Knox-Douglass: Recent Energy Balance of Earth

Posted: October 19, 2010 by tallbloke in climate

An important new paper by Douglass and Knox is in press. I’m uncertain of copyright issues here so I’m just going to post the abstract, a graph, and the link that David Douglass has provided.

A recently published estimate of Earth’s global warming trend is 0.63 ± 0.28 W/m2, as calculated from ocean heat content anomaly data spanning 1993–2008. This value is not representative of the recent (2003–2008) warming/cooling rate because of a “flattening” that occurred around 2001–2002.


Using only 2003–2008 data from Argo floats, we find by four different algorithms that the recent trend ranges from –0.010 to –0.160 W/m2 with a typical error bar of ±0.2 W/m2. These results fail to support the existence of a frequently-cited large positive computed radiative imbalance.
Keywords: Energy Balance, Radiative Imbalance, Ocean Heat Content

Final draft here:

  1. Doug Proctor says:

    Interesting profile, also interesting because post mid-2008 Argo data, collected automatically as it comes in, is not publiclly available in late 2010. 18 months is a long time when Hansen et al use the latest month’s temperature data from land stations to promote CAGW. One wonders why.

    It is reasonable to question the worth of 5-year trends when one suspects that 30 to 60 years is the climatic cycle we are witnessing. Yet, again, we are in position of using recent weather as a proxy for tomorrow’s climate, a problem that has gotten worse rather than better (and a good, probable sign of desperation from the warmists). The temperture spike of +2008 is, I take it, the El Nino event that kicked up the global temperature numbers. The 2010 temperature spike, however, is land-based. The recent Argo temperature data is very important to us at this time.

    When will the 2010 data be available, and why is there such a delay? Surely the data do not need to be adjusted? Or maybe we have a Roving Warm Whale Effect (RWWE) that is making the Argo data warmer than is “real”.

  2. tallbloke says:

    I guess we could ask David Douglass how long they’ve been trying to get the paper published

    I like the concluding para graphs:

    In steady state, the state of radiative balance, both
    quantities FTOA and FOHC should be zero. If FTOA >
    FOHC, “missing energy” is being produced if no sink
    other than the ocean can be identified. We note that
    one recent deep-ocean analysis [16], based on a variety
    of time periods generally in the 1990s and 2000s, suggests
    that the deeper ocean contributes on the order of

    This is not sufficient to explain the discrepancy.
    Trenberth and Fasullo (TF) [2] believe that missing
    energy has been accumulating at a considerable rate
    since 2005. According to their rough graph, as of 2010
    the missing energy production rate is about 1.0 W/m2,
    which represents the difference between FTOA ~ 1.4 and
    FOHC ~ 0.4 W/m2. It is clear that the TF missing-energy
    problem is made much more severe if FOHC is negative or
    even zero. In our opinion, the missing energy problem
    is probably caused by a serious overestimate by TF of
    FTOA, which, they state, is most accurately determined by
    In summary, we find that estimates of the recent
    (2003–2008) OHC rates of change are preponderantly
    negative. This does not support the existence of either a
    large positive radiative imbalance or a “missing energy.”

  3. All planets have an emission field and a gravity field, comprising an unique field. Thus, climate, temperature, etc. are as part of the emission field a part which interacts with the rest of the field, i.e.gravitational, magnetic, etc.

  4. Tenuc says:

    “In our opinion, the missing energy problem is probably caused by a serious overestimate by Trenberth and Fasullo of FTOA, which, they state, is most accurately determined by

    The models cannot produce an accurate measure of the FTOA when they have low accuracy data and an incomplete understanding of how this large dynamic system works. We also only have low quality/granularity data about ocean heat content, so perhaps no surprise things don’t appear to add up.

    In the meantime Earth’s analogue computer knows exactly how much energy is coming in and stores as much as it can in the time available, with the rest being ejected into space.

    The system is never exact energy balance, rather because of the non-linearities in the system it tends to oscillate at different time scales around some arbitrary mean.

  5. Earth´s emission field is 10 – 9.81= 0.19, which is equal to Sin of 78.5°, which is the angle which forms acceleration of gravity on the ecliptic (one angle per hemisphere), so the difference=11.5° x 2 = 23 °(the angle of inclination of the earth´s axis on the ecliptic). Thus we can perfectly know what the REST OF THE FIELD amounts: 10-9.81 Nm=0.19 Nm.
    BTW; my spreadsheet contained errors that have been now corrected (errare humanum est 🙂 )