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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Does The Instrument Temperature Record Contradict The Anthropogenic Global Warming Hypothesis?

I was recently asked to outline my findings about the multiyear aftereffects of ENSO and to do so in one page or less. Instead, I’ll use the title question as the basis for this post. To accomplish the desired task of limiting my discussion to less than one page, I’ll provide no illustrations, but will provide links to more detailed discussions.

The Instrument Temperature Record Contradicts The Hypothesis That Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases Warm The Global Oceans. But in order to see this, the National Oceanographic Data Center’s (Levitus et al 2009) Ocean Heat Content (OHC) data must be divided into subsets. In this form, most ocean basins show decadal and multidecadal declines in OHC, with sudden surges that correspond to multiyear La Nina events or to changes in atmospheric pressure as defined by the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Index. These findings were discussed and illustrated in three posts. First: ENSO Dominates NODC Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Data, Second: North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Is Governed By Natural Variables, and Third: North Pacific Ocean Heat Content Shift In The Late 1980s.

The Instrument Temperature Record Contradicts The Hypothesis That Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases Are The Primary Cause Of The Rise In Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) Anomalies. There is a very clear upward step change in the TLT anomalies of the Mid-To-High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This upward step change was caused by the strong El Nino event of 1997/98. A smaller upward step change is evident after the 1986/87/88 El Nino, but the step is masked by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. These step changes in the TLT anomalies of the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere bias global TLT anomalies and give the impression of a gradual rise in global TLT anomalies. This was discussed and illustrated using times-series graphs and time-latitude plots (Hovmollers) in the post RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots...Show Climate Responses That Cannot Be Easily Illustrated With Time-Series Graphs Alone.

The Instrument Temperature Record Contradicts The Hypothesis That Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases Have Caused The Rise In Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Since 1976. This was first discussed over a year ago in two posts: Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1 and Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 2. In those posts I illustrate how approximately 25% of the global oceans between the latitudes of 60S and 65N warm in response to El Nino events, and, in a counterintuitive response, also warm during La Nina events. This impacts global SST anomaly trends and is mistaken for anthropogenic global warming. I have over the past year expanded on the explanation in many posts. Three recent posts provide detailed discussions of the processes that cause SST anomalies to rise in response to El Nino AND La Nina events. These recent posts are, first, More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO – Part 1 – El Nino Events Warm The Oceans, second, More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO - Part 2 – La Nina Events Recharge The Heat Released By El Nino Events AND...During Major Traditional ENSO Events, Warm Water Is Redistributed Via Ocean Currents, and third, More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO - Part 3 – East Indian & West Pacific Oceans Can Warm In Response To Both El Nino & La Nina Events.

I have also posted 23 videos on YouTube for those who prefer animations. Many of those videos deal with the multiyear aftereffects of ENSO and their impacts on global temperatures. Refer to:


stephan said...

Thanks for the interesting data presentation.
I would like to take the opportunity to ask any expert readers about the significance of the vonStruckman(2009) results which show a warming trend when the ocean is sampled down to 2000m. Specifically:

- Why don't all Argo analysis use the full depth? Are there calibration issues below 700m?

- How did all that warm water get there?

Thanks, SLL

Bob Tisdale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Tisdale said...

Stephan: Sorry for replying about von Schuckmann et al from memory. Here’s a link to the in-press version if you don’t have a copy.


Bob Tisdale said...

Stephan: I was so unimpressed with my first reply to you that I have rewritten it and deleted the old one.

You asked, “Why don't all Argo analysis use the full depth?”

Earlier long-term studies determined that the greatest variability occurs in the upper 700-750 meters. Refer to Levitus et al (2005). They wrote with respect to their Figure 1, “It shows that a large part of the change in ocean heat content during the past 50 years has occurred in the upper 700 m of the world ocean.”
Link to Levitus et al (2005):

I have looked for reasons as to why that is now the norm for long-term OHC analyses but have been unable to find one. I believe the answer is, and I’m speculating, so they that they could study the causes for those variations. The number of long-term readings also drops drastically with depth, increasing the uncertainties in early years at depths greater than 700 meters.

You asked, “How did all that warm water get there?”

I can interpret your question a couple of ways. Are you asking why von Schuckmann continues to show a rise, while OHC for the upper 700 meters have flattened, and while other papers illustrate flattened steric sea levels over the same term as von Schuckmann? I can’t answer. Roger Pielke Sr wonders as well. Refer to:

The link to the von Scuckmann preprint is here:

Did von Schuckmann correct for ARGO errors differently than others? Dunno.

Most of the other long-term OHC studies published in 2008 and 2009 (referred to in Levitus et al 2009) ended with the start of the ARGO data. Why? Link to Levitus et al (2009):

von Schuckmann also did not confirm whether their methods agreed with the flattening of OHC to 700 meter depths as discussed in Levitus et al (2009). They wrote, “Although this represents a significant increase in the rate of warming, the updated long-term study of Levitus et al. [2009] shows that the upper ocean (0-700m) heat content increases to a plateau during 2004-2007, i.e. in the time domain of our study.” Again, they provided no information about their results for the 0-700m depths.

Von Schuckmann et al wrote, “During the six years of in-situ measurements, an oceanic warming of 0.77+/-0.11Wm¡2 occurred in the upper 2000m depth of the water column. This number is roughly consistent with the 10-year heat content time series published by Willis et al. [2004].”

However, Pielke Sr in his second post linked above disagrees. He writes, “This figure also clearly documents that since 2005 there has not been the 0.77 Watts per meter squared heating that was claimed in the EPA Response. Moreover, even the von Schuckmann et al analysis does not support this large of a heating rate.”

Or are you asking in the second question if downward shortwave radiation only warms the upper few centimeters, and if the upper 700 meters show no signs of anthropogenic warming, then how would an anthropogenic forcing bypass the upper 700 meters to warm the depths below? That’s the same question I’ve posed to those who come here in support of von Schuckmann.


Anonymous said...

"...how would an anthropogenic forcing bypass the upper 700 meters to warm the depths below? "

My initial thought is that this is occuring not via mixing from warming surface waters, but is actual warming of the Deep and Bottom Waters. There is a recent paper on this:

Bob Tisdale said...

Anonymous (2:34AM): Thanks for the link to Johnson et al (2007). Their conclusions are interesting:

"These values are between 5 and 30% of the heating trend of 0.2 W m-2 estimated for the 0–3000-m World Ocean heat content change between 1955 and 1998 (Levitus et al. 2005) and between 2% and 10% of the heating trend of 0.6Wm-2 (per unit area of the earth’s surface) estimated for the 0–750-m World Ocean heat content change between 1993 and 2003 (Willis et al. 2004). Thus, abyssal Pacific Ocean heat content variations may contribute a small but significant fraction to the earth’s heat budget."


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