Sea life's importance to the climate

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:45 PM GMT on May 29, 2007

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Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean? A group of oceanographers led by W.K. Dewar of Florida State University argue that the swimming action of fish and other marine organisms may play a critical role in driving ocean currents. If true, large-scale over-fishing or the collapse of the marine food chain due to pollution or ocean acidification may cause significant changes in ocean currents--and Earth's climate.


Figure 1. Rainbow made From a sperm whale using his blowhole. Image taken June 17, 2006 in Kaikora, New Zealand by wunderphotographer jhfelder.

The Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) or Thermohaline Circulation is a well-known feature of the ocean circulation. In the Atlantic, the Gulf Stream current forms a portion of the MOC. Gulf Stream waters flow to the region near Greenland, where an input of fresh, denser water from melting ice and river run-off creates a downward flow of water that then moves southward along the ocean bottom towards the Equator. This deep water eventually returns to the surface in the mid-Atlantic to complete a cell of the MOC. Scientists have long thought that the energy needed to drive the MOC came from winds and tides--about two terrawatts of energy (Munk and Wunsch, 1998). However, Dewar et al. show that the mechanical energy added to the ocean by the swimming action of whales is about 1% of this total, and the swimming action of other marine organisms (primarily zooplankton) adds up to 50% of this total--one terrawatt of energy. While the authors admit that their calculations may have large errors, this research shows that marine life may have a heretofore unappreciated large impact on Earth's climate. Our climate is intimately connected to the sun, life on land, life in the ocean, and human activities in an incredibly complex web of interconnections. It is our challenge to understand this system, even as we change it and it changes of its own accord.

My next blog will be Thursday afternoon, when the new Dr. Bill Gray/Phil Klotzbach Atlantic hurricane season forecast will be released.

Jeff Masters

Dewar, W.K., R.J. Bingham, R.L. Iverson, D.P. Nowacek, L.C. St. Laurent, and P.H. Wiebe, 2006, "Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean?", Journal of Marine Research, 64, 541-561.

Munk, W., and C. Wunsch, 1998, "Abyssal recipes II: Energetics of tidal and wind mixing", Deep-Sea Res., 45, 1976-2009.

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421. Alec
12:27 AM EDT on May 30, 2007
IKE.....I dont need to be in the SW to know what a desert looks like..LOL...before long, FL may burn to a crisp if it doesnt see some good solid rain!
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420. IKE
11:25 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
Posted By: Alec at 11:21 PM CDT on May 29, 2007.
probably because the stubborn high keeps standing it's ground.


Good...I live in the desert like panhandle.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
419. Alec
12:20 AM EDT on May 30, 2007
probably because the stubborn high keeps standing it's ground.
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418. IKE
11:18 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
New 00UTC GFS is running...out through 120 hours...has a 1004mb low hitting the Florida panhandle now...it's shifted back west from earlier runs..Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
417. cajunkid
11:02 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
he he he he good night
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
416. Alec
12:03 AM EDT on May 30, 2007
Really? I'm broken....*sniff*....LOL
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415. cajunkid
11:01 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
STORMTOP used all the tablets
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
414. Alec
11:59 PM EDT on May 29, 2007
cajun, I think we better write Jedkin's reply "in stone"...LOL
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412. cajunkid
10:52 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
I love the weather
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
411. Alec
11:53 PM EDT on May 29, 2007
how do you tie dating and weather together in the same post?LOL
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409. Alec
11:51 PM EDT on May 29, 2007
I agree cajun....
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408. cajunkid
10:46 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
Seriously, I don't like to take sides on GW because we don't know enough yet. I thought that was about as neutral as an article you could find with some since of urgency to preserve science
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
407. cajunkid
10:46 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
paypal me LOL
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406. Tazmanian
3:44 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
what if i had $5,000 for evere one

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405. Alec
11:44 PM EDT on May 29, 2007
Jed.....that deluge rain you keep talking about is just teasing the poor ole dry FL!!!
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404. Jedkins
3:41 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
ya that was last year, it seemed like the end of the world was soon at hand by flood lol, we also had incredible lightning, hit the lines behind our house, amazingly the power crews got it back up after a few hours during all the lightning and flooded streets, though fllooding here wasn't too bad, drainage is amazingly good here. Though flooding was bad in some areas, it was rather short lived, drainage system and dirt is built for torrential rain here.
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403. cajunkid
10:40 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
What if I had 300mil and was sitting on a island with some pretty ladies and didn't care b/c I could fly to my other island.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
401. Tazmanian
3:39 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
: Jedkins wow
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400. Alec
11:37 PM EDT on May 29, 2007
Taz, you are crazy to think like that!
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398. Tazmanian
3:31 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
what if Mount St. Helens Eruption

what if Long Valley Caldera Eruption

what if a cat 5 hurricane hit FL with out Warning


what if a cat 5 hit new york with out Warning
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397. cajunkid
10:27 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened that case. I am now skeptical. (not my article)
Link

Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
396. Tazmanian
3:25 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
what if a cat 5 hit new york


what if i got ran overe by a train


what if FL got 15' of rain in 2 hrs time




lol
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395. HurricaneFCast
3:25 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
Pachanga- Thanks for your positive attitude, not many people are as modest these days... I know what you mean about excessive discussions on GW though.. It gets annoying.
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394. HurricaneFCast
3:25 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
Kris- While I respect your quest to repudiate opposing posts, refrain from ubiquitously participating in said practice. It only encourages personal attacks.
With that said, My simple point was that Dr. Master's post was not directly associated with Global Warming, it was more of a post regarding another newly discovered Natural Climatic Element that humans could inadvertently manipulate.

Oh and Weatherboykris- You do realize you stated the a slowing of the Thermohaline Circulation would result in a cooling of the earth. That's not Global Warming.
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393. Alec
11:22 PM EDT on May 29, 2007
*sigh*...here we go again about GW....I dont care what you say, as long as I can get some rain!LOL
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391. Pachanga
3:15 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
Hurricanefcast- you're right, I read so much about GW everyday that I carelessly linked the two together. Regardless, till an absurb theory.
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390. HurricaneFCast
3:14 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
The Pacific ocean is becoming very active, and it's still early in its season. Alvin will not be a threat to land but Tropical Depression 2-E will. People in South and Southwestern Mexico should keep an eye out because atmospheric conditions favor rapid strengthening of this system, despite it's close proximity to land. It's looking rather healthy at the moment, but it is a product of the ITCZ, which is most likely the reason for excessive convection. Here's a link to Satellite Imagery of this system:

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t7/loop-avn.html

I believe this system will bring devastating flooding and mudslides to portions of Mexico, that's in the near future, however, as for the potential for devastating winds as well, we'll have to wait and see.

Forum Giant- Weather Forum
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389. cajunkid
10:01 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
by the way I don't make comments on GW any more. Its an oxymoron discussion. You can't sensibly discuss it without someone heart aching into politics.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
388. weatherboykris
3:03 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
LOL,it was just a joke.
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387. cajunkid
9:58 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
Since your so bent on being pessimistic. Some people have a TV by their computer or do work on their laptop. Maybe that's just me. It looks kinda quiet out there, I just thought some other people enjoyed the discovery channel. Sorry dude.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
386. weatherboykris
2:59 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
HrruicaneFCast--I have to disagree with you.The effects the findings,if true,would have on GW are implied.Put simply,overfishing would lead to a slowing of the thermohaline circulation.Which actually would cool the world.
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385. HurricaneFCast
2:56 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
Pachanga- That's not about Global Warming, it's about Animals and their effect on Oceanic Currents...


Forum Giant
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384. weatherboykris
2:55 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
If we were watching it,how would we know you had asked the question until after the show had ended,by which point the answer would be 'no'.
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383. weatherboykris
2:56 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
No.
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382. cajunkid
9:55 PM CDT on May 29, 2007
Any body watching deadliest catch?
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
381. Pachanga
2:44 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
That article and the study are absolutely absurd. What’s next, fish really control the tides too? If you want the truth about manmade global warming, follow the money. This article for example: how much did these guys get from grants, books, speeches, etc to print this garbage? The money available to scientist, professors and politicians willing to support the notion of climate change (manmade) is enough to make most of them rich and gain them some attention and notoriety. Just ask Mr. Climate himself (Gore) how lucrative it is.
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380. weatherblog
2:09 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
Everybody check out my new entered blog on this caribbean system. It's the first blog on my page. It is all about the Eastern Pacific and about potential caribbean development. Thanks everybody!

-Justin~
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379. HCW
2:04 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
Melbourn NWS

VIRTUALLY EVERY AVBL MODEL(NAM/GFS/UKM/ECM/CMC/NGP) AND EVEN SOME
OF LESSER KNOWN ONES (JMA/KMA-GDAPS) SHOW A DISCRETE LOW PRES SYSTEM GRADUALLY SPINNING UP ACROSS THE NW CARIBBEAN OVER THE NEXT 2-3 DAYS... THEN TURNING N/NEWD AND MOVING ACROSS FL OR VERY NEARLY SO...WITH THE SAT DAYTIME PD...GIVE OR TAKE A BIT...BEING THE BROAD CONSENSUS ON TIME FRAME FOR POTENTIAL EFFECTS ON SENSIBLE WX.
HOWEVER...EVEN WITH THIS LOOSE CONSENSUS...AND THE FACT THAT THIS IS NOW GETTING INTO THE DAY 3 TO 4 FCST TIME FRAME...CAVEATS STILL ABOUND.

NOTWITHSTANDING THE PREVIOUS MODEL "FALSE ALARMS"...THERE REMAIN SIGNIFICANT DIFFS BETWEEN THE MODELS - ENOUGH SO TO REMAIN WARY OF COMPLETELY BUYING INTO A HIGH POP/QPF EVENT FOR AT LEAST PART OF THE
CWA. FOR INSTANCE...SOME OF THE GUIDANCE (ECM/NGP/GFS) STILL KEEP THE SYSTEM FAR ENOUGH SOUTH/EAST SUCH THAT MUCH OF THE PRECIP MISSES ECFL...ALBEIT NOT BY MUCH. OTHERS (UKM/CMC/JMA...WITH THE H84 NAM
HINTING AS SUCH) BRING THE LOW FAR ENOUGH NORTH ACROSS THE ERN GOMEX TO GIVE THE CTRL PENINSULA HIGH POPS/DECENT QPF.

Hardcoreweather.com
Link
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377. kmanislander
2:02 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
One final post. Big burst of dust over the ATL.

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376. kmanislander
1:59 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
well good night all
looks like everyone has wound down for the evening
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374. weatherboykris
1:41 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
FLBoy....it's interesting,but not very important.They all sound weak and well,inconsequential.
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373. Tazmanian
1:39 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
whats down lol
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372. kmanislander
1:35 AM GMT on May 30, 2007
Posted By: nash28 at 1:30 AM GMT on May 30, 2007.

Evening everyone. Just finished a dinner party. What's up?


Hi Nash

Not much going on. We have had some of everything on here today. I guess that happens when everyone is waiting for something to happen on this side of the tropics
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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