Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren’t quite understanding what their robots are telling them.
There is a news story by Richard Harris of NPR entitled“The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat“. The media have finally recognized that the upper oceans have not been warming for the last 4 years which indicates that if global warming is still continuing, the heat is being transferred deeper into the ocean that is being measured (or it could be radiated out into space). If so, it is not readily available to heat the atmosphere, and thus have a major effect on our weather patterns.
The importance of the oceans as a diagnostic for global warming and cooling is reported in the paper
Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335.
The NPR article, however, concludes with the odd claim that
”Trenberth and Willis agree that a few mild years have no effect on the long-term trend of global warming. But they say there are still things to learn about how our planet copes with the heat.”
This is denial of the obvious. The observed absence of heat accumulation (of Joules) in the upper ocean (and in the troposphere) for the last four years means that there has been NO global warming in these climate metrics during this time period. It is unknown whether this is a short term aberration but, regardless, it is clear that the IPCC models have failed to skillfully predict this absence of warming. That should have been the conclusion stated at the end of the NPR story.