Thursday, December 6, 2007

John L. Daly and Ocean Cores

The use of ocean coring is in its infancy, but it has already confirmed the shifting ocean temperatures of the past two thousand years in the Atlantic. It very much maps a change in the influx of Antarctic waters into the Atlantic, or more speculatively, increased upwelling.

I refer folks to an article by John L Daly written a few years back titled The 'Hockey Stick'. He was a competent and knowledgeable dissenter on the greenhouse orthodoxy for which he gathered excellent evidence. John passed away in 2004.

Much as I hate relying on a handful of data points, their consistency throughout the Atlantic is compelling. and I do not think a thousand additional data points will change the conclusion. The principal driver of the northern temperature is the heat content of Atlantic. And this is driven by long cycle trends in cold water flow from the Antarctic.

The maximal response to this is ultimately found in the Arctic where an increase in heat will eliminate perennial ice and allow warmer summers and cleared summer seas. Once this has occurred, collapse will be postponed initially when the heat content goes into decline because of the lack of perennial ice. For example. it is very reasonable that the medieval warm period cleared the Arctic and this remained true into the lare fifteenth century in the face of declining heat. When it finally held on to its winter ice over summer, the impact on the climate was dramatic and completely noticeable to contemporaneous commentators just as today we are witnessing the effects of the decline in Arctic sea ice.

The point that I wish to make is that the temperature of the water drives the atmosphere, not the other way around. Hurricane Katrina did not warm up the waters of the gulf. So if you think that there are big changes happening, look to the ocean. Every other factor is a sideshow at best even if it is a very big sideshow like the excess particulate content from coal burning.

This also makes the hypothesis that human activity is a prime driver of climate change very weak. Let us simplify it. We are not the power we think we are. On the other hand we do insist on crapping in the nest and that surely has to stop. And using all that wonderful CO2 to create a highly productive and stable agriculture is a very forgiving solution. Our descendants will merely wonder what took us so long.

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