Wednesday, November 19, 2014
4:00 pm
South Mudd 365

Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar

A Paleo-perspective on Ocean Heat Content and Climate Change
Yair Rosenthal, Professor, Department of Marine Biogeochemistry, Paleontology, Rutgers University

An increase in ocean heat content (OHC) has been implicated in causing the recent pause in global warming.  However, given the long ventilation time of the ocean interior it is likely that the current distribution of ocean heat anomalies reflects the combined effects of climate change on various time scales.  In this seminar I'll discuss our attempts to extend modern observations 10,000 years beyond the instrumental record, using high-resolution proxy temperature records from sediment cores in the equatorial Pacific.  The records show that although documented changes in global surface temperatures during the Holocene and Common Era were relatively small, the concomitant changes in OHC were possibly large suggesting that on centennial-to-millennial time-scales the ocean acts as a strong buffer to climate change.  On shorter time scales, the deep ocean lags the surface, which should affect current and future climate trends.

Contact Kathy Young katyoung@gps.caltech.edu at 626-395-8732
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