Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Warming in the Tasman Sea, near Australia, a global warming hot spot

Date:
January 30, 2012
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Oceanographers have identified a series of ocean hotspots around the world generated by strengthening wind systems that have driven oceanic currents, including the East Australian Current, polewards beyond their known boundaries.

Oceanographers have identified a series of ocean hotspots around the world generated by strengthening wind systems that have driven oceanic currents, including the East Australian Current, polewards beyond their known boundaries.

The hotspots have formed alongside ocean currents that wash the east coast of the major continents and their warming proceeds at a rate far exceeding the average rate of ocean surface warming, according to an international science team whose work was recently published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Paper co-author, CSIRO's Dr Wenju Cai, said that while the finding has local ecological implications in the region surrounding the hotspots, the major influence is upon the ocean's ability to take up heat and carbon from the atmosphere.

In Australia's case, scientists report intensifying east-west winds at high latitudes (45š-55šS) pushing southward and speeding up the gyre or swirl of currents circulating in the South Pacific, extending from South America to the Australian coast. The resulting changes in ocean circulation patterns have pushed the East Australian Current around 350 kilometres further south, with temperatures east of Tasmania as much as two degrees warmer than they were 60 years ago.

"We would expect natural change in the oceans over decades or centuries but change with such elevated sea surface temperatures in a growing number of locations and in a synchronised manner was definitely not expected," said CSIRO's Dr Wenju Cai.

"Detecting these changes has been hindered by limited observations but with a combination of multi-national ocean watch systems and computer simulations we have been able to reconstruct an ocean history in which warming over the past century is 2-3 times faster than the global average ocean warming rate," says Dr Cai, a climate scientist at CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans Research Flagship.

The changes are characterised by a combination of currents pushing nearer to the polar regions and intensify with systematic changes of wind over both hemispheres, attributed to increasing greenhouse gases.

Dr Cai said the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been the major driver of the surface warming of Earth over the 20th century. This is projected to continue.

He said the research points to the need for a long-term monitoring network of the western boundary currents. In March next year, Australian scientists plan to deploy a series of moored ocean sensors across the East Australian Current to observe change season-to-season and year-to-year.

Lead author of the paper was Dr Lixin Wu, of the Ocean University of China, with contributing authors from five countries, many of whom are members of the Pacific Ocean Panel working under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation.

The research was partly funded by a grant from the Australian Climate Change Science Program supported by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lixin Wu, Wenju Cai, Liping Zhang, Hisashi Nakamura, Axel Timmermann, Terry Joyce, Michael J. McPhaden, Michael Alexander, Bo Qiu, Martin Visbeck, Ping Chang, Benjamin Giese. Enhanced warming over the global subtropical western boundary currents. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1353

Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Warming in the Tasman Sea, near Australia, a global warming hot spot." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120130102538.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2012, January 30). Warming in the Tasman Sea, near Australia, a global warming hot spot. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120130102538.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Warming in the Tasman Sea, near Australia, a global warming hot spot." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120130102538.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) — As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) — A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins