A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Cooling in the North Atlantic

Something is going on in the North Atlantic.

Paul Homewood notes the region is cooling rapidly and it is not just surface cooling, it applies to the 700m depth that Argo buoys measure. Graphs thanks to Ole Humlum.

To give it some perspective that cooling is back to temperatures of about 20 years ago (see below). This is localized, not global, but still interesting (rather especially to our European friends).

This is the area mentioned in a recent study on solar winds which found faster solar winds correlate with a cooler north Atlantic.

A year ago a different paper predicted colder times were coming to the North Atlantic due to natural cycles.

The man-made aerosols prediction that bit the dust…

A paper by Robsom et al in the last couple of weeks said that the cooling trend was clear, started in 2005 and really shouldn’t have happened if man-made aerosols were controlling the North Atlantic.

 ”Here we show that since 2005 a large volume of the upper North Atlantic nOcean has cooled significantly by approximately 0.45 C.”

“The observed upper ocean cooling since 2005 is not consistent with the hypothesis that anthropogenic aerosols directly [...]

Climate change causes global suffocation — Life on Earth gone in only 1,500 years!*

And you thought we’d heard it all. Not so, get out the plastic bags.

Seventy percent of the oxygen on Earth is made by phytoplankton, so the little critters do matter. A new study suggests that the phytoplankton pretty much fall apart if the worlds oceans heat by just six degrees. They stop making the good O2. We all die. Puppies, kittens, kids, and krill — it’s all over.

There are a couple of caveats — the study involves only binary phytoplankton (the kind made of zero’s and ones and which lives in hard discs at the University of Leicester). And the other one is that six degrees is an Awful Lot of Warming.

As best as we can tell (which is not very well)  the oceans are warming at four hundreth of a degree per decade (give or take a lot). The all new Gee-Whizz Argo buoys are neat little robots, but the error bars are still a scandal, being somewhere from one tenth to one half a degree — ha-d-ha — too big to fit on the graph.( See all the white stuff — the errors are probably larger than that.)

Taking that single point of highly uncertain [...]

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. [...]

How to unscientifically hype insignificant noise in ocean “warming”

Time to panic:

Peter Hannam says: “The world’s oceans are heating at the rate of two trillion 100-watt light bulbs burning continuously…”

Maybe not?

 Jo says: “… that’s two trillion light bulbs, plus or minus 200 trillion…”

Conclusion: Random noise is coming to get you.

Scientists used to care about measurement error. Not so much any more. The ARGO buoys are marvelous high-tech robots, but each thermometer measures 200,000 cubic kilometers of ocean.  The thermometer in a buoy is accurate in a laboratory to 0.005C, but can they really detect global oceanic changes of five thousands of a degree?

Oh yessity say the scientists, because there are 3,000 thermometers. But, no no no thinks Jo. If they were all measuring the same swimming pool, having a lot of them would reduce the error, but each thermometer is measuring a different piece of ocean full of thermal noise. Some will argue that the the exact absolute temperature is not what matters, it’s the changing trend we need to measure. But these thermometers are not staying in one place measuring one tiny slice of the ocean, they roam randomly through water that varies [...]

IPCC in denial. “Just-so” excuses use ocean heat to hide their failure.

In answer to the excuse du jour: “The Ocean ate my Global Warming”.

Now that the plateau in air temperatures has lasted for 15 years, everyone, even IPCC lead authors, can see the “90% certain” models were 98% wrong. So the IPCC now claims the heat went into the deep abyss, which they didn’t predict, can’t measure accurately, and, even by the best estimates we have, has not been anywhere near large enough to explain the missing energy.

They predicted the surface air temperature would increase, but it didn’t. (The 1990 IPCC predictions about temperatures were so wrong the trends have come in below their lowest possible estimate.) They predicted the oceans would warm more than twice as much as they actually have (as best as we can tell). They did not predict the air temperature would level out for 15 years, and the oceans would suddenly start producing “natural cooling”.

The oceans are a bit of a mystery black box

There are 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of ocean out there — it’s so big it hid a 650 km volcano until two weeks ago. Only two people have been to the bottom ever (correction, three men), and they [...]

Ocean temperatures – Is that warming statistically significant?

The oceans as measured by ARGO are warming, but that warming is not only far less than the models predicted, it is far less even than the instrument error.

The background of a crucial point

Everyone agrees: 90% of the energy in the Earth’s climate system is stored in the oceans. Rocks and sand don’t transmit the heat down, except at incredibly slow rates. The wil-o’-the-wisp-atmosphere hardly holds any energy. But water covers 70% of the surface, to an average depth of 3,700m, and it can store septillions of joules.

Climate models say the Earth’s energy balance is out of whack, and therefore 90% of the extra energy trapped by increasing greenhouse gases is stored in the ocean.  The oceans are warming (probably), but the extra energy found in the top 700m of the world’s oceans is not enough. The modelers argued the heat was hidden below, that from 700m-2,000m. Skeptics argue the missing energy was flung out to space. This is the big enchilada, and as far as measuring oceans goes, everything changed in 2003 when we finally got the ARGO system, and that’s why it’s worth a closer look now.

David points [...]

The Travesty of the Missing Heat — deep ocean or outer space?

(See the Hammer link below, for more information on this graphic).

If there is one topic that trumps all others in climate science, it’s ocean heat.

If there is a planetary imbalance in energy, and Earth is acquiring more heat than it’s losing, we ought to be able to find that heat. Energy can not be created nor destroyed. It has to be somewhere.

On this Water-Planet, virtually every scientist agrees that the vast bulk of the extra energy ought be stored in the water. The oceans cover 70% of the surface, and are 4km deep; water has a high heat capacity (meaning it can store a lot of energy), and, because water flows quickly (unlike rock), turbulence and mixing can take that heat energy away from the surface.

Every skeptic (and taxpayer) ought to know that since 2003 (when we started measuring oceans properly) the oceans have been cooling:  Douglass and Knox 2010.

Five years of planetary heating amounts to a massive amount of energy. That’s 2,000 days of the sun bearing down on an atmosphere with growing levels of CO2. According to the IPCC favored models, the extra heat stored should be 0.7 x [...]

Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? Part 3

There are two strong points here:

The Argo system is state of the art, and public property. Yet the most recent Argo Data of ocean temperatures is virtually impossible to get. We could assume that if it showed definitive warming, we’d see those graphs on breakfast cereal packages. Ocean temperatures trump everything. Where is that warming? The same people who are paid to analyze the data sets are the ones who also manage them: they decide who has access. It’s a system without external independent checks, and the lack of audits makes for a loophole big enough to drive a planetary body though. — JN Part 3: Ocean Temperatures

The public might not understand the science, but they do understand cheating

Dr. David Evans

6 October 2010

[A series of articles reviewing the western climate establishment and the media. The first and second articles discussed thermometer tricks with air temperatures.]

Click to download a pdf file containing the whole series

Measuring Ocean Temperatures Properly

Measuring ocean temperature globally is harder than it sounds. But it is crucial to understanding climate, because most of the heat in the climate system [...]

Ocean temperatures: the new bluff in alarmism

There are 2014 updates on this topic:

Ocean temperatures – Is that warming statistically significant? IPCC in denial. “Just-so” excuses use ocean heat to hide their failure.

There has been a change in direction by the alarmists, as shown by their new “Synthesis Report.” The independent scientists noticed it during the Wong-Fielding meeting.

The alarmists have abandoned air temperatures as a measure of global temperature, because the air temperature graphs are just too hard to argue with (like the second figure below, from the Skeptics Handbook). Instead they’ve switched to ocean temperatures, which they often disguise as ocean heat content (a huge number like 15×10²² Joules sounds much more scary than the warming it implies of 0.003° C/year).

All three pages of the Synthesis Report that deal with ‘evidence’ are about factors or trends that tell us nothing about whether or not the warming is due to carbon emissions. If God put the galaxy in a toaster, sea levels would rise, ocean heat content would increase, and ice would melt.

Notice how the graph above from the Synthesis Report that came out this month doesn’t include the last six years of data? Carrier pigeons from the remote worldwide [...]