Are the scientists researching climate change allowing sufficiently for the moderating role of water?
Water has a high specific heat capacity. The same energy that raises the temperature of water by 1°C, will make copper hotter by more than 10°C.
This Time article (November 2013) reports "the vast oceans carry 93% of the stored energy from climate change, compared to just 1% for the atmosphere, with melting ice and landmasses making up the rest." Some of that energy goes to raising the temperature at certain depths.
But water has other ways of processing heat. It can expand, so that could be one of the reasons sea levels are rising.
There is also water's tendency to form chains of molecules - or even rings - and presumably heat energy will be used in the breaking of these structures, and there's a lot of them in the Earth's 1.3 billion cubic kilometres of ocean.
Another energy-employing phase change is evaporation. “The atmosphere’s water vapor content has increased by about 0.41 kilograms per square meter (kg/m²) per decade since 1988, and natural variability in climate just can’t explain this moisture change," says this article.
And then there's claims and counterclaims about melting ice. The argument is plagued by complexity because of the warming, cooling, evaporating and precipitating effects of wind currents and the difficulty of measuring ice thickness as well as extent.
The thermal absorption properties of water may have bought us more time, but they don't let us completely off the hook. Just as we are learning to discount climate change alarmists, we should look more skeptically at the sanguinists. There's a huge difference between "small chance" and "no chance", as we have found in financial matters; also, between "a long time ahead" and "never".
And then there's the at present theoretical concern about all that methane currently trapped in the oceans - by the water structures known as "clathrates", structures that heat energy can break.
READER: PLEASE CLICK THE REACTION BELOW - THANKS!
All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.