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article imageNew ocean-centric approach for detecting climate change

By Tim Sandle     Sep 1, 2019 in Environment
Scientists have developed a roadmap for detecting changes in ocean as the result of climate change. Already climate change is impacting on sea temperature rises; however other effects are likely to occur this century.
The research from Princeton University is focused on when humanity can expect to detect further changes to the oceans as the result of climate change. The new study has found that some changes are already underway, whereas as other changes will take a little longer to appear, provided that global warming continues at its current trajectory.
The scientists, who were sponsored by NASA, examined various physical and chemical changes impacting upon the ocean linked with increases to atmospheric carbon dioxide as the result of human activities. The research indicates that over the past thirty years a number of changes have already taken place, and these changes are set to continue.
The changes are with sea surface warming, acidification and increases in the rate that the ocean removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans.
A fast response craft manned by members of ADV Ocean Shield's crew and Navy personnel pass by t...
A fast response craft manned by members of ADV Ocean Shield's crew and Navy personnel pass by the starboard side of the ship as the boat searches the ocean for Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean on April 7, 2014
LSIS Bradley Darvill, Australian Defence/AFP/File
Global warming can also affect sea levels, coastlines, ocean currents, seawater, sea surface temperatures, tides, and the sea floor, plus the phenomenon can trigger several changes in ocean bio-geochemistry. Some of these other processes, connected more indirectly with atmospheric carbon dioxide, will take longer to manifest.
Commenting on the research, lead scientist Dr. Sarah Schlunegger said: "We sought to address a key scientific question: When, why and how will important changes become detectable above the normal variations that we expect to see in the global ocean?"
The new study offers a timeframe for when the different effects of climate change will start to appear and how fast they will progress. This includes gaining a more detailed understanding of the impact upon marine ecosystems.
The aim of the study was to take predictions formed by climate models and use these to help to interpret observational assessments. The main model was used was the Earth System Model, which is a climate model based in an interactive carbon cycle.
The study additionally found that the detectability of some changes in the ocean could benefit from improvements to the current observational sampling strategy, such as looking more deeply into the ocean for changes in phytoplankton, and assessing data across seasons.
The new approach has been reported to the journal Nature Climate Change. The research paper is titled “Emergence of anthropogenic signals in the ocean carbon cycle.”
More about Climate change, Oceans, Global warming, Seas
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