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Climate Change Making It Harder To Find MH370

From Mother Jones:

One Reason It May Be Harder to Find Flight 370: We Messed Up the Currents

How climate change factors into the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

By James West | March 21, 2014

Scientists say man-made climate change has fundamentally altered the currents of the vast, deep oceans where investigators are currently scouring for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, setting a complex stage for the ongoing search for MH370. If the Boeing 777 did plunge into the ocean somewhere in the vicinity of where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, the location where its debris finally ends up, if found at all, may be vastly different from where investigators could have anticipated 30 years ago…

Even if the fragments captured in satellite images are identified as being part of the jet, which Malaysian officials say deliberately flew off course on March 8, investigators coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will still have an enormous task to locate remaining parts of the plane and its flight recorders…

While longer-term climate shifts are unlikely to play into day-to-day search and rescue efforts, these large climate-affected currents—among them the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the world’s most powerful ocean system—are an essential factor in oceanographers’ understanding of the literal undercurrents of search operations.

According to interviews with three climate scientists who specialize in the region of the world where investigators are focusing their search, the winds of the Southern Indian Ocean bordering the Southern Ocean have been shifting southwards and intensifying over the last 20 to 30 years, in part due to a warming atmosphere and the hole in the ozone layer. Ocean currents are also tightening around Antarctica, shifting whole climate systems towards the South Pole.

"Both the ozone hole and greenhouse gases are working together to change the winds over the Southern Ocean." …

And never mind that there hasn’t been any warming for 17 years. Or that the ozone hole has been closing for years. And it is currently at a record low.

These shifts are happening in oceans that are vital to understanding our global climate system, says Joellen Russell, an associate professor in biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona who has explored and studied the southern oceans….

"This is one of the few areas of the global ocean that is immediately and definitely playing a role in the temperature on land."

Which has not gone up for 17 years.

The westerly winds here have increased by about 20 percent over the last 20 years, according to Russell’s 2006 investigation into the trends, messing with the overall system that we rely on for our climate stability—and potentially shortening this so-called "grace" period where the oceans are giving us a helping hand.

"It can do loads of things to the climate system," says Matthew England, joint director of Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. "It can decrease the amount of carbon you can get into the oceans…It can also affect the temperatures off the Antarctic ice shelf, which is a real worry."

Any minute now.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, March 24th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Climate Change Making It Harder To Find MH370”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    The ‘legend’ continues to grow in manufactured complexity. Building the structure of the ‘story. It was a woman with a burner cell phone. It was Lithium Ion batteries. It was a crew hijack. It was a wormhole.

    What it is, is it’s in one of the ‘Stans

  2. Astravogel says:

    Oh for the love of…I’ll bet the neighborhood dogs howling
    is caused by Global Warming! And I thought it was just
    the emergency sirens.

  3. merkelerk says:

    For a list of things affected by global warming/climate change….
    Each item listed is a hypertext link to the story.

  4. Rusty Shackleford says:

    SHEILA JACKSON LEE: I call upon the avenation industry to stop hiding behind costs and how much it costs and start ensuring that our pilots and our customers, our flying public, are safe. Why do we have the capacity, uh, to dismantle the transponders? Why wasn’t the emergency call already in place that it automatically signals when a[n] aircraft goes off its, uh, discerned or destinated — uh, destiny and destination — uh, as relates to, uh, its flight pattern.


    Elected “leader”.

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