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Mon Sep 28, 2020, 11:13 AM

The Oceans Appear to Be Stabilizing. Here's Why it's Very Bad News - Opinion

ON 9/28/20 AT 11:01 AM EDT

As we continue to warm the planet through fossil fuel burning and other activities releasing carbon pollution, the surface and lower atmosphere is warming faster than the air aloft. That favors heavy colder air on top of lighter warmer air, and a less stable atmosphere. It means more turbulence and more energetic storms. And it's part of the reason we expect more extreme weather events in a warmer world.

With the oceans, we have the opposite. The warm, lighter surface waters are warming faster than the cold deeper water, since heat penetrates slowly down into the depths of the ocean. Global warming is consequently tending to make the oceans more stable. Sea water density depends not just on temperature but saltiness ("salinity" too. Fresh water is lighter than salty water, and the melting of ice is leading to the accumulation of fresh, light water at the surface, especially at higher latitudes. It's a double whammy, with both heating and reduced salinity leading to a more stable ocean.

My colleagues and I have just published an article in the journal Nature Climate Change showing that the oceans are not only becoming more stable, but are doing so faster than was previously thought. Led by Guancheng Li of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in China, our team (which also includes Lijing Cheng, Jiang Zhu, Kevin Trenberth and John P. Abraham) analyzed a quantitative measure of stability known as "stratification". We found that the stratification of the world oceans is not only increasing, but is doing so at a greater rate than estimated in previous studies. Our study uses more comprehensive data and a more sophisticated method for estimating stratification changes, and we found a nearly 6 percent increase in the stratification of the upper 200 meters (~650 feet) of the world oceans over the past half century.


( We must act and in a big way! )

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Reply The Oceans Appear to Be Stabilizing. Here's Why it's Very Bad News - Opinion (Original post)
BeckyDem Sep 28 OP
hatrack Sep 28 #1
BeckyDem Sep 30 #2

Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Mon Sep 28, 2020, 05:19 PM

1. Read "Under A Green Sky" by geologist Peter Ward . . . .

. . . . if you'd like to find out why this is such seriously bad news.

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Response to hatrack (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 30, 2020, 10:24 AM

2. +1. It's all falling apart faster than they first thought.

40% of world’s plant species at risk of extinction

Race against time to save plants and fungi that underpin life on Earth, global data shows

Two in five of the world’s plant species are at risk of extinction as a result of the destruction of the natural world, according to an international report.

Plants and fungi underpin life on Earth, but the scientists said they were now in a race against time to find and identify species before they were lost.

These unknown species, and many already recorded, were an untapped “treasure chest” of food, medicines and biofuels that could tackle many of humanity’s greatest challenges, they said, potentially including treatments for coronavirus and other pandemic microbes.

More than 4,000 species of plants and fungi were discovered in 2019. These included six species of Allium in Europe and China, the same group as onions and garlic, 10 relatives of spinach in California and two wild relatives of cassava, which could help future-proof the staple crop eaten by 800 million people against the climate crisis.

New medical plants included a sea holly species in Texas, whose relatives can treat inflammation, a species of antimalarial Artemisa in Tibet and three varieties of evening primrose.


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