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Mixed up ocean

turbulence

The global climate picture has gained yet another wild card: “mesoscale turbulence” in ocean waters.

Mesoscale turbulence appears to affect the movement of water across sections of ocean 30 to 120 miles in reach, scientists Julius Busecke and Ryan Abernathy reported in Science Advances earlier this month.

These movements, they wrote, affect heat, salt, nutrients, and oxygen and carbon, the two key components of the hot gas of the times:  carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carbon-dioxide is the rapidly increasing atmospheric gas blamed for global warming. The oceans cover 71 percent of the earth and both absorb and release CO2.

“This transfer of CO2 out of the ocean to the atmosphere is referred to as a positive ‘flux’ while a negative flux means that the ocean is absorbing CO2,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The ocean has a complicated pattern of both positive and negative fluxes. Prior to the Industrial Revolution and the burning of fossil fuels, the net global ocean flux was slightly positive to offset the absorption of CO2 from the land plants. Today, humans have reversed that trend so the oceans absorb more CO2 than they release although the complicated pattern of positive and negative fluxes still exists.”

Little is now known about that complicated pattern.

Given this, Busecke and Abernathy concluded in their peer-reviewed study that it is now “critical to investigate whether and how mesoscale diffusivities change over time, a possibly missing element in future climate projections.”

A postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University, Busecke said there is at this point no real way of knowing the big-picture importance of his discovery.

“My current intuition is that it might matter most for the redistribution of properties such as regional warming rather than for the total warming of the planet,” he said in an email.

“But that is purely intuition and we definitely need to study this more in order to give a proper answer to the question.”

The Blob

Alaskans are, or should be, aware of the significance of regional warming coming off “The Blob” years. The Blob was the big pool of warm water in the southern Gulf of Alaska which has been blamed for over-cooking salmon runs, although it should probably be credited for boosting them over the long haul.

Through The Blob years, 49th state salmon harvests averaged over 200 million fish per year, a number unprecedented in human history, and the state enjoyed – except for diehard skiers and snowmachine riders – some of its warmest years.

University of Washington Atmospheric Science professor Cliff Mass, an authority on The Blob, doubts mesoscale turbulence would have much direct influence on The Blob.

“The Blob is mainly associated with changes in vertical mixing, not in horizontal mixing as discussed in this paper,” he said via email. “There aren’t strong gradients in the middle of The Blob.”

But The Blob clearly illustrates the influence of regional warming effects that might differ from or be associated with climate change.

The Blob roamed the western North Pacific Ocean from 2013 to 2018 with its hotspot usually centered somewhere in what might be considered an eddy in the North Pacific Gyre. Its warm water was implicated in everything from seabird die offs in Western Alaska to drought in California.

“…Nothing like it has been seen in the climate record since climatologists have been recording data in this region,” the National Park Service observed. “It is unprecedented in its magnitude (how warm and widespread) and its duration (to last multiple years).”

In that, it shares something in common with mesoscale turbulence. The Blob is, or least was for a time, a new player in a climate picture that just gets a little more complicated with every new discovery.

Buseke and Abernathy said they found “strong evidence that mixing rates in the ocean vary” widely across time and ocean regions to influence climate in as yet unknown ways.

If the mixing is helping the ocean capture and sequester carbon, it could theoretically moderate climate change. But if the mixing is causing the ocean to release more carbon, it could accelerate the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere.

“The observed mixing rates suggest a coupling between large-scale climate variability and eddy mixing rates due to small amplitude changes in the large-scale flow,” they wrote. “To our knowledge, such large-scale, coherent temporal variability between mesoscale mixing and global climates modes has not been documented before.”

They did agree with Mass’s observation as to the need to know more about the top-to-bottom mixing of ocean waters as opposed to the horizontal movements of water across the ocean’s surface.

A full assessment of the influences of mesoscale turbulence “will require more knowledge about the vertical structure of mixing rates,” they wrote.

The study comes at a time when climate has dealt some wild cards to scientists. A disruption in the polar vortex this week spilled frigid Arctic air into the American Midwest bringing record cold temperatures while it was raining in Alaska.

Climate scientist Judah Cohen at Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) admitted he was left scratching his head.

“The Arctic has been the ‘canary in the coal mine’ about the impacts of climate change with the greatest warming across the globe observed in the Arctic and the dramatic retreat of sea ice and even warm season snow cover recorded by satellites,” he wrote on the AER website this week. “The Arctic has warmed at least as twice as fast as any other region of the globe and the accelerating warming of the Arctic relative to the rest of the globe but especially the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes is known as Arctic amplification.  The cause of Arctic amplification is surprisingly complex and not well understood but the cause is at least partially related to Arctic sea ice and snow cover melt.  Certainly, heading into this winter, I was very confident that we would observe an anomalously warm Arctic this winter, especially coming off of last winter where the Arctic was record warm and sea ice was record low extent.”

Only that didn’t happen. The Arctic went cold last summer and stayed that way. An expected, record-low ice extent for September never materialized.

“Since then it has been at least strategically cold in regions across the Arctic this fall and winter that allowed sea ice to grow more extensive this winter in the Arctic basin compared to recent winters except in the Barents-Kara Seas,” Cohen observed. “But even more surprising to me has been how cold the Arctic has consistently been this winter, especially when compared to recent winters.”

Arctic sea ice did end the year at the third lowest extent in the satellite record that goes back to 1981, according to the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center, but it has since climbed to the fifth lowest on record.

The reason for the cool down is unclear, but oscillations in warming would not be unusual in a changing climate. Nothing in nature is linear.

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42 replies »

  1. Pretty simple really. The same scientists who tell us Global Warming is real, defy science, and tell us to believe in more then 2 genders.

    • I usually just listen to what they say or read what they write, both are filled with the words “may”, “probably”, “possibly”, “could”, “might”, and other such non definitive statements. When/if they cite historic precedent it rarely goes back more than 30-40 years, some times 100 years or occasionally 200 years, and virtually never is a time before humans ever mentioned. Humans have been around in our present form as homo sapiens for 200,000-300,000 years or about a blink of an eye in the history of our planet. Homo sapiens came into being in the last 10% of the Pleistocene Epoch. Global warming is real, as is global cooling, intermixed with brief periods of time of a relatively stable climate.

      So you’re right when you say they defy science.

  2. Whether or not humans are behind climate change there is one fact. Moving towards increase use of renewable energy, away from fossil fuels, better managment and protections of forests around the world, and reduction in all pollution will better the lives of everyone. As a side benefit it most likely will slow warming.

  3. For the last 12 years I’ve been interested in the climate issue and have read whatever I can get my hands on.
    My conclusion is that if all the knowledge humans, including all the scientists, have about the climate were compiled in one place, we would have less than 15% of the knowledge necessary to:
    • Predict what the climate will do in the future,
    • Understand how all the variables, inducing CO2, combine to affect average atmospheric and ocean temperature and other climate and related ecosystem variables,
    • Have adequate information to understand how proposed government policies will affect any of the this.

    We do not have the ability to measure, with adequate accuracy, average atmospheric temperature, ocean temperature, sea level changes and many other global variables.
    The proxies used to measure past temperatures and other variables are even less accurate.

    People on the warming or skeptical side claiming to have the knowledge necessary to measure the past, understand or predict future atmospheric temperature, the PH of the ocean or any other climate variable are exhibiting the natural human desire to believe they understand even when only a small part of the information necessary to understand is available.

    Our brains naturally try to fill in the knowledge gaps. We need to believe we understand so we can make decisions. It is part of our survival mechanisms.
    Debating this issue before the knowledge base has been dramatically increased by the scientific method is a futile endeavor because the current honest answer to almost every climate related question is “we don’t know enough yet”.

      • On a side note Bill and Steve – “the good times are behind us – Obama”. Making America Great Again!!!
        Winter Wonderland: America Created 304,000 Jobs in January.

      • Evil Capitalists!!!!!
        Trump Economy: Blue-Collar Wages Rise Faster than White-Collar.,
        Salaries for college graduate Americans are growing much slower than for Americans who are working in transportation, restaurants, services, construction, and sales, according to federal data.

        Average pay grew 3.0 percent in the 12 months up to December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, employees in the broad “management, professional, and related” category gained only 2.5 percent.

        But there was a 4.2 percent rise in wages for “sales and related” employees, a 3.7 percent rise for “production, transportation, and material moving” workers, a 3.4 percent rise for “trade, transportation, and utilities” workers, and a 4.1 gain for “leisure and hospitality” workers.

    • Ken, what is it in your expertise that gives you the knowledge that “..we would have less than 15% of the knowledge necessary to: etc., etc…” even if all that knowledge were in one place? Further, what is the “adequate accuracy” that is needed for those variables that you say we don’t have?
      You say: “only a small part of the information necessary to understand is available.” I think we all can say here that this is just your educated opinion but I’m interested in what is entailed in that “educated?” I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that your opinions are biased based on your opinion that “we don’t know enough yet” overrides all the rest of your statements.
      Just my opinion, Ken.

  4. As long as Roe vs Wade is the prevailing law of the land, abortion is legal.
    I love it, when all these males, telling women, what they can and cannot do, with their own bodies.
    How about a couple of suggestions:
    Let us first start with a new law:
    1) the male who is the father, is financially responsible for that child, until they are 18.
    Too many males are impregnating women, and then are gone.
    2) majority of women, having these abortions are poor and uneducated.
    Let us first provide sex education in every school, no matter what religious affiliation.
    3) do not forget about the unmarried women, who gives birth, then is given no support.
    4) require all insurance companies to provide for both male and female birth control, no matter of religion affiliation.
    That is a start!

    • I love it when an immoral human refuses the right of life to another human and calls murder women’s right . My rights stop where yours begin is a universal law . #2James is it more right to kill an unborn child from an uneducated mother? Education makes little difference to morals or that child’s rights .#3 our government already has a complete safety net for child’s costs from conception to 18 years old . For mother and children. Look it up .

      • Opinion, your fallacy is in describing a fetus (especially one in the 1st trimester) as a human with a right to life. Since that fetus does not have the rights that you give it your argument doesn’t hold water IMO. The mother is given the choice to remove said fetus as long as she follows the laws. I suspect that James’ argument about the mothers most in need of abortions being poor and uneducated has nothing to do with either morals or their fetuses rights (essentially none as long as certain laws are followed).
        It sounds like you would like to be on any committee that decides the laws in these cases but your opinions would most likely disqualify you in any such case IMO. You may also like to bring murder charges against these mothers that are within their rights. And your #3 about “complete safety net” is a joke.
        Until the laws are changed there is nothing to your arguments but emotions-you feel them but you are biased in favor of the fetus, rather than the mother whom has made her choice.
        Just my opinion.

      • Bill as you stated – all of your statement is your opinion. You are more than entitled to it . I extremely respect that . Even when it’s not near fully correct. Let’s take a look . It can be argued the unborn has no right to life under law as they are not technically a citizen yet . That’s one part you might be correct on . I question you and anyone, does that make murder any more right if a misguided law allows it ? Fetus argument happens to be a cop out . Humans are not fully developed until their 20s some take longer . That’s a scientific fact . Deprive a immature human of tribal support under age Aprx 5 years old they have high likelihood of death. Thus humans require great care to mature. Now an unborn human can be raised outside the womb not long after conception. Exact age I can’t tell you . But calling a conceived unborn human a fetus is a description for medical terms not a definition of human identity. A fetus can be another animal so fetus is not truly indicative of anything specific to a human except maturity. Lack of maturity does not indicate lack of being human or being alive or even of awareness to its surroundings. Fetuses are aware soon after conception. Feel free to look that up . Exactly when I can’t tell you ,though Science agrees as well as parental experience. So your concept of moral and natural right of a young pre born human is skewed as they are human from conception on . There is your fallacy . Your second fallacy is assuming I don’t understand our current law . I recognize completely that abortion is legal to one degree or another nation wide . That doesn’t mean I think it’s right . Thus my extreme stand against it . When I was young I didn’t have any idea one way or another. Now my eyes are open to reality. Science and experience. Now your third fallacy is assuming I want to be on a panel to decide said abortion law . I do not at all . Sounds like a horrible position to be in . So you are 100% mistaken again . Now I do want my opinion to enter the minds of people for them to consider for themselves so eventually the question of abortion becomes a mute question because people are aware that it’s murder by another name and and in our current society we are leaning towards double speak . Your 4 th fallacy is assuming I want murder charges against mothers who commit abortion. I do not at all and I consider that thought abhorrent as they have families to care for and are only poorly informed. Two wrongs would not make a right. So again you are 100% wrong due to your habits of assumptions. Now as to your statement that there is no safety net for mothers – I’m surprised you made that mistake. As it’s easy to look up Alaska laws for medical care . There is free full health care for nursing mothers and children. From prenatal through 18 years for children and quite a while for mothers . Can’t quite remember exact dates but you can look up and inform yourself. Food stamps rent assistance ect,Full health care is no joke . So once again you are wrong. This time possibly just due to lack of study. Now your 6 th assumption is also 100% wrong . Mother and child are equal in my mind and neither should murder/ abort the other . Both equal . So again your assumptions lead you on incorrect path . Your seventh mistake is that it’s emotions that drive my opinion. Again you are wrong. The science and experience that says the baby is alive and aware drives my emotions. As it should. Now your 8 th statement is mostly correct. My opinions don’t effect a darn thing legally till laws are changed unless a future mother or fathers eyes are opened by reading my thoughts. Then you are wrong again . As It could effect the future. If you were in a college class I Think your assumptions would get an F . James is sadly on the wrong path it appears.

      • To clarify. Safety net free child medical care has to do with underfunded parents James mentioned. Medicaid or something of similar name . Others with money not so much help . Though legally in our nation no one can be turned away from medical care for lack of ability to pay . That’s how I understand from doctor friends I have discussed with. I Could be wrong. Perhaps a doctor or legalist can fill in the info . Guaranteed pregnant and nursing mothers are eligible for free health care . Under our current laws even a man with little to no income is eligible for free health care ! That’s my understanding of the law anyway. Study up : )

      • Your statement is entirely opinion, Opinion. Mine is mostly based on the law of the land. You have a serious problem with the law but that is only because of your opinions about what is a human life. The law does not consider a fetus a citizen and therefore does not have the rights that you would like to give it. That is not an opinion but a fact. The law has determined itself based on certain definitions and you don’t agree with them-that’s fine but that doesn’t change the law.
        The law clearly recognizes the rights of the mother and not the fetus (within the term limits). Most abortion laws do not allow them after 1st trimester although some would like to increase that limit to say 15 or 16 years (that’s a joke, by the way). Anyway, the rights of the mother are supreme here as long as the fetus is under that limit. You don’t like that but that’s the law, plain and simple.
        By the way, I remember before legal abortion and knew of many people who chose illegal abortions back then. I’m certainly glad that I was never faced with that choice but I know how serious it was for some (with alley abortionists). I’ve seen both legal and illegal and the first is preferred IMO. That’s because I don’t have the hang-up of human life beginning at conception. To make that determination you would have to make a murderer out of a lot of mothers-total travesty IMO.
        Last paragraph is just my opinion.

      • The well educated, middle & upper middle class American females, have access to so many different options, concerning not wanting to give birth, at this time in their life. RU-486 is available, and it takes care of the unwanted pregnancy.
        It is only the lower class, poor and uneducated, that are given no choice, except abortion. The majority of these women, have no husband, no job, no money & no support system. These are the women, who are giving birth to unwanted children. These women are usually impregnated, by older males, who leave as soon as the woman, has missed their period. Make these men responsible, before you chastise, the pregnant female.
        It is analogous to what happened, during US slavery. The plantation owners systematically raped all the young female slaves. US Sen. Strom Thurmond, did indeed father an out of wedlock child, from a former slave he owned.
        Take cate of all of the unwanted children in our country today, before you start limiting women’s rights.
        I rest my case!

      • But Burt, the Dems just love illegal women and children. They just hate black babies and llve Margaret Sanger.

      • Yes bill you are right law of the land . Have you looked up who pays to keep that law on the books ? Also who profits from that law ? Look it up . The abortion industry also the body part salvage companies including hospitals. Strangely our government also pays in round about way to keep it on books . Our government gives millions to planned parenthood and they use a huge part of that – your money and my money to promote abortion through add buys and political contributions to politicians who support abortion. A dirty cycle . Those who don’t agree with abortion/murder shouldn’t have to help pay for it . You are also right my anti abortion stance is opinion. At least my opinion is based on science and not a law paid for by the people profiting from murder / abortion /body part harvesting. As to your concern about back alley abortion that’s obviously a consideration. In this era with public support programs it’s not as much an issue except for the uniformed and irresponsible. James shows his s incredible lack of knowledge to say underfunded women have no support options . He needs to look into women’s health care and public assistance as well as the laws that govern child support. His statements are simply false hoods propaganda dispersion probably from lack of research . So you know I’m not for a law that completely illegalize abortion. As I believe in freedom. I’m for accurate information transmission to the people who are facing abortion. No more double speak . Science says abortion is a form of murder. No more state funded abortion except in medical emergencies. Educate yourself what abortion really is and who dies .

      • Opinion, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
        I don’t buy your bit about body part salvaging but I do know that much has been done with stem cells (especially for diabetes) but that is/was mostly with cord blood. The whole stem cell thing is so new that most have no idea of the research done there. My own feeling here are mostly due to having a child with type I diabetes (this research is important IMO).
        The paying for it is really no different than objecting to paying for our military junkets throughout the world. Tough noogies.

      • Bill , we found middle ground. Agree to disagree. Perfect. Please look up life news . You will find a brief documentation of abortion body part salvage . I’m not pulling nonsense out of thin air . It’s real . Look up all the recent lawsuits and documentation on the issues. So is the creepy use of old aborted baby cell lines for science and food additives. You are right About cord blood research . Pretty important. I’m distinctly for that . But that is a body part is it not ? Also hospitals sell it for profit . That’s well documented. So it appears you need to research deeper to get the facts .

  5. “For more than 200 years, or since the industrial revolution began, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased due to the burning of fossil fuels and land use change (e.g. increased car emissions and deforestation). During this time, the pH of surface ocean waters has fallen by 0.1 pH units. The pH scale, like the Richter scale, is logarithmic, so this change represents approximately a 30 percent increase in acidity.”

    https://www.noaa.gov/resource-collections/ocean-acidification

    • Any word on the last 4 billion years and all that carbon dioxide emitted from numerous volcanos erupting, rampant wildfires, or meteorites striking the planet?

      • Bryan,
        The problem is we still have
        numerous volcanoes erupting and rampant wildfires, only now we have industries like the military and rockets shooting hundreds of satellites into the atmosphere every year…on top of 200 years of heavy consumption of fossil fuels.
        “Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels, based on business as usual emission scenarios, indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150% more acidic, resulting in a pH that the oceans haven’t experienced for more than 20 million years.”
        NOAA

      • Isn’t it funny, that before “Global Warming” in the 30’s and before, the whole world was either heating by wood burning stoves, coal, or coal fired plants. So much so soot would turn cars and neighborhoods black. Guess we all lived then and it is now 2019 amd we are still living longer than ever. Tomorrow the sun will still rise and set like it has for 4 billion changing years.

      • Yessir Bryan, but today many are subjected to the Steve-O Epoch where the climate (or something else) is causing certain body parts to shrivel up. We will get a belly full of this when Don Trump gets his annual physical (not from Dr. Bornstein) and it may all just come down to the side effects of Propecia. Just like certain predators (wolves) are not testicular during the colder periods, right wing authoritarian males that take Propecia develop similar symptoms.
        Sun will still rise and set but without a wall. Heheh!

      • Bill, are we crossed? Damn, have you looked up the side-effects of Propecia? I wouldn’t wish those on the most evil, Democrat, liberal, Communist, and Socialist. Ok, maybe just the “lack of desire” part so they abstain from procreation.

      • Bryan, I read somewhere that castration was also a remedy for baldness. May be a little extreme but not as noticeable as Steven Miller’s spray on hairpiece.

    • Computer models of the chemical changes associated with historical CO2 emissions predict that average surface ocean pH has dropped by about 0.1 units (equivalent to a ~25% increase in [H+]) since the dawn of the industrial age…By comparison, the change between glacial (ice age) and interglacial (similar to the current Holocene) conditions, when CO2 naturally alternated between lows (glacials) and highs (interglacials), was no more than 0.2 units…we would probably have to go back at least 65 million years (the time at which the dinosaurs went extinct) to maybe find an ocean chemical change as fast as we are experiencing today.

      https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/ocean-acidification-25822734

      The ph of the ocean has changed before, long before humans and therefore wasn’t caused by humans. Ocean ph is higher during glacial periods and lower during interglacial periods, we are currently in an interglacial period called the Holocene Epoch…which as Bill knows directly followed the Pleistocene Epoch.

    • CO2 out of sea water is a trailing indicator of global temperature rise. it trails by about 600 – 800 years. Current rise is due to the end of the Little Ice Age. Cheers –

  6. Lets see the Demoncrat strategy for 2020 is: Call 200 million Americans Racist; Kill Babies; Facilitate Illegal Criminals; and blame everything else on Russians and Climate Change. God Help Us!

    • Yeah Burt, it’s too bad they have to resort to such poor tactics. All they really have to do is put any moderate up and they could win the election in a landslide just with slogan of ‘At least I’m not Trump.’

      Cheers!

      PS – not sure what your comment has to do with the article…

    • Burt you bring up important subjects. What’s wrong with the New York democrat politicians that they consider abortion during birthing? Then celebrate and cheer considering it “progress” very very sick demented people. I don’t believe in a devil but if there was one he was pushing those people to vote for cruelest murder of the most innocent of innocents. Who is paying them to vote that way ? Planned parenthood? Their financial donors? Who ? They are all complicit. If voters allow those sick politicians back into any form of office they are also complicit in premeditated murder.Planned parenthood and hospitals make money off of fetus parts and baby parts . It’s well documented. Demented people use these parts to prolong their life. Even for certain anti aging skin creams used by actors and mega rich . Creepy And inhuman. Even many pro abortion women consider late term abortion abhorrent. Americans need to wake up and carefully think about the implications of how they vote. At least Trump fights against murder of innocent babies. Any responsible adult can use birth control. Lack of self discipline is no excuse for murder . That’s what pro abortion people stand up for . Lack of personal discipline. Then they cop out and murder someone to cover up their laziness . Clear and simple. It’s not women’s right issues. That’s nonsense. Once you have sex and create life there is an innocent life’s rights involved. Our constitution helps protect those . Money and profits drives the abortion industry. Not rights . Obviously there are exceptions if it’s to save a mother’s life but statistically that’s the exception. I’m glad Burt brought up a very important subject. Democrats will not get my support until they quit supporting murder of children. Pretty clear . Anyone who supports a democrat that accepts abortion in this era should think that over and consider if they are complicit.

      • Opinion, have you seen the sickness in Virginia going on now? Abortion up until the birth of the child.

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