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Discussion > Does man made CO2 cause ocean warming.

AGW fanatics are becoming ever more shrill in their argument that the 'missing heat' as they put it MUST be somewhere in the oceans.

I've been asked to repost this without reference to back radiation, the property AGW advocates claim as the cause of man made global warming. Can there be any way for the heat SUPPOSEDLY created by man made CO2 to warm the ocean depths? Unless I'm informed wrongly, the Argo buoys show otherwise.

Obviously direct solar heating by short wave radiation and long existing natural convection currents are not part of process.

Jun 1, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

Excuse my ignorance, but how do we know there is "missing heat"? I assume it is obtained from satellite measurement of outgoing radiation power, integrated over the Earth's surface, compared with measured total incoming radiation power from the Sun and the two don't match.

If there is a difference between the two that cannot be explained by instrumental error, then there is certainly a question to be answered.

The instruments will need to be pretty accurate - if the missing heat is reckoned to be around 1 W/m2, compared with average insolation of around 1.36 kW/m2, then the measurements will have to have been made with a precision of at least one part in 10,000. Presumably NASA know what are the precision of their measurements but it's worth checking that the measurements really do have such precision before spending time discussing the tiny difference between measured incoming and outgoing.

Jun 1, 2013 at 9:31 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

A daft question - do we know how many m2 there are?

IIRC the "active/reactive" height of TOA is constantly changing, very small change in altitude = large change in m2?

I also understand that we relate "in" and "out" relative to a constant globe surface area, never been convinced that this is a relevant metric. Would appreciate any thoughts/comments.

As always just the musings of a metal basher!

Jun 1, 2013 at 10:15 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Green Sand (castings?) - well I probably don't know any more than you. But if the satellites are measuring the *total* outgoing they don't need to know the surface area so far as I can see. They will be well outside the atmosphere and (to a close approximation) orbiting in a sphere with the Earth inside it. Each orbit will trace out a line on the sphere. If their orbit is actually elliptical, this can be corrected numerically to give the effect of circular orbit.

What they need to do is measure the total radiation from the Earth coming out through the surface of the sphere. The actual surface area of the Earth should not affect things so far as I can see, as the total power will be measured in watts, not W/m2.

Does this make sense?

Jun 1, 2013 at 10:31 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

"Green Sand (castings?)"

Well deduced, but over the years it has gathered other connotations!

"Does this make sense?"

Well, Yea and Nay,

"as the total power will be measured in watts, not W/m2."

So why (and I sure don't know) is it expressed as W/m2 at the TOA, I think it is probably logical, it has been a long day for an old inquiring mind!

Jun 1, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I'm not aware of any effective mechanism for a theoretical slightly warmed by CO2 atmosphere of getting that energy into the oceans. If there was it could clearly be demonstrated in a lab. Obviously the sun puts huge amounts of energy directly into the ocean at slight depth.

Jun 2, 2013 at 6:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

"...how do we know there is "missing heat"? I assume it is obtained from satellite measurement of outgoing radiation power, integrated over the Earth's surface, compared with measured total incoming radiation power from the Sun and the two don't match"

Martin, I have searched for, and failed to find, such satellite measurements, integrated over time and space (@ TOA). If anybody has any references I would be grateful (I would also be grateful for references to albedo measurements from space).

(BTW - there is an interesting discussion on forcings, and resultant surface temperature changes, going on at the "Met insignificance" thread)

Jun 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Further to the above, I have often thought of ways to measure a global TOA radiation budget. One idea is to place two spacecraft at the L1 and L2 Langrangian points respectively (permanently facing the illuminated and dark faces of the Earth respectively). They could continually monitor the total radiation budget of the planet, integrated over all frequencies, and detrive any imbalance that would shift the diurnal thermodynamic equilibrium of the Earth.

This would cost something like $2 - $3 billion, over a period of about 15 - 20 years, but at least it would give hard answers. Is it worth it? I would say yes - better than spending trillions on what is, very probably, a non-problem.

Also, to respond to the question, the "missing heat" argument smacks of desparation to me. I can not understand any physical process that magically transfers energy to the deep oceans without affecting the surface layer. I think it is simply an artefact to balance the books because the alarmists are so sure that an imbalance exists and is caused by "GHGs", even though the planet has stoppoed warming.
Missing heat, and aerosols, are the solutions of choice, simply because there are no data to either prove, or disprove them.

(now out for rest of day)

Jun 2, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

"as the total power will be measured in watts, not W/m2."

So why (and I sure don't know) is it expressed as W/m2 at the TOA, I think it is probably logical, it has been a long day for an old inquiring mind!
Jun 1, 2013 at 10:51 PM Green Sand

Good question. Beats me.

I'd surmise that W/m2 at the top of the atmosphere, which is a pretty vague concept, are translated into equivalent W/m2 at the Earth's surface. But even there, if you want to be precise, since the Earth is not flat (Everest) nor is spherical, you'd need to make some kind of adjustments.

I've got a couple of fat books on the physics of atmoshphere and climate, one by Murry Salby who was a consultant for NASA in calculating satellite radiation data. I'll see what the books say.

Jun 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"Martin, I have searched for, and failed to find, such satellite measurements, integrated over time and space (@ TOA). If anybody has any references I would be grateful. (...)
Jun 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM Roger Longstaff "

Well, if they don't exist, that would be amazing.

But how you calibrate a satellite (and re-calibrate from time to time once it is in orbit) to produce measurements of LW infra red with a precision of 0.01 per cent or better is something outside anything I know about. Is such precision attainable? Maybe there is a NASA site that explains it all. Years back I worked for a firm that made IR sensors. Getting them to work at all was hard. Maybe things have changed.

I found a web page "Missing" Heat May Affect Future Climate Change


It says:


Either the satellite observations are incorrect, says Trenberth, or, more likely, large amounts of heat are penetrating to regions that are not adequately measured, such as the deepest parts of the oceans.

(...)

A percentage of the missing heat could be illusory, the result of imprecise measurements by satellites and surface sensors or incorrect processing of data from those sensors, the authors say.


My suggestion is to establish that there really is "missing heat", from measurements, before spending time figuring out where it has gone. There seems to me to be a strong smell of something or other here. There is no point in discussing where the heat has gone if the only evidence for it is from Hansen's imaginings.

Jun 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I've some questions about albedo. They are kind of applicable here but I am going to start a new thread to keep it focussed.

Jun 2, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

In a search for information; I took a look at SkS:

Search For 'Missing Heat' Confirms More Global Warming 'In The Pipeline'

Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, from the burning of fossil fuels, slows the loss of heat from Earth's atmosphere to space. This creates an imbalance between incoming solar energy and outgoing heat. The Earth will continue to warm until the balance is restored.

Because this planetary heat imbalance is tiny compared to the energy coming in from the sun, and the heat being radiated back out to space, it is too small to be measured directly by satellites. Earlier attempts to quantify this planetary heat imbalance were made in Hansen (2005) and Trenberth (2009) using earlier climate model-based estimates. Hansen (2005) had this planetary imbalance at 0.85 (±0.15) watts per square meter, and Trenberth 0.9 (±0.5) W/m2, in the earlier part of this century.

An apparent mismatch between the modeled estimate and the heat that could be accounted for on Earth, led to well-known climate scientist, Kevin Trenberth to lament that it was a travesty. (...)

So it's not a physical measurement, it's Trenberth not being able to get the modelled figures to add up. Inventing ways for the energy from incoming light to find its way into the deep ocean has a ring of desperation to it. It does not strike me as a thing to expend brain-seconds on.

Jun 2, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Its beyond belief this scam 'The missing heat in deep in the ocean' is still being used, unless you can come up with a valid reason why this hotter water is not rising to the surface it fails there.

Jun 2, 2013 at 2:56 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Thanks to all for participating.

It seems the only argument in favour of ocean warming via man made CO2 is in the SkS post quoted by Martin A.

As there are sound arguments, not only in BH threads but also in threads on the science based Talbloke blog, that the radiative properties of GHGs have a strong cooling effect via radiation to space, the SkS argument that GHGs slow the movement of heat from atmosphere to space weak and speculative.

Must go now as we go out on Sunday evenings as a rule.

Jun 2, 2013 at 6:29 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

Martin A:

It does not strike me as a thing to expend brain-seconds on.

Sorry for reading! Beyond belief, as BoFA says.

Jun 2, 2013 at 9:25 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake