Peter Sinclair, creator of the immensely popular and very informative Climate Denial Crock of the Week videos, has begun producing works for the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media. The first installment features Josh Willis, sea level expert, discussing the reason for the temporary drop in sea level from 2010 to 2011. Good stuff.
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Thanks for the ammo!
Yes, very well done. Willis points to areas of the globe that have received heavy rain to make his point that the water from the oceans was transferred to land. This very well may be happening, but his argument would be more convincing if he presented data showing total global precipitation was in fact well above normal over the past year or two. I think the data exists:
@ B. Buckner
I think you’re misreading that. I read it as they have tropical data but the global effort is just getting off the ground (sorry).
“The GPM Core Observatory is scheduled for launch in mid-2013.”
On the other hand, perhaps the oceans are cooling, and therefore contracting:
“”The current weather pattern fits earlier predictions of computer models for how the atmosphere responds to the loss of sea ice due to global warming,” said Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “The ice-free areas of the ocean act like a heater as the water is warmer than the Arctic air above it.” by Steve Connor, The Independent (U.K.), February 4, 2012
In other words, the oceans are cooling due to the shrinking Artctic ice.
Looked at the specific heat values for air vs. water lately?
Actually, what I really should have asked is “Looked at the relative masses of the Arctic Ocean and the atmospheric column above it lately?” Or, for that matter, the product of the two properties?
And actually, even that isn’t right–since you’d have to compare the mass of the world ocean with a subset of the atmospheric column above the Arctic Ocean (ie., the portion newly ice-free.)
The oceans (and planet) are warmed in the tropics by sunlight that is directly overhead. Ocean currents flowing to the north expose the water to cooler temperatures and heat is transferred from warm water to the cooler atmosphere. The highest contrast between warm water and cold air occurs in winter in the north Atlantic and north of Norway and Russia where the ice cap extent has retreated most dramatically. Hence enhanced cooling of the ocean waters.
I believe this is straight forward accepted science. Integrated over the globe, the GCMs do exactly what you say above about heat transfer from the oceans to the atmosphere.
Golly Gee Willickers, Buckner. You gonna do a post on “Our Friend the Sun,” next?
Point being, you can’t jump uncritically from ‘more radiation from newly-open Arctic waters’ to ‘oceans as a whole must be cooling,’ much less ‘that’s why SLR is falling.’
Really interesting little piece. I especially like the way they are able to use GRACE to sort out mass loss effects from heat content effects. Very cool.
I’ve been a fan of Peter’s blog and videos for a while now. He really does do a good job of getting to the facts of an issue.