Study shows acceleration of global mean ocean circulation since 1990s

Posted: February 7, 2020 by oldbrew in climate, Ocean dynamics, research, wind
Tags: ,

Map of prevailing trade winds over Earth [credit: Wikipedia]


A change to about 0.01% of the atmosphere is now claimed to be speeding up the oceans by making winds stronger. Really? They used to claim global warming was weakening the Pacific trade winds:
“The researchers predict another 10 percent decrease by the end of the 21st century. The effect, attributed at least in part to human-induced climate change, could disrupt food chains and reduce the biological productivity of the Pacific Ocean, scientists said.” (2006 report)

A study published today in the journal Science Advances, suggests global ocean circulation has accelerated during the past two decades, reports Phys.org.

The research team found that oceanic kinetic energy shows a statistically significant increase since early 1990s, calculating a 36-percent acceleration of global mean ocean circulation.

The trend is particularly prominent in the global tropical oceans, reaching depths of thousands of meters.

The deep-reaching acceleration of the ocean circulation is mainly induced by a planetary intensification of surface winds, authors said.

The study was led by Shijian Hu, who performed the work as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Janet Sprintall, an oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego who is a co-author of the paper. Hu is now a scientist at the CAS Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves, at the Institute of Oceanology (IOCAS) in Qingdao, China.

“The magnitude and extent of the acceleration in ocean currents we detected throughout the global ocean and to 2000-meter (6,560 foot) depth was quite surprising,” said Sprintall. “While we expected some response to the increased winds over the past two decades, that the acceleration was above and beyond that was an unexpected response that is likely due to global climate change.”

Large-scale ocean circulation is the main dynamic process that redistributes ocean water mass and heat and plays an important role in Earth’s environment and climate system.

It regulates land temperatures, most notably in regions such as western Europe where a flow of relatively warm water makes the climate of cities such as Madrid warmer than cities such as New York, despite being at the same latitude.

Because of internal dynamic processes and natural variability, ocean circulation in different regions has different responses to global climate warming. And there is still a lack of systematic and continuous direct observations of the earth’s ocean circulation. Hence circulation trends have not been well-understood, study authors said.

A growing body of evidence suggests, though, that continuous greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities give rise to Earth’s energy imbalance and continuous ocean warming. Thus, it is essential to know what large-scale ocean circulation is going to be under the background of global warming, said study co-authors.

An international team of scientists from IOCAS, Scripps, NOAA and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia used ocean circulation and wind speed data from multiple sources, including observations from the global Argo network of robotic floats and numerical simulations, to investigate global mean ocean circulation and global mean sea surface wind speed.

They concluded that the recent acceleration is far greater than what would be explained by natural variability. The rest is induced by the influence of continuous greenhouse gas emissions.

Full report here.

Comments
  1. Study shows acceleration of global mean ocean circulation since 1990s — Tallbloke’s Talkshop – Truth Troubles says:

    […] via Study shows acceleration of global mean ocean circulation since 1990s — Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  2. ivan says:

    shows a statistically significant increase since early 1990s

    Don’t they say there are ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ and if all they have to show this ‘speed up’ is a statistical blip then I think they need to get another job – one in the real world.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Funny how the ‘statistically significant increase since early 1990s’ produced a decrease in the 2006 study, with a prediction of ‘another 10 percent decrease by the end of the 21st century.’ 🤔

  4. hunterson7 says:

    We were told that AGW would kill the North Atlantic conveyor. Ocean currents are driven by forced far stronger than CO2. This reported change seems likely to be due to man-made causes the same way a delusional hallucination is man-made.

  5. JB says:

    “The trend is particularly prominent in the global tropical oceans…”

    Yeah? There is another trend prominent, UNEXPECTED and most oblivious to, and NOT WELL UNDERSTOOD by them. It’s the Chicken Little cult among scientists who resort to “cogito, ergo sum” thinking: “…likely due to global climate change” so that MUST be the cause.

    All that time and money, expended on getting consensus accreditation that they are educated, so they can utter absurd speculations and call it an element of science.

  6. Gamecock says:

    ‘The research team found that oceanic kinetic energy shows a statistically significant increase since early 1990s, calculating a 36-percent acceleration of global mean ocean circulation.’

    Argo system hadn’t launched in the 1990s. THEY HAVE NO SUCH DATA!

    ’36-percent’

    Fake precision fallacy.

    ‘They concluded that the recent acceleration is far greater than what would be explained by natural variability.’

    Argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    ‘A study published today in the journal Science Advances’

    It’s junk science. Cancel your subscription to Science Advances.

  7. oldbrew says:

    The currents will be faster, slower, or non-existent, and it will be your fault 🙄

  8. Ian says:

    Putting aside the dubious veracity of the claim,
    would it be the Chicken or the Egg?

  9. Phoenix44 says:

    Do I believe they knew the deep ocean speed fifty years ago? No. So do I believe they know by how much – if at all – it has increased? No.

    I mean they say it’s not well understood, they say they lack observations, yet they come to a definitive conclusion and know what’s causing the thing they don’t know.

    It’s just exhausting reading all this nonsense.

  10. Gamecock says:

    Another junk science flag:

    ‘A growing body of evidence suggests’

    This translates to “We want you to believe (but we can’t prove it).”

    You have evidence, or you don’t.

    “Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!” – Albert Einstein

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    “is far greater than what would be explained by natural variability” and how the hell do they know that for a fact?? They’ve only been studying it for a few years. Where’s the null hypothesis?? Where’s the very old data showing historical variability pre-1850?? Pure BS and science fiction.

    either that, or my backyard grill is unimaginably powerful. Or is it the lawn mower. Hard to keep up with this stuff.

  12. oldbrew says:

    astro: the trade winds in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are driven by the pressure differential

    What? Surely it’s the parts per million of carbon dioxide these days 😆

  13. oldbrew says:

    The GWPF joins the debate…

    Are Ocean Currents Speeding Up … Or Are They Slowing Down? Nobody Knows
    Date: 10/02/20 Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

    ‘The latest research contradicts previous studies which suggested that global warming will weaken ocean circulation, especially in tropical waters.’

    https://www.thegwpf.com/are-ocean-currents-speeding-up-or-are-they-slowing-down/

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