Is the Ocean Losing Its Memory?

A new report claims our oceans are losing their memory, something that may impair our ability to predict climate extremes and our ability to manage fisheries.

The study is tough slogging but there's a decent summary here.

The oceans that surround us are transforming. As our climate changes, the world's waters are shifting too, with abnormalities evident not only in the ocean's temperature, but also its structure, currents, and even its color.

As these changes manifest, the usually stable environment of the ocean is becoming more unpredictable and erratic, and in some ways the phenomenon is akin to the ocean losing its memory, scientists suggest.

"Ocean memory, the persistence of ocean conditions, is a major source of predictability in the climate system beyond weather time scales," researchers explain in a new paper led by first author and climate researcher Hui Shi from the Farallon Institute in Petaluma, California.

"We show that ocean memory, as measured by the year-to-year persistence of sea surface temperature anomalies, is projected to steadily decline in the coming decades over much of the globe."

Another study was released last week warning that Earth's hydrologic cycle is speeding up.  As the oceans heat, seawater vaporizes faster. More evaporation causes sea water salinity to increase.  More water vapor released to the atmosphere results in heavier precipitation on land and more severe weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes and severe flooding. The Spanish researchers warn this process may be unstoppable but that will probably take a millennium or two before the seas turn anoxic.

Comment Response:

Hi, NPoV. I was shaken a bit when I asked climate scientist Camilo Mora about the lack of political action on climate change and he replied to watch "Don't Look Up" on Netflix. I thought his remark was in jest. It wasn't.


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