December 06, 2006

New Climate Model Predicts Slower Uptake of Global Warming

What we know about global warming is a combination of careful observation and the creation of complex computer models which uses the observed data to project how the world will be in the future. As new data comes in they are plugged into the computer models and new scenarios are run to adjust for new information.

Recently, climate scientists have used this process to adjust the computer models for how the southern ocean winds are behaving. What they've found is that the westerly winds have been moving southward the past 30 years and this is creating a different dynamic in regards to climate change. Factoring this new information leads to a new climate model that plays out differently than earlier models. This new model shows that the ocean could end up absorbing a lot more heat and carbon than originally believed leading to an overall slower warming of the atmosphere.

This could be good news for humans because it means that we have more time to clean up our act and make up for the lost Bush years. But it is not good news for the creatures of the ocean because as I wrote last month, the warming of the ocean is leading to the acidification of the ocean and this is leading to the oceans being inhabited mostly by jellyfish.

The Southern Hemisphere westerly winds have moved southward in the last 30 years. A new climate model predicts that as the winds shift south, they can do a better job of transferring heat and carbon dioxide from the surface waters surrounding Antarctica into the deeper, colder waters.

The new finding surprised the scientists, said lead researcher Joellen L. Russell. "We think it will slow global warming. It won't reverse or stop it, but it will slow the rate of increase."

The new model Russell and her colleagues developed provides a realistic simulation of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies and Southern Ocean circulation.

..."But there are consequences," Russell said. "This isn't an unqualified good, even if more carbon dioxide and heat goes into the ocean."

As the atmosphere warms, storing more heat in the ocean will cause sea levels to rise even faster as the warmed water expands, she said. Adding more CO2 to the oceans will change their chemistry, making the water more acidic and less habitable for some marine organisms.

So we humans could have more time than we understood to mitigate global warming, although our luck comes at a steep price -- the expense of the ocean's shelled wildlife and all the fish and marine mammals that depend on the existence of those shelled creatures. Too bad they didn't have a vote on who should ultimately pay for the poisoning of the earth with excess carbon.

Posted by Mary at December 6, 2006 11:36 PM | Environment | Technorati links |
Comments

yahoo

Another Bushevik Violation of the Rule of Law: The Homeland Security Department's newly revealed computerized risk assessments of international travelers may violate a specific ban that Congress imposed as part of the agency's budget over the past three years.

So, Homeland defense fucks capitalism. Hm, either theyre communists or they want to eat your caput, your head.

I heard this spell somewhere else... it goes like "there are bulls and gays in texas and ur not lookin bull."

Posted by: ccokz at December 7, 2006 09:02 PM