26 October 2013

Trenberth's missing heat still missing


In its latest report the IPCC has said that the oceans have been warming rather than the sky, in an effort to explain away the problem of the lack of atmospheric warming for 15+ years.  This does solve the problem of what Trenberth called the "missing heat" -- the lack of global warming for (now on) 15 years.
While the missing heat problem is potentially solved by claims of ocean warming, the explanation introduces another problem. If something gets warmer, in this case the ocean, it is less likely to absorb heat, not more; therefore making it less likely that heat from a warm atmosphere would be drawn into the ocean, to be hidden in its deep recesses.

The energy is supposed to come from the atmosphere, specifically its greenhouse layer. If the ocean is getting warmer, the heat should be going outward not inward from it; so, it should be heating the atmosphere, not cooling it!
The IPCC ocean heat model is sensibly based on the idea that heat must move from hot to cold, e.g. that there should be no spontaneous take-up of heat by the oceans.

Richard Lindzen said:

Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean.  However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans.  


However, it is this heat transport that plays a major role in natural internal variability of climate, and the IPCC assertions that observed warming can be attributed to man depend crucially on their assertion that these models accurately simulate natural internal variability.  Thus, they now, somewhat obscurely, admit that their crucial assumption was totally unjustified. 
And from the Air Vent:

[In the IPCC scenario]...It is assumed that all ‘significant’ heat comes and goes from the ocean surface. 
Due to its greater heat capacity the oceans can absorb and emit orders of magnitude more heat than the atmosphere.  So a tiny change in its heat content could dramatically affect atmospheric temperature.

If the IPCC doesn't have a handle on heat transport in the ocean then all bets are off: we don't know what the temperature will do, when or why. From WUWT:



Caption on this graph says "energy content", although it should read "heat capacity", as it's actually a graph showing that it would take about 1000 times the energy to heat the ocean 1C than the atmosphere.

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