Just been reading Climate: The Counter Consensus (Stacey International) the new book by Bob Carter – that’s New Zealand’s Professor Robert M Carter to you, mate: he’s one of the world’s leading palaeoclimatologists – and it’s a cracker. By the end, you’re left feeling rather as I did after the Heartland Conference, that the scientific case against AGW is so overwhelming that you wonder how anyone can still speak up for so discredited a theory without dying of embarrassment.
All the same, it’s good to be reminded now and again why the “consensus” thinking on AGW simply doesn’t stand up. There are so many excellent examples from Prof Carter’s book, I might be forced to spread them out over several blogs.
Take his chapter on the oceans. The other day some troll or other was brandishing a figure he’d got from NOAA, showing that the sea was warming. Well bully for you troll, but if you understand at all how climate works that fact does precisely zilch to support the case for AGW. Why?
The good Prof explains:
The ocean covers more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface and over much of its area it is 3-5km deep. Comprising water, which is one thousand times denser than air the ocean has far more mass than the atmosphere – notwithstanding that the atmosphere covers the entire planet and is 50 km high to the top of the stratosphere. The result of this is that the ocean has a much greater heat capacity than the atmosphere, specifically 3,300 times more. Put another way, all the heat energy contained in the atmosphere is matched by the heat content of only the upper 3.2 metres of the worldwide ocean.
Another consequence is that water requires much more energy to heat it up than does air. On a volume/volume basis, the ratio of heat capacities is, of course, 3,300 to 1. One practical result of this is that it is almost impossible for the atmosphere to exert a significant heating effect on the ocean, as is often asserted to by promoters of global warming alarm. For to heat one litre of water by 1 degree C will take 3,300 litres of air that was 2 degrees hotter, or one litre of air that was 3,300 degrees hotter, neither of which is a very common scenario in our every day weather system. Instead it is the ocean that controls the warmth of the lower atmosphere, in three main ways: namely, through direct contact, by infrared radiation from the ocean surface and by the removal of latent heat by evaporation.
Prof Carter goes on to explain that the time scales in which the oceans absorb, recirculate and re-emit heat are often much larger than is dreamt of in the Warmists’ philosophy.
….Major time lags are built into the climate system such that a warming or cooling event that occurs today (say the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1976/1977 which corresponded to a worldwide step increase in temperature of about 0.2 degrees C) may be reflecting a change in heat energy that was stored in the ocean hundreds of years ago…
Indeed, he says, some scientists suggest that the rise in atmospheric CO2 in the Twentieth Century may represent ocean outgassing caused as long ago as the Medieval Warm Period.
And if you think his disquisition on the oceans drives a coach and horses through the Warmists’ AGW doom religion, wait till you hear what he has to say in his chapter on Computer Modeling.