A Current Affair
New data on warming oceans are strong evidence for climate change
Measurements of ocean temperatures presented yesterday constitute (still more) compelling evidence that global warming is upon us, say scientists. The data, introduced at the annual gathering of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, show that temperature readings in the oceans for the past 40 years line up almost exactly with the predictions of climate models. Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography spun several different scenarios to explain the warming — natural climate variability, solar radiation, volcanic activity — but “what absolutely nailed it was greenhouse warming,” said lead researcher Tim Barnett. Also at the AAAS conference, a separate research team presented findings showing that some 4,800 cubic miles of freshwater had melted from Arctic ice and drifted into the northern Atlantic, threatening the conveyor belt of currents that moves warm tropical water north to keep the climate around the U.S. Northeast and Northern Europe temperate. “The debate over whether or not there is a global-warming signal is now over, at least for rational people,” said Barnett.