Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and many universities are at a loss to explain recent conflicting temperature trends from Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. It can be boiled down to this: temperatures of the Earth’s three big fluid systems are each trending in different directions. The temperature of the Pacific Ocean is rising, the temperature of the atmosphere has remained constant, and the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean is cooling.
That’s a problem.
These variances in temperature trends are not fitting previous climate model predictions and talking points released to the media. To counter this problem and almost, as predictably as rain in springtime, climate scientists favoring the theory of man-made global warming are flooding the media with new, and this time supposedly very reliable, explanations that are generated from their latest super-computer climate models. Their explanations, or better yet, their rationalizations for two of the three fluid temperature trends, Pacific Ocean warming and the atmospheric warming “pause”, have been discussed in previous CCD posts.
This article will discuss the validity of the latest explanation put forward by the consensus climate science community concerning recent cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean. These scientists contend that recent cooling of the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean is the result of increased worldwide human induced atmospheric warming which is acting to melt the Greenland ice cap at alarming rates. This Greenland ice cap melt water is flooding into the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean, thereby lowering the seawater temperature in this region.
As further supporting evidence they cite previous research publications which supposedly prove that ancient atmospheric warming also melted the Greenland Ice Cap and cooled the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean.
There are many problems with this explanation as summarized below.
- The atmosphere has not warmed in 18.7 years according to the most accurate data derived from satellites. Even utilizing NASA’s recently “adjusted” atmospheric temperature data, there has only been very minor and uniform increases in the temperature during the last 18.7 years. Neither of these trends properly explains / fits the recent cooling of the entire Atlantic Ocean.
- Recent research from NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge clearly shows that Greenland’s ice mass loss is only occurring in areas immediately adjacent to the ocean. This perimeter-based ice loss is greatest in areas where the ice cap overlays known deep geological fault zones that are emitting geothermal heat onto the base of the ice cap. The interior portions of the Greenland Ice Cap are in ice mass balance. NASA admits they are not completely sure why the Operation Ice Bridge results do not fit into a nice neat global warming theory context.
- The extent of Arctic Ocean sea ice has increased the last three years, and not decreased as predicted.
- The Antarctic Ice Cap extent has increased steadily for thirty five years, and not decreased as predicted.
- The ancient melting of the Greenland Ice cap is most likely related to ancient volcanic eruptions (see previous CCD post) and associated local geothermal heat flow, not paleo-atmospheric warming.
- The true nature of what drives ocean heating and cooling is not well understood. It is likely a mixture of many forces including: variations in deep ocean geological heat and fluid flow, long-term variations in astronomical phenomenon, and long-term variations in major deep ocean currents.
- Lastly, and most telling, by carefully examining the shallow SST (sea surface temperature) anomaly maps atop this article (Figure 1.), it becomes very apparent that the entire Atlantic Ocean is cooling, and not just in the northern portion of the Atlantic that is adjacent to Greenland. This strongly suggests that outflow of summertime Greenland Ice Cap melt water into the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean is not the primary driving force behind cooling the entire Atlantic Ocean.
Many noted and well-intentioned climate scientists and universities are now starting to publicly admit that overwhelming amounts of new research indicates that the theory of man-made global warming does not properly explain many observed climate trends. It certainly does not explain why the temperatures of Earth’s three most dominant fluid systems—the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the atmosphere—are trending in different directions.
Reason dictates that a more balanced approach to studying climate trends is needed. Any approach needs to take into account the effects of natural variability and whether man is having a real influence. Let’s stop trying to force fit every observed climate occurrence, including cooling of the entire Atlantic Ocean, into a global warming context.
It’s time to jump off the consensus bandwagon!
James Edward Kamis is a Geologist and AAPG member of 41 years and who has always been fascinated by the connection between Geology and Climate. Years of research / observation have convinced him that the Earth’s Heat Flow Engine, which drives the outer crustal plates, is also an important driver of the Earth’s climate.