More Heat about Ocean Heat - another nail in the AGW coffin

Anthony Cox

I have previously written about the fact that the heat in the ocean isn’t there. A Facebook commentator produced some excellent graphs based on the ARGO data which showed NO heat accumulation at any level in the world’s oceans. This lack of warming contradicts completely  (Anthropogenic Global Warming) AGW theory as put forward by such AGW stalwarts as Trenberth and England. It also has Hansen scrambling for weird and whacky explanations.

So it is plain in the ARGO era that the oceans are not warming and this contradicts AGW.

In my articles I noted that NODC graphs were shown in joules which allowed a steeper slope compared to a temperature trend. Mischievously I suggested an ulterior motive for this. Alarmism.

Another blogger has taken me to task. Rob Ryan has defended the NODC graphs and pointed out that they do indeed have temperature graphs. Indeed they do:

Thanks Rob. By way of comparison here is the same graph in joules:

Well to me the trend slope in the joules graph looks steeper and more alarming than the temperature graph. But Rob doesn’t like OHC as a measure of the energy; it is poor terminology according to Rob. Hey Rob, don’t blame me, argue with NODC and indeed AGW in general; they’re the ones using and relying on it.

What really is poor is the notion that by any measure the oceans are heating. The estimable Bob Tisdale does a comparison of all OHC measures and produces this graph:

Plainly Hansen’s model on behalf of AGW is off with the pixies while the MET and the NODC show the opposite trend!

A couple of things about this. 

Firstly the ARGO data is adjusted before it is presented. Obviously NODC and the MET adjust it differently. In fact in another post Bob Tisdale examines the NODC adjustment procedure:

At the 700 meters range NODC have increased the trend by 19%. The NODC adjustments increase the trend at 2000 meters by 36%!

Secondly the ARGO data, even though it is the best we have ever had, is vastly insufficient. Willis Eschenbach notes:

  • The sampling of the oceans is by no means as uniform as I had expected. Part of the ocean is under sampled, sometimes badly so, compared to other areas. Half of the global ocean has been sampled less than 20 times per 10,000 sq. km, and 14% has never been sampled by Argo floats at all.
  • Even when we look at just the area from 60°N/S, half the ocean has been sampled less than 24 times per 10,000 sq. km, and 8% is unsampled.
  •  The area of the El Nino phenomenon is a critical area for the regulation of planetary heat loss. Oceanic heat content in this area can change quite rapidly. However, parts of it are woefully undersampled.
  • Finally, the older Argo floats sample either down to 1,000 metres, and intermittently go to 1,500 metres depth. The newer ones go down to 1800 metres. Which is quite deep, about a mile down. But the estimates of oceanic heat storage include the whole ocean. Figure 3 shows a pair of transects from Antarctica (on the left) to Hawaii, and then Hawaii to Alaska on the right, to give some sense of scale.
Figure 3 (Figure 10 from cited source.) North/South Pacific transect at 150°W.  ORIGINAL CAPTION: Vertical section of potential temperature (°C) along 150°W from data collected in 1991-1993 as part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment. Data north of Hawaii were collected in 1984 (Talley et al., 1991). Potential temperature is the temperature a parcel of water would have if moved to the sea surface with no change in heat content, and is lower than measured temperature since temperature increases when water is compressed due to the high pressure in the ocean.Source and Image
The Argo floats operate mostly in the warmer area up top of Figure 3, above the lower thermocline (light blue). Average depth in this entire transect is much deeper than that, about 5,000 metres. So the Argo floats are measuring less than a quarter of the water in this part of the Pacific basin. Makes the whole question of oceanic heat content kinda iffy.

Kinda iffy is a vast understatement! The ARGO floats don’t even go to 2000 meters and yet we have temperature profiles at that depth.

The only reasonable conclusion is that based on the best data from ARGO the oceans are not warming, whether you are considering joules or temperature.

Thanks again Rob; by my reckoning that is another nail in the AGW coffin.


  1. Here we go (I have done this before on the Scientific American bulletin boeard and they predicatbly did not understand and then called me names).

    If you take the information found herein with repsect to the energy and temperature increase in the ocean you find that there is 17 times more energy increase in the ocean than is proposed by the AGW folks (or 1700 years of 0.85 degC/100 years):

    volume of ocean water 1335000000 km3

    volume of ocean water 1.335E+18 m3 computed

    density of ocean water 1050 kg/m3

    mass of ocean water 1.40175E+21 kg computed

    mass of ocean 0-700 meters) 2.29957E+20 computed, assumes that the average ocean depth is 4267m so the top 700 meters is about 16% of the volume

    specific heat (average) 3951.6375 j/kg K

    1997 energy 5E+22 j article graph
    2014 energy 1.1E+23 j article graph

    energy increase 6E+22 j computed

    temp increase 0.066 K computed

    volume of troposphere 8.14E+09 km3 computed

    volume of troposphere 8.14E+18 m3
    mass of troposphere 3.98E+18 kg's+atmosphere&sourceid=ie7&

    specific heat (average) 1000 j/kg K

    temperature increase/100 years 0.85 K

    energy required 3.38E+21 j computed

    differential 17.8

  2. AnonymousJuly 16, 2014 at 4:33 AM
    You don't get it. It is not energy of the ocean that heats the atmosphere, it is the TEMPERATURE change. Even if the ocean were infinite, and warmed 0.066 K, the most this could raise the atmospheric temperature is 0.066 K. You are looking at apples and oranges when you look at accumulated energy vs temperature.

    1. You are incorrect. The energy required to generate the missing heat (difference between models and the measurements) is around 1/17th of the amount required to heat the ocean the amount that has been claimed in the literature.

      Therefore, there is a logical break in the argument that the ocean temperature rise is due to AGW alone. In fact the energy required to account for the 'missing' heat would be able to increase the temperature in the top 700 meters of the ocean about 0.0039 deg K (same as C).

    2. I do not think that you are considering specific heat. The heat transfer is not 1:1 between the ocean and air because the specific heat of the ocean water is about 3 times higher than that of the air. This is why it gets hot during the day over water but the water does not get as hot (think swimming in a lake in the farther northern latitudes).

      FYI: the accumulated energy is a measure of how much energy it would take to raise the temperature of the ocean as indicated by the data presented. The only way to raise the temperature of anything is to apply the energy. So, the accumulated energy has been computed back from the data and when you compare that to the amount of energy required to account for the missing heat in the atmosphere you find that they are not equal and therefore there must be something else at work warming the oceans (some might postulate cooling lava at mid ocean ridges might be helping, or x number of other processes).

      The simple version is that AGW is not alone responsible for the warming of the oceans ... the energy balance does not work out.

  3. A good point Leonard. Of course other things heat the atmosphere other than the ocean, but the most the ocean can heat the atmosphere is the extent the ocean has warmed.

  4. Anonymous - I briefly scanned your little argument. I reached the point where you claim that "the average ocean depth is 4267m so the top 700 meters is about 16% of the volume". I actually choked a sip of wine out of my nose from laughing. I couldn't risk scanning any further.

    You clearly think of yourself as mathematically inclined... but you don't understand that the outer 15% of a SPHERE (by depth) is not 16% of the volume of a SPHERE. Get it? VOLUME? SPHERE? Radius CUBED?

    Just of the top of my head, the outer 16% of a sphere accounts for something in excess of 40% of the total volume of the sphere. You can make whatever adjustments you wish (warmists always do), but you will never get it down anywhere near the ignorant 16% figure that you tossed out.

    Still having trouble understanding what I'm saying? Still think the mean skeptics are just calling you names? Here's an example that you might understand. A 10-inch pizza has an area of about 78.5 sq in. Increase it by 20% (a 12-inch pizza) and the area goes up to about 113 sq in. The area didn't increase by 20%, but by 44%. The same applies to a sphere, only worse.

    The outer 16% of a circle contains about 29% of the its area. Likewise, the outer 16% of a sphere contains about 40% of its volume. And your brain contains about 40% of the reasoning ability of a high school sophomore. It's a math thing... you wouldn't understand.

    1. Anonymous#2, you owe Anonymous#1 an apology, because he is correct about his ocean volume calculation and you are wrong.

      Your error comes from the fact that we are not talking about the outer 16% of a sphere, we are talking about the outer 16% of a thin layer on the surface of the sphere.

      Anonymous#1's "about 16%" is more precisely 700/4267 = 16.405%

      Now we are going to make some simplifying assumptions to make the calculations easier. Specifically we are going to assume:
      1) that the earth is a sphere
      2) that the diameter of the Earth is 12,742,000m, giving a radius of 6,371,000m.
      3) use 4,267m as the average ocean depth (as Anon#1 did)
      4) that 70% of the earth's surface is covered by oceans

      Therefore the radius of the ocean's surface is 6,371,000m.
      The radius of the 700m depth is 6,370,300m.
      The radius of the ocean bottom is 6,366,733m.

      The volume of the ocean = (volume of a sphere of 6,371,000m radius - volume of a sphere of radius 6,366,733m) * 0.7 = (1.0832069 E+21 - 1.0810319 E+21) * 0.7 = 2.175 E+18 * 0.7 = 1.5225 E+18 m^3

      The volume of the upper 700m of the ocean = (volume of a sphere of 6,371,000m radius - volume of a sphere of radius 6,370,300m) * 0.7 = (1.0832069 E+21 - 1.0828499 E+21) * 0.7 = 3.57 E17 * 0.7 = 2.499 E+17 m^3

      The % of ocean represented by the upper 700m = 2.499 E+17 / 1.5225 E+18 = 16.414%

      16.405% is for all practical purposes the same as 16.414%, so we see that Anonymous#1 was correct, and you were wrong. And not wrong by just a little bit, but your 40% "of the top of your head" was wrong by a HUGE amount. Obviously you didn't get 40% off the top of your head, you got it out of your other end.

      From your condescending attitude and ridicule, you clearly think of yourself as mathematically inclined... but you demonstrated that you don't understand that the percentage of a thin skin on the outer surface of a sphere is different than the percentage of the whole sphere, and when the outer skin thickness is very very small compared to the radius of the sphere (700/6,371,000 = 0.00011), the spherical effect essentially vanishes.

      Therefore we see that you were projecting when you accused Anon#1's brain containing about 40% of the reasoning ability of a high school sophomore. Indeed it IS a math thing ... a thing that you don't understand.

      Perhaps it was too much wine that caused your sophomoric blunder. In the future you would do well to DO THE MATH first to avoid embarrassing yourself.

    2. Agreed. I basically assumed that the ocean was a swimming pool and knew that I was going to be slightly off on the 16% which is really 16.414 (see above).

      Any thoughts?

    3. Also, I happen not to be a 'warmist' so I suspect that you did not understand my post. I firmly believe that a comprehensive analysis of the data is the only way to determine the most reasonable answer. This is what I have done and I have found a MAJOR bust in the energy balance.

  5. We didnt have the data saturation before to measure it, nor do we now. There are vast areas of the ocean where cooler water can be "hiding" just as easy to assume

    1. Joe, I think what you are saying here is exactly right! No data saturation existed before and the ocean surface is vast to say-the-least! And a lot of cooler water is more than likely not showing itself! So, in the end you can almost make the data look anyway you want based on one's bias! And NOAA just released data in the past few days that I think NASA backed up as saying ocean temperatures around the world were a lot warmer than they had thought they were early on. Well, my question is; Based on what? Some of these late figures I see thrown around by NOAA and NASA really makes me wonder! Either they had it bad wrong to start with and if so how can we trust these so-called new figures coming out! I am beginning to think our government is now so biased in favor of the 'Man-Made Global Warming Hoax' driven by the Obama Carbon Tax Scam I don't know who you can believe anymore! Which is sad because the general public is about to lose all faith in the science community as a whole! THANKS! Len Holliday

  6. Any significant change in ocean temp would increase its volume. Note that saline (sea) water has uniform density gradients all the way down to below 0°C.

    1. Thanks Brian; as I understand it; sea level is determined by 3 factors; eustatic or the total mass of water which is impacted by [alleged] melting of sheet ice at Greenland and Antarctica predominantly; steric or thermal properties when the temperature of the water changes; and isostatic or localised land movements. Could you elaborate on your point about "uniform energy gradients"?

    2. Brian HJuly 22, 2014 at 10:10 PM says:-
      "Any significant change in ocean temp would increase its volume " You seem to be of the same school as NASA bloke, Josh Willis; who states " water volume increases with temperature"
      If you heat water from 0.1 deg. C to 8.0 deg C, there is no change in the volume. The volume declines to 4 deg C , then starts expanding.The average temp. of the Oceans is given as 3.8 deg C, so if the Oceans are expanding, they must be losing heat.


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