Roy Spencer’s Latest Silver Bullet


Roy Spencer has come up with yet another “silver bullet” to show that climate sensitivity is lower than IPCC estimates.  I.e., he fits a simple 1-box climate model to the net flux of heat into the upper 700 m of the ocean, and infers a climate sensitivity of only about 1 °C (2x CO2).

There are several flaws in his methods–inconsistent  initial conditions, failure to use the appropriate data, and failure to account for ocean heating deeper than 700 m.  (He partially fixed the last one in an update.)  All of these flaws pushed his model to produce a lower climate sensitivity estimate.  When the flaws are corrected, the model estimates climate sensitivities of at least 3 °C, which is the IPCC’s central estimate.  In any case, a simple 1-box climate model does not appear to be adequate for this kind of analysis over only a few decades.  But while Spencer’s latest effort doesn’t really do any damage to the consensus position, it turns out that it does directly contradict the work he promoted in The Great Global Warming Blunder.

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One Response to Roy Spencer’s Latest Silver Bullet

  1. Alan Burke says:

    From NOAA in Sep. 2010:

    Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise

    Scientists analyzing measurements taken in the deep ocean around the globe over the past two decades find a warming trend that contributes to sea level rise, especially around Antarctica.

    Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, cause heating of the Earth. Over the past few decades, at least 80 percent of this heat energy has gone into the ocean, warming it in the process.

    “Previous studies have shown that the upper ocean is warming, but our analysis determines how much additional heat the deep ocean is storing from warming observed all the way to the ocean floor,” said Sarah Purkey, an oceanographer at the University of Washington and lead author of the study.

    This study shows that the deep ocean – below about 3,300 feet – is taking up about 16 percent of what the upper ocean is absorbing. The authors note that there are several possible causes for this deep warming: a shift in Southern Ocean winds, a change in the density of what is called Antarctic Bottom Water, or how quickly that bottom water is formed near the Antarctic, where it sinks to fill the deepest, coldest portions of the ocean around much of the globe. … click on the title

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