JoNova

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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Do winds control the climate or does the ocean control the wind? Kininmonth on England 2014.

William Kininmonth essentially says that it’s possible that the trade winds have changed the climate, but asks why the winds themselves changed. Kininmonth explains that the ocean is much larger and holds much more heat than the atmosphere, and that the ocean drives the winds rather than the other way around. He points out again (as he did before here so eloquently in more detail) that what the paper describes is what we’ve known for a long time about the ENSO patterns and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO): when an El Nino Strikes, trade winds fall, ocean surface doesn’t turn over as much, the ocean surface is warmer, and the air stays hot above. When La Nina’s occur, trade winds speed up, the ocean stirs, and the cold deep water takes the heat out of the surface of the ocean and the air above.

His points are:

“Natural variability” is hardly a credible, useful scientific explanation. The IPCC said natural variability was small, so if it is larger now, then it was also larger during the rest of the 20th Century? This reduces the effect CO2 had earlier (and the effect it will have in future).

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The antidote to 150 million quadrillion joules

Oceans are critical to proving that humans are having an impact on the climate.

The big scary number of the week is 15 × 1022 (or 150 million quadrillion). It’s the number of Joules the ocean has apparently heated by since 1961. But convert it to degrees per year and suddenly the big scary 15 × 1022 becomes three thousands of one degree per year. Unmeasurably small. So realists everywhere, lets check the math, and get ready to spread the word. Everywhere you see the ocean heat capacity argument or graph, let people know the numbers just don’t add up.

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED SEE HERE FOR THE LATEST FIGURES.

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Funded arrogance

Professor Matthew England

The debate that Senator Steve Fielding started continues, this time between heavyweights in Australian climate science. Yet again, the side with the funding, the power, and the large claims is unable to answer basic polite science questions. The pompous arrogance is evident. Why not just answer the question?

Professor Matthew England’s research teams have received nearly $2.5 million in funding from the Australian government, much of it for studying oceans and climate change. So when we need good answers on the topic, he would be the man. If a school student asked for help, we might expect only a two line reply passing on a link. But when the question comes from one of the most informed climate scientists in the country, with 12 years as head of Australia’s National Climate Centre, and it’s about a graph at the centre of legislative negotiations, it’s inexcusable that the reply was vague, poorly reasoned and didn’t answer the question. All this, in a conversation that England himself started.

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