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Monday, August 17, 2009

Ocean Temperatures Are Highest on Record






"Average temperatures of waters at the oceans’ surface in July were the highest ever recorded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The agency said the average sea surface temperature was 1.06 degrees higher than the 20th-century average of 61.5 degrees. Though July was unusually cool in some areas, like the eastern United States, analysts at the NOAA Climate Data Center said the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.03 degrees higher than the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees, the fifth warmest since worldwide record keeping began in 1880. The agency also said that, on average, Arctic sea ice covered 3.4 million square miles in July, 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average and the third lowest on record, after 2007 and 2006."

Source:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/15/science/
earth/15brfs-OCEANTEMPERA_BRF.html?ref=science

Why are ocean temperatures rising?

(1)Researchers have link human activities to rising ocean temperatures in hurricane formation regions.New research shows that rising sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in hurricane “breeding grounds” of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are unlikely to be purely natural in originUsing 22 different computer models of the climate system, atmospheric scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and ten other research centers have shown that the warming of the tropical Atlantic and Pacific oceans over the last century is directly linked to human activities.

For the period 1906-2005, the researchers found an 84 percent chance that external forcing (such as human-caused increases in greenhouse gases, ozone and various aerosol particles) accounts for at least 67 percent of the observed rise in SSTs in the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane formation regions. In both regions, human-caused increases in greenhouse gases were found to be the main driver of the 20th century warming of SSTs“."In the real world, we’re performing an uncontrolled experiment by burning fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gases,” Benjamin Santer of Livermore’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, said. (source:https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2006/NR-06-09-02.html

(2)An important piece of the global-warming picture has come into clearer focus with a confirmation by scientists that the world's oceans have soaked up much of the warming of the last four decades, delaying its full effect on the atmosphere and thus on climate.

Scientists generally agree that it is unclear how much of the warming is attributable to greenhouse gases and how much to natural causes; many think both are involved.

The new study shows that the average warming of the seas over the 40-year study period amounted to about one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit for the top 1.9 miles of ocean water as a whole, and more than half a degree in about the top 1,000 feet.

It is possible that the ocean may now be giving up to the atmosphere some of the heat it stored in the early part of the study period, but this has not been established, said Sydney Levitus, the chief author of the study. He is the director of the Ocean Climate Laboratory, part of the data center at Silver Spring, which in turn is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

source:http://www.guerrillacampaign.com/
Researchers%20Find%20Ocean%20Temperature%20Rising
,%20Even%20in%20the%20Depths.htm

The ocean is warming about 50 per cent faster than reported two years ago, according to an update of the latest climate science.

A report compiling research presented at a science congress in Copenhagen in March says recent observations are near the worst-case predictions of the 2007 report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Report co-author Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, said the top 700 metres of the ocean had warmed by about 0.1 degrees over the past half-century.
he report, titled Climate change: Global risks, challenges & decisions, says greenhouse gas emissions needed to peak within the next six years for the world to give a chance of limiting global warming above pre-industrial levels to about two degrees.

But it warms that even a two-degree rise in temperature would lead to significant risks, including loss of water storage capacity in the Himalayan glaciers and the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. (source:http://www.watoday.com.au/environment/
rising-ocean-temperatures-near-worstcase-predictions-20090619-cmtn.html)

A warming signal has penetrated into the world's oceans over the past 40 years. The signal is complex, with a vertical structure that varies widely by ocean; it cannot be explained by natural internal climate variability or solar and volcanic forcing, but is well simulated by two anthropogenically forced climate models. We conclude that it is of human origin, a conclusion robust to observational sampling and model differences. Changes in advection combine with surface forcing to give the overall warming pattern. The implications of this study suggest that society needs to seriously consider model predictions of future climate change. (source:http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1112418)

Human activities cause rises in the levels of these chemicals in the atmophere and oceans: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and ozone (O3).

The main human activities that contribute to global warming are the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and the clearing of land. Most of the burning occurs in automobiles, in factories, and in electric power plants that provide energy for houses and office buildings. The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, whose chemical formula is CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that slows the escape of heat into space. Trees and other plants remove CO2 from the air during photosynthesis, the process they use to produce food. The clearing of land contributes to the buildup of CO2 by reducing the rate at which the gas is removed from the atmosphere or by the decomposition of dead vegetation.

Climatologists are studying ways to limit global warming. Two key methods would be (1) limiting CO2 emissions and (2) carbon sequestration -- either preventing carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere or removing CO2 already there.


Two effective techniques for limiting CO2 emissions would be (1) to replace fossil fuels with energy sources that do not emit CO2, and (2) to use fossil fuels more efficiently.

Alternative energy sources that do not emit CO2 include the wind, sunlight, nuclear energy, and underground steam. Devices known as wind turbines can convert wind energy to electric energy. Solar cells can convert sunlight to electric energy, and various devices can convert solar energy to useful heat. Geothermal power plants convert energy in underground steam to electric energy.

Alternative sources of energy are more expensive to use than fossil fuels. However, increased research into their use would almost certainly reduce their cost.

Carbon sequestration could take two forms: (1) underground or underwater storage and (2) storage in living plants.

Underground or underwater storage would involve injecting industrial emissions of CO2 into underground geologic formations or the ocean. Suitable underground formations include natural reservoirs of oil and gas from which most of the oil or gas has been removed. Pumping CO2 into a reservoir would have the added benefit of making it easier to remove the remaining oil or gas. The value of that product could offset the cost of sequestration. Deep deposits of salt or coal could also be suitable.

The oceans could store much CO2. However, scientists have not yet determined the environmental impacts of using the ocean for carbon sequestration.

Planting more trees and crops would be another way to reduce the temperatures of the ocean.Ecosystems with abundant plant life, such as forests and even cropland, could tie up much carbon. However, future generations of people would have to keep the ecosystems intact.

(source:http://www.nasa.gov/worldbook/global_warming_worldbook.html)

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.