Cuckoo cocoon (Prat Watch #5.5)

by Gareth on April 16, 2012

Something stirred inside the carefully cultivated cocoon of ignorance at Richard Treadgold’s Climate “Conversation” blog, but I don’t think it was the butterfly of understanding preparing to inflate its wings. Something much more subterranean, I suspect. Needled by my post about said cocoon (namely, Treadgold’s insistence that “global warming has not happened for about 15 years, unless you take a micrometer to the thermometer“), RT issues a bold challenge: Well, where’s your evidence, Renowden?

He heads his post with a graph lifted from JunkScience (that well known purveyor of same), showing the HadCRUT3 monthly temperature series from 1978 to date. Amusingly, Treadgold makes an error before he even begins the meat of his diatribe. The caption he provides to the graph includes this:

The graph that proves no significant warming for about 15 years – since about 1996. Measured by satellite, not the unreliable hand of man.

The HadCRUT3 global series is most assuredly not a satellite generated temperature record. But we’ll let that pass, shall we, and take a quick canter through an answer to his challenge. I shall ignore Mark Twain’s advice just this once, in the hope that some light may shine in to the dark corners of his misunderstanding.

The first, and most important thing to do is to define what we mean by global warming. Here’s my stab at a definition: the accumulation of energy in the climate system caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We know that CO2 and other GHGs are accumulating in the atmosphere, and we know where they’re coming from: we did it. The energy comes from the sun, and when the earth is neither warming nor cooling, the amount reaching the earth’s surface is balanced by the amount being radiated back to space.

So how do we measure the accumulation of energy in the system? It’s obvious — more energy means (to a first approximation) that everything will be getting warmer. So let’s take a look at where most people live — on land.

Yup. Looks like we’re warming. Even — perhaps especially — over the last 15 years1.

But most of the surface of the planet is not land. Seventy percent is ocean, and water is a very big player in the climate system, in all sorts of ways. In fact, the oceans are absorbing most of the energy accumulating in the climate system:

Let’s look at that another way:

So when we agonise about wiggles in the surface temperature, we’re ignoring the big player — the oceans. But global average temperature is an important metric of warming, much better documented that ocean heat content, so agonise we must. I downloaded the HadCRUT3 monthly data, and the annual averages for HadCRUT3 and the new HadCRUT4 series2, and plotted 1990 to date on this graph (click to embiggen):


The graph says a lot, but perhaps the most obvious has to do with variability. Monthly global averages bounce up and down a lot. When you look at annual averages, you smooth the data quite a lot (because you’re taking 12 months and bunging them together), and this allows you to cut through the noise. Look at the monthly data (the grey line). It’s difficult to eyeball that and get a feel for any underlying trend. There’s too much wiggle going on. That is, of course, why Treadgold and his compatriots in climate denial like to present the data in that fashion: it confuses the issue.

The annual averages paint a less detailed, but more comprehensible picture. It’s pretty clear that warming has not stopped in either series, but most certainly not in HadCRUT4, where both 2005 and 2010 are warmer than 1998, the HadCRUT3 warmest year. In both series, it’s obvious that the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s3. The red line through the last 15 years of HadCRUT4 data shows quite clearly that the trend remains upwards.

But where do all these wiggles in the temperature come from? We saw earlier that the oceans are the biggest player in the global energy budget, and its well known that ocean cycles such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can have a marked effect on global average temperature. El Niño events push a lot of heat into the atmosphere and create warm months and years, while La Niña events do the reverse. The 1998 spike in the monthly HadCRUT3 is associated with one of the strongest El Niño events in the record. Other sources of up and down influences are the 11 year solar cycle (warming and cooling) and volcanoes (cooling).

Can you estimate the effects of oceans, the sun and volcanoes and remove them from the temperature record to leave a picture of the underlying trend? Yes, you can, and that’s exactly what Grant Foster and Stefan Rahmstorf did in their recent paper Global temperature evolution 1979–2010, and this animated graph shows what’s left when you clean up the data…

Undeniable warming — or warming that’s undeniable to people that live in the real world.

But what about some confirmation that warming hasn’t stopped? We saw earlier that about 0.2% of the energy imbalance is going into the Greenland ice sheet. This is what it’s doing:

Not much sign of a slowdown there: the ice is melting, and so are the world’s glaciers…

The bottom line: global warming cannot stop until the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere has peaked, and the climate system has had a chance to reach equilibrium — which will take 30 years as the oceans warm up4. Monthly and annual global average temperatures will continue to wiggle around the long term trend as ocean cycles move heat around, but barring major volcanic eruptions or the intervention of aliens, the accumulation of energy will continue until the planet is back in energy balance with space.

I leave you with one of Skeptical Science’s finest moments, which illustrates all too well the wishful thinking on display at Climate “Conversation”. Call me a realist…

[A very big tip of the hat to Skeptical Science's excellent graphics resource. Thanks John!]


  1. It’s interesting to note that Treadgold’s preferred temperature series is the one that shows least warming. What, did someone mention cherries? []
  2. The HadCRUT4 series is an improvement because it includes data from regions not covered in HadCRUT3, including many in high northern latitudes where warming has been most pronounced, and hence has less of a “cool bias” in comparison to GISS or NOAA, for example. []
  3. The 1990s average anomaly was 0.22ºC, the 2000s 0.38ºC. In global temperature terms, quite a jump, and one well in line with expectations. []
  4. For the “fast response” parts of the system. Sea level equilibrates over much longer time scales (we hope). []

{ 141 comments… read them below or add one }

noelfuller April 16, 2012 at 10:03 am

And of course Treadgold and co took care not to read the Berkley report even if their eyes actually saw it.

“I shall ignore Mark Twain’s advice just this once …”
Several remarks pertinent to the denialist attitude, from variuos books I read long ago, which stuck in my mind:
“There is no reply to ignorance”
“the only sin is ignorance”
“Obstinacy is stupidity”

Of course intelligent people can be stupified by ignorance.

Now for some light entertainment

I was told the other day that UFOs had been stealing huge quantities of water in Australia and stripping apple trees of fruit – the evidence of the latter: no ladder marks on the trees!!!!!

What can one say?


Australis April 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Where on earth did you get that graph on ocean heat content?

Everybody knows that the pre-2003 estimates of ocean heating were hopeless. That’s why JPL received the funding for the Argo floats program. Now that’s been operating for 7-8 years, what does it say?

Gareth April 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Data for the graph from Church et al 2011, graph courtesy of Skeptical Science (see link to graphic resource at bottom of post). Latest data for total ocean heat content (including more than just top 700m) shows continued warming.

Rob Taylor April 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Nice try, Gareth, but, having spent a couple of days in the sheltered denialist workshop at Climate Conversation, I hold little hope that any ray of light will pierce the gloom of those particular minds – learning, I fear, is just not their forte.

Rob Taylor April 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm

They do, however, do a good job of mindless repetition and cognitive dissonance, so there may be job opportunities for them back in the Medieval Warm Period, once, having disposed of global warming, they turn their great minds to the similarly trivial issue of time travel….

Gareth April 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm

It is remarkable, is it not, how they can dance on the head of a pin? Or how one crank’s opinion about ocean heating can trumpet an entire body of science…

Weak stuff.

Richard C2 April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

Speaking of “weak stuff”, let’s see some other “crank’s opinion” (assuming the “crank” you are referring to is me) re ocean heat, viz the IPCC:-

“Formal attribution studies now suggest that it is likely that anthropogenic forcing has contributed to the observed warming of the upper several hundred metres of the global ocean during the latter half of the 20th century {5.2, 9.5} ”

So it’s only a suggestion and it’s only likely. No mechanism is found at 5.2 and 9.5.

Weak stuff indeed.

The entire anthro ocean heating notion is based on hearsay (no support from the scientific literature which actually refutes it anyway) rendering your very colourful diagrams to academic interest only but of no value whatsoever in terms of anthropogenic global warming.

Thomas April 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm

It would appear RichardC that you either do not read the references or you do not comprehend them. For the rest of us the 9.5 reference in the IPCC documents will perhaps pose a lesser challenge:

It is a common tactic of the deniers (Mockton made it his hallmark) to throw references up without reading or comprehending them and then misrepresenting their content as they hope their audience will rarely go back to the source to find their misrepresentations.

For those who don’t have time to read the source, here I cite from it:

Since the TAR, evidence of climate change has accumulated within the ocean, both at regional and global scales (Chapter 5). The overall heat content in the World Ocean is estimated to have increased by 14.2 × 1022 J during the period 1961 to 2003 (Section 5.2.2). This overall increase has been superimposed on strong interannual and inter-decadal variations. The fact that the entire ocean, which is by far the system’s largest heat reservoir (Levitus et al., 2005; see also Figure 5.4) gained heat during the latter half of the 20th century is consistent with a net positive radiative forcing of the climate system. Late 20th-century ocean heat content changes were at least one order of magnitude larger than the increase in energy content of any other component of the Earth’s ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere system (Figure 5.4; Levitus et al., 2005).

This is a summary only. From one of the main supporting papers (Barnett et al. (2005)) we can cite:

Wide-ranging evidence shows that Earth has been warming in recent decades (1). Observations show that ∼84% of the total heating of the Earth system (oceans, atmosphere, continents, and cryosphere) over the last 40 years has gone into warming the oceans (2). Therefore, if one wishes to understand and explain this warming, the oceans are clearly the place to look.

So the warming of the oceans is an observed fact not just a possible conjecture.

Weak stuff? Unlikely.

Richard C2 April 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Thomas, I DID read the references but unlike you I see that nowhere is there an ANTHROPOGENIC ocean heating mechanism detailed or a citation of a paper that offers one.

We all know that the ocean has accumulated heat (duh) but the accumulation is from solar and geo sources, there is NO anthropogenic mechanism in the literature whereby the physical mechanism of GHGs imputing heat to the ocean is detailed.

Cue Rob Painting citing lightweight modeling papers along the lines of cool-skin parameterization but they don’t deal with the physics with any support from the literature either.

The experimental science excluding any GHG effect beyond negligible (H&Q73 and there have been subsequent corroborations) was presented to the US Senate in EPA submissions 2009 by Dr Roy Clark in ‘A Null Hypothesis For CO2′ (Google it) i.e. this should not be news to anyone and far from being a lone crank’s opinion there is a 30+ year old body of science that is to be referred to but climate science refuses to acknowledge it.

Mike Palin April 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

And what are those “geo sources”? Have you forgotten already? There are none of significance.

Richard C2 April 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

But heat sources they undeniably are Mike.

One is accounted for in the models (background geo radiation, global average 0.097 W.m2) the other (hydroventing (total energy quantity unknown), denied by warmers and like-warmers alike (e.g. Willis Eschenbach at WUWT) is not but occurs in climate-critical areas e.g. tropical East Pacific. I’ve already presented papers from the Geo science fraternity here but I’m not going to bother wasting my time again.

The fact remains that the MAJOR bulk heating agent of the upper ocean is solar radiation (source #1) and there’s also MINOR energy inputs from the ocean floor by background radiation and hydroventing in seismically active zones (sources #2 and #3).

See also my reply to noelfuller re model OHC overshoot, low-level cloud etc.

Richard C2 April 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm

“0.087 W.m2″ that should have been (eye strain)

Thomas April 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

What? You must be binging on some wired stuff man C2!

You suspect solar heating to be the cause of the ocean warming! Hurray, we agree 100%! There is certainly also a small flux of geo heating happening to from below I give you that too!

So far so good.

But you see the curx of the matter is that the oceans are trying like anything else on the planet to maintain a BALANCE of temperature by loosing heat through radiation and evaporation back to space. It is at that end that AGW comes in to play of cause. The forcing through CO2 and GW gases is at the heat loosing end of the game!
The oceans heat loss ability is directly affected (like the rest of the plant) through the increased green house effect. Plus the important evaporation heat loss mechanism is also affected as warmer atmosphere containing already more moisture will impact on that too. This is another significant matter for the ocean heat balance thing.

So as the outflow of heat is reduced the temperature must rise until – now at a higher temperature – the outflow of radiation and evaporation heat transfer balances the steady incoming fluxes. This my friend is the greenhouse effect.

Goodness man, you have been banging your head against the wall now for all to see all over the place for a very long time, yet you still seemingly fail to comprehend and take into account the most basic underlying cause and effect relationships in this entire discussion or the simple high school physics involved.

Mike Palin April 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

I have lost patience (but not my cool – yet) with your apparent inability to learn. The oceanic hydrothermal vents represent heat loss phenomena that are part of, not supplemental to, the global geothermal heat flux of 0.087 W/m2. You have been provided this information here (and at WUWT!) many, many times. Please stop being such an idiot (oops, lost my cool).

Thomas April 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm

…meanwhile mother nature carries on responding to our CO2 levels heading towards the doubling of their pre-industrial levels as predicted, rather unimpressed by the whole kwhaffle….
Treadgold will have a hard time living with their legacy…

noelfuller April 18, 2012 at 7:16 am

“Treadgold will have a hard time living with their legacy…”

comments like this turn my mind to speculations on reincarnation. grin
Now just where would their karma place them?

Rather a lot of people support some version of this notion, as I once informed a group of boys who thought they invented it. Nevertheless I have wondered if attitudes to dealing with global warming are noticeably affected by such doctrines.


bill April 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Clearly they should all be reborn as Polar Bears.

They could hardly complain; by their own reasoning things can only get better for them…

Any rejigged – with a considerable enhancement in the grace and dignity stakes, to my mind – as Golden Eagles could also be carefully monitored, in order ro determine how many met that incarnation’s eventual fate in wind-turbine blades, as opposed to losing out to, um, traffic, general habitat loss, general ecosystem disruption, climate-induced habitat loss, and climate-induced ecosystem disruption.

Thomas April 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Yep, the mind boggles at the options there.
History presents us with many examples of people who’s legacy is in complete shambles.
As far as reincarnation some options come to mind:
Poor farmers child, 2 miles from the coast in the Ganges Delta of India or Bangladesh would be reasonable pick for a front line seat of what is to unfold. Many other places would offer similar views of the spectacle of AGW unfolding….

Rob Taylor April 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

If the oceans are not warming, RC2, from whence comes the warm water that is melting underwater regions of the Antarctic ice shelves and Greenland glaciers?

Here is a review article that may be of interest to viewers:

Richard C2 April 19, 2012 at 7:35 am

If you peer intently at my comment Rob, you will discover that I DID NOT say “the oceans are not warming” and I repeat my response to Thomas:-

“We all know the oceans have accumulated heat (duh)”.

See the rest of my response to Thomas upthread for further enlightenment (when it comes out of moderation).

Rob Taylor April 19, 2012 at 8:44 am

Richard C2, please enlighten us as to how the ocean might identify the “solar” or “anthropogenic” source of incident energy quanta – a horde of Maxwell’s demon bookeepers, perhaps, or just a plenitude of straw men?

We all know that the ocean has accumulated heat (duh) but the accumulation is from solar and geo sources, there is NO anthropogenic mechanism in the literature whereby the physical mechanism of GHGs imputing heat to the ocean is detailed.

Richard C2 April 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

“…please enlighten us as to how the ocean might identify the “solar” or “anthropogenic” source of incident energy quanta” ?


Here’s the body of commercially driven copyrighted experimental science (going on 40 years now) that cutting-edge climate science has not so far deferred to:-

Optical Absorption of Water Compendium

Scroll down to “The data is surprisingly consistent. Plot a couple for yourself, or you can just look at (Segelstein) or (Hale and Querry) or (Wieliczka).”

Click on Hale and Querry

The EM spectrum is log scale and GHG(+clouds) DLR is conventionally 4 – 16 microns WL (IR-C) and includes anthropogenically emitted GHGs. The effective penetration depth of IR-C is about 10 microns (right scale) as compared to 10mm by IR-B in the solar spectrum at 1 micron WL.

Now look across to the left scale at absorption coefficients and you will see that IR-C absorbs 1000 times LESS relative to IR-B in the solar spectrum (1) because the coefficient is a DECREASING scale.

What this means is that the miniscule amount of energy deposited by IR-C is used up in latent heat of evaporation so the that it has a COOLING effect on the ocean surface (not warming). This effect, along with radiation and conduction, is why the surface is termed the “cool-skin” because this is where energy leaves the ocean surface.

So what will you defer to Rob? The IPCC’s hearsay? Or experimental science?

Rob Taylor April 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Why is it, RC2, that I strongly suspect that the hearsay is on your part?

Could it be that the research you cite took place at OHSU?

Whilst I am sure they train worthy doctors, nurses and dentists, climate science does not appear to be part of their curriculum….

Richard C2 April 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Close Rob but not quite. Oregon Medical Laser Centre (OMLC) is a collaboration between:-

# a hospital, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

# a research institute with post-doctoral training, the Oregon Graduate Institute (OGI), and

# the state medical school, Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU)

Thus probably the most appropriate venue for experimental science involving optics, spectroscopy and water. If you can cite similar relevant experiments conducted by climate science then feel free to present them here.

Noel points us to Peter Minnet’s Real Climate opinion piece but Peter describes an INSULATION effect, not a heating effect. If Peter ever decides to publish, the papers he will be forced to reference are those I have already cited (and others in that vein, many are listed in the compendium) e.g.

1973 Hale and Querry, Optical constants of water in the 200nm to 200µm wavelength region

1989 Wieliczka, Weng, and Querry, Wedge shaped cell for highly absorbent liquids: infrared optical constants of water.

Peter may lose interest though when he thinks about how much difference 10 microns LWIR penetration at trivial absorbency makes to conductivity over the roughly 1000 micron cool-skin layer. That and the fact that radiative and evaporative losses continue unabated

bill April 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I’m curious Richard.

Rather than wasting your time holding forth on the unlikelihood of an increase in ‘trace gases’ having any impact on ocean temperatures, or their ever overwhelming ‘solar-lunar-celestial forces,’ either here amongst the Warmists, or over at ‘skeptical’ Climate Conversation (with its very impressive Alexa toolbar ranking, let us never forget!) why don’t you actually publish something?

Or endeavour to persuade whoever’s written the papers you’re creatively interpreting to rejig them as a specific refutation of any possibility of CO2 induced warming of the oceans.

Because I’m inclined to suspect, doubtlessly churlishly, this is all just half-digested bafflegab churned up into a sciencey gish-gallop that does nothing of the sort, à la Monckton.*

However, I make no pretence to being qualified in such matters, and since the consequences of assuming AGW to be real are so dire, as you and your friends (hi, andy!) are constantly complaining, surely you must publish, or demand publication. Forthwith! In Peer Review! If Watts can do it, you can!

The mean-old Warmists will challenge you, of course, and the unkind will point out that while they have relevant qualifications you, like Wilde, have nothing to declare but your own Genius – and remarkable laser ability to hone in on That Which Has Been Overlooked – but Truth is on your side, eh? ;-)

(*This makes a change from andy’s low-content technique, I suppose; you know, blow as much smoke as you can and then demand that people accept that there really must be a fired somewhere! )

Thomas April 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Richard can waffle on as much as he wants about oceans absorbing solar radiation or geo heating…. he has simply overlooked (Oh dear!) that in order to balance their temperature the oceans must somehow loose the energy they absorb (otherwise soon no more oceans… ;-) ). And, surprise, the Greenhouse effect in a variety of ways makes that a just tad more tedious as he should well know by now, hence the rise in temperature (See my longer comment above). C2 waffles on about scientific papers but after years of letting blood here and elsewhere in the blogosphere he has not yet passed his Climate Science 101 paper…. a hoot really.

Dappledwater April 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Clearly this is not sinking in RC2, bafflegab impresses no one here. You are mangling pieces of science you do not understand properly.

Here are some pertinent points to consider (in no particular order):

1. Professor Minnett is one of the most published authors in the peer-reviewed literature on this subject. You, on the other hand, are a pseudonym on the internet.

2. Professor Minnett’s observations fit within the well-established and well-proven laws of physics. Your hypothesis does not, it defies physics.

3. Professor Minnett’s experiment demonstrates that cloudy intervals,
and the increased downward longwave (heat) radiation that accompanies it, causes greater warming of the ocean. This is a slap in the face for your hypothesis, but it is consistent with multiple lines of other scientific data in the ‘mainstream’.

4. Increased warming of the ocean in the last 3 decades (see figure 2 in Gareth’s post) is in stark contrast to the trend in solar radiation – which has been declining. This is another slap in the face for your hypothesis.

5. The strong correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature, as demonstrated in the ice cores over the last 650,000 years, is convincing evidence that CO2 does indeed exert control on the heating of the ocean. It is afterall where over 90% of the heat from global warming goes. Again your hypothesis fails this test too.

6. Geothermal heating is essentially constant – unless you dispute nuclear physics too. It is only a tiny proportion of the Earth’s total heat content and cannot explain the observations. It is however a vital component of the Thermohaline Circulation – the global conveyor which transports heat around the ocean. This is well-known to science.

7. The energy imbalance at the top-of-the-atmosphere indicates that more energy is coming into the ‘Earth System’ than is leaving it, i.e. the Earth is absorbing and trapping more energy from the sun than before, causing it to warm. It means that heat coming from the sun, not the ocean depths, is the source of warming. It also means global warming will continue until equilibrium is reached.

8. I’ve only touched upon some of them, but note how multiple lines of evidence and observations underpin mainstream climate science. It fits into a coherent and congruent framework, whereas as your hypotheses do not.

noelfuller April 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Without the cool skin effect the oceans, it appears from the evidence, are somewhat less likely to warm. A simplistic conclusion drawing on only part of the evidence while ignoring or denying the rest is misleading and perhaps this is why it keeps being brought up, counting on people not looking further.

Here is where anyone can get a good summation of the role of the cool skin:

Our very own Tangaroa was involved in researching this matter. So climate scientists have not ignored the matter.

“To conclude, it is perfectly physically consistent to expect that
increasing greenhouse gas driven warming will heat the oceans
– as indeed is being observed.”


Richard C2 April 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Noel, the global average temperature at the ocean surface is some 3 C WARMER than the atmosphere average at near surface. This means that generally, energy transfer is ocean => atm (and space) at the ocean/atm interface. Bulk ocean warming occurs by solar radiation BELOW the cool-skin layer so what you have said about the cool-skin is irrelevant.

Re the bulk heating by solar, the major variations of that occur due to variations in cloudiness levels and from what I can gather there is at least one new paper due out in the future that investigates (revisits, there’s already work in this area) how much ocean heating over the last 50 years or so can be attributed to cloud level changes.

As you may be aware, low-level cloud is not well parameterized and generated in the models and until that situation is resolved – probably by superparameterization modules (SP) – then OHC will never be modeled realistically. There are some SP models now but there were none in the AR4 ensemble.

Also in case you haven’t heard, the AO coupled models (GISS ModelE in particular) have been overshooting OHC for years which is both an embarrassment and a problem for the modeling fraternity. That problem will only be solved by deleting the lines of code that pass LWIR from the A module to the O module as a heating agent for the simple reason that there is no physical mechanism in the literature to support inclusion of that process in the first place.

That and fixing the low-level cloud problem, adding in PDO, AMO oscillations etc and the models may have a chance of mimicing upper ocean OHC realistically..

Rob Taylor April 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

So what is your point, RC2?

Please summarise it in one paragraph or link to a peer-reviewed paper.

AndrewH April 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I think the point is…The oceans aren’t warmed by GHG’s

The ocean’s are warmed by the sun and the atmosphere is warmed by the oceans.

You’re nearly there Richard….just need now to grasp that the atmosphere stays warmer because of the GHG’s.

Dappledwater April 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

RC2 has been down this road before Rob, his hypotheses make no sense therefore the past, present and future climate are ‘mystical and mysterious’ to him.

Now I happen to follow the scientific evidence – the oceans will continue to warm because we have burnt fossil fuels and increased the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The increased warming of the ‘cool skin’ layer will reduce the thermal conductivity in the layer, and the ocean will continue to warm (not monotonically mind you).

Who do you think will be proven right?

mustakissa April 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm

> adding in PDO, AMO oscillations etc

An impressive act, Richard… and all fake. Like the fake anesthesist here in Finland who was exposed when he was seen scratching his butt after scrubbing up.

You know, these unforced oscillations are emergent properties of the models. Nobody “adds them in” ;-)

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

mustakissa, nobody “adds them in” but that may be about to change:-

One of the key skeptical talking points has been that climate change over the past century can mostly be explained by the multidecadal ocean oscillations, particularly the PDO and AMO. This essay by Roy Spencer typifies this argument.

A new paper by DelSole et al (h/t Craig Loehle) identifies a significant component of unforced multidecadal variability in the recent acceleration of global warming, which they identify as the AMO. This is interesting because it comes from a mainstream climate modeling group. The mainstream is increasingly recognized the unforced multidecadal ocean oscillations as key elements in 20th century attribution and 21st century projections.

The two main ocean oscillations that get discussed are the AMO and PDO, although the NAO and NPGO also get mentioned and deserve consideration in this context. If you are unfamiliar with the multidecadal ocean oscillations, I just spotted a really interesting online textbook “Oceans and 21st Century Climate”, see this section.

We are currently in the warm phase of the AMO (since 1995) and the cool phase of the PDO (since about 2008), with an expectation of remaining in this regime for the next 1-2 decades. The last period that we saw this particular AMO-PDO combination was 1946-1964, a period that was characterized in the U.S. by abundant landfalling major hurricanes and drought in the southwest.

The issue of future projection then becomes to estimate the duration of the current regimes (e.g. warm AMO, cool PDO), particularly the changepoints. The changepoints can be estimated statistically, or decadal climate simulations could be used.

Ian Forrester April 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Richard C2, do you know what the “O” in AMO, PDO stands for? I didn’t think so otherwise you wouldn’t be quoting the nonsense that you have just regurgitated.

Here is a clue:

Physics .

an effect expressible as a quantity that repeatedly and regularly fluctuates above and below some mean value

Thus various “oscillations” cannot be responsible for global warming since they have zero trend whereas, as any intelligent i.e non-denier crank knows the global temperature is trending higher and higher.

If you do not understand this then just check with this paper by Foster and Rhamstorf where the ocean oscillations and other natural variables have been removed:

There is a good discussion of the paper here:

mustakissa April 22, 2012 at 2:23 am

Babble, Richard, babble… here we see Roy Spencer misrepresenting a legitimate paper (surprise!). You may want to actually read the paper:

To rub it in: nothing gets “added in”. You still don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Richard C2 April 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

mustakissa, the whole point of the DelSole paper (as Judith Curry points out) is about “adding in” a stochastic Internal Multidecadal Pattern (IMP). From the abstract:-

The warming and cooling of the IMP matches that of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and is of suffcient amplitude to explain the acceleration in warming during 1977-2008 as compared to 1946-1977, in spite of the forced component increasing at the same rate during these two periods

1977-2008 is the critical for AGW and DelSole et al (from a major modeling group) point out that the IMP being of “sufficient” amplitude to explain the warming should be “added in” and proceed to do. From the abstract again:-

In this paper, we expand the standard detection and attribution framework by including a pattern of internal variability among the forced response patterns being investigated.

“By including” has the same meaning as “adding in”, does it not?

noelfuller April 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm


You introduced the cool skin layer and dismiss it as irrelevant to the matter of ocean heat. If you had read the link I gave, you should have realised that the cool skin layer is the valve by which greenhouse gasses determine how much heat from insolation, primarily, escapes to the atmosphere. More GHGs means reduction of thermal gradient in the cool skin layer, hence more heat trapped in the sea.

Insolation has not increased, earth is not generating more heat, cloudiness does not generate heat, only traps some of it, but clouds only exist because CO2 primarily, traps enough heat to get water vapour into the atmosphere with its positive feedback. So the mechanism by which the ocean heats is known, observed, researched and the means by which humanity has and is creating this buildup of heat on the planet is the point you are trying to avoid although the fact of it was hypothesized 185 years ago, the experimental evidence first published about 152 years ago, the physics firmly established since, and supported by lots of observation.

So it appears to me you have no point.


Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

This is great progress. The following subscribe to the notion that the GHG action at the cool-skin layer is an INSULATION effect (not a heating effect, the sun does that) pertaining ONLY to conduction (radiation and evaporative losses continue unabated, the latter aided by LWIR):-

Rob Paonting (Dappledwater)
AndrewH (very vaguely)
Noel Fuller

But NOT ONE CITATION from any of you because none exist to support your position or the AO model process at the interface.

Weak stuff.

What you now have to PROVE #1 with citations, is that 10 micron penetration by LWIR with trivial absorption actually inhibits conductive energy loss from the 1000 micron cool-skin of the ocean surface because experimental science has already established the conditions (H&Q73, WW&Q89 etc).

Having done that and if successful in your proof (good luck with that) you then have to PROVE #2 with citations, that the effect is significant in the context of observed OHC buildup and taking into consideration radiative and evaporative losses that continue unabated, the the latter aided by LWIR (good luck with that too).

I look forward to your proofs and your movement from weak hearsay to strong scientifically based arguments (physics please) with citations.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

This citation may be of assistance:-

Cool-skin and warm-layer effects on sea surface temperature

CW Fairall, EF Bradley, JS Godfrey, GA Wick… – J. Geophys. Res, 1996

The basic physics of the cool-skin and LWIR insulation effect wrt radiation (not conduction in this case) was determined back in 1967 by Saunders (2. The Cool Skin. page 2 Fairall et al, Equation 2 Rnl = Rdown – Rup). i.e. the insulation effect of LWIR (Rdown) is factored in to the calculation of TOTAL COOLING AT THE INTERFACE (-Q).

You have to find similar wrt conduction.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Perhaps I can speed things up a bit.

1) The only component of downwelling LWIR (Rdown) to consider is the INCREMENTAL increase over the “anthropocene” era but Gero and Turner do not find conclusive evidence of an increase but instead find a decrease:-

“A study published online yesterday in The Journal of Climate, however, finds that contrary to the global warming theory, infrared ‘back-radiation’ from greenhouse gases has declined over the past 14 years in the US Southern Great Plains in winter, summer, and autumn. If the anthropogenic global warming theory was correct, the infrared ‘back-radiation’ should have instead increased year-round over the past 14 years along with the steady rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide”……”A trend analysis was applied to a 14-year time series of downwelling spectral infrared radiance observations from the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI)…The AERI data record demonstrates that the downwelling infrared radiance is decreasing over this 14-year time period in the winter, summer, and autumn seasons but is increasing in the spring; these trends are statistically significant and are primarily due to long-term change in the cloudiness above the site.” [P. Jonathan Gero and David D. Turner 2011: Journal of Climate]

You will have to find a citation with contrary evidence obviously.

2) Peter Minnet describes a change to the thermal gradient of the 1000 micron cool-skin but the only portion of that to consider is the 10 microns at the surface because the thermal properties of the water over the other 990 microns is unaffected (unchanged) therefore delivery of heat to the last 10 microns is unimpeded. The problem (apparently) occurs because delivery of heat over the last 10 microns to the “molecular sublayer” (Fairall et al 96) at the surface is inhibited (the “insulation” effect) so that heat loss by conduction is reduced (negligibly IMO)

The formula for heat transfer by conduction along with a handy calculator is here:-

Just fill in the parameters with and without changes due to Rdown and tell us the difference in Q.

Here’s the physical properties of sea water


Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

To clarify “Just fill in the parameters with and without changes due to Rdown and tell us the difference in Q.”

The change is only the INCREMENTAL change to Rdown due to anthropogenic GHG emissions.

That however seems to be problematic given Gero and Turner 2011.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Afterthought (throwing you guys a bone).

It could be that the temperature of the entire 10 micron layer is raised and in that case the parameters are:

Thot – temperature at the bottom of 990 micron layer
Tcold = temperature at the top of the 990 micron layer
Thickness d = 0.099 cm
Thermal conductivity k = 0.596 W m−1 K−1 (same as W/m°C) at 20 °C

So the only change (if there is one) is to Tcold.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm

For Thot fixed at 20 C

596 Q/t for Tcold 19 C
536.4 Q/t for Tcold 19.1 C

60.4 Q/t less heat loss

However, the increase in Tcold could be solar as Fairall 96 states on page 2 where the solar flux can remove the cool-skin at noon if Tcold is warmed to 20 C, then Q/t = 0 (no heat loss).

Not much room for a GHG insulation effect in that case because solar does it all.

Dappledwater April 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Clearly there is no point in attempting to engage RC2 in conversation to highlight his numerous errors, He has descended too far into his fantasy world that there s no way out for him, so this is for the reader who happens to find her/himself confronted with this mangled gish-gallop through the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

1. The experiment by Professor Minnett, where he demonstrates how greenhouse gases heat the ocean, looks at short-term changes in cloud cover over the ocean. Cloudy periods correspond to increased ocean warming because of increased downwelling heat radiation brought about by greater concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere- including water vapor.

2. Gero & Turner (2011) look at long-term observations over a land-based detector. Unlike the air above the the ocean, evaporation, and therefore water vapor, is limited by the availability of water in the soils. The trend in their paper is due to decreased water vapor content in the region.

3. Contrary to RC2′s assertions, a decline in greenhouse gas forcing from a decline in water vapor over the Great Plains (USA) is the cause of the reduction in downwelling heat radiation. In other words Gero & Turner’s results support both Professor Minnett’s work, and that of the mainstream scientific community.

4. Don’t trust a ‘skeptic’s” interpretation of a scientific paper – they invariably get it wrong.

Rob Taylor April 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Oh dear… let me guess, RC2; you have a perpetual-motion machine in your garage?

BTW, the burden of proof – of whatever your theory is – is upon you, not upon those who have actually performed experiments in the field and whose theory accords with known physics.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm

No Rob, the burden of proof is on you. I hold the NULL which does not have to be documented but I also hold a documented NULL too.

Do you hold a documented hypothesis for AGW Rob? I would be great see it if you do.

Gareth April 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

You have this exactly backwards. There exists a mountain of evidence confirming that increasing greenhouse gas levels are warming the planet, and will continue to warm the planet. To persuade the world not to act on that evidence, you require extraordinary proof – not just the assertions of someone on a blog somewhere. Picking needles out of a haystack doesn’t make the haystack go away.

As someone else suggested earlier, a good first step for you would be to write this stuff up and get it published in a reputable journal. If your ideas can pass the peer review of people who work in this field, then you may have the beginnings of a point. Until then, you have precisely nothing.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

See upthread Gareth. ‘A Null Hypothesis For CO2′ has already presented to US Senate EPA Submissions by Dr Roy Clark (an optics expert) in 2009. That document cites what I have cited in terms of LWIR penetration of water and it is those papers that ARE published in a reputable journal (H&Q73 about 1649 citations).

All that remains is to look at the thermodynamic heat transfer in the cool-skin using the conditions obtained by experiment (H&Q73, WW&Q89 etc). You can do it yourself using some assumptions for Thot (stays fixed) and Tcold (the one that changes) in the calculator I’ve provided. Use unit area (1) and d = 0.099cm or 0.1cm (1mm) to see the difference in heat loos Q from the bottom of the cool-skin to the top.


Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

No I don’t have backwards Gareth. Climate science would dearly like the burden of proof shifted from them in regard to AGW and Trenberth has proposed just that but that is not how science works.

The burden of proof has always been upon the proponent of the hypothesis.

And your “mountain of evidence” in respect to OHC is merely hearsay as I’ve pointed out upthread.

Gareth April 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I’m afraid you are the one who doesn’t understand how science works. Publish your “work”, or it has no value. If you can make an argument that impresses the people who study this stuff for a living, then you might have a point. Until you do that, you and your ideas have no force at all.

You are equally wrong about the balance of evidence. You are bouncing up and down on one end of a seesaw while a 900lb gorilla watches you from the other end. Move the gorilla, Richard, and I’ll start taking you seriously. Until then, you look like an autodidact clutching at the wrong end of a straw.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

The “work” is already published Gareth. I and anyone else including climate science just has to access it as Dr Clark did in his document. This is no different to what the IPCC does, they do not publish in Journals. The IPCC references the literature of their choice as Dr Clark has done (I don’t need to do it) and fleshes out their documents with commentary as Dr Clark has done.

To be consistent you must also demand that the IPCC publishes their “work” in a reputable Journal.

And if you wish to overturn the burden of proof convention will it just be in favour of climate science or will it apply to every other discipline that proposes hypotheses i.e. every hypothesis ever proposed will stand as proved unless disproved?

Gareth April 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Yes Richard, some of the papers you refer to have been published in the peer-reviewed literature, but your interpretation of them has not. Why might that be, I wonder?

The IPCC, by way of contrast, goes out of its way to review the entire field.

I’m not talking about “burden of proof”. I’m suggesting that you are ignoring the balance of evidence. That’s not a luxury most of us think it’s wise to afford.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Gareth, paraphrasing you “….[most] of the papers [the IPCC] refer to have been published in the peer-reviewed literature, but [their] interpretation of them has not.

The Citizen’s Audit led by Donna LaFramboise highlighted the deficiencies in the IPCC’s “gold standard” but apart from that there has not been an independent review of the reports.

You say “The IPCC, by way of contrast, goes out of its way to review the entire field”. Yes they “review” the entire field but they only adopt what suits them e.g. they ignored the work being done on model superparameterization (SP) and reports of it because that work was (and still is) producing negative feedbacks. Not the sort of information that the IPCC is keen to disseminate.

I’m glad you are not persisting with an overturn of the burden of proof. You say “I’m suggesting that you are ignoring the balance of evidence”. I’m not ignoring it at all. I am scrutinizing it and discovering the shortcomings (hearsay instead of hard science wrt OHC).

That shortcoming in conjunction with recent non-performance of GISS ModelE in particular to mimic upper OHC (overshooting) leads to the balance of evidence leaning in the direction of the argument that climate science (in the GISS case at least) has got the physics of the AO interface wrong and that fault has been coded into ModelE.

If you can come up with a model that is mimicing .upper OHC this century I would be very interested to hear about it.

Gareth April 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I’m sorry Richard, but you are way out in crankdom on this. Citing La Framboise on the IPCC is risible, and you are quite obviously in no position to judge where the balance of evidence lies.
I repeat: if you believe you have a case on the mechanism of ocean warming, prepare a paper and submit it to peer review. This does not mean turning up in the comments here, at SkS, Treadgold’s place or µWatts uttering bafflegab. It means preparing a case that can persuade the experts. If you can’t do that, then either find someone who can, or be prepared to be ignored.

bill April 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

The Citizen’s Audit led by Donna LaFramboise highlighted the deficiencies in the IPCC’s “gold standard” but apart from that there has not been an independent review of the reports.

1: irrelevant. 2: crankery. of the worst kind.

The IPCC is an ‘independent review of the reports’ – we know from previous experience of your friends from the NZCSC that they appear to have little idea of what the IPCC is, and how it functions. What you actually want is to hand the process over to unpublished contrarians, cranks and bloggers, such as the ‘source’ you’ve just cited.

Just a reminder – it’s our side of the argument that has 97% of actual Climate Scientists, NASA, NOAA, NIWA, The CSIRO, the Royal Society, the NAS, the AAAS etc.

You have the tiny remainder of scientists, Watts, Mockton, the Heartland Institute, and James bloody Delingpole.

And a whole bunch of people who apparently cannot explain themselves in clear English, because, I suspect, it would take away the magic…

bill April 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I’m afraid, Richard, that from the outside all I can see – in common with many others, I suspect – is one of the most perfect examples of Dunning-Kruger-style self-delusion I’ve witnessed.

And obsessive, at that.

One: please show, in clear English comprehensible to any intelligent reader, and without resort to the continual restatement of bafflegab snatches and citations or other ‘sciencey’ handwaving, how the mechanisms you’re discussing prove that it is impossible for the insulating effect of increased CO2 in the atmosphere to increase the temperatures of the oceans*.

Two: having done so, publish, or be damned.

*Think of this as the precis for your upcoming paper, and it’ll be handy summary for your Nobel Prize media release, too.

Dappledwater April 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm

James Hansen & co-authors indicate that the GISS model mixes heat too efficiently into the ocean. RC2 seems to be at pains to make it appear this is something ‘skeptics’ have discovered. Hardly – see Hansen (2011) Earth Energy Imbalance and Implications.

Again, RC2 doesn’t understand what this means. If correct, it means the climate will warm faster than climate models, such as GISS, predict. Not something to cheer about.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Rob the “GISS Divergence Problem” (Google it) is legendary.

Also see Pielke Snr’s ’2011 Update Of The Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions’

bill April 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Notice how there’s no actual response here to the – rather telling – point DW just made?

Just more linkspam and pavlovian Denioshibboleths.

Chumming may impress the chumps, but frankly I think we both know there’s a reason why you’re not going to take your little hypothesis up in any hard-science forum.

Myopic squinting at some fetishised detail in a painstaking edifice of baroque calculation while breathlessly proclaiming that you can see it all now and you’ve overturned The Academy proves absolutely nothing – many have in the past, and guess, what; 99.9 recurring% of them never do turn out to be bloody Galileo!

You can’t articulate your position – this is not generally regarded as a sign of having a good case, or even one that you believe in yourself – and you haven’t the courage to do anything with it anyway: RC2, ya got nothin’…

Thomas April 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm

What would a post called “Cuckoo-cocoon” be without a resident C2Cuckoo to exemplify the crux of the matter ‘par excellance’? :-)

Thomas April 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Richard: You do have everything backwards indeed.

May I summarize all the waffle you are putting forward by paraphrasing your argument: “The oceans can’t be warmed by AGW processes because they are in many places warmer than the atmosphere, therefore no AGW effect on ocean heat” Is this what you are trying to tell us?

Think again. Look up this:

Its some basic physics about the radiation flux balance between two systems. The fact that the ocean is warmer than the atmosphere is irrelevant. What matters is the difference in temperature between the atmospheric layers and the ocean surface. A warming atmosphere – even if it is colder than the ocean – causes the net flux from the oceans to decrease until the oceans warm up to make up the difference.

There have been several other contrarians on the net over the years claiming that a warming atmosphere can’t warm the surface as long as the surface is warmer than the atmosphere. All these people – and I suspect you too – simply forget that what counts is the net energy flux between the atmosphere and the oceans. Any surface emits IR photons, no matter how cold it is. What counts is the balance between the incoming and the outgoing radiation. The incoming IR radiation goes up as the atmosphere warms, hence the oceans will warm up to re-balance the flux.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Thomas are you suggesting that you now DON’T subscribe to Minnet’s cool-skin insulation effect because you are bringing the atmosphere back into play?

Assuming you’ve given up on the Minnet proposition I’ll address your new position (or former position if you never really went along with Minnet in the first place).

You say “The oceans can’t be warmed by AGW processes because they are in many places warmer than the atmosphere, therefore no AGW effect on ocean heat” Is this what you are trying to tell us?” No I am saying “The oceans can’t be warmed by AGW processes because LWIR is an ineffective heating agent (see citations re penetration) and in fact LWIR actually aids HEAT LOSS from the surface by latent heat of evaporatio (Hl).

You say “The fact that the ocean is warmer than the atmosphere is irrelevant”. This is rubbish The 3 C difference is an overall global average but there are times when the atmosphere is warmer than the ocean surface which effects Hs (sensible heat, the gradient changes to atm => ocean)). Hl (latent heat of evaporation) will increase i.e. the relative temperatures are of utmost relevancy.

You say “….causes the net flux from the oceans to decrease”.I’ve cited Gero and Turner 2011 that finds by observation over land Rdown DECREASING. That means the net flux was INCREASING over the period of that study. Where’s you citation from empirical science to support your statement that the net flux is decreasing over the ocean in the anthropocene era?

How much of that decrease (if there actually is one) can be attributed to the incremental increase in anthropogenic GHGs and what study is there to cite?

I’ve already covered the net Rnl = Rdown – Rup here:- citing Saunders 67 and Fairall et al 98.

Incremental anthro emissions should increase Rdown and therefore Rnl decreases but an Rdown increase must be proved by observations. It has not been the case over land (G&T2011).

But Rnl is only part of the basic total cooling at the interface equation:-

-Q = Rnl – Hs – Hl

The other 2 terms being Hs (sensible heat) and Hl (latent heat of evaporation) i.e. heat loss at the surface is MORE than just a radiative mechanism.

Richard C2 April 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Thomas the other problem you have is that solar SWR overwhelms GHG DLR in Rdown.during the day.

Thomas April 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Sorry Richard, no matter how many straw man pseudo scientific claptrap you are binging up the truth is: if you alter the optical properties of the atmosphere, though which any and all outgoing heat radiation must makes its way, you will affect everything underneath it no matter what local exchange processes may be happening at or near ground level.

Earth is in balance. The sum of the incoming energy fluxes equals the sum of the outgoing fluxes. If you add “resistance” to that flux due to AGW gasses then the same flux as before will happen at a higher temperature.

End of discussion.

Rob Taylor April 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Richard, we all have a pretty good idea by now of exactly what it is that you are holding…

I hold the NULL which does not have to be documented but I also hold a documented NULL too.

noelfuller April 21, 2012 at 6:38 am

“this is for the reader who happens to find her/himself confronted with this mangled gish-gallop through the peer-reviewed scientific literature.”

cheers :)))


Dappledwater April 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

No worries bro. Also note Levitus (2012) – World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0-2000), 1955-2010 which has just been published. The key points being:

- A strong positive linear trend in exists in world ocean heat contentsince 1955

-One third of the observed warming occurs in the 700-2000 m layer of the ocean

- the warming can only be explained by the increase in atmospheric GHGs

Richard C2 April 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

“the warming can only be explained by the increase in atmospheric GHGs”

There’s that hearsay again.

bill April 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Hearsay: noun
unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one’s direct knowledge: I pay no attention to hearsay.
an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor: a malicious hearsay.

Richard also routinely mangles the meaning of English words!

Unless we are to indulge in the utter nihilism of believing that all information that is not obtained as a result of one’s own direct empirical observation is ‘hearsay’ – in which case RC2′s own knowledge of the world is as brutally truncated as anyone else’s – to maintain that all the reams of painstaking work assembled by the IPCC and all of the physics/chemistry since Arrhenius amounts to ‘hearsay’ is, simply, daft.

Dappledwater April 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

No RC2 that’s what the scientific evidence tells us.

- satellite observations show an energy imbalance, i.e more heat is being trapped in Earth’s atmosphere than is being lost to space. This conclusively rules out geothermal heating as the warming source. As does the top-to-bottom warming profile in the ocean.

- The trend in solar radiation cannot explain this ocean warming in the three decades because it has been going in the wrong direction. The ocean has warmed while solar radiation has declined.

- Only the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases explains these observations.

Richard C2 April 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

Rob. Except that experimental science rules out the GHG/ocean link going any further than the upper bounds of the cool-skin and in fact aids ocean cooling by evaporation at the surface. I hope you are not now suggesting that the link bypasses the AO interface.

I see Thomas has abandoned an insulation effect in favour of some kind of teleconnection after I showed that the sun is the overwhelming insulator during the day, even to the extent of removing the cool-skin completely around noon. Are you following suit?

You say “The trend in solar radiation cannot explain this ocean warming in the three decades” It is not the trend that matters, it is the modulation of it that does i.e. cloudiness at all levels, particularly at low level. Both investigative climate science and modeling still have a long way to go on cloudiness. Any model not implementing cloud SP (all of the AR4 ensemble) is in danger of being relegated to obscurity.

Basically, an AGHG effect is an atmosphere-only phenomenon but the atmosphere compensates with CO2 varying between about 250 – 2500 ppm over the last 350m years or so. Given work place standards set a limit of 10000 ppm for an 8-hour period and that a meeting room of 10 people can reach that level we’re in more danger by going to meetings than from AGW.

Ian Forrester April 22, 2012 at 11:13 am

RichardC2 spouts nonsense once again:

Given work place standards set a limit of 10000 ppm for an 8-hour period and that a meeting room of 10 people can reach that level we’re in more danger by going to meetings than from AGW.

For a start OSHA standard is 5,000 ppm for 8 hours.

Secondly, you are just making up numbers when you say that a meeting room with 10 people will reach levels of 10,000 ppm. Measured CO2 concentrations in rooms full of people range from 700 to just over 1,500 ppm (

Do you actually read any scientific publications or are you just happy to make up numbers and quote from dishonest sites? People, you should disregard anything this imbecile says since he is either deliberately lying, making up numbers or quoting from dishonest denier sites.

bill April 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Also, WTF? Seriously ‘we’re in more danger by going to meetings than from AGW’.

In danger of what?

This isn’t a debate about whether we’ll all ending up feeling sleepy from inhaling ‘stale’ air!

I wish it was.

At least we can now cobble together an actual hypothesis:

Basically, an AGHG effect is an atmosphere-only phenomenon…experimental science rules out the GHG/ocean link going any further than the upper bounds of the cool-skin and in fact aids ocean cooling by evaporation at the surface.


Are you going to attempt to take up this intriguing claim in any venue where it runs the risk of being subjected to serious scrutiny by those qualified to shoot it down in flames? (I’m not casting aspersions on any of the locals here, mind; I think they’ll understand I’m trying to prove a point here ;-) )

If the stitched-up Peer Review Posse and the nasty WarmoMarxists generally are all agin’ ya, why not try E&E? They seem fairly, um, relaxed! Or get Tony Watts to publish it. Please! I intend to buy popcorn!…

Dappledwater April 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm

RC2, once again you do not understand the papers you were steered towards some months back. Readers note:

RC2 cited Fairall (1996) earlier in this thread, but does not understand it. The authors make it explicit that molecular conduction in the key player in the ‘cool skin’ layer. Page two of the paper states:

the temperature gradient at the interface (air/sea) is defined by molecular thermal conductive processes

Note that the authors of that paper contradict RC2′s claim above. There is no way around this, heat has to pass through the conductive layer.

after I showed that the sun is the overwhelming insulator during the day, even to the extent of removing the cool-skin completely around noon

Again, you are not grasping how this works. The ‘cool skin’ momentarily breaks down under various conditions, such a rainfall and wave action, but is instantly renewed. The only change to these large-scale variations is that the conduction of heat through the layer is weakened. This traps more heat in the ocean over time because the greenhouse gas forcing is persistent – carbon dioxide, in particular, has an atmospheric lifetime measured in centuries.

This is why global temperatures track atmospheric CO2 as observed in the ice cores over the last 650- 800,000 years or so.

it is the modulation of it that does i.e. cloudiness at all levels, particularly at low level.

Over the period from the 1960′s to late 1980′s,(Wild [2009]) and from 2000-2007 Hatzianastassiou [2011)] the Earth experienced global dimming. This means less solar radiation reached the Earth’s surface due to aerosols, fine reflective particles suspended in the atmosphere. Therefore 2/3′s of the last 3 decades saw substantial reduction in solar heating of the ocean, yet the oceans continued to warm.

This could not have happened unless something was causing the oceans to continue to accumulate heat. That something is, of course, the greenhouse gas forcing of the ‘cool skin’ layer of the ocean.

Richard C2 April 23, 2012 at 2:43 am

Rob thank you for replying with substance and a consistent argument re your position that the anthropogenic ocean heating mechanism is an insulation effect. Firstly I note that the IPCC makes no mention of that mechanism.

Re Fairall et al 96 you say:-

The authors make it explicit that molecular conduction in the key player in the ‘cool skin’ layer

No they don’t. Conduction (Hs) is but one of the combined cool-skin cooling terms in Equation 2 (-Q = Rnl – Hs – Hl), the other two being net LW radiation (Rnl) and evaporation (Hl) and Hl is by far the greater of Hs and Hl (see Table 5 page 12). Note too that Fairall is cognisant of the limited penetration depth of LWIR found by H&Q73 when they say “(the longwave penetration depth is about 10μm)” so that alteration to the 1000 micron cool-skin thermal gradient by LW is minor but accounted for by the temperature profile of the cool-skin in Equation 3. At this point, consideration of the cool-skin thermal gradient ends.

In Equation 4 the CHANGE in AVERAGE cool-skin temperature is computed as a result of the flow of heat and so on through the other two factors (shear-generated turbulence and convectively-generated turbulence) and equations to arrive at a COARE model temperature correction for the ENTIRE cool-skin layer which is about 0.3 C (Figure 9 page 12) of which thermal gradient is only one of three factors. .

The cool-skin is not always “instantly renewed” and Fairall describes on page 4 paragraph 2 the conditions when the cool-skin is non-existent especially around noon (ocean warming increases by about 11 W.m2, page 11)).

Please note that when Fairall state (e.g. in the abstract or 4.2. page 10) heat supplied by the “atmosphere” that that includes solar SW. Refer 4.2 Equation 32 page 10:-

Total heat supplied by the atmosphere Htot = Rns + Rnl – Hs – Hl

Now refer to Table 5 page 12. The significant values are Rns and Hl. Hs (conduction) is a bit player. Your contention that an increase to net LW Rnl due to increasing GHG LWIR Rdown makes a difference to Htot is belied by the values of Rnl under the different conditions, From Table 5:-

-57.1 cool-skin and warm layer
-58.7 no cool-skin

Only a 1.6 W.m2 increase in ocean heating for LW Rdown with a cool-skin in place (anthro GHGs being a minor fraction of that effect) compared to none in place, therefore a small anthro increment to LW Rdown with a cool-skin in place will be a SMALL FRACTION of that 1.6 W.m2 i.e. a miniscule “forcing”.

Dappledwater April 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm

The authors make it explicit that molecular conduction in the key player in the ‘cool skin’ layer

RC2 – “No they don’t

Oh yes they do. Note the excerpt I pasted above:

“the temperature gradient at the interface (air/sea) is defined by molecular thermal conductive processes”

That is the authors wording not mine. But it should also be obvious by looking at the terms in equation 3.

And this passage makes it very explicit:

“For an average over 70 days sampled during COARE, the cool skin increases the average atmospheric heat input into the ocean by about 11 W/m2 (watts per metre), the warm layer decreases it by about 4 W/m2 (but the effect can be 50 W/m2 at midday).”

The cool-skin is not always “instantly renewed”

Wrong again. Even Fairall state:

“The cool skin is of the order of 0.1-0.5K and is almost always present”

When the conditions which dissipate the cool-skin layer are removed, the cool skin layer is instantly renewed. Physics dictates this. This persistence is how the cool-skin layer has such an affect on ocean temperature.

Richard C2 April 24, 2012 at 10:25 am

Rob, the line you keep quoting is in the context of Hs but can you not see that Hs is insignificant compared to Hl? Table 5 page 12 has the values.

Of course the temperature gradient is defined by the molecular sublayer but they are describing the situation within Hs only. That does not make Hs more significant than Hl or Rnl as the Table 5 values show.

And again your next quote is in the context of ALL the factors that make up the cool-skin of which Hs and the thermal gradient is but one and of lessor significance to Hl and Rnl. Note that when the cool-skin is not present at midday the warm layer decreases heat loss by 50 W/m2.

In your third point you misconstrue Fairall’s “almost”. Go to page 4 paragraph 2 for the conditions when the cool-skin is non-existent.

At this point we can probably agree to disagree amicably but if you do come across a paper that has studied downwelling LWIR over the ocean for an extended length of time and any anthro component identified I would be keen to see it (post it up here or at SkS).

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm

RC2 – it’s not only me and the scientific community at large you disagree with, it’s Fairall (1996), the paper you cite! Again note what they write:

“For an average over 70 days sampled during COARE, the cool skin increases the average atmospheric heat input into the ocean by about 11 W/m2 (watts per metre), the warm layer decreases it by about 4 W/m2 (but the effect can be 50 W/m2 at midday).”

You have it completely back-to-front.

In almost all circumstances heat flows from the (warmer) ocean to the (cooler) air above. The ‘cool skin layer’ exists because the net loss of heat from the layer (in the form of evaporation and radiation) is greater than the input of energy into the layer. In low wind speeds in the tropics, near midday, solar energy being absorbed by the ocean surface is at its most intense. The absorption of sunlight by the skin layer causes it to warm and it breaks down the ‘cool skin’, because the net heat loss is smaller than the net gain of heat, i.e. the ‘cool skin’ is now a physical impossibility – the skin is now warmer than the layers below, and is now a ‘warm skin’ in contact with the atmosphere.

Near noon the upper ‘warm’ layers of the became ‘stratified’ – they become so buoyant they are no longer able to mix heat efficiently down to deeper layers, and so form stable layers. Cutting off the turbulence, and capacity to mix heat into deeper layers, along with the loss of the ‘cool skin’, means the ‘warm layer’ loses more heat to the atmosphere. This phenomenon is especially strong at midday – as the authors note.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I don’t disagree with Fairall, I agree with it especially the existence/non-existence of the cool-skin.

I disagree with your contention that sensible heat WITHIN the cool-skin is significant when clearly it is not.

Richard C2 April 23, 2012 at 3:25 am

Rob re cloudiness, this paper:-

‘Significant decreasing cloud cover during 1954–2005 due to more clear-sky days and less overcast days in China and its relation to aerosol’

X. Xia 2012

From summary:-

A homogeneous cloud cover dataset in China was used to study long-term changes in cloud cover and frequencies of cloud cover categories. A simple yet effective statistical method was applied to study quantitative contributions of graded cloud cover frequency to the overall trend in cloud cover. The relationship between AOD and cloud cover trend was analyzed to discuss aerosol effects on decadal trend of cloud cover. Major conclusions follow.

Significant decline in cloud cover with trend of −1.6% per decade during 1954–2005 was derived. Occurrences of clear sky (cloud cover 80 %) were observed to increase and decline by 2.2 days per decade and 3.3 days per decade, respectively. Approximately 80% of overall trend of cloud cover is attributable to an increase in clear-sky days and a decline in overcast days.

OK China is not the world but a −1.6% per decade change in cloud cover during 1954–2005 is a forcing. As Spencer points out:-

“The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling.”

bill April 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

No, Richard, China isn’t the world, is it? Therefore throwing up Spencer’s little speculation is pure handwaving.

And in the context of an increased GHG forcing in the atmosphere – which you don’t deny, you just deny that this can affect the temperature of the oceans – the whole notion of pristine ‘natural’ (and remarkably coinicidental) fluctuations in circulation patterns becomes somewhat problematic, no?

Also aerosols over China as a ‘natural’ fluctuation? Puhleese!

Again, you have nothing but ‘but’, epic leaps to ‘if’, and an increasingly tenuous range of ‘perhaps’, all stated with the most overbearing confidence, and heroically shorn of uncertainty.

On which note: need I point out that, consistent with your entire tribe, you apparently have no doubt whatsovever about findings that you believe bolster your arguments – in fact, you’re so pleased with them you’re happy to spread them across the entire globe! – and yet quibble endlessly with the vastly larger array of confirmed and reconfirmed science that does not please you.

Thomas April 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

This reminds me once more of the quote from the good old Alzhasen (Islamic scientist Ibn al-Haytham Alhazen, 965–1039) who’s definition of Science is remarkably spot on, especially these days:

“Truth is sought for its own sake. And those who are engaged upon the quest for anything for its own sake are not interested in other things.

RichardC2 is not interested in the truth. He is only interested in “proving” his ideology. Same story with the rest of his camp.”

The ideological baggage of the libertarian mind is a heavy burden indeed.

Dappledwater April 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

No, China is not the world and yes parts of China do show a global brightening trend between 2000-2007 as observed by Hatzianastassiou (2011), however the global trend is one of dimming.

Richard C2 April 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

The Xia study period was 50 contigious years (1954–2005).

You’ve cited 2 discontiguous periods, the first 20 years, the second 10.

You CANNOT cite a per decade trend from that information for the last 50 years.

Richard C2 April 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

I terms of ocean heat, global dimming is not helpful unless the ocean component is isolated.

Also in terms of ocean heat the conclusion of Levitus Et Al 2012 (echoed by Rob) that “The warming can only be explained by the increase in atmospheric GHGs” is premature.

The current status of the scientific sequence until studies of ocean-specific downwelling LWIR, cloudiness, albedo etc are done is:-

Observation => hypothesis => no science yet => no conclusion.

Instead Levitas makes a premature conclusion from observation so that their sequence is:

Observation => hypothesis => conclusion => no science yet.

bill April 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Students of technique will appreciate the Ignore / Obfuscate strategy in play here.

First, note the complete lack of acknowledgement of the obvious point here – that China isn’t the world, and isn’t representative of the world, so global extrapolation is consequently ridiculous, and therefore hand-waving deployment of Spencer’s un-evidenced speculation (and that’s what it is) is merely a method of further clouding debate.

There is no response because RC2 has no answer to it. How could he?

So he must resort to The Method: tangential quibbling combined with the bafflegab Gish-Gallop technique so beloved of Monckton. Sprinkling in selective Zen nihilism, another characteristic behaviour (‘It is impossible to truly comprehend anything, therefore we must not know and cannot act’)

But he knows, of course, with absolute certainty that the conclusions of others are ‘premature’ and there is ‘no science’! The fact that he and his whole tribe cannot see the inherent irony in this speaks volumes.

Do you really imagine that you’re achieving anything here other than demonstrating, over and over, this method for us all, Richard?

Thomas April 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm

RichardC2: You do not get it, don’t you? This entire greenhouse effect thing seems to be well above your head.

Here you are pontificating haplessly about studies you most likely have no real comprehension off while you simply ignore the basic facts of the Greenhouse effect.
If you put a layer between the ground, ocean or otherwise, which wants to cool by radiating IR to space, a layer that absorbs and then re-radiates IR back to the ground, you will get reduced heat loss of the ground until the ground warms up enough to have once again the same total radiative heat loss, despite the layer in-between.
Walk into any green house at night and experience the difference.

This is what this whole shebang is about my friend, and the oceans are in no way exempt from this simple truth no matter how excited you get about boundary layers and all this stuff, which has nothing at all to do with the actual final exchange of energy between the ocean and space through the atmosphere.

Now stop your silly efforts to confuse yourself any further by mulling over papers that are beyond your comprehension as you clearly overlook the most basic facts of the entire matter of AGW.

Richard C2 April 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Thomas, here’s a question just for you:-

Why, if “the oceans are in no way exempt from this simple truth”, didn’t the oceans warm in the slightest from about 1978 to 1990, while CO2 was rising and the surface temperature was increasing?

See plot Levitus 2012 0 – 2000m and 700 – 2000m OHC

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm

RC2 – this bit you wrote is word salad:

I terms of ocean heat, global dimming is not helpful unless the ocean component is isolated“.

Reducing the amount of solar radiation entering the ocean will reduce the amount of ocean warming. The trend in ocean temperatures in the last 3 decades follows the trend of global brightening/dimming. This is not difficult to comprehend.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

“The trend in ocean temperatures in the last 3 decades follows the trend of global brightening/dimming”

Reference to a plot would be good as would your reasons for brightening/dimming. I suspect though that you will not be subscribing to Svensmark’s reasons even though sulphate pollution from either industrial emissions or other sources such as volcanoes could not have been responsible for the 1940 – 1980 dimming because it was too localized:-

The 1940-80 dip in temperature was assumed to be due to the dimming of sunlight falling on the earth’s surface. Industrial pollution of the atmosphere with sulphate aerosols mostly from coal burning was widely believed to be the culprit and the dimming was held to have stopped due to the operation of the Clean Air Act in the USA as well as European Union efforts to combat acid rain and reduce sulphur emissions.

These pollution control measures then apparently led to a clearer atmosphere and a resumption of global warming. It is a key aspect of the modellers’ claim to be able to reproduce the past pattern of temperature fluctuation by including this component in their model of the atmosphere.

Peter Taylor points out in Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory; (Clairview Books, Forest Row, 2009, £14.99, 400 pages, ISBN 978-1-905570-19-5), that “…the global dimming thesis was often quoted in respected peer-reviewed journals, but with no reference to the data that would support the conclusion that global-scale industrial emissions had followed the necessary pattern. As with many modelling studies, the input data were not readily available in the literature and the process of incorporation into models was not transparent.”

Scientific opinion has however shifted in the last few years. It is now clear that sulphate pollution from either industrial emissions or other sources such as volcanoes could not have been responsible for the dimming because it was too localized.

The most recent reviews of satellite data show that changes in natural aerosols and cloud patterns are implicated and that attributing the source of ‘global dimming’ to industrial aerosols was led by an artefact of measurement protocols that were biased to land and certain polluted regions of the northern hemisphere.

Much of that “shift” is to Svensmark’s explanation that has now morphed into his latest blockbuster.

At that link is a plot showing declining low-level cloud cover after 1992 i.e.more ocean warming as you seem to agree.

Thomas April 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm

RichardC2, you said: “Why, if “the oceans are in no way exempt from this simple truth”, didn’t the oceans warm in the slightest from about 1978 to 1990, while CO2 was rising and the surface temperature was increasing?

Richard: the graph you linked to shows a warming of about 24×10^22 Joules over the period in the graph. Nobody can deny that the trend is stark and positive.

Cherry picking decadal subsets of a long term temperature series of the oceans is just as silly as gloating that global warming “stopped” in the various periods in the atmospheric record where the overlay of natural fluctuations with the underlying trend causes temporal plateaus or even recesses:

You will see that the variations in the ocean heat content are far less than the atmospheric content as the oceans naturally “integrate” over a lot of fluctuations.

You are caught in the classing dilemma of cognitive dissonance as the reality around you displays data that are hard to reconcile with your deeply held denial of what is happening to our world thanks to our civilizations footprint.

The oceans currents are a massive heat redistribution system of our climate, constantly dragging heat from the tropics to the polar regions. Also the graphs you cite only cover the top 2000m and there is a lot more ocean than that…. the average depth is around 4300m.
The fact that the heat content of the deeper ocean > 700 went up even steeper than the top (think convection currents) might give you some idea.

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

RC2 – “I don’t disagree with Fairall, I agree with it especially the existence/non-existence of the cool-skin.”

Fairall find that the cool-skin layer leads to ocean warming – they state so in the abstract, which I have highlighted twice now. You have claimed otherwise.

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm

RC2 – “Peter Taylor points out in Chill……

Just me, but I prefer to stick to what the actual literature has to say on a given topic, not someone’s opinion.

Hatzianastassiou (2011) is one of the latest research papers on global dimming. Using a combination of satellite retrievals, ground-based detectors, and modelling, they demonstrate substantial global dimming over the period 2000-2007, in stark contrast the the global brightening trend in the 1990′s.

This is consistent with the sea level trend, and its thermal expansion component, over the two last decades (at least).

Again, this is consistent with the trend in ocean heat

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Give it a rest Rob, I have NEVER said the cool-skin (not an AGW mechanism in itself, it is simply where the surface loses heat) does not lead to ocean warming. Fairall Table 5 shows Htot halving with a cool-skin but your contention though is that minor changes to the least significant factor (sensible heat, conduction) WITHIN the cool-skin makes the over-riding difference to Htot when Fairall Table 5 shows otherwise.

You are battling 2 internal contradictions:-

Contradiction #1: Your contention that conduction WITHIN the cool-skin significantly INCREASES ocean warming contradicts the core tenet of AGW that evaporation will increase which therefore DECREASES ocean warming.

Contradiction #2: Fairall Table 5 values contradict your contention that conduction is significant when clearly evaporation and radiation are the significant factors

You are floundering in a sea of contradiction Rob.

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 6:26 pm

RC2 – “You are floundering in a sea of contradiction…

Tee hee. Nice try, but oh the irony!

Fairall (1996) state that the cool skin layer heats the ocean, you claimed otherwise.

Your contention that conduction WITHIN the cool-skin significantly INCREASES ocean warming contradicts the core tenet of AGW that evaporation will increase which therefore DECREASES ocean warming”.

It’s not my contention that the ‘cool skin’ heats the ocean, that dates back to scientific work in the 1950′s & 60′s. It has been re-affirmed in experiments and observations as recently as 2010 and, quite obviously, in the experiment carried out by Professor Minnett.

Also, where did you get this weird ‘core tenet’ idea from? Evaporation from the ocean will still increase as the oceans continue to warm.

RC2 – “Fairall Table 5 values contradict your contention

Really? The heat flux from the ocean is greater when there is no ‘cool skin’ that’s what Table 5 indicates. You’ve got it backwards again.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Contradiction #3: The following paper contradicts the contention that the downwelling flux has increased the required 6.1 W/m2 in heat flux from the Sun and ‘greenhouse gases’ to the oceans to maintain a linear trend in annual SST. Instead finding the heat flux from those sources decreased -3 W/m2.

Journal of Climate 2012 ; e-View

On the Observed Trends and Changes in Global Sea Surface Temperature and Air-Sea Heat Fluxes (1984-2006)

W. G. Large* and S. G. Yeager

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

From the abstract:-

Slab Ocean Models (SOMs) assume that ocean heating processes do not change from year to year, so that a constant annual heat flux would maintain a linear trend in annual SST. However, the necessary 6.1 W/m2 increase is not found in the downwelling longwave and shortwave fluxes, which combined show a -3 W/m2 decrease.

They rule out anthropogenic forcing as the dominate heat flux in their conclusion:

A conclusion is that natural variability, rather than long term climate change, dominant the SST and heat flux changes over this 23 year period.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm

May I remind you Rob, that Svensmark 2012 is “actual literature” too.

Question is: will the IPCC regard it as such?

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 8:59 pm

RC2 – climate models cannot simulate the dynamics of the ‘cool skin’ layer – it is waaaay too small. It has to be parameterized in some way, although I have idea how they accomplish this. It’s an area I always meant to research but never got around to.

Interesting abstract though, might get a hold of a copy.

Rob Taylor April 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

Not wishing to be unkind, RC2, but I see three possibilities:

1. Your conscious strategy is to engender as much Gish-galloping confusion as you can, thereby wasting the time of those who understand these issues far better than you do, when they try to put the record straight;

2. You suffer from an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder;

3. Both of the above…

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

RC2 – “Why, if “the oceans are in no way exempt from this simple truth”, didn’t the oceans warm in the slightest from about 1978 to 1990, while CO2 was rising and the surface temperature was increasing?”

Forget the discussion about global dimming above? Note how climate science displays coherency and consilience – all the pieces fit into a broad overarching framework. Skeptic ideas do not.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 9:49 am

On the contrary Rob, now you have an astrobiological mega-theory to contend with that “displays coherency and consilience – all the pieces fit into a broad overarching framework”.

See my reply to bill

bill April 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

Hey, Dixie Too – here’s your chance to shine!

I look forward to you explaining to them all about the magical undersea volcanoes, and how CO2 can only make the oceans cooler.

As I’ve said before, you have nothing, including courage. Prove me wrong.

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

You’re starting to Gish-Gallop again RC2.

bill April 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Hmm – it’s all over Watts – now, there’s an amazing coincidence.

So Denial’s new line is ‘the Astrologers were right, after all’? ;-)

Need I point out, yet again, how the sum total of ‘skepticism’ at Watts’ approaches zero whenever a study that they can interpret for their own benefit appears, no matter if that paper is an outlier and in a field that’s very much in its infancy?

No, it’s only hard-won knowledge that’s been confirmed and reconfirmed since Arrhenius they have a problem with.

This is because theirs is a rhetorical argument, founded on the logical fallacy of ‘argument to the (undesirable) consequences’, not a scientific one

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm

“….no matter if that paper is an outlier”

Sweeping assessment Bill. Is this the “consensus” already? That’s some fast analysis.

Can you refer us to the published rebuttal of Svensmark 2012?

bill April 25, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Sorry, Dixie, I’ve made my point, which will remain obvious to those unhampered by rigid ideological blinkers.

And, as you have repeatedly demonstrated, you just dump your chum, then cut and run or simply switch memes when called, so, frankly, sod you. I notice you haven’t taken any of your oceanic stuff up over at SkS, which rather tends to confirm the theory that all this is just testing a meme for dazzling the rubes.

Here’s another thing you’re ignoring over at SkS, their list of studies that don’t confirm Svensmark’s whole ‘it’s the GCR’ thing.

And “Cosmic Rays caused absolutely freakin’ everything” not an outlier? Give me an f’ing break! Where is your skepticism – and, by you, I mean the entire freakin’ Right wing grab bag of hysterical authoritarians? Listen to the rapturous blather from Watts -

By taking me back to when I reported the victory of the pioneers of plate tectonics in their battle against the most eminent geophysicists of the day, it makes me feel 40 years younger. Shredding the textbooks, Tuzo Wilson, Dan McKenzie and Jason Morgan merrily explained earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain-building, and even the varying depth of the ocean, simply by the drift of fragments of the lithosphere in various directions around the globe.

In Svensmark’s new paper an equally concise theory, that cosmic rays from exploded stars cool the world by increasing the cloud cover, leads to amazing explanations, not least for why evolution sometimes was rampant and sometimes faltered. In both senses of the word, this is a stellar revision of the story of life.

Keeeriste! Carried away, much?

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Yeah Bill, but the Earth has warmed in the last 3 decades, whereas cosmic radiation has increased. Kinda contradicts Svensmark don’t it?

noelfuller April 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm


Understanding climate requires a holistic approach so even if one part of the picture has not been nailed down, it has to be operating within certain parameters. Denialists do the opposite.

“Do you really imagine that you’re achieving anything here…”

Yes he is – bear with me. The merchants of doubt seek out something that can be made out to be something else – mis -representing a part as the whole typically. So the part they think they can misrepresent is the skin effect. It is a little too esoteric for easy intuitive comprehension and the post doc that was supposed to deliver on the Tangaroa’s experiments has not delivered yet. So RC2 has shown us the inverted picture he and his ilk will present and we are showing him how it will be responded to by people who may be fairly knowledgable re climate science but are not themselves climate scientists. He and his kind will head off if they can our responses and attempt to sow their confusion before the climate scientists mobilise to head them off. Put another way, he has tested an attack on climate science on us and probably thinks he can shape the next move as a result.


Macro April 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Yes, it has to be that..
The irrationality of his argument can only be explained in that regard.

bill April 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Noel – that implies a level both of cunning and planning that I find a little hard to credit… ;-)

Though I don’t doubt that the ‘skin effect’ may well, indeed, become another touchstone, a name that can be invoked, rolled-out in conjunction with a sufficiently smug air of the possession of mystic wisdom so as to convey the aura of Science, or, at least, of the ‘sciencey’! Monckton will love it! Delingpole will deploy it widely despite not having the faintest clue what it means.

Hence my repeated efforts to get RC2 to attempt to convey what he actually meant in plain language, but I really don’t think he’s interested in doing it; the aura of mystique is the whole point of the exercise.

I will note that the pose of possessing arcane knowledge beyond the grasp of the hoi polloi and not deigning to explicate for lesser mortals is not a characteristic of either the speaking or the writing of real experts such as Michael Mann and James Hansen.

Richard C2 April 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Let’s see how the simulation of “real expert” James Hansen is tracking:

0.60 W/m2 upper 750m: Hansen et al 2005 decadal mean simulation

0.27 W/m-2 upper 700m Levitas et al 2012 observation 1955 – 2010

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Actually, combining the Levitus ocean heat content data with the other warming terms (ice-melt, land/atmosphere warming) yields a global energy imbalance around 0.5 W/m2 over the period studied by Hansen (2011). IIRC correctly Hansen (2011) is in the same ballpark. So the two do agree.

About one-third of the ocean warming in the Levitus (2012) study is occurring in the 700-2000 metre layer.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Same ballpark in a vaguely subjective sense but EEB Fig 15 Observed and calculated planetary energy imbalance, demonstrates Hansen’s problem of too much heat being introduced (that he admits to).

You have got to wonder about Hansen’s objectivity when he comes up with:-

We conclude that that the slow climate response function is inconsistent with the observed planetary energy imbalance.


Neither Slow, Intermediate or Fast tracks Levitus over 1980 – 2007.

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm

What Hansen is getting at, and he makes it very explicit in the paper, is that if the models mix heat too efficiently into the ocean, and yet they still simulate past changes in global temperature reasonably accurately, then the negative forcing from reflective aerosols (which is essentially an educated best guess) is much larger in real life.

The measurements obtained by Hatzianastassiou (2011) agree with Hansen. The decline in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface was very significant over the 2000-2007 period.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm

You don’t think that perhaps he’s introduced too much heat in the first place?

Have you any idea what the GISS Divergence Problem translates to over the entire ocean when accumulated over several years, particularly since 2003?

Here’s a clue: it is a VERY large number.

Dappledwater April 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

“Same ballpark in a vaguely subjective sense but EEB Fig 15″

Hardly subjective. This is the result of calculations based on the Levitus data set: From 2000-2008 Earth’s energy imbalance comes out at 0.53 ± 0.11 W/m2. Hansen (2011) has it at ) 0.58 ± 0.15 W/m2 over 2005-2010.

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Great, now all Hansen has to do is get his model to conform to those calcs.

noelfuller April 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

“Noel – that implies a level both of cunning and planning that I find a little hard to credit”

Note he does not get exasperated at our comments. It means he does not care what we may think, though of course you could put it down to the thick skin effect :)

Nevertheless, consider the planning and cunning that went into getting rid of Jim Salinger. He had “the ear of the people” on climate science and meteorology, so he had to be got rid of for that, but also to clear the way for an attack on his early work.

What then did that attack consist of? The claim that adjusting zeros between instruments so their data sets could be compared, was falsifying of data to support an unjustified hypothesis – that the climate is changing. A class of eight year olds should have been able to see through that once the gobbledegook was cleared away and I had finished showing them how to calculate averages and a rule by which things can be compared – apples with apples.

I spent many years measuring temperatures with platinum resistance thermometers, making modules to do so, and checking zeros and ranges on an almost daily basis but it does not take that degree of experience to know that zeros have to be adjusted (or known) in order to compare data. Only the intellectually challenged or those in on the game might accept or exploit the calumny. Yet who got the publicity? Who now among NZ climate scientists has a voice in NZ that is heard?

They won’t be forgiven because they knew what they were about.


Macro April 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm

bill I think noel here is hitting the nail firmly on the head. They (the merchants of doubt) are trying to spread oil on the water, so to speak, so as to have some more gobbledegook to spout which (as we all here know) is pure baulderdash, but which sounds impressive to those who want desperately (for whatever reason) to believe that this AGW is really all too exaggerated. Where better to practice your line, than upon those who do understand the problem?
Noel’s absolutely right about Jim. Jim has a long history of public commentary (I remember Jim’s weekly column in the local paper in the late 1970′s), and it’s good to see that he has not been completely silenced.
You are right though, concerning RC2′s apparent inability to explain himself in plain language. Of course, it is simply a pose to try to impress – but really it only makes him look a fool.

bill April 24, 2012 at 10:45 pm

RC2 – same tactic. Conclusion; your ‘Spencer argument’ is still crap. And your schtick is boring. Next.

Noel and Macro. I didn’t know that back-story. It’s tragic and galling, but the triumphalism of little men tends to be short-lived…

Richard C2 April 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

You want “Next” bill here it is:-

“Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”

Svensmark 2012

RAS Press Release


Here are the main results:

The long-term diversity of life in the sea depends on the sea-level set by plate tectonics and the local supernova rate set by the astrophysics, and on virtually nothing else.

The long-term primary productivity of life in the sea – the net growth of photosynthetic microbes – depends on the supernova rate, and on virtually nothing else.

Exceptionally close supernovae account for short-lived falls in sea-level during the past 500 million years, long-known to geophysicists but never convincingly explained..

As the geological and astronomical records converge, the match between climate and supernova rates gets better and better, with high rates bringing icy times.

bill April 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

Are you a Poe, Dixie? C’mon now, ‘fess up ;-)

bill April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Speaking of the fabulous and the fabulists – Gareth, have you seen this?

Gareth April 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I’m traveling on family business at the moment, so I’ve only had time to scan Eli’s post – but it looks like classic John O’Sullivan, and Judy Curry’s fallen for it.

Rob Taylor April 26, 2012 at 1:55 am

RC2′s is merely a “God of the Gaps” argument from ignorance: if there is some perceived gap in the scientific understanding of some geophysical process, somewhere, then he and his ilk construe it as evidence against AGW.

As the God-botherers put it:

There is a gap in understanding of some aspect of the natural world.
Therefore the cause must be supernatural.

Thus, for all his pseudoscientific babble, RC2 is fundamentally anti-science.

noelfuller April 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Just to appologise for getting your nic wrong and thankyou for digging up all those misrepresentations – ought to make a table one wonders. They remind me of a late aunt of mine who always got things upside down, or the extensive references in the backs of denialist books that turn out to contradict the claimed “evidence”. I’ve wondered if they work off lists prepared by Heartland’s CO2 Science say, and rarely even look the referred papers up.


Ian Forrester April 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

Just a note to let people know that Wood for Trees now has HadCrut4 in their data base.

Here is the plot for the last dozen years:

It shows global temperatures rising at a rate of 0.1 degrees per decade during that period.

Richard C2 April 27, 2012 at 11:43 am
Ian Forrester April 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

What a dishonest bunch you deniers are. In case you are unaware of it (you seem to be unaware of a lot of how science works) cherry picking is dishonest. Why do you not take a lesson in honesty or at least try and behave in an honest manner?

Look at the UAH data, data put out by well known deniers and you will see that it parallels the HadCrut4 data. Any intelligent person will say oops seems like there is a problem with the RSS data, must be some thing in their code since they are not actually measuring temperature.

Dishonest people like you crow about the one outlier set of data which supports your dishonest position. That just shows how dishonest and lacking in integrity you are.

Richard C2 April 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Adding HadCRUT3 to 2012 + trend


BTW re “cherry picking is dishonest”. Why DOES the HadCRUT4 series stop at the end of 2010?

Richard C2 April 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Last decade of HadCRUT4 (2001 – end of 2010) vs same period for UAH and RSS. Approx trends:-

0.10 C/decade UAH
0.03 C/decade HadCRUT4
0.00 C/decade RSS

Not only is RSS closer to HadCRUT4 than UAH in terms of trend but also in terms of anomaly and no warming for a decade in either HadCRUT4 or RSS of any note (statistical significance aside).

Ian Forrester April 28, 2012 at 8:13 am

More dishonesty from Richardc2. I’m not sure if it is a case of cherry picking or moving the goal posts, let’s just call it moving the cherries.

My initial post concerned a dozen years, not 10 as this dishonest poster now tries to talk about.

Since it took him rather longer than usual to make his dishonest contribution, the cherries must be getting very thin on the cherry tree, maybe getting too warm for cherries?

Richard C2 April 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

Just thought a like-for-like comparison would be useful Ian (and honest too).

Rob Taylor April 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

Ooops! As you’re so very, very honest, RC2, what do you think your graph shows when it is plotted over the standard climatological period of 30 years?

Rob Taylor April 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Cat got your tongue, RC2, or would you rather huddle with your fellow ignorami at Climate Conversation?

Rob Taylor April 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Have you found God again, RC2, or are you simply unaware that satellites do not measure surface temperature?

Either way, another own goal, old chap, but perhaps there is a slight chance you could learn from the following:

Satellites do not measure temperature. They measure radiances in various wavelength bands, which must then be mathematically inverted to obtain indirect inferences of temperature. The resulting temperature profiles depend on details of the methods that are used to obtain temperatures from radiances. As a result, different groups that have analyzed the satellite data have produced differing temperature datasets. Among these are the UAH dataset prepared at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the RSS dataset prepared by Remote Sensing Systems. The satellite series is not fully homogeneous – it is constructed from a series of satellites with similar but not identical instrumentation. The sensors deteriorate over time, and corrections are necessary for orbital drift and decay. Particularly large differences between reconstructed temperature series occur at the few times when there is little temporal overlap between successive satellites, making intercalibration difficult.

Richard C2 April 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

[Snipped: getting way off topic.]

bill April 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Yet again, having been cornered above – how’s that Astrobiological Theory of Everything going, Richard? And I’m a bit confused; did it just switch off all the Magical Undersea Volcanoes, or what? ;-) – RC2 ducks the issue and dumps another bit of chum elsewhere.

And, yet again; no skepticism! Just look at the information Rob T has provided. It’s clear; anything that they believe confirms their argument is subject to zero scrutiny and no doubt – remind us again how esoteric computer models are bad – whereas the overwhelming weight of evidence is all part of a conspiracy!

Could deniers be any more ridiculous?

Richard C2 April 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

“How’s that Astrobiological Theory of Everything going?”

Great. Better than your Anthropogenic CO2 Theory of Everything.

bill April 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Really not doing well, are you, old chap? ;-)

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