Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ahhhh!

Global warming is creating a climate time bomb by storing enormous amounts of heat in the waters of the north Atlantic, UK scientists have discovered.

Marine researchers at Southampton and Plymouth universities have found that the upper 1,500 metres of the ocean from western Europe to the eastern US have warmed by 0.015C in seven years. The capacity of the oceans to store heat means that a water temperature rise of that size is enough to warm the atmosphere above by almost 9C.
The oceans have been storing up massive amounts of CO2 and heat, but eventually that heat is going to be belched back up in to the atmosphere. A 9-degree rise in air temperature would be a disaster - say goodbye to Greenland and a good chunk of Antarctica. The article - being from the Guardian - doesn't give an indication of how quickly that heat would be released. But so long as you posit continued human civilization, it doesn't really matter - a 9-degree increase, over any likely time frame, would be disastrous and more than we can handle.

Anyone have access to the journal Geophysical Research Letters?

2 comments:

auntiegrav said...

Natural systems work in complex ways. The hurricane is not just a storm anomaly, it is a vector of transferring heat between the tropics and the northern lattitudes.
Perhaps the warm ocean will create the scenario of Art Bell and Whitley Streiber's "The Coming Global Superstorm" (the "Day After Tomorrow" movie didn't really do the explanation justice).
The sensitive dependence on initial conditions of the tropical storm season is evident in this years lack of hurricanes, even though there was enough warm water for it. The trigger factor went somewhere, possibly uP Nort', eh?

M. Simon said...

Uh,

Could ocean heating explain the rise in CO2?

Could increased solar output explain the ocean heating?

WE are at a sunspot high.