, climate is doing pretty much what it has always done (Who you gonna believe; us experts or your lyin’ eyes?) and you have a recipe for skepticism. At a minimum.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Thank you, Bob, for a most excellent summary of why people don’t trust or believe in climate scientists. False accuracy, failed predictions, demands for sacrifice (by others), personal attacks, as you say …

      Add them all together, throw in a subjective observation that, absent the cries of alarm and calls for action from the ‘climate experts’, climate is doing pretty much what it has always done (Who you gonna believe; us experts or your lyin’ eyes?) and you have a recipe for skepticism. At a minimum.

      Well said,

      w.

    • John Smith (it's my real name)

      thanks Bob Ludwick
      excellent rant
      that same stuff has been rattling around in me own head for awhile
      much better said than I could ever manage
      I feel better now :)
      will likely steal almost all of it
      hope you don’t mind
      just for everyday use

      • @ John Smith (its my real name)

        “will likely steal almost all of it
        hope you don’t mind
        just for everyday use”

        Feel free, for whatever purpose you deem useful, with or without attribution.

        Bob

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Bob
        I live a highly “progressive” urban area
        large number of non-profit orgs hell bent on saving the world
        so it’ll just be around the neighborhood
        standing on the corner
        yelling at cars
        no one will notice
        thanks

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        oops… live in

    • Excellent summary. Reading this along with the comments by Willis and John Smith is therapeutic.

    • + a bizillion. Great summary rant.

    • The cool thing is, Bob, you don’t even have to follow the recipe at all carefully to taste a perfectly delicious result.
      =================

    • While I agree with a lot of what you said, small changes I think can be measured. For example take 1000 thermometers spread over a surface to be measured that have an accuracy of 1.0 C. One of those thermometers goes up a degree. That’s a thousandth of a degree change. I’d say you’re able to add precision with more measurements, but I’m not sure of the limits. I’ve thought of the oceans mass as a great stabilizer fighting against rapid changes in the atmosphere, but their circulation changes are not understood well enough. While total OHC stays in small range, within that range there may be tipping points (like regime changes as in Tsonis et al 2007). If we say that 2.0 C is some atmospheric tipping point for ice sheets, scaling that number down for how little the OHC varies gets us a very small number for an oceans tipping point which might be a major circulation change giving us an oceans regime change.

    • So Bob, you deny any climate change. Your subjective view is every thing is as it has been.

      • @ Eric

        “So Bob, you deny any climate change. Your subjective view is every thing is as it has been.”

        Of course I don’t deny any climate change. What do you take me for, a…….? Oh, never mind.

        According to the experts, and observation, climate has changed continuously, on all time scales examined. It continues to do so and I anticipate that it will CONTINUE changing indefinitely, no matter what ‘climate change policy’ that we adopt–or whether we choose to ignore the whole idea of ‘climate change policy’.

        What I ‘deny’ is that there is any empirical evidence to indicate that the climate that we are currently experiencing is doing anything unusual, compared to its behavior in the past.

        I also deny that there is any compelling evidence that the observed changes in climate are strongly correlated with the amount of CO2 that we produce as a byproduct of satisfying our energy requirements.

        I further deny that there is any compelling evidence that ANY–or ALL of the ‘climate mitigation plans’ proposed by ‘climate experts’ would have any measurable efficacy in making the climate at any arbitrary time in the future ‘better’ in any meaningful way compared to the climate our descendants would experience if we ignored ‘climate change’ completely and simply supplied our energy needs via the cheapest, most expedient means available.

      • “I also deny that there is any compelling evidence that the observed changes in climate are strongly correlated with the amount of CO2 that we produce as a byproduct of satisfying our energy requirements.”
        _____
        One of the best definitions of a denier that I’ve seen. Thank you.

      • Bob

        We all know that climate changes. Here are a variety of examples over the last 2000 years I have gathered;

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/01/a-short-anthology-of-changing-climate/

        As you rightly say, when looking at the modern era in a historic context it is difficult to say that today is exceptional

        tonyb

      • @ R. Gates

        “One of the best definitions of a denier that I’ve seen. Thank you.”

        De nada.

      • @ R. Gates

        As long as you are critiquing my post, how about some commentary on my last paragraph?

        If you agree, then why are we so all-fired eager to implement ‘climate change policies’?

        If you disagree, how about providing a list of ‘climate change mitigation policies’ that you would recommend and a ballpark estimate of the kind and degree of ‘betterness’ our descendants could expect for each policy individually if it were adopted and rigorously enforces or, if they are all adopted and enforced, the degree and kind of ‘betterness’ that they would enjoy. It would also be helpful if you could provide an estimate of the amount and kind of ‘badness’, if any, that would ensue from the adoption of the proposed mitigation policies. Or are ALL the anticipated effects of climate change mitigation efforts benign?

      • “If you agree, then why are we so all-fired eager to implement ‘climate change policies’?

        If you disagree…”
        ______
        I don’t recall being “all-fired eager” to implement anything. Yep, some certainly are, but I don’t overall disagree with your positions about what can be proven to make a difference or not. Chances are good that we’ll not reign in the overall growth of GH gas emission over the next few decades no matter what, though we could spending billions trying. It really is just a matter of who you want to give our money to– but you’re gonna pay someone. By stock in oil and gas, and at least maybe you’ll get dividend check, eh?

      • @ R. Gates

        “I don’t recall being “all-fired eager” to implement anything. Yep, some certainly are, but I don’t overall disagree with your positions about what can be proven to make a difference or not. ”

        It seemed like a simple enough question: In your opinion, do we need to establish ‘Climate Change Mitigation Policies’ or not.

        If the answer is yes,I asked what, in your opinion, they should be and how and by what amount the climate these policies would convey to our descendants would be ‘better’ than the climate that they would experience if we ignore climate change entirely, from a policy standpoint. I also asked if you expected that the the side effects of these policies would be entirely benign or if they had downsides that should be weighed against potential benefits prior to implementing the policies.

        If the answer is no, then what is all the hoopla about?

  28. Sea surface temperatures in turn then help set the atmospheric circulation.

    “…new research indicates that similar changes in regional pressure and winds can also drive trends in sea surface and coastal air temperatures that extend over a century or more.” ~NOAA (Changing Winds Explain Most Pacific Coast Warming)

  29. I’m just a lowly engineer but when I read average global data calculated to decimal points, I scratch my head. I’m impressed when one sensor can do that and remain calibrated to do that.

    • As an example, I just read this at New Scientist: “In July this year, ocean surfaces were 0.55 °C above the average since 1890, just beating the previous record of 0.51 °C in 1998.” http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22429954.000-recordbreaking-ocean-temperatures-wreak-havoc.html#.VGOVgck4yZQ

      On top of that astonishing precision, the four hundredths of a degree are “wreaking havoc”. I’m glad I stuck to engineering.

      • mpcraig

        The idea that we know the temperatures of ocean temperatures (other than some strictly local ones) back to 1890 is ludicrous in itself but the precision quoted makes this ‘ fact’ something to take with a pinch of salt

        tonyb

      • This tiny little bit, if it is right, will promote a tiny bit more snowfall and that will bring the eventual cooling a tiny bit sooner.

    • you miss understand the meaning of those estimates.

      • OK, what exactly is the meaning of an estimate of a change that is much smaller than errors in the measurements. I guess you know ahead of time if you need warming or cooling to promote your agenda.

      • Lil’ Miss Understanding would be a great title for a Naomi Kline book :)

      • I understand averaging theory where sensor accuracy can be increased by increasing the number of samples thereby reducing the standard deviation. This can only be achieved if whatever is being measured is invariant over the course of taking the samples. That certainly would not apply to measuring sst.

        And I can’t even begin to imagine all of the different systemic and random errors on the multitude of instruments measuring sea surface temperatures.

        For that matter, what exactly is “sea surface”? The top 0.01mm (e.g. MODIS)? Down to 3m (e.g. weather buoys)? Something in between (e.g. water buckets)?

        “you miss understand the meaning of those estimates.”

        My guess is that it’s so media like New Scientist can post “reports” and keep the dream alive. No need for science, just terms like “wreak havoc” and “hottest ever”.

      • “you miss understand the meaning of those estimates”

        Quite. One can look at the pdf copies of the monthly and annual temperatures at a local and compare with the ‘raw’ data used by BEST; the difference between the two gives me a deep understanding of the meaning of the estimates.

  30. Willis Eschenbach

    Here’s another example crying out for some citation, link, or hint as to what she’s referring to:

    The recent observed weakening in ocean uptake of CO2 could be a result of either human-induced activities or natural variability (or both).

    Now, I follow this stuff fairly closely, and I have no idea what “recently observed weakening” she’s talking about. My own analyses of the global sinks shows absolutely no decrease in carbon sequestration to data, and I’m unaware of any that do.

    All of which doesn’t mean that such analyses are not there, I could have missed them … but it does mean that she desperately needs to give us a hint, a clue, a couple words like (Smith 2014) to let us know just what she is basing her opinion on.

    Otherwise, she’s asking us to just take it on trust, and I’m sorry, but I don’t trust her in the slightest. We’ve been lied to, cheated, handed false forecasts, and cozened by far too many mainstream climate scientists over the last two decades to trust anyone in her position. In fact, trying on that kind of stuff makes her claims less believable. She needs to cite and explain her points, her bald-faced claim that there is a weakening in oceanic CO2 uptake is far from sufficient.

    w.

    • Willis, read the linked to document in the post, here is the link again so that you can easily click on it, references are provided in this doc
      https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/epa-comments.pdf

      • Matthew R Marler

        curryja: Willis, read the linked to document in the post, here is the link again so that you can easily click on it, references are provided in this doc

        Of Course! I apologize for not following the link to the original before suggesting (below) that references be provided.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        My thanks for that, Judith. The link shows that her citation is a study which says:

        The seven ocean CO2 time series analyzed here show different trends in surface pCO , but, universally, they also show positive increases in the Revelle factor (Figures 4b and 6), ranging from +0.011 yr to +0.019 yr . … The increase in Revelle factor indicates that the buffering capacity of subtropical to subpolar surface waters to absorb CO has gradually reduced over time.

        But when discussing this result, these dear science folks seem to have temporarily forgotten the idea of statistical significance … and when I look at their data in their Figure 6, none of their results seem to be anywhere near statistically significant. Hang on … yeah, it’s as I thought. I just digitized the first panel of Figure 6, and the change in the Revelle factor is a long ways from statistical significance (p-value = 0.12).

        Now, they happily provided error estimates for other of their results … but curiously, none for this result. As a result, what they say may indeed be happening … but their data certainly doesn’t establish that.

        And when I see scientists leaving out the error estimates for their most important results, only to find that they are a long ways from statistical significance … well, you’ll excuse me if I don’t put too much weight on the study. Things may be going as they say, but leaving out error estimates makes me nervous.

        w.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Atlantic Ocean CO2 uptake
      reduced by weakening
      of the meridional overturning circulation

      Uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean declined rapidly between 1990 and 2006.

      This reduction in carbon dioxide uptake was related to warming at the sea surface, which — according to model simulations — coincided with a reduction in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

         Open-ocean PH: yet another hockey-stick blade

      Conclusion  Humanity’s great enemy is not climate-change per se, but rather ideology-driven willful ignorance and cherry-picking in service of special interests.

      As the seas rise, the waters heat, and the ice melts — all without pause or evident limit — this sobering planetary reality is becoming mighty obvious to *EVERYONE*, eh Willis Eschenbach?

      \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}

      • Fan, That 2050 and 2100 data must be pretty hard to come by :)

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Fannie, the rise in the seas has SLOWED. The rise in the temperature has SLOWED. The loss of ice has SLOWED.

        Given that, your claim that:

        As the seas rise, the waters heat, and the ice melts — all without pause or evident limit …

        is nothing but unbridled alarmism.

        w.

        PS—As Judith could tell you, the fact that your graphic has no error estimate means that it is not really science … do you really think we know the average pH of the open ocean 25,000 years ago with any accuracy?

        I also note that according to your graphic, the pH of the oceans in the ice age is about the same as it is in the Holocene … curious, that.

        Overall? Your graphic is a parody of science.

      • Matthew R Marler

        a fan of *MORE* discourse: Open-ocean PH: yet another hockey-stick blade

        By 2100 your source projects an open-ocean pH of about 7.8. You are correct: that is not an enemy of humanity, or any biota, cherry-picked though the [forecast] datum be.

      • Perhaps I’m confused, but this pH chart makes no sense to me.
        Afaik, CO2 acidifies the water as it is dissolved in the water.
        But the text clearly associates a ‘reduction in CO2 uptake’ with a substantially accelerated drop in pH.
        Can someone please clarify this?

      • Willy, you didn’t provide any references for your claims. Why the expectations that others should do what you are unable to do? More entitlement thinking from you?

      • Fan, for once you’ve said something I can agree with: “Conclusion: Humanity’s great enemy is not climate-change per se, but rather ideology-driven willful ignorance and cherry-picking in service of special interests.” However, I think we are diametrically opposed as to in whom the ignorance and cherry-picking resides.

    • Carol Anne Clayson

      Willis I was about to address your question but I see that Judy has given you the link. That document as she noted does have references to various statements within this post. For your specific comment, the reference is #6: Bates, N. R., Y. M. Astor, M. J. Church, K. Currie, J. E. Dore, M. Gonzalez-Davila, L. Lorenzoni, F. Muller-Karger, J. Olafsson, and J. M. Santana-Casiano, 2014. A time-series view of changing ocean chemistry due to ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 and ocean acidification. Oceanography, 27, 126-141.

      • Dr Clayson

        Your post is very compatible with the Wall Street Journal article by Dr Koonin, maybe 2 months ago. It is also compatible with a reply Dr Curry gave several months ago when I asked, if she had unlimited funds how she would use them; her answer was
        improved observation capability and climate research.

        The new US Congress will begin preparing a 2016 budget resolution this January to be completed I think in May or June. Hope to see you, Dr Curry, and Dr Koonin testifying before them soon.

        Your achievements and the achievements of Woods Hole make me proud.

        Richard

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks most kindly for your response, Dr. Clayson. Thanks to Judith, I found and discussed that citation. I also found and discussed your citation of a 222-page document without a page reference, and your both erroneous and alarmist interpretation of that 222-page document. Your comments on either of those would be most interesting, considering your claim that:

        An example is the abrupt end to the millennial-long very cold climate conditions that existed up to roughly 12000 years ago. The transition to [from?] this cold climate occurred in a decade or less and is notable for causing the extinction of nearly three-quarters of the large mammals in North America.

        Regarding the other citation, I found nothing in the Bates et al. work to support your claim that

        The recent observed weakening in ocean uptake of CO2 could be a result of either human-induced activities or natural variability (or both).

        While the buffering of the ocean is discussed at length in that paper, I find little about ocean uptake of CO2. In particular, I find nothing saying that a) there is significant measured weakening in actual CO2 uptake, nor that b) it could be from humans, or it could be natural.

        In fact, the number of tonnes of CO2 taken up by the ocean has increased, year over year, for as far back as we have CO2 records. Nor is there any evidence that I know of that that increase in uptake has slowed. So I’m still very curious about your evidence for that one.

        w.

      • ” I also found and discussed your citation of a 222-page document without a page reference, and your both erroneous and alarmist interpretation of that 222-page document. ” -WE

        Willis,

        It’s hard to know what is more alarming, your lack of reading skills, or social skills.

      • Dr. Clayson,

        I was also suprised by the assertion that CO2 uptake by the ocean has declined.

        Would you mind elaborating on this?

        What is the evidence? What is the nature of the decline in uptake (e.g. what time frame has this happened over)?

        It seems that CO2 sinks have generally grown over the last several decades. Our emissions rates have grown, yet atmospheric concentrations growth has been pretty much linear. This indicates growing CO2 sinks. I find it hard to believe that this growth in CO2 sinks is largly land based.

        My guess is that we are missing the biological component and clouds. The amount of light to facilitate photosynthesis may be a key factor in how much/fast the oceans uptake CO2, keeping the surface PH high and allowing more uptake.

        Plankton grow fast and are live short, being consumed by other marine life. The ocean biomass pyramid is believed to be the opposite of on lands, with animals making up the vast majority of biomass. Perhaps as aquatic animal life grows in population, it is able to consume more plant life and increase ocean uptake.

        Is the decline in uptake recent, perhaps limited to the recent late 90s early 2000 climate shift or increase in cloud cover this past decade?

    • remember this comes from testimony to congress.
      remember that some of us, including McIntyre, felt that Wegman should be given a little leeway for his sloppy citations..

      Of course, if you want to live by the same sword that you use on her, then by all means say so hear.

      Say you will hold everyone to the same standard regardless of the venue or rhetorical situation. That’s ok.. I just want to get it on the record.

      Also when a scientist goes to congress is it ok to ask them for money to you know.. do science and collect data

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Mosh. In fact, this comes from testimony on “EPA’s Proposed New Source Performance Standards for Electric Generating Units” … hardly the proper venue for begging for more funds for ocean research. Look, folks can do that kind of thing, I can’t stop them. I’m just saying, it detracts from their credibility. For example, if I were to couple a scientific explanation with a plea to the Koch Brothers to fund my work, would that increase or decrease my credibility?

        As to citations, citing a 222-page document without a page number was unacceptable in my high school science class. Are you seriously saying that we should hold professional scientists to lesser standards than high school students?

        w.

      • “Thanks, Mosh. In fact, this comes from testimony on “EPA’s Proposed New Source Performance Standards for Electric Generating Units” … hardly the proper venue for begging for more funds for ocean research.

        1. Really? who made you the decider of the proper venue?

        Look, folks can do that kind of thing, I can’t stop them. I’m just saying, it detracts from their credibility. For example, if I were to couple a scientific explanation with a plea to the Koch Brothers to fund my work, would that increase or decrease my credibility?

        1. You avoided my question.
        2 Say you will hold everyone to the same standard regardless of the venue or rhetorical situation. That’s ok.. I just want to get it on the record.?

        “As to citations, citing a 222-page document without a page number was unacceptable in my high school science class. Are you seriously saying that we should hold professional scientists to lesser standards than high school students?”

        1. Your high school class had rules. The teacher decided them.
        2. The MLA has different rules, should we enforce them everywhere?
        3. The DOD has even different rulz.. what about those?
        4. The question ISNT what I say the rulz should be the question is to YOU.
        5. I didnt say anything about the standards they should be held to.

        Here is the question I asked you.

        “Say you will hold everyone to the same standard regardless of the venue or rhetorical situation. That’s ok.. I just want to get it on the record.?”

        over to YOU.

        what are the standards YOU demand be used in all communication..
        Be specific and pledge that we can hold you to be consistent

      • Matthew R Marler

        Willis Eschenbach: As to citations, citing a 222-page document without a page number was unacceptable in my high school science class.

        Here is an example from a recent Science article: Potassium (K+) channels play fundamental roles in almost all cell types. They are essential elements in cellular electric excitability and help maintain the resting potential in non-excitable cells. Their universality is based on a unique combination of strong selectivity for K+ ions and near–diffusion-limited permeation efficiency (1).

        In the paper Ion permeation in K+ channels occurs by direct Coulomb knock-on

        David A. Köpfer1,†,
        Chen Song2,*,†,
        Tim Gruene3,
        George M. Sheldrick3,
        Ulrich Zachariae4,5,*,‡,
        Bert L. de Groot1,*,‡

        The reference is: 1. B. Hille, Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes (Sinauer, Sunderland, MA, ed. 3, 2001).

        The whole thing is behind a paywall, but it’s here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6207/352.full?sid=ed6c7488-0317-4cf4-b5d7-13feaca143cb

        Surely this is not the first time you have learned of the limits of your high school science class[es]? Page numbers are useful, but you have overreacted to their absence.

      • Curious George

        Matthew – unsure about your point. Are you trying to demonstrate that above-high-school scientists can be sloppy with their citations? If nothing else, simply referencing a (probably) thick book is not exactly polite.

      • Matthew R Marler

        curious george: Are you trying to demonstrate that above-high-school scientists can be sloppy with their citations?

        You call it sloppiness. What I demonstrated is that the standard of the leading scientific journals (I could have quoted thousands of example) is not what was claimed based on Willis Eschenbach’s memory of high school.

    • w – You are absolutely right to challenge that statement. Uptake is actually flat or increasing depending on how you choose to measure it (as total CO2 transferred [rising], as a proportion of fossil fuel emissions [flat], as a proportion of atmospheric CO2 [rising], or as a proportion of “new” atmospheric CO2 [flat]). I’ll try to get the graphs posted here later today.

      • The graphs : http://members.iinet.net.au/~jonas1@westnet.com.au/CO2XferGraphs.JPG

        Top-left graph is of flow of CO2 from ocean to atmosphere, so the increasing negative values show an increasing rate of absorption by the ocean from the atmosphere. The other three graphs are of CO2 absorption by the ocean from the atmosphere, relative to various amounts. “New” atmos CO2 is defined as atmos CO2 above 280ppm (the generally-accepted pre-industrial level).
        There is no sign of any weakening of CO2 uptake by the oceans.
        I can provide data sources if required. Data ends in 2012 (all available when I did the analysis). The bottom two graphs are unreliable at least to some extent, as they depend on some unverified calculations.

    • “Now, I follow this stuff fairly closely, and I have no idea what “recently observed weakening” she’s talking about.”

      That is because there has been no ‘weakening’ in the rate CO2 is disappearing from the atmosphere; the rate of CO2 sequestration has increased in a manner directly proportional to atmospheric CO2 levels, quite unlike the Bern model.

      • Carol Anne Clayson

        Thank you all for your comments. Let me point you to at least one source for the decrease in uptake of CO2 by the ocean. This quotation comes from Bates, N.R., Y.M. Astor, M.J. Church, K. Currie, J.E. Dore, M. González-Dávila, L. Lorenzoni, F. Muller-Karger, J. Olafsson, and J.M. Santana-Casiano. 2014. A time-series view of changing ocean chemistry due to ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 and ocean acidification. Oceanography 27(1):126–141, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.16. (which is referenced in the full EPA Comment which are linked above). “At the same time, the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere has declined, as evidenced by the ubiquitous increases in Revelle factor values. These observations confirm model predictions for changing surface ocean chemistry and the declining future ability of the global ocean to absorb the anthropogenic CO2 transient in the atmosphere.” Perhaps you are thinking of a different meaning of uptake than I am? (Note the use of the word “uptake” in the title of the paper).

        Bates et al. is not the source for claiming that variations in CO2 uptake on seasonal to interannual to decadal time scales might be human-induced, natural variability, or both. I have yet to see someone in a peer-reviewed document state that we have exhaustively identified all of the causes of variability in the ocean uptake of CO2 across all time and space scales, and there is now a known set percentage of natural versus anthropogenic-related variability. Perhaps I have just missed it.

        Regarding the “begging for more funds:” the original comment made a slightly more subtle point than this: if the government is going to impose guidelines that will impact the economy on the billions (or trillions depending on who you ask) of dollars scale, perhaps it should also consider adding a few millions to the much less than billions it is spending to greatly improve the quality of the projections it is using to impose those guidelines. Since this was a comment on a proposed rule-making that would indeed lead to economic impacts on a larger scale, I certainly feel that it was appropriate to state my belief that the government should be putting its money where its mouth is.

        Looking at it from another perspective: improving our weather and climate forecasts gives a competitive edge to many of our companies. If just one (Monsanto) thinks getting better weather and climate predictions is so beneficial to its competitive edge that it is willing to spend $930 million to acquire Climate Corp, do you think the government could cough up an extra $1 million to expand the Argo program to provide more of the data that Climate Corp and others are mining?

        My apologies that you felt that citing the document that the information came from was not enough. I was using the convention commonly used in the peer-reviewed articles in my discipline. I did not meant my comments to be alarmist, although I’m not sure 100% certain what you mean by that word. Merely I was making the point that there seems to be some indication that abrupt climate change occurs, and that in some instances, the ocean plays at least a minor to a major role in that. To the extent that abrupt climate change is even more difficult to predict in some ways that smoothly-varying, it therefore becomes another aspect of what we need to understand about the ocean that we currently don’t. One place in the NRC document that relates to the statements you are questioning is on page 1. In the summary statement for the report, second paragraph.

      • Carol, one only needs to examine the difference between CO2 flux caused by humans and the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere; approximately half the man-made CO2 is sequestered. There has been no change in the lineshape since Keeling first recorded atmospheric CO2.
        The sea surface, where the oceans and atmosphere communicate, is never saturated with respect to CO2 as this is where CO2 fixation occurs and so the upper 5m is always denuded of organic carbon, with respect to the waters below. Look at the center panel;

        As photosynthesis, and hence carbon fixation, occur near the surface there is always a DIC gradient between the surface and below.

      • +2 DocMartyn

      • Carol Anne Clayson – I can’t speak for others, but I have disputed the “weakening” CO2 uptake on the grounds that the actual rate of CO2 uptake shows no sign of abating. To me the actual rate is a more direct and reliable indicator than the indirect estimation of a perceived change to the Revelle factor and its theoretical effect. Graphs showing the rate of uptake are in my comment of November 12, 2014 at 11:16 pm (https://judithcurry.com/2014/11/12/challenges-to-understanding-the-role-of-the-ocean-in-climate-science/#comment-646949).

  31. Willis Eschenbach

    tonyb | November 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm |

    Warming was very rapid over a decade or so and caused substantial sea level rise as I noted here;

    “According to the BBC ‘Britain’s Drowned World’ TV programme carried out by ‘Time Team’, the inundation was caused by a prolonged sea level rise at 2cm per year (around 10 times the current rate) and exacerbated over a 15 year period by a 7 degree Fahrenheit temperature rise.”

    https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/document.pdf

    tonyb

    Ah, yes, that noted and trusted source of solid, unbiased science, the Beeb … and bear in mind, this was not just the regular BBC. They brought in the top scientists, this was the BBC “Time Team” …

    … have we really sunk as low as citing the BBC?

    w.

    • Willis

      The BBC time team is very highly regarded. At management level the BBc are Extremely tiresome on climate change but they still make many excellent programmes calling in the worlds finest scientists and experts to provide comment.

      The time team are hands on and down to earth and well worth watching. The rapid rise in temperatures and sea level are extensively documented
      All around this island, most especially the dogger bank
      Tonyb

      • “The BBC time team is very highly regarded”

        …by themselves?

        Andrew

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Tonyb | November 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

        The BBC time team is very highly regarded.

        Say what? The “Time Team” are highly regarded archaeologists putting out TV shows. They are not climate scientists, nor is their TV work anything but an interesting science presentation.

        In any case, I just wasted 20 minutes watching the TV show, getting disgusted by people ripping up the sea bed and destroying the ocean bottom while the talking head blathers on, and I found nothing to support your claim of 2 cm sea level rise or a 7° temperature rise in 15 years. In other words, your citation is USELESS without a specification as to the exact time where they allegedly make the claim.

        I did notice something strange, though … during the last Ice Age, hippos lived between England and France. I always though they lived there in previous interglacials. But finding their bones in quantities under the sea indicates that they also lived there during the last Ice Age, when sea levels were 35 metres or so lower than they are today. Go figure.

        w.

      • Here is a study from Science showing several rises of up to 15 f over just a few decades which helped to kick start the Holocene and sea level rise

        http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/osu-srd090214.php

        Tonyb

    • John Vonderlin

      Willis,
      You’re such a stickler for accuracy I was surprised that you didn’t mention that despite Mosher’s repeated requests for an answer to his question, he actually never asked a question. He made three declarative statements that seem to me to lack either interrogative or rhetorical aspects, and then dumped a question mark after the period at the end of the last sentence. I refer to this:
      “Here is the question I asked you.”
      “Say you will hold everyone to the same standard regardless of the venue or rhetorical situation. That’s ok.. I just want to get it on the record.?”

  32. “Any serious effort to address climate change and mitigate its impacts must include support and investment in more ocean research.”

    Perhaps if people of a scientific bent refrained from fashionable panics over “acidification”, “the rise of the oceans” etc and from talk of “addressing”, “tackling” or otherwise manipulating climate, and instead just took an interest in their chosen field?

    I’m sure some cities are built too low where they should not be, but if (eg) New Yorkers aren’t convinced by centuries of floods and hurricanes starting in the 1600s, do you need to draw them any more pictures? They’re only pretending not to know, so why lecture them? You could have walked from Melbourne to Tasmania not that long ago, so it’s a pretty good bet that the climate and the oceans are rather active old beasts. Any solid observations, preferably free of predictions, extrapolations and “tacklings”, would be much appreciated.

    I wish you the billions, but the mullahs who hold the purse strings are obviously not that interested in ocean studies, volcanism, past climate shifts or anything likely to give scandal through too much naughty peeping at the actual world. You can’t impress them…but you can unimpress the rest of us by depressing those faded old emergency buttons.

  33. I congratulate Carol Anne Clayson on an excellent post. I strongly support her plea for maintaining, extending and improving ocean observational systems, which obviously requires proper funding. The information obtained would almost certainly be far more valuable than that gained from continuing to develop all the current large population of AOGCMs and Earth System Models.

    A few comments on points of detail in the article, which should not be taken as detracting from its merits.

    The article states that ” The Gulf Stream is of crucial importance in defining the climate of Europe”, which I am sure almost everyone in the UK, where I live, believes to be true. But it appears that the Gulf Stream is not the major factor in Europe’s mild climate; it has only a relatively minor impact. See Richard Seager’s excellent 2006 article .

    I had assumed that the statement “It is hypothesized that an increase in heat transfer from the surface to the deep ocean may be a key component of the pause in the increase of the Earth’s mean near- surface temperature. Some of this increased downward mixing may be a result of a significant strengthening of the Pacific trade winds…” referred to the paper England et al (2014): Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific ( and the ongoing warming hiatus. But that paper only suggested increased heat transfer from the ocean surface to the top 300 m layer, not to the deep ocean.

    The article also states “It should be noted that the uptake of CO2 by the ocean is decreasing”. I would be interested to know what the source for this statement is. According to the Global Carbon Budget 2014 ( ) the ocean carbon sink was at a record level in 2013, and on a 5-year moving average basis has been increasing almost monotonically since the start of the data series in 1959.

    • Carol Anne Clayson

      Thank you for your comments. Regarding the Gulf Stream: this is what happens when we write things from the scientific world and use imprecise language like “crucial.”

      With respect to the statements on “surface to deep ocean heat transfer,” I did indeed look at the paper by England et al. (2014), in addition to these two references: Balmaseda, M. A., K. E. Trenberth, and E. Källén, 2013: Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 1754–1759, doi:10.1002/grl.50382. and Guemas, V., F. J. Doblas-Reyes, I. Andreu-Burillo and M. Asif, 2013: Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade. Nature Climate Change, 3, 649-653. I think this debate highlights what we do and do not know about many aspects of the atmosphere-ocean interaction in this region.

      With respect to the “uptake of CO2 by the ocean is decreasing”: may I first point to the link to the full comments, which contained the references for many of my points. This particular point comes from a paper by Bates et al. (2014) in Oceanography, and it is possible that again with the wording here may have been confusing for you. To quote from that article: “At the same time, the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere has declined, as evidenced by the ubiquitous increases in Revelle factor values. These observations confirm model predictions for changing surface ocean chemistry and the declining future ability of the global ocean to absorb the anthropogenic CO2 transient in the atmosphere. ” What I am meaning here is that the while the total carbon in the ocean is certainly increasing over time, the RATE at which the ocean is absorbing the CO2 is decreasing. That may not have been clear from my post. (If you want to discuss the use of 7 time-series sites to make these observations, I think you will reinforce my point: we are making many conclusions based on less data than we would perhaps like).

      • Simple version of CO2 uptake for everyone.
        The oceans make up a huge carbonated drink.
        When the oceans are warmer, the vapor pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is higher.
        When the oceans are colder, the vapor pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is lower.
        Open a hot and a cold carbonated drink and see the difference.
        The equilibrium depends on the concentrations in both the oceans and in the atmosphere.
        There is a lag, this does not happen instantly.

  34. Matthew R Marler

    thanks to Prof Carol Anne Clayson for a good overview. I was glad to see the emphasis on flows and rates. I was glad to read her balance of respect for models (and the modeling enterprise) with acknowledgment of limits of current models. Her use of “acidification” for “neutralization” of ocean water is standard (and not technically incorrect), but does give the misleading impression to some readers that the ocean might not remain alkaline. References and links to particular claims would enhance the essay.

    • Carol Anne Clayson

      Agreed on the term “ocean acidification.” It can be misleading, but is the terms that is used to describe this process. Also please see the link to the actual EPA comments which does contain references.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Thank you. I did download the full pdf.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Carol Anne Clayson | November 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Reply

        Agreed on the term “ocean acidification.” It can be misleading, but is the terms that is used to describe this process.

        The fact that climate scientists tend to use scare terms should not be a reason to continue using them. From my high school titration class, the proper term is “neutralization”, and has been among real scientists for decades.

        Dr. Clayson, it is up to you to practice good science and to eschew alarmism. Since you agree that the term is misleading, saying “that’s the term that is used” is a cop-out. By using it you are accepting and promoting alarmism. We see that, and it makes all of your conclusions suspect. How about you take a stand for scientific honesty and use the term “neutralization”?

        w.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Willis Eschenbach: From my high school titration class, the proper term is “neutralization”, and has been among real scientists for decades.

        good grief, Willis, high school again?

        “Acidification” means reducing the pH. Starting with pH > 7, and ending with pH >=7 it is equivalent to neutralization, but it is not technically incorrect.

        We see that, and it makes all of your conclusions suspect.

        That is absurd.

      • Willis,

        There is no chemical I know of that will neutralize an alkaline solution such as seawater.

        In order to do said neutralization you have to add an acid, such as dissolving gaseous carbon dioxide into the alkaline solution such as seawater.

        What stops it at a pH of 7? Who is there to note the change in color like in your high school titration class? If you were titrating an acid with the typical color changing reagent and you were adding the magic neutralizing solution, you would never get the color change, because you need to overshoot the pH of 7 by 3 pH units to get the color change.

        I don’t think the term acid is scary, I like to start each day with a nice glass of acid, I prefer tomato juice, but orange juice is also nice.

        Acidification is an apt term, as it describes what is actually going on, namely the addition of an acid to a solution.

      • I never understood this complaint about “acidification.” To me, “acidification” just means moving in one particular direction on the scale. Why should we have to care where on the scale it is? Is it really so bad if people describe a change from -2 to -1 with the same word as 1 to 2 (or the same, different term for the reverse)?

        I’d hate to imagine if the same rules applied to different topics. Imagine if we had to use different words to describe similar changes in general mathematics. I can just imagine the headache I’d get when a teacher told me, “Now Brandon, I’ve told you a dozen times, it’s only a decrease when 2 goes to 1, not when -1 goes to -2.”

        I’d get the argument if whether or not the ocean is acidic was a central point, but it isn’t. All that really matters for the argument is there is a change in the PH value, and supposedly, that change will cause problems.

      • Im so happy we get to have the acidification debate again.

        If your pool is too alkaline the pool guy will tell you he needs to neutralize it. If he said he was acidifying your pool, you might get upset.
        If your ocean is neutralizing and you want to wake people up to this
        you call it acidification.

        Arguing that there is only one techncially correct way to describe this is silly.
        Ignoring the marketing aspects is equally silly.

        Language aint pure. get over it and indulge

      • Matthew R Marler

        Brandon Shollenberger: I never understood this complaint about “acidification.” To me, “acidification” just means moving in one particular direction on the scale.

        The problem is that some people have been persuaded that the ocean will actually turn into an acid. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson famously tried to make this point before Congress by dipping chalk into vinegar. Her action was defended at RealClimate (iirc.) When people learn that what is forecast (see FOMD above) is a change from about pH 8 to about pH 7.7 — well, reactions vary, but a few people feel as if they have been deceived.

        From its roots, “acidify” seems to mean “to make into an acid”, though you are technically correct about the more technical meaning; analogous to “shorten” which may leave something long not quite as long. So, in common use, “acidify” seems to have different meanings to different people, and some warmists have chose to use acidify to help strike up the alarm among people who do not use the word as you describe. At least, that is how I see it.

      • The H in pH stands for H+ ions. Decreasing pH is adding H+ ions. The process of adding H+ ions in the concentration is called acidification. It has that precise scientific meaning regardless of which side of 7 the pH is.

      • ==> “From my high school titration class, the proper term is “neutralization”, and has been among real scientists for decades.”

        Willis makes an excellent point. Carol Anne clearly lacks the scientific sophistication that Willis acquired while still in high school.

        Just imagine how much worse off we’d all be if Willis didn’t offer such valuable insight?

      • ==> “Im so happy we get to have the acidification debate again.”

        Third in meaning, significance and return on investment, below only two other repeated arguments .

        #2 is the argument about the differences about measurement and estimation.

        But the all time #1 (and it ain’t even close) is the argument about whether Muller is a “skeptic.” No wonder Judith values so highly the “extended peer review” of blogospheric debate!

      • Matthew R Marler:

        From its roots, “acidify” seems to mean “to make into an acid”, though you are technically correct about the more technical meaning; analogous to “shorten” which may leave something long not quite as long. So, in common use, “acidify” seems to have different meanings to different people, and some warmists have chose to use acidify to help strike up the alarm among people who do not use the word as you describe. At least, that is how I see it.

        I don’t disagree. I have no problem with people talking about how the word choice plays on people’s fears and causes confusion. I don’t have a problem if people want to argue that is the purpose behind the word choice for at least some people. But all that can be done without saying using “acidify” is wrong. Words can be misused even when their definition is followed.

        It’s the difference between the denotative and connotative meaning. It makes sense to me to focus on the latter. It doesn’t make sense to me to focus on the former.

    • That’s very helpful, jimmy dee. But you don’t have to do this anymore. Obama has gone from messiah to pariah at home, but he was somehow able to convince the Head Man of the Red China thugocracy to pretend to join in non-binding vague scheme that the Obama mainstream media is breathlessly hailing as an historic climate change agreement. We are saved. Give it a rest.

  35. Well, Carol Anne Clayson, I enjoyed your post and hope you will consider some more on ocean models. One of the things I find difficult to explain to folks is that the ocean mixing efficiency is not fixed and can vary considerably with the “thermal equator” as Toggwieler calls it in his Shifting Westerlies paper.

  36. It should be noted that the uptake of CO2 by the ocean is decreasing, possibly due to fact that CO2 solubility in the ocean decreases as temperature increases.

    …or, is it being put to use by marine life to create habitat?

  37. Nice read, thanks. Kind of amazing and yet completely intuitive how many unknowns there are with the earth, in this case the ocean. I never got that vibe when I worked at NCAR, not once…

    • To be fair Im sure many there knew it. But you dont bite the hand that feeds you….

      • @ nickels

        “But you dont bite the hand that feeds you….”

        And the hand that ‘feeds’ climate science is exclusively attached to progressive subsets of governments and to progressive green/environmental/sustainable NGO’s and foundations.

        If you are a Climate Scientist and utter one word or produce one byte of data that says, or implies anything that can possibly be construed as hinting ‘Hey, ACO2 maybe ain’t so bad after all and anyway, what’s wrong with a little warmer world, now that you mention it?’, the hand will not only quit feeding you, it will make every effort to ensure that no other hand feeds you either.

        Climate Scientists have noticed this, and like most other mammals, are pretty hooked on food. And behave accordingly.

      • @Bob yes, good points. Ive been thinking about this. A younger climate scientist refuting an established senior scientist at their institution (evidence doesnt matter souch, think ego) would be analogous to me refuting the ideas of a senior VP at my company. Career suicide. Considering this, how is dvience even possible?

      • @ Nickels

        ” Considering this, how is dvience even possible?”

        Unless you are interested in career suicide or, like Dr. Curry, you have tenure, it is not.

        And even Dr. Curry, who has only stuck a toe or two into the ‘denialist’ pool and HAS tenure is finding that it is not a cakewalk.

      • I guess thats where the whole citizen scientist thing is actually useful. They are the only ones who can call anyone. Anyone in the system faces the burden of potential pariah’hood.

  38. So if I was to summarize.
    1) We can draw broad theroretical strokes on how the oceans change and interact with the atmosphere to affect climate
    2) We can’t really describe how the processes might interact to cause variability in climate at many timescales
    3) All this stems from a lack of data to drive accurate modelling etc.
    4) For all the hard work, oceanography is a science in its infancy.

    Would any of those statements be unfair?

  39. Gerhard Keller

    “Increases in upper ocean heat content constitute a significant fraction of the heat storage that has occurred over the past 5 decades; one estimate is that the ocean warming accounts for roughly 90% of the total of Earth’s heat storage.”

    Concerning the “global warming hiatus” there are similar arguments.

    Therefore my question: Are 90% of the additional heat caused by greenhouse gases stored in the oceans? And if so, what would be the amount of temperature increase in the atmosphere without ocean storage?

  40. A very helpful overview of why natural variations in climate are so difficult to model accurately. But, I question this one statement and related discussion, “It should be noted that the uptake of CO2 by the ocean is decreasing, possibly due to fact that CO2 solubility in the ocean decreases as temperature increases.”

    Available data on yearly CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 level rise show that regardless of the rate of emissions over the last 30 years, the Earth’s ecosystem consistently removes about half of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels. Therefore, the rate of CO2 uptake from the total land and ocean eco-system must be increasing as we increase the rate of CO2 emissions.

    This implies that the land and ocean biomass that converts CO2 to O2 through photosynthesis is also growing. I have read at least one paper claiming that the amount of photosynthesis that occurs within the oceans is larger than on land due to phytoplankton and other organisms that convert CO2 to O2. Therefore, the biological factors may be more important than water temperature and CO2 solubility in determining actual CO2 uptake in the oceans.

    • The growth rate of CO2 has shown an uptick over the past few years, now growing around 50% faster on an annual basis than 20 years ago. Not only are we overwhelming the natural CO2 sequestration processes, we are overwhelming them to a greater degree.

      • Except that we’re not. Carbon sinks still appear to be growing exponentially, as fast as human emissions, but with a lag.

        Your argument is underwhelming.

  41. “On centennial time scales, basic scientific principles dictate that the ocean CO2 amount will equilibrate with atmosphere CO2”

    I didn’t know that the climate system had previously been in equilibrium and that it is headed in that direction again; i.e. that it will achieve equilibrium. It seems that the basic scientific principles used in some General Circulation Models makes such “equilibrium” assumptions. Such assumptions maybe a reason why these models seem to have missed the mark on the, hiatus, ENSO, PDO…?

    • The term ‘equilibrium’ has an absolute and meaningful definition when used to describe the thermodynamics of a system. Using the term ‘equilibrium’ to describe the Earth system is wrong; the term you are looking for is steady state, or more formally a pseudo-steady state.

      • Doc,

        I have also been stressing this point in recent talks and climate conferences. In dynamics analysis of complex rocket vibrations, we use the term “quasi-steady state” that I believe means the same thing as your “psuedo steady state” term, to describe the instantaneous state of the rocket system that we know is slowly changing in time because of its propellant mass loss. But, that does not prevent us from getting useful and valid answers regarding instantaneous vibration characteristics of the launch vehicle (valid as confirmed by flight data), by assuming that at a given instant in time the rocket has constant mass and its vibration characteristics can be analyzed with an eigenvalue solution of a system of linear differential equations with constant coefficients that do not change with time (a mathematical requirement for eigenvalues to exist). If the lowest frequency of interest in the computed vibration frequencies (eigenvalues) has a period greater than say one second, during which time the rocket doesn’t lose enough mass to significantly change its vibration characteristics, then we get useful answers by recognizing that the system under investigation is in a “quasi-steady state” condition.

        As I have approached consideration of the climate dynamics problem, I have argued that with very slowly rising GHG levels, the climate system is in a quasi steady state equilibrium with respect to the slowly changing externally applied radiative force. The solution for what humans are doing to the climate does not have to be considered as a complex dynamic problem, because it can be idealized as a STATICS problem. There may be ongoing other natural responses of the climate system caused by sudden disturbances from the past, such as volcanoes, but the very slowly changing GHG external force causes a separate, and near static response of the system.

        This is somewhat analogous to responses of a complex structural system such as a launch vehicle filled with liquid propellants. If we strike the structure with a hammer blow, (or step function force similar to ignition of the rocket engines) the launch vehicle vibrates in all of its modes of vibration. (Most climate scientists use a step function forcing on a climate model to obtain an Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) solution, indicating to me that don’t have much practical experience with getting useful and valid answers to complex dynamics problems.) But, if we perform a static test by very slowly increasing an external force, such as a gradually applied wind side force, that would cause bending of the rocket as constrained on the launch pad, the rocket slowly takes on a new static bending shape without vibrating. The effect of slowly rising atmospheric GHG is like the statics problem, not the complex non-linear dynamics problem, and climate scientists would be well-advised to take advantage of this gift in search of the true answer for CO2 climate sensitivity.

        Using this line of reasoning, I have derived the solution for the climate response to a slowly rising externally applied radiative force. The derivation is simple and uses two assumptions that according to IPCC reports, are generally accepted by climate scientists:

        1) The external radiative force increase on the climate system caused by slowly rising atmospheric CO2 levels in any given year, with respect to the radiative force applied in the year 1850, when the atmospheric CO2 level was about 284.7 ppm (as recorded in Antarctica Law Dome ice cores), is:

        Radiative Force(year) = 3.7{Log[CO2(year)/284.7]/Log[2]} W/m^2

        In this equation, Radiative Force (RF) increases with the Log of atmospheric CO2 level (for generally accepted reasons going back to the original Arrhenius paper) and when the atmospheric CO2 level is doubled, the radiative force increase above the 1850 CO2 level is 3.7 W/m^2

        2) If we assume the yearly average change in this RF is small enough to result in only a linear static, and not non-linear dynamic, response of the climate system, then the surface temperature response to rising atmospheric CO2 is a linear function of applied radiative force:

        Temp(year) – Temp(1850) = (Lambda){RF(year) – RF(1850}

        Temp(year) – Temp(1850) = (Lambda*3.7){Log[CO2(year)/284.7]/Log[2]}

        = TCS{Log[CO2(year)/284.7]/Log[2]}

        where we define Transient Climate Sensitivity (TCS) (similar in value to Transient Climate Response (TCR) preferred by climate scientists) to be the increase in global average surface temperature caused by doubling atmospheric CO2 levels with the actual slow rise in atmospheric CO2.

        The constant, Lambda, can be determined (at least bounded to the high side) by observing the long term trend in:

        Lambda = (Long Term Surface Temp Change)/(Long Term RF Change)

        Since the actual long term RF change is due to CO2 and other factors, with the radiative force of all GHG approx. 1.5(CO2 RF), the rise in other atmospheric GHGs and tropospheric ozone, as well as solar radiation changes, and other possible contributions to the RF change, need to be considered in determining Lambda. I prefer to treat volcanoes, aerosols, and albedo changes due to land use as part of the natural climate system and use CO2, other GHG, tropospheric ozone and solar as the RF changes needed to determine a useful value for Lambda for CO2 regulatory purposes. After all, if we aren’t going to regulate aerosols and volcanoes, we need to consider that they are going to continue to fluctuate in uncertain ways that have little to do with atmospheric CO2 levels.

        With a conservatively high value for Lambda = 0.31 (higher than I have seen in some IPCC reports), we find that:

        TCS = 3.7(0.31) = 1.15C < 1.2C

        Since both the 1%/year rise in CO2 for the popular TCR definition is also slow enough to be considered to be a statically applied external force, and with the actual current rise in atmospheric CO2 being only about half that annual change in rise rate, both TCR and TCS result from essentially statically applied external forces and will have almost the same value. The only differences in TCS and TCR would be caused by any non-linear effects that would occur in the differences in time required to double the CO2 level with these two different CO2 rise rate forcing functions. It takes 70 years to double atmospheric CO2 with the TCR rise rate ((1.01)^70 = 2) and probably about 230 years after 1850 (in about 2080) for the actual atmospheric CO2 rise rate.

        I believe it is the climate sensitivity represented by TCS that should be used for any CO2 regulatory decisions, rather than Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS). ECS values require on the order of 1000 years to be realized and have much more uncertainty than TCS. TCS, determined from available data, is low compared to the IPCC uncertainty range of
        1.5 < ECS < 4.5C and that is being used and even distorted to higher ECS values by the EPA to justify its CO2 emissions regulations based on their obviously biased Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) calculations.

    • To be fair, it’s not just ‘climate scientists’ that like to wrongly assume equilibrium (Economists love it too). I would venture that it is one of the biggest single failings in the whole of science.

      Why? Many, when pushed, might argue that it is simply too hard to do anything at all without making such assumptions.

      That doesn’t make them right, of course. But most of them aren’t trying to move the underpinning bedrock of industrial civilization.

    • Even if it doesn’t equilibriate exactly, equilibrium tells you which direction things will tend to go and how far they can go in that direction. It is a useful concept in understanding the effects of change.

  42. Increases in heat and CO2 in the ocean leads to a reduction in pH and carbonate saturation rate, a process called “ocean acidification”.

    This passage is annoyingly Inaccurate. As solubility of CO2 decreases with water temperature, you can’t have it both ways. The term “ocean acidification” is just plain wrong! Given the chemistry of ocean sediments there is more than sufficient buffering capacity to maintain alkalinity at or near pH 8. In no way should the language be mangled in describe pH fluctuations in this alkaline environment as “acidification”. The use of such a term only serves to foster grief in those who don’t have the basic knowledge of chemistry, particularly when waved around by alarmists.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      davesivyer froths [nonsenically and denialistically] “In no way should the language be mangled to describe pH fluctuations in alkaline environments as ‘acidification’.”

      LoL … davesivyer, your claim sounds bizarre to anyone with training in athletic training, medicine, or biology, `cuz standard usage goes *AGAINST* your fulmination:

      DEFINITION OF ACIDOSIS  If the pH of the body gets too low (below 7.4), a condition known as acidosis results.

      This can be very serious, because many of the chemical reactions that occur in the body, especially those involving proteins, are pH-dependent.

      As for oceanic biology, there’s a worldwide “hockey-stick blade” of ocean-acidosis underway right now:

      Ouch. This can’t be good.

      Thank you davesivyer, for providing this opportunity to improve the scientific understanding of 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}

      • Matthew R Marler

        a fan of *MORE* discourse: DEFINITION OF ACIDOSIS If the pH of the body gets too low (below 7.4), a condition known as acidosis results.

        You illustrate the problems of definition and word choice nicely: the use of “acidosis” to describe a condition that is not necessarily “acidic” is clearly an “abuse of language”, that is not harmful in context, as long as no one asserts that dilute ammonia at 7.4 is an acid, or that alkaline seawater at 7.8 is an acid.

        Is is an odd feature of scientists that after defining words carefully, they depart from their careful definitions all the time. Even good scientists occasionally use the word “literally” when describing an analogy or metaphor. As in “The Earth literally has a fever”.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        fan
        “denialistically”
        an awesome new word
        I’ll use in a sentence to help me learn

        As a denier, my denialism is often denialistically expressed.

        it’s hard to say three times fast though

      • Try ‘tarnished statistics’ three times in a row.
        =====================

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        kim
        took me a minute
        :)

      • Now write it a hundred times on a blackboard, like Steve McIntyre is doing.
        ==========

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      davesivyer froths [nonsensically] “In no way should the language be mangled to describe pH fluctuations in alkaline environments as ‘acidification’.”

      LoL … davesivyer, your claim sounds bizarre to folks with training in athletics, medicine, and biology, `cuz in all these fields standard usage goes *AGAINST* your fulmination:

      DEFINITION OF ACIDOSIS  If the pH of the body gets too low (below 7.4), a condition known as acidosis results.

      This can be very serious, because many of the chemical reactions that occur in the body, especially those involving proteins, are pH-dependent.

      As for oceanic biology, there’s a worldwide “hockey-stick blade” of ocean-acidosis underway right now:

      Ouch. This can’t be good.

      Thank you davesivyer, for providing this opportunity to improve the scientific understanding of 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}

      morediscourse@tradermail.info
      A fan of *MORE* discourse

      • AFOMD,

        I was slightly puzzled by your lack of knowledge relating to the differences between fluorine and chlorine on a previous post.

        Imagine my increased puzzlement when you appear not to be aware of the differences between the Earth and a human body. The Earth is much bigger, fairly round, doesn’t have arms or legs or hair, and can continue to exist quite nicely in the absence of a human body.

        The human body, on the other hand, finds existence quite arduous without the existence of the Earth.

        Initially, I ascribed your odd thoughts to an excess of Warmist fanaticism, or possibly an overdeveloped bump of Gullibility or Susceptibility, according to phrenological principles. It appears you have shown me the reason for your obvious mental confusion. Acidosis!

        Mental confusion is due to acidosis, according to you. Combined with diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, afflicting you or your readers, the answer would appear indisputable! I wonder if the same condition affects good ol’ Death Trains Hansen, or the rest of the Klimate Klowns?

        The World Wonders, indeed. Good on yah, AFOMD for providing the answer to one of the many mysteries of modern times!

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Channeling Timothy Leary perhaps?

  43. Ocean acidification is another one of those non-problems invented by alarmists like, polar bears stranded on dwindling chunks of ice floating in an ice-free Arctic, winters without snow, rising seas taking out coastal cities, more frequent and bigger hurricanes, millions of people without a Tesla…

    • Revel Without a Cause

      …or without Nikola Tesla himself, who said, “Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”

      BS in. BS out. BS being the initialism for Belief System.

      I’m with Bob Ludwick.

      “I don’t care that they stole my idea…I care that they don’t have any of their own.” — Nikola Tesla

    • Actually, Edison thought Tesla and his younger cohort were very mathematical. It bugged him–he never really “got” AC power.

  44. This just in: disastrous global warming masked by global cooling trend. News at 11.

    • Wagathon,

      Update – update – update!

      Earth just discovered to have been cooling for four and a half billion years! Trend shows no sign of reversing!

      Climatologists dumbfounded! Desperately appealing for incredibly awesome injections of cash to model this hitherto unknown occurrence!

      Prediction of dire consequences if World Leaders fail to acknowledge giant brains of self styled climate scientists!

      More to follow!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Actually, that revelation resulted in a switch to a new cause – anthropogenic continental drift, an incoherent truth. Google it and learn about this new man made threat to the planet.

  45. Geoff Sherrington

    Seeking funds involves optimum allocation of a scarce resource.
    It in customary to compare the benefits of funding with alternatives.
    The scope of the essay is narrow, being mostly confined to competition among climate science contenders.
    Sure, it is clearly apparent that there are huge measurement deficiencies in the oceans.
    It is not clear that filling the holes is the best way to spend funds.
    The oceans are unmanageable in their variation.
    It is not good to pretend that appeals to AGW hypotheses are a justification for funding.
    People are dying in poverty.

  46. The immense simplification of ocean chemistry goes as follows.

    Dissolution of calcium carbonate that exists in a supersaturated solution in surface waters neutralises carbonic acid increases – it is assumed that this results in a decrease in the saturation of calcium carbonate. This seems unlikely if the supersaturated state is maintained by other – unspecified – reaction kinetics possibly involving magnesium and/or phosphorus in a solid phase calcium carbonate rich environment. These environments are rich in solid phase calcium carbonate even in the open oceans.

    It seems to me that a better idea is the slow down of calcium carbonate chemical precipitation and in the rate that biologically mediated calcium carbonate detritus falls past the euphotic zone.

    BTW – basing an idea of a slowdown in CO2 uptake on the Revelle Factor is pretty thin.

    • So you live on a biotic planet, a planet whose very geology and atmosphere is sculpted by life and you think you can describe the oceans via chemistry?
      Just for once in your life think on why things got as they did, with respect to the levels of carbon in different reservoirs and think about the living process involved in all the relative fluxes.

      • Did you actually read what I wrote or just decide to behave like a smarmy prick for the hell of it?

      • Yes, he’s a smarmy know-it-all with the personality of a hall monitor, the kind of guy everyone hides from at a Christmas party. —Bill Simmons, ESPN, 2 Aug. 2004

        WTF do you think Corg implies in the second cartoon? Why can you possibly think biologically mediated means? You didn’t read it did you? That is the unmistakable behaviour of an utter twit.

      • Rob, the down flowing particulate organic fluxes are ignored, the reason that oxygen levels drop is ignored, the methane gradient is ignored, the calcium flux is ignored, even the profile of carbon within the ocean is ignored; the whole thing is very poor.

      • I am a phucking environmental scientist – specialising in biogeochemical cycling for God’s sake – and this dimwit tells me to think of biota for once in my phucking life.

        Does this put into perspective the utter triviality of this site? The empty narratives that occasionally pretend to be knowledge when not clearly being simply bumptious, simplistic and opinionated nonsense? Of the climate wars? All of the above?Whatever.

      • Well based on your two figures, which show bugger all biotic fluxes and only cartoon fish, perhaps you should rethink your presentation style.

      • The sinking organic carbon is show quite clearly in the cartoon on the white squiggly lines going down and the carbonate ooze at the bottom.

        God this nonsense about forgetting things that are quite clearly in the phucking cartoon is unbelievable.

      • The calcium carbonate in the downward flux (see squiggly arrows) is either precipitate or incorporated into biologically structures. It was quite clearly there in the text.

        He leaps in with an unjustified whine – obviously hadn’t read what I wrote – and then complains that the presentation is at fault. Pathetic dissimulation.

      • Rob Ellison,

        You wrote –

        “Does this put into perspective the utter triviality of this site? The empty narratives that occasionally pretend to be knowledge when not clearly being simply bumptious, simplistic and opinionated nonsense? Of the climate wars? All of the above?Whatever.”

        You are obviously enamoured of utterly trivial sites, given the number of posts you make.

        It is obvious why you claim expertise in judging whether comments are empty narratives that occasionally pretend to be knowledge when not clearly being simply bumptious, simplistic and opinionated nonsense.

        Have you considered setting up your own non trivial site, where only real scientists will be permitted to air lofty matters of supreme importance? Unfortunately, it is unlikely that environmental scientists would be allowed to participate. I looked for breakthroughs in environmental science on Google. I didn’t find a lot, although environmental engineers were credited with rediscovering some ancient ideas.

        To a layman, it seems that environmental science seems to be commonsense combined with hefty doses of tree hugging and group kumbayah song singing.

        But I digress. If you didn’t love posting here so much, you wouldn’t do so much of it, would you?

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • ‘It is obvious why you claim expertise in judging whether comments are empty narratives that occasionally pretend to be knowledge when not clearly being simply bumptious, simplistic and opinionated nonsense.’

        I have a couple of degrees – engineering as well specialising in hydrology. I have to admit I was thinking of you Mike when I wrote that.

      • I understand your frustration Chief; too many agendas. I am having a good drop of red and skimming through the thread. Still find your perspective on the science to be more understandable and informative than most others. Cheers!

    • I will tell you what is poor. Being utterly wrong about not considering both biological and chemical flux – in the context of the carbon cycle – and then piffling on about about oxygen and methane gradient in the ocean surface.

      I could tell you about oxygen and methane dynamics in aquatic and marine environments – but your bringing it up is irrelevant piffle designed merely to divert from your original nonsense. So nonsense on top of nonsense. That is what is poor.

      • Explain the lineshape of oxygen and methane gradients from top to bottom, and the relative flux of organic matter to the bottom becomes self evident.

      • You got the simple stuff wrong – not much incentive there to go into more complex biogeochemical cycling dynamocs.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Rob, I looked at your illustrations of the oceanic carbon cycle and chemistry. My question is … where are the plankton?

        I mean, you wouldn’t try to explain the atmospheric carbon cycle without the trees and plants … but in your cartoon, near as I can tell there are no plankton.

        So despite you being a “phucking environmental scientist – specialising in biogeochemical cycling for God’s sake”, your cartoon of the ocean carbon cycle without plankton is as simplistic as a cartoon of the atmospheric carbon cycle without the plants. Which appears to me to be what DocMartyn is trying to get across to you, without success.

        You likely know this, but it bears repeating and your drawings ignore it completely:

        The conditions of the ocean don’t rule life.

        Life rules the conditions of the ocean.

        That’s the nature of life. It uses external energy, either solar or from food, to alter, increase, or reverse the chemical reactions that would rule in the absence of life. In the ocean, life makes the rules, not just chemistry.

        w.

      • …and sharks Willis, where are the sharks?

      • Now Willis chimes in with an immense inability to miss the point and an immense ability to pontificate on profoundly misguided grounds. .

        My original comment clearly included biology.

        ‘It seems to me that a better idea is the slow down of calcium carbonate chemical precipitation and in the rate that biologically mediated calcium carbonate detritus falls past the euphotic zone.’

        Now it seems to be that an inability to read past the first line doesn’t really qualify these twits to make any sort of rational response at all. A complete fail.

        I focused on the calcium carbonate side of things – clearly because the emphasis was on calcium carbonate supersaturation and carbon diocide in solution. Now obviously there is also an organic component to the carbon flux past the euphotic zone. This is clearly identified in the second phucking cartoon as organic phucking carbon.

        Where the phuck does this qualify as informed discourse? The comment was not about carbon cycling – but increases in carbonic acid in seawater. But even there it is clear that calcium carbonate chemistry involves a cycling through organisms in large part – foraminifera in open ocean and shells and coral in shallow waters. Where the phuck do they think that much of the solid phase calcium carbonate resides?

        My guess is that the commentary on the site is ossifying into equally ridiculous narratives from both sides of the climate divide.

      • Whoops. Quick correction to the first paragraph.

        Now Willis chimes in with an immense ability to miss the point and to pontificate on profoundly misguided grounds…

        How he misses the phucking point entirely every time shows exceptional skill – or perhaps just exceptional dumbness.

      • DocMartyn, I’m still waiting to see someone deal with the effects of carbonic anhydrase in the surface bio-monolayer.

      • Mike, carbonic anhydrase does not change the chemical equilibrium, only the kinetics, however, you can place carbonic anhydrase in vesicles and alter the local pH and so drive the equilibrium either way.

      • Here, a cartoon with plankton and sharks.

  47. Dear Dr. Clayson,

    Thanks you for your comprehensive overview of the ocean’s importance to our climate and the call to arms for more research.

    I think it is not commonly known how cold the deep ocean really is. Near 0 Celsius. If the ocean were stirred we would have an instant ice age. Furthermore, it will take a very long time to warm the deep water measurably with the heating rate resulting from increased CO2.

    We could in fact use the deep water to cool the globe by pumping it up for the next 100000 year at least even with much increased CO2. It has not always been this way. The deep water has only been cold since about 35 million years ago. It is not certain that this pumping approach is necessary. However, it is comforting to know that there is something we can do if the earth temperature is judged too high.

  48. Willis Eschenbach

    Matthew R Marler | November 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm |

    Willis Eschenbach:

    As to citations, citing a 222-page document without a page number was unacceptable in my high school science class.

    Here is an example from a recent Science article: Potassium (K+) channels play fundamental roles in almost all cell types. They are essential elements in cellular electric excitability and help maintain the resting potential in non-excitable cells. Their universality is based on a unique combination of strong selectivity for K+ ions and near–diffusion-limited permeation efficiency (1).

    In the paper Ion permeation in K+ channels occurs by direct Coulomb knock-on

    David A. Köpfer1,†,
    Chen Song2,*,†,
    Tim Gruene3,
    George M. Sheldrick3,
    Ulrich Zachariae4,5,*,‡,
    Bert L. de Groot1,*,‡

    The reference is: 1. B. Hille, Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes (Sinauer, Sunderland, MA, ed. 3, 2001).

    The whole thing is behind a paywall, but it’s here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6207/352.full?sid=ed6c7488-0317-4cf4-b5d7-13feaca143cb

    Surely this is not the first time you have learned of the limits of your high school science class[es]? Page numbers are useful, but you have overreacted to their absence.

    What part of the 222-PAGE PAPER escaped your notice? Citing pages in a three- or four-page document such as the one you cited is optional. Citing them in a 222-page tome is not.

    Matthew R Marler | November 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm |

    curious george:

    Are you trying to demonstrate that above-high-school scientists can be sloppy with their citations?

    You call it sloppiness. What I demonstrated is that the standard of the leading scientific journals (I could have quoted thousands of example) is not what was claimed based on Willis Eschenbach’s memory of high school.

    Look, Matthew, the fact that there are lots of crap citations in climate science doesn’t somehow make it right. My favorite is somebody citing the entirety of the IPCC report, all ~4,500 pages of it, without a page number. And as you point out, you can find hundreds of examples of that … are your claiming that makes it right? Really?

    I’m astounded that you are defending this kind of “wave your hand at some massive tome” type of junk science citation just because it is common in the journals. You seem to be confused—the journals are not in the business of defending scientific principles. Nor are they in the business of publishing science. Nor are they in the business of encouraging scientists to follow the basic principles of transparency.

    They are in the business of making money, and as such, only a fool would try to deduce what good scientific practices might be by looking at the heathen practices of the journals … heck, it’s only recently that some of them have agreed (in principle) to require code as used and data as used as a prerequisite for publication. Are you opposed to that as well?

    For science to work, it requires transparency. There is little that is less transparent than a handwaving citation to a huge pile of pages. I’m sorry, Matthew, but that was not science when I was in high school, and it is not science now, no matter how common it might be.

    w.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Willis Eschenbach: Look, Matthew, the fact that there are lots of crap citations in climate science doesn’t somehow make it right.

      What you wrote was that it was an “infallible sign of a poor scientist.”

      That was and is a false statement.

      Matthew, but that was not science when I was in high school, and it is not science now, no matter how common it might be.

      That is your memory of your high school. The real scientists who publish in reviewed journals, serve on grant-awarding committees, have Bachelor to Doctors level degrees, and who teach other students and shepherd their students’ work to publication and passing exams have a standard that, in fact, you do not measure up to.

      When Dr. D. Roy Spencer criticized you (somewhat unfairly, I wrote), one of his criticisms was in fact of your skimpy citation practice, which never (almost never?) acknowledges the community of scholars who work preceded yours, only acknowledging one or two predecessors. Your standard on this practice is not what governs. Especially not anything based on your particular memories of your particular high school.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Matthew R Marler | November 13, 2014 at 1:53 am | Reply

        Willis Eschenbach:

        Look, Matthew, the fact that there are lots of crap citations in climate science doesn’t somehow make it right.

        What you wrote was that it was an “infallible sign of a poor scientist.”

        That was and is a false statement.

        Matthew, you are right. What I should have said is that it is the infallible sign of poor scientific practices.

        I also note that your claim that somehow the fact that lots of people do it makes it all right is a false statement.

        Matthew, but that was not science when I was in high school, and it is not science now, no matter how common it might be.

        That is your memory of your high school. The real scientists who publish in reviewed journals, serve on grant-awarding committees, have Bachelor to Doctors level degrees, and who teach other students and shepherd their students’ work to publication and passing exams have a standard that, in fact, you do not measure up to.

        Dear heavens, we’re talking about CITATION PRACTICE, not whether I measure up to Einstein or von Neumann or John Christy or William Gray. I never claimed to be them, how is this at all relevant to citation practice?

        And again, none of that answers my objection, and I totally fail to see why you are defending citation practice that doesn’t provide enough information to locate the claimed support. Like, say, citing the entire IPCC AR5 which I see done all the time … why on earth are you defending that?

        When Dr. D. Roy Spencer criticized you (somewhat unfairly, I wrote), one of his criticisms was in fact of your skimpy citation practice, which never (almost never?) acknowledges the community of scholars who work preceded yours, only acknowledging one or two predecessors. Your standard on this practice is not what governs. Especially not anything based on your particular memories of your particular high school.

        Fine. List for me the ten people who have previously hypothesized that emergent phenomena control the global temperature … Roy Spencer claimed I should have cited Ramanathan in that context, but Ramanathan said NOTHING about emergent phenomena.

        Or take for another example my demonstration that the output of the climate model global temperature output is a lagged lineal transform of the input … who else has written about that? Well, Jeffrey Kiehl wrote about it, although he didn’t have the complete answer … but then I cited him when I wrote about it, didn’t I? So who else should I cite?

        Or take the dozens of pieces I’ve written pointing out the flaws in the math or the logic or the data in dozens of very poor analyses published in the journals … since as far as I know I’m the only one who has looked at those papers, who are you claiming I should cite?

        Then you could look at my work on cluster analysis of Mann’s paleoproxy network … who should I cite for that?

        So, I’ll await your citations. My main point is that much of my work is novel, and often there isn’t much to cite. If you can find me say ten citations to the idea that emergent phenomena control the planetary temperature, or to the idea that the output of the climate model global temperature output is a lagged lineal transform of the input, or to the idea of using cluster analysis on paleoproxies, I’ll change my mind.

        And if you can’t find a number of examples of such prior art, then how about you get off my case?

        Look, Matthew, you’ve drawn in a host of irrelevant issues. All I’ve done is to point out that waving your hand at a giant stack of paper and saying “The support for my assertion is in there somewhere” is not valid scientific practice, because it’s not transparent. That was my sole claim, and it had nothing to do with all this stuff you are on about, whether I “measure up” and the like.

        And I must confess, I’m astounded that you continue to argue it is good scientific practice to e.g. cite the entire IPCC opus without providing a page number.

        Ball’s in your court … I await your citation of prior art for my work, as well as your explanation of how citing the whole AR5 with no page number is good scientific practice.

        w.

        PS—I can’t resist saying it … please provide us with a bunch of citations backing up your view about citing the IPCC without page numbers …

      • Matthew R Marler

        Willis Eschenbach: Fine. List for me the ten people who have previously hypothesized that emergent phenomena control the global temperature … Roy Spencer claimed I should have cited Ramanathan in that context, but Ramanathan said NOTHING about emergent phenomena.

        Fine. List for me the ten people who have previously hypothesized that emergent phenomena control the global temperature … Roy Spencer claimed I should have cited Ramanathan in that context, but Ramanathan said NOTHING about emergent phenomena.

        The standard is to cite more people and publications than the people who specifically anticipated the point that you made, thus acknowledging the field of workers in the field of science that you are participating in. You were correct in your interchange with Dr Spencer that you had correctly cited the only published work that specifically referred to the concept that you were working on. However, the people who publish (and supervise grant writing, IRB submissions, PhD and Masters theses) always cite more broadly, practically outlining a snapshot of the Zeitgeist (so to speak.) You have been trying to impose upon Dr. Clayson your own standard for citations, learned in high school, whereas the standard in the profession is not the standard that you are trying to impose.

        The other thing you might have learned in high school, if not before, is that if you don’t play the game you don’t make the rules. You play your own game (march to the beat of your own drummer), and you play very well, imo, preforming and writing up for WUWT logical, hypothesis driven data analyses. But your criticism of Dr. Clayson’s citation practices is not your call to make.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Willis Eschenbach: Ball’s in your court … I await your citation of prior art for my work, as well as your explanation of how citing the whole AR5 with no page number is good scientific practice.

        One of the goals of citation practice is to acknowledge the work of the others in the field: that is, to acknowledge that others are working, and to express respect for their work product. It is not simply about referencing the source of each idea. The most recent issue of Statistical Science contains an article titled “Instrumental Variables: An Econometrician’s Perspective”, by Guido Imbens, followed by several discussions (Statistical Science, vol 29, pp 323 – 379.) Collectively, Imbens and the other authors cite many works without citing the page numbers, and a bunch of those works are books, e.g. Fisher, R “The Design of Experiments” 1925, first edition, Oliver and Boyd, London”. In “Causality”, Judea Pearl cites David Hume without page numbers. In the book “Analysis of Neural Data”, Kass, Eden and Brown cite books by Feller and Jeffreys without page numbers.

        The practice of citing thousands of pages of published work without page numbers may not be to your liking, but it is the standard. You can find lots more examples in the books “Principles of Uncertainty” by J. B. Kadane, and “Physics and Chance” by Lawrence Sklar.

        That isn’t the only standard. In Genius, James Gleick supplies endnotes that give the details of the page numbers and such for many of the assertions in the book.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Willis Eschenbach: What part of the 222-PAGE PAPER escaped your notice? Citing pages in a three- or four-page document such as the one you cited is optional. Citing them in a 222-page tome is not.

      OOPS! I missed this the first time through. Sorry. The reference in the short Science article is to the 800+ page book “Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes”, third edition, by Bertil Hille. That is the tome cited without page numbers.

  49. This was a fantastic post. With oceans and sea ice being among my favorite climate-related topics, you hit a home run with this in my book.

    As go the oceans so goes the climate over the long-run. We cannot understand the climate without an understanding of the flow of energy to and from the ocean.

    Thanks Dr. Clayson!

  50. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | November 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm |

    Here is the question I asked you.

    “Say you will hold everyone to the same standard regardless of the venue or rhetorical situation. That’s ok.. I just want to get it on the record.?”

    over to YOU.

    what are the standards YOU demand be used in all communication..
    Be specific and pledge that we can hold you to be consistent

    Well, that first one (in quotes) wasn’t a question.

    As to the second one, I have no standards that I demand be used in all communication. There are literally hundreds of types of communication, some of which are totally non-verbal. How could one standard possibly apply to all the myriad types of communication?

    So I fear that your question is far too broad to possibly have an answer.

    However, if you are asking about the use of page numbers in citations in scientific communications, then … what is your question? Scientific transparency requires enough information to know how to find the actual information being cited. Waving your hand at a 222-page broad overview of an entire field doesn’t do it. As you are the “Free the data, free the code” man, surely you must know that.

    But then, you may not be talking about that at all. As is unfortunately too common in your case, your terse posting style betrays you, your meaning is far from clear.

    Over to YOU, my friend …

    w.

    • A dare too far. The answer to the question is ‘no’, absurdversively.

    • An op ed isn’t science communication.
      Case closed

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Egads, more cryptic comments.

        I would say that Dr. Clayson is most assuredly communicating about science … I fear I don’t understand what you mean when you say that her most interesting post “isn’t science communication”.

        w.

        PS—When someone says “case closed”, it makes me doubt their claims. It is nothing more than an attempt to close off responses, which would be un-necessary if the case were actually closed.

      • I don’t have any objections to this sterling review or the brassy trumpets. The few question I had have been noted above and responded to with citations too numerous for me to follow. There is excellent insight, honest science, and good faith.

        I wanna know what Bob Tisdale has to say about it.
        ==================

    • Carol Anne Clayson

      I put in a reply up above on the question relating to the 222 page tome. Please see that in hopes that everyone knows I have now given a page number.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thank you kindly for doing that, Dr. Clayson. I note that there are folks here who are still arguing that not giving a page number is valid scientific practice. I hope they learn from your excellent example.

        w.

      • Dr Clayson,

        You are far too nice.

        Willis, you are a jerk.

  51. One question for Dr. Clayson if she is still hanging around and answering questions:

    Are there any estimates for how much of the total energy of the atmosphere at any given time comes from latent and sensible heat flux from the ocean? The large spikes we see in tropospheric sensible heat during El Nino events tells us that the amount must be quite high, but I can’t find a recent estimate for it, though I thought I read in an old Budyko paper from years ago that it was “probably” greater than 50%. Does this seem right to you?

    • Rgates

      I left you several more messages re SSW on the other thread.

      Tonyb

    • Willis Eschenbach

      R. Gates, the “total energy of the atmosphere” comes from three sources—absorption of incoming solar radiation (~ 70 W/m2), absorption of upwelling surface radiation (~360 W/m2), and sensible/latent heat losses from the surface (~110 W/m2). This totals ~ 540 W/m2, of which sensible/latent input is about 20%.

      According to the CERES data, and as we’d expect, there is more sensible/latent loss over the oceans (global average 122 W/m2) than over the land (global average 76 W/m2).

      w.

  52. Willis Eschenbach

    curryja | November 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm |

    Willis this is an op-ed, not a scientific review article.

    Thanks for that, Judith, but I’m not clear what your point is.

    Do you mean that because it’s an op-ed, it’s OK to change the idea of “associated with” the extinction, to “notable for causing the extinction”, of three-quarters of the megafauna?

    Or are you defending her leaving the page numbers out of her citations? If you don’t want to cite an op-ed, that’s fine … but if you are going to cite, then cite in such a way that we can understand what you are referring to. Otherwise, you’re just looking all sciencey without taking the chance that someone can falsify your claims.

    In any case, yes, this is an op-ed … and? What conclusions are you drawing from that fact?

    w.

    • Carol Anne Clayson

      Hi, please see above responses to what page number of the NRC report. I will merely restate here that in the journals I generally publish in, I do not list the page numbers for specific citations, nor do others publishing in these journals. If it is a reference to a book with chapters by different authors, then the page numbers for the chapter itself is listed. For fun, I simply went to the first article in the latest version of Journal of Climate available on the site, and copied the reference list here. This has the added bonus of referring to one of Judy’s papers. In any case, note the reference to a chapter within a book by multiple authors (listing the chapter pages given the varying authors), and also a reference to a book of 188 pages (which does not list the actual page number for the reference). Since I have not done an op-ed piece before, I was unaware that the standards for citations was considerably different than for a scientific journal.

      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      Allen, M., 2003: Liability for climate change. Nature, 421, 891–892, doi:10.1038/421891a.
      Barbour, A. D., 1988: Stein’s method and Poisson process convergence. J. Appl. Probab., 25, 175–184, doi:10.2307/3214155.
      Bindoff, N. L., and Coauthors, 2014: Detection and attribution of climate change: From global to regional. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, T. F. Stocker et al., Eds., Cambridge University Press, 867–952.
      Brown, L. D., T. T. Cai, and A. DasGupta, 2001: Interval estimation for a binomial proportion. Stat. Sci., 16, 101–117, doi:10.1214/ss/1009213286.
      Chapman, D. G., 1952: On tests and estimates for the ratio of Poisson means. Ann. Inst. Stat. Math., 4, 45–49, doi:10.1007/BF02949788.
      Cox, D. R., and V. Isham, 1980: Point Processes. Chapman and Hall, 188 pp.
      Furrer, E. M., R. W. Katz, M. D. Walter, and R. Furrer, 2010: Statistical modeling of hot spells and heat waves. Climate Res., 43, 191–205, doi:10.3354/cr00924.
      Jagger, T. H., and J. B. Elsner, 2006: Climatology models for extreme hurricane winds near the United States. J. Climate, 19, 3220–3236, doi:10.1175/JCLI3913.1.
      Jovanovic, B. D., and P. S. Levy, 1997: A look at the rule of three. Amer. Stat., 51, 137–139.
      Knutson, T. R., and Coauthors, 2010: Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nat. Geosci., 3, 157–163, doi:10.1038/ngeo779.
      Meehl, G. A., and C. Tebaldi, 2004: More intense, more frequent, and longer lasting heat waves in the 21st century. Science, 305, 994–997, doi:10.1126/science.1098704.
      NOAA, cited 2014: Atlantic hurricane database (HURDAT2) 1851–2013. [Available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data#hurdat.%5D
      Price, R. M., and D. Bonett, 2000: Estimating the ratio of two Poisson means. Comput. Stat. Data Anal., 34, 345–356, doi:10.1016/S0167-9473(99)00100-0.
      Przyborowski, J., and H. Wilenski, 1940: Homogeneity of results in testing samples from Poisson series: With an application to testing clover seed for dodder. Biometrika, 31, 313–323.
      Rahmstorf, S., and D. Coumou, 2011: Increase of extreme events in a warming world. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 108, 17 905–17 909, doi:10.1073/pnas.1101766108.
      Stott, P. A., D. A. Stone, and M. R. Allen, 2004: Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003. Nature, 432, 610–614, doi:10.1038/nature03089.
      Walter, S. D., 1976: The estimation and interpretation of attributable risk in health research. Biometrics, 32, 829–849, doi:10.2307/2529268.
      Webster, P. J., G. J. Holland, J. A. Curry, and H.-R. Chang, 2005: Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in a warming environment. Science, 309, 1844–1846, doi:10.1126/science.1116448.
      Wilson, E., 1927: Probable inference, the law of succession, and statistical inference. J. Amer. Stat. Assoc., 22, 209–212, doi:10.1080/01621459.1927.10502953.

      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      With respect to the use of my word “causing” instead of “associated with.” True, “associated with” could perhaps be construed to mean “happening at the same time, but in reality has nothing to do with it,” whereas I used the stronger word of “causing”, which implies “happening because of it.” Here is some more from the NRC report, along with associated references: “More recently in geological time, the climatic warming at the last glacial-interglacial transition was coincident with the extinction of 72 percent of the large-bodied mammals in North America, and 83 percent of the large-bodied mammals in South America—in total, 76 genera including more than 125 species for the two continents (Barnosky and Lindsey, 2010; Brook and Barnosky, 2012; Koch and Barnosky, 2006). Many of these extinctions occur within and just following the Younger Dryas, and generally they are attributed to an interaction between climatic warming and human impacts (Barnosky et al., 2004; Brook and Barnosky, 2012; Koch and Barnosky, 2006). ” (These statements are from page 122).

      So, if we take the statement “generally they are attributed to an interaction between climatic warming and human impacts” the way that I would take this statement, it would be: “without the climatic warming, they would not have happened”. Thus, I would argue that the climatic warming is a causal factor. I would also say that human impacts are also a causal factor, based on my reading of this particular statement. In this sense, I used the word “causing” to imply that without this climatic warming, there seems to be some evidence that the specific extinctions referred to here would not have happened. I am sorry if my use of a form of the word “causation” tripped you up, it was not intended to.

      • Hello Carol

        I have enjoyed your interesting paper and posted a link to a recent Science article confirming rapid temperature rises in a few decades.

        Lets put a caveat on that and say ‘apparent’ as they seemed to want to demonstrate that their models were right all along.

        In this statement of yours below, can be encapsulated much of what is wrong with climate science;

        ‘However, significant data gaps remain, particularly below 2000 m, which is nearly unmeasured.’

        Much of what is stated, or inferred, by climate alarmists, (some scientists some activists, many politicians) often turns out on investigation to be much less solid than it appears.

        Two examples; the idea that we have anything like a good idea of SST’s back to 1850 and the other related to your statement above.

        The IPCC insisted to me as an ‘expert’ reviewer of the AR5 draft that we knew the abyssal depth temperatures but would not give me the studies to prove it.

        We have people on this blog pointing to studies by people like Purkey and Johnson in which sweeping assertions of abyssal temperatures are made.

        The truth is as you state above. I also heard Prof Thomas Stocker say in an off the cuff remark at a Climate conference that we did not have the technology to measure the deep oceans (below 2000metres)

        Judith often writes about the ‘uncertainty monster’ but it seems to me there is an even bigger beast ‘the exaggeration monster’ which takes snippets of possible facts or unlikely statements and turns them into ‘science is settled’ papers that reinforce the climate change narrative demonstrating AGW

        tonyb

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Carol Anne Clayson | November 13, 2014 at 3:29 am

        Since I have not done an op-ed piece before, I was unaware that the standards for citations was considerably different than for a scientific journal.

        That is not the problem. It has nothing to do with op-ed pieces. The problem is that the scientific journals have fallen so far that they no longer require people to do more than wave their hand at the entire IPCC opus, no page numbers given, to back up their claims. You see that all the time in “scientific” journals, papers just citing “IPCC AR5 WGII” and the like.

        So yes, as you point out, when you go to the journals that kind of nonsense is exactly what you find. This is because journals are not in the business of either setting, enforcing, or even noticing good scientific practice. Nor are they in the business of reporting or advancing scientific results.

        The journals are in one business, and that is the business of making money … so I would advise against getting your scientific guidelines from them.

        Here’s the underlying issue—science requires transparency. It doesn’t work when people can’t find the support for your claim in a 222-page document. It doesn’t work when someone cites “IPCC AR5, Solomon, S.” as their supporting evidence, that goes nowhere.

        At that point, with no page number or other information, we’re left guessing what the author meant … which is clearly not transparent, doesn’t allow us to examine the evidence for the author’s claims, and thus it is not science.

        Best regards, and many thanks for your polite answers to my somewhat impertinent questions.

        w.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Willis Eschenbach: So yes, as you point out, when you go to the journals that kind of nonsense is exactly what you find. This is because journals are not in the business of either setting, enforcing, or even noticing good scientific practice. Nor are they in the business of reporting or advancing scientific results.

        Right. You know this from what you learned in high school.

  53. I wholeheartedly agree that lack of scientific knowledge of the uptake and release of heat by the oceans is a major obstacle to understanding the climate system. Alas, that understanding is scarcely advanced by the author’s numerous lapses in the description of oceanic processes.

    Perhaps the most egregious is the suggestion that thermohaline effects in some regions, important in the snail-paced formation of bottom water, are critically important to surface climate. It is the wind-driven, shallow surface currents that do the heavy lifting insofar as redistribution of tropical heat is concerned. And the Gulf Stream is the indispensable initiating factor in the AMOC, which has a strong horizontal mass-transport component and represents mass conservation through the equation of continuity, rather than a thermohaline effect. The Gulf Stream is not merely a “surface expression” of the AMOC, as the author would have it.

    • John, the Younger Dryas disproves your general gradualist view of thermohaline circulation. But might also strongly support it in the interglacial Holocene, since no such ‘ice dam’ tipping points can be identified as presently existing. See eponymous essay in Blowing Smoke. All of which makes this energy/climate stuff just fascinating.

    • Carol Anne Clayson

      Hi John, thanks for your comments.

      I’m a little confused by your comments that the thermohaline circulation is not important to surface climate. I would be happy to see your sources that indicate it is not important to surface climate. I have a number of sources which discuss its importance to surface climate. A more general review of the thermohaline circulation, which discusses its importance to surface climate, is S. Rahmstorf: Thermohaline Ocean Circulation. In: Encyclopedia of Quaternary Sciences, Edited by S. A. Elias. Elsevier, Amsterdam 2006.There are others I could have chosen, this one I happen to know and it covers many of the comments that you have.

      Here I reproduce the abstract of this chapter: “The thermohaline circulation is that part of the ocean circulation which is driven by fluxes of heat and freshwater across the sea surface and subsequent interior mixing of heat and salt. The term thus refers to a driving mechanism. Important features of the thermohaline circulation are deep water formation, spreading of deep waters partly through deep boundary currents, upwelling and near-surface currents, together leading to a large-scale deep overturning motion of the oceans. The large heat transport of the thermohaline circulation makes it important for climate, and its non-linear and potentially abrupt response to forcing have been invoked to explain abrupt glacial climate changes. Anthropogenic climate change is likely to weaken the thermohaline circulation in future, with some risk of triggering abrupt and/or irreversible changes.”

      I certainly did not mean to denigrate the Gulf Stream by calling it a surface expression of the AMOC. It is clearly primarily a wind-driven surface current, which forms part of the subtropical gyre circulation, which helps to compensate the outflow of North Atlantic Deep Water, and as such is a component of the AMOC which sits on the surface.

      I am a little confused by the statement that the Gulf Stream is “the indispensable initiating factor in the AMOC.” Do you mean that a surface current driven primarily by the wind as part of the subtropical gyre circulation is all that is needed to set up a meridional overturning circulation? I would argue that for the steady-state solution, thermohaline effects are also needed. In terms of transient effects, model results demonstrate that one can reduce the thermohaline circulation considerably by say adding a large freshwater anomaly in the northern Atlantic. As such I wouldn’t downplay the role of the thermohaline effects in driving the meridional overturning circulation patterns.

      Lastly, I did not say that the surface currents had nothing to do with the transport of heat from the equator to the poles. Let me quote here what I said: “The movement of heat by the ocean at the surface from the equatorial regions to the poles occurs as part of this large-scale circulation. ” I would say that this does not contradict your statement: “It is the wind-driven, shallow surface currents that do the heavy lifting insofar as redistribution of tropical heat is concerned.”

      • To clarify the points you find confusing, consider the fact that without the wind-driven transport of high salinity tropical water by the Gulf Stream into polar latitudes, no sinking of surface waters would be possible there. Even so, the temperature difference of the warmer, but highly saline, water cannot be large, because the density parameter sigma-t is much more sensitive to temperature than to salinity. That’s why the flow rate of the proper THC is miniscule.

        One of the great myths of “climate science” is that, without considerable sinking, the Gulf Stream would weaken or even shut down. A simple experiment with a blower and a shallow pan of water is sufficient to demonstrate that gyre-like steady-state circulation is entirely independent of any such “sink.”

      • The other mode of response, of course, is overturning circulation, which need NOT extend very deep into the ocean. Recent changes observed in the highly variable AMOC are shown in Figure 1 of: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00234.1

    • My point about THC is entirely dynamical and quantitative: by definition, its driving factor is mass-density (i.e., gravity) and the rate at which density differences found in the ocean drive mass-transport vertically is computed in mm/hr, as opposed to cm/sec for measured horizontal currents. I’m well aware that qualitative conceptions of THC and fanciful notions of oceanic “conveyor belts” is the stuff of hand-waving conjectures about the onset of the Younger Dryas by “climate scientists” seeking to explain the unknown. But when the orders-of-magnitude difference in transport rates is considered, it should be evident that THC is but a minor vertical ADJUNCT to HORIZONTAL, primarily surface, transport.

      Carl Wunsch, whose views I share, is far more rigorous and experienced in these matters than Stefan Rhamstorf, whose views have greatly misled those without serious oceanographic training. I’m pressed for time today, but hope to provide some links to supporting material in coming days.

    • “The climatic effect of the THC is still to some extent under discussion, and is due to the heat transport of ~1 PW of this circulation. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that this amount of heat transported into the northern North Atlantic (north of 24 N) should warm this region by ~5K. This is indeed roughly the difference between sea surface temperature (SST) in the North Atlantic as compared to the North Pacific at similar latitudes. A look at sea ice margins suggest that they are pushed back by the warm surface currents in the Atlantic sector as compared to the North Pacific (Fig. 1), this in turn leads to reduced reflection of sunlight and thus warming (albedo feedback). A look at global surface air temperatures is also quite suggestive: over the three main deep water formation regions of the world ocean, air temperatures are warmer by up to ~10K compared to the latitudinal mean.” http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/thc_fact_sheet.html Wondering about the importance of the THC, it seems to include upwelling, that La Nina contributor. This centennials time scale loop flow is interesting. What does the past have in store for us?

      • Unfortunately, there is much aberrant usage of the term THC, which obscures the dynamical picture and produces preposterous attributions of driving forces. For an expert clarification, see: http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/thermohaline.pdf

      • John S.
        I think I see your point about comparing volumes and it is Wunsch. Rather than volume of water what about salt? At the point where the water sinks and pulls that last bit of heat with it, then the surface currents are moving water that’s not getting much colder until it freezes. If there are salinity front lines in the North Atlantic, moving them South or North is going to matter. These lines would tell the water where to sink and probably influence sea ice formation and melting and that would have some effect. It’s not clear to me what this all means, but if salinity can be tied to sea ice, salt would be important. If the THC is a salt vacuum, it would matter at what speed that’s running.

      • Poleward surface currents lose their heat overwhelmingly to the atmosphere, and only very minutely to deeper ocean layers. Even so, turbulent mixing in the wind-driven layer tends to homogenize salinity and temperature fairly rapidly, thereby inhibiting strong THC effects. Salinity fronts do exist, but they are a matter of a few parts per thousand, at most. The bottom line is that deep sinking of surface heat, the so-called “conveyor belt,” is characterized by Wunsch as “a fairy-tale for adults. See:”http://books.google.com/books?id=ugHsLF1RNacC&pg=PA324&lpg=PA324&dq=Fairy+tale+for+adults,+Wunsch&source=bl&ots=b6-LosM-Lq&sig=N60BuwmkS47b6Fvs1ry2dNWwTZ0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=N8X3U9yoMsK3iwKJ9IDACg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=Fairy%20tale%20for%20adults%2C%20Wunsch&f=false

      • John S.
        I read that (ocean.mit) Wunsch link and was unable to find sufficient studies supporting a greater role of the THC. It’s interesting how it works. The freshwater is rung out of the sea water at lower latitudes by evaporation, and travels North through the atmosphere. That saltier water travels North, for instance using the Gulf stream. In the North, the fresh water and salty water are remixed I suppose. Perhaps the THC down welling responds to imperfect mixing.

  54. Dr. Clayson (and Judith), many thanks for this post. The tempest stirred up here (yes, an alliteration to the Bard’s play of same name) has been most educational and revealing. Flushing out (in the Scottish grouse hunting sense) many subtleties of perspective. I fervently hope we will fund more climate science ( and also energy science, as opposed to energy will-o-the-wisps), and defund climate ‘nonscience’– like the hopelessly inept (from first principles) GCMs. Evidence offered elsewhere recently.

  55. It seems that none of the interesting question were addressed in favour of a facile coverage of so called data deficiencies.

    What we have is the 26 degree N array – which is starting to provide interesting information.

    The equatorial moored array – that provides more information on weather than climate.

    And Argo – mired in the uncertainties of varying ‘climatologies’.

    The interesting question is what the intrinsic dynamic, variability of the global Earth system is – especially at the decadal to millennial scales of most relevance. So if we had a good theory of what drives these climatic so-called ‘oscillations’ – and especially of the internal and emergent processes – we might be able to design a system for validating the theory. What we have done to date is ad hoc monitoring with the assumption that all change is anthropogenic.

    We need better theories before better, more focused data systems.

  56. Dr. Clayson, thank you for the summary of the role of the ocean in climate and the associated uncertainties. We need more data for the ocean, better data for albedo, and the list goes on and is long. I’m surprised there is so little for ocean data collection.

    I found this article on the AMOC. From the (2005) article:

    Experts have expressed the fear that melting polar ice pouring fresh water into the sea might upset the MOC mechanism.

    This is because fresh water does not sink as easily as salt water, especially at cold temperatures. As a result less deep cold water flows back along the bottom of the conveyor, and the whole system slows down.

    The new findings from British and US scientists, published in the journal Nature, show that the MOC has weakened by 30% since 1957.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/gulf-stream-engine-weakening-say-scientists-517581.html

    Obviously, the AMOC is still functioning. Has this fear that the AMOC might halt still alive?

    Thanks, again.

  57. What we need are more and better observations – data – that enhance our scientific knowledge and that we can use to improve our models and reduce the uncertainties in our climate forecasts. As with all guest posts, please keep your comments relevant and civil.

    With greatest respect, a few cavils

    We will never get adequate data for the ocean systems due to their vastness, difficulty in deploying and collecting data and the cost of doing so on an altruistic platform involving human beings. The best we can hope for is military and transport needs dictating an adequate measurement system for movement of planes and ships.

    Hence the need is to do as much good as possible with the inadequate data which first of all needs people to acknowledge the inadequacy of the data. Mosher was talking last year of an increased roll out of a new measuring system while at the same time existing systems, both Argo and TAO buoy array are degenerating rapidly.

    This is why the fuss about using ocean heat and sea level rises as markers of global warming are totally risible. The changes are so small, the boundaries of measurement error so large that you cannot state whether they are going up, down or sideways with any certainty.

    Science needs better scientists with new ideas on using the measurements we have to the best effect. Hopefully with Carol Anne Clayson being one of Judy’s first Ph.D. graduates at the University of Colorado she will help fill this bill.

  58. “The ocean reacts more slowly than the atmosphere to changes in heat but also stores this heat and releases it over longer time periods.”
    This statement is often made but the Ocean is not exactly storing heat to release over time periods. The ocean is the temperature of the heat in. It is not a heat source in the sense that it makes new heat [other than that associated with the movement of water which creates some small amount of heat through friction more at depth with greater mass effect]. And very,very small due to volcanoes.
    It releases heat when the atmospheric temperature falls below the sea temperature at night and in winter, not because of longer time periods.

  59. This thread has been most interesting, with the original post very well written and clearly enough for the lay reader. The comments in general have been on topic and very well covers much of the present progress and problems with the AGW hypothesis.

    My preference for future research, however, is for more resources, human and computing, to be given to the extension of the discipline of meteorology rather than to the study of climate change per se. Any extension of reliable forecasting for periods in excess of 6 to 7 days will be of inestimable benefit to vulnerable communities.

  60. The ocean has its own circulation patterns, set in part by the wind patterns.
    No mention of Coriolis forces?

    ” When the density of the surface water is increased, typically by cooling of the surface water by heat loss to the atmosphere and/or making the surface water so salty through evaporation or by sea ice growth, the surface water sinks and forms deep water, connecting the surface through to the deepest layers.”

    Colder denser water sinks ? How can it do this when we are told it is only the hotter water that has been sinking taking the missing heat to the depths.

    • Colder denser water sinks. I suppose some combination of temperature and salinity starts the sinking. Both variables contribute. If the salinity is higher than before, higher temperature sea water would sink. “…a slow-moving current in the Atlantic, which carries heat between the two poles, sped up earlier this century to draw heat down almost a mile.” – Chen and Tung. If they are correct, down welling should remain high. This speeding up seems a good thing for our future.

  61. ” Increases in heat and CO2 in the ocean leads to a reduction in pH and carbonate saturation rate, a process called “ocean acidification”.
    . It should be noted that the uptake of CO2 by the ocean is decreasing, possibly due to fact that CO2 solubility in the ocean decreases as temperature increases.”
    So the oceans are taking up more CO2 and releasing more CO2 ? Very interesting.

  62. “The ocean circulation carries the majority of the heat out of the tropics, and the further movement of heat to the poles is mainly carried out by the atmospheric circulation.

    The models and data aren’t synchronizing with this claim.

    1981 to 1982 show coldish atmospheric temperatures:
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    but significant sea ice volume loss according to piomas:

    The data argue for an ocean heat transport.

  63. It sounds from this helpful article as if we should have been putting much greater research effort over the last 30 years into the oceans rather other factors which affect climate. Present funding is, dare I say it, a drop in the ocean compared to overall research funding. I would suggest a shift in funding rather than increased funding for climate research.

    Dr Clayson writes “As the ocean heat content increases, sea level rises due to expansion of the ocean water. This is a critical issue, as two-thirds of the world’s largest cities are at least partially in regions that are less than 30 feet above the current sea level, and issues associated with changes in sea level will profoundly impact this population.” There will be “profound impacts” only if sea level rises are much greater and more rapid than has occurred over the last 150 years. It will only be a critical issue if it can be demonstrated that such a change is highly likely. Otherwise, we will continue to adapt as we always have.

  64. Great post!

    Here’s the problem: ARGO $10 million, Solyndra $500,000…

    • I meant to write, Solyndra $500 million

    • @ JustinWonder

      “Here’s the problem: ARGO $10 million, Solyndra $500,000.”

      That’s not a problem; that;s a ‘feature’.

      If you were a progressive with no traceable CV and no obvious prior interest in anything other than crony politics and racial spoils and you were placed in charge of the US budget for 4-8 years, which do you think would be YOUR highest priority: getting a firm handle on the temperature of the entire ocean, at all depths, with millidegree precision, so that its heat content anomaly can be tracked accurately—or funneling money and power to your friends and political cronies while the ‘gettin’ was good’?

  65. “In addition, the ocean plays an important role in the storage and release of CO2. The ocean is a large reservoir of carbon. In the case of CO2”,

    Playing fast and loose with two totally different substances, carbon (C) and carbon dioxide (CO2) is unscientific to say the least. While they often coexist, the TV industry in Australia at least, has inextricably confused them in the public mind, by showing pictures of chimneys belching soot (carbon) and implying it is CO2, a lie that has made such a big impression on the public mind.

    Today we find the lie has even infected the minds of the US President and the Chinese Premier who have joined forces to fight what they regard as a common evil. Certainly the latter has a carbon (soot) problem in Beijing while the President thinks he has a CO2 problem in the US, despite that climate has been stable on average for the last 15 years.

  66. Related to oceans and warming, here’s some interesting new research:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-11-ocean-primed-el-nino.html

    • Gates–It is an interesting study if you like reading studies that reach conclusions that support your beliefs with little scientific basis.

    • Rob, please let me know your expertise in being able to accurately ascertain and suggest this study has little scientific basis. Seems you faux-skeptics simply want to reject anything that does not support your world view– which is actually sort of anti-skepticism. From the paper’s abstract:

      “Equatorial Pacific ocean-atmosphere interactions affect climate globally, and a key component of the coupled system is the Walker Circulation, which is driven by sea surface temperature (SST) gradients across the equatorial Pacific. There is conflicting evidence as to whether the SST gradient and Walker Circulation have strengthened or weakened over the late twentieth century. We present new records of SST and sea surface salinity (SSS) spanning 1959–2010 based on paired measurements of Sr/Ca and δ18O in a massive Porites coral from Butaritari atoll in the Gilbert Islands, Republic of Kiribati, in the central western equatorial Pacific. The records show 2–7 year variability correlated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and corresponding shifts in the extent of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, and decadal-scale signals related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Pacific Warm Pool Index. In addition, the Butaritari coral records reveal a small but significant increase in SST (0.39°C) from 1959 to 2010 with no accompanying change in SSS, a trend that persists even when ENSO variability is removed. In contrast, larger increases in SST and SSS are evident in coral records from the equatorial Pacific Line Islands, located east of Butaritari. Taken together, the equatorial Pacific coral records suggest an overall reduction in the east-west SST and SSS gradient over the last several decades, and a recent weakening of the Walker Circulation.”

    • Gates

      I read– “The ocean is warming steadily and setting up the conditions for stronger El Niño weather events, a new study has shown.”

      Given the reliability of the record on ocean temps- I am highly skeptical that the conclusions based on such a small sample are reliable for determining a likely future. It would seem to take motivated reasoning to make such a leap

      • This study is in line with other multi-proxy studies that show the present rate of ocean warming in the Pacific is extraordinary over the past 10,000 years. Note here, the operative word is “rate”. We are right at the point where that rate leads to the actual warmest Pacific in the past 10,000 years.

        As a skeptic, I take all studies with a skeptical eye, but I never let that skepticism lead me to not accept a study as likely confirming other studies. Science is built on skepticism but it does advance, bit by bit.

      • R. Gates, does the study determine how unprecedented the rate of cooling from 1200 to 1700 AD was?

      • “R. Gates, does the study determine how unprecedented the rate of cooling from 1200 to 1700 AD was?”
        ——–
        Thank you for continually mentioning the period over the past 2000 years that saw the largest negative external forcing on the climate. Ocean heat content took a dive and of course the period is known commonly as the Little Ice Age. Volcanic activity was the key culprit. Two primary postive external forcings slowly began to bring the climate out of the LIA, and the second of those forcings, increasing GH gases, began as the much weaker of the two at first, but now dominates all other forcings by a wide margin. This has resulted in the remarkable spike in OHC.

      • Gates, the only problem with your narrative is that you wouldn’t need a change of forcing to come out of the LIA if volcanoes caused it to begin with.

      • “steven | November 15, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        Gates, the only problem with your narrative is that you wouldn’t need a change of forcing to come out of the LIA if volcanoes caused it to begin with.”

        Well, of course you would need a change in forcing. Had we seen a few more of the mega volcanoes that we saw in 1257 and 1453 erupt, say in 1850 and 1900, we’d still be possibly be in a cooler period. Tambora and Krakatoa were tiny compared to 1257 and 1453. So, it was a generally clearing stratosphere that allowed more net solar to begin to warm the oceans, and pull us out of the LIA. Estmates are that this recovery was complete between 1875 and 1900. But then GH gases were beginning to climb as well as the LIA recovery was proceeding and that forcing has now exceeded any others on a long-term basis.

      • Gates, do some volcanoes produce aerosols that stay aloft forever? If they don’t then it is reasonable to assume the temperatures will eventually return to where they were before the eruptions.

      • R. Gates, according to that chart “normal” prior to the LIA was ~28.4C with +/- 0.4 C excursions. If you remove a negative forcing, the system would try to return to “normal” or mean. How “Certain” are you that the LIA response ended in any given year?

  67. Bob Ludwick,

    Your discussion of why you are “skeptical” is much like I would have written (if less eloquently). So may I ask you to please exit my head through the vast space in which my brain should be located? Door is to the left, and there are already enough voices in here.

    Serious question. In the scheme of things, since we’re evaluating such minute` quantities of heat in the physics of this topic, I have to wonder out loud: is 3% statistically insignificant when one surveys 100 “climate scientists”? It bothers me much, that in the survey’s I’ve missed where the question was asked of those who profess AGW how much is attributed solely to man and how much is attributed to nature. Can anyone correct me here?

  68. Willis Eschenbach

    Matthew R Marler | November 13, 2014 at 11:57 am |

    Willis Eschenbach:

    Fine. List for me the ten people who have previously hypothesized that emergent phenomena control the global temperature … Roy Spencer claimed I should have cited Ramanathan in that context, but Ramanathan said NOTHING about emergent phenomena.

    Fine. List for me the ten people who have previously hypothesized that emergent phenomena control the global temperature … Roy Spencer claimed I should have cited Ramanathan in that context, but Ramanathan said NOTHING about emergent phenomena.

    The standard is to cite more people and publications than the people who specifically anticipated the point that you made, thus acknowledging the field of workers in the field of science that you are participating in. You were correct in your interchange with Dr Spencer that you had correctly cited the only published work that specifically referred to the concept that you were working on. However, the people who publish (and supervise grant writing, IRB submissions, PhD and Masters theses) always cite more broadly, practically outlining a snapshot of the Zeitgeist (so to speak.)

    Yes, I’ve noted the tendency over time to include citations to any and everyone, people way out on the fringes, your PhD advisors work, and all the rest. But as I pointed out, for things like my work on emergent phenomena there are no such people … as you have amply demonstrated by being unable to find even one. So what am I supposed to do?

    In any case, you are merely trying to distract the readers. The QUANTITY of citations in my work or anyone else’s is not the issue, and never was. It is the CLARITY of the citations that we are discussing, and your attacks on the quantity of my citations are just a red herring in the hope that people won’t notice you are defending obscurantism and vague citations.

    You have been trying to impose upon Dr. Clayson your own standard for citations, learned in high school, whereas the standard in the profession is not the standard that you are trying to impose.

    Absolutely not. The standard is scientific transparency. If a citation cannot be followed to the information the citer is referring to, it is inadequate.

    The other thing you might have learned in high school, if not before, is that if you don’t play the game you don’t make the rules. You play your own game (march to the beat of your own drummer), and you play very well, imo, preforming and writing up for WUWT logical, hypothesis driven data analyses. But your criticism of Dr. Clayson’s citation practices is not your call to make.

    Dr. Clayson seems to think it is my call to make, as she has since added page numbers to her citation.

    And once again, they are not my rules. They are the rules of science, which absolutely requries transparency to function, and they existed long before I was born. That’s why I was taught them in high school.

    I still don’t get it, and you continue to refuse to answer my question. So I’ll ask it again. Let us start with a premise, that the purpose of a citation is to allow someone else to find something, in this case the evidence that backs up your case.

    Given that, why are you defending the practice of making citations that are so vague that the reader cannot find what the citer is referring to? My favorite is the citation to “IPCC AR5 WGII, S. Solomon, 2013”. Why are you defending that kind of citation?

    Please try to answer without once again attacking me over and over. The issue is not me or my citations. The question is, why are you defending crap citations, and that question has nothing to do with me.

    w.

  69. Willis Eschenbach

    Matthew R Marler | November 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm |

    Willis Eschenbach:

    So yes, as you point out, when you go to the journals that kind of nonsense is exactly what you find. This is because journals are not in the business of either setting, enforcing, or even noticing good scientific practice. Nor are they in the business of reporting or advancing scientific results.

    Right. You know this from what you learned in high school.

    Actually, no, your bitter spite against me has once again led you astray, you are entirely incorrect.

    In fact, it is a reworking of a (perhaps apocryphal) quote I read in my thirties, ascribed to William Randolph Hearst, who supposedly said:

    “Some people say that we are in the business of reporting the news. Other people think that we are in the business of manufacturing the news. But in fact, we are in the business of making money”.

    I’d never thought of it that way, but of course once I did I could see the absolute truth in it.

    In fact, this should be self-evident, since newspapers (and scientific journals) are businesses, and as such like all businesses they are in the business of making money.

    As a simple example, do you think all of the recent cosmetic changes to the layout of Science magazine are intended to increase its scientific accuracy, or to increase its sales?

    Which is why I said above that taking your scientific best-practice guidelines from the journals is a mug’s game. That’s not their business.

    w.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Willis Eschenbach: Quotes me: Right. You know this from what you learned in high school.

      Actually, no, your bitter spite against me has once again led you astray, you are entirely incorrect.

      Actually, you cited your high school experience as authority, don’t you remember?

      PS—Citing claims by pointing to a 222-page report on science without giving any page numbers or further specifications, rather than citing claims by pointing to the ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC STUDY that you think justifies your claims, is a pernicious habit and an infallible sign of a poor scientist. It wouldn’t pass muster in my high school science class, Mrs. Henninger would beat our papers severely with her red pencil if we tried that nonsense.

      As a simple example, do you think all of the recent cosmetic changes to the layout of Science magazine are intended to increase its scientific accuracy, or to increase its sales?

      I think they are pretty irrelevant to the issue of citation standards, but they seem to improve readability, from what I can judge by my own reading. The article on ion channels that I referred to was also the topic of a short review, and generally I find those short reviews easier to read.

      In fact, it is a reworking of a (perhaps apocryphal) quote I read in my thirties, ascribed to William Randolph Hearst, who supposedly said:

      “Some people say that we are in the business of reporting the news. Other people think that we are in the business of manufacturing the news. But in fact, we are in the business of making money”.

      So now your authority is a memory of a quote from Hearst that you read in your 30s. That outranks the actual practice of Science magazine and Statistical Science, and academic publishing by ASA Fellows? (Kass and Brown, not so sure about Eden.) Let me not be passive-aggressive or indirect here: Kass, Eden and Brown are superior authorities, superior to you and to most other people, on what constitutes the appropriate standard of citation in scientific writing.

      You know the phrase “doing well by doing good”? Science Magazine is in the business of reporting science: original research, reviews, politics. The article on K+ channels was an example of reporting on original research.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Matthew R Marler | November 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Reply

        Willis Eschenbach: Quotes me:

        Right. You know this from what you learned in high school.

        Actually, no, your bitter spite against me has once again led you astray, you are entirely incorrect.

        Actually, you cited your high school experience as authority, don’t you remember?

        Jeez, Matthew, get a grip, you’re losing the plot entirely. I cited my high school teacher regarding the necessity for clear transparent citations … but you were not talking about that, you were talking about the idea that journals are in the business of making money.

        So no, I don’t remember citing my high school experience regarding journals being in the business of making money … because I didn’t do that.

        Do try to follow the conversation, it makes discussion easier.

        w.

        PS—I note that once again you’re trying to steer the conversation away from your spirited defense of vague citations … still no answer to my question as to why you are defending the indefensible.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Willis Eschenbach: PS—I note that once again you’re trying to steer the conversation away from your spirited defense of vague citations … still no answer to my question as to why you are defending the indefensible.

        OK So you cited your high school teacher about citations, and you cited Hearst about the business of making money by publishing. The Hearst quote is irrelevant to any judgment about Science Magazine, and certainly irrelevant to anything about citation standards in scientific publishing.

        Here is a quote from my last post:

        So now your authority is a memory of a quote from Hearst that you read in your 30s. That outranks the actual practice of Science magazine and Statistical Science, and academic publishing by ASA Fellows? (Kass and Brown, not so sure about Eden.) Let me not be passive-aggressive or indirect here: Kass, Eden and Brown are superior authorities, superior to you and to most other people, on what constitutes the appropriate standard of citation in scientific writing.

        The examples provided by the article in Science, by the articles in Statistical Science, and the book by Kass et al constitute a superior authority on citation standards in science, superior to you and superior to your high school teacher. The books by Sklar and Pearl, also widely respected scholars, are full of examples. For the fun of it, I consulted the chapter “Noisy Oscillations” by Bard Ermentrout, in the volume “Stochastic Methods in Neuroscience” edited by Carlo Laing and Gabriel Lord; and sure enough, he cites books without page numbers: Izhikevich, 2007, “Dynamical Systems in Neuroscience”; Kuramoto, 2003, “Chemical Oscillations, Waves and Chaos”; Stratanovich, 1967, “Topics in the Theory of Random Noise” and Winfree, 2001, “The Geometry of Biological Time”.

  70. David Springer

    TOA energy imbalance is about 0.5w/m2.

    That’s enough energy to raise the ocean basin temperature 0.2C in 100 years. Big deal.

    • Yup. And if 90% of that imbalance is going into heating the oceanic mixed layer (OML) and the land and the atmosphere, along with melting polar ice, it might be closer to 0.02 °C.

      A NASA study reported last month that there was no measurable warming of the deep ocean over the the past decade.

      If the Meridional Overturning Current, aka the Global Ocean Conveyor Belt as Wally Broecker has called it, is constantly replenishing the deep ocean with ice-cold water from the poles, there may be little to no warming of the deep ocean until the ice caps have melted. Ice is a great regulator of temperature.

      That’s not necessarily a good thing. The main isocline separating the OML above from the deep ocean below seems to act like a thermal resistor isolating the deep ocean from everything above it. If so, that would mean that only the OML is slowing down global warming, not the whole ocean. I’m curious as to whether and where that possibility fits into Dr. Clayson’s assessment of the uncertainties.

  71. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Carol you want to understand “how much heat and carbon the ocean absorbs”. And you Carol say “the ocean reacts more slowly than the atmosphere to changes in heat but also stores this heat and releases it over longer time periods”.
    Many scientists (many experts in oceanic climate change) are confused with the rol of oceans. The main issue there is to distinguish between solar heat and greenhouse radiation heat.
    In my non expert opinion: (1) oceans do not absorb any heat from greenhouse radiation and (2) most of ARGO’s measurements must be appropriately systematized.

    • Actually heat is exchanged between the atmosphere and the oceanic mixed layer (OML, roughly the top 50 or so meters of the ocean) by all three of thermal conduction, convection, and radiation. This makes for a strong thermal coupling between the two that is sufficient to maintain the same differential between them in response to either one receiving heat from some source.

      Back radiation from increasing CO2 increases so slowly by comparison with other heat exchange mechanisms as to make it irrelevant whether or not increasing CO2 can heat the ocean directly by back radiation. A rise in air temperature will quickly raise the temperature of the sea surface; conversely if the sea surface warms it soon warms the air. They’re closely coupled on a much shorter time scale than the rate at which CO2 increases.

      There is nowhere near as a strong a thermal coupling between the OML and the deep ocean, otherwise the main thermocline would not be as steep.

      • On a global basis, the net flux of energy is strongly from ocean to atmosphere, and increasing GH gases in the current concentrations only serve to reduce the rate of energy flow between ocean and space. Natural variations in ocean to atmosphere energy exchanges (ENSO, PDO, etc.) can at times mask or enhance the longer-term postive forcing caused by increasing GH gases.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: Back radiation from increasing CO2 increases so slowly by comparison with other heat exchange mechanisms as to make it irrelevant whether or not increasing CO2 can heat the ocean directly by back radiation. A rise in air temperature will quickly raise the temperature of the sea surface; conversely if the sea surface warms it soon warms the air

        I hope that you are able to read about the lightning flashes, Romps et al, on the next thread “We are all confident idiots.”

      • Thanks for the pointer to the Romps et al paper, Matthew. But how does it bear on the role of the ocean in climate science?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: But how does it bear on the role of the ocean in climate science?

        The ocean is where a lot of the rainfall comes from, hence where a lot of the energy that is carried upward by non-radiative processes resides for a while after arriving from the sun.

      • Thanks, meanwhile I found the following by you:

        [Romps et al’s] calculations dramatically undercut the claim that a 3.7 W/m^2 could warm the surface water by 1C. There isn’t enough extra power supplied by a doubling of CO2 concentration to do that, if the evaporation rate increases 11%.

        That’s for sure, and agrees with my point above that “Back radiation from increasing CO2 increases so slowly by comparison with other heat exchange mechanisms as to make it irrelevant whether or not increasing CO2 can heat the ocean directly by back radiation.”

        A rise of 1C in air temperature on the other hand will reduce the heat flux from the ocean to the atmosphere. The 11% increase in evaporation will compensate by increasing that flux. If the net effect is zero change in heat flux then the oceanic mixed layer (OML) should remain at the same temperature. What do their calculations show about that?

        I would expect at least some rise in the temperature of the OML, if not the whole 1C.

        That commonly mentioned fact that the heat capacity of the ocean equals that of only the top 3 m of the OML is irrelevant here because the atmosphere is acting not as a reservoir of heat but a conduit of it.

  72. Warmest oceans “ever recorded” this year:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-11-warmest-oceans.html

    The best proxy for the retention of energy by the climate system, and it is telling us “no hiatus”– the system continues to strongly gain energy.

      • I think you’re seeing season.

        The PDO has been flipping phases since 2000.

      • When he says “release”, he means a net decrease in OHC for the year. In Trenberth’s reanalysis, this happens only when there are volcanoes of the right type and big El Nino events.

        The ocean component of the SAT is spiking this year. The 2 meters above the surface stuff is back in the pack. Probably coming on in the last three months. If not, it may not be a warmest year.

      • “When he says “release”, he means a net decrease in OHC for the year. In Trenberth’s reanalysis, this happens only when there are volcanoes of the right type and big El Nino events.”
        ——
        With increasing GH gas concentrations, the there is more net energy in the system overall. Thus, you could even see a spike in troposheric tempertures to new record levels from higher SST’s and a net increase in OHC for the year to record levels.

    • Warmest sea surface temperatures ever recorded. Next question, did this SST energy go anomalously up towards the TOA and/or into the OHC on a medium/long term time frame?

      • Looks like the Northern oceans are venting heat. That could be a good thing. And yes, the heat is coming out of the oceans, as was predicted.

      • “Ragnaar | November 14, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Reply
        Warmest sea surface temperatures ever recorded. Next question, did this SST energy go anomalously up towards the TOA and/or into the OHC on a medium/long term time frame?”
        —–
        Not sure what you mean by “anomalously” up toward the TOA. Energy leaving the ocean naturally flows through the atmosphere, out the TOA to space. During the short period it passes through the troposphere that energy (via both latent and sensible heat fluxes) supports maintaining the general tropospheric average temperature. During El Ninos, a higher than average amount passes through the troposphere and we see temperatures spike.

      • There is no El Nino, so it would seem unlikely that there will be a release of heat from the oceans. There is less upwelling this year, so SW drilled into the upper meters in 2014 is hanging around the surface in 2014. OHC is going up like crazy.

        ENSO neutral eating the pause alive. .44C since 2011. .58C since 2012.

      • “Not sure what you mean by “anomalously” up toward the TOA.”
        The high SSTs are signalling something though imperfectly. If they give off anomalously more heat to the atmosphere which I think is the most likely case, are we seeing the Northern oceans cooling? Will more than usual amounts be subducted into deeper regions?

      • JCH | November 15, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        “There is no El Nino, so it would seem unlikely that there will be a release of heat from the oceans.” Admitting it’s a guess, the maybe El Nino is slowing the Northern Gyre, and helping give us short term PDO positive, slowing meridional heat transport. Today’s SST plot is giving me hope of a reestablished negative phase.

      • “There is no El Nino, so it would seem unlikely that there will be a release of heat from the oceans.”
        —-
        ??? You seem to have not been paying attention. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year there is a net postive flow of energy from oceans to atmosphere on a global basis. The lack of an “official” El Niño is irrelevant, as SSTs in other parts of the Global Ocean (N. Pacific for example) having been running at record high levels this year, and that has meant a spike in latent and sensible heat flux to the atmosphere, pushing troposheric temperatures to near record levels for 2014.

      • Net OHC will be positive in 2014.

      • “JCH | November 15, 2014 at 12:40 am |
        Net OHC will be positive in 2014.”
        —–
        Suppose you are right. Was does this tell you about net flow of energy into and around the climate system? For the oceans to increase in OHC on a global basis, they are either receiving more solar and/or losing less to the atmosphere and space.

    • It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There is plenty of energy available to keep the Arctic vortex unstable most of the winter. There is also the chance that California’s drought will be broken big time if the right front moves down from the Arctic.

  73. Folks, the game is over… the hiatus has officially ended

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141114090009.htm

    …or maybe not?

    Comments?

    R.

  74. “Need for Ocean Research and Funding for Research”

    You definitely need to look into solar plasma variability and ENSO, but to forecast ENSO at longer range requires specialists in forecasting the planetary ordering of solar activity at the appropriate scales.

    • ENSO and Solar predictions at “longer range” is a fool’s errand. Might as well try to predict the path of a single particle of dust floating in your living room. Ain’t gonna do it…ever.

      • I have been doing it for years at the scale of weather. I predicted a major Arctic outbreak from around 10/11the November 2014, the planetary ordering is highly similar to the cold outbreak from week two of March 2013. For last winter I predicted a long severe Arctic outbreak from around Jan 7th 2014. The heatwave from early July 2013, I predicted from back in 2009. This summer UK heat wave I forecast to start from around July 22nd, and I forecast a very warm Sept, but with cooler wetter conditions through the middle two weeks of August. From such detailed signals, I can tell you when Arctic sea ice will be increasing/decreasing relative to the recent average, and get a good idea of what ENSO will be doing.
        So if I am seeing a lot of negative NAO/AO conditions, I expect a shift to El Nino conditions/episodes. Which is definitely the case from late 2015, through 2016, and the very long cold start to 2017.

      • Being skeptical of your claims, but always willing to listen, please post your exact forecast for global weather, month by month, between now and 2017 (a date you stated). You can do it by hemisphere or region, or however you like. Perhaps you already have website that has this information, so that would be fine.

  75. Regional response can be the reverse to a drop in the solar signal, like summer 2012 where the negative NAO gave the UK a very wet cool summer, but the US interior drought. I won’t give you every month, but you can see the main periods of weaker solar forcing from late 2015, through 2016, and also examples of the predictable “magnetic quadrupole” like nature of planetary ordering of solar activity. The remaining cold hit commences from the start of Jan 2017, with the dominant signal of the Earth-Venus bisector being in line with Saturn:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/06/big-news-viii-new-solar-model-predicts-imminent-global-cooling/#comment-1498257