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Dueling Scientists in The Oregonian, Settled by Nuccitelli et al. (2012)

Posted on 4 February 2013 by dana1981

David Appell has covered an interesting story with dueling scientists writing climate-related letters published in The Oregonian newspaper.  It began with the newspaper publishing an opinion-editorial written by Gordon Fulks, who lives in Corbett, Oregon and has a background in physics.  The editorial was full of conspiracy theories, inflammatory language, and several long-debunked climate myths.  Among them was the myth that global warming stopped 15 years ago.

Oregon State climate scientist Andreas Schmittner responded with a letter to the editor, which focused primarily on debunking that particular myth.

"Fulks claims that global temperatures have not risen during the past 15 years. This is not true. Most heat trapped by carbon dioxide and other gases added to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, as clearly seen in measurements available at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website ... Fulks flunks climate science. He cherry-picks information that supports his conclusion and ignores the rest. That's not science."

Schmittner is of course entirely correct on this issue, and it's critical to examine ocean heat content (OHC), because that's where over 90% of global warming goes.  However, University of Rochester (New York) physics professor David Douglass decided to weigh in with his own letter to The Oregonian, supporting Fulks' climate misinformation with several factually incorrect statements of his own, including this one:

"My colleagues and I have actually analyzed and published papers using this [NOAA ocean heat content] data. We find no evidence of the earth warming."

This statement likely refers to Douglass & Knox (2012), which used NOAA OHC data from the upper 700 meter ocean layer to try and find evidence of "climate shifts".  The paper argues that two of those "shifts" occurred in approximately 2002 and 2009, and that between those years, there was very little OHC increase (in the uppermost 700 meters of oceans).  It is worth noting that 2002–2009 is of course only about half of the 15-year period during which Douglass claims OHC and global warming did not increase, so his claims in The Oregonian are indisputably factually wrong.

We at Skeptical Science are very familiar with the paper in question, because our paper Nuccitelli et al. (2012) was a comment on Douglass & Knox (2012).  We pointed out that although the OHC increase in the upper 700 meters has slowed slightly in recent years, that is because more heat has been transferred to the 700–2000 meter ocean layer (Figures 1 and 2).

Fig 1

Figure 1: Land, atmosphere, and ice heating (red), 0-700 meter OHC increase (light blue), 700-2,000 meter OHC increase (dark blue).  From Nuccitelli et al. (2012).

OHC

Figure 2: Comparison of Global Heat Content 0-700 meters layer vs. 0-2000 meters layer, from the National Oceanographic Data Center.

For those who would like to analyze the data for themselves, the NOAA OHC data are available here.

Given my familiarity with this research and data as the lead author of Nuccitelli et al. (2012), I sent my own letter to The Oregonian editor, and they were kind enough to publish it, though they edited it a bit first.  Here is the unedited version:

On January 29th, a letter from professor David Douglass was published claiming that based on his analysis of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), there has been no global warming over the past 15 years.  Last year, my colleagues and I published a correction to Professor Douglass' research, showing that there is no sign that global warming has even slowed in the NODC data.

In fact, heat is accumulating in the Earth's climate system due to the increased greenhouse effect at a faster rate today than it was 15 years ago, and the energy is equivalent to detonating four Hiroshima atomic bombs per second, every second over the past 15 years. 

Oregon State's Professor Schmittner was entirely correct to note that global warming has continued at a very rapid rate over this timespan. 

For more information, see http://www.sks.to/16years.

Dana Nuccitelli

Although there is no truth to the claim that global warming magically stopped 15 (or 16) years ago, the myth is remarkably pervasive.  In fact, Douglass asserted that "Most climate scientists agree that that the earth has not warmed during the past 15 years", which of course is not even remotely true.

It is true that global surface temperatures have warmed at a relatively slow rate (though they have indeed most likely warmed) over the past ~15 years, due in part to a preponderance of El Niño events in the 1990s and a preponderance of La Niña events in the 2000s, due in part to increased heat accumulation in the deeper ocean layers, and due to several other contributing factors. 

However, as Kevin C showed in his excellent video, the underlying human-caused global warming trend remains steady beneath the short-term noise, and as we showed in Nuccitelli et al. (2012), global heat accumulation has not slowed at all.  In fact, heat has accumulated in the climate system at a faster rate over the last 15 years than it did in the previous 15 years.

Nevertheless, we expect to continue playing whack-a-mole with this zombie of a myth, which climate contrarians will simply not let die.  However, the claim is nothing more than denial, pure and simple, based on cherrypicking and ignoring inconvenient data, as professor Schmittner correctly noted.

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Comments 51 to 85 out of 85:

  1. Dana @8

    The professor is Dr. Christopher Fletcher, an associate professor at UW.

    To my knowledge, this new course is the first undergraduate climate modeling class offered at the university, so SkS is featured right at the debut

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  2. (-snip-)
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Again, the onus is on you to address the concerns put forth by Tom Curtis in comments 38 and 42. Arguing about moderation and erecting yet more strawmen fabrications is unhelpful to communicating your position in a convincing fashion. Please thoroughly review the Comments Policy and ensure your comments comply with it. Your next step after that is to either fully address those concerns noted in 38 and 42 or acknowledge their accuracy.
  3. Rob @50

    >"Sorry but everyone is answering your questions"

    Rubbish, (-snip-)

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    Moderator Response: [DB] Your continued avoidance of dealing with the concerns identified cements them. Additionally, your then repeating your strawman claims now cross the line into sloganeering, a tactic delineated in the Comments Policy (which you were counseled to read thoroughly) as being off-limits and thus mandating further moderation.
  4. Richard C (NZ) - You (nobody else) are the one who has attempted to recast others statements into (paraphrasing) "heat (net energy) moves from atmosphere to ocean". No-one else. That makes your argument against the (never made) claim a strawman argument on your part.

    Other readers: Greenhouse gases (GHG) cause the oceans to warm because they slow the flow of energy to space. Think of the energy situation as a river - from the headwaters (sun) to the Earth (mid-stream) to the ocean (space). Beavers (GHG's) build a dam; not surprisingly waters rise (Earth energy/temperature increases) until flow out of midstream (Earth) matches flow into it.

    Richard C (NZ) is attempting to recast a slowing of energy into an upstream pumping, then arguing against that. It's ridiculous, a claim never posed, and he is simply raising a strawman.

    Further attempts to dilute/confuse by multiple questions (see above) are merely obfuscation and a Failure to State fallacy. Certainly not a serious argument, supported by anything factual.

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  5. IMO Richard C appears to have doubled down on all three conceptual errors I suggested he was committing upthread (with an amendment to the first error).

    To whit:

    (1) I suggested error #1 was a differing operational definition of "heat/energy". I should like to amend this to a different operational definition of heat/energy transfer. As elucidated by Tom Curtis, Richard is working off an incorrect assumption of what people here are actually claiming - his so-called "Nuticelli/Schmittner/Rahmstorf atm>>ocean heat transfer effect" that he is asking questions about. IMO Richard C is misinterpreting colloquial descriptions of the effects of the enhanced greenhouse effect (unreasonably so - since when does a letter to the editor need to meet the standards of a paper submitted to PNAS?) and mistaking them for novel proposals of heat transfer from the atmosphere to the ocean.

    (2) Richard has continued to ignore the First Law of Thermodynamics. The extra energy in the oceans has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is, parsimoniously, the extra energy building up in the Earth system as a result of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Various other posters have noted how this occurs, without reference to any nonphyisical mechanism that Richard C seems to think is being proposed and is therefore asking questions about.

    (3) Still backwards. As has now been pointed out again, and again, and again, all known or posited mechanisms for heat to build up in the ocean result from it failing to escape the ocean. In no case is the build up of heat in the ocean caused directly by warming from the atmosphere.

    As far as I can see no one owes Richard C answers to his questions, because they are based on the above conceptual errors. 

    (Incidentally, it appears the physics of the cool skin layer have been well described since at least 1967, although finding that paper online escapes me at the moment. The paper itself is Saunders, P.M., The temperature at the ocean-air interface, J. Atmos. Sci., 24 , 269-273, 1967.)

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    Moderator Response: [DB] An accessible copy of Saunders 1967 can be found here.
  6. Richard @53...  Yes, no one is answering question-by-question because you're entire premise is faulty.  That's just not the answer you were looking for.

    Honestly, Tom totally nailed it before.  

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  7. Composer99 - Google Scholar is your friend: Saunders 1967.

    Note to everyone looking for primary sources: Google Scholar is an excellent source for finding papers. I consider it one of my starting points for any academic search.

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  8. >"Richard C (NZ) is attempting to recast a slowing of energy into an upstream pumping"

    Not at all, I'm simply inferring from the quotes what the process is that they are describing. It is clear that there are 2 processes being subscribed to, a) insulation (or "slowing" of ocean => atm transfer), and b) atm => ocean transfer (or "upstream pumping"). Comments here at SkS seem to be in favour of a) but at odds with b) which is the Schmittner/Rahmstorf proicess by inference.

    Process b) is the reasonable inferrance from the quotes (except perhaps Dana's but that is for him to clarify) and so my 6 questions are in terms of b) obviously because I'm not taking issue with a) in this thread and I made that clear from the outset.

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  9. KR - Richard C is aware of the peer-reviewed literature on this subject - I have provided links to him on Saunders and especially Fairall (1996) some time ago.

    Note this part of the abstract text:

    "For an average over 70 days sampled during COARE, the cool skin increases  the average atmospheric  heat input to the ocean by about 11 W m-2; the warm layer decreases it by about 4 W m -2 (but the effect can be 50 W m -2 at midday)"

    (edit) No doubt this could likewise be misconstrued to mean something other than Fairall intended.
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  10. Richard C @58, process (b) is not a reasonable inference from the quotes, and would only seem so if you do not understand how the greenhouse effect works.  Each of the quotes you select says, in slightly different ways, heat trapped by the greenhouse effect is predominantly stored in the oceans.  You can only understand such statements if you know how the greenhouse effect traps heat - which plainly you do not.

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  11. Richard C (NZ) - "I'm simply inferring" == recasting statements into something else.

    None of the various quotes you are repeating state your strawman argument, only your (re)interpretation thereof into different statements entirely. GHG's cause the oceans to warm - not by "upstream pumping", but by slowing heat loss. Claiming 2nd law violations is simply semantic nonsense on your part.

    Repeating your fallicious argument does not improve it.

    ---

    Rob Painting - "Richard C is aware of the peer-reviewed literature on this subject...". I find myself not at all surprised. His continued repetition of strawman arguments does not support a reasonable discussion on his part. 

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  12. Composer99 at 14:27 PM on 6 February, 2013

    >”In no case is the build up of heat in the ocean caused directly by warming from the atmosphere.”

    Thank you Composer99, I agree with you. That is certainly not a process I subscribe to either but that process is what Andrea Schmittner and Stefan Rahmstorf describe by inference from their quotes and Dana states Andrea is “correct”.

    Hence my questions asking for the basis for the Schmittner/Rahmstorf process (“build up of heat in the ocean caused directly by warming from the atmosphere” by inference) from literature among other things.

    You are saying in effect that the understanding that Schmittner and Rahmstorf convey by their quotes is incorrect unless you dispute my inference. If you do, lets go through those two quotes element-by-element to extract the actual meaning using my inference and your process above (“In no case is….”):-

    Schmittner – “Most heat trapped by carbon dioxide and other gases added to the atmosphere ["warming in the atmosphere"] is absorbed by [an atm => ocean heat transfer process] the oceans ["build up of heat in the ocean"]”

    Rahmstorf – ”heat ["warming from the atmosphere"] penetrates faster into [an atm => ocean heat transfer process] the oceans ["build up of heat in the ocean"] in a warmer climate”

    Both of these quotes conform to your “In no case is….” process and my “atm => ocean heat transfer” inference. Neither describe an insulation effect.

    Now we’re making progress.

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  13. "Now we’re making progress."  I wouldn't get too excited.

    How do you propose that the additional heat in the oceans is getting there?

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  14.  
    >"...process (b) is not a reasonable inference from the quotes"
     
    Please see #62 for my element-by-element matching of the quotes with my inference and what Composer99 disputes in relation to them (Note I agree with him on that).
     
    If you dispute that analysis please provide a similar extraction of meaning element-by-element.
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  15. Richard C, you may becoming confused as the result of a simple, and pervasive analogy.

    Consider the following diagram:

    It represents a water tank, with the water level within the tank controlled by flow from two taps.  Suppose the tank is initially in equilibrium, so that water flowing from the upper tap is exactly matched by water flowing from the lower tap, such that the water level does not change.  We then alter the situation by slightly closing the lower tap.  That initially results in a decrease in flow.  The resulting disequilibrium  results in an increase in water level, which in turn results in an increase in pressure at the level of the lower tap.  That increase in pressure results in the velocity of the water in the tap increasing, until eventually the increased velocity compensates for the decreased aparture, resulting the the flow through the two taps matching again, and a restoration of equilibrium.

    In this situation, it is natural to say that the lower tap has trapped more water.

    But what does that mean?

    It does not mean that water enters the tap and does not leave it.  Indeed, water entering the tap now spends less time in the tap than previously, not more.

    It does not mean the water occupies a greater volume in the tap.  On the contrary, the closing of the faucet means the volume of water in the tap has decreased slightly.

    If you think that "the tap has trapped more water" means something exclusively about the tap and the water, you are inevitably confused.

    In fact, "the tap has trapped more water" means only that the volume of water in the reservoir controlled by the tap has increased.

    In a similar example, if we here that a dam has trapped water, we do not think of the dam wall seizing water molecules and not letting go.  We know that in this case the metaphore indicates that the volume of water in the reservoir has increased.

    In exactly the same way, Schmittner's statement has nothing to do with the amount of heat retained by individual CO2 molecules, nor yet with the duration that they retain excess heat captured in the form of IR radiation.  Rather, it is about the trapping of heat in the various heat reservoirs at the Earth's surface.  The largest such reservoir is, of course, the ocean.

    So, what Schmittner said was, most heat build up in the surface heat reservoirs as a result of CO2 is in the ocean.

    Rahmstorf is even simpler:

    "heat [from the sun] penetrates faster into [sun => ocean heat transfer process] the oceans in a warmer climate [because it does not escapes so easilly]."

     

    Clearly your glosses on Schmittner and Rahmstorf's comments are not necessary semantically.  They are therefore solely your interpretation, and interpretation which as previously noted shows a gross misunderstanding of the greenhouse effect.

    It is really time you put up or shut up on my challenge.  You are plainly unable to produce quotes that would clarrify things in favour of your interpretation - something that should give you pause.  Failing that, you should contact Rahmstorf and Schmittner and seek clarrification; or admit your error. 

    Alternatively, as you have previously said:

    "Dana and Andreas would appear to be on the same page re the quote from Andreas so it seems reasonable to accept Dana's interpretation of Andreas' process."

    Would you accept Dana's word for it?  Or are you so wedded to your straw man that no evidence, and no lack of evidence in your support, will divorce you from it?

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  16. Rob P #59

    Fairall's "average atmospheric heat input to the ocean" term in the abstract includes solar radiative energy input to the ocean (the greater flux by far). That radiation energy is transfomed to heat energy only after absorption in the water so they're stating net corrections of different sources and forms of energy in the abstract, not necessarily heat form or atm source as per their term. Their term is a catch-all for the SIDE of the interface that the NET energy inputs from including solar-sourced radiative energy.

    Page 10 Fairall,

    4.2. Effects on the Average COARE Energy Budget
    Using the Moana Wave data, we have computed mean
    bulk-derived values for sensible and latent heat fluxes.
    When combined with net solar and IR radiative fluxes, these
    yield a value to the total heat supplied by the atmosphere to
    the surface of the ocean: Equation (32)

    Again, my questions are not in respect to Peter Minnett's cool-skin insulation effect because that is not the process that Andreas and Stefan describe (see #62, #64).

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  17. Yup, the Fairall paper describes what I have explained multiple times in this thread already. This is not surprising because I was the one who drew this to your attention in the first place.

    As for Stefan Rahmstorf, I know for a fact that he ascribes to the mainstream view that greenhouse gases warm the ocean through the reduced thermal gradient in the cool-skin layer. He was involved in a disagreement between myself and other commenters on Real Climate some months back and made his views on this known. Is it really any surprise that he agrees with the established research?

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  18. Tom #65

    Great, now we're getting to what Andreas and Stephan are describing and it's clear that totally different inferences can be extracted e.g Rahmstorf.

    You,

    "Rahmstorf – heat [from the sun] penetrates faster into [sun => ocean heat transfer process] the oceans in a warmer climate [because it does not escapes so easilly]."

    Are you seriously implying by this inference that radiative penetration of sea water is faster at 15 C ambient atm temperature say than 14 C ? The speed of EM radiation being the speed of light in both cases.

    Or parephrasing - radiation from the sun penetrates faster into the oceans in a warmer climate because it does not escape so easily? That does not make sense.

    Me,

    Rahmstorf – ”heat ["warming from the atmosphere"] penetrates faster into [an atm => ocean heat transfer process] the oceans ["build up of heat in the ocean"] in a warmer climate”

    I'm sure Stefan is referring to heat in the atmosphere (global warming) as his heat source because the full quote from RC is:-

    "This increase in the rate of sea-level rise is a logical consequence of global warming, since ice melts faster and heat penetrates faster into the oceans in a warmer climate."

    My inference makes much more sense irrespective of whether the inferred process is valid or not.

    Now Schmittner.

    Me,

    Schmittner – “Most heat trapped by carbon dioxide and other gases added to the atmosphere ["warming in the atmosphere"] is absorbed by [an atm => ocean heat transfer process] the oceans ["build up of heat in the ocean"]”

    You,

    Schmittner – “Most heat trapped by carbon dioxide and other gases added to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans"

    Your inference,

    >"what Schmittner said was, most heat build up in the surface heat reservoirs as a result of CO2 is in the ocean."

    Your inference firstly neglects heat trapped in the atmosphere by CO2 and other gases (according to Andreas) and secondly neglects his "absorbed by" atm => ocean heat transfer process. The inference is best made using the quote as per Rahmstorf otherwise the quote will inevitably be misconstued as it has been in this interpretation.

     

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  19. Rob P #67

    <"As for Stefan Rahmstorf, I know for a fact that he ascribes to the mainstream view that greenhouse gases warm the ocean through the reduced thermal gradient in the cool-skin layer."

    You will be able to provide a reference then. That would be helpful to reconcile (or not) his quote with that reference.

    I note though that the IPCC has not adopted that "mainstream view" specifically - why not? The purpose of assessment reports is to compile and communicate such views is it not?

    In regard to the insulation effect, have thermodynamic calculations been done to support the approx 18x10^22 J OHC accumulation using that effect as the basis and if so where is the documentation?

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  20. You will be able to provide a reference then

    Yup. From here:

    [Response: I try a different way. To your point 3 the answer is yes - the ocean surface is on average warmer than the overlying air, because the ocean absorbs a lot of heat from the sun, part of which it passes on to the air above. Your confusion arises simply because we are now discussing how the bulk of the ocean below the skin layer gets heated. Thus we are talking not about the gradient between sea surface and overlying air, but we are talking about the gradient through the skin - i.e., the water temperature difference between the top and bottom of the skin layer, which controls how heat flows across this layer, from the bulk of ocean water below to the surface. Obviously, if you heat the top of the skin layer, this reduces the heat flow across this layer from below. Clear? Or still confusing? -stefan] …

    I think this rather ridiculous strawman argument has reached the end of its shelf life. 

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  21. Rob Painting @70, we should now be able to expect Richard C to apologize for wasting our time with his peverse misinterpretations.  Why then, do I expect him to continue arguing, even against so clear a statement as that you quoted from Rahmstorf?

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  22. Thanks, DB & KR!

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  23. Moderators - With respect to the repeated misinterpretations of others statements (despite correction), the strawman arguments that have been posted over and over, should the "Comments should avoid excessive repetition"  Comment Policy be applied here?

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    Moderator Response: [DB] Agreed. The sloganeering/excess repetition portion of the Comments Policy is now in effect on this thread, due to need.
  24. Son of Krypton @51 - thanks for the information, that's very cool.

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  25. Rob, thanks for the link to the Real Climate exchange, very enlightening. After re-reading this thread and looking at the RC thread, it seems more and more obvious that what comes from Richard C(NZ) is best described as amateurish obfuscation a la maniere de G&T. Thermodynamics wins again, unsurprisingly.

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  26. My take: Sun's shortwave penetrates several meters into the ocean warming the subsurface layer. Increasing the GHG in atmosphere has result of increasing LW, heating the surface layer, restricting the heat transfer from warmer layers through the surface layer. This results in warmer lower layers in the ocean. Furthermore, convection moves heat deeper into the ocean. By contrast on land, you dont have much convection so surface just increases in temperature.

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  27. Richard:

    Further to your comment #76, you still appear to be missing the point by insisting that "This is a fundamentally different process Stefan [Rahmstorf] is describing as compared to the cool-skin phenomenon".

    Please provide a cite in the literature where he does as you claim. If you are extracting the quote you are going on about from a blog comment, the parsimonious explanation is that Rahmstorf is writing in a more colloquial manner (which happens from time to time on a blog, oddly enough).

    In addition, you & Steven Sadlow appear to make an error of scaling. The oceans are ~70% of the Earth's surface area and the lion's share of Earth's overall heat capacity (*). An "insignificant" change in cool skin temperatures, causing a slight energy imbalance (such that the ocean cannot shed energy as easily, therefore retaining it), can easily result in an enormous change in ocean energy content, especiallly if the energy imbalance occurs over, say, a 40+ year period.

    By way of example, NASA indicates the radiative imbalance at top-of-atmosphere is 0.8 W m-2 across the entire surface area of the Earth. It's not a big number in and of itself, but it means that the Earth retains (approximately) an additional 408 million Joules more than it radiates out to space, each and every second.

    (*) From the abstract of Schwartz 2007 ("Heat Capacity, Time Constant, and Sensitivity of Earth's Climate System"):

    The heat capacity of the global ocean, obtained from regression of ocean heat content vs. global mean surface temperature, GMST, is 14 ± 6 W yr m-2 K-1, equivalent to 110 m of ocean water; other sinks raise the effective planetary heat capacity to 17 ± 7 W yr m-2 K-1 (all uncertainties are 1-sigma estimates).

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  28. In his Oregonian letter, Nuccitelli refers to Nuccitelli et al 2012 (Physics Letters A 376 (2012) 3466-3468). Douglass and Knox responded to Nuccitelli et al in Physics Letters A 376 (2012) 3673–3675. Has there been a response to Douglass and Knox?

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  29. I repeat my question of 14th April. Nuccitelli et al 2012 (Physics Letters A 376 (2012) 3466-3468) is often cited on Sceptical Science, but this paper has been "refuted" by Douglass and Knox in Physics Letters A 376 (2012) 3673–3675. Has there been a response to Douglass and Knox? If not, are there any plans to respond? Without a response, it is inappropriate to keep citing Nuccitelli 2012.

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  30. What is there to respond to? What do you think they have refuted?

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  31. Dana commented on the D&K response here. Basically, the claims D&K made (e.g. massive unexplained 'step change' shifts in global energy levels) are so ridiculous that they refute themselves.

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  32. Talking of Fulks, just sat through this:

    http://blip.tv/jim-karlock/climate-orthodoxy-perpetuates-a-hoax-5924187

    Painful viewing; my knowledge of climate change is mostly limited to Potholer's videos and browsing New Scientist, but even with that I was thinking "that doesnt seem right".  You can see how convincing it would seem with no prior knowledge though.

    Can anyone bring themselves to review this talk?

    PS Sorry if this is off topic, new to this site and didn't know whre else to put it - this thread is all that came up when I searched for Fulks.

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  33. I have come across this blogger who is claiming: "The oceans are cooling just like the air is, as proven by the measurements of the 3,000 Argo buoys; the oceans are cooling at all measured levels, and have been since the buoys were launched"

    I cited: Levitus et al. 2012, Lyman et al. 2010, Von Schuckmann et al. 2009, Trenberth 2010, Purkey & Johnson 2010, and Trenberth & Fasullo 2010.

    And he response saying:

    "NOAA have just used Levitus's paper, we can forget them as they simply estimated the OHC using a model; there were no measurements (only ARGO after 2003).

    Lyman et al's paper has been debunked by R. S. Knox and D. H. Douglass and by NODC OHC data.

    Trenberth 2010; HAHA! This is the guy who said; "“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    HE is debunked by FOUR other papers; Willis, and Loehle, and Pielke, and Von Schuckmann." 

    Are there any validity to this mans claims, if he is misrepresenting the science I would love to know.

    Thank You

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  34. For starters, I believe that the Trenberth quote is inaccurate and I would ask for the original source. As I recall, the "travesty" applied to missing energy in the overall budget, which is an area of expertise of Trenberth. I'm sure that Trenberth elaborated on that and that there is context.

    If you look at the ARGO website, they state very clearly that the period of observation for ARGO data is still too short to calculate a trend. "The data is dominated by interannual variability" per ARGO website. There is no way to calculate an OHC trend except by using data before the deployment of ARGO, so your interlocutor is disingenuous.

    I am also pretty sure that claiming that Levitus used "a model" is a wild misrepresentation. Levitus, Antonov and their collaborators have been studying this for years and I doubt that anyone knows the observational data better than them. Perhaps your interlocutor is of the opinion that correcting for errors as Levitus and Antonov did, notably by using Wijffels et al, 2008, is "using a model."

    The truth is that Levitus is the most knowledgeable in the matter and his papers have hundreds of cites, some over a thousand cites. I don't have the time to dig deeper but I believe that, if you do the digging, you can refute each and every one of your interlocutor's claim. The most obvious is that Argo does not show a cooling trend because the time series are too short to show any trend.

    As for NOAA, their site is not available at the moment due to the government shutdown, so digging through their references is not possible.

    D&K has been looked at here and elsewhere and their wild claims of "step changes" are a little too much like magical thinking.

    To make a long story short, yes your interlocutor is misrepresenting the science but placing a big burden on you to show that he is. Anyone who is not scientifically litterate following the discussion will get the impression that some science says one thing, some say different and they'll go where their emotions/ideological preferences take them anyway. Typical modus operandum of the obfuscators these days.

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  35. Douglas and Knox have a couple of follow-up papers in press here and here, being published by the same journal as their previous work. In those they claim that they have identified solar 'phase-locked' temperature changes in Paciffic SST3.4 of cycle lengths 1 and 2-3 years, extending to 2000m depth (!), and conclude that ENSO is due to short solar variations. Any longer trends are said to be due to the 'climate shifts' they have presented before (which are debunked here).

    Note that climate is a curious topic for that journal, Physics Letters A, which states it's focus as "General Physics, Nonlinear Science, Statistical Physics, Atomic, Molecular and Cluster Physics, Plasma and Fluid Physics, Condensed Matter, Cross-disciplinary Physics, Biological Physics, Nanosciences, Quantum Physics, Optical physics". This follows a common pattern of publishing contrarian papers in low circulation off-topic journals. 

    I will note that there is no mention whatsoever of statistical significance or testing in these papers - D&K are IMO drawing amazing conclusions from periods far too short to be anything but noise.

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