A Few Things Ill Considered

How to talk to crakar – point 3

Crakar said:

The 3300 Argo bathythermograph buoys deployed throughout the world’s oceans since late in 2003 have shown a slight cooling of the oceans over the past five years, directly contrary to the official theory that any “global warming” not showing in the atmosphere would definitely show up in the first 400 fathoms of the world’s oceans, where at least 80% of any surplus heat would be stored. Source: ARGO project, June 2009.


I would like to rely on commenters to handle this one properly, I am aware of the talking point, have read rebuttals but have not researched it myself.

Though the real skeptic in me has the following questions: are there other sources of ocean temperature data? Do they all agree? Who says ocean warming would definately show in the first 400 fathoms, why can’t it be deeper? Have all the recent La Ninas had an impact on this?

And finally of course, what can we conclude about climate trends from a mere five years of data? Something between not much and nada.

Comments

  1. #1 blueshift
    October 23, 2009
  2. #2 carrot eater
    October 23, 2009

    There was an instrument glitch in the Argo floats, since corrected, among other issues.

    Discussed here with relevant links to publications:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/ocean-cooling-not/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/06/ocean-heat-content-revisions/

    The original work showing cooling was Lyman et al, Recent Cooling in the Upper Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2006., showing cooling from 2003-2005 (too short a period to define a trend, but it turned out to be incorrect anyway).

    When there’s a paper giving results from a new instrument, read it, but keep in mind that such calibration errors can come up.

    Not sure what crakar is citing in 2009; ask for a more precise citation to whatever published work he’s citing.

  3. #3 dhogaza
    October 23, 2009

    The 3300 Argo bathythermograph buoys deployed throughout the world’s oceans since late in 2003

    They didn’t reach the target number of 3000+ floats until 2007…

    have shown a slight cooling of the oceans over the past five years, directly contrary to the official theory that any “global warming” not showing in the atmosphere would definitely show up in the first 400 fathoms of the world’s oceans, where at least 80% of any surplus heat would be stored. Source: ARGO project, June 2009.

    What does the ARGO project say?

    The global Argo dataset is not yet long enough to observe global change signals. Seasonal and interannual variability dominate the present 5-year globally-averaged time series. Sparse global sampling during 2004-2005 can lead to substantial differences in statistical analyses of ocean temperature and trend (or steric sea level and its trend, e.g. Leuliette and Miller, 2009).

    Not only is the time series too short to draw inferences regarding the long-term trend, but until 2006 too few floats had been deployed to adequately sample the ocean.

    Plus, of course, there have been the teeth-cutting problems with calibrating sensors, etc.

  4. #4 Dappledwater
    October 23, 2009

    Simple explanation here:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page1.php

    This from Josh Willis (of the 2006 Lyman and Willis paper)

    “So the new Argo data were too cold, and the older XBT data were too warm, and together, they made it seem like the ocean had cooled,” says Willis. The February evening he discovered the mistake, he says, is “burned into my memory.” He was supposed to fly to Colorado that weekend to give a talk on “ocean cooling” to prominent climate researchers. Instead, he’d be talking about how it was all a mistake.”

    So a bit of a balls up.

  5. #5 skip
    October 24, 2009

    So what about the hotspot?

    I was off in my own little “narratives” world but my understanding was that one these “How to talk to Crakar” points was going to be on the hotspot.

    I know I could dig this up if I trolled the web but I want to be lazy and hope someone just throws a few links at me.

    Skip

  6. #6 coby
    October 25, 2009

    skip,

    Check point 2. The discussion there is brief but it does link to a more thorough article.

  7. #7 Ari Jokimäki
    October 26, 2009

    There is also the recent paper by Levitus et al. (2009), who correct for Argo and XBT problems, and find that oceans have been warming after 2003.
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf

    “We provide estimates of the warming of the world ocean for 1955–2008 based on historical data not previously available, additional modern data, correcting for instrumental biases of bathythermograph data, and correcting or excluding some Argo float data. The strong interdecadal variability of global ocean heat content reported previously by us is reduced in magnitude but the linear trend in ocean heat content remain similar to our earlier estimate.”

  8. #8 skip
    October 26, 2009

    skip,

    Check point 2. The discussion there is brief but it does link to a more thorough article.

    thanks

    skip

  9. #9 fuman
    November 11, 2009

    I worked in a physics lab years ago, and I remember how they said ice water is actually stable in a glass. It was used as a reference often. I was thinking maybe as the ice caps melt, they have the same effect of the oceans they are melting into. Hence, not a lot of change, yet. All fine until the ice starts running out . . .

    I am almost certain this has already been thought about, and dismissed. But another thing I learned in that lab, always pose questions. You never know what will spark.

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