12 New Papers: North Atlantic, Pacific, And Southern Oceans Are Cooling As Glaciers Thicken, Gain Mass

Graph Source Duchez et al., 2016

Contrary to expectations, climate scientists continue to report that large regions of the Earth have not been warming in recent decades.

According to Dieng et al. (2017), for example, the global oceans underwent a slowdown, a pause, or even a slight cooling trend during 2003 to 2013.  This  undermines expectations from climate models which presume the increase in radiative forcing from human CO2 emissions should substantially increase ocean temperatures.

The authors indicate that the recent trends in ocean temperatures “may just reflect a 60-year natural cycle“, the AMO (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation), and not follow radiative forcing trends.

Dieng et al., 2017    We investigate the global mean and regional change of sea surface and land surface temperature over 2003–2013, using a large number of different data sets, and compare with changes observed over the past few decades (starting in 1950). … While confirming cooling of eastern tropical Pacific during the last decade as reported in several recent studies, our results show that the reduced rate of change of the 2003–2013 time span is a global phenomenon. GMST short-term trends since 1950 computed over successive 11-year windows with 1-year overlap show important decadal variability that highly correlates with 11-year trends of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation index. The GMST 11-year trend distribution is well fitted by a Gaussian function, confirming an unforced origin related to internal climate variability.

We evaluate the time derivative of full-depth ocean heat content to determine the planetary energy imbalance with different approaches: in situ measurements, ocean reanalysis and global sea level budget.  For 2003–2013, it amounts to 0.5 +/− 0.1 W m−2, 0.68 +/− 0.1 W m−2 and 0.65 +/− 0.1 W m−2, respectively for the three approaches.    Although the uncertainty is quite large because of considerable errors in the climate sensitivity parameter, we find no evidence of decrease in net radiative forcing in the recent years, but rather an increase compared to the previous decades.
We can note that the correlation between GMST [global mean surface temperature] trends and AMO trends is quite high. It amounts 0.88 over the whole time span. At the beginning of the record, the correlation with PDO trends is also high (equal to 0.8) but breaks down after the mid-1980s.  The GMST and AMO trends shown in Figure 6 show a low in the 1960s and high in the 1990s, suggestive of a 60-year oscillation, as reported for the global mean sea level by Chambers et al. (2012). Thus the observed temporal evolution of the GMST [global mean surface temperature] trends may just reflect a 60-year natural cycle driven by the AMO.

Subpolar North Atlantic Cooling Rapidly Since 2005

According to Piecuch et al. (2017) there has been no net warming of the North Atlantic Ocean in the last quarter century.  The warming that occurred in the 10 years from 1994-2004 has been completely negated by an even more pronounced cooling trend since 2005.   The predominant (87%) cause of the warming was determined to be of the same natural (non-anthropogenic) origin as the subsequent cooling: advection, the movement/circulation of heat via internal processes.   In fact, human CO2 emissions are never mentioned as even contributing to the the 1994-2004 warming.

Piecuch et al., 2017    The subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA) is subject to strong decadal variability, with implications for surface climate and its predictability. In 2004–2005, SPNA decadal upper ocean and sea-surface temperature trends reversed from warming during 1994–2004 to cooling over 2005–2015. … Over the last two decades, the SPNA has undergone a pronounced climate shift. Decadal OHC and SST trends reversed sign around 2004–2005, with a strong warming seen during 1994–2004 and marked cooling observed over 2005–2015. These trend reversals were pronounced (> 0.1 °C yr−1 in magnitude) in the northeastern North Atlantic (south and west of Iceland) and in the Labrador Sea. … To identify basic processes controlling SPNA thermal variations, we diagnose the SPNA heat budget using ECCOv4. Changes in the heat content of an oceanic control volume can be caused by convergences and divergences of advective, diffusive, and surface heat fluxes within the control volume.  [Advective heat convergence] explains 87% of the total [ocean heat content] variance, the former [warming] showing similar decadal behavior to the latter [cooling], increasing over 1994–2004, and decreasing over 2005–2015. … These results demonstrate that the recent SPNA decadal trend reversal was mostly owing to advective convergences by ocean circulation … decadal variability during 1993–2015 is in largest part related to advection by horizontal gyres.

Yeager and Robson (2017) also point out that, like it did from the 1960s to 1980s, the North Atlantic “has again been cooling”, a trend which they and others expect to continue.   Sea surface temperatures are no warmer today than they were in the 1950s.

Yeager and Robson, 2017    [W]hile the late twentieth century Atlantic was dominated by NAO-driven THC [thermohaline circulation] variability, other mechanisms may dominate in other time periods. … More recently, the SPNA [sub polar North Atlantic] upper ocean has again been cooling, which is also thought to be related to a slowdown in the THC. A continued near-term cooling of the SPNA has been forecast by a number of prediction systems, with implications for pan-Atlantic climate.

The Southern Ocean Has Been Cooling Since The 1970s, Contrary To Models

Latif et al., 2017    The Southern Ocean featured some remarkable changes during the recent decades. For example, large parts of the Southern Ocean, despite rapidly rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, depicted a surface cooling since the 1970s, whereas most of the planet has warmed considerably. In contrast, climate models generally simulate Southern Ocean surface warming when driven with observed historical radiative forcing. The mechanisms behind the surface cooling and other prominent changes in the Southern Ocean sector climate during the recent decades, such as expanding sea ice extent, abyssal warming, and CO2 uptake, are still under debate. Observational coverage is sparse, and records are short but rapidly growing, making the Southern Ocean climate system one of the least explored. It is thus difficult to separate current trends from underlying decadal to centennial scale variability.

Turney et al., 2017    Occupying about 14% of the world’s surface, the Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in ocean and atmosphere circulation, carbon cycling and Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics. … As a result of anomalies in the overlying wind, the surrounding waters are strongly influenced by variations in northward Ekman transport of cold fresh subantarctic surface water and anomalous fluxes of sensible and latent heat at the atmosphere–ocean interface. This has produced a cooling trend since 1979.

Sea Ice Has Been Expanding For The Entire Southern Hemisphere Since The 1970s

Comiso et al., 2017    The Antarctic sea ice extent has been slowly increasing contrary to expected trends due to global warming and results from coupled climate models. After a record high extent in 2012 the extent was even higher in 2014 when the magnitude exceeded 20 × 106 km2 for the first time during the satellite era. … [T]he trend in sea ice cover is strongly influenced by the trend in surface temperature [cooling]. … A case study comparing the record high in 2014 with a relatively low ice extent in 2015 also shows strong sensitivity to changes in surface temperature. The results suggest that the positive trend is a consequence of the spatial variability of global trends in surface temperature and that the ability of current climate models to forecast sea ice trend can be improved through better performance in reproducing observed surface temperatures in the Antarctic region.

The Pacific Ocean Has Also Been Cooling Since The 1970s

Li, 2017    In the Southern Ocean, the increasing trend of the total OHC slowed down and started to decrease from 1980, and it started to increase again after 1995. In the warming context over the whole period [1970-2009], the Pacific was losing heat, especially in the deep water below 1000 m and in the upper layer above 300 m, excluding the surface 20 m layer in which the OHC kept increasing through the time.

Glaciers, Ice Sheets Stable, Even Gaining Mass

Goel et al., 2017    Ice rises are a useful resource to investigate evolution and past climate of the DML coastal region. We investigate Blåskimen Island ice rise, one of the larger isle-type ice rises at the calving front of the intersection of Fimbul and Jelbart Ice Shelves, using geophysical methods. … Using the Input-Output method for a range of parameters and column setups, we conclude that Blåskimen Island has been thickening over the past nine years [2005-2014]. Thickening rates cannot be determined precisely, but ensemble results show that thickening rate averaged over the ice rise varies between 0.07 m a−1 and 0.35 m a−1 [per year]. On longer timescales, we speculate that  the summit of Blåskimen Island has been stable within several kilometers at least in the past 600 years but no longer than several millennia.
Bader et al., 2017    Rather than reflecting major changes in ice flow path over time, the provenance changes are interpreted to indicate relative stability of the East Antarctic ice sheet.
Martín-Español et al., 2017    We investigate the mass balance of East Antarctica for 2003–2013 using a Bayesian statistical framework. … We apportion mass trends to SMB and ice dynamics for the EAIS, based on two different assumptions, different remote sensing data and two RCMs. In the first experiment, the model apportions about a third of the mass trend to ice dynamics, +17 Gt/yr, and two thirds, +40 Gt yr−1 to SMB, resulting in a total mass trend for the EAIS [East Antarctic Ice Sheet] of +57 ± 20 Gt yr−1.

Bolch et al., 2017    Previous geodetic estimates of mass changes in the Karakoram revealed balanced budgets or a possible slight mass gain since ∼ 2000. Indications of longer-term stability exist but only very few mass budget analyses are available before 2000. Here, based on 1973 Hexagon KH-9, ∼ 2009 ASTER and the SRTM DTM, we show that glaciers in the Hunza River basin (central Karakoram) were on average in balance or showed slight insignificant mass loss within the period 1973–2009.

Predictions Of Future Cooling, Ice Expansion

Årthun et al., 2017    Statistical regression models show that a significant part of northern climate variability thus can be skillfully predicted up to a decade in advance based on the state of the ocean. Particularly, we predict that Norwegian air temperature will decrease over the coming years, although staying above the long-term (1981–2010) average. Winter Arctic sea ice extent will remain low but with a general increase towards 2020.
Pittard et al., 2017    We suggest the Lambert-Amery glacial system will remain stable, or gain ice mass and mitigate a portion of potential future sea level rise over the next 500 years, with a range of +3.6 to -117.5 mm GMSL-equivalent.

41 responses to “12 New Papers: North Atlantic, Pacific, And Southern Oceans Are Cooling As Glaciers Thicken, Gain Mass”

  1. Bitter&twisted

    Come on SebastianH- let’s hear the alarmist spin on this.
    Not really working out as the models predicted, is it?

    1. SebastianH

      Doesn’t look like cooling to me …


      Picking out the blue spots and declaring that oceans are cooling is kind of a selective perception, isn’t it?

      1. Don from Oz

        Seb Isn’t what you have just said the reverse ie just picking out the red spots and say it is warming. Get Real.

        1. SebastianH

          You would generally average over the whole volume/area to determine if it is warming or cooling on a global scale.

          1. SebastianH

            I don’t know … you tell me! Download and graph this data and find out for yourself: https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/basin_data.html

            It’s only distinguishing the major basins and NH / SH (so very coarse), but none of the heat content time series show a decreasing trend over the last decades.

            And don’t you think that the 45–60°N, 40–15°W rectangle analyzed by the first author/paper you mention is exactly doing what I pointed out? It’s about one of the blue spots and not generally the NH Atlantic ocean. You, however, make it sound like there is large scale cooling going on.

          2. yonason

            You can’t average made up numbers with real ones. If you could, anyone and his brother could get a PhD, which is what seems to have happened, actually.

          3. SebastianH

            Ok, according to peer-reviewed scientific papers presented in the article, yes, the Southern Ocean (14% of the Earth’s surface), the Pacific Ocean, and the North Atlantic have undergone a cooling trend for the last 1 to 3.5 decades.

            Please provide the exact areas that were examined in those papers. For the first one (North Atlantic) the area is a very small part of the Atlantic.

            NOAA is well known to just in-fill their graphs and data sets with made-up (computer model) temperatures where measurements don’t exist.

            So it is “the data is fake anyways” again … how predictable.

          4. SebastianH

            With “first paper” I mean Duchez et al., 2016

            14% of the surface? I raise you to 50% … https://data.nodc.noaa.gov/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/basin/yearly/h22-w0-700m.dat contains the SH world ocean heat content 0-700 m depth … do you see a decrease? So something must be compensating for the decrease in that 14% part, correct?

            Why do you think so much of the Earth’s sea surfaces have been cooling in recent decades, SebastianH? What’s the cooling mechanism? Will you at some point be answering this question?

            Why do you think so much of the Earth’s sea surfaces have been warming in recent decades, Kenneth? What’s the warming mechanism? Will you at some point be answering this question?

            How do you think NOAA fills in the temperature “data” for the areas where there are no measurements?

            Do you think the authors of those papers just happened to have a data source available that hasn’t been used before? The first paper (Duchez et al., 2016) uses the same NODC/NOAA data … what do the paywalled ones use?

            Do you not believe Phil Jones when he tells his colleagues that the SH sea surface temperatures are “mostly made up”?

            I thought we were talking about heat content?

          5. SebastianH

            I’ll do so again here. At what point do you think you might actually describe the mechanism that could account for the cooling?

            Do you think the mechanism for cooling of the sea surface is different from the warming mechanism?

            At what point was it said that we were we only talking about OHC?

            Ok, I’ll rephrase then. I am talking about the heat content. While SST is interesting too, the accumulation of energy is measured as heat content. As your quoted paper (http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00148.1) correctly says, the surface temperatures aren’t changing proportionally to the heat content.

            It isn’t until the 7th paper listed, Li (2017), that we have a description of OHC-only trends.

            The article starts with a very prominent OHC graph. Sorry for misinterpreting your article.

            Again, when those “large parts” of the ocean (surfaces) are cooling and the heat content is increasing despite this … what does that tell you about the even larger rest of the ocean?

          6. Kenneth Richard

            “Do you think the mechanism for cooling of the sea surface is different from the warming mechanism?”

            So you have once again refused to answer. That makes 4 times in which I have asked you the same question and 4 times in which you have dodged the question. What that tells me is that you don’t want to admit that both the cooling and the warming are predominantly due to natural processes, and unrelated to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

            To answer your question (yet again, which would include the answer found in the article itself), both the warming and the cooling are significantly related to the natural vertical and horizontal circulation/redistribution of heat on decadal time scales. This is why the North Atlantic is expected to continue cooling for a few more years. There has been no net warming in the North Atlantic for the last several hundred years, and the North Atlantic is multiple degrees cooler now than it was a few thousand years ago – despite the 1/100ths of a percentage point increase in atmospheric CO2. There has been no net warming in the Arctic since the 1930s and 1940s; instead, the recent warming has been part of the natural 60-year oscillation. The Arctic warming has plateaued and will begin to cool in the coming years. Your side is going to have quite a hard time accepting that, so there will likely be some more shenanigans pulled to hide the decline or cover it up.

            I’ll ask again: What is the mechanism that has caused the SSTs in the Southern Ocean (14% of the Earth’s surface) to traverse upon a 37-year-long cooling trend, which has led to an increase in sea ice extent since 1979? Please stop with the games play. We know why you refuse to answer. It just makes you appear all the more disingenuous that you cannot admit warming and cooling are significantly related to natural processes and not human CO2 emissions. Will you dodge this question again? Yes, you will.

          7. SebastianH

            1) about the cooling of large parts of the Southern Ocean … can we really trust someone who leaves out the important parts when quoting from papers and makes up trend lines in graphs? The quote from the paper with the “occupying 14% of the world’s surface” (Turney et al., 2017) you like to throw in my direction is a very interesting out of context quote. The only time the author writes about cooling trends is when discussing the area around the Macquarie Island. I wonder why you don’t mention that and instead let the quote appear to say that the cooling trend was a trend of the entire “14% ocean”? And finally you take one of the graphs from that paper (https://notrickszone.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Holocene-Cooling-Southern-Ocean-Turney-2017.jpg) and enhance it with a trend line only a skeptic could see/draw.

            2) You still don’t get it. Of course, natural processes cause warming and cooling of ocean surfaces. Why wouldn’t they?

            But our emissions are causing a forcing that increases the heat content. Other forcings exist too. And you want to downplay this by showing that SSTs change because of currents and internal variability? That’s as if you were claiming that the diurnal cycle causes large temperature changes and therefore the global warming trend doesn’t do anything …

            And surprise, nearly every paper from that list I looked at is mentioning the greenhouse effect and what it does to temperatures (and heat content) globally. But for you it is just some weird confirmation of your opinion that it can’t be that humans are causing a temperature increase of water …

            What is the mechanism that has caused the SSTs in the Southern Ocean (14% of the Earth’s surface) to traverse upon a 37-year-long cooling trend

            Or was it just the area around an island? And is that trend line you put in that graph probably made up?

            It just makes you appear all the more disingenuous that you cannot admit warming and cooling are significantly related to natural processes and not human CO2 emissions.

            As are the day and night temperature significantly related to the fact that this planet rotates. Half a year ago I made a pattern test graph for you to illustrate what I mean and apparently that is still needed. So here it is: https://imgur.com/a/IkdQh

            Human caused forcing isn’t changing the patterns and you can easily overlook the existence of said forcing, but it is there. In case of the Southern Ocean the signal is hard to detect.

            I’ll end with a quote from one of those papers above:

            At this stage of research, neither anthropogenic forcing nor internal variability can be determined as the sole driver of the observed cooling trend in Southern Ocean SST and the expansion of Antarctic sea-ice, also because uncertainties in forcing and response exist. On the one hand, intensified SAM, SST cooling, growing sea-ice cover, and other trends may be
            related to anthropogenic forcing associated with increasing GHG concentrations and global warming. The latter also causes enhanced disintegration of the Antarctic ice sheet with
            implications for the aforementioned trends as discussed above. On the other hand, internal decadal to centennial variability may cause the observed changes, where the internal variability can either originate in the Southern Ocean itself (e.g., Martin et al. 2013) or be due to remote forcing, for example by the AMO through atmospheric teleconnections (Zhang et al. 2017b). Since the observed changes vary regionally, both anthropogenic forcing and internal variability as well as their superposition may be possible causes of local trends.

  2. yonason

    Where is the hockey team when you need them?

    1. Mindert Eiting

      Because we were told that all the missing heat resided in the deep oceans, there must be below the layers where scientists did their measurements, a layer of boiling hot water. When that escapes, we will get the promised hockey stick.

  3. SebastianH
  4. Albert Stienstra

    SebastianH 12. September
    “Could be possible …”
    The “warming world” is virtual reality created by NOAA homogenization.

    1. yonason


      If they only used the temperatures in the areas where we have an ability to record them, and ignoring the rest, they would gain real, or at least consistent, information about those areas. It wouldn’t be global, but at least we’d have a handle on what was happening in those areas. Then, if they want to extrapolate, and make clear that’s what it is, to the rest of the world, fine.

      By making up temperatures for areas where we have no data, a far more vast area than for which we do have, any average of all is so weighted by the fantasy that reality becomes completely obscured. And then to complete the farce, they “adjust” what little reliable data we have to reflect they’re doomsday cult beliefs.

      They aren’t scientists. They are religious fanatics.

      1. SebastianH

        Where do you think the authors of the papers above have gotten their temperature data from?

    2. yonason

      @Albert Stienstra 12. September 2017 at 10:11 AM

      So, yes. Good call.

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  7. Gligi

    But why I see 13 links to papers here…

    1. Kenneth Richard

      One was added after the original article publication.

  8. Kevin ONeill

    One of the pseudoskeptics I’ve run into on the innertubes used this list as supposed evidence that “quite a few climate scientists” are predicting global cooling. Problem of course is that NONE of these papers predict global cooling.

    As far as I could tell on my quick read through them they all support the theory of AGW or at least none of them make any claims otherwise.

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