2011-09-21 09:48:23Ocean Heat Content And The Importance Of The Deep Ocean
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.41.241

Post here. I'll write one up on Meehl (2011) later today. 

2011-09-21 10:27:19
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.104.94

I remember you commented that Pielke's model did not allow for transverse conduction of heat. I assume that also implies that it does not take into account bulk motion of water, including transverse and vertical. Seems to me that would limit the degree of insight that could be drawn from  his model, yes?

2011-09-21 11:56:31
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.240.2

Neal - based on Pielke's comments on his blog, he doesn't really seem to have any model as such. But, yes, he seems to think we should see the heat accumulate in the 700 mtr layer, and he writes as if heat can only trickle down from the surface - no thermohaline circulation, no mid latitude oceanic gyres, nada. As I said before, even Josh Willis (one the world experts) pointed out the obvious flaws in this so-called logic.

I wasn't actually going to involve Pielke in this at this stage, just that his rantings happened to be on subjects I had already committed to writing, but never got around to (that's a whopping great pile!). Matt Palmer sent me the copy of his paper, on the basis I'd write a post. I've been a bit tardy.

The plan is to write posts on: Palmer (2011), Meehl (2011) and I've got one aready to roll on the 'cool skin' layer of the ocean. Once those are published, I'm debunking his "Cooling since 2003" and "No thermal lag" arguments. They will all be finished this week, so we can roll them out when this furore dies down. I'll dig more into Pielke's claims, and the obvious problems, then. He certainly doesn't help by continually contradicting himself on many issues.

2011-09-21 14:07:38
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Sounds like you've got one hell of a productive week planned, Rob!

At the begnning I'd make use of the "where's global warming going?" graphic.

"Multiple studies measuring from the surface down to 700 metres show very little warming, or even cooling, over the last decade in this ocean layer." <= I don't think any of them show cooling.  The closest, according to my eyeball, is Levitus.  But I looked at the trend since 2003 and it's positive (see my latest response to Pielke).  Certainly positive since 2002.  Maybe delete the "or even cooling" part?  Also in the conclusion.

Figure 1 is really hard to interpret - needs further explanation.

Otherwise it looks good.  Good summary at the end.

2011-09-21 14:35:56
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.26.176

>>>Most of the heat from global warming is going into the oceans.

>>>Covering some 70% of the Earth's surface and having a heat capacity a thousand times more than the atmosphere, it's easy to understand why. [Mm, this is a rather technical nitpick, but the participle phrase from "Covering ... atmosphere" is intended to modify "oceans" but here modifies the subject, which is the implicit audience member.]

>>>[Most, if not all, of those studies show warming within the last decade.  Specifically, it is 2003 to present (or their end year) that is the level period in the data.]

>>>...that heat is able to be buried into deeper ocean layers, something the observations seem to support. [comma, not a semicolon]

>>>So only measuring down... [I've said it to others, I'm not a huge fan of starting sentences with conjunctions... nitpick galore, I know.]

>>>In other words, to account for the heat... [comma again]

>>>Mechanisms exist within climate models, which are capable... [remove this comma]

>>>"Current observations, where the 700 metre surface layer has shown little warming, or even cooling, in the last decade, but the surface layer down to 1500 metres has shown significant warming - seems to support the modeling"

Above statement is very shaky, if I may:

"Current observations of the 700 metre surface layer have shown little warming, or even cooling, in the last several years; but the surface layer down to 1500 metres has shown significant warming, which seems to support the modelling."

 

 

One problem I can't get over is the resolution of model overestimation of surface temperature trends (e.g. Kaufmann) if they are hiding heat in the deeper ocean.  I don't understand how the models better storing heat down in deep layers is supposed to explain the discrepancy between models and observational data when it comes to the last decade - if the models distribute heat down this comes from somewhere else (up), but we know the models are predicting warmer temps than observations.

Or am I not understanding something here?

2011-09-21 14:54:47
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Alex - I would think that slowed warming at the surface is mainly due to aerosol increases (per Kaufmann), while slowed warming of the shallow oceans is due to both aerosols and to heat transport to the deep oceans.  Seems to me like it's probably a combination of the two effects.

2011-09-21 15:23:39
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.203

It might be good to mention our back catalog on deep ocean warming:

Billions of Blow Dryers: Some Missing Heat Returns to Haunt Us

Deep ocean warming solves the sea level puzzle

2011-09-21 15:25:23
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.26.176

Yes but the article phrases it to say that the models have built-in mechanisms that put more heat down - that should mean that they underestimate warming at the surface or at least predict surface temperatures well, but they are overstating temperatures that high.

2011-09-21 20:09:58
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.60.197

Dana - Douglass & Knox find cooling in the 700 mtr layer between 2003-2008. I've re-worded it. I think the study should be acknowledged. Some "skeptic" doofus will bring it up in the comments most likely. 

Ari - thanks. Links included at the end of the post.

Alex - Thanks for the corrections.

As far as the two trains of thought about the noughties slowdown. I don't know who is right yet. Trenberth and co. are adamant there is still a large TOA imbalance, whereas Hansen and a crowd of aerosol experts disagree pointing out deficiencies in the models in dealing with OHC, and problems measuring at TOA.

Personally I suspect it may be a bit of both. Difficult to think that the rapid industrialization in China, and it's perfect siting to affect the Southern Hemisphere, hasn't had an impact on climate. A few, as yet unpublished, aerosol studies seem pretty convincing - the aerosol-induced dimming is in the Southern Hemisphere (pristine areas are more strongly affected by industrial aerosols), and of course the Southern Hemsiphere is predominantly ocean. Therefore we see reduced warming of the ocean. 

As for a mechanism to shuffle heat down deep, I've long thought that we should see periods where this happens. AFAIK the current ratio of surface/ocean warming must change - otherwise how do we explain the paleodata from warm periods where the oceans warmed considerably? But I'm wandering off on a tangent here.   

I'm going to write about the aerosol studies when they are published. Be interesting to see what has caused the slowdown. 

 

2011-09-21 21:11:07
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

Heat going into the deep ocean means what for that heat?  I think that' a question that we need to answer.  In Pielke's comments on Meehl 2011 that he posted on WUWT:

A final comment on this paper, if heat really is deposited deep into the ocean (i.e. Joules of heat) it will dispersed through the ocean at these depths and unlikely to be transferred back to the surface on short time periods, but only leak back upwards if at all. The deep ocean would be a long-term damper of global warming, that has not been adequately discussed in the climate science community.

 

Are these statements true?  Sort of?  I can't find the answer.

 

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/20/pielke-sr-on-that-hide-and-seek-ocean-heat/

2011-09-22 02:04:47
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Looks good rob.  I agree it would be nice to have some discussion on the issue grypo notes, if you have something to say about it.

Looks like this one's getting close to ready for publication.  Let me know when you feel it's good to go.

2011-09-22 04:23:54
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

grypo...  Hm, if that's true it sounds something akin to planting a land mine for some distant generation in the future.  

I wonder what the relationship is (if any) between deep ocean heat content and accellerated Arctic ice loss is, being that I keep hearing that a lot of the currently melt is from below.

2011-09-22 04:31:26
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Grypo,

I agree, it would be good to have a reference that refutes this argument that Pielke is now perpetuating, without any supporting evidence I might add.

If it can disappear on decadal times-scales, surely the same or similar mechanisms can make it re-surface?

2011-09-22 04:52:22
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

Rob, Rob, Dana, Alby

 

In looking into, I get very confused.  I think Pielke is correct in one regard, it needs more looking into.  The experts at this time seem to be Manabe and Stoffer, who co-authored this in 2007.  The 2 most heavily cited papers are this in 1980, and Hansen's famous paper from 1984.

 

I would start with the Manabe paper as it is a review of the literature.  I have a pretty good idea what it is saying but I don't trust my judgement.  There is also westerly winds and ocean temps in the Southern Hemisphere that open and close "doors" to the ocean depths to consider.

2011-09-22 06:15:21
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.133

Very clear post, ready to publish.

In the last section you may consider to add that deep water forms and upwells in specifc regions, like the southern ocean and along the coasts of Antarctica, which are not well monitored. This might be one of the reason why the missing heat is so elusive.

2011-09-22 06:41:15
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.39.89

Albatross & Grypo - have a look at Meehl (2011). The model runs show hiatus periods in the surface layers, but note what happens after the hiatus - up to 0.7°C warming in less than a decade! Yup, if that truly reflects reality, then we're in for a hell of a ride! Bye-bye much of the world's coral for starters.

I'll fling an e-mail off to Jerry Meehl and see if he gets back to me, as there's no discussion of what may be causing the abrupt warming periods in the paper - it focuses solely on the hiatus periods. 

Dana - I was intending to address all Pielke's misconceptions in the Pielke's Cherrypicks series. I'll get those written up later this week.

Riccardo - cheers mate. I'll discuss a little bit about more about the Thermohaline Circulation and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in upcoming posts, but I see that they're in need of a separate post altogether. 

2011-09-22 06:46:25Cherrypicks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I posed the 'no warming since 2003' claim to Pielke in the latest post in our exchange (still in draft form, unpublished).  If he stands behind it then it would make sense to do a post, but if he admits he was wrong, it doesn't make sense to continue with that particular post.

That's not to say we can't still do a post examining the OHC increase, but how it's framed will depend on Pielke's response.  Just a heads-up.

Like I said, just let me know when you're ready to publish this one.

2011-09-22 07:36:59Rob
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Kudos for including the green tab at the end of the article! Every skS author should follow suit!

Having said that, I recommend changing the bold face intro of the tab to "Related SkS articles:"  

2011-09-22 07:41:40Rob
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Re your next article about Meehl (2011), please check out the ScienceDaily article about it. The NOAA graphic that they used is dynamite.  You may want to incorporate it into your article.

2011-09-22 11:43:15
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.62.145

Thanks John, sadly the graphic you linked to is very outdated. The WOCE (World Ocean Circulation Experiment) carried out in the 90's indicate a much more complex picture.  

Dana - no worries, I'll post them up for forum review and we'll progress from there as the situation develops.

2011-09-22 12:08:49Cherries
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Events are proceeding rapidly in the direection of going forward with Pielke's Cherries.

2011-09-23 04:59:47ready?
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

So is this post ready, or are you still working on it Rob?

2011-09-23 05:33:27
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

For the next ocean heat thread, I think I have an idea of how to attack the "when is the ocean heat coming back?" question.

 

I asked on RealClimate and gavin answered:

[Response: There seems to be a lot of confusion on this point. The flux of heat into the deep ocean is very relevant to the rate of change of surface temperatures and to the remaining increase in surface temperatures required in order to balance the TOA forcing. A bigger flux into the deep ocean, slows the progress to the new equilibrium and implies we have more warming in the pipeline (given constant forcings). But it has nothing to do with the notion that the heat going into the ocean now will at some point come back out - it might - but not for hundreds to thousands of years, and only if forcings decrease back to pre-industrial levels. OHC changes tell us about the current radiative imbalance - which is important, but the OHC changes themselves, especially in the deep ocean, don't have much of a direct effect on anything. - gavin]

 

If I'm understanding him correctly, we are asking the wrong quetion.  We should be asking how fast it takes for the extra heat trapped by CO2 to balance the TOA.  Once the heat is in the deep ocean, it no longer matters in the balancing equation.  So Pielke's description really is a herring.  The dampening is only as long as it takes for the heat to be replaced as the atmosphere tries to reach equilibrium

 

DO I have that right?

2011-09-23 16:59:28
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.50.55

Dana - ready to roll.

Grypo - dealing with that in the Pielke posts. Heat in the deep ocean definitely matters in balancing the global energy budget. That's one of the main points of Palmer (2011), you have to measure all the ocean depths to understand where the heat has gone.

One of the take home points of Meehl (2011) is that the cooling, or hiatus, phase is just part of the natural variability. It's when the climate is more La Nina-like. Dr Meehl replied to my query - he suggested that one imagine a sine wave around a zero average. Tilt the whole plotted line upwards (global warming) and that's what we're experiencing. When we're heading into what was formerly a trough, it is now a stasis because of the incline. The peaks (warming periods) are more dramatic too because of the incline.

There is a recent paper specifically address this heat absorption capability of the ocean. I'll have to digest it a bit more before commenting. Gotta run for now.

2011-09-24 10:55:42
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.155.206

In the essay Abrupt Climate Change, I note that… “Most of the solar energy reaching the earth is stored in the oceans and transported both vertically and horizontally by oceans currents to cooler parts, particularly polar regions.”

I thought vertical and horizontal movement of heat was such a well established fact that I saw no reason to reference it.  So, why is it a surprise that TOA energy imbalance can be accounted for by ocean warming at depths below 700m?  And why would we (or PielkeS) have expected the top 700m (and not deeper water) to have got warmer?

It isn’t that the top 700m didn’t get warmer – it undoubtedly did and in so doing strengthened the vertical movement of water which transported that extra warmth to greater depth.  I am not a scientist so pay no attention to this.

I think your essay is, as usual, another display of scholarship and understanding of your subject – which alas I lack..