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The Truth Behind Record Sea Temperature Claims

April 15, 2015
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood 


h/t John Kelly




The Age are banging their global warming drum again, this time over what they describe as record sea temperatures around Australia. And, of, course, its YOUR FAULT!




As usual, however, when you delve into the facts, things aren’t quite as straightforward as they pretend.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, BOM, offer a full set of data/graphs for sea temperatures in that part of the world, right back to 1900. Now let me first of all say that I have grave doubts about the accuracy and comparability of sea temperatures from so far back, and even into more recent decades. Methods of measurement have changed over the years, and huge question marks should be put against the coverage.

Nevertheless, this is the only data we have got, and it is from this that “record” claims are being made. So, given that proviso, what does the data tell us?





1) The first thing to notice is that the long term trend has been rising at a pretty steady rate since 1900. Clearly the rise in temperatures up to the mid 20thC can have had little to do with CO2.

In other words, we are back to the recovery from the Little Ice Age scenario. Is there any reason that warming in recent decades has not been caused by the same natural factors, which caused the earlier warming?

2) The rate of increase looks to have much slowed down, if not totally slowed, since the turn of the century. The record years were set in 1998 and 2010, (and yes, you’d be right to think of El Ninos).

3) There is clearly a big step up in 1998, raising the question of how much of the residual heat from that year’s El Nino has remained in the system.

4) There is a noticeable downturn in the 1950’s and 60’s, which follows the cold phase of the PDO.




The PDO has been back up in positive territory in the last year, but would be expected to drop back down in due course. When it does, SST’s are likely to fall with it.


The bottom line is that CO2 and other GHG simply cannot make any measurable difference to sea temperatures, given the massive heat capacity of the oceans. And there is certainly no known mechanics, whereby CO2 can just warm some parts of the ocean and not others.

If sea temperatures really have risen in the last century as claimed, there is only one force powerful enough, and that is the sun.

  1. AndyG55 permalink
    April 15, 2015 12:33 pm

    If that first graph is correct, the ocean would be releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, and the CO2 concentration would be climbing in nearly a straight line.

    Oh.. wait there !

    • AndyG55 permalink
      April 15, 2015 12:36 pm

      ps.. don’t the recent satellite CO2 mappings show higher CO2 concentrations in summer around a belt level with Australia.? (Sorry, going from memory.)

    • April 19, 2015 8:14 pm

      Unfortunately I can’t upload the image, but I just overlapped the ocean temps since 1958 with the atmospheric CO2 since 1958 and there looks to be an infinitely better correlation than CO2 with atmospheric temperature. Basically the AGW theory is analogous to lung cancer causing smoking.

  2. April 15, 2015 12:47 pm

    Hadisst3 monthly shows that SH SSTs tend to have their annual maximum anomaly in March or April. The ranking for April is what you might expect: 1) 0.488 in 1998, 2) 0.475 in 2010, 3) 0.471 in 2014. BTW, the April SH anomaly started to be consistently positive only after 1986.

    March 2015 was 0.391, which was exceeded by 2010, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2001. 1998. Let’s see next month whether the warming continues, steadies, or diminishes.

    Data here:

  3. FTOP_T permalink
    April 15, 2015 1:17 pm

    There is nothing more infuriating than the claim that record sea temperatures prove global warming. AGW is based on the absurd theory that CO2 “traps” heat and increases global temperatures by increasing DWLIR.

    The problem is this process CANNOT warm the ocean. It is basic physics.

    IR is 100% absorbed in the first few microns of water which results in evaporation and a cooler ocean
    Warmer air also increases evaporation leaving a cooler ocean

    These are the supposed consequences of AGW.

    You can point an IR lamp down at a fish tank forever, it will NEVER warm.

    The only way to heat the ocean is with sunlight. CO2 has zero impact on ocean temps.

    When a “scientist” links CO2 with warmer oceans, they are either incompetent or lying.

    Thus, when the claim is that the oceans are warmer, they are proving their own theory wrong. They may as well state:

    “Higher sea temperatures prove there is no AGW. It was the sun all along. Sorry Mr. Soon. We will now retract every article on AGW ever written. We owe society 100 billion for our fraud. We are sorry”

    Hopefully we can meet Alice on this side of the looking glass.

  4. April 15, 2015 2:58 pm

    Thanks very much Paul.

  5. April 15, 2015 3:58 pm

    Peter Hannam is wrong about the sun being the only source of heat that can be warming the oceans- It is well known that there is a layer of molten material below the crust of the earth. The temperature of this layer varies from 900 to 2000 degrees. This heat has to go some place – it warms both land masses and the oceans. Underwater volcanoes and surface volcanoes are never included in the “heat” balances yet they are used by geothermal engineers as heat sources in many parts of the world.
    There is no credible experiment that proves that the Greenhouse gas effect exists.
    When a real scientist looks at the energy absorbed from the sun in the oceans are cold by increased evaporation. When the oceans heat from below there are all kinds of currents and water movements. We only know a fraction of what is happening with the oceans.

    • Paul permalink
      April 15, 2015 8:06 pm

      I agree with you and since we only know a fraction of what is happening we cant make predictions about the cause of any warming or its long term effects.
      This is my problem with the whole climate change industry – it portrays itself as being certain about AGW when in fact the science is in its infancy and we arent sure about the future and CO2’s role in climate at all.
      Yet despite this large, important policy decisions are made based on the “certainty”.

      • FTOP_T permalink
        April 16, 2015 12:55 am

        J. Curry’s testimony to the U.S. House echoed your sentiment. Let’s hope the tide is turning against Eco-fascism.

  6. April 15, 2015 5:28 pm


  7. April 16, 2015 12:42 am

    Great article Paul. In the above comments FTOP_T mentions “DWLIR” but I’ve scratched my head and cannot think of the meaning of this abbreviation. I got the IR (infrared bit) but DWL?

  8. FTOP_T permalink
    April 16, 2015 12:50 am

    Sorry for not being more clear Luc, “Down Welling Longwave Infrared Radiation” also known as the magical “back-radiation”

  9. April 19, 2015 12:32 pm

    By what mechanism could the GHG effect be warming the oceans, especially the deep oceans? There is 2,000x the energy in the oceans than the atmosphere. IR at the 15micrometer wavelength, the wavelength that CO2 traps, doesn’t penetrate the oceans, and is almost totally absorbed by the H2O in the atmosphere (ie no CO2 needed to trap that radiation). The real question is what is warming the oceans. What is warming the oceans is the shorter wavelength light that penetrates the ocean surface, ie blue light. What is really causing global warming isn’t CO2, if that was the case atmospheric temperatures would track CO2. In reality atmospherics temperatures track the temperature of the oceans. As the oceans warm, the atmosphere above them warms. What warms the oceans? More EM radiation in the blue wavelength range. What allows more blue light to reach the oceans? Cleaner air and fewer clouds. CO2 does not block blue light from reaching the oceans. As the oceans warm, they release CO2, that is why CO2 in the atmosphere is linear and tracks the ocean temp, not logarithmic like the man made production of CO2. If you truly want to understand climate change, ignore CO2 and look at the real cause, the oceans. If you understand the oceans, the hypothalamus of the earth, you understand climate change. That is also why spikes occur in atmospheric temperatures with El Ninos. Unfortunately there is no money to be made or political victories given for seeking and understanding the truth. Blame CO2 and you can make a political and monetary fortune, let alone destroy the capitalist economies.

    • April 19, 2015 1:37 pm

      @Robert Wagner
      You are on the right track there,
      but try and understand the principles: involved
      and the discussion that follows after that (with Stephen)

  10. April 19, 2015 1:31 pm

    I just went to the referenced article. The title is “Record sea-surface temperatures in Pacific point to record warmth in 2015 and 2016 .” That title is 100% true, but has absolutely nothing to do with CO2, and everything to do with the warming oceans. A half truth is often twice the lie, they promote their deception by stating the facts without ever even attempting to tie CO2 to warmer oceans. Somehow/deliberatly the environmentalists have conflated the two issues, and pretty much proves this is a Saul Alinsky political movement, where victory, not the truth is the objective. This “science” is so flawed it is a joke, and the very fact that Witch Hunt/inquisition tactics are being used by the supporters of this nonsense, pretty much proves they have something to hide. Only the guilty try to silence the opposing view, i.e. dead men tell no tales. Bottom line is the warming oceans pretty much prove solar cycles and atmospheric transparency control the climate, not CO2, yet you won’t find many in the press explaining that. The truth isn’t the issue here, scientific inquiry isn’t the issue here, political power/greater central authority/less individual freedom is the driving force behind this “science.” Stalin/Hitler/Mao could only have dreamt of such a of such a grand lie. They certainly have mastered the art of telling lies big enough and often enough.

  11. April 19, 2015 5:31 pm

    This is an interesting article that coincidentally covers many of the theories that we’ve been discussing in this article.

    I find it odd/interesting that completely unrelated individuals can look at the data supporting this “settled” science and all recognize the flaws.Either there are serious problems with this “science” or the scientific method no longer matters, and isn’t applicable to this field. That makes Climate Science more political science than physical science.

    One interesting observation is that all green house gasses are increasing, man made or not. That pretty much proves that there is a highly natural basis behind the increase in green house gasses, and man isn’t really important.

    IMHO, someone just isn’t seeing the forest through the trees. Climate “scientists” simply see in the data what they want to see, not what it is telling them.

    • April 19, 2015 7:15 pm

      simple reaction [when you know that there are giga tons of bi-carbonate in the oceans]
      HCO3- + heat => CO2 (g)+ OH-

      the opposite happens when earth cools down (in a time such as now)

      CO2 (g) + 2H2O + cold => HCO3- + H3O+

      There is no man made warming, I could not find any proof of that…
      .everything just looks 100% natural to me ?

  12. Don Vodopich permalink
    April 21, 2015 1:13 am

    The oceans are heating because of tens of thousands of deep sea volcanoes sending 2200 degree magma into the water. When the last ice age started 110,000 years ago it took a powerful heat engine to transfer billions of tons of water to the upper latitudes. The ice over Chicago eventually reached 1 mile thick and the oceans 400 feet lower. See Wiki and get the Time Life book Ice Ages.

  13. March 29, 2016 1:00 pm

    There is a new article in the tiles today blaming climate change and record sea temperatures for destroying the Great Barrier reef.

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