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View Diary: Green Diary Rescue: Earth's oceans acidifying in that way we keep hearing: 'faster than predicted' (55 comments)

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  •  A conflicted, complicated week (0+ / 0-)
    "OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”
    •  Surface temperature is not all that is important. (5+ / 0-)

      The key is the total amount of energy contained in the atmosphere, the oceans and land.

      A number of complex systems absorb the effects of greenhouse emissions and provide a buffer, but that doesn't mean that trigger points will be reached and sudden change experienced down the line.

      And then... "The Economist" .... ?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 08:38:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Someone who nitpicks about alleged distortions... (6+ / 0-) meaning based on syntactical structure and placement of explanatory paragraphs is on pretty shaky ground when choosing to truncate reports that make it seem that the report is one-sided. The Economist notes the temperature anomaly  may well be caused by heat going into the deep oceans:

      So the explanation may lie in the air—but then again it may not. Perhaps it lies in the oceans. But here, too, facts get in the way. Over the past decade the long-term rise in surface seawater temperatures seems to have stalled (see chart 2), which suggests that the oceans are not absorbing as much heat from the atmosphere.

      As with aerosols, this conclusion is based on better data from new measuring devices. But it applies only to the upper 700 metres of the sea. What is going on below that—particularly at depths of 2km or more—is obscure. A study in Geophysical Research Letters by Kevin Trenberth of America’s National Centre for Atmospheric Research and others found that 30% of the ocean warming in the past decade has occurred in the deep ocean (below 700 metres). The study says a substantial amount of global warming is going into the oceans, and the deep oceans are heating up in an unprecedented way. If so, that would also help explain the temperature hiatus.

      This was first speculated upon in a peer-reviewed paper in 2011:
      Looking back at the historical record, numerous 10-year spans in which temperature trends declined are embedded within the longer-term increasing trend (Figure 1). While the rise in global average temperatures—the common index used to measure climate change—has indeed stalled in the last decade, it is likely not because man’s influence on the climate doesn’t exist. A better explanation, one with evidence set forth in a recent peer-review article, is that the incremental increases in energy caused by the concomitant rise in greenhouse gases (GHGs) is being stuffed at a faster rate into the deep oceans:

      The article, “Model-based evidence of deep-ocean heat uptake during surface-temperature hiatus periods,” published in the journal Nature Climate Change in September 2011, provides climate model evidence for why warming has sputtered in recent years.

      According to Meehl and his coauthors, observations show that there is currently an energy imbalance in the climate system. About 1 watt of energy more per square meter (W/m2) is entering the atmosphere than leaving. This imbalance is translated through the climate system and would amount to about 0.75 degrees C (or 1.35 degrees F) of warming, on average, across the globe if the imbalance is maintained long enough. Measurements during the past half-century show that the global average temperature has indeed warmed by about this much (Figure 1).

      So, yes, as those who have followed the science of this for several decades are aware, it's complicated. That, as even The Economist notes, does not make it less real.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 01:18:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too subtle, I see. (0+ / 0-)

        Since it may have been too subtle for you, let me underline the point (for you and YucatanMan both). I find in interesting that after so many years of pretty straightforward support of comparative unambiguity of the science, the Economist, a serious, influential publication, is apparently shifting course somewhat.

        No, I did not quote the entire piece (how many hundreds of words?). Instead, I linked to it for any interested observer. Oddly, I note that often you do the same.

        And what you don't mention is that what I quoted was the lede paragraph. The Economist, which styles itslelf a "newspaper," put what it thought was the most significant information right up front. I thought that was worthy of observation. I didn't realize it would also have the entertainment value of, as the Economist might say, you getting your knickers all in a twist.

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