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Climatese whispers

A new comment piece in Science by Clement and DiNezio (£) reviewing support for the idea that Trenberth's famous "missing heat" is lurking in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. This is a fairly unobjectionable paper, delivered in a moderate tone, with only the inevitable profession of the faith at the paper's close - "Greenhouse gases are warming the planet, and will continue to do so" - distracting from the main thrust.

The support for the idea that the Pacific is key seems to come chiefly from climate model studies, for example the "mind-blowing" Kosaka and Xie study and a paper by Meehl. Observational evidence seems rather harder to come by:

...there is some observational support for the hypothesis that the missing anthropogenic heat is being stored below the ocean surface...

the cited paper being Trenberth and Fasullo. We then get citation of the Balmaseda "remix" and the England, oh England paper that we discussed here a week or so ago.

So there's quite a lot of computer model hypotheticals here and not a lot of empirical measurement. That's fair enough. The essence of the paper is that there are questions worthy of addressing here.

But how then to explain the tweet by Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute in which he highlights the new paper?

Missing responsible for pause found in depth of

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Reader Comments (37)

Evidently there is evidence that hypotheses constitute evidence, as frequently cited by Dame Slingo. So it is all settled.

Mar 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

I imagine that when cries go out like 'we must get rid of the MWP', or 'we must get rid of the 1940s bump', or 'we need something other than global mean temperature now' or 'we must find the missing heat' etc etc, then funders of research notice them in due course.

If it is true that many scientists these days do not spot a problem for research and then seek funding for it, but rather spot an opportunity for funding and then seek research ideas for it, an investigation of time-lags between such 'cri-de-coeur's and the appearance of funding opportunities, or other signs of the thinking of funding bodies, would be interesting to pursue.

Mar 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

'Climate Science' should be renamed 'State-funded Marxist Advocacy.

Mar 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

PS the point is that these cries seem politically or PR-motivated. I failed to make that clear in my previous comment.

The nightmare scenario:
# political activists (or scientists with that hat on) detect a faltering or weak spot in their campaigning stance
# a technical interpretation is made of it
# the cries go out
# funding bodies hear them and publicise the areas of research they are minded to fund
# scientists prepare research proposals for those areas
# results or speculations or computer model outputs are found
# political activists find spin materials and spin away

Far-fetched? Or about right? I hope it is far-fetched, but I am so astonished by the success of the climate alarm campaigners that I would not discount this cycle as having some truth to it.

Mar 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Orthodox scientists should have taken a more robust stand long ago against the annexing of the word "experiment" by people running climate models. Comparing different runs of a model, or two models, is NOT an experiment in any but a trivial sense.

Mar 10, 2014 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan kennedy

If only the rest of the scientific community was like climate science they could save so much time and effort messing about with atoms and plants and chemicals and machinery.

Climate scientists don't need to do experiments in that nasty complicated 'real' world. They have models. Models are great! Models are proof!


Mar 10, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Evidence by postulating a notion to validate an unproven theory's modeled outcome.
Yes, this is truely a new era in (virtualized) science.

Mar 10, 2014 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

Climate science is a unique scientific discipline whereby hypothesis is self validating, apparently.

Empirical measurement is not necessary. Just come up with a hypothesis and and run a model of it. Publish it in a paper and when that paper is cited in other papers stating the same, or a variant of the same, hypothesis, one can consider it validated. Then all one needs to do is find 75 fellow scientists, declare a consensus and the world will believe you.

That is exactly how it has happened for the science of climate change so far.

Mar 10, 2014 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterKen

Interesting quote from:

"We can make predictions, we can do models. But unless you have results, how will we know it's safe?"

Mar 10, 2014 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Perhaps I'll be pilloried for saying it, but it might be interesting to look at German academic research in the 1930s. In whatever discipline, allegiance to the Party was a prerequisite for 'getting on' and, as the Partys grip grew stronger, for merely keeping one's job. But more to the point, academics DID publish peer reviewed papers by the bucket-load providing an intellectual underpinning for why (for example) jews were blighters. Was Professor Dr XYZ mad? a jobsworth? really believed what he was writing? Lost in herd-hysteria? Lysenkoism has been brought up before as an example of how an otherwise respectable body of people can fall in behind rubbish; even if the analogy to climate science is admitted, the scoffers say "oh well that was Soviet Union blah blah blah" ie special case, could never happen anywhere else - well it did, didn't it?

Mar 10, 2014 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Typical climate science: you postulate a theory to explain why your previous theory is not working and all of a sudden, in the absence of data, or the presence of data that is contradictory, it becomes inarguable conventional wisdom because its the best explanation they currently have.

In a few years, when the data shows the current theory to be implausible (as Nic Lewis already did in the England, Oh England post), they will come up with another one to replace it.

Mar 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

@bill: as German Science was constructed to eliminate the Jewish Influence so it was that Climate Alchemy has been constructed to eliminate the Scientific Influence. Simples.....:o)

Mar 10, 2014 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

"...there is some observational support for the hypothesis that the missing anthropogenic heat is being stored below the ocean surface..."

Alas, there is considerably more evidence for the null hypothesis that there is no "missing heat" in the first place but no grant money is available for that.

Mar 10, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

bill, the duke, JamesG:

Yes, yes, yes and yes again.

It is pitiful stuff. Yet we are invited, indeed demanded, to take it seriously.

I am amazed, indeed astounded, that any kind of apparent 'scientist' could advance such evident tosh and not expect to be laughed into oblivion.

Have we, collectively, become so stupid, so credulous, so unthinking that such self-evident nonsense is not merely believed but actively encouraged?

The answer, depressingly, seems to be another 'yes'.


Mar 10, 2014 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

Missing heat , what missing heat?

Are we expected to accept that because prediction of the warming of the atmosphere has not occurred the heat that climate "science" told us that the increasing level CO2 the atmosphere ought to have trapped in the atmosphere and was going to warm the atmosphere has suddenly switched to warming the deep ocean.

Can someone explain how this happens ? If I turn on the radiators in my house can I expect the cold water tank in the attic to warm up but the air in the house not to warm up?

Have these idiots ever heard of thermodynamics?

Mar 10, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

Has there been a rational explanation of how the warming gets into the deep ocean without first warming the upper layers which it must pass through? Or do 97% of scientists agree that this is no longer necessary? Or have the upper ocean layers warmed too and I have just not been paying attention?

Mar 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

@bill: Pachauri's Demon is a funny old thing. It magickally selects hotter than average water molecules at the surface of the ocean and transports them > 2 km deep where the extra heat cannot be detected.

This is a new science called Thermipccnimics. I hear that the IPCC will soon be getting a bar to its Knobbly Prise for this sceantific brakethrew.

Mar 10, 2014 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

The very best thing about deep oceans are that they are 'deep and big ' which means you can make great claims about things hiding in them knowing full well its very hard to prove your talking BS.

Now in normal science if you make the claims you have to prove it , but this Trenberth 'science' where you reverse the null hypotheses because your lazy and your actual evidenced cannot stand review.

And it works , the grant money still flows in and you keep your position while you get to smear and attack anyone that points out the lack of garments your king is wearing.

If this type of standard is acceptable for its professional , just how bad are the standards of the students studying climate 'science ' at a guess they would make art students look hard-working and honest.

Mar 10, 2014 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

There is so much wrong with the "ocean ate the heat" excuse.

Why did the atmosphere and surface warming suddenly stop and the heating transfer to the ocean depth?
Why didn't the heat going into the ocean raise atmospheric and surface temperatures on the way?
Why is there no evidence to support this excuse/theory?
Water is opaque to IR radiation. The surface molecules would become energetically excited leading to evaporation, consuming all the heat energy.
Mixing of heat in the oceans (if it could take place) would effectively be loss of that heat for several reasons.
The oceans are a massive, massive heat sink. Warming would be negligible.
The heat can only enter the depth by mixing of surface and deeper waters. This heat would effectively be lost.
"Unmixing" cannot happen because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics so the heat would stay lost for ever.
If normal warming resumes will supporters of this excuse tell us that the science is robust, the heat just changed its mind again? It was on vacation in the depths for a while, but now it has come back to enjoy the Northern Hemisphere summer?

Climate science is an incredible joke.

Mar 10, 2014 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Very off topic but I didn't know where to put this. Sarah Palin's speech before cpac - very much, already, misrepresented. What I worry is that the onslaught of attacks against her might make her tempted to be bitter or angry. But from this evidence, she is still feisty, still our girl:

Mar 10, 2014 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

My theory is that the sun shrunk after 1998.

My other theory is that the earths albedo changed after 1998.

My other, other theory is that it got windier after 1998 therefore cooling the earth

My other, other, other theory is that the Parrot did not die in 1998. It is NOT and never has been an ex-Parrot.

Mar 10, 2014 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Global warming report.

Missing heat found hiding with the fairies at the bottom of the garden!!

Mililband says, I talked with my climate change guru this morning, Bryony said, "this is it - and she always suspected that fairies were the culprits!" Advisors and advocates at the Met Office are cock-a-hoop - all goblins have been given 3 years fully paid research at Exeter and Reading Universities to study fairies and climate change fairy dust in the oceans and or at the bottom of the garden.
Miliband rambled on and on, "this is finally the proof we've been seeking, next week I'll propose to new measures to limit or ban car mileage, to ban flights for ordinary mortals and shut down all coal fired power stations with immediate effect".
A spokesfairyelfenthing for the Libdem party has commented, "we agree with Ed and soon we'll be their patsies and bootlickers in government, so we agree with all that Ed says but we think he should go further and more speedierer shut down nuclear power now!"

Then we all woke up and realised, man made warming - it's just a 'grim' tale of lies and deceit.

Mar 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

There is no 'missing heat': it never existed in the first place, since about 2000. The reason is [self snipped]..........

Mar 10, 2014 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

The fact is really worrying, that no establishment sponsored climate scientist, bothers about complete lack of empirical evidence. And that no politician, of any country, has the ability to realise this, and ask questions.

Mar 10, 2014 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Come along, people, have some respect. You are mocking a hypothesis by a very distinguished man. Don't you know that Mr Trenberth is a "Nobel Laureate (shared) for Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (as part of IPCC) Oct 2007" - extract from his current cv.

Mar 10, 2014 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

What It’s Like to Be at the Bottom of the Ocean
The submersible descends into the darkness.
"As the dive progresses, it becomes colder because the temperature of the deep ocean outside is close to freezing and penetrates the metal hull, so you bundle up."

Nope. No missing heat observed hiding there.

Mar 10, 2014 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterhandjive

Full fathom five thy heat lies;
Of his carbon are coral made;
Those are pearls that in his eyes:
Nothing of theory that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them—Ding-dong, bell.

Mar 10, 2014 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

I'm with the Cat at 6.47.
Someone please explain to me how back-radiated IR can warm deep ocean. Only higher energy radiation can penetrate more than a few mms. This can only come from the sun, yet our warmist friends rule out solar variation in their global warming theory. Surely, it is nonsense that CO2 induced warming can heat the oceans.

Mar 10, 2014 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterG. Watkins

handjive, that's just weather :-)

Mar 10, 2014 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun


"Has there been a rational explanation of how the warming gets into the deep ocean without first warming the upper layers...?"

The favourite mechanism appears to be 'downwelling', i.e. ocean currents in particular places slide warm surface water other tranches of warm surface water, pushing it into the depths. I have also read interpretations of ARGO data that calculate an increase in OHC in the 700m to 1,000m and 1,000m to 2,000m bands. I have no idea whether these (linked) hypotheses hold water (ho ho), but Willis E. of on WUWT has written a variety of critiques.

On a 'smell test' basis, it seems highly unlikely to me that a few areas of downwelling are sufficient to carry significant surface heat away, given the vastness of the oceans. There's also the issue of geothermal heating of the deep oceans, which may not be trivial.

As is so often the case, there are many things we don't know.

Mar 10, 2014 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Ah, so our "Missing Heat" is now back in the abyssal deep, not lurking around the poles, where we're not looking for it too well and it's not there in the first place, because it's been reflected back into space by volcanic aerosols.

Mar 10, 2014 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

This stuff makes the Cookie Monster seem rational and believable by comparison. And we only expect small children to believe in the Cookie Monster!

Mar 10, 2014 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

We need to start preparing a set of metrics to follow the various post hoc rationales being peddled by the AGW community regarding their failure to predict, as well as the existence of, the so-called pause.
Number of papers by AGW opinion makers.
Roots of claim.
When the author went from denying (ahem) the pause to making up their excuse for it.
How they conflict with each other
How many implicitly (but so far, refuse) to acknowledge earlier skeptical arguments
How many still deny the 'pause'
If any realize that it is the very existence of the 'pause' and the length of time it has existed, that falsifies AGW.
Who will be the first to openly state that climate sensitivity must be lower than predicted
I am sure there are many other metrics we can use to document this movement's melt down/denial (lol) in the face of reality.

Mar 11, 2014 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Why will no one acknowledge that Trebleth has, indeed, proposed a mechanism....sloshing.

Nothing could be scientifically water sloshes over to Indonesia, hangs about a bit, and then sloshes back bringing elevated temperatures.

He'll get a Nobel of his own - likely in Physics - once word of sloshing gets around.

Mar 11, 2014 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJay Currie

Perhaps Prof. Trenberth and D Cotton could collaborate on that sloshing idea and really come up with a ground breaking paper?

Mar 11, 2014 at 2:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I don't know, I guess decadal-scale PDO and albedo variability indicate there should have occured a positive ocean heat-uptake anomaly sometime recently, between roughly year 2000 (albedo minimum) and 2015 (PDO-minimum). And plausibly this showed a corresponding minimum some 30 years before this, and will again in roughly 30 years?

Only, that's more observation-based, independent of hypotheses coming out of CO2, TOA radiation and climate simulation.

Mar 12, 2014 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSoren

It seems that when " climate scientists" are faced with the problem that observational data does not support their hypothesis, as expressed in the output of the climate models their responses are [a] to adjust the data or [b] to change the parametric input to the model (by adding hypothetical "epicycles") or [c] invoking unobservable phenomena to mitigate the failure or [d] all of the above.

This behaviour is strongly reminiscent of what happened in astronomy as accumulating observational evidence undermined the geocentric hypothesis of the universe.

In both cases acknowledging that the fundamental hypothesis is wrong was too difficult; too much intellectual capital had been invested in it and it was held to be correct by so many "Authorities" whose legitimacy and actions would be undermined if the error was proven or acknowledged. So those who pointed out these problems were held to heretics ie ( deniers) and those heretics with the arguments most difficult to refute were officially silenced - as for example occured in the context of Lysenkoism in the USSR.

This is very similar to what is happening now which tends to indicate that the failings of the hypothesis being pointed out by heretics are a threat to "papal" authority ( the UN, IPCC, EU, US and UK governments) and their supporting " priesthood" of "climate scientists."

Evidently the adherents to official dogma feel seriously threatened.

Mar 12, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

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