Scientific conference looks at the ocean in a warmer world

Qingdao, China– New research into the complex interactions between the ocean and the global climate – as evidenced by the recent super El Niño - will be examined at the Open Science Conference of World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Core Project on Climate and Ocean – CLIVAR, in Qingdao, China, from 18 – 25 September, 2016. 

Interaction between rising ocean temperature, El Niño, rising sea level, cyclones, rainfall, extreme weather will be in spotlight of the Open Science Conference (OSC). Profs. ZHU Jiang and ZHOU Tianjun from Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAP/CAS) are members of Scientific Organization Committee.  

One of the objective of the OSC is to engage and encourage young climate scientists.  Dr. CHENG Lijing from IAP/CAS, who received his PhD degree two years ago, is one of four young scientists invited to give a plenary keynote talk. On the first day of the OSC, he will present his research to more than 600 scientists.  

Dr. CHENG has published papers attracting wide attention from the international community. He gave an invited talk at 2016 Annual Meeting of Asia Oceania Geosciences Society last August.  

“Ocean is the key heat reservoir in Earth’s system (it absorbs more than 90% of the energy of global warming). Hence ocean energy change is a key climate indicator. Scientists began to highlight the importance of monitoring and understanding the ocean energy changes, and significant progress has been made recently.” Said Dr. Cheng. “I will talk on estimating ocean heat content changes by using in situ observations and also on assessing the performance of climate models in simulating ocean warming.” 

The conference will also focus on how the ocean is bearing the brunt of global warming, with huge consequences for the future of the planet.  

“The ocean sustains life on Earth and is also protecting us from the worst impacts of global warming by not only storing more than 90 per cent of the extra heat from greenhouse gases but also by taking up about a third of the total man-made emissions of carbon dioxide,” said Nicolas GRUBER, a professor from ETH Zurich and also one of keynote speakers of the OSC.  

“Record temperatures are being experienced at the surface and are penetrating to deeper ocean levels than ever experienced before. Acidity from the carbon dioxide taken up from the air is affecting the marine chain of life. If we are to act on climate change, we need to better understand how much more the ocean as part of the climate system can absorb before it reaches a tipping point.” Said Annalisa BRACCO and Detlef STAMMEr, co-chairs of CLIVAR. 

Specific scientific issues to be addressed will include the effects of a warming ocean on future climate change, regional variation in ocean and climate warming, the respective contributions of thermal expansion and melting ice to sea-level rise, the connections between the oceans and the global water and energy cycle, and the impact of excess carbon on sea life, and climate information and sustainable development. 

Thomas Stocker, the former co-chair for physical science with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will give the opening keynote speech Anthropogenic Climate Change: Time to Focus on the Ocean. 

Another keynote will be from Wenju Cai (CSIRO, Australia): El Niño Southern Oscillation and greenhouse warming.  

Other well-known scientists addressing the conference will include Guy Brasseur of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology; Lixin Wu, Director of the newly created Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology and hosts for the Conference; Kevin Trenberth, NCAR, USA, and Arame Tall, FAO, Dakar.  

The objectives of the CLIVAR Open Science Conference are to: 

·         Increase understanding of the dynamics, the interaction, and the predictability of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system 

·         Identify key research ideas to meet emerging ocean and climate science challenges 

·         Encourage young climate scientists 

·         Develop and strengthen international collaboration and promote integrative studies 

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