2011-05-31 14:46:24new Trenberth paper finds "the missing energy" in a GCM's deep ocean, mainly Pacific 40S-30N
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.31.47

Just got this email from Martin Kellogg:

At Kevin Trenberth's publications page -- <http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth-publish.html>  -- under journal articles for 2011, there is now pdf of a manuscript dated 5/15/2011:

Trenberth, K.E. and J.T. Fasullo, 2011: Tracking Earth's energy: From El Niño to global warming. Surveys in Geophysics, Special Issue, submitted.

Here are some quotes:
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p. 2:

from Abstract:
"The state of knowledge and outstanding issues with respect to the global mean energy budget of planet Earth are described ... ... after 2004 there is "missing energy" as the observing system ... is unable to account for where it has gone.  Based upon a number of climate model experiments for the 21st century where there is a stasis in global surface temperature and upper ocean heat content in spite of decade long periods with a known net energy input into the climate system, we infer that the main sink of the missing energy is likely the deep ocean below 275 m depth."

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p. 6:

"where did the heat for the 2009-10 El Nino actually come from?  Where did the heat suddenly disappear to during the La Nina?  Past experience (Trenberth et al. 2002) suggests that global surface temperature rises at the end of and lagging El Nino, as heat comes out of the Pacific Ocean mainly in the form of moisture that is evaporated and which subsequently rains out, releasing the latent energy.
Meanwhile maximum warming of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans occurs about 5 months after the El Nino owing to sunny skies and lighter winds (less evaporative cooling) while the convective action is in the Pacific.  This led to a vigorous hurricane season in the Atlantic in 2010 and extensive flooding in China and India in July, and Pakistan in August 2010 in association with the much above normal SSTs, while the La Nina refocused action to occur in these regions and away from the Pacific domain.  Very high SSTs in the Gulf of Mexico and tropical North Atlantic favored an active North Atlantic hurricane season and record rains in Columbia.  Subsequently, the high SSTs around and north of Australia promoted the flooding in Queensland in December 2010 and January 2011, even as very cold conditions occurred in Europe and North America."

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p.7:

"Tracking relative changes in Earth's energy by measuring solar radiation in and infrared radiation out to space, and thus changes in the net radiation, seems to be at hand (Wong et al. 2009)."

"But ocean temperature measurements from 2004 to 2008 suggested a substantial slowing of the increase in global ocean heat content (Levitus et al. 2009; Lyman et al. 2010), precisely during the time when CERES estimates depict an increase in the planetary imbalance."

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pp. 8-9:

"for the 2004 to 2008 period ... the Ocean Heat Content (OHC) change is a lot less than in the previous period and a residual imalance
term: the missing energy, is required."

"we have explored the extent to which this kind of behavior occurs in the latest version of the NCAR CCSM version 4.  We have examined 5 runs for the 21st century under the Representative Concentration Pathways RCP 4.5, which is a forcing of the climate system under increasing greenhouse gases into the 21st century ... Figure 6 shows global mean surface  temperature for each of the ensemble members.
For one run (001), two decade long perods are highlighted where there is a stasis in the surface warming.  We have examined what happens with regard to energy flows during such intervals for all ensemble members and a consistent picture emerges.

At the TOA, the radiative imbalance is known exactly under these circumstances (Fig. 7).  One example (Fig. 7, top left panel) shows that the net radiation at the TOA (R[sub]T) is order 1 W m^-2 into the climate system.  Clearly the planet imbalance is considerable, despite the stasis at the surface, and so where is the energy going?

Examination of the changes in OHC show clearly that this is the main sink.  Indeed, the full depth OHC continues relentlessly upwards (Fig.
7), with no hesitation at all.  However, the upper OHC for the top 275 m shows the same stasis as for the surface temperature (Fig. 7), in fact for this example the OHC (0-275m) actually decreases.  In this example (top right panel Fig. 7), roughly half of the heat is between
275 and 700 m depth and the rest is below 700 m depth.  Hence the OHC integrated down to 700 m shows some slowdown, but the implication is that the missing heat is being deposited mainly in the region below 700 m depth.  The time series also show that a swift recovery can occur at the end of the stasis period.

Further preliminary exploration of where the heat is going suggests that it is mainly in the Pacific between 40[degrees]S and 30[degrees]N, and is associated with the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and/or La Nina events.  However, this aspect is very preliminary and will be examined in much more detail elsewhere.

4.  Conclusions

Closure of the observed energy budget over the past 5 years is elusive (Trenberth 2009; Trenberth and Fasullo 2010) although preliminary analysis of model results suggests that the ocean has absorbed considerably more heat than reported by observations, particularly below 700 m.  Song and Colberg (2011) have made similar conclusions using different reasoning based on satisfying the sea level change budget.  Thus state-of-the-art observations and basic analysis are unable to fully account for recent energy variability, since they provide either an incoherent narrative or imply error bars too large to make the products useful.  Only by using conservation and physical principles can we infer the likely resolution.  Was the May 2009 to May 2010 El Nino a manifestation of some of the missing energy reappearing?  Certainly the overall warmth of 2010 and its manifestations around the world, as the natural variability reinforced the global warming signal, would suggest this as a reasonable hypothesis."

2011-05-31 14:56:46
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Very interesting.  We definitely need to do a post on this one.  Maybe wait until the paper is accepted or published?

2011-05-31 18:54:51
oslo

borchinfolab@gmail...
90.149.33.182

Interesting paper - as it is published on his page it can be used imo - it is a draft (or technically submitted and finished the review process), but draft papers can be discussed (as we do with Hansen) - this seems to be the new modern way of releasing papers, so go for it. Had the paper not been available on his page I would wait.

2011-06-01 02:38:33
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
91.154.98.84

I'm not very keen on reporting on unfinished work. It's ok to make draft papers available for comments, but it seems that for example Hansen's drafts are used in news articles, and that is not very good thing to do before the paper is peer-reviewed (peer-review might identify a need for big changes).

2011-06-01 23:50:48
Sphaerica

Bob@Lacatena...
76.28.5.93

Agree with Ari.

2011-06-02 05:29:02
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.152.253.7

Yes - let it come out first is the best move IMO.

Cheers - John

2011-06-02 06:38:58
oslo

borchinfolab@gmail...
90.149.33.182

Cowards ;-)

If the results are important enough people should know - the record breaking ice loss from Greenland in 2010 is not peer review literature yet, but is an important find, which should be out to the public as soon as possible - SkS has reported the preliminary findings here. If a paper need a half year to go through the review process, it is a long time.

Trenberth is not making any bold statements here, but the discussion on where the energy is going is a very, very, very important issue. Check out the Hansen lunch seminar (I guess many of you already have) on his new paper regarding this (Hansen does not completly agree with Trenberth on the issue btw).

James Hansen GISS Lunch Seminar

Also, check out Trenberths talk posted at youtube a few weeks ago.

Kevin Trenberth: The Role of the Oceans in Climate

If new research is presented as preliminary findings, they are preliminary and up to discussion. To me it seems that more and more posts on SkS is not just debunking desinformation, and I think it is a good move - it draws more attention to the site, which is a good thing!!!

2011-06-02 06:58:40There's more than one way to skin a cat...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
99.95.221.238

Why not ask Trenberth to do a guest post about the paper on SkS?

In general, I believe SkS would benefit from being more proactuive and less reactive.

is Trenberth's preliminary paper being dissed on the denier sites?

2011-06-02 07:05:55SkS is the new frontier of climate science knowledge-sharing
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

I used to follow RC quite a bit to play catch-up on climate research after being away for nearly two decades and to get updates on new breaking reseach.  I rarely check it anymore, as SkS publicizes more new research and puts it into context than just about anywhere on the intertubes.

Se let's all pat our own backs.

That being said, some form of examination pieces on both Trenberth's latest and Hansen's various latest pieces would seem reasonable, if properly caveated.

2011-06-02 07:06:28
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.6.245

Badger - "In general, I believe SkS would benefit from being more proactuive and less reactive"

I concur.

Oslo- are you going to draft something up?  

2011-06-02 07:07:11
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

John and I have been discussing a possible appearance at SkS by Trenberth and other Climate Scientists.

But I don't want to steal John's thunder any more than that...  :)

2011-06-02 07:44:06
oslo

borchinfolab@gmail...
90.149.33.182

I think Badgersouths idea is good. Trenberth seems like a person who would like to get information out to the public - and SkS with growing popularity might be as useful as anyone else - a discussion article on where the energy is accumulated in relation to his new paper would be great if he accepts.

People need to understand that the energy budget for the earth is not in balance, and as long as the earth is accumulating energy, we will see all sorts of effects which reflects this energy inbalance - if the energy inbalance goes to melting of ice, heating of the oceans, heating of the atmosphere is not so important as singular observation from year to year, but the sum of all these observations tells the same story - the earth is accumulating energy, and Trenberths paper and presentation on this is an important issue. The public need to know that energy accumulation on the earth leads to all sorts of effects - increasing temperature, melting of ice, sea level rise - its the sum of all observations that tells the earth is warming and accumulating energy, and Trenberth could communicate this in a very understandable way I believe.

2011-06-02 07:44:07
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

It would be pretty spectacular if we could get Trenberth to do a guest post on this research.

2011-06-02 07:55:47
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.6.245

Yup, Kevin Trenberth is an excellent communicator.

2011-06-02 10:37:41
oslo

borchinfolab@gmail...
90.149.33.182

>Oslo- are you going to draft something up? 

Thanks for your wishful thinking on this, but I'm only a interpreter of interpretations (referring to Denialpole) for now.

I think Trenberth might be a better choice on this issue, but who knows ;-)

2011-06-02 16:54:19
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.211

Oslo: "If the results are important enough people should know..."

Yes, but it is possible that the results change during the peer-review process.

2011-06-02 20:20:48
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
86.152.253.7

That was really what I was getting at. But I think seeing if Kevin could do a piece would be good. In the very limited contact I've had with him, he has been very approachable and helpful.

Cheers - John

2011-06-02 21:10:44Daniel, do you want to ask Kevin about doing an article about this?
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229
You made the first contact with him. Kevin did email me some link to some comment he posted somewhere but to be honest, I found the email a little peculiar, I'm not sure what he was trying to say.
2011-06-02 22:39:3810:4
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Sure, John.  I'll email him today.

Can you forward me the email Kevin sent you?

2011-06-03 14:04:11
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
138.217.67.138

Perhaps we could approach Trenberth about t post, then hold it till peer-review is completed so it can be edited if needed. Then it is ready to go immediately the paper is accepted.

Unless the Deniosphere grabs hold of it early in which case we publish sooner.

 

2011-06-03 14:06:52
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
91.154.98.84

You know, peer-review could take months. I know one case where it took a year and a half.

2011-06-04 13:05:56FYI
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

I have reached out to Dr. Trenberth on this.

2011-06-04 13:26:04Just heard back from Trenberth
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

"Hi Daniel

I wanted to acknowledge your request and will see what I can do, although
I happen to be extremely busy right now and can't do anything for a little
while: after next wednesday I'll see where I am at.

Kevin Trenberth"
2011-06-04 13:52:12
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37
Cool, keep us posted Daniel!