Tax viruses!? Ocean viruses may have impact on Earth’s climate – ‘Could be responsible for billions of metric tons of extra CO2 every year’

By Jessica McDonaldJun. 17, 2016 , 9:45 AM
Viruses—already the bane of human existence—may also be having an impact on Earth’s climate. A new study reveals that the pathogens steal energy from ocean bacteria, preventing them from sucking up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. As a result, viruses could be responsible for billions of metric tons of extra carbon dioxide every year, though the impact on the environment is unclear.

“I think it’s a great study,” says Adam Martiny, a microbial ecologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the work. “It adds to this growing notion that to understand the global carbon [cycle], there’s just a lot of different biological interactions.”

The ocean is full of microbes that breathe in carbon dioxide and get their energy from the sun. In fact, by converting this carbon into the building blocks of bodies, so-called cyanobacteria and other ocean microbes sequester—or “fix”—about half of the carbon dioxide on Earth.

But viruses can impact this process. When they attack cyanobacteria, they inject their genetic material, turning the microbes into virtual virus factories. The injected DNA includes photosynthetic genes, suggesting that the viruses—known as cyanophages—might be changing how the bacteria process carbon.…

North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content Dropping Rapidly



Ole Humlum’s excellent site, Climate4you, has just published the latest Ocean Heat Content data, now up to March 2016. They show some interesting things happening in the North Atlantic.



First, let’s look at the area highlighted below:


Map showing the North Atlantic area within 60-0W and 30-65N, for which the heat content within the uppermost 700 m is shown in the two diagrams below.


NODC NorthAtlanticOceanicHeatContent0-700mSince1955 With37monthRunningAverage

Global monthly heat content anomaly (GJ/m2) in the uppermost 700 m of the North Atlantic (60-0W, 30-65N) ocean since January 1955. The thin line indicate monthly values, and the thick line represents the simple running 37 month (c. 3 year) average. Data source: National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). Last period shown: January-March 2016. Last diagram update 7 June 2016.


We have become familiar with the cold blob, which has developed at the ocean surface in the northern part of the North Atlantic during the last couple of years, but it is evident that it has been getting much colder below the surface as well, down at least to 700 m. Temperatures are now back down to where they were in the early 1990s.

(It is also worth noting that the 1970s marked the coldest period in the record). Unfortunately we don’t have data for the warm 1930s and 40s.

British warships in Persian Gulf overheat due to ‘climate change’

Six British warships stationed in the Persian Gulf are breaking down because the water is too hot. This week, members of the British Navy testified to the UK’s Defence Committee that their Type 45 destroyers keep losing power because of high ocean temperatures. When the ships’ turbines get overheated, they can’t generate as much energy, resulting in electrical failures.

The makers of the billion-dollar warships, including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems Maritime, claim that the ships were not designed to be used in that kind of environment for an extended amount of time, although they are supposedly engineered for a wide range of temperatures from sub-Arctic to tropic.

This news might be just the kind of thing that wealthy governments need to hear. Because if there’s anything that will motivate a country to take action around climate change, it’s when climate change starts to interfere with their ability to effectively kill other humans.


Bombshell study: past El Niño’s ‘may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time’

Bombshell study: past El Niño’s ‘may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time’

From AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY How El Niño impacts global temperatures El Niño oscillations in the Pacific Ocean may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time Scientists have found past El Niño oscillations in the Pacific Ocean may have amplified global climate fluctuations for hundreds of years at a time. The team […]

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Navy ‘worried’ global warming may affect sonar – ‘Sound travels slower through warmer water’

The future of sonar in semiheated oceans
Naval researchers are studying the effect of climate change on underwater sound propagation and sonar


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 25, 2016 – Scientists are studying how climate change will affect the speed of sound under water to help prepare the U.S. Navy for operating in progressively warmer oceans.

Light doesn’t travel very far underwater so the navy uses sound to transmit messages. The speed of underwater sound depends on a combination of temperature, salinity and pressure. It’s a complicated equation, but temperature is the biggest factor, says Glen Gawarkiewicz, an oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Understanding sound speed is crucial for transmitting messages, detecting enemy submarines and avoiding marine animals. As climate change elevates temperatures, understanding underwater sound speed will become increasingly important.

“[We] haven’t had to deal with this issue of climate change until the last 15 years, but the temperature changes are significant enough that it really is having an impact on how sound travels in the ocean,” Gawarkiewicz said. He and his colleagues will present their research on the effect of climate change on sonar this week at the 171st meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, held May 23 – 27 in Salt Lake City.

Gawarkiewicz and his team, with funding from the Office of Naval Research, use a torpedo-like autonomous underwater vehicle to study temperature’s influence on sound speed. The vehicle emits sounds that are picked up by a receiver. Sound travels faster through cold water and slower through warmer water. By measuring the exact speed of different temperatures, scientists can help create better communication and detection tools.

This is important because enemy submarines have become more challenging to detect. In the 1980s, Japan sold Russia computerized machines that could make much quieter propellers, which means their submarines are difficult to detect. As technology has improved even more over the past 30 years, it’s become even more difficult to discover underwater craft. Climate change will only make detection more challenging.

“It’s getting harder and harder to detect these subs, and the ocean is getting noisier and noisier with commercial shipping,” Gawarkiewicz said.

“You have snappy shrimp making noise and fish making noise, and you might be hearing oil platforms,” he added. “It’s a huge challenge to try and detect underwater sources.”

Experts use underwater sound research to locate missing planes. The black …

Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer debunks alleged ‘warmest year’ claims

In contrast, our satellite analysis has 2015 only third warmest which has also been widely reported for weeks now. I understand that the RSS satellite analysis has it 4th warmest.

– Land measurements …that thermometers over land appear to have serious spurious warming issues from urbanization effects. Anthony Watts is to be credited for spearheading the effort to demonstrate this over the U.S. where recent warming has been exaggerated by about 60%, and I suspect the problem in other regions of the global will be at least as bad. Apparently, the NOAA homogenization procedure forces good data to match bad data. That the raw data has serious spurious warming effects is easy to demonstrate…and has been for the last 50 years in the peer-reviewed literature….why is it not yet explicitly estimated and removed?

– Ocean Measurements …that even some NOAA scientists don’t like the new Karlized ocean surface temperature dataset that made the global warming pause disappear; many feel it also forces good data to agree with bad data. (I see a common theme here.)

– El Nino …that a goodly portion of the record warmth in 2015 was naturally induced, just as it was in previous record warm years.

– Thermometers Still Disagree with Models …that even if 2015 is the warmest on record, and NOAA has exactly the right answer, it is still well below the average forecast of the IPCC’s climate models, and something very close to that average forms the basis for global warming policy. In other words, even if every successive year is a new record, it matters quite a lot just how much warming we are talking about.…