2010-10-11 18:08:27Basic Rebuttal 58: It's the oceans
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
81.132.131.87

Why ocean heat can't drive climate change, only chase it

Basic Rebuttal 58: It’s the oceans

The argument attributing the warming of the Earth to heat being released by the oceans was clearly articulated by William M Gray, one of the world’s foremost experts on tropical storms. Unfortunately, his views on oceans and their part in global warming appear to contradict the published science. Gray believes that the increased atmospheric heat – which he calls a ‘small warming’ – is “...likely a result of the natural alterations in global ocean currents which are driven by ocean salinity variations." (BBC Interview 2000)

The Science

The problem with Gray’s argument is that unless more heat was being poured into the oceans, they would be obliged by the laws of physics to cool when heat was transferred to the atmosphere.

80% of the heat in the planet's ecosystem is stored in the oceans, and they have been getting consistently warmer over time (Ocean cooling: skeptic arguments drowned by data). There would also be other indicators e.g. sea levels, which would be static or go down by some small amount as a result of thermal contraction. There are no indicators of ocean heat driving temperature changes that are supported by the evidence. It should also be noted that Gray has never published, nor offered any proof, of these theories, so his views are purely speculative.

Claims that the recent  warming of the planet is due to heat being released from the oceans into the atmosphere are not supported by any empirical evidence or peer-reviewed science.

2010-10-11 19:06:05
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.105.82

I think the content of this article is really to the point, and I think it makes an excellent Intermediate-level rebuttal.

I am going to plead again for an 8th-grade reading level for Basic-level rebuttals: Just as a guess, I would rate this as about 13th (undergraduate). 

 

 

 

2010-10-11 21:06:53
Rob Painting
Rob
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118.93.192.88

I don't follow this bit:

There would also be other indicators: ........ ocean pH would be stable or tend towards a slight increase in alkalinity,and CO2 absorption would increase (solubility of CO2 in water has an inverse relationship with temperature).

It's not just the relationship between solubility and temperature, but also the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere that determines the how much CO2 is absorbed by the oceans (Henry's Law). If CO2 absorption were increasing (and of course it is, due to fossil fuel burning, not because of cooling & increased solubility) the result would be a lowering of ocean ph. Your sentence is contradictory.

 

 

 

2010-10-11 21:09:46
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

I'm guessing that Neal's point is about sentence length. 

Tonight's one of those evenings when I feel optimistic about the citizenry, particularly those who can use a web browser and are driven by curiosity to find SkS.

 

2010-10-11 21:26:34
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
192.84.150.209

I'm not sure we want to touch a political issue, it's probably better to leave it out to avoid the hijacking of the comments by political rants.

I'd also leave the pH out,  it's not related to the heat release/absorption of the oceans.


2010-10-11 22:01:06
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.105.82

doug,

It's also about vocabulary, for which syllables/word is an indicator. But it's also tone and structure, which are harder to quantify.

Just to show what I mean, I'll give a reduced-grade version of:

"While his opinions on the political and media aspects of climate change are of note only in that they speak to a common skeptical theme, it is his views on oceans and their part in global warming that appear to contradict the very science with which one would assume he is most familiar."

=> "While his views on the political and media aspects of climate change are only interesting because they show a linkage to a common skeptical theme, his opinions on the oceans and their role in global warming seem to contradict the basic science of his area of expertise. "

I'm not even sure that the word counts and syllable counts are that different. But the style is a bit plainer, less elevated. Not by much, because, by restricting myself to such a small section to re-write, I constrained myself to express the same ideas. But if I were re-doing the whole thing, I would change the structure of the paragraphs as well, so that different ideas would not be linked so closely together. I could probably lower the required reading level a bit more.

I know this sounds like "uglification", in the old Lewis-Carroll phrase. But we are not writing purely for pleasure...

2010-10-12 03:35:27like it
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.249
I think it's good - I agree it could probably do without the pH discussion, and perhaps also the political discussion, either way I like it.
2010-10-12 04:42:11
CBW
Bruce Worden
cbw723@gmail...
24.205.64.214

I agree with the others about dropping the political issues. Those might be more appropriate for an intermediate discussion in which one can take the time to examine someone's motivations.

I'd say start with the first sentence of the first paragraph, then drop everything else in that paragraph. Follow that sentence with the one in the second paragraph that starts "Gray believes..." but then I'd cut his quote at "...driven by ocean salinity variations." The rest of his quote is just incoherent babble. Then say the bit about how his opinion contradicts the science, then jump into "The Science," which is very nicely done.

I also agree with the others about dropping the pH. It's a little too complicated for a basic rebuttal.

Finally, in your final sentence, calling Gray's idea a "theory" gives it far more credibility than it deserves. It is nothing more than an unsupported assertion. I'd call it a "claim" rather than a theory.

 

2010-10-13 00:37:03
doug_bostrom

dbostrom@clearwire...
184.77.83.151

Coming back to this and not suggesting that I'm making my thumb "inoperative," I agree that the political part perhaps should be toned down, mostly because it'll cause comments to go pear-shaped and impose a higher workload on moderators; boring accusations of "ad hom" attacks will dominate the thread. It's certainly indicative of cognition problem, though. 

Speaking of cognition, it's interesting that first time reading this I was focused on the science content, second time through, after a few days, Gray's political remarks cast a dark shadow over the science. Totally credibility-sapping for Gray so I can certainly see why it's tempting to highlight 'em. 

2010-10-13 07:45:10Politics
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.160.198
I think the first paragraph is off-topic and needs to be cut. You just know the discussion would focus on the first paragraph and ignore all the science in the rest of the post. People just love talking politics. It comes as no surprise - the more I read, the more I come to realize people come to their view on AGW based on their politics and ideology. So I would keep the first sentence of the first paragraph but remove the rest.
2010-10-14 16:39:37Edits
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
217.44.218.133
OK folks - thanks for the comments. I've tried to address all the points, see what you think...(it's certainly short and to the point now).
2010-10-14 19:01:19
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.157.171
I especially like how the rebuttal ends - with a dagger in the heart. Thumbs up from me.
2010-10-15 13:26:09
CBW
Bruce Worden
cbw723@gmail...
24.205.64.214
Short and to the point is exactly what a basic rebuttal should be. Good on you!
2010-10-17 09:46:24
TonyWildish

Tony@Wildish...
92.153.113.89
I like the post overall, but I find the last paragraph/sentence too complex. Having it in bold says it's extremely important, but it's not simple enough for someone like my 83 year old mother to understand. I'd suggest breaking it up a bit, something like this:

There is no empirical evidence or peer-reviewed science to support the claim that the oceans are heating the atmosphere. On the other hand, there is clear evidence that the oceans themselves are getting warmer, which contradicts that claim.

2010-10-20 20:19:37Comment
gpwayne
Graham Wayne
graham@gpwayne...
86.150.195.1
Tony: I take your point, but actually I don't need to repeat myself, so I've truncated the line, which I think makes it a more direct statement. Hope that works for you...
2010-10-21 01:44:32
TonyWildish

Tony@Wildish...
92.153.192.158
yup, that works for me!
2010-10-24 19:11:55Published
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.160.198

BTW, am working on an upgrade to the intermediate version of this argument too - still drawing on the same content from Barnett 2005 but more fleshed out.

Thanks Graham!