March 24, 2006

Are the ocean basins half full or half empty?

The scale on the figure above goes from -1.8 C (violet) to 31.7 (red). 26.5 C is orangish-yellow.

An old pal asked me if I knew of a good website where you can find information about sea surface temperatures. You bet I do. You need look no farther than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, here, and the NASA earth observatory, here.

Arthur C. Clarke said that we are wrong to call our planet earth-- a far more appropriate name would be ocean, since the oceans cover over 2/3 of the surface. The oceans are a great place to go looking for climate change.

First thing to note is that sea surface temperatures greater than 26.5 C (79.7 F) to a depth of 50 m support hurricanes.

Second thing to note is that sea level has increased over 7 " in the last century. This is not because of melting ice, but it is related to climate change. When water gets warmer it expands, and the sea level rise is simply a measure of an increase in the temperature of the world's ocean. 'The best is yet to come': when the Greenland glacier melts, sea levels will rise 6 m. 10 years ago the Greenland glacier was loosing 50 cubic kilometers of ice a year-- last year this had increased to 150 cubic kilometers.

There is enough water on Antarctica to raise the world's oceans by 60 m. Time to start building the ark of your dreams??


At March 30, 2006 2:15 AM , Anonymous daveploeg said...

Love the chart.

I have a collegue who is reading Michael Crichton's book, "State of Fear" in which he argues that global warming is a fiction. Over lunch today he was telling me about the book and how it made a lot of sense to him. I was so taken aback by this, I did not have a coherent response. I ended up saying something like "Uh, what??".

Can you direct me to some data supporting the idea that global warming is not a fiction?

At April 01, 2006 8:48 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

I read that book with the idea of writing a reasoned response to each of his arguments. Wound up with 6 pages of cramped handwritten notes, and then decided that I had better ways to use my time. There were simply so many distortions, half-truths and fabrications that unfortunately, because I really like Michael Chrichton's other books, I came to think of him as a demagogue. The arguments in SoF would have worked 15 years ago but today we know too much. Scientifically Chrichton is WAY behind the ball.

I answered a sweries of questions about global warming for Tim McGuire about a year ago-- I will post a link to the file. Some of the best information is here:

At April 01, 2006 9:21 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

'State of Denial':

At April 01, 2006 9:24 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

This blog, 'Real Climate, climate science from climate scientists' has some GREAT information.

At April 03, 2006 4:54 PM , Anonymous daveploeg said...

Thanks Matt, great references. My colleague is an engineer and loves science. I think he's just a little behind the times. Keep up the blog.


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