Here’s a tour de force video presentation from the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio, showing ocean surface currents around the world, reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting. This is a powerful illustration of how sophisticated and comprehensive scientific real-world modeling has become.
Here’s some very troubling news from the world of climate science: there is evidence that the deep oceans may have been “warehousing” large amounts of excess heat — and now they’re beginning to release it: Antarctic Melting as Deep Ocean Heat Rises.
And if it’s true, we may be locked into long-term sea level rise already, no matter what we do.
Global warming is sneaky. For more than a century it has been hiding large amounts of excess heat in the world’s deep seas. Now that heat is coming to the surface again in one of the worst possible places: Antarctica.
New analyses of the heat content of the waters off Western Antarctic Peninsula are now showing a clear and exponential increase in warming waters undermining the sea ice, raising air temperatures, melting glaciers and wiping out entire penguin colonies.
“In the area I work there is the highest increase in temperatures of anywhere on Earth,” said physical oceanographer Doug Martinson of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Martinson has been collecting ocean water heat content data for more than 18 years at Palmer Island, on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.
“Eighty-seven percent of the alpine glaciers are in retreat,” said Martinson of the Western Antarctic Peninsula. “Some of the Adele penguin colonies have already gone extinct.”
Martinson and his colleagues looked not only at their very detailed and mapped water heat data from the last two decades, but compared them with sketchier data from the past and deep ocean heat content measurements worldwide. All show the same rising trend that is being seen in Antarctica.
“When I saw that my jaw just dropped,” said Martinson. The most dramatic rise has happened since 1960, he said.
What the rising water heat means, he said, is that even if humanity got organized and soon stopped emitting greenhouse gases, there is already too much heat in the oceans to stop a lot of impacts — like the melting of a huge amount of Antarctic ice.