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Monday, May 5, 2014

Difficulties in denial at WUWT: Oceans are getting warmer, no they aren't, yes they are...

Sou | 7:41 AM Go to the first of 11 comments. Add a comment

WUWT-ers must get mightily confused at times. Then again, one thing about deniers, especially those prone to conspiracy ideation, is that they can happily hold two contradictory notions simultaneously. (This article isn't as thorough as usual because I've got a few other things on my plate. Feel free to fill in the gaps in the comments.)

The oceans aren't warming - much, sez Christopher

Yesterday Christopher Monckton wrote (archived here) that he was sent a paper by Willie Soon, that rejects the rising seas. (Isn't there a biblical lesson there somewhere?) Christopher didn't link to the paper but I think this is the one. It's by another science denier called Beenstock.  Christopher didn't link to the paper itself, and none of the commenters asked him for the paper or a link to it either! This is probably the paper - it's by Michael Beenstock et al and it hasn't been published anywhere that I can find. Michael is apparently a Professor of Economics and a climate science denier so I guess he knows all about tide gauges - umm.

Anyway, that's settled. The tides aren't rising so the seas aren't warming, if you listen to people like Michael and Christopher and WUWT.  Christopher even drags up the name of Nils Axel-Morner.  Who can forget Nils Axel-Morner's chart that he presented to a UK Parliamentary Committee to "prove" that seas are not rising:

Source: UK Parliament written submission from Nils Axel-Morner

Citizen's Challenge has an article about Nils and his claims.

Yes they are, sez Anthony

Wait a sec. Now the oceans are warming so much they are causing climate change. It's undersea volcanoes!!

In another article just today (archived here), Anthony goes and muddies the (ocean) waters by arguing that climate science is wrong because it doesn't count undersea volcanoes.  Is he arguing that global warming is caused by a sudden explosion of new volcanoes under the sea that weren't there before and no-one knows about because they are hidden and no-one knows about them?

No. Anthony doesn't go quite that far.  The expert he calls upon is a man by the name of John Reid, who wrote an article for that renowned non-peer reviewed literary unscientific right wing magazine Quadrant. A favourite publication of all the science deniers who can't get their silliness published in a science journal and don't even try.  This time Anthony does put a link to the article - I've archived it here.  John Reid isn't an oceanographer or a climatologist - he's a retired physicist who, from the look of it, gave up physics for climate science denial.

This "undersea volcanoes" meme pops up from time to time at WUWT. Yes, there are volcanoes under the oceans, like on the land, but there aren't suddenly a whole rash of new volcanoes that are heating up the earth and making the oceans boil. Nothing's changed.

Yes, the seas are rising and the oceans are warming

The oceans are warming but they aren't warming from below. They are warming from above. It's because of all the CO2 in the air that's warming the earth as a whole.

From the WUWT comments

Like I said, I'm short of time.  This will have to do :)

drumphil says:
May 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm
Gawd, Christopher has actually found a place where people with call him “Lord” with a straight face?


  1. Some gems from the Quadrant article :

    "Major sub-aerial volcanic events of the magnitude of Krakatoa are once-in-a-century events."
    I don't know why cranks in volcanology and seismology like the term "sub-aerial", which does not make any sense - if it's under the air it's in the ground, duh. Last time I saw this term, it was an emeritus well geophysicist claiming WTC seismological signals were proof of an "sub-aerial" explosion (with a nice combo emeritus + nonsense + not a clue about what he was talking about + appeal to authority)

    "It is likely then that subaqueous events of the similar energy to Krakatoa occur four or five times per century.
    Detailed examination of HTVs is expensive. It requires the deployment of remotely operated vehicles from specially equipped research vessels. "
    Yup, if a Krakatoa was to explode underwater, it will totally not be detected by all seismic networks in the world. And especially NOT the underwater hydrophon arrays monitoring continuously all the oceans in search of a possible clandestine underwater nuclear test.

    "The most powerful HTV field so far discovered is the TAG field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The power output of the TAG field is around 6 GW. It lies at 26°N, the same latitude as the Yucatan Peninsula, one-time home of the Mayan Civilisation. We can speculate that the TAG Field is the remnant of a major subaqueous event"
    You can speculate that, yes. Or you can speculate that, since the *measured* ridge opening speed is quite constant AND basaltic flows on OBSERVED ridges either under the sea or inland do not create any Krakatoa whatsoever, the lava flow output is constant, hence a major subaqueous event on the fantazised level is more than unlikely.

    And I love the reference to explosive volcanoes in Mexico. That is a prime marker of serious Dunning-Kruger. But everyone was more or less expecting that ...

    1. Back up a bit, there. Subaerial volcanism is a perfectly legitimate term used to distinguish land-based eruptions from subaqueous (or submarine) ones.

    2. my mistake. In seismology that makes no sense, and last time I saw this term it came from a guy also claiming Earth heat comes from the friction induced by differential rotation. Hence my rant.
      Still dubious about the term, but if it is used by people and understood correctly, I therefore have nothing to declare on that subject.

      And thanks, I better understand now where the truther guy was from. It makes more sense.

    3. rha, I am not yet awake - I wanted to make clear that I made a mistake and aknowledged the use of the term "subaerial", but somehow it went out my fingers in a messy state. Thanks again for the correction !

  2. Thanks for that Mörner chart - I get a laugh out of it every time!

  3. Minor detail, if it was warming due to major eruptions of volcanos, wouldn't this imply that the oceans should be warmer at the bottom. Funnily enough they aren't. They are also out by a few orders of magnitude compared to the actual increase in OHC.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Thanks Dave

      One slight correction, I run Science Heresy not Peter, it's Ecofluidics ( http:/// ) and my blog URL is now just . Everything else is accurate.

      For the record, I am not proposing that volcanoes "play a big role warming". They may indeed warm the deep ocean, but the important thing is that the occurrence of volcanism under the ocean adds a major random forcing to ocean circulation, one that is not recognised by oceanographers nor included in the GCMs.

      I only found this blog yesterday (by Googling my own name).

    2. Thanks, John for your comment. I just noticed that Dave put up your email, against HW policy, which I missed at the time (my apologies), so I've deleted and reposted his comment below without this, for the record and to keep your comment in context. Sou.

      Comment from Dave at May 5, 2014 at 9:21 PM follows:

      A little bit of googling has revealed a bit about Dr. John Sinclair Reid, who lives in Cygnet, Tasmania.

      He has written for the Quadrant before in 2009

      He gained a PhD in physics from the University of Tasmania and has worked for the Australian Antarctic Division and CSIRO's Division of Oceanography.

      He currently works with a Peter John Nielsen for a company called Ecofluids in Tasmania, which has filed for an invention called an ecopump, which theoretically uses hydrothermal vents to power a pump to move deep water ocean nutrients to the surface, to feed fisheries.

      Interestingly, Peter Nielsen also runs a website called, where Dr. Reid writes about climate models. (Of course being a denier, you can guess what he thinks about climate models)

      If you wish, you can email John [deleted] or visit his website,

  5. A good post, Sou - there is so much ongoing cognitive dissonance in the denier camp that I'm surprised they aren't too dizzy to stand.

    On a tangential note: Beenstock and Reingewertz, two of the authors on the linked paper Monckton appears to refer to, are also authors of the rather horrid 2012 "Polynomial cointegration tests of anthropogenic impact on global warming" paper, which misuses unit-root tests for random walk series, and erroneously claims that CO2 level and temperature are not correlated. [or rather, low correlation and the effect somehow decreases over time!]

    Of course, their analysis also seemed to conclude that methane levels have a negative correlation with temperature, so that increases of this strong GHG would instead cool - a bit of physical nonsense that seemed to fly right past their economics expertise. Tamino discusses how to properly test for random walks here and here, and Citizens Challenge has a good summary of the responses here.

    Also, the paper you linked to was "published" (note:_not_ peer reviewed) on the website of the 1st International Workshop on Econometric Applications in Climatology, a workshop chaired by Ross McKitrick. Once again the quality of Moncktons sources reflect the (ahem) quality of his arguments.

  6. A little off topic, but I saw this about a new model for the early universe:

    Super cool if you're into cosmology, but if I was a science denier I'd say, "cosmologists made a model, thus big bang is wrong"


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