Upper Ocean Heat Content Change By Bob Tisdale

Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations continues to provide us with excellent analyses of the preferred  metric to monitor global warming and to compare with the multi-decadal global climate model predictions. His latest post is

July to September 2011 NODC Ocean Heat Content Anomalies (0-700Meters) Update and Comments

The figure at the top of this post is one that appears in Bob’s post. It tells us several things:

1. The latest analyzed heat anomaly is the highest in the period of record since the Argo Network obtained robust global coverage.

2. The current heat anomaly is still well below that predicted by the GISS model.

3. The current muted heating presumably still falls within the envelope of model realiziations that were discussed most recently in

Katsman, C. A., and G. J. van Oldenborgh (2011), Correction to “Tracing the upper ocean’s ‘missing heat,’” Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L20602, doi:10.1029/2011GL049834.

where they

“concluded that such a period without upper ocean warming is explained by increased radiation to space, largely as a result of El Niño variability on decadal timescales, and by increased ocean warming at larger depths, partly due to a decrease in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.”

4. In order to return to being in close agreement with the GISS results and the ensemble mean of the Katsman and van Oldenborgh study, there must be a significant heating in the comming several years.

For another informative discussion of the ocean heat anomalies as the metric to diagnose global warming, see

The Travesty of the Missing Heat — deep ocean or outer space?

from the weblog JonNova

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