Research Issues On “The Missing Heat”

The science issues associated with the “missing heat” in Judy Curry’s post

Where’s the “missing” heat?

are very straightforward. They can be summarized succinctly:

  • What is the annual global average heat content in Joules of the upper 700m of the ocean for 2010? What was this average in 2004?   What are the observational uncertainties for this measurements?
  • What is the global average radiative flux averaged over these time period in Watts per meter squared? What is the uncertainty of this estimate?

The paper

R. S. Knox, David H. Douglass 2010: Recent energy balance of Earth  International Journal of Geosciences, 2010, vol. 1, no. 3 (November) – In press doi:10.4236/ijg2010.00000

with the abstract

A recently published estimate of Earth’s global warming trend is 0.63 ± 0.28 W/m2, as calculated from ocean heat content anomaly data spanning 1993–2008. This value is not representative of the recent (2003–2008) warming/cooling rate because of a “flattening” that occurred around 2001–2002. Using only 2003–2008 data from Argo floats, we find by four different algorithms that the recent trend ranges from –0.010 to –0.160 W/m2 with a typical error bar of ±0.2 W/m2. These results fail to support the existence of a frequently-cited large positive computed radiative imbalance.

is a solid scientific study on these questions. The paper could, of course, be in error [although it is robust in my view], or the Argo data could have errors that Josh Willis (or others in that community) has not communicated to us. The blogosphere and peer reviewed papers are the venue to debate these questions.

 For Kevin Trenberth to call this study “rubbish” says a lot about that particular subset of the climate science community. Unfortunately, these individuals have been elevated to control much of the climate assessment process and the funding of climate science research.

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