Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ocean Warming is Due to Volcanoes

AnonymousJuly 13, 2014 at 1:08 AM
Dear Professor Keating
The widely vaunted premise is that humans discharge Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere thereby causing the earth to heat unusually.

However, conventional science teaches us that the concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere can be predicted by Henry's Gas Law:

"At a constant temperature, the amount of a given gas that dissolves in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid."

Henry's Gas Law effectively states that the Carbon Dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is wholly dependent on the average sea temperatures.

Unless we can prove that humans were directly responsible for increasing the temperature of the oceans, there is no possibility that humans have anything to do with the slowly rising concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, whether that rise causes the earth to warm or not.

The recently experienced slight lift in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide concentration is entirely due to a very small rise in average sea temperatures, which is most probably caused by minor changes in the level of submarine volcanic and tectonic activity. My backup presentation notes on this subject are available at with a more detailed presentation at
Best regards,

Christopher KeatingJuly 6, 2014 at 10:13 PM

The oceans are heating from the top down, not the bottom up. That is enough to debunk everything you just said.

My Reply is:
Traditional science says "hot water rises", so send the cheque.

  1. Sorry, even with that premise, the water would still have to be warmest near the energy source. If it was being heated by volcanoes and hot water vents, the hottest ocean water would be found down deep. In fact, the coldest water is found deep and the hottest is found at the surface. The temperature profile is consistent with heating occurring from above. It is being heated by the Sun and the atmosphere is acting as a blanket to keep the heat from radiating away as IR radiation.

    All you have provided is some statements without any scientific proof that what you say is valid and that it affects the issue of man made global warming, one way or another. Submit scientific evidence to support your claim and I will be glad to consider this a submission, although this issue has already by discussed in other submissions.
  2. No. The hottest water is found down deep and is reported to range from 60 to 464 oC at thermal vents. Lava erupting from submarine volcanic vents emerges at temperatures ranging from 700 to 1200 oC. This effect happens spasmodically all along the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The cold water you refer to is replacing the rising hot water as it does in a pot heating water on a stove.

    As you say, the sun also heats the surface water and seasonal variations cause the sun to warm and cool sea surface waters alternately between the two hemispheres. This results in carbon dioxide migrating between the hemispheres each year, as shown on the "saw tooth" NOAA graphs. My calculation shows this migrating flux is around 1.7Gt per year as shown in the "seachange report" referred to previously. However, the underlying up trend in the NOAA graph is caused by a recent slow increase in background heat coming from some of the many possible submarine sources.

    The main flaw in your AGW argument is that the sea has to heat BEFORE there is any increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, as per Henry's Law, so CO2 cannot affect the earth's surface temperature, if in fact it does, until after the sea has heated.


    The first fatal flaw in this line of reasoning is that it requires volcanic activity under the oceans to be increasing. Our data indicates it has remained about constant over the last several decades that we have been witnessing the oceans getting warmer.

    But, let's look at this quote and plot from UC- San Diego:

    The circulation of the cold water sphere is poorly known. The water is cold because it "originated" in high latitudes, where the surface waters these in cold regions were cooled, sank, and filled up the deep ocean basins. This process is constantly happening, and without it the abyssal waters would be warm in a few thousand years from the Earth's heat flow through the ocean floor. If waters sink at high latitudes, they must rise at low latitudes. They do so at an overall rate of about 1 cm/day. Most of the abyssal bottom water of the world ocean "originates" ( i.e. sinks from the surface) around Antarctica. The other important deep water source is the northernmost North Atlantic (the Norwegian Sea and Labrador Sea). This is know from mapping the temperature and oxygen content of near-bottom water. As the water moves away from its surface source (i.e. as it "ages") it gradually warms. Also, it slowly loses oxygen because of the respiration of organisms in the deep sea. Thus, "young" water is cold and oxygen-rich, "old" water is less cold and has less oxygen. Most of the deep water in the Atlantic is young, while that of the North Pacific is old. 

    This plot (from the same source) shows the temperature profiles for high latitudes (polar regions) on the right, mid-latitudes in the middle and low latitudes (equatorial regions) on the left. Notice how the temperature is warmest at the surface (the top of each plot) and gets colder as the depth increases.

    Source: UCSD

    This should be enough to end the discussion. Are there volcanoes under the ocean? Yes, and they heat up the local water. Is there heat coming through the surface of the sea floor? Yes, and given time it will heat up the water that is in contact with it. Is this amount of heating significant? No. The temperature profiles and the discussion in the quote above both illustrate that ocean water gets cold at the poles, sinks down deep, and travels along until it is forced back up to the surface. The principle source of heating is from the Sun and the oceans get hotter from the top down.

    But, we don't need to stop there. Let's look at the total amount of energy needed to heat up the oceans and compare that to the amount of heat coming from volcanoes.

    Take a look at this graph from the EPA that shows the amount of heat stored in the oceans (heat content):

    Line graph showing three different estimates of how the amount of heat in the ocean changed from 1955 to 2013.
    Source: EPA

    We can see that the ocean heat content increased from about 0 joules in 1980 (the normalized baseline) to about 12 x 10^22 joules by 2012. That is a change in heat content of 12 x 10^22 joules of energy that was in the oceans in 2012 that wasn't there in 1980.

    So, how about the energy released by volcanoes?

    The explosion of Mt St Helens in 1980 released about 7 megatons of energy. That is approximately 3 x 10^16 joules. In other words, it would take 4,000,000 Mt St Helens-sized explosions  over 32 years to put that much energy in the oceans. That comes out to about 340 Mt St Helens-sized eruptions occurring every day for 32 years.

    Sorry, but the facts and evidence do not support this claim. Here is a website at Oregon State I found that pretty much stated the same thing.

    You did not prove man made global warming is not real. 

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