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The oceans have stopped warming!

By Dennis T. Avery
web posted March 31, 2008

This year of 2008 is starting out cold—but according to the "consensus" climate watchers it's still likely to be one of the "top 10 warmest" in the thermometer record before it's over. After all, the Greenhouse gasses continue to accumulate in the atmosphere.

OceanBut wait. Something isn't following the Greenhouse script. The oceans, which contain 80 to 90 percent of the planet's heat, have recently stopped warming!

Over the past 4-5 years, "there has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant," Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently told National Public Radio.

Nothing very significant—except the ocean warming trend has stopped?!  This, in the midst of the biggest furor over global temperatures and climate overheating in human history? 

Willis monitors the data from a nifty new set of Argo ocean buoys. They not only record sea surface temperatures but periodically dive 3,000 feet under water and record sub-surface temperatures as they rise back up. These wonderful new Argo floats say the oceans have been cooling slightly for the past 4-5 years, instead of accentuating a continuing global warming trend.

But how can the ocean warming stop?  Greenhouse gases have continued to spew from Chinese factories. Even Europe's Kyoto-bound economies are still increasing their  greenhouse emissions. There should be no relief from the planet's heating.

Except that over the last 13 months, the earth's thermometers have dropped for the first time in 30 years. Three global monitoring sites measured a decline of 0.5 to 0.7 degree C.

Now we learn that the ocean warming stopped even earlier, 4-5 years ago.

We should have been expecting this, because the sunspot index turned down nine years ago. There's a 79 percent correlation between the sunspots and the earth's sea-surface temperatures—with roughly a ten-year lag.  

Is ten years the time required for the oceans to respond to changes on the sun?

There is nothing in the climate record that ties the earth's temperatures to CO2 levels. Al Gore's movie showed Antarctic ice core temperatures and CO2 moving closely together through four different Ice Ages. Gore implied that more CO2 leads to higher temperatures. But Gore reversed cause and effect. Three different Antarctic studies show the temperatures change 800-1200 years before the CO2 levels. Higher temperatures cause more CO2 in the air, not the other way around.

The big question is what warms the oceans. It it CO2 or sun?  For the past nine years, CO2 has continued to rise in the atmosphere, but the earth hasn't gotten warmer. The sun is winning the debate.

NPR asked Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmosphere Research where "all the extra heat from the CO2" was going. He said it was probably going into outer space, through the "natural thermostats, including clouds," which can either trap solar heat in earth's atmosphere, or deflect it out back out into space.

Thank you, Dr. Trenberth, for finally admitting that the earth does, indeed, have natural thermostats such as clouds. And what seems to control those natural thermostats?  The level of activity on the sun, through varying numbers of cosmic rays that create more or fewer of the low, wet clouds that deflect solar heat back into space.

It's unthinkable, but what if there's no "extra heat" being trapped by CO2 right now?  What if CO2 levels don't matter much?  What if the earth is starting to cool in response to the sun's declining level of activity?  What an inconvenient truth. ESR

Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and is the Director for the Center for Global Food Issues. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 2442 or email to cgfi@hughes.net.


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