"We have 3,000 floats now — but you have to keep replacing them," Riser said. "This is only the beginning."OK, so they cost a lot of money, but I guess $14 million a year isn't a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. But what are they telling us about global warming?
[ ... ]
Each buoy costs about $20,000 to build and deploy. To keep the network at its current strength will require about 700 replacements a year, at a cost of $14 million. More than 20 nations have contributed to the project so far, with the U.S. picking up half the tab [Natch. --ed.].
In other words, they're not telling us squat, and they're sure as hell not doing anything to support the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming, since so much of that rests on increases in ocean temperatures. But that's "all the more reason to make sure Argo keeps running".
Argo data also are pointing up weaknesses in the current understanding of climate change. Between 2003 and 2007, Argo floats measured no appreciable warming in the upper oceans — despite the fact that temperatures on land have continued to break records. At the same time, sea level is rising faster than can be explained by melting glaciers alone, said Josh Willis, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
"The lack of warming over a period of a few years isn't really that surprising, because of all the natural variability," he said. "It's a bit of a mystery what's going on with sea level." Which is all the more reason to make sure Argo keeps running, Trenberth said.
Which brings me back to why I titled this post as I did. Global warming fear-mongering won't go away as long as lots of people are making lots of money off of it. And it seems that this is one business that will continue to thrive in the global recession.