As the globe warms, the atmosphere is becoming more unstable, but the oceans are becoming more stable, according to an international team of climate scientists, who say that the increase in stability is greater than predicted and a stable ocean will absorb less carbon and be less productive.
Stable conditions in the atmosphere favor fair weather. However, when the ocean is stable, the layers of the ocean do not mix. Cooler, oxygenated water from beneath does not rise up and deliver oxygen and nutrients to waters near the surface, and warm surface water does not absorb carbon dioxide and bury it at depth.
“The same process, global warming, is both making the atmosphere less stable and the oceans more stable,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State. “Water near the ocean’s surface is warming faster than the water