Sunday, May 05, 2019

Latest Numbers on Ocean Heat Content

We already know that ocean heat content is the best metric to detect a planetary energy imbalance, because the ocean is so vast and can hold so much more heat than the atmosphere (or soil, or biosphere). About 93% of the additional heat from the enhanced greenhouse effect goes there, plus or minus.

So, the latest quarterly numbers on ocean heat content came out the other day. I'm getting a little bored with writing about them -- tracking changes quarter-by-quarter isn't very meaningful if you're interested in climate change, which happens on decadal scales and longer. I guess for the moment I've lost my spreadsheet obsession. (It's worse than you know.)

So I'll just put up this little bit of news. Make of it what you will.

Maybe the weak (so far, anyway) El Nino is venting some heat to the atmosphere, out of the ocean. 

Of course, a quick little less amount of oceanic heat does not disprove AGW. (Give me a break.)

Graphs are here


Layzej said...

Something seems broken on the Halosteric Sea Level Anomaly graphs (images 7 and 8) on the OHC data source you provided:

The graph is roughly flat until the last quarter where it jumps by ~10 and ~20 mm respectively.

PaulS said...

Meanwhile the Cheng et al. team show 2019-2018 Q1 change as arguably the largest Q1 uptick in the full Argo era (2006-2005 was larger but that was early Argo). Also the strongest increase from the previous quarter (i.e. in this case Q1 2019 - Q4 2018) of any in the record since the mid-90s.

I think differences in baseline climatology explains some of the seasonal discrepancies - I understand Levitus et al. use 1971-2000 whereas Cheng et al. use Argo period 2006-2015. Also differences in how they deal with coverage gaps. It's also clear that the Levitus record shows a lot more high frequency variability than Cheng's, nearly 3 times the amplitude.