skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Observed and simulated full-depth ocean heat-content changes for 1970–2005

Abstract

Greenhouse-gas emissions have created a planetary energy imbalance that is primarily manifested by increasing ocean heat content (OHC). Updated observational estimates of full-depth OHC change since 1970 are presented that account for recent advancements in reducing observation errors and biases. The full-depth OHC has increased by 0.74 [0.68, 0.80]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.46 Wm−2) and 1.22 [1.16–1.29]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.75 Wm−2) for 1970–2005 and 1992–2005, respectively, with a 5 to 95 % confidence interval of the median. The CMIP5 models show large spread in OHC changes, suggesting that some models are not state-of-the-art and require further improvements. However, the ensemble median has excellent agreement with our observational estimate: 0.68 [0.54–0.82]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.42 Wm−2) from 1970 to 2005 and 1.25 [1.10–1.41]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.77 Wm−2) from 1992 to 2005. These results increase confidence in both the observational and model estimates to quantify and study changes in Earth's energy imbalance over the historical period. We suggest that OHC be a fundamental metric for climate model validation and evaluation, especially for forced changes (decadal timescales).

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. Corp. for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1272636
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1363635
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0012711
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Ocean Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Ocean Science Journal Volume: 12 Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1812-0792
Publisher:
Copernicus GmbH
Country of Publication:
Country unknown/Code not available
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Cheng, Lijing, Trenberth, Kevin E., Palmer, Matthew D., Zhu, Jiang, and Abraham, John P. Observed and simulated full-depth ocean heat-content changes for 1970–2005. Country unknown/Code not available: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.5194/os-12-925-2016.
Cheng, Lijing, Trenberth, Kevin E., Palmer, Matthew D., Zhu, Jiang, & Abraham, John P. Observed and simulated full-depth ocean heat-content changes for 1970–2005. Country unknown/Code not available. doi:10.5194/os-12-925-2016.
Cheng, Lijing, Trenberth, Kevin E., Palmer, Matthew D., Zhu, Jiang, and Abraham, John P. Tue . "Observed and simulated full-depth ocean heat-content changes for 1970–2005". Country unknown/Code not available. doi:10.5194/os-12-925-2016.
@article{osti_1272636,
title = {Observed and simulated full-depth ocean heat-content changes for 1970–2005},
author = {Cheng, Lijing and Trenberth, Kevin E. and Palmer, Matthew D. and Zhu, Jiang and Abraham, John P.},
abstractNote = {Greenhouse-gas emissions have created a planetary energy imbalance that is primarily manifested by increasing ocean heat content (OHC). Updated observational estimates of full-depth OHC change since 1970 are presented that account for recent advancements in reducing observation errors and biases. The full-depth OHC has increased by 0.74 [0.68, 0.80]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.46 Wm−2) and 1.22 [1.16–1.29]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.75 Wm−2) for 1970–2005 and 1992–2005, respectively, with a 5 to 95 % confidence interval of the median. The CMIP5 models show large spread in OHC changes, suggesting that some models are not state-of-the-art and require further improvements. However, the ensemble median has excellent agreement with our observational estimate: 0.68 [0.54–0.82]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.42 Wm−2) from 1970 to 2005 and 1.25 [1.10–1.41]  ×  1022 J yr−1 (0.77 Wm−2) from 1992 to 2005. These results increase confidence in both the observational and model estimates to quantify and study changes in Earth's energy imbalance over the historical period. We suggest that OHC be a fundamental metric for climate model validation and evaluation, especially for forced changes (decadal timescales).},
doi = {10.5194/os-12-925-2016},
journal = {Ocean Science},
number = 4,
volume = 12,
place = {Country unknown/Code not available},
year = {2016},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.5194/os-12-925-2016

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 4 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Flexible-grid method. (a) shows the geographical distribution of 700 m OHC in 1980 on each 1 by 1 grid, showing good data coverage in the Northern Hemisphere and sparse data in the Southern Hemisphere. To fill these data gaps by using the flexible-grid method, OHC on each gridmore » in the poorly sampled region (defined as the Argo-Ship Area in CZ14) is calculated by averaging OHC on a large latitude– longitude grid with sizes of 5 by 5, 5 by 10, 5 by 20, 1 by 40, 8 by 40, and 10 by 40 separately. The resultant OHC distribution is shown from (b) to (g).« less

Save / Share:
Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.