Monday, May 23, 2016

Ocean Heat Data Shows the Recent Atmospheric Warming

The latest numbers for ocean heat content, up through the first quarter of this year, show the ocean (well, the top half) has lost heat in the last 12 months.

The top 700 meters lost 0.43e22 Joules, and the top 2000 meters lost 0.54e22 Joules.

Dividing by the surface area of the Earth (because > 90% of the globally trapped heat goes into the ocean; so ocean heat content is the best measure of an global energy imbalance like that being created by manmade GHG emissions), that comes to -0.43 W/m2 and -0.34 W/m2 respectively in the last 12 months.

The same thing happened in the first three months of 1998, at least for the top 700 meters (Argo wasn't yet measuring down to 2000 meters then). Except the loss was larger, -0.92 W/m2 compared to 12 months earlier.

Was the loss lower with this El Nino because even more heat is pouring into the ocean? Much of it, I think -- the 15-year trend for 0-700 m OHC is +0.30 W/m2, which would account for some of the difference.

The acceleration in ocean heat gain for the 0-2000 m region drops slightly, but it still positive at 0.05 ± 0.03 W/m2/yr.

Here was last quarter's report on OHC. 

Here is the portal to NOAA's ocean heat content data and graphs.

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