"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

New Studies Confirm Rapid Accelerations In Global Sea Level Rise & Ocean Heating

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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An Argo float is deployed into the ocean Photograph: CSIRO

Oldspeak: “A big question in climate science has been whether the rise in global sea level rise is accelerating. Now there is strong evidence that this is indeed the case,” – Brian Hoskins, Imperial College, London.

“Our study confirms again a robust global ocean warming since 1970.” –Dr. Gonjgie Wang

“Cue the blaring alarm bells. We’re sooooooo fucked. ” –OSJ

Written By Alister Doyle @ Reuters:

OSLO The rise in global sea levels has accelerated since the 1990s amid rising temperatures, with a thaw of Greenland’s ice sheet pouring ever more water into the oceans, scientists said on Monday.

The annual rate of sea level rise increased to 3.3 millimeters (0.13 inch) in 2014 – a rate of 33 centimeters (13 inches) if kept unchanged for a century – from 2.2 mm in 1993, according to a team of scientists in China, Australia and the United States.

Sea levels have risen by about 20 cms in the past century and many scientific studies project a steady acceleration this century as man-made global warming melts more ice on land.

Until now, however, scientists have found it hard to detect whether the rate has picked up, is flat or has fallen since 1990. The study found that early satellite data had exaggerated the rate of sea level rise in the 1990s, masking the recent acceleration.

The confirmation of a quickening rise “highlights the importance and urgency” of working out ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to protect low-lying coasts, the scientists wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

A thaw of Greenland’s ice sheet accounted for more than 25 percent of the sea level rise in 2014 against just 5 percent in 1993, according to the study led by Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology.

Other big sources include loss of glaciers from the Himalayas to the Andes, Antarctica’s ice sheet and a natural expansion of ocean water as it warms up from its most dense at 4 degrees Celsius (39.2°F).

A U.N. panel of climate scientists said in 2014 that sea levels could rise by up to about a meter by 2100.

Several climate experts who were not involved in the study welcomed the findings.

“This is a major warning to us about the dangers of a sea level rise that will continue for many centuries even after global warming is stopped,” Peter Wadhams, of the University of Cambridge, said in a statement.

“A big question in climate science has been whether the rise in global sea level rise is accelerating. Now there is strong evidence that this is indeed the case,” said Brian Hoskins of Imperial College, London.

A rise in sea levels will threaten low-lying coasts from Miami to Bangladesh, cities from Shanghai to San Francisco and small island states such as Tuvalu in the Pacific.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Gareth Jones)


 

Written By John Abraham @ The Guardian UK:

As humans put ever more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth heats up. These are the basics of global warming. But where does the heat go? How much extra heat is there? And how accurate are our measurements? These are questions that climate scientists ask. If we can answer these questions, it will better help us prepare for a future with a very different climate. It will also better help us predict what that future climate will be.

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. An example of biases was identified in the 1940s. Then, many ocean temperature measurements were made using buckets that gathered water from ships. Sensors put into the buckets would give the water temperature. Then, a new temperature sensing approach started to come online where temperatures were measured using ship hull-based sensors at engine intake ports. It turns out that bucket measurements are slightly cooler than measurements made using hull sensors, which are closer to the engine of the ship.

During World War II, the British Navy cut back on its measurements (using buckets) and the US Navy expanded its measurements (using hull sensors); consequently, a sharp warming in oceans was seen in the data. But this warming was an artifact of the change from buckets to hull sensors. After the war, when the British fleet re-expanded its bucket measurements, the ocean temperatures seemed to fall a bit. Again, this was an artifact from the data collection. Other such biases and artifacts arose throughout the years as oceanographers have updated measurement equipment. If you want the true rate of ocean temperature change, you have to remove these biases.

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.

Currently, we are heavily using the ARGO fleet, which contains approximately 3800 autonomous devices spread out more or less uniformly across the ocean, but these only entered service in 2005. Prior to that, temperatures measurements were not uniform in the oceans. As a consequence, scientists have to use what is called a “mapping” procedure to interpolate temperatures between temperature measurements. Sort of like filling in the gaps where no data exist. The mapping strategy used by scientists can affect the ocean temperature measurements.

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.

In the study, we looked at the different ways that three groups make decisions about mapping, bias, and climatology. We not only asked how much the oceans are warming, but how the warming differs for various areas (ocean basins) and various depths. We found that each ocean basin has warmed significantly. Despite this fact, there are some differences amongst the three groups. For instance, in the 300-700 meter oceans depths in the Pacific and Southern oceans, significant differences are exhibited amongst the tree groups. That said, the central fact is that regardless of how you measure, who does the measurements, when or where the measurements are taken, we are warming.

The lead author, Dr. Gonjgie Wang described the importance of the study this way:

Our study confirms again a robust global ocean warming since 1970. However, there is substantial uncertainty in decadal scale ocean heat redistribution, which explains the contradictory results related to the ocean heat changes during the “slowdown” of global warming in recent decade. Therefore, we recommend a comprehensive evaluation in the future for the existing ocean subsurface temperature datasets. Further, an improved ocean observation network is required to monitor the ocean change: extending the observations in the boundary currents systems and deep oceans (below 2000-m) besides maintaining the Argo network.

In plain English, it will be important that we keep high-quality temperature sensors positioned throughout the oceans so in the future we will be able to predict where our climate is headed. We say in science that a measurement not made is a measurement lost forever. And there are no more important measurements than of heating of the oceans.

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