2011-02-26 07:34:38Pielke responds to Ari's post on deep ocean warming
John Cook


Roger "the ocean isn't warming so global warming is nothing to worry about" Pielke has responded to Ari's blog post:


General gist - if deep ocean is warming, then global warming is nothing to worry about

2011-02-26 07:39:23WTF?
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

That's the equivalent of:

"I can't be out of money...I still have checks left!"

2011-02-26 07:59:00contradiction
Dana Nuccitelli

Yet another contradiction.  Lindzen says ocean heat storage is too small to have any significant dampening effect on global warming.  Pielke says that deep ocean heat storage has an almost permanent dampening effect on global warming.

I guess we could reconcile the two by arguing that deep ocean heat content isn't increasing significantly and it's a nearly permanent dampening effect :-)

2011-02-26 08:23:56
Rob Honeycutt


I'm somewhat surprised by Pielke Sr.  When he was here posting about OHC he was going on about how global warming had stopped.  But, at least as far as I could tell, he really didn't have robust enough information to come to such a sweeping conclusion.  

Now this.  If the deep ocean has such a dampening effect then how does that explain the often rapid swings in the paleoclimate record?  You'd think climate would have this very slow dampened signal rather than the a signal with the many rapid changes that we see.  Would that be accurate? 

2011-02-26 09:35:45Does this make sense or am I full of you-know-what? AKA, "What-goes-down-must-come-up"
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

I know this is an extreme example (but hear me out):

Lets say you put the energy equivalent of a 20 megaton hydrogen bomb into the deep Pacific near the Equator.  So that energy goes from 80 degree surface water down to deep 35 degree colder water and there that energy disperses (warming that deep water to, say 38 degrees).

This formerly 35 degree deep water, (now 38 degrees) meanders southward to the Antarctic Ice Sheet where it upwells.

That upwelling column of water, formerly 35 degrees, now is imparting an extra 3 degrees warming potential into an area below the freezing point of water.  It wasn't a big deal when it was in 80 degree water; now that it's being introduced into a cryo environment that extra energy can haunt, big-time.

Make up actual numbers; principle's the same.


It's the energy CHANGE where the sequestered energy is re-introduced to the system that matters.

Like introducing sequestered CO2 back into the carbon cycle...


How is it Pielke doesn't get this?

2011-02-26 11:34:09Pielke's new mantra...
John Hartz
John Hartz
"Out of sight, out of mind!"
2011-02-26 13:40:43


I'm not that familiar with the OHC issue. However, from what I get by looking at Ari's article and Pielke's discussion, it seems to me that all you can say is that if there is heating to a deeper level, that it will buy more time, because it increases the Earth's effective "heat capacity". But since we will continue heating as long as there is a heat imbalance, it doesn't change the final temperature for a given amount of added CO2/GHG.

Am I missing something? Ari?

2011-02-26 15:23:34
Julian Brimelow

Umm, Roger P., isn't the buffering effect one of the reasons scientists distinguish between transient climate response and equilibrium climate response?  This is not a new concept.  And how about recent findings that said warmer water is making its way onto the Antarctic continental shelf-- bye-bye PIG (Pine Island Glacier, which drains 20% of WAIS), and that anomalously warm N. Atlantic water is now making its way into the Arctic basin. 

Actually, hearing that the deep oceans are already accumulating so much heat sent alarm bells of for me, but I'm an "alarmist" ;)

It would good to refute Pielke and point out the contradiction between the contrarians. And needless to say, this has been and is buying us some time, but what the heck about down the road?

But what the heck, there is that allegedly dubious WMO cover graph from 1999, so who cares....

2011-02-26 16:36:18Progress
John Cook

At least Pielke seems to be moving from "it's not happening" to "it's happening but it's not bad". In my books, that's progress :-)
2011-02-26 17:31:31
Ari Jokimäki


It seems to me that Pielke haven't actually studied this issue very deeply. He seems to suggest that the heat spreads evenly in the deep ocean and as it's so huge volume, it won't cause anything dramatic to surface. I think this ignores the current idea in these recent papers that the heat gets to the deep ocean in certain places, so perhaps some of it also comes out in certain places, where it can cause big things.

Also, while I'm not expert in these kind of matters, but it seems to me that this only distributes the warming differently than we thought but the end result will be the same. I doubt that this slows things down eventually. It just might cause slower start than we think but that probably means there will be stronger acceleration at some point.

At any case, Pielke did not address S&C that much as the point of their paper was to study sea levels, which Pielke didn't address at all.

2011-02-26 18:37:21


I see that it's Pielke's policy not to allow comments any more.

Is there somewhere else where people comment on his postings?

2011-02-28 16:19:07
Peter Miesler

John Cook: At least Pielke seems to be moving from "it's not happening" to "it's happening but it's not bad". In my books, that's progress :-)


ever the optimist.

no wonder I love you guys

2011-02-28 16:27:33
Peter Miesler

Oh, oh reading Ari's post and the rest, I'm sorry but that Global Heat-engine thing rushes at me again.

The circulation and distribution of energy...

... and it's cascading effects.

Isn't transfered heat that melts the underside of the WAIS "work"?

~ ~ ~

I'm not trying to talk physics here,  so much as trying to think about metaphor..... 

2011-02-28 20:18:42



"transferred heat" is fine.

"Heat Engine" is not.