2nd Quarter 2011 NODC Global OHC Anomalies

The NODC updated its Ocean Heat Content Anomaly data to include the 2nd quarter 2011 data. (And they also updated their Thermosteric Sea Level Anomaly data, which is not discussed in this post)  I will provide a more detailed discussion as soon as the KNMI Climate Explorer is updated with the 2ndquarter 2011 Ocean Heat Content data, which should be later this month.

THE GRAPHS

Figure 1 is a time-series graph of the NODC Global Ocean Heat Content Anomalies from the start of the dataset (1st Quarter of 1955) to present (2nd Quarter of 2011). The quarterly data for the world oceans is available through the NODC in spreadsheet (.csv ) form (Right Click and Save As: Global OHC Data). While there was a significant increase in Global Ocean Heat Content over the term of the data, Global Ocean Heat Content has flattened in recent years.

Figure 1

And as many are aware, Climate Model Projections of Ocean Heat Content anomalies did not anticipate this flattening. Figure 2 compares the ARGO-era (2003 to present) NODC Global Ocean Heat Content anomalies to the GISS Model-E Projection of 0.7*10^22 Joules per year. The linear trend of the observations is approximately 7% of the trend projected by the model mean of the GISS Model-E.

Figure 2

The source of the 0.7*10^22 Joules per year GISS Model-E ensemble-mean trend was illustrated, clarified, and questioned in the post GISS OHC Model Trends: One Question Answered, Another Uncovered.

 HOW MANY MORE YEARS UNTIL GISS MODEL-E CAN BE FOUND TO HAVE FAILED AS A PREDICTOR OF THE IMPACTS OF ANTHROPOGENIC GREENHOUSE GASES ON OCEAN HEAT CONTENT?

I asked the above question in Figure 2. It’s a rewording of the question asked by Roger Pielke Sr., in his post 2011 Update Of The Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions. There he notes:

Joules resulting from a positive radiative imbalance must continue to be accumulated in order for global warming to occur. In the last 7 1/2 years there has been an absence of this heating. An important research question is how many more years of this lack of agreement with the GISS model (and other model) predictions must occur before there is wide recognition that the IPCC models have failed as skillful predictions of the effect of the radiative forcing of anthropogenic inputs of greenhouse gases and aerosols.

As far as I’m concerned, they have already failed for numerous reasons. I have illustrated and discussed in past posts how:

1. ENSO is responsible for much of the rise in Ocean Heat Content for many of the ocean basins,

2. A change in sea level pressure is likely the cause of the upward shift in North Pacific Ocean Heat content during the late 1980s,

3. And ENSO, changes in Sea Level Pressure, and the AMO/AMOC are major contributors to the rise in North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content.

And as far as I know, these are natural contributors to the rise that are overlooked by the GISS Model-E. This was further illustrated and discussed in Why Are OHC Observations (0-700m) Diverging From GISS Projections?

 NOTES ABOUT THE ARGO-ERA GRAPH

There will be those who will attempt to dismiss the divergence between model projection and observations shown in Figure 2. Tamino tried to downplay the divergence in his post Favorite Denier Tricks, or How to Hide the Incline. I responded to Tamino with my post On Tamino’s Post “Favorite Denier Tricks Or How To Hide The Incline”. And there may be those who believe 2004 is a more appropriate year to use as the start of the ARGO-era OHC data, so for them, I illustrated how little difference it makes whether the ARGO-era starts in 2003 or 2004 in the post ARGO-Era Start Year: 2003 vs 2004. Note that there are two GISS Model-E projections illustrated in the sole graph in the post ARGO-Era Start Year: 2003 vs 2004. The one at 0.98*10^22 Joules per year, identified as Hansen/Pielke Sr., was found to be in error. This was discussed in the post GISS OHC Model Trends: One Question Answered, Another Uncovered.And of course, there is the fact that natural variables, which are not accounted for by the GISS Model-E, are major contributors to rise in Ocean Heat Content, as discussed in the four posts linked in the previous section.

 DATASET INTRODUCTION

The NODC OHC dataset is based on the Levitus et al (2009) paper “Global ocean heat content(1955-2008) in light of recent instrumentation problems”, Geophysical Research Letters. Refer to Manuscript. It was revised in 2010 as noted in the October 18, 2010 post Update And Changes To NODC Ocean Heat Content Data. As described in the NODC’s explanation of ocean heat content (OHC) data changes, the changes result from “data additions and data quality control,” from a switch in base climatology, and from revised Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT) bias calculations.

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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19 Responses to 2nd Quarter 2011 NODC Global OHC Anomalies

  1. Pingback: ¿Cuantos años sin calentamiento tienen que pasar para seguir aguantanto a los alarmistas climáticos del IPCC? « PlazaMoyua.com

  2. (from my comment, originally made on WUWT) —

    This sounds quite important.

    I believe that ocean heat content (if measured broadly and deeply enough) would be a far better indicator than the “Average Global Temperature” [of the lower atmosphere] in gauging “Global Warming”, whether “natural” or “man-made”.

    This seems logical, due to the far greater heat capacity of the oceans than the atmosphere.
    Plus, now there are thousands of temperature probes in the oceans, at multiple latitudes, longitudes and depths (if I understand correctly). How long have there been sufficient sensors to come up with a semi-accurate calculation of an “ocean heat content” and is there rough agreement on the values thus derived?

    Is there peer-reviewed literature on this, also comparing ocean temperature and climate?

    Which scientists are at the cutting edge of this subject?

    Also: is there some agreement between scientists studying the ocean heat content and its reflection on / ability to “predict” climate change?

    Kurt in Switzerland

  3. Pingback: NOAA Data vs Ocean Heat Predictions | The Drinking Water Advisor

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    Kurt in Switzerland says: “How long have there been sufficient sensors to come up with a semi-accurate calculation of an “ocean heat content” and is there rough agreement on the values thus derived?”

    The deployment of ARGO floats ramped up strongly in 2003 and the oceans were well covered early in 2004. To answer the second part of your question, the ARGO data is corrected by researchers to account for sensor problems and the like. The corrections are not always the same.

    You asked, “Is there peer-reviewed literature on this, also comparing ocean temperature and climate?”

    There are so many, all I can suggest is that you search Google scholar:
    http://scholar.google.com/

    You asked, “Which scientists are at the cutting edge of this subject?”

    This would help with your searches. Scientists whose papers are often referenced in other scientific studies are Willis, Levitus, and Ishii and Kimoto.

    You asked, “Also: is there some agreement between scientists studying the ocean heat content and its reflection on / ability to “predict” climate change?”

    I have found no evidence that climate model hindcasts/projections represent reality. Refer to:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/part-1-%e2%80%93-satellite-era-sea-surface-temperature-versus-ipcc-hindcastprojections/
    And:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/492/

  5. Thank you kindly, Bob.
    It would appear that the calculations of OHC prior to 2004 would be subject to a larger error band than those from 2004 onwards. Would you agree? If so, how much larger is it?
    Given the lack of agreement on how to calculate a “Global Mean Atmospheric Surface Temperature”, let alone the uncertainty whether the annual, decadal, or multi-decadal trend in the same is indicative of “warming” of the earth (irreversible or otherwise), wouldn’t it be better (from a scientific viewpoint) to use a running average of the OHC as a standard for gauging warming (or cooling) of the planet?

    There appears to be a problem in climate science today with researchers overstating their confidence in models’ ability to “predict” future temperatures as well as an eerie silence about uncertainties in their understanding of the forces governing climate on earth. The lack of public criticism from scientists of sweeping statements by the IPCC in its 4th Assessment Report (which appear to be based more on conjecture than on anything resembling the scientific method) is particularly telling.
    Could it be that climate scientists report what the parties funding the research grants want to hear? Could it be that the adage “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” is the driving force in climate research today?
    Perhaps “climate science” needs to be taken to task on key questions by skeptical (and thick-skinned) scientists from the field and from related fields. Perhaps it would be a worthwhile use of time and energy to formulate these key questions, then ask them loudly and repeatedly.
    Kurt in Switzerland

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    Kurt in Switzerland: The only OHC error data I’m aware of is provided with the annual and quarterly data provided by the NODC through the “basin time series’ webpage:
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/basin_data.html
    I rarely plot it.

    And yes, I would agree with you that OHC would be a better metric to determine if and how the globe is warming. That has been one of Roger Pielke Sr’s recommendations as well.

    Regards.

  7. Hi Bob,

    In your response to Kurt you posit that OHC is a superior global warming metric (presumably versus thermometers and tree rings).However in the post itself you attribute rising OHC to ENSO, sea level pressure, AMO. Unless these climate phenomena correlate to global heat content, it is perhaps a step too far to say that OHC is valid proxy for global heat content. OHC may be superior to other metrics, but that alone doesn’t make it a good metric absent other evidence of correlation.

    Thanks for all the heavy lifting in your blog. There is always something to learn here.

    Regards,

    Howard

  8. Bob Tisdale says:

    Howard Wiseman says: “In your response to Kurt you posit that OHC is a superior global warming metric (presumably versus thermometers and tree rings).”

    Nope. OHC is superior as a metric compared to Land+Sea Surface Temperature or Lower Troposphere Temperature. There are no lags. It’s either rising or it’s not. And right now it’s not rising as projected.

  9. Espen says:

    Howard Wiseman: Could you explain what you mean by “global heat content”?

  10. Global Heat Content:The phenomena that global temperature measurement attempts to quantify. I am not trying to claim any scientific insight here. I was actually trying to suggest a logical inconsistency when Bob attributed OHC increases to natural variability in ocean circulations and air pressures (and not global warming) and then proceeds to call OHC a superior global warming metric. If OHC can increase independent of global warming, how is it a good global warming metric?

  11. Espen says:

    Howard Wiseman: The heat capacity of the oceans is immense, the atmosphere is almost insignificant compared to that, and the landmasses too.

    Here’s what NOAA says : “The atmosphere does not have much capability to store heat. The heat capacity of the global atmosphere corresponds to that of only a 3.2 m layer of the ocean. However, the depth of ocean actively involved in climate is much greater than that. The specific heat of dry land is roughly a factor of 4.5 less than that of seawater (for moist land the factor is probably closer to 2). Moreover, heat penetration into land is limited by the low thermal conductivity (the degree to which a substance transmits heat), of the land surface; as a result only the top two meters or so of the land typically play an active role in heat storage and release (e.g., as the depth for most of the variations over annual time scales). Accordingly, land plays a much smaller role than the ocean in the storage of heat and in providing a memory for the climate system. ”

    So, OHC isn’t merely a proxy, it IS most of the global heat content.

  12. Pingback: Tampoco este año se batirá el récord de 2007 de mínimo de hielo en el Ártico. Casi seguro. « PlazaMoyua.com

  13. Pingback: April to June 2011 NODC Ocean Heat Content Anomalies (0-700Meters) Update and Comments | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

  14. Pingback: Tisdale on Ocean Heat Content Anomalies | Watts Up With That?

  15. Max Hugoson says:

    Prior to the ARGO data gathering the “Ocean Heat” values are obtained how? I think I know the answer to that, and frankly the Prior to 2004 data is MEANINGLESS.

    Max

  16. Pingback: July to September 2011 NODC Ocean Heat Content Anomalies (0-700Meters) Update and Comments | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

  17. Pingback: October to December 2011 NODC Ocean Heat Content Anomalies (0-700Meters) Update and Comments | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

  18. Pingback: October to December 2011 NODC Ocean Heat Content Anomalies (0-700Meters) Update and Comments | Watts Up With That?

  19. Pingback: October to December 2011 NODC Ocean Heat Content Anomalies (0-700Meters) Update and Comments | My Blog

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