Ocean Indicators Suggest CO2 Isn’t the Strongest Driver of Climate

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Most recent NOAA Sea surface temperatures, note the lack of oranges and reds:

From the website CO2 is Life:

The Most Powerful Evidence Climate Scientists Have of Global Warming…Rules Out CO2 as the Cause



We have mentioned countless times on this blog that the warming oceans are evidence that CO2 is not the cause of global warming. To understand the climate you must first understand the oceans. The oceans control the global climate. As the oceans warm, they warm and alter the humidity of the atmosphere above them. The problem is, as we have pointed out countless times, CO2’s only defined mechanism by which to affect climate change is through the thermalization of LWIR between 13 and 18µ.

LWIR between 13 and 18µ doesn’t penetrate or warm the oceans. Visible radiation, mainly from the high energy blue end of the spectrum does. CO2 is transparent to incoming visible radiation. The energy stored in the atmosphere and land is insignificant when compared to the oceans. The oceans contain 2,000x the energy of the atmosphere, so small changes to the oceans can mean big changes in the atmospheric temperature. The oceans also produce vast amounts of CO2 (20 x the amount man produces), and the most abundant and potent greenhouse gas, water vapor.

The warming oceans are evidence that CO2 ISN’T the cause of the recent warming. Oceans are warmed by more incoming radiation reaching them, and that is in fact what has been happening (Click Here). It is extremely easy to explain the recent warming due to natural causes, explanation that is backed by the evidence (Click Here), not just uneducated highly biased and conflicted opinions.

How does “Inside Climate News” report on the issue of the warming oceans? They claim that the warming oceans are the greatest evidence of fossil fuels caused global warming.

The Most Powerful Evidence Climate Scientists Have of Global Warming
The oceans hold the story of a planet warming as fossil fuels are burned

Clearly, they don’t understand the physics supporting the warming of the oceans and GHG effect, but, let’s have a look at how “Inside Climate News” defends such ignorance.

They claim to have all the proof in 4 charts:

Here is what scientists have discovered, in four charts.

Chart #1:


No one argues that the oceans are warming, they are. Warming oceans aren’t evidence that CO2 is causing the warming. As stated above, LWIR between 13 and 18µ doesn’t penetrate or warm the oceans. “Inside Climate News” offers no explanation as to how CO2 and LWIR between 13 and 18µ could possibly warm the oceans. As mentioned above, post-1992, cleaner air has resulted in more warming visible radiation warming of the oceans, not CO2. Funny how “Inside Climate News” forgot to mention that.


Chart #2:


This graphic validates the incoming visible radiation warms the oceans theory. CO2 is transparent to incoming warming visible radiation. While it is correct that Greenhouse gases do absorb much of the outgoing radiation, CO2 is insignificant in the lower atmosphere. The first CO2 signature is identified at an altitude of about 3 km when H2O starts to precipitate out of the atmosphere. MODTRAN demonstrates that CO2 has zero impact on the energy budget in the lower atmosphere as long as H2O is present. The following MODTRAN reports show that doubling CO2 from 400 ppm to 800 ppm results in zero change to the 407.572 W/M^2 of outgoing radiation in the lower atmosphere. A zero change. Funny how “Inside Climate News” forgot to mention that. Who do you trust more? A computer program or “Inside Climate News.”

Chart #3:


Okay, I got it, the oceans are warming…but what does that have to do with CO2? The Oceans naturally go through cycles like El Niño and La Niña, but those aren’t caused by CO2. There was a strong El Niño, and ocean temperatures are rapidly returning to normal. CO2 has nothing to do with the ocean cycles. “Inside Climate News” conveniently choose the time period leading up to the El Niño, and forgot to mention what happened after. Funny how “Inside Climate News” forgot to mention that. (H/T Real Science)


Satellite data also shows atmospheric temperatures tightly tied to ocean cycles. Note how fast temperatures are falling post-El Niño. How can CO2 explain that? CO2 can’t cause temperature spikes, nor can it cause rapid cooling. CO2 simply can’t explain the volatility in the temperature chart. Current temperatures are below the levels set in 1998, 1996, 1990, 1988 and in line with temperatures of 1983. How can CO2 explain that, given its increase over that time period?


Chart #4:


Wow, thermal expansion of the oceans also results in a rising sea level. We can kill two birds with one stone using one single “Inside Climate News” article. If CO2 can’t cause the oceans to warm, it can’t cause thermal expansion, so it isn’t causing the increase in sea level. BTW, the sea levels aren’t rising at an increasing rate, so this is a Strawman anyway. Here is the tidal chart of Battery Park at the South end of Manhatten. It shows no increase in the rate at all going way back to 1850. Sea levels have in fact paused since 1998, and the current level is below the level reached in the late 1950s. Sea levels BTW sea levels are increasing at a rate of less than 3mm/yr. Do the math, Manhatten is at no risk of sinking anytime soon. Funny how “Inside Climate News” forgot to mention that.


More on this topic

More on this topic 2

Meanwhile, ocean air temperatures are back down to levels before the most recent El Nino started:

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The May update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are already posted for May. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

UAH May2018

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

The anomalies have reached the same levels as 2015.  Taking a longer view, we can look at the record since 1995, that year being an ENSO neutral year and thus a reasonable starting point for considering the past two decades.  On that basis we can see the plateau in ocean temps is persisting. Since last October all oceans have cooled, with upward bumps in Feb. 2018, now erased.

More here at Science Matters.


4 thoughts on “Ocean Indicators Suggest CO2 Isn’t the Strongest Driver of Climate

  1. So just what is it you are saying, global warming is not a man-made problem? Really? Are we therefore about to survive global warming without having a massive species kill-off, including humanity? Looking at your picture it won’t matter to you, you’ll be dead before the wildfires consume more land areas than they already are. The rising oceans that are melting the polar icecaps, or versa vice, causing flooding at sea level all over the globe, this isn’t going to affect humanity. We just move inland a thousand miles, concentrating the population of the earth in smaller areas, losing food-producing land so people will not have as much to eat, or as clean water to drink!
    Reading your post says nothing about the future, but I think you believe there will be one for humanity. Too bad you’ll never know how wrong you are…


    • I looks like you’ve been taken in by the Climate Alarmist propaganda, which is mostly opinion plus cherry picked data.

      In reality – if you look at the actual data – global warming has been going on naturally in cycles with global cooling. We now are warming, coming out of the Little Ice Age which ended maybe 150 years ago. Species kill-off? No, when I was a kid, we used to call these warm day a great day to go to the beach. Wildfires are natural. It’s the ‘Smokey BEAR’ suppression which ended making the conflagrations bad for the time being, until all the dead underbrush gets burned off. The Ice caps grow and recede – right now they’re growing a little bit. Look at the data instead of listening to people like Hockey Stick, Im a Nobel Laureate’ Mike Mann’s opinion.

      Yes, I’m dying. I said so last month. Please don’t make fun of it.


      • This was my first journey to your blog, and past writings have no bearing on my words. I was merely discussing your age, which is probably around mine. I too expect to die soon. I am not afraid of death.
        This much I can say: For the sake of life on this planet, I hope humanity dies soon! We are arrogant beings who think we own this world. We do not. If we cannot learn to live in harmony with other living beings, and we have not in some 100,000 years or more, then we are a failed evolutionary branch, and life abhors failure.
        “Wildfires are natural.” Please tell that to the plants and animals who died this year from a fire that will be determined to have started from some fool human throwing a lit cigarette butt out a window, lighting a fire that destroyed over 320,000 hectares of prime boreal forest, including billions of lives. Nature helped, being as there had been very little rain this year in an area prone to a lot of rain–BUT what really caused the rain to go away? When rain is natural, especially in muskeg territory, don’t look to blame nature when it gets destroyed. Cleaning up the underbrush? Bullshit! The underbrush has been there as long as the forest has. It is home to millions of species of life. There wss no need to destroy and renew. Renewal will take a minimun 20 years. How much carbon and carbon dioxide will not get cleaned from the air in those 20 plus years?
        Keep on talking your twisted scientific logic, humans are to blame. And the world is punishing us for our arrogance. Try listening to the tears of nature, their voices are much stronger than science…


      • I’m 73, with CA, but I appear to be enjoying life, my wife, 2 kids, and 5 grand kids more than you. Sorry you’re not a happy person. BTW, I didn’t take offense.

        California has a rainy season and a drought season. The camp fire was during the drought season. Yes, some underbrush is natural, but after 50 years of fire suppression, there is so much that the fires have plenty of tinder to start and keep going. SOME people still smoke, and some people are careless. Yes, ugh!

        You hate the human race and want itto die off so that the rest of the planet to thrive. I disagree, but I get it. But, it does kind of end the conversation, doesn’t it?

        CO2 is NOT the control knob. CO2 rise follows temperature rise. BTW, CO2 rise over the last 30 years has caused about a 14% greening of the planet, which seems to me to be a plus. The burden of proof is on you and yours to show that CO2 is bad. Not opinion. Not cherry picked data. Not models which are not data and which have failed to predict actual measured temperatures.

        Species going extinct? Where ar the bodies? Which species?


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