Frank on the realclimate ocean heating experiment

Posted: November 14, 2010 by tallbloke in climate, Energy

Over on Science of Doom there has been a long thread about radiative flux and ocean heating. Frank mentioned this in suggestions, so I’m reposting his comment here for discussion as S.o.D didn’t engage with this reply from Frank:

Frank said: November 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Tallbloke, Cynicus, SOD, et al: Is there one explanation that could satisfy all? An attempt to reconcile divergent views:

Cynicus wrote (11/7 8:11 pm):

The longwave heating of the top ocean layer has even been measured as reported by RealClimate: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/

This RealClimate post contains experimental evidence showing that the temperature difference between the surface of the ocean and 5 cm below the surface varies with net long wavelength radiation. The greater the observed imbalance between upward and downward long wavelength radiation, the colder the surface is compared with 5 cm below the surface. These observations demonstrate ONLY that DLR warms the top few microns of the ocean. This experiment demonstrates just what Tallbloke asserts and nothing else! The RealClimate author (Peter Minnett) SPECULATES that:

“Reducing the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer reduces the flux” [of energy from the ocean to the atmosphere].

This statement ASSUMES that we understand the main mechanism of heat flux through the skin layer of the ocean. IF conduction – which varies with the temperature gradient – is the main mechanism of heat transfer, then increasing DLR will: lessen the gradient, decrease heat flux through the skin layer, and warm the ocean. If heat transfer occurs by what SOD called forced convection (by wind, waves, eddies?), the steepness of the temperature gradient could be irrelevant. Free (buoyancy-driven) convection could increase with the steepness of the gradient, but surface tension might need to be overcome first. Therefore, Minnett has not PROVEN that the DLR warms anything other than the “skin layer” (top 10 um) of the ocean.

Where Tallbloke Gets It Right (with some caveats): Does it make any difference if DLR only warms the top 10 um (hereafter called the “skin layer”) of the ocean? The ocean is still being warmed, isn’t it? No, Tallbloke believes that the energy from DLR is immediately returned to the atmosphere – before that energy can be transferred to deeper layers of the ocean. Tallblock is certainly correct; the surface of the ocean is exchanging long wavelength photons with regions of the atmosphere that are colder (and have lower emissivity) AND losing additional photons directly to space when it isn’t cloudy. Therefore, long wavelength radiation MUST BE a net loser for the top 10 um of the ocean because this skin layer both absorbs AND EMITS ALL long wavelength radiation. There is not “too much” DLR being absorbed in the skin layer (with its miniscule heat capacity). There isn’t ENOUGH DLR to replace the energy lost through upward long wavelength radiation from the skin layer. In a previous post, I showed that shortwave radiation from the sun could deposit enough energy in the skin layer to negate the net loss at long wavelengths for a few hours around noon, but not when averaged over a whole day. This explains why Minnett’s data shows the skin temperature to be an average of 0.2 degC COLDER than 5 cm below the surface. There are a few data points on Minnett’s graph showing that the temperature difference is occasionally zero, which is [remarkably] consistent with my back-of-the-envelop calculations showing short periods of net warming via the small fraction of short wavelength radiation that is directly absorbed by the skin layer.

Equilibrium Considerations (aka Tallbloke’s Waterloo): Although the ocean’s temperature varies with day and night and the local weather, we can define an equilibrium temperature for the ocean as the temperature at which the AVERAGE net upward loss of energy (which increases with ocean temperature by oT^4 and evaporation) is exactly balanced by the AVERAGE downward energy input from radiation (both solar and DLR). When the ocean maintains an equilibrium temperature, the average net energy loss from the skin layer via long wavelength radiation must be supplied by energy from average short wavelength radiation. Short wavelength radiation is absorbed mostly in the top 10 m, with only a small fraction of that energy actually being directly deposited in the skin layer itself. (On the average, DLR directly deposits far more energy in the skin layer than does sunlight). We have been debating the mechanism of (and proper name for) the energy transfer from the top 10 m of the ocean to the colder skin layer, but most readers should recognize that such a transfer must take place: If it didn’t, the skin layer would continue to lose energy through long wavelength radiation to the colder atmosphere and space and the 10 m immediately below would get hotter and hotter. I don’t know whether this energy transfer occurs by conduction (Millett’s assumption), free convection, or forced convection – but the exact mechanism is irrelevant when we are discussing EQUILIBRIUM temperature. The mechanism IS relevant to how fast temperature returns to equilibrium after it is disturbed (for example by night and day or by GHGs), but it doesn’t change the equilibrium temperature needed to balance downward and upward flow of energy.

CONCLUSION: When increasing DLR from GHGs reduces the net loss of energy by long wavelength radiation from the skin layer, the EQUILIBRIUM temperature of the 10 m immediately below MUST warm: If some of the energy that previously went to the skin layer (and then to the atmosphere) doesn’t go anywhere else, it must increase the temperature of the 10 m immediately under the skin layer.

What Part of the Ocean Warms in Response to GHGs and How Fast? (Some of our disagreements may be arise because we are thinking differently about these parameters.)

a) The top 10 um: The best fit equation on Millett’s graph shows that a 4 W/m^2 increase in DLR – the forcing for 2X CO2 – is expected to reduce the difference in temperature between the skin layer and the water immediately below by a negligible 0.008 degC. So the temperature of the skin layer and the next 10 m should change in parallel.

b) The top 100 m (or the physically “mixed layer”): We know that seasonal changes in insolation cause seasonal changes in the temperature of roughly the top 100 m of the ocean. If increasing DLR reduces the need for energy flux from the top 10 m to the skin layer, the extra warmth in the top 10 m clearly can spread throughout the physically mixed layer within a year – even if the total warming is as small as the 0.02-0.05 degC/year projected by the IPCC.

c) The next few hundred meters: We are principally worried about climate change over the next century. Presumably some warming in the mixed will slowly penetrate to these depths by conduction or, more likely, by vertical mixing as ocean currents pass over obstructions on the sea floor.

d) Deeper: If we concern ourselves with only the next century, warming in the mixed layer of the ocean is probably not going to reach the deep ocean. With a circulation time of about 1000 years, the meridional overturn current (or thermohaline circulation) that conveys surface water to and from the deep ocean appears to be too slow to convey more than a small fraction of surface warming to the depths.

In summary, absorption of increasing DLR by the skin layer will reduce the need for energy flux from the top 10 m to the skin layer. This will warm the top 10 m and this warmth will be distributed throughout the top 100 m in less than one year. Increased DLR will not significantly warm most – but not all – of the remaining ocean in the next century.

Comments
  1. tallbloke says:

    So you are saying a doubling of co2 will increase the temperature of the top 10m of the ocean by 0.008C.

    OK, as an engineer, that isn’t going to cause me any loss of sleep. 😉

    That last sentence contains a double negative and reads awkwardly. Could it be restated for brevity as:

    “Increased DLR will not significantly warm the ocean.”

  2. Brianp says:

    Where I work we take tempature profiles on an almost daily basis. In the summer the surface water tempature can be seen warming day by day until a storm comes thru and mixes the top 30 ft compleatly. Dureing the course of a year the summer heat drifts down to about 500 ft.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Thanks for that Brian. Where is it you work?
    Also, any explanation as to how the heated water ‘drifts down’? 🙂

  4. lgl says:

    Why is it so hard for so many people to understand that 164 W/m2 absorbed solar can’t make the ocean radiate 390 W/m2 ?

  5. tallbloke says:

    Hi lgl,
    what about 164W/m^2 absorbed solar plus whatever ‘absorbed’ and rapidly re-emitted LW ‘back radiation’ it deals with?

  6. Brianp says:

    I work on the eastern side of Vancouver island in Canada. I never really thought about how the tempature drifte down. Its quite slow, it just appears to conduction but I don’t know.

  7. lgl says:

    Tallbloke,

    If all the downward LW was re-emitted from the top mm or micron or whatever you envision, the temperature below that top layer would have been -40 deg C. The bulk of the ocean is well above 0 C, how did it get that warm?

  8. Frank says:

    My conclusion was that the top 10 m below the skin layer (and some other areas) MUST warm with increasing DLR despite the fact that DLR only penetrates 10 um. Do you agree or disagree with the analysis that produced this conclusion? (Or are you imitating Bryan and changing the subject – in this case to the irrelevant 0.008 degC change in the DIFFERENCE between the skin layer and the next 10 m.)

    I didn’t bother to calculate how much the temperature will rise for any particular increase in DLR. I’m sure you know the ins and outs of those calculations as well as I do, but I’ll make it clear for your readers. Using the IPCCs radiative forcing for 2X (3.7 W/m2), you get a temperature rise of about 1 degK multiplied by your preferred climate sensitivity. Numerous caveats should be attached to such calculations.

    It is interesting to ask how long it will take a radiative imbalance to warm the part of the ocean that warmth from increased DLR can reach. The temperature rise after any increase in radiative imbalance will approach the new equilibrium with a negative exponential and is complicated to calculate, but we can calculate how fast an instantaneous radiative imbalance of 3.7 W/m2 could raise the temperature of the top 100 m of the ocean. (When analyzing climate change after the Pinatubo eruption, Roy Spenser’s best fit to observations used a slab ocean 40 m deep. http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/06/revisiting-the-pinatubo-eruption-as-a-test-of-climate-sensitivity). If I do my calculations correctly, 4.18*10^6 J/m3/degK (the heat capacity of water) is multiplied by a depth of 100 m, to give 4.18*10^8 J/m^2/degK as the amount of energy need to raise the temperature of the top 100 m of the ocean. Dividing by a radiative imbalance of 3.7 (J/s)/m^2 gives 1.13*10^8 s or 3.6 years. So after a step increase of 3.7 W/m^2, the equilibrium temperate rise of 1 degK will be approached at an INITIAL rate of 0.3 degK/yr. This result is independent of whatever one assumes about climate sensitivity, since both the equilibrium temperature rise and the power available to reach equilibrium are multiplied by climate sensitivity. So there is enough energy in a year’s worth of potential future radiative forcing to warm significantly top 500 m of the ocean at a scary INITIAL rate (0.6 degK/decade). (That rate will drop rapidly as the equilibrium temperature is approached.) The average depth of the ocean is reputed (Wikipedia) to be 3790 m. If the energy of radiative forcing were to spread over all of that water (which appears to require about a millennium using the MOC), the initial rate of temperature rise would be about 0.01 degK/yr.

    It should be noted that my analysis relied only upon the loss of energy by the skin layer due to long wavelength radiation and ignored the fact that evaporation will approximately double that deficit. This omission is discussed at SOD doesn’t change my conclusion. However, I don’t like spreading inaccuracies around the web, so I prefer to comment where technically qualified readers will detect any stupid mistakes I make. There seem to be a number of sharp eyes commenting at SOD, many of whom are interested resolving what science does and does not tell us about AGW. Please reply there, so that we can learn from each other. At the moment, skeptics seem to have SOD focused on two issues – 2LoT and DLR penetration – that I have personally concluded don’t invalidate the IPCC consensus, but SOD’s efforts so far on water vapor feedback are unconvincing.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Frank, apologies, not trying to change the subject. I must have read your response too late at night, and re-posted it too early in the morning. I’m re-reading it more closely now. Give me a little time to formulate my reply, which I will post here and at S.o.D.’s blog. (note the abreviating full stops)

    lgl: the oceans used to be a lot shallower and more extensive, and solar energy accumulates over long periods. If the oceans emit at 390 and absorb/rapidly re-radiate 324 from the atmosphere while absorbing 164 solar then I don’t see why you’d think the proportion of the solar energy being converted to the other 66 LW would cause it to feeze. The remaining 98 is emitted as latent heat and convection leaving an equilibrium, if Keihl and Trenberth’s figures are anywhere near correct. The Oceanography dept at Southampton thinks there is a 30W/m^2 gap somehwere.

    That equilibrium temperature is a little warmer than the atmosphere above it (on the global average) and a lot cooler than the temperature of the Earths core below it. What’s the problem?

  10. tallbloke says:

    OK, Franks post contains too much to deal with all in one response, so I’m going to make a few observations and see where discussion of those takes us. Then when I have a clear idea of where we’ve got to, I’ll write a position statement, post it, and copy it to S.o.D.’s site.

    Frank says:
    IF conduction – which varies with the temperature gradient – is the main mechanism of heat transfer, then increasing DLR will: lessen the gradient, decrease heat flux through the skin layer, and warm the ocean. If heat transfer occurs by what SOD called forced convection (by wind, waves, eddies?), the steepness of the temperature gradient could be irrelevant.

    Firstly, whatever DLR gets up to, it isn’t going to WARM the ocean, because it can’t penetrate and transfer it’s energy into it. What the argument about the gradient concerns is the way in which DLR might SLOW DOWN THE RATE THE OCEAN COOLS AT, which is a different thing from warming it. I mention this becuse it is the first place misconceptions about what DLR can and can’t do arises.

    Secondly, both S.o.D and DeWitt Payne are sure forced convection is in operation, which renders Minnett’s hypothesis irrelevant so far as they are concerned.

    Thirdly, Minnett never got his symposium paper published. Can we find out what the objections of the peer reviewers were, assuming he submitted it?

  11. lgl says:

    The problem is in my first comment. 164 W/m2 absorbed solar can’t make the ocean radiate 390 W/m2. The re-emission from the top micron idea doesn’t work because the temperature is quite uniform through the mixed layer, tens of meters deep. Forget about latent transport for now, it only makes your problem worse, input 164, output 490. Also forget the possible gap of 30 W when the gap you have to explain is 330 W. (or 324W)

  12. David says:

    I am trying to understand how this experiment was done. I read this:
    “The skin temperature can be measured with absolute uncertainties of much less than 0.1ºK The thermometer in the surface following float is accurate to better than 0.01ºK. Both are calibrated using the same equipment at the University of Miami”

    “we use the natural variations in clouds to modulate the incident infrared radiation at the sea surface”

    Of course the range of net infrared forcing caused by changing cloud conditions (~100W/m2) is much greater than that caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases (e.g. doubling pre-industrial CO2 levels will increase the net forcing by ~4W/m2), but the objective of this exercise was to demonstrate a relationship

    And the study produces a chart showing the increase of the skin with the change in LWIR, which they assume operates all the time with an increase in CO2 LWIR.

    My questions are as follows: Why is the surface following float readings, which were much more sensitive then the “skin” float, readings not included in the chart?

    The study does not measure or refer to the air temperature just above the ocean surface
    During the day in the ocean when the atmosphere is often warmer then the surface the energy flow is from atmosphere to ocean, and this would decrease the gradient going into the ocean. How would this affect the study?

    This study does not monitor or report changes in SW radiation at the surface. So now the chart is missing temperature below the skin, air temperature above the skin, and changes in SW radiation entering the ocean which lose very little in the 50 micron path length that absorb LWIR. I do not know how CO2 directly affects SW radiation but a very small change in SW radiation could have a longer term lag effect on OHC then the .008 K change in skin temperature associates with a CO2 doubling. At any rate if evaporation increases any change in cloud cover associated with an increase in the hydrologic cycle could decrease both the SW and LWIR energy going into the ocean, where a small drop of .008 K would keep the gradient the same.

    The oceans give up heat primarily at night where the potential effect is for the temperature gradient between the CO2 heated skin and the cooler night temperature to INCREASE. So the conduction from the skin to the atmosphere would increase. Could this make the “skin” thinner and how would this affect anything? Certainly the thermal mass of the skin trying to affect the ocean mass beneath would be decreased if this was true.

    I also found this interesting on its own, “Of course the range of net infrared forcing caused by changing cloud conditions (~100W/m2) is much greater than that caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases “ : so it appears that even a very thin cloud reduces the LWIR by more then the CO2 forcing of 4 W/M2, let alone the albedo and SW implications.

  13. tallbloke says:

    Aha.

    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19990100634_1999169386.pdf

    “Recent measurements of spectral reflectances of surface
    materials have clearly demonstrated that surface emissivities
    deviate considerably from unity, both spectrally and
    integrated over the broadband. Thus, assuming that a surface
    radiates like a blackbody can lead to potentially significant
    errors in surface temperature retrievals in longwave surface
    energy budgets and in climate studies. ”

    So S.o.D’s claim that the Stefan-Boltzmann equation for blackbody radiation plus surface temperature is sufficient to give an accurate surface longwave emission figure is falsified, along with Minnett and his skin temperature differential theory, because Minnett uses the assumption that S-B is good enough for his experiment.

  14. tallbloke says:

    “so it appears that even a very thin cloud reduces the LWIR by more then the CO2 forcing of 4 W/M2, let alone the albedo and SW implications.”

    David, it’s the other way round. There is more downwards LW radiation under cloud, not less. However, there’s a lot less SW from the sun too…

  15. David says:

    One more question. Does the study not assume that the reduction in skin temperature with a correlated reduction in LWIR is cause related? After all, as the cloud cover increased there was a corresponding reduction in SW radiation which also may have some impact on the skin temperature being cooler when there was more cloud cover. Could this experiment be conducted in a laboratory where only LWIR was involved?

  16. tallbloke says:

    Good question. I don’t know whether Minnett accounted for the reduction in solar radiation at the surface (LW as well as SW). His webpage doesn’t link his sympoium paper that the realclimate article was based on:
    http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/personal/pminnett/Main/main.html

    Maybe you could contact him and ask. 🙂

    As for lab experiments, we’d need to know those fluxes accurately in order to be able to replicate them, but a ballpark test would be interesting I agree.

  17. […] Frank on the realclimate ocean heating experiment […]

  18. David says:

    Thank you Tallbloke; no doubt I have many misconceptions which is why I often state my assertions as questions. Please feel free to correct or clarify anything else from my November 16, 2010 at 11:41 am brainstorming post. I am a decent layman to educate because once I get “it”, I can communicate to other layman better then most.

    I thought your correction was true, but was confused because potentially it makes the experiment flawed and I assumed this would have been discussed. Now I know that all of the energy that gets to the surface originated from the Sun. (very minor exceptions) No GHG can add energy, it can only redirect it to a longer residence time in the atmosphere which increases the density (poor word) of energy relative to the increased residence time and incoming LWIR. I reasoned that only half of that radiative LWR energy comes down to the surface. I was certain that H20 in its gas phase absorbed and redirected incoming TSI (in LWR bands) as well as upwelling LWR, but did not know how much it, or CO2 acts as a solar spectrum modification. I reasoned that only half of that radiative LWIR energy comes down to the surface. The other half goes upwards to space; so there is a net energy loss to the surface of about 1/2 of the amount that H2O vapor absorbs from the solar input.

    So when you state that “ There is more downwards LW radiation under clouds, not less. However, there’s a lot less SW from the sun too” I am understanding that in order for a cloud to increase the downward LW radiation there has to be a corresponding decrease in SWR as GHG cannot increase the total energy. In this case once again there would be a “SHORT” term increase in the residence time of the solar spectrum modified to LWR in the atmosphere, and a DECREASE in the SWR passing to the water beneath the “skin” and this decrease negatively accumulates over a longer time, potentially lowering the water temperature below the surface and bringing the gradient back to the same level.

    Perhaps this is why the temperature readings from the more sensitive float readings just below the “skin” were not charted. Of course none of this discusses an increase in evaporation and potential increase in clouds, and I fail to see how this experiment accounts for the Latent heat lost to the atmosphere at the same time.

    Speaking of time, thanks for yours.

  19. David says:

    Simplfied version of long post

    From franks Post “CONCLUSION: When increasing DLR from GHGs reduces the net loss of energy by long wavelength radiation from the skin layer, the EQUILIBRIUM temperature of the 10 m immediately below MUST warm: If some of the energy that previously went to the skin layer (and then to the atmosphere) doesn’t go anywhere else, it must increase the temperature of the 10 m immediately under the skin layer.”

    Not if the SWR which provides the direct heat to this 10m region is reduced, potentialy the gradiant remains the same. They did not plot the more senstive thermomter which measured a small portion of this?

  20. tallbloke says:

    Hi David,
    I will respond more fully, but it might take a bit of time. You’ll get used to that round here 🙂

    Maybe Frank will come back and interact with the thread?

    It’s not the sort of blog where it just rolls on and previous stuff is forgotten, we keep returning to old threads as new ideas pop up. Did you pick up this from the new back radiation thread?

    The sea surface emissivity in the infrared region is determined on the basis of data
    analyses. Net radiation, surface irradiance and other oceanographical and meteorological
    variables are measured throughout most of the year at the oceanographical
    observatory tower in Tanabe Bay, Japan. We have found that 0.984 ±
    0.004 is a reliable emissivity value from the night time data. Surface emission
    radiates not from the subsurface water but from the sea surface. The thermal skin
    layer on the sea surface, however, is disturbed and disappears under high wind
    speed over 5 m/s through the analyses of the radiation observation using the
    emissivity value of 0.984. Under low wind speed, the sea surface can be cooler or
    warmer than the subsurface due to overlying thermal conditions, and the skin
    layer can be neutral as the transient process between them.
    By using an emissivity
    value of 0.984, the temperature difference between the sea surface temperature
    and the temperature determined from surface irradiance that has been reported
    in the satellite data analyses is found to be reduced by half.

  21. Frank says:

    David: Since satellites have monitored the sun from space, the amount of solar shortwave radiation reaching the earth has been extremely stable, varying only by about 0.1% with the solar cycle. As GHG’s increase, DLR is expected to increase (3.7 W/m2 for 2X CO2 at the tropopause), but we have no reason to expect significant changes from the sun. Tallbloke believed that DLR couldn’t warm the ocean because it is absorbed only by the skin layer, roughly the top 10 microns, and then immediately returned to the atmosphere. I agreed with Tallbloke’s facts, but provided a mechanism that would warm the ocean despite his facts. So far, this mechanism hasn’t been challenged here or at SOD.

    (A small amount of the sun’s energy arrives as high energy particles which varies greatly with sunspots and the solar cycle. That radiation is absorbed very high in the atmosphere and doesn’t directly reach the surface. Since long periods of few sunspots were observed during the Little Ice Age, there is some speculation, but no mechanism, linking sunspots to climate.)

  22. tallbloke says:

    Frank, I think it should be mentioned that the amount of solar variation is currently in controversy between the ACRIM and PMOD teams and that on the face of it, PMOD’s Claus Frohlich seems to have been doing naughty things to minimise variation. I’ll be putting up a post on this soon, but in summary, 40% or more of the measured warming (and therefore more of the actual warming) may be due to solar variation if ACRIM are right, as against around 10% if PMOD are right. Here is ACRIM’s complaint about PMOD:
    Acrim letter
    Also, I did just reply to you on S.o.D’s blog. Here’s what I said after quoting the abstract above on the effect of wind on the ocean skin temp:

    I put it to you that over most of the globe most of the time, there are low winds over the oceans, which will substantially reduce any differential between skin temperature and immediate subsurface temperature. Minnett seems to think conduction is the primary process for transfer of heat near the surface of the ocean. S.o.D and I are in agreement that this is not the case. Where we differ is that he thinks this means lots of energy from DLR is going to get mixed down into the ocean, whereas I think the buoyancy of the water near the surface means the heat flux is in general going upwards and being lost from the ocean with the latent heat of evaporation.

    Perhaps in stepping back and thinking about the ocean-atmosphere as a coupled system, it might be clearer that the various physical processes are going to work together to maximise heat loss from the ocean, since the Earths climate is a heat engine, moving heat from the equatorial regions where most heat enters the system, to the poles where it can most easily lose energy back to space. Somewhere in the mid latitudes, the atmsphere takes over from the ocean as the major heat transporter, so it’s pretty clear that there will be auto-regulation of the process in the shifting north and south of the latitudinal band where the switchover occurs.

    It would be informative to calculate jut how far that latitudinal band would have to move to equilibriate for the change in co2 level and it’s forcing, assuming the drop in mid troposphere humidity since 1948 hasn’t offset it anyway.

  23. David says:

    Frank says:
    November 18, 2010 at 9:24 am
    “David: Since satellites have monitored the sun from space, the amount of solar shortwave radiation reaching the earth has been extremely stable, varying only by about 0.1% with the solar cycle. As GHG’s increase, DLR is expected to increase (3.7 W/m2 for 2X CO2 at the tropopause), but we have no reason to expect significant changes from the sun.”

    Thank you Frank, and thank you Tallbloke for your tallbloke says: November 18, 2010 at 11:20 am comment showing the possibility of greater solar variance.. According to Roy Clark; “the solar constant over the last 50 years (6 sunspot cycles) has been ~0.3 W.m-2 above its historical average from 1650 This goes up to ~1.7 W.m-2 for the full 100 ppm anthropogenic increase over the last 200 years”
    The average global ocean temperature increase for the 0 to 300 m depth level from 1953
    to 2003 was 0.17 C.4 This is consistent with Figure 4 over the same time period. However, there was also significant variation in temperatures between ocean basins. The N. Atlantic warmed by 0.35 C, the N. Pacific by 0.09 C. These fluctuations are caused by differences in ocean circulation, mixing and wind speed.”
    From this I understood Roy Clark to mean that the ocean warming expected from solar variation matches the shortwave TSI increase from 1953 to 2003 and not the additional CO2 induced downward atmospheric LWIR flux of 1.7 W.m-2 .

    However I was not referring to this change in TSI, but to the ocean surface spectral modification change in the TSI, however consistent or varied the TSI itself is as it reaches the uppermost atmosphere.

    Any increase in water vapor is in and of itself a spectral modification of incoming TSI reducing SW radiation at the surface, which we all agree is the primary mechanism which heats the ocean below the surface. Any increase in cloud cover is an even greater spectral modification of SW TSI at the surface. The question needing to be quantified; Is this surface reduction of SWR adequate to reduce the subsurface temperature by .008 so that the gradient between the subsurface and the skin remains the same? This is partially why I was curious as to the reading from the second instrument being towed beneath the “skin” layer. BTW is this “skin” correctly referred to as the “Knudsen” layer?

    My understanding of solar spectrum modifications in the atmosphere came from a comment made by “George” referring to a solar spectrum chart; “ It show that about 98% of that energy lies between about 250 nm in the UV and 4.0 microns; with the remaining as 1% left over at each end. Such graphs often have superimposed on them the actual ground level (air Mass once) spectrum; that shows the amounts of that energy taken out by primarily O2, O3, and H2O, in the case of H2O which absorbs in the visible and near IR perhaps 20% of the total solar energy is capture by water VAPOR (clear sky) clouds are an additional loss over and above that…So your characterization of the H2O vapor “blockage” as being “tiny”; is simply not an accurate depiction; it is one of the largest solar spectrum modifications caused by the atmosphere. Solar spectrum energy mostly goes deep into the oceans which reflect only2-3% of sunlight; and the part of the earth which is mostly oceans is in the tropics where most of the solar energy arrives.”

    So it appears logical to me that any increase in evaporation also reduces SWR at the surface, an energy reduction in the prime meechanism which heats the ocean, and is possibly adequet to maintain the gradiant between the ocean and the ocean skin despite the increase in CO2 induced LWIR. It is possible that all CO2 can do is slow the cooling until the subsurface reduction in SWR equalizes the gradient.

  24. David says:

    Re tallbloke says:
    November 18, 2010 at 11:20 am …”Where we differ is that he thinks this means lots of energy from DLR is going to get mixed down into the ocean, whereas I think the buoyancy of the water near the surface means the heat flux is in general going upwards and being lost from the ocean with the latent heat of evaporation.”

    “Long term averages of surface air temperatures are ~2 C below the corresponding ocean surface temperatures.” (. L. Yu, X. Jin & R. A. Weller, OAFlux Project Technical Report (OA-2008-01) Jan 2008,“Multidecade Global Flux Datasets from the Objectively Analyzed Air-sea Fluxes )

    It appears that for a long time the atmosphere has been trying to catch up to the oceans, so the flux downwards is not reveresed only due to evaporation, but the flow from oceans to atmosphere must dominate as the oceans have been warmer.

    This I also found curious, “However, there was also significant variation in temperatures between ocean basins. The N. Atlantic warmed by 0.35 C, the N. Pacific by 0.09 C. These fluctuations are caused by differences in ocean circulation, mixing and wind speed.” Now if my memory serves me correctly the N pacific weather flows to North America which has not warmed as much as the N atlantic, which flows to Europe, so if this correlation holds true in the southern oceans and land mass, then over time the land surface temperature appear to mimic the Ocean temperatures which are known for numerous long term cycles from days to decades to centuries. The primary modulation of energy into the oceans is SWR. The energy that enters the oceans has a far longer accumlation time (positive or negative) over any given change in SWR flux due to far longer resindence times within the ocean as compared to the residence time of any spectrum in the atmosphere.

  25. tallbloke says:

    “It appears that for a long time the atmosphere has been trying to catch up to the oceans.”

    Since forever. It has to be that way because the atmosphere is largely transparent to the incoming energy source, which heats the ocean. The atmosphere is the buffer between the ocean and space, so it will always be cooler than the ocean, though there are times when the ocean belches out a huge amount of energy and superheats the atmosphere such as the ’98 el nino. These events are relatively brief though, and the atmosphere soon loses the excess to space.

    “However, there was also significant variation in temperatures between ocean basins. The N. Atlantic warmed by 0.35 C, the N. Pacific by 0.09 C. These fluctuations are caused by differences in ocean circulation, mixing and wind speed.”

    I don’t see decadal cloud cover variation in that pick list. I wonder why not.

    “the N pacific weather flows to North America which has not warmed as much as the N atlantic, which flows to Europe”

    Not forgetting the coriolis effect which sweeps the eastward circulation of air down to the south of the Rocky mountains, where it then picks up warmth off the gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea as it heads across and upwards to western Europe.

  26. David says:

    “I don’t see decadal cloud cover variation in that pick list. I wonder why not.”

    Hum? Later Mr Roy Clark, speaking of the C02 induced increase in downward atmospheric LWIR flux of 1.7 W.m-2 states , “The increase in flux is converted by the ocean surface into an insignificant change in evaporation rate. This is buried in the noise of wind induced fluctuations in evaporation and changes in LWIR flux caused by variations in aerosols, cloud and near surface humidity” so “clouds” should be included in both statements, the point being that it is easy for CO2 changes to get lost in the noise and most of the CO2 LWIR is used in insignificant changes in evaporation rate.

    Tallbloke I have a three querys for you.

    1. What is the average residence time of all SW energy photons entering the ocean before this energy is released to the atmosphere?

    2. What is the residence time of the energy from LWIR before it leaves the atmosphere at 280 PPM CO2 ?

    3. What is the residence time of the energy from LWIR before it leaves the atmosphere at 560 PPM CO2 ?

  27. tallbloke says:

    Roy Clark has had a thread here which didn’t get any attention at the time.
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/roy-clark-a-null-hypothesis-for-co2/

    queries:
    I don’t think photon counting is a viable way to get a handle on the throughput of the Earth’s climate system in energy terms but with that caveat:

    1) Don’t know. Some solar energy goes back to space as LW after a few hours, some stays down in the deep for who knows how long. Aeons perhaps. I created a simple model for ocean retained heat here: https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/my-simple-solar-planetary-energy-model/

    2) & 3) You may be able to have a stab at using the total throughput, estimated to be ~122PW by Trenberth in his energy paper:
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/EnergyDiagnostics09final2.pdf

    Good luck. 🙂

  28. David says:

    tallbloke says; “I don’t think photon counting is a viable way to get a handle on the throughput of the Earth’s climate system in energy terms but with that caveat:”

    I am sorry I was unclear as photon counting is not what I was attempting to articulate. What I am looking for is the “residence time” of various radiative spectrum, from SW UV to LWIR.

    At its most basic only two things can effect the heat content of any system in a radiative balance. Either a change in the input, or a change in the “residence time” of some aspect of that energies within the system.

    Think of the system as if you are a traffic control specialist. The traffic on any given road depends on how many cars per hour enter the road, (input), and how long they are on the road (residence time) before exiting. Greenhouse gases increase the residence time of energy in the atmosphere. Albedo factors if increased reduce the residence time in the atmosphere or from the surface. Every effect which alters a system in balance is a change in the residence time of energy in the system.

    On a highway if ten cars per hour enter the highway, and the cars are on the road for ten hours before exiting, there will be 100 cars on the road and as long as these factors remain the same the system is in balance. If you change the input to eleven cars per hour, then over a ten hour period the system will increase from 100 cars to 110 cars before a balance is restored. The same effect can be achieved by either slowing the cars down 10% or by lengthening the road 10%. In either case you have increased the energy in the system by ten percent by either increasing the residence time or the input.

    Now lets us take the case of a very slow or long road with the same input. Ten cars per hour input, 1000 hours on the road, now you have ten thousand cars on the road. Now lets us increase the input to eleven cars per hour just as we did on the road with a ten hour residence time. Over a 1,000 hour period we have the same 10% increase in cars (energy) How ever due to the greater capacity on that road the cars, (energy) have increased 100 times, (1,000 verse 10 ) Any change in the input or the residence time on this 1,000 hour road will have a 100 times greater effect then on the 10 hour road.

    This is cogent to climate in that the 10 hour road is the atmosphere, and the 1000 hour road is the oceans. Any change into the ocean input is going to have a FAR GREATER long term effect then an equivalent change in the residence time of energy in the atmosphere. I understand the heat capacity of the oceans is 1,000 times that of the atmosphere due to the capacity of water to absorb heat, so the ratio may be closer to 1,000 to 1 for long term changes.

    This is what leads me to think that any changes in the ocean input are far more important then changes in the atmosphere. It just takes 1,000 times longer for the change to fully manifest. SWR is the primary input into the ocean except at the surface Knudsen layer where the residence time is very short. Any change in SWR entering the ocean is going to have a far greater long term effect then an equivalent LWIR change in the atmosphere.

    Water vapor and clouds have a far larger effect on the SWR entering the ocean then CO2 has on the residence time of LWIR in the atmosphere. A CO2 induced LWIR atmospheric warming primarily increases evaporation at the ocean surface, which increases water vapor and clouds, which reduce SWR entering the oceans. CO2 operates on a well known small percentage of the LWR in the atmosphere riding on the shoulders of water vapor. Water vapor and clouds effect a much larger portion of the TSI then CO2, and effect it not only at the LW spectrum in the atmosphere, but where it matters the most, at the SW spectrum entering the oceans.

    BTW, regarding the real climate assertion that LWIR warms the ocean by decreasing the gradient between the subsurface and the surface is a fail for two primary reasons.

    1. It does not factor in changes in SWR at all. Any reduction in SWR could well lower the subsurface temperature thus keeping the gradient the same or even increasing it despite the small increase in the “skin” temperature.

    2. It does not factor in an increase in water vapor or cloud cover due to the raised evaporation rate, both of which would have an effect of reducing SWR entering the ocean.

    As always I appreciate any input into the above assertions.

  29. Better ask the experts:
    ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/y2787e/
    And see the graph on page 50 of the archive:
    y2787e08.pdf
    It forecasts sea temperatures to the year 2099.
    …a study undertaken under contract to FAO by Professor
    Leonid B. Klyashtorin of the Federal Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography, Moscow, Russian Federation (e-mail: Klyashtorin@mtu-net.ru)

  30. David says:

    1. It does not factor in changes in SWR at all. Any reduction in SWR could well lower the subsurface temperature thus keeping the gradient the same or even increasing it despite the small increase in the “skin” temperature.

    I mistastated this. lowering the subsurface temperature would of course decrease the gradient, but the temperature would still go down, only it would cool slower.

  31. David says:

    Adolfo, please tell me how this graph on pagfe 50 relates to the veracioty of my statement in regard to “residence time” of various solar spectrum, specifically this; “On a highway if ten cars per hour enter the highway, and the cars are on the road for ten hours before exiting, there will be 100 cars on the road and as long as these factors remain the same the system is in balance. If you change the input to eleven cars per hour, then over a ten hour period the system will increase from 100 cars to 110 cars before a balance is restored. The same effect can be achieved by either slowing the cars down 10% or by lengthening the road 10%. In either case you have increased the energy in the system by ten percent by either increasing the residence time or the input.

    Now lets us take the case of a very slow or long road with the same input. Ten cars per hour input, 1000 hours on the road, now you have ten thousand cars on the road. Now lets us increase the input to eleven cars per hour just as we did on the road with a ten hour residence time. Over a 1,000 hour period we have the same 10% increase in cars (energy) How ever due to the greater capacity on that road the cars, (energy) have increased 100 times, (1,000 verse 10 ) Any change in the input or the residence time on this 1,000 hour road will have a 100 times greater effect then on the 10 hour road.

  32. Tenuc says:

    Adolfo Giurfa says:
    December 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm
    “Better ask the experts:
    ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/y2787e/
    And see the graph on page 50 of the archive:
    y2787e08.pdf
    It forecasts sea temperatures to the year 2099.
    …a study undertaken under contract to FAO by Professor
    Leonid B. Klyashtorin of the Federal Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography, Moscow, Russian Federation (e-mail: Klyashtorin@mtu-net.ru)”

    Thanks Adolfo ro the link to the FAQ paper num. 410.

    This gives a beautiful illustration of how climate oscillates up and down. No need to invoke CO2 pixie-dust to explain climate change…:-)