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Ocean Heat Content

September 27, 2013

By Paul Homewood


Further to my post the other day, Mummy, The Ocean’s Eaten My Heat, it is worth a look at what the Argo website has to say about measuring sea temperatures.


How well is Argo able to observe global ocean changes?

A key objective of Argo is to observe ocean signals related to climate change. This includes regional and global changes in ocean temperature and heat content, salinity and freshwater content, the steric height of the sea surface in relation to total sea level, and large-scale ocean circulation.

The global Argo dataset is not yet long enough to observe global change signals. Seasonal and interannual variability dominate the present 7-year globally-averaged time series. Sparse global sampling during 2004-2005 can lead to substantial differences in statistical analyses of ocean temperature and trend (or steric sea level and its trend, e.g. Leuliette and Miller, 2009). Analyses of decadal changes presently focus on comparison of Argo to sparse and sometimes inaccurate historical data. Argo’s greatest contributions to observing the global oceans are still in the future, but its global span is clearly transforming the capability to observe climate-related changes.


Translation – claims that the missing heat is hiding in the ocean is pure speculation, and cannot be measured, much less confirmed, by the Argo network of buoys.


They also include this chart of ocean heat content from Levitus et al 2009.

Note that the large jump from around 1980 to 2005 is derived from pre-Argo measurements, that are acknowledged to be “sparse and sometimes inaccurate data”. Since then, ocean heat content has pretty much flat.



  1. Brian H permalink
    September 27, 2013 6:38 pm

    Not to mention the stripping of the coldest Argo data from the record.

    • September 27, 2013 6:46 pm

      I remember reading something about that.

      Have you got any references?

  2. Brian H permalink
    October 2, 2013 10:37 am

    There are more, but here’s a starting point.


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