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Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds (nytimes.com)
48 points by jbegley 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments

“We are warming the planet but the ocean is not warming evenly, so different places warm more than others,” said Dr. Zanna. “And so the first consequence will be that sea level will be different in different places depending on the warming.”

I don't understand this statement. To me the statement means that some places in the ocean will warm faster than others and those local places will have local sea level rises bigger than elsewhere due to the local warming causing water expansion. Sea level is determined by many things, mostly gravity, but I don't see how a local volume increase will last very long at all (ie it will dissipate at the speed of sound in water. Like a tsunami but really small and continuous). Misquoted perhaps?

Truly, only Gell-Mann amnesia allows me to keep reading the news. Probably worth stopping.

I think he's simplifying the point in order to get it across to the reporter. The larger point is that high tides will be higher than before in many places due to the warmer temperatures. This means that the average sea level relative to the shore line is higher than before. He's not referring to the entire body of all the worlds oceans which is a separate thing.

Sea level rise has regional variation due to the gravitational pull of the melting ice. When polar ice melts, there is less gravity at the poles so equatorial regions see higher sea level rise.


True. Unfortunately the quote does not mention gravity or melting ice at all. The two sentences are about the ocean warming and the differences in sea-level depending on how warm the local ocean is. This is just wrong (99.9% sure, but would update my view with some strong evidence). With a PhD in Earth Science and a Bachelors in Geophysics I am just sad when wrong ideas get expressed as the truth from scientists.

I think someone posted this video previously which was very helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA5zh3yG_-0

All the prop demonstrations by the presenter are awful, but the scientist explains everything very well.

I don't know what to make of the "climate change is a scam to tax us for carbon use by politicians" comments in the NYT article. Do people actually believe that? My wife works for UNEP and some of the stuff she tells me about climate change is truly terrifying.

There really is nothing too bizarre for some people to believe. Just one daft example I came across this morning: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jan/09/flat-earth-c...

In relation to the downsides of so-called 'economic growth': when you add personal fear to modern society-wide myths and more than a century of compulsory corporate propaganda, etc, you get a pretty potent brew of motivated miscognition.

I wonder why it actually matters to these people if the earth is flat or not?

An interesting question, but I don't think it is specific to flat-earthers. Attachment to ideas is a human characteristic - hence the panoply of institutions and disciplines intended to circumvent it in science, journalism, etc. The idea flat earthers are attached to happens to be a particularly silly one, but the attachment itself is nearly universal.

> I don't know what to make of the "climate change is a scam to tax us for carbon use by politicians" comments in the NYT article.

I think it's one manifestation of the concern that "climate change" is just the latest example of "no crisis should go to waste" political manipulation. I'm not so concerned directly with that, but with the jump to "clearly the solution is a 100% renewable grid".

I'll be ready to contribute even more of my income to government once the approach is amended to include massive support for next-gen nuclear power, and a plan to continue the rapid expansion of the world's electric capacity.

Personally I like ThorCon's approach best, but there are plenty of other worthy contenders.

I think by the time the scientists were able to detect global warming/climate change it was already too late to fix it.

Unless someone invents s technology that can scrub 100M metric tons of green house gases from the upper atmosphere, there is no chance of stopping what has been set into motion. I also think it’s going to accelerate much faster than any of the models predict. My brother is a climatologist and he’s been telling me I’m nuts for years, over the holidays he told me that he now thinks I’m right, and he’s scared for the future of his grand children.

> I think by the time the scientists were able to detect global warming/climate change it was already too late to fix it.

Technologically, that's probably not true. Thatcher, for example raised alarms in the political/public sphere based on advice from government scientists in the late '80's IIRC. A lot could have been done in the last 30 years.

Politically/sociologically though, you're probably right. Views on economic growth, the nature of the good life for humans, the relationship between the real ('nature') and virtual ('economy') worlds, public and private goods, etc, had all become sclerotic & fixed as invisible myths by that time.

I never believed the doomers deep down but the seemingly exponential rate of dystopic meta analysis this year is making me legitimately worried.

And not worried about our grand kids more like worried about actual tangible societal collapse that will affect everyone, also "rich" people like myself in western societies.

For me it started with a curiosity this summer ending in the realisation that the official IPCC report is literally a tech fantasy while being pretty much greenwashed by various state players because of industry pressure.

Then reading about all the multiplying factors not even taken into account, which much to my dismay are all slowly beginning to be proven one by one these months.

The albedo effect, methane clathrate guns, permafrost thaws, reversal of ocean currents, the list of factors that aren't even modeled in the ever more dark forecasts just goes on and on.

I honestly don't know what to say or do anymore. It's like this knowledge has washed away all of my dreams, entrepreneurial spirit and will to play the capitalist game - I still "ride the tiger" though so relax your downvotes. Also I try to help where I can, but it's freaking bleak.

It's pretty much over in 5-10 years as I see it now. When a critical mass in the economic intelligentsia realize that the debt bubble won't get postponed because growth will be stunted much earlier than "anyone foresaw".

I urge anyone that doubt these claims to read up on the reports of the last year - then realize how much of joke the IPCC is.

One example from my country is here:


Endless more examples here:


EDIT: and to the people downvoting, please do explain why I am melodramatic idiot and not a realist. I really rally hope I am wrong but it's hard after actually reading this years reports ;(

Prediction timescales are always a bit of a stab in the dark, and 5-10 years seems a tad pessimistic. Having said that the overall picture you paint is hard to disagree with. The extremist 'economic growth' superstition that has now spread worldwide is utterly incompatible with the continued existence of a living planet. Ecosystems are collapsing at an dizzying pace, and still our rulers and marketing-force-fed populations believe that they live within a fictional 'economy', floating free of the complex evolved physical systems that constitute reality.

Our international polity is now so fragile that economic collapse or war consequent on a black swan environmental breakdown could happen any day. But in any case, it's entirely clear that we are completely unprepared to deal with the environmental refugee flows that will occur, in billions, in the 2nd half this century. Wars will sweep the planet.

IPCC report is pretty significant for raising awareness, I wouldn't go around calling it a joke. Even if it is on the conservative side.

It's a huge joke because climate scientists for years have said it was to conservative, and each report is "censored" because of industry pressure from within certain countries.

It's a Joke because it's a complete freaking fantasy. All models in it are built on the basis of deus ex machine like tech fixes and singularity like tech events that are going to happen within 10 years - none of which exists in reality.

Seriously who wouldn't call a companies future forecast report a complete joke if it built on the fact the said company would magically invent the most revolutionary technology ever built and capitalising on it?

This results in reports that give of the impression that "yeah it's not good, but we will probably manage", while climate science consensus for years, and increasingly is way, way more dark, and now bordering on the outright dystopic.

This in turn is now leading us to a scenario where extinction is on the horizon.

Listen, we are facing an extinction event, we could face it very soon, collapse is right around the corner. There is absolutely no time left. IPCC is greenwashing, it's hopium, it's berucratic circus while we are slowly sinking.

There is no time for compromise and political theatre. Everything is going in the wrong direction pollution wise, and everything is happening faster than expected.

As a side note I would have slapped myself and called me a doomer freak If I read this 6 months ago.

Paralysing fatalism is just as bad as living in a denalist fantasy: both embrace doing nothing rather than facing up to the difficult work that needs done.

The IPCC report is not "a complete joke". Nothing in it requires the invention of radical new technology. We're not talking about needing some kind of ATMOS silver bullet. The reality is that there's alot of work to implement it, and it may not get done on time, but it's also not impossible (yet).

The technical challenges of moving to a renewable energy economy are doable, it's the political problem of forcing entire sectors of the economy worth hundreds of billions of dollars to replace themselves or drop out of existence.

> Paralysing fatalism is just as bad as living in a denalist fantasy: both embrace doing nothing rather than facing up to the difficult work that needs done.

Well said!

I am looking forward to the ride ahead - whether it's bumpy or far worse.

Hard work will be required from us as a society and personally as individuals.

We can still avert the worst, the problem is not technological, the problem is that all our decisions are made by an elite ruling class that doesn’t care if we live or die.

The report may not be a joke. But this where we are now it sais:

“All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on the order of 100–1000 GtCO2 over the 21st century. CDR would be used to compensate for residual emissions and, in most cases, achieve net negative emissions to return global warming to 1.5°C following a peak”

It’s a pretty tall order considering that emissions are still accelerating

“Pathways reflecting current nationally stated mitigation ambition until 2030 are broadly consistent with cost-effective pathways that result in a global warming of about 3°C by 2100, with warming continuing afterwards“

“Reversing warming after an overshoot of 0.2°C or larger during this century would require upscaling and deployment of CDR at rates and volumes that might not be achievable given considerable implementation challenges”

> It's pretty much over in 5-10 years as I see it now.

I understand that discussion on this topic is virtually impossible on HN for those of us who believe the world is not, in fact, sliding incontrovertibly into oblivion.

> It's like this knowledge has washed away all of my dreams, entrepreneurial spirit and will to play the capitalist game.

A lot of people said the same thing when _______. None of them have been right yet, but all of them (and those around them) suffered personally from their dire fatalism.

> but all of them (and those around them) suffered personally from their dire fatalism

That is factually false. I know many people whose lives have been greatly enhanced by a dawning understanding that the current dominating superstition will lead to disaster, and have felt freer in consequence to choose more satisfying (less consumerist etc) lives. Sadness about our species' inability to meet global challenges need not lead to personal dysfunction, but handling the understanding well does depend on a willingness to let go of standard narratives.

I have a major in History actually so I know that both cultish fatalism, religious determinism and apocalyptic paranoia has run through all of history.

None of them backed up by science like today.

Don't you believe in climate science? You say those of us who don't believe. Are you on some kind of 3% fringe the doesn't believe in the reports of the last year? I certainly hope you are right but my good friends in the natural sciences are all very serious about this at the moment - why should 95% of climate scientists be wrong?

> why should 95% of climate scientists be wrong?

Because consensus does not mean correctness, we cannot assume that they are right.

It's a good signal, for sure, but 95% of scientists have been wrong before, and they will be wrong again.

I also have friends who work on these things, so I totally understand where you are coming from in hearing about such serious things and having that weigh upon you.

However, I am also quite serious and passionate about my area of expertise and could definitely alarm people about the impending doom of things related to security.

I've noticed in this thread you seem to be overwhelmed by this seriousness. For that, I have no particular advice, but I do hope that something in here helps you find some hope for our future. Maybe that magical technology to reverse things will appear when we need it most - maybe you will help create it!

[edit: for some reason I was downvoted, for which I assume resulted from an assumption on my position. My position is that we are not without hope, not that there is nothing to worry about. I would like to pass some of that hope onto the currently hopeless individual I have replied to]

> Maybe that magical technology to reverse things will appear

Or maybe the OP will dissociate their identity from inherited ideas of endless 'progress' etc? After all, it would be an astonishing feat of exaptation for a cluster of cognitive/conative/affective processes evolved for a species to cope with challenges faced by small-scale tribal societies to also just happen to be a good fit for managing a network of planetary ecologies. It was never very likely to happen, and it didn't. No great surprise.

Actually, that number should be 97%. And it isn’t number of scientists, it’s the number of papers in a corpus of about 12000 that supports the premise that humans are causing global warming.

For this IPCC report it might be more interesting to know that it is the work of about 90 authors summarizing the findings of about 6000 papers.

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