Friday, January 23, 2015

The oceans are warming so fast, they keep breaking scientists' charts

 2014 continues long-term global warming
 The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880,
according to an analysis by NASA scientists.
This video shows a time series of five-year global temperature averages, mapped from 1880 to 2014, as estimated by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
While scientists expect temperatures to fluctuate from year to year, the average temperature of the planet as a whole has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) since 1880.
This trend is largely driven by increasing human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The GISS analysis incorporates temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based ocean temperature readings and data from Antarctic research stations.
These measurements are plugged into an algorithm that then estimates average global temperature.

From The Guardian by John Abraham

NOAA once again has to rescale its ocean heat chart to capture 2014 ocean warming

Wow, was this a bad year for those who deny the reality and the significance of human-induced climate change.
Of course, there were the recent flurry of reports that 2014 surface temperatures had hit their hottest values ever recorded.
The 2014 record was first called on this blog in December and the final results were reported as well, here.
All of this happened in a year that the denialists told us would not be very hot.

Analysis by NOAA shows that in 2014, the combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average, making the year the warmest since records began in 1880.
The ocean alone was record warm, while the land alone was fourth warmest.
Five months set new records for warmth: May, June, August, September, and December. October tied for record warmest.
The 20 warmest years in the historical record have all occurred in the past 20 years.
Except for 1998, the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2002.
This animation shows Earth’s surface temperature from 1880-2014 compared to the 20th-Century Average.
The maps and graph are based on the MLOST data from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center.

But those denialists are having a tough time now as they look around the planet for ANY evidence that climate change is not happening.
The problem is, they’ve been striking out.
And just recently, perhaps the most important bit of information came out about 2014 – how much the Earth actually warmed.
What we find is that the warming is so great, NOAA literally has to remake its graphs.

Let me explain this a bit.
We tend to focus on the global temperature average which is the average of air temperatures near the ground (or at the sea surface).
This past year, global air temperatures were record-breaking.
But that isn’t the same as global warming.
Global warming is properly viewed as the amount of heat contained within the Earth’s energy system. So, air temperatures may go up and down on any given year as energy moves to or from the air (primarily from the ocean).
What we really want to know is, did the Earth’s energy go up or down?

The trick to answering this question is to measure the change in energy of the oceans.
A thorough review of ocean heat measurement methods is found here; we paid the requisite fee to make the paper open access.
Anyone can download and read it.

So what do the new data show?
Well, it turns out that the energy stored within the ocean (which is 90% or more of the total “global warming” heat), increased significantly.
A plot from NOAA is shown above.
You can see that the last data point (the red curve), is, literally off the chart.

 Ocean heat content data to a depth of 2,000 meters, from NOAA.

The folks at NOAA do a great job updating this graph every three months or so.
We can now say that the 2014 Earth had more heat (thermal energy) than any year ever recorded by humans.
We can also say that the folks at NOAA will likely have to rescale their graph to capture the new numbers
The NOAA site is updated by Dr. Tim Boyer and can be found here.

If people want to read a review of ocean heating that is written for a general audience, I suggest our recent peer-reviewed paper which can be found here.

So when we look back on 2014 and the records that fell, it gives us some pause about the so-called pause (hat-tip to Dr. Greg Laden for that phrase).
Some people tried to tell us global warming had “paused”, that it ended in 1998, or that the past 15 years or so had not seen a change in the energy of the Earth.
This ocean warming data is the clearest nail in that coffin.
There never was a pause to global warming, there never was a halt, and the folks that tried to tell you there was were, well, I’ll let you decide.
For me, the facts speak for themselves.

Links :
  • NASA : NASA, NOAA find 2014 warmest year in modern record

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