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1 freetoken  Tue, Apr 27, 2010 12:05:32pm

More obscurantism from Pielke Jr. His father is just a straight up denier. Junior tends to prefer the art of political language to deep six any serious policies wrt AGW.

2 Charles Johnson  Tue, Apr 27, 2010 2:15:19pm

"Studentpatriot" seems to get all his news about global warming from deniers like Roy Spencer and the Pielkes.

3 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Tue, Apr 27, 2010 3:03:04pm

OK let's look at the actual science here.


If one reads the whole thing, one understands the issue quite well. The Earth has very many complicated systems in it ans energy (heat is a form of energy) is conserved. We do not know where all the energy coming in is being spent. This is NOT a win for the denial crowd. It actually tells you that the situation is much worse than current models predict.

Please note that this is the reason that the models are consistently low ball. There is more energy in the system than they account for. This situation must be worse than they predict because the actual energy budget is greater. I have linked again and again here how nature is outstripping projections.

To quote one of the authors:

"The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later," says NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, the lead author. "The reprieve we've had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.


Now I dissagree that the models are as bad as this article would indicate. I do not agree with the finding that we can not account for half of the heat. I think the actual number will turn out to be a bit less than that. However, it is a mystery that many folks are working on. The heat must be driving some system. We don't know what that system is and we don't know what feedbacks it will have until we identify it.

Either the satellite observations are incorrect, says Trenberth, or, more likely, large amounts of heat are penetrating to regions that are not adequately measured, such as the deepest parts of the oceans. Compounding the problem, Earth's surface temperatures have largely leveled off in recent years. Yet melting glaciers and Arctic sea ice, along with rising sea levels, indicate that heat is continuing to have profound effects on the planet.

There's more to climate change than warmer air
As greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, satellite instruments show a growing imbalance between energy entering the atmosphere from the Sun and energy leaving from Earth's surface. This imbalance is the source of long-term global warming.

But tracking the growing amount of heat on Earth is far more complicated than measuring temperatures at the planet's surface. The oceans absorb about 90 percent of the solar energy that is trapped by greenhouse gases. Additional amounts of heat go toward melting glaciers and sea ice, as well as warming the land and parts of the atmosphere. Only a tiny fraction warms the air at the planet's surface.

Satellite measurements indicate that the amount of greenhouse-trapped solar energy has risen over recent years while the increase in heat measured in the top 3,000 feet of the ocean has stalled. Although it is difficult to quantify the amount of solar energy with precision, Trenberth and Fasullo estimate that, based on satellite data, the amount of energy build-up appears to be about 1.0 watts per square meter or higher, while ocean instruments indicate a build-up of about 0.5 watts per square meter. That means about half the total amount of heat is unaccounted for.

4 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Tue, Apr 27, 2010 3:04:00pm

To continue:

Satellite sensors show that the amount of greenhouse-trapped solar energy, or heat, has risen over recent years. But in the past decade, there has been a growing divergence between the satellite readings and ocean observations that indicate the build-up of heat is slowing. This "missing" heat could, in part, be the result of instrument error or incorrect data processing, but much of it may be going into the deep ocean or elsewhere on Earth that is beyond the reach of current sensors. This graph shows simplified estimates of the measurements of heat.

Now there is very little chance that the multiple satellites taking readings are all off, or that all of the thousands of researchers doing analysis messed up their calculation.

We conclude that heat is being transfered to the deep oceans. While there are very many ways that currents can do the mixing, and exact modeling of it has yet to be obtained and further we do not have data from the deep oceans to compare the modelling to.

However, let me emphasize once again, we know that energy is conserved. We know that this extra heat must be doing something. Since the models are really good at taking surface measurements into account and they are consistently low ball, we can conclude that whatever that something is actually is accelerating the warming seen on the surface with direct measurements.

This is also not something new. One of the angry emails that was cherry picked in the e-mail scam was a respected scientist venting that we do not yet have a good understanding of the total energy budget.

5 studentpatriot  Wed, Apr 28, 2010 5:22:54am

re: #4 LudwigVanQuixote

It is logical that the heat could be disappearing in phase changes of ice melting (heat increases but temperature stays the same until all the ice melts). It is being absorbed elsewhere that we don't know about yet.

Charles is right (from an earlier post), I am still holding out hope that one or two cards will be pulled out of the bottom of global climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide. There is compelling evidence to the contrary, but as more scientists find the weak points and put pressure on them knowledge will be gained, and hopefully the situation isn't as dire as run away global warming. Lots of hoping here.

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