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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1271. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:23 AM GMT on June 01, 2007
T-MINUS 98 MINS TO HURRICANE SEASON
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55984
1270. emagirl
2:43 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
is the forecast out from CSU yet
1269. homegirl
1:41 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
new blog
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 7425
1268. weathers4me
1:39 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Can someone explain what "invest means" Is that to mean that the information verifies? Thanks
Member Since: May 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
1267. Hellsniper223
1:36 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Now if I do recall correctly... GFS had a system spinning up roughly around the 31st. ;)
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
1266. Patrap
1:35 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Keys Radar long range...Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1265. weatherboykris
1:32 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Yep...we have an invest.Here's some AMSU data:



Still no well-defined warm or cold core.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
1264. Patrap
1:31 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
IR loop of GOM...Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1263. southbeachdude
1:29 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
thanks for the heads up 23....you are right on this stuff! I just went to the navy site and verified! Invest 92L
Member Since: July 29, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 697
1262. hurricane23
1:29 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
They should be in shortly...Winds at 25kts.

gg
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
1261. Patrap
1:28 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Heres a slideshow from the movie too..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1260. WPBHurricane05
1:28 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Now lets see if 92L can stay over open waters long enough to get really going. Also will be interesting to see with the shear and all.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
1259. kmanislander
1:27 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
No particulars posted on the Navy site as yet though
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
1258. emagirl
1:27 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
i was thinking of going to see it sunday just wanted to know if it was good or not
thanks
1257. Patrap
1:25 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
"Hurricane On the Bayou "..website. Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1256. ricderr
1:25 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
h23...that's that precip forecast....is that the latest forecast?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 676 Comments: 22344
1255. hurricane23
1:25 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Now confirmed invest 92L...Wow the 3rd one in the month of may.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
1254. Patrap
1:24 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Excellent IMAX film.Saw it here at Aquarium of the AMericas,..NOLA.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1253. kmanislander
1:24 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
From looking at the visible loop and the GHCC zoom it would appear that the center of the low is near 19N 85W under the W side of the deep convection. If so this would indicate either motion to the East or a relocation of the "center" although early stage systems tend not to have a precise center but more of a broad based area of low pressure. All that heavy convection on the East side of the system could however result in a true low center reforming further to the East in time
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
1252. emagirl
1:23 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
anyone seen the imax film "Hurricane at the Bayou" yet it starts in mobile, AL tomorrow
1251. cchsweatherman
1:23 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Is it just me or is there banding taking place around a COC just east of Belize? Look at the latest IR.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
1250. hurricane23
1:23 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
INVEST 92L IS BORN!!!!
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
1249. hurricane23
1:19 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Yea kris but it will take 2 dozen events like this before conditions really only begin to improve around the lake.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
1248. IKE
1:17 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
I'm hoping it takes the northern track.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1247. weatherboykris
1:17 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
That'd be some really good rain Adrian,LOL.Where it needs to fall most is just north of the lake though.That way the runoff heads into the lake and through the Everglades.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
1246. weatherboykris
1:16 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Probably,IKE.I don't think anyone will really miss it.But the track the low itself will take is still up in the air.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
1245. Patrap
1:16 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Poof!..its still here..LOLLink
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1244. hurricane23
1:15 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
HPC 5 day rain totals is heaviest right over me.

rain
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
1243. IKE
1:14 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
I agree the entire state of Florida needs rain and the way this system is getting it's act together it seems more likely.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1242. chessrascal
1:14 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Posted By: IKE at 9:08 AM EDT on May 31, 2007.

Posted By: weatherboykris at 8:06 AM CDT on May 31, 2007.
I personally think the storm will take the more northerly path.The trough that is pulling the system north and west is going to move slower than expected due to the cut-off low in the Plains;the models often overestimate the speed of those systems.Unfortunately,that means less rain in South Florida,the place that needs it most.

We've had about one-tenth of an inch of rain up here in the panhandle this month. Can't be much drier down there...I remember Miami got flooded one day or parts of it did with heavy rain.


Im in Sarasota FL and we have had no rain here. so be thankful for your 1/10 lol
1241. Alleyoops
1:14 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Thanks Kris...looks like its cleared itself up. Will keep an eye out to see if it shows up again.
Member Since: April 18, 2007 Posts: 190 Comments: 29432
1240. weatherboykris
1:14 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Posted By: IKE at 1:08 PM GMT on May 31, 2007.

Posted By: weatherboykris at 8:06 AM CDT on May 31, 2007.
I personally think the storm will take the more northerly path.The trough that is pulling the system north and west is going to move slower than expected due to the cut-off low in the Plains;the models often overestimate the speed of those systems.Unfortunately,that means less rain in South Florida,the place that needs it most.

We've had about one-tenth of an inch of rain up here in the panhandle this month. Can't be much drier down there...I remember Miami got flooded one day or parts of it did with heavy rain.


That was an isolated incident of street flooding which was the result of one,stationary thunderstorm.Other than that,the area's a desert.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
1239. WPBHurricane05
1:13 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
In fact, I think it was only downtown Miami/Miami Beach that got all the rain.

Lake O needs needs the rain so for those of us here that use it as a water source.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
1238. Patrap
1:13 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
42056 Buoy has the numbers..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1237. weatherboykris
1:12 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Posted By: Alleyoops at 1:06 PM GMT on May 31, 2007.

Good morning Fellows: Just took a look at Nexrad and saw something strange on the Indianapolis Radar...Could you please check and tell me what you see...Has there been an explosion or something there?


That happened a few months ago on the Tampa radar.It is a problem with the radar's software.It's not even really false echoes,just ignore it.Besides,an explosion that big would have to be a nuke,and that would knock out the radar station anyway.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
1236. hurricane23
1:11 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Iam leaning towards a more southern track at this time.Overall all this wet weather will be pulled north into the florida peninsula.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
1235. WPBHurricane05
1:11 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Miami has been getting a lot of rain but Broward north (including Lake O) haven't had any significant rain in a long time.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
1234. crownwx
1:10 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Does anyone have an idea of what's up with PodWeather.com? It's been down for the last couple of days. Have used it extensively for weather radio shows. Link
Member Since: December 27, 2004 Posts: 3 Comments: 207
1233. Patrap
1:10 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Indy still there ..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1232. IKE
1:09 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Posted By: augur at 8:07 AM CDT on May 31, 2007.
kris, the water vapor imagery shows the 2 in a yanyang organizing the weather over the entire basin imho, enough to move incipient barry more ene


Barry?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1231. K8eCane
1:09 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
thanks pat
did something explode there or is that a normal radar?
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3222
1230. Patrap
1:09 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Indianapolis radar.. Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1229. Patrap
1:08 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
radar fuzz..thats all.The operator changing modes most likely.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1228. IKE
1:08 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Posted By: weatherboykris at 8:06 AM CDT on May 31, 2007.
I personally think the storm will take the more northerly path.The trough that is pulling the system north and west is going to move slower than expected due to the cut-off low in the Plains;the models often overestimate the speed of those systems.Unfortunately,that means less rain in South Florida,the place that needs it most.

We've had about one-tenth of an inch of rain up here in the panhandle this month. Can't be much drier down there...I remember Miami got flooded one day or parts of it did with heavy rain.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1227. K8eCane
1:07 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
alley oop
can you give a link to that?
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3222
1226. Patrap
1:07 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
This effect..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129796
1225. augur
1:07 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
kris, the water vapor imagery shows the 2 in a yanyang organizing the weather over the entire basin imho, enough to move incipient barry more ene
1224. chessrascal
1:07 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Morning all! That Low in the carribean has really gained some convection since last night.

any comments?

1223. Alleyoops
1:06 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
Good morning Fellows: Just took a look at Nexrad and saw something strange on the Indianapolis Radar...Could you please check and tell me what you see...Has there been an explosion or something there?
Member Since: April 18, 2007 Posts: 190 Comments: 29432
1222. weatherboykris
1:06 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
I personally think the storm will take the more northerly path.The trough that is pulling the system north and west is going to move slower than expected due to the cut-off low in the Plains;the models often overestimate the speed of those systems.Unfortunately,that means less rain in South Florida,the place that needs it most.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
1221. K8eCane
1:05 PM GMT on May 31, 2007
hello Storm !
good to see ya!
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3222

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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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