IPCC claim – The missing warming is hiding in the deep oceans!

In the fifth assessment report by IPCC we find the following statement:
“Ocean warming dominates the total energy change inventory, accounting for roughly 93% on average from 1971 to 2010 (high confidence). The upper ocean (0-700 m) accounts for about 64% of the total energy change inventory. Melting ice (including Arctic sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers) accounts for 3% of the total, and warming of the continents 3%. Warming of the atmosphere makes up the remaining 1%.”
(Ref: Contribution from Working group I; On the scientific basis; to the fifth assessment report by IPCC; Chapter 3; Observations Oceans; Executive summary; Page 257)

To understand the significance of this statement it is important to understand the difference between the heat capacity of the oceans and the heat capacity of the atmosphere:

Mass of the atmosphere: 5.1 E+18 kg
Specific heat capacity of air: 1 kJ/kg*K
Heat capacity of the atmosphere: 5.4 E+18 kJ/K
Mass of the Oceans: 1.4 E+21 kg
Specific heat capacity of sea water: 4 kJ/kg*K
Heat capacity of the oceans: 5.88 E+21 kJ/K
Heat capacity of the atmosphere / Heat capacity of the oceans = 0.001

Because of the different heat capacity of the oceans and the atmosphere – an amount of energy which would heat the atmosphere by 0.1 K (Kelvin) will only heat the oceans by 0.0001 K. If IPCC experience a 0.1 K lack of warming in the atmosphere – IPCC can easily claim or explain that this lack of warming is due to an increase of the temperature of the oceans by 0.0001 K. Even if IPCC experience a 1 K lack of warming in the atmosphere – IPCC can easily claim or explain that this lack of warming is due to an increase of the temperature of the oceans by 0.001 K.

www.cartoonsbyjosh.com

The primary problem with this, is that a change in ocean temperature of 0.001 K cannot be measured. Simply because the uncertainty of the measurement is larger than 0.001 K. After the deployment of the Argo floats from 2000–2004 the uncertainty seems to be in order of magnitude 0.1 K. That uncertainty is at least 100 times higher than what would be required to measure a change of 0.001 K. The uncertainty might even be higher: Study shows ARGO ocean robots uncertainty was up to 100 times larger than advertised

The consequence of this is that any lack of warming of the troposphere can be excused by a minuscule change in ocean temperature. A change which is so minuscule that it cannot be measured with sufficient accuracy. A change of atmospheric temperature of 1 K is a very large change of temperature:
“As estimated by the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) “there is …medium confidence that the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity is likely between 1.5°C and 4.5°C …” (Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity is the change in global average temperature from a doubling of CO2 level.)

To get an idea about how long it may take before the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has doubled, the following link estimates the time to double the CO2 levels in the atmosphere to be in order of magnitude 200 years: Time to Double CO2 Levels: 234 Years at Current Rate

Here is a paper which seems to arrive at a similar conclusion: Bidecadal Thermal Changes in the Abyssal Ocean, Wunch and Heimbach 2014. : “In any case, the small changes including the pause are at best at the very edge of what is practical precision today. ” and “Direct determination of changes in oceanic heat content over the last 20 yr are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties in all the fields remain too large to rationalize, for example, the apparent pause in warming.”

It should therefore be quite clear that a minuscule change of ocean temperature, a change which is far less than what can be measured in a reliable manner, can excuse any lack of warming, or explain any warming of the troposphere.

Uncertainty in the temperature record of the deep oceans

Further to the argument above it is quite clear that we do not have a proper record of the temperature of the oceans. Not before the ARGO buoys were deployed in year 2000 – 2004.

The ocean temperatures below 700 m before 2000-2004 must have an extremely large uncertainty – as illustrated by this animation by Bob Tisdale:

Bob Tisdal notes:
“There is so very little observational data at depths greater than 700 meters that the NODC elected not to present the data in 3-month blocks. They used 5-YEAR windows, in one year steps, what they refer to as pentads. That is, for example, a temperature measurement in 1959 will be used for the pentads of 1955-1959, 1956-1960, 1957-1961, 1957 [oops] 1958-1962 and 1959-1963.”

Ref: https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/is-ocean-heat-content-data-all-its-stacked-up-to-be/To

To me it is clear that the uncertainty of the temperature measurements of the oceans prevents detection of changes which must be regarded to be significant by the theory of United Nations Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change.

About the ad hoc hypothesis

Before we look into how the hypothesis that the missing heat was hiding in the oceans was introduced, it can be enlightening to review some words from Karl Popper. Karl Popper was the one who described and made readily available to us the modern scientific method – The hypotetico – deductive method – Karl Popper called it the empirical method:
Ref: The logic of scientific discovery (Use search to find the quote).

“… it is always possible to find some way of evading falsification, for example by introducing ad hoc an auxiliary hypothesis, or by changing ad hoc a definition. It is even possible without logical inconsistency to adopt the position of simply refusing to acknowledge any falsifying experience whatsoever. Admittedly, scientists do not usually proceed in this way, but logically such procedure is possible … the empirical method shall be characterized as a method that excludes precisely those ways of evading falsification …”

A natural question to ask can therefore be:
Has United Nations  IPCC added hypothesis – in ad hoc manners?

The answer to that question is a very clear YES:

Kevin Trenberth was a lead author of the IPCC’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports. Kevin Trenberth introduced the ad hoc hypothesis that the missing heat in the atmosphere had gone into the oceans. Here is a famous quote from Trenberth:

“Well, I have my own article on where the heck is global warming?…The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”
– Kevin E. Trenberth

The Introduction to the following paper contains insight in the history of this ad-hoc hypothesis. Further,  Trenberth and collaborators argue that the ‘missing’ heat is sequestered in the ocean, below 700 m:
Ref: “Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content
(Geophysical research letters – first published 10 May 2013 ; Balmaseda, Trenberth and Källén.)

“The deep ocean has continued to warm, while the upper 300 m OHC appears to have stabilized. The differences in recent trends among the different ocean layers are profound. The small warming in the upper 300 m is belied by the continuing warming for the ocean as a whole, with considerable warming occurring below 700 m.”

By the United Nations climate theory there is an enormous heat exchange between the atmosphere and the oceans. We can recall from the first section that IPCC claim that “Ocean warming dominates the total energy change inventory, accounting for roughly 93% …. warming of the atmosphere makes up the remaining 1%. ” Hence, by the theory, a very small natural variation in the energy exchange between the oceans and the atmosphere can have a tremendous effect of tropospheric temperature.

A necessary consequence of the ad hoc hypothesis that the missing heat is hiding in the oceans combined with the changes in ocean temperature being inmeasurable is that United Nations climate theory does not prohibit any range of temperature changes in the atmosphere. Any range of temperature changes in the atmosphere seems to be allowed by the theory.

It is then time again to get some guidance from Karl Popper, the master mind who described the modern scientific method and made it readily available to us:
Ref: The logic of scientific discovery (Use search to find the quotes):

“But I shall certainly admit a system as empirical or scientific only if it is capable of being tested by experience. These considerations suggest that not the verifiability but the falsifiability of a system is to be taken as a criterion of demarcation. In other words: … it must be possible for an empirical scientific system to be refuted by experience.»

It is then time to ask a devastating questions:
Is the IPCC theory that energy hides in the deep oceans scientific?
By the modern scientific method it can be stated that the explanatory power of a theory is proportional to the range of events it prohibits and inverse proportional to the range of events it allows. A theory that allows everything explains nothing. Necessary questions to ask within science are:
Does the theory prohibit a significant range of events from happening?
Is the theory testable?
Is the theory falsifiable?
As explained above, the necessary answer to all these questions must be NO!

And the answer to these questions will remain no until someone comes up with a conclusive test. A test where necessary consequences, or predictions of the theory, prohibits a significant range of measurable events from happening.

So – by claiming that the missing heat is hiding in the oceans Unite Nations climate theory becomes irrefutable, but not in a good way – it becomes impossible to prove wrong – impossible to falsify. Voila! – United Nations climate theory has become unscientific. The ad hoc excuse to evade falsification has actually made the theory unscientific.

Summary

So, by the United Nations climate  theory, energy is supposed to:
1 be trapped by CO2 in the atmosphere

– but fails to warm it!

2 pass the upper 300 meter of the oceans

– without warming it!

3 to warm the deep oceans below 700 meters

– where we lack historical data!
– and where the uncertainty is to large to conclude!

That’s what I call a dead parrot

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71 thoughts on “IPCC claim – The missing warming is hiding in the deep oceans!

  1. Pingback: Reason nr. 2 to regard United Nations climate theory as flawed – IPPC used circular reasoning to exclude natural variation! | Science or fiction?

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  3. “Before we look into how the hypothesis that the missing heat was hiding in the oceans was introduced”

    It sounds like in general you are agreeing with Trenberth – it would be preferable if we had more precise measurements of things like ocean heat content. The central fact is that the oceans are accumulating a lot of heat, and this is considered to be a central validation of mainstream views about the total planetary energy budget. It’s not clear whether you think you are refuting this somehow. If you are, it’s not clear from this post what you think the logic is (e.g., what other possible cause of the ocean heating is possible beyond the obvious observed ones including the directly measured increases in downwelling longwave associated with enhanced greenhouse.)

    “United Nations climate theory…”

    It’s not a huge point, but I feel compelled to comment – calling mainstream science “United Nations climate theory” is a pretty obvious dog whistle intended to politically polarize your audience. Given the mainstream theory is backed by every national academy and physical science organization in the world, has been widely supported for decades and is taught in introductory textbooks, it is fair to just refer to it as “mainstream climate science” even if you disagree with it. If you feel this unfairly legitimizes the associated body of theories (note that mainstream does not actually mean “correct” in science,) you could certainly still state this, i.e. argue that you think a political cabal controls all of these academies and so forth, but you should be honest about the arguments you are making and try to provide evidence to support them. As it stands, this just seems nakedly manipulative. This is not a U.N.-created climate theory we are discussing, this is literally the same overall theory that was advanced by Arrhenius in 1896. It has been built up in published literature around the globe and across disciplines for decades/centuries (as exhaustively cited in the IPCC reports), just like all major physical science theories. It is frustrating that critics find it difficult to be fair about even simple points such as this.

    “United Nations climate theory does not prohibit any range of temperature changes of the atmosphere. Any range of temperature changes in the atmosphere seems to be allowed by the theory”

    I doubt this is true; mainstream theory is rooted in physics, and per physics it is unlikely that atmospheric temps can be completely decoupled from ocean temperatures. I think what you are trying to say is that it is frustratingly difficult to try to reduce the mainstream theories of climate to a simple test of how warm it’s going to be in the atmosphere this year. That’s true, but it’s not “cheating” as you imply, it’s a property of the system being studied here. If you want to know whether global warming is happening, you can always just look at the ocean warming itself, right? There are many tests and points of falsification/validation for the different components that make up mainstream theory here, passing all the time – humidity increase as predicted, heating below 700m in the ocean found as predicted, changes in downwelling/outgoing longwave as predicted, vertical temp profile is a ‘fingerprint’ of greenhouse-driven warming i.e. stratospheric cooling amid tropospheric warming etc.

    Your general point that climate science is unscientific is hopelessly poorly supported as a result. Climate science isn’t operating according to some different rules – it works just like all other science dealing with earth-level complexity (plate tectonics, evolution, etc. etc.) Creationists of course mount arguments very similar to this about evolution (“missing links”, “irreducible complexity” etc.) Perhaps you agree, and reject a broader range of mainstream physical science as “unscientific” but again I think you should be transparent about your overall views.

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    • To address one issue at time.
      “The central fact is that the oceans are accumulating a lot of heat, and this is considered to be a central validation of mainstream views about the total planetary energy budget.”

      The uncertainty of the the historic record is too large to be able to draw that conclusion. Simply because there are not enough historical data points, and the uncertainty of each measurement is too high. There are several sections about this in my post. It seems that I could have made it clearer though.

      Regarding quantification of uncertainty I have a few posts about how IPCC fail to notice and follow an international guideline on how to quantify uncertainty:
      IPCC didn´t notice an international guideline on the expression of uncertainty!

      Here is the very short version about how it should be done:
      Simply put, by Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement (Ref. section 7.2.3), the result of an estimate should be reported by:
      – giving a full description of how the measurand Y is defined
      – stating the result of the measurement as Y = y ± U and give the units of y and U
      – giving the approximate level of confidence associated with the interval y ± U and state how it was determined;

      The paper:
      “Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content” is very vague and incomplete about quantification of uncertainty in the historical temperature record of the oceans. Search for the term “uncertainty” in the paper and tell me if you think uncertainty has been properly quantified.

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      • The paper appears pretty standard – lists y ± U as you request and states “Values are per unit area of the global ocean plus and minus 1 standard error”.

        I’m on the same side in terms of wishing that global warming isn’t happening. The problem with claiming this though is that all of the data available shows a significant warming trend over time (just the joules involved in the ocean warming during the ARGO era are immense, and it is reasonable to expect visible causes for such energy accumulation), and the physical explanations in mainstream science as to why this is happening have been heavily validated for decades, per my comments. I’m still not seeing how you are in even the general neighborhood of a compelling criticism here.

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        • «The paper appears pretty standard – lists y ± U as you request and states “Values are per unit area of the global ocean plus and minus 1 standard error”.»

          No it does not express uncertainty as I request – it does not express uncertainty in accordance with the only internationally recognized guideline for expression of uncertainty. Here are some details about why it does not meet this standard:

          – giving the approximate level of confidence associated with the interval y ± U and state how it was determined

          Here is what is said about uncertainty in the paper:

          «Hatching extends over the range of the ensemble members and hence the spread gives a measure of the uncertainty as represented by ORAS4 (which does not cover all sources of uncertainty)»

          «The uncertainty is probably underestimated in ORAS4, because the uncertainty in observations and their quality control [Lyman et al., 2010] is not sampled.»

          «A large uncertainty (more than 5 1022 J ) in the first two decades in the total OHC arises from the sparse observations that do not constrain the values well.»

          Neither energy nor W/m2 is measured directly. What is measured is temperature. Also it seems clear that models are used to produce the curves showing W/m2:
          «2. The Ocean Reanalysis
          [6] ORAS4 has been produced by combining, every 10 days, the output of an ocean model forced by atmospheric reanalysis fluxes and quality controlled ocean observations.»

          And the curves we see in the paper are generated from ORAS4: «Figure 1. OHC integrated from 0 to 300 m (grey), 700 m (blue), and total depth (violet) from ORAS4, as represented by its 5 ensemble members.»

          The unit W/m2 is not at all well defined, and how W/m2 relates to the actual temperature measurements is not at all clear. There are no mentioning or quantification of temperature at all in the paper. So how the uncertainty is determined and how the uncertainty relates to the actual measurements is not at all clear – it is not stated, it is not even mentioned.

          Also – the selection of the unit: W/m2 is very peculiar, and obfuscating, in particular when it is not at all possible to comprehend how this value relates to the data – to the actual temperature measurements.

          There are more guidelines about how to express uncertainty in the international standard: «Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement»:
          7.1.4 Although in practice the amount of information necessary to document a measurement result depends on its intended use, the basic principle of what is required remains unchanged: when reporting the result of a measurement and its uncertainty, it is preferable to err on the side of providing too much information rather than too little. For example, one should

          a) describe clearly the methods used to calculate the measurement result and its uncertainty from the experimental observations and input data;
          b) list all uncertainty components and document fully how they were evaluated;
          c) present the data analysis in such a way that each of its important steps can be readily followed and the calculation of the reported result can be independently repeated if necessary;
          d) give all corrections and constants used in the analysis and their sources.
          A test of the foregoing list is to ask oneself “Have I provided enough information in a sufficiently clear manner that my result can be updated in the future if new information or data become available?”

          Even though the paper may seem impressive, the paper fails miserably to meet the only internationally recognized standard for how to express uncertainty in measurement.

          And most important – it is not at all likely that the uncertainty in the temperature measurements can provide sufficiently low uncertainty.

          To repeat the single issue in your comment I am relating to at the moment:
          “The central fact is that the oceans are accumulating a lot of heat, and this is considered to be a central validation of mainstream views about the total planetary energy budget.”

          It is not a fact that the oceans are accumulating a lot of heat – the uncertainties have not been properly quantified and expressed – hence we cannot know if that statement is a fact. Consequently, we must – by the modern scientific method – suspend judgement about that claim.

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      • “Climate science” makes an assumption that since the ocean is in contact with the atmosphere that there is afree flow of heat from the atmosphere through the surface of the ocean thereby allowing a warm atmosphere to warm the ocean. The trouble is nobody tests the hypothesis.If you attempt to warm water through the surface using heated gas, you will find that the heat is totally rejected. This is why the ocean is colder than it would otherwise be. If the surface of the ocean obeyed the laws of thermodynamics. It has to be this way because in places such as Australia in summertime the atmosphere would probably raise the ocean surface to the low thirties and cyclones are triggered at 26.5degsC. Try getting heat through the surface of water using a paint stripping gun.To put it in a nutshell we’ve been had.rgds

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        • I haven´t seen any attempt to explain the mechanism by which the deep oceans are supposed to be warming anywhere in the IPCC report.

          Everything seems to be based on models. This is also evident in the following paper:
          Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content

          “Several recent modeling studies … advocate for the role of the deep ocean in the heat uptake.”

          And the observed ocean heat content is also the output from a model:

          “ORAS4 has been produced by combining, every 10 days, the output of an ocean model forced by atmospheric reanalysis fluxes and quality controlled ocean observations.”

          When I search for the terms I would expect to see in a scientific work I get the following number of hits:
          «deduce» 0 hits
          «predict» 0 hits
          «test» 0 hits

          There seems to be a lot of inductive reasoning, bias adjustments and corrections involved.

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    • «It’s not a huge point, but I feel compelled to comment – calling mainstream science “United Nations climate theory” is a pretty obvious dog whistle intended to politically polarize your audience.»

      IPCC was established by, and heavily influenced by United Nations from the beginning:
      United Nations had dogmatic influence on IPCC from the very beginning

      From the IPCC pages we find the following information about the IPCC organization:
      it is clear that:
      IPCC is regarded the leading international body on the subject, the only body effectively providing an overall climate theory:
      «The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.”

      IPCC was established by United Nations:
      It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. «

      IPCC is under the auspices of United Nations:
      «The IPCC is a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations (UN).»

      IPCC is administered in accordance with United Nations rules and procedures:
      «The Secretariat coordinates all the IPCC work and liaises with Governments. It is established by WMO and UNEP and located at WMO headquarters in Geneva. The IPCC is administered in accordance to UNEP, WMO and UN rules and procedures, including codes of conduct and ethical principles (as outlined in UN Ethics, WMO Ethics Function, Staff Regulations and 2012/07-Retaliation).«

      United Nations has endorsed the governance of IPCC by unscientific principles. By controlling and endorsing IPCC, United Nations can also be held accountable for the products of IPCC.

      I´m holding United Nations accountable for the principles governing IPCC and thereby the products of IPCC. That´s why I´m using the term United Nations climate theory.

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      • “IPCC was established by, and heavily influenced by United Nations from the beginning”

        Obviously. You don’t seem to have followed my point at all. Re-read what I wrote. Can you explain what you think the difference is between “United Nations climate theory” and mainstream climate theory as taught in textbooks all over the world, as endorsed by every national academy of science in the world, etc. etc.?

        I’m a skeptic, so I don’t buy your conspiracy theories without evidence. To convince me, you need to be very specific – how is the United Nations political conspiracy operating, when did it start, what scientists/theories has it influenced specifically? Climate science is a couple of hundred years old. When did the U.N. plot for world governance or whatever your theory is take over the science? Who, how, and what specifically, and here’s the hard part: *where is the evidence that any of it is true*.

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    • This post was about a claim put forward by United Nations IPCC:
      “Ocean warming dominates the total energy change inventory, accounting for roughly 93% on average from 1971 to 2010 (high confidence). The upper ocean (0-700 m) accounts for about 64% of the total energy change inventory. Melting ice (including Arctic sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers) accounts for 3% of the total, and warming of the continents 3%. Warming of the atmosphere makes up the remaining 1%.”
      (Ref: Contribution from Working group I; On the scientific basis; to the fifth assessment report by IPCC; Chapter 3; Observations Oceans; Executive summary; Page 257)

      As the claim was brought forward by United Nations body: IPCC, I think it is fair to refer to that as United Nations climate theory.

      To introduce another quote from “Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content”
      «However, sea surface temperature (SST) increases stalled in the 2000s and this is also reflected in upper ocean heat content (OHC) for the top 700 m in several analyses [Levitus et al., 2009, 2012; Lyman et al., 2010]. Although the energy imbalance from 1993 to 2003 could be accounted for, it was not possible to explain the energy imbalance from 2004–2008. This led to the concept of “missing energy” [Trenberth and Fasullo, 2010].»

      And to repeat from the post:
      Bidecadal Thermal Changes in the Abyssal Ocean, Wunch and Heimbach 2014. : “In any case, the small changes including the pause are at best at the very edge of what is practical precision today. ” and “Direct determination of changes in oceanic heat content over the last 20 yr are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties in all the fields remain too large to rationalize, for example, the apparent pause in warming.”

      Hence, I think it is misleading to refer to that aspect as:
      «.. mainstream theory is backed by every national academy and physical science organization in the world, has been widely supported for decades and is taught in introductory textbooks, it is fair to just refer to it as “mainstream climate science” …»

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      • This is unfortunately common, you are comparing papers about heat in the ocean abyss (i.e. below 2000m) with papers looking at the better-measured upper 700 or 2000m.

        For context, the IPCC report does not claim that critical “missing heat” has been found in the deep ocean. If you think it does, quote it. (Pause to notice that the author is unable to support this central claim.)

        This is a chimera created in the anti-AGW blogs and echo chambers primarily – according to the urban legend version, the pause broke all the models, scientists scrambled to explain it, Trenberth said maybe the missing heat is in the deep ocean, then the heat wasn’t actually found there but the scientists ignored this and didn’t change their theory. It’s a great story, and it’s what you want to hear so you keep telling it to each other, but it is a straw man version of climate science. It is because your post is primarily aimed at this straw man that it is not very useful in practice.

        The Wunch and Heimbach paper pertains to the ocean abyss, i.e. below 2000m. So its comments about pause refer to whether *abyssal* ocean changes are contributing to energy budget changes in a way that are meaningful at level of discussion of the pause. In general, their answer is consistent with the mainstream view and what is written by the IPCC, so you are not highlighting some difference between “United Nations climate theory” and mainstream climate theory in a way you believe you are.

        Searching, I see where you got all this and that the anti-AGW blogs have run with this one in the usual way, prompting the predictable (no doubt ignored) letter to an editor by one of the authors, Wunch, in which he clarifies:

        “We never assert that global warming and warming of the oceans are not occurring — we do find an ocean warming, particularly in the upper regions. Contrary to the implications of Lloyd’s article, parts of the deep ocean are warming, parts are cooling, and although the global abyssal average is negative, the value is tiny in a global warming context.”

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/letters/military-might-cant-solve-the-conflict-in-gaza/news-story/3cbecdf3cd98c5e2c189bb24c0c332b5

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        • “For context, the IPCC report does not claim that critical “missing heat” has been found in the deep ocean. If you think it does, quote it. (Pause to notice that the author is unable to support this central claim.)”

          This is what IPCC says related to my interpretation that IPCC claim that missing warming is hiding in the deep oceans.

          Box TS.3 | Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years

          Internal Climate Variability
          Hiatus periods of 10 to 15 years can arise as a manifestation of internal decadal climate variability, which sometimes enhances and sometimes counteracts the long-term externally forced trend. Internal variability thus diminishes the relevance of trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years for long-term climate change. Furthermore, the timing of internal decadal climate variability is not expected to be matched by the CMIP5 historical simulations, owing to the predictability horizon of at most 10 to 20 years (CMIP5 historical simulations are typically started around nominally 1850 from a control run). However, climate models exhibit individual decades of GMST trend hiatus even during a prolonged phase of energy uptake of the climate system, in which case the energy budget would be balanced by increasing subsurface–ocean heat uptake….

          Owing to sampling limitations, it is uncertain whether an increase in the rate of subsurface–ocean heat uptake occurred during the past 15 years. However, it is very likely that the climate system, including the ocean below 700 m depth, has continued to accumulate energy over the period 1998–2010. Consistent with this energy accumulation, GMSL has continued to rise during 1998–2012, at a rate only slightly and insignificantly lower than during 1993–2012. The consistency between observed heat content and sea level changes yields high confidence in the assessment of continued ocean energy accumulation, which is in turn consistent with the positive radiative imbalance of the climate system. By contrast, there is limited evidence that the hiatus in GMST trend has been accompanied by a slower rate of increase in ocean heat content over the depth range 0 to 700 m, when comparing the period 2003–2010 against 1971–2010. There is low agreement on this slowdown, as three of five analyses show a slowdown in the rate of increase while the other two show the increase continuing unabated.”

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          • Me: “the IPCC report does not claim that critical “missing heat” has been found in the deep ocean”

            You: “This is what IPCC says related to my interpretation that IPCC claim that missing warming is hiding in the deep oceans… ‘However, climate models exhibit individual decades of GMST trend hiatus even during a prolonged phase of energy uptake of the climate system, in which case the energy budget would be balanced by increasing subsurface–ocean heat uptake'”

            This is reinforcing my point, right? It’s saying climate models predict the existence of hiatus periods, as we have seen (there have been six since 1970 that statistically meet the definition of the current one.) The energy doesn’t disappear, it goes into the ocean.

            “Subsurface” does not mean “in the abyss”. The abyss is below 2000m.

            Your IPCC quote does not show the IPCC saying there is ‘missing’ heat. They say the expectation is that the heat that is not showing up on the surface during hiatus periods is in the ocean, and that the data is consistent with that. Because of measurement uncertainty, and the fact that the amount of heat accumulating in the ocean is so large relative to the small sliver we’re talking about wanting to track here, we can’t 100% prove there hasn’t been a small loss of total heat uptake (i.e. an additional small decrease in forcing relative to those we already track, like that due to the solar minimum.) Do you imagine it is saying something different?

            You are supposed to be proving that (a) the IPCC conceded there is ‘missing heat’, i.e. available measurements of heat uptake are not consistent with theory. This says the opposite – observed total ocean and surface heating is consistent with theory, just too imprecise to answer every detail question we have about energy distribution. And (b) that the IPCC says this ‘missing heat’ is in the ‘deep ocean’ i.e. abyss. They also do not say anything of this nature.

            If they *were* saying what you believe, it would invalidate many of the other things they say in the report, right? So what is more likely, that the IPCC is committing fraud, but somehow put this passage in which admits they’ve lost all of the missing heat anyway, or that you reading things into this section that aren’t there? Apply Occam’s razor.

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    • “Your general point that climate science is unscientific is hopelessly poorly supported as a result.”

      I don´t think so, the basic principle is as simple as this:
      For a theoretical system to be scientific – there must have been made a priory predictions of an outcome which is detectable within the statistical uncertainty of the measurements. Regarding deep ocean temperatures – IPCC has not documented a priori predictions of an outcome which has been detectable within the statistical uncertainty of the measurements.

      The predictions must be testable now – not some time in the future. If the effect is not detectable now, but will become detectable some time in the future, the theory will remain an uncorroborated hypothesis until the theory is testable.

      “But I shall certainly admit a system as empirical or scientific only if it is capable of being tested by experience. These considerations suggest that not the verifiability but the falsifiability of a system is to be taken as a criterion of demarcation. In other words: … it must be possible for an empirical scientific system to be refuted by experience.»
      – Karl Popper

      Please enlighten me if a priori predictions of this kind has been made and documented by IPCC.

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      • “Regarding deep ocean temperatures – IPCC has not documented a priori predictions of an outcome which has been detectable within the statistical uncertainty of the measurements”

        Deep ocean temperatures are a footnote – an acknowledged blind spot that *might* have been important and might not have. According to evidence so far, they are turning out not to be so important. In any case they are not central to global warming theory whatsoever, so why you imagine the IPCC needed to explicitly predict something about them is just more straw man argument generally.

        The theory of earth’s energy budget simply predicts that if outgoing energy is less than incoming, that the surface will warm in response, seeking new equilibrium. As you dig into the mechanisms by which heat circulates in the fluid climate system, you end up looking at the ocean because of its dominant thermal mass and expect warming there. Which is what we see in the data – i.e., empirical validation. This is where oceanography comes in, and what oceanographers are stating is consistent with the overall theory (not a huge shock; ultimately AGW is just an application of the first law of thermodynamics, which is so well validated in science that it scarcely merits discussion.)

        Your commentary doesn’t, for example, come close to addressing the sort of claims actually made by oceanographers, e.g. this article by German oceanographer Rahmstorf:

        What ocean heating reveals about global warming
        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/09/what-ocean-heating-reveals-about-global-warming

        As I stated in my reply: “There are many tests and points of falsification/validation for the different components that make up mainstream theory here, passing all the time – humidity increase as predicted, heating below 700m in the ocean found as predicted, changes in downwelling/outgoing longwave as predicted, vertical temp profile is a ‘fingerprint’ of greenhouse-driven warming i.e. stratospheric cooling amid tropospheric warming etc.”

        You don’t address any of that sort of thing, i.e. you don’t have any answers to the *actual* relevant tests and validation of mainstream theory, so instead you set up straw man tests (like “if CO2 is increasing but the surface temperature doesn’t increase in a given year, the theory is FALSIFIED!” or “if significant heating in the deep ocean isn’t found than the theory is FALSIFIED!”) and then write hammy essays about how climate science isn’t science because scientists failed your straw man and didn’t declare defeat like you want them to.

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        • «Deep ocean temperatures are a footnote – an acknowledged blind spot that *might* have been important and might not have.»

          I regard the postulate about warming of the deep oceans to be pretty important for the energy budget.

          “Ocean warming dominates the global energy change inventory. Warming of the ocean accounts for about 93% of the increase in the Earth’s energy inventory between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence), with warming of the upper (0 to 700 m) ocean accounting for about 64% of the total.”
          – Page 257 of IPCC report WG1; AR5

          If oceans account for 93 % of the energy and upper oceans (0-700 m) accounts for 64% – then IPCC must implicitly claim that the deep oceans accounts for 29 %. In my view 29 % of the total energy is not even close to be a footnote. 29 % is roughly 1/3 of the energy which is supposed to be trapped by CO2. When roughly 1% of the trapped energy remains in the atmosphere I call that a pretty powerful mechanism. I think of that blind spot as pretty important in terms of energy, but mostly I think of it as important because if there really are so powerful natural processes, how to IPCC know that they haven’t been fooled by natural variation in these processes.

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          • Science or Fiction wrote: “If oceans account for 93 % of the energy and upper oceans (0-700 m) accounts for 64% – then IPCC must implicitly claim that the deep oceans accounts for 29 %.”

            Semantic confusion, and looks like this one is maybe my fault, sorry. You cited the Wunch paper, and so I assumed you meant under 2000m when you used the term “deep” (the Wunch paper deals with that layer – better if I had used the term “abyss” I think.) My “footnote” comment refers to warming under 2000m.

            Your papers found plenty of warming at 700-2000m, so there is no contradiction in the evidence. I think my comments on this are clearer in my blog post.

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          • It is misleading to refer to lack of data as evidence. I lieu of data it is also misleading to refer to model output as evidence.

            When we lack data we know nothing. When we don´t know what the temperature used to be there is no way we can tell if it has changed – even if we new what the temperature is now.

            Due to lack of data, the paper “Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content” is based on model simulations to estimate the temperature.

            “2. The Ocean Reanalysis
            [6] ORAS4 has been produced by combining, every 10 days, the output of an ocean model forced by atmospheric reanalysis fluxes and quality controlled ocean observations.”

            A model is virtuality – not reality.

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          • “When we don´t know what the temperature used to be there is no way we can tell if it has changed”

            You are ignoring that there is some data, there is expendable bathythermograph data for example going back to the 60s, which the papers you are citing use for historical information. Why are you pretending this doesn’t exist?

            Also to make a philosophical point, as is common in relatively superficial criticisms of science, your statements continually seem to employ unphysical reasoning – i.e. pretend that anything is possible, ignoring physical understanding. For example, knowing the surface sea temperature and something about temperatures at depth going further back creates physical constraints on how hot different layers of the ocean are likely to be, *because the whole system is subject to physical laws, thermodynamics etc*. Especially now that we are able to see in better detail how the different layers tend to change in coordination with the surface and other conditions. So again it’s not true that we know “nothing” about things where we do not have direct observation.

            “A model is virtuality – not reality.”

            The same logic applies. Models are simply continually validated representations of physical laws as we know them, so imagining they are “not real” is a fundamental misunderstanding of the roles of models in science. They are tested and validated, and when they are found to reproduce physical reality very well, as is the case here, evidence based on model analysis *is* better than no data, in the sense that the results are far more likely than chance to be accurate and represent a realistic estimate of the constraints imposed by physical laws as we know them. This is a fine way to create estimates, and this is exactly what such figures are used for and how they are presented.

            Yes, it’s obviously possible an estimate is wrong, by definition, just as it is possible measurement errors mean that direct observational evidence is wrong – the only way to increase confidence is additional measurement and analysis. A blanket statement of “this is useless information” is just a fallacy. If you put your logic to the test, e.g. bet on whether models can predict things better than you can using your “no model” rule, you will of course lose a great deal of money. And similarly, if you base policy on your approach, you will make more wrong decisions than those willing to include our knowledge of physical laws in their decision-making calculus. Clearly! The goal here is to *maximize the probability* that we are making the right decisions, right? Or what do you think the goal is?

            All that said, it is certainly a reasonable distinction to draw, and fine to criticize the report for not being clearer about what does and doesn’t include model-driven estimates if indeed there is such lack of clarity, as seems possible in a 1500 page document on a dense technical topic. This is still miles and miles away from your melodramatic claims of “not science!” Models are *integral* to how science operates. Literally almost no science is done *without* models.

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          • “Models are simply continually validated representations of physical laws as we know them, so imagining they are “not real” is a fundamental misunderstanding of the roles of models in science.”

            Are you now telling me that all models, created by someone capable of making a model, are “continually validated representations of physical laws as we know them”?

            I suspect that you are making things up as you go. I suspect that is the way the world seems to be working within you head.

            Come on- get real – I have actually made models, multivariable models for which the correlation coefficient seemed fine. The model worked somewhat ok, but as soon as the conditions was slightly changed, it turned out that my model was wrong.

            I was able to tell that my model was wrong – because I had data! I had reliable reference measurements. I was able to tell if my model was working fine or not. It turned out that my model was not working fine. My model is not used anymore, it has been dismissed.

            If I had not had sufficient data – I would have smiled from ear to ear without having any clew that my model was wrong.

            Your idea that: “Models are simply continually validated representations of physical laws as we know them” is wrong. That is an idea of yours – an idea which which is is not reality.

            You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the roles of models in science.

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          • “Are you now telling me that all models, created by someone capable of making a model, are “continually validated representations of physical laws as we know them”?”

            Obviously not. Why would you wish to pretend that I am? Going downhill. Maybe just another side effect of so much clear confirmation bias at play here, i.e. you can’t really even hear arguments that contradict the way you see things.

            Obviously, models have skill or they don’t. In the specific case of climate models, yes they are continually improved and validated representations of relevant physical laws and relationships as we know them, that’s a factual observation. There has been an enormous amount of work on them. They will undoubtedly be better at some things than others. It goes without saying that they aren’t perfect (they wouldn’t be models) and that all models don’t have the same level of correctness or skill.

            But your argument remains overstated. Here is a simple logical counter-argument to your point that model-based estimates are meaningless. Let’s say I have a model that describes how fast a lead sphere will drop depending on the height it is dropped from and a few other relevant variables like air pressure, using Newton’s laws etc. and worked on by top atmospheric physicists. They test the model at various heights and it performs well. They now produce estimates for different heights that they have not tested – useless “virtuality”! At least according to your argument. But if you bet that these estimates were useless, you would lose a lot of money to me. Right?

            No, I am not claiming all models have this same level of accuracy. I have already said that but I suspect I need to repeat it as you hear what you want. The point is, however, if you claim *these* models are useless, you have to, you know, support your claim and actually show that the models are useless for the given purpose. The scientists involved are already doing their part appropriately, i.e. lots of work affirmatively testing the models to find out how well they are suited for such purposes, publishing the results of those assessments in peer-reviewed journals, right? E.g.:

            Raisanen 2007 How reliable are climate models?
            “models have skilfully simulated many large-scale aspects of observed climate changes, including but not limited to the evolution of the global mean surface air temperature in the 20th century”

            Reichler and Kim 2008, How Well Do Coupled Models Simulate Today’s Climate?”
            “Information about climate and how it responds to increased greenhouse gas concentrations depends heavily on insight gained from numerical simulations by coupled climate models. The confidence placed in quantitative estimates of the rate and magnitude of future climate change is therefore strongly related to the quality of these models. In this study, we test the realism of several generations of coupled climate models, including those used for the 1995, 2001, and 2007 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By validating against observations of present climate, we show that the coupled models have been steadily improving over time and that the best models are converging toward a level of accuracy that is similar to observation-based analyses of the atmosphere.”

            Of course, this is generally an academic discussion because what you claimed is purely model estimates is actually supported by observational data as well per the portion of my comment that you quoted (and presumably why the researchers use the term “observationally-based estimates”) but you are not being very diligent about responding to the most relevant points.

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    • “I think you should be transparent about your overall views.”

      How can I possibly be more transparent than I already am?
      I have this blog, and I comment on other blogs. What is public is all there is. This blog is made exactly to be transparent about my overall views. I have no other influence and no other completed thoughts about climate than what I have made public on my own blog – or as comments on other blogs.

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      • This was a conditional challenge. *If* you apply your logic broadly, it is easy to critique any area of physical science, for example evolution, and I always think it is useful to clarify whether you have a *general* problem with science or just with some specific area of science where you don’t like the outcome. Meaning which of the following is the case:

        (a) You think science is driven by hubris, and the modern world is far too willing to believe what scientists are stating across the board. You doubt a wide range of claims coming out of science, including global warming and evolution, and suspect these things are being pushed by some political or social agenda rather than the pure search for knowledge.

        (b) You think climate science is actually different from other areas of physical science, such as evolutionary theory or plate tectonics. The fact that your arguments use similar (pseudo-)logical structure – e.g. arbitrary demands for falsification (“show me the single bone that proves evolution is real!”) is purely coincidence.

        Can you clarify whether you believe (a) or (b)? If (b), feel free to explain why you think my criticism is unfounded. However, I think this just gets back to the rest of the discussion on the page, e.g. your confusion about deep ocean heating vs. ocean heating in general etc.

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        • I happen do be indifferent about many scientific disciplines and theories.

          Within a scientific field there will be numerous ideas which will range from new ideas to a fully developed reliable quantitative theory. A scientific field isn´t either all right or all wrong.

          Regarding climate science I´m not indifferent.

          Whenever I am not indifferent about a quantitative theory – this is standard I measure it against:


          How to arrive at a reliable quantitative empirical model

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  4. I think if you change the focus from absolute to relative, your thesis would work better. I mean, addressing the general public. So, instead of seeing it as a scientific / unscientific theory, you could point to the empirical quality of the theory.

    In fact, you have done so. “The explanatory power of a theory is proportional to the range of events it prohibits and inverse proportional to the range of events it allows. A theory that allows everything explains nothing.”

    I feel it is more credible and understandable for a layman if you point to the very low quality of IPCC’s theory, instead of saying it is “unscientific”. It may very well be “scientific” … if so many scientists say so. They should know! — thinks the layman. But, there is no way to tell if it is true. Thus, very low quality; too much uncertainty. It is useless for practical purposes.

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    • Thank´s for the advice. I think the root cause of the problem is low scientific integrity. But I understand that the term unscientific might not be the right term to use. As you say the result is very low quality, and too much uncertainty. I see that there are a few reasons to rewrite the post to increase clarity. I will consider your advice when I write new posts.

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    • “empirical quality” doesn’t make that much sense as a phrase. Climate science is based on empirical results just like all of the practical physical sciences, geophysics etc.

      The WUWT-style parodies of climate science wherein climate science “explains everything therefore nothing” are easy-to-critique straw men. It is criticizing the actual science that critics have more trouble with, so I agree with your general premise: avoid hand-waving about “unscientific” properties and supposed conspiracy theories in academia. Try to find real flaws or genuine falsification of actual scientific theory and claims. The world is all ears.

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  5. Science of Fiction writes:
    “I haven´t seen any attempt to explain the mechanism by which the deep oceans are supposed to be warming anywhere in the IPCC report.”

    Why are you focusing on deep ocean warming? You have enough trouble explaining away the warming happening in the better-measured top 2000m, and should probably start there.

    Deep ocean warming would happen by virtue of ocean circulation mechanisms as the upper ocean warms (the ocean heats from the top, with new joules arriving via solar radiation, and heat rises, so in general you expect most of the heat at the top, but the ocean is on a spinning globe and its surface is pushed by winds so there are currents including downwelling mechanisms etc). The fact that we only see a little warming in the deep ocean is moderately bad news, as it means the ocean will be a bit less effective at sequestering heat at depths that result in little negative impact.

    Like most critics of the IPCC reports, you don’t spend much time quoting or critiquing the actual report. A quick scan of chapter 3 finds related content such as:

    “Temperature anomalies enter the subsurface ocean by paths in addition to mixing from above (FAQ3.1, Figure 1). Colder—hence denser—waters from high latitudes can sink from the surface, then spread toward the equator beneath warmer, lighter, waters at lower latitudes. At a few locations—the northern North Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean around Antarctica—ocean water is cooled so much that it sinks to great depths, even to the sea floor. This water then spreads out to fill much of the rest of the deep ocean. As ocean surface waters warm, these sinking waters also warm with time, increasing temperatures in the ocean interior much more quickly than would downward mixing of surface heating alone.
    In the North Atlantic, the temperature of these deep waters varies from decade to decade—sometimes warming, sometimes cooling—depending on prevailing winter atmospheric patterns. Around Antarctica, bottom waters have warmed detectably from about 1992–2005, perhaps due to the strengthening and southward shift of westerly winds around the Southern Ocean over the last several decades. This warming signal in the deepest coldest bottom waters of the world ocean is detectable, although it weakens northward in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Deep warming rates are generally less pronounced than ocean surface rates (around 0.03oC per decade since the 1990s in the deep and bottom waters around Antarctica, and smaller in many other locations). However, they occur over a large volume, so deep ocean warming contributes significantly to the total increase in ocean heat.”

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    • As you have clearly demonstrated above – I should have spent more time quoting or critiquing the actual report. After all I regard the IPCC report as the primary source for my skepticism. Thank you for putting me back on track.

      I´m focusing on deep ocean warming because that was an ad hoc hypothesis which was brought into play when the troposphere was not warming as expected. IPCC summarize:
      “Ocean warming dominates the global energy change inventory. Warming of the ocean accounts for about 93% of the increase in the Earth’s energy inventory between 1971 and 2010 (high con dence), with warming of the upper (0 to 700 m) ocean accounting for about 64% of the total.” – Page 257

      If oceans account for 93 % of the energy and upper oceans (0-700 m) accounts for 64% – then IPCC must implicitly claim that the deep oceans accounts for 29 %.

      However, the lack of data combined with the uncertainty of the data there is leaves that claim unsupported by measurements. There are simply not enough data to support that claim.

      Here are some more quotes from the report:
      “3.2.4 Deep Ocean Temperature and Heat Content
      Below 700 m data coverage is too sparse to produce annual global ocean heat content estimates prior to about 2005, but from 2005 to 2010 and 0 to 1500 m the global ocean warmed”

      “The lack of long-term measurements of the global ocean and changes in the observing system over time makes documenting and understanding change in the oceans a difficult challenge (Appendix 3.A).”

      “Appendix 3.A:
      Section 3.A.1 Subsurface Ocean Temperature and Heat Content
      Contains information about: Availability of Observations for Assessment of Change in the Oceans
      Or rather the lack of observations.”

      And (If the figure comes through) the following figure from appendix 3.A illustrates the lack of data:

      https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fcurryja.files.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F01%2Fpresentation6.jpg%3Fw%3D500%26h%3D386&f=1

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      • Well you seem to be missing the forest for the trees. There is a directly observed enhanced greenhouse effect. There is directly observed global and ocean warming. Available science on sea level / biodiversity / agriculture / hydrology etc. says it’s a problem. That’s the forest, and the main thing that is driving the questions critics generally care about, i.e. the case for mitigation/action.

        You do not seem to be quibbling with any of this at a fundamental level. Are you? You seem to be trying to say instead – “look, after scanning this summary, it’s not clear where this figure or that figure came from exactly, and so how can we trust anything?” This is lazy and fallacy-ridden. You don’t seem to be asking to learn the answers, you seem to already have your answer and just latch onto the first thing that seems like it might fit your goal. If you were reading for learning, you would be searching through the report and the citations trying to work it out. Instead you seem to want me to do that work for you.

        For example, “sparse” historical data is not the same as “no” data. The sections you are quoting also liberally use terms like “estimate” and the detailed sections use confidence ranges. Specifically regarding the OHC figures (did you even read section 3.2.3 in entirety?) Figure 3.2 clearly states “Observation-based estimates of annual 5-year running mean global mean mid-depth (700 to 2000 m) ocean heat content in ZJ (Levitus et al., 2012)… both with one standard error uncertainties shaded (see legend).” In other words, the published papers providing the figures and standard errors used for 700-2000m are in Levitus et al, 2012. If you wish to critique these numbers, you have to go deeper and read and critique that actual paper rather than howl “foul!” from a cursory reading of the summary. You should have done this first step of identifying the relevant original paper(s), and then the further work of analyzing the content of that paper, yourself, *first*. You should prove *to yourself* what the issue is before trying to claim there is a problem to others. The trouble of course is that the deeper you go into the technical literature, the more likely you simply don’t understand and misinterpret what is written, and so it becomes important to run your criticisms past someone with expertise in the domain to find out if they agree with your criticism (completely possible) or can easily point out the error you have made (and you have made a lot of errors here that even I can easily point out.)

        Another general theme seems to be “but we don’t have all the data and precision we’d prefer!” Scientists in general and the IPCC report do not dispute this. The problem is in what you think this *means*. You seem to think it means this therefore “isn’t science” and that we have to throw *all* of the data out. This is simply logical fallacies, how could it be otherwise?

        Sadly, the same folks who complain bitterly about the lack of measurement precision from afar tend to be the first to howl at spending requests aimed at closing gaps in measurements via new satellites, ocean programs etc…

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        • Come on Geoff – give me a break!

          “Well you seem to be missing the forest for the trees. There is a directly observed enhanced greenhouse effect. There is directly observed global and ocean warming. Available science on sea level / biodiversity / agriculture / hydrology etc. says it’s a problem. That’s the forest, and the main thing that is driving the questions critics generally care about, i.e. the case for mitigation/action.”

          That´s like slamming 1552 pages of IPCC report in the table in front of me and say: Take that you bastard.

          I will have to borrow the words of a man I who´s work I admire – Willis Eschenbach:
          “My Usual Request: If you disagree with me or anyone, please quote the exact words you disagree with. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend someone’s interpretation of my words.

          My Other Request: If you think that e.g. I’m using the wrong method on the wrong dataset, please educate me and others by demonstrating the proper use of the right method on the right dataset. Simply claiming I’m wrong doesn’t advance the discussion.”

          May I suggest that we constrain the discussion to one issue at the time!

          I enjoy the challenges you provide. But I can´t reply in a decent way to a combination of 100 logical and illogical arguments in each reply.

          Happy new year!

          I´ll be back 🙂

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          • “That´s like slamming 1552 pages of IPCC report in the table in front of me and say: Take that you bastard”.

            No, it’s not. I’ve given plenty of specifics, including in the very comment you are replying to. In general this comment was just saying: you’re nitpicking, are you really trying to claim these nitpicks add up to something fundamental? If you do, you’re not explaining how. Your argument reads along the lines of “see, exactly why scientists have confidence in this 93% figure is not clear to me. Therefore this isn’t science and we can’t say whether global warming is happening”. Without any attempt to explain why precision in this particular figure would mean anything in particular in the first place.

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          • I will try to explain my argument. Allow me to be a little bit rough on the numbers, as the theory has quite wide uncertainty limits:

            By the theory in the period from the 70´s until now:
            Roughly 93% of the energy went into the oceans
            Roughly 29% of the energy went into the deep oceans
            Roughly 1% of the energy remained into the atmosphere

            That almost all the energy trapped by CO2 goes into the oceans tells us that by the theory there have to be a tremendous transfers of energy from the atmosphere into the oceans. This tremendous transfer of energy can´t be stable of course, there has to be some variation.

            The «pause» demonstrates that this 1 % can be 0 % for a few decades.
            No proponents of the theory gives voice to an argument that a pause over a few decades isn´t consistent with the theory.
            Hence it does not contradict the theory if 0% of the energy remains in the atmosphere and all the trapped energy goes into the oceans.

            Hence, by the theory, at least a 1% variation in the energy exchange between the atmosphere and the oceans is allowed over a few decades.

            The cooling period from the 40´s to the 70´s indicate that this 1 % can even be negative.
            Hence, even some cooling of the atmosphere over a few decades is also allowed by the theory.

            And not to forget the warming from the 70´s to the 90´s where this 1 % of trapped energy remained in the atmosphere.

            This indicates that the natural variation is of the same order of magnitude as the temperature effect on the surface record by the theory.

            The 1 % is measurable in the surface records. The 1 % is measurable because the heat capacity of the surface materials is sufficiently low that this 1 % of energy cause a measurable effect on temperature.

            At the same time 1 % is far to small to be detectable in the ocean records. Even the 29 % cannot be acertained due to scarcity of historical data combined with uncertainty in the data.

            My point is that natural variation is of the same order of magnitude as the postulated effect by the theory, and lack of ocean temperature data combined with uncertainty in the data there is makes it impossible to tell if the effect we have seen is due mainly to natural variation or due to the postulated effect by CO2.

            «The globally integrated heat content changes involve small differences of the much larger regional changes. As existing estimates of the anthropogenic forcing are now about 0.5 W m−2, the equivalent global ocean average temperature changes over 20 yr are mostly slight compared to the shorter-term temporal variations from numerous physical sources. Small errors in data calibration, and space–time sampling and model biases, are important. Direct determination of changes in oceanic heat content over the last 20 yr are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties in all the fields remain too large to rationalize, for example, the apparent pause in warming. The challenge is to develop observations so that future changes can be made with accuracies and precisions consistent with the conventional rule of thumb that they should be better than 10% of the expected signal.»
            – Bidecadal Thermal Changes in the Abyssal Ocean – Carl Wunsch / Patrick Heimbach

            When the uncertainty is is too large to rationalize on the absence of warming the last few decades, the uncertainty must also be too large to rationalize on the presence of warming of the same order of magnitude a few couple of decades before that, when the data was even scarcer.

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          • “The «pause» demonstrates that this 1 % can be 0 % for a few decades.”

            No, the “pause” does not demonstrate this. Who is claiming this, you? “A few decades” in particular is a pretty wild claim. Yes, cycles like ENSO can cause the atmosphere to even cool sharply (e.g. El Nino -> La Nina) on a short-term basis, in general the atmosphere is the tail being wagged by the dog. But on multi-decade scale there is clear and (as far as we can tell) continual warming.

            Let’s get into the real messy science for a bit. Facts are important. When you make a claim like this, what do you base it on? Probably a Monckton or WUWT-type blog post cherry-picking RSS data – am I right?

            There are two main sources of data on tropospheric temperatures, raidosondes (weather baloons) and the indirect satellite-based microwave measurements such as RSS and UAH (the latter are referred to as MSU products – Microwave Sounding Units. There is also STAR but it shows a bit more warming trend so the anti-AGW blogs ignore it entirely.) Both classes of data have more inherent complexity and challenges than the surface data, which is why they have been subject to continual and large corrections (see size of UAH v6 adjustments being deployed now.)

            As a start, take a quick look at this chart just of the in situ (taken in place by thermometer data, i.e. raidosonde):

            It shows a mid-troposphere warming trend slightly higher than the surface through 2010. It is absurd to look at this chart and think you are seeing clear evidence of several decades of no warming in the troposphere.

            The published UAH satellite data set also shows clear warming over the past 20 years:

            http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1996/plot/uah/from:1996/trend

            RSS shows the mildest warming, which is why it is cherry picked (cherry picking, unfortunately, is a very common attribute of anti-science activism in all controversial domains.) Mears, in charge of RSS, highlights that he thinks the surface data set is more reliable, and Spencer of UAH argues that RSS is biased cool due to orbital decay issues, but all that aside even RSS shows mild warming trend over the past two decades:

            http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1996/plot/rss/from:1996/trend

            There is an extended discussion of atmospheric temperature trends in section 2.4.4 of the IPCC report (” Upper Air Temperature”). It’s worth it to find and read these summary assessments before you jump to conclusions as you do, as a lot of work by all of the relevant experts went into agreeing on the summary statements.

            2.4.4. highlights that upper air temperature is an area of a lot of measurement challenges, which particularly show up as “substantial disagreement exists among available estimates as to the *rate* of temperature changes, particularly outside the NH extra- tropical troposphere, which has been well sampled by radiosondes” (my emphasis), but that there is overall high confidence in troposphere warming itself:

            “Global-mean lower tropospheric temperatures have increased since the mid-20th century (Figure 2.24, bottom)… On top of this long-term trend are superimposed short-term variations that are highly correlated with those at the surface but of somewhat greater amplitude”

            In other words, per above, short-term factors like ENSO seem to have a slightly greater effect on atmospheric temperatures.

            “No proponents of the theory gives voice to an argument that a pause over a few decades isn´t consistent with the theory. Hence it does not contradict the theory if 0% of the energy remains in the atmosphere and all the trapped energy goes into the oceans.”

            “The theory” – what theory? And what pause? Per above your claims of a “few decades” of a “pause” are not supportable. You are hand-waving terms and this lack of precision leads to meaningless conclusions.

            There isn’t really just one theory here. AGW predicts global warming, at its most basic. Warming is obviously happening, and no models come close to explaining this without the enhanced greenhouse effect.

            “The cooling period from the 40´s to the 70´s indicate that this 1 % can even be negative”

            “Theory” allows all sorts of things. If there is a raft of unprecedented volcanic high-aerosol events continually over the next decade, timed with a steeper solar decline than seen in recent history, theory allows the world to cool quite a lot, despite continuing greenhouse gas emissions! Dear, the world is a bit more complicated than you were imagining, it appears.

            The main cause of flat/cooling temps in 40s-70s was aerosols, plus there were a lot less GHG increases resident at that time. Are you also not aware that the #2 forcing on climate is also anthropogenic, but it is a cooling influence via aerosols?

            “This indicates that the natural variation is of the same order of magnitude as the temperature effect on the surface record by the theory.”

            Yes, and actually greater in short timeframes. It is not trivial to give you the one sentence summaries of the relationship that you seem to want. Sorry, this is not a failure of climate science, this is the complexity of the topic being described. Overall, your argument seems best summarized as “this all seems more complicated than I’d like it to be, so I think it is not science.” It’s a pretty superficial argument.

            “My point is that natural variation is of the same order of magnitude as the postulated effect by the theory, and lack of ocean temperature data combined with uncertainty in the data there is makes it impossible to tell if the effect we have seen is due mainly to natural variation or due to the postulated effect by CO2”

            Your point is completely unsupported. I know you don’t like being told to do the homework on this, but yeah, that’s what you need to do to have a chance at building a real criticism. You’re not starting with much that an expert in this field would even waste time talking about.

            “When the uncertainty is is too large to rationalize on the absence of warming the last few decades, the uncertainty must also be too large to rationalize on the presence of warming of the same order of magnitude a few couple of decades before that, when the data was even scarcer”

            I have explained the many errors in this in a lot of detail, at this point. There is no “absence of warming the last few decades” or even anything *remotely close* to this. It’s utterly divorced from what’s happening on planet earth as we know it. That’s a pretty significantly problematic place to start your argument from.

            You are not attempting to dispute the main evidence for global warming, which is warming in the ocean and on the surface (the ~99%). So the most charitable restatement of your argument is this:

            “Yes, the ocean and surface are warming per expectations in physics, and the impact we will deal with is from that warming, *and* there is a clear multi-decade warming trend in the atmosphere, but I claim that the variability in this remaining 1% on 10-15 year timeframes might mean all of this is bad science. I mean, the models predict it pretty well, but it’s hard to measure. Seems wrong to me. Let’s ignore physics.”

            Perhaps you think that is unfair. Logically, it’s what you’re saying though, and it’s up to you to make a better argument.

            Or, perhaps you think it is fair, and that it is a good argument. I’m not sure what to do if that is the problem.

            Like

          • There are many different curves. I don’t know if it is possible to select any without cherry picking.

            Anyhow – this one is pretty much in line with what I claimed:

            HadCRUT3 Combined land [CRUTEM3] and marine [sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies from HadSST2, see Rayner et al., 2006]

            By the way Karl Popper told us something important about trying to reveal the natural law behind observations:
            «Believers in inductive logic assume that we arrive at natural laws by generalization from particular observations. If we think of the various results in a series of observations as points plotted in a co-ordinate system, then the graphic representation of the law will be a curve passing through all these points. But through a finite number of points we can always draw an unlimited number of curves of the most diverse form. Since therefore the law is not uniquely determined by the observations, inductive logic is confronted with the problem of deciding which curve, among all these possible curves, is to be chosen.» – Karl Popper; The logic of scientific discovery

            Regarding variability we can read the following in the IPCC report (WGI;AR5; page 260):
            «Upper ocean temperature (hence heat content) varies over multiple time scales including seasonal (e.g., Roemmich and Gilson, 2009), interannual (e.g. associated with El Niño, which has a strong influence on ocean heat uptake, Roemmich and Gilson, 2011), decadal (e.g., Carson and Harrison, 2010), and centennial (Gouretski et al., 2012; Roemmich et al., 2012).»

            The following curve gives an idea about natural variations:
            Roy Spencer – 2,000 Years of Global Temperatures

            It is also worth remembering that humans didn´t really start to put significant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere before after world war II:
            http://www.c2es.org/facts-figures/international-emissions/historical

            The HadCRUT3 curve above shows significant warming before humans started to put significant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. The warming from 1910 to 1940 seems to be pretty similar to the warming from 1970 to 2000.

            My point is that:
            The physics is complex and it is very far from trivial to predict the effect of increasing the CO2 level on the climate.
            Models cannot be trusted before they have duly demonstrated predictive powers – the climate models has not demonstrated such predictive powers:
            Model biases can be largely removed using empirical techniques a posteriori!
            It is also worth noting that IPCC relied on the models – the hypothesis under test if you like – to exclude the role of decadal and centennial variation:
            IPPC used circular reasoning to exclude natural variation!

            The summary by IPCC is subjective, relies heavily on models having uncertain predictive powers and express too much confidence in their conclusions:

            * It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period. {10.3} 

            * Greenhouse gases contributed a global mean surface warming likely to be in the range of 0.5°C to 1.3°C over the period 1951 to 2010, with the contributions from other anthropogenic forcings, including the cooling effect of aerosols, likely to be in the range of −0.6°C to 0.1°C. The contribution from natural forcings is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C, and from natural internal variability is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C. Together these assessed contributions are consistent with the observed warming of approximately 0.6°C to 0.7°C over this period.

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          • “There are many different curves. I don’t know if it is possible to select any without cherry picking.”

            Simple rule of thumb is to try and put your preconceived preferences aside and select the data set that best matches what you are trying to look at. For example, if the upper air measurements showed more warming than the surface, given their general approach WUWT-style anti-AGW activists would most likely be arguing that it is crazy to look at speculative microwave-based estimates way up there when we see lower warming right here on the surface which is what we are interested in! But because the trend is flatter up there, they argue the reverse, that satellites are high-tech and we should use those measurements.

            Secondly, if there are multiple measurements for what you are looking at, consider them all, and try to understand their pros and cons and differences. Look at related measurements. In general try to take all relevant data into consideration, because different measurement approaches have different pros and cons.

            This is the normal approach in science and no reason not to apply it here, which is what you see in the mainstream treatments of the topic like IPCC reports. No reason to set a lower bar in blogs if you aspire, as you claim, to focus on science vs. fiction.

            “Anyhow – this one is pretty much in line with what I claimed”

            What you claimed was that the 1% going into the atmosphere could be 0% for “a few decades”. You are not close here in citing HadCRUT3:

            (a) HadCRUT3 is a surface temperature index, not an atmospheric temperature index
            (b) The chart shows nothing like “a few decades” with flat warming in the current period
            (c) Out of curiosity, why are you selecting HadCRUT3 vs HadCRUT4, the latest version? In general the largest revision is the version the scientists curating the record think contains the most accurate version.

            You have a few non sequitur comments that I’ll ignore unless you want to explain how they help salvage your obviously incorrect claims.

            Roy Spencer makes a lot of charts for the anti-AGW movement online that are not sourced or produced from peer-reviewed, published work. You claim you are arguing science – it would be better if you did less quoting of *philosophy* of science, which we seem to agree on, and more following of the norms in science.

            The published, peer-reviewed reconstruction of the past 2,000 years of temperature look nothing like this ridiculous chart. Here is the latest and largest *global*, *multi-proxy* reconstruction:

            PAGES 2k Consortium 2013 “Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia”
            “78 researchers from 24 countries, together with many other colleagues, worked for seven years in the PAGES 2k project on the new climate reconstruction … based on 511 climate archives from around the world, from sediments, ice cores, tree rings, corals, stalagmites, pollen or historical documents and measurements (Fig. 1). All data are freely available”
            http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n5/full/ngeo1797.html

            And here is a chart that shows the Pages 2K curve in green dots (the blue line is the original hockey stick for reference, you can ignore it if you like.)

            If you compare this to your internet chart, you’ll notice no similarity whatsoever. If you have a point about natural variation that you think rises from the actual data, feel free to make it.

            “The HadCRUT3 curve above shows significant warming before humans started to put significant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere”

            Greenhouse forcing is considered significant from 1880 and appears to have been in play during 20s and 30s per this animation based on best modeling (not a proof of anything, but rooted in the relevant physics at least):

            http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

            Your use of the word “significant” here sounds arbitrary/subjective. CO2 was rising, and in the 20s/30s was running ahead of the aerosol cooling effect which has been the main brake on warming in the past century. You are oversimplifying things when you look at trends with only the single forcing of CO2 in mind.

            “The physics is complex and it is very far from trivial to predict the effect of increasing the CO2 level on the climate”

            Nobody claims otherwise. But this is not close to supporting the hyperbolic claims in your post – that climate science is not science, that all the measurements contradict predictions etc. Not even in the same arm of the Milky Way.

            While the physics is complex, the core issue that drives confidence in continued warming is simply conservation of energy. More energy entering a system than leaving it (as we observe) means the system is warming, and that is not a chaotic or complex problem, conceptually.

            No, it is not “circular” when the IPCC points out that plausible, validated models explaining modern warming in terms of natural variation do not exist.

            Again, most of your line of argument is just rejection of physics. If “Some Natural Thing” is warming the planet, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that there is evidence of this SNT operating. After all, there are enormous amounts of energy involved. Your movement claims this is unreasonable, that we should assume natural is possible even in the absence of evidence or even plausible theory. *This* is what is fundamentally anti-scientific. Conservation of energy *always* applies, but anti-AGW handwaves generally work hard to imagine that it doesn’t (for example, in claiming that sustained surface warming could just be a result of ocean releasing more heat, despite the fact that the ocean itself is accumulating tons of new heat. Or in claiming that hey maybe its solar, when observed intensity of solar radiation has been flat or decreasing since 1960 or so hence no mechanism for the joules to arrive.)

            “Models cannot be trusted before they have duly demonstrated predictive powers – the climate models has not demonstrated such predictive powers”

            Well, the confidence in AGW is based on physics, not on models, and fairly accurate predictions of AGW were done well before the modern GCM type models were developed, e.g. Arrhenius in 1896 and Hansen in 1981:

            “To conclude, a projection from 1981 for rising temperatures in a major science journal, at a time that the temperature rise was not yet obvious in the observations, has been found to agree well with the observations since then”
            http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/04/evaluating-a-1981-temperature-projection/

            That said the models have “duly demonstrated” quite a lot at this point. I have already linked you to published studies of model skill that say the models do quite well – “models have skilfully simulated many large-scale aspects of observed climate changes, including but not limited to the evolution of the global mean surface air temperature in the 20th century” and “By validating against observations of present climate, we show that the coupled models have been steadily improving over time and that the best models are converging toward a level of accuracy that is similar to observation-based analyses of the atmosphere”. In my experience driveby climate science critics tend never to engage in any of the details of what tools like the GCMs even are, what they are used for and how they are validated, because hand-waving criticisms about all the possible failures of models is easier and, frankly, gives them the opinion-influencing leverage they need without the mess/trouble of actually understanding anything. But really, pointing out theoretically that models could have this or that class of flaws is not that interesting unless you can show they actually do.

            The IPCC summary is not subjective – the contributions of different forcings are rooted in considerable physical understanding and observations. That models are also involved is not surprising: all science involves models! In this debate, critics choose to use “model” as a scare word meaning “some guess the scientist coded up” but this is positioning, not real science criticism.

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          • I was referring to the satellite curves in my claim that the warming could be 0% for a few decades. And I was exaggerating by rounding off upwards to a few decades. Here are both satellite series. Obviously very sensitive to the selection of start point and end point, but to me they appear to be quite flat for the last 10 – 15 years:

            http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1979/plot/uah/from:1979

            The satellite series starts in 1979. thats why I used a surface temperature data set before that time.

            I was choosing Hadcrut3 as that was the first unadjusted global data set on the list at Wood for trees that my eyes fell upon.
            There are great controversies about the adjustments of the various temperature records. The adjustments tend to be in favor of the global warming theory put forward by IPCC. I selected an unadjusted data set. Here are both Hadcrut3 (unadjusted global mean) and Hadcrut4 (Global mean). I will put the discussion about adjustments aside for a moment. Here are both Hadcrut3 and Hadcrut4.

            http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1800/plot/hadcrut4gl

            Both are showing a cooling tendency from 1940´s to 1970´s and a warming tendency from the 1970´s to the late 1990´s. They also show a similar warming tendency in the period from about 1900 to about 1940´s. Overall there is warming from the 1900´s until now

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          • “I was referring to the satellite curves in my claim that the warming could be 0% for a few decades”

            I think you are free to say something like, “the temperature data is consistent with the idea that for shorter time periods you can see little or no net accumulation of heat in the atmosphere or even on the surface.”

            You are right that this does not contradict understanding of physics. You are just wrong that this indicates global warming is untestable non-science.

            “There are great controversies about the adjustments of the various temperature records”

            Are there? By what criteria do you evaluate greatness of controversies, by the number of web pages talking about them?

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          • “By what criteria do you evaluate greatness of controversies, by the number of web pages talking about them?”

            Basically yes, but It is more the content on some web pages than the number of webpages about this issue.

            Here is some stuff from Australia:
            http://joannenova.com.au/tag/australian-temperatures/

            And some curves showing the effect of NASA adjustments over 15 years:
            http://realclimatescience.com/nasa-doubling-warming-since-2001/

            http://realclimatescience.com/alterations-to-climate-data/

            http://realclimatescience.com/noaa-us-temperature-fraud/

            I think this curve is very telling. Probably the best correlation ever found within climate science. Unfortunately for climate science it shows how the adjustments of the United States Historical Climatology Network correlates with the increasing level of CO2 in the atmosphere:

            I think that such curves are not good for the credibility of climate science.

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          • “CO2 was rising, and in the 20s/30s was running ahead of the aerosol cooling effect which has been the main brake on warming in the past century.”

            I doubt that there exists both a historical record over global aerosols in the atmosphere, and a reliable quantitative model on the effect of aerosol, which supports that kind of rationalization.

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          • “I doubt that there exists both a historical record over global aerosols in the atmosphere”

            This much is fair. Measurement of aerosols continues to be a source of uncertainty.

            The existence of uncertainty is not the same as establishing that “all of this is nonsense”, though.

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          • I agree with that comment. I am exaggerating my point that there are relatively great uncertainties in the observational records, and uncertainty about natural variability, which I think makes it hard to rationalize from records alone on the sensitivity of global temperatures to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
            However, I cannot dismiss that there is a temperature increasing effect by increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere. I cannot dismiss the whole theory on that basis.

            Like

          • “Roy Spencer makes a lot of charts for the anti-AGW movement online that are not sourced or produced from peer-reviewed, published work. ”

            Even though I provided link to Roy Spencers web page, the curve was not produced by Roy Spencer. The curve is taken from the following paper:

            Correction to: A 2000-YEAR GLOBAL TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTION BASED ON NON-TREE RING PROXIES
            by
            Craig Loehle, Ph.D. and J. Huston McCulloch
            Reprinted from
            ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
            VOLUME 19 No. 1 2008

            I think of it as non-trivial to provide uncertainty curves at 95% confidence level for a combination of a series of reconstructions. However, Craig Loehle, Ph.D. and J. Huston McCulloch gives it a shoot.

            I ´m not able to tell if it is a good shoot. In these kinds of evaluations it is easy miss out uncertainty contributions. The uncertainty calculated from the data alone typically tends to miss out uncertainty contributions related to sampling representativity, calibration, adjustment and measurement. What I say is, I would not be surprised if the uncertainty is underestimated.

            And finally, I had an idea that the averaging involved in making the series might have a dampening effect.
            I found that Craig Loehle made that point in the original paper. (See linked paper in the link provided above.)
            “The time series produced by the simple mean of smoothed deviations (Fig. 1) shows quite coherent peaks. Note that the use of smoothed data (30-year running mean) means that peaks and troughs are damped compared to annual data (Loehle, 2005). Some of the input data were also integrated values or sampled at wide intervals. Thus it is not possible to compare recent annual data to this figure to ask about anomalous years or decades. ”

            “It is clear that the 1995-year reconstruction shown here does not match the famous hockey stick shape (Crowley, 2000; Crowley and Lowery, 2000; Jones, 1998; Jones et al., 1999; Mann and Jones, 2003; Mann et al., 1995, 1998, 1999; Overpeck et al., 1997). I believe that this results from how time series are treated. If different series have different biases in absolute temperature and different regional responses (e.g., El Niño), and they are not shifted by their own mean values, the result will be extreme data variance, out of which no signal can be detected. Shifting time series based on some reference decade such as the 1970s (as is commonly done) implicitly assumes that a decade long interval is sufficient to properly line up series with different scales of fluctuation and different noise structures, an assumption that is not tested and which I do not believe is valid. I also believe that tree ring data will tend to show a flattened pattern because on long time scales trees are responding more to precipitation than to temperature, and for other reasons noted above. When these two mistakes are made (data alignment for anomaly calculations and the use of tree rings), and multiple series are combined to create some regional to global series, the result is simply noise, which gives a potentially false impression that there is no fluctuation or periodicity in the data.”

            I cannot see that the 78 researchers from 24 countries in the PAGES 2k Consortium 2013 “Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia”
            made any such considerations.

            Like

  6. Pingback: Warming isn’t “missing”, it’s “hiding” in the oceans in plain sight | pressingwax

  7. Let me try to take one more crack at this summary statement:

    “My point is that natural variation is of the same order of magnitude as the postulated effect by the theory, and lack of ocean temperature data combined with uncertainty in the data there is makes it impossible to tell if the effect we have seen is due mainly to natural variation or due to the postulated effect by CO2”

    Remember how I said in general that your arguments are aphysical? In a given year, a little warming from El Nino is possible, and this dominates year-to-year measurements. This is true. To you this means it is impossible to tell if all of our warming is due to this. However, *physically*, your argument is pretty silly. You are claiming that calm winds cause heat from the ocean to rise to the top and warm the surface and troposphere. Then does that again, and again and again, and more heat keeps coming out, driving the pretty immense ~1 deg C warming to date over the course of a century, despite no evidence anything like this has happened since the last ice age. Physically, where do you imagine all this heat keeps coming from out of the ocean? Was it hiding in the depths? And yet, obviously, our data going back to the 50s shows ocean *warming*. So the heat on the surface and air is due to heat coming out of the ocean, but the ocean is also warming!

    You are not the first to make this argument. It’s been at the core of this question for 100 years now. The thousands of scientists working on this over decades are not the idiots you seem to assume them to be. People have done the math on whether this sort of mysterious upwelling of heat from the ocean is a possible long-term explanation to global warming, and they haven’t been able to make it work. If you think you can do better – try. But you *also* have to explain why the directly observed enhanced greenhouse effect (you say “postulated” like this CO2 warming effect is some kind of purely hypothetical concept, despite the fact that we can directly measure the downwelling energy) is *not* causing warming, in *your* theory. (Layers of violations of Occam’s razor here logically, by the way. You are multiplying variables at will – some mysterious source of multi-decade warming on a massive scale that we somehow cannot detect, *also* some mysterious force that is counter-acting the directly observed downwelling longwave, which we also somehow cannot detect yet, etc.)

    Because of the physical logic problems, it’s actually a bit harder to handwave and say “well if natural variation can dominate on the short-term than it can on the long-term as well.” In science, you need plausible theories to explain observations. If your claim above were true, i.e. it is “impossible to tell if the effect we have seen is due mainly to natural variation or due to the postulated effect by CO2”, then you or your fellow contrarians could construct a model that explains how the observed warming is completely explainable using natural factors. You could point to measurement uncertainty to make your case, by all means. Still, nobody has been able to come close to doing that. If they have, where is the paper?

    Like

    • “You are claiming that calm winds cause heat from the ocean to rise to the top and warm the surface and troposphere.”

      Not necessarily. Less energy going into the oceans will have the same effect on atmospheric temperatures as energy coming out from the oceans into the atmosphere.

      By the IPCC climate theory there must be a very powerful mechanism for transfer of energy from the atmosphere into the oceans, as it is claimed that in the period from the 70´s until now:
      Roughly 93% of the energy went into the oceans
      Roughly 29% of the energy went into the deep oceans
      Roughly 1% of the energy remained into the atmosphere

      If we recall the following figures from my post:
      Heat capacity of the atmosphere: 5.4 E+18 kJ/K
      Heat capacity of the oceans: 5.88 E+21 kJ/K

      Let us say the amount of energy going into the oceans is reduced by 5 E+18 kJ over a period of lets say 50 years. Without losses this would cause a temperature increase of 1 K in the atmosphere.

      At the same time the oceans would then receive 5 E+18 kJ less than the oceans received in a previous period. Hence the oceans would heat 0.001 K less than expected over this same period. It is not possible to tell if there has been a such change in the transfer of energy from the atmosphere to the oceans. Due to scarcity of historical temperature data and the uncertainty of the temperature measurements of the oceans.

      However, there will be a radiative loss from the atmosphere into space during this period which seems to leave my quantitative consideration that the additional 5 E+18 kJ would warm the atmosphere by 1 K during a period of 50 years invalid.

      Like

      • “Not necessarily. Less energy going into the oceans will have the same effect on atmospheric temperatures as energy coming out from the oceans into the atmosphere.”

        Trying to read this so it makes sense. 🙂 You are claiming natural variation can explain observed warming. Correct? The natural variation we are talking about is ENSO – heat mixing between ocean and air. Now I think you are saying that maybe the warming trend is explained by less energy going into the oceans. Meaning the energy is going instead into the atmosphere/surface?

        OK, so there is more energy going into atmosphere/surface, *and* more energy going into the ocean, per our measurements of warming in both places. Where did all this energy come from?

        This entire genre of commentary (see much of WUWT, especially Bob Tisdale posts) tries very hard to ignore conservation of energy. To be a *physically plausible* explanation, your Natural Warming Thing that we somehow cannot really detect must mesh with conservation of energy. The joules come from someplace. Where? Remember mainstream climate science has the advantage that theory does explain where the joules come from.

        “By the IPCC climate theory there must be a very powerful mechanism for transfer of energy from the atmosphere into the oceans”

        It doesn’t sound like you’ve read my post. See point (b) here:

        https://pressingwax.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/warming-isnt-missing-its-hiding-in-the-oceans-in-plain-sight/

        The mechanism you are looking for is called “the greenhouse effect”. The greenhouse effect is radiative – infrared energy wells downward from the sky and hits the ocean, where the energy is absorbed. You can go outside and measure this anytime you like, it’s not a big mystery.

        “Let us say the amount of energy going into the oceans is reduced by 5 E+18 kJ over a period of lets say 50 years. Without losses this would cause a temperature increase of 1 K in the atmosphere.”

        OK, yes, you are making the argument I thought. So the warming on the surface is caused by energy not going into the ocean for some reason. The giant amount of warming (in joules) in the ocean is coming from what then?

        “However, there will be a radiative loss from the atmosphere into space during this period which seems to leave my quantitative consideration that the additional 5 E+18 kJ would warm the atmosphere by 1 K during a period of 50 years invalid”

        Not really the primary issue I don’t think. The main source of infrared that escapes into space comes from the surface (i.e. 71% ocean) because of the thermal mass there. For the infrared that gets caught up in the greenhouse gases temperature matters some, but that which doesn’t sails through, and its quantity is determined by the surface (71% ocean) temperature.

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        • I´am not disputing that CO2 and H2O molecules etc. absorb certain frequencies of radiation. It is the magnitude of the effect of adding 0,01% CO2 to the atmosphere I question. (See my other posts for other aspects about IPCC I´m critical to.)

          How do you know how much energy the oceans was receiving in the 50 year period before humans added 0,01% of CO2 to the atmosphere. How do you know that oceans and the atmosphere was in perfect balance then?

          Like

      • Feldman et al 2015, Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7543/full/nature14240.html

        “Here we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing that is directly attributable to the increase, between 2000 and 2010, of 22 parts per million atmospheric CO2… The time series both show statistically significant trends of 0.2 W m−2 per decade (with respective uncertainties of ±0.06 W m−2 per decade and ±0.07 W m−2 per decade) … These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance.”

        Like

          • “The paper is paywalled, are you familiar with the content of this paper?”

            Yes, I read through the paper at one point, not sure where.

            There is more info at these links:

            http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/25/co2-greenhouse-effect-increase/

            http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2015/02/confirming-again-co2-greenhouse-effect.html

            It is pretty straightforward in principle, a study that looks at downwelling infrared, dots the i’s by doing the work to account for various effects (seasonal, clear sky etc.) and calculating the portion of the increase that is detectably/specifically due to CO2 increases.

            The usual contrarian response, just to help you out, is that the paper reports the amount identified as 10% of the total increase in DWIR, which they hope means something damning about how ineffective CO2 is. The remainder would be increase in other GHGs including water vapor (feedback) and methane and then Planck response, i.e. as it gets warmer there is more longwave getting radiated into the system in general, and perhaps some portion subject to overlap that is difficult to ID as CO2-specific (but I don’t remember if that was clear from the paper.)

            The more common study over time has been to track this from the outgoing side, i.e. look at the growing gaps in outgoing longwave from satellite measurements. A recent update on that front is here:

            2013: D. Chapman, P. Nguyen, M. Halem
            http://proceedings.spiedigitallibrary.org/proceeding.aspx?articleid=1690262
            A decade of measured greenhouse forcings from AIRS, Algorithms and Technologies for Multispectral, Hyperspectral, and Ultraspectral Imagery XIX, 874313,SPIE 8743, April 29, 2013
            “We have extended this effort by measuring the annual rate of change of AIRS all-sky Outgoing Longwave Spectra (OLS) with respect to greenhouse forcings… Decadal trends for AIRS spectra from 2002-2012 indicate continued decrease of -0.06 K/yr in the trend of CO2 BT (700cm-1 and 2250cm-1), a decrease of -0.04 K/yr of O3 BT (1050 cm-1), and a decrease of -0.03 K/yr of the CH4 BT (1300cm-1). Observed decreases in BT trends are expected due to ten years of increased greenhouse gasses”

            On its most basic level, this sort of measurement is the straightforward test and confirmation of enhanced greenhouse: do we see the expected changes in downwelling and outgoing IR in response to observed chemistry changes in the atmosphere (answer: yes). You see the problem this poses for the thesis that AGW is untestable non-science…

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          • Thanks – I look forward to look more into these kind of tests. I just did a quick search (search terms: DWIR, AIRS, test) through Working Group I contribution to the fifth assessment report by IPCC, but could not find much about these kind of tests.

            Like

      • Also a lot of tracking of the changes in total outgoing longwave as viewed from orbit (observing the gaps in what is trapped by greenhouse):

        2013: D. Chapman, P. Nguyen, M. Halem, A decade of measured greenhouse forcings from AIRS, 874313,SPIE 8743, April 29, 2013
        Algorithms and Technologies for Multispectral, Hyperspectral, and Ultraspectral Imagery XIX
        http://proceedings.spiedigitallibrary.org/proceeding.aspx?articleid=1690262

        “We have extended this effort by measuring the annual rate of change of AIRS all-sky Outgoing Longwave Spectra (OLS) with respect to greenhouse forcings… Decadal trends for AIRS spectra from 2002-2012 indicate continued decrease of -0.06 K/yr in the trend of CO2 BT (700cm-1 and 2250cm-1), a decrease of -0.04 K/yr of O3 BT (1050 cm-1), and a decrease of -0.03 K/yr of the CH4 BT (1300cm-1). Observed decreases in BT trends are expected due to ten years of increased greenhouse gasses”

        Like

    • “You could point to measurement uncertainty to make your case, by all means. Still, nobody has been able to come close to doing that. If they have, where is the paper”

      Carl Wunsch and Patrick Heimbach had a few overly polite comments about the claimed uncertainty by Magdalena A. Balmaseda; Kevin E. Trenberth; Erland Källén in their paper:

      Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content

      The following quotes can be found in the paper by Wunsch and Heimback:
      Bidecadal Thermal Changes in the Abyssal Ocean

      “Recently, Balmaseda et al. (2013) offered estimates of abyssal changes with claimed accuracies of order of 0.01 W m−2 (0.0004°C temperature change equivalent over 20 yr) below 700 m. If that accuracy has in fact been obtained, the sparse coverage, perhaps extended to the scope of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) hydrographic survey, repeated every few decades, would be sufficient.”

      “Data assimilation schemes running over decades are usually labeled “reanalyses.” Unfortunately, these cannot be used for heat or other budgeting purposes because of their violation of the fundamental conservation laws; see Wunsch and Heimbach (2013a) for discussion of this important point. The problem necessitates close examination of claimed abyssal warming accuracies of 0.01 W m−2 based on such methods (e.g., Balmaseda et al. 2013).”

      To put this in plain english: The claimed uncertainty of 0,0004 °C is not supported and nowhere near being realistic. 0,0004 °C is about the uncertainty of the reference value at a calibration laboratory like National Institute of Standards and technology under perfectly controlled conditions in a laboratory.

      Before taking into account the sampling uncertainty, the uncertainty which can be achieved in practical field measurement is probably 2 decades higher.

      Add to it that the results by Balmaseda; Trenberth and Källén was generated by a model:
      “2. The Ocean Reanalysis
      [6] ORAS4 has been produced by combining, every 10 days, the output of an ocean model forced by atmospheric reanalysis fluxes and quality controlled ocean observations.”

      The energy curves provided in Figure 1. by Balmaseda; Trenberth and Källén does not even remotely resemble proper measurements and proper evaluation of the uncertainty related to these measurements.

      The problem with showing such curves as in figure 1 in that paper is that our brain fools us into believing that the curves represent reality – while realistic uncertainty indication would probably have reached outside the figure. Any judgement and any argument based on such results should be suspended.

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      • “Carl Wunsch and Patrick Heimbach had a few overly polite comments about the claimed uncertainty”

        You’re back to fishing in the ocean abyss for uncertainty, which you then try to extrapolate to prove climate science is flawed. I’ve already dissected this argument in my post. You don’t appear able to grasp the consistent errors you are making here.

        In the comment you were referencing, I wasn’t asking you to provide evidence that there is some uncertainty somewhere, obviously. I was saying that if your premise, “Some Natural Thing that I can’t identify is to blame for warming”, were true, you ought to be able to build a model that shows this. You could rely on measurement uncertainty for some small part of it, if appropriate, that’s all.

        The two sentences you quoted together don’t really go together. My fault for giving you room to be confused by this, as you will take opportunities to be confused when you get them. The claim “Still, nobody has been able to come close to doing that. If they have, where is the paper” is summarizing the entire paragraph – where is the scientific, testable model that shows modern warming could be due to natural variation. The entire point of AGW dominance is that no one has been able to create a credible model that explains modern warming without including the greenhouse effect. (Of course, you also need some defensible reason to exclude the greenhouse effect, given it is a directly observed, significant factor.)

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  8. “I´am not disputing that CO2 and H2O molecules etc. absorb certain frequencies of radiation. It is the magnitude of the effect of adding 0,01% CO2 to the atmosphere I question.”

    Great, but you are not questioning it well. CO2 has been increased by 40% in the global atmosphere. The bulk of the atmosphere is transparent to IR. Your 0.01% figure is an entry-level attempt at confusing yourself into believing it must be a small effect. Yes, GHGs are trace elements in the atmosphere – yet they are responsible for keeping the earth about 33deg C warmer than it otherwise would be, and hence enabling life and a non-snowball planet as we know it.

    My favorite parody of the “but it’s just a little CO2!” meme is in this ‘Science vs. the Feelies’ clip starting from about 3:20:

    The fact that a doubling of CO2 raises temps by about 1.2 deg C on its own is not particularly controversial. It’s physics. Do you need a link to a walkthrough of how this figure is derived?

    “How do you know how much energy the oceans was receiving in the 50 year period before humans added 0,01% of CO2 to the atmosphere.”

    Mostly non sequitur comments. the 93% figure you’ve been disputing is a measure ‘of the observed warming in the system, what has gone where’. Prior to humans increasing the greenhouse effect, the evidence is that the climate was more stable, and cooling slightly, so this same exercise is not as meaningful. It doesn’t matter – why do you think we need to know the answer? The 93% figure is based on what we’ve observed happening so far and our understanding of physics. As usual, your criticisms seem unphysical, i.e. trying to reason from abstract figures without understanding what is going on ‘under the hood’ physically. “Maybe we need to observe longer before we can conclude that most heat goes into the ocean?” Look at the thermal mass of ocean vs. atmosphere – how in the world do you imagine that the atmosphere could hold a much larger share of new heat content than it is doing? We would fry if this were the case. It’s unphysical. The discussion is going nowhere.

    This 93% figure is a question largely independent of *source* of warming. If it were solar heating happening, you would *also* expect new heat content to largely build in the ocean. This is thermodynamics. In general the main delivery of heat into the system is radiation into water.

    “How do you know that oceans and the atmosphere was in perfect balance then?”

    Non sequitur. Who said anything about “perfect balance”? Perfect for what, compliance with thermodynamics? That’s like saying “How do you know the earth was in perfectly balanced orbit around the sun one million years ago. You don’t.” Is this really interesting commentary that sheds doubt on the question of whether the earth is in orbit now? The earth was in “balanced” orbit around the sun because of the physics of gravity.

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    • The real answer to all this stuff about “missing heat” is that heat applied to the surface of water is rejected. The surface of water will accept radiated energy but the surface rejects heat.

      Like

      • “The surface of water will accept radiated energy but the surface rejects heat.”

        Doesn’t sound like you are headed toward “the real answer” given this is self-contradictory. Radiation *is* the transmission of energy. In general, when a surface absorbs radiant energy it is a heating process. The first law of thermodynamics says the energy associated with radiation will not simply “be rejected” and vanish from the universe.

        It is strictly a guess, but I am guessing you are headed toward the “ocean can’t be heated by longwave” argument I mentioned in passing in my breakdown of the errors in this post, here:

        https://pressingwax.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/warming-isnt-missing-its-hiding-in-the-oceans-in-plain-sight/

        “(Note there is a colorful fringe faction which claims that the ocean cannot warm via this mechanism because infrared barely penetrates the top couple of microns, and this top skin of the ocean is cooler than the water below it due to evaporation and emissions happening at the surface, so therefore this cool skin cannot be heating the ocean beneath it. See if you can spot the error there; the main hint is that conservation of energy doesn’t care how deep something penetrates – the energy still won’t “disappear”.)”

        I am something of a connoisseur of “kooky physics claims people are willing to believe if it helps them deny global warming”, so happy to hear you elaborate on your theory, if it is in fact different from the above.

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        • I am not a scientist but here is the experience I had. The climategate e-mails complained about heat that was missing and was thought to have buried itself deep in the ocean.I have 16000hrs of flying large jet aircraft and the idea of heat going down makes the hair on the back of my neck rise.
          I wondered if surface tension might be a player and I had never seen water heated through the surface so I decided to apply heat to the surface of water.Now the technical bit. I got a bucket of water and a heatgun from my shed. The heatgun operates at 600degsC I fired the hat gas from the heatgun at the surface of the water. After about 5mins my kitchen was not full of steam and the water seemed completely undisturbed so I stopped and checked how much the water had warmed. The water was stone cold.Make of that what you will.If you want to put heat through the surface of water you must put on the surface a metal pan, neutralising the surface tension and apply the heat to the bottom of the pan and the water will heat up.
          This is entirely logical. It means that the surface of water does not obey the laws of thermodynamics which means that areas of the world close to the tropics are protected from the much higher heat in the atmosphere, remember cyclones are triggered at 26.5degsC. rgds

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          • “The climategate e-mails complained about heat that was missing and was thought to have buried itself deep in the ocean”

            You are scrambling your internet urban legends (not uncommon). This bit was not quote mined from climategate emails, it was quote mined from an email by an oceanographer. The real context was the oceanographer (Trenberth) was commenting that the scientific work in deploying *measurement* capabilities (like ARGO) is very much unfinished because they lack the precision in current measurement to track *all* of the joules through the system to comprehensively answer all questions. This is not (at all) the same as admitting that they can’t track the bulk of energy trends or that they are uncertain whether global warming is happening. The oceans are heating in plain daylight; there is no “missing heat” in the sense you mean (i.e. missing heat that challenges global warming theory itself).

            The bloggers were clever in spinning that one into the story you now believe – it’s quite catchy. I may not always agree with propaganda techniques but I have appreciation for those who have skill in crafting it.

            Here is the ocean warming in the top 0-2000m:

            That works out to a lot of joules (accumulating multiple atom bombs per second of *new* heat content in the ocean per second), consistent with what is expected via physics.

            “I have 16000hrs of flying large jet aircraft and the idea of heat going down makes the hair on the back of my neck rise.”

            Yes, you’ve discovered that the urban legend as you’ve heard it is a bit silly. The ocean warms from the top, that said as the ocean warms there is spread of heat and churning between layers (e.g. coastal downwelling) that allows more heat seepage into deeper waters. The further down the less; we don’t see much warming in the abyss for example, down under 2000m.

            “I wondered if surface tension might be a player and I had never seen water heated through the surface so I decided to apply heat to the surface of water.Now the technical bit. I got a bucket of water and a heatgun from my shed. The heatgun operates at 600degsC I fired the hat gas from the heatgun at the surface of the water. After about 5mins my kitchen was not full of steam and the water seemed completely undisturbed so I stopped and checked how much the water had warmed. The water was stone cold.Make of that what you will.”

            Fun experiment. You’re right that in general it is not thought that the ocean gets heated in a physical (conduction) way like this by the air above. The ocean heating process is radiative: infrared radiation bounced back from the greenhouse effect and absorbed by the ocean has an insulating effect at the surface, so that heat from the main source of heating (solar rays which penetrate to greater depth) can do the heating. So your experiment, while fun, is not quite the right question.

            You might be interested to read my full reply to this article on my blog:

            https://pressingwax.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/warming-isnt-missing-its-hiding-in-the-oceans-in-plain-sight/

            “It means that the surface of water does not obey the laws of thermodynamics which means that areas of the world close to the tropics are protected from the much higher heat in the atmosphere”

            Well, everything obeys the laws of thermodynamics and your experiment doesn’t contradict that, just shows that sometimes heat transfer can be prevented by some mechanism or another (including insulation, which is what the greenhouse effect essentially does.) And per above, the mechanism is not as you think so the tropics are not so protected from global warming (as seen in the ocean heat data).

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          • I didn’t realize we were using different hymn books. My proposition is all about surface tension. Surface tension exists, of that there is no doubt, It can be demonstrated by placing a paperclip on the surface of water and observing that it does not have enough weight to penetrate the surface and sink.Surface tension is a confrontational force. The interesting thing about surface tension is that people calling themselves climate scientists build computers models to forecast climate change without explaining why they can safely ignore surface tension.Interesting.
            As for my “fun” experiment, I fire a heatgun operating at 600degsC at water which does not heat. Now the atmosphere does not have a temperature of 600degsC and it is not fan forced,My conclusion is that surface tension blocks heat from transferring through the surface of water.The SURFACE of water does not obey the laws of thermodynamics.As far as these guys are concerned surface tension is like the war it mustn’t be mentioned.

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          • RMB: “I didn’t realize we were using different hymn books”

            Yes, you appear to be using a “hymn book” rather than relevant science concepts.

            “My proposition is all about surface tension.”

            I know. I have already explained that this is irrelevant to the problem of infrared heating. Perhaps I was trying too hard to be polite in describing your experiment as “fun”. Your experiment’s most salient property is that it is irrelevant to the problem at hand.

            The thermal heating/insulating of the ocean by infrared (from the greenhouse effect) is happening via electromagnetic radiation and absorption of energy, a quantum mechanical process. This has nothing to do with physical properties of matter like surface tension – it’s energy. You are confused and believe that the warm air is heating the surface of the water by conduction; but this is not the process. Are you familiar with the concept of electromagnetic radiation (as distinct from physical matter)?

            In short you are quite wrong.

            “Surface tension exists, of that there is no doubt”

            Indeed, there is no doubt. Of whether it is relevant to the questions at hand here, there is considerable doubt.

            ‘The interesting thing about surface tension is that people calling themselves climate scientists build computers models to forecast climate change without explaining why they can safely ignore surface tension.Interesting.”

            I have already explained it twice. It is possible that you are singing from your “hymn book” so loudly that you cannot hear anything that others may try to say to you. I will leave you to your choral exercises.

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      • Even IPCC seems to agree with you – the mechanism for transfer of energy to the oceans is questionable 🙂

        “Uncertainties in air–sea heat flux data sets are too large to allow detection of the change in global mean net air-sea heat flux, of the order of 0.5 W m–2 since 1971, required for consistency with the observed ocean heat content increase. The products cannot yet be reliably used to directly identify trends in the regional or global distribution of evaporation or precipitation over the oceans on the time scale of the observed salinity changes since 1950. {3.4.2, 3.4.3, Figures 3.6 and 3.7}”

        Chapter 3 – Observations: Ocean; Page 258

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        • “the mechanism for the transfer of heat to the oceans is questionable” Glad to here the IPCC is finally getting on board. The embarrassing thing is that it has taken human beings so long to waken up to the obvious and we are still not there yet. There should be a bucket of water and a heat gun in every house starting with the white house. the misleading of children is a disgrace.Because of surface tension man made global warming simply cannot exist and those computer models are useless. rgds

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  9. “I just did a quick search (search terms: DWIR, AIRS, test) through Working Group I contribution to the fifth assessment report by IPCC, but could not find much about these kind of tests.”

    The most relevant sections look like “TS.3 Drivers of Climate Change” and “2.3 Changes in Radiation Budgets”.

    From TS.3.2 Radiative Forcing from Greenhouse Gases

    “Anthropogenic emissions have driven the changes in well-mixed greenhouse gas (WMGHG) concentrations during the Industrial Era (see Section TS.2.8 and TFE.7). As historical WMGHG concentrations since the pre-industrial are well known based on direct measurements and ice core records, and WMGHG radiative proper- ties are also well known, the computation of RF (radiative forcing) due to concentration changes provides tightly constrained values (Figure TS.6). There has not been significant change in our understanding of WMGHG radiative impact, so that the changes in RF estimates relative to AR4 are due essentially to concentration increases. The best estimate for WMGHG ERF is the same as RF, but the uncertainty range is twice as large due to the poorly constrained cloud responses. Owing to high- quality observations, it is certain that increasing atmospheric burdens of most WMGHGs, especially CO2, resulted in a further increase in their RF from 2005 to 2011. Based on concentration changes, the RF of all WMGHGs in 2011 is 2.83 [2.54 to 3.12] W m–2 (very high confidence). This is an increase since AR4 of 0.20 [0.18 to 0.22] W m–2, with nearly all of the increase due to the increase in the abundance of CO2 since 2005”

    As you can maybe detect from the language (“there has not been significant change in our understanding of WMGHG radiative impact”), treating this as a core test of greenhouse theory today in 2015 is not really a focus of IPCC work just because understanding of this mechanism has been so well established now for many decades. It was an important test our measurements and understanding of absorption/spectral details decades ago, e.g. back when the MODTRAN type codes were first being written. There don’t tend to be a lot of surprises in this area nowadays, the Chapman paper was just an update on the observations.

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    • Still – I would expect IPCC to be explicit about conclusive tests. (Assuming – on a preliminary basis – that the tests you are referring to are conclusive.)

      One reason might be that the paper you were referring to was published after the IPCC report:
      Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010

      D. R. Feldman, W. D. Collins, P. J. Gero, M. S. Torn, E. J. Mlawer & T. R. Shippert
      AffiliationsContributionsCorresponding author
      Nature 519, 339–343 (19 March 2015)

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      • Feldman was certainly after. Despite the fact that Feldman talked up its status as “the first direct empirical evidence of CO2 forcing” it was just direct in the sense of not involving logical deduction – the quantity of CO2 being trapped was already known from looking at outgoing for a long time. Gaps of energy that don’t make it out of the system are necessarily still in the system and warming it. It really wasn’t seen as news within climate science.

        (Critics tend to have a lot of concerns with this logical reliance on conservation of energy in climate science, but it is a pretty well established law of thermodynamics. In return, climate scientists have issues with the critics’ refusal to acknowledge conservation of energy in their criticisms and ‘alternative theories’ which contradict the first law, as I have already noted elsewhere.)

        I don’t think it’s realistic to expect atmospheric physicists, climate scientists etc. to be the same place in their learning journey about all this as you are.

        Like

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