How we can infer climate change from the ocean
“Can we learn about climate change just by looking at ocean data?”
Climate change is something that is talked about every day. However, how can we get some evidence for it? Well, what if we were to look at the temperature of the most massive body of heat storage on the Earth, the ocean! By carefully observing its temperatures, we can observe that the ocean has gained 0.1-degree Celsius since 1969^1. Even though this does not seem like a significant deviation, we must remember that our global ocean is composed of around 1.4 * 10^24 worth of water (a substance with a substantial heat capacity), so any temperature change even an order of magnitude close to our observed value is quite drastic.
- Levitus, et al, “Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L07608 (2009).