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[greenyes] Climate Disruption - New Confirmation from Ocean Measurements


Climate: Ocean warming supports models

By Dan Whipple

Boulder, CO, Jun. 6 (UPI) -- Clear evidence of human-produced warming in the
oceans verifies some of the most important predictions of climate models,
suggesting it is time for action instead of argument about the existence of
greenhouse warming, according to a paper by Scripps Institution of
Oceanography scientists.

A paper appearing in the June 3 issue of the journal Science by Tim Barnett,
a marine physicist at Scripps, and colleagues reported that a strong warming
signal has penetrated the world's oceans over the last 40 years that cannot
be explained by natural internal climate variability or by solar or volcanic
forcings -- but is consistent with human causes.

"The thing that is nice about our deal is that we found that most of the
heat increase has gone into the oceans, and the oceans are the flywheel of
the global climate system," Barnett told UPI's Climate. "We looked at where
the biggest signal was. If your models are going to be any good, you'd like
to get that one right -- and they sure did."

Barnett's group found a close agreement between observed warming signals in
the oceans and the predictions of two prominent climate models: one called
the Parallel Climate Model used by the National Center for Atmospheric
Research in Boulder, Colo., and one used by Britain's Hadley Centre in
The results indicate the climate models can be trusted for any important

"Since the historical changes have been well simulated, future changes
predicted by these global models are apt to be reasonably good, at least out
to, say, 20 or 30 years into the future," the paper said, although Barnett
told Climate that the models' accuracy farther out, to 2050, for example, is
less reliable.
Nevertheless, he said, the results are strong enough to settle the argument
about whether human activity is causing current warming.


The paper by Barnett and colleagues comes on the heels of another paper in
Science a few weeks ago that found Earth is absorbing considerably more
energy from the sun than it is emitting back into space. That paper, by
James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and
colleagues found Earth's heat balance has shifted substantially. Based both
on models and observations, they concluded the planet can expect global
warming of an average of 0.6 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit), even
if carbon-dioxide emissions into the atmosphere were curtailed immediately.

"This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for,"
Hansen said in a news release. "It shows that our estimates of the
human-made and natural climate forcing agents are about right, and they are
driving the Earth toward a warmer climate."

The two papers are complementary. Together, they provide strong verification
of at least the larger mid-time-scale predictions of the climate models.
"The statistical significance of these results is far too strong to be
merely dismissed and should wipe out much of the uncertainty about the
reality of global warming," Barnett said.


The ocean-warming research results are strong enough, Barnett thinks, along
with the other recent research, to shift the debate away from whether
human-induced climate change is occurring.

"We need to do something about it," he said. "We need leadership. There are
a lot of things that can be done, and we're doing none of them, as a
country. If they think they've got Social Security problems in 2041, wait
until they see what this one looks like."

Peter Anderson, President
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Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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