The role of the ocean in climate change

Temperature and currents at 450 metres depth in the high resolution Kiel ocean model. (Instantaneous values). Source: A. Biastoch, GEOMAR.

The oceans play a central role in global change processes.Major aspects of climate change are associated with the ocean’s heat transport, heat capacity, and the global water cycle. However, oceanic storage, transformation, transport and exchange of radiatively and chemically active gases and particles also exert an influence on climate through their impact on atmospheric radiation transfer. Past climate change has had demonstrable influences on the isotopic and chemical composition of seawater, which permits these signals to be investigated as potential recorders of change. Since exchanges of heat and substances between the ocean, land and the atmosphere operate on time scales ranging from seasons to millennia, they are amongst the most important factors for shaping future global climate change.

Research topics under this headline include:

  • Understanding of Past, Present and Future Overturning Circulation Changes
  • Changes in the Tropics
  • Present and Past Arctic Oceanography and Climate
  • Future Greenhouse Warming: Assessment and Scenarios
  • Past Geochemical Change in the Oceans

 

 

 

News for topic: the role of the ocean in climate change

Simulated summertime (June-August) average temperature changes in 536 CE due to the stratospheric aerosol cloud resulting from an unknown volcanic eruption reconstructed here based on contemporary written records and ice core sulfate measurements. The simulated temperature changes, ranging from 1-3 ° C over Europe, show good agreement with estimates from two tree-ring temperature  reconstructions based on trees in Northern Scandinavia. Graphic: Matt Toohey, GEOMAR
19.04.2016

Two Volcanoes trigger Crises of the Late Antiquity

International team of climate researchers reconstructs global cooling in the reign of emperor Justinian

more
Iceberg off the coast of Svalbard. Photo: M. Nicolai, GEOMAR.
07.04.2016

Origin of ancient ice ages in the Southern Hemisphere?

International scientific team finds vital new hints towards underlying mechanisms of glaciations in the deep ocean

more
Samples of Lithothamnion glaciale in the lab. Photo: Federica Ragazzola
08.02.2016

Ocean acidification softens important benthic habitat former

Coralline red alga form less robust cells under elevated carbon dioxide levels

more