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Old 12-05-2017, 02:24 PM   #593 (permalink)
NeilBlanchard
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Warmer global average temperature is the best overall way to track climate change. But there are several other major affects - one being increased evaporation. And more water vapor in the atmosphere then leads to more precipitation, and also increases the warming, because water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

Another major affect of adding more carbon into the atmosphere, is that more carbon is absorbed by the ocean, and this becomes carbonic acid. The pH of the ocean had dropped from about 8.2 to 8.1 - which doesn't sound like much; but pH is a logarithmic scale, and this is a significant change. It makes it harder for every lifeform that has a shell. Plankton in particular is critical to the food chain, and so lower pH is having a big effect.

Ocean water also absorbs a majority of the heat energy, as well as most of the carbon. And what happens to the dissolved gases in water, as water warms?

It releases gases back to the air. So, initially the ocean has been absorbing carbon dioxide, and now as it warms - it will start to release it. So, there is another amplifying effect that will accelerate the warming.

What we used to call "permafrost" - is now melting. It is now releasing more and more methane and carbon dioxide, from the organic matter that was frozen. If there is oxygen available as it melts, it releases carbon dioxide, and if there is no oxygen, it releases methane.

There is a lot of methane ice (aka clathrates) on the ocean floor. If this melts, then all bets are off.
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