Lovely, been looking for news on marine heat all year.
High school thermodynamics physics (heat exchange), fluid dynamics (oceans). The planet with its atmosphere, is thermodynamically almost a "closed system" which means heat-in should roughly equal heat-out.
The planet needs to "balance" its heat energy exchange between what it gets from the sun (UV radiation), and what it releases to space (IR radiation). Hasn't been in balance for decades, but the 'imbalance' keeps increasing over time.
The fluid dynamics of the oceans are the primary source of planetary heat absorption, its trying to absorb it all - but can't release enough to get through the CO2/methane blanket to balance the planet's heat energy in = heat energy out. This excess heat that can't be absorbed disturbs all the major atmospheric winds, like the Trade Winds, Jet Streams etc which drive the weather systems. Jet Streams are breaking up into 'wobbles' or smaller trailing wind streams (aka Rossby Waves) which are slower and lead to weather systems "stalling" (or, staying/swirling/cycling in place), and not moving on like they are supposed to - eg rain, snow, storm systems become "atmospheric rivers" (or if icy, snowy - 'bomb cyclones') and clear skies become long-lasting "heat domes".
And as the oceans become hotter, there is also greater evaporation which increases the size of wet-weather systems, but they have to come down somewhere, and with slower "wobbly" wind streams they stay or circulate in place for longer periods of time. eg the recent northern west australian floods. It is tropical there, its meant to get torrential monsoons and even full-on cyclones (or hurricanes) this time of year.
But this time, a tropical storm system (without much wind), just circled & swirled around in place 3-4 times over several days and nights ... dumping 5 times the average of their seasonal monsoon rainfall, but all in one smaller place - instead of moving on (as tropical monsoon systems are supposed to do) to spread the seasonal monsoon rainfall over a much larger land area. That system has finally moved on, but broken up into smaller isolated wisps of light rain.
Our Emergency Services folks, and metereology folks etc faces were so puzzled, so deeply emotional, concerned, possibly even frightened, in their media/press briefings. I expect they are not trained or accustomed to keep their feelings off their faces, like politicians and journalists are! 🙂 As in 'tropical weather systems have never done that before'. The tropical Trade Winds 'stalled'.
We can usually predict fairly accurately, the trajectory and speed of tropical storms, cyclones/typhoons/hurricanes etc.
But not this time.
This is why I have always been skeptical of policies focussing solely on CO2 emission reductions, as
1) reduction in fossil fuel use is going to go down anyway (for economic reasons more than altruistic climate ones); and
2) its a global problem and not all countries are able (eg. little or no ability to adapt energy infrastructure) or willing (for socio-political reasons) to adopt such policies; and
3) even if every last smoke-stack stopped belching tomorrow - there is at least 10 years worth of continued heating just inside the planetary atmospheric envelope as it is, and much more of that heat, is still inside the oceans; and our planetary carbon 'sinks' to suck up the carbon, are smaller still. eg. the southern Amazon is now releasing more CO2 than it can absorb, similarly with Africa.
And lastly? The massive polar regions keep melting the tundra permafrost bands, which are already in positive feedback loops, so that unimaginable large tonnage of methane, will just keep pumping out year after year and keep heating the planet regardless of what we do. Some positive reports of the 'greening' of the arctic tundra - large increases in animals eg beavers and deer, and temperate evergreen tree species, are all moving farther north as the permafrost contracts giving more temperate land areas with warmer, longer summers.
Rain, thank you for that erudite summary and welcome to the Forum!
Re your point three, I'd also add that evidence from the Covid lockdowns has underlined that losing global dimming is problematic; likewise, losing the Nitrogen Oxide emissions from industry that have been helping break down methane. So, if smoke stacks did indeed stop belching tomorrow, we'd just find ourselves with a different set of problems.
@rain Thank you so much for your post. I really appreciate it when someone lays things out in a way that non-scientists and non-physicists can understand. I am pretty familiar with what you discussed, however, I always appreciate a refresher.
When you say "Some positive reports of the 'greening' of the arctic tundra" I don't know if you mean "positive" in the sense of "good." Probably not.
Anyway, it all reinforces to me the point that I don't need to worry about much. Just try to be a witness, and keep eating popcorn! 😉
'Positive' - both good and bad, but strong, moving forward. Good in that, animals, trees, plants are increasing and thriving in a newly forming environment, where they never went before. Bad in that a lot of methane will be produced in the process. Climate change means change, some places the change is for the better for wildlife.
Rain, thanks for the summary! Your're probably right.
Justin, I didn’t know that it had been shown that there was less global dimming during the Covid lockdowns. Very worrying! And I didn’t know about the effect of NOx on methane. Also worrying!
Solar acticity sometimes gets mentioned in connection with climate change (in the past I think it was mainly mentioned by 'climate sceptics'). As a radio amateur, I keep an eye on the sunspot count (many sunspots means good conditions on certain short-wave bands). Solar cycle 25 (the current cycle – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle_25) was supposed to be weak, but has been much stronger than expected so far. I’m not sure how much the sunspot cycle contributes to the variation in the global average temperature. But a stronger solar cycle than expected (+ El Niño!) doesn’t sound good in a context where the world is already warming quickly.