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How much energy needed to heat ocean
How many BTUs to heat ocean

Aug 2016
It takes 1 BTU to raise 1 pound of water by 1F at sea level

To heat the ocean by 1F...
... using 1 dimensional math and internet-derived numbers:

.... 332.5 million cubic kilometer of water in the ocean x 1.1 trillion gallons per cubic kilometer x 8.344 lbs per gallon = ?
332.5 million x 1.1 trillion x 8.3444 = 3051 million trillion lbs of water
... requiring 332.5 x 106 (million) x 1.1 x 1012 (trillion) x 8.344 BTUs 
How much is a million trillion? Add the exponents so 106 + 1012 = 1018 ... a quintillion. Eighteen zeros. Resource
-Result => 332.5 x 1.1 x 8.344 x 1018 (quintillion)
Answer = 3051 quintillion BTU to raise temperature of ocean 1F using 1-dimensional math without including variables.
Compare 3051 quintillion BTU with standard 40 gallon gas water heater.
Typical gas water heater consumes 40,000 BTU per hour.
3051 quintillion divided by 40,000 BTU water heater = 76 quadrillion water heaters, requiring a billion years of manufacturing at today's production rates, plus shipping.
Compare 3051 quintillion BTU with total human BTU consumption:

It is estimated that humans in the world consume 500-900 quadrillion BTU per year.... for simplicity, let's round up and say that humans consume 1000 quadrillion or 1 quintillion BTU ...  that's per year.

Human consumption per year = almost 1 quintillion BTU. But heating ocean by 1F takes 3051 quintillion BTU.
It would take more than 3051 years of world's BTU consumption, burning at 100% efficiency, to heat the ocean 1F, except efficiency of ordinary 40 gallon water heater is 61%, with the wasted 39% going up the flue pipe into the atmosphere, releasing NO SO CO CO2 and acidic water vapor ... all of which are harmful to the world as we have known it .... thus creating a new future.  Resource: How much does it cost to run gas water heater

Meanwhile the temperature of the ocean is not 1F. The average ocean temperature is 62.6F and rising, and the sun is sustaining this temperature year round, keeping it at that temperature despite continual heat loss into the atmosphere, PLUS raising the temperature ... requiring amounts of energy each day that far exceed the calculations shown here and outstrip Earth's oil and gas resources.
Dying coral reefs.
The world's coral reefs are dying because of a 2F rise in ocean temperature.
This implies that at least 6100 quintillion more BTUs are being continually added to the ocean, just like a water heater burner raising temperature inside the tank.
A typical residential water heater burner is applying 40,000 BTU to the water, but it takes a while for 40 gallons of water to get hotter. This implies that the amount of BTUs being added to ocean warming is larger than the calculations shown on this page. So like a water heater, the burner is ON and the ocean is getting warmer.

Larger image
Estimate BTU needed to raise ocean to full temperature
3051 quintillion BTU to raise temperature of ocean 1F
Average ocean temperature is 62.6F
3051 Quintillion x 62.6 = 191,000 Quintillion
191,000 x 1018
1000 = 101 => 191 x 101 x 1018 = 191 x 1019 BTU (resource)
That's 191,000 years of human consumption

But wait ....
Very deep in the ocean is cold... and below freezing in the deep trenches.
Maybe the average temperature of 62.6F is just the surface water? How do you figure the average temperature?
The deeper water would stay fairly consistent temperature, but would cool in winter. So the temperature of deep ocean water would not cool or warm rapidly like a cup of coffee. Of course it would still take the sun's radiation to keep the temperature stable.
Quickly the problem becomes more complex, and the need for more information and 3-4 dimensional math becomes apparent
A ≠ B The ocean-heating BTU calculations above do not factor two things:
1) Heat loss into the atmosphere: the sun does not heat the atmosphere, instead the atmosphere is heated by the surface of the earth. So, just like a cup of coffee gets cold, the ocean likewise loses heat very quickly into the air. Water heaters have standby loss as heat stored inside tank is lost to surrounding air. Heat loss into the atmosphere is a major factor not included into the numbers on this page.
How much heat loss per hour? Does the ocean lose 1% per hour? or 5%
Does the ocean cool faster than a cup of coffee?
Maybe just the surface water changes temperature? But of course the deeper water would slowly cool in winter.
2) Time: the energy must be applied continuously over time, like a kettle brewing on the stove. Thermodynamics is measured over time, so a correct calculation would have to factor in a period of time such as per day or per year. For example human consumption is estimated to be 1 quintillion BTU per year. But the calculation for raising ocean temperature by 1 does not include time period.
When the ocean is heated. the heating must be sustained over time to make up for heat loss into the atmosphere, especially on cloudy days and night time.
So how much energy is actually needed to sustain the temperature rise of the ocean?
That answer is beyond the simple 1-dimensional math in this analysis, and would have to consider complex variables such as seasonal change, effect of currents, cloud cover, latitude etc.

Large image
The atmosphere is an insulation blanket that keeps heat from escaping, and stops too much solar heat from entering.

For example, the Moon has no atmosphere.
Day temperatures are estimated at 212 F
Night temperatures are -343F
Yielding 555 degree temperature differential each day
Estimated average temperature on the moon -65F, while Earth has average temperature +60F.
A difference of 115F in average temperature between Earth and Moon despite both being same distance from sun.
Earth without atmosphere would presumably have same temperatures as moon.
Except earth has average temperature of 61F
Indicating that the atmosphere (air) is an effective insulator...

The Earth's atmosphere is 60-300 miles thick, but the majority of the insulating atmosphere is 10 miles thick ... a distance you can drive in a few minutes...
The atmosphere is a thin haze of air that surrounds the 7917.5 mile diameter of our tiny mud and nickel ball that is spinning and spiraling along with the sun as it races though the universe.
How lucky we are to have an atmosphere to moderate temperatures of the sun.
Without the atmosphere, the ocean temperatures would drop to average temperature of moon, -65F, and become a disappearing block of ice burned away in the day and refroze at night until the molecules are lost into space by the solar wind.
Science question: is the moon experiencing same temperature rise as Earth?
R =
Insulating value of atmosphere:
The construction industry uses R rating based on the science of thermodynamics, or the loss of thermal energy over time.
To the construction industry, air is the enemy from which you protect yourself to stay comfortable year round.
The R rating applies to different materials, with air ranked lowest with R value of 1 or 1.44 for small dead air spaces between walls.
The story of air is more complicated since many insulating materials require cellular structures that contain vast numbers of small air spaces to achieve their full insulating potential, such as fiberglass insulation. If the air spaces in fiberglass insulation collapse, the insulation value drops.

In the physical world of Earth, air is the insulator that makes the construction industry possible, suggesting that self-regulating industry and expert applications should be viewed as an evolving target requiring periodic renewal.
For example, the water heating industry added more insulation to their tank heaters to meet DOE energy standards in April 2015. This action followed decades of industry claims that water heaters had enough insulation despite simple thermometer test that proved otherwise. Tape thermometer covered with insulation to side of water heater and check before and after temperatures reveals heat loss. There's even a name for it: standby loss.

No matter the fine points of economic promotion, thicker insulation means less loss of energy. So 10 miles of atmosphere is better than 5 miles, explaining why there is snow on the mountain while it's warm in the valley.
So what is R value of 10 miles of air?
According to one source, air has R value of 1.00 per 1/2" to 4" of dead air space inside a wall.
10 miles of air is 600,000+ inches, so does the atmosphere have R value of 150,000 ?
Again there are too many variables for the simple one-dimensional math presented here, but to reach some level of understanding, look at the numbers: average temperature of Earth is 115 higher than average temperature of the Moon, and the Moon has no atmosphere while the Earth does, so the insulating value of the air in the atmosphere must be significant.

Here is a link if you want to start the calculation and consider the variables:
Questions to ask:

What happens to the oxygen?
If more CO2 carbon dioxide and CH4 methane are being added to the atmosphere, are these molecules displacing other molecules? For example oxygen is consumed when burning something. Is anything replacing the oxygen atoms in equal numbers as they are being burned? Or is the oxygen permanently lost into an atomic bond with CO2? How are CO2 molecules broken down so the oxygen can be reused?
CO2 carbon dioxide is made from one C carbon atom and two O oxygen atoms.  Is there a method to extract carbon and produce oxygen? If there was a simple method, people would be doing it already. So does this imply that it takes more energy to break apart the atomic bond between carbon and oxygen, that it takes to produce it by burning fossil fuel?
Since there is so much energy coming from the sun, can we use that energy somehow to break apart CO2 into carbon and oxygen?

But wait, trees consume CO2 and release O2, plus trees shade the surface of the earth and reduce warming. It's always cooler in the shade because the sun does not warm the ground in that spot. Does this mean that cutting down trees is contributing to global warming? How important is it to plant and preserve trees? What affect do forest fires have on global warming?

High temperatures on the surface causes domes of hot air that dries out the soil and reduces vegetation.
If trees and other organic vegetation produce the planet's oxygen, how will massive levels of deforestation from consumption, construction, fire and drought affect the oxygen supply? What other processes on the planet produce oxygen?

Oxygen and disease?
Oxygen is frequently administered to restore heath in sick people, but not carbon dioxide. How important is oxygen for maintaining life?
What affect will breathing a higher percentage of CO2 and CH4 have on living things?
Will new lung diseases arise, or will it affect cognition? People with less oxygen are less active. How will our species adapt or evolve to meet the changes?

Water chemistry
'Water contains dissolved gasses such as oxygen, chlorine, carbon dioxide.. The amount of gas that water can hold is less as temperature increases. When the water is heated it can release the gas. The analogy is to boil a pot of water. As the cold water is heated, air bubbles form on the side of the pot. These air bubbles are the gasses formed by the application of heat to the water.' What gasses would be released by the ocean? How much gas would be released? How would this affect the oxygen that fish need to survive? Would this increase the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere? How hot would the water have to get before significant levels of oxygen were released? Or would the oxygen be absorbed by organic processes in the ocean?

'As water is heated, it becomes lighter and less dense.' The ocean expands, just like a water heater that is chronically overheated can begin to bulge as the water inside pushes against the tank wall. How much will the ocean expand, and how will this affect coastlines? If water is less dense, will this make it more or less difficult for fish to live? Some aquatic species depend on buoyancy, and rise or dive to meet safety or food requirements. Will less dense water affect certain species more than others?
'Heating water causes precipitated minerals to settle faster and in larger quantities. The naturally occurring solids in water, not visible to the eye, will settle at a faster rate. The result is a layer of sediment.' What minerals are present in the ocean, and how are they affected by the heating ocean? How would this affect the minerals fish need to survive? What percent of the world's food comes from the ocean?

'Hot water is more corrosive than cold water. Water is a universal solvent and will corrode (or dissolve) most materials. This corrosion is oxidation: a chemical reaction (steel + water + oxygen = rust). Chemical reactions are usually accelerated with the application of heat.' What chemical reactions will affect the hulls of steel ships? How will more corrosive waters affect ocean life? What other changes might occur?

Affects of hotter air
Hotter temperatures on the water and land mean hotter air temperatures. Hotter air makes it harder for humans and animals to breathe because the air molecules are pushed farther apart, which causes oxygen molecules to be farther apart.
Airplanes cannot take off or land when temperatures exceed certain levels because the reduced number of air molecules per cubic foot means wings cannot get enough air under them to produce lift. How does this change the travel industry? Another example, gas water heaters located in attic can fail to ignite because air is too thin. What affect does hot air have on water heating industry? What other industries are affected? Is there a point at which a fire will not burn because it is too hot and oxygen molecules are too far apart? At what point will the oxygen be too thin for human survival?
The Earth has atmosphere because it is surrounded by a magnetic field that shields the planet from the solar wind. The moon does not have a magnetic field or atmosphere. If warm air expands, and the atmosphere extends higher than 10-300 miles, will the expanded atmosphere hold in more heat, or will the very top be blown away as molecules extend beyond the protective magnetic field?
Would some molecules be more likely blow away than others?
If so, what will be depleted? For example CO2 holds heat. Will CO2 be more likely to rise and be blown away. Or will atoms like O2 or N or what? If CO2 blows away, will that reduce the planet's oxygen supply?
How will warmer temperatures and heat affect the magnetic field? Will the magnetic field be weaker? What is the affect of heat on magnetics? Electric generators and transformers needed for transmission and distribution of electric power work on the principle of magnetics. How will warmer temperatures affect these components of the grid?

Weather changes:
Some scientist predict that warming air will cause larger more violent storms. Hurricanes form in the Atlantic ocean due to combined factors including dusty seasonal hot air masses from the east leaving the coast of Africa and encountering cold water current from the south. If the seasons, winds, and ocean currents are changed by warmer ocean and land temperatures, will there be larger more violet hurricanes? Or will the unique factors change so there will be fewer and less violent storms? Or will the storms be less predictable and occur in random places at different times of year? Hot air can hold more moisture. How will this affect rainfall amounts?
Heat affects resistance of materials, for example high temperatures increase resistance on electric wire. Resistance is like a hill that stops electrons from rolling away, unless the electrons pile up high enough to overtop the hill.
Electricity is the attraction of electrons that have unequal charge. During a thunderstorm, unequal charges accumulate in different parts of the storm, and air is resistance that impedes electrons from equalizing. A storm is generated when high and low pressure fronts collide. The movement of the air masses against each other causes a static charge, just like rubbing socks across a carpet creates a static charge that discharges from your finger when you touch a metal doorknob. If the storm builds up enough charge, the electrons will overcome resistance and equalize the charge with a lightning bolt. With high temperature and more resistance in the air, will the result be stronger lightning bolts? Will storm fronts be less likely to have lightning? If there is less rain because of drought, would there be less lightning?
Rain and lightning bring more than water. Nitrogen is a natural byproduct of lightning. It's why the air smells fresh after a storm. The lightning oxidizes nitrogen in the atmosphere resulting in a rain that adds both moisture and fertilizer to the soil.  Nitrogen is an essential ingredient for all fertilizer and necessary to feed the world. If lightning patterns are changed, how will that affect plants and trees? If there is less rain falling because of drought, how will it affect the nitrogen content of the soil?

Electricity and electronics:
Hotter temperatures affect electricity and electronics. Power lines that transmit electricity depend on low amperage. Amperage is heat, and more heat on the wire means less transmission distance and more energy is needed to achieve same distance. The sun will heat wires same as amperage, causing loss of power that requires generators to work harder. If more electricity is needed to transmit electricity in hot temperatures, how will this affect electric supply, and air conditioning?
Hydroelectric dams produce electricity by using the flow of water to rotate a turbine. How will droughts affect the flow of water, and what affect will that have on the grid? Aluminum production uses vast amounts of electricity. Most aluminum smelting in US is located near hydroelectric generators. Since solar panel frames are made from aluminum, as are aircraft and other products, how will droughts affect hydroelectric power and ultimately solar panel production?
Solar panels lose efficiency in high heat. How will this affect the solar industry located in desert regions? High temperatures shorten battery life by speeding up the rate of chemical reaction. Electricity generated with solar panels is abundant in the day, and non-existent at night. Batteries are used to store the days extra energy production. The batteries are expensive. Does this mean solar panels should be used without batteries? Would it make sense to generate electricity in the day using solar, and generate electricity at night using power plant turbines?
When temperatures are hotter, more air conditioning is required. Air conditioners operate on electricity. Will the electric supply be able to keep up? What other strategies can be used besides running air conditioners?
All electronic controls and devices have a temperature range. Most electronics are not rated above 120F unless hardened for specific temperatures. Does this means more refrigeration is needed to ensure electronics will function? If the electric grid loses efficiency at the same time, will it be able to maintain same output during the highest temperatures? Will electronics and grid wiring need to move underground? Will electronic devices need to be redesigned to meet the changes? What other solutions are available and how much will they cost?

Electromagnetic spectrum:
The energy that comes from the sun contains more than visible light. The sun transmits a wide band of the electromagnetic radiation to heat the Earth. Currently the sun's visible spectrum is used to produce electricity via solar panels, after science discovered that silicon emits an electron when bombarded by photons from the sun. Are there other ways to harvest solar energy? A water tank left in the sun gets hot. Mirrors can focus solar energy to heat water and power a generator. What about waterfalls? Isn't the weather caused by the sun, including rain? Ocean currents and waves are powered by heat differences on the planet and contain huge energy potential. What other ideas are available?

Science of denial:
Accepted science shows that there were previous periods of warming and cooling on Earth.
Was the atmosphere thinner or thicker? Was the magnetic field protecting the earth stronger or weaker? Was intensity of the sun different? Was the atmosphere different?
Was each event caused by a set of unique conditions?
Folks who deny that today's warmer temperatures are caused by increased carbon in the atmosphere often rely on previously accepted science of warming and cooling periods on Earth to discredit the more recent science that shows carbon dioxide increases insulation factor of atmosphere. Is the tactic of using older science to discredit newer science an acceptable practice when those using this tactic are not scientists, and have economic interest in promoting opposition?
Is discrediting science a useful strategy when every technology from electricity to computer chips to robots to chemical refining to welding to metallurgy to automobile tires is based on science?
Should only a few people be aware of science, and the rest be made ignorant as a means of human control? Or is this a natural evolution of human society when under stress about possible future outcomes?
Should humans come together to meet the challenge, or continue forward with a splintering of groups? Which is the best route for survival?

People often protest pipelines in certain areas of the country. My own area of Texas is criss-crossed with pipelines that nobody protests. My neighbor works for a pipeline company. The issues are complex because of property rights, but locally, the incidence of death from explosion or fire is not a concern. Why do protesters single out large pipeline projects, and do not protest 6" gas lines that supply fuel to heat local homes? Why are there no protests against tanker trucks that bring gasoline to local fill stations? Why do protesters drive a car or truck to the protest site?
The hazards from air pollution are not fully known. The political climate has largely mandated that air pollution is no longer an issue of public concern. Is this an appropriate political response? If everybody uses cars, and uses gas and electricity to heat homes and charge cell phones, and buys plastic products, is it fair to claim that industries must be non-polluting and never have a mishap?
People who use gas appliances, such as stove or gas water heater etc are emitting hydrocarbon byproducts from combustion of natural gas or propane. Each appliance has a vent stack on the roof that puffs out CO2 CO NO SO pollutants. People who use electricity for lights or appliances are causing emissions at the power plant. What alternatives are there? Firewood? Should people burn trees to heat homes? Do you think people will find a way to heat their habitat somehow? Is it fair to protest against global warming and air pollution if you are part of the cause?

In times of crisis, such as massive hurricane, the fill stations usually run out of gasoline. The causes are numerous, including sudden spike in demand, clogged roadways that prevent tanker trucks from arriving, drivers and workers unable to man the trucks and refineries, ships unable to dock at port, loss of power, widespread damage, flood etc. Is there a way to prevent these problems? If homes were built higher and stronger would the number of evacuees be reduced? What if homes were built to conveniently handle floodwaters with minimal repair? What materials could be used? Plastic cabinets? Walls made of concrete board? Drainage and drying channels inside walls? Electric outlets located high on wall? What other ideas and materials can be used?
If more rail was available would this lessen the problem of evacuation and gasoline shortage? If rail is privately owned, but highways are publicly owned, it is easier to mandate road building than mandate more rail service. Countries such as India have extensive rail service. What ideas would you offer for improving or expanding passenger rail? Would you feel safer in your personal car, than on a rail car with hundreds of people? How would you overcome this? How do the people of India handle the problem?

How to determine if global warming is caused by human activity
Measure if the moon is experiencing same temperature increases observed on earth.
If the moon is experiencing higher daytime temperatures in the same proportion as Earth, that would imply the sun is emitting more energy.
If the moon has not changed from previously recorded data, then the sun is not emitting more energy, and the Earth's atmosphere remains the primary cause.
How would you set up a reliable experiment to measure temperatures on the Moon?
What other suspects are in play besides the obvious CO2? Magnetic field distortions? How would you measure the magnetic field? Has this already been done?

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