BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

New Method Improves Estimates of Upper-Ocean Warming and Multi-Decadal Sea-Level Rise
Published: July 21, 2008
Posted: July 25, 2008

Changes in the climate system’s energy budget (the combination of solar radiation and heat in earth systems) are primarily seen in ocean temperatures and the associated contribution of thermal expansion to sea-level rise. However, studying and modeling these phenomena are not simple. There is sparse observational data suggesting large decadal variability in globally averaged ocean heat content but this variability cannot be reproduced in climate models even when volcanic and other climate forcings are included. Also, the sum of observed contributions to ocean thermal expansion does not adequately explain the multi-decadal rise in sea-level. Recent work by SC researcher Peter Gleckler and his colleagues improves estimates of near-global ocean heat content and thermal expansion for the upper portions of the oceans for the period 1950–2003. Using these new estimates, the decadal variability of the climate models with volcanic forcing included now agrees approximately with observations although the modeled multi-decadal trends are smaller than observed. These improved estimates move us one step closer to the development of well-integrated, global climate models needed to understand and predict the current and future climate.

Reference: Domingues, C.M., J.A. Church, N.J. White, P. J. Gleckler, S. E. Wijffels, P. M. Barker, and J.R. Dunn. 2008. "Improved estimates of upper-ocean warming and multi-decadal sea-level rise," Nature 453, DOI: :10.1038/nature07080

Contact: Anjuli Bamzai, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0294
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-23.1 Life Sciences Division, OBER)


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)