Der Spiegel: The Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought

Alex Bojanowski at Germany’s online Der Spiegel reports here on a new paper appearing in Nature that shows climate change in the 1970s was caused by ocean cooling. Climate simulation models once indicated that the cooling in the 1970s was due to sun-reflecting sulfur particles, emitted by industry. But now evidence points to the oceans.

I don’t know why this is news for the authors of the paper. Ocean cycles are well-known to all other scientists. The following graphic shows the AMO 60-year cycle, which is now about to head south.

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Source:

Computer models simulating future climate once predicted that it would soon get warm because of increasing GHG emissions, but, writes Der Spiegel, citing Nature:

Now it turns out that the theory is incomplete. A sudden cooling of the oceans in the northern hemisphere played the decisive role in the drop of air temperatures.

The paper was authored by David W. J. Thompson, John M. Wallace, John J. Kennedy, and Phil D. Jones. The scientists discovered that ocean temperatures in the northern hemisphere dropped an enormous 0.3°C between 1968 and 1972. Der Spiegel writes:

A huge amount of energy was taken out of the oceans. The scientists said that it was surprising that the cooling was so fast.

 This shows, again, that the climate simulation models used for predicting the future are inadequate. It’s not sure what caused the oceans to cool. But scientists are sure that aerosols were not the cause. Der Spiegel describes a possible scenario how the oceans may have cooled: 

Huge amounts of melt water from Greenland’s glaciers poured into the Atlantic at the end of the 1960s, and formed a cover over the ocean. The melt water cooled the ocean for one thing, and acted to brake the Gulf Stream, which transports warm water from the tropics and delivers it to the north. The result: the air also cools down.

But, as Spiegel reports, that hardly explains why there was also cooling in the north Pacific. Der Spiegel:

 The scientists will have to refine their climate simulations. The new study shows one thing: The influence of the oceans is greater than previously thought.

I’d say that’s a very polite way of saying: Your models have been crap, and it’s back to the drawing board. This time don’t forget to properly take the oceans and every thing else into account. Yes, there’s a quite a bit more to climate than a single trace gas in the atmosphere. Hooray – the warmists are finally beginning to realize it! (Maybe)

26 responses to “Der Spiegel: The Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought”

  1. DirkH

    Der Spiegel seems to be in full AGW backpedaling mode now – they had a cover story in the print edition about the soaring costs of reneables in Germany this week. “Climate Change” as reason for it was only mentioned in passing and the government was blamed for the costs – even though it wasn’t this government but Schröder’s Red-green government that started the madness 10 years ago. Well. When you’re a leftist paper, attack a center-right government.

    My theory is that the major print media are like the blogosphere, only 6 months (or more) late. The supertankers of public opinion; have a large turn radius.

  2. TinyCO2

    I once asked a MetOffice acolyte that given the long hiatus of temperature rises, what conditions the planet would have to exhibit or for how long, before they admitted they hadn’t got climate modelling right. The answer was never, they’d just change the models.

    Climate science means never having to say you’re wrong.

  3. Charles Higley

    They still don’t get the fact that this is a cycle! It is not a one time event!

    Studies of sediment between Florida and Cuba have shown that the Gulf Stream slows down during cold periods and is faster during warm, the opposite of what the warmists claim might happen. Cooling makes for thicker water, first off. A bolus of water from Greenland would not do the job to create years of cooling.

    It is so not news that the oceans have a cycle, particularly in the North Atlantic.

    When I first started spending long summers on an island off the Maine Coast, the lobstermen told me that there was a 30-some year cycle of warm to cold and 30-some back to warm.

    They knew this because, for over two hundred years, the lobsters (Homarus v.) would go up and down in numbers, (with the numbers of lobster pots being the inverse – fewer when lobsters were plentiful and more when scarce and requiring a greater fishing effort), with the intermediate temperatures being the optimum for them.

    In other words, lobsters were scarce during the warm and cold peaks, such that the intermediate temperatures gave them the most time in a favorable range, rather than specializing in only warm or only cold conditions.

    It is the cold peaks that keep the Paguridae rock lobster south of Cape Hatteras and their northern range goes north and south with the temperatures.

    These local realists also know that the “haba” only froze over for a number of years every 60 years or so. They are called observational skills, something that has been lacking in many of our well-funded, warm-minded scientists.

    Them old Mainers knew all about it, ayuh!

    1. DirkH

      Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!

  4. R. de Haan

    Watch the angles of increase and decrease in temperatures.
    There is no anthropogenic footprint pointing at any acceleration.

    AGW is dead…in the water.

    Pierre, I didn’t get any response to a presentation I posted earlier, please have a read at it and let me know what you think.

    1. DirkH

      Very interesting. The rising OLR meaning lower albedo as a proof for less cloudiness is a very striking argument.

      But do you have a mistake on page 7? “An albedo increase of 2%
      between 1985 and 2004 has been measured independently by Earth-shine on the moon”. An INCREASE of Earth’s albedo would mean an INCREASE in cloudiness, contradicting your earlier point.
      Here’s a graph on an RC post:
      It shows a decrease. (BTW the RC post is funny because they postulate that it’s the difference between high and low clouds that makes for warming while the albedo is increasing… the AGW magicians. No physics can stop them! 😉 )

  5. Lawrie

    Thanks to all the dedicated and often abused science sceptics who have constantly chipped away at the false concept of AGW. Thanks also to the blogosphere for providing the medium by which truth and real data has made it round the world. The war is far from over but important battles have been won. The earth itself will seal the fate of the fraudulent scientists who have perpetrated this horrendous hoax. I hope also that the politicians who have used the scam to promote their policies are suitably punished at the polls.

  6. New paper in Nature on ocean cycles finally causes recognition in media | Watts Up With That?

    […] Der Spiegel: The Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought […]

  7. Sioned Lang

    A year or so ago, I ran into an old article about a Russian study done on their fishing industry and the cycle of the quantity of the fish harvest: 60 years.

    I cannot remember where or how I found the article or if I saved a copy, sorry.

    1. Brian H
  8. ArndB

    At NATURE NEWS (22/09), Vol 467, Quirin Schiermeier recognise that “for climate researchers, the discovery that a large patch of the ocean cooled by 0.3 °C within a few years around 1970 is a small sensation.” , admitting: “What caused the sea surface cooling around 1970 is unclear.” Surprising seems that many are surprised, and that according the SPIEGEL: “The scientists said that it was surprising that the cooling was so fast.” As the average temperature of the ocean is below 4°C such cooling can happen everywhere and extremely fast.

    What surprises that the researcher seem to assume that they can isolate this few years from the evident NH cooling that started in the early 1940s, in Europe definitely in winter 1939/40, ( ) lasting to the mid 1970s. More about the Thompson et al paper at:

  9. DirkH

    Reminds me of the use of LOD by the FAO for long term projections.
    Look at Figure 9.1 on page 50:

  10. Arctic Temperatures Coincide With AMO – And Not CO2

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  11. Brian H

    The paper is available here:
    Some of the cycles are not exactly 60 yrs.; there are various overlapping ones. They have nothing to do, it turns out, with plankton, commercial catch, or climate.

  12. DirkH

    And here’s Stephen Wilde, Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society since 1968, talking about the lull in solar activity and the negative PDO and the relationship of these events to the theory of AGW.

    He declares the theory of AGW to be already dead.

  13. Anonymous

    […] The new study shows one thing: The influence of the oceans is greater than previously thought. Der Spiegel: The Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought Access : An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970 : Nature […]

  14. Luke Warmer

    As well as the recognition of ocean cycles this paper also severely questions the speed and/or magnitude of aerosol cooling models. As I see it this has two implications – the old proof of AGW by modelling the other factors graph is possibly wrong AND the advocates of mitigation using aerosols, sulphates or whatever might have to recalculate.


  15. The Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought | Cycles Research Institute's Blog

    […] Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought Posted on 2010/09/27 by Ray Tomes A description of a recent paper in Nature states that: Alex Bojanowski at Germany’s online Der Spiegel reports […]

  16. Mervyn Sullivan

    Meanwhile, let us just keep laughing at all those ill informed politicians, predominantly in westernized countries, who have imposed or want to impose some form of regulation of ‘carbon’ by way of an emissions trading scheme, or carbon tax or other similar mechanisms. Truth is, it is not really about carbon: it has always been about carbon dioxide. Yet despite rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the average global temperature has not risen. So what are the politicians trying to do? What do they think they are going to accomplish? But really the big question is this – in relation to the global media, which until now has been blatantly promoting the IPCC’s mantra, when are they going to start giving serious coverage to the global cooling signs we are seeing now, and paying attention to scientific evidence being put forward by the likes of solar scientists, indicating a cooling trend in the coming years?

  17. jimmitherobot

    Good grief, the ignorance is astounding.Of course there is no correlation between CO2 levels and ocean oscillations – increased CO2 is a GLOBAL effect – oscillations are a LOCAL effect – even on the scale of El Nino they are local – they can only transfer heat from one part of the ocean/atmosphere to another – they cannot produce a net warming, or cooling of the whole globe – that would be a violation of basic thermodynamics.

    In other words , this whole thing is yet another non-story

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    […] Der Spiegel: The Ocean’s Influence Greater Than Thought […]

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