Ocean heat is climbing 40% faster than thought (?)
I add the introduction to the academic article after the journalist report below. There seems to be nothing in the academic paper to support the headline: "Ocean heat is climbing 40% faster than thought".
Zeke Hausfather is one of a trio of Warmist diehards behind the academic article and it would seem that he got carried away when he was talking to journalists about his article -- expanding his comments beyond what was found
But the paper is all based on corrections and estimates -- which are inherently unreliable anyway -- and if you wanted your corrections and estimates to be objective and unbiased, Zeke and his friends are the last ones you would turn to
New, independent observations from ocean buoys and other data sources show Earth's oceans are warming at a rate that's about 40% faster than indicated in the 2013 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
Why it matters: The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, resolves a key uncertainty in climate science by reconciling analyses from a variety of different scientific teams.
The oceans are absorbing about 93% of the extra heat going into the climate system. So far, most of that heat resides in the upper ocean, and is only slowly diffusing down into deeper waters. Faster warming is already resulting in tangible, harmful impacts, from coral bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef to rapidly intensifying hurricanes.
Scientists describe the ocean as having a "long memory," meaning that the heat going into the waters now will continue to be released long after humans cut greenhouse gas emissions (assuming we do take that course).
Be smart: The data from four different research groups now generally match the ocean heat content projections from the newest climate models, the study finds, which indicates that these models are accurately simulating the Earth's radiation budget.
“We can see the emergence of the signal of global warming much more clearly in ocean heat content,” says study co-author Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the climate research group Berkeley Earth.
Hausfather says 2018 will be the warmest year on record for the Earth's oceans, beating the record set just last year.
How it works: Because the ocean's heat content doesn't vary as sharply as surface temperatures, it is considered a more reliable indicator of global warming.
The impact: Warmer oceans are already causing unprecedented back-to-back coral bleaching events, and are contributing to sea-level rise. They're also causing glaciers to melt from below in Greenland and Antarctica.
Warmer waters provide critical fuel for extreme storms, with studies showing ties between Hurricane Harvey's devastating deluge and warmer than average waters in the Gulf of Mexico, for example.
Why you'll hear about this again: The oceans are a main reason why climate change will not relent even if emissions were to cease today, since they will continue to release heat, and also greenhouse gases, over time. There are also implications for carbon removal technologies, which are getting more attention from scientists and investments from major oil companies.
Lost in much of the discussion on carbon removal, however, is the potential for the oceans to spoil the party.
“The climate system has a long memory," Hausfather says, “It doesn’t warm as quickly as it otherwise would and it’s a lot harder to cool it back down once it starts warming.”
The bottom line: "Just like the oceans buffer the rate of warming, they would also similarly buffer the rate of cooling in a world where we had net-negative emissions," Hausfather says.
He cited a 2016 study that showed it would take slightly more negative emissions to reduce warming than it takes positive emissions to increase temperatures.
How fast are the oceans warming?
Lijing Cheng, John Abraham, Zeke Hausfather, Kevin E. Trenberth
Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth's climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this imbalance is much less affected by internal variability and is thus better suited for detecting and attributing human influences (1) than more commonly used surface temperature records. Recent observation-based estimates show rapid warming of Earth's oceans over the past few decades (see the figure) (1, 2). This warming has contributed to increases in rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, declining ocean oxygen levels, and declines in ice sheets; glaciers; and ice caps in the polar regions (3, 4). Recent estimates of observed warming resemble those seen in models, indicating that models reliably project changes in OHC.
Science 11 Jan 2019: Vol. 363, Issue 6423, pp. 128-129. DOI: 10.1126/science.aav7619