This chart of rising ocean temperatures is terrifying

3 06 2015

Exposing the Big Game

http://grist.org/news/this-chart-of-rising-ocean-temperatures-is-terrifying/

This year’s biggest climate change news was that 2014 was hottest year on record. Turns out, there’s bigger news: It was also the hottest year in the oceans, which are warming so fast they’re literally breaking the NOAA’s charts.

Don’t think you mind a little jacuzzification in your ocean? You’re wrong. Warmer oceans matter because “global warming” doesn’t just mean above average air temperatures over the course of a year — it actually refers to an increase in the total amount of heat energy contained in the Earth’s systems. While air temperatures can fluctuate on any given year, they are usually matched by an increase or decrease of the amount of heat stored in the oceans (which, by the way, absorb around 90 percent of total global warming heat). To know whether the system as a whole is getting warmer or not, scientists need to take into account the temperatures of the…

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6 responses

3 06 2015
davekimble3

Look at all those joules !
But how big is a joule anyway? – the heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 0.24°C.
OK so how much water is in the oceans? – 1,335,000,000 cubic kilometers, or 1.335 x 10^9 km^3, or 1.335 x 10^18 m^3, or 1.335 X 10^24 cm^3.

So from 1957 to 2014, the extra heat in the oceans has increased by 26.5 x 10^22 joules, which enough to heat the oceans by 0.048°C, or 0.00083°C per year.

(To be fair, the NOAA data is only measuring the heat in the top 2,000 m of ocean, but I don’t see how they could have sampled that very well, especially in 1957.)

Now why couldn’t the numbers have been presented this way in the first place? – because it doesn’t sound SCARY enough.

3 06 2015
mikestasse

Hang on…….. how do you then explain that the oceans have warmed MORE than the atmosphere?

3 06 2015
davekimble3

Have they? Sources?

3 06 2015
3 06 2015
davekimble3

But as I just pointed out, the amount of heat absorbed doesn’t translate into lots of temperature rise. The specific heat of water (joules per gram per °C) is a lot more that that for air.

3 06 2015
Bob Turnbull

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