Trends in ocean heating…

Source: Levitus 2009

There are disputes about the accuracy of Argo buoys and expendable measuring devices dropped into the sea, and the reporting of temperatures down to only 700 metres. How do scientists resolve these kind of disputes – bearing in mind that such disputes are the very stuff of science, the essence of true scepticism? One way is to find more data sources – different ways of measuring the phenomenon in dispute.

By using results from seven different teams of scientists, all using different tools and methods, we are able to see a clear trend. And while there is variation between team results due to the differences in technique and measurement methods, one thing they all agree on: ocean temperatures are going up.

Source: Lyman 2010

The reaction of the oceans to climate change are some of the most profound across the entire environment, including disruption of the ocean food chain through chemical changes caused by CO2, the ability of the sea to absorb CO2 being limited by temperature increases, (and the potential to expel sequestered CO2 back into the atmosphere as the water gets hotter), sea-level rise due to thermal expansion, and the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, amplifying La Nina/El Nino effects and potentially resulting in even more profound extreme-weather events.

What does it mean? think of more intense, more frequent versions of what we know to be ‘occasional’ or ‘freak’ or ‘once in a hundred year’ events…

This post shamelessly excerpted from the Skeptical Science blog, however buttressed with this neat summary of ocean heating, and this precis of changes in temp and rainfall for the readers seeking the hard core gear.

More illustration of these most serious matters, in an easy to comprehend layout, is at the NASA Global Climate Change site – putting a whole new meaning to ‘bakeNshake’

PS – a recent SS post here describes the likely consequences of the business-as-usual ‘prudent path’ taken in absence of a larger commitment to change…

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