The paper by John M. Lyman, Josh K. Willis and Gregory C. Johnson entitled “Recent cooling of the upper ocean” has appeared in Geophysical Research Letters. This paper has already been discussed on Climate Science (see and see).
This Climate Science weblog is written to alert readers to where the data can be accessed to explore this issue further, as well as look at the latest data as it becomes available. This information is available from these sites [see, see and see].
There is also the issue as to how this important article has been covered in the media. The NASA Press release is available (see). This press release is entitled “Short-Term Ocean Cooling Suggests Global Warming ‘Speed Bump’”. An excerpt from the report states,
“The recent changes in ocean temperature run deep. A small amount of cooling was detected at the ocean’s surface, consistent with global measurements of sea-surface temperature. The maximum amount of cooling was at a depth of about 1,300 feet, but substantial cooling was still observed at 2,500 feet, and the cooling appears to extend deeper.
Lyman said the cause of the recent cooling is not yet clear. Research suggests it may be due to a net loss of heat from the Earth. ‘Further work will be necessary to solve this cooling mystery,’ he said.”
This mystery is a critical question, as it is not known if this is just a “speed bump”, or indicates that we have a poorer understanding of the climate system, even in terms of global average radiative heating, than has been advocated by the international climate assessments such as the IPCC.
The way this new research result has been communicated to the public is also quite informative with respect to the media’s perspective on the climate change issue. One news article is headlined “Short-Term Ocean Cooling Suggests Global Warming” . This is not only a self-contradiction, but scientifically incorrect. Ocean cooling indicates “global cooling”! (see)
A search on google shows that there is remarkably little media coverage on this observation of cooling. What there is understates the significance of the finding that over 20% of the heat gained since the mid 1950s were lost in just two years! The reason for this large negative radiative imbalance in the Earth’s climate system is a “mystery, but it certainly indicates that the multi-decadal global climate models have serious issues with their ability to accurately simulate the response of the climate system to human- and natural-climate forcings.