Thursday November 15, 2018
Home World Climate Chang...

Climate Change’s Fight Harder Than Thought: Study

This new research suggests that accomplishing that goal requires countries to pull 25 percent more carbon out of the atmosphere than they've already committed to cleaning up.

0
//
Oceans
People walk on the beach of Biarritz, southwestern France, along the Atlantic Ocean, Dec. 18, 2015. New research shows the oceans are storing much more heat than previously thought. VOA
Republish
Reprint

A new report recently published in the journal Nature suggests the Earth’s oceans are absorbing more of the planet’s excess heat than previously thought.

Scientists have known for some time that oceans store excess heat energy, and this helps keep the planet in its balmy, just-right temperature for supporting the explosion of life on Earth.

Knowing how hot the ocean is getting, and how fast that temperature is rising, helps scientists understand more about human-impacted climate change. It helps them know how much excess energy is being produced, and it helps them predict how much heat the ocean is capable of absorbing and how much warming will be felt on the Earth’s surface.

Oceans, boats
Lobster boats are moored in the harbor in Stonington, Maine. VOA

Up until the report was issued this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) thought it had a pretty good handle on how much excess energy the oceans were absorbing. Using those numbers, the panel set targets for the amount of carbon reduction necessary to slow, and ultimately reverse, potentially devastating planetary warming.

But these new numbers suggest those targets may have to be revised upward by 25 percent. Research by the study’s lead author, Princeton professor Laure Resplandy, indicates our oceans are absorbing about 60 percent more heat energy than previously estimated.

According to Resplandy, the world’s oceans have taken up more than 13 zettajoules of energy every year between 1991 and 2016. A joule is the standard unit of energy; a zettajoule is one joule, followed by 21 zeroes.

Oceans, arctic
FILE – A young polar bear walks on ice over deep waters of the Arctic Ocean. VOA

“Imagine if the ocean was only 30 feet deep,” Resplandy said. “Our data show that it would have warmed by 6.5 degrees Celsius every decade since 1991. In comparison, the estimate of the last IPCC assessment report would correspond to a warming of only 4 degrees Celsius every decade.”

How they got the new numbers

It’s not that the old numbers were wrong; it’s that the new numbers relied on new techniques and new ways to measure ocean warming. The old techniques used spot measurements of ocean temperature. But Resplandy and her team measured the amount of oxygen and carbon in the air, a number they call “Atmospheric Oxygen Potential (APO).” As oceans warm, they release oxygen and carbon into the atmosphere, which increases APO.

Another factor that raises APO is the burning of fossil fuels. Resplandy and her team compared the expected rise in APO due to the burning of fossil fuels, and compared it to the actual APO they were seeing. By looking at the difference, the team was able to predict how much carbon and oxygen were being released by the oceans and, therefore, how warm the world’s oceans were getting.

climate, global warming, celsisu, oceansac
A fisherman stands on his boat as he fishes at the Tisma lagoon wetland park, also designated as Ramsar Site 1141 in the Convention on Wetlands, in Tisma, Nicaragua. VOA

Why the new numbers matter

A host of countries, including the U.S. and China, signed the Paris Climate Accord in 2015, which aims to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Many climate scientists predict that if temperatures go above that mark, humans will be faced with devastating long-term global affects. Keeping those temperatures down requires cutting the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere.

Also Read: New Carbon Capture Technology Now Able To Fight Climate Change: Experts

The U.S. has since pulled out of that climate agreement, but most of the rest of the world remains focused on limiting the rise of the world’s average temperatures.

This new research suggests that accomplishing that goal requires countries to pull 25 percent more carbon out of the atmosphere than they’ve already committed to cleaning up. (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Old Diesel Cars Banned From Summer 2019 In Greater Paris

Fifteen French metropolitan areas including Lyon, Nice, Aix-Marseille and Toulouse last month agreed to install or reinforce low-emission zones by 2020.

0
Paris,diesel
Exhaust fumes escape from the exhaust of a diesel engine car in Paris. VOA

The Greater Paris region will become a low-emission zone from next summer, which will limit the circulation of old diesel cars, the regional authority decided on Monday.

The Metropole du Grand Paris council said on its Twitter feed it had voted to ban diesel cars registered before Dec. 31, 2000 from the area within the A86 second ring-road, which includes Paris and 79 municipalities around it, a region with 5.61 million inhabitants.

The ban will use France’s new “Crit’Air” vignette system, which identifies cars’ age and pollution level with color-coded stickers. Cars with the Crit’Air 5 sticker (1997 to 2000-registered diesels) as well as cars without a sticker will be banned.

Paris,diesel
People cool themselves at the Trocadero Fountain in front of The Eiffel Tower in Paris on July 27, 2018, as a heatwave continues across northern Europe. VOA

The council plans to gradually tighten regulations in order to allow only electric or hydrogen-fueled cars on Greater Paris roads by 2030. In central Paris, pre-2000 diesels have been banned since July 2017.

Also Read: Paris Adopts Climate Action Plan, Aims At Achieving a ‘Zero Carbon’ Future

Fifteen French metropolitan areas including Lyon, Nice, Aix-Marseille and Toulouse last month agreed to install or reinforce low-emission zones by 2020. The French government hopes this will prevent European Union sanctions over non-respect of European air quality standards. (VOA)