Is Gore’s Missing Heat Really Hiding in the Deep Ocean?

August 7th, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

NOTE: For those who are offended by my bringing up Al Gore in this post (but are apparently not offended by Gore falsely accusing scientists like me of being ‘global warming deniers’), I suggest you just focus on the evidence I present. You are invited to offer an alternative explanation for the evidence, but I will not allow you to divert attention from it through irrelevant “copy and paste” factoids you have gathered from other scientific publications. If you persist, I will be forced to adopt the RealClimate tactic of deleting comments, which so far I have been able to avoid on this blog. We’ll just call it “fighting fire with fire”.

As I and others have pointed out, the 20th Century runs of the IPCC climate models have, in general, created more virtual warming in the last 50 years than the real climate system has warmed.

That statement is somewhat arguable, though, since the modelers can run a number of realizations, each with its own “natural” year-to-year internal climate variability, and get different temperature trends for any given 50-year period.

Furthermore, uncertainty over how fast heat is being mixed into the deep ocean also complicates matters. If extra surface heating from more CO2 is being mixed deeper and faster than the modelers have assumed, then climate models warming the surface too fast in the past 50 years does not necessarily mean we will not see their forecasts come true eventually.

As Kevin Trenberth has recently alluded to, it only delays the day of reckoning.

Are More Expensive Models Better?
I have tried in recent posts to estimate climate sensitivity by using a simple forcing-feedback-diffusion model, and tuning it to match observations (which is exactly what the Big Boys do), but it appears that our critics will always question the validity of a simple model, even though it contains the same fundamental physics the IPCC models must also abide by.

So, let’s skip the simple model entirely, and just compare the IPCC climate models to the observations.

IPCC Models versus Ocean Observations, 1955-2000
Since so many people are now pointing to ocean heat content increases, rather than surface warming, as a better index of how sensitive our climate system is, let’s see how observed ocean warming compares to the warming simulated by two very different IPCC climate models.

We have begun analyzing the deep ocean temperature output from the 20th Century runs of the IPCC AR4 climate models. The first we chose were one of the most sensitive models (IPSL-CM4) and one of the least sensitive models (NCAR PCM1).

There is a simple way to use these models to get some idea of what the observed ocean warming tells us about climate sensitivity.

We can simply compare each of the models’ rate of ocean warming during 1955-2000 to their known climate sensitivity, and then see what the warming rate in the Levitus ocean temperature observations suggests for a climate sensitivity in the real climate system.

The following plot shows the temperature trends, as a function of ocean depth, between 1955 (when the ocean observations start) and 2000 (when the climate model experiments end) for those 2 models as well as in the Levitus observations (click for larger version):

Clearly, the most sensitive model (IPSL-CM4) warms the ocean the most, the least sensitive model (NCAR PCM1) warms the ocean much less, and the Levitus observations appear to exhibit the least warming. (NOTE: I have linearly extrapolated the Levitus observations from the deepest reported level, 700 m, to an assumed zero trend at 2,000 m depth.)

If we compute the average warming trends for the 0-700 m layer for the 2 models, and compare them to the known sensitivity of those models, we get the 2 blue dots in the following plot (we will be adding as many models to this as possible later; click for larger version):

If we then use the model relationship between 1955-2000 warming and climate sensitivity (the solid line), we see that the warming trend in the Levitus observations fall on that at a climate sensitivity of 1.3 deg. C.

If you are wondering what the results are if we go deeper, from 700 meters to 2,000 meters deep (keeping in mind we have assumed that the observed warming goes to zero at 2,000 m depth), the answer is that it is nearly the same: 1.4 deg. C, rather than 1.3 deg. C.

This is similar to the kinds of numbers I have been getting recently using a simple forcing-feedback-diffusion model and matching the Levitus observations directly with it. This level of warming is below the 1.5 deg. lower limit that the IPCC has set for total warming in response to 2XCO2.

Obviously, we need to add more of the IPCC models to this comparison, which we will be doing in the coming weeks, to see if there is indeed a strong relationship between model warming and model sensitivity, which there should be if the different models used similar climate forcings.

But the results should not depart too much from what is shown above because the line must go through (0,0) on the graph (zero climate sensitivity means zero warming), and the upper end of the line will be fixed by the 3 most sensitive IPCC climate models, of which IPSL-CM4 is one.

Could Climate Sensitivity be even Lower?
The above analysis assumes there have been no natural forcings of warming. But to the extent that recent warming was partly due to some natural process, this would mean climate sensitivity is even less.

Once again we see evidence that the IPCC models are too sensitive, which means they are predicting too much warming for our future, which means Mr. Gore needs to chill out a bit.

Also, the list of modelers’ potential excuses for their models warming more than observed is rapidly dwindling. For example,

1) If the above results are any indication, it is unlikely the heat is hiding in the deep ocean.

2) Blaming Chinese coal-fired power plants for a lack of warming is just taking the modelers anthropocentrism to an even higher plane. There seems to be no good evidence to support such a claim anyway.

3) Another trick the IPCC uses is to put error bars on both the observations and the on the model results until they overlap. It is then claimed that models and observations “agree” to within the margin of error. But what they don’t realize with this last bit of statistical obfuscation is they are also admitting that there is a HUGE disagreement between models and observations when one goes to the other end of those error bars.

“Overlapping error bars” is the last resort for getting two numbers to appear to agree better than they really do.

It’s time for climate modelers to face up to the explanation they have been avoiding at all cost: the climate system is simply not nearly as sensitive as they claim it is.

If they ever have to admit the climate system is insensitive, it is the end of the IPCC and the policy changes that institution was originally formed to advance.

166 Responses to “Is Gore’s Missing Heat Really Hiding in the Deep Ocean?”

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  1. Houndish says:

    You’ve taken a nice logical approach Roy; Good Job!
    I’m quite certain the warmist’s are thinking up new approaches to provide cover for their ways & errors…
    This is the 1st summer in nine years that our foothills haven’t lost all of their snow and it looks like we’re seeing a more regional return to the 60’s and 70’s here in the Copper River Basin of Alaska. The permafrost temperatures have fallen steadily for the past six years and those that say otherwise are delusional or outright lying.

  2. Christopher Game says:

    Dr Spencer seems here to have fired another arrow into the heart of the IPCC doctrine of dangerous global warming. That doctrine rests on the AOGCMs. Dr Spencer seems here to show that the AOGCMs’ predictions are far from observed reality, the models predicting a far higher “climate sensitivity” than is observed. Christopher Game

  3. Obscurity says:


    Why do you need to talk about Gore…..I know, b/c of the vacuity of your ‘science’. Try leaving politics out of this and focus on some real and credible science for a change. The fact that you need to smear Gore in order to make your “point” smacks on desperation and unprofessionalism on your part.

    It is so very sad that you have lowered yourself to this level of juvenile discourse….

    And as you should know, one does not need models to calculate climate sensitivity, we have paleo data for that and they also point to a sensitivity of near +3 K for doubling CO2.

    • Obscurity, I bring Gore into it for the obvious reason that he invented global warming alarmism. Besides, the flaming Gore graphic was too hot to pass up. 😉

      And, did you ask Gore to keep his pseudo-science out of his politics, like you want me to keep politics out of the science? Besides, where are the politics in my post, anyway?

      And if you really think climate sensitivity can be gotten from the exceedingly uncertain paleo record better than from our current climate system, then there is no point trying to reason with you anyway.

      I really want to know…do folks like you really believe what you say?

      • Obscurity says:


        Thanks for clarifying. Interesting response, actually quite insightful and explains a lot about your pseudo-science of late. The political of your post is in the title and in the graphic, saying things like “Another trick the IPCC uses”, or when you claim “Once again we see evidence that the IPCC models are too sensitive, which means they are predicting too much warming for our future, which means Mr. Gore needs to chill out a bit”, and you dismissing the work of Kaufmann et al. (2011) with not a single scientific citation to support your assertion.

        You are going to have to do better than that to dismiss the paleo record. Speaking of which, just how old is the planet Roy?

        “NOTE: I have linearly extrapolated the Levitus observations from the deepest reported level, 700 m, to an assumed zero trend at 2,000 m depth.”

        Please explain, especially in light of the findings by von Shuckmann and Le Traon (2011) how you can justify doing that.

        • Mike Mangan says:

          Typical arrogance, ad hominems, and non-sequiturs from an angry, impotent, anonymous Alarmist. Get back to us when you and your fellow Christian and capitalist hating comrades actually pass some legislation. Apt name as your myth heads for obscurity.

          • Obscurity says:

            Hello Mike,

            I’m afraid that you are projecting. Tone down the rhetoric and hyperbole please and focus on the science. Thanks.

        • spartacusisfree says:

          There are two errors in the IPCC climate models. The first is to confuse ‘back radiation’ with Prevost exchange energy, which can do no work. This comes from the oldest radiation law, 1840. How do I know? I spent many years as a professional engineer modelling and measuring heat transfer.

          Climate scientists respond by quoting much more ‘back radiation’ from clouds. That’s bunkum because Prevost energy is a measure of gas temperature and emissivity, for a cloud near 1.0, for moist air c. 0.1. All climate scientists must read Hoyt C. Hottell’s 1954 paper before they embarrass themselves any further.

          The second error is that the ‘two-stream approximation’ to the optical physics of aerosols fails to take into account substantial direct backscattering at the tops of clouds. For larger droplets this causes most backscattering.

          It’s easy to prove: look at a thick cloud as droplets coarsen. It gets darker underneath. The climate models predict the reverse. Aerosol pollution reduces albedo of thicker clouds, another AGW.

          AR4 was known to be wrong when published, no IPCC climate model can predict climate and CO2-AGW is far less, probably an order of magnitude, than claimed.

      • coturnix says:

        I believe he is a troll. I am a troll. But think this: we know that life can exist in a varied range of temperatures, from +4C in arctic seas to +120C in yellow stone geysers. But for some reason higher life chose its warm-blooded offsprings to be +35..+37C inside. Now look at temperature map. It just happens so that in moist areas, like ictz daytime high temperature almoust never go above that magical number. Disregard arid hot deserts, for no life lives without water. Coincidence? I don’t think so. More likely is that over hundreds of millions of years life evolved to best function at temperature range most prevalent in earth climates. This evolution happened while climate fluctuated long term, from frigid permian to steaming cretaceous and eocene back to frigid quaternary. Yet life was ok. It did go through several extinctions, but they seem to be caused by biospheres internal cycles, as both volcanoes, impacts and global climate disruptions happened countless times in he erth history, but only handful of them caused any kind of disruption to biosphere. So, despite all the calamities of phanerozoic, life _chose_ to not be able to withstand daytime high temperatures much above +35. Now, consider that in continental climates temperatures typically vary 10 ~ 15C in a day or more. Which means that life _chose_ to be best suited for average temperatures of around +27 .. +30 C, which is what we have nowdays in the most deep tropics. Why is that. Why did life, which evolved in cretaceous-eocene thermoera _chose_ to die above +30? The answer can be only one – it never was above +30 in moist climates! Even when co2 was 10 time p.i.a. Think about it.

    • coturnix says:

      You so leim. The temperature has gone up 0.7C so far, and co2 has gone up 1.4 times. Which translates to 1.4C per doubling. It is not some obscure paleoklimatic measuring, it is live weather around you right here right now. If you can’t believe what you see, you a re either a troll or a stupid derp.

  4. Obscurity says:

    More reasons to be careful about how you deal with OHC below 700 m Roy.
    Purkey and Johnson (2010, J. Climate):

    “We quantify abyssal global and deep Southern Ocean temperature trends between the 1990s and 2000s to assess the role of recent warming of these regions in global heat and sea level budgets. We compute warming rates with uncertainties along 28 full-depth, high-quality, hydrographic sections that have been occupied two or more times between 1980 and 2010. We divide the global ocean into 32 basins defined by the topography and climatological ocean bottom temperatures and estimate temperature trends in the 24 sampled basins. The three southernmost basins show a strong statistically significant abyssal warming trend, with that warming signal weakening to the north in the central Pacific, western Atlantic, and eastern Indian Oceans. Eastern Atlantic and western Indian Ocean basins show statistically insignificant abyssal cooling trends. Excepting the Arctic Ocean and Nordic seas, the rate of abyssal (below 4000 m) global ocean heat content change in the 1990s and 2000s is equivalent to a heat flux of 0.027 (0.009) W m2 applied over the entire surface of the Earth. Deep (10004000 m) warming south of the Sub-Antarctic Front of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current adds 0.068 (0.062) W m2. The abyssal warming produces a 0.053 (0.017) mm yr1 increase in global average sea level and the deep warming south of the Sub-Antarctic Front adds another 0.093 (0.081) mm yr1. Thus warming in these regions, ventilated primarily by Antarctic Bottom Water, accounts for a statistically significant fraction of the present global energy and sea level budgets.”

    Palmer et al. (2011, GRL):
    “All three models show substantial decadal variability in SST, which could easily mask the long-term warming associated with anthropogenic climate change over a decade. Regression analyses are used to estimate the uncertainty of TOA, given the trend in SST or OHC over the same period. We show that decadal trends in SST are only weakly indicative of changes in TOA. Trends in total OHC strongly constrain TOA, since the ocean is the primary heat store in the Earth System. Integrating OHC over increasing model levels, provides an increasingly good indication of TOA changes. To achieve a given accuracy in TOA estimated from OHC we find that there is a trade-off between measuring for longer or deeper [down to 4000 m, my edit]. Our model results suggest that there is potential for substantial improvement in our ability to monitor Earth’s radiation balance by more comprehensive observation of the global ocean.”

    Concerning Loeb et al. (2011, Nature submitted):
    “The new paper by Loeb and co-authors uses improved satellite top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiation measurements and a new analysis of ocean heat content data to show that while Earths energy imbalance and ocean heating rate have exhibited variability consistent with El Nio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), there is no evidence of a decline during the past decade. Satellite observations of top-of-atmosphere (TOA) net radiation constrained by recent in situ ocean heat content data indicate that during the past decade Earth has been accumulating energy at the rate 0.52 0.43 Wm2. These results suggest that although Earths surface has not warmed significantly during the 2000s, energy is continuing to accumulate in the sub-surface ocean at a rate consistent with anthropogenic radiative forcing.

    and concerning another paper about to come out by huber et al. (2011, J. Climate):
    “In another study with involvement of the Co-chair (Huber et al. 2011), simple indices of global spatial radiation patterns are used to establish a relationship between an observable radiative quantity and the equilibrium climate sensitivity. The radiative indices are computed for the CMIP3 multi-model data set and offer a possibility to constrain climate sensitivity by considering radiation patterns in the climate system. High correlations between the indices and climate sensitivity are found e.g. in the cloud radiative forcing of the incoming longwave surface radiation and in the clear-sky component of the incoming surface shortwave flux, the net shortwave surface budget and the atmospheric shortwave attenuation. The surface radiative flux data set from the Clouds and the Earths Radiant Energy System (CERES) together with its top-of-atmosphere Energy Balanced and Filled equivalent (CERES-EBAF) are used as a reference observational data set resulting in a best estimate for climate sensitivity of 3.3 K with a likely range of 2.7 K – 4.1 K (Huber et al. 2011).”

    • Obscurity, it is clear that you can copy and paste, but you do not understand. I will address the 4 studies you mention, in order.

      1) The authors of the deep ocean warming estimate you first mention admit it amounts to only 0.027 Watts per sq. meter forcing. This is a negligible heating rate, and actually SUPPORTS my conclusion: not as much energy is making it into the deep ocean as IPCC apologists are claiming.

      2) The new Palmer study on natural variability masking global warming was done to explain how you can have 5 or even 10 years without warming…which I agree with, and stated so in my last post. My current post deals with the ENTIRE 50 year period of ocean warming data, not just 5 or 10 years, and shows the models produce too much *long-term” warming of the oceans.

      The next two studies you mention have not been published (which means since you have access to them, you are a climate research insider, so why don’t you quit hiding your identity?). So, while I cannot examine them in detail, it appears neither one of them is as direct a test of the climate models as what I have presented.

      There is no more stringent test of climate models than what I have showed, which answers the fundamental question: How much do the climate models warm the oceans compared to the warming observed over as long a period as we have data for?

      If you knew what you were talking about, you would quit nipping at my heels with irrelevant factoids, and at least try to come up with evidence that is at least as powerful as what I have presented.

  5. Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
    August 7, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Obscurity, I bring Gore into it for the obvious reason that he invented global warming alarmism.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    You know Dr. Spencer, I realize I’m a layman so appreciate that I can’t for myself judge many of the scientific claims made.

    But, then something comes along that doesn’t take a scientist to understand well enough to make a judgement call on. Something that anyone who’s been paying the slightest attention to the AGW science since the early seventies is aware of through personal experience. So when I hear you try to trumpet this ridiculous echo-chamber political nonsense, it gives me a sense that your voracity leaves much to be desired.

    Sad to say…

    • Obscurity says:


      what is very obvious from Spencer’s writing is that this issue (AGW) is deeply personal for him. He clearly has a huge grudge against Gore as well against climate scientists. Now while Spencer is entitled to feel that way, it does become a serious problem when he is also trying to argue for low climate sensitivity (with the usual rhetoric and hyperbole thrown in for good measure and to get his supporters fired up), because he cannot expect to be objective, truly skeptical and neutral when he is arguing from emotion, and it shows.

  6. Llew Jones says:

    Despite the science Dr. Spencer features in this post the alarmists could not get over the shock of a very civil yet well deserved rebuke to Al Gore and his hyperbolic approach to even the more alarmist climate scenarios. He is a very real player in this game if only as a propagandist.

    It is becoming increasingly obvious, from valid research, that the IPCC broad brush painting of climate calamity and disaster as a result of human activity is wildly overblown.

    Currently in Australia researchers from government funded Climate Change Departments, of all places, are beginning to provide evidence that sea levels are not rising much at all and that, shock horror, natural CO2 in its effect overwhelms ACO2 and further atmospheric CO2 concentrations are dependent on temperature and not the other way around. Which of course leads to natural climate variability as the prime culprit. That blows an enormous hole in the AL Gore variety of “settled science”.

    It’s refreshing to know that there are scientists here in Australia, like your Dr. Spencer, who put personal honesty before the approbation of fellow scientists, ideology and scientific activism.

    It seems to me that it is such an anti-science activism, based on a fast collapsing alarmist climate science that Dr. Spencer, rightly, is mildly lampooning.

    • coturnix says:

      If you were to heat ocean from current +2C to +15 C as it was during the warmest eras of the past (useing this picature) the amount of co2 immediately available to outgass into atmosphere would raise athmospheric co2 content to over 9000 ppm. Now that’;s impressive. But we know, that in thermoeras temperatures were at most 10C above now, and at 1.5C/doubling we get 6.6 doublings which translates to 2^6.6=100 times p.i.a. co2., or 300*100 = 30000 ppm. This is way more that what we know was there, so does it mean that sensitivity is higher? may be, but then think the other way. If we were to believe that during thermoeras co2 was around 1000-3000 ppm, it means that what we have today in the system is more than during hyperthermals! How could that be, unless that earth actually has the ability to control co2 in much wider ranges than we can imagine.

  7. pochas says:

    Dr Spencer,

    Congratulations on bringing the premier thermal metric, ocean heat content, to the fore. Other metrics all have the problem of trying to accurately measure heat as the difference between two large quantities, one of them very noisy and rife with confounding time delays.

    We must be careful to insure the collection and archiving of high quality OHC data so that data fiddling cannot be supported.

  8. I think going forward in time the ocean heat content is going to keep declining, which will mean an ever increasing difference btween observational data nd what the models forecast.

    Dr. Spencer , is doing a great job in this area. In the meantime I think the low solar activity /increase gelogical activity wil have to be given a closer look at, like people like Dr. Spencer.

  9. Kasuha says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Regarding the chart and then its conversion to just single value, you write you “compute the average warming trends for the 0-700 m layer”.

    In my opinion, it’s the trend of stored energy (heat) in the mass of the ocean water which should be compared, so I’d like to ask whether you are sure that calculating average trend gives the same value and is a valid approach.
    Things I am unsure about:
    – that water heat capacity change with pressure can be omitted
    – that water heat capacity change with temperature (referring to different temperatures at different depths) can be omitted
    – what way did you calculate the average warming trend from trends for different depths

    … I believe you got it right in all three points but I’d just like to make sure about it.

    Second point is, I believe the second chart is slightly misleading with Levitus results being present as a point in that graph. Levitus data give us measured temperatures (and their trend), but the climate sensitivity is only approximation using regression of IPCC model data. It confused me a bit and took me time to understand the graph, I believe Levitus should be only mentioned on the horizontal axis.

    And third point is, while for IPCC models the climate sensitivity is a given constant, for the approximation from Levitus measurement it would probably be correct to include measurement uncertainity and thus uncertainity about the approximated climate sensitivity. I don’t believe it would change much on your graph and probably would be nice to have.

    Thank you

  10. Llew Jones says:
    August 8, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    “It is becoming increasingly obvious, from valid research, that the IPCC broad brush painting of climate calamity and disaster as a result of human activity is wildly overblown.”
    ~ ~ ~

    So what weather reports have you been listening to the past couple years? Don’t suppose you’ve read or listened to Bill McKibben’s recent article: “A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!” If he’s not on the BANNED LIST it makes for a thought provoking summation of what has actually been happening.

  11. Obscurity says:

    Hello Roy,

    “The next two studies you mention have not been published (which means since you have access to them, you are a climate research insider, so why dont you quit hiding your identity?).”

    I found those papers using Google. And regardless, facts stand on their own merit, regardless who the messenger is (or is not).

  12. Obscurity says:

    Hello Roy,

    You continue to make unwarranted ad hominem attacks (e.g., copy and paste), please follow your own advice and stick to the science. And I do not recall ever calling you a “denier”.

    The point is that you are potentially significantly underestimating the heat below 700 m by linearly extrapolating the OHC trend at 700 m to zero at 2000 m.

    You claim “This is a negligible heating rate, and actually SUPPORTS my conclusion”

    Those data are for the 1990s and 2000s, and the authors conclude that the contribution is statistically significant:

    Thus warming in these regions, ventilated primarily by Antarctic Bottom Water, accounts for a statistically significant fraction of the present global energy and sea level budgets.

    You claim “Palmer study on natural variability masking global warming was done to explain how you can have 5 or even 10 years without warming”

    Actually, that sounds more like findings from recent research from Katsman and van Oldenborgh (2011), but good to hear that you accept the importance of decadal variability. However, the purpose of me quoting Palmer et al’s (2011) findings was because they noted the importance of abyssal heat when constraining the time integrated TOA. You noted the time aspect, I was referring to the depth aspect,

    “Surprisingly, we find that one must integrate OHC to depths in excess of 4000 m before the gain in information with depth becomes saturated. We note that the upper 4000 m in these models represents about 90% of the total ocean volume.”

    You have not addressed the findings made by von Shuckmann and Le Traon (2011).

    All these works point to the importance of deep ocean heating, and suggest that interpolating the heat gain from its value at 700 m to zero at 2000 is ill considered. Now I have provided several published citation to support that assertion, you have provided none.

  13. Denier says:

    Dr Spencer
    FWIW, referring to your series of posts, I find them well-researched and well-presented. If I may comment, from long experience, a model is always wrong but sometimes useful (paraphrasing George E P Box). The simpler, the better. Al Gore, climate prophet( Maggie Fox, President and CEO of Al Gores latest scam, the Climate Reality Project), deserves everything and anything thrown at him.

    Ignore the yatter ….. the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

  14. MarkB says:


    Good lord man, give it a rest! Dr. Spencer is making an almost trivial observation about which model best matches the observed data and what that might imply about climate sensitivity. Would you argue with him if he suggested the sun rises in the east?

    Also, in your last post you seem to be confusing ‘statistical significance’, which has a specific mathematical meaning, with the common use of the word significance. A very small amount of heat flux (0.027 (0.009) W m2 applied over the entire surface of the Earth) having statistical significance basically means it shouldn’t be dismissed as noise, not that it is ‘significant’ to overall warming.

    If you’re doing real science, skeptics aren’t the enemy. At the end of the day they’re the best friend you’ve got that help make sure your results are solid. Lighten up!

    • Obscurity says:

      Hello MarkB,

      Given Roy’s propensity to make dubious and careless assumptions with his model and satellite data, I am not going to “lighten up”, but thanks for your concern. And please stop with the strawman arguments, I do not consider skeptics “the enemy”; the problem lies with fake skeptics.

      One of Roy’s primary conclusions is this:
      “If the above results are any indication, it is unlikely the heat is hiding in the deep ocean.”

      Palmer, von Shuckmann and Le Traon and Purkey and Johnson would all take exception to that poorly worded statement. Perhaps is Roy had stated that “it is unlikely that all the “missing” heat is hiding in the deep ocean.”

      I’m familiar with statistical significance and the quantifier “significant”. Purkey and Johnson, and others, note that the abyssal accumulation of heat is indeed significant and of importance. Roy has yet to speak to the results of von Shuckmann and Le Traon (2011), or palmer et al’s find that one has to go down to 4000 m to constrain the time-integrated changes in TOA.

      As for “Dr. Spencer is making an almost trivial observation about which model best matches the observed data and what that might imply about climate sensitivity”

      Well, if it trivial then why are people here touting it as “Dr Spencer seems here to have fired another arrow into the heart of the IPCC doctrine of dangerous global warming”. Roy is quite clear that he thinks that “the Levitus observations fall on that at a climate sensitivity of 1.3 deg. C.”

      Good luck explaining glacial cycles, or the PETM using a climate sensitivity of +1.3 K, oh right, but Roy dismisses those inconvenient paleo data. We are now introducing GHGs into the atmosphere much faster than occurred during the PETM (Cui et al. 2011, Nature) , and some, like roy would try and have us believe that doing so is not going to have a significant impact on the biosphere and climate system. as noted by Valdez (2011, Nature):

      “In the meantime, we need to be cautious. If anything, the models are underestimating change, compared with the geological record. According to the evidence from the past, the Earth’s climate is sensitive to small changes, whereas the climate models seem to require a much bigger disturbance to produce abrupt change. “

  15. MarkB says:


    Don’t misunderstand me. I say his observation was almost trivial because it involved no sophisticated or complex steps (sorry Dr. Spencer, not trying to diss you here). This is why I asked if you’d take exception to Dr. Spencer suggesting the sun rises in the east – what he’s doing here is only slightly more complicated than glancing up at the sky at dawn. The implications of this ‘trivial’ observation may well be non trivial. 😉

    As to Purkey and Johnson saying it’s significant and of importance, well, of course it is. Any valid research is significant and of importance. But how is 0.027 W/m^2 forcing significant or important in the context of the impact and extent of global warming?

    Regarding the paleo data, I don’t dismiss that – I understand your argument there. When two separate data sets and lines of reasoning lead to contradictory conclusions, it means both need to be examined more closely – sure. It’s just that in this case, as I’ve already noted, there isn’t alot to Dr. Spencer’s data or line of reasoning to BE wrong.

    It’s been fun, you get the last word since I’ve got to get back to work. 😉

  16. Martin says:

    It is interesting that the idea of “objectivity” has been brought up in relation to climate debate: “what is very obvious from Spencers writing is that this issue (AGW) is deeply personal for him.”

    Looked at historically it is clear that mankind has deeply ingrained preconceptions about the weather and its changes. Humanity has always tended to see unhelpful changes in the weather as some kind of judgement on itself. Flood myths which occur in many cultures illustrate the way people tend to blame climate changes on themselves and their “sins”. The Epic of Gilgamesh, dating to about 4700 years ago, and the book of Genesis dating to around 1000 years later, both present a very similar account of gods punishing mankind by flooding. As former British government climate scientist William Burroughs suggests in his book Climate Change In Prehistory, it is possible that these flood myths have their roots in a massive flooding event that took place 8,400 years ago. At this time melt water from glaciers over what is now Canada had formed vast lakes. Eventually ice dams holding back the water failed, and it is estimated that 163,000 square kilometers of water poured through the Hudson Strait into the Labrador Sea. Within a few years 100,000 square kilometers of land disappeared. All of these dramatic events were the result of climate changes at the end of the last ice age, which were not influenced by man. And yet people, self centred as always, saw these events as a judgement on themselves. This view of the weather has endured throughout human history.

    Today we don’t tend to mention angry gods directly, but there is often a moral element to discussion of climate change. It is suggested that mankind has been greedy and profligate with the earth’s resources and is paying the price. There also seems to be a replacement for the angry gods of times gone by in the form of Gaia, the embodiment of a self regulating earth. Gaia is sometimes portrayed as being angry with mankind, and will pass sentence by way of climatic disaster and wide spread flooding. The most financially successful film of all time, Avatar (2009) is an ecological fable which sets contemporary concerns on the planet of Pandora. Pandora is presided over by a nature god in the shape of a tree. And of course in the end this god turns on the mining company which threatens to destroy the natural world of Pandora. In many ways age old religious impulses have found a new home in global warming concerns. Scientists pursuing a man made global warming agenda have a huge weight of preconception behind them, making them believe in what they say, and in turn making other people want to believe it. This is revealing in any discussion of objectivity in relation to the climate debate.

  17. The temperatures will be declining this decade Obscurity, I wonder what spin you will have on this when it occurs.

    Obscurity ,if you look at past history you will see co2 lags temperature change and you will see that temperature swings both up and down have been much greater in magnitude compared to what has happened during the past 100 years or so.

    Past history does not support your global man made warming prediction. The models have been completly wrong in the prediction of the atmospheric circulation, they are junk to put it nicely. I have past history to back up all my predictions and that is good enough for me.

    I don’t expect you to ever admit to it. You will learn the hard way.




  19. I am not going to go into lengthy arguments other to say Stephen Wilde’s theory is 100 % correct on how the sun controls earth’s temperature, and time (this decade) will prove this once and for all.

    The CO2 claim is BS, and it is in deep trouble as I speak and the temperature keeps failing to increase, along with all their other DUMB predictions of a more zonal atmopsheirc circulation , a tropospheric hot spot near the equator due to the false positive feedback between co2 and water vapor , stratospheric cooling ,more El Ninos and droughts, etc etc.

    I am more confident then ever the prediction of global cooling and increase geological activity for the decade will prove to be the correct prediction.

  20. Obscurity says:

    Hello Salvatore,

    You seem to keep forgetting that Spencer also uses models, a badly tuned model mind you, but a model nonetheless.

    “The temperatures will be declining this decade Obscurity, I wonder what spin you will have on this when it occurs.”

    Nice strawman. Look, bluster and yelling (using CAPS) is not a substitute for a compelling scientific argument. Your argument that in the past CO2 has lagged temperature may be true, but that was then, this is now. Besides your argument is a red herring, and has been dealt with in the scientific literature.

    Additionally, you seem not to understand that Roy Spencer is arguing that CO2 will warm the planet, he just happens to be of the opinion that doubling CO2 will “only” warm the planet by ~1.5 K. So your rant is at complete odds with Roy’s position.

    “Past history does not support your global man made warming prediction.”

    Is is not “my prediction”, also a) it is basic physics (as Dr. Spencer has shown on this very blog), b) the long-term warming trend is happening before your very eyes.

    “I have past history to back up all my predictions and that is good enough for me.”
    I am unaware of your predictions. Could you provide a citation to a peer-reviewed paper please? Thanks.

    • Rick says:

      “Your argument that in the past CO2 has lagged temperature may be true, but that was then, this is now.”
      How can paleo data tell us anything about climate sensitivity (change in temperate due to a doubling of CO2) if the order of temperate change vs. CO2 change is not known?

      • Obscurity says:


        “if the order of temperate change vs. CO2 change is not known”

        It is known. Without feedbacks, doubling CO2 will cause about 1.1 k of warming. The paleo data provide important information about the feedbacks that can inflate this warming.

    • Rick says:

      If past temperature changes were caused by events other than CO2 changes it seems like we can learn nothing from these changes about climate sensitivity.

      • Obscurity says:

        Hello Rick,

        I suggest that you read Caillon et al. (2003, Science). And many researchers agree that there are valuable lessons concerning climate sensitivity from the paleo data (Zeebe, Alley, Chylek etc etc.). In fact, Nature Geoscience just had a special issue on this very topic.

  21. Obscurity says:

    Hello Martin,

    You say “Scientists pursuing a man made global warming agenda have a huge weight of preconception behind them, making them believe in what they say, and in turn making other people want to believe it.”

    No Martin, they have basic physics behind them.

    I’ll say to you what I said to Salvatore. Roy Spencer is in fact arguing that CO2 will warm the planet, so using your logic he too is “pursuing man made global warming agenda”; he just happens to be of the opinion that doubling CO2 will only warm the planet by ~1.5 K. So you too seem to be at odds with Roys position.

    And for the record, I and others do not wish for a moment to “believe” that AGW is real or that climate sensitivity is near +3 K. But instead of burying my head in the ground or massaging model parameters to delude me into thinking that climate sensitivity is ~1.5 K, I prefer to deal with science and facts, no matter how unsettling or inconvenient.

    The real belief stems from the fact that some people believe that we can continue to pump GHGs into the atmosphere significantly faster than occurred during the PETM without it having a significant impact on the climate system and biosphere. To hold that position requires a lot of faith and is betting against physics.


    I don’t deny that CO2 by itself would raise temperatures perhaps. by .1F per decade,(but the effect get’s less and less as co2 increases) but that is not enough to offset the other items that control the climate much more. Those being solar,volcanic,atmospheric circulation -AO versus +AO as an example, PDO/AMO, SOI Index + versus -. Those are tied into solar activity, and they in turn will effect earth’s albedo due to cloud cover,snow cover and precip. changes, which is at the heart of what makes earth’s climatic system work and change.Not to forget cosmic ray changes tied to solar activity which might effect cloud cover ,not to forget the strength of the earth’s magnetic field itself. Not a trace gas CO2, with a trace increase.

    CO2 can’t explain any past temperature changes ,especially the abrupt temperature changes that often have taken place in less theen a decade. Solar activity/phase in theroy can explain these abrupt temperature changes, due to thresholds being met ,due to the items that control the climate phasing into a cold or warm mode. Duration and degree of magnitude being most imporatnt.

    When you say now ,nothing about now ,is different from the past. Infact ,I would say earth’s climatic system over the past 100 years or so has been more stable then almost any other time period. ( I say look at the Maunder Minimum and Dalton Minmum to see where I am coming from )That however, is now in the process of changing since around 2009 ,as the prolong solar minimum that started in 2005, starts to exert more effects on earth’s climatic system. Oceans causing lag times to occur.

    This will be the decade of increased geeological activity and a temperature decline.

    A couple of other items. If the models can’t predict the atmopsheric circulation correctly, which has been the case ,how could they ever predict the temperature trend correctly?

    Many scientist, Dr. Spencer, among them feel that the CO2 warming theory violates many of the laws of thermodyamics that heve been established over time.

    In closing the ONLY thing that will matter is who is right and who is wrong, and who is right for the correct reasons. I feel I along with Stephen Wilde ,are correct, and this will be proven to be the case before this decade is out. Time will tell.

  23. Alpha Tango says:

    salvatore del prete says:
    August 8, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    “The temperatures will be declining this decade Obscurity, I wonder what spin you will have on this when it occurs”

    C’mon salvatore, try to keep up – dont you know that global cooling is caused by global warming?



  24. Ivan says:

    “Roy Spencer is in fact arguing that CO2 will warm the planet, so using your logic he too is pursuing man made global warming agenda; he just happens to be of the opinion that doubling CO2 will only warm the planet by ~1.5 K.”

    This is incorrect. Climate sensitivity would be about 1.5 K only if ALL warming that we have seen in the 20th century was CO2-induced. And Spencer clearly denies this (and with good reasons). So, his estimate of the real climate sensitivity is actually much lower, depending upon the estimate how much of recent warming was caused by natural variability.

  25. Obscurity says:

    Hello Ivan,

    You have an interesting interpretation of Roy’s work. His second figure has a y-axis label that states

    “2XCO2 Climate Sensitivity”.

    Maybe Roy will step in and inform us what his best estimate is of “real climate sensitivity” (not sure what you mean by “real”) to doubling CO2.

    Now, of course, we will easily double CO2 levels(ignoring for the moment the increase in CH4 and N20) under BAU…

    I wonder what Roy’s position is on ocean acidification, I would be surprised if he takes that seriously.

  26. RW says:


    If you really think the climate is as sluggish to fully respond to ‘forcings’ as the IPPC claims, how do you explain that the globally averaged surface temperature changes by 3 C in just 6 months time? This occurs from roughly an 8-10 W/m^2 perturbation, as the post albedo solar flux is at its maximum in July and at it’s minimum in January (despite perihelion).

    This would not be possible unless a relatively shallow depth of ocean water was involved in these changes. Dr. Spencer’s analysis of the data here and in previous posts is consistent with this. There is no heat accumulating or ‘hiding’ anywhere – it’s already exited the system.

  27. RW says:

    Obsurity says:

    “Maybe Roy will step in and inform us what his best estimate is of real climate sensitivity (not sure what you mean by real) to doubling CO2.”

    Dr. Roy can correct me if I’m wrong, but I know he thinks the net feedback is negative, so I’d guess his ‘best estimate’ would be something less than the so-called ‘intrinsic’ or no feedback warming of 1.1 C from 2xCO2.

  28. John H says:

    I may just be a dumb layman, but I cannot help but notice that Obscurity is the only poster making arguments that reference actual scientific work. The whole Gore propaganda/ Green-socialist conspiracy angle is very tired and seems to be constantly used in place of creidble scientific analysis.

  29. OBSCURITY- Please give us an explanation to account for the many abrupt climatic changes that have taken place in earth’s past in a matter of decades. Tell us why it happend as well as the cause.

    Until anyone can explain (Dr Spencer included) this in a SATISFACTORY manner ,I say no one really understands earth’s climatic system.

    I further state that the phase in theory of the items that control the climate reaching a certain magnitude and duration, which causes a threshold to be reached or crossed is the best explanation, I have been able to come up with, for the abrupt changes in climate from time to time. I will go so far to say it beats any other explanation, I have ever come across.

    STEPHEN WILDE’S, great articulation of how the sun sets things in motion combined with this phase in theory, in my opinion can not be beat as to the explanation of what makes earth’s climatic system work. I will be promoting this until proven otherwise.

    Note- Milankovitch cycles when in phase, with the prolong solar minimum , probably play a part in the major glaciations and inter glacials ,earth has under gone so many times in the past.

    Milankovich cycles right now are at least neutral, if not slightly favoring cooling.

  30. slimething says:

    Ever notice how the term “basic physics” is used so flippantly by Obscurity?

    If it were about “basic physics”, then the upper 700m of ocean would have warmed as predicted.

    If it were about “basic physics”, then the lower troposphere would have warmed as predicted.

    And on and on.

  31. JOHN H – Scientific work, which is just BS. I can make a strong case to refute every single aspect , the man made CO2 global warming theory tries to make or prove. I can do it through the use of current data and past history, and common sense.

    The so called mainstream climate scientist are so full of it.

    As I said this decade should set things straight, or at least go a long way in that direction.

    I am glad Dr. Spencer, has the visiblity that is needed to expose these fools.

  32. I keep forgetting to add this. This will also be the decade of climatic extremes hot,cold,dry,wet(which started around 2008 or 2009) due to the AO,NAO,AAO ,evolving into a more negative pattern going forward, which can be tied as Stephen Wilde , points out to the prolong solar minimum ,and I might add an increase in high latitude volcanic activity ,which seems to warm the stratosphere more near the poles in contrast to the lower latitudes, thus helping to maintain a more negative index. This in addtion to the low solar activity effecting ozone concentrations/distributions as Stephen Wilde,points out in his paper,which in turn influence the make up of the polar vortices.

  33. Also in order to have N.H. ,in particular cooling ,one wants the Arctic to be warm in contrat to latitudes below it. Infact there is some evidence that during parts of the last ice age, the Arctic had very little ice. It is just as much the redistribution of temperature then the actual temperature decline itself ,which by the way does not have to be much for the earth as a whole,that can cause the N.H. overal cool down.

  34. Nick says:

    Salvatore –

    Can you give an example of an abrupt change that occurred over decades? The PETM occurred over tens of thousands of years and I thought that was an example of rapid change in the geologic timescales.

    For full disclosure, while I never think any type of science will be “settled” it seems clear to me based on the statements from many prestigious science institutions that human caused climate change is at a minimum a serious economic and environmental threat.

    While I appreciate Roy’s work (though the quote about protecting the taxpayer as the goal rather than finding the truth was a bit off-putting) it is hard for me as a layman to overcome this assertion;

    “Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small.Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts.” (National Academy of Sciences)

  35. Nick says:

    Sorry that quote was missing an important last line so as not to be ambiguous;

    “This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.”

  36. Younga Dryas beginning and end took place in decades.

    Look up Dr. Easterbrook , who has a chart that shows some of the most dramatic temperature swings over the last 20000 years or so. It is amazing.

  37. DeWitt Payne says:


    Recent research on the PETM shows that the temperature started to increase before the 13C/12C ratio started to drop. This is in line with the sea floor methane clathrate hypothesis. The surface temperature would have to go up at least 1,000 years before the release to allow the heat to reach the sea floor. So why did the temperature start to go up in the first place? Dunno. Nor does anyone else as far as I can tell. Yet another gaping hole in our understanding of climate variation.

    As far as sea floor methane clathrate decomposition happening now, the deep ocean would have to warm up by ~10C from where it is now. That would take hundreds of thousands to millions of years. The current fossil fuel spike in CO2 will be long gone before that can happen.

  38. DeWitt Payne says:


    Recovery from the PETM took ~100,000 years. We don’t have sufficient time resolution to determine the time scale of temperature increase, but it was much less than 10,000 years. There were two or three step changes upward over the course of a few thousand years.

  39. Obscurity says:

    Inline comments do not appear to be working properly, at least with my browser.

    We are getting way off topic here folks. Climate can change slowly (e.g., PETM) or it can change rapidly (e.g., Younger Dryas).

    But what is at issue here is climate sensitivity to a forcing of about 4 W m-2, possibly much more, over a span of 200-250 years (a blink in geological time), and Roy’s dismissal of the paleo record and deep ocean and abyssal warming.

    Roy Spencer is arguing that there will essentially be no positive feedbacks….but in reality we know that positive feedbacks are already operating, such as the positive water vapour feedback (Dessler and Davis 2010) and Arctic amplification (Scree and Simmonds) because of ice rapid ice loss there.

    And for the record Easterbrook is not to be trusted. He has on multiple occasions now been found to have misrepresented, distorted or fudged data, including the GISP data.

  40. Obscurity says:

    Hello Slimething,

    Regarding the oceanic heat content, Murphy et al. (2009) would disagree with you. Also, since the 50’s the top 700 m of the oceans have accumulated 200×10^21 J (Murphy et al. 2009). Scientists are finding though that measuring OHC is problematic. XBT had and still have issues (including very limited spatial coverage, also see Wijffels et al. 2008).), ARGO has issues (the ARGO buoys were not designed for climate work and for measuring OHC, and they too have has sensor issues). And none of these platforms have regularly measure the full ocean column heat content. As Palmer and others have argued, we need an array (similar to TAO/TRITON) around the globe that samples the full ocean column.

    So one has to be very careful when comparing models that have full time-space resolution with XBTs (which do not).

    But let us look at the recent findings of Katsman and Voldenborgh (2011), referring to their Figure 1 comparing modelled verus observed rates of change in OH from three OHC datasets between 1950 and 2010:

    “Long-term trends in UOHC over 19691999 including the 2- uncertainty band (ensemble mean: 0.38 0.014 1022J yr?1; individual ensemble members: 0.28 to 0.49 1022J yr?1); observations: 0.28 0.052 1022J yr?1 [Levitus et al., 2009], 0.19 0.036 1022J yr?1 [Ishii and Kimoto, 2009], and 0.41 0.074 1022J yr?1 [Domingues et al., 2008].”

    So individual model ensemble members (from ECHAM5/MPI-
    OM1 coupled climate model; one of the more sensitive AOGCMS out there) ranged between 0.28 and 0.49 (mean near 0.38) 1022J yr?1, the observed increase in OHC ranged between 0.19 and 0.41 1022J yr?1. Given the uncertainties in the observations, that is pretty good agreement, especially when one uses the observations from Domingues et al., (2008). Now Roy rebukes the authors for ignoring data prior to 1969, but what he does not tell people how terrible the ocean was sampled before 1960 (less than 30% of the ocean sampled in 1950). From about 1970 onwards about two thirds of the ocean was sampled (e.g., Boyer), increasing to near 80% in the naughts. Wijffels et al. (2008) used data from 1968 onwards.

    And none of you, including Roy, have refuted the work of von Shuckmann and Le Traon (2011).

    And the planet is warming as expected IF one correctly takes into account all the forcings (i.e., aerosols, GHGs, solar), see work by Murphy et al. (2009).

    It is basic physics (ask Roy, if it were not, he would not be justified in using simple models like he does), the devil lies in the details though, and finding good long-term data against which to evaluate the models is sadly hard to come by.

  41. David Jay says:


    Tell me again about the rapid ice loss…

  42. Obscurity says:

    Roy chose two extremes in his blog post, why did he not select those models which have an equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) close to the expected value of 3.0 K for doubling CO2? That is the NASA GISS-ER (ECS ~+2.7 K), or CSIRO-MK3.0 (ECS ~+3.1 K), for example.

    The reason I ask is that Dr. Gavin Schmidt has shown that the OHC from NASA GISS-ER compare very well against observed estimates of OHC between 1970 and 2003. And yes, I know that some people are obsessed about short-term fluctuations and cherry-picking windows in any metric pertaining to climate, even the OHC, but Roy agrees we need to look at long-term trends.

    • MarkB says:

      From his blog:

      “Obviously, we need to add more of the IPCC models to this comparison, which we will be doing in the coming weeks, to see if there is indeed a strong relationship between model warming and model sensitivity, which there should be if the different models used similar climate forcings.”

      Also – to get back to one of your earlier points, I don’t see how you can pretend Dessler 2010 ‘Trends in tropospheric humidity from reanalysis systems’ is the definitive last word on the subject of positive water vapor feedback, when the basic point of the paper was to refute 30 years worth of god knows how many radiosonde measurements that showed a long term decrease in relative humidity. The fact that Paltridge 2009 needed to be refuted in the first place shows that the issue isn’t settled, and of course Dr. Spencer has published a rebuttal to Dessler 2010 as well.

  43. MarkB says:

    I beg your pardon, I meant to say ‘specific’ humidity, not relative.

  44. Hank Roberts says:

    My comment from August 8, 2011 at 9:45 AM is still listed as in the moderation queue — it includes three citation links — is that too many for the spam filter?

  45. Obscurity says:


    Yes, you might get away with one. It is unfortunate that we cannot post links to journal papers.

  46. Denier says:

    Obscurity, my dear boy:
    Quoting Gavin as an authority – words fail me.
    You could do worse – try quoting the political activist Hansen.

  47. MarkB says:

    Of course, Dessler & Davis 2010 (Trends in tropospheric humidity from reanalysis systems’) isn’t the one Dr. Spencer was rebutting, it was Dessler 2010 (‘A Determination of the Cloud Feedback from Climate Variations
    over the Past Decade’).

    I got a little carried away there. 🙂

  48. Obscurity says:

    Hello MarkB,

    You are right concerning Roy’s plans to add more models. Thanks for pointing that out. Will be interesting to see what he reports– hopefully he will make the data available so that others can check his numbers. Yes, Spencer was not trying to refute Dessler and Davis but Dessler (2010).

    I’m not sure where I claimed that Dessler and Davis (2010) was the last word on the WV feedback? You seem to be trying to argue a strawman and anyone claiming that the WV feedback is negative or zero is arguing against physics (i.e., the Clausius-Clapeyron equation). The best data that we have support a positive WV feedback consistent with the Clausius-Clapeyron relation (C-C).

    Additionally, Trenberth and Fasullo (2005) used satellite data to track IWV (Integrated atmospheric Water Vapour) over the oceans and found that the IWV change between 1988 and 2003 was 8.9% K-1 compared to 7% K-1 expected when using the C-C relation. They attribute the slightly larger observed value to the amplification associated with air temperature versus SST.

  49. Obscurity says:

    Hello Denier,

    Dr. Schmidt has worked extensively on the continued development of the GISS-E model. How many AOGCMs have you been responsible for developing?

    If you wish to talk science and facts then I am all ears.

    Going by your moniker you seem to be of the opinion that the theory of AGW is bunk. Well, Roy and physics would disagree with you, so I hope that you are not going to use this work to try and substantiate your opinion.

  50. MarkB says:


    I haven’t read Trenberth and Fasullo (2005), TY – I will.

    Sorry if I misunderstood you earlier, your post included ‘but in reality we know that positive feedbacks are already operating, such as the positive water vapour feedback (Dessler and Davis 2010)’ from which I gathered that your position was that Dessler and Davis 2010 caused us to know that in reality positive feedbacks are already operating, such as the positive water vapour feedback. I wondered at your choice of paper, which is why I mentioned it in the first place. 🙂

  51. Obscurity says:

    Roy makes this curious statement:

    “Blaming Chinese coal-fired power plants for a lack of warming is just taking the modelers anthropocentrism to an even higher plane. There seems to be no good evidence to support such a claim anyway.”

    I must admit when I first heard about Kaugfmann et al. I was skeptical– aerosols are short-lived and one should thus expect the impacts from aerosol loading to be largely regional in nature. So I did some digging and found a paper by Rasch et al. (2000, JGR) who found that sulfates from Asia make a significant contribution to aerosol loading in both hemispheres because of plumes that reach up into the upper troposphere. Work by Brock et al. (2005) and Vernier et al. (2011) have also found that anthro aerosols can be transported from the troposphere into the stratosphere where the aerosols can have a long residence time. Yoon et al. (2011, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,) have found an increase in aerosol optical depth over southern China.

    More importantly, Solomon et al. (2011) have found evidence of an increase in background stratospheric aerosol loading in the early 21st century, which has offset to some extent the positive radiative forcing from increasing GHG concentrations during that period.

    So Roy’s (unsubstantiated) dismissal of all this research is puzzling. Doe she deny this does not affect the climate system?

    Some notes, it is not just coal-fired power plants in China. Pollution from Asia as a whole has been increasing, and it is not just aerosols from coal-fired power plants, but all industry.

  52. Obscurity says:

    Hi MarkB,

    Dessler and Davis (2010) and Trenberth and Fasullo (2005) are strong evidence that the positive WV feedback is operating.

    Just as an aside Mark (you seem to be an exception to the the others posting here)– Roy has some very misguided people following his blog, who are drawing some bizarre conclusions from his work. I find it telling and unfortunate that Roy is not even trying to set the record straight. Rather he seems quite happy for his blog science to enforce their misguided ideas, while threatening to censor those who are citing the science when posting on his blog.

  53. MarkB says:


    Way off topic, but I don’t understand why you care about the people following Dr. Spencer’s blog. Sure, alot of people are going to be misguided; it’s a bell curve. It happens everywhere, certainly including the IPCC camp. But does it occur to you that an overly aggressive style of posting might intimidate people into accepting your arguments for the wrong reasons? I also don’t quite get the animosity you seem to hold towards Dr. Spencer.

    ~shrug~ Not really any of my business, and as I said off topic anyway – I’m just an average shmoe with a bachelor of science trying to keep up with stuff that isn’t really my area of expertise. 🙂


  54. Obscurity says:

    Hi Mark,

    I’m doing my best to be friendly to posters here, despite the baiting 🙂 Sorry if you think I am being harsh on Roy, but Roy is an adult, but foremost he is also a scientist, so the bar is set higher for him.

    Physics is not aware of “camps”. Anyhow, please don’t try and detract from what is going on here, on this blog.

    We should all care about Roy’s questionable decisions and comments of late (e.g., Dr. Bickmore’s and Dr. Smith’s refutation of his work with a simple model), and how it might be clouding his scientific work and ability to be truly objective and truly skeptical. Roy has been wrong before, and there is nothing wrong with that. BUT, remember how adamant Roy and John were that their satellite data showed the planet was cooling, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? That is a problem.

    • Joseph says:

      Hi Obscurity,

      You say that you are trying to be friendly and that Dr. Roy Spencer is a scientist first, but then you continually call him “Roy”. I don’t think you have any right to so informal with someone whose name you’ve come to undermine. Referring to Dr. Roy Spencer as “Roy” is just another tactic you are using to cast his scientific work into the realm speculation. I am calling you out on it.

      Also while I am directing comments to you, would you care to disclose which PR firm you work for and who has employed your firm to discredit Dr. Spencer’s work?

  55. slimething says:

    Are you saying ARGO data is incorrect for 700M OHC from 2003 through 2011?

  56. slimething says:

    So I went to KNMI and downloaded the data for NODC upper 700m OHC. I don’t see an acceleration of warming with this metric from 2003 through qtr 1 2011. Perhaps I made a mistake? Is there another way to interpret it?

    Is this what climate models predicted for the upper 700m? Really? I’m really interested in predictions vs reality.

  57. Obscurity says:

    Hello Slimething,

    Not sure where you are trying going with this– this post is about the changes in OHC between 1955 and 2000, and again the oceans are deeper than 700 m. Do you know why people are so focusse don the 0-700m depth? It is an artifact of the XBT measurement system, that is typically the deepest most XBT probes could go. Sippcan’s T-5 can go down to about 1800 m, others (T-4, 6 and 11) go to about 460 m , while the T-7 and DeepBlue go to about 760 m).

    Before proceeding further, one should be extremely cautious in making generalizations about very short time periods, as Katsman and van Oldenborgh’s work demonstrates. Please read von Shuckmann and Le Traon (2011) for the latest from ARGO.

    But yes, the ARGO floats have their own issues (e.g., the pressure sensor bias).

  58. Obscurity says:

    Hi SlimeThing,

    “Im really interested in predictions vs reality.”

    Me too, but one has to do it properly, with due consideration of noise in the metric that you are considering, the limitations of the data, and allowing long enough a sampling period to obtain statistically significant trends.

    Palmer et al. and Katsman and Voldenborgh, caution that slow-downs (or pauses) in OHC occur frequently as because of the climate system’s natural variability.

  59. slimething says:

    So then Hansen et al 2005 is unreliable? They used data that included splicing XBT with ARGO used to assess their GCM, which as we all know was based on ten years of data. Yet, from 2003 thru current is not reliable. Got it. NODC is incorrect then even though the very authors in your reference cites Levitus?

    That also means SST is not reliable since it does not indicate an increase either during the same period?

    I’m starting to get it now. Only the data and cherry picked essays that agree with your POV are considered.

    So it can be understood, would you list the various data sets that are acceptable and which ones are not?

    I notice the paper you referenced cites GRACE. It seems there are/were issues with steric height based on GRACE as well. Was that taken into account? How do you know?

  60. slimething says:

    BTW Obscurity, would you locate for me where Hansen et al 2005 mention “natural variability” or “pauses” in heat gain in the climate system that would occur since that paper (the ubiquitous “smoking gun”) was published and used in IPCC.

    I don’t recall reading that anywhere. Or is this after the fact science?

  61. Obscurity says:

    Hello SlimeThing,

    Your post above is a Gish Gallop of sorts, and also contains several strawman arguments and misrepresents what I have said and what is published in the literature (e.g., “Yet, from 2003 thru current is not reliable”, and “NODC is incorrect then”). You are in fact the one looking to dismiss data that does not fit your opinion. Physics does not have an opinion and does not care for my opinion anymore than it cares for your or Roy’s opinion.

    Roy used Levitus et al. (2009), he could have used Ishii and Kimoto (2009) or Domingues et al. (2008)– just like Katsman and Voldenborgh (2011) did.

    NODC continue to make adjustments to their data as new information comes to light, as they should. But you seem to keep missing this important point, so I’ll repeat it. Palmer et al. and Katsman and Voldenborgh, caution that slow-downs (or pauses) in OHC occur frequently as because of the climate systems natural variability.

    You mentioned merging the ARGO and XBT data. Lyman et al. (2010) speak to the issues associated with merging the ARGO and XBT data. They identified robust warming between 1993 and 2008 for the top 700m (and they stated very valid reasons for using that window).

    Anyhow, that is not, however, relevant for Roy’s data, as he looked at data from 1955-2000. Unfortunately, those data do not allow one to look at what is happening in the deep oceans b/c of the instruments’ limited operating depth/s. And recent research has found that it is important to consider changes in the deep and abyssal ocean heat content too.

  62. Obscurity says:

    Hello SLimeThing,

    Because you insist on making strawmen arguments, you are confusing yourself. I have not once mentioned Hansen et al. (2005) here.

    The reference to temporary slowdowns or pauses were mentioned by Palmer et al. (2011) and by Katsman and Voldenborgh (2011).

  63. slimething says:

    Domingues et al. (2008) stopped their analysis in…..2003, but is unclear why. Perhaps for the same reasons Santer 08 neglected to include data after 1999 for theirs? Maybe the data wasn’t, shall we say….agreeable? I’m not familiar with the other.

    Apparently is is also unclear that you actually read what you post as “evidence”.

    So yes, after the fact, the previous non-existent “slowdown and pauses” we’ve been lectured were overpowered by AGW have suddenly been discovered. Do you have a reference of these “slowdowns and pauses” of OHC previous to say…2005?

    It can be assumed then since you did not cite Hansen et al 2005 Earths energy imbalance: confirmation and implications, that is now old science and IPCC AR4 is obsolete. You do realize that paper was given high relevance by IPCC? Did I construct another strawman?

    Would you give your analysis of this paper? At least an ad hom?

  64. Obscurity says climate can change slowly or it can change fast. Please tell us what has caused the climate to change fast in the past and why?

    I gave my answer. I said when the items that control the climate phase in long enough and in a degree of magnitude strong enough, a threshold can be reached which can result in an abrupt climatic change. The sun setting the tables for these events.

    Obscurity what is your explanation?

    Obscurity says positive feedbacks are taking place from the increase in CO2. If that is the case, why are not temperatures increasing faster, let alone not increasing at all for the past 10 years? Where is the troposheric hot spot near the equator which is suppose to be the result of a positive feedback between co2 and water vapor?

    As far as the Artic Ice melt, that does not hold water since this is not the first time in the recent past ,this has happened, and since it is not happening in the southern hemisphere. The reason the Arctic Ice is less, is due to the mixing of warm water into the Arctic, which has been known to happen from time to time. Besides a warm Arctic is needed to promte global N.H. cooling.

    OBSCURITY is a typical global warmer who won’t look at present or past history. As far as Dr, DESSLER, IT’S THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND.

    OBSCURITY – of course the ocean heat content increased but only up to 2005 or 2006, now it has leveled off, and that is due to solar activity, SOI osicllation etc etc. The OHC is going to continue to decrease as this decade goes on along with the temperatures, increase geological activity, and more climatic extremes.

    OBSCURITY- a study just came out on the AEROSOLS from Asian coal burning, that prove beyond a doubt they have had no impact in retarding the warming which is expected. In addition volcanic activity a much bigger contributer to aerosols has been very quiet from 1995-2007.

    The article that refutes this can be found on the website or Climate realist website.

    OBSCURITY -I say all data and more importantly changes in trend lines are very important regardless of how recent or short in duration they may be. I don’t think it is an accident , that as the sun has become quiet in year 2005, the data is going against you. Yes ,it is early ,but changes have to start at some time. There has to be a start time, and I think that has already happened.

    Finally over 90% of the warming that took place last century especially since 1977-2003 can be traced to all natural causes which were in a warm mode. Those being active solar activity, minimal volcanic activity,warm PDO/AMO for the most part, a mostly -SOI index, and a mostly positive AO,NAO.

    OBSCURITY -I am more postive then ever that the fraud you keep putting forth on this board about climate change due to man and increase CO2, will be meeting it’s demise in the very near future. Your arguments are hollow, and have no cuRrent or past history to substanciate them.

    Everything your side keeps telling us will happen is now happening in the exact opposite direction. Up to 2003 or so your side was looking pretty good in the predictions(which was a just by dumb luck) but that has taken a big turn for the worst since then. Just read any article as recently as 2000 or so and you will see the global warmers forecast, for conditions beyond 2007 or so have had, and continue to have everything ass backwords, from their predictions of a more zonal atmosperhic circulation, to hardly any snow in winters for many cites, to the droughts that have not materialized, to the non existent troposheric hot spot, to the more extreme climate that is presently increasing which comes as a result of cooling and a NON ZONAL atmospheric circulation,to the predicted temperature increase which has stopped dead in it’s tracks, so on and so on. A scam to say the least.

  65. Obscurity says:

    Hello slimething,

    “Did I construct another strawman?”

    Yes, you did, well three actually, plus some conspiracy theories to boot:)

    “Do you have a reference of these slowdowns and pauses of OHC previous to say2005”
    You must be referring to variability. You are trying to bait me and fabricate debate, but I’ll humour you this once. Yes I do, Gregory et al. (2004):

    Pay attention to the firs to the first line of the abstract.

    “Previous analyses by Levitus et al. [2000] (Levitus) of ocean temperature data have shown that ocean heat content has increased over the last fifty years with substantial temporal variability superimposed.”

  66. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    I think there is no single value for climate sensitivity of CO2. I think the sensitivity is probabilistic. It can take on different values within a wide range. Maybe wider than your range and of IPCC.

    The basis of my speculation is regression analysis. Look at global temp. and CO2 data from 1850-2009. Put CO2 on X-axis and temp. on Y-axis. The graph is non-linear. It’s fluctuating. You can’t fit any linear or polynomial equation without large error. The best fit is a random walk function. Since the model uses only a single variable CO2, you have to introduce an arbitrary random variable to get a good fit.

    This tells me that any model that assumes that CO2 alone detrmines global temp. will have to be a probabilistic function. I believe that temp. can be better described by a multiple variable function that uses other variables like WV, clouds, ocean, etc. But even if you can create such model, you can’t predict the values of all the variables so the model will have no predictive power. Your input data are guesses so the output is also a guess. Therefore, this model is also probabilistic.

    Suffice it to say that last century’s warming was probably caused by man and how much warming this century is uncertain. But I think it will not be as catastrophic as Al Gore.

  67. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Dr. Strangelove.
    I could agree with you when you wrote:
    “Look at global temp. and CO2 data from 1850-2009. Put CO2 on X-axis and temp. on Y-axis. The graph is non-linear. Its fluctuating. You cant fit any linear or polynomial equation without large error. The best fit is a random walk function. Since the model uses only a single variable CO2, you have to introduce an arbitrary random variable to get a good fit.”
    That’s is valid for any climate model that doesn’t take account of the complexity of the system.

    But I can’t understand how could you write: “Suffice it to say that last centurys warming was probably caused by man and how much warming this century is uncertain.”
    If that “large error” is true, it means that the other factors not accounted are the real culprit for the climate behavior and not CO2. So since “man” plays a small role to the CO2 production on this globe (somewhere I read abt 4%), how could you reach that conclusion?
    Maybe I missed your point.

  68. sunspot says:

    A simple analogy to demonstrate that the heat is not hidden deep in the ocean would be the hot water service, in particular one that operates on the thermosyphon principle.

    Hot water rises rapidly while cool water fall descends, all one has to do is feel the difference in the temperature at the bottom and the top of the hot water tank, bottom = COLD, top = HOT.

    Its pretty simple !

    The difference in heat could be 5 deg C to 100 deg C, thats in a water column of 4 to 5 ft.

    How deep is the ocean ?

    If there is hidden heat at the bottom of the ocean, then what is the new mysterious force that keeps it there ?

    What next, will we be seeing hot air balloons that are stuck on the ground and won’t fly ???????

  69. Ray says:

    The RSS global anomaly for July is 0.328c, up from a revised June anomaly of 0.297c.
    This is a much smaller increase than for UAH and after adjustment to the same base period, the UAH anomaly is now about 0.16c higher than RSS.
    I notice that the UAH S.Pole anomaly has increased from -0.08c in June, to +1.48c in July and that the S.Pole land anomaly has increased from -0.63c to +2.13c.
    Since last July, the UAH S.Pole anomaly has increased by about 3c and the land anomaly has increased by almost 5c.
    I am not sure how far south the UAH S.Pole measurements reach, but the equivalent RSS figure only extends from -60 to -70 degrees and therefore excludes most of Antarctica.
    I presume that this contributes to the differences between UAH and RSS, (and other anomalies) and I also wonder if the apparent volatility in the UAH S.Pole anomaly accounts for some for some of the overall volatility in the UAH anomaly.

  70. Dr. Strangelove says:


    The large error could mean that the effect of CO2 is masked the effects of other variables. Not necessarily that CO2 has no effect. If you cant predict what the other variables will do, you cant tell when the CO2 effect will show up and by how much. Thats why its probabilistic.

    I think man caused last centurys warming because, assuming the data are reliable, global temp. were the highest in 2,000 yrs. Incidentally, atmospheric CO2 was also the highest in 400,000 yrs. Incidentally again, the industrial revolution began 200 yrs ago. Incidentally still, rate of sea level rise was the fastest in 7,000 yrs (this is consistent with unprecedented warming). I dont think they are all just coincidence. Or perhaps a conspiracy the data were manipulated to show that result.

  71. harley says:

    Is the glass half full or half empty. That’s what it’s like reading this blog. Each of you choose data that supports your argument and discredit the rest. Global warming is not caused by CO2 content in the atmosphere, full stop. One CO2 molecule or 100 CO2 molecules cannot change temperature because they all absorb and emit the same, as one, the only difference additional molecules make in the atmosphere is increased reflection out to space. Regardless of all your charts and graphs you still don’t know what determines the temperature of the earth. Keep trying you’ll work it out eventually.

  72. Adam Gallon says:

    Obscurity (Hello Dr Schmidt!)
    You say that climate sensitivity needs to be based upon paleoclimate reconstructions.
    Since none of them seem to be worth the computer time used to construct them, with many being highly suspect in their construction. (ie anything that has had Dr Mann or his cohorts’ hands involved), it leaves us in rather a quandry.

  73. NOTICE THE SILENCE FROM OBSCURITY- when I asked him what is the reason for abrupt climate changes in the past. I gave my comprehensive answer , he has no answer apparently.

    I bet OBSCURITY, never read Stephen Wilde’s great piece on how the sun may control earth’s temperatures. You compare that to the garbage man made Co2 theory ,and they are not in the same league. This theory by Stephen, along with the phase in theroy ,which can be applied to it, will be proven correct this decade.

    The data is turing against the global warming crowd. Typical AL GORE,I just noticed he has sounded off. I just love to listen to his rants.

    By the way Joe Bastardi, just released a study that shows temp/ocean correlation over the past century was 85%. It can be found on icecap or the climaterealist website.


    Soi index of late holding on the positive side a good sign. AO/NAO/AAO have been mostly negative of late,another good sign. ENSO MONITORING GRAPH- shows -.02 c water temp,. down from recent weeks another good sign. Solar activity remains low. I am surprised that geologic activity has been rather low over the past few days,considering the recent burst of activity on the sun. I still think this will pick up again, to be more like it has been earlier this year. If it doesn’t ,then I will admit to being wrong ,on that particular forecast. I never spin and when wrong admit it. Time will tell, and unforunately nothing in this business is 100%.
    Yet we have the good old models being 100% certain,with the clueless climate scientist going along with them despite all the data/evidence that says otherwise.

    All and all things are going as I have expected ,when I first forecasted this back in 2009. I have my emails from that time saved.

  74. John (Who) says:

    Al Gore’s words have been captured for all to hear (and view) in his movie (and on the Internet) and have been shown to be deceptive, misleading, and half-truths.

    As soon as they are sent into obscurity, the better for all of us.

  75. slimething says:


    It is becoming difficult to reason with you. I am just as capable as you are cutting and pasting snippets.

    Abstracts aren’t exactly what I’m looking for. The quote “substantial temporal variability superimposed” is big enough to fly a 747 through. Either the system is gaining heat or it isn’t.

    I want to see specific predictions made before 2005 that predicted the current lack of warming through 2011. Back in 2007 it was said that 4 years was not long enough to invalidate model predictions.

    It is now going on 8 years with no additional joules of heat added to the upper 700m of oceans as reported by ARGO. In your view, how long a period is long enough to invalidate IPCC conclusions on AGW with respect to the climate system gaining heat measured by OHC in the upper 700m?

    If you can’t provide a specific prediction matching current observations, then why not be honest and just acknowledge we don’t know enough about the climate to understand its multiple processes.

  76. Obscurity says:

    Hello Adam,

    “Obscurity (Hello Dr Schmidt!)
    You say that climate sensitivity needs to be based upon paleoclimate reconstructions.”

    While I am flattered Adam, I am not Dr. Schmidt. I did not suggest that climate sensitivity “needs to be based on paleo” data, I noted that Roy should not dismiss it out of hand, and made the point that paleo data can be used to estimate climate sensitivity and how the climate system might respond to this external forcing that we are imposing on the system. So please stop distorting what I say.

    Sorry you feel that way about Dr. Mann….

  77. Obscurity says:

    Hello Salvatore,

    You are right, I have decided not to engage you, but not for the reasons that you believe. I learned a long time ago that engaging people who have their minds firmly made up about something– there is just no point arguing with someone like that.

    Feel free to claim that as a sign victory, if that is what is important to you, but in the end physics will prevail.

    All of the best.

  78. FergalR says:


    You mention “individual model ensemble members (from ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 coupled climate model . . [give] . . pretty good agreement.

    You should really take a look at ECHAM5-MPI-OM. Pay particular attention to its simulation of ENSO, on page 17 of this pdf:

    As you can see, it’s utter nonsense.

    It toggles back and forth between El Ninos and La Ninas, of magnitudes never observed by man – all the way from Ecuador to Papua New Guinea.

    It’s cloud-cuckoo-land nonsense.

    Individual runs of it will give you any answer you like because it imagines that global temperature swings back and forth like a demented chimp.

    If this is the best The Team can come up with it’s depressing.

  79. Obscurity says:

    Hello Slimething,

    This will be my last post, I should have known better than to try engage n a scientific discussion on Roy’s blog. Live and learn I guess.

    Slimething, you asked for a reference I gave you one, with a link to the abstract. EOS.

    “It is now going on 8 years with no additional joules of heat added to the upper 700m of oceans as reported by ARGO.”

    The ARGO floats measure temperatures down to about 2000 m, so why then choose ignore 65% of the data? As I have explained above the 700 m value is an artifact of the XBTs measuring depth, it is not some magical number of particular physical or theoretical importance.

    von Shuckmann et al. (2009) used the ARGO data and found that between January 2003 and September 2008 the top 2000 m of the oceans warmed at a rate equivalent to 0.77 W m-2 ( 0.11 W m-2). Recently, Le Traon determined that between 2005 and 2010 the 0-2000 m the global OHC was 0.55 ( 0.1) Wm?2. Likewise, Loeb et al. (2011) analysed (TOA)constrained by OHC data and found that during the past decade Earth has been accumulating energy at the rate 0.52 (0.43) Wm2. They note that energy is continuing to accumulate in the ocean at a rate consistent with anthropogenic radiative forcing.

    So there are three peer-reviewed papers all showing that the climate system is continuing to accumulate heat the last decade. But that is a short period of time, but I am only providing that short time window to address concerns raised here and by “skeptics”. And for the last time the main post is about the increase in OHC between 1955-2000, and as noted by Gregory et al. (2004) one should be careful about using the XBT data to validate models because, amongst other reasons, the sampling of the oceans in that time was not uniform. My take is that one should limit the validation to those basins where the coverage was greatest. Hopefully Roy heeds their sage advice.

    Now fort what it is worth, my opinion is that there has been a slowdown in the planetary TOA imbalance of late (since 2005 or so), and that it can be attributed to increased stratospheric aerosol loading and a prolonged solar minimum.

    Now kind folks, I need to take care of some pressing deadlines. All the best.

  80. John Vetterling says:

    Clauser 2009 found that the ocean floor transfers heat to the ocean at a rate of approximately .101 W/m^2. So an abyssal warming equivalent to only .027 W/m^2 is almost 1/4 of what would be expected with no heat transfer form the surface.

    It appears that the deep ocean may be transfering heat to the upper layers, not the other way around.

  81. Denier says:

    M’dear (Obscure) chappie
    You presume too much.
    Your faith in GCMs (faith and science? Goes with ‘consensus’, I suppose) is almost as risible as that you show in Gavin.
    Read AR4 & TAR (not just the SPMs). I have. Your arrogant confidence is misplaced.

  82. Jeff Id says:

    Can you tell me which version of the Levitus data you used for this? I am thinking of doing a post on your results here.

  83. MarkB says:

    Hi Obscurity,

    One of the reasons I suspect people remain skeptical about results for ocean warming was perhaps best expressed by none other than Trenberth himself in a response to Roger Pielke Sr.:

    “We are well aware that there are well over a dozen estimates of ocean heat content and they are all different yet based on the same data. There are clearly problems in the analysis phase and I dont believe any are correct.”

    Naturally, he continues on to say that he thinks the Schuckmann analysis was nice but probably not right either, too conservative – this is to provide his context, but has nothing to do with my point.

    The science doesn’t appear to be settled regarding ocean warming yet – I’d cut people some slack for not taking Schuckmann (or anyone else) as gospel at this point.

  84. slimething says:

    Obscurity, you are again being obscure.

    Explain how the oceans can continue to gain heat without it showing up in the upper 700m, in addition to the SST. Can energy be created or destroyed?

    Also, instead of posting like you are writing a report, try posting the titles of each paper or an index at the end. As you are only posting the abstracts, that doesn’t help with the discussion either.

    Now, I’m no expert, but stealth heat finding its way to the bottom of the ocean undetected through the various depths starting at the surface seems a bit counter intuitive.

    According to NOAA’s description of the ocean conveyor belt, your preferred description doesn’t agree with reality, but hey, this is climate science.

    BTW, I know of four papers that show no ocean warming for the past ~decade, but obviously you have chosen that which supports your POV and thus ignore everything else.

  85. Stephen Wilde says:

    Thanks, Salvatore, for the enthusaiastic support for my article.

    As to whether it is correct the critical issue is whether it is possible for the stratosphere to become cooler whilst the sun remains inactive.

    Current evidence is that the stratosphere stopped cooling around the time solar activity started to decline. That is wholly contradictory for AGW theory.

    If the active sun naturally cools the stratosphere and an inactive sun naturally warms it then my hypothesis is the only one in existence that will remain valid.

  86. Denier says:

    M’dear Obscurity

    1960s – we’re all doomed! (nuclear war)
    1970s – we’re all doomed! (new ice age)
    1980s – we’re all doomed! (AIDS)
    1990s – we’re all doomed! (BSE/CJD)
    2000s – we’re all doomed (Y2K bug, bird flu, nuclear proliferation, international terrorism, global warming, global dimming, yadda, yadda, yadda).

    Do I sense a pattern here?

  87. what the? says:

    Obscurity says-

    “I learned a long time ago that engaging people who have their minds firmly made up about something there is just no point arguing with someone like that”

    Pot – Kettle – Black

  88. Obscurity says:

    Hello Roy,

    As an addendum to my last post–in it I forgot to mention that I hope in the updates you make the effort to provide error bars or some other estimate of uncertainties, for both the observations and the model data. Also, it might be insightful to consider the data by ocean basin.

  89. R Jensen says:

    John Vetterling Says
    “It appears that the deep ocean may be transfering heat to the upper layers, not the other way around”

    In the book Geology of the South West by Scott Baldridge, the heating of the ocean floor is listed as the cause of the ocean not holding as much water at times and causing the Ocean water level to be as high as 250 m above present.

    Paradox basin is given as an example of 33 cycles of this.

    The coal beds seperated by marine beds is another. Granted the earth is less active today then 200 milion years ago, but I think to some small degree the cycle may still exist. With the globle warming being measured in such small fractions of a degree, I bet a portion of that wormth is coming from below. Volcanos are actve and then in active. That is not the CO2 that does that.

  90. Dr. Strangelove says:


    CO2 molecules can change temp. because the rates of IR emission at the top of the atmosphere towards space and at low altitudes towards earth are not the same. There are more CO2 molecules in the troposphere than above it. This is well known in atmospheric physics. See this introduction to atmospheric physics.

  91. Sun Spot says:

    Great article Dr. Spencer,

    Has anyone identified or named Kevin Trenberth’s new force that is holding the warm water below the colder surface water ? /sarc

  92. Adam Gallon says:

    Sun Spot, I assume it must be a salinity effect, as more saline, but warmer water can be denser than less saline but cooler water.
    This will thus cause a layering effect, well-known to submariners and indeed swimmers!
    So, no new force is required, but as Dr Spencer & others have noted previously, the passage of this warmth through the layers above it, hasn’t (yet?) been observed.
    Obscurity, I hope you do continue to post here. Having a well-argued, if opposing view point is essential for a scientific blog. One of the reasons why “Climate etc” is worth reading, whereas “RealClimate” isn’t.

  93. harley says:

    Dr Stranglove

    Thanks for the link, had a quick read but will go back to it for closer analysis. I could not find data on reflected radiation by CO2 only absorption and re-emission. Increase the number of molecules in the atmosphere increases reflection as well as absorption. Therefore,increase in CO2 content in troposphere results in increased absorption of short wave, increased reflection of short wave, increase in long wave re-emission, decrease in short wave reaching the surface which will cause a reduced total power of radiation reaching the surface, less total radiation absorbed by the surface of the earth, less convection, lower temperature achieved. CO2 does not increase temperature, increased CO2 caused by increase in temperature.

    Thanks again

  94. netdr says:

    Interesting concept.

    Warmer but more saline water below cooler but less saline water.

    This situation is unstable and must break down rapidly.

    Possibly it exists at a location in the ocean where water from a stream enters and over rides warmer saline water.

    This condition can not exist without constant replenishment and is localized. How could it exist for tens of thousands of square KM ?

    The problem is that the two would intermix. As the warmer water tried to rise it would be diluted by the less saline water. The bottom non saline water layer would also be heated and rise.

    Has it ever been sustained in a laboratory for 1 year without constant replenishment of non saline water . ?

    The other observation is that if the missing heat is at the bottom of the ocean it isn’t going to do much warming of the atmosphere in the next 1,000 years is it ?

    The alarmists argue that the missing heat has be radiated out into space and that it is at the bottom of the ocean.

    Both arguments shoot CAGW in the foot. Where is the warming “in the pipeline” and should we believe there will be 5 times as much warming as has ever been observed in the temperature record.

  95. Mark Buehner says:

    I have an (undoubtedly silly) question: why is it ok to make those assumptions about depths under 700m? The models seem to make drastically different assumptions. Thanks!

  96. OSCURITY – I don’t care if you engage me or not. Just give us an explanation for the fast abrupt climatic changes that have happened in the past from time to time. If you are so sure you have such a great handle on earth’s climatic system for now and the future ,it should be rather easy for you to to explain the abrupt climatic changes of the past. That is all, I am saying. So tell us.

  97. Stephen , this decade I feel our thinking will be proven correct. take care

  98. MarkB says:

    Hi guys,

    I’ve been trying to get my head around this too, the idea that the upper 700 m show energy loss and down to 2000 m we see energy gain. If that’s right (and I don’t yet accept that, peer reviewed papers notwithstanding) it implies the bottom 1400 m are gaining the energy; obviously the only way both statements could be true. But the real comment I’ve got is this – I don’t see any basis for deciding that the bottom 1400m is WARMER than the top 700m, just that the bottom 1400m show a warming trend while the top 700m show a cooling trend. I visualise a graph of the thermocline where the flatter part up top moves towards the left closer to the Y axis and the steep part at the bottom moves out a bit. In other words, the bottom value isn’t necessarily greater than the top value, just that the change in the bottom value is greater than the change in the top value.

    Please don’t come back asking me how this can be – as I said I don’t particularly believe that all of these analysis about the 700 and 2000m OHC can be correct in the first place. It’s pretty counterintuitive to think the bottom 1400 m show a warming trend when the top 700m show a cooling trend. What, the top 700 meters are showing a spontaneous increase in the rate at which the heat distributes downward? What would be the mechanism for this?


  99. TLM says:

    Fascinating article and it seems that there are now multiple lines of evidence building pointing to a lower than expected climate sensitivity based on recent meteorological data.

    I would pull Roy up on one point though:
    The above analysis assumes there have been no natural forcings of warming. But to the extent that recent warming was partly due to some natural process, this would mean climate sensitivity is even less.

    I think he is in danger of oversimplifying here.

    His statment is true, but (much to the AGW crowd’s chagrin) we clearly have very little idea of how natural processes affect global temperature, so it could be that the natural processes have been acting to cool temperatures in recent years, and that (to reverse his statement) “if recent warming were partly counteracted by some natural cooling process, this would mean climate sensitivity is even more”.

    His work is another piece in the AGW jigsaw puzzle, but it cannot be used to “prove” a lower climate sensitivity in the absence of a quantifiable measure of the natural variability of the climate. However as time goes by it looks more and more like the IPCC models are either too sensitive or seriously under-estimate natural climate variability. Roy clearly argues for the former position. If the AGW team were not so proud and protective of their models they should surely be arguing the latter position!

    Obscurity points out that it is difficult to explain the glaciations and PETM if one assumes a low climate sensitivity. But it is not yet proved whether the glaciations have anything to do with climate sensitivity at all. Recent theories have been advanced that it has to do with ocean currents “flipping” from one direction to another (catastrophe theory anybody?) caused by some unknown factor. Bearing in mind there have been ice ages when the atmosphere had a much higher level of CO2 than currently, it is clear that the absolute level of CO2 in the atmosphere is not a good predictor of ice ages – they seem to occur whether CO2 is high or low!

  100. Carter says:

    slimething and others:

    Look at Roy’s graph, folks!

    It shows the amount of warming as a function of depth.
    It clearly shows more warming at the top than at the
    bottom. Roy assumes that the amount of warming goes
    to zero by 2000m (the data point in the left bottom corner).
    Obscurity and a host of cited papers says that this
    may not be the case. It says nothing about temperature,
    only rate of change in temperature.

    The issue is not if the bottom is warming faster
    than the top. Roy and Obscurity agree it is not.

    The issue is definitely not the bottom
    being warmer than the top. Roy and Obscurity
    would laugh at the suggestion.

    It is a simple question of how fast the lower
    depths of the ocean are warming. Roy assumes none,
    Obscurity and his cites say some.

    It is telling that some of the most ardent posters here don’t even understand the graph.

  101. Christopher Game says:

    It seems logically possible, though I don’t know how physically likely, that water at the bottom of the ocean could be warmer than it was before, but likely not warmer than water above it. This might happen by currents from the poles travelling down deep near the bottom, carrying cold water, but water that is not as cold as it used to be; eventually these colder currents would come towards the surface nearer the equator. Convective energy transport can be by hot material travelling from a hot to a cold place as well as by cold material travelling from a cold to a hot place. The whole process has to be circulatory. Simple diffusion and turbulent mixing are not necessarily the most effective modes of energy transport, in comparison with convection by ocean currents, deep and shallow. Christopher Game

  102. steve.s says:


    “It is telling that some of the most ardent posters here dont even understand the graph.”
    – – – –

    I’d just like to restate one point that is telling, whether or not the lower depths of the ocean are warming.

    And that is, that the Sea Surface temperature, since EMSR-e measurements – 2002, is in a down trend, & down to 700 meters (at least)the ocean is not warming.

    Two significant changes that have occured from pre 2000’s.

  103. gator says:

    Dr. Spencer,
    Are you going to respond at all to Obscurity?

  104. John (Who) says:

    Gator –

    I believe he did when he said on

    August 8, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    “If you knew what you were talking about, you would quit nipping at my heels with irrelevant factoids, and at least try to come up with evidence that is at least as powerful as what I have presented.”

    Beyond that, I think it is admirable that Dr. Spencer didn’t delete any of Obscurity’s posts in the manner that would have happened on many of the CAGW supporting boards.

  105. MarkB says:

    Hi Christopher,

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines, but the more I think about it the less I like it.

    First off, we all know that convection is the heat transfer mechanism that’s usually most pertinent to fluids. But it can’t be the ONLY mechanism. Take a glass, fill it first with cold water, then fill it (very gently to prevent alot of mixing 😉 ) with increasingly warmer water. Okay – it’s thermally ‘sorted’, convection isn’t supposed to occur. But still, we know that eventually entropy will prevail and the water in the glass will reach a uniform temperature distribution. In this case, does conduction become the dominant way heat gets exchanged in the system? Does a very small amount of conduction occur and triggers ‘microconvection’ in spots? I’m not 100% sure how this works.

    Anyways, I go on to consider the oceans. Lets simplify and assume all the heat input is at the top (actually this has to be a simplification, since there are underwater volcanoes if nothing else down there supplying heat. I also wonder at the temperature of the sea floor – I’d imagine some heat is distributed outward from the earth’s core by conduction, but possibly that’s negligible? I’ll shelve this question for the moment). Well, not a whole lot of convection is going to occur in this case. I expect
    clouds produce some temp differences between shady areas and sunny areas where maybe the sunny water gets heated some small distance down and the shaded surface water
    gets cooler, so we have some shallow convection there. Rivers feed into the ocean, rain falls on it – convection occurs there. Etc. But none of this is going to reach the
    depths – at least I don’t see how.

    Of course, as you observe, cooling water at the top of the system will drive convection too, and this happens around both the arctic and antarctic. Since surface water gets
    cold enough to freeze, we know liquid water in these areas can eventually get as cold or colder than any water beneath it, since the water beneath is not already frozen.
    I read at ( that there are only a few of these open-ocean deep convection sites, and two of the four identified are close to the poles.

    So far so good, but next I hit trouble. I imagine that if cold water is ‘convecting’ (is the verb form a word?) down, I expect it will only keep going down until it hits the level of water that has it’s same temperature and density. In other words, if there is already colder (less energetic) water down at the bottom, I don’t see how convection can ever add energy to that, because it shouldn’t reach down that far. To put it more generally, the energy should only flow up in a pure convection system if I’m thinking about it right.

    So where does that leave the idea that the bottom is gaining energy and the top is losing energy? I’m not sure. Maybe something more like conduction is occuring?

    Maybe Schuckmann is wrong? ~shrug~

    Beats me, still wondering about it though.


  106. pochas says:

    steve.s says:
    August 11, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    “Id just like to restate one point that is telling, whether or not the lower depths of the ocean are warming.

    And that is, that the Sea Surface temperature, since EMSR-e measurements 2002, is in a down trend, & down to 700 meters (at least)the ocean is not warming.”

    Yes, steve.s! Frankly, I’m unable to understand the connection between ocean temperature profiles and sensitivity, but that is my problem and not necessarily Dr Spencers. What I do see is that the Warming Trends/Depth plot is a graphic record of temperature history, with the upper layers showing recent temperature trends and deeper layers showing conditions at progressively earlier times. You can’t argue with a record like this, any more than you can argue with a fossil skull from 3000 B.C.

    Of course this record depends on heat being transported downward, “against the grain” of density gradient, and impressed on the background of cold deep water continually being supplied from the poles. But we know how to do the analysis, its been done many times with ice cores. There are additional complexities, but one look at that figure and you know that its been cooling recently but was warming earlier. This record deserves a place among the other temperature proxies.

  107. Llew Jones says:

    Mentioned several days ago a rather “radical” coming paper by Murray Salby, which is slated to be published next year. This speech was given in Sydney Australia 2nd of August so not sure if that speech can be downloaded overseas. Anyhow here is an ad:

    “There goes another fingerprint”

    “Judging by the speech Murry Salby gave at the Sydney Institute, theres a blockbuster paper coming soon.

    Listen to the speech: Global Emission of Carbon Dioxide: The Contribution from Natural Sources

    Professor Murry Salby is Chair of Climate Science at Macquarie University. Hes been a visiting professor at Paris, Stockholm, Jerusalem, and Kyoto, and hes spent time at the Bureau of Meterology in Australia.

    Over the last two years he has been looking at C12 and C13 ratios and CO2 levels around the world, and has come to the conclusion that man-made emissions have only a small effect on global CO2 levels. Its not just that man-made emissions dont control the climate, they dont even control global CO2 levels.”

  108. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Carter August 11, 2011 at 3:45 PM said:

    “Look at Roys graph, folks!
    It shows the amount of warming as a function of depth.
    It clearly shows more warming at the top than at the
    bottom. Roy assumes that the amount of warming goes
    to zero by 2000m (the data point in the left bottom corner).
    Obscurity and a host of cited papers says that this
    may not be the case. It says nothing about temperature,
    only rate of change in temperature…”

    Yes they are not arguing about temperature, but warming.
    But all the discussion have a meaning if and only if that graph is showing a steady warming condition induced by the current global warming I believe (due to CO2), otherwise it as no meaning.
    In that steady state it’s obvious for me that if Obscurity is right and the warming in some layers below is higher than the one in some others above, the temperature of the layers below should reach and exceed the one of the ones above one day.
    And that’s unbelievable from my point of view. I can accept that if there is an energy source at the bottom of oceans. But in that case we are not talking about AGW.

  109. Christopher Game says:

    Thank you Llew Jones (August 12, 2011 at 12:24 AM) for your valuable link: Professor Murry Salby told the Sydney Institute that his new studies show that humans don’t control atmospheric CO2 levels. A main source of atmospheric CO2 change is the jungles of Africa and South America and South East Asia.

    Professor Salby told the Sydney Institute that the IPCC doctrine, of dangerous global warming due to human carbon-burning, was generated in the past when he worked for them and this was not known. He said that he had put out his new findings at the recent IUGG meeting in Melbourne.

    The IPCC doctrine is built on the supposition that the human carbon-burning contribution to atmospheric CO2 is a main effective external driver of the climate temperature; they call it a “forcing”. That is the basis of their story of their reference “Planck response”. Professor Salby, following his new studies, thinks that atmospheric CO2 is mainly an internal state variable of the system: the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 over the recent decades is mainly due to climate temperature increase, not the other way round.

    The IPCC calls the human-made CO2 emission a “forcing”, but what Professor Salby says means that his studies show that is it mainly a “feedback”. It seems the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism is too tricky even for the IPCC; they can’t tell the difference between their main “forcing” and a “feedback”. What does this say about the formalism?

    Does this echo Drs Spencer and Braswell’s finding about the very great difficulty in telling the difference between “forcing” and “feedback” with respect to cloud, or what?

    Professor Salby has been examining a possible external driver of the earth’s energy transport process. In doing so, he seems to have shot another arrow into the heart of the IPCC doctrine. Christopher Game

  110. Dr. Strangelove says:


    CO2 does not reflect shortwave solar radiation. It absorbs and emits longwave terrestrial radiation. Increased emission of longwave is always accompanied by increase in temp. because Stefen-Boltzmann law dictates that radiation flux is proportional to the fourth power of temp.

    Read this eight-part series on CO2.

    That CO2 can increase temp. is not disputed by climate skeptics, ask Dr. Spencer. What is disputed is whether there are other possible causes of warming aside from CO2. Sure there are.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      “That CO2 can increase temp. is not disputed by climate skeptics, ask Dr. Spencer. What is disputed is whether there are other possible causes of warming aside from CO2. Sure there are”
      No, the main problem is “how much” is the real warming due to CO2. I already read the explanation of the spectroscopic analysis of the atmosphere at science of doom web site. From my point of view, what is wrong there is the assumption that those spectra represent the total outgoing LW IR radiation. That’s only the flow of radiation which exits the atmosphere at zenith, and is useful just to evaluate the ground temperature if you know the atmosphere composition for the satellite view angle.
      That’s not the whole energy outgoing because the satellite’s spectrometer “sees” just a narrow angle in front of it’s input slit. All the outgoing radiation exiting the TOA with different angles than the zenith isn’t seen from the spectrometer, and the spectrum of that non zenith radiation is almost the inverse of the one at the zenith.
      See here:


      (remove underscores added just to avoid the automatic moderation)
      See figure 3 at page 4076, and note that this is the radiation which flows tangential to the atmosphere at about 34km. Note also that it is the inverse of the radiation at the zenith and that’s obvious for me because this is the part of the radiation spread by the GHGs. The more CO2, the more is higher that peak at abt 650cm-1 in that graph. The more CO2, the more energy exits the atmosphere not at the zenith.



    The jest of this article is the following: The results of three peer -reviewed papers show that over a period of 36 years ,there has been NO reduction of outgong long wave radiation emissions(OLR)in wavelengths that CO2 absorb. Therefore ,the AGW, hypothesis is disproven.

    This along with Dr. Spencer’s recent study he released about the models,in addition to the climatic models all predicting the atmospheric circulation completely wrong ,along with the temperature rise failing to continue since 2002 or so ,along with past history data, should convey to anyone with a sound objective mind ,that the GLOBAL MAN MADE WARMING THEORY IS A HOAX AND A SCAM.

  112. Right now all indications point to a DECLINE in global temperatures overall going forward. Of course, there will be zigs and zags.

    This in my opinion will be a great test, to see who is likely correct and who is likely wrong. I say if temperature’s fail to rise going forward ,and better yet actually decline some, this is going to be pretty strong evidence that the CO2 so called global warming that took place earlier(1977-2002) was not due to CO2 but the same natural forces ,that are now causing the temperature decline, if that should come to fruition, which I STRONGLY believe it will ,over the coming years.

    I am sure however, that the other side will still not admit defeat ,as they keep changing there story to try to keep their global man made warming theory viable. Just look at what they had to say around 2000, going forward on the climate ,and now look on how they have changed everything, to try to accomodate the current climate picture, to fit in with their (obsolete) man made global waming theory.

    They spin and spin and spin. BS’ERS TO THE END.

  113. spartacusisfree says:

    People should remember there is a continual supply of 4C water** into the deeps from the melting ice at the edge of the Antarctic ice cap. So, what resists heat transmission from the warm tropics into the deeps is temperature and snowfall in Antarctica!

    **Due to a combination of the density inversion of water and extra heating at the edge of the polar ice caps as dimethyl sulphide, the precursor of sulphuric acid aerosols, occluded during the previous freeze cycle, is released in the Spring.

    DMS and its precursor comes from the cells of cyanobacteria which have adapted to control their environment.

    This process increases light transmission through local clouds in the Spring as reduction of droplet size turns off direct backscattering. The extra energy is concentrated in the short wavelengths which penetrate the sea furthest.

    The key measurement is the depth of the 4C thermocline at the edge of the ice packs. The same mechanism probably explains the 70 year Arctic freeze/unfreeze cycle!

  114. I think the SOI index is indicating a better then 50% chance of another La Nina, at the very least a weak one this winter. El Nino is not In the cards, sorry Dr. clueless ,James Hansen.

  115. gator says:

    John(Who) — Dr. Spencer’s response was not convincing. It’s easy to say “Your evidence is meaningless” if you don’t respond in detail. When you are going against basically every other climate scientist, like Dr. Spencer is, I would expect him to have a pretty airtight argument. At least be ready to discuss the details of why he thinks he is correct.

  116. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of MarkB of August 11, 2011 at 8:17 PM.

    MarkB writes in his first paragraph: “First off, we all know that convection is the heat transfer mechanism thats usually most pertinent to fluids. But it cant be the ONLY mechanism.”

    In an isolated column of fluid in a gravitational field, by definition no energy enters or leaves the column, no matter what the internal state or processes of the column might be. Eventually within the column, after a long enough time, all bulk flow will cease, the pressure will obey a law of increase with depth, and the temperature of the column will become uniform with depth. There will be no flow of heat in this eventual state, neither by conduction, nor by radiation. This was first proposed and established by James Clerk Maxwell by statistical mechanical arguments. Then by Josiah Willard Gibbs by thermodynamic arguments. Then it was confirmed by Ludwig Boltzmann.

    But we are interested in a case of non-isolation, driven eventually by external drivers in the form of energy flows between our system and its surrounds. In our case, heat transfer can be by conduction and radiation; transport of internal energy is also possible, by convection or bulk flow, and it can be opposed by turbulent mixing. The Bnard laboratory experiments are of interest in this context.

    MarkB writes: “To put it more generally, the energy should only flow up in a pure convection system if Im thinking about it right.”

    Christopher replies yes. But our system is not “a pure convection system”. Nor a pure conduction system. Nor, importantly, is it ‘horizonally’ uniform. Generally it is heated by solar radiation from above near the equator, and cooled from above by radiation to space near the poles. There is convection not only between deep and shallow water, but also between polar and equatorial zones. Very roughly speaking, there are circulations, that take cold water from the poles down from the surface and then equatorwards near the bottom, and then upwards to near the surface near the equator. That water is then warmed near the surface and then flows near the surface back towards the poles, where it will be cooled again. The whole circulatory process carries energy from the equatorial to the polar zones. Some of the solar energy that is absorbed in equatorial zones is radiated to space from polar zones.

    Change of the circulation can result in either warming or cooling of the deep water.

    Conduction of heat and turbulent and convective circulatory transport of internal energy between deep and shallow depths in one zone are also possible. Christopher Game

  117. Dr. Strangelove says:


    I can’t open the link. But the ‘limited’ sight of the satellite’s spectrometer is not a problem because IR is emitted in all directions. Statistically, any angle should give you the same amount of radiation measurement. TOA radiation is important since at that level IR can escape to space. At lower altitudes, the IR is simply absorbed by the next level of atmosphere. So don’t worry that there are higher fluxes at lower altitudes. It doesn’t mean more radiation is escaping earth than measured at TOA.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      To open the link in my former post, remove the four underscores that I added to bypass the automatic moderation (at the beginning of the link I wrote _http_:_//_ remove the first, the sixth, the eighth and eleventh character).

      About your “But the limited sight of the satellites spectrometer is not a problem because IR is emitted in all directions.”. Well that’s a problem indeed when you use it to estimate the whole energy outgoing to space.
      That is because all the non perpendicular radiation incoming to the spectrometer’s slit is not detected and your assumption that “Statistically, any angle should give you the same amount of radiation measurement.” is demonstrated wrong by that graph in the link, which show how at 34km of altitude if the spectrometer input slit is aimed to the tangent of the atmosphere, the spectrum is not only different from the one seen at the zenith (which is very similar to the one shown at science of doom), but it is almost complementary to it.
      The experiment was done at 34km because the lower part of that graph shows also the radiation coming back from the deep space and it is almost negligible. So 34km for that LW IR radiation can be considered the TOA.
      Please note also that the “missing outgoing radiation” i refer to, isn’t only the one shown in that graph which is tiny because is the one tangent to the atmosphere, but all the radiation outgoing from any angle different by the zenith one, which should have spectra very different depending on the GHGs concentration.
      From my point of view, without any GHGs the outgoing radiation from one single point should escape to the space with a Lambertian pattern and your assumption that the IR is emitted in any direction is right (just a problem of attenuation as function of the angle of view), but when you have GHGs your assumption is no longer valid.

  118. sunsettommy says:


    I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility.That there is a BOUNDARY “caliche” layer,in at least regional areas or the entire ocean?

    Such a barrier that could prevent the postulated downward DEEP transmission of thermal energy.I doubt it is happening anyway.But why not consider the potential boundary layers anyway?

    Has this possibility ever been considered and accounted for?

    In soils we have several type of layers,that retards or stop transmission of water from going into the deeper soil levels.

    Calcium can accumulate into a thin dense layer.That prevents further penetration of water.

    So can compaction of soil.Or even very different types of soils,overlaying one another create a physical barrier.

    We KNOW heat likes to rise,whether it is in the water or in the air.Thus having this unspecified carrier of thermal energy going deep into the ocean,seems to be a contradiction of everyday experience of heat ALWAYS wanting to go up,up and up.

    We KNOW that most of the ocean waters is barely above freezing.Yet the idea that thermal heat can go down into more than 700 meters or even 2000 meters of this very cold water.Continue to persist,despite the obvious contradiction.

    I think it is absurd,because almost all of the OBSERVED warming of the top 700 meters of the ocean waters are from SOLAR RADIATION.The only possible secondary source is from the undersea volcanoes and the ocean floor emissions.

    We know that IR can not penetrate past the surface of the waters.

    So why does anyone really think arguing this unsupported idea of a large transmission of thermal energy deep into the very cold waters would help support an unsupportable AGW hypothesis?

    It makes no sense to me to be chasing a phantom that does not exist.

  119. MarkB says:

    Hello Christopher,

    Thanks for the response, it’s food for thought. So you’re suggesting that circulation between, or changes in circulation between, the polar and equitorial zones is a mechanism by which the deep ocean heat content can increase. I must admit I’m still hazy about it, but maybe it’s just because I’m oversimplifying away critical details in my thinking about it.

    I understand that it’s not all just ‘up and down’ in the system, and that there are currents and massive amounts of ocean circulation snaking around the globe. To the extent of my admittedly very limited knowledge on the subject, it’s still heat transfer thats driving the system. I guess my problem is that I don’t see how adding other vectors to the up down problem (down and southward as opposed to just down, or up and northward as opposed to just up) can cause an increase in the result for the net deep ocean heat content. At the end of the day, it seems to me that convection drives the currents, and again, convection basically seems to mean the heat goes up.

    But possibly I just need to think it though more. Your insights and comments are (and continue to be) greatly appreciated.

    Maybe this is the problem in my model – just typing as I think. What do I imagine would happen in the system if more energy was radiating in to the upper layers at the equator and the water was cooling less at the poles? I guess the water cooling less at the poles is the sticking point for me- it seems like this should cause shallower convection (if there is already water that is colder and less energetic in the depths, the less cold surface water at the poles shouldn’t convect down to those depths) and would result in a ‘shallower’ overall circulatory pattern. Is this where I’m making my mistake? I still end up thinking that when all of the energy interchange is at the top of the system, convection can’t explain increasing the energy at the bottom of the system. Of couse, I’m still ignoring conduction and I grasp that that occurs too; I’ve got problems on that side as well but I’m still chewing on those.

    ~shrug~ I guess I’m just oversimplifying the system.



  120. MarkB says:

    Anyone have any ideas about how much heat gets transferred around by upwelling/downwelling (to anyone out there as ignorant of the oceans as I am, ‘upwelling’ seems to have to do with wind interacting with the coriolis effect to move surface waters and replace them with / pull up deeper, colder water underneath – i.e., a different mechanism for messing around with temperature assumptions)? I’ve overlooked that so far.

  121. spartacusisfree says:

    Mark B: ‘downwelling’ is apparently used by climate science to denote ‘back radiation’, Prevost infra-red radiative exchange energy, arriving at the Earth’s surface from the first c. 10 metres of the atmosphere.

    It’s exactly balanced by some IR energy from the ground; imagine it as a standing wave with zero net energy transfer, repeated all the way upwards in layers. Recently, a Dutch PhD student went up an 800 foot high Radio Mast to prove ‘back radiation’ is not an energy source.

    In reality, greenhouse gases increase IR optical path length but because of the law of Equipartition of Energy, there may be no thermalisation of absorbed energy. Indeed, it could be argued that real stored energy is the increased probability of absorption by second phases; aerosols and cloud droplets saturated with CO2 gettered from the air. Climate science’s argument that greenhouse gases store energy in a ‘hot spot’ is laughably naive.

    Other energy is directly convected into moving air or absorbed mostly in the first 10 or so meters [the origin of the mirage]. That heat adds to convective heat transport. Depending on the terrain, you also get latent heat stored by evaporation/transpiration of water. This occurs without significant temperature change but there is buoyancy change.

    To understand how this all integrates mechanistically is almost impossible because of the many degrees of freedom. However, treat the earth as a heat engine and it will obey clear thermodynamic principles, the most basic of which is that it will operate to maximise the rate of generation of entropy. This comes from the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

    Read Ferenc Miskolczi’s work to learn why NASA told him he couldn’t publish. He found (1) the basis of climate science’s imaginary ‘back radiation’ is a mathematical mistake by English astronomer Sir Arthur Milne in 1922,(2) the Earth’s atmosphere operates at fixed IR optical depth, i.e. a water planet has constant greenhouse heating independent of composition: there is no net CO2-AGW.

    What is present greenhouse warming? Climate science claims 33K: to radiate to space 240W/m^2 infra-red energy needs a Stefan-Boltzmann calculated temperature of -18C [in the upper part of the mainly IR-opaque atmosphere]; you subtract this from the average +15C surface temperature. In effect, it’s claimed that by making the atmosphere IR transparent, surface temperature would fall to -18C.

    This is bunkum. The 33K is set by the lapse rate, -6.5K/km over c. 5 km. Remove water vapour, no clouds, no ice, albedo falls from c. 0.3 to c. 0.07 and the new radiative equilibrium temperature would be c. 0C. A more refined calculation gives real net greenhouse gas warming of c. 10K. This raises the radiative equilibrium position in the upper atmosphere by c. 1.5 km.

    Water vapour can change phase to give cooling via clouds. The IPCC scales to 33K! No wonder the project has failed.

  122. spartacusisfree says:

    Part B. What happens in the seas!

    Hansen et. al. have dreamt up extra accumulation of heat energy in the oceans and doubling ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling to justify high feedback CO2-AGW whilst air and 0-700m ocean heat content stays constant.

    As noted above, their claim of high feedback CO2-AGW is based on major errors in the physics and the true level of greenhouse gas AGW is much lower than they claim, perhaps net zero.

    But to humour them, here’s what I think happens in the seas. The driver of the deep ocean currents is the 4C thermocline in the Antarctic Ocean. At the edge of the sea ice, newly melted water [fed from snowfall] is at 0C. Short wavelength light energy penetrates deeply and warms the water.

    Due to the density inversion below 4C, that energy input causes the warmed water to sink. Raising the thermocline increases the gravitational potential energy forcing floe to the tropics. A long time later, centuries, that water with accumulated nutrients rises upwards in the tropics as heat energy from the tropical sun is conducted downwards [no convection].

    So, there is heat energy ‘downwelling’ but it’s matched by physical upwelling of water at a rate determined by (1) snowfall in the Antarctic and (2) the rate of heat input from the sun at the edge of the Antarctic ice cap.

    The latter is a fascinating problem because it’s controlled by phytoplankton modifying its environment.

    The tropical maths is a coupled system with the heat wave velocity being nearly the same as the physical velocity of the water as it rises.

  123. MarkB says:

    Hi SparticusIsFree,

    That’s alot to chew on, but I think I get the basic idea. Thanks for the explanation!



  124. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of spartacusisfree of August 14, 2011 at 1:23 AM.

    spartacusisfree writes: “it will obey clear thermodynamic principles, the most basic of which is that it will operate to maximise the rate of generation of entropy. This comes from the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.”

    Christopher comments that the second law of thermodynamics when stated precisely tells for example about the coming to a common thermodynamic equilibrium of several initially separate systems upon being brought into free communication with each other, though isolated from the rest of the universe. It says that the entropy of the final common thermodynamic equilibrium system is not less than the sum of the entropies of the several initially separate systems. Indeed it can be extended to show that the final common state of thermodynamic equilibrium has the most entropy possible for a system with the given ingredients of energy and matter. In this sense it implies that the coming to equilibrium will produce the maximum possible amount of entropy for the given initial conditions.

    It says nothing at all about the rate of generation of entropy.

    I have to admit that, although I now know practically nothing about the present subject matter, there was a time a few years ago when I knew even less, can you believe it? Back then I swallowed many enthusiastic and widely written stories about a proposed general “principle of maximum rate of entropy production”. Having now read some more literature about the matter I can say that, as far as I can see, such stories are fantastic or grandiose or pollyanna handwaving. Some of the stories contain formulas that are simply wrong in physics, and none that I have found gives anything like a sound physical argument to support the claim. On the other hand, experts write that such a general principle has not yet been found and probably never will be, and give careful reasons why.

    We are talking here not about some comfortably abstract theory of statistical mechanics, but rather about a concrete problem that has a lot of ordinary macroscopic physics in it.

    If spartacusisfree knew how to make a rigorous and accurate macroscopically-based calculation of the entropy of a far-from-thermodynamic-equilibrium system like the earth’s energy transport process, or of its rate of entropy production, he would not be writing about it in a blog like this; he would be on his way to Stockholm to collect his Nobel Prize for articles he had published about it, because he would be a world beater in this area.

    By the way, Ferenc Miskolczi did not write about a maximum rate of generation of entropy, as you may check in his papers. Christopher Game

  125. spartacusisfree says:

    The maximum rate of generation of entropy is a necessary consequence of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

    A practical demonstration is the morning easterly wind into which I ride my bike in the UK Spring. It arises from the European Continental land mass as the sun’s heat warms the cold air of winter and it expands westwards. The wind velocity is highest parallel to the direction of maximum pressure gradient, the practical route to maximise the local rate of entropy generation. This is in the Navier-Stokes’ equations so it’s in the GCMs.

    It’s a very simple but powerful form of analysis. In essence, all the processes in the atmosphere operate to very simple rules as expressed by the approach to local thermodynamic equilibrium. If you join up all the loops you can in principle approach an overall solution. You could get it from statistical mechanics, but there’s no need and it would take a million years.

    However, you have to solve other basic problems: incorrect assumptions on thermalisation; back radiation’ and ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling are bunkum. Miskolczi looks at thermodynamic equilibrium, not how it’s achieved.

    If climate science wants to advance beyond US fifth grade, it has to have some independent thinkers on board and willing to attack the false foundations of the subject.

    Thus it assumed the Twomey effect could be extrapolated to thick clouds when he warned against this: he remained honest. The fake ‘surface reflection’ idea appears to have been put out by NASA in 2004 to deceive the rest of the subject into accepting cloud albedo effect’ cooling in AR4.

    Also, thermodynamic data indicate that in the presence of oxygen, the ‘climate sensitivity’ of CO2 could be slightly negative. There probably never could be a scientific QED for the high feedback CO2-AGW hypothesis.

  126. Christopher Game says:

    Response to the post of spartacusisfree of August 15, 2011 at 7:14 AM.

    spartacusisfree writes: “The maximum rate of generation of entropy is a necessary consequence of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.”

    Christopher responds: dear spartacusisfree, thank you for your response. You support your assertion (just above) with a particular practical demonstration, though your assertion is very general and perhaps vague. As a matter of fact, the wind speed can in exceptional circumstances be, but is not usually highest (in the direction of its velocity), in the direction of maximum pressure gradient, as you may verify in any text on atmospheric dynamics, or by looking at the satellite picture on the television at breakfast time. Inertia comes into the picture as well as pressure gradient.

    You write of local thermodyamic equilibrium. Perhaps your asertion refers only to a tendency to local thermodynamic equilibrium, not to a general whole-system global rate of entropy production?

    If you can support your assertion by a rigorously valid general physically-based and properly stated argument, I will very gladly be educated by it. Christopher Game

  127. Dr. Strangelove says:


    There is no missing outgoing radiation. Thats based on the assumption that satellite spectrometers cant measure outgoing radiation properly. The angle matters in that experiment because the instrument is much higher than the 10 km upper troposphere where most of the greenhouse gases are. But is doesnt mean the measurement is inadequate to determine the outgoing radiation.

    Simple analogy. We measure the amount of rain using a rain gauge with 100 mm diameter pointed in one direction, upward. You can argue that its inaccurate because rain drops fall in different angles depending on the direction and speed of the wind, which are constantly changing. Meteorologists will argue that rain gauges are statistically accurate since they are random sampling of the rain. And they are.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      “Simple analogy. We measure the amount of rain using a rain gauge with 100 mm diameter pointed in one direction, upward. You can argue that its inaccurate because rain drops fall in different angles depending on the direction and speed of the wind, which are constantly changing. Meteorologists will argue that rain gauges are statistically accurate since they are random sampling of the rain. And they are.”

      You are absolutely wrong in this analogy. The rain gauge “traps” the drops incoming from any angle, while the satellite’s spectrometer doesn’t.
      The spectrometer (doesn’t matter it is a diffraction monochromator type or a Michelson’s interferometer one) detect only the incoming radiation which is perpendicular to its input slit. All the radiation entering the slit with different angles are removed to allow the wavelength measurement.
      See the wikipedia link below, and note into the schematic that the author specify that the input is a “coherent light source”, which means that the light must travel the same path to maintain the same phase to make the instrument working.
      This implies that the input angle can’t be too wide to allow the wavelength discrimination.


      The diffraction monochromators need collimated light too.


      Anyways looking to the CERES instrument on the Aqua satellites web site:


      You can see how the spatial resolution is 20km at nadir which means it measures only the outgoing radiation which leaves that area vertically, ant NOT the one outgoing with different angles (which is in part the one scattered by the so called GHGs).
      The Aqua satellite flies at 705km of altitude which allows us to compute the input viewing angle as 1.625.
      I guess that if the CERES on Aqua could be aimed to a different angle respect to its nadir it should display a very different spectrum indeed.

  128. spartacusisfree says:

    Christopher Game: Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium is an axiom in any complex system because otherwise you’d have to have information transfer between incomplete physical processes.

    We engineers express the practical aspects of control systems by the concept of the time constant for a damped approach to equilibrium.

    This can be short, e.g. the relaxation time for water molecules can be as short as 10^-12 s in pure water, or the time constant for deep ocean water flow from Antarctica to the tropics can be c. 1,000 years.

    Dr Strangelove [How’s the arm?]: your analogy would be fine if rain droplets in certain size =momentum] range were first absorbed, then randomly emitted.

  129. Dr. Strangelove says:

    spartacus (how’s crucifixion?)

    Whether the photons are randomly emitted by gas molecules or shot randomly in any direction from flashlights, they will have to pass a hypothical unit surface area on top of the atmosphere before they reach space. Call that unit surface area the slit of your spectrometer or the diameter of the rain gauge. That’s your random sample. Is one unit area more accurate than another?

    In calculating for radiative equilibrium temp., set the flux at 240 W/m^2 and albedo at 0.07, youll get T = -13C.

    Regarding Miskolczi, read this six-part series.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Dr. Strangelove.
      “Whether the photons are randomly emitted by gas molecules or shot randomly in any direction from flashlights, they will have to pass a hypothical unit surface area on top of the atmosphere before they reach space. Call that unit surface area the slit of your spectrometer or the diameter of the rain gauge.”

      You missed the point that after the IR waves pass through the slit of the spectrometer, they have to be collimated. During the process of collimation all the incoming waves having angle wider than the viewing angle of the spectrometer are discarded. CERES angle should be 1.625

      The baloon experiment of the researchers at the IFAC-CNR that I referenced in the previous post, demonstrated what I mean. Even if that wasn’t their intention.

  130. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of spartacusisfree of August 15, 2011 at 11:44 PM.

    Local thermodynamic equilibrium in the atmosphere and ocean has very little to contribute to an asserted or proposed general “principle of maximum rate of generation of entropy”, the thing about which you made your assertion, but are not now offering to prove or justify. Christopher Game

  131. Wolfe says:


    It is impossible to separate politics from the argument since the global warming hoax is purely a political play and Mr. Gore is a frontman for the political machine! It is interesting to note that people who totally lack objectivity rant about others not being objective. You are married to your global warming religion and no amount of logic is going to dissuade you.

  132. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Dr. Strangelove.
    Thanks to your posts I better read the CERES data at the Aqua satellite’s web-site.
    And I found that the researchers at NASA seem to know the issue, at least since 2002:

    They write:
    “First instrument (cross-track scanning) is continuing ERBE, TRMM, and Terra measurements and the second (biaxially scanning) is providing angular radiance information to improve the accuracy of angular models used to derive the Earth’s radiative balance.”

    In fact, few row below they specify the field of view of the second scanner which is +/-78.
    I can’t figure out why they didn’t extend that scanning to the horizons of the satellite, where a substantial part of the IR scattered by the GHGs should exit the atmosphere.

  133. Dr. Strangelove says:


    Infrared collimators like optical collimators do not block rays not aligned to a specific direction. They only change the direction of misaligned rays to a specific direction. The rays are not lost. They are focused in one direction.

    The blocking of rays happens in X-ray and gamma ray collimators because their short wavelengths prevent focusing of the rays. Infrared rays have longer wavelengths than light.

    If “lost outgoing radiation” is an issue, scientists would have addressed it by calculating statistically the amount of blocked infrared rays.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      In my own optical spectrum analyzer there is no collimating device other than the path from the slit to the diffraction grating (the satellites should be a Michelson’s interferometer with FFT computation of the spectrum, but the collimating method should be the same). This is done to avoid degradation of the flatness of the spectrum response. All the diverging light is absorbed by the inner walls of the monochromator chamber, which are made of a black velvet like material.
      Anyways, the fact that satellite’s spectrometers have a narrow footprint demonstrates that they have a closed field of view, and the fact that the Aqua on board 2nd CERES instrument is scanning around the nadir demonstrates that someone perceived the issue and since 2002 they are trying to adjust their models to that, but CERES is a radiometer, not a spectrometer. What I would like to know if someone has ever understand that the tiny outgoing emission coming from the horizons of the satellite’s view is almost all coming from the CO2 band at 650cm-1, and should be accounted to get the total outgoing radiation as function of the level of CO2.
      The discussion here has started by me arguing that the main problem is how much is the real warming due to CO2, and I still convinced that computing it by simply using HITRAN or MODTRAN to see the transmittance at the zenith, or using the nadir fixed spectrometers on board of the satellites is not the right way.

      You write:

      “If lost outgoing radiation is an issue, scientists would have addressed it by calculating statistically the amount of blocked infrared rays.”

      To do that they should take account of the different spectra of the radiation outgoing the atmosphere with different angles than the one at the zenith. And until today I don’t find any trace of that.
      If you know any web-link which show that, I would appreciate

  134. Dr. Strangelove says:

    You don’t find a trace of multiple angle measurements bec. scientists don’t find zenith measurement as causing an error that needs to be corrected. The observed IR is coming from the CO2 band at 650 cm-1 bec. that’s the CO2 band with highest IR absorption regardless if the IR is coming from earth or space. That’s consistent with lab experiments.

    As to how much warming from CO2, see the link below. The sensitivity is 1.2C for doubling CO2 WITHOUT FEEDBACKS. I don’t think anyone can accurately predict the effect of feedbacks using GCMs. It could be more or less than 1.2C with feedbacks.

    But last century’s warming was probably anthropogenic bec. CO2 was below 300 ppm in the last 400,000 yrs then shot up from 297 to 390 ppm in just 100 yrs. Sea level rose an ave. 4 cm per century in the last 7,000 yrs then suddenly jumped 20 cm in the last 100 yrs. That’s due to thermal expansion of seawater. Coincidence? What else could it be?

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      You write:
      “You dont find a trace of multiple angle measurements bec. scientists dont find zenith measurement as causing an error that needs to be corrected.”

      Ok if you are arguing that the scientist decided that doubling CO2 reduces the outgoing radiation at the zenith by about 3W/m2 and decided to ignore the increase of the outgoing radiation at different angles, I’m by your side, but this shouldn’t the way “science” meant to be.
      I would like to know how they reached the certainty that that emission is negligible. If I could find for example a research which discussed the issue it could be a good starting point.
      I’m very intrigued how could that emission be ignored, because if we imagine a CO2-free atmosphere, we didn’t have the zenithal absorption pit but we didn’t have that non zenithal emission peaks too. So the real increase in outgoing radiation should be a little less than the one expected analyzing the zenithal emission only.
      The same argument should be valid for doubling the CO2 but the reverse way.

      You write:
      “The observed IR is coming from the CO2 band at 650 cm-1 bec. thats the CO2 band with highest IR absorption regardless if the IR is coming from earth or space. Thats consistent with lab experiments.”
      No, if here you are arguing that that emission is going out and coming back from space the same way, the same CNR experiment at the link I supplied, demonstrated that at that altitude there is no IR coming from the outer space at that wavelength.
      That radiation is outgoing the atmosphere indeed.

      If you can supply any reference to the “lab experiments” which demonstrates the other way, I’ll appreciate it.

      “Sea level rose an ave. 4 cm per century in the last 7,000 yrs then suddenly jumped 20 cm in the last 100 yrs. Thats due to thermal expansion of seawater. Coincidence? What else could it be?”
      There are a lot of researches which pose serious doubts about all those your certainties.
      The science there is not settled at all.

      Have a nice day.

  135. But last century’s warming was probably anthropogenic. And the grass is red and the sky is green.

    Last century’s warming can all be shown to be due to natural variations in the items that control the climate. From very high solar activity, to very low volcanic activity, to a mostly positive AO,NAO, to a mostly negative SOI , to a mostly warm PDO/AMO.

    I say ,despite all of these natural items in a warm mode, plus CO2 increasing ,the temperature change last century was one of the smallest in a given 100 year time span.

    Makes for a pretty weak case for CO2 induced temperature changes. Not to mention the temperatures have failed to increase for at least the last 10 years, as CO2 continues to increase.

    Reason,for the temp. rise stopping, is becasue the natural items mentioned above have been(started in late 2005 with solar,pdo in 2009 for example) and will continue to phase into a cold mode, which will be bringing down the global temperatures this decade.

  136. Massimo PORZIO says:

    This night I did some simply computation with the data at the Aqua web-site about the CERES radiometer and I discovered that despite what NASA shows in the simulated movies in that web page where the instrument seems to scan a small part of the Earth, that scan is enough to reach and exceed the satellite’s field of view horizons which are at +/-64.2.
    I really wonder if CERES LW outgoing radiation data follows the CO2 increase at the rate expected by models which use the outgoing spectrum at the zenith only.

  137. Dr. Strangelove says:

    If you truly believe there is an error in IR measurement and you know better than the scientists doing the work, write to NASA, tell them you guys are doing it all wrong, tell them how to do it properly. I’m not the right person to argue with. I believe the NASA guys. But that’s just me.

    “Last centurys warming can all be shown to be due to natural variations in the items that control the climate. From very high solar activity, to very low volcanic activity, to a mostly positive AO,NAO, to a mostly negative SOI , to a mostly warm PDO/AMO.”

    Sure all these factors conspired to produce global warming. They were not doing this for 100,000 yrs but they all came together last century. And the glaring spike in CO2 level, the highest in 400,000 yrs has nothing to do with it. All the data that support AGW are wrong or manipulated. That’s a stretch but I respect your belief.

  138. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Dr. Strangelove
    You write:
    “If you truly believe there is an error in IR measurement and you know better than the scientists doing the work, write to NASA, tell them you guys are doing it all wrong, tell them how to do it properly. Im not the right person to argue with. I believe the NASA guys. But thats just me.”

    No, I’m not writing about NASA true scientists who already work with their instruments to deal with the climate puzzle. I’m writing about people (some researchers too, maybe) that rely on simplistic TOA spectrum simulators to demonstrate the CO2 forcing at the TOA.
    I don’t believe that true climate scientists can state that they know the current CO2 “forcing” indeed. Since is veri difficult to estimate what is a “forcing” and what is a “feedback” without an accurate timing analysis of what happen before and later.

    For Example Dr.Spencer in January wrote this using the CERES data.

    Which is all but using a simulator such as MODTRAN and doubling the simulated CO2 level to determine the outgoing LW reduction.

  139. Keith Stevens says:

    I like Roys rational and rigorous analysis of all the various facets of the global warming debate. I follow it all carefully.

    But isnt the entire debate redundant?

    If the global temperature is rising, and continues to do so, and it is part of a natural cycle, THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

    Ditto, but it is manmade because of fossil fuel burning, again, THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

    The global economy works on steady growth each year there are more of us, and we produce, eat and consume a bit more per person than we did the year before. That way, we avoid recession (most of the time) and we are all, by enlarge, employed. We do that by using around 2% or 3% more energy globally than the year before. And we do that by burning more oil, gas and coal.

    To pretend that we could even keep up with half the annual required increase with new wind, wave, etc. etc. is simply a lie. We will HAVE to keep increasing fossil fuel burning. Any small reductions in the anual increase we can achieve with our renewables will have no measureable impact on the warming (if thats the cause)

    If we dont keep on burning? If we hold energy use constant, or even decrease it? Then the result is a huge worldwide slump. Its as delicate as that mass unemployment, deflation, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    We have no options. No Gov., or collective like the EU, will take a decision to limit energy growth it would be suicide. So we have to keep burning, whilst playing about at the edges with renewables, maybe realising 1% of the total required each year (but losing ground against growing demand) If it heats up the planet, then hard luck our childrens children will just have to cope. We cant stop it without shooting the present generations in the foot.

    It will all end when we cannot mine or extract at a sufficient rate to match the demand, and the price gets higher and higher. That could be in 10 years, or 50 years, I dont know. So the fossil fuel burning will then level, or even decline, and we will be desperately building dozens of nuclear power plants. But the motive will not be global warming (if fossil fuels are indeed the cause), it will be price, supply and a worldwide slump with war and pestilence in abundance.

    I claim that we could stop debating global warming, disband all the agencies and committees, and save a lot of money. We (Man) is on path to a summit, then a long and painful crash its a plain as day. We expand our population at an alarming rate, seek ever longer lifespans, rape the planet for all it has, consume, play and reproduce for pleasure, etc. It cannot be sustainable, and worrying about whether the planet will get warmer, for any reason, will be well down the list of concerns for our future generations.

    Keith Stevens (UK)

  140. Objective scientist says:

    The problem with this blog and with Dr. Spencer is that the people posting here are far more biased in evaluations of “climate science” than the people you try to attack as being biased. You feature endless excuses as to why your “enemies” distort scientific data, have political agendas, etc. the minute I see Al Gore’s name invoked, I can be sure that what follows is two-bit right wing political propaganda, not science.

    I am a biologist, I don’t pretend to understand how climate models are produced. I happily listen to any side of the climate change debate, hoping like everyone else that human activity will not have the kind of devastating effects on climate that it has on other aspects of the planet.

    In the time since the hysterical politicized “climate-gate” farce played out by far right wing politicians, 100’s of serious papers by objective scientists have been published.

    It is glaringly obvious that there are thousands of objective scientists the world over who would love to provide evidence that human activity is not affecting climate. Certain papers (certainly NOT yours) in fact offer significant hope that things like aerosols can in part offset the greenhouse gases. A significant volcanic eruption, for example, could also push down temperatures. To assert that the 95% of papers since climate gate that clearly point towards HUMAN caused effects on climate are all wrong is absurd.

    Your flaw , Dr Spencer, is obvious, and is the same flaw that runs through every kind of science, and through all scientists, myself included- it is bias.

    You are incapable of evaluating the data that disagrees with your religious-like belief that humans do not affect climate.
    I require peer review of my papers to “keep me honest”, because I cannot help forming opinions and beliefs about my own work that are not 100% objective. Being aware of this, I take steps to be self critical, and to try as hard as possible to defeat my own “models” with experimental tests. In the end, though, I rely on tough peer review to improve the quality of my work. We all do.

    Your website, your blog, and your mixture of science, belief, and politics makes your opinions and the paper you tout almost useless in rigorous scientific debate.

    Since you appear to be a trained scientist, act like one!

    • Thylacine says:

      Objective Scientist,

      You need to change your name in that you are anything but objective about Roy. You were objective about your own weakness (and probably every human currently residing on the face of the earth) when you stated:

      “Your flaw , Dr Spencer, is obvious, and is the same flaw that runs through every kind of science, and through all scientists, myself included- it is bias.”

      Unfortunately, you then slid into infantile bigotry and perhaps dishonesty when you slandered Roy and stated:

      “You are incapable of evaluating the data that disagrees with your religious-like belief that humans do not affect climate.”

      When did Roy ever state that humans do not affect the climate? His entire blog discussed the extent to which the climate is sensitive to various factors including increased green house gasses like carbon dioxide.

      Don’t worry, I don’t expect much from you anyway. One of the best indicators that an individual has lost touch with reality is when they start a discussion by calling themselves “objective.”

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