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

In the Miocene the land bridge near modern Panama was not yet closed. Relatively fresh water from the Pacific reached the Caribbean. This has been shown, for example, by studies in the Central Caribbean (ODP1000).  Sediment samples taken from ODP1006 now show, however, that between 11.5 and 9.5 million years before today this relatively low-salt water did not leave the Caribbean and thus could not influence the North Atlantic circulation. Graphic: Anne Osborne/GEOMAR
06.09.2019

Strong Gulfstream System in the Miocene does not contradict Models

Study shows separation between Caribbean and North Atlantic 10 million years ago

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Coral reefs off the coast of the Mexican peninsula Yucatan near groundwater sources (Ojos). Photo: Elizabeth D. Crook
08.08.2019

Stony corals: Limits of adaption

New study on coral growth in times of climate change

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Plankton communities. Photo: A. Stuhr, GEOMAR (CC BY 4.0)
22.05.2019

Plankton as a climate driver instead of the sun?

A new view on past climate change

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