Ocean Heat Content Stumbles

We’ll be watching the drop in ocean heat content (OHC) raised by the brilliant Bob Tisdale for a potential follow-up to the Recent Climate Observations: Disagreement With Projections paper, where observations disproved speculations.

To some, the OHC represents a change in alarmist direction that became evident at as a result of due diligence activities of Senator Fielding and the Minister for the Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong. According to Penny Nova,

the alarmists have abandoned air temperatures as a measure of global temperature, because the air temperature graphs are just too hard to argue with and switched to ocean temperatures, which they often disguise as ocean heat content (a huge number like 15×10²² Joules sounds much more scary than the warming it implies of 0.003° C/year).

The next step would be to check the unattributed graphic from the Climate Minister’s response to Senator Fielding below.

pic2

Surely there is robust statistical evidence and the Climate Minister is not trying to mislead when she states that:

not only is the heat content of the ocean increasing, it is increasing faster.

pic1

The citation for the graph on OHC in the error-ridden Copenhagen Synthesis Report is Improved estimates of upper-ocean warming and multi-decadal sea-level rise which says nothing about an acceleration in the OHC.

I might start to gather information for a possible note along these lines, so if anyone can point me to a study justifying her claims of accelerating OHC I would appreciate it. My eye doesn’t see unusual rates on the graph at any scale.

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0 thoughts on “Ocean Heat Content Stumbles

  1. Well, there seems to be an odd shift in the OHC data circa 2002:

    Also evident in Bob Tisdale’s post. Whatever it is that happened, it can’t be an AGW induced acceleration, since it constitutes a sudden shift. You’ll notice that apart from that sudden change, there is no sign of “acceleration” in the data, and the shift may well be in the process of disappearing:

    H/T to Bob for that one!

    • Yes, it will be interesting to run some break tests on it. Wong has made some strong claims about ‘significance’ of the trend since 1998 and and OHC increasing faster. She is a lawyer so she should know the difference between making statements that stand up in court, and manipulative speculations.

  2. Well, there seems to be an odd shift in the OHC data circa 2002:http://climatesci.org/wp-content/uploads/global…Also evident in Bob Tisdale's post. Whatever it is that happened, it can't be an AGW induced acceleration, since it constitutes a sudden shift. You'll notice that apart from that sudden change, there is no sign of “acceleration” in the data, and the shift may well be in the process of disappearing:http://i34.tinypic.com/dev5ld.pngH/T to Bob for that one!

  3. I’d view Bob’s plots with caution. As he says, they’re not based on posted NODC plots, but on a KNMI report. I looked at the underlying tables, and there are a lot of missing values. I suspect NODC is waiting for more data to come in before posting.

    • It seems the OHC data set should be viewed with caution. Its short, heterogeneous, with many biases and adjustments. All the more reason to be concerned with categorical statements made about it.

    • Nick Stokes: You wrote, “As he says, they’re not based on posted NODC plots, but on a KNMI report.”

      Incorrect. You’ve misinterpreted what I’ve written. They are based on the posted and updated NODC data that KNMI downloaded from NODC.

      You wrote, “I looked at the underlying tables, and there are a lot of missing values.”

      Two questions: Are you looking at the 2009 data? And when you note missing data, what are the coordinates of the missing data?

      You wrote, “I suspect NODC is waiting for more data to come in before posting.”

      The data has been posted by the NODC. I provided a link to the raw NODC data and before that link, I wrote, But the single 22.4 MB dataset at the top of the table does contain the January through March and the April through June data, which were updated (added) on September 14, 2009:
      ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/heat_3month/HC_0-700-3month.tar.gz
      Can’t get much plainer than that.

      • Bob,
        It isn’t incorrect. I carefully said “posted NODC plots“, and there are no new ones. Of course there is posted data – that’s where I noted all the 999’s. I’m not familiar with the format, and and didn’t make a detailed analysis. But I think there is likely to be a reason why NODC has not posted plots yet, and so I suggest caution.

      • Nick Stokes: You wrote, “Of course there is posted data – that’s where I noted all the 999’s. I’m not familiar with the format, and and didn’t make a detailed analysis. But I think there is likely to be a reason why NODC has not posted plots yet, and so I suggest caution.”

        Read the Instructions, Nick. Here’s a link:
        http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/WOA05/readwoa5.html

        Scroll down and you’ll find the following illustration, which is one of the NODC’s Coordinate Systems for Statistical Fields:

        The illustration looks pretty straight forward. So if you’re looking at 1-degree data, the first Field would have the global coordinates of 90S, 1E. Or if you’re looking at the 5-degree data, the first Field would have the global coordinates of 90S-85S, 0-5E. Those should be right in the center of Antarctica and they are represented by -999.999.

        Now, with a quick check (less than 1 minute) you could open a data file in Word or Notepad and determine that there a 64,800 Fields in the HC_0-700_A9A0406.dat File and of those 64,800 Fields, 23,380 or 36% of them are represented by -999.999. Do the same thing for the first 1955 data file and you’ll find the same number of Fields (64,800) and approximately the same number of fields with -999.999. (It wouldn’t be much of an Ocean Heat Content dataset if they were missing 36% of the data in approximately the same areas for the entire period.) Land mass represents approximately 31% of the global surface area. Do we assume the other 5% might be sea ice?

        Feel free to continue to use caution, Nick, if you still think it’s necessary. I’ll continue to plot the data and post about it.

        Have a nice day.

  4. I'd view Bob's plots with caution. As he says, they're not based on posted NODC plots, but on a KNMI report. I looked at the underlying tables, and there are a lot of missing values. I suspect NODC is waiting for more data to come in before posting.

  5. Yes, it will be interesting to run some break tests on it. Wong has madesome strong claims about 'significance' of the trend since 1998 and and OHCincreasing faster. She is a lawyer so she should know the differencebetween making statements that stand up in court, and manipulativespeculations.

  6. It seems the OHC data set should be viewed with caution. Its short, heterogeneous, with many biases and adjustments. All the more reason to be concerned with categorical statements made about it.

  7. Nick Stokes: You wrote, “As he says, they're not based on posted NODC plots, but on a KNMI report.”Incorrect. You've misinterpreted what I've written. They are based on the posted and updated NODC data that KNMI downloaded from NODC. You wrote, “I looked at the underlying tables, and there are a lot of missing values.”Two questions: Are you looking at the 2009 data? And when you note missing data, what are the coordinates of the missing data?You wrote, “I suspect NODC is waiting for more data to come in before posting.”The data has been posted by the NODC. I provided a link to the raw NODC data and before that link, I wrote, But the single 22.4 MB dataset at the top of the table does contain the January through March and the April through June data, which were updated (added) on September 14, 2009:ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/heat_3month/HC_0-700-3month.tar.gzCan't get much plainer than that.

  8. Bob,It isn't incorrect. I carefully said “posted NODC plots“, and there are no new ones. Of course there is posted data – that's where I noted all the 999's. I'm not familiar with the format, and and didn't make a detailed analysis. But I think there is likely to be a reason why NODC has not posted plots yet, and so I suggest caution.

  9. Nick Stokes: You wrote, “Of course there is posted data – that's where I noted all the 999's. I'm not familiar with the format, and and didn't make a detailed analysis. But I think there is likely to be a reason why NODC has not posted plots yet, and so I suggest caution.”Read the Instructions, Nick. Here's a link:http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/WOA05/readwoa5.htmlScroll down and you'll find the following illustration, which is one of the NODC’s Coordinate Systems for Statistical Fields:http://i38.tinypic.com/103s7s8.pngThe illustration looks pretty straight forward. So if you’re looking at 1-degree data, the first Field would have the global coordinates of 90S, 1E. Or if you’re looking at the 5-degree data, the first Field would have the global coordinates of 90S-85S, 0-5E. Those should be right in the center of Antarctica and they are represented by -999.999.Now, with a quick check (less than 1 minute) you could open a data file in Word or Notepad and determine that there a 64,800 Fields in the HC_0-700_A9A0406.dat File and of those 64,800 Fields, 23,380 or 36% of them are represented by -999.999. Do the same thing for the first 1955 data file and you’ll find the same number of Fields (64,800) and approximately the same number of fields with -999.999. (It wouldn’t be much of an Ocean Heat Content dataset if they were missing 36% of the data in approximately the same areas for the entire period.) Land mass represents approximately 31% of the global surface area. Do we assume the other 5% might be sea ice?Feel free to continue to use caution, Nick, if you still think it’s necessary. I’ll continue to plot the data and post about it. Have a nice day.

  10. The OHC in the graph you show has accelerated: It starts out with a slightly negative trend, followed by a positive trend. I dont see any reason to look specifically at “since 1998”.

    Some other OHC estimates can be seen here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/06/ocean-heat-content-revisions/
    Ishii and Levitus have also since revised their estimates to account for the problem described in the RC post. I personally like their estimates better, because they are independent of the topex/poseidon altimetry data. Afaik Domingues uses “optimal” interpolation, with the EOFs determined from the altimetry data set.

    • Aslak, thanks for the references, much appreciated. I was actually wondering if in fact the ‘acceleration’ is significant, given the short period and high autocorrelation. I haven’t had time to do the analysis yet.

  11. The OHC in the graph you show has accelerated: It starts out with a slightly negative trend, followed by a positive trend. I dont see any reason to look specifically at “since 1998”. Some other OHC estimates can be seen here:http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2…Ishii and Levitus have also since revised their estimates to account for the problem described in the RC post. I personally like their estimates better, because they are independent of the topex/poseidon altimetry data. Afaik Domingues uses “optimal” interpolation, with the EOFs determined from the altimetry data set.

  12. Aslak, thanks for the references, much appreciated. I was actuallywondering if in fact the 'acceleration' is significant, given the shortperiod and high autocorrelation. I haven't had time to do the analysis yet.

  13. Increasingly it is apparent that the OHC is not an indice of AGW;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/11/ocean-heat-content-and-earth%e2%80%99s-radiation-imbalance/#more-9865

    One of the outstanding issues of the NOAA/Levitus record is this;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/02/anomalous-spike-in-ocean-heat-content/#more-8132

    That transition spike, if excluded, in combination with the recent further decrease in OHC has taken OHC almost back to where it started in the 50’s.

  14. Here’s my initial reaction:

    http://devoidofnulls.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/accleration-redux/

    My impression is that the Ocean Heat Content data unsurprisingly shows that same spurious acceleration effect I discussed with you earlier (namely, the curve changes sign of rate of change suddenly, without much change in the rate before or after.) Needless to say, I don’t regard the claims of accelerating OHC rise as very impressive.

    I would also appreciate it if anyone can find any errors I made in my analysis. For instance, can anyone else verify the very large slopes I seem to be getting?

    • IMHO these analyses need the CI’s to show the probability the rate exceeds the expected rate. Not sure if there is enough data though.

      • I might try and get to that, but I also expect that the data is too sparse to get any good (that is, statistically “robust” in the sense that they are fairly firm-not “good” in the “I like them” kind of way) answers.

  15. Here's my initial reaction:http://devoidofnulls.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/a…My impression is that the Ocean Heat Content data unsurprisingly shows that same spurious acceleration effect I discussed with you earlier (namely, the curve changes sign of rate of change suddenly, without much change in the rate before or after.) Needless to say, I don't regard the claims of accelerating OHC rise as very impressive.I would also appreciate it if anyone can find any errors I made in my analysis. For instance, can anyone else verify the very large slopes I seem to be getting?

  16. IMHO these analyses need the CI's to show the probability the rate exceeds the expected rate. Not sure if there is enough data though.

  17. I might try and get to that, but I also expect that the data is too sparse to get any good (that is, statistically “robust” in the sense that they are fairly firm-not “good” in the “I like them” kind of way) answers.

  18. IMHO these analyses need the CI's to show the probability the rate exceeds the expected rate. Not sure if there is enough data though.

  19. I might try and get to that, but I also expect that the data is too sparse to get any good (that is, statistically “robust” in the sense that they are fairly firm-not “good” in the “I like them” kind of way) answers.

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