ocean stratification climate change

If the ocean surface warms faster and less carbon is carried to the depths, those processes along with other climate feedbacks could lead atmospheric CO2 to triple and the global average temperature could increase 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, he added. It’s a threat to the food web, including fish.”, Trenberth said the effect on hurricanes is also clear. Earth System Models (ESMs) project that climate change will lead to approximately 1-10% declines in global ocean phytoplankton productivity by the end of the 21st century, under high carbon emissions scenarios. Nature Climate Change. This indicates a significant change in tropical thermocline depth that is important to the El Nino phenomenon. Ms. Zheng Lin Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! A new study shows more heat is building up in the upper 600 feet of the ocean than deeper down. Our #1 newsletter delivers the week’s climate and energy news – our original stories and top headlines from around the web. EurekAlert! With increased stratification, heat from climate warming cannot penetrate into the … ... ocean stratification. Mann said a warm upper ocean cannot hold as much dissolved gas, whether it’s carbon dioxide or oxygen, just like a warm soda can’t hold its fizziness. At the front line of climate change, the ocean, the coastlines and coastal communities are being disproportionately impacted by increasing carbon dioxide (CO 2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities. The areas characterized by the largest stratification changes include the Arctic, the tropics, the North Atlantic, and the northeast Pacific. Source: NOAA MESA Project. In a report published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the international team of climate scientists said they found that stratification globally had increased by a … A column highlighting climate-related studies, innovations, books, cultural events and other developments from the global warming frontier. Climate crisis: record ocean heat in 2020 supercharged extreme weather Scientists say temperatures likely to be increasing faster than at any time in past 2,000 years Published: 4:00 AM This study used a carefully evaluated ocean temperature and salinity data (IAP products) which overcomes previous systematic biases associated with sampling. Oxygen-depleted dead zones are already spreading in the oceans.”. New research published in Nature Climate Change on Monday shows that oceans are stratifying faster than previous research indicated. The observed increase in ocean stratification is “yet another climate science prediction come true,” said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf, with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research, who was not involved in the study. Recall from the ‘Ocean Layers & Mixing’ page that our oceans are already a bit stratified due to differences in temperature and salinity. For now, oceans take up about a quarter of the CO2 emissions from human activity, “but prospects are for less of that as time goes on,” Trenberth said. Warmer waters also "absorb less atmospheric carbon dioxide" and "hold less dissolved oxygen." Previous calculations measuring the change over time were not as accurate because they didn’t include as much data, said co-author, The observed increase in ocean stratification is “yet another climate science prediction come true,” said climate scientist, If the current slows, more hot water could build up along the East Coast of the United States, leading to more coastal heat waves and rising sea levels. If more and more heat stays near the surface of the ocean, the warm water will heat the atmosphere above. Dan Gearino’s habit-forming weekly take on how to understand the energy transformation reshaping our world. Climate change is warming ocean waters and causing shifts in the distribution and abundance of seaweeds, corals, fish and other marine species. The global ocean has become more stratified and stable over the past few decades with global warming. The intensified layering, called ocean stratification, is happening faster than scientists expected, an international team of researchers reported in the study, published Sept. 28 … “This is why hurricanes are bigger and longer-lasting and more intense than before.”. Science, 316, 1735-1738; published online May 16, 2007. ICN provides award-winning climate coverage free of charge and advertising. A new study, by a group of international researchers from China and U.S., published in Nature Climate Change found that the global ocean has become more layered and resistant to vertical mixing as warming from the surface creates increasing stratification. It also reduces the capability of ocean carbon storage, exacerbating the global warming. Bob Berwyn an Austrian-based freelance reporter who has covered climate science and international climate policy for more than a decade. If we reach a tipping point, we will likely see more extreme weather events, changing ocean currents, rising sea levels and temperatures, and melting of … warmer fresher waters atop colder more saline ones. But the growing stratification could suppress those cycles, “leaving the Pacific in a permanent El Niño state,” Mann added. EurekAlert! Saturation of the Southern Ocean CO 2 sink due to recent climate change. This slowing would also affect the climates of North America and Europe. We can imagine how much energy the ocean can absorb and contain, and, when it’s released slowly, how big the impact is.” The researchers reported other effects, such as ocean salinity pattern amplification and more stratification due to the upper layer warming quicker than the deeper sections. This stable stratified configuration acts as a barrier to water mixing that impacts the efficiency of vertical exchanges of heat, carbon, oxygen and other constituents. “For example it reduces the oxygen supply to the waters below the ocean surface, which is bad for marine life. As human-caused greenhouse warming has fundamentally altered oceanic temperature and salinity fields, impacts to stratification are expected but the details have been difficult to discern until now. “Greater stability resists vertical movements and can have profound effects on zooplankton, fish and mammals,” he said. Based on observational evidence, theoretical understanding and robust ESM projections, it is very likely that stratification in the upper few hundred meters of the ocean below the mixed layer will increase significantly in the 21st century over most ocean basins as a result of climate change, and abyssal stratification will likely decrease. Increased stratification of the ocean could drive a vicious cycle of warming, Mann added. Le Quéré, C. and Metzl, N. (2004). Previous calculations measuring the change over time were not as accurate because they didn’t include as much data, said co-author Lijing Cheng, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Atmospheric Physics. jennylin@mail.iap.ac.cn A warming ocean has huge implications for climate change, some of which we’ve already discussed.Another of these implications is ocean stratification, or the increased layering of our oceans due to differences in temperature. Stratification intensifies under warming. offers eligible public information officers paid access to a reliable news release distribution service. But nowadays, “that cold water is warmer than it used to be,” which enables storms to build and maintain intensity,” he said. “In the second case, it means that the oceans hold less oxygen. The intensified layering, called ocean stratification, is happening faster than scientists expected, an international team of researchers reported in the study, published Sept. 28 in the journal Nature Climate Change. We deliver climate news to your inbox like nobody else. A new study shows more heat is building up in the upper 600 feet of the ocean than deeper down. The authors of this study include Guancheng Li, Lijing Cheng, Jiang Zhu of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Science (IAP, CAS) and the CAS Center for Ocean Mega Science; Kevin E. Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Michael E. Mann, with the Department of Meteorology & Atmospheric Science at The Pennsylvania State University; John Abraham, of the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering. Inside Climate News uses cookies. Get a daily email of our original, groundbreaking stories written by our national network of award-winning reporters. Previously, he reported on the environment, endangered species and public lands for several Colorado newspapers, and also worked as editor and assistant editor at community newspapers in the Colorado Rockies. With increased stratification, heat from climate warming cannot penetrate into the deep ocean as readily, which helps to raise the surface temperature. As climate change warms the oceans (even just an increase of about 0.2C per decade, on average), the warmer water (which is lighter) tends to stay on top of what is then a layer of colder water. In the new study, the researchers used a wealth of readings from new instruments deployed at many different depths and spread widely across the oceans to get a much better understanding of how the layers are changing all the way down to a depth of 6,500 feet, he added. This decline results from projected increases in ocean stratification under global warming, which hinders the supply of deep ocean nutrients to the well-lit surface ocean. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report estimates that the upper ocean (surface to 750 m deep) has warmed by 0.09 to 0.13 degrees C per decade over the past 40 years. A disruption could lead to major climate shifts. The impacts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet response to climate change will have global consequences for millions living near the coast. In a report published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the international team of climate scientists said they found that stratification globally had … Increasing ocean stratification. According to a 2015, The impacts on marine life are more certain, said co-author, Many Overheated Forests May Soon Release More Carbon Than They Absorb, The Radical Case for Growing Huge Swaths of Bamboo in North America. And if less warm water is transported northward, the climate in northwestern Europe would become more volatile. “The nutrients from the bottom have to merge with the light from the sun in upper layers for high productivity,” but the increasingly stable layers may limit the rise of those nutrients, he added. Previous quantification of stratification change has been limited to a simple index and has neglected the spatial complexity of ocean density change. The ocean plays a … That’s problematic for sea life that, like us, needs oxygen. Any slowing documented to date cannot be directly tied to anthropogenic forcing primarily due to lack of adequate observational data and Flooding is becoming more frequent along the U.S. coastline as sea level … provides eligible reporters with free access to embargoed and breaking news releases. Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, IMAGE: Ocean color difference when two water mass meets. is a service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. We rely on donations from readers like you to keep going. The heat in the top 300 to 400 feet of the ocean is what fuels tropical storms. Therefore, the stratification is a central element of Earth's climate system, and understanding its changes with global warming has great scientific, societal and ecological consequences. Upper Ocean Water Masses Shrinking in Changing Climate: Less Efficient CO2 Sink Apr. That increasingly distinct warm layer on the surface can intensify tropical storms, disrupt fisheries, interfere with the ocean absorption of carbon and deplete oxygen, The intensified layering, called ocean stratification, is happening faster than scientists expected, an international team of researchers reported in the, The researchers found that, overall, stratification in the upper 600 feet of the ocean increased by 6 percent in the last 50 years. The new study overcomes the key limitations and provides an estimate on ocean stratification for the upper 2000m and also its spatial structures. This observed long-term increasing trend of stratification is mainly caused by stronger ocean warming for upper layers versus the deep oceans (~97%), but salinity changes play an important role locally. The ocean becomes less effective as a “carbon sink,” he said. That increasingly distinct warm layer on the surface can intensify tropical storms, disrupt fisheries, interfere with the ocean absorption of carbon and deplete oxygen, Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State, said. The researchers found that, overall, stratification in the upper 600 feet of the ocean increased by 6 percent in the last 50 years. The sheets of warm water block flows of heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients within the water column, and between the oceans and atmosphere. Climate change is affecting the chemistry of seawater. An oceanic feature called upper ocean stratification causes upper ocean layers to warm faster than deeper ones. News; Investigations. Warmer ocean surface waters result in increased ocean stratification, which means less ocean mixing, which normally would help deliver oxygen from surface waters to the deep. And that means the negative impacts will arrive faster and also be greater than expected, said Mann, a co-author of the study. This stratification increase reveals a robust human-driven change in the ocean due the long-term temperature and salinity change structures. “The take-home point, here, is that once again we are learning that the uncertainties are not breaking in our favor,” he said. Strong storms churn up the ocean, bringing colder water to the surface that can limit strengthening, or even weaken a storm. The impacts on marine life are more certain, said co-author Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. State-of-the-art climate models used today to predict future climate change tend to underestimate the stratification of the ocean. A Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy and the environment. The increase in stratification is primarily due to the increase in surface temperature, whose influence upon density is largest in the tropical regions, and decreases with increasing latitude. If the current slows, more hot water could build up along the East Coast of the United States, leading to more coastal heat waves and rising sea levels.  @aasjournal, Copyright © 2021 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. The results highlight a new connection between eddy activity, Arctic ice, and ocean stratification, that can now be factored into climate models to … Both changes could cause harm to ocean ecosystems. Water rolls up onto a North Carolina beach as Hurricane Florence approaches in this 2018 photo. That vast system of ocean currents shunts warm and cold water between the Arctic, North Atlantic and Antarctic oceans. Tiny phytoplankton: the foundation of the oceanic food chain. EurekAlert! 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