• Barnett, T. P., D. W. Pierce, and R. Schnur, 2001: Detection of anthropogenic climate change in the world’s oceans. Science, 292 , 270274.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clarke, A. J., and A. Lebedev, 1997: Interannual and decadal changes in the equatorial wind stress in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans and the eastern ocean coastal response. J. Climate, 10 , 17221729.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Conkright, M. E., and Coauthors, 2002: Introduction. Vol. 1, World Ocean Database 2001, NOAA Atlas NESDIS 42, 160 pp.

  • Deser, C., M. A. Alexander, and M. S. Timlin, 1996: Upper-ocean thermal variations in the North Pacific during 1970–1991. J. Climate, 9 , 18401855.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GCOS, 2004: GCOS-92: Implementation plan for the global observing system for climate in support of the UNFCCC. WMO/TD 1219, Global Climate Observing System, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 153 pp.

  • Hanawa, K., P. Rual, R. Bailey, A. Sy, and M. Szabados, 1995: A new depth–time equation for Sippican or TSK T-7, T-6, and T-4 expendable bathythermographs (XBT). Deep-Sea Res. I, 42 , 14231451.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harrison, D. E., 1989: Post World War II trends in tropical Pacific trades. J. Climate, 2 , 15611563.

  • Levitus, S., J. I. Antonov, and T. P. Boyer, 1994: Interannual variability of temperature at a depth of 125 meters in the North Atlantic Ocean. Science, 266 , 9699.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levitus, S., J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, and C. Stephens, 2000: Warming of the World Ocean. Science, 287 , 22252229.

  • Levitus, S., J. I. Antonov, J. Wang, T. L. Delworth, K. W. Dixon, and A. J. Broccoli, 2001: Anthropogenic warming of Earth’s climate system. Science, 292 , 267270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levitus, S., J. I. Antonov, and T. P. Boyer, 2005: Warming of the World Ocean, 1955–2003. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32 .L02604, doi:10.1029/2004GL021592.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lysne, J., and C. Deser, 2002: Wind-driven thermocline variability in the Pacific: A model–data comparison. J. Climate, 15 , 829845.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Miller, A. J., and N. Schneider, 2000: nterdecadal climate regime dynamics in the North Pacific Ocean: Theories, observations, and ecosystem impacts. Progress in Oceanography, 47 , Pergamon,. 355379.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parilla, G., A. Lavin, H. Bryden, M. Garcia, and R. Millard, 1994: Rising temperatures in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean over the past 35 years. Nature, 369 , 4851.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stephens, C., S. Levitus, J. Antonov, and T. P. Boyer, 2001: On the Pacific Ocean regime shift. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28 , 37213724.

  • Stephens, C., J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, M. E. Conkright, R. A. Locarini, T. D. O’Brien, and H. E. Garcia, 2002: Temperature. Vol. 1, World Ocean Atlas 2001, NOAA Atlas NESDIS 49, 167 pp.

  • Willis, J. K., D. Roemmich, and B. Cornuelle, 2004: Interannual variability in upper ocean heat content, temperature, and thermosteric expansion on global scales. J. Geophys. Res., 109 .C12036, doi:10.1029/2003JC002260.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wunsch, C., and D. Stammer, 1998: Satellite altimetry, the marine geoid, and the oceanic general circulation. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 26 , 219253.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 10 10 10
PDF Downloads 3 3 3

Is the World Ocean Warming? Upper-Ocean Temperature Trends: 1950–2000

View More View Less
  • 1 NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, and Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, and School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • | 2 Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, and School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Restricted access

Abstract

Subsurface temperature trends in the better-sampled parts of the World Ocean are reported. Where there are sufficient observations for this analysis, there is large spatial variability of 51-yr trends in the upper ocean, with some regions showing cooling in excess of 3°C, and others warming of similar magnitude. Some 95% of the ocean area analyzed has both cooled and warmed over 20-yr subsets of this period. There is much space and time variability of 20-yr running trend estimates, indicating that trends over a decade or two may not be representative of longer-term trends. Results are based on sorting individual observations in World Ocean Database 2001 into 1° × 1° and 2° × 2° bins. Only bins with at least five observations per decade for four of the five decades since 1950 are used. Much of the World Ocean cannot be examined from this perspective. The 51-yr trends significant at the 90% level are given particular attention. Results are presented for depths of 100, 300, and 500 m. The patterns of the 90% significant trends are spatially coherent on scales resolved by the bin size. The vertical structure of the trends is coherent in some regions, but changes sign between the analysis depths in a number of others. It is suggested that additional attention should be given to uncertainty estimates for basin average and World Ocean average thermal trends.

Corresponding author address: D. E. Harrison, NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-6349. Email: d.e.harrison@noaa.gov

This article included in the In Honor of Carl Wunsch special collection.

Abstract

Subsurface temperature trends in the better-sampled parts of the World Ocean are reported. Where there are sufficient observations for this analysis, there is large spatial variability of 51-yr trends in the upper ocean, with some regions showing cooling in excess of 3°C, and others warming of similar magnitude. Some 95% of the ocean area analyzed has both cooled and warmed over 20-yr subsets of this period. There is much space and time variability of 20-yr running trend estimates, indicating that trends over a decade or two may not be representative of longer-term trends. Results are based on sorting individual observations in World Ocean Database 2001 into 1° × 1° and 2° × 2° bins. Only bins with at least five observations per decade for four of the five decades since 1950 are used. Much of the World Ocean cannot be examined from this perspective. The 51-yr trends significant at the 90% level are given particular attention. Results are presented for depths of 100, 300, and 500 m. The patterns of the 90% significant trends are spatially coherent on scales resolved by the bin size. The vertical structure of the trends is coherent in some regions, but changes sign between the analysis depths in a number of others. It is suggested that additional attention should be given to uncertainty estimates for basin average and World Ocean average thermal trends.

Corresponding author address: D. E. Harrison, NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-6349. Email: d.e.harrison@noaa.gov

This article included in the In Honor of Carl Wunsch special collection.

Save