All of Earth’s waterSource: Howard Perlman, United States Geological Survey
WHAT ROLES DO THE OCEANS PLAY WITHIN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM? They absorb and reﬂect solar radiation. (albedo) They transport heat. (climate variability) They are source of water vapor. (greenhouse eﬀect, precipitation) They store heat. (heat capacity, latent heat)
“ The low-latitude oceans are Earth’s main storage tanks of solar heat. Bill Ruddiman ” Earth’s Climate: Past, Present and Future
The speciﬁc heat is the amount of heat per unit massrequired to raise the temperature by one degree Celsius.
The speciﬁc heat of water is WAY higher than any of Earth’s other surfaces. Water Ice Wood, oak Soil, wet Tar Earth, dry Brick, common Concrete, light Clay Lava Glass Granite Steel 0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 cal/gSource: The Engineering Toolbox
Average annual ocean-atmosphere CO2 ﬂuxSource: NOAA PMEL Carbon Program
The residence time describes the average time awater molecule will spend in a speciﬁc reservoirwithin the hydrological cycle.
Age of ocean waters inferred from radiocarbon observationsSource: Gebbie and Huybers, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 2012
Antarctica and Greenland Soil Glaciers 20,000 yr 1 to 2 months 20 to 100 yr Atmosphere Groundwater 9 days 10,000 yr Lakes Snow Oceans 50 to 100 yr 2 to 6 months 3,200 yr 1 week 1 year 100 years 10,000 years1 day 1 month 10 years 1,000 years 100,000 years
The thermal inertia describes the resistance of a componentof the climate system to temperature change.
Source: Ruddiman, Earth’s Climate: Past, Present and Future
Sensitivity to solar heating (land vs. ocean)Source: Ruddiman, Earth’s Climate: Past, Present and Future