Global SST Update through mid-March 2011

March 18th, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

It has been awhile since I provided an update to the global average sea surface temperature plot, shown below through yesterday (March 17, 2011).

As can be seen, SSTs remain below normal. The trend line is close to zero, so still no sign of “global warming” having resumed.

The corresponding water vapor plot (vertically integrated) shows a rather spectacular plunge in recent weeks:

45 Responses to “Global SST Update through mid-March 2011”

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  1. Simon says:

    Interests me how the 2008 Nina episode caused the SSTs to drop much lower than the 2011 Nina despite both being of similar intensity. That’s the only real sign of any change?

  2. Paul H says:

    The big difference between this La Nina and 2008’s is that this year’s cooling is starting from a massive El Nino and therefore it is unrealistic to expect the SST’s to reach such a low level.

    The scale of the decline is actually greater than the 2008 episode.

  3. MichaelM says:

    “As can be seen, SSTs remain below normal. The trend line is close to zero, so still no sign of “global warming” having resumed.”

    …yes sir. Still waiting. : )

  4. Kevin says:

    Dr. Spencer, with respect;

    Those of us in the engineering field call this NOISE with an occasional PERTURBATION thrown in to make things interesting. We would never attempt to design any real world system that depends on these (most likely) spurious signals to accomplish any useful result.

    Having seen many false starts in the engineering field I still suggest that the endeavor known as climate science might want to consider starting over from scratch. Yes indeed much activity has been expended in attempts to explain the “climate”, but perhaps it is time to start all over again?

    Don’t be shamed, the original NASA program to launch humans into space started with an aluminum can filled with PURE oxygen, only after the can burst into flames and consumed three humans did they reexamine if pure oxygen was a wise engineering decision.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  5. Bob Tisdale says:

    Simon said: “Interests me how the 2008 Nina episode caused the SSTs to drop much lower than the 2011 Nina despite both being of similar intensity.”

    NINO3.4 SST anomalies, Cold Tongue Index (CTI) SST anomalies, Oceanic Niño Index (ONI), Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) data are proxies for the frequency and intensity of ENSO events. They do not and cannot account for the redistribution of warm and cool waters created by ENSO events within the tropical Pacific or the redistribution of those warm or cool waters from the tropical Pacific to adjoining ocean basins, and they cannot account for the impacts on oceanic processes outside of the tropical Pacific that are caused by changes in atmospheric circulation.

  6. CatrunJ says:

    The most amazing thing about this post is that it has
    been up a full day and Salvatore hasn’t written a 500
    word comment about how this confirms his theories
    about solar activity, volcanoes, earthquakes, and
    missing socks in the the pacific ocean.

  7. Eric Sander says:

    What significance should I assign to the recent drop in oceanic integrated water vapor? Does this imply a reduction of radiative forcng due to water vapor infrared radiation absorption and a near future reduction of global temperature?

  8. J. Bob says:

    Kevin, with regard to you comment on “noise”, it seems yours truly, ruffled some feathers over at the RC, Unforced variations thread. On challenging one of their contributors ( one tamino ) on his expected global temp rise over the past ~20 years. Apparently, it is heresy to use signal conditioning methods, such as recursive and Fourier filter methods to enhance feature extraction. Seems yours truly was “bore holed” by the resident moderator, for even associating Fourier analysis with prediction methods. They make a point that it’s all statistics & physics, but are ignorant of statistical process control methods.

    However their interesting comments on the IEEE society, and the Signal Processing group, shows their interesting vision.

  9. Olavi says:

    If you compare model to model, you can get good correlation, but does it have anything to do with reality?

    Kevin says:
    March 18, 2011 at 8:26 PM
    Dr. Spencer, with respect;

    Those of us in the engineering field call this NOISE with an occasional PERTURBATION thrown in to make things interesting. We would never attempt to design any real world system that depends on these (most likely) spurious signals to accomplish any useful result.

    There is missing heat. Where it is? You can’t find it with manipulatig data.

  10. The geological activity has been high to say the least, and that should continue for the next several months, due to the recent solar activity action.
    The mostly quiet sun with spurts of activity , as I have mentioned many times, correlates well ,with an increase in geological activity. This time frame, being no exception.

    I have modified my thinking slightly, in that before I was thinking a quiet sun period ,would lead to maximum global cooling over time. I now have come to the conclusion that a quiet sun say 85% of the time ,with intervals of very active activity the other 15% of the time, is how maximum cooling from solar activity can be acheive. Reason being, this results in more geological activity ,and more geological activity results in global cooling ,due to an increase in high latitude volcanic activity,which in turn will enhance the -AO atmospheric circulation ,which is key to N.H. cooling. Reason being, the -AO circulation promotes greater snow cover,precip., and clouds for the N.H. ,which in turns causes earth’s overall albedo to increase ,thus a cooling.

    This entire situation will continue to play out, as long as solar actiivity in general is weak ,with some burst of activity from time to time. If this pattern persist this wil not only be the decade of golbal cooling, but also the decade of intense geological activity.

    Time will tell ,who is right, and who is wrong. I would say so far items have tended to go the way I have expected them to, but it’s to early to say I am right. I want to see what the next year or two brings.

    I say it is going to be very interesting.

  11. Martin says:

    Salvatore, most of these recent quakes and eruptions of volcanoes happened in the ring of fire, which is an extremely active region. This particular region has been surprisingly quiet for a long time (not counting those regular small earthquakes) for a long time, long enough to accumulate such energy in tension. This tension is now being released, but activity of this magnitude cannot be expected to last more than a few months, maybe one year.

  12. You could very well be right. We have to let this play out and see how it all unfolds.

    I am going to be interested to see how the PDO proceeds going forward ,along with the SOI index.

    I expect PDO ,to stay in cold mode, to what degree is my question.

    I expect SOI ,to be mostly in La Nina state, again to what degree is the question.

    In any event, all factors that influence climate, are tending to be in the cold mode ,as of now.

    SOLAR- mostly weak,sets the tables
    VOLCANIC- fairly active
    SOI- la nina state

    PDO/AMO- pdo cold AMO- still warmish
    AO/NAO -mostly neg, has been positive of late but looks to be going neg. once again.

    Degree of magnitude and duration of those factors, will be key, going forward.

    The two things I like to do is monitor these factors, and see what effects it has to the earth. Along with going back to past history, and trying to see what has happened. A good period of time to look at ,is the Dalton Minimum, 1790-1840.

    It seems we are in a similar situation to that time period.

  13. Ray says:

    Salvatore, could you please explain, in simple terms, what is the mechanism by which solar activity causes seismic activity on Earth?

  14. CatrunJ says:


    Did you read my comment above?

    It is hard to predict the behavior of the climate,
    much easier to predict yours.

  15. Piers Corbyn ,could probably explain it better. You should google him .

    The explanation is given this way, more or less.

    When the sun is active, it is like a car going 90 m.p.h, if that car were to increase to 100 m.p.h ,one would feel a small jolt. On the other hand ,when the sun is quiet it is like a car going 1 m.p.h ,if the sun has a sudden burst of activity ,it is like the car going from 1 m. p.h to 60 m.p.h ,one feels a BIG JOLT.

    That same analogy, can be applied to the earth/solar relationship, in that when the sun is in a prolong quiet state, the charged particles, (protons for an example) are at a very low level ,then when the sun all of a sudden becomes active, the charged particles coming from the sun increase in concentrations, to a VERY VERY high degree of magnitude. This drastic change in the particle increase/concentration, is thought to have an effect on the earth’s rotation rates, due to it’s disturbing of the earth’s magnetic field, which of course originates at the earth’s core.

    This disturbing of the earth’s magnetic field ,is then thought not only to change the earth’s rotational rates as a whole, but change the rotational rates of the earth differently, as one heads from the earth’s surface towards it’s core. This in turn causes the unstable plates to become even more unstable due to friction changes, due to the rotational rates of earth being changed ,and changed differently at different depths. Thus the plates become more unstable, and move more ,the result is more intense geological activity.

    SOME FACTS – the earth rotates at different rates from it’s surface to it’s center.

    NEXT FACT- Any change in the rotational rates of the earth no matter how slight , are going to casue friction, which in turn is going to make unstable plates even more unstable due to the friction, which in turn is going to cause more stress to develope between the plates , then would otherwise be the case.

    LAST FACT- If one goes back in history, and plots all major volcanic/earthquake activity ,one will find an 85% correlation between major geological activity and prolong solar minimums. Just look at what is happening now. It is a repeat.

    If you pull up Pier’s Corbyn’s dangerous times ,it came out Mar 15th ,on the climate realist website, you will see he expects this marked increase in geological activity to continue ,due to the sun’s behavior.

    Also their are many other articles about this on that website. CLIMATE REALIST.COM,is the website,just google it.

    Also if you go to this website, LAYMAN SUNSPOT SITE, Geoff Sharp ,explains the correlation.

    It makes sense to me ,and if nothing else past history shows the correlation to be real,and quite strong.

  16. CATRUN J- at least I have thoughts and can present coherent arguments to back them up.

    CATRUN J- Why don’t you give us your outlook, for the climate/geological activity this decade ,and the reasons why.

    If you do ,then we will have your explanations/opinions and mine ,side by side, and we can see who is right and who is wrong.

    If nothing else it will be interesting.

    I give my opinions based on past history and as much factual data as I can, as is the case for the solar/goelogical connection , I just wrote about.

    At least I can show correlations, and give an argument for the connection, in contrast to the co2 global warming crowd, that know nothing about anything,and their explanations are laughable,and full of BS SPIN. They are PHONIES, and I will take anyone of them on any time.

    Especially the fool Dr. Spencer ,has argued with , Dr. know nothing, Andrew Dressler. I would love to debate him.

  17. Ray says:

    Salvatore, thanks for the explanation. I will look up what Piers Corbyn says on the subject.
    However, my intitial reaction is that the car analogy may not be appropriate. Also, as you are no doubt aware, correlation doesn’t always indicate causality.
    Are the data on which the 85% correlation figure is based, published anywhere?
    It seems unlikely to me that even if the Earth’s magnetic field were disrupted, that would affect the rotation of the Earth’s core.

  18. If you go to the climate realist site ,I think you might be able to find where it might be published. You can do it yourself if you say go back to 1600 AD as a time reference ,and plot all major geological activity against prolong solar minimuma activity, you will see what I am saying.

    The car analogy may not be the best ,but I think you know what I was trying to convey.

    That is correct, correlation does not mean causality,but at least we have correlations with solar, versus items that controll earth’s climate, in contrast to CO2, where there are not even any correlations ,never mind a causality link.

    To me it seems very likely that any disruption of earth’s magnetic field would impact earth’s rotation ,since the magnetic field is tied to the core, and any external force effecting the magetic field, would probaly have some impact on all levels of earth, from the surface to the core, and since all these levels all rotate at different speeds to begin with, any change nomatter how slight to this earth core/magnetic field from an external source (the sun), seems likely to me,would have somekind of an impact,on the earth’s rotational rate,at least at one location point between the surface and the core, if not all the levels. It would however in my opiniion, only take one change to create some instability,which could effect the plates, which are unstable to begin with.

  19. Martin says:

    Piers Corbyn said that he expects unusual weather as well as high geological activity between 23th and 27th of March.

  20. A great website to google is as follows: latest earthquake data

    This site will list every significant earthquake and is updated constantly.

    Do you realize today Japan has had 3 major earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.0 or greater. The news coverage sucks.

    There was also a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the South Atlantic.

    I would say geological activity is , has been,and will be EXTREME going forward.

    Mainstream science as it is in the climate arena ,is also clueless ,when it comes to the solar/geological connection.

    They will learn however, this decade, all about what really matters to earth’s climatic system and how it is related to the solar/geological connection, along with just a quiet sun in general causing an overall cooling ,due to cold PDO,+ SOI,and the more -AO.

    I have no doubt about this happening as long as the sun stays quiet, that is the only uncertainty I have. If the sun stays like it has ,then I am pretty sure, things wil go as forecasted for the climate and geoloigcal activity for this decade.

    Again this will be the decade of cooling and high geological activity, due to the mostly quiet sun with some burst of activity from time to time.

  21. Martin says:

    Salvatore. The main part of his prediction was that a Sun eruption which occured on monday 21th will cause more earthquakes between 23 and 27 th, because of it´s impact on geomagnetic field. He also expected more extreme weather conditions, which is by the way hard to distinct in short timescale. What´s an extreme weather condition? Tornado or hurricane?

  22. Wal says:

    Dear Professor Spencer,

    Im confused.

    Your temperature graph shows that oceans have been static although in general above average and recently a temperature high point was reached in 2010.

    I looked at the NOAA website and it shows that ocean temperature has been rising for decades but that for the last 10 years (i.e. your graph) it’s static.

    So currently, you graph has just peeped over the average (zero) line. This suggests to me that ocean temperature has just peaked above average and looks like it might now be getting warmer.

    Well that makes me wonder about a couple of things:

    1. It never got to cool down that much for that long and now it’s on a warming trend, but it is already high as it is basically at its highest point for decades. So that can’t be good surely ?

    2. ocean drives our climate. so are we in for some warm stormy weather now ?

    Then you put a preceipitation graph up which shows that precipitation is plummeting. Ok well this doesn’t strike me as good. So maybe I misunderstand why you posted it.

    Doesn’t this mean there will be less moisture in the air, i.e. less cloud, more direct sun rays hitting the ground and ocean, warming us up more ?

    Aren’t these both signals that things are about to get hellishy warm, when they are already warmish (you know relative to say 1850).

    Maybe you can shed some light on what these mean currently and what they suggest for the near/medium term future ?


    • John Christensen says:

      Hi Wall,

      Let me attempt a response to your second question around water vapor: I believe Dr Roy Spencer is publishing all new, i.e. both when the agt is going up and down, and then reason to include the water vapor chart here is probably just than the plunge is rather spectacular.
      This is actually just a proof of the basic correlation between change in SST (forcing) and a change in air temperature (feedback). Due to cooler waters, the air cools down as well, and will therefore also contain less water vapor. Note, however, that precipitation depends on humidity level, so the drop in humidity level will be somewhat less than the drop in total water vapor.
      Finally, water vapor acts both to cool the Earth via low hanging clouds and to keep the Earth warm via high level clouds, so what the net effect of this decline in water vapor is, I cannot tell, but it would be great if Dr Roy Spencer has more data to share, and a comment.

  23. Dan Pangburn says:


    A simple equation, with inputs of accepted measurements (facts) from government agencies, calculates the average global temperatures (agt) since 1895 with 88.4% accuracy (87.9% if CO2 is assumed to have no influence) (facts). See the equation, links to the source data, an eye-opening graph of the results and how they are derived in the pdfs at (see especially the pdfs made public on 4/10/10, and 3/10/11).

    The future average global temperature trend that this equation calculates is down (a fact).

    This trend is corroborated by the growing separation between the rising CO2 and not-rising agt (facts). From 2001 through Dec, 2010 the atmospheric CO2 increased by 21.8% of the total increase from 1800 to 2001 while the average global temperature has not increased significantly and the average of the five reporting agencies has been declining steeply since the peak of the last El Nino in about March 2010 (facts). The 21.8% CO2 increase is the significant measurement, not the comparatively brief time period.

    As the atmospheric CO2 continues to rise in the 21st century while the agt does not, more people will realize that they have been deceived.

  24. Ray says:

    “You can do it yourself if you say go back to 1600 AD as a time reference ,and plot all major geological activity against prolong solar minimuma activity, you will see what I am saying,”
    I suspect that it will not be as simple as it sounds. The site on latest earthquake data is all very well, but the same level of detail going back to 1600AD? I suspect that the records may not be complete going that far back.
    Isn’t saying that disruption to the Earth’s magnetic field can change the Earth’s core is a bit like saying you can change the internal structure of a magnet by disrupting it’s magnetic field?
    Anyway, I will reserve judgement until I have read more.

  25. An Inquirer says:


    It is not surprising that ocean temperatures have shown a warming trend for decades. Various oceans go through various cycles, and the predominant cycle goes 60 years from trough to peak. Moreover, the method to measure ocean temperatures has not been consistent through time, and the changed methods may have introduced a warming bias through time. Nevertheless, we would not be surprised if the peak-to-peak trend is somewhat positive over the cycles because we have emerged from the Little Ice Age.
    There are several trends or changes that could be interpreted both as a sign of AGW or natural variations — often depending upon your desires. However, there are two developments which are key to significant AGW. The presence of these two developments does not prove AGW, but their absence almost assuredly disproves catastrophic AGW. One is increased water vapor – and Spencer’s graph deals with water vapor which is different than precipitation that your post mentioned. We will not have catastrophic AGW without increased water vapor, and multiple measures of water vapor do not show an increase.
    The second development would be cooling stratospheric temperatures. However, stratospheric temperatures have not cooled for 16 years – rather there has been a slight (albeit statistically insignificant) upward trend in the last 16 years. Before 16 years, there were a few years of step-wise downward episodes around major volcanic eruptions. There are plausible theories of how volcanic aerosols cause that step-wise function. So stratospheric temperatures are not cooperating with the catastrophic AGW; nevertheless, proponents of the theory suggest that ozone trends might be the driver of stratospheric temperatures over the last 16 years.

  26. Yes Inquirer, you are so correct to point out those two of the many wrong items, the pathetic global warming models predicted.

    -ao as oppossed to +ao atm. circulation ,supports the lack of stratospheric cooling.

    The lack of an icrease of water vapor ,besides showing up in charts,is also supported by the missing troposheric hot spot, near the equator.

    The man made global warming ,is the biggest BS scam I will ever come across in my lifetime, of scientific inquiry.

    EARTH CORE causes the earth’s magnetic field,therefore any item that could change this field ,I would think would influence the earth itself ,from the surface to it’s core,and that influence could be, by changing the rotational rates,however slight that might be.

  27. nofreewind says:

    Here are charts that also show water vapor decreasing.

  28. nofreewind says:

    oops click on Greenhouse Gases

  29. Martin says:

    It´s interesting. That sudden drop in atmospheric H2O column just after the warmest year 1998 is rather confusing, because it doesn´t make sense. There´s no such steep decrease in the lower graph showing relative humidity in 1998. However, it disproves the IPCC claim about temperature and water vapor content relationship.

  30. stephan says:

    I tend to agree with Prete because the ONLY variable that has changed is solar activity (low)

  31. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    RE: What the Russians say about climate cycles

    I remind you all to check out:

    “Cyclic Climate Changes and Fish Productivity” by K.B. Klashtorin and A.A. Lyubshin, which you can download for free thru this link:

    NB: This mongraph is 224 pages. This book is not about climate science. The Russian edition was published in 2005. The English translation was published in 2007 and was edited by Gary D Sharp.

    By analyzing a number of time series of data influenced by climate, they found that the earth has global climate cycles of 50-70 years with an average of about 60 years and which have cool and warm phases of 30 years each. They summerize most of the studies thru early 2005 that show how this cycle influences fish catches in the major fisheries.

    The last warm phase began in ca 1970-75 (aka the Great Shift) and ended in ca 2000. The global warming from ca 1975 is due in part to this warm phase. A cool phase startedinn 2000, and their stochastic model projects that it should last about 30 years. See Fig 2.23 p 54.

    See also Fig. 2.22 (p. 52) and Table 2 (p. 53). They show that increasing world fuel consumption (i.e., increasing CO2 emission) has no effect on the 60 year global climate cycle. That is to say, they show that increasing CO2 concentration in the air does cause global warming.

  32. AusieDan says:

    I feel that Salvatore Del Prete has a reasonable case and should be treated seriously.
    I don’t know if he’s right or wrong.

    There is so little known about the climate or the workings of the earth and sun.

    Thre are however quite a lot of scientists with a depth of knowledge of just a tiny aspect of these matters.
    Some of these are more confident than knowledgeable.
    Some don’t even seem to understand where the boundaries of their great store of little knowledge end and the vast, great unknown, unknowns begin.

    So let’s cut Salvatore some slack and see how his theory pans out as time goes by.

  33. Ray says:

    Harold Pierce,
    “By analyzing a number of time series of data influenced by climate, they found that the earth has global climate cycles of 50-70 years with an average of about 60 years and which have cool and warm phases of 30 years each. They summerize most of the studies thru early 2005 that show how this cycle influences fish catches in the major fisheries.”
    Interesting. There does seem to be a cycle of approximately the same period within the HadCRUT3 50 year linear trend. A graph of this is now on the climate4you website, under Cyclic air temperature changes. By the way, this cycle is also apparent for other temperature anomaly series, although they don’t go so far back. The last upward phase on this graph started around 1980 and is (I believe), coming to an end at the present time. Since this is a linear trend figure, I wouldn’t expect the periods to tie in with the Russian dates. However, based on this cycle, we should also be entering a 30 year cooling period. I have projected the temperature anomalies which would be required to continue this cycle and this results in a 10 year linear trend of about -2.6c/century by the end of 2013, and a 10 year mean HadCRUT3 anomaly of below 0.4c until around 2034. Please note that the 10 year linear trends for HadCRUT3, NCDC and RSS are currently negative and the trends for GISSS and UAH will probably be negative by the end of the year. See climate4you under global temperature trends.
    However, please note that there does appear to be a long-term upward trend in the 50 year linear trend, apart from the cyclical pattern. This upward trend appears to be in the order of 0.4c every 60 years, or approximately 0.7c per century, which could be the result of increased greenhouse gasses. As a result of this, if the cyclical trend continues, we would see a HadCRUT3 anomaly of over 1.0c, relative to 1961-90 and a 10 year mean of over 0.8c, by 2060. This is, of course, a lot lower than the IPCC climate models predict.

  34. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    NB: In my post above: “…does cause global warming.” should be “…does not cause global warming”

  35. STEPHEN, AND AUSIE DAN ,thanks. I am not saying I have all the answers, but at least I am presenting something that does make sense, and does have past history to support it to a degree,unlike the ridiculous ,(I say proven wrong) co2 man made global warming theroy.

    The climate cycles of 30 years really does not work if you go back in time.

    Let’ take one case in point ,to show this to be so.

    The YOUNGA DRYAS EPISODE. The start, and end was so abrupt that climate cycles can’t possibly be applied, not to mention the duration once it started lasted about 1000 years.

    My explanation for this, AND all abrupt climate changes, is that if the items I feel control the climate,mainly solar,volcanic,soi oscillation,ao/nao oscillations,pdo/amo ,all PHASE into the SAME MODE(cold or warm),to a degree of MAGNITUDE STRONG ENOUGH ,and LONG ENOUGH ,perhaps a THRESHOLD will be acheived ,that once reached causes the abrupt change in temperature to take place, over a very short time period. Once that threshold is then crossed, perhaps temperatures stay steady,until these items switch mode and PHASE once again, but in an opposite direction.

    I say if not that ,what???

    I say perphaps, the Milankovich cycles,play a role in the major glaciations ,while the variation in the areas I feel control the climate, play a role in not only the major glaciations, but perhaps cause the smaller ice advances and retreats,within the major cycles of ice advance and retreat. Perhaps, the major advances of ice and retreats of ice, need the aid of Milankovitch cyles, in addition to the phase in of the items, that I think control the climate ,to get something going.

    Again, I put this up against the man made co2 global warming theory, any day of the week.

    One last note,thresholds if they should be acheived, will trump any climate cycles that may, or may not be present.

    Also one can show that this can be a mainly N.H. event, even though the same items are effecting the globe in the same way. Reason, is the DRASTIC geographical difference between the N.H., versus the S.H.,which gives a much greater opportunity for the itmes that phase in,that I feel control the climate, to really take a hold and make a difference.

  36. Martin says:

    Hi Salvatore
    There´s an alternative theory describing cause of Younger Dryas cooling. After the climate shift at the end of last ice age, ice was melting very fast. The great lakes in the USA may have broken it´s banks with all the cold and fresh water spilled into the Atlantic ocean. There are some proofs according to geologists.

  37. I don’t buy that theroy at all, and the reason is that there have been many other abrupt temperature changes over let’s take the last 150,000 years as a time frame, with the same magnitude of the Younga Dryas. If the Younga Dryas was a one time event, that theroy might have merit ,but the abrupt temp. changes have happend many many times, so that to me, eliminates that ,theory. Earth’s climate has changed to often to abruptly to many times for that to be viable.

  38. EEMIAN INTERGLACIAL, that is another example. It came and went fast, but conditions remained the same while it lasted. Again why?

  39. Martin says:

    Sure, there are many such events, Younger dryas may have been an exception, if that theory is right.

  40. Doug Proctor says:

    This comment is both towards a discussion of reconciling the OHC increases observed with that of supposedly generated by CO2 increases, and a request for expert knowledge on portions of the equations required to do so at a planetary level:

    Some back calculations:

    Between 1970 and 2002, the OHC increased by 0.31GJ/m2. The oceanic surface area of the planet is 3.35E24m2, meaning the OHC increased by 1.04E23 Joules during that time.

    Between 1970 and 2002 the SST increased by 0.38C, the land stations by 0.86C and the global mean temperature by 0.52C, according to GISTemp public records.

    Between 1970 and 2002 the atmospheric CO2 content increased by about 45 ppmv, according to the Mauna Loa records. The IPCC radiative forcing for a doubling of CO2 at 380 ppmv is 3.75 W/m2; a 45 ppmv increase should translate as 0.444 W/m2. Over the 30 year period the average increase in equivalent thermal forcing would be 0.222 W/m2, as the relationship between radiative forcing and CO2 is linear, at least for small increases. The surface of the oceans being as noted above, the theoretical energy additional to the oceans by CO2 is 1.05E23 Joules for this 30 year period. For the total planet, the number is 1.50E23 Joules, leaving 0.46E23 Joules for the non-ocean, “land” portion.

    The measured OHC change 1970-2002 of 1.04E23 Joules matches well with the theoretical increase above the oceans of 1.05E23 Joules. Since the CAGW theory has the air warming the ocean (not the reverse, which would be the solar-warming way), a 99% heat injection into the oceans would be required, leaving 1% for warming the air above the oceans to the equilibrium-in-a-moment amount of 0.38C. The implied heat-transfer efficiency is obvious impossible, as it leaves insufficient energy to account for warming of air above the ocean. So additional energy to warm the air above the ocean has to come from somewhere else.

    The proposed CO2 warming is, of course, global, while the ocean-air surface is only 70.1% of the planet. So an additional portion, the 29.9% of the surface, or 0.46E23 Joules from CO2 as calculated must be involved in heating the oceanic air. If we take the global air all together, the increase of 0.52C of global air temperatures results from the infusion of the 0.46E23 Joules, but not all of it. The land station data shows an increase of 0.86C; taking the surface of the planet to be in instantaneous equilibrium with the air above it, a portion of the 0.46E23 Joules is responsible for the land warming up, too.

    If the OHC measurements and the IPCC CO2 radiative forcing assumptions are to be reconciled, the reconciliation to be found is in the reasonableness of an air mass with an area of 4.78E14 m2 (the entire planet) being warmed by 0.52C, and a non-ocean, surface mass with a surface area of 1.43E14 m2 (29.9% of the entire planet) being warmed by 0.86C with a total of 0.46E23 Joules.

    At this point I need help. First, the air:

    To calculate the air mass changed by global warming (0.52C) one needs to know not just the area (4.78E14m2) but the height and average density of the air that has warmed. I can’t find that. To find the amount of energy required to heat that mass one also needs to know the heat capacity of the air involved; I also don’t know that. But with those two pieces of information, the global air mass warmed and the number of joules needed, the atmospheric chunk of the 0.46E23 Joules retained between 1970 and 2002 can be calculated.

    Second, the non-ocean, “land” surface:

    Northerners know that about 2m below the surface at the US/Canadian border the “dirt” rests at a steady local average temperature (about 55*F/12.8C), as neither the summers heat nor the winter’s cold penetrate deeper. It takes 4 months of only about 18*F/-10C to accomplish this, due to a its thermal conductivity. The temperature below this is determined by the geologic-time stable geothermal gradient, one thing not affected by AGW. (The temperature increase at the surface of 0.86C globally should be noticeable several meters down locally by now, but that is a separate point.) This increase occurs at a fixed rate dependent on the heat capacity of the ground material, while the depth of temperature change depends on the material’s thermal conductivity. These are two other numbers I can’t find to use.

    There will be greater certainty in calculation of the mass and heat capacity of the air and, therefore, the total Joules needed to heat the planetary atmosphere 0.52C than the numbers needed to figure out how many Joules are needed to have heated the surface 0.86C. If the calculation is made for the air and subtracted from the 0.46E23 Joules remaining after taking account of the increase in OHC, then we will have a maximum amount available for the heating of the land. That will give us ranges for what is possible, and whether it is enough to account for the non-ocean “land” heating observed based on estimates of thickness of material heated and its heat capacity.

    What I expect is that there will be insufficient heating from the proposed radiative forcing of CO2 to account for observed and calculated increased heat content of oceanic, atmospheric and surface masses. This will not be a sign that the forcing is greater than 3.75 W/m2, but that the number is different from 3.75. This means that whatever the situation is, the current IPCCs assumptions and calculations must be wrong.

    There is, I expect, much more, not less, energy coming into the system than the IPCC can account for by CO2 forcing or water-vapour feedback. An increase in insolation must be involved, possibly by a change in the timing of cloud cover variations through the year and position on the globe, if not by a simple total cloud cover/decreased albedo over the planet.

    As noted, this comment is partly a request for help. First to check the math and the concept! and second, to be advised on the probable mass, heat capacity and (by consequence) the energy retained by the atmosphere between 1970 and 2002. The AHC, by comparison to the OHC. Third, from earth scientists or engineers working with buried structures, what the heat capacity of various ground and plant materials might be.

    All we are working with is 0.46E23 Joules, 30.7% of what 0.222 W/m2 of CO2 induced radiative heat retention is supposed to have occurred between 1970 and 2002 by IPCC dogma. If we can see that it is not enough, the 3.75 W/m2 of radiative forcing by a doubling of CO2 is, by another direction, busted.

  41. Doug ,good post. That was then ,since 2002 everything is in reverse. High solar activity,with it’s impacts to the vaious factors that control the climate , up to 2002 is where the extra heat came from in my opinion.

  42. Scott says:

    Dr. Spencer, are you going to print a rebuttal to Barry Bickmore’s critique of your book?

  43. I am so amaze by how this article was written. It is full of information and I have gain more knowledge because of this, thanks for sharing a wonderful blog.

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