Deep Ocean Contribution to Sea Level and Energy Budget Not Detectable over the Past Decade

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 8:30 AM
William Llovel, JPL/NASA, Pasadena, CA, United States, Josh K Willis, Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA, United States, Felix W Landerer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States and Ichiro Fukumori, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
As the dominant reservoir of heat uptake in the climate system, the world’s oceans provide a critical measure of global climate change. Here, we infer deep ocean warming in the context of global sea level rise and Earth’s energy budget between January 2005 and December 2013 based on satellite altimetry, GRACE and Argo floats. Direct measurements of ocean warming above 2000m depth explain 0.9 +/- 0.15 mm/yr of the observed 2.78 +/- 0.32 mm/yr rate of global mean sea level rise. Over the entire water column, independent estimates of ocean warming yield a contribution of 0.77+/-0.28 mm/yr in sea level rise and agree with the upper ocean estimate to within the estimated uncertainties. Accounting for additional possible systematic uncertainties, the deep ocean (below 2000m) contributes -0.13 +/- 0.72 mm/yr to global sea level rise and -0.08 +/- 0.43 W/m2 to Earth’s energy balance. The net warming of the ocean implies an energy imbalance for the Earth of 0.64 ± 0.44 W/m2 from 2005 to 2013.