08 February 2008

Negative Feedbacks in Ocean Temperatures

Current GCMs fail to take into account the many negative feedbacks that influence climate. Given the importance of ocean temperatures, circulations, and oscillations on the climate, it is past time for the infant science of climatology to grow up and take them into account.
Natural processes may prevent oceans from warming beyond a certain point, helping protect some coral reefs from the impacts of climate change, new research finds. The study, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), finds evidence that an ocean "thermostat" appears to be helping to regulate sea-surface temperatures in a biologically diverse region of the western Pacific.

... The research will be published online Saturday in Geophysical Research Letters. It was funded by the National Science Foundation, NCAR's primary sponsor, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy; the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology; and AIMS....The study lends support to a much-debated theory that a natural ocean thermostat prevents sea-surface temperatures from exceeding about 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) in open oceans. If so, this thermostat would protect reefs that have evolved in naturally warm waters that will not warm much further... ___Source

Differential heating of land and ocean by the sun leads to varying winds across the globe. Oceans influence winds, so it should be no surprise that winds can influence oceans. It sounds like feedback to me . . .
Professor Ric Williams, from the University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, explains: "We found that changes in the heat stored in the North Atlantic corresponded to changes in natural and cyclical winds above the North Atlantic. This pattern of wind movement is called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is linked to pressure differences in the atmosphere between Iceland and The Azores.

"The computer model we used to analyse our data helped us to predict how wind and heat exchange with the atmosphere affects the North Atlantic Ocean's heat content over time. We found that the warming over the mid latitudes was due to the wind redistributing heat...___Source
Of course, the authors pay liberal homage to the mantra of "global warming"--the god of research grants. If you can tie your grant proposals and research conclusions to "global warming", the god will smile on you and yours. The rest of us will need to read between the lines to relevant underlying mechanisms at work.

Climate models are only as good as the assumptions that lie behind them. If the assumptions are naive and incomplete, the results will be badly skewed.

Negative feedbacks are neglected by climate models--perhaps because including them might lead to undesired results.

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Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

I can not remember if it was here or not but I issue of convection in the atmosphere has been bothering me since I first considered/heard about it.

I have recently been informed that the "greenhouse effect" of CO2 is believed to cool the upper atmosphere and cause it to contract (causing popular science media to go from predicting satellites crashes to predicting overextension of space junk lifetimes). If the lower atmosphere is heating and expanding and the upper atmosphere is cooling and contracting, would the energy transportation of evaporative, convection and condensation not be made more efficient? Why do the laws of physics get suspended for a hypothesis that never really fit the data? As one who has long followed the debate over evolution it repulses me to see scientists and the "scientific" popular press behave in the stereotype that creationists have created for them.

In fact, they have become more like creationists than the creationists themselves. They have become what they have mocked.

Friday, 08 February, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

These are interesting and complex questions, Baron. Climate scientists do not currently understand the atmosphere well enough to model it properly.

They are forced to leave out too many potentially crucial details.

It is important educated and intelligent outsiders continue using their own minds to look at these things, and ask questions of the experts--and insist on getting proper answers.

The problem is that in their arrogance, many climate "experts" can never admit when they lack a good answer to a good question.

Friday, 08 February, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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