Watch our OSIP member Natalya Gallo give a thorough overview on the causes and consequences of ocean deoxygenation, one of the less visible impacts of climate change. Natalya's talk followed NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Dr. Carmen Boening who presented on physical changes to the world's oceans.
After asking around the UNFCCC COP19 for a few days, we decided to hit the streets of Warsaw, Poland to see what the Polish people thought about the oceans and climate change.
Decades into the industrial revolution, the HMS Challenger Expedition sailed into the sea, looking for answers to questions that still intrigue oceanographers to this day. Little did these pioneers of ocean sciences know that their measurements will be used 140 years later by Scripps Oceanography Researcher Dean Roemmich to measure the human-induced warming of the world's oceans since the mid-1800's.
One of the most under-appreciated facts in climate change is the fate of the energy trapped by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Human activities are releasing nearly 10 Gegatons of Carbon (about 36 Billion tons of CO2) into the atmosphere every year, driving atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 400 parts per million (ppm) from their original preindustrial levels of 280 ppm. This increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases concentrations traps additional energy in the earth's climate system. What happens to this "extra" energy (0.5-1 watt/m2) remains a mystery to many outside the field of climate and ocean sciences.
Wow… What a whirlwind experience these last two weeks have been! I had to leave before the end of the second week of the COP so I could return just in time for a deep-sea cruise on the R/V Sproul this weekend. But that’s how it goes - graduate school responsibilities call! I’m ready to go home, but it’s pretty weird to think I won’t be spending all my time at the Warsaw National Stadium anymore and living with my wonderful SIO colleagues.
Overall, I left feeling so fulfilled and inspired by my COP experience. I also left saturated to the brim with knowledge that’s very different from the type I accumulate day to day in graduate school. I’m pretty sure no major deal will be reached at the end of this COP, so perhaps the COP itself was not successful, but for me, it was an extremely successful experience because it taught me a lot about how scientists can inform policy. And I had a blast working with my fantastic SIO colleagues!