Volkov, Denis L. University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Library, Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Miami, Florida.
Last reviewed:January 2018
Show previous versions
- Energy imbalances between ocean and atmosphere
- Ocean temperature observing systems
- Estimates of ocean warming
- Deep-ocean warming
- Implications of ocean warming
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The effect of the ocean absorbing excess heat gained by Earth's climate system. The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and, together with the atmosphere, terrestrial waters (lakes, rivers, and groundwater), and different forms of ice (snow, sea ice, ice sheets, and glaciers), comprises the climate system of our planet. Because of the enormous capacity of water to store heat and the ability of oceanic flows to redistribute this heat horizontally and vertically, the ocean’s role in the climate system is crucial. The major source of heat in the climate system is solar radiation. Because the Earth is a sphere, there is a net heat gain near the Equator and a net heat loss at high latitudes. Atmospheric winds and oceanic currents must balance these heat surpluses and deficits by transporting heat from low to high latitudes. The ocean contributes about a quarter of the overall poleward heat transport accomplished by the atmosphere-ocean system; however, because the heat capacity and density of seawater are much greater than those of air (water can absorb more than 4000 times as much heat per unit volume as air), changes in oceanic heat content have profound and long-lasting effects on global and regional climate (Fig. 1). See also: Atmospheric general circulation; Climatology; Ocean; Ocean circulation; Seawater; Solar radiation
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information