‘Intense’ Enough?

January 26, 2016

pterodactylSunshine filtered by some low-lying, thin, hazy-like clouds this Tuesday afternoon on California’s north coast as we catch a break on the ‘conveyor-belt’ rainstorms.
We’re forecast for another whopper late Thursday and Friday — according to the NWS, rain will start light, then ‘increase in intensity‘ closer toward the weekend.

Also to ‘increase‘ is sea-level rise — result of another climate study in the ‘shit is worse than previously figured‘ category…

(Illustration: ‘Pterodactyls Take Another Sky-Surfer,’ by Marty Branagan, found here).

Seemingly a characteristic of climate studies the last few years is the return-worse follow-up — whatever shit is worse than previous research had indicated, and in this case, the warming of the deep oceans.
In some good news, apparently the Pacific Ocean along our coast here is not warming that much, and thus might not be as flood-happy as other areas on earth.
Via Phys.org yesterday:

To date, research on the effects of climate change has underestimated the contribution of seawater expansion to sea level rise due to warming of the oceans.
A team of researchers at the University of Bonn has now investigated, using satellite data, that this effect was almost twice as large over the past twelve years than previously assumed.
That may result in, for example, significantly increased risks of storm surges.
The scientists are presenting their findings in the renowned scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Until now, it was assumed that sea levels rose an average of 0.7 to 1.0 millimeters a year due to this “thermometer effect.”
According to the new calculations, however, the ocean’s expansion contributed with about 1.4 millimeters a year — in other words, almost twice as much as previously assumed.
“This height difference corresponds to roughly twice the volume from the melting ice sheets in Greenland,” says Dr. Rietbroek.
In addition, the sea-level rise varies strongly due to volume expansion in various ocean regions along with other effects.
According to the research team’s calculations, the Philippines hold the record with about 15 millimeters a year, while the levels are largely stable on the West Coast of the United States — because there is hardly any ocean warming in that region.

The last part hard to fathom with El Niño, the former ‘blob‘ just off our coast, and other factors — we shouldn’t be low.
More on the research at Climate Central, also from yesterday:

Currents, winds, ocean cycles and other factors meant the effects were felt differently in different parts of the world.
The East Coast and parts of Asia experienced rapid sea level rise during the study period, while the West Coast saw sea levels drop slightly — albeit temporarily.
Rietbroek said the new findings regarding rapid thermal expansion are encountering “pushback” from some scientists.
But he said they’re consistent with models that some thought were overestimating thermal expansion in warming oceans.

The change in the phase of the ocean cycle is also expected to flush surface waters back across the Pacific Ocean toward the West Coast, where sea level rise will worsen flooding.
“There’s never been a hiatus in ocean warming; there’s an ever-deeper penetration of the warming signal,” said Felix Landerer, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
He wasn’t involved with the new study, which he described as novel and thorough.
“There has never been a hiatus in sea level rise in the last decade. Quite the contrary, I think we see an acceleration.”

But the conclusion is expected to be generally corroborated by upcoming research involving Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s climate analysis team.
Trenberth said new findings of ocean warming, and warming-induced expansion, which is known as steric expansion, challenge figures that have been accepted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that assesses climate science.
“Our new estimates of the steric rise in sea levels are considerably greater than those often accepted,” Trenberth said.
“I think a lot of the estimates that are in the literature are very conservative. They’re low in terms of changes in ocean heat content.”

This ‘increase in intensity‘ thingy is not all that reassuring…

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