Rapid increase in ocean heat…?

Ocean heat?

Ocean heat?

What does this graph show? A catastrophically rapid increase in ocean heat content?

When global surface temperatures started levelling off, and then continued to plateau, it was a real blow to the alarmist cause. How could they claim that global warming was an urgent problem that needed trillions of taxpayer dollars to fix when the temperatures showed otherwise?

How could they retain their cushy roles on UN- and government-funded climate organisations, jetting round the world staying in five-star hotels at the taxpayers’ expense, whilst all the while imploring the rest of us to scale back our unsustainable and polluting lifestyles?

Here’s the alarmists’ thought process: Where’s the missing heat? Our models must be right (no doubt there), so it must be hiding somewhere. Somewhere we can’t measure it. Deep in the oceans!

And because of the much larger heat capacity of water compared to air, the differences in temperature would be of the order of hundredths of a degree.  Which is conveniently impossible to measure accurately.

Which is why ocean heat content is the buzzword du jour.

The graph above actually shows the number of times “ocean heat” appears in a Google search of Skeptical Science for each year since 2006. From six mentions in 2007, we have reached a projected 166 for the whole of 2013 (125 as of today).

That’s why virtually every new post at SkS references this graph from Nuccitelli et al 2012:

Misdirection that would make a magician proud

Misdirection that would make a magician proud

The intent is clear: Don’t believe your lying eyes – global warming continues unabated. Ocean heat content gives us the scare we need. We don’t need no stinking surface temperatures.

Maybe if surface temperatures do rise again in the future, which they well may, the warmists will use this classic misdirection again, and ocean heat content will be relegated to obscurity once more, where it will remain until it is convenient for The Cause to drag it out and place it front and centre again.

P.S. By the way, just for the record, a ∆E of 20 x 10E22 J equates to approximately two hundredths of one percent of estimated total ocean heat.

CSIRO: oceans are changing


The latest “ocean report card” is published today from Australia’s scientific sausage factory:

Key findings show

  • warming sea temperatures are influencing the distribution of marine plants and animals, with species currently found in tropical and temperate waters likely to move south
  • new research suggests winds over the Southern Ocean and current dynamics are strongly influencing foraging of seabirds that breed in south-east Australia and feed close to the Antarctic each summer
  • some tropical fish species have a greater ability to acclimatise to rising water temperatures than previously thought
  • the Australian science community is widely engaged in research, monitoring and observing programs to increase our understanding of climate change impacts and inform management
  • adaptation planning is happening now, from seasonal forecast for fisheries and aquaculture, to climate-proofing of breeding sites for turtles and seabirds.

Led by CSIRO, more than 80 Australian marine scientists from 34 universities and research organisations contributed to the 2012 report card. The report card draws on peer-reviewed research results from hundreds of scientists, demonstrating a high level of scientific consensus.

As with anything from the CSIRO, we have to be very wary of its alleged impartiality. CSIRO has become a highly politicised, environmental activist organisation rather than a free-thinking scientific body, which is funded by a government that accepts the pronouncements of the IPCC without question and is committed to taking action on climate change. Readers can make up their own minds.


Trenberth's missing heat found – it's hiding in the "uncertainties"

"Hey, where's my heat? Has anyone seen my heat?"

Phew. The Cause is back on track. A new study has “found” Kevin Trenberth’s missing ocean heat:

“When we looked at the results of previous work suggesting inconsistencies, we found that it hadn’t factored in the considerable uncertainties between systems used to record the measurements.”

Loeb’s team conducted a new analysis of data captured between 2001 and 2010 of global satellite data collected daily by CERES satellite-based instruments, as well as upper ocean temperature measurements taken by expendable bathythermographs and more recently Argo floats.

They found that once these uncertainties had been factored in, along with considerable short-term variations known to result from temperature, cloud cover and humidity changes associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the measurements were found to be in broad agreement.

What’s the saying, if you torture the data enough it will confess? And ACM old favourite David Karoly is crowing:

University of Melbourne Professor of Meteorology David Karoly, who wasn’t part of the research team, says this study is a wonderful example of scientists checking the facts when things don’t add up.

It helps answer the concerns originally raised by climate scientist Dr Kevin Trenberth [from the National Center for Atmospheric Research] over the adequacy of observational systems to monitor the response of the climate system to increasing green house gases.” (source)

So the moral of the story is, if the data simply won’t agree with your rigid global warming narrative, just widen the error bars until they do.

Here’s the abstract.

Carbon dioxide "driving fish crazy"

Pissed again…

You have to hand it to the humble CO2 molecule, it certainly is multi-talented. Not only can a few extra measly parts per million allegedly wreck the climate of a planet that has been in existence for 4.5 billion years, and turn the oceans into corrosive battery acid, but it can make fish drunk as well:

Rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of sea fishes with serious consequences for their survival, an international scientific team has found.

Carbon dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of this century will interfere with fishes’ ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators, says Professor Philip Munday of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

“For several years our team have been testing the performance of baby coral fishes in sea water containing higher levels of dissolved CO2 — and it is now pretty clear that they sustain significant disruption to their central nervous system, which is likely to impair their chances of survival,” Prof. Munday says. (source)

Mine’s a CO2 and tonic, please. No ice (‘cos it’s all melted).

Overfishing and pollution are main threats to ocean, not "acidification"

© Wall Street Journal

Greatest threat to marine ecosystem is…

UPDATE: Jo Nova links to a study which contains similar conclusions:

“Here, we present a compilation of continuous, high-resolution time series of upper ocean pH, collected using autonomous sensors, over a variety of ecosystems ranging from polar to tropical, open-ocean to coastal, kelp forest to coral reef. These observations reveal a continuum of month-long pH variability with standard deviations from 0.004 to 0.277 and ranges spanning 0.024 to 1.430 pH units. The nature of the observed variability was also highly site-dependent, with characteristic diel, semi-diurnal, and stochastic patterns of varying amplitudes. These biome-specific pH signatures disclose current levels of exposure to both high and low dissolved CO2, often demonstrating that resident organisms are already experiencing pH regimes that are not predicted until 2100.


“Ocean acidification.” How many times do we see that phrase in the mainstream media? The phrase intentionally creates the impression that the oceans are slowly turning into battery acid, eating away at shellfish and coral just as the phosphoric acid in fizzy drinks dissolves teeth. Just today in the Silly Moaning Herald publishes another alarming piece on the subject:

The uptake of carbon dioxide into the oceans drives a change in ocean chemistry, changing hydrogen levels and the concentration of carbonate ions that pteropods and other organisms use to build their calcium carbonate shells.

The higher acidity also eats away at the organisms’ shells.

“Southern Ocean waters are absorbing more carbon dioxide than anywhere else on the planet so if we are going to see an effect on the biology were going to see it first in the Southern Ocean,” Dr Roberts said.

Acidification is expected to increase significantly over the next century.

“We often call it the evil twin of climate change,” Dr Roberts said.

“The little critters that have got shells that are going to be eaten away by the acid, they’re in trouble.

“We’re really worried about whether they are going to be here in the future and how that will change the Southern Ocean food chain because it’s the biggest ocean in the world. (source)

Firstly, “acidification” is the term used because it sounds scarier than the more accurate alternatives “becoming less alkaline”, or “becoming more neutral” since as discussed here, the pH of the oceans has dropped slightly from 8.2 to about 8.1, still well short of neutral (7), let alone turning acidic.

Matt Ridley injects some sense into the debate in an article in the Wall Street Journal, in which he argues that natural variation in pH exceeds such tiny anthropogenic changes by at least an order of magnitude, that many studies show that shell formation can actually increase in less alkaline conditions, and that in any case overfishing and pollution are far more damaging to the marine ecosystems than “acidification”:

“On both a monthly and annual scale, even the most stable open ocean sites see pH changes many times larger than the annual rate of acidification,” say the authors of the study, adding that because good instruments to measure ocean pH have only recently been deployed, “this variation has been under-appreciated.” Over coral reefs, the pH decline between dusk and dawn is almost half as much as the decrease in average pH expected over the next 100 years. The noise is greater than the signal.

Another recent study, by scientists from the U.K., Hawaii and Massachusetts, concluded that “marine and freshwater assemblages have always experienced variable pH conditions,” and that “in many freshwater lakes, pH changes that are orders of magnitude greater than those projected for the 22nd-century oceans can occur over periods of hours.”

This adds to other hints that the ocean-acidification problem may have been exaggerated. For a start, the ocean is alkaline and in no danger of becoming acid (despite headlines like that from Reuters in 2009: “Climate Change Turning Seas Acid”). If the average pH of the ocean drops to 7.8 from 8.1 by 2100 as predicted, it will still be well above seven, the neutral point where alkalinity becomes acidity.

The central concern is that lower pH will make it harder for corals, clams and other “calcifier” creatures to make calcium carbonate skeletons and shells. Yet this concern also may be overstated. Off Papua New Guinea and the Italian island of Ischia, where natural carbon-dioxide bubbles from volcanic vents make the sea less alkaline, and off the Yucatan, where underwater springs make seawater actually acidic, studies have shown that at least some kinds of calcifiers still thrive—at least as far down as pH 7.8.

In a recent experiment in the Mediterranean, reported in Nature Climate Change, corals and mollusks were transplanted to lower pH sites, where they proved “able to calcify and grow at even faster than normal rates when exposed to the high [carbon-dioxide] levels projected for the next 300 years.” In any case, freshwater mussels thrive in Scottish rivers, where the pH is as low as five.

Laboratory experiments find that more marine creatures thrive than suffer when carbon dioxide lowers the pH level to 7.8. This is because the carbon dioxide dissolves mainly as bicarbonate, which many calcifiers use as raw material for carbonate.

Human beings have indeed placed marine ecosystems under terrible pressure, but the chief culprits are overfishing and pollution. By comparison, a very slow reduction in the alkalinity of the oceans, well within the range of natural variation, is a modest threat, and it certainly does not merit apocalyptic headlines. (source)

“Does not merit apocalyptic headlines.” Take note, SMH.

%d bloggers like this: