02 May 2017

The true significance of ocean warming

AGW believers use ocean warming as their number one excuse for the atmospheric warming pause going on 19 years now  a pause during the time of highest CO2 rise. Their refrain is that the oceans are warming because they're absorbing the "missing AGW heat". [123

But a new paper by Trenberth et al (linkmirror) published in March 2017 suggests that ocean warming is coming from deeper layers, especially the 700 to 2000m layer, and is surely therefore due to natural factors not global warming.

Of course the foregoing conclusion is my own.  The authors themselves do not for one second concede the tiniest bit of ground that this finding throws doubt on the AGW theory or that their most prized excuse for the global warming pause, that the oceans contain the "missing heat", is in doubt.

The graphs in this paper have better depth resolution than previous ones I've seen such as on the SkS website.  The spacial graphs are perhaps even more telling that the warming is natural & not from "global heat trapping", showing wide regional variation.

Notice how the southern oceans aren't warming as much as the northern. This results in the air of the northern hemisphere warming almost twice as fast as the southern. So much for "global" warming.

In conventional pre-greenhouse-effect (i.e. real) physics heat repels itself – spreads out with the ultimate goal of being equal throughout the Universe. But in the topsy-turvy world of warmists heat can move toward itself without any additional energy input.

One example is in the atmospheric greenhouse effect. There should be a tropospheric concentration of heat called the hotspot. In the theory of greenhouse heat-trapping EMR can be recycled to magically be counted again and so provide greenhouse energy, despite greenhouse gases not having any energy source of their own.

Another example is in the "oceans ate my heat" excuse. If Earth's oceans are warming, absorption of heat from the surface becomes less likely, not more. Both the above examples are a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Hence warmists have a great deal of trouble with the concept of heat flow.

Oceans cover some 71% of earth's surface. The disparity between heat capacities per volume of air and ocean water is about 3,355:1. This does not rule out that heat can flow from the surface downward. But it does make it unlikely over short time-frames, such as a few decades, as well as on the whole. The tail can not wag the dog.

If there is warming from the surface it arises from the upper layer of ocean water having been struck by sunlight. Heat from the solar-warmed upper ocean layer not only warms in the downward direction to the ocean underneath but upward to the air above. Could this warming be responsible for late 20th century global warming, not CO2? Compare the Hadcrut time series for global sea surface temperature and average air temperature.

HadCru earth average temperature anomaly degrees C (green) and HadCru sea surface temperature (red) offset by 0.2 C

In turn, the amount by which sunlight warms the top layer of ocean water varies by the strength of the solar wind which varies with sun activity (sunspots). The foregoing is one of the simplest climate models.

By contrast the warmists' CO2-based model is that any surface changes or perceived energy imbalance can only be due to greenhouse warming; the ocean can only be a passive sink that stores surface heat for a short period of time; the ocean can't store heat for centuries nor can geothermal heat make a significant contribution. 

But those of us without such preconceived notions are free to come up with any new ones we like. One paper suggests that Earth's geothermal heat makes a greater contribution to ocean heating than originally thought; undersea volcanoes could contribute to the El Nino phenomenon. Some of these vents are in the 700m - 2000m layer.

This theory may or may not pan out to be true. But it sure is more interesting and more believable than the hocus pocus of spontaneous heat gathering in the atmosphere. It is through such open inquiry, not closed-minded dogma, that we shall settle these issues and advance science.

The true significance of ocean warming is not that it's being warmed by the air; it doesn't excuse CO2 from failing to warm the atmosphere these last 19 years. The true significance is that it, combined with the atmospheric warming pause, falsifies the AGW theory. 

It also damages AGW theory in another way. With increasing upper ocean heat content carbon dioxide will become less soluble and so be expelled to the atmosphere. This could explain at least some of the carbon dioxide rise.

Between deforestation [1, 2], warming of the land surface, and ocean warming [1, 2], most of the rise of atmospheric CO2 is likely not due to humans' combustion of carbon fuels. If so this is yet another independent and mortal blow to the AGW theory.


The Trenberth et al 2017 paper abstract utterly ignores the true implications of the findings as I outline above and introduces an AGW theme for no apparent reason other than to serve the narrative of the day and their pay-master's requirements. Here's an extract:

The inferred integrated earth's energy imbalance (EEI) is greater than that reported in previous assessments and is consistent with a reconstruction of the radiative imbalance at the top of atmosphere starting in 1985. We found that changes in ocean heat content (OHC) are relatively small before about 1980; since then, OHC has increased fairly steadily and, since 1990, has increasingly involved deeper layers of the ocean.

"Consistent with" is a weasel phrase. There is absolutely no reason to think that the tiny surface warming of the atmosphere is causing the deep ocean warming. Yet such is implied, especially where they say that lower layers are increasingly being involved.

How can the global warming get down that far that quick? It takes decades or centuries for such an influence to penetrate that far down. Oceans are still absorbing heat (slowly) and thereby expanding for millennia since the end of the last ice age.  Some of these ocean layers are 700 – 2000m down and are warming at roughly the same rate as the upper ones perhaps more so.

This suggests to me the heat is coming from deep down; perhaps from circulating internal ocean heat or a previously unidentified geothermal heat source.

But the climate conjurors who publish this paper make it seem that the tiny air warming of 0.7C observed from 1976 to 1998 is responsible for pronounced warming 100s of metres down in the ocean.  Man, having a job as a climate scientist and having to lie for a living must suck.

Then again they seem to like the spigot and defend the AGW gravy train with a zeal. So I guess lying has its perks. Plus junkets. Lots of climate junkets to places like Cancun, which are warm. Warm much like how more of the planet would be with global warming. But I digress.

These climate grifters make no justification for why a warming ocean could be caused by a minor global air warming or how the heat can get down to such deep layers that quickly. They do not admit the basic thermodynamic truth that a warming ocean is less likely to be absorbing heat from the atmosphere.


Check this doom & gloom graph from this alarmist blog showing the rate of ocean heating is increasing, including deep down. Oh noes: if the ocean warming's faster than we thought AGW's worse than we thought...right? Heh no.

The unscientific AGW-adherents do not realise that if the rate of ocean warming is increasing when the surface air warming is actually slowing down, it makes it less likely the ocean warming is due to the air warming.

In that post the author basically proves (taking his calculations at face value - I haven't checked them at all) that surface heating can't diffuse that quickly by assuming a crazy diffusion rate of 4.5 cm^2/second to achieve warming that deep, a rate 4.5 times as great as Hansen's speculation. And the author assumes the "forcing" from the atmosphere starts in 1960 whereas the authors of Trenberth et al 2017 say such forcing only started in 1985.

Even when their own calculations show that ocean heating can't be from the surface warmists have to lie to themselves and pretend the warming is due to AGW to maintain their precious planet-saving religion.


Now let's see how the Borg received the Trenberth paper. Despite it being a blow to AGW, conformists must interpret each new fact to be a boost to their AGW theory.

Truth is, if AGW really was responsible for this ocean warming we'd have to see not only continued atmospheric warming but greatly accelerated warming. This is "basic physics". The fact that the ocean is warming and the atmosphere flat-lining essentially falsifies the AGW theory.

What ocean warming suggests to me is that earth is acting as it does, as a natural thermostat bringing warm water up to the surface to counteract the atmosphere's cooling. (Some links to earth's atmosphere cooling 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

But let us go on to see how those who submit, groveling to the climate consensus interpret it.  This is from the Robert Scribbler blog. By the way don't bother leaving a skeptical comment there; I've submitted two and both were not published.  Leftists are notorious for being intolerant of other points of view.

"This increased rate of warming is rather concerning — especially when you consider the fact that about 90 percent of the total extra heat absorbed by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses produced primarily by fossil fuel burning ends up in the world’s oceans.
"...Ultimately what this accelerating and higher than expected ocean heat gain means is that we have less time."
Hah 😆 what a mental lemon. If the oceans are warming 13% faster than expected, especially while the atmospheric warming has according to satellite slowed down for the last 19 years, then guess what? This makes it even less likely not more, that heat from the atmosphere was responsible for the warming.

It must suck for one's mind to be in such a mental straitjacket that simple thermodynamic observations like this become impossible – the true mark of a modern-day religion. 

Comment from his automaton follower:

Robert. You amaze me with the amount of well researched and well written articles you produce. That along with the references your followers provide make this the best and most up to date.source of CC news on the web.
Hah, congratulations Robert. You manufacture the best pablum for me to consume on the Internet. With your propaganda I can go on believing I'm saving the world from calamity and that makes me feel really good inside! I feel such virtue. Thanks!

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