Levitus rewarmed

lovely iceberg in boundary conditions

Yes, the ocean has warmed; no, it’s not ‘global warming’

And warm water does not sink

Oceanographer Dr Willem de Lange has referred us to a really clear treatment of ocean warming and ocean-atmosphere interaction in an article by a noted oceanographer (now deceased). It appeared in 21st Century Science & Technology magazine in 2000 and carried the “Yes, the ocean has warmed” headline you see above. Though written 12 years ago, it makes a solid rebuttal to the substance of the modern warming scare, emphasizing, as though marine scientists needed to be told, that warm water cannot sink.
The author was Dr. Robert E. Stevenson, an oceanography consultant, who trained NASA astronauts in oceanography and marine meteorology, was Secretary General of the International Association for the Physical Science of the Oceans from 1987 to 1995 and was an oceanographer for the U.S. Office of Naval Research for 20 years.

Having completed the post, I’ve discovered the new Levitus paper. How does Levitus et al. 2012 compare with the old Levitus et al. 2000? The new paper is in press, so we only have the abstracts to compare. In 2000, the heat content of the world ocean increased by ∼2 × 1023 joules between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s, representing a volume mean warming of 0.06°C. In 2012, the heat content of the world ocean increased by 24.0 × 1022 J for 1955-2010, corresponding to a volume mean warming of 0.09ºC.

With 24.0 × 1022 being 20% greater than 2 × 1023, and the temperature going from 0.06 to 0.09°C giving an increase of 50%, we have a familiar picture. It’s deja vu, only warmer.

Here’s the article’s original introduction:

Contrary to recent press reports that the oceans hold the still-undetected global atmospheric warming predicted by climate models, ocean warming occurs in 100-year cycles, independent of both radiative and human influences.

Which echoes today’s headlines about ocean heat content trying to explain why climate models don’t predict the climate. Continue Reading →