Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Layered Approach To Big Water - 8

Fig. 1 N. Hemisphere Layers Zero - Layer Nine
I. A College Experiment

Today, along with the graphs of N. Hemisphere Layer Zero through Layer Eight (in Month format), let's peruse a college level class guidance sheet concerning the hypothesis of thermal expansion being the major cause of sea level rise in the 19th and 20th centuries (Oregon State, PDF).

This material is taught to college / university level students who put on their lab coats and do the following experiment.

First, a 125-250 ml. conical flask is filled with water.

The flask is then equipped with a two hole cork, which is placed into the opening at the top, and then two thin glass tubes are forced into the holes in the cork.

Fig. 2 Layer Eight
This is supposed to represent the deep and wide oceans (it doesn't).

II. A Better Experiment

For this experiment scenario to be an accurate representation of ocean heating, it would have to be a very deep flask, say 20-30 ft., filled with ocean water of different temperatures and salinity levels (and a certain percentage of its lower area should be coated or wrapped with black paper, tape, or plastic to represent the cold, dark depths of the ocean.

Fig. 3 Layer Seven
The lower level (representing >3000 m) should be at a temperature from about 5 deg. C down to less than 0 deg. C, depending on which layer (Fig. 1, L0-L8) is being simulated.

The upper layers should typically have graduated temperatures, generally warmer as the surface is approached (see Fig. 2 - Fig. 4).

The heat applied via a lamp (simulating sunlight striking the surface) should impact the surface area only.
Fig. 4 Layer Six

Absent this more realistic lab setup, this experiment at Oregon State, typical of college labs, shows how a myth is advanced.

Anyway, when the warmth in the light impacting the water at the surface of the flask increases (simulating sunlight entering the ocean at the surface), the second law of thermodynamics will apply, and the heat in the warmer water will flow to the cooler water, as equilibrium is sought to be attained.

This applies in a manner that causes heat flow horizontally and/or vertically, depending on the current conditions in that area.

Even with the better experiment, the class will wait all semester, or longer, before any meaningful net thermal expansion takes place.

Fig. 5 Layer Five
III. The Best Experiment

The best "experiment" is to OBSERVE the actual measurements, taken by research scientists over the years, then placed into the World Ocean Database (WOD).

There are billions of such measurements (I myself have personally downloaded ~0.97 billion such measurements to use for generating graphs (Databases Galore - 18).

Such observations shown in graphs in this post, and in other Dredd Blog series, reveal that even though most of the heat (~95%) being trapped by greenhouse gases is making its way into the oceans, it does not result in a dynamic that is "the major or a major cause of sea level rise due to thermal expansion."

Fig. 6 Layer Four
What does take place is that the distance between the lines on the graph, which represent temperature levels, will increase and decrease as the laws of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics apply.

The warmth or heat entering the water at the surface flows toward and into colder water (over, under, and/or beside that warming water).

This thermodynamic flow, in general, will be in a downward direction (deeper water) until a "contextual equilibrium" is reached.

Fig. 7 Layer Three
At that time the status quo will emerge and persist until more heat is added by more sunlight (at which time the cycle repeats, forcing the temperature increase downward until the warmer water drops 'x' amount as the lower level temperature increases 'x' amount).

I wrote "contextual equilibrium" because various factors such as salinity, currents, and several other factors can resist or halt the flow for a time.

Nevertheless, when the ocean wakes up in the morning to start all over again, the laws of fluids and thermodynamics will still be around.

Fig. 8 Layer Two
IV. A Discussion of the Class Discussion

The teacher is guided by the Oregon State guidance sheet.

The text reads "If global temperature increases, many scientists have indicated that an increase in sea level is one of the most likely secondary effects." (p. 1)

It may be true that "many scientists have indicated," but many of that "many" do so parroting previous statements rather than "going to the lab" themselves.

Actually, the "most likely secondary effects" are dying coral, extinction of species, and increasing temperature measurements further down in the ocean depths.

Fig. 9 Layer One
Once contextual equilibrium is reached in an ocean area, then thermal expansion becomes a candidate for a minor cause, not a major cause, of sea level rise.

But as soon as the context changes in that area, such as salinity levels, then the thermodynamic transfer of warm to cold kicks in once again and the temperature at the warmer level drops as the temperature at the cooler level increases until a contextual equilibrium is reached (On Thermal Expansion & Thermal Contraction, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14).

Fig. 10 Layer Zero
But more than that, if that contextual temperature had been sufficient to cause sea level rise there in that contextual area, the sea level will fall the amount it had risen (thermal contraction) when the temperature there drops (ibid).

Nevertheless, when the status quo temperature at any contextual area is harmful to species in that water, damage is going to be done regardless of the advent, or not, of thermal expansion induced sea level rise or thermal contraction induced sea level fall.

V. The Big Picture

The teacher's guide goes on to indicate: "Second, rising temperatures will cause the ice and snowfields to melt, thereby increasing the amount of water in the oceans" (first came ice-melt induced sea level fall around Greenland, and redistribution of that melt-water toward the equator - Proof of Concept - 3).

What would the teacher say if a student were to ask "how much sea level can thermal expansion cause compared to ice melting?"

Would the teacher refer to NOAA et al. calculations that the maximum amount of sea level rise caused by ice melt is about 80.32 meters or 263.51 feet (USGS) ?

Or would she refer to the Dredd Blog calculation based on ghost water (The Ghost-Water Constant, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) ?

Or would he say it depends on where you would measure the change, because, due to gravitational and rotational dynamics it is not like what would take place in a bathtub (The Gravity of Sea Level Change, 2, 3, 4) ?

VI. Conclusion

We have to trust (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?) but we must also confirm or deny (What Is Pseudo Science?).

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


  1. I ran the "yearly temp changes" per zone, per layer and it came up with:

    L0 = -9.54643 C
    L1 = 5.62614 C
    L2 = 0.513547 C
    L3 = 2.47598 C
    L4 = 2.05924 C
    L5 = 2.30843 C
    L6 = -6.80364 C
    L7 = 0.786949 C
    L8 = 4.319 C
    NH = 1.739216 C ÷ 9
    NH = 0.193246222 C per layer

    In other words temperature changes in the NH (northern hemisphere) came out to an average temperature increase of 1.739216 C, all NH zones in all NH layers considered.

    The time frame is the years shown in the graphs.

    So, for each of nine layers the average temperature change was 0.193246222 C per layer.

    While that translates into an enormous amount of heat (in terms of joules) it does not translate into thermal expansion being the major player in sea level change.

  2. "Perhaps the most striking effect of this phenomenon is the freezing of water in a pond. When water near the surface cools down to 4ºC it is denser than the remaining water and thus will sink to the bottom. This "turnover" results in a layer of warmer water near the surface, which is then cooled. Eventually the pond has a uniform temperature of 4ºC." (link)

    Depending on salinity, all that water below 4 deg C will shrink or condense (not expand) when heat is added to it (link).