Ocean height indicator of climate

Oct 07, 2005

U.S. and Canadian authors say an index of sea surface heights gathered by satellites could be a useful indicator of long-term climate cycles.

Recording sea surface temperatures is one way of monitoring ocean conditions corresponding to long-term climate cycles such as el Nino and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the climate cycle thought to be the main component of sea surface temperature variation in the Northern Pacific, according to lead author Patrick F. Cummins, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, in Sidney, British Columbia.

The study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters, said that as temperatures change during these cycles, so too would sea surface height, since water expands and contracts as it heats and cools.

The study authors compared satellite measurements of sea surface height in the northeast Pacific Ocean from 1993-2004 to recordings of sea surface temperature in the region during the same period. The sea surface height measurements proved to be as accurate as temperature measurements as indicators of ocean conditions resulting from long-term climate cycles as well as being more consistent.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New study outlines 'water world' theory of life's origins

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed ...

Melting during cooling period

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

Apr 16, 2014

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

Ice breaker: ONR researchers explore a changing Arctic

Apr 14, 2014

As sea ice continues to recede at a record pace in the Arctic, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced April 14 new efforts to determine the pace of change in what some are calling Earth's final frontier.

Scientists explore one of Earth's deepest ocean trenches

Apr 11, 2014

What lives in the deepest part of the ocean—the abyss? A team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will use the world's only full-ocean-depth, hybrid, remotely-operated vehicle, ...

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

8 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

9 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

9 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...