Slow ocean dance with the atmosphere:

Environmental

2024/07/10

Slow ocean dance with the atmosphere:

Air temperature and ocean temperature

A permanent heat exchange exists between the atmosphere and the ocean, where air temperature affects ocean temperature and vice versaFor sure! The relationship between weather temperature (AST) and ocean temperature (SST) is important for understanding the climate system on Earth. Here's the outline of this relationship:

Air heats the ocean:

  • Heat exchange:
    • When the air temperature is higher than the ambient temperature, heat is transferred from the air to the water.
    • When water molecules in the ocean are heated, the water evaporates, and exchanges heat with the surrounding air, similar to how a warm cup of coffee heats the ambient air.
    • Evaporation from the ocean increases air temperature and humidity, forming clouds and precipitation.
  • Feedback Loops:
    • Higher ambient temperatures lead to increased evaporation, affecting cloud coverage and precipitation patterns.
    • Changes in cloud coverage affect the amount of solar light reaching the Earth's surface, further affecting weather and ocean temperatures.

 

Moderate Ocean Effect:

  • High heat capacity of water: Water has a much higher heat capacity than air, meaning it takes more energy to raise its temperature, which is why the oceans act as a giant heat reservoir, reducing air temperature fluctuations in coastal areas.
  • Slower to change: Compared to air, ocean temperatures change more slowly due to the sheer volume of water and the mixing of surface and deep layers.
  • Ocean currents:
    • Ocean currents play a big role in global heat redistribution.
    • Warm currents (such as the Gulf Stream) transfer heat from low to high latitudes, affecting the temperature of the weather.
    • Cold currents (such as Peru) also exchange heat, affecting ambient and atmospheric temperatures.

Exact mismatch:

  • Uneven heating: Air temperature does not uniformly affect ocean temperature; factors such as currents, rising (deeper, colder water rising to the surface), and wind patterns lead to differences in ocean temperatures.
  • Delayed impact:
    • Seasonal changes:
    • Ocean temperatures respond to changes in air temperature late; therefore, a hot summer may cause ocean temperatures to rise significantly in the subsequent season.
    • In warmer months, persistently high air temperatures contribute to ocean warming, which is particularly evident in shallow coastal waters.

Impact of climate change:

  • Rising air temperatures: Global warming, driven by rising air temperatures, is gradually increasing average ocean temperatures as well, and this has serious consequences for marine ecosystems, weather patterns and sea level rise.

In short, the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere is complex, as atmospheric and ocean temperatures are formed by heat exchange, ocean currents, and feedback loops. 

El Niño and La Niña phenomena greatly affect the relationship between weather temperature and ocean temperature. Let's take a look at the effects:

1. El Niño:

o Occurs when surface water in the tropical Pacific Ocean becomes warmer than average, and easterly winds are weaker than normal.

o Leads to increased weather temperature and impact on climate systems worldwide.

o May cause severe storms, mild weather, drought or flooding.

2. La Niña:

o Occurs when the water is colder than average in the calm tropical ocean, and the easterly winds are stronger.

o Leads to cooling weather and adverse effects on climate systems.

o May cause dehydration in certain areas and less rainfall.

In addition to direct impacts on weather, these phenomena also affect food supplies, prices, wildfires, and economic and political outcomes. 

Understanding the relationship between air temperature and ambient temperature is essential to:

  • Marine life protection: Knowing how ocean temperatures affect marine life helps scientists predict and manage the impacts of climate change.
  • Weather forecast: Ocean temperatures affect weather patterns, so accurate data is essential for weather forecasting models.
  • Safe diving: Divers consider air and water temperature when planning a dive for safety and comfort.

Through scientific research to study this dynamic, we gain a deeper understanding of our planet's complex climate system.


References:

1.    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): https://www.noaa.gov/climate

2.    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): https://www.ipcc.ch/

3.    National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/ocean-currents-and-climate/

4.    A textbook on Oceanography or Marine Science

5.     britannica.com

6.     oceanexplorer.noaa.gov

7.     lazyseas.com

8.     journals.ametsoc.org

9.     doi.org

10.noaa.gov

11.earthobservatory.nasa.gov

12.climate.gov

13.oceanservice.noaa.gov

 

 


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