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Earth Science

New Study Confirms the Oceans Are Warming Rapidly (theguardian.com) 332

An anonymous reader shares a report from The Guardian, written by John Abraham, who discusses the rising ocean temperatures and the important factors that affect ocean-temperature accuracy: The most important measurement of global warming is in the oceans. In fact, "global warming" is really "ocean warming." If you are going to measure the changing climate of the oceans, you need to have many sensors spread out across the globe that take measurements from the ocean surface to the very depths of the waters. Importantly, you need to have measurements that span decades so a long-term trend can be established. These difficulties are tackled by oceanographers, and a significant advancement was presented in a paper just published in the journal Climate Dynamics. That paper, which I was fortunate to be involved with, looked at three different ocean temperature measurements made by three different groups. We found that regardless of whose data was used or where the data was gathered, the oceans are warming. In the paper, we describe perhaps the three most important factors that affect ocean-temperature accuracy. First, sensors can have biases (they can be "hot" or "cold"), and these biases can change over time. Another source of uncertainty is related to the fact that we just don't have sensors at all ocean locations and at all times. Some sensors, which are dropped from cargo ships, are densely located along major shipping routes. Other sensors, dropped from research vessels, are also confined to specific locations across the globe. Finally, temperatures are usually referenced to a baseline "climatology." So, when we say temperatures have increased by 1 degree, it is important to say what the baseline climatology is. Have temperatures increased by 1 degree since the year 1990? Since the year 1970? Since 1900? The choice of baseline climatology really matters.
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New Study Confirms the Oceans Are Warming Rapidly

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  • Good! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @05:35AM (#54697107)

    If we can get it warm enough the oceans will start to evaporate, countering global warming's rising sea level.

    • Give this guy a Nobel peace prize!

  • bit of maths (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ishmaelflood ( 643277 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @06:15AM (#54697211)

    change in heat content since 1970=3 e23 J (from TFA)

    SHC of water =4e3 J/kg/deg C

    mass of oceans = 1.4e21 kg

    temperature rise is 3e23/1.4e21/4e3, about 0.05 deg C

    Hmm, in 50 years? Colour me unexcited.

    • Re:bit of maths (Score:5, Interesting)

      by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @06:51AM (#54697351)

      The temperature effects are not distributed equally across the entire water column. Most of the warming is in the upper ocean, which is most relevant for us, because it's the layer where the energy is quickly transported back to the atmosphere.

      The relatively small increase in temperature should make you excited, because it's means that the ocean isn't anywhere near equilibrium, so it will keep absorbing energy from the atmosphere at increasing rates, causing sea level rise through thermal expansion, and come back to us in bursts during the El-Nino season.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, it will keep absorbing energy from the atmosphere at DECREASING rates. As the delta-T between them diminishes, the rate of heat flow decreases.

        Besides, most of the heat trapped by the upper ocean is radiative, not conductive. The oceanic albedo has a mean of approximately 0.06, which means the ocean absorbs approximately 94% of the solar radiation incident upon it, and almost all of that energy is dissipated in the top few feet of oceanic depth.

        The trend of decreasing oceanic cloud cover over the

        • Actually, it will keep absorbing energy from the atmosphere at DECREASING rates. As the delta-T between them diminishes, the rate of heat flow decreases.

          Ultimately yes, but right now, the upper layers are still warming faster so the delta T is still increasing.

      • Not much unusual going on with sea levels either.

        http://notrickszone.com/2017/0... [notrickszone.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Aye, but the whole ocean doesn't change temperature at the same rate you dickhead. The top, where shit actually lives, heats up faster.

      Fuck me, you are thick.

    • Re:bit of maths (Score:5, Informative)

      by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @08:47AM (#54698009)
      That represents 4761904760 Hiroshima bombs of energy added to the system, or about 3.2 per second. About 4/5ths of that energy accumulated in the top 700 meters [carbonbrief.org]. The rate of warming is accelerating, meaning that the top of atmosphere energy imbalance is increasing. The impacts of the warming are already being observed [skepticalscience.com], even at this early stage.
    • Re:bit of maths (Score:4, Informative)

      by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @09:04AM (#54698111) Homepage Journal

      I refute your calculations with a single word: thermocline [wikipedia.org]

  • Interesting read but I have to admit I'm skeptical. I work in the field and its common knowledge that sensors are few and far between outside of normal travel lanes/coast lines. http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ [noaa.gov] is the site I most often use and its quite lacking all things considered. From TFA (I know, I know) "Since one can never re-observe the ocean in the past, some synthetic data should be used, for instance high-resolution model outputs, sea level data, etc." While these models are decent, they won't perform t

  • Because the polar ice caps melting were not enough observable evidence? Slashdot, why are you just recycling the same stories over and over again. When are we going to get something new to talk about instead re-hashing all the same crap?
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Because the polar ice caps melting were not enough observable evidence?

      Short answer: no.

      Somewhat longer answer: in a complex system, the precise details of what is going on are never completely settled. There's always loose threads somewhere to be tugged at. In principle the whole fabric of scientific consensus can be unravelled this way.

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail." -- Abraham Maslow