New research indicates that we are further down that bad climate change road than we'd thought. The ocean has been storing 60% more heat from global warming than we'd estimated, which means that climate sensitivity is at the high end of estimates.
The world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years, researchers say.
Their study suggests that the seas have absorbed 60% more than previously thought.
They say it means the Earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than estimated.
This new calculation shows that far more heat than we thought has been going into oceans. But it also means that far more heat than we thought has been generated by the warming gases we have emitted.
Therefore more heat from the same amount of gas means the Earth is more sensitive to CO2.
The report suggests that to prevent temperatures rising above 2C, carbon emissions from human activities must be reduced by 25% more than previously estimated.
Since 2007, scientists have been able to rely on a system of almost 4,000 Argo floats that record temperature and salinity in the oceans around the world.
But prior to this, the methods used to measure the heat in the ocean had many flaws and uncertainties.
Now, researchers have developed what they say is a highly precise method of detecting the temperature of the ocean by measuring the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air. This allows them to accurately measure ocean temperatures globally, dating back to 1991, when accurate data from a global network of stations became available.
The key element is the fact that as waters get warmer they release more carbon dioxide and oxygen into the air.
"So what we measured was the amount lost by the oceans, and then we can calculate how much warming we need to explain that change in gases." [emphasis mine]
In essence, more heat in the oceans signals that global warming is more advanced than scientists thought.
“We thought that we got away with not a lot of warming in both the ocean and the atmosphere for the amount of CO2 that we emitted,” said Resplandy,... “But we were wrong. The planet warmed more than we thought. It was hidden from us just because we didn’t sample it right. But it was there. It was in the ocean already.”
According to a major climate report released last year by the U.S. government, the world’s oceans have absorbed about 93 percent of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gases since the mid-20th century.
Paul Durack, a research scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, said Wednesday’s study offers “a really interesting new insight” and is “quite alarming.”... if these rates are validated by further studies, “it means the rate of warming and the sensitivity of the Earth’s system to greenhouse gases is at the upper end.” [emphasis mine]
image source text mine
The UK's Extinction Rebellion Group takes our climate emergency seriously.
They expected a few hundred to a recent protest, but more than a thousand came.
Stuart Basden, from Extinction Rebellion, said ... The first step is to ensure people are fully informed of the extreme gravity of the situation.”
Strategies need to include all sections of government, from the President to the town mayor using civil disobedience, sit-down, marches, visits to official offices, letters to the editor, Op-Ed pieces, convocations and workshops in schools, PTA involvement, social media,
Yes, we must all mobilize.
This figure from Resplandy et al compares the ocean heat content from their new study (red line with orange error bar) to four earlier studies. You can see, the main difference is the slope showing how fast ocean heat is rising. (Description shortened)