Oceans warming from climate change can no longer be stopped in your lifetime

Globally 90% of the excess heat caused by the rise in greenhouse gas emissions is absorbed by the oceans. The warming of the oceans due to climate change is now unstoppable after record temperatures last year, bringing additional sea-level rise, and raising the risks of severe storms, say US government climate scientists…

The annual State of the Climate in 2014 report [really big .pdf], based on research from 413 scientists from 58 countries, found record warming on the surface and upper levels of the oceans, especially in the North Pacific, in line with earlier findings of 2014 as the hottest year on record.

Global sea-level also reached a record high, with the expansion of those warming waters, keeping pace with the 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year trend in sea level growth over the past two decades…

Scientists said the consequences of those warmer ocean temperatures would be felt for centuries to come – even if there were immediate efforts to cut the carbon emissions fuelling changes in the oceans.

“I think of it more like a fly wheel or a freight train. It takes a big push to get it going but it is moving now and will contiue to move long after we continue to pushing it,” Greg Johnson, an oceanographer at Noaa’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, told a conference call with reporters.

“Even if we were to freeze greenhouse gases at current levels, the sea would actually continue to warm for centuries and millennia, and as they continue to warm and expand the sea levels will continue to rise,” Johnson said…

The report underlined 2014 as a banner year for the climate, setting record or near record levels for temperature extremes, and loss of glaciers and sea ice, and reinforcing decades-old pattern to changes to the climate system.
Four independent data sets confirmed 2014 as the hottest year on record, with much of that heat driven by the warming of the oceans.

Globally 90% of the excess heat caused by the rise in greenhouse gas emissions is absorbed by the oceans…

“The prognosis is to expect a continuation of what we have seen,” NOAA’s Tom Karl said.

Did you expect the United States to offer the kind of effort we dedicate to killing foreigners towards saving the world, towards saving our own pitiful buns? Oh, we’ll all pretty much survive here in the GOUSA. As the largest economy in the world, we have sufficient funds, private energy and ability to accomplish a fair piece of what our government might have done if it weren’t the Orgone Box for political glory-seekers.

Now, we’ll have to work simultaneously at preserving something approaching sort-of-livable for the majority of the population – while the ruling 1% enjoy their environment-modulated mansions, employing prols to provide comfortable breezes.

The rest of the world will be on their own.

21 thoughts on “Oceans warming from climate change can no longer be stopped in your lifetime

  1. Eschaton says:

    Key highlights from the report include:
    ☑ Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2014, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 1.9 ppm in 2014, reaching a global average of 397.2 ppm for the year. This compares with a global average of 354.0 in 1990 when this report was first published just 25 years ago.
    ☑ Record temperatures observed near the Earth’s surface: Four independent global datasets showed that 2014 was the warmest year on record. The warmth was widespread across land areas. Europe experienced its warmest year on record, with more than 20 countries exceeding their previous records. Africa had above-average temperatures across most of the continent throughout 2014, Australia saw its third warmest year on record, Mexico had its warmest year on record, and Argentina and Uruguay each had their second warmest year on record. Eastern North America was the only major region to experience below-average annual temperatures.
    ☑ Tropical Pacific Ocean moves towards El Niño–Southern Oscillation conditions: The El Niño–Southern Oscillation was in a neutral state during 2014, although it was on the cool side of neutral at the beginning of the year and approached warm El Niño conditions by the end of the year. This pattern played a major role in several regional climate outcomes.
    ☑ Sea surface temperatures were record high: The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the highest on record. The warmth was particularly notable in the North Pacific Ocean, where temperatures are in part likely driven by a transition of the Pacific decadal oscillation – a recurring pattern of ocean-atmosphere climate variability centered in the region.
    ☑ Global upper ocean heat content was record high: Globally, upper ocean heat content reached a record high for the year, reflecting the continuing accumulation of thermal energy in the upper layer of the oceans. Oceans absorb over 90 percent of Earth’s excess heat from greenhouse gas forcing.
    ☑ Global sea level was record high: Global average sea level rose to a record high in 2014. This keeps pace with the 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year trend in sea level growth observed over the past two decades.
    ☑ The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic experienced its fourth warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Arctic snow melt occurred 20–30 days earlier than the 1998–2010 average. On the North Slope of Alaska, record high temperatures at 20-meter depth were measured at four of five permafrost observatories. The Arctic minimum sea ice extent reached 1.94 million square miles on September 17, the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. The eight lowest minimum sea ice extents during this period have occurred in the last eight years.
    ☑ The Antarctic showed highly variable temperature patterns; sea ice extent reached record high: Temperature patterns across the Antarctic showed strong seasonal and regional patterns of warmer-than-normal and cooler-than-normal conditions, resulting in near-average conditions for the year for the continent as a whole. The Antarctic maximum sea ice extent reached a record high of 7.78 million square miles on September 20. This is 220,000 square miles more than the previous record of 7.56 million square miles that occurred in 2013. This was the third consecutive year of record maximum sea ice extent.
    ☑ Tropical cyclones above average overall: There were 91 tropical cyclones in 2014, well above the 1981–2010 average of 82 storms. The 22 named storms in the Eastern/Central Pacific were the most to occur in the basin since 1992. Similar to 2013, the North Atlantic season was quieter than most years of the last two decades with respect to the number of storms.

  2. Cassandra says:

    The Most Extreme Summer Weather Of 2015 http://all-that-is-interesting.com/summer-weather “Whether you think they’re signs of global warming or that Mother Nature is just working out some particularly painful kinks, it’s impossible to deny that summer 2015 has seen an insane amount of extreme weather events. From the massive blob of warm water covering thousands of miles in the Pacific Ocean to brutal, scorching temperatures torching places like Pakistan and Iran to a rain-battered Gulf Coast, this summer’s extreme conditions have left no part of the world untouched. See how the extreme is becoming the new norm – and claiming lives – in the following photos:

    • News item says:

      “High pressure system cranks up the heat across the West” http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com/news/national/article_7f312c5b-49f7-52d1-b69e-05249aa4a2c1.html “Phoenix broke a daily record Friday, reaching 117 degrees, and the expected Saturday high of 116 would top a 1992 record by 4 degrees, National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Leins said.
      “Stay inside if you can,” he said. “It’s dangerous, regardless of how acclimated you are to the climate, because it can be deadly.”
      The mercury hit 96 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, with the San Fernando Valley and other inland valleys ranging up to 108. Palm Springs hit 116 and Death Valley’s high could reach 120 to 125, according to the weather service.
      Highs of 110 to 112 were projected for Las Vegas and much of the Mojave desert.”

      • p/s says:

        “Our obsession with staying cool is warming up the planet” http://qz.com/468310/our-obsession-with-staying-cool-is-warming-up-the-planet/ Urbanization is dramatically transforming economies around the world, resulting in a booming middle class that wants the convenience and utility of refrigeration and air conditioning. From cold storage on farms to refrigerated shipping to cold displays in retail outlets to refrigerators in homes, it’s estimated that about 70% of the food in the U.S. travels through the cold chain – which is by far the most significant user of cooling, currently accounting for an estimated 15% of all electricity consumed worldwide. In addition the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that demand for air conditioning in emerging-market economies will have a significant impact on energy use worldwide, jumping from about 300 terawatt-hours in the year 2000 to more than 10,000 in 2100. Meanwhile, refrigerants, the actual substances used to create cold and sub-zero temperatures, are known as super greenhouse gases for their exceptionally high global warming potential and propensity to leak into the atmosphere. Depending on the system, up to 30% of a refrigerant’s volume leaks annually, expelling vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere where they can persist for decades or centuries. Commercial refrigeration, such as the food coolers inside grocery stores, accounts for roughly 40% of annual refrigerant emissions worldwide, according to the UN IPCC.

  3. Ed Ricketts says:

    “A huge, toxic algae bloom is basically eating the West Coast alive” http://grist.org/news/a-huge-toxic-algae-bloom-is-basically-eating-the-west-coast-alive/ “The bloom, which emerged in May, stretches thousands of miles from the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and has surprised researchers by its size and composition.
    “It’s just lurking there,” Vera Trainer, research oceanographer with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Washington state, told Reuters on Thursday. “It’s the longest lasting, highest toxicity and densest bloom that we’ve ever seen.”

  4. Heads up says:

    A new forecast from NOAA says this El Niño {see image} is “significant and strengthening,” with the potential to become very strong — even rivaling the strongest on record. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/08/13/noaa-el-nino-is-significant-and-strengthening-could-rival-strongest-on-record/ “NOAA forecasters say there’s a 90 percent chance that El Niño will continue through the winter months, and an 85 percent chance (up from 80 in July) that it will last into early spring next year. Looking at the models, oceans temperatures and atmospheric patterns, NOAA says they see a “significant and strengthening El Niño.” What does this mean for winter? Read on…

  5. Bye-bye says:

    In the long term, many of the great oak forests of Europe or the giant redwoods and pines of America may not survive. US researchers foresee potential widespread loss of the great temperate forests of both continents.
    Under the combined assault of increasing global temperatures and unprecedented drought, some forests could inexorably slide into savannah or scrubland.
    Constance Millar is an ecologist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Pacific Southwest Station. She and a colleague, Nathan Stephenson of the US Geological Survey, report in the journal Science that the boreal forests of the fast-warming sub-Arctic zones are not the only imperiled woodlands.
    They see climate change – driven by rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in turn fuelled by ever-greater fossil fuel combustion – as an emerging “mega-disturbance”: the bringer of not just longer and hotter droughts but of a new class of affliction, the unprecedented “global-change-type drought”.
    This cumbersome terminology masks a spell of longer, more severe and hotter droughts that will set the circumstances for new insect pests, fresh plant diseases, invasive competitor species and more extensive and more severe wildfires.

    • p/s says:

      The researchers note from review of the enormous body of work on the subject, climate change and rising global temperatures are giving rise to “hotter” droughts — droughts that exhibit a level of severity beyond that witnessed in the past century. During a hotter drought, high air temperatures overheat leaves and also increase the stress on trees by drawing the moisture from their tissues at faster rates than normal. Also snow that would normally act as emergency water storage for trees during the dry season instead falls as rain. The paper, “Temperate Forest Health in an Era of Emerging Megadisturbance,” was released in the journal Science – a link to it is in the press release from the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station @ http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/ufs–isd082815.php

  6. Cassandra says:

    Three major hurricanes have formed in the Pacific Ocean simultaneously — an occurrence that has never before been recorded and is likely related to a strengthening El Niño weather pattern in the region, experts said. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/8/31/three-major-hurricanes-hit-pacific-ocean.html Experts have linked warmer water temperatures from El Niño as well as climate change to stronger storms — and even an increased number of hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific.

  7. p/s says:

    “A large number of bubbling plumes are cropping up in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and researchers believe that it is methane. As waters warm, methane is being released from the ocean floors. This adds to the already huge amounts of methane being released by human activity. This discovery follows research last year that points to a huge increase in methane plumes off the East Coast. Given that methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, this could spell trouble for a planet many already believe is warming. The potential release of massive amounts of methane is no small matter. While carbon dioxide is the most well-known greenhouse gas, largely owing to the fact that it is emitted in massive amounts, and has been linked to human activity, it is actually a relatively weak greenhouse gas, at least compared to methane.
    In fact, methane is 23 times more powerful of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
    Methane is suspected for previously causing big and often sudden swings in the Earth’s climate. Much of the methane on Earth is actually trapped, frozen in the ocean, but as oceans warm up, this powerful greenhouse gas could be released. Global warming could thus accelerate. …Up until recently, such methane plumes were rare. Indeed, previous studies off the East Coast had found only 3 plumes. In 2014 scientists found 570 such plumes.” http://www.natureworldreport.com/2015/10/warming-pacific-releasing-huge-amounts-of-powerful-methane/

  8. Manuel Fidello says:

    “New study: Warming waters a major factor in the collapse of New England cod” http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-10/gomr-nsw102315.php PORTLAND, Maine — October 29, 2015 — For centuries, cod were the backbone of New England’s fisheries and a key species in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. Today, cod stocks are on the verge of collapse, hovering at 3-4% of sustainable levels. Even cuts to the fishery have failed to slow this rapid decline, surprising both fishermen and fisheries managers. For the first time, a new report in “Science” explains why. It shows that the cod collapse is in large part due to rapid warming of the ocean in the Gulf of Maine – 99 percent faster than anywhere else on the planet.
    The rapid warming is linked to changes in the position of the Gulf Stream and to climate oscillations in the Atlantic and the Pacific. These factors add to the steady pace of warming caused by global climate change.
    See also “Climate change is doing some very strange things to the waters off New England” http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/10/29/climate-change-is-doing-some-strange-things-to-the-waters-off-new-england/
    Includes description of how the northward shift of the warm Gulf Stream appears tied to a larger change in Atlantic ocean circulation — the slowing of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, which carries warm surface water northward and cold water southward at depth, and is driven by differences in temperature and salinity of these waters. See link to “Global warming is now slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences” http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/25/global-warming-slowing-ocean-currents-michael-mann/

  9. Fahrenheit212 says:

    Nov. 9th, 2015: The weekly sea surface temperature reading, taken within the Niño 3.4 region near the equator, has risen to 2.8°C [37.04 ℉] above average. This is the highest value observed to date during this event and ties the highest weekly departure of 2.8°C recorded in late November 1997 during the record-setting 1997-98 El Niño. NOAA provides an update on El Niño conditions each Monday. https://wunderground.atavist.com/el-nino-forecast

  10. Update says:

    Oceanographers reveal links between migrating Gulf Stream and warming ocean waters https://today.uri.edu/news/paper-shows-links-between-gulf-stream-and-warming-waters/
    “We used satellite data to show that when the Gulf Stream migrates closer to the underwater plateau known as the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, as it did after 2008, it blocks the southwestward transport of the Labrador Current that would otherwise provide cold, fresh, oxygen-rich water to the North American shelf,” said lead author Gonçalves Neto. This mechanism explains why the most recent decade has been the hottest on record at the edge of the Northeast United States and Canada, as the delivery system of cold water to the region got choked off by the presence of the Gulf Stream.
    According to the co-author of the study “there are modeling studies that suggest that a slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation can cause the types of changes we observed, but the connection remains to be made in the observational record.”
    The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation or AMOC is a system of currents that delivers warm ocean waters to northern regions, contributing to the warm climate of Scandinavia and influencing a broad array of northern hemisphere weather phenomena. Climate models show the AMOC circulation slowing if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, which–if the link is proven–would continue altering the Northeast U.S. and Canadian shelf waters and impacting fisheries in the future.
    Re: The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_meridional_overturning_circulation

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