Alien Waters: Neighboring Seas Are Flowing into a Warming Arctic Ocean

Alien Waters: Neighboring Seas Are Flowing into a Warming Arctic Ocean

SOURCE: Yale e360 DATE: May 10, 2018 SNIP: As the Arctic heats up faster than any other region on the planet, once-distinct boundaries between the frigid polar ocean and its warmer, neighboring oceans are beginning to blur, opening the gates to southern waters bearing foreign species, from phytoplankton to whales. The “Atlantification” and “Pacification” of the Arctic Ocean are now rapidly advancing. A new paper by University of Washington oceanographer Rebecca Woodgate, for example, finds that the volume of Pacific Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait surged up to 70 percent over the past decade and now equals 50 times the annual flow of the Mississippi River. And over on the Atlantic flank of the Arctic, another recent report concludes that the Arctic Ocean’s cold layering system that blocks Atlantic inflows is breaking down, allowing a deluge of warmer, denser water to flood into the Arctic Basin. “You have all this warm Pacific water coming into the Arctic and what is that going to mean?” says Robert Pickart, a physical oceanographer with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts who studies Pacific Arctic circulation. “Not only is there more water going through, but there’s an increase in the amount of heat going through.” Adding more heat, he says, is “going to change the composition of the water and its likelihood to melt sea ice.” In addition, waters from the Atlantic that have long entered the Arctic Ocean and circled down deep are being driven higher onto shallow sea shelves north of Alaska by increasingly intense storms. (The Arctic’s extensive sea ice cover used...
In 2017, the oceans were by far the hottest ever recorded

In 2017, the oceans were by far the hottest ever recorded

SOURCE: The Guardian and Advances in Atmospheric Sciences DATE: January 26, 2018 SNIP: Among scientists who work on climate change, perhaps the most anticipated information each year is how much the Earth has warmed. That information can only come from the oceans, because almost all heat is stored there. If you want to understand global warming, you need to first understand ocean warming. This important ocean information was just released today by a world-class team of researchers from China. The researchers (Lijing Cheng and Jiang Zhu) found that the upper 2000 meters (more than 6000 feet) of ocean waters were far warmer in 2017 than the previous hottest year. We measure heat energy in Joules. It turns out that 2017 was a record-breaking year, 1.51 × 1022 Joules hotter than any other year. For comparison, the annual electrical generation in China is 600 times smaller than the heat increase in the ocean. The authors also calculated that all this heat resulted in approximately 2 mm rise in sea level (as water warms, it expands and so that ocean levels rise). Further consequences of this heating include declining oxygen levels in the oceans, bleaching of coral reefs, and melting of both sea ice and ice shelves (the latter of which which will also raise sea levels). We are observing these effects. Arctic ice is undergoing a long-term decline, and it’s possible the Arctic will become ice-free. Massive coral bleaching events have been recorded, particularly in the waters off of Australia. The point is, the effects of global warming aren’t just academic; they are...
2017 Was the Warmest Year on Record for Oceans

2017 Was the Warmest Year on Record for Oceans

SOURCE: TruthDig DATE: January 19, 2018 SNIP: Global warming is real, and it’s happening now. Within hours of the announcement by scientists in the US that 2017 was at least the third warmest year recorded, if not the second, over the Earth’s land and oceans, there comes a further revelation: 2017 was also the warmest year on record for the global oceans. The news that the oceans are continuing to warm to hitherto unknown levels comes in an updated ocean analysis from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics/Chinese Academy of Science (IAP/CAS). Its study was published as an early online release in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. The authors say that in 2017 the oceans in the upper 2000-metre layer of water were warmer than the second warmest year, 2015, and above the 1981-2010 climatological reference period. Thanks to their large heat capacity, the oceans absorb warming caused by human activities, and more than 90% of the Earth’s extra heat from global warming is absorbed by...
Stunning NASA chart shows how fast the ground beneath our feet is heating up

Stunning NASA chart shows how fast the ground beneath our feet is heating up

SOURCE: Think Progress DATE: Aug 22, 2017 SNIP: Global temperatures are rising faster on the land, where we live, than the oceans, where we don’t, NASA charts reveal. Since scientists have long predicted this trend and say it will continue, it’s worth a closer look. Let’s start with the long-term global warming trend. According to NOAA, “Since 1880, surface temperature has risen at an average pace of 0.13°F (0.07°C) every 10 years, for a net warming of 1.71°F (0.95°C).” But the warming is not evenly distributed: “Over this 136-year period, average temperature over land areas has warmed faster than ocean temperatures: 0.18°F (0.10°C) per decade compared to 0.11°F (0.06°C) per decade.” So over the entire record, the land is warming nearly 70 percent faster than the...
Climate Change May Shrink the World’s Fish

Climate Change May Shrink the World’s Fish

SOURCE: National Geographic DATE: Aug 21, 2017 SNIP: Warming temperatures and loss of oxygen in the sea will shrink hundreds of fish species—from tunas and groupers to salmon, thresher sharks, haddock and cod—even more than previously thought, a new study concludes. Because warmer seas speed up their metabolisms, fish, squid and other water-breathing creatures will need to draw more oxyen from the ocean. At the same time, warming seas are already reducing the availability of oxygen in many parts of the sea. A pair of University of British Columbia scientists argue that since the bodies of fish grow faster than their gills, these animals eventually will reach a point where they can’t get enough oxygen to sustain normal growth. “What we found was that the body size of fish decreases by 20 to 30 perent for every 1 degree Celsius increase in water temperature,” says author William Cheung, director of science for the university’s Nippon Foundation—Nereus...