Global Warming Traced to Humans

Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers Tim Barnett and David Pierce have pinpointed human-induced global warming in the earth’s oceans.

Their recent findings have the potential to solidify the belief that global warming over the past 50 years has been a direct result of human activity.

Barnett and Pierce ran a series of studies testing ocean temperatures as deep as 3,000 meters.

“”The change is profound,”” Pierce said.

The pair found an overall change in ocean temperature of 0.1-degree Celsius, and an average 0.4-degree Celsius rise was found at the ocean’s surface

“”The temperature increase may not seem like a lot,”” Pierce said. “”However, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to heat the world’s oceans to that extent.””

Barnett also validated the findings by noting the precision of the thermometers used in the study.

The thermometers, according to Barnett, can detect 0.2-degree Celsius changes in temperature.

Many scientists attribute these changes in temperature to carbon dioxide and sulfur emissions. In the past 50 years, the emission of these products is said to have heated the atmosphere and, as Barnett and Pierce’s study suggests, the ocean temperatures as well.

Most studies regarding the issue of global warming have focused on atmospheric temperatures. Barnett and Pierce’s study concentrated on the effects on the ocean.

Barnett said he is confident in the recent findings.

“”The initial results are certainly compatible at the 95 percent confidence level with the hypothesis that the warming observed in the global oceans has been caused by anthropogenic sources,”” Barnett said.

The study was only meant as a preliminary observation of the effects of global warming. The implications of the heating of the environment are, as of now, somewhat of a mystery.

“”We don’t have the programs or the government organization to assess what this is going to mean for the average American,”” Barnett said. “”The average Californian doesn’t care about a three-degree rise in the temperature.””

Barnett said he wished people would take action by urging the government to mobilize and create a better understanding of the greenhouse effect.

“”Tell people to write their congressman and ask them what the greenhouse effect is going to do to our lives,”” Barnett said.

Pierce also noted the U.S. government’s lagging status compared to other developed nations in terms of greenhouse effect research.

“”Germany, Britain and Japan all have programs to assess the greenhouse effect,”” Pierce said. “”I would have thought America would be on the forefront of this endeavor but it is not the case.””

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association Climate Change Data and Detection program and the U.S. Department of Energy supported the work of Barnett and Pierce.

Barnett and Pierce also worked with colleague Reiner Schnur, who was supported by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorolology.

Their findings were published in the April 13 edition of the scientific journal Science.

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