ClimateGate news

Friday, March 21, 2008

Trenberth: Global Warming heating outer space

What do leading climate change alarmists do when their own scientific studies provide evidence that doesn't fit their agenda?

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years.
The oceans aren't warming as expected... puzzling?
Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.
Not only are the oceans not warming as expected, the oceans should be absorbing 80 to 90 per cent of all global warming!
"There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant," Willis says.
So the cooling is "insignificant". One can only wonder that had this same study found that there has been a "slight warming" of the oceans, would that also be labelled as "insignificant"?

Hold onto your seat belt, because you won't believe how this unexpected and inconvenient "slight cooling" is rationalized by a lead author of the IPCC's AR4.
But if the aquatic robots are actually telling the right story, that raises a new question: Where is the extra heat all going?

Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says it's probably going back out into space.
Quick, better adjust those climate models to account for this new heating of outer space by the Earth's oceans!I can hear the the screams of the alarmists now, "We're heating the solar system, we must act now before it's too late".

But Trenberth then makes a startling admission:
The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.

That can't be directly measured at the moment, however.

"Unfortunately, we don't have adequate tracking of clouds to determine exactly what role they've been playing during this period," Trenberth says.
Clouds. Made up of water vapour, the most significant of the greenhouse gases accounting for 95% of the greenhouse effect.

RTWT at The Mystery of Global Warming's Missing Heat by Richard Harris

Update: comment from Icecap:
If anyone would bother to look at the actual data instead of just pronouncements in the media from NOAA or GISS, they would not be surprised at all by these findings. Here is a plot of actual monthly temperatures and the trends from the Hadley global data set (HADCRUT3v) and University of Alabama satellite derived lower tropospheric temperatures covering the same period as the robots measured ocean heat content. Like the robots they show a downtrend (cooling).
See full size graph here

It is also worth noting that Roger Pielke Sr. has advocated ocean heat content as a better measure of the global changes in temperatures than surface station based trends. Work by Roger and Anthony Watts at have identified major issues with the land stations. In this case the ocean heat content agrees with the land stations, so the cooling over the past 5 years is very likely real. 5 years does not a long term trend make but it does call into question claims the warming is accelerating and that immediate action is required. Indeed Roger has just posted on this on Climate Science. See his post here. He has also reposted this story ”Big Time Gambling With Multi-Decadal Global Climate Model Predictions” by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Roger A. Pielke Jr.

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