SkS Hiroshima-Bomb Heat-Clock Fraud …Claim 2.1 Billion Climate Ground-Zeros, Yet Can’t Find A Single One Of Them!

The alarmists at Skeptical Science put up a “Hiroshima Bomb Heat Clock” claiming that the earth’s climate system has “accumulated” over 2 billion Hiroshima bombs worth of thermonuclear heat since 1998. This heat, they say, will pop out in the future and make us all very sorry.


Image cropped yesterday from Skeptical Science.

Yet, despite the hundreds of millions of Hiroshima heat bombs, we have seen 0°C of warming in the earth’s atmosphere during the very same period. Comically, despite the 2 billion plus climate ground-zeros, not a single one of them can be found in our atmosphere:

Temperature Clock global

NTZ climate temperature clock. Chart: Wood For Trees.

So where could all that heat possibly have gone? Why hasn’t the global atmospheric temperature gone up with all that accumulated (trapped) heat?

The answer is that a part of this alleged quantity of heat very likely has not been permanently trapped. A significant part likely has been re-radiated back out into space. Things like that happen when it’s a little warmer. Moreover, much of it probably has been absorbed by the oceans, whose sheer mass has a thermal heat capacity that is 100 times that of the atmosphere. Even SkS acknowledges this here.

The problem is that the SkS bedwetters would like to have us believe that the heat absorbed by the oceans is somehow getting packed in a compact suitcase, is getting transported around below the ocean surface for awhile, and that it will later get suddenly belched out back into the atmosphere almost all at once. This is a story that is either the product of astonishing ignorance or a malevolent desire to deceive.

That’s not the way heat behaves, of course.

Think of it as hot water getting introduced into a bath tub filled with cool water. The heat just doesn’t stay together in a clump and swim around waiting to scald you 30 minutes later, rather it quickly gets distributed via conduction and convection throughout the entire bathtub.

In a similar manner, heat absorbed by the ocean gets distributed around the ocean’s vast volume via convection and thermal conduction as well. It just doesn’t stay clumped together, hide for awhile, and later pop out all at once. It’s very complex and it just doesn’t work the way the SkS horror-storytellers say it does. In fact, none of their stories have turned out to be right so far. According to their fairy tales from ten years ago, the atmosphere was supposed to be some 0.3°C warmer today than it actually is.

2 billion Hiroshima bombs would heat the ocean a mere 0.024°C

So how much would 2 billion Hiroshima bombs heat the entire ocean system if it got more or less uniformly distributed? This is easy to compute. The mass of the ocean is about 1.3 x 10exp24 grams. The energy of 2 billion Hiroshima bombs is approx. 130  x 10exp21 Joules. the specific heat of water is 4.186 Joules/g°C. Thus the 2.1 billion Hiroshima bombs of heat would warm the ocean by approx.:


The range of uncertainty in measuring ocean temperature is far greater. There are lots of zeros involved and hopefully I didn’t lose or gain one or two during the number-crunching. Remember, this is assuming that there really is 2.1 billion bombs of heat accumulated.

What we are talking about here is on the same order of magnitude as someone trying to heat his home with a single cigarette lighter…and hoping none of the heat escapes out of the house!

Of course added heat is not distributed throughout the ocean uniformly, but it is certainly not kept in a tidy little package either. Ocean currents are still very poorly understood.

The Hiroshima heat clock is a gimmick

So why has SkS come up with this somewhat idiotic and reality-remote Hiroshima heat-bomb-clock? It’s a gimmick. It’s to distract the readers from the embarrassment of no global atmospheric warming since their silly clock started counting.

We’ll get our natural ENSO heat releases and absorptions and the corresponding heating and cooling in the atmosphere. But at the same time, any external heat absorbed by the ocean will get distributed with much of it is likely not coming back out for a very long time…and only when the atmosphere cools.


24 responses to “SkS Hiroshima-Bomb Heat-Clock Fraud …Claim 2.1 Billion Climate Ground-Zeros, Yet Can’t Find A Single One Of Them!”

  1. Graeme No.3

    They are getting desperate. Probably trying to get some readers.

    As someone noted on JoNova recently that blog page had more trolls commenting than were reading SkS at that time. Like the newspapers and TV stations practicing fervent Gaia worship in Australia, their audience is shrinking rapidly.

    Indeed your piece is probably a ‘good deed’ as this mention could cause a notable spike in their numbers as people go over to see what other ludicrous ideas there can be laughed at. It would only take a tiny fraction of your readership to make their day (followed fortunately by a miserable week).

    1. Bob Koss


      I think you’re right. Their comment section has been experiencing a slow death over the past year or two.

      A few months ago I checked the figures for Skeptical Science starting July 25th through October 24th, 2013. (92 days)

      They put up 111 posts. 1.21 posts per day.
      Allowed 2239 comments. 24.34 comments per day.
      That amounted to 20.17 comments per post.

      Also checked the prior year July 25th through Oct 24th, 2012.

      They put up 114 posts. 1.23 posts per day.
      Allowed 3964 comments. 43.09 comments per day.
      That amounted to 34.77 comments per post.

      Both their comments per post and per day were down 40%-45% from the prior year, while their posting during both periods was consistent. I expected the release of the AR5 SPM on October 1st, 2013 to generate a flurry of comments for a few weeks, but it didn’t happen.

      People seem to be getting tired of their message.

  2. AlecM

    There is no missing heat. The climate models falsely claim a Radiation Field (aka ‘Forcing’ and ‘Back Radiation’) is a real energy flux when it is a potential energy flux to a sink at absolute zero. They then add this ‘Forcing’ to the real 63 W/m^2 surface IR to make the surface RF and claim all 396 W/m^2 is a real energy flux.

    By wrongly assuming Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation can be applied at ToA they create an imaginary 238.5 W/m^2 downward RF. This reduces the excess energy 94.5 W/m^2, a ‘perpetual motion machine of the 2nd kind’.

    This and the use of 3x real GHE exaggerates sea surface evaporation, creating imaginary ‘positive feedback’. They offset the excess heating by ~25% more low level cloud albedo than reality in hind casting. It’s a clever fraud.

  3. Richard

    Talking of nuclear bombs, 23 nuclear bombs were exploded at bikini atoll, on the last explosion the seas heated to 55,000 degrees , three Islands were vaporised , today the coral at bikini atoll is in pristine condition.

  4. Recovering Lutheran

    This reminds me of the infamous Doomsday Clock from the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists. Since 1947 it keeps predicting a nuclear war that never happens, yet its creators never seems to lose credibility with the media.

  5. Buddy


    Slow news week? Warm temperatures in Europe this winter and early spring have you hot and bothered? I think SkepticalScience has had the counter for many months now…..

    But they DO agree with you, that most of that energy is being absorbed by the oceans. And you’re right….it IS a good thing that the oceans are VERY LARGE…..and you’re also right that it IS a very good thing that water has a much greater thermal capacity than the atomosphere.

    See……you’re starting to come around……I think there is still hope for you…….:)

    Cheers mate….:)

    1. DirkH

      Yes, Buffy; it is a very good thing that the ocean is a huge thermal integrator; because it might just delay the onset of the next glaciation.

      Now, I enjoy you coming here so we can school you. The fact that the ocean has 1,200 times the thermal capacity of the atmosphere of course means that even if there were a significant radiative imbalance, the ocean would only heat up in increments of a thousandth of a degree.

      The laws of thermodynamics tell us that that energy can not just jump out in concentrated form again, as that would entail a decrease in entropy. So, at this speed, the warming of the oceans could become a problem 10,000 years from now, not before that; and the precession of the Earth will lead to a new glaciation long before that; and the glaciers will topple all the windmills and crush all the solar panels.

      Of course, and as usual, the corrupt warmist scienctist impersonators NEVER talk about this but prefer to show scary adjusted graphs of n*10^23 Joules accumulating in the oceans; now that’s a big scary number isn’t it; and it means NEXT TO NOTHING in terms of temperature; just like they NEVER talk about the real absolute average temperature of the Earth which has been DECLINING since 1988 IN THEIR OWN WORDS.

      A reminder:

      Absolute temperature of the earth
      Our global temperature is often depicted as an ‘anomaly’ ie +0.7 C …. so much above or below the mean global temperature: 2012 Press Release No. 943 World Meteorological Society. Globally-averaged temperatures in 2011 were estimated to be 0.40° Centigrade above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14°C.
      But, the accepted ‘mean global temperature’ has apparently changed with time: From contemporary publications:
      1988: 15.4°C
      1990: 15.5°C
      1999: 14.6°C
      2004: 14.5°C
      2007: 14.5°C
      2010: 14.5°C
      2012 14.0 °C
      2013: 14.0°C
      “Global Highlights
      The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November 2013 was record highest for the 134-year period of record, at 0.78°C (1.40°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F).”
      So we were at 12.9+0.78 = 13.68 deg C in NOV 2013.
      So NCDC admits that in NOV 2013 the globe was coolest since beginning of Global Warming Research.

      Your Global Warming High Priests are snake oil salesmen, Buffy, and you are a very gullible person who doesn’t pay attention.

      1. Buddy

        “Your Global Warming High Priests are snake oil salesmen, Buffy, and you are a very gullible person who doesn’t pay attention.”


        How did you know that I was so religous? You are psychic..:) I’ll go through the science part of your post later…..THAT will be fun:)

        But for now…..I think it is amusing that your story is:

        A) The climate isn’t warming over the past 15 years….
        B) Therefor we are all “fine”…
        C) And thus…we should continue on with fossil fuels (a finite resource)

        If I were blind….I might not “catch” the obvious flaws to your argument. But…..I am not blind. And so the following is not only hard to ignore….it is impossible to ignore (unless I were being paid by someone from a fossil fuel industry).

        1) Glaciers around the globe not only continue to melt, but many are ACCELERATING their melt. At a time when SUPPOSEDLY there is not warming over the last 15 years……is an amazing trick of nature:)

        2) Ice sheets not only continue to lose mass…..they are ACCELERATING the loss of mass. Again….another amazing trick of nature (darn….that nature is SNEAKY).

        Just a couple of MANY “issues” that you seem to overlook. There will be more later,,,,,


        1. DirkH

          Buffy, an entire generation of people – all under 18 years of age – have never experienced Global Warming.

          You and your old rent seeking lard ass cronies are forcing them to pay your bills via green taxes and green energy subsidation.

          You are a green leech.

        2. Ed Caryl

          Buddy, we are currently in an Interglacial period. Ice melts during an Interglacial. But it will come back. Don’t cry. But you won’t like it when it does, because that is truly when mankind will find itself in deep trouble.

          Oh, by the way, you never did answer my question. What is the ideal global temperature?

          1. DirkH

            He won’t answer because he doesn’t care.

      2. GuarionexSandoval

        “and the precession of the Earth will lead to a new glaciation long before that; and the glaciers will topple all the windmills and crush all the solar panels.”

        How does the 26,000 year precession of the Earth fit into the approximately four and a fraction glacial/interglacial periods over the last 450,000 years?

        1. DirkH

          Maybe I should have written a treatise on it. But I didn’t.

  6. David Johnson

    I see the comic relief has appeared again. Thanks Buddy!

  7. DirkH

    “Moreover, much of it probably has been absorbed by the oceans, whose sheer mass has a thermal heat capacity that is 100 times that of the atmosphere.”

    I once computed the heat capacity of oceans vs. atmosphere; and found the ocean to have 1,200 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere; FWIW.

    1. ArndB

      The mentioned relation is right, because about one thousandth of ocean volume is in the atmosphere, respectively the equivalent of the upper three meters of ocean surface, but only for a short time. Every ten days the entire water vapor is replaced, or about 35 times during one year; ;
      Water is the driver of nature: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Oceans are the driver of weather/climate.

  8. thebiggreenlie

    This is like following a cartoon series that is titled: “How ridiculous can we be”?

  9. Andrew McRae

    Following Graeme No.3’s reference, JoNova is hosting a similar counter [ ] (credit to Dale Kent) which shows how many Hiroshima Bombs of energy have been dropped on Earth by the Sun. The other catastrophic Units of Mesmerizement are also available.
    Seeing the figures side by side gives pause for thought.

  10. GuarionexSandoval

    I remember first reading about this in some moronic piece of agit-prop on Market Watch called
    New ‘War of Worlds’: Capitalism vs. Planet Earth
    Opinion: Global-warming rate today has impact of 400,000 daily A-bombs by Paul B. Ferrel.

    My reply:

    Let’s crunch some numbers. The author claims that human effect on “global warming” is equivalent to 400,000 atomic bombs going off per day. We’ll assume he meant that all human activity results in a temperature rise per day the energy of which is equal to 400,000 atomic bombs. Since he didn’t specify what kind of atomic bomb, we’ll use Hiroshima since that’s usually the one used by those trying to score polemical points. The yield of the Hiroshima bomb was around 64.5 terajoules (TJ). So 400,000 of these would be about 25,800,000 TJ. The total amount of energy in TJ released by all nuclear explosions to date is around 2,135,000. So, he’s claiming that human effect on temperature each day is 12 times greater than all the nuclear weapons ever exploded. Gee, that sounds so horribly ominous.

    But let’s compare that to the amount of energy on average that reaches the earth each day from the sun. The average influx is somewhere near 81,660 joules per square meter per minute. Given that the earth has a surface area of 510 trillion square meters, the energy is 41,646,600,000,000,000,000 J/minute or 41,646,600 TJ/minute or 59,971,104,000 TJ/day. But consider that over the 11 year sunspot cycle the energy output reaching the earth can vary by 0.1 percent (but other solar cycles can increase this up to 0.6 percent). So at maximum, it varies between 60,001,089,552 TJ/day to 60,151,017,312 TJ/day.

    Just the variation of the 11 year sunspot cycle is responsible for a change in the daily solar energy influx equivalent to 930,249 atomic bombs per day. At the maximum, the change would be equivalent to 5,581,494 atomic bombs per day. So, even if his claim were true, which it isn’t, the effect would be less than the natural variation from just the sunspot cycle alone without even considering other cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation that cause a large fluctuation in average global temperature or the 200 year de Vries cycle that does the same or the progression from grand solar maxima to grand solar minima that does the same or regular changes in the earth’s orbit that do the same or changes in the solar magnetic field that controls cloud formation by changing cosmic ray flux that do the same or combinations of all these cycles that can really shift temperature radically in one or the other direction–like between the 100,000 year glacial periods and the approximately 10,000 year interglacial periods, such as our current interglacial, the end of which we are nearing. So against all this, let’s compare his deliberately scary sounding atomic bomb imagery to the actual daily energy that reaches the earth from the sun: 59,971,104,000 TJ/day. That is 2,324 times larger than 400,000 atomic bombs or, rather, those bombs are equal to about 0.043% of the sun’s daily energy influx or 37 seconds of sunlight.

    Now, let’s put this into the context of what’s actually been happening to global temperatures over the past 10,000 years. Over the past 9,000 years there has been a downward trend; over the past 3000 years, a steeply downward trend. From the Minoan Warm Period to the tiny little blip of warmth between about 1860 to 1998 (3 roughly equal periods of roughly equal increases of temp), the trend has been to ever colder warm periods and to ever colder intervening cold periods. The last cold period, referred to as the Little Ice Age, was the coldest the planet has been since the last worldwide glaciation. We are still warming up from the LIA and have far to go to reach the warmth of the Medieval Warm Period, farther still to reach that of the Roman Warm Period (according to Greenland ice core temperatures) and very far to reach the warmth of the Minoan Warm Period. The 20th century was also special in that there was a grand solar maximum that exceeded anything for millennia. We’re now on the down slope toward a grand solar minimum. By the end of the 1990s we reached the end of the positive phase of the Pacifical Decadal Oscillation and are headed in the negative or colder direction. We also reached the peak of the 200 year de Vries cycle and are headed back down. None of these predicts higher temperatures. He should hope that anthropogenic CO2 has the effect climate alarmists claim for it.

    As far as his professed fear and trembling over CO2 being higher than any time in “recorded history,” first, it’s not true. There were times in the 19th century that atmospheric CO2 was measured at over 400 ppm. And, second, “recorded history” is a cute way to avoid looking at all the other ways that atmospheric CO2 concentrations are measured for times before “recorded history.” Again, he either lacks perspective or is deliberately failing to provide it. In the geological time frame, the current amount of atmospheric CO2 is near an all time low, vying with the Carboniferous and Permian Periods for the lowest atmospheric CO2 in over 500 million years. Its decline over the past 150 million years has been almost linear and completely unconnected with any sort of human activity, as was its abrupt increase at the end of the Permian period from about where it is now, just barely enough to sustain life, to over 2500 ppm.

    Against this, the author’s piece can be seen to be one of two things: 1. Ignorant and uncritical re-posting of hysterical claims that make Orson Well’s War of the World hoax look like a Hello Kitty cartoon. 2. Deliberate deception in the service of a political agenda.

    Given that his bullet points were either inaccurate, irrelevant, or completely untrue, I’d be tempted to say number 1.

    But given his absurd allusion to 400,000 atomic bombs per day, I’m sort of leaning toward number 2.

    And especially so when I consider Al Gore’s statement that he. Al, believes “…it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.”

    H.L. Mencken described these types well:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed–and hence clamorous to be led to safety–by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.”

    1. Ed Caryl

      Elevate to a post, PG.

    2. Craig King

      Well I think we can consider that little excursion into nuclear imagery totally taken care of.


  11. Bob Armstrong

    It should be noted that the sequence is : the Sun heats the ocean , and the ocean heats the air ( thru water vapor & CO2 within a couple of hundred meters of the surface ) .

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