Skip to content

Nic Lewis: More Problems With Resplandy et al.

Nic Lewis, Climate Etc

There have been further interesting developments in this story


The Resplandy et al. (2018) ocean heat uptake study (henceforth Resplandy18) is based on measured changes in the O2/N2 ratio (δO2/N2) and CO2 atmospheric concentration. These are combined to produce an estimate (ΔAPOObs) of changes in atmospheric potential oxygen since 1991, from which they isolate a component (ΔAPOClimate) that can be used to estimate the change in ocean heat content. In three recent articles, here and here, and here, I set out why I thought the trend in ΔAPOClimate – and hence their ocean heat uptake estimate – was overstated, and its uncertainty greatly understated, essentially because of errors in their statistical methodology.  These criticisms have been largely accepted by the authors of the study, although they have also made a change in an unconnected assumption that has the effect of offsetting much of the reduction in their ocean heat uptake estimate that correcting their statistical errors causes.

In the third article, I wrote that my calculated ΔAPOObs time series differed from that in Resplandy18, and said:

It is unclear whether Resplandy18 made a (presumably uncorrected) error in their ΔAPOObs calculations or whether I did something contrary to what was specified in their Methods section.

As I explained in an endnote, it was not obvious where the difference could lie. The ΔAPOObs time series depends only on (δO2/N2) and CO2 data. As it is highly sensitive to the source of CO2 concentration data, I took monthly (δO2/N2) and CO2 values measured at Alert, La Jolla and Cape Grim, the three stations specified in the Resplandy18 Methods section, weighting them respectively 0.25, 0.25 and 0.50 as per the reference they cited. These weights give equal weighting to the two hemispheres, only Cape Grim station being in the southern hemisphere.

Full post