Ocean warming: the ocean hasn’t “caught up” with CO2-induced warming.
David Piepgrass

There’s a lot to unpack, so I’ll just focus on this. I’ve always been puzzled that there has been so much focus on the atmosphere when the oceans have orders of magnitude more heat capacity.

Put bluntly, if the ocean induces a delay in heat distribution, that means it also induces a delay in cold distribution — that is to say, our oceans and the overturning and convection going on there happen over hundreds of years, and have more impact on us (including atmospheric temperature) than any trivial amount of heat capacity the atmosphere could possibly bring to bear against the oceans.

I think you’ll find more fertile ground if you concentrate on how solar radiation actually warms the ocean. It’s not because the surface air is warmer (lord knows, it’s of such little mass as to be insignificant) — it’s because of albedo. When solar radiation is allowed to hit the ocean surface, you get the most direct affect on increasing the ocean temperature.

Now, as you probably know from your studies, cloud albedo is one of the least properly modeled and understood parameters in our models.

If we really wanted to understand climate in a useful way, we’d probably be paying more attention to putting sensor networks in the ocean, and modeling PDO and AMO accurately (again, still no proper predictive models of those). Atmospheric temperature and CO2 levels are truly second order effects, rather than first order terms.

Now, I understand the argument that PDO and AMO have no secular trend (that is, they average to zero over time), but that’s an assumption I don’t thnk has much basis in reality.

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