Ocean Warming Pattern - The heat
content of the ocean has increased significantly over the past 40
years, with about 93 % of the total of the Earth system going into
warming the ocean over the same 40 years. The cause of this warming
signal has been investigated (Barnett et
al., 2005) and the
conclusion reached has been as follows:
“[The increase in ocean heat content] (Farmer &
Cook, 2013) cannot be explained by natural internal climate
variability or solar and volcanic forcing, but is well simulated by
2 anthropogenically forced climate models. We conclude that it is of
human origin, a conclusion robust to observational sampling and
model differences. Changes in advection combine with surface forcing
to give the overall warming pattern. The implications of this study
suggest that society needs to seriously consider model predictions
of future climate change”.
At the present several billion tonnes of carbon
dioxide are being emitted into the atmosphere every year by human
activities. Though Farmer & Cook suggest it could be a coincidence
that there are such sharply increasing levels of CO2 at
the same time as the increasing temperature of the Earth. Farmer &
Cook point out that correlation does not mean cause and effect, but
in science, when the same conclusion is indicated by several
independent lines of evidence, scientists may draw conclusions with
a great deal of certainty.
The carbon isotope that is produced by the
burning of fossil fuel is main isotope of carbon that has been found
to be accumulating in the atmosphere. The carbon produced by fossils
fuel contains no radiocarbon (radioactive), carbon-14 (14C).
Little if any carbon-14 remains in fossil fuel that has been buried
for millions of years as it has a half-life of 5,700 years.
The ratio of radiocarbon to non-radiocarbon in
the atmosphere is known, so as the ratio of carbon-14 to
non-radiocarbon is decreasing, it is indicated that it is
non-radioactive carbon that is being released by the burning of
fossil fuels, which is the main source of this release.
Measurement of oxygen in the atmosphere is also
indicating that the CO2 is from fossil fuels. Atmospheric
oxygen levels are dropping in line with the accumulation of carbon
dioxide, as would be expected, considering the formation of the
carbon dioxide molecule consumes 2 molecules of oxygen.
The measurement of carbon present in corals
going back several centuries is yet more independent evidence that
human activity is responsible for the increasing atmospheric carbon
dioxide levels. A recent sharp rise in the carbon isotope from
fossil fuels has been found in coral skeletons.
As it is possible to measure directly the
carbon isotope that is released from fossil fuels it is known that
humans are responsible for the increasing levels of atmospheric
Satellites are also measuring less heat
escaping to space at the particular frequency absorbed by CO2,
which is direct experimental evidence of significant increases in
the greenhouse effect in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The heat that is being blocked from escaping to
space is being reflected back to the surface of the Earth. This has
been confirmed by measurements at the surface, where more downward
infrared radiation is being measured. Farmer & Cook say that as more
heat is returning at CO2 wavelengths it leads to the
conclusion that this experimental data should counter decisively the
suggestion that no experimental evidence has been found for the
connection between the increase of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere and global warming.
According to Farmer & Cook many lines of
evidence all point in the same direction, that increasing
atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil
fuels is the main cause of global warming. ‘Nothing else makes sense
or fits all the facts’.
The climate of Earth is changing; some of the
changes are gradual, and cannot be detected on a day-to-day time
scale, such as the global increase in temperature, the gradual
melting of glaciers or the continuously rising sea level. There are
also other parts of the climate that are changing more rapidly,
e.g., weather patterns, storms are becoming more severe and more
frequent, or hot spells and cold periods that are increasing in
length. Farmer & Cook say that climate change will continue to
become even more obvious in future as the weather patterns continue