Previous quantification of stratification change has been limited to a simple index and has neglected the spatial complexity of ocean density change. Every day or once a week, our original stories and digest of the web's top headlines deliver the full story, for free. Mann said a warm upper ocean cannot hold as much dissolved gas, whether it’s carbon dioxide or oxygen, just like a warm soda can’t hold its fizziness. Warmer waters also "absorb less atmospheric carbon dioxide" and "hold less dissolved oxygen." As human-caused greenhouse warming has fundamentally altered oceanic temperature and salinity fields, impacts to stratification are expected but the details have been difficult to discern until now. In a report published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the international team of climate scientists said they found that stratification globally had … Warmer ocean surface waters result in increased ocean stratification, which means less ocean mixing, which normally would help deliver oxygen from surface waters to the deep. Upper Ocean Water Masses Shrinking in Changing Climate: Less Efficient CO2 Sink Apr. That increasingly distinct warm layer on the surface can intensify tropical storms, disrupt fisheries, interfere with the ocean absorption of carbon and deplete oxygen, Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State, said. The same burning of fossil fuels that … A warming ocean has huge implications for climate change, some of which we’ve already discussed.Another of these implications is ocean stratification, or the increased layering of our oceans due to differences in temperature. warmer fresher waters atop colder more saline ones. “That’s a double whammy. are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! EurekAlert! At the front line of climate change, the ocean, the coastlines and coastal communities are being disproportionately impacted by increasing carbon dioxide (CO 2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities. The researchers found that, overall, stratification in the upper 600 feet of the ocean increased by 6 percent in the last 50 years. Nutrient supply to the ocean-surface layer has generally decreased in the North Pacific Ocean, consistent with increasing upper-ocean stratification (medium confidence). But the growing stratification could suppress those cycles, “leaving the Pacific in a permanent El Niño state,” Mann added. Dan Gearino’s habit-forming weekly take on how to understand the energy transformation reshaping our world. Saturation of the Southern Ocean CO 2 sink due to recent climate change. Based on observational evidence, theoretical understanding and robust ESM projections, it is very likely that stratification in the upper few hundred meters of the ocean below the mixed layer will increase significantly in the 21st century over most ocean basins as a result of climate change, and abyssal stratification will likely decrease. The ocean has become significantly more stratified over the last half century as the climate has warmed, inhibiting the ability for heat, oxygen, and carbon dioxide from the surface to be transported deeper into the ocean, according to a new study. Previous calculations measuring the change over time were not as accurate because they didn’t include as much data, said co-author Lijing Cheng, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Atmospheric Physics. An even stronger ocean stratification increase, as much as 18%, has been observed for the upper 150m. Ms. Zheng Lin Strong storms churn up the ocean, bringing colder water to the surface that can limit strengthening, or even weaken a storm. ... ocean stratification. The increase of ocean stratification feedbacks to climate change. “For example it reduces the oxygen supply to the waters below the ocean surface, which is bad for marine life. “This is why hurricanes are bigger and longer-lasting and more intense than before.”. is a service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Earth System Models (ESMs) project that climate change will lead to approximately 1-10% declines in global ocean phytoplankton productivity by the end of the 21st century, under high carbon emissions scenarios. And if less warm water is transported northward, the climate in northwestern Europe would become more volatile. This stable stratified configuration acts as a barrier to water mixing that impacts the efficiency of vertical exchanges of heat, carbon, oxygen and other constituents. Previous calculations measuring the change over time were not as accurate because they didn’t include as much data, said co-author, The observed increase in ocean stratification is “yet another climate science prediction come true,” said climate scientist, If the current slows, more hot water could build up along the East Coast of the United States, leading to more coastal heat waves and rising sea levels. This study used a carefully evaluated ocean temperature and salinity data (IAP products) which overcomes previous systematic biases associated with sampling. A new study, by a group of international researchers from China and U.S., published in Nature Climate Change found that the global ocean has become more layered and resistant to vertical mixing as warming from the surface creates increasing stratification. Science, 316, 1735-1738; published online May 16, 2007. In the middle and high latitudes, significant increases of ocean stratification appear below 500m, implying an impact on deep ocean stability by climate change. Flooding is becoming more frequent along the U.S. coastline as sea level … “Greater stability resists vertical movements and can have profound effects on zooplankton, fish and mammals,” he said. offers eligible public information officers paid access to a reliable news release distribution service. firstname.lastname@example.org The new study overcomes the key limitations and provides an estimate on ocean stratification for the upper 2000m and also its spatial structures. Climate change is warming ocean waters and causing shifts in the distribution and abundance of seaweeds, corals, fish and other marine species. Both changes could cause harm to ocean ecosystems. However, this i… The study also suggests that increased layering could affect El Niño-La Niña cycles in the Pacific. view more. We rely on donations from readers like you to keep going. It’s not a big stretch to realize that as our Earth warms, our oceans are warming as well. This observed long-term increasing trend of stratification is mainly caused by stronger ocean warming for upper layers versus the deep oceans (~97%), but salinity changes play an important role locally. The observed increase in ocean stratification is “yet another climate science prediction come true,” said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf, with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research, who was not involved in the study. by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.