Saturday, October 15, 2011

Roger Sr. Takes a Bath

Speaking of Pielkesport, Roger Sr. is into it with Bart and Gavin at Our Changing Climate and Real Climate, not to say nothing about what is going on at Skeptical Science. FWIW, it's the old the Argo floats are the God experiment, all we need to do is look at heat transfer in the top 700 m story, but all this has caused the Bunny to think, a very dangerous thing. (Reader Rabett can go to Real Climate, or Skeptical Science to catch up and Bart has an excellent summary)

Everyone agrees that the great majority of the heat transfer from the surface to the deep ocean occurs in the small areas where there is down-welling because of overturning circulations, e.g. in the North Atlantic Deep Water east of Greenland and around Antarctica, driving by mixing of fresher water from melting ice with saltier water from the warmer direction.

If the heat transfer is concentrated in space in those areas where there is down-welling of the overturning circulations, then for the question of where the energy is going, 99% of the Argo floats are irrelevant, the energy is moving into the deep ocean only where the down-welling occurs.

The net effect could be that the 0-700 m layer warms from below, but not much because the relative size of the 0-700 layer is small compared to the deep ocean, but maybe enough to compensate for warming on the surface driven by climate change.

In this model the deep ocean equilibrates with the atmosphere before the 0-700 m level. In net, since both the top and the bottom are warming at (for the sake of argument) at the same rate there is no heat transport across the 0-700 m level. Looking for heat transport vertically in the 0-700m level is a Pielke errand. In fact, it would not be surprising if there were a little bit of heat transfer upwards as the heat sucked down at the poles spreads out below and warms the thermocline.

It's a bathtub with two drains, a jacuzzi as it were. Heat injected on the surface moves laterally to the drains where it is sucked down. There is no substantial movement of heat vertically except at for the down-welling drains.

Is this an original Rabett Run theory. Almost certainly not. It is too obvious.


David B. Benson said...

Too obvious.

Steve Bloom said...

Um, completely wrong because if so then 0-700 temp measurements would necessarily be much more uneven than they actually are, i.e. diffusely tracking the deep currents, since the deep heat would be as slow in spreading laterally as vertically. Hopefully the point is clear.

In any case I think you need to account separately for the layer above the thermocline.

Come to think of it, what's so special about 700 meters?

David B. Benson said...

Steve Bloom --- Actually, the deep currents aren't spatially localized the way, for instance, the Gulf Stream is.

So the point isn't clear.

And indeed, what's special about 700 meters?

Steve Bloom said...

David, even so under Eli's idea one would still expect the 0-700 layer to show more warming in the vicinity of those currents than distant from them. The only alternative to this would be for the deep currents to retain their heat until they had spread out sufficiently to leave no signature in the 0-700 layer; that seems unphysical. If anything, one would expect the heat to move upward preferentially.

Speaking of ocean heat, new results just reported in the Nude Scientist seems to confirm Jim Hansen's supposition that heretofore the models have mixed heat down into the deep oceans much too quickly, and that aerosol cooling is concomitantly much stronger. Bad implications all around AFAICT. :(

James Annan said...

It's worse than that, actually, because heat can move down far more rapidly into the ocean interior than by diffusion and advection alone, assuming I am not completely misrepresenting an interesting study by some people at my institute in Science a year or two back. Something to do with (internal) waves, IIRC


Anonymous said...

I had followed some of this and seen the R Pielke Srn responses to Gavin on his own blog. This reply to Gavin who was trying to assert that the 'warming' in AGW was a temperature change. -

"Gavin – This is one reason why we have a different view of this issue. You write

G-“Indeed, ‘warmth’ is not a pure function of Joules – ice and water at 0 deg C have the same ‘warmth’, but very different heat contents”.

They do not have the same “warmth”, just the same temperature. There is more “warmth” with the liquid water. This is not semantics, but basic physics. If we want to properly monitor global warming, it must be in units of heat.
You are correct that when ” people say that something has warmed, it means that the temperature has risen”. However, when a scientist say that something has warmed, it means that the Joules have increased."

I regret there is no way to ask R Pielke what description people and scientists would give to the following situation. A glass of warm lemonade left in the sun has ice added to cool it. Sure enough half the ice melts and the temperature drops to 0degC. The glass has clearly gained energy from the surroundings, the condensation of water on the outside must have added the latent heat from the water vapour condensing.

I think scientists would say the Glass of lemonade has gained Joules, but had cooled because its temperature had dropped. People would also regard it as having cooled not warmed.
I wonder how R Pielke sr would describe it?


Martin Vermeer said...

> In this model the deep ocean equilibrates with the atmosphere before the 0-700 m level.

That seems a bit hard to believe, because there is such a huge amount of deep ocean.

What I could believe (as a pure amateur) is that all the heat reaching the deep ocean comes through these two, three hot spots, and nothing through the regular 700 m interface. Then all of the increase in heat content is coming in through the top, including the global-warming extra.

What does this mean for the ARGO measurements? I think next to nothing. ARGO measures temperatures, not fluxes...

Steve Bloom said...

That's quite the wrinkle, James. I can't find a copy of that paper (perhaps you know of one on the JAMSTEC site?), but I did locate a subsequent review article by one of the co-authors. At a very quick skim, it seems to include the relevant discussion.

Also, I notice that for these purposes "deep ocean" seems to start way below 700 meters. IIRC a recent paper on the Agulhas Current leakage into the Atlantic found that its heat was being transported north at middle depths, which further complicates things.

Steve Bloom said...

Purkey & Johnson (2010), also.

KAP said...

700 meters is "special" for the same reason the tropopause is "special": that's roughly where the thermocline stops. Below that level, ocean temps change only very slowly.

David B. Benson said...

James Annan --- The link you provided has a most fascinating abstract; thank you.

KAP --- Thank you.

Anonymous said...

James' reference says faster (than advection!), Steve's says slower (somehow). All at a site called Rabett Run. Go ask Alice.

Pete Dunkelberg

Anonymous said...

For the most part, you're right. However, I believe I heard Kerry Emanuel talking about the role of tropical cyclones in mixing surface heat downwards and through that potentially polewards. So it is a bit more complicated.

David B. Benson said...

Te article linked by James Annan makes the role of an internal Kelvin wave quite clear: speedy.

David B. Benson said...

And if one cares for the mathematics,
On the internal Kelvin waves in a two-layer liquid model

Anonymous said...


The depth of the thermocline varies quite a bit, as does the height of the tropopause,

The 700 m depth is arbitrary and more a function of the depth limitations of the XBTs than anything else.

Hank Roberts said...

Figure 1: Pattern Diagram of Thermohaline Circulation
in the review article Steve Bloom points to above is the clearest I've ever seen. It says:
Source: Prepared by the STFC based on Reference[4] and data provided by Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

Hank Roberts said...

Aside: Purkey & Johnson attacked by Spencer at

Hank Roberts said...

And the Loeb et al. paper mentioned as submitted to Nature that Roy Spencer couldn't find seems to be mentioned here:
IRC working group Global Energy Balance (GEB) Annual Report 2011
Martin Wild and Norman Loeb (WG Co-chairs)

"... this working group, entitled “Towards an improved understanding of the Global Energy Balance: absorption of solar radiation”. This proposal has been accepted in April and a PhD student has been assigned to start working September 1. The project aims at reducing the uncertainties in the absorption of solar radiation within the climate system, through the use of the information contained in worldwide surface radiation measurements in combination with satellite products. The project will make extensive use of the comprehensive dataset of surface radiation measurements from the Global Energy Balance Archive (GEBA), as well as of the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN). These data will be combined with recent satellite data (in particular CERES and MODIS) to quantify the top of the atmosphere fluxes and surface albedo. This will provide a unique dataset of key reference (anchor) stations to investigate the disposition and variation of solar radiation in the climate system, as well as its representation in climate models and satellite-derived products.

In collaboration with working group member Chuck Long, we are currently updating clear sky solar radiative fluxes at the BSRN sites, based on the Long and Ackermann (2000) clear-sky detection algorithm. These fluxes will allow the construction of monthly clear sky estimates at the BSRN sites, which will enable the estimation of trends in surface solar radiation under cloud-free conditions as well as the determination of solar absorption in the cloud-free atmospheric column above the sites. ..."

Hank Roberts said...

A tidbit:

"Internal Waves in the Oceans
Internal waves are interesting features that have
puzzled oceanographers since they were first recog-
nized in Landsat images (Apel and Charnell, 1974).
They are not related to surface waves, but occur deep
within the ocean. These waves extend for hundreds of
kilometers. They are believed to occur at temperature
or density discontinuities between water layers, and
characteristically have a wavelength of a few kilo-
meters. They appear to be visible from above due to
the accumulation of scum lines atop their crests. Areas
selected for internal wave investigations included the
Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean west of Spain,
the waters between the two islands of New Zealand,
and the waters of the Gulf of California."

JMurphy said...

The 'Real Climate' link goes to the same link for 'Our Changing Climate'. You need :

David B. Benson said...

Please stop by Real Climate to leave a note of appreciation and congradulations for Gavin Schmidt.

Flavius Collium said...

planet30 is down by the way. Just index and favicon.

Holly Stick said...

And now some Koch-funded experts assure us that it is getting warmer, much to their surprise:

Rattus Norvegicus said...

In other news, the BEST results have been released. Papers are here. Nothing surprising, station siting findings of previous paper are confirmed, UHI effects (about 0, they actually found a slight cool bias) found in previous papers confirmed. The earth is still warming.

Over at Judy's, to, connect this with RP Sr., Rodger is throwing mud by complaining that the datasets used in all the surface analysis have overlap in stations used. Ugh.

And poor, poor, put upon Tony is complaining about a paper which confirms the results of a paper on which he was an author!

doskonaleszare said...


I tried to get some answers from Judith Curry regarding her "Uncertainty Monster" paper, all in vain. Guess what, it turns out that some of her claims are simply made it.

Anonymous said...

"...are simply made up."

Holly Stick said...

The Durban climate change conference is coming up. What dirty tricks will the deniers pull ahead of this meeting? What faked up scandals will they push this time?

J Bowers said...

Will Keenan be calling the FBI.... again?

Timothy Chase said...

Might be of interest...

Billions of Blow Dryers: Some Missing Heat Returns to Haunt Us
Posted on 23 September 2010 by doug_bostrom

Purkey, S. G., and G. C. Johnson. 2010. Warming of global abyssal and deep Southern Ocean waters Between the 1990s and 2000s: Contributions to global heat and sea level rise budgets. Journal of Climate, 23, 6336-6351, doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3682.1. (pdf)

Have to wonder what the added abyssal heat will mean for Antarctic methane hydrates as well as the sub-ice channels of the West Antarctic.

Anonymous said...


Eli, there's this great little monograph on a Eunice Foote who appears to have demonstrated the CO2 greenhouse effect 3 years before Tyndall.

"...Thirdly, a high effect of the sun's rays is produced in carbonic acid gas. One receiver being filled with carbonic acid, the other with common air, the temperature of the gas in the sun was raised twenty degrees above that of the air. The receiver containing the gas became very sensibly hotter than the other, and was much longer in cooling. An atmosphere of that gas would give to our earth a much higher temperature; and if there once was, as some suppose, a larger proportion of that gas in the air, an increased temperature must have accompanied it, both from the nature of the gas and the increased density of the atmosphere. Mrs. Foote had also tried the heating effect of the sun's rays on hydrogen and oxygen, and found the former to be less, the latter more, susceptible to the heating action of sunlight" (Wells, 1857, p. 159-160).

I emailed the monograph author. The source is legitimate. There have been mixed reactions and William Connolley was dubious about the figures, which I think don't matter as much as the conclusions. Anyway, he recommended I try you for an opinion.

As I said at Stoat,

I'm kind of thrilled that in an era when women were much less of a force in science, Eunice Foote may very well have been the first person in the world to demonstrate the greenhouse effect with CO2. No need to rewrite the history books, but this is certainly worth acknowledging, to my mind.

So I'm doing a little pushing.