Week of 1.9.09
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A rise in sea levels isn't the only impact global warming is having on the world's oceans. A growing body of evidence suggests that climate change is also affecting ocean currents and the chemistry of the seas, with potentially catastrophic results.
This week, NOW travels deep into the oceans with scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with help from other researchers for a first hand look at this stunning sea change, and what we can do about it.
"We've been aware of global warming for several decades now. We haven't taken any substantive action, and we're now what many scientists would call at tipping points," Ruth Curry, an ocean scientist at the WHOI.
In a simple experiment, using ice cubes, a beaker of water, and a hot plate, Curry shows NOW's David Brancaccio how ice acts as a heat buffer in the oceans. When the ice melts, the buffer collapses, and may cause a rapid rise in ocean temperatures, with unpredictable results.
Some ocean scientists believe that if action isn't taken quickly to address climate change, our oceans could face their biggest shock in 100 million years.
The world's oceans face a global-warming catastrophe. President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to act quickly to fight climate change but can his Administration make a difference?
In the News
Associated Press: One-fifth of coral reefs already lost, much more feared
The Economist: Troubled waters: a special report on the sea
New York Times: In Obama's Team, Two Camps on Climate
Conover Fish Ecology Lab, a marine science research center.
Oceana, a group focused on ocean conservation.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, dedicated to ocean research, engineering and education activities.
Commenter: Curtis Johnson
Commenter: Ann Lamb
Commenter: Dave Lamas
Commenter: John Reed
Commenter: J. Blair
Commenter: Mary Ann
Commenter: mike sieverson
Commenter: Gustavo Corral
Commenter: CO2 link not proven
Commenter: Jim Adcock
Commenter: David Earnshaw
Our Oceans: What Could Happen
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