News

Much of the surface ocean will shift in color by end of 21st century

"Climate change is causing significant changes to phytoplankton in the world's oceans, and a new MIT study finds that over the coming decades these changes will affect the ocean's color, intensifying its blue regions and its green ones. Satellites should detect these changes in hue, providing early warning of wide-scale changes to marine ecosystems. [...]"

Source: ScienceDaily

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Ocean colour signature of climate chang

Abstract.

"Marine calcifiers are considered to be among the most vulnerable taxa to climate-forced environmental changes occurring on continental margins with effects hypothesized to occur on microstructural, biomechanical, and geochemical properties of carbonate structures. Natural gradients in temperature, salinity, oxygen, and pH on an upwelling margin combined with the broad depth distribution (100–1,100 m) of the pink fragile sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus (formerly Allocentrotus) fragilis, along the southern California shelf and slope provide an ideal system to evaluate potential effects of multiple climate variables on carbonate structures in situ. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Stephanie Dutkiewicz et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08457-x

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Asymmetric dynamical ocean responses in warming icehouse and cooling greenhouse climates

Abstract.

"Warm periods in Earth's history tend to cool more slowly than cool periods warm. Here we explore initial differences in how the global ocean takes up and gives up heat and carbon in forced rapid warming and cooling climate scenarios. We force an intermediate-complexity earth system model using two atmospheric CO2 scenarios. A ramp-up (1% per year increase in atmospheric CO2 for 150 years) starts from an average global CO2 concentration of 285 ppm to represent warming of an icehouse climate. [...]"

Source: Environmental Research Letters
Authors: Karin F. Kvale et al.
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aaedc3

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How fast are the oceans warming?

Abstract.

"Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth's climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this imbalance is much less affected by internal variability and is thus better suited for detecting and attributing human influences than more commonly used surface temperature records. Recent observation-based estimates show rapid warming of Earth's oceans over the past few decades (see the figure). [...]"

Source: Science
Authors: Lijing Cheng et al
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav7619

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Deglacial to Holocene Ocean Temperatures in the Humboldt Current System as Indicated by Alkenone Paleothermometry

Abstract.

"The response of the Humboldt Current System to future global warming is uncertain. Here we reconstruct alkenone‐derived near‐surface temperatures from multiple cores along the Peruvian coast to infer the driving mechanisms of upwelling changes for the last 20 kyr. Our records show a deglacial warming consistent with Antarctic ice‐core temperatures and a Mid‐Holocene cooling, which, in combination with other paleoceanographic records, suggest a strengthening of upwelling conditions. [...]"

Source: Geophysical Research Letters
Authors: Renato Salvatteci et al.
DOI: 10.1029/2018GL080634

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Global warming today mirrors conditions leading to Earth's largest extinction event, study says

"More than two-thirds of life on Earth died off some 252 million years ago, in the largest mass extinction event in Earth's history.

Researchers have long suspected that volcanic eruptions triggered "the Great Dying," as the end of the Permian geologic period is sometimes called, but exactly how so many creatures died has been something of a mystery.

Now scientists at the University of Washington and Stanford believe their models reveal how so many animals were killed, and they see frightening parallels in the path our planet is on today.

Models of the effects of volcanic greenhouse gas releases showed the Earth warming dramatically and oxygen disappearing from its oceans, leaving many marine animals unable to breathe, according to a study published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science. By the time temperatures peaked, about 80 percent of the oceans' oxygen, on average, had been depleted. Most marine animals went extinct. [...]"

Source: Phys.org

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Temperature-dependent hypoxia explains biogeography and severity of end-Permian marine mass extinction

Abstract.

"Climate change triggered by volcanic greenhouse gases is hypothesized to have caused the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history at the end of the Permian Period (~252 million years ago). Geochemical evidence provides strong support for rapid global warming and accompanying ocean oxygen (O2) loss, but a quantitative link among climate, species’ traits, and extinction is lacking. To test whether warming and O2 loss can mechanistically account for the marine mass extinction, we combined climate model simulations with an established ecophysiological framework to predict the biogeographic patterns and severity of extinction. Those predictions were confirmed by a spatially explicit analysis of the marine fossil record. [...]"

Source: Science
Authors: Justin L. Penn et al.
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat1327

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Major intensification of Atlantic overturning circulation at the onset of Paleogene greenhouse warmth

Abstract.

"During the Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic the Earth experienced prolonged climatic cooling most likely caused by decreasing volcanic activity and atmospheric CO2 levels. However, the causes and mechanisms of subsequent major global warming culminating in the late Paleocene to Eocene greenhouse climate remain enigmatic. We present deep and intermediate water Nd-isotope records from the North and South Atlantic to decipher the control of the opening Atlantic Ocean on ocean circulation and its linkages to the evolution of global climate. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: S. J. Batenburg et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07457-7

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The evolving response of mesopelagic fishes to declining midwater oxygen concentrations in the southern and central California Current

Abstract.

"Declining oxygen concentrations in the deep ocean, particularly in areas with pronounced oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), are a growing global concern related to global climate change. Its potential impacts on marine life remain poorly understood. A previous study suggested that the abundance of a diverse suite of mesopelagic fishes off southern California was closely linked to trends in midwater oxygen concentration. [...]"

Source: ICES Journal of Marine Science
Authors: J Anthony Koslow et al.
DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsy154

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Why Is the Gulf of Maine Warming Faster Than 99% of the Ocean?

"The Gulf of Maine’s location at the meeting point of two major currents, as well as its shallow depth and shape, makes it especially susceptible to warming.


Late last month, four endangered sea turtles washed ashore in northern Cape Cod, marking an early onset to what has now become a yearly event: the sea turtle stranding season. These turtles—in last month’s case, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles—venture into the Gulf of Maine during warm months, but they can become hypothermic and slow moving when colder winter waters abruptly arrive, making it hard to escape. “They are enjoying the warm water, and then all of a sudden the cold comes, and they can’t get out fast enough,” said Andrew Pershing, an oceanographer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine. [...]"

Source: eos.org

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