29 May 2016

Why the "missing heat" of AGW can't be going in the ocean

The reason "missing heat" can't be going in the ocean is that the ocean is warming. A warmer ocean makes it less likely that heat will be drawn in from the atmosphere, not more.

Here is the global sea surface temperature anomaly, and it's on the rise:

(Source. Many more graphs here. Also here.)

The number one explanation for the pause in global warming is to say that the missing heat is going into the ocean. Such as on this Skeptical Science (SkS) page:


Twitter's Oakden Wolf claims the Pacific is absorbing the missing heat in this reply to Tom Nelson:

Oakden Wolf is wrong. The Pacific is not cooling overall.

There may have been slightly more La Ninas than El Ninos in the Nino 3.4 region during the last 18 years of the warming pause. But there's no significant up or down trend to explain the extra drawing down of atmospheric heat:


Also, according to the AGW theory of heat-trapping, warming increases with the rise of carbon dioxide and would therefore require ever-increasing La Ninas to keep pace to maintain the pause. But such an increase in La Ninas isn't manifesting, though it may in future years if the sun continues to cool.

Other areas of the Pacific are not cooling:

via Bob Tisdale
The cooling of the equatorial Pacific was offset by other areas of the Pacific as well as other oceans and was therefore not enough to reduce global sea surface temperatures overall (see graph at top).

Of course, the SkS website doesn't mention the possibility that there simply isn't any missing heat from rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

I believe carbon dioxide's warming power is zero and that it can not trap any heat in earth's atmosphere  an atmosphere where the molecules are free to move. Analogies of an atmospheric greenhouse effect to an actual greenhouse, or to a blanket which functions by blocking convection, are invalid.

And observations show that there is no greenhouse absorption in the troposphere: the vertical temperature gradient (adiabatic lapse) hasn't lessened. Every photon that's absorbed is matched by one that's emitted.

Even believers in the greenhouse effect are accepting lower & lower estimates for carbon dioxide climate sensitivity:

This warming of the ocean comes not from the air temperature rise as is sometimes claimed, nor from an increase in carbon dioxide downwelling longwave radiation (backradiation)  an increase which doesn't actually exist.  The warming comes from changes within the ocean  the cycling of internal heat  and perhaps by other influences from the sun or sub-oceanic volcanoes.

That ocean warming is caused mainly by the internal cycling of heat can be seen in the fact that the layer below 700m is warming similarly  perhaps faster  than the layer above.

Figure 1: Ocean Heat Content from 0 to 300 meters (grey), 700 m (blue), and total depth (violet) from ORAS4, as represented by its 5 ensemble members. The time series show monthly anomalies smoothed with a 12-month running mean, with respect to the 1958–1965 base period. Hatching extends over the range of the ensemblemembers and hence the spread gives a measure of theuncertainty as represented by ORAS4 (which does not cover all sources of uncertainty). The vertical colored bars indicate a two year interval following the volcanic eruptions with a 6 month lead (owing to the 12-month running mean), and the 1997–98 El NiƱo event again with 6 months on either side. On lower right, the linear slope for a set of global heating rates (W/m2) is given.

Small temperature rises in earth's average temperature on the order of 1-degree celsius can not warm the ocean to a depth of 300m or 700m over a period of just decades.

One theory is that the warming for El Ninos is sub-oceanic, arising from volcanic activity [12]. (Also: is there a link between the sun and tectonic activity?)

Another factor could be absorption at the surface of direct sunlight influenced by changes in cloud cover caused by changes in the sun's solar wind; or ultraviolet absorption. See NoTricksZone blog post here:


Another possibility is a direct electrical connection via the solar wind influencing ocean temperatures. See the Jo Nova website here:


Over a shorter term of years to decades, the ocean influences surface temperature rather than the other way around. This is because air has so much less heat capacity than water; it can't warm it quickly. It takes 1000s of years for the air to warm the oceans. AGW can't be the cause!

Not only does air require about 1/4 of the heat by weight as water to warm one kelvin, but air is about 800 times less dense, meaning by volume the conversion factor is 3,355:1.

Recently an ex-IPCC author confirmed this view, saying that the frequency of El Ninos is not affected by AGW.

Earth's oceans have been absorbing heat from increased sun activity for the last few centuries since the little ice age of the Maunder Minimum. (Many say we're headed for a similar minimum.) Some of that heat is being released by phenomena such as El Nino.

The current interglacial period has been warming earth for approximately 22 thousand years, with earth's major glaciers melting ~10,000 years ago. The slow steady sea level rise of the last 6,000 years was caused by thermal expansion of heat from the surface, but this takes thousands of years, not mere decades.

Source: Wikipedia. Some say rise rate was faster than depicted.

Why should atmospheric heat suddenly start going into the ocean around the year 1998 so abruptly? The graph of ocean warming shown at the top of this page shows this absorption should get less likely, not more, and shouldn't happen so abruptly.

Notice that earth's average temperature (according to Hadcrut 3 global average) increases in a fairly straight line from 1976 to 1998 then quickly transitions to a horizontal line after 1999. This is not how an increase in ocean heat take-up should look.  It should be more gradual, more like a logarithmic curve.


And if more heat was really going in the ocean there'd be thermal expansion, yet sea level rise hasn't accelerated.  Except in up-tweaked homogenised global composite graphs of sea level rise, there is no acceleration seen in any individual tide gauge: [1234567]. More here.


This following claim is quoted from the SkS page (here) claiming that ocean warming is due to AGW, and therefore shows that AGW has accelerated (even as atmospheric warming has paused).

  • Completely contrary to the popular contrarian myth, global warming has accelerated, with more overall global warming in the past 15 years than the prior 15 years.  This is because about 90% of overall global warming goes into heating the oceans, and the oceans have been warming dramatically.
To merely assume the heat is going in the ocean just because their AGW theory says the heat must be there (somewhere?), is such an unscientific approach. The dogma is to be blind to the possibility that there simply isn't any missing heat.  And even if there was, a warming ocean makes it less likely it will go into the ocean.

Attributing the warming sub-700 metres to a slight air temperature increase from 1976 to 1998 isn't the correct answer from SkS because it takes too long for surface heat to reach depths such as 700m. AGW is not the cause of ocean warming.

But logic is cast aside in warmists' religious zeal to maintain science's biggest ever gravy train that underpins careers and reputations. Climate skepticism is therefore considered by Team Consensus to be a threat that must be suppressed at all costs, even their own integrity.

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