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Study shows ARGO ocean robots uncertainty was up to 100 times larger than advertised

The oceans contain 90% of the heat energy on the surface of the Earth, which makes it “kinda important”. There are claims that the missing heat went into ocean temperatures, which are allegedly warming by five thousandths of a  degree per  year (which is still a lot less than the models predicted). The ARGO array of 3,000 ocean buoys deployed from mid-2003 is a vast improvement on the occasional sampling from ships that preceded it, but each single thermometer measures a vast 200,000 cubic kilometers of ocean.

The original Argo Science Report had an expected temperature sensor uncertainty of 0.005C. But it’s just not possible to measure the ocean temperature that accurately. Each thermometer may be accurate in a laboratory to 0.005C, but thermal noise in the ocean is an impossible beast. The four-kilometer-deep swirling mass of eddies varies from 0C – 30C. It is not a well mixed swimming pool at one temperature, being measured 3,000 times simultaneously — the statistics are entirely dissimilar.

I went looking for papers on error estimates and found Hadfield 2007.

The Hadfield study compared the new ARGO robotic buoys to other ways of measuring ocean temperatures in a slice across the North Atlantic. The results are fairly devastating for claims that the oceans are heating by 0.005° C per year. Hadfield et al found that the Argo network made errors around 0.5° C, and up to 2° C in one area.

Essentially a boat cruised across the Atlantic in mid 2005, stopping to take precise measurements along the way by lowering an accurate sensor (a “CTD”). The Hadfield study compared the ARGO results of water temperature to that hydrographic study. One of the problems with this study was the newness of the ARGO array at the time, which had 2,000 buoys in 2005, and didn’t reach the full complement of 3,000 until 2007. So the sampled error will be smaller now than it was then. But there are orders of magnitude of errors, that can’t be solved with 50% more data points.

Figure 6. Position of the cruise track (thick line) and the temperature profiles used to estimate the temperature field along the hydrographic section; circles indicate positions of profiles sampled within 30 days of the cruise CTD, pluses indicate positions of profiles sampled more than 30 days before or after the cruise CTD. The temporal spread of Argo data used in the OI spans 62 days before the cruise CTD to
72 days after the cruise CTD.

Figure 7. (a) Signal, (b) noise, and (c) the signal to noise ration (SNR) across 36N (Cape Hatteras–Mediterranean). Figures 7a and 7b are in degrees Celsius and Figure 7c is unitless. Contours of 1 are shown in Figure 7c.

As far as heat content goes, I notice  that models predict about 0.7W/m2 for the radiative effect of CO2 on the oceans. But in Hadfield, the sampling error was quote, “10–20 W/m2“.  And it was even worse in the “Gulf Stream” and “north of 40N” (which is a large part of the world) where it was 50W/m2.

A minuscule change in degrees,
In all the world’s oceans and seas,
Should not cause dismay,
As on any one day,
Sea-water could boil or could freeze.

— Rauiri

Abstract

The accuracy with which the Argo profiling float dataset can estimate the upper ocean
temperature and heat storage in the North Atlantic is investigated. A hydrographic
section across 36N is used to assess uncertainty in Argo-based estimates of the
temperature field. The root-mean-square (RMS) difference in the Argo-based temperature
field relative to the section measurements is about 0.6°C. The RMS difference is smaller,
less than 0.4°C, in the eastern basin and larger, up to 2.0°C, toward the western
boundary. In comparison, the difference of the section with respect to the World Ocean
Atlas (WOA) is 0.8°C. For the upper 100 m, the improvement with Argo is more dramatic,
the RMS difference being 0.56° C, compared to 1.13C with WOA. The Ocean
Circulation and Climate Advanced Model (OCCAM) is used to determine the Argo
sampling error in mixed layer heat storage estimates. Using OCCAM subsampled to
typical Argo sampling density, it is found that outside of the western boundary, the mixed
layer monthly heat storage in the subtropical North Atlantic has a sampling error of
10–20 Wm2 when averaged over a 10 x 10 area. This error reduces to less than
10 Wm2 when seasonal heat storage is considered. Errors of this magnitude suggest that
the Argo dataset is of use for investigating variability in mixed layer heat storage on
interannual timescales. However, the expected sampling error increases to more than
50 Wm2 in the Gulf Stream region and north of 40N, limiting the use of Argo in these
areas.

 The paper came out long ago in January 2007. Strangely there are only nine citations.

Results:

Over much of the section, the Argo-based
estimates of temperature agree with the cruise measurements
to within 0.5C. However, there are several regions in
the 500–1000 m layer west of about 40W where the
differences exceed this value (Figure 9a). Furthermore at
the western boundary, west of 74W, the temperature is
more than 2C warmer in the Argo section than in the cruise
section. As expected, the climatological values from the
WOA typically show larger differences from the cruise
section than the Argo-based sections, particularly in the
surface waters across the section (Figure 9b, upper panel)
and the upper 1200 m at 65–73W.

REFERENCE

R. E. Hadfield, N. C. Wells, S. A. Josey, and J. J-M. Hirschi (2007) On the accuracy of North Atlantic temperature and heat storage fields from Argo, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, C01009, doi:10.1029/2006JC003825 [Abstract] PDF

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Study shows ARGO ocean robots uncertainty was up to 100 times larger than advertised, 9.2 out of 10 based on 92 ratings

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135 comments to Study shows ARGO ocean robots uncertainty was up to 100 times larger than advertised

  • #
    Skeptik

    Considering submariners can hide an 8,000 ton submarine under a thermal layer it is suprising that it took them so long to figure out the ocean is not all the same temperature.

    470

    • #
      Kevin Lohse

      100 years of empirical experience put to a practical use is as nothing to 40 years of making the scientific facts fit to a political theory. Eny ful no that.

      331

    • #

      A thermocline is more a barrier to passive acoustics than temperature, and it’s usually colder, like a transitory stream flowing through the depths of the ocean. It won’t protect the sub from detection methods such as MADs.

      Pointman

      32

  • #
    TedM

    And don’t forget that when the buoys were originally deployed, a number of buoys showed cooling. It was decided by the powers that be that they had a cooling bias, and were taken out of service.

    It was not considered that those that showed warming had a warming bias.

    Just where is the bias?????

    482

    • #
      Andrew McRae

      TedM says the cool floats:

      were taken out of service.

      Do you have a source for that?
      I didn’t know they had been taken out of service, I thought their data was just adjusted + corrected differently to other floats.

      81

      • #

        Andrew, indeed they were.
        Recent Cooling of the Upper Ocean (Lyman 2006). http://oceans.pmel.noaa.gov/Papers/heat_2006.pdf

        Willis corrected that: “Recent Cooling 1 of the Upper Ocean” (Willis 2007).

        http://jennifermarohasy.com/2008/11/correcting-ocean-cooling-nasa-changes-data-to-fit-the-models/

        “Basically, I used the sea level data as a bridge to the in situ [ocean-based] data,” explains Willis, comparing them to one another figuring out where they didn’t agree. “First, I identified some new Argo floats that were giving bad data; they were too cool compared to other sources of data during the time period. It wasn’t a large number of floats, but the data were bad enough, so that when I tossed them, most of the cooling went away. But there was still a little bit, so I kept digging and digging.”

        The XBT’s used before ARGO were also “too warm” and needed correcting as well.

        http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1990668/posts

        When they were first deployed in 2003, the Argos were hailed for their ability to collect information on ocean conditions more precisely, at more places and greater depths and in more conditions than ever before. No longer would scientists have to rely on measurements mostly at the surface from older scientific buoys or inconsistent shipboard monitors.

        So why are some scientists now beginning to question the buoys’ findings? Because in five years, the little blighters have failed to detect any global warming. They are not reinforcing the scientific orthodoxy of the day, namely that man is causing the planet to warm dangerously. They are not proving the predetermined conclusions of their human masters. Therefore they, and not their masters’ hypotheses, must be wrong.

        In fact, “there has been a very slight cooling,” according to a U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interview with Josh Willis at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist who keeps close watch on the Argo findings.

        Dr. Willis insisted the temperature drop was “not anything really significant.” And I trust he’s right. But can anyone imagine NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the UN’s climate experts — shrugging off even a “very slight” warming.

        472

        • #
          sillyfilly

          On recent cooling Willis:
          “Two systematic biases have been discovered in the ocean temperature data used in “Recent cooling of the upper ocean” by John M. Lyman, Josh K. Willis, and Gregory C. Johnson (Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L18604, doi:10.1029/2006GL027033). These biases are both substantially larger than sampling errors estimated by Lyman et al. [2006], and appear to be the cause of the rapid cooling reported in that work.”
          See link on measurement uncertainty at #5 for more info

          313

          • #
            Winston

            Silly,

            I think it should become axiomatic that, in mathematical order of functions fashion, before one removes the cooling bias in the instrument, one must first remove the warming bias in the observer.

            341

        • #
          James Bradley

          I learned three very important things from a grizzled Lieutenant Commander who was my flight instructor in the early 80′s:

          1. Fly slow – crash slow.

          2. If you have an emergency at night let down to about 300 ft agl and switch your landing lights on – if you don’t like what you see switch them off.

          and here’s the really important one

          3. Always, always, always trust your instruments.

          250

          • #
            Rereke Whakaaro

            Always, always, always trust your instruments.

            … and prey that the wick in the engine doesn’t go out …

            If you haven’t already, you might like to read, “The Shepherd”, by Frederick Forsyth.

            130

            • #
              James Bradley

              Rereke,

              Read it many years ago, loved it. My Instructor began his naval career flying De Havilland Sea Vampires.

              My other favourite read is ‘Typhoon’ by a countryman of yours – Desmond Scott DFC, DSO etc etc etc,

              120

              • #
                Rereke Whakaaro

                Thank you, I have not read that – so, I guess I have an appointment at the library tomorrow.

                61

              • #
                KinkyKeith

                Many. many years ago in the sand hills off Stockton, Newcastle.

                I was with a friend going fishing, I have been fishing about twice in my adult years.

                We had left his car and were walking to the beach; a Mirage appeared and began to dive towards the ground and pull up at the last minute and come over the top to repeat.

                Ground loops; one after the other after the other.

                he survived.

                The newspapers reported that the Officer Commanding Williamtown Air base was retiring.

                Put two and two together and you probably have one last fling that was totally illegal.

                Was also sadly on the scene half an hour after the Sabre crashed in Newcastle near my old home in the Junction.

                pilot ejected upside down in a storm.

                Also used to check out the aircraft at the Broadmeadow field.

                There was a Dragon Rapide , Tiger Moth and Chipmunk.

                KK

                60

              • #

                A good recommendation, James. I have it on my bookshelf, along with many others of a similar nature.

                I see from his log that my father was a bit busy in the beginning of June 1944:

                Date A/c type No. Pilot 2nd Pilot Duty Op. No.
                1-Jun-44 Mosquito VI L Self F/L Barns Ops.Patrolling Rd. Lille – Douai-Cambrai. Bombed RD & Rail bridge 67
                5-Jun-44 Mosquito VI J Self F/L Barns Patrolling Rds.Behind invasion beachhead 68
                6-Jun-44 Mosquito VI A Self F/L Barns N.F.T.
                6-Jun-44 Mosquito VI A Self F/L Barns Patrolling Rds.Behind invasion beachhead 69
                8-Jun-44 Mosquito VI A Self F/L Barns Patrolling Rds. behind beachead 70
                10-Jun-44 Mosquito VI A Self F/L Barns Patrolling Rds. behind beachhead 71

                He went on to complete 82 ops, and drummed into me the importance of trusting your instruments, also.

                70

              • #
                James Bradley

                FijiDave,

                Quite an achievement for a pilot in WWII. The ‘mossie’ was a beautiful aircraft.

                60

              • #
                Richard of NZ

                Do you mean the book by “Scarrtee”?

                It always intrigued me how a Typhoon, although physically only a little larger than a Hurricane, looks so huge and brutish.

                10

              • #
                James Bradley

                Richard,

                The Typhoon weighed about 7 tons had a very cranky 24 cylinder engine that put out about 3000 hp with the cockpit 12 feet off the ground. They were actually considerably larger than the other single seater fighters of the day, and were very large and brutish with a power plant to match – “spitting and snarling” – as it was described unlike the unmistakable song of the RR Merlin.

                Google ‘napier sabre engine running’.

                30

              • #

                Say, while we’re OT here talking about the Typhoon, it morphed from Typhoon 2 to the Tempest.

                Then they updated the engine to that huge 18 cylinder Bristol Centaurus Radial. The wings were changed somewhat, thinner, with flush rivetting, and it ended up looking (somewhat) like an FW-190. The Tempest was a beautiful plane and at around 440MPH, one of the fastest fighters in the sky.

                I remember during my younger days in the Air Force getting hold of those small comics, about 6 inches by four, and my favourite ones were the ‘Battler Britton’ ones showing the war in the air. Battler got to fly everything in those comics. Probably had more hours up than any real pilot in the war.

                Oddly, those comics were a favourite at the train stations on those long Interstate trips on leave. A few of us would line up at the kiosk and buy these war comics. Hardly anyone got the same ones, and they would do the rounds during those long trips.

                Funny, it always reminds me of how Bill Lawry got his nickname, ‘Phantom.’ Selected for Victoria for the first time, they embarked on the train trip interstate for a Sheffield Shield Match. As the youngest and newest player, the skipper asked him to go to the kiosk and get the ‘boys’ something to read on the train trip. Hard pressed for time, as the train was about to leave, he scooped up a handful of comics, gave the kiosk stall owner ten bob, and hurried back with his swag, all of them Phantom comics. The name stuck.

                That Tempest was indeed a mighty plane. Packed a punch too with 4 X 20mm Cannon, and 8 rockets.

                The Tempest then morphed into the Sea Fury, and they were operated by the Royal Australian Navy from 1948 till 1962, in typical Australian manner, you know, fly the wings off them for as long as possible.

                Tony.

                51

              • #

                I know you’ll think I’m pulling your leg, but I saw a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 prang a couple of months ago. Ground-looped on landing and bits went flying everywhere. Wooden prop so perhaps the crankshaft, like the pilot, survived unscathed.

                00

              • #
                James Bradley

                FijiDave,

                Pity that, not many left, undercarriage failure, hopefully it will be repaired to fly again soon.

                10

        • #
          Andrew McRae

          Jo, it wasn’t obvious at all to me from any part of your reply as to whether you are implying they were removed from service or just corrected. On closer reading maybe it was both, as he “tossed” out some of the float data (effectively removing them from service) and still went “digging” further.

          I liked this quote from the first draft you linked:

          In order to test for potential biases due to this change in the observing system, globally averaged OHCA was also computed without profiling float data (Figure 1, gray line). The cooling event persisted with removal of all Argo data from the OHCA estimate, albeit more weakly and with much larger error bars. This result suggests that the cooling event is real and not related to any potential bias introduced by the large changes in the characteristics of the ocean observing system during the advent of the Argo Project.

          Obviously young Josh hadn’t gone digging yet. Strange that the XBTs are said to have a warm bias and yet they showed cooling over 2003-2005 even without Argo involved.

          I remember reading an official article (NASA) which talked about him “digging” further. The mismatch between ocean cooling and a lack of any significant emission seen from satellites (see page2) certainly deserved an explanation. Presumably you like being conservative about energy too. If it left the ocean it should have shown up in CERES at TOA. Maybe the cooling wasn’t real? Not in 2006 anyhow. The picture might be different today.

          91

          • #

            Andrew, fair point. It would be good to know.

            Interesting that the XBT’s showed cooling from 2003 -2005??! I have not seen that point made before.

            22

    • #
      Winston

      Buoys will be buoys.

      290

    • #
      Leo G

      What about the knownfault on most Argo floats which leads to a warm bias in pressure at depth readings? The last I heard, the Druck pressure sensor micro leak problem remains largely unresolved.

      10

  • #
    TedM

    Probably not with the argo buoys.

    70

  • #

    As anyone who has done some ocean swimming could tell you…

    80

    • #
      RoHa

      Sometimes when I am swimming I detect a small area of warm water around the lower half of my body. It dissipates quickly. I offer no explanation for this phenomenon.

      10

  • #
    sillyfilly

    From Hatfield:
    “….it was found that the accuracy with which the Argo dataset could quantify the mixed layer heat storage was dependent on the distribution of the float profiles. In conclusion, our study has shown encouraging agreement, typically to within 0.5C, between the Argobased temperature field at 36N and the corresponding field from a hydrographic section. Furthermore, the model analysis demonstrated that within the subtropical North Atlantic, sampling of the temperature field at the Argo resolution results in a level of uncertainty of around 10– 20 Wm2 at monthly timescales, falling to 7 Wm2 at seasonal timescales. This is sufficiently small that it should allow investigations of variability in this region, on these timescales.”
    Much newer analysis:
    “Issues for ocean heat content: Measurement error
    • Argo depth errors are much less than XBT, but not perfect.
    • Manufacturers spec is ± 2 dbar in pressure, ± .002°C in temperature, so pressure error dominates.
    • A float firmware defect (Truncated Negative Pressure Dri_, TNPD) in APEX floats, in addition to a manufacturing problem (oil micro-leak) in Druck pressure sensors, led to unknown pressure errors in an identified set of Argo profiles.
    • The float firmware has been corrected, and the affected float cycles are labelled TNPD.”
    A newer study found:
    “If we are to detect rapid climate change from GOIs using the current global observation network, it is vital to analyze and
    quantify uncertainties, especially systematic or correlated errors. The objective of our study was to quantify the consistency of near-global and regional integrals of ocean heat content and steric sea level (from in situ temperature and salinity data), total sea level (from satellite altimeter data) and ocean mass (from satellite gravimetry data) from an Argo perspective. We showed that the three observing systems are consistent at global scales. Indeed, globally averaged systematic observation biases, sampling array issues and steric changes below 1500 m depth together are smaller than the error of SLRES. At regional scale, however, we have identified a systematic bias in some parts of the Tropical Ocean, in particular the TAA region.”
    So there at least we have some perspective on this issue, given global OHC is still increasing as modelled

    220

    • #
      James Bradley

      sillyfilly,

      So your linked summary and conclusion – was that before or after data homogonisation?

      73

  • #

    ? Only 9 citations ?
    Very curious. Would have thought that no paper making significant use of ARGO data should be published without a full discussion of this work, even if its findings could be challenged.

    Presumably there will be a lot more citations from now on. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    120

  • #
    Rick Will

    The linked paper has some interesting data on the bloom of phytoplankton at two locations in the English Channel:
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0098709

    The paper demonstrates how the plankton bloom in spring is associated with a positive swing to a net heat flux into the ocean. The more interesting chart is linked here:
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure/image?size=large&id=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0098709.g003

    This chart shows the days of each year where the heat flux is positive. It peaked around 1990 at 110 days per year. The paper also notes that this data shows two statistically significant cycles of approximately 19 years and 65 to 70 years. The conditions now, in terms of positive heat flux days, is now 75 days similar to the early 1960s.

    This is only a small bit of ocean that is influenced by many factors but there is less heat input into this area now than there was 25 years ago.

    While exploring the phytoplankton influence on climate I came across a paper that shows a strong link between phytoplankton in the southern ocean and cloud formation:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL047116/full
    The impact of phytoplankton on cloud formation and resulting impact on rain and temperature are significant per this chart:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1029/2011GL047116/asset/supinfo/grl27991-sup-0010-fs09.bmp?v=1&s=e8e6a6a7bdcdc067c2b4cbd6a87ec5808a0bed9b
    In combination with these images:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1029/2011GL047116/asset/supinfo/grl27991-sup-0002-fs01.bmp?v=1&s=c6db87a14ce9736d7e1477d8a9729d62ee595afe

    Paper concludes

    [25] In conclusion we observe a marine biology influence on the Earth’s radiation budget over the Southern Ocean’s plankton blooms (for a schematic see Figure S10). In addition, we found that not only the radiation budget at top of the atmosphere is reduced but also cloud cover is increased and precipitation amount is lowered over the Southern Ocean close to oceanic phytoplankton blooms. The strongest indirect aerosol effects are observed over the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone at 60°S where nutrient rich water stimulates primary production in the austral summer half year.

    These feedbacks are negative with radiation input. To my knowledge none of the coupled GCMs incorporate these feedbacks despite their significance.

    And has Greenland finally started its summer melt:
    http://www.dmi.dk/uploads/tx_dmidatastore/webservice/e/n/i/b/m/Melt_combine.png
    About a month later than the 25 year average.

    91

  • #
    Robber

    Heard on ABC radio today that seals have been fitted with sensors to measure ocean salinity and temperatures.
    But a quick search shows that this is news from 2008. Building up the hype for Paris?

    91

    • #
      tom0mason

      Robber,

      I presume you are referring to this ABC report.

      And also before in 2007 by NASA with Sea-lions

      And redone again in 2012 with Elephant seals .

      IIRC the original seal experiment started in the late 1990s/early 2000s. And as I recall one of the first tries was a complete failure as all seals went missing before any measurement results were acquired.
      Some say it was Ma and Pa Orcas having a meal out with the kids, others say Inuit were to blame. Either way I do not recall if they recovered the sensors.

      80

      • #
        Bill

        Sounds like evidence the oceans were boiling and fried the
        seals and their thermometers. More evidence of CAGW!!

        61

    • #
      sillyfilly

      Read all about it if you want to be informed:
      Macquarie uni:
      2 JUNE 2015
      Diving marine animals are proving to be an essential way of collecting oceanographic data especially in hard to reach areas such as the ice-bound Polar Regions. Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) tags seals in the Southern Ocean and this data is a major contributor to a new international data portal.
      “The transmitters send short bursts of compressed information to satellites that then relay the data back to us with details about the seal’s immediate physical environment.” says Professor of Marine Ecology, Rob Harcourt, at Macquarie University, “It’s like tweeting.”
      In the last decade, hundreds of diving animals have been helping to monitor remote areas in the Polar oceans.
      And the new results
      “Marine Mammals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole” Over 300,000 vertical profiles of Temperature and Salinity have been collected since 2004 in the World Ocean by attaching tags on marine mammals, such as Southern elephant seals.

      [I guess you'll never be able to resist stating your superiority one way or another, "Read all about it if you want to be informed:" But this is sufficiently topical nevertheless, so I'm approving it and we'll see what other readers have to say about it.] AZ

      117

      • #
        sillyfilly

        Must you be so continuously petty, or don’t you read other posts.

        322

      • #
        James Bradley

        sillyfilly,

        I can see possible gaps in data collection, large gaps, using marine animals, mammals ie seals, but would be a problem using any species as they are specific environment hunters. They hunt and feed in a specific environment of the oceans inhabited by their food source which in turns schools and feeds in the same specific environment conducive to maximum survivability and reproduction.

        That would seem to me to be a limiting factor in data collection, where you have the entire ocean, but the data collected is specific to the breeding and hunting grounds of the data collector’s colony and its food source.

        The data would therefore only ever be biased towards the preferences of the observer.

        Oh, now I get it, you are a clever one, yours is a satirical piece on the methodology used to ‘settled the science’.

        Bravo, bravo, well done, exposing the bias in such an entertaining way.

        203

        • #
          lemiere jacques

          and a problem with marine animals is that they can modify their behaviour with temperature of the sea…
          just imagine you never check the temperature outside when it is too cold to go out…
          or you prefer to walk in the sunny lane and never walk in the shade..or…

          so interesting….but..but…

          40

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Polar Bears never eat Penguins in the wild. There is a very good reason for that.

        140

        • #
          • #
            tom0mason

            Will Janoschka,

            “Details, details”, said Mr Green
            :mrgreen:

            40

            • #
              OriginalSteve

              No…its just that the transmitters strapped to the penguins make beeping noises, and the polar bears find that once ingested, it keeps them up at night…

              31

        • #
          Glen Michel

          We need to translocate some bears to the Antarctic….or whatever.

          20

          • #
            James Bradley

            Probably safer to relocate sea ice researchers to the Antarctic at least the penguins wouldn’t eat them.

            50

            • #
              James Murphy

              Not sure about penguins, but seals can be a threat. Just after I finished university – quite a long time ago now, a young researcher, and friend, was killed by a leopard seal in Antarctica. The unfortunate victim was in a drysuit, and was snorkeling at the time, looking at what sea ice does when it scrapes the seabed – how much ‘life’ can it transport that way, and how far can it go, (if I remember the basics correctly). The seal apparently ran into them so hard it knocked them out, and then dragged them underwater to a significant depth, before releasing them – according to the dive computer they were wearing. Death was caused by drowning.

              On a vaguely related mater, a Geophysics lecturer at the same university was involved with various long-term deep-sea research projects, one of which was to pack very large glass spheres with electronics, and drop a few of them at strategic points, where they would record data for a year or 2, then, when they received the right code, they would drop their ballast weights and float to the surface to be collected. I remember him saying that quite a few never reappeared. I am sure we could blame CAGW for that somehow…Maybe the deep oceanic ooze was made ‘oozier’ by increased heat and ocean acidification…?!!

              01

              • #
                sophocles

                Dissolved CO2. Very gluey stuff …

                00

              • #
                James Murphy

                A gutless red thumb for my comments? Another victory for me then, as the perpetrator obviously lacks a cogent argument, or the ability to formulate coherent sentences.

                00

      • #
        Annie

        One wonders what the effect is on the seals of being handled and having the tags/transmitters stuck onto their bodies? Not ideal I would have thought. As others have pointed out, the data would be limited to their own fishing and breeding areas also.

        20

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          And additionally, how can you control where an animal swims?

          In terms of data collection, it would be random at best, and certainly not a uniform distribution of sampling locations, I’d have thought…..

          11

        • #
          James Bradley

          Annie,

          However it would serve to show the seal population and its food source thriving in different oceanic environments in different parts of the world where salinity is high and temperatures low or where temperatures are high and salinity is low and where the ph of the waters varies only offering further proof of the evolution memory of species and the ability of life to adapt to historical and natural climate cycles.

          11

        • #
          Matt

          Was just browsing around and came upon this thread and your comment, Annie. To set your mind at rest regarding the seals’ welfare, I have it on fairly good authority that it doesn’t bother them one bit. They get sedated for about 15 minutes while they are glued in place (and the researchers beat a hasty retreat); when they come round, there appears to be no change to their behaviour whatsoever. The glue is only to their fur, so when they moult, the tags fall off.

          My understanding on your other point is that yes you are correct, obviously you are limited to the preferred habitat of the seal. However, these tags were initially developed as a biological exercise in understanding what that preferred habitat was, and it was only after initial publications that the interest in the data and further projects became more oceanographic in nature. What surprised me was the range that these creatures have (elephant seals in particular) – they will typically follow a track of over 1000km for a period of several months feeding and sleeping, before returning to their “home” beach to breed. They will then follow a broadly similar track the following season, so in theory you could monitor annual changes across the same tracks of ocean.

          Anyway, the tags for these projects are supplied by Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University in Scotland – the following links have some interesting further info should you be of a mind to look.

          http://www.meop.net/database/

          http://www.smru.st-and.ac.uk/Instrumentation/CTD/

          I don’t work for them, but I do make the CTD sensors in the tags, hence my interest. And before you ask, yes the sensors are that accurate, and no, I don’t understand how that instrumental accuracy can be used to put tiny error bars on averaged data sets with such massive spatial and temporal variability. But I am not a statistician.

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        RB

        Read all about it if you want to be informed

        and a reference to how cute and furry animals can help humanity.

        I’m not ten FFS! Do you honestly think that the bias in the animals would not give a systematic error larger than 0.005°C?

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        Roy Hogue

        I’m left wondering why someone like sillyfilly stays around, never hitting the ball, always striking out, going nowhere, using authoritative looking stuff to justify his/her position only to have it punched full of holes.

        Putting all the sarcastic remarks aside for the moment, the rest are legitimate questions that cast doubt on the use of animals for ocean temperature research. Quite a few readers gave it some thoughtful analysis. Can’t sillyfilly think the idea through like they did?

        I’ll make a prediction based on my longtime reading experience on Jo Nova: sillyfilly will eventually tire of getting pounded into the ground on everything she says and finally disappear like any other troll.

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          Roy Hogue

          I vote for later rather than sooner. The reason is simple. The comments in reply to filly are either a good laugh, informative or both.

          Keep it up silly.

          ————–

          I finally slipped and said “she” based on the screen name choice. I think that’s right but have no way to prove it.

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      handjive

      ABC, 25 February 2013:

      Seals help solve deep water mystery

      In a paper published today in Nature Geoscience, scientists from Australia and Japan reveal a fourth source of Antarctic bottom water lying off Cape Darnley.

      The discovery of a fourth source of deep water is critical to our understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to global ocean circulation, and will improve modelling of its response to climate change, says study co-author Dr Guy Williams, of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Co-operative Research Centre.

      The discovery of a fourth source is like “finding a new component in the engine,” he says.

      Until recently only three sources of the deep waters were known – the Weddell and Ross seas and off the Adelie Coast.
      . . .
      So, all the climate models were only running on three cylinders until 2 years ago.

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    flaxdoctor

    Hi Joanne, my reading of that results section suggests your headline underplays the inaccuracy of the Argo buoys – you’d be on the money if inaccuracy was limited to 0.5 degrees C, but it wasn’t – misreporting in some areas was four times larger than this, so maybe 400 times larger than advertised!

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    Andrew McRae

    In following the refs from one paper to another, it was also interesting to see at least one group predicted the Pause In Warming as early as 2002. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442%282004%29017%3C1605%3ARMAPMC%3E2.0.CO%3B2
    “Finally, the strong multidecadal variability may mask an anthropogenic signal in the North Atlantic for some decades.”

    To overlook the importance of that paper was a huge strategic error in AR4. They would not have taken as much of a credibility hit if they had officially predicted a slowdown for at 15 years, and it might have highlighted much sooner the role of natural variability in creating warming during the 1980s+1990s.

    Another paper making a statement of natural attribution of warming in 2007:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007JC004096/full

    However, the extent to which recent observed changes in Atlantic SST are explained by natural variability or anthropogenic forcing remains unresolved. This is due, in part, to the growing evidence for the influence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) on SST…

    It is concluded that the pattern of recent warming in the midlatitude North Atlantic is related to anomalous convergence of ocean heat transport, associated with changes in overturning and horizontal components of the circulation, in the northern subtropics and the subpolar gyre respectively.

    Burn the heretics!

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    Dariusz

    They think that they know what is going on in the oceans and yet they can,t find recent crashed planes, II WW wrecks (HMS Sydney just recently found) or it took some 60 years to find the titanic. In fact the plate tectonics was demonstrated by accident when looking at the ocean floor, something tangible and solid illustrating how little we know. To this day the ocean floor is less known than the planet of Mars or the Moon unless you part of the submarine division of the US and ex-USSR. Knowing something about less concrete like the temperature of the oceans is even more challenging.
    But hey, they know so much about the oceans because their science is settled. My science is not and the Argo buoys demonstrate that.

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    sophocles

    star commentWe cannot expect to think of the oceans as a homogeneous pool of water. They aren’t. We tend to think of them as a (very) large `backyard’ swimming pool which grows lots of fish, supports a few whales, polar bears and penguins, and are swarmed over by hordes of low-flying trigger-happy noisy gulls.

    We experience, observe, record, measure and theorise about turbuence and violence on the sun. We call it “Space Weather.” Discovered in 1959, we observe, record and measure the Solar Wind, which turns out to have lumps in it, or Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). We claim to not know how those lumps could affect anything on the planet. Piers Corbyn has a research-based hypothesis and is so far some runs ahead of the UK Met Office. But we do pay attention to it; the Aurora Borealis in the north and the Aurora Astralis at the southern end bare colourful testimony to the power dumped into the upper levels of the our atmosphere by these events, which are so luminously spectacular, we can’t help but pay attention. Awesome, indeed.

    We experience, observe, record, measure and argue endlessly, and sometimes pointlessly, about the turbulence and violence in this planet’s atmosphere. We call that Terrestrial Weather, or just plain Weather, for short. We have to pay attention to that, because its vagaries affect our daily activities and lives in so many different ways.

    We experience, observe, record, measure and discuss turbulence and violence under the planet’s crust, which manifests as volcanic eruptions (spectacular perhaps, life changing for some and disastrous for otherss ) and earthquakes which range from small and entertaining to huge and nationally tragic. This moves with comparatively glacial slowness over human lifetimes with unsettlingly abrupt punctuation. We call that Plate Tectonics. It could be Mantle or Core Weather, but it isn’t thought of that way. I guess basalt is too much like treacle to be entertained weather-wise.

    The GATE experimant in 1974 was part of a huge international weather research project.

    The Global Atmospheric Research Program’s (GARP) Atlantic Tropical Experiment took place in the summer of 1974. Because of its enormous size (72 nations were involved) and scope, the GATE experiment was divided into a Central Program, which ensured that the central objective was met, and five sub-programs, whose primary objectives supported the central objective.

    The central objective of GATE was to look at the effects of smaller-scale tropical weather systems, such as cloud clusters, on larger scale motions (scale interaction), and to improve numerical modeling and prediction methods. This was done through providing datasets suitable for numerical-modeling testing and development of parameterization schemes for use in numerical models.

    Weather satellites orbit the globe, filming the cloud formations and weather patterns. Thousands of disposable meteorological balloons are released each year, return temperature, pressure, and humidity readings by telemetry. The balloons are fitted with radar reflectors and the radar tracking provides wind information. The national weather and water institutes collate all this information and feed it to the World Meteorological Organisation. The data is applied to numerical computer models to generate predictions for three to five days ahead. Bigger, brighter, faster, computers mean better accuracy, but they still require the human touch. These predictions are applied to national and regional forecasts.

    These days, the accuracy for the 3-day and 5-day predictions are not too bad, with the 3-day ones better than the 5-day. They’re certainly a big improvement on the earlier ones. Ironically, the “Forecast The Facts” one heads don’t seem to know the amount and weight of data their hysteria is pitted against.

    There is one `weather system’ missing from all the above. The oceanic one. The oceans have stratified currents, eddies and whirlpools just like the atmosphere. These are the oceanic equivalent tropical cyclones, right down to smaller storms which form in the atmospheric weather belts. It even has the equivalent of jet streams: the fast warm currents in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans which carry the heated water from the tropics north and south towards the poles. Like air, warmer water is less dense and these currents can raise the local sea level by up to two feet. They shed their heat to the air as they go and to cooler water too. Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Iceland et al are more habitable because of the Gulf Stream, which carries the heat from the Caribbean to the North. A branch heads east across the Atlantic to the Canaries, joins the output of the Mediterranean and then heads south. Under this layer are other cold and warm layers.

    Once the heat transports have shed their warmth, their density increases and it becomes more salty. As they cool, they absorb CO2. Over 98% of the world’s free CO2 is in the sea water. It eventually sinks right to the bottom as the great Thermo-Haline Transport current which wends it winding way around most of the ocean basins. Where the cold water is forced to the surface, there is a huge abundance of life such as at the Galapagos Islands because of the load of minerals and trace elements this water carries. The ocean basin floors are predominantly basaltic which are alkaline. (It’s no wonder sea water is so alkaline.) As it absorbs warmth from surrounding water and the sun, it gives back its load of CO2 to the atmosphere. There are the origins of the CO2 plumes out to sea.

    Oceans form about 73% of the planet’s surface area, with land a mere 27%. There are about 1500 aerial (venting into the atmosphere) known active volcanoes with between 50 and 80 active in any one year.
    active submarine volcanoes may number over 4500
    with 150-200 active each year. Submarine volcanoes would then supply an estimated 75% of global magmatic output. The heat would help warm the water.

    The average depth of the oceans is about 4700m, Challenger Deep at South End of Mariana Trench (south of Japan) is 10,000m deep. That’s a lot of water. It’s certainly deep enough to create its own internal weather. Many of the submarine volcanoes rise several thousand metres from the sea floor. Many of the vents are in the upper layers of the water but the water pressure can still be sufficient to prevent any aerial or visible activity. So the heat output is carried away in a rising plume, along with the minerals freshly dissolved.

    We really don’t know enough about the oceans and their weather system. The Argo programme is a wonderful first step on the way. It’s important. I really hope the problem with the temperature sensing accuracy doesn’t detract from what we can still learn. Repair by all means but don’t let it get in the way. We need to learn the `Third Estate’ to the same level we are learning the other weather systems. The oceans, because of their greater mass—two orders of magnitude larger than the atmosphere—are the true drivers after the Sun—the energy source—of our weather. Integrate with the others and eventually we may be able to even successfully predict a little climate change.

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    Glen Michel

    Of course, this suggestion of oceanic heat uptake will have to be addressed for the sake of science.Other than that it’s science for sciences sake.Aaaargh! As. I mentioned the other day- in the company of some academic types. ” sinecure ” Was Los !

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      Richard111

      Butting in here… surely someone has calculated how much the ocean has expanded for the heat absorbed? Water does expand as it warms? Maybe because global sea levels haven’t risen that much they keep quiet about that side of the science.

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    Glen Michel

    We had a nice frost this morning which, of course followed by a glorious day.Dont waste such times.

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    TdeF

    If mankind has not caused the increase in CO2, it has to come from the oceans. So you need a modest warming of the oceans. My calculations show that a 1C increase in ocean temperatures over 1 year are enough to explain the 50% increase in CO2 if you factor in the 50x effect from outgassing the surface because of the huge reservoir of CO2 at depth.

    Of course the IPCC says this is not possible, that CO2 at depth requires the deep currents to mix with the surface over 1,000 years, as if gas is the same as water. Their problem is to explain the increase without this. Mankind simply has not output enough CO2. Even if they argue that say 50% of the increase is man made, what caused the other 50%? There is no explanation except the obvious, all of it came from the oceans, bar a few %.

    There is no man made CO2 increase. So there is no man made Global Warming. As for man made CO2 driven Climate Change, this has no basis in anyone’s Science. It is just stated as if true and one Aristotle missed. Argument from repetition.

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      sophocles

      You’re right. The oceans are in the driver’s seat. Mankind’s annual contribution is about 3.7-3.8 % of the annual CO2 released into the atmosphere, which is nowhere near your generous offer of 50%. :-) So there is some small anthropogenic addition. Not all of the remainder is from the oceans. There’s the CO2 output by the major rain forests (SE Asia, Amazon and Central Africa) through nocturnal respiration and the composting of leaf mould. The forests breathe CO2. Most of their daily intake is absorbed in the first half of their day and surplus and metabolic product (including our oxygen) is exhaled at night.

      As you say, we’re supposedly the single major contributor if the IPCC is to be believed. It can only be through similar arithmetic as SkS’s 0.3% inflating to the famous 97% consensus. If you think about it, 3.75% is barely outside the measurement error range. The CO2 turnover is about 5 – 7 years, not hundreds or even thousands as claimed. Land and oceanic photosynthesizers take care of that.

      The ocean’s breathe CO2. There isn’t enough fossil fuel on the planet for us to compete with the load carried by the oceans. The major ocean plumes seen by the OCO2 satellite is where that cold deep CO2 laden water surfaces and sheds its load.

      A little O/T: the CONUS weather patterns this year seem to be a repeat of 1957 with warm NW waters, Western and South Eastern drought, NE and E cold, and the SE drought broken by floods. Anthropogenic Interference? Cyclic Natural Variability, anyone?

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        TdeF

        The 50% increase in CO2 was over 100 years, not per year.The reasonable warmist argument is that release of CO2 from fossil fuels is indeed small but everything else is in balance, so CO2 accumulates, unabated, unbalanced. It denies physical science though.

        This accumulation of CO2 on one side of a huge reservoir of CO2 is quite impossible in physical chemistry. The IPCC actually agrees. However they argue that the volumes involved take time, 80 years in fact for half to be absorbed. How they come up with this figure I do not know, but it is the core figure which underpins the theory of man made CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere. However C14 concentrations are unequivocal as you can radio carbon date the air itself, so you can easily prove the IPCC are wrong.

        Note that you get endless distraction science about C13 which is quite speculative, even spurious as C12/C13 effects are debatable and small. These two isotopes are only different in weight, not chemistry.

        My point here was that as you can prove is not increasing CO2 levels, what is? For those who think vague coincidence is causality, you cannot flatly deny man made CO2 increase without explaining it. They just don’t believe you.

        So calculate the increase from just the solubility of CO2 vs temperature graph and x50. One degree C is all that is needed and that is in the top surface alone, not the whole ocean. It is also an averaged over the year and over the oceans. You have no problem getting a 50% increase in CO2 over 100 years. Consider that if the amount of O2 changed by 0.05%, nothing would be said.

        However a 50% increase in CO2 is hardly significant except that it is an excuse to attack Western democratic governments and cripple Western economies. You will notice the blatantly communist Greens hardly care about China, India, Russia. In Australia you have extreme communists like Green Senator Lee Rhiannon who trained in Moscow. Adam Bandt’s unpublished PhD thesis is on communism.

        Man Made Global Warming is a Green political assault on the US, Germany, UK, France and so far, it has worked beautifully delivering real political power to the Green parties. However these countries have also made a fortune out of windmills, so it has backfired. Those capitalists!

        Green? Everything has a lifespan. In normal circumstances, solar cells would be classed as biohazards. You can predict the dismantling of the solar cell industry will release endless millions of tons of toxic waste, poisonous heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and more. They will be the curse of the second half of this century. There are 60 millions tons of neodymium just in the windmills. The environment cannot handle such huge concentrations of rare heavy metals. Future generations will curse the anarchist Green lunatics who poisoned the planet, for no reason which made sense even at the time, but they never did care about the environment. Just the people who voted for them.

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          Manfred

          Future generations will curse the anarchist Green lunatics who poisoned the planet…

          They’ll be quite a few cursers, more curses and innumerable cursees I expect. The list of sycophants and hangers-on grows daily at the trough.

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          Robert O

          Referring back to the news conference by Minister Hunt and his Qld. equivalent about the Barrier reef and UNESCO: there was a Greenpeace spokesperson on ABC 24 saying the the greatest threats to the reef were climate change and acidification of the ocean. There was nobody to point out that the oceans are basic and there hasn’t been any warming for 18 years so how on earth is the average person going to respond to this, probably vote green to save the reef and planet as they do in inner city Melbourne.

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      Richard

      Seasonal changes can shift ocean temperature by 10C without us seeing correspondingly huge shifts in atmospheric CO2 so this sensitivity seems a little too sensitive to me. I got a relationship between temperature-changes and CO2-changes of about 1C/18.9ppmv with the Van’t Hoff temperature-equation while taking into account the dissociation of CO2(aq) into HCO3 and CO32 and assuming the the oceans contained 40,000Gts and the atmosphere 800Gts. Henry’s law only describes the relationship between CO2(g) and CO2(aq) so you would need to take into account dissociation. This is a mistake I made when calculating it and I quickly deleted it from my blog in embarrassment hoping nobody noticed. The change in the partitioning ratio for CO2 between air and water from temperature-changes is 1:40 at 20C, 1:50 at 15C, 1:60 at 10C and 1:70 at 5C (rounded to the nearest whole numbers). The 18.9ppmv figure would also seem to agree with the ice-core data showing that atmospheric CO2 increases by about 100ppmv between glacials and interglacials while the global temperature (according to the IPCC in AR4) shifted by 4C-7C (5.5C as an average) giving us a linear relationship between temperature-changes and CO2-changes of 1C/18.4ppmv. Others have put the increase slightly lower, such as Takahashi (1961) who estimates an increase of 12.5ppmv for a 1C temperature-change.

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        Richard

        Sorry, that should read 1C/18.2 rather than 1C/18.4.

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        TdeF

        Very good point. It leads to an amazingly simple confirmation.

        To answer your question, this is where the sheer size of the oceans and the time taken to outgas comes in. As shown by the C14 graph, the half life for CO2 absorption is 14 years, so there is not enough time in a few months to make a difference and your higher temperature is only true for a few months, then average, then lower. So do you see any effect of summer and winter on CO2?

        Yes, you do see changes in CO2 with the seasons, if you look at the previous post and the CO2 graph. +/- 3ppm or 1% around the mean. Take your number of 10C and assume 3 months and you get a direct measure of the sensitivity of aerial CO2 to warming.

        Try this rough calculation. +1% observed in 3 months, so if it continued, 4% in a year and 400% in 100 years. However you have reasonably used +10C as the peak warming estimate, so reduce x10 to get an average 1C warming and you get a predicted increase in CO2 of 40% over 100 years as predicted directly from observation with a 1C warming. This agrees perfectly with the CO2 solubility prediction. QED.

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          Richard

          Interesting point. So, if I undertand you right, you’re saying that the accumulative effect of a number of higher than normal seasonal temperature changes could cause the increase in CO2? I always assumed that because the solubility changes from the temperature-changes wasn’t enough to cause the increase in CO2 that there might be another factor that is related to temperature, such as changes to ocean biology. According to Jaworowski et al (1992) for instance if all biological activity in the oceans were “removed” it would be enough to increase the atmospheric “partial pressure of CO2 by a factor of 5″. Of course that would never happen, but it does suggest that small changes in ocean biology could cause big changes in CO2.

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            TdeF

            That’s one way of looking at it.

            All that is needed is a steady move in the average temperature of the very top layer of the ocean over 100 years of 1C, so 0.01C per year, roughly what people are finding . Basically if the ocean is 1C warmer in 2015 than it was in 1900, that would explain the 50% increase in CO2 without any contribution from man. Game over, again.

            It is intriguing that you can see and actually measure the effect of seasonal changes on CO2 levels in Jo’s own graph of CO2 from Mauna Lau

            This immediately gives a good measure of the sensitivity of the ocean to seasonal warming and cooling. The source of the extra CO2 is in front of our eyes and the proof and even the quantity. There is not much man made CO2 in the air at all.

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        Manfred

        Interesting enhanced theoretical explication — thank you Richard.

        …giving us a linear relationship between temperature-changes and CO2-changes of 1C/18.4ppmv.[18.2]

        Could one fit range, error and/or indication of SD to this numerical statement?

        In the light of a GMT trendless interval of >18 years, were one to use a health analogy, the linear relationship highlighted may appear statistically significant, but the question remains, is it clinically significant?

        The last 18 years and more would suggest not. Feedback, natural variation and solar influence render inconsequential inputs inconsequential.

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      Isn’t it odd, that people talk about warming of the ocean surface, and conjecture about thermal layers, and the mixing thereof, and yet ignore the fact that the majority of volcanos and other thermal sources are in the oceans.

      Super-heated water (sometimes in hundreds of degrees), plus CO2, etc. are quite happily being belched 24×7 from the Pacific trench. Where is that accounted for, in the ocean models?

      Oh, too hard, you say? Too many unknown, unknowns? Better to ignore it then, and pretend the subject had not come up.

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    TdeF

    Once again. Brain fade. 1C over 100 years. It is hard to read your own writing objectively but once in read mode, the mistakes are glaring.

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      tom0mason

      TdeF

      You’re closer than a US-EPA or an UN-IPCC report or the American President, and IMO that’s all that matters. :)

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      sophocles

      My keyboard can’t spell and the mouse makes grammatical errors, too. Frustrating isn’t it?

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    tom0mason

    Finally some results that show a more reasonable outcome for ocean temperatures. And all that bullhockey about having thousands of samples so we can extrapolate out to ever higher accuracy is proved to be wrong. Well some of us knew that already.
    The key is that ARGO errors are not reduced by having so many samples as each ARGO buoys is sampling a different part of the ocean, not the same piece of the ocean.

    All the nonsense about Laws of Large Numbers does not apply — but the mathematical midgets that advocate that have an agenda to propagate.
    The hocus-pocus of statistical torturing with unjustified adjustments and number manipulation can not get around the fact the oceans are not a homogeneous body.

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      Leonard Lane

      Nor the atmosphere and lithosphere. None are homogeneous.

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      UzUrBrain

      Many years ago I was taught that taking multiple readings of the temperature, voltage, frequency, whatever, to increase the accuracy ONLY worked when you were measuring the same thing. Taking multiple samples of a body that inherently has different temperatures in different areas does not improve the accuracy. E.g., take a boat to a river and measure the temperature every 10 feet across the span, What have you determined? So the averaging of all of these ARGO Buoys is just more garbage.

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        RB

        Strictly speaking, if you had definitely a linear trend with exactly random deviations from that trend then you could say that a million data points reduced the error by 1/1000. Why this is not remotely applicable was spun into why the straight forward error estimate of the slope of the UAH was too small and had to be exaggerated by threefold.

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    Alan Watt

    How fortunate we have tree rings as a backup. -:)

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    toorightmate

    Thanks for this post.
    It puts a bit more reality to the situation.
    I get tired of umpteen “significant figures”, claims of 95% confidence, etc, etc.

    Nasty stuff, this seeohtwo.

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    Ruairi

    A minuscule change in degrees,
    In all the world’s oceans and seas,
    Should not cause dismay,
    As on any one day,
    Sea-water could boil or could freeze.

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    dennisambler

    star commentThe late Oceanographer Dr Stevenson, wrote about missing heat in 2000, in response to Levitus et al 2000

    Yes, the Ocean Has Warmed; No, It’s Not “Global Warming” by Dr. Robert E. Stevenson
    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/ocean.html

    “Contrary to recent press reports (2000) that the oceans hold the still-undetected global atmospheric warming predicted by climate models, ocean warming occurs in 100-year cycles, independent of both radiative and human influences.

    For 15 years (in 2000), modellers have tried to explain their lack of success in predicting global warming. The climate models had predicted a global temperature increase of 1.5°C by the year 2000, six times more than that which has taken place. Not discouraged, the modellers argue that the heat generated by their claimed “greenhouse warming effect” is being stored in the deep oceans, and that it will eventually come back to haunt us. They’ve needed such a boost to prop up the man-induced greenhouse warming theory, but have had no observational evidence to support it. The Levitus, et al. article is now cited as the needed support.

    Sources of 20th Century Ocean Temperatures
    I learned to deploy Nansen water bottles and reversing thermometers for deep-sea sampling in 1949. I spent the rest of the subsequent decade seagoing, for the most. I can’t remember how many bottle casts I made, or how many bathythermographs I deployed. There had to be thousands in the waters off coastal California. Other students and post-docs were doing the same farther offshore in the eastern Pacific, from the E.W. Scripps. In the westernmost Atlantic, a similar cadre worked from the Atlantis.

    Surface water samples were taken routinely, however, with buckets from the deck and the ship’s engine-water intake valve. Most of the thermometers were calibrated into 1/4-degrees Fahrenheit. They came from the U.S. Navy. Galvanized iron buckets were preferred, mainly because they lasted longer than the wood and canvas. But, they had the disadvantage of cooling quickly in the winds, so that the temperature readings needed to be taken quickly. I would guess that any bucket-temperature measurement that was closer to the actual temperature by better than 0.5° was an accident, or a good guess. But then, no one ever knew whether or not it was good or bad. Everyone always considered whatever reading was made to be precise, and they still do today. The archived data used by Levitus, and a plethora of other oceanographers, were taken by me, and a whole cadre of students, post-docs, and seagoing technicians around the world. Those of us who obtained the data, are not going to be snowed by the claims of the great precision of “historical data found stored in some musty archives.”

    It’s well worth reading the whole thing.

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      Dave in the states

      So the margin of error is so wide in both the historical instrumental record and from ARGO that they are essentially useless, unless one needs define it to mean whatever one needs it to be. Ample room for manipulations in that case.

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    Doug Proctor

    That was in 2007.

    “Sampling error” for *K in Dec 2013 was said to be 0.001 for the central half of the planet as per http://www.euro-argo.eu/Main-Achievements/European-Contributions/Science/Global-Scales/Sea-Surface-Temperature

    As usual, I dunno. One side this, one that. Homogenized, filtered, corrected, pasteurized and de-caffeinated. I just don’t know.

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    • #

      Thanks Doug! Sampling errors in polar regions are listed here as 0.2C. Even if “major oceans” are described as 0.03C, this is far far too high to discuss annual changes of 0.005C. This is also the surface, not the vast depths, which also gets errors of both pressure and position as well.
      Jo

      Impact of Argo for Sea Surface Temperature validation

      Authors: Emma Fiedler and Alison McLaren (Met Office)

      Description of impact study carried out (overview, objectives, role of Argo):

      An assessment of sampling requirements for the use of Argo near-surface observations for validation of sea surface temperature (SST) analyses was carried out. Additionally, the first routine monthly assessment of SST analyses was implemented.
      Results:

      The sampling error associated with the monthly mean difference between OSTIA (Operational SST and Ice Analysis) and near-surface Argo temperature observations (using the shallowest observations between 3-5 m depth) has been investigated. Figure 1 demonstrates that the monthly total number of near-surface Argo observations is associated with a sampling error of <0.030 K for most major ocean regions, for the representative example month of December 2013. The exceptions are western boundary current regions, with sampling errors up to 0.082 K, and the Polar regions, with sampling errors up to 0.200 K. Higher sampling errors in western boundary current regions are due to larger standard deviations of Argo-analysis differences in these areas, whereas the higher sampling errors in Polar regions are due to a lack of Argo observations of the ocean under sea ice. In order to achieve a sampling error of 0.020 K across the global ocean, the number of Argo observations in the western boundary current regions would need to be increased by up to 1300 observations per month (Figure 2).

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    Neville

    I think we’re seeing more and more evidence that there is nothing unusual about the small recent warming at all.
    This argo data is interesting but what earlier data can we can compare it to I wonder?
    The old bucket method used in shipping lanes etc must have been highly inaccurate surely?
    But anyway I think the 2015 Lloyd study of Holocene temp change every hundred years shows that the variation up or down is about 1C. So what is the fuss about if temps have only increased by about 0.85 since 1880?
    Also coming after the end of a minor ice age and the coldest temps for 10,000 years. Let’s face it, it would be bloody strange and awful if the temps dropped even further wouldn’t it?
    It seems even some IPCC lead authors can wake up and get a grip on reality if the evidence points the way.

    http://multi-science.atypon.com/doi/abs/10.1260/0958-305X.26.3.417

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      TdeF

      To expand on your statement, we are seeing more and more evidence that nothing is happening, at least within the range of our instruments.

      The sudden 0.5C warming in ten years after the formation of the IPCC may be a combination of dramatic change in resolution and the enthusiasm of the IPCC and meteorologists and governments to see rapid, disastrous warming where there was arguably none at all. It is all a game of resolution, as with the Argo buoys.

      However 0.5C in ten years was multiplied out to 5C in 100 years by the IPCC, for no good reason. This figure is still being pushed! However the twenty years either side showed no warming at all, so even if it was true, divide by 5 and you get 1C in 100 years, nothing to worry about at all. If it was simply an artifact of measurement, nothing much has changed in 100 years within the limits of our instrumentation. Perhaps the sea surface is 1C warmer. The Barrier Reef, Caribou Polar Sea Ice Glaciers are fine, except for having to rescue mad Green journalists from their religious beliefs.

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    Manfred

    star comment

    …even with the advances to the observing system culminating in the Argo array, more than 50% of the ocean is without routine observations. Abraham et al. (2013)

    Sampling the most superficial layer of the Ocean and hoping to model the thermodynamics of the remaining unknown 98%, which may also conceivably be influenced by the topography and composition of the Ocean floor must be a challenging business. Faith is undoubtedly called for.

    Jo, thank you for your interesting post — Study shows ARGO ocean robots uncertainty was up to 100 times larger than advertised.

    You stated:

    The paper came out long ago in January 2007. Strangely there are only nine citations.

    I find on investigation that the second order citations, those nine citing papers, themselves subsequently being cited, amounts to a further 218 citations, which is a fair ‘out there’ metric. (I did not check the actual impact factor of the citing journals). I think that one can be fairly certain that the community concerned with this subject do know about Hadfield et al. (2007). To a greater extent the recognition of uncertainty persists in the literature.

    So, by far and away the greatest second order citation was of Roemmich and Gilson (2009) in their paper: The 2004–2008 mean and annual cycle of temperature, salinity, and steric height in the global ocean from the Argo Program with an astonishing 132 citations. Hardly surprising when their abstract states that they have provided:

    A basic description of the modern upper ocean based entirely on Argo data is presented here, to provide a baseline for comparison with past datasets and with ongoing Argo data, to test the adequacy of Argo sampling of large-scale variability, and to examine the consistency of the Argo dataset with related ocean observations from other programs.

    and further from their abstract:

    …where more Argo floats are needed for documenting large-scale variability. Globally, the Argo-era ocean is warmer than the historical climatology at nearly all depths, by an increasing amount toward the sea surface; it is saltier in the surface layer and fresher at intermediate levels.

    Annual cycles in temperature and salinity are compared, again to WOA01, and to the National Oceanography Center air–sea flux climatology, the Reynolds SST product, and AVISO satellite altimetric height. These products are consistent with Argo data on hemispheric and global scales, but show regional differences that may either point to systematic errors in the datasets or their syntheses, to physical processes, or to temporal variability.

    The uncertainty persists (within the discipline). The absolute disconnect lies between what passes as the science and what is de rigueur peddled by the MSM and the host of other eco-political and eco-financial ‘interested’ parties.

    The next most frequent second order citation was Abraham et al. (2013), with which this comment began. A review of global ocean temperature observations: Implications for ocean heat content estimates and climate change. This paper has been cited 27 times. The level of uncertainty remains obvious and is highlighted recurrently by the authors in their comprehensive review of methods and data.

    Nevertheless, the authors include the required genuflection to Gaia in their conclusion:

    Despite these potential future improvements to ocean monitoring, past and present measurements show that the Earth is experiencing a net gain in heat, largely from anthropogenic factors [Hansen et al., 2005; Levitus et al., 2001], although the magnitude differs among individual studies.

    At the same time, much of the ocean is still unmonitored, so uncertainty remains. In particular, deep oceans, marginal seas, and areas beneath sea ice need improved monitoring, but given its role in heat content and sea level, special attention should be given to the deep ocean.

    It is ‘uncertainty’ that has the last laugh.

    Manfred, thanks this is useful, and I do have a draft on that paper I’ve been meaning to finish. – Jo

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      Matty

      The same J P Abraham (et al.) from the 2nd rate Bible College in Minnessota ?
      Who made a name for himself briefly conniving with the Tree House gang, being given a column at the Guardian on the strength of his assaults on Christopher Monckton.
      http://joannenova.com.au/2010/07/abraham-surrenders-to-monckton-uni-of-st-thomas-endorses-untruths/
      That J.P. Abraham ?

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      RB

      I find on investigation that the second order citations, those nine citing papers, themselves subsequently being cited, amounts to a further 218 citations, which is a fair ‘out there’ metric.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “out there” because there have been over 1900 papers written using Argo data. It appears that only 10% considered that the data might not be precise enough for their conclusions.

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    el gordo

    ‘The oceans, according to the 3600+ ARGO bathythermograph buoys, are warming at a rate of just 0.02 Cº per decade, equivalent to 0.23 Cº per century.’

    Christopher Monckton

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    mark

    This is the first ever thread that I have bookmarked. I am going to record and download each and every link…including sillyfilly’s….if I can find them.

    Isn’t this Occam’s Razor? The simplest theory often proves to be the most correct?

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    Ian H

    That path crosses the transatlantic current. It is a region of swirling and chaotic mixing of warmer and cooler water where temperature can show big differences over small distances and times. Not surprising to see big variations.

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      Manfred

      Ian H. very well observed! Damn, I should have seen that too. It is in fact known as:
      The Sargasso Sea,
      the only sea without a land boundary and co siderably warmer than the surrounding Atlantic Ocean. It’s a prime cherry pick for warming.

      Here:

      While all other seas in the world are defined at least in part by land boundaries, the Sargasso Sea is defined only by ocean currents. It lies within the Northern Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. The Gulf Stream establishes the Sargasso Sea’s western boundary, while the Sea is further defined to the north by the North Atlantic Current, to the east by the Canary Current, and to the south by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. Since this area is defined by boundary currents, its borders are dynamic, correlating roughly with the Azores High Pressure Center for any particular season.

      Here:

      The Gulf Stream and the North Equatorial Current encircles the Sargasso Sea, causing the oval-shaped sea to flow in a slow, clockwise drift. Both currents push warm water into the Sargasso Sea, which keeps the sea warm. Due to the rotation forces of the currents, the center of the Sargasso Sea is about one meter above the level of the surrounding Atlantic Ocean.

      The warm currents also affect the weather in the area. It remains – like the water – mostly very calm, humid, and often stifling hot. Due to the hot temperatures, the Sargasso Sea has a high evaporation rate. However, the lack of rainfall fails to add fresh water into the sea, which causes a very high salinity.

      They betray themselves at every turn.

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    handjive

    You’ve read this far down the thread …

    Warwick Hughes compares maps:

    Yesterday I posted this map showing nations who voted for FIFA President Sepp Blatter – and those who did not.

    I was easily able to find this map showing a sort of “corruption index” for nations.

    Even The Guardian says “for years the carbon market has been riddled with corruption.”
    Circle closed.
    . . .
    Great, fun catch from Mr. Hughes.

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      It is good to see that, when it comes to the corruption index, New Zealand is literally right off the end of the scale.

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    Neville

    It looks like NOAA etc could be up to more con tricks. WUWT will have the latest after the embargo tomorrow.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/03/noaas-national-climatic-data-center-is-sharpening-their-knives-to-cut-the-pause-from-the-global-temperature-record/

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    handjive

    Jonova posted on 23rd May:

    New satellite analysis fails to find the hot spot, agrees with millions of weather balloons

    The Conversation, and Steve Sherwood today:

    Climate meme debunked as the ‘tropospheric hot spot’ is found

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      el gordo

      ‘…the existence of some influence on climate that has up until now been partly offsetting the greenhouse effect, and has not been properly accounted for.’

      That would be natural variability, the noise has swallowed the signal.

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    GMac

    5000ths of a ****** degree,who is kidding who,are they in a laboratory producing some new medicine or conducting an experiment on the temperature change during the running of a superconductor?
    This is running at the van of absurdity,science wants us to take it seriously–seriously?

    According to that great philosopher and social commentator Ted Bullpit, “someone should …….” you all know the rest!

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    RoHa

    Five thousandths of a degree per year? We’re doomed!

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    UzUrBrain

    I have been commenting on these problems for years. All of the data I have been referred to (www seabird com) AND quoted to as the accuracy, even on the ARGO web site ( www argo ucsd edu ) are GROSELY misleading, and I would say on purpose. They only provide the accuracy of the electronics and do not provide the change in accuracy as affected by ambient temperature or operating voltage. And therefore all of the data that everyone is taking and using concerning ocean temperature is very suspect. At the minimum it is at least an order of magnitude LESS accurate than the oceanographers claim. Yes, the buoys they are using are laboratory grade equipment with a professed accuracy of 0.001%, however that is for the electronics ONLY and claiming that as the accuracy from the actual source (ocean) to the resultant display – That is not how it works. You also need to take into account the accuracy of the probe – a very expensive one is only 0.005% accurate and that – Plus the electronics accuracy, would be the REAL accuracy of the temperature loop. Worse than that – and that is my concern, is that they also fail to recognize and take into account the change in accuracy caused by the change in temperature of the electronics. A laboratory grade instrument is, typically, only accurate in the neighborhood of 20 oC ( 72 oF). Outside those bounds, the accuracy suffers. Usually, quality equipment will provide a graph or data on that error. Has this error been included in the readings reported by the surface station equipment? Worse yet, as you get near the bounds of operation, -20 /+ 50 oC, the numbers could be nothing more than garbage. I recall seeing a report on a surface station temperature report from Alaska, where the instrument quit all together when it got to 40 or 50 below oF. I just cannot believe that the numbers before then were valid. How many of these bogus numbers (temperatures) are used in the Global Warming Scam? You then need to consider the batteries, and the fact that they have reduced voltage at low temperatures and these low temperatures radically affect the operation of the equipment. Again another specification provided on a REAL data sheet providing REAL accuracy.
    The ARGO data sheets say what they say and if used in a controlled, laboratory, environment would repeatedly provide the numbers they display on those sheets. However, they do not give you all of the numbers with the accuracy professed. Essentially all of the measurements taken where the electronics is more than a few degrees from the temperature at which the instrument was calibrated at is garbage. If you think I am blowing smoke, then put your iPhone in the deep freezer over night, take it out and turn it on. See what it does. (Caution I will not be responsible for any damaged equipment if you are dumb enough to try this.) If you value your cell phone, talk to the people in the Calibration Lab at your local university or in the yellow pages.

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    Marcus Johnston

    There is no mention of a ’100 times greater than advertised’ error in the paper that you reference. Instead they point out that the Argo data is good enough for examining annual differences.

    Errors of this magnitude suggest that the Argo dataset is of use for investigating variability in mixed layer heat storage on interannual timescales.

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      nfw

      The interesting thing is the BBC, well known for its “progressive” attitude to climate mythology global warming change, already has a Science in Action program special out about how the hiatus is rubbish. Nowhere is there mention of Ross McKitrick’s analysis or any balanced reporting. The warmists have finally found the treasure trove of “heat” lurking in the ocean and that climate change is on again! What is it? Are their egos so big and so precious they can’t admit to being wrong?

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    Richard C (NZ)

    >”I notice that models predict about 0.7W/m2 for the radiative effect of CO2 on the oceans”

    Except that 0.7W/m2 (the forcing, CO2 is about 6 W.m-2 of the 1976 Standard Atmosphere compared to Trenberth et al’s 333 W.m-2 “backradiation”) is in the IR-C range of the electromagnetic spectrum:

    Infrared
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared

    IR-C does no work as heating agent. It doesn’t penetrate water effectively beyond about 10 microns.

    Climate science considers longwave IR-C (DLR) in exactly the same terms as shortwave IR-A/B in the solar range of the EM spectrum (DSR) i.e. they don’t distinguish between radiation energy-per-photon ranges that differ by 3 orders of magnitude. See:

    Electromagnetic spectrum
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_spectrum

    Trenberth et al’s Global Energy Flows has net OLR/DLR of 63 W.m-2 OLR i.e. LR is a COOLING agent:

    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200904/images/trenberth-fig1.gif

    0.7 W.m-2 CO2 forcing is of no consequence if the radiation has no warming effect on surface matter, most of which is water.

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    ScotsmaninUtah

    “each single thermometer measures a vast 200,000 cubic kilometers of ocean.”

    I wondered when someone would mention this point.

    But, at some point there will be so many sensors in the ocean that the fish will complain about privacy :(

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    Lance Wallace

    star commentJo–

    Like you, I was surprised by the small number of citations (9) to the Hadfield study. I read it over and was impressed by the depth of the mathematical approach to determining error. I wondered whether some of those 9 studies had found some serious problem in the Hadfield paper, so downloaded them all. In most cases, the papers simply cited Hadfield and said nothing about the quality of the results. One paper quoted Hadfield’s upper-bound error of 2 C for the western Atlantic and said this was likely due to the smaller number of ARGO monitors in that area, which I think Hadfield themselves had pointed out. However, one of the 9 papers referred to another paper which provides a second estimate of the ARGO errors: Fraile-Nuez and Hernandez-Guerra, Geophysical Research Letters, 1 FEb 2006 (available on the Dropbox link below). F-N & H-G find an error of about 0.48 C for the upper 50-250m of the eastern North Atlantic Sub-Tropical Gyre. The error is also between about 0.18 and 0.25 for depths of 300-1000m, and finally gets pretty small (0.04, but still well above the quoted error of 0.01) at 1600 m depth.

    Another of the 9 papers quoting Hadfield was Roemmich and Gilson (2009) Progress in Oceanography 82:81-100. I think Roemmich is associated with the ARGO group. The R&G Figure 3.9d shows the latitude-related variance associated with a comparison of ARGO to the NOAA OI SST (Reynolds 2002) product of satellite observations adjusted with drifter measurements. R&G present the variance itself rather than its square root. The figure shows three curves, one that refers to earlier ARGO years, before 2004 when data were very sparse and resulting sample uncertainty was high. The other two curves show the variance ranging between (1) about 0.1 and 0.2 or (2) about 0.01 to 0.02 (degrees C)^2. However the text refers to a value of about 0.05 (degrees C)^2, which may be some sort of effort to average between the two curves. I could not follow the reasoning at this point, since he seemed not to completely define the two curves. Anyway, if one takes the square root of these values, one gets a range of about 0.3 to 0.4 degrees C for the upper curve, and about 0.1 to 0.14 degrees C for the lower curve. Or if we accept the authors’ text value of 0.05 (degrees C)^2, an error of about 0.22 degrees C.

    So I think you can triple the number of papers reporting on errors in ARGO, and they actually are not far apart: 0.5, 0.48, 0.22.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75831381/Fraile-Nuez%20%26%20Hernandez-Guerra%20eastern%20North%20Atlantic%20wind-dirven%20circulation%20%2B%20ARgo.pdf

    This is really helpful Lance. Email coming your way. Thanks! — Jo

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    BACK TO PERSPECTIVE ON PLANETARY HEAT, ALSO CALLED OVERVIEW June 2008 The truth is that those oceans by virtue of the density and volume of the water have a heat storage capacity many magnitudes the size of the heat that can be stored by the atmosphere through the greenhouse effect. My contention is that man made CO2 and other man made trace gases are not only a miniscule proportion of the naturally occurring CO2 and trace gases but in turn CO2 and other trace gases have only a miniscule proportion of the heat storing capacity of the water vapour in the atmosphere AND ADDITIONALLY the atmosphere stores only a miniscule proportion of the heat stored by the oceans. The heat stored by the atmospheric greenhouse effect is far less in quantity and far less long lasting than the heat stored by the oceans. http://www.newclimatemodel.com/the-hot-water-bottle-effect/

    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    The transfer of energy from water to air is always in that one direction whether water or air is the warmer. It is part of the one way transmission of solar energy through the Earth system, sun to oceans to air to space (at variable speeds dependant primarily on internal oceanic behaviour, not the composition of the air). The sun provides variability in the energy flow over centuries but the oceans provide much larger variability in the energy flow over decades.

    The air circulation systems move latitudinally poleward or equatorward depending on whether there is net cooling or warming of the air at a gradual if variable rate all the time and climate shifts in any given location depend mainly on the changing position of that location in relation to the latitudinal position of the major air circulation systems.

    Throughout all this the oceans are in control because internal oceanic circulations in each ocean combine to vary the rate of energy emission to the air http://www.newclimatemodel.com/our-saviour-the-hydrological-cycle/

    …………………………………………………………………………………………….

    Bill
    October 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    Of course they are obsessed with carbon dioxide because it is the one thing they can tax. If they can get it taxed then they can get paid for more research and after all, that is what matters the most to them.

    P Wilson
    October 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm
    Simple Physics. Water has a high heat capacity and can hold heat. Air has a low heat capacity and cannot hold heat, and consequently cannot heat oceans. Therefore oceans heat the air as heat leaves the ocean http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/07/climate-change-is-dominated-by-the-water-cycle-not-carbon-dioxide/

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    Seen this, y’all?
    summer 2000. The oceans, by virtue of their enormous density and heat-storage capacity, are the dominant influence on our climate. -Robert E. Stevenson, oceanographer for 50 years
    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/ocean.html

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    Why then has the annual vertical mean temperatures of the Pacific Ocean (0-2000 meters) failed to show any warming over the past decade? The data for the Pacific Ocean (0-700 meters, 0-2000 meters and 700-2000 meters) in Figure 2 (Pacific Ocean temps-ARGO-Bob Tisdale)
    wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/19/if-manmade-greenhouse-gases-are-responsible-for-the-warming-of-the-global-oceans/

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    [...] honest I was, but as is often the case I got sidetractored. My great thanks to Joanne Nova for highlighting a mostly unknown paper on the error estimate for the Argo dataset entitled On the accuracy of [...]

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    David A

    From the head post…
    =======================================
    “The oceans contain 90% of the heat energy on the surface of the Earth, which makes it “kinda important”
    =======================================
    I am curious how the 90 percent “surface” is defined, as the Oceans themselves contain over 99 percent of the energy within the earths direct interface of solar insolation; and well above that when considering total ocean heat content in the oceans vs the atmosphere.

    IMV the flux in input of solar insolation into the oceans is what wags the dogs tail. (The dogs tail of course being the atmosphere, and a short snubbed tail at that)

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