Can CO2 Warm The Oceans?
By Paul Homewood
We often hear that the oceans are getting warmer, and WUWT had a guest post up yesterday by Larry Kummer here.
Many commenters rightly questioned how we could accurately measure temperatures down to 2000 m and across all the oceans now to such degrees of accuracy, never mind back in 1960!
But one comment by Dr Roy Clark showed how, scientifically, it was impossible for GHG to cause such warming:
It is simply impossible for the observed increase in downward LWIR flux from a 120 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration to heat the oceans. This presumed LWIR induced ocean warming is one of the major errors in the global warming scam. The increase in flux from CO2 is nominally 2 W.m^-2 or 0.18 MJ.m^-2 per day. The oceans are heated by the sun – up to 25 MJ m^-2 per day for full tropical or summer sun. About half of this solar heat is absorbed in the first 1 m layer of the ocean and 90% is absorbed in the first 10 m layer. The heat is removed by a combination of wind driven evaporation from the surface and LWIR emission from the first 100 micron layer. That’s about the width of a human hair. In round numbers, about 50 W.m^-2 is removed from the ocean surface by the LWIR flux and the balance comes from the wind driven evaporation. The heat capacity of the cooled layer at the surface is quite small – 4.2 kJ.m^-2 for a 1 mm layer. This reacts quite rapidly to any changes in the cooling flux and the heat transfer from the bulk ocean below and the evaporation rate change accordingly. The cooler water produce at the surface then sinks and cools the bulk ocean layer below. This is not just a diffusion process, but convection in which the cooler water sinks and warmer rises in a complex circulating flow pattern (Rayleigh-Benard convection). This couples the surface momentum (wind shear) to lower depths and drives the ocean currents. At higher latitudes the surface area of a sphere decreases and this drives the currents to lower depths.
In round numbers, the temperature increase produced by a 2 W.m^-2 increase in LWIR flux from CO2 is overwhelmed by a 50 ± 50 W.m^-2 flux of cold water and a 0 to 1000 W.m^-2 solar heating flux.
Over the tropical warm pool the wind driven cooling rate is about 40 W.m^-2.m.s^-1 (40 Watts per square meter for each 1 m/sec change in wind speed). This means that a change in wind speed of 20 cm.s^-1 is equivalent to the global warming heat flux. (20 centimeters per second).
There is a lot of useful information on ocean surface evaporation on the Woods Hole website http://oaflux.whoi.edu/data.html
The heat content of the first 700 m layer of the ocean is of little concern in climate studies. It is the first 100 to 200 m depth that matters. About half of the increase in heat content occurs in the first 100 m layer. This is shown in Figure 2 of the 2012 Levitus paper.
The ocean warming fraud goes back to the early global warming models. In their 1967 paper, Manabe and Wetherald used a ‘blackbody surface’ with ‘zero heat capacity’. They created the global warming scam as a mathematical artifact of their modeling assumptions. These propagated into the Charney Report in 1979. Then an ‘ocean layer’ was added to the model. The layer had thermal properties such as heat capacity and thermal diffusion, but the CO2 flux increase had to magically heat the oceans. This is computational climate fiction. Any computer model that predicts ocean warming from CO2 is by definition fraudulent. The fraud can be found in Hansen’s 1981 Science paper and has continued ever since.
Hansen, J.; D. Johnson, A. Lacis, S. Lebedeff, P. Lee, D. Rind and G. Russell Science 213 957-956 (1981), ‘Climate impact of increasing carbon dioxide’ http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha04600x.html
For a more detailed discussion see:
Clark, R., 2013a, Energy and Environment 24(3, 4) 319-340 (2013) ‘A dynamic coupled thermal reservoir approach to atmospheric energy transfer Part I: Concepts’
Clark, R., 2013b, Energy and Environment 24(3, 4) 341-359 (2013) ‘A dynamic coupled thermal reservoir approach to atmospheric energy transfer Part II: Applications’
There is also a lot of good stuff on his Ventura Photonics website here.