Earth's oceans losing their memories, study finds
"Earth's oceans are feeling the wrath of human-induced climate change. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and reefs are dying — and now, according to a new study published in Science Advances, the sea is losing its memory altogether." Or so states a recent article on msn.com.
The post also noted that, "[u]nlike weather, which can change wildly and rapidly, Earth's oceans usually only have slight changes throughout the week. This persistence is called 'memory' and is related to the thickness of the ocean's top mixed layer. Similar to how a thicker mattress provides better cushioning, a thicker sea surface layer allows for a better memory because of the thermal inertia at play." The article also avers that "[a]s global warming increases and the ocean temperature rises, that top layer thins out. And like a thinning mattress, the support, or in this case the year-to-year 'memory,' weakens."
A few points to be made here: 1) the article as much as admits that climate change is natural and can occur rapidly! ("Unlike weather, which can change wildly and rapidly...") 2) The ocean's "memory" is not really a memory...in that it doesn't have a brain, mind, or any cognitive ability whatsoever. Ergo, it doesn't remember anything. 3) I have always been told that, the warmer the temperatures, the thicker the top layer of a body of water becomes, not thinner. The thicker the warmer (mixed) top layer becomes, the farther down it pushes the thermocline, the narrow band of water with rapidly changing temperatures. Below that is the cold-water layer. (The ocean is heated from above by the sun and warm air.)
In any case, this so-called "memory," scientists say, helps them predict ocean conditions, and therefore its decline will make it harder for them to keep up with changes. The study's co-author, Fei-Fei Jin, a professor at the University of Hawaii-Mānoa, said the results of the study "suggest intrinsic changes in the system and new challenges in prediction under warming."
The study's lead author, Hui Shi, opined that "[i]t's almost as if the ocean is developing amnesia." The article notes that researchers "project" that the ocean's memory will likely continue to decrease throughout most of the world, until, by the end of the 21st century, "some regions will have ocean memory reductions of up to 100%." One hundred percent, you say? If I remember correctly, that's a lot.
And, of course, the researchers found that man-caused global warming/climate change is primarily responsible for the degradation of the ocean's memory.
It's always something. And now the bleeping ocean has lost its memory. Experts expect that by the year 2100, it won't be able to remember a damn thing.
"Where did I put the Marianas Trench?" it will ask itself. And "what are these funny-looking things with eight appendages that squirt ink? Which way does the Gulf Stream flow? Am I rising or falling? Oh, crap, I am so hosed!"
What's next? On second thought, I don't want to know. Are we to see our mountains ravaged with Alzheimer's, and our volcanoes contend with autism? Will our prairies be beset by bipolar disorder, our forests burdened with schizophrenia?
What's worse than an ocean losing its memory? Scientists losing their minds.